Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ahwahnee sparkle

I'm not a glitter and glitz kind of person. For the most part. Most of the time, I look like I've just returned home from a week of camping. The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, built in 1927 to accommodate the well-to-do and prestigious traveler was an intimidating presence to me for many years. If I walked into the lobby, I expected a pompous figure to sweep up to me and inform me that I must be lost. There is a campground down the road. And the Great Lounge . . .  I thought it was for rich, cigar-smoking hotel guests.

Several years ago, Sister-in-Law and I came across one of those low-season bargain two-fers at the Ahwahnee. So we took our once-in-a-lifetime trip there. (To be totally transparent here, it's really only an hour-and-a-half up the road.) We even took a tour of the hotel.

As with many other once-in-a-lifetime events, it serves to create a taste for a return.

And guess what? This is a National Park. The Great Lounge is a public space. You may not be able to partake of the afternoon high tea from off the street, but you can mingle. You can spend hours lounging. There used to be an open Internet in the space, but now you need a room code for it. Even at this off time of year, the Internet in the park seems to be swamped. (That's disappointing for us electronics junkies who want to send out our pictures right now.)

If you look back as you're departing, say goodbye to this view.

I have, lately, taken a fancy to some sparkle. Not that I want to own it (well, I would love some of those Possini chandeliers), but it is fun to look at.

Peering through the window into the Ahwahnee gift shop

It's the high end tourist shop. There are no logo tee shirts, mugs with your name on them, no fuzzy throw for $25 with $50 purchase (although you can use your Ahwahnee receipt to apply toward buying the fuzzy throw in one of the souvenir shops). I love the clothes and scarves they sell. Much of the rest of the things are not to my taste, but it's fun to see how they have displayed everything, including attention to the way the way the items cast shadows on the floor.

This is the dinner service used in the Dining Room,
so if you want that Lodge look at home, you can get it here.

Colorful glass baubles sparkle

These decorative plates are fascinating. The artist creates the designs in the plates making impressions with unique fabrics from around the world. I'm not sure whether the unusual colors would go with my decor, or I'd be right on one. This display is what drew my attention to the shadows on the floor.

Pretty turquoise birds

 Kachinas, ranging from about 20-inches tall at the top of the tower
to teeny-tiny on the tables out front, are arrayed by size.

I had to look closely into this basket of items to figure out what they are. They're measuring spoons. I think they'd be kind of cool to have, but remembered that I don't cook enough to need fancy measuring spoons. On the other hand, maybe that's perfect. These could be hung up for decorative purposes, rather than stuffed away in a drawer with the other measuring stuff.

Bracebridge banner, for this December special event

Now I fell for something, the foo-foo poncho. Tan, black or chocolate?  Finished up with chocolate. I also got a classic red sweater. Sorry, no picture of that.

Little vases for your grand manor

Banner for Vintners' days

Cheese platters, ornaments

Hundreds of little gifts, for Christmas and for year around . . . along with more artful shadows on the floor.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays . . .

Ho, ho, ho!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quilters On a Roll

Quilt camp, Friday, November 21

[NOTE: Any quilt camper who would like to be referred to by name -- either first only or first and last -- rather by pseudonym, or would like to get credit by name for your quilt, please let me know in the comments or by email and I will add it.]

After yesterday's gray day, we awaken to blue skies.  I have set an alarm to wake me in time for breakfast, unlike yesterday, when I was so deep in the blissful warmth of my sleeping bag and two down throws that I slept until Camp Coordinator rapped on my window 10 minutes before breakfast. I, the slowest eater, straggled in almost at the end. The bacon was already gone.

Today it is announced that we are allocated two pieces of bacon and two sausages each.

It's not like we'll starve around here. There are even healthy snacks on tables in the workrooms, in addition to the two provided meals.

This is shopping day. (Not that some didn't shop yesterday.) There is a pharmacy a few miles up the road that has a fabric section that is known far and wide to quilters. It's referred to simply as The Pharmacy, and everyone knows whereof you speak. The shoppers come back mid afternoon, laden with fabric. This quilter clearly has a project in mind for her shopping.

I'm not so sure the pile of fabric on Fabulous Shopper's lap and table is so specifically designated. Yet she whips through several projects over the course of the day. I'm awed.

I'll show-and-tell about my fabric. I acquire ahead because I pre-wash. I took this pic of a load of dark colors exactly as I took them out of my washer. Looks like a neck decoration, although not exactly a scarf. I had to untangle, dry and iron it for use in my two projects.

I think perhaps it reminds me of this painting over Daughter's fireplace.

I continue with making blocks for "Framework," pairing colors for the floating block effect, cutting and stitching each block as I go, still trying to figure out a system for quicker production.

A pause for consultations at the far end of the room . . .

Pieces are coming together. Despite the similar colorways, these projects are being done by different quilters

This yellow quilt, under construction, has become the bane of the quilter's existence. At some point, she'd made hundreds of small nine-patch blocks, and, since then, has been cobbling together projects to use them. This quilt top uses a lot of nine-patches. And yellow. Unfortunately, she doesn't really like her choice. For starters, the yellow hexagons are, well, too yellow. A nine-patch is joined to each of  the six sides of the hexagon, creating those little white triangles between blocks. Because of the angles, the white triangles must must be joined to the nine-patches using the dread Y-seam. If I'm not mistaken, there are Y-seams for every triangle point. She has assembled her quilt top in two growing parts so far. One is on the table and one on the wall behind her. They are about to be joined. More Y-seams.

Someone else is working in yellow. My back is to this part of the room and I didn't see who ta-dah'd it or hung it on the wall. Its sunflower sensibility makes me smile.

The transparency, the stained glass effect of this quilt top with the sun shining through the part of  the quilt, drew my eye and camera to it. The bark on the trees, outside the window, makes its own stained-glassy picture.

Ta-dah! Fabulous Shopper has completed her quilt top. No, this is not made from the fabrics she bought just this morning. This was an already-planned project when she arrived. The centers of the design elements are circles, meticulously executed.

These stars are being made behind me, so I haven't been watching their progress. I have heard a bunch of muttering and ripping out and resizing on the way to arriving here. Discussion is underway: sashing, or no-sashing with decorative quilting in the white intersections.

As we move through an afternoon of diligence, there is production everywhere.

*     *     *     *     *
Mrs. Wright night at quilt camp. It's a game. Those who wish to play contribute a "fat quarter" before dinner. (If that's an unfamiliar term, you can Google it,)  Three "winner" notes are concealed in fat quarters, All fat quarters are rolled and tied identically, then passed out randomly to the players. There is a storyteller who reads the script to the participants. The basic story has Mrs Wright making a cake, and sending Mr Wright to the store for forgotten ingredients. There are many left and right turns on the way to the store, and other opportunities to be right. With each use of the words "right" (or Wright) and "left" in the story, a fat quarter is passed along to the person in that direction. Confusion ensues.

I sit on the floor in the middle of the circle, somewhere near the storyteller, trying to take pictures of the game players. There are a lot of blurry pictures and a random chance that I will catch a big flub on camera. Here is a sampling of exchanges, for good or ill.

The storyteller reads the story.

Players pass fat quarters

At the end of the story, the fat quarters are unrolled. The gal in the middle has a winner's slip.

The three winners each receive a fanciful pincushion.
I don't know whether  these were made by one or two people.
As well as sewing star blocks, she knit this beautiful collar.

After midnight

The night owls are still hanging around the workroom. Fabulous Shopper has finished some projects and wrapped them and her surplus spoils of shopping in neat plastic bags. I've never seen anything quite this organized.

The fabric with a purpose has turned into placemats and the maker has gone to bed.

Singer Featherweight users have tidied up and hit the sack.

The maker of small and smaller blocks leaves only completed ones up for the night. See my hand next to them to judge their dimension.

Smaller still.

The snack table had been tidied, but subsequently disturbed. There is such a thing as cleaning up too early.

Our Leopard Lady presents her last ta-dah for the day.

That's not the end. We talk until we threaten to drop in our tracks, avoiding going into our cold bedrooms.