Monday, September 7, 2015

Quilt Retreat, Family, Missouri Star - a Busy Week!

What a crazy, wonderful, BUSY summer it’s been!  And over too quickly!!

I have been lucky enough to have my granddaughter Lauren over every other Monday this summer. We look forward to our sewing days, and I have shown you some of the cute projects (tote bags, zip pouches, skirts) she has made. 

Our last sewing day was the day before she started school. We had already bought the supplies (pattern, fabric and all necessary hardware and notions) to make her a backpack for school. So, we got busy on it as soon as she got here.  There were a couple things that I did do (sewing the bottom to the sides/front/back). But it needed to be extra secure, so she sewed over it a second time to add stability.  She did 95% of the sewing, but I helped her cut things out (to save time) and read and interpreted the directions for her.  What a great team!  And look at this lovely girl and her lovely backpack!!

There are shoulder straps, a hanging loop, a big central compartment with drawstring, and three roomy exterior pockets.  Even the bottom has sturdy Timtex in the bottom to add support for carrying books. She has been using it for 2-3 weeks now and loves it.

And the best part, besides being cute, is that no one else has one like it!!  Lauren, I love you so much and am so proud of you!!

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OK, so have you ever gotten your dates mixed up? You know, thinking it was one day/date and it really was another? Sure, all of us have. But I have raised Losing Track of Time to an art form.

I just *knew* the Crazy Quilting International 9th annual retreat was August 27-30. I had my plane tickets and plans to visit family all arranged. Almost everything was packed and ready to go. I had planned to arrive on the 24th, early, to visit my 90-year old uncle and family, then to drive to Missouri Star Quilt Co. in Hamilton, MO, and then spend my last 3-4 days at the retreat.

So, Liz Rudder, a CQI moderator and the retreat organizer, called me on Wednesday the 19th and asked me when my flight was landing.  She knew I was coming in early, and I said “Next Monday”..... her reply, “But the retreat starts tomorrow!”  Long story short, I quickly changed my reservations (a $113 mistake, but it could have been much worse), rearranged my schedule, called family, frantically finished packing, etc. Made it there the next afternoon (Thursday), several hours before the retreat started. WHEW! I was hoping that was not an omen of how my week was going to be. It was not.

What a wonderful retreat!  Like last year, it was held at the Heartland Retreat Center in Parkville, MO.  Did I get pictures?  A few, but none worth showing except this one. The grand prize bear that Lauri Burgesser made (she does one every year).

CQ bear made by Lori Burgesser
And it was wonderful to see my friends again, plus all the new ladies who joined us for the first time!!  The food was GREAT (they hired a chef and it was a 180-degree turnaround from last year) and the weather all week was wonderful, mild and not at all humid.

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After the retreat, I rented a car and drove south 3-4 hours to visit my 90-year old Uncle Bela and Aunt Maria, plus Emma, my step-cousin with hydrocephalus and retardation for whom I made this quilt.

Tia Maria and Uncle Bela
My uncle Bela was an opera singer and tailor in Hollywood for quite awhile in the late 1950’s - early 1970’s. He accompanied Bob Hope on a USO tour to Viet Nam to entertain the groups. He performed in the tribute concert to Mario Lanza after his (ML’s) death. I remember going with my family to see Uncle Bela sing once at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles.

Uncle Bela has scores of personalized autographed pictures of him with stars like Lloyd Bridges, Joe DiMaggio, Elton John, Lorne Green, Michael Douglas, Lana Turner, Ronald Reagan and Dick Van Dyke (and lots more). And Jayne Mansfield; he was friends with her husband Mickey Hartigay (also Hungarian). (But he didn`t know their daughter Mariska stars on Law & Order: SVU).  Anyway, many of those stars were lucky enough to have suits made for them by Bela. I can remember visiting his Hollywood tailor shop (on Sunset Boulevard) and seeing suits in the works for Max Baer (Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies) and Lorne Green (Ben Cartwright on Bonanza).

So, enough of the family bragging, LOL!  We went into Branson, Missouri one day for a tour and a ride in a Duck (DUKW) - the former amphibious vehicles of the type that stormed the beaches of Normandy in WWII.

Countryside around Branson, MO
An old Duck (DUKW) land/water vehicle
Oh, and before I forget, I wanted to show you some pictures of this antique tapestry (or wall hanging) that my uncle had (and tried to give me, but I declined). But I would like to find out more about it for him. He says it is a couple hundred years old and European. I know it is at least 150 years, presumably French, but not much beyond that. It is about 60x60” (guesstimate) made of wine colored velvet and backed with a yellowed fabric, likely cotton (?)  No shattering of the fabric anywhere. 

tapestry pictured lying on the carpet...
There is intricate gold work bordering 3 sides of the piece and beautiful gold metallic trim surrounding the inner panel and outer edges (as well as comprising the hanging tabs). The gold work is tarnished, but in excellent condition.

Below:  One of the side medallions. The other side had an identical one. 

The back. Notice how the tassels are buttoned to the backing. And the gold bullion fringe...

Close-up of one of the tassels.

Can anyone give me any information about this type of piece in general? Or suggest a place I might go online (or call, or visit) that can help me with an appraisal of this piece?

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Finally, after I tearfully left my uncle and family (and Bruce and I do plan to go back and visit them next year), I had a delightful drive through the beautiful Missouri countryside.  After about 4 hours, I arrived in Hamilton, home of Missouri Star Quilt Company, and the hometown of James Cash Penney (JCPenney).

The building murals recently added (this spring/summer) were delightful, but my pictures turned out badly, so you will just have to take my word for it).  The town was picturesque, and the fabric shopping was sublime. I managed to (cough, cough) boost the local economy quite impressively.

All in all, it was a great week, full of laughter, fun, hugs and tears, sunshine, fabric and memories. But the very best part was coming home!

Cathy maroon


  1. Coming home is always the best part of any trip. Sounds like you had a wonderful time (and good thing that phone call helped you know your dates were wrong - can you imagine missing out on all that CQ fun?).

  2. Wow, lots of info in this post. You really HAVE been busy. I hate getting dates mixed up. I have learned to pencil information on the calendar which believe me is referenced frequently. Terry argues with me all the time about "when" and I just go to the calendar to confirm the date to him.

    Your granddaught looks so proud of her backpack. I love to see the young generation finding their place in the stitching world. So many young girls now could care less about learning sewing or needlework.

    Cool visit with your uncle. He has led quite an interesting life. Don't you wish you could see what he saw through HIS eyes. I love "old people" stories and hope my grandkids do too because we are starting to tell them OUR old people stories. They can't believe that Terry actually wrote with a fountain pen dipped in ink!
    xx, Carol

  3. Cathy,
    I would contact Mary Corbet of Needle n Thread for best advice on this wonderful piece. She knows a lot about older pieces and has a lot of contacts too. I'm sure she would be able to help you.


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