Sunday, February 28

A visit to "Sew Close to Home" Quilt Retreat.......

This past Saturday, I took a 15 minute drive over to Emma Krumbee's AmericaInn in Belle Plaine, MN to visit friends at the "Sew Close to Home Quilt Retreat". It was a beautiful day with sun and the snow was melting! The retreat name comes from the fact that it's "sew close to home" for organizers Sandie, Gretchen and Pat. Let me introduce them to you......
Here's Sandie and we have known each other a loooooonnnng time! I realized recently that I have known her longer than all my other quilting friends and by at least a good ten years. She worked at a printing company that I took my copywork to when I was teaching workshops in miniature making (the stuff I made that goes in my miniature gift boxes).
Sandie learned to quilt at one of my classes in 1999. She would be the first to tell you that it took her the entire first session of a three part class just to finalize her fabric choices. While others were sewing the blocks together for the little placemat......yes, it was just a little placemat, Sandie spent a long time deciding on just the right fabrics. You would never know that she agonized so much over that first little project as she makes projects all the time now and doesn't get nearly so worried about the colors.

I love the colors and fabrics she chose for the quilt above. It's for a friend who is a helicopter pilot serving in Irag. Double-click on the photo and you can see that those are helicopters in the green fabric. It will be a lap quilt measuring about 54" square. :-)

Here's Gretchen piecing together some bluework Sunbonnet blocks. She had exciting news to share......well, at least exciting to me.......she has finished embroidering all the snowman blocks that I shared last year and the quilt top is finished and it's at the machine quilter's being quilted. I can't wait to see it!

In addition to coordinating the "Sew Close to Home" retreat Sandie, Gretchen and Pat also get together once a month or so and do a project together. We were all fascinated by this one. Their table runners are based on the TunaCanHexagonFlowersTutorial and all you have to do is click on that highlighted link and you can learn how they did this. Oh, one change, though. They used a lunch plate instead of a tuna can so that their hexagons would be bigger. That's an important point to tell you, isn't it?!!
This picture shows Gretchen and Pat with two cute bags. This is a pattern where Pat decided to change the size of this one, too. Gretchen made the pattern they used exactly as written. Pat doubled all the measurements and ended up with a very large bag! LOL! She said that it actually holds her small quilting frame so it has a purpose!
Notice how everyone is smiling? Quilting retreats just do that to ya!
And that includes Jan, who is smiling because she had just told me that she recently won these little vintage Dresden plate blocks at her quilt club meeting. There were about 30 blocks in the box and she plans to applique them on muslin.


Some of you may remember my friend, Sharon, from previous retreat photos. I have just asked her how many of these blocks she must make for the quilt she is working on. The pieces/strips are so tiny! There are a lot, a lot of blocks in the full size quilt she is making!
Stephanie was working on this quilt at the retreat we attended together last summer. With the sunlight shining through it, it almost looks like stained glass! It's ready now to be quilted.

Stephanie is probably the only who was at the retreat who does not live nearby. She came in from Chicago to join her sister-in-law Laura who is happily paper-piecing in this picture.

You can tell by the photo that those are very tiny paper pieced blocks! The bright flower-looking blocks were done by Stephanie.

The patterns are by Cindy Edgerton. Click here for more info on her patterns.
There's just one more photo to share................


Jan made this beautiful "cabin quilt". She loves to do "northwoods" type projects.
If you noticed the banner at the beginning of this post, you can see that they add the year each time the retreat is held. I taught at the retreat in 2005. Sandie asked for a design that was simple but fun. Same in 2006. Guests could choose to do the class or work on their own projects. One of these days, I'll get around to showing those quilts to you. :-) Now the gals just work on their own projects which is really fun because you see so much variety in the things that they are all working on. Evidence is in the photos!
That's it for now. I have been rearranging again in my sewing room. I think I have finally found the arrangement for my sewing machine, ironing board, etc. It's about time. We moved here four years ago and I just haven't quite found the arrangement that worked but it's looking so good that I started taking photos and will give you a peek as soon as it's all done. :-)
Sandi

Right up to the last minute.....

Yes, it's the last day in February so I am right up to the last minute in finishing the project for the OPAM challenge. More than three years ago, I found this little design over at PatternBee and about the same time, I found that flannel with all the mittens on it. The design is actually one of several blocks for a baby quilt but I saw it as a pillow. I embroidered the little kitties using wool floss and then added the flannel borders........and then it sat there in my pile of "PROJECTS IN PROGRESS"!! It was so close to being finished that I don't know why it took me so long to just "git 'er done". (Yes, my husband watches NASCAR!) Anyway, on Friday, I got out a pillow form and made the cording to go around the pillow top and stitched it along the pillow's edge. On Saturday, I added the backing and in no time, it was done............

And where are the kittens mittens? Mama has put them away as she thinks spring has arrived because it was sunny and in the 30's here today. LOL!!

And here is what the back of the pillow looks like. I did not need to use buttons or velcro for closure as the flannel sort of "sticks to itself". :-)
Here is the project, I'm going to finish for March. It's another pillow. Actually, there's another pillow similar to it and I'm going to finish it, too. And
then there are blocks for a tulip wallhanging and I am going to finish that, too. Even if we get another winter storm, the tulips will make me think that spring has arrived!
I visited some friends at a quilt retreat on Saturday afternoon and will have some photos to share in my next post. Have a lovely Sunday!
Sandi

Saturday, February 27

The final day of "Quilts in Bloom".......

As you have seen in the photos from Pandora's "Quilts in Bloom" show, she has beautiful gardens!! While I have mentioned that she has a "green thumb", it takes more than that to take care of all her lovely flora and fauna. :-) You can see her watering the plants "just right".........
She tends them so carefully, just like she does her family, her friends, and her two dogs. She had this wonderful idea to open up her yard and use it to raise funds so that others could be cared for and I think that is just lovely. I know, as do my quilting friends, that she is a treasure!
I had to take a picture of these lovely pink flowers as they reminded me of a little bush called "Flowering Almond" that grew outside our dining room window when I was a kid.

And this one made me think of an umbrella!

In addition to quilts on display, there was also a beautiful selection of original artwork.

I had wandered around in the backyard amongst the quilts for more almost two hours. Everytime I turned around, something new caught my eye. The quilts in these two photos, one above and one below, were all hung across the front yard.

And my favorite among them, is "Midnight Garden" on the left in the photo above. Pandora made this one, but friends Sue and Kate have also made it. I have started block one of this quilt but I reduced all the patterns so that I can make it in miniature.

That's the end of the quilts.......but I made one last stop at the table with all the jewelry. It was all just so lovely!

So, I promised that I would have info for you on the date for 2010 and here it is.....
"Quilts In Bloom"
June 12, 2010
9 AM-3 PM
Hopkins, MN
To see the video that has been prepared for this event just click here . Quilts in the background of the video are from the 2008 event.

I have really enjoyed sharing these photos! I was reminded what a lovely event it was and how it helped others. I think it even helped some of you get through this wintery weather. I know that it helped me to get through this very cold gloomy week. Tomorrow our temps are going to rise into the 30's and there will be sun!! Spring is coming, I just know it!!
Have a good weekend!
Sandi

Friday, February 26

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.....

Can you hear John Denver singing that line? Well, there was warm sunshine on everyone's shoulders during the day-long "Quilts in Bloom" event last June. If you are somewhere where it is cold and snowing, just think of that as you view more pictures from Pandora's garden......



You may remember that I noted in yesterday's post that Pandora and Crew strung clotheslines across her backyard to hang the quilts. And I said they used her real clothesline, too........and here it is in the photo above. Beautiful quilts lined both sides of the clothesline and at the end is one of my favorites...........
It's a snowman block of the month stitched and quilted by our friend, Sue.

Here's a view of the quilts on the other side of the clothesline.


And another pic of Pandora and Sue in front a very colorful quilt that just says "SUMMER"!

Snowmen quilts were allowed because they weren't real. LOL! Seriously, this is Minnesota where summer lasts only three months and winter lasts forever.....especially this year! Our friend, Kate, made this Redwork snowman quilt.

More quilts hanging on the line, blowing in the breeze. Sue made the star quilt and another friend, Carol, made the red and white quilt.

I loved these two quilts. The dresses quilt reminds me of my eighth grade graduation dress. Ah, memories..........

Just look at this idealic scene........ sunshine, quilts blowing in the wind, treats, beautiful music playing in the background, friends, gorgeous garden............I am soaking up the warmth just thinking about it!
Here's a close-up of the mosaic glass frames that decorate a spot in Pandora's garden. I want to try this in my garden.......that is when we finally plant a garden and some flowers. :-)


That's all for this time. I have just a few more photos to share in my next post and then this weeklong visit to Pandora's garden ends.
Have a good day!
Sandi

Thursday, February 25

You'll find no snow here......just more "Quilts in Bloom"!!

There may be snow outside your windows in many parts of the country but there is no snow in these pictures! Just imagine yourself here in Pandora's garden with the warmth of the sun and lots of colorful quilts to make you smile. And there is music playing!! Yes, Pat asked if there was someone that played music and the answer was "yes". This is Lisa at the keyboard and she plays so beautifully. She even did a request for me as I wanted to hear "Clair de Lune" and she very kindly obliged me. There was also a woman playing the violin earlier in the day. Truly, this is just a wonderful event!

I love that dragonfly quilt in the photo above (don't know who made it). I made the little quilt above that one. It's a Country Threads pattern and the words above the garden angels hat say....."I bring fresh showers for thirsting flowers". Thankfully there were no showers on this day.
I took pictures from different angles so this photo above is another view of the fence.......


and this view is along the back of the yard, just after you pass the fairy bridge. :-)


And here's another view of the purple quilt I liked so much. I love "Trip Around the World" quilts. Back in the 1980's I took my stash - at the time it was much smaller than it is now :-) - and I made six different, very colorful "Trip Around the World" quilts. Actually, I can't really call them quilts, as I made the quilt tops and then tied them so they weren't actually quilted. They worked quite well to keep one warm, though. :-)

Now this quilt is just awesome, wouldn't you say?!! It is definitely a work of art!

This one just made me smile because it's so bright and cheery!

Tucked in among her garden plants, Pandora has added some "garden works of art"........

If you double click on this photo above, you will see that the frames are done in a glass mosaic design. And the ones in the photo below are decorated with seashells that Pandora collects. It's just like the flowers are "framed" by the seashells!

Here's another unique way to display shells..........very clever, isn't it?!!Pandora and crew hang clotheslines across her backyard for hanging the quilts. And they use her clothesline, too, and those pics will come in the next post .

Our friend, Sue, is on the left and is chatting with friends and visitors. Sue helped Pandora set up along with lots of other helpers. Sue made the star quilt on the left and also the "One Block Wonder"quilt that is right next to it. The One-block Wonder quilts are from a book by Maxine Rosenthal. Our "Tuesday Crazies" group got together and we all cut out a quilt. Sue, Pandora and Carol finished their quilts. There are a couple of us with "one block wonders in progress".
:-) The fun thing about these quilts is that you use one fabric and then by following the instructions you find the pattern repeat and cut your shops and then sew it together. That sounds easy but it's not quite that easy. The results are quite stunning.
I have two more posts worth of pictures to share. I like stretching this out as it has been a gloomy cold week here. All I have to do is look at that sun glimmering on the green grass in that photo above and I can feel the warmth. Oh, spring, please come soon.............
All for now.
Sandi

Wednesday, February 24

More "Quilts in Bloom!"

I am glad that so many of you are enjoying this visit to Pandora's backyard garden. Some of you may live close enough to attend the event this coming June. When I finish posting the photos from last summer's event, I will give you the info for the "Quilts in Bloom" event for this June. Pandora is also happy that you are enjoying this little diversion from the cold weather. :-)
So here we go.....more quilts.............
Our friend, Sue, made this darling Monkey quilt and the sock monkey in a swing. Too cute, isn't it?!!

I mentioned yesterday that Pandora has a green thumb. Her backyard garden is beautiful and the plants inside her house are, too. I have almost no green thumb so this is heaven on earth when you are in her backyard!
Quilts lined the fence...........

and sometimes there were critters among the plants, too..........

You will see lots of big quilts in the next two posts, but my favorite quilts were these delightful little miniature quilts set among a miniature country scene in a corner of Pandora's garden. You can double-click on any of these photos for close-up views.

I think that little fairies must live in this garden. Can't you see them having a party here?

I can see the fairies dancing across this bridge........

and here's another view of the little quilts corner............

I decided to include a couple of large quilts for you and these were two of my favorites.......

This is a "One Block Wonder" quilt in the photo above and next to it was this beautiful applique quilt.
Everywhere you looked, there were quilts..........even on the trees!

Isn't that purple quilt gorgeous? And look at that green grass and all that bright sunshine!! Soon spring will come. In the meantime, keep sewing and I'll be back tomorrow with more quilts from Pandora's "Quilts in Bloom" show.
Have a good day!
Sandi
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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