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Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's Time for a Quilt Show!

  End of the Trail Quilt Guild
Abilene Fairgrounds
Sterl Hall
Abilene, KS
© Lydia Lowe

     It's time once again for the best little quilt show in Kansas.  This show happens every two years in Abilene.  I look forward to it every other year and it is not to be missed.  It's a small show that packs a big punch.  It's not overwhelming, like some of the bigger shows, and there's plenty to see and do.

     When you enter the door to pay ($4.00, what a bargain) and sign up, there's a give away at the door.  Unfortunately, I never pick the slip that says: Winner".  One of these days I think the law of averages will will out and I'll win something.

     This year there were over 250 people that attended the event.  I think this is one of the best kept secrets in the state of Kansas.  If there was a bit more promotion for the event, I think that would help.  I knew about it and had a contact who gave me the details of when and where this year. 

     At the show, there are sewing demonstrations.  Wandering the floor are the ever-present ladies with white gloves who are allowed to touch the quilts.  They are the chosen ones.  I saw a quilt that was at the top of the quilt rack and had been tucked behind another one.  I really wanted a photo of the entire quilt and I found a white gloved attendant to pull the quilt out so I could photograph it in its entirety.  The white glove attendants are the unsung heroes of the quilt show. 

     What quilt show would be complete without vendors.  The vendors who show up for this show are from a variety of small towns in Kansas that aren't necessarily destinations spots.  They come armed with all sorts of delightful wares that aren't necessarily available in the shops in larger towns.  I found one that had designed many of her own embroidery patterns.  I was so taken with her bare tree design on a shaded brown fabric that I had to have it.  Her shop is in Belleville and her designs are amazing. 

     And then there are the quilts, there are a vast array of those.  Usually the quilt guild in Abilene has a challenge and those quilts are set aside in an area and they explain about the challenge.  This feature was missing from the show this year.  It's one of my favorite parts every year, so that was a bit of a disappointment.  However, to make up for it, there were jelly roll race quilts.  These were quilts where jelly roll strips (a jelly roll is strips of pre-cut fabrics) were placed end to end, sewn together, then folded and cut to make the quilt top fabric.  They can remain in that state or appliques can be added to the top to make it a bit more unique.  It was very inspiring.

     To top off the show, there is a silent auction.  Also, the ever present opportunity quilt, that no guild would ever hold an event without, to buy chances on and perhaps win. The show runs for two days and if you visit on Saturday, you can even buy lunch at the venue.

     This show returns again in 2016.  So mark your calendars now and plan a trip to Abilene to the show.  If you have time, don't forget about the Ida Stover Memorial Quilt show at the Eisenhower Center that runs concurrent with this one.  I didn't make it to that show this year and I feel like I missed a huge part of the experience.  So be sure to allow time to take in that show while you're in town.

Here are some quilts from the show:

Off Center Square  (this was a mini quilt)

Blockhead Hearts 
(a quilt challenge-each block was made by a different person)

Prairie Bouquet ( I love the embroidered quilts)

Blossoms (this was my favorite large quilt)

Penguins (this was just so much fun)

Grandmothers Kitchen 
(this picture doesn't do it justice-reminded me of my grandmother 
and great grandmothers kitchens)

Spring Anew 
(I saw a tree in the park outside of the venue with three tiny blossoms just starting to spring forth)

Wedding in Paradise


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CFTC-A Benefit for Autism Awareness of Sterling

Concert For The Cause
A Two-Day Event:
Hutch Vapor-Friday Night
The Double Barrel Grill-Saturday Night
By Lydia Lowe

     Let's throw a show!  And what a show it was.  It spanned two nights at two different locations and raised an amazing amount for the featured charity: Autism Awareness of Sterling.

     On Friday, four different musicians gathered at Hutch Vapor to play, sing and spread the word about Autism Awareness.  Burgess Martin opened the evening of this all acoustic show with a set of easy listening tunes that had the audience swaying and keeping time to the beat of each and every song.  This was an all ages show and there were lots of children there.  Two little girls, all dressed up in their finest, did quite a bit of dancing during Martin's set.  They were so much fun to watch. 

     Martin was followed by Bob Colladay who played a variety of different instruments; among them the banjo, the ukelele, the harmonica, and some very inventive humming.  Colladay was so in to the music that at the end, as the bands were loading out, he continued to play and sing until the last person drifted out the door.

     Sean Story  treated us to a couple of songs sang in Kermit the Frog's voice.  Very inventive and so much fun.  I think that this was probably lost on the kids that were there, but the adults loved it.  Everyone was laughing and having a great time.

     Finally, at the end of the evening, Krista Lundemo sang for us.  She sang cover tunes, she did a take on a Katy Perry song that was awesome and finished her set with an original song she had written.  It was amazing!  Everyone agreed that she needs to record this as a single.  

     Saturday the event moved to The Double Barrel Grill where five more bands took to the stage to continue the party and raise money for Autism Awareness. 

     The evening started out with Capital Avenue from Omaha, who literally pulled into the parking lot, hit the stage and played their set.  Just for that feat alone, they deserve accolades.  Their set was not to be missed.  They did a rap show that covered a variety of musical styles.  It didn't hurt that they gave their CD's away for free at the end of the evening, either.  After the show, it was back in the car and off to Wichita for another show, the same evening.

     Inflection, from McPherson, treated the group to heavy metal and I think even if you aren't a heavy metal fan, you would enjoy their music.  I'm not really into heavy metal and I did enjoy it, alot.  As you can see this weekend covered all types of styles and bands from all over the area.

     The Joy Coffs, from Wichita, treated the audience to a return to punk rock.  They were true to the genre. This is also not one of my favorite genre's but I could feel myself keeping time to the beat and enjoying the music.  I firmly believe you should go outside your comfort zone where music is concerned and try all types.  You never know when you'll find a band with a style of music that you don't usually listen to that will just grab hold of you and not let go.

     And then, of course, there was VOS, Victims of Spotlight.  These guys are amazing.  From their stage presence to their music, to there merchandise.  In fact, they donated some of the proceeds from the sale of their merchandise to Autism Awareness of Sterling.  If you get the chance, check VOS out on the internet. They have a video that they sang, starred in and produced at the McPherson Opera House a few months back and it's not to be missed.  It's very professionally produced.  You'll love it.

     Rounding out the evening, was Death Scene.  Unfortunately, the crowd had dwindled somewhat so they missed out on all the fun, the dancing, the carousing.  Check out Death Scene the next time they play a show, they are lots of fun.  The crowd was on their feet and banging their heads to this group.

    All in all the weekend netted over $1800. for Autism Awareness of Sterling and also got people talking about this and other non-profit causes.  CFTC will throw another special event, similar to this one, in Wichita in April and then back to Hutchinson in May at The Rusty Needle.  Check out the website to find out more.  Don't forget that the Saturday night summer concert series returns in June.  


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guilty As Sin

Guilty As Sin
 By Tami Hoag (1997)

The unthinkable happened once in this small Minnesota town when a child was abducted.  Then the unthinkable happened yet again, when another boy, Dustin Holloman, is abducted.  Are the two cases connected?  Is the alleged kidnapper currently being held in jail for abducting Josh Kirkwood also responsible for kidnapping Dustin Holloman?  Or does the alleged kidnapper have an accomplice who is assisting him?

Prosecutor Ellen North is on the case with her trusty assistant Cameron at her side.  Also aiding in the fight is author Jay Butler Brooks, a writer of true crime books, who has come to Deer Lake, Minnesota trying to put the demons of his past to rest by losing himself in this kidnapping case. 

There's a twist to the case though when Ellen begins receiving cryptic messages in her office stuffed into her law books, scratched on the paint of her car doors, and eventually witnesses her car being blown up.  Enter Nick Costello the attorney for the alleged kidnapper.  Who has hired Nick Costello and how did they know of Ellen and Nick's past relationship?  What does all this mean and where is the author leading us?  At the center of the story, what will happen to Dustin Holloman?

Once again, author, Tami Hoag has outdone herself with the second installment of the "Sin" series.  Many times the second book of any series will be lacking in a variety of ways and usually  relies heavily on keeping the reader abreast of what happened in the earlier book.  That is not the case here.  Each book can stand on its own independently but read together the experience is a rich tapestry that the reader can sink their teeth into.  There are adult situations in this book as well but they are brief and to the point and don't detract from the story as they did in the earlier book.  If you read the first book "Night Sins", you won't want to miss "Guilty As Sin".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Night Sins

Night Sins
 By Tami Hoag (1996)

A freak car accident detains Dr. Hannah Kirkwood at the hospital, keeping her from picking up her son after hockey practice at school.  When his mother doesn't arrive on time to pick him up, Josh Kirkwood places a call to his father, Paul Kirkwood, who doesn't answer.  Shortly thereafter a van pulls up outside the school, after all the other boys have left with their families, and on a snowy, cold night Josh Kirkwood disappears.

So begins the story of the disappearance of a well-known, well-loved doctor's son.  What has happened to Josh?  Who has him?  What do the clues mean?  Will Josh be found in time?  And who among those in the community from professors to businessmen to law enforcement officers holds the key to his safe return?

Enter the first female field agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Megan O'Malley along with police chief, Mitch Holt, attempt to put the pieces of the puzzle together by following the clues left by the kidnapper.  He leaves them in plain site in full view of the searchers looking for Josh.  It all starts with a clue left in Josh's backpack; "a child has vanished-ignorance is not innocence but SIN".

This book is a non-stop thrill ride until the very end of the story.  There are a variety of characters from lunatics to priests who aren't quite what they seem, to next door neighbors with ulterior motives, to college professors who are more interested in drama than teaching college courses; the list of unusual characters goes on and on.  An excellent book with some adult situations, those adult situations were really not necessary to the flow of the book and took away from the story, I thought, but all in all an excellent book. 

Don't miss the second book in this series: Guilty As Sin.