Five Days In Paducah

Paducah is a small town in Kentucky that has a very large quilt show in April every year. And by large, I do mean LARGE! My two friends Pam and Kim and I spent five wonderful days taking in the show and the whole town during that great Quilt Show week.

We took our husbands and our campers with us for that extra touch of fun. Believe me, it is the only way to travel.

After two days of light travel we arrived in Paducah, the Nirvana for quilters. The weather was perfect, the surroundings green and lush, the campgrounds charming. We were ready with our lists of “needed” items to buy, bags to carry our stuff and the ever necessary credit cards in hand.

DAY ONE – We visited the Quilt Museum, a must see for any visit to Paducah. The display is constantly changing, which keeps it exciting. We saw some spectacular Japanese quilts.

The local School of Art and Design had a display of quilts from Korea. The oriental influence was seen everywhere!

We then went to Hancocks of Paducah-a store the size of two warehouses! At the front door was a sign stating that only women’s restrooms were inside. Men had to use Port-a-Johns outside. A theme we were to see everywhere all week. (I guess there are never enough restrooms when 35,000 women hit town all at once!)

Hancocks had everything! Yardage, traditional, batiks, precuts, panels, trims, paper piecing, sale tables, the works. We were there for a couple hours! We had to look at everything, touch everything, think about everything and then decide to buy or not. We were exhausted!

After lunch we found the Paper Piecing shop. What a great little shop! Everything you need to paper piece and I do mean everything. I found the parts to paper piece my Dear Jane quilt. I got row E. I’m so excited to try it out and see how it works.

That afternoon we found a temporary shop selling fabric at $5/yd. I found several pieces for the hexagons I’m doing on a future quilt. All of us found something we “needed”.

Back to the campground for a wine tasting party. It was grand! The wine was so good, we told our hubbies to go the next day and get some wine to take home.

A lovely sunset and off to bed.

DAY TWO – The second morning was spent at the Quilt In A Day shop. A cute place with very colorful fabrics.

We found another $5/yd place with some great fabrics and even some wool. All of us got a few good pieces there.

After lunch with the hubbies, we went next door to “Jack the Seam Ripper”. Love the name! Kim found a quilt she could not live without and it came home with her.

That evening we had BBQ at the campgrounds. However, BBQ in Kentucky means pulled pork. To Texans, like us, it means smoked beef, but it was tender and tasty. The side dishes were very good.

Another wonderful evening and off to our campers for a good night’s sleep.

DAY THREE – The Quilt Show officially opened! We spent the whole day on the first floor of the Convention Center. Many outstanding quilts on display – mouthwatering and awe-inspiring. We couldn’t get enough of them.

One unbelievable quilt to behold was the wooden quilt. Yes, it was a carved 3-D quilt that looked like it was hanging over a rope on the wall. I don’t care how close you got, it looked real. Only after you touched it, did it finally sink in that this was a wooden object. A real stunner!

Another display that was especially unique was Ian Berry’s. His denim rooms and objects were beyond words. An entire life-size laundromat made entirely out of jean denim! Unbelievable! And the Indigogo Record Shop with all the album covers- spectacular! Beyond anything I’ve ever seen.

A Silent Auction was being held to sell about 20 orphan quilts of all styles, ages and conditions. One precious old blue and white pieced one was calling to me. It had obviously been loved and used and had a current bid of $30 on it submitted by a lady named Judy. I upped the bid to $31 and stood guard to protect my quilt. Bidding ended before Judy could return to increase her bid. The quilt was mine. Judy did corner me  as I was waiting in the payment line to tell me how much she loved blue and white. I assured her I did also and the quilt was going to a good home. She seemed pleased, patted the quilt and walked off.

Kim and Pat bought quilts too. What a beginning to a Quilt Show!

Besides quilts there were vendors to die for! More wool than I’ve ever seen in one place before. I got many beautiful threads for my Sue Spargo projects and an easel for a tray  I got in Houston last year. Its going to look great in front of my fireplace.

The surprise at the campground after dinner was an ice cream social. What fun that was! We got to make our own ice cream sundaes.

DAY FOUR – The second day of the Quilt Show we explored the second floor of the Convention Center. More quilts on exhibit and many more vendors.

We had a great day shopping and viewing, viewing and shopping. More wools were to be found and lovely decorative threads and trims. I got a couple of wool kits to make small replicas of crooks-1 gallon, 2 gallon and a butter dish. They are charming beyond words!

More fabrics for my hexie border on my unmade quilt. Hey, it’ll get made someday . . . . . . maybe! And I found some light batiks that seem to be hard to find. I only realized this since I started to look for them for a future quilt.

A lovely day was had by all. We took our lunch each day to avoid the mad rush and utilized the bag check numerous times a day. That way we were not overloaded with bags and bags of goodies while shopping. And each day our wonderful husbands would pick us up right outside the hotel and take us and ALL our stuff home.

This day we had to make an extra stop at the Harley Davidson Shop to get a T-shirt for Pam’s husband. He is a rider and that is his idea of a souvenir. We couldn’t stay too long because the other husbands started petting the bikes, talking to them and finally my Sweetie sat on one. That’s when I said we gotta go–before we all end up with a motor cycle!

That evening at the campground we took a class in wool appliqué and made a little needle case. We had a kit with everything. All I took was a pair of scissors and a thimble. I have never taken so little to any class before. Had a ball!

Learned some new things – some I liked, some I don’t think I’ll do again. All good knowledge. ( I’m so in love with that campground – I can’t even tell you!)

Went to bed exhausted!

DAY FIVE – By day five we were experts at this Paducah Quilt Show thing. We knew when to get up, what shoes to wear, what to pack for lunch, what bags to bring, when to stop for lunch, when to take an afternoon break, etc. We were Primo quilt show attendees. Ask us any question and we had the answer. We had seen it all and done it all . . . . . except the DOME.

The Dome  sits out by itself in a parking lot like a big white soft inflated warehouse. Which is pretty much what it is. You can walk to it or take a short shuttle trip. It calls to you like a big balloon full of goodies.

You think what can possibly be over there that I haven’t already seen? Surely there’s nothing new there – nothing really exciting. Surely . . . . . well, surely I was WRONG!!!!!

The Dome was full of more wonderful fabrics, wools, threads, trims, etc., etc. I can’t go on! It was magic! We found embroidery patterns we had never seen before – with a brand new type of mylar.

And French fabrics and trims! Mai oui! C’est bon! Magnifique! Things you can find no where else but found in her booth.

Finally, finally, we were done and headed back to the Convention Center in the last shuttle bus to pick up our stuff in bag check. When we arrived, our bags were the last ones left. Whew! That was close!

Back to the campers to look at all our new toys and playthings. We made some outstanding purchases, some funny buys, some “what did I do that for?” additions, some “wish I”d gotten more of that” sales and some “I hope this works” buys. All in all, a good week.

We saw more quilts than we expected and better quality than we hoped for, variety beyond belief and “expanding our culture” ones that truly opened our eyes and our minds.

Quilts are enjoyed on so many levels, it is truly hard to describe how much we enjoyed the displays. Some quilts were inspiring, some were plain awesome, some were so amazing I couldn’t imagine even attempting those. Some had so much detail you had to get very close, others had to be seen from a distance. Some fooled your eye and some were honest to a fault. Some wanted to be interpreted, hoping each viewer would come away with a different viewpoint, while others asked for no interpretation at all. Some were bright and loud, using every color of the rainbow, and then some used muted pale colors or no color at all.

How to judge a quilt show – you can’t! You can simply enjoy it. And that’s what we did for five days in Paducah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Can Be Done With A Piece Of Blue Fabric

Recently I went to the Houston Quilt Show and the quilts I saw there were spectacular.  Of course I was drawn to the blue and white ones because that’s just how I roll. And I began to think of what could be done if you had just one piece of blue fabric. Maybe not dozens, but just one. Not a shopful , just one.

Well some people are really good at answering that question. I started to see some of the quilts in a new light. Here are some of the pretties I saw in one day.

Is this one wonderful or what?  It is a garden with bugs and all.  Here is a closeup of the ants.Too cute, right?

I adore this one!  All the different baskets and the handles at all different angles. This one reminds me of whirligigs. Maybe I’m showing my age and some of you don’t know what whirligigs are, but they look just like this quilt.  Tee Hee!

How fantastic is this?!  It’s like looking through many little stained glass windows. Or maybe a dozen or more blue snowflakes. Anyway this one is truly great! I really like the assymetrical look of this quilt. I don’t usually think that way, but I love it when others do.All the blue here is in the background. Another thing I seldom think of, but love it when others do it.What a great illusion this creates from a distance. And all those tiny pieces! My goodness!I can’t even imagine how this quilt was made! I’m so impressed! The Flying Geese are beyond spectacular!Another quilt where most of the blue is in the background. Love that starburst!Here is my favorite blue and white. Can’t go wrong with the standard color combination. The piecing that went into this beauty is beyond my imagination. It looks 3-D. A very modern looking design but the blue and white coloring draws me in.There are no words for this one! It looks like it is moving! Hard to accomplih with pieces of fabric. But very well done by this quilter.

And this was not all the ones that were there, just the ones that I saw. What a lovely day! My blue and white love was well met by the wonderful quilters at Houston.  And I wish to thank each one for filling my heart as well as my eyes full of beauty and craftsmanship.

If this much can be done with blue, can you imagine what can be done with  all the colors of the rainbow?

Camp Out, Pig Out

This is the eleventh year that four friends and Gramps and I have gone camping together for a long weekend in the spring. We have known each other for many years. In fact, one friend Ethel and I have known one another since the sixth grade. We have seen all the good, the bad and the ugly in each other many times over.

It started innocently enough with a group camping trip. We traded meals and that’s when we found out that Bill or Mr. Bill as we call him, was a master cast iron chef. He then became our breakfast guru.

Breakfast soon became a bacon lovers delight. Bacon does go with everything, you know! As in bacon and eggs, bacon and pancakes, bacon and ham, bacon and cheese, bacon and potatoes, bacon and . . . bacon. There are so many ways to eat bacon, as we discover each year.

Breakfasts lasted longer each year. First an hour, then two, now up to three hours including dessert. Yes, we have dessert for breakfast!

We have found that breakfast is so spectacular and lasts so long, what with all the courses and talking and more courses and more talking, that we usually don’t plan lunch anymore.

There is a mid afternoon snack. Something healthy, like brownies or cookies. Then a big dinner planned and served by one of us. It’s really just a big eat fest. Hence, the name – Camp Out, Pig Out. It has since been shortened to COPO.

Since Gramps and I are retired, we are the scouting party and arrive a couple of days early. We set up camp, get nearby sites for everyone and test the local sights and cuisine.

On Friday afternoon the other two couples arrive and set up their rigs. I always serve Friday night dinner because I have the time to cook while they are traveling.

This year we are having homemade grilled hamburgers (nothing better!), potato salad, fresh tomatoes, chips, guacamole and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Sound good?

On Saturday morning, of course, is a mega breakfast, Mr. Bill style. Bacon, bacon and more bacon. Yum! After this artery stopping meal, we usually divide up – men go fishing and/or boating, women go shopping.

In other words, the guys head to the nearest body of water, attach bits of fish/hot dog/bait/etc on the end of poles and sit for hours waiting and waiting. This activity is called fishing and men love to do it, talk about it, plan for it and buy equipment for it. Our men are no different.

Every year they go fishing. Every year they catch nothing. Every year they have a great time. Go figure!

The ladies, on the other hand, go shopping or sightseeing or both. We have been to antique stores, quilt shops, historic homes, museums, gardens, gift shops. And we have been successful every single time!

Oh yes, we have never come home empty handed. What glorious things we have found. What fabulous memories we have made. What fun we have had.

For several years now, Ethel has made matching T-shirts for the three of us ladies. One year as we were out shopping in our three identical shirts, I convinced a shop owner that we were triplets out for a day of fun. The other two were exploding trying to keep from laughing and I was having the time of my life.

Over the years, our COPOs have been varied. We have weathered rain, hail, scorching heat, wild fires and floods. We have had sick people, injured people and the forever healthy people. We have tried cooking all sorts of foods (except fish. We’ve never had fish!) and gone out for food.

 

One year our grandson Mac came with us to the annual COPO. It took about an hour for him to feel comfortable going in and out of everyone’s camper as if he lived there. Everyone became family to him about one minute later. He was fascinated with the super bacon breakfasts. And of course, because he is male, he went fishing with the boys. I’m not sure what he really did all day.

We gals brought treats for him from our shopping trip. It’d seemed only fair. He was nine and he had put up with the fishing thing all day.

Eleven years of these grand memories and here we are again! It’s Thursday night. Everyone will be here tomorrow. Saturday morning will be an eleventh breakfast extravaganza.

Then the guys and a fishing guide will hit the lake for a day of fishing. Maybe the guide will change the day’s outcome.

We ladies are going to a Quilt Show and maybe some antiquing. Whatever suits our fancy at the time.

Saturday evening will be dinner at Myra and Mike’s camper with the traveling tablecloth we use for every meal. Then we build a campfire and sit up late – maybe lil about 11:00 or so. Hey, we’re old!

Sunday am will find us back at Mr. Bill’s with the traveling tablecloth for super breakfast #2. What a way to end a COPO. Total PIGOUT!!!!

It’s Thursday night and I can’t wait. Hope it doesn’t end too soon.

To Houston And Back Again

What would make 48 women get up in the middle of the night, drive to a deserted mall, then get on a bus and ride five hours to their final location? And do all that with joy and excitement in their hearts? Only one thing I can think of – The Houston Quilt Show!

And so it was. We 48 with bags, backpacks and credit cards in hand, made our annual trek to the quilters’ version of Mecca. The one place that calls to beginner and master alike, to traditionalist and modernist as well, to anyone who has ever looked longingly at fabric or wanted to make something wonderful from a scrap of woven anything – that place. We just call it “Houston.”

Houston has quilts to view of every kind, shape, color and era. One of the exhibits this year was “Dear Jane” quilts. They are near and dear to my heart. Well, Houston did not disappoint! Oh my, oh my!

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Even some of the backs are absolutely exquisite!

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Here’s a Dear Jane that forms a secondary heart design on the front of the quilt.

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Some are red and white, some are blue and white, some are black and white, and some are multi colored. It is a personal choice.

A person could spend days just viewing the lovely quilts hanging everywhere – the Christmas quilts, the modern quilts, the Millefiori, the dresses (yes, I said dresses!), the 20 foot crocodile and on and on.

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This is Best of Show which looks like a photograph. Here is the artist in front of her quilt.

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This quilt looks like photo up close and the shelves look like real wood. It is a masterpiece  of quilting.

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The miniatures were especially appealing to me. And I do mean small – these cuties were about four inches long and belonged in a dollhouse. I’m pretty sure they were made by elves.

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There were even quilts made out of linens and doilies and then quilted and beaded. They were exquisite beyond words.

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Entire quilts can even be done with thread alone as in this one. Beyond description really.

That night we had dinner at the Aquarium. How special is that? Yes, we had seafood for dinner and ate it in front of their cousins in the tanks, but it was so goooood!

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Anyway, the 350 pound Grouper didn’t seem to mind too much. The atmosphere was wonderful and the Pomegranate Kiss Martini didn’t hurt either. We had a grand time making friends and learning about the Aquarium.

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After a good night’s sleep, it was back to the show for more quilt Nirvana. Once we had seen all the quilts, it was off to the vendors’ section. Anything you could ever need, want or desire for quilting was there. And all the new things I didn’t know I needed!

What lovely fabrics and wools! Notions by the armload! Patterns to die for! There were shoes, clothes, jewelry, baskets, lights, irons. I got my rings polished. My friend even bought a sewing machine! An entire machine with all the extras, warranty, extra feet, carrying case, etc., etc. and had it all shipped home. What a great place is this Houston!!!

I bought a tin tray and some wool embroidery to fit on the top. I didn’t even know I needed it until I saw it! I was a very happy camper!

Finally the day was over and we tired, but very pleased 48 piled back into the bus with booty in hand. Bundles of fat quarters, quilt kits, rulers and stacks of wool were carefully placed in the overhead compartments. Patterns and books were kept to be read on the ride home.

In the dark of the night, we all looked at the pictures we had taken of the beauty we had seen. Soft conversations were held up and down the rows of seats, as we shared the sights and feelings of the day.

We talked, we laughed, we shared, we laughed some more, all in the darkness of a small bus. We tipped the driver. We gave a gift to the trip planner, coincidentally named Happy.

We knew the trip was coming to an end. Houston was now behind us and reality was again setting in. Our loved ones were waiting at the deserted mall to once again drive us home, where it all began.

But something was different. We still had all our goodies, our bags, our souvenirs, our new projects, and our pictures to take with us. We would remember. We had been to Houston!

Music, Music, Music!

Another September, another week at Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kansas. What a delightful, wonderful way to get saturated in bluegrass, folk, country, gospel, celtic and every other kind of acoustic music you can imagine. Camping in the 5th wheel at the Fair Grounds and listening to instrumental and vocal tunes all day is my kind of vacation.

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Gramps and I have been coming for about five years now and love it more each time we are here. The music comes from all parts of the world, yet needs no translation. We understand each rhythm and beat. It’s truly magical, even if we don’t know the words.

Music is like that – it speaks to each heart if its own language. Even children and infants understand the seeming foreign tongue of a lyrical tune they have never heard before. People who can’t understand each other’s spoken language, can read and share music, providing a bridge across every barrier.

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Instruments are played, songs are sung, toes are tapped and fingers are snapped. It’s the beginnings of dance and we all have it in us – the response to music.

Simple words and notes can make us cry or laugh, pause or become excited. They can make us feel every emotion or stun us as though we have been slapped. They can stir rebellion or quiet the raging soul. Nothing affects us quite like music.

Music can do things like nothing else in the world. It can change a child’s brain who learns to play an instrument. It can enrich a child’s life who sings in a chorus. It can enlarge a child’s world who plays in an orchestra or band. Nothing affects a child the way music does.

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Gramps and I have done it all – we have sung in choirs, played instruments, taught songs to our children and grandchildren, provided music lessons to younger family members and probably sung “Happy Birthday” at least once to everyone we know.

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Walnut Valley Festival is one of the places we visit to learn, understand and share that mystical language we call music.

Monterey Car Week Granny Style

Car Week at Monterey, California is a Mecca for anyone interested in old cars, new cars, unusual cars, one-of-a-kind cars, expensive cars, junk cars, sports cars, any cars for that matter. That person would be Gramps.

This is a yearly trip for us in our truck and camper. We stay at a campgrounds very close to the beach and near several restaurants. The weather is cool and breezy, and we get out of the Texas heat for awhile. It is all very fun and wonderful.

Gramps loves all the cars – and I do mean ALL the cars. He looks at every one. He takes photographs. He takes videos. He talks to the owners. He does this all day, every day. Now I love Gramps and I try to be supportive, but after the first 50 cars or so I get a little bleary-eyed.

Let me tell you my view of Car Week.

Tuesday – The Carmel Concours with many stylish show cars, including the new Acura NSX. There were Porches and Metropolitans and an American La France fire engine converted into a car.

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Impressed yet?

Carmel is also home to many cute shops and boutiques. One shop I go to every year is the Christmas Store. I get ornaments for all the grandchildren and have them personalized and dated. I also found a couple of Frozen themed boxes for the two little girls.

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Wednesday – The Little Car Show in Pacific Grove. Now this was a really interesting display of all the smallest cars in the world. Mini cars with mini engines, mini wheels and cute mini parts. Everything tiny and compact.

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Me? I found some wonderful regular sized shops, where I bought fabulous things. At one antique shop, I found a white infant dress, embroidered with a slip for $15, a monogrammed handkerchief and a beautiful blue and white vintage summer weight quilt.

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We also had lunch at the best bakery ever! What a wonderful day it was!

Thursday – The Tour d’Elegance, which was the Pebble Beach Concours cars on tour. These are primo top-of-the-line cars. Lots of brass, silver, leather and works-of-art hood ornaments. Very classy, very showy. Lots of sparkle and shine. And it’s all free for the public to enjoy.

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I however, discovered a couple of wine tastings. Purchased a bottle of wine and a gorgeous cutting board. Shopping everywhere! Isn’t it grand!

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Friday – The Pacific Grove Concours and Rally. A car show and then a tour of the cars Hearing the engines roar and the horns beep was the most fun.

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After awhile I was off shopping again. Of course, we had breakfast first at our favorite little bakery. Must fuel the day. Then I was off to a small linen shop for embroidered tea towels for Christmas gifts for friends and a set of monogrammed napkins for me. Very French! Another great day!

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At the end of the day, I found a lovely little antique shop among all the sweet vintage buildings.It had the most interesting old windows with vintage glass pieces glued on. I’m thinking of doing this project for myself when I get home. I think I have all the makings except he window.

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Saturday – The Concours d’Lemons, a spoof on car shows in general and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in particular. These are the worst, oddest and quirkiest cars vying for “Worst of Show” any way they can, including bribing the judges.

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This show I really enjoyed and looked at all the cars in all the categories. When it started      to get too warm, I spent the remainder of the day in the shady tent lounge provided by one of the vendors. A good day all around!

Sunday – The Historic Races at Laguna Seca with hundreds of race cars from the 1920’s to 1970’s. Gramps and his brother attended this but I did not. It seemed the perfect way to end the week.

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And that is how Granny does Car Week – with a credit card and a shopping bag!

A Boating I Did Go

Gramps and I just returned from a three week vacation to the west coast.  A lot of the trip involved time on boats, a ship and other sailing vehicles.

IMG_0009One day we spent on a tall sailing ship, the Californian, for an excursion out of San Diego Bay.  That ship is a replica of an old revenue cutter, well-used and well-built.  These are photos of the “Bountiful,” another replica at the Maritime Museum, used in the film “Master and Commander – Far Side of the World.”

IMG_0010She has tall masts, plenty of sails (not always visible), a bell, a wheel and, as I learned, lots and lots of ropes called sheets.  That’s right.  The sheets are the ropes, not the sails, as might sound logical.

IMG_0023IMG_0018IMG_0020It seems nothing can happen on a ship without many people pulling on sheets.  Sheets tie things securely.   Sheets make sails go up and down. Sheets turn sails into and out of the wind. Sheets keep everything . . . well, shipshape.

IMG_0015IMG_0016The crew takes great care to keep the sheets neat and tidy. There is even a special way to coil a sheet on the deck.  Pretty impressive!

IMG_0030So take a lesson from the Californian.  Never leave without your equipment and make sure it’s always in ready-to-use condition.

I’m practicing coiling my sheets right now!