October 1

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How do I welcome October? I take the day off and do two of my least favorite things. Mammogram and dental cleaning. I utilized the rest of my time off today by doing something that I really love. Quilting. I think I am out of my creative slump now, see previous post.

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I finished this customer’s  baby quilt. It is a panel and I LOVE it. I had free reign to quilt it and I really like how it finished.

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I also loaded another quilt on the frame. I sewed another quilt block. I dusted. I knit and well completely avoided organizing my office and sewing room. That’s what winter is for ha!

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I got out my fall quilts and fall décor. I then went through my souvenirs from Scotland and started to arrange the items for the house. I bought this wonderful art tile. WHY didn’t I buy more of these Isle of Sky tiles??????? I scoured the internet and found that I CAN buy them on Ebay and it isn’t a fortune to ship. Whew, regret averted.

Vicki

Day 9 in Scotland

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We took a vacation to Scotland in September, see previous posts to see what we did for the first week!

I know that we only have a few days left. I am starting to look forward to some sightseeing after doing the Highland Games for the past three days! Today was our first cloudy day. This was the perfect setting for our trip to Culloden Battlefield. Remember the Appin Banner that my husband’s ancestor saved? I got a pic of it in the museum in Edinburgh.  Yes, this battle was it. It was between the Jacobites and the English. The Jacobites lost terribly on this moor. Click here for more information. This was a very serious day but a good one. Our friends also had family that fought and died here so we shared this day with them.

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Then we rode the bus to The Glen Ord distillery north of Inverness. What a great view of the sea, the farm country and a wonderful tour! I never get tired of seeing such old buildings that are still being used! Scotch is very complex to make but I have to say… it is not my favorite thing to drink. I tried it, really I did. Some of the bottles are worth thousands of dollars!!!

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Vicki

Day 7 and 8 on our vacation

Day 7 and 8 were the last two days of the Highland games competition. It was so warm and sunny that  my husband and I got sunburned!!! I have to say that we prepared for rain and thankfully we had none.  My husband did a great job in this competition and he had the most wonderful time.  I am sure that he didn’t want it to end. Here are a few pictures of the games. The caber was really big and difficult. Not many turned it.

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DSCN0177 the Michigan throwers

DSCN0178 Franz, from Switzerland. His family came and cheered him on. They also took a liking to my husband and cheered and sang to him during the games. They were so fun!!!DSCN0345 2014-09-14 08.38.48 This man is actually a relative of my husband and they threw in the same group. The tartan my husband wears lead to a genealogy conversation and they are distant cousins. Very cool, indeed!!!

2014-09-14 11.48.48The group my husband threw with plus a few from another group, wonderful group of guys.

2014-09-14 14.13.32The Tomatin (a local scotch) World Record Caber toss!

After the games were completed there was a bonus. The Guinness Book of World records were there to officiate an attempt at the new world record for simultaneous caber toss. And they did it, they counted 66 cabers turned at the same time, even though over 100 people participated. So much fun, there was a lot of pomp and circumstance involved including a big tron so everyone could see how it looked. The you tube link is here.

I have to say that I was able to rest, enjoy several meals both on the athletic field as well as at local pubs with the group of Michigan throwers and their families. I am not a big fan of trying new foods but I enjoyed the meals I had. Food is more expensive than I expected and it is a big production of over an hour to an hour and a half to eat out. Good thing that we had such good friends to spend time with! ( I learned that I am so used to lightning fast speed on everything that I had to learn how to slow down.)

One more day in Inverness, what a great city in the Highlands.

Vicki

I have been in a little creative slump

So what to do when this happens? Try something different.

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I did a baby quilt this week for a customer. The longarm was serviced while on vacation and it is stitching very well. I also put a block together of the little hst for the chevron blocks I am working on. Pictured is the fabric panels and fabric I  bought in Scotland while on vacation. Something very different for me! The last bundle of fq was in the mail on my return  from Quiltmaker magazine for helping test blocks for their last 100 block magazine. And lastly, while on vacation this article about me being a Modern Quilter was released. All that wonderful stuff happening, all that wonderful fabric to play with and I find myself in a creative slump.

Maybe it’s jet lag, maybe it’s because a cold is lingering. Maybe it’s just because I have been working too hard with a commute to another city half time and the break from quilting was just what I needed while on vacation.

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My husband and I have been going through our vacation pictures this week. See previous posts to hear all about this trip of a lifetime. Yesterday we decided to do a fall drive, weather is great and we just couldn’t sit home!! I went to a Wool and Lamb Festival and spent an extravagant amount of money on the most beautiful yarn. I am knitting a feather and fan wrap. After three starts I have made progress.  Ahhh, a very nice change of pace from quilting and just what I needed.

I will load a quilt on the frame tomorrow. I will continue to look at my vacation pictures for inspiration. I will also look at the nature picture from our Autumn tour yesterday, look for another post about the tour in the future.

This what I do to get my creative block defeated. To Recap:

1. Take a break or maybe even a vacation, my vacation was pretty life changing

2. Do something totally different creatively

3. Seek inspiration in the ordinary

4. Do/go somewhere different

5. Seek inspiration in other art forms- I went to art museums, listen to music and studied architecture

6. Be ok that a creative block happens but don’t stop being creative!

7. I also think regular exercising, eating right and sleeping well is part of being creative

 

Stay tuned for more about the vivid autumn I have been having!

Vicki

 

 

Day 6 in scotland

Today was the day in our Scotland vacation that the Master’s World Championships started in Inverness.  We had so much fun so far and the games were so well done. I loved the chance to rest my feet and take pictures of my husband throwing heavy implements. He loves it so much and I enjoy the competition myself.

2014-09-28 21.11.42Prior to starting the games my husband and our friend Mark.

Here are shots during the games:

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After a full day of doing games, there was a night time parade of the clans. It was the first time in 150 years that the parade was done in Inverness and it ended at the historic Northern Meeting Park. Many clan chiefs and dignitaries were present. It was the only time we were able to step foot in that park. It was the park where the games were started up again 150 years ago after the games were not allowed in Scotland. It was so cool.

I had an adventure because I couldn’t walk the entire parade with the hills. So I parted from the group to walk to the room and then meet them at the end of the parade route by the B andB. Well, I made a wrong turn in the dark, in the fog and wound up taking a tour of other neighborhoods. I came to a main road and got confirmation from the grocery store I was going the right way and as I got to the end of the parade route as the clans were coming down the hill. I could hear the bagpipes all over my walk but I couldn’t cross the river due to road construction and being a bit disoriented due to the fog. I had no phone but overall I got where I needed to go. The  pictures turned out and I walked the final leg with my husband. I decided not to leave the group again.

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It was so much fun to be part of history! Here is a line to a video of the parade:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5OUz2RrIjc

 

2 more days of the Highland Games, good thing because by now in this trip what I thought was allergies was really a nasty respiratory infection. I was prepared and wasn’t gonna let it stop me from having adventures !!!

 

Vicki

Day 5 of our vacation

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Today is a picture perfect day, too. The weather is perfect so we went to Urquart castle. A lady thrower named Kate rode with us as she is travelling alone for the Masters World Championship. We know her from games in Michigan. I can’t imagine travelling to another country by myself. She is part of the Michigan group so she is not ALONE. I am pretty inspired by her athletic ability and her courage. Spoiler alert, she came in fourth in her age group at the end of the weekend. YEAH KATE!!!

This castle is a ruins and the big bonus is the view of Loch ness. I have to say that the castle portion was all up tiny spiral stairs and up steep hills. Several stories. And I did it, no getting frozen at the top. I was not gonna have a repeat of last year’s lighthouse incident.  My feet are really feeling it today. I am looking forward to sitting at the games over the next few days.

What can you say about Loch Ness except, WOW!

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We went back to Inverness and my husband registered for the games. They had registration in a night club, ha ha ha, the first and only time I will ever be in one of those! Then we had dinner in the town council townhouse. There were so many people we actually ate in the town council chambers. What a lovely building. It is pretty hot so I stepped out after the dinner. So glad I did because I was able to talk to locals who were security and learn about their feelings about The US and of course the Referendum. Many Yes people are vocal here.

And what is so interesting is that the athletes are a big hit with the tourists and generate a ton of photos and questions about the games. After dinner the MWC hosts had a concert for us to attend. It was the BEST show ever. I saw Highland Dance, bagpipers and bands. My favorite was a group called Manran.

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I have to say our stay in the b and b called Moyness House was great. It was close to everything we needed and we could walk if we wanted to. The décor was formal but not stuffy. We had a larger room that was very comfortable. The hosts are very helpful for weary tourists and very patient in giving directions, advice and tour advice.

Tomorrow is the first day of the games!!

Vicki

Scotland vacation Day 4

I wanted to give you a laugh,  at the end of  day 3 we walked to the downtown to get a lay of the land and some food. My feet are a mess and walking is very painful but I digress. By this time we are hungry. So I was asked what looked good,  by my husband,  on our little walk. I chose a really bright and cheery looking resturant. We go in and much to our laughter is was an AMERICAN FOOD resturant, lol. Best BBQ pork  I have had in a long time. Ha, travel so far and I was so thrilled for bbq.

 

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Day 4- Today is our big day of sightseeing. We drive from Inverness and our wonderful b and b (more on the Guesthouse later) to view Loch Ness. What a day we have for pictures. The loch is more beautiful than a camera can capture, and have I mentioned that I left my camera charger at home so most pics were taken on my Galaxy 5 cell phone and my Galaxy tab 3. I think that the cell camera is SUPERB!!!

 

 

Loch Ness is very big and blue today. We are on our way to the west coast of Scotland to see Eilan Donan castle. There is so much to see in this vast place called the Highlands. It does capture the imagination. We stop along the way to take pictures and enjoy the sights. We aren’t sure what we are going to see on this day but is is really breathtaking as the day unfolds.

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The Highlands along this road is not very populated. It had one stop for gas, food and restrooms along the way. Our top speed was about 50 but most of the way it was a 40 mile an hour trip. The castle is amazing. It is still used for weddings. No pictures inside but that was ok because the beauty of this place is on the outside anyway!! The inside is restored and showcases family history and artifacts for generations. Things are so ancient here, it never ceases to amaze me.

 

After our day of castle touring we return to Inverness. We walk around Inverness to find the games field.  Along the way, we find the ancient field called Northern Meeting Park where the first Highland Games were held 150 years ago, after wearing tartans and all things Scottish were banished from the land. Hmmm, we were about to participate in all things Scottish by the world this weekend and to see that park was…..emotional. It is still there, untouched.

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We walk along the River Ness and the wonderful river walk they have. It also included footbridges to little islands. Trees were huge and I imagined that fairies lived in the wooded areas. Inverness is a city of about 60,000 but it has a small town charm and hospitality. There is a Shinty cup championship this weekend too so town is busy. Lots happening with Homecoming Scotland and the Referendum.

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The hosts of the Masters World Championship Highland games host a first pint at the Castle Tavern.  Yummmmm best steak I have had and we met many atheltes here as well as our hosts. Scotland has hospitality that I have never encountered before. My husband came to the conclusion that Ediburgh was built on stairs but today I came to the conclusion all of Scotland was, as you can see there are plenty of hills too.

Inverness castle is very pretty but it is a newer building so no touring inside, it has a view also. Outside on its grounds are tons of wild and domesticated rabbits! It is used for local government.

I think I am in a most wonderful place.

Vicki