Tuesday, September 30

Fall into Fall Giveaway!

Update: And the winner is..................the winner is Sherri at A Quilting Life!!! You'll find her blog here. I have sent her an e-mail and as soon as I get her snail mail address the package will be on it's way to her house. Thank you to everyone who left a comment and shared a memory of fall.

Debi at QuiltingwithDebi came up with the idea to have great big blog giveaway and I signed up to be a part of this fun giveaway. There are 40 bloggers participating so there are a lot of opportunities to win some really fun quilty and crafty things!! This is my favorite time of the year and I start thinking about working on wool and felt projects so I knew almost right away what I would offer for a giveaway. Since I started blogging last May, Brown Bear has been my unofficial Giveaway ambassador but he is off hibernating so I have asked Percy Pumpkin to say "Hello" to all of you and a big welcome to my "Fall into Fall Giveaway"! Percy is sitting next to a fall harvest of woolfelt that could be yours if you leave a comment with your name and a link to your blog or your e-mail address between 12:00 a.m. October 1st and midnight on October 15th. International posts are welcome.

The basket contains 25 - ten inch squares from National Nonwoven's Centennial colors, plus the hand towel that says "Fall Harvest". But that's not all you'll get if you are the lucky winner. No, there will be lots more stuff in the box that you'll receive because everyday from October 1st through October 15th I will be adding other items to this "Fall into Fall Giveaway"!! So, leave me a comment and share a memory of fall because I do love this time of year so much. Percy will help me mail the package but he stays with me. I created him for a contest in our arts society a few years ago when we did a "decorate a pumpkin, any kind of pumpkin contest". I was the President of the group at the time so I didn't enter him but made him just for the fun of it. He'll tell you a bit about who he is when I announce the winner on October 15th. Oh, and before I forget, this is post #97 so in a few days there may be another Giveaway to celebrate 100 posts!

To check out all the Giveaways in the great "Fall into Fall Giveaway", you'll want to check out the list at the "Fall into Fall Giveaway" blog.

Happy Fall!!!

Sandi



Bloggers and non-bloggers are welcome but if you don't have a blog, please provide your e-mail address so that I may contact you if you are the winner!!

Monday, September 29

Quilt month is almost over..........

September has really gone by fast. I cannot believe that tomorrow will be the last day of the month!! When Joanna at Mr. Monkeysuilt came up with the idea to post photos for a quilt month, I was there and I have really enjoyed sharing the photos and stories about many of my quilts. I haven't shared hardly any quilts the last few days, though, so I decided I better correct that! Most of the quilts that I have shared are vintage ones, but I wanted to share the only "commissioned quilt" that I have ever done. The quilt - and it is just one quilt even though it looks like there are two quilts because there are two photos - hangs in the youth section of the Prior Lake Library. It is one of three commissioned items by local residents that were selected for permanent display at the library. Designs had to be submitted along with some background info and my design was one of the three selected. The other two items were a pottery relief series created by Chuck Deckas and a series of framed photographs by Marlene Vogel, and all of us were from Prior Lake (MN).
My design was based on memories of years of visits to the library and volunteering there, too. We spent lots of time at the library especially when my kids were small. As I said, the piece is actually one quilt. I designed it as two individual quilts that I stitched together with a top and bottom casing. When the spring/summer side of the quilt is hung, then the fall/winter side is actually upside down on the backside of the quilt. And vice versa when the fall/winter side is hung, then the spring/summer is upside down on the back of the quilt. Twice a year the quilt is flipped so each side gets a "rest". And I hope that all makes sense.


The spring/summer side shows two kids (based on, but not meant to be my kids) reading under a tree. The skateboard symbolises the number of kids who were always skateboarding outside the library and the girl is reading a book about "dance" because there was a dance studio attached to the library. The farm in the corner recalls the lovely old historic Kopp farm that used to sit near downtown until the city tore it down (progress, you know), and the tiger lilies and bachelor buttons grew in yards of homes on the walk to the library. There's a duck in the pond because this was after all a community with "lake" in it's name in a state known for it's "10, 000 lakes".


Again, I thought of my kids when I sketched the boy and girl for the fall/winter side and the fireplace that was in our living room. We almost never used it, except at Christmas as it wasn't very heat efficient. There's a lake scene over the fireplace, a reference to main lake that is Prior which connects to Spring Lake. In the summer, they are both busy lakes with loads of speed boats, sail boats and skidoos (and in winter, of course, there is ice fishing and snowmobiling). I added the bookshelf filled with books which is just like the one we had (and still have) in our house that was made by my dad in high school shop class in the 1940's. That's my grandma in the portrait above the bookcase. I used a variety of fabrics, threads and paint for the rugs, the fire in the fireplace, flannel for the tree trunk, fleece for their sweaters, etc.

It's a neat feeling to know that the quilt is on permanent display at the library. While I talk a lot about our new house and the new town we live in, I haven't forgotten the place where our kids grew up. It's just that it was time to move on. I'm lucky, though, because this quilt remains and so a part of me and of my kids remain there, too.

There's one other little piece I did for the library but I don't have a picture of it. One of the nicest features at the Prior Lake Library is a large beautiful fireplace and etched on the glass screen is a little design of stacked books that says "Prior Lake Friends of the Library". I drew the sketch and it was used on bookmarks, T-shirts, etc. and unbeknownst to me, when the fireplace screen was ordered, they added that sketch. I participated in the Friends for a number of years and enjoyed doing volunteer programs (clay-crafting, felt projects, May baskets, valentines, quilting, etc. etc. ) at the library for kids and adults that encouraged them to learn new skills and check out books to learn even more. And I joined the Friends group here in Henderson because I love the library and could not live without one!!

That's all for tonight. Only a day away from the posting of the item that I'll be offering on the "Fall into Fall Giveaway". Be sure to check back on Oct. 1 and see what that will be!!!! Plus, later in the week, I'll be showing photos of those packages and swaps I've received and I'll be debuting the "Pickled Pink Pincushion", so stay tuned.....................


Oops, one more thing.....I finished a sample block for the Christmas Cottage Swap that Nanette of Freda's Hive is hosting. It was a fun block to do and "sew" easy!! Now that I made my sample, I'll have to decide what fabrics to use for the blocks that I'll send for the swap. Wonder if I'll have enough Christmas fabric? Ha, ha. :-)

Sunday, September 28

"THE ROCK PARTY" ! ! !

No, it wasn't a "loud rock music kind of party" (although there was music) it was a "rock party" as in real rocks. It all started a few years ago when I got this idea to do something fun after the garden was cleared. I thought "why not dig a hole in the center of the garden, rim it with rocks and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire". We were short on rocks to rim the fire, though, so everyone that was invited was asked to bring a rock to put around the fire. This is the rock that our neighbor Ann decorated for the party. I used the picture of it on the front of the invitations that I sent out to neighbors in our circle, to our kids and a couple of other friends, (one from Steve's work and one of my quilting friends). The invitations went out two weeks ago and I could only hope that the weather wouldn't be too cold as September can be rainy and cold and our previous "Rock Parties" had us huddling around the fire for warmth. Not this one!! The day dawned warm and sunny although there was almost a "damper" on the day and, as I said in my previous post, it had nothing to do with rain.


I'll share the details as quickly as possible ........so it's Friday morning and my husband leaves for an early morning Dr. appointment, then a little later I get up and go out to walk the dog. However, as I come into the kitchen, I think - that's funny, sounds like the water softener is running and it shouldn't be. So I open the door to the basement and I am immediately aware that it is the sound of gushing water. So I run downstairs in my bare feet (do not do this) and see water spraying from the pipe next to the softener and water is fast spreading toward the middle of the furnace room and has begun to spread toward my boxes of Christmas decorations and such in the other direction. I try to shut off the water but the valve doesn't seem to want to move. I run back upstairs, call my husband, no answer, get some shoes, run back downstairs again. Still no luck with the shut-off valve so I try our builder and I get his wife but they're out of town and then my husband pulls in the garage. I run out as if the house is on fire, yelling "quick to the basement, there's water shooting out of the pipes!!" Of course, he gets the shutoff valve closed and in a few minutes water stops spurting out so we were saved from any further mess. I cleaned up while he went and got a replacement part for a fitting which he declared was "faulty" and showed me why but I didn't care. I was just glad this all happened while we were home. And here is where I tell you something you may have heard before - this is why they tell you to turn off your water if you are leaving your home for a vacation! If we had been gone for even a few hours, we would have had a horrible mess to clean up, imagine the mess if we had been gone a week! As it was, the whole thing was repaired and the water mopped up and only two boxes had to be tossed. That's because most of the Christmas items were in plastic totes and the stuff in the boxes was also in plastic bags so nothing was lost.




So, with the water problems all fixed, I was in the kitchen by 11:00 a.m. to get to my cooking for the night's festivities. I already made my desserts earlier in the week - a double batch of chocolate chip cookies (no special recipe, just straight from the Nestle Tollhouse package) and a pan of brownies (Betty Crocker Supreme with frosting) and a big pan of pumpkin bars that were really good. I'll share the recipe for those later this week. I had stocked up on tons of pop/sodas, loads of chips and stuff and hot dogs and marshmallows to roast. I slow-cooked a big roaster full of ground beef and put half of it in the crock-pot and seasoned it for sloppy joes and added beans of all kinds and seasoned the rest for chili. I also made a corny cornbread dish that was really popular. Kaiser liked it all and as you can see in the picture, he was eating all the crumbs that I dropped on the floor. I worked all afternoon to get everything just right and while I did that, Steve prepared the ring where we would have our fire and rim it with rocks from our neighbors. They started arriving right about 6:30 and by 7:00 everyone was here. Steve had the fire going and
the table was set and ready to go.
Our son, Devlin, started cooking hotdogs and that's his girlfriend, Stacia, and our son-in-law, Daryl, making sure he cooked them just right.......

You can see the rocks our neighbors brought for our fire, some decorated, some not but each one will be kept to use next year because this is an annual event, ya know!


The food was on and everybody had filled their plates and were intent on eating. I must make apologies to my neighbors as I tried hard to get shots with everyone looking really great but in everyone somebody had a strange expression as they were eating or talking. This was the best of several shots.
Here's our daughter, Collette, and she hasn't started eating yet so I caught her with a smile! :-)
This is Sarah with her mom (on the left and with Dad (on the right). Her dad, Orangy, has helped a lot with the landscaping we have been doing.
Friends who couldn't make it were our builder, Steve and his wife as they were out of town.

This is one of my favorite photos of the evening - grandson, Jacob, our neighbor girl, Kaylee and a friend of hers that was spending the night. They had a great time as all kids do when the weather is nice, the stars are shining, there's a fire for roasting marshmallows and just plain fun to be had because you are just a kid!!

I had to add this photo of my friend, Jeanne, and her fiance, Jeff. They just got engaged a week ago. Can you tell?

Devlin has always, along with his dad, given me a hard time because I take so many pictures. Guess who was taking pictures that night? Here he is shooting video of the flames and he also had fun taking photos of a large bug that was on the patio.

I thought I should include a photo of my husband, Steve, so here he is enjoying a second round of marshmallows along with neighbor, Judy who remarked that she got her marshmallows done just right. Jacob, on the other hand, was having some trouble as the wind kept blowing smoke in his eyes but he finally got them roasted.
Once the food was gone we had a nice time just sitting around visiting and listening to some of Devlin's music and we got caught up on who's doing what and just kept remarking about what a lovely evening it was. This was, after all, Minnesota and it was warm enough to not wear a sweater!!! Pretty unusual for this time of year!! Some folks left earlier than others but our kids hung out and Jeanne and Jeff, too, and it was just nice to be with all of them.

When it came time to clean up, Collette snapped this photo of me next to the workbench where the sloppy joes, chili, etc. had been setting. Everything was gone except a little bit of left-over chili. Earlier in the day, Steve was concerned about "what are you going to do with all the left-overs?" I kept telling him, I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any left-overs and - ha, ha - I was right! I wrote down how much I fixed for this year so I can make more for next year. The sloppy joes were a favorite and I think folks would have eaten more if there had been more. I'll get it right next year!!!
So that's the end of our "Rock Party" event. I have a special quilt to share with you in tomorrow's post. It's a commissioned quilt that I did for the Prior Lake Library. And speaking of quilts - I think this photo below might be inspiration for a quilt. After everything was cleaned up, Collette and I went out on the porch and I took this by covering the flash on the camera so I got only the features on the Jack-0-Lantern. Kinda cool, huh? The first of October is just around the corner and Halloween will be here before you know it so have a "howling good week" and stay safe.

Sandi

"Sew and Share" photos posted........

I am almost finished posting the photos of the fun we enjoyed and the results of our stitching on the "Sew and Share" blog . More photos will be posted tomorrow and then each day next week, I'll add a few more to show you the projects that we made. I'll be taking most of it to a "connecting point" that will make sure it gets to the Cedar Rapids area for a distribution that will be held on Oct. 18th. As we made items, we stacked and draped them all over the piano in the corner of the community room. Lots of stuff, huh?!!!!


Our party for our friends and neighbors was a great success last night and I will get some pictures posted tomorrow. The day had a slightly damp start to it and it wasn't because it rained!! I'll fill you in tomorrow and tell you all about our "Rock Party". Til then, hope you are all having a great weekend!!
Sandi

Friday, September 26

Midnight in the Pumpkin Patch Winner!

Well, this was my late Aunt Bell's birthday and I really enjoyed reading all the posts each of you made about a cherished friend or family member in response to my Giveaway question. I will be e-mailing my individual thanks to each of you. A winner had to be declared so I asked my husband, Steve, to perform a random act of kindness and pick the random winning number for my Pumpkin Patch Giveaway. I told him to pick a number between 1 and 22, then write it on the file card I handed him. He picked a prime number - 17 and that means that the winner of the pumpkin filled with fabric and other goodies is............... Angie of Cedar Chest Quilts blog!!!! Congratulations, Angie. I'll be sending you an e-mail and will need your snail mail address so I can send the pumpkin on it's way to you!

Sorry that I haven't posted any quilts or much quilt-related talk. I am still collecting my thoughts and catching up after the events of the past couple of weeks. Which reminds me that I need to tell you that I have posted part of the photos from last weekend's "Sew and Share" event. Just click here to take a peek. Also, Gretchen e-mailed me that the delicious pie she brought and that I enjoyed as left-overs, did indeed come from Jim's Apple Farm in Jordan, MN. I had to pass it on my way up to Shakopee for crazy quilting tonight so I took a photo. Now if you like apples, or pumpkins or candy then this is the place to go. And when I say candy, I mean CANDY as they offer 327 kinds of candy and 40 kinds of licorice!!! Then there's Dad's Root Beer, Bubble UP or Orange Crush to quench your thirst and, of course, apple cider. I knew that pie had to be from Jim's because I've bought pies there and when something is really good, you know just who made it!!
I have received a couple of cool packages recently and will post about them in the next couple of days. No time right now. Must get to bed as tomorrow night is our party and it is going to be one fun evening!!

Tuesday, September 23

Joanie's Garden...........

With the door to summer closing, I decided I would bring you one last look at summer's bounty. And thankfully, my friend Joanie has the garden that will allow me to do that!! It was Bible Study today and we were back at her house once again. Last time we were there, she had this beautiful bouquet on the table. And here is the beautiful bouquet that was on her dining room table today. Isn't it gorgeous?!!

Last month, Joanie gave me a little tour of her garden and I never posted the photos, so here they are. When winter gets long, I can come back to these and be reminded of what spring and summer will bring!


I don't remember what this flower is but she made a point of showing it to me because it has the most amazing petals. Isn't it pretty and delicate?


Joanie and her husband live in the country, so cornfields surround their home but nestled off in one corner is this lovely little garden. I tried to take a picture of Joanie and her husband but little raindrops had begun to fall and I didn't get a good picture. (The raindrops probably had nothing to do with it and instead the poor focus can be attributed to my novice as a photographer.)


Notice there's only half a man next to her garden bench. She bought him at a garage sale and said she just had to put him in her garden.

Here's a close-up. I think he looks like he is preparing to step right out of the earth. Perhaps he is kin to the Jolly Green Giant who was born here in the Minnesota River Valley. Hee hee!

Joanie has a great sense of humor. This little trio of cottages is the home of the Three Dwarfs. Quite a nice abode, I think.

On the other side of her house is a large flower garden where she can gather the blooms for her bouquets.

I love the old wagon wheels nestled among the flowers and hope I can find some for my gardens when we start our planting next spring.


The little raindrops that were falling were the edge of a brewing storm on that day in August. They look almost as if the fields are on fire and they are rolling clouds of smoke. I got home that day, just before the rains came. So, that was last month and again today, storms were brewing to the west but I took no time to take pictures today. It was a race (I didn't speed) to get home before the heavy rain began. It was quite a storm with wind and rain and lightening and some booming thunder. I love the sound of rain so I curled up on the couch with a book but took a catnap instead. Me thinks, I am a little more tired than I expected after all the quilting activities of the past couple of weeks. I did manage two loads of laundry and a little more sorting of my mail stack but that was all for the day. Finally tomorrow, I will get the photos posted on the Sew and Share site of all the past weekends activities. Sometimes it's okay to just slow the pace and take life a little slower.
Sandi

Monday, September 22

Welcome, Autumn!!

Happy Fall!!! That little taste of autumn has been in the air off and on these last few weeks but today I saw a real sign of it when leaves went dancing across my backyard in the wind. I was on the phone with a quilting friend, when I suddenly interrupted her to say "oh, my, the leaves are dancing across my backyard and it's so cool!" Guess it doesn't take much to get me excited, huh?!! :-) The Welcome wallhanging you see above was made in 1998. I gathered leaves from the yard and traced their shapes, then cut them from felt. I used craft felt because I hadn't yet discovered woolfelt from National Nonwovens. Interestingly, the leaves that year were almost a colorful as what you see in this piece. Some years they are bright and others they are more muted. I like that because every year is different so it's always a surprise to see the color changes in the trees and foliage.

I'm pretty sure that I've already mentioned that fall is my favorite time of the year and so the "autumnal equinox" is like a holiday to me. It's time to get organized and get out the fall decorations. So, first the organizing part...........there are pictures to post from our "Sew and Share" project but I am so behind in laundry and house stuff that I am putting that off for just a couple of days. Back to organizing...........There is a stack of mail, papers, magazines, etc. that was a foot high (well, maybe not quite that high) that needed my attention. First, I sorted out the "purely" junk, then I sorted out all the magazines (I get way too many but I've subscribed to some for so long that I just can't break the habit!) and ripped out all those annoying postcards that are in all of them (the only thing I dislike more are the perfume sample pages - phew!). Next were photos. Yesterday, I went to Walgreen's and printed off all the photos from my mom's birthday, plus quilt photos, etc. so that I could send her a fun little package. I've been telling her I was going to do this for two weeks. Finally, I got them printed and then took them to the post office to mail.

By this time it was noon so I stopped at Toody's to get a "sloppy joe to go". Chatted a bit and then I was back home for some more sorting. Put all the grocery coupons in one pile, mailed off a couple of cards and then my retreat deposit for our October retreat (more on that later). The pile is now only 6 inches high. Every morning this week, I will sort some more and get it down to 1 inch! Too bad I can't take inches off me so easily!! :-)

I also spent much of yesterday doing some "organizing" of sorts. I had to go grocery shopping but before I made my way to my local Cub store, I stopped to see my daughter and grandson. They were having a relaxing afternoon and Jacob had the living room floor covered with all of his cars, trucks and buildings. I remember when my son used to do the same thing. It would keep him entertained for hours!! While he played, Collette got out the items she bought to use at our upcoming October retreat. The theme is "Friends Forever" and is held at Villa Maria in Frontenac, MN south of Redwing. It's a beautiful place in a lovely setting in the woods. We are excited about our plans and I will share more with you in the coming weeks.

The picture on the right is one of those "good deals" that my friends usually find and this time, I was the lucky one! While doing my grocery shopping, I noticed that all the school supply stuff was on clearance. In with all that stuff were these towel sets. Notice that the tag says "Dorm Life". I thought this was funny as the towels are prettier than anything I remember taking to school or sending with my kids when they went off to school. Plus they are prettier than what is currently in my pale pink bathroom so at $4.99 a set, I picked up all five that were left. What a deal! They washed up nicely, they're soft and good size and the price of $25 for 12 towel sets was my super-duper deal that I can tell my friends about!!

Back to today's organizing.............As you may have noticed, I didn't post yesterday. Too tired and the brain needed a rest, but I did play with the templates and colors on my blog. When I first started bloggin, I didn't know what I was doing. I learned how to set it up by clicking, following prompts and then when I wanted to do something but didn't know how, I started clicking on some things just to see what would happen. Luckily, I never really deleted or changed anything that I didn't want to change. I have really enjoyed blogging but I was never quite satisfied with the look of my blog. One of my favorite blogs is FredasHive. Many of you are familiar with it, I am sure. It is bright, cheery, happy, and scrappy and it makes me smile. There are lots of other blogs I like, too. I am fond of visiting HenandChicks cause I love chickens and I love the stories and pictures that Heidi shares. Then I found Jacquelynn's blog, TheNobleWife and I really like it, too. I love her artwork and that wooly little sheep is so sweet. So, when I started "tweeking" my blog, I first tried a dark background. It was much toooooooo dark. Then I went back to my "medium blue" background but it just wasn't right. Then I clicked on a template that had a golden color to it and it was almost what I wanted. I thought you had to stay with that color and then I realized, oh, my you can change the background color. And that's when I found the light yellow you see here. It's what Nanette's background is so I hope she doesn't mind that I am using the same color. As soon as I saw the change, I knew it was just what I wanted and I realized why I like the aforementioned blogs. Lightbulb came on here - they all use yellow in their background! I love yellow, especially soft, pale yellow. That's the color I used on the walls here in my sewing room. It's called "Moonmist" and I chose it because it reminded me of moonlit nights when I was a young girl, the yellow flannel sheets we had on our black wrought iron twin beds and the way the street light up the hill shone down onto my bed at night. Yellow makes me feel peaceful. And it goes so well with all the old and new quilts I like to have surrounding me! :-) When someone asks me what my favorite color is, I usually reply pink or blue because I really do like both. But when it comes right down to it, I think yellow has been my faithful standby and deserves it's just reward now!

A couple of years ago, when my mother and dad were in the hospital at the same time, I bought this little lady bear at the hospital gift shop. She is wearing just that yellow I love. She's the only one of my bears that gets to stay in the dining room. Her little chair was a gift from a friend who moved to San Francisco. She knew I liked bears and said the chair just looked like something that should go to me. Isn't it nice when friends know just what you like?

With my papers organized and my blog colors chosen, my brain had been challenged enough so I took a break. One of the advantages of organizing a sewing or volunteer event is that when people bring treats, sometimes they leave you the left-overs. That's the case here. See that piece of pie? It is some kind of apple-caramel-walnut concoction that Gretchen brought to "Sew and Share" and I got to bring home the left-overs. Yummmy! I am thinking she probably got it at Jim's Apple Farm up in Jordan. Am I right, Gretchen?

I fixed myself a cup of my favorite coffee mix - Hazlenut Belgian Cafe - and sat down to read while I savored that pie. Notice there are no quilting magazines there. I was intent on looking at ideas for decorating because that's another area that I am seriously behind on since moving here to our new house. We are finally hosting a little backyard party this weekend for our neighbors to let them know how much we enjoy them and living here in Henderson. More party details as the week moves along. :-)

Kaiser needed a walk so out we went. I took the camera along and here's what we saw as we walked into the backyard.
Just last week, it looked like this................

And the week before that, there was only a hint of color change in the trees.

We took a walk around the circle and headed to a place where I could see red leaves climbing up the trees. Doesn't it look cool with those bits of red climbing the branches?

I had an interesting time taking the photo above because a stray dog came out of the woods and wanted to get friendly with Kaiser. Trying to contain my beagle and keep him away from the big white dog was more than interesting. I snapped the picture and hoped for the best!


Just before we took our walk, I had set up a little arrangement out by my front door. I figure every day this week, I'll do a little cleaning, a little cooking and a little decorating so that by the time our party starts, the place should look nice and festive. The flowers were actually another good bargain from my grocery shopping trip - just $2.00 each at Wal-Mart!
I tossed a throw over an old Sunday School chair and added a scarecrow that my former sister-in-law made me, a crow and a jack-o-lantern and it all says what I started this post with..............Happy Fall!!! Enjoy the sights, the sounds, the wonderful time that is autumn!!

Sandi


Saturday, September 20

Playing with colors......

It has been a long but eventful day so I am unwinding and playing with the background colors on my blog. When I first started my blog, I picked one of the templates and yet it wasn't quite what I was looking for.........so, as I said a few days ago, I am going to make some changes. Any opinions you have - positive or negative - are greatly appreciated!
Sandi

"Sew and Share" photos and update will follow soon. Need to get caught up on laundry and do a little grocery shopping. Can only put that stuff on "the back burner" for so long and then it boils over and it's time to clean up the mess. Hee, hee!

Friday, September 19

Blog Pick of the Week!

Evening, all. I am a tired cookie tonight as I have spent all day at our "Sew and Share" project and we were one bunch of busy stitcher's. The day went very well and I'll tell you all about it tomorrow or Sunday when I get time to load the photos and count all the new items - scarves, mittens, quilts, etc. - that were made for Iowa flood victims. All the items will be distributed in October.
I have been so busy this past couple of weeks with details for the Library quilt show and this Sew and Share project that a couple of things, got lost in the details. Going to take care of one of those right now. :-) Last week Jacquelynn, whose blog is TheNobleWife, left a comment on my blog. She signed up for my Giveaway and wrote "would love to be entered in your giveaway! I am doing a giveaway right now, too, for Christmas fabric, notions, books.... Stop by and enter mine (wouldn't it be funny if we won each other's??!!)". So, I clicked on her name to check out her blog and I loved it, signed up to be a "follower" of her blog, and check it regularly. Her Giveaway ends tonight (there's still time to sign up!!) and I really would be delighted to win but if I don't, well, that's okay, too, because I'll still keep following her blog. There was something about her blog that inspired me to add a feature to my blog so I decided to add my "Blog Pick of the Week". I'm going to keep her there, The Noble Wife, through Wednesday and then I will highlight a different blog. I already know who it will be ! For a sneak peak, click here . :-)
Have a good weekend. Tomorrow we'll be doing more "Sew and Share" stitching and then it's the Henderson Fire Department Pork Chop Dinner tomorrow night. Yum. Love it when someone else does the cooking!
Sweet dreams!
Sandi

Wednesday, September 17

Connecting with Quilts, Part II

There is a thought that I wanted to share and it has to do with the quilt show at the library. It really needed a separate post and that's why I waited to share it. Last Saturday as my friend Carolyn and I sat together talking about the quilts that surrounded us, Carolyn (in the picture on the right) made the off-hand comment - "Just think how many stitches are in all those quilts." And I said "well, there are a lot of them, that's for sure. " The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the amount of stitches would be a staggering number. So, I decided to think about this and did some tallying. There were 24 full-size quilts on display, 9 children's or lap size quilts, 6 table-topper size quilts, 1 doll quilt and 24 placemat/centerpiece quilts and four unfinished quilt tops. If the goal of a fine quilter is to have ten stitches per inch.....................and that's where I stopped tallying. The amount of stitches would be in the hundreds of thousands! Amazing thought, huh?

Now here's another thought. I gathered most of the quilts from my own collection. It's not a fancy collection but the quilts and tops that I have offer a window into every decade from 1900 to the present. Some are worn beyond use and yet they have value in their design or the fabric that is still lovely to look at even though worn and faded. What I realized is that, I really love old quilts. I love the feel of them, their colors, the patterns. I like to think of the quiltmaker and how she must have enjoyed stitching those quilts. And yet sometimes, those quilts might have been sewn during really hard times and because there was a need to have warmth for a long winter. I know that was the case for my Great Granny Blair and the nine patch quilt top she made. The photo below shows the "Trip Around the World" quilt top that my Aunt Bell made.

My mother recalls that Aunt Bell used to order fabric squares for quilting from the Spiegel catalog and she's pretty sure that's where the fabric for this quilt originated. I love this quilt top and someday I will hand-quilt it. I find myself afraid to start stitching on it for fear I will ruin the beautiful work of the piece. I have had this for almost 40 years, though, and I think that come January that this is the quilt top I need to stitch on so that next year at Heritage Days I can display it as a completed quilt! Because we will share more quilts next year for several ladies told me they have quilts they will share plus spinning, crochet, lace, etc. The quilts displayed this year have led to the connection that will make next years quilt show happen!

One last thought on connections - I don't know every maker of the quilts that were displayed this past weekend but I do know how important connecting with quilts became to my family. My Granny Blair came to live with her daughter-in-law, Bell, and they quilted together. Bell, raised my mother, Mary, following the death of her mother and they connected over sewing clothes for my mother. My mother connected with two older girls, Mary and Irene Dellechiesa, who taught her to embroider. And my mother sewed clothes, and embroidered and quilted and taught me and my sister to sew, to embroider, to quilt. When I married, I learned that my mother-in-law, Ora was taught how to quilt by her mother-in-law, Christine, and so they, too, connected with quilts. The quilts and handiwork from all those women came down to me (and some to my sister but she excels in artwork and ministry so doesn't have the same interest in the quilts that I do) and I treasure each of those items and their stories. My dad and brother got in on the connecting when they began buying quilts at farm and estate auctions. I was one lucky daughter/sister to have two guys who were out there quilt shopping with me in mind!!

Last May when I began blogging, it was just a few weeks after the death of my dad. The first picture I posted was a picture of him with the quilt we called the "Puzzle Quilt". I miss my dad a great deal, find it hard, in fact, to know that he is no longer with us. But this past weekend, I got to connect with so many visitors as I shared the story of the quilts on display and the connections that led to each of them that it was like my dad was there with me. I know that he would have really enjoyed seeing the quilts for every time I went home to visit I always took something to show to him and to my mother. It was a way that we connected. I watched the visitors to the quilt show as they connected with each other - husbands and wives sharing stories of mom and grandma's quilts, women recalling baby quilts they had made, and young girls wanting to learn how to quilt. They were all connecting over something as simple as needle, thread and fabric. If only all things in life were as simple as that.

Time now, though, to turn out the lights. So with thoughts of my dad, I wish you all a "Goodnight, sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite!"

Breaking news! I am published!

I realize that this isn't as newsworthy as the current stock market crisis or the political scene but this is great news to me! This month one of my designs (shown below) is featured in Cotton Spice (On-line) Quilting Magazine as part of a special selection of sunflower projects.


Click here and see my Sunflower project that is featured in this September's issue. Photos are on page 68, instructions on page 69, and patterns on page 70. I send off my thanks to Karen Gass, Editor of CSQ! This is just way cool, at least to me!!
Just a little note - I will be posting "Connecting with Quilts, Part II" later tonight. :-)

Tuesday, September 16

Sunny day, not a cloud in the sky.....

Here it is - the beautiful sunny day that folks were looking for this past weekend. Oh, well, it's still a pretty view and that's why I am posting these pictures. Some of you have posted a comment or sent me an e-mail saying what a pretty place Henderson is so I thought I would add just a few more photos. The view below is looking out to the east toward the bridge that crosses the Minnesota River. I took the photo standing near the flag pole that is pictured in my post on "Henderson Heritage Days Coming Up" and you will find it here. The beautiful home that is now the Sibley County Historical Society is off to the left out of view.


As I parked to take pictures, I saw Jeff DuCharme walking his dog and it gave me the chance to ask him if I might take a photo of his home and share it on my blog. And he said sure so I turned to my right and looked down, and snapped this photo of his charming home. The house is built on the "footprint" of what once was the local feed mill and is the first house you see as you come down the hill and enter Henderson from the west.

By going up the hill just a little further, you will find Henderson House Bed and Breakfast. I snapped a photo of the stately place that is nestled among the trees in the hillside at the west end of Henderson.

Some of you said that you would like to visit Henderson so this is the place to stay. Just click here to learn more about Henderson House. And Jeff's place is for sale so if you really enjoy your stay here, well you can just move here permanently. That's what we did. Note to self - add "tell story of how we ended up in Henderson" on blog. So noted in my notebook of "blogs to post".


This lovely building is where I spent the past weekend in what was once an Episcopalian Church (circa 1850's) and is now the Henderson Public Library. Isn't it just too charming? The original church was the part to the left and an addition was added a few years ago at the back. They did a lovely job of retaining the character of the original structure and even retained many of the original stained glass windows. You saw how cozy and pretty the inside looked with the quilts in place. What I didn't show you were the windows from the inside. The photo on the right is the trio of panels that you see at the front of the building. I took the photo at night and isn't it dramatic. I looked at it and thought, could there be a quilt design in these windows?
Hmmmmm............ Now if you want to see the rest of the windows, well, you'll just have to come to Henderson for a visit!!


That's about all for tonight. I was originally going to post Part II of my "Connecting with Quilts" post but I changed my mind late this afternoon. Story coming.......here it is.........This is Tuesday and so it was Bible study this afternoon. It was Arline's turn and she treated us to Apple-Elderberry pie with ice cream and coffee and tea. Oh, my was that delicious or what?!? After I gobbled it up, I thought about what a great picture it would have made. Sorry, it was all gone. :-) Then it was time for study and today's lesson provided lots of discussion and I think we all felt a little "challenged" with the depth of this one. It was after 4:00 when I left and I really needed to get home but had to make a quick stop at the grocery store. As I got back to my car, before stepping around to get in my car and that's when I thought - you've got time, take some more pictures. So I did and I'm glad I took the time because I had a nice chat with Jeff and you got a further glimpse at what a lovely town this is!
I'll be sharing more photos of Henderson, and photos of Lehigh (where I grew up in Iowa) and they will all be intertwined with the quilting stories - and more quilt photos - that I have to share. Thanks to all who have posted such lovely comments here on my blog.
Sandi

Monday, September 15

Great day for ducks........

As you've already seen, Heritage Days went on in spite of the damp weather which really was suited more to the local ducks and such. With that in mind, I thought I'd post just a couple more pictures from Sunday. There was beautiful music coming from the front steps of the Poehler building as I made my way down to get some lunch midday on Sunday. My friend, Doris, gave me a little break so I could grab a bite to eat. It was, unfortunately still raining a bit but people were walking about although more were seeking shelter on the inside than outside under umbrella's.


In a previous post I said that I would tell you more about the business that is located in the old Poehler building. It is owned by the Hagen family, Budd and Delores and is home to their business Closing the Gap where they work to help those with special needs. If you click here, you will find an article that will tell you what "Closing the Gap" is all about. Delores has another passion that you can learn about at their building and that is Henderson Feathers (go to http://henderson-mn.com/ ) that tracks birding habits, migration, etc. here in the Minnesota River Valley.

On a sunny Sunday in summer and fall, the streets of Henderson would be lined with cars and, especially motorcycles. Guess what is shining outside my window now that the weekend is over?


My last picture of Heritage Days is of our church booth. That's the members of the "Young at Hearts" group. They work really hard and do some really successful fund-raising projects for St. Pauls UCC.
And now I have to add a note.......I posted these pics earlier today, added the text and saved, then viewed my blog. But, blogger is doing some funny things these past 15 minutes and all but the first picture in this post disappeared. I am hoping this second post "takes" as I think I've had enough time at the computer for one day!!!

Connecting with quilts, Part I

When visitors entered the library, this is what they saw first ........


There are about twenty-four hand-pieced and hand-quilted placemats in that collage of little quilts. They are all samples that I made when I offered Beginning Quilting in community education in Prior Lake and at a nearby Michael's store. I enjoyed getting folks enthused about doing something creative. I enjoyed it so much that I began offering the class as a volunteer in the Scott County Libraries. Over a period of a couple of years, I taught students from age 7 to 73 the very basics of quilting and encouraged them in their work. There's more to this story but I'll save that for a later post. (I'm keeping a notebook of "future posts" now, sort of like "future quilt projects" so some will get done and some won't - hee, hee!)


Take a walk through the quilts with me...........

I selected these baby quilts from my collection and placed them on my freshly painted picket fence quilt rack. My mother purchased the baby quilts at auction and gave them to me and my brother bought the doll quilt for me. The baby quilt has "Mother" embroidered on it and the baby's name - Stella Nelson. I wish there was a way to connect that baby to this quilt!

More than one person commented on the informal display of the quilts because they felt it made them more inviting. I like it, too. Some of these quilts were too worn to even look good hung on racks. By draping them over chairs, visitors could still see the pattern of the quilts and the quilting style and, for many, remember quilts their mothers or grandmothers made that were just like so many of the quilts that I shared.

On the opposite side of the 1930's quilts were examples of a couple of quilts from the 1920's and one I call "the Puzzle Quilt that is likely made in the 1930's. The Puzzle Quilt is the one on the left and was purchased at auction by my dad in Dayton, Iowa and was given to me as a Christmas gift a few years ago. The center quilt was made by Granny Blair and the quilt top on the right was made by my Aunt Bell and was likely done from a kit ordered from the Spiegel catalog.


And it wasn't just quilts that caught the eye of the visitors. Kids and adults alike were drawn to Mr. Sock Monkey and his little friend Calico Gal. Would you believe that I bought those at a garage for 25 cents each!?! The young woman who was selling them said that her great aunt had made one of each for her and her two sisters. And I am thinking "and why are you selling these treasures?" and then I paid her the 50 cents and left with my treasures.



The Henderson Library is located in what was once a beautiful Episcopalian Church (pictures of the library will come when I can get some taken on a sunny day). The building retains it's original stained glass windows and even when an addition was added a few years ago, the building still maintains it's original style. Located at the back of the library are these two window seats and they made perfect places for a couple of quilting vignettes. In the picture above there are four quilts that usually are stacked on a shelf in my grandson's room at our house (see here). The two on the left were gifts from my friend Judith. She also enjoys going to garage sales and found these at one in Minneapolis. Again, a young woman was selling things she deemed no longer useful and yet she was sentimental about these as they had been made by her grandmother. I don't know what Judith payed for them but she bought them with the intention of giving them to me because she knew I would take care of them and share them with others. The handquilting on the two quilts is really fine. They are very worn but when folded just right they look lovely on the shelf. The folded Monkey Wrench/Hole in the Barn Door (depends on who your're talking to) is one from my mother. I've talked about this one before as I just love the yellow polka dot fabric. And the green star quilt is from my brother and was an auction purchase. I have no dates on these quilts but suspect they are from 1930's or earlier, especially the red and white one. The pillow on the right was made by my mother when she was young and I made the heart pillow from a quilt block made by my mother-in-law.

This window seat provided a spot for quilts from the 1950's to 1970's. The colorful Nine Patch on the bench and that wonderful log cabin on the chair were made by my great Aunt Marian sometime in the 1950's. She gave them to my mother several years ago and I bought them from her when my folks held their auction in 2000. I made the two folded quilts. That yellow, green, paisely "could only have been made in the 70's" quilt was in fact made in the early 70's from the scraps left from shirts that I made for my husband. We lived in Dumont, New Jersey at the time and there was a little shop on Main Street that I loved to visit. I quit sewing shirts and pants years ago. The red, white, and blue patchwork quilt is made from scraps from clothing I made for me and daughter, Collette, and was made in the 1980's. The pillows were used on her bed when she was a kid. They look like new but the quilt is really worn and that's a fine thing!












I had prepared a handout with some quilting history for visitors to enjoy and when I pulled quilts to display, I realized that I was able to cover every decade from 1900 to 2000. These quilts are some I made in 2001. There were five in the series and while I designed them and pieced them, it was the machine quilting done by my friend, Sara Peterson, that really makes them shine. Just double-click on the pictures for a close-up view. I taught the series as a class in community ed but have never published the patterns. This winter I plan to make new samples, test my directions and publish the patterns for sale.



One gentleman asked what you would do with these quilts because they weren't very big and I said, "well, I use these as quilts on my dining room table and then put flowers in the center because it looks so pretty". Hmmm, that sounded just fine to him. :-)

The Flying Geese quilt and the Log Cabin quilt on the left were new quilts made this past year by Barb Miller of Henderson.

They were great examples of modern machine piecing and machine quilting.




I love crazy quilting and fancy fabrics! This piece on the table on the left is made from men's ties and would look best as a wall-hanging. Had I placed it better on the table it would actually not look to bad as a table topper. And then if Cathy, the head Librarian would give me that plant to set it on then I would have a very attractive addition to my own living room. Oops, I'm getting off track here...........back to the quilts.









One of the nicest features of this library is the fireplace which just gives the room a comfortable feel. I placed three quilts near it that border on being crazy quilts. The log cabin quilt on the right is from the quilt collection of the Sibley County Historical Society. The two by the fireplace are quilts that my dad bought and gave to me. I wrote about these quilts on my post Saturday night and you can find them here .



In the middle of the room , I placed a table and put four of my favorite quilts on it. I set up my Aunt Bell's old wooden ironing board and placed my mother-in-law Ora's quilt tops on it. The story on these quilt tops can be found here for the blue and white Jacob's Ladder and here for the Scrappy Jacob's Ladder and the Yellow Sunflower Dresden Plate quilt tops.


These four quilt tops have a story all their own and I think I will save it for another day this week.
In the background behind the center table, I placed these two old and worn quilts that are still fascinating when it comes to studying the variety of fabrics that is contained in each quilt.






These two beauties are also worn and were on loan from the Sibley County Historical Society. I am determined that one day I will recreate the blue applique quilt and maybe the red and green one, too.


That's the end of the tour for now. I have a library meeting to get ready for now so will have to "proofread" my posts later tonight. I had hoped to present these photos in a "slide show" but I have pretty much figured out that right now I cannot figure out how to set up a "slide show" on my blog. I am going to have to call in some help (like my son, maybe) to see if he can help me with this aspect. Oh, this technical stuff just isn't as much fun as it is to make and collect quilts!!!
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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