Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Raleigh, Sewing, a New Picture, and Old Friends

Saturday morning I got up bright and early to catch a flight down to NC.  Why the random trip in March?  WELL...husband was commissioned to write a piece for the East Carolina University New Music Festival, which is taking place this week.  He'll be a "composer in residence" at the festival all week, so I decided I'd stay at my parent's house while he was busy at ECU, so I can work during the day and still attend his premiere on Wednesday!

If you live in New England, you totally understand the need for a little relief from the weather.  It's been a long, rough, winter...and they got 10 more inches of snow last night.  Thank goodness both of us got out of dodge before the storm.  When I left Boston on Saturday, the temperature was 29 degrees.  When I hopped of the plane in Raleigh, it was a beautiful 75 degrees and sunny!  Perfect!

Since it was 1pm when I landed, Mom, Dad, and I decided to stop by Cameron Village to have some lunch and shop a little.  We had lunch at Cafe Carolina - one of their favorites.  They both had salads, and I decided to have a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  Their salads looked amaaazing (I should have had a salad) and came with a sweet potato biscuit.  These sweet potato biscuits are out of this world...sweet, potatoey, and soft with just the right amount of brown sugar on the top.  Mmmm.  My grilled ham & cheese sandwich was a little disappointing, as the cheese wasn't reeeeally melted, but the bread was good enough that I wasn't upset.  Mom said, "They must like their grilled cheeses rare here."  :)  Har har har...

Cafe Carolina & Bakery on Urbanspoon

After going in a few shops, we decided to swing by the Fresh Market.  I'm embarrassed to say I'd never been there before!  The Fresh Market is an elegant grocery store full of gourmet foods, snacks, beautiful produce and flowers, and an entire back wall of any prepared food you could think of.

There was an entire section of different kinds of rotisserie chickens!

Dad smelling the coffee beans...

Rows and rows of candies, nuts, and trail mix.

The grossest thing in the store.  Eww...
When we got home, Mark's big guy Dexter needed a walk, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather and took at 3 mile stroll around the neighborhood...

See little Riley in the top corner?  Such a trooper...
After church on Sunday, we went to Pope and Faye's house, because they told me our friend Glenda had dropped something off for me.  Glenda's always finding deals on cute things, so I assumed she'd worked her magic again and had left it for Pope and Faye to pass along.  When I got there, to my surprise, there was a beautifully wrapped box and a sweet note from her and her husband, Doug.  Inside was my favorite present I've gotten in a LONG time.  Doug had painted a picture of Toby for us!!!

Doug is a FANTASTIC artist.  His work is astounding (as you can see here).  I love his work so much that last Christmas I decided I wanted one of his prints - a rooster in front of a barn door - to go in our kitchen.  I never thought we'd own an original Doug Strickland work...but now we do!

About a year ago, Doug had a massive stroke and is now finally able to start painting again.  He did this piece while still battling double vision.  Yep...that's how amazing he is.  More than just a talented artist, he and Glenda are just two of the sweetest people you'll ever meet.  You should go to his website and check out some of his work.  Most of his work is available in prints too.

Later, Mom and I headed up to her new sewing room so I could get some real instruction on quilting.  If you've been following along, my friend Laura and I decided we should know how to do this, so I've been giving hand-sewing a try.  It was my first time using a sewing machine, so we decided to start from scratch on a project in case I did a terrible job.  :)  Thankfully I didn't make a mess of the project, so this will be made into a bag (hopefully) by the end of the week!

My first 9-patch!

Later that afternoon I got a surprise text from my friend, Mary, who was only a few exits away from Smithfield on I-95.  She hadn't realized she would be passing by so close to us on her way back from dropping her husband off at part 2 of basic training, so Dad and I jumped in the car and met her at a gas station to say a quick hello.  I hadn't met their little boy (Manny) yet, so I couldn't WAIT!  He's such a sweetheart and had fun walking around the gas station (which also happened to be a feed store that sells tricycles and some crazy Apple-Moonshine Jelly).  Only in Johnston County...

He had a fantastic time stacking the boxes of trash bags.  Then in one swoop of his arm, took the entire shelf out. 

I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing first two days home...stay tuned for more fun!


  1. Unbelievable painting!!! And your quilt colors/patterns are perfect for Spring/Summer!

  2. Your square looks great! It seems nice and straight to me :) I'm loving the light colors too, it'll make a perfect spring bag.

    1. Thanks! I was pretty pleased - it ended up being a perfect 14.5" square! Whew! :)

  3. Jealous, I'm just a green eyed monster over here looking at the snow! Hope you continue to have a nice visit back home :)

    1. Thanks! We fly back in Sunday night...and I just heard there's another storm coming Sunday/Monday! I hope it holds off til after we get home. :(

  4. Sounds like a great trip home! I'm definitely jealous of that nice weather!

    The painting of Toby looks great!

    1. It's SUCH a nice break from the terrible weather we've been having in Boston! Thanks - Doug did such a great job!

  5. I just stopped by from That Friday Blog Hop to spread some love. I'm glad I did. Following everywhere. :)

  6. There's a Fresh Market in Hingham - and I went for the first time last Sunday! I think it's my new favorite store! Sounds like you're having a great time at home - I'm jealous of the nice weather too!

    1. Ooooh! We rarely end up going south of the city - that sounds like a good excuse. :)