Hello fellow appliqué enthusiasts! I return after a week on the east coast sporting “The Bug Bite That Ate Cleveland,” achieved during a hot spell that nearly did me in. We got from the parking lot to the gates of our beloved Duke Gardens and I could go no further. We came back the next day after breakfast and I had a much better time of it (but still had to retreat to the air-conditioned visitor center in some distress, to recuperate). And I understand it’s even worse right now!

Just one of many pleasing scenes throughout the gardens.

There are many fountains; behind this one there's a pond that's special to me.

My dad used to bring us kids here when we were growing up.

It's a koi pond. Of course, we just called them giant goldfish.

Dana and I used to visit Duke Gardens when we were in the courting stage, and during the early years of our marriage. This place has a lot of sentimental value for us both.

After visiting with my folks and our friends in North Carolina, we drove up to see Dana’s mother and her permanent BF Richard. They have a weekend river house on the Corrotoman, a tributary of the Rappahannock in the Northern Neck of Virginia. It was a beautiful locale and a charming little house with all the modern comforts.

They had recently acquired a boat. We set out on the maiden voyage of the season. Just after this photo, looking back on the river house, the motor… quit. And there we sat. It wouldn’t start up again for love or money. I was the first one to get an oar in the water and start talking about Spartacus, but the menfolk quickly took over the paddling chore and I retreated to the scant shade of the canopy.

Thankfully, a little fishing boat pulled up alongside, moored itself to us fore and aft, and puttered us the rest of the way back to the slip. And, it turned out that the woman was a second or third cousin of Richard’s! “That’s the Northern Neck,” they told us.

It was good to catch up with family and friends, but seriously I was never so glad to touch down in northern California once again.

With all this talk about hot muggy weather, you may wonder why the title of this post is about wool appliqué LOL! There’s a great photo tutorial over at Quilty Pleasures, the Quiltmaker blog. If you’re feeling cool enough, be sure to check it out, or, you can always bookmark it for wintry times!

By Kay Mackenzie