fall front porch welcomeThursday morning was our Victorian Quilters meeting at the Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary, also known to the locals as the Audubon Society House.  The weather was spectacular and  I went crazy photographing the quilts, the house and grounds at the home. The day wasn’t complete before my husband, our dogs and I went for a walk down our road up into the woods to where the Sugar Shack makes maple syrup in the early spring.

The front porch at the Audubon House is decorated for fall and welcoming all of our members to get together to share our love of quilting.  These ladies have been busy making all sorts of quilted projects, from placemats to quilts and even Christmas ornaments for the Christmas tree we’ll be decorating for the Festival of Trees in Manistee at the Ramsdell Theater in early December.  There are so many great projects to share I’ll just post the photos and let you enjoy the talents of these wonderful women.

Anita puzzle quilt from retreatThis first quilt was the one Anita was working on during the “Common Threads” quilters retreat last week.  Anita was one of my roommates during the retreat and I sat on the floor while she arranged the blocks and we tried to figure out the “puzzle” for this quilt pattern. I must admit I got a little puzzled about the design as she figured out the direction they went.

Christmas tree ornament literallyChristmas tree ornaments were made and shared to decorate the Christmas tree that our group will decorate for the Festival of Trees in Manistee.  This silent auction is held at the Ramsdell Theater in early December.  Did you know that James Earl Jones started his acting career at the Ramsdell Theater?  Please visit the link above and complete a survey before October 26, 2015 regarding the future of the Ramsdell Theater.

Christmas tree ornamentsMore Christmas tree ornaments were made by several of our members and were a part of yesterday’s show and tell. Most of us are working on ornaments for the tree but not all of us had them ready in time for the meeting.  The tree will be auctioned off along with all the ornaments at the event.  If the winning bidder doesn’t want the tree then it will be provided to a local family that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a tree for the holidays.

This event raises money for various charities and helps to support our local Christmas tree farms in the area.  The Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend features the Festival of Trees as one of the many events going on in downtown Manistee. There are lots of things to see and do during the holidays here in Manistee. Here’s a great video to get you in the mood, it’s was filmed during last year’s Fesitval that was attended by over 10,000 visitors and local residents.

Sallys fall colors quiltOne of my other roommates during the retreat had several fall quilts, banners and placemats to share with the group.  You’ve heard of the last man standing?  Well, Sally and my other roommate Joyce were the last women sewing during the retreat.  They were both working on projects from early morning until well past midnight.  I marveled at their stamina for sewing since I took lots of breaks and got to know other guild members better.  I’m sort of a newbie to the group so I spent a lot of time socializing.

Sallys Halloween quiltSally pieced together this quilt top that features lots of fall colors and is not as bright as her Halloween quilt shown on the right. I teased her during the retreat that I needed sunglasses to look at this quilt.  The bright green really is that bright..nope, no color adjustment needed here folks.

Sallys Halloween bannerI liked her Halloween banner that she did that captures the holiday nicely.  Someone asked her what she was going to do with it and she shrugged…quilters just love to quilt…don’t ask them to figure out the little details.

Sallys placematsOh I forgot the placemats she did too.  Our guild has been making placemats, over 100, to donate to Meals on Wheels in Manistee county.  The drivers will be bringing more than just a dinner when they deliver to residents, they will be bringing a little bit of love from the quilters in our guild.

There was another quilt top that Sally pieced using her leftover squares from her Halloween quilt, but I ran out of room to show this one too.  Sewing with Sally….has a nice ring to it….maybe it could be a new quilting show, what do you think?

Joyce and granddaughter quiltNext we have Joyce who shared a couple of projects she did with her granddaughter recently.  They did this cute quilt together and shared it with our group yesterday.  Joyce was also my roommate at the retreat and the other half of the “last women sewing” along with Sally.  Joyce and Sally are our guild’s co-leaders and you can tell they love to quilt.

Joyce backpackMany of us learned to sew during home economics in school, which unfortunately isn’t offered in school anymore.  So where the educational system has forgotten about the fine art of sewing, we haven’t…and some of us are passing it down to future generations.

Joyce’s granddaughter made the backpack she modeled for us.  I do believe the love of sewing and quilting is running in the family…what do you think?  I think it’s great that we women can influence the younger generation to embrace the art of sewing and creating something from scratch. Years from now they will be glad they learned to sew…at least that’s what we hope.

Jans quilt from retreatJan finished this quilt during the retreat and she stayed up later the second night than Sally and Joyce.  Jan got to bed at 3 AM and woke up at 5 AM.  This year’s retreat was a first for both of us and we both live here year around which makes for the beginning of a friendship.  She shared her completed quilt with the group during our “show and tell”.

I can see lots of “road trips” in our future.  Jan and I both won a door prizes with coupons during the retreat.  We can’t let those coupons go to waste…now can we?

The Grand Hotel Mystery QuiltAnother quilt project was shared that was a mystery quilt called the Grand Hotel and was designed using the colors of the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island.  It was interesting to hear the story behind the quilt and to learn that a woman who is in her 80’s got married at the Grand Hotel and visited the hotel every year since their wedding. When asked if these were the original colors of the hotel she replied, “yes, they haven’t changed anything in all these years.”  I’ve included a link to the photo gallery for the hotel so you can see the colors that have graced this landmark since it opened in 1887.

Debs second quilt in progressThere were many more projects that were shared during our meeting and these are only a few of them.  Last but not least, one of our newest members, Deb, has started on her second quilt and she gives us a glimpse at her progress.  She’s already planning her next quilt….I think the quilting bug has bitten her…what do you think?

It is always refreshing to see what the other members are working on, it gives us ideas for future projects.  I enjoy the time I spend with this group and appreciating the lovely environment that we have for our meetings.  The Audubon House in Manistee hosts our meetings twice each month.  The fall colors were beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been better so I took an opportunity after our meeting to get some photographs of the grounds.

view of Lake Michigan from front yardThe view of Lake Michigan from the front yard isn’t real obvious when you enter or exit the front door.  Once you begin to wander amongst the grounds you find little nooks and crannies of views that will satisfy the senses if you aren’t to busy watching the birds that gather here.

The home, Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary, is also a Bed and Breakfast and is a great place to come and enjoy the birds, the beach and the beautiful Manistee area.   In 1988, the Michigan Audubon Society received a property gift from M.E. and Gertrude Gray, which became Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary.

Lake MichiganThis 72-acre site sets upon high, sandy bluffs that overlook Lake Michigan. Here you can view over 150 different varieties of shrubs and trees–not all of which are native to Michigan.

visitor centerLake Bluff Center is open daily from dawn to dusk, and offers maintained trails, beach access, restrooms and facility rentals.

You can learn more about the history of the site here.

If you are a bird watcher you can find out more about the events for the Manistee Audubon Society by visiting their blog or visiting them on Facebook.

I continued my walk to the look down upon Lake Michigan and hear the sound of the waves as they crashed upon the shoreline.

Michigan Champion Sycamore MapleThe Michigan Champion Sycamore Maple grows alongside the back porch of the home with a sign to help those of us who aren’t botanists.  The resident manager told me there is a fairy that lives inside the knot hole of this tree.

This is just a scintillating taste of the views and vistas that abound on the property.  I think that in order to really enjoy it you’ll have to come and visit the Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary yourself.  Find them on Facebook and book your next reservation today!

In the meantime I have Christmas ornaments to make…someone gave me a bag of felt that I needed and now I don’t have any more excuses not to get my ornaments done.



3 thoughts on “Quilt Meeting at the Audubon

  1. Diane, are you a published writer? Each time I read one of your posts; i.e., Retreat at Little Eden Camp, Ann and Steve Loveless’ Art Prize winner, and now this Quilt Meeting at the Audubon, I am amazed at your ability to make the reader want to be right there with you!

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