Wednesday, November 17, 2010


When I ask permission to show someone's quilt on my blog, I always ask how they would like to be identified. Thus, I offered the maker of this fine piece: Donna, Donna H. or Hot Donna. She actually did not choose any of those, but the Hot Donna reference just makes me laugh out loud!

Here's what Donna Hopple had to say: "So here is my take on Charley Harper's "Herondipity" with thanks to my husband and Cincinnati in-laws for making me aware of this great artist, and to Sharon for teaching me how to create it!"

Donna's workmanship and attention to detail are stupendous. This work includes needleturn applique, hand embroidery, folded flowers, "fun fur" yarn to make the breast feathers, sequins and hand quilting. Here is a close-up of the head and neck.

And of the embroidery and other details.

There is a dark navy border surrounding this center--it shows poorly in the first photo, but looks perfect in the finished quilt. It has been an absolute joy to watch Donna take Charley Harper's drawing and make it using fabric and hand stitching.

Many thanks, Donna, for sharing this. You should be very proud--I know I am.


P.S. I'm listening to The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson and Martin Dugard. Still reading Julie and Julia--very different from the movie. Next up: Burn by Nevada Barr.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shelburne Farms, Part 3

As I passed the Farm Barn for the first time, I saw a sign pointing to the Breeding Barn. Thinking, foolishly, that it was probably just around the bend, off I set. Quite some time and several turns later, there it was.

Built in 1891, it has 56 box stalls surrounding a great hall. Until 1939, it had the largest unsupported span of any building in existence.

The view from the other side.

The structure you see in the middle of the barn in the photo above, seen from the side.

The windows you see along the roof-line are huge, opening all the way to ground level. Imagine that natural light pouring in as you were riding in the building. Almost a "cathedral" feeling to it.

This is a photo of a photo showing the inside of the Breeding Barn. See the stalls on both sides? The measurement from side to side and front to back, of just the open area, is 360 x 72 feet. All the horses could be in front of their stalls and one could still ride easily through the center.

Plans are underway to use the barn for special events. I was unable to go inside the building, but during the summer, tours are available. The stalls have been removed, leaving only the support beams, and the space is very open.

Better pictures of this and other spectacular barns can be found in a new book: Stables: Beautiful Paddocks, Horse Barns, and Tack Rooms by Kathryn Masson. It's a feast for the eyes, whether or not you love horses.

I am planning another trip to Shelburne Farms when tours are available. Maybe I'll see you there--I'll be the one with the camera, with my mouth wide open and eyes agog.

And there you have it--a mini tour of Shelburne Farms' barns. I can honestly say that my photos did not do them justice.

Hugs for now,

P.S. Next up is "Hot Donna" with her fabulous new quilt.

P.P.S. What I'm reading: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I loved the movie so much that I wanted to read the book. I'm loving it--and it is different from the movie in many ways. I am listening to Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas, Foreign Influence by Brad Thor, Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shelburne Farms, Part 2

The Farm Barn--built around 1898. It is truly a remarkable structure. This photo was taken while the light was still good and shows the barn from a corner. See the turret on the left? That is the other end of the building.
The next photos were taken with available light. It was truly dusk and I didn't think anything would come out--but not bad for an amateur! This is coming along the back of the barn--a different view of the same turret.

The main gate. Massive pillars that attach to stone walls that form the front of the courtyard.

The main barn: Four or five stories high, depending on the source of information. I found a postcard showing it framed up, including the cupola. Impressive, indeed. Even more impressive? The courtyard--the part enclosed within the main barn, the "wings" and the stone fence--is 2 acres! So imagine how big this structure is.

This is the same corner turret, but from the front. Imagine seeing this structure, not knowing what it is, as you come around a bend in the road. There is a working dairy on the farm and cheese is made in this barn from the milk of the Brown Swiss cows. I did see the cows and waved as I went by--both ways. It seemed the polite thing to do. (Okay, I also waved to the two horses and the multitude of sheep I saw too--so sue me, I'm friendly!)

I truly have saved the best for last. Wait til you see what's in store.


P.S. Are you remembering how special you are? I know that several people probably need a reminder--so here it is. YOU ARE SPECIAL! (Sorry to yell, but some people don't hear so well!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shelburne Farms, Part 1

At the end of last week I was pleased to help judge the Champlain Valley Quilters' Guild show at Shelburne Farms in Vermont. While I have been to the Shelburne Museum numerous times, I was not aware of the Farms, a 1400 acre working farm.

At about 8 AM, I was following Sally's car along a winding drive. At every turn in the road was something new and exciting to see. The mist was coming in off Lake Champlain and the sun was turning everything golden. As we rounded a bend, we were right on the Lake and then you see the mansion. And then you see: The Coach Barn.

Built around 1901, it is huge! We actually judged inside the barn. It is finished with beautiful wood, arched windows and some of the floors are brick. (I think my mouth hung open for quite some time!) It is said that late at night one can still hear the horses nickering and whinnying; one of the quilt ladies said she had heard them. This shows just a small portion of what was once stalls. Now there are special events held at the barn--what a fabulous place to be.

This is the inside of the courtyard, taken from inside a small enclosure on the front side of the barn. The clock works and strikes the hour. We were working on the quilts in an area to the left of the big green door.

This is taken from the green door looking out the arch to the Lake.

All these pictures were taken as I left about 5 pm. Here's the Lake taken as I was getting in the car. What a beautiful place. I must admit that the mansion didn't hold as much sway with me as the barns. Yes, I did say barnS. Next time I'll show you one of the others.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself--I still cannot believe that I was able to judge fabulous quilts in such a setting. As we were eating lunch inside the barn, I made the comment that the people who owned the farms would probably have fainted at the thought of eating in the barn! Nancy and I both agreed that as long as there was food, we didn't care if it was a working barn! (Rest assured, it was very clean and bright--and absolutely huge. Just unbelievable.)

Wait til you see the next barn! Stay tuned!