Saturday, August 30

"Catch-up time" for this Craaaaazzzzy quilter!

I have some serious "catching-up" to do. I am glad that summer is ending and fall is just around the corner as I seem to be better organized come fall. Maybe it's the whole "time to go back to school" thing and while I am way past "going back to school", I plan my projects around a "September to May" schedule!
This past summer was sooooooo busy that when I look back and think of all that took place, I can hardly believe it! Doesn't seem possible that it was just last weekend that I was preparing to take off for another trip home to Iowa for my mother's birthday. I'm still going to share her great day but I'll do that tomorrow. Once I got back from Iowa, there were things to be done - cleaning, laundry, some volunteer stuff, and then our Scott County Crazy Quilter's annual summer picnic was this past Thursday evening. The food was good as usual - salads and lots of fresh veggies from the garden and, delicious desserts! So, we ate a healthy meal and then topped it off with a sampling of all the desserts! Next came "show and tell" and new member Sherry had some lovely pieces that she had been working on to show us. And then there's our oldest member who is so young at heart and we all enjoy her company "sew" much!!

Meet Lois..........
I snapped her picture just as she said "oh, wait, let me take this pin out of my mouth" and she blinked. I should have checked the pic I took and could have taken another one but I didn't. I want you to meet her though because she is such a delight! Lois is only 93 and she joined our group in 2002. She hadn't been at the last couple of meetings so we were all interested in what she had been up to over the summer months. Her reply? "Oh, I've been sewing and knitting, and stuff.........and every day just gets better!" She has the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever met. She inspires the rest of us with her smile, her interests in family and church and volunteer work, and showing us her latest projects and being interested in what we're doing. Again, I say, she is such a delight!!

I managed to sneak in a few stitches on recreating the Redwork pincushion so that I can post the pattern but had another "catch-up" item on my "to do" list that came first. It's these fancy little packages with the white lace bows that you see on my dining room table. Some time ago, Leslie, on the Yahoo crazy quilt group that I am in, mentioned that she was planning a retreat. Sounded lovely, but the dates and the distance didn't work but I sent her an e-mail and asked if she would like a little favor for her guests. She replied "yes, how lovely" and I said I have so much stuff that I cannot use it in my lifetime so I must share (or something like that). Her retreat is in two weeks so yesterday afternoon, I finally pulled together the little favor goodies that she can give to each retreat attendee. I found that lovely glitzy tulle at JoAnn's and cut ten circles from it, then ten circles from black satin. I laid them all out on the floor and then added bits of fabric and trims, gathered the circles around the goodies and tied them with the lace bows. Now everyone will have a little something fun to use in their crazy quilting endeavors. I put them in the mail to her yesterday afternoon so I am "caught up" on my "crazy quilting to do list".
After that, I got down on my hands and knees - no, not praying at that moment - just washing the kitchen floor. I had vacuumed and dusted, done laundry, etc. the day before and so with the floors clean, my housework is "caught up"! Soon the laundry will be done (I know, this all starts over again in a few days) and next I am headed to the basement to put away the paints and supplies that Jacob and I used while working on our masterpieces when he was here visiting. We won't be getting back to them until later in September when he comes to visit. Then my husband and I are going to do some landscaping plans. We have planted no plants, trees, or bushes since moving into our new house so it is time to get the place "green". With all things "caught-up", I plan to spend the next two days of the holiday weekend in my sewing room. Off I go to finish the "catching up" and will be back tomorrow to tell you about the birthday celebration and my sewing projects. Plus I'll take a photo of the Mystery Goodie Basket and it's contents. I was planning to send it, too, yesterday but wanted to add a couple more items and couldn't squeeze that in before the post office closed. It'll be in the mail to Kathy on Tuesday plus a couple little goodies for Diane and Sue. Thanks, bloggers, for posting to my blog and allowing me to have so much fun when I have only just begun this blogging thing!!! Have a greeeeeaaaaaattt weekend!!!
P.S. Just for those who are crazy quilters ...... there is one extra favor that could be sent to you if you leave a comment and tell me why you like crazy quilting and then tell me what crazy quilt project you are working on now. I'll take comments through lucky Sept. 7 and will draw a winner that evening at 7:00 p.m. :-)

Tuesday, August 26

And the winner is.......

Kathy at Kela's world is the name that my husband drew from the well-mixed basket full of comments! I have sent her an e-mail and await her reply. Click here to check out her blog.
I decided to have my husband draw two extra names, for a couple of mini-runner-up baskets and they are Sue C. and Crafty Diane. I sent each of them an e-mail, too. I'm already thinking of another Giveaway I am planning for early October so stay tuned!
Sorry that I am a little late announcing the winner but I stayed a little longer at my mom's in Iowa than originally planned. Lots to share about the trip but it will have to wait til tomorrow.............

Saturday, August 23

On the road again.......

Just like Willy, I am "on the road again". Not off to any place fancy, though, just another trip home to Iowa. As I already mentioned, it's my mother's 80th birthday soon - Monday, August 25th to be exact. I am going down to celebrate with her. I will tell you more about the celebration after I return home. Kaiser, the beagle, is going along on this trip but my DH will be "holding down the fort" here while we are away.
I won't have any computer access for a few days so I won't be able to post again til Tuesday. And that means that I have to adjust the time of the drawing for the Mystery Giveaway Basket. I'm extending the deadline to leave a comment to Noon on Tuesday, August 26th. Then after I arrive home I'll have my DH do the honors and select the lucky winner. I will post it by 8:00 CST on Tuesday. So if you're reading this for the first time, add a comment here (or send me an e-mail) so that your name will go in the drawing!
Hope you all have a lovely weekend! Back soon...............

Wednesday, August 20

Pincushion finished!!!

Here it is, the finished pincushion. It pretty much looks like what I could see in my head but not quite. I will make another one and then post the pattern. The way I constructed this one was just a little difficult and someone trying to make it might get frustrated and toss the thing across the room like a football! I am in Redwork mode this week because I am thinking of my mother who taught me to sew and embroider. She will celebrate her 80th birthday this coming weekend. She has reached the point where she can't use any more fabric, or pincushions, or other pretties but I wanted to make something that says "my mother". And this is it! She loves to embroider and has done some lovely Redwork. She enjoys handwork and has shared it with friends and family. So this is called "Mary's Pincushion". Hope you enjoy it!

Seeing in Redwork, that is!

This is the design that was in my head as I posted last night. I quickly sketched it to paper and then this morning I started stitching. It's going to be a Redwork pincushion (for those who don't know what Redwork is, it is embroidery done in red floss or Perle cotton usually on white or ivory fabric). I finished this much by a little after noon and then I had to set it aside.

Had to take Kaiser the Beagle to the vet. Poor thing was also seeing red and looking pretty red/pink around the ears, etc. The vet diagnosed a severe allergy which explains why his skin is so red/pink around his ears and why he is scratching constantly, plus he has conjunctivitis which explains the red eyes. Last night, he barely slept and was constantly looking for a cool place to try to sleep. Come morning, I couldn't find him and he was under the bed. I knew then he was really sick. Dr. Rud gave him a cortisone shot and said he'll be better in 36 hours and ointment for his eyes. Whatever that stuff is it makes his eyes feel better and while he's not crazy about having me put it in his eyes, once there, he lets me massage it in. I think he's already better as he has finally slept for more than two hours at a time now.

As we returned from the vet, I passed some kids selling sweet corn outside their farm so stopped to buy a bag. Just four bucks for a baker's dozen of ears of corn and tomorrow night it will taste really good! Later on while out walking Kaiser, my neighbor Kathy (Hi! Kathy!) asked me if I wanted some tomatoes from her garden and perhaps some rhubarb cherry jam that might go well with the biscuits I featured in last night's blog post. I'm like, sure, and told her perhaps I'll have to bake her some biscuits and she said that was what she was hoping for. :-) So, next week, when I make up more biscuits, I'll also share Kathy's recipe for rhubarb cherry jam. It's going to taste really good with biscuits in the morning. Oh, and the tomatoes tasted might fine with the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches I fixed for supper tonight.
Time for bed. Just a wee bit on the tired side after having my grandson here for four days and then two nights of interrupted sleep because the dog was sick. Gotta get some rest so I can finish the pincushion tomorrow, plus a little cleaning and laundry are on tap for tomorrow. Back soon.............
P.S. The Mystery Giveaway Basket is filling up and, in fact, I had to switch baskets as the first one wouldn't hold all the things I am putting into it. Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail to leave your name and be entered in the drawing.

Monday, August 18

On a roll...........

I'm "on a roll" as the saying goes. Really enjoying the whole blogging thing as it is helping me get my thoughts organized. Plus, there's been just a hint of fall in the air and that is my favorite season and always gets me energized. So, last night I made a triple batch of homemade baking powder biscuits (a favorite of my husband's) and while I was rolling out the dough, I started thinking about all sorts of things. Mostly I was thinking how many years I've rolled out dough and all the cooking I've done. Don't get me wrong, though. I like to cook. Inside my recipe box there is a label that my son made when he was a little boy (he loved to punch out labels on the Dymo label maker). It says "Mom is the best cook". I'm glad he thought that because while I am a good cook I am not the best. You see , I'm not very good at following recipes. I'm sort of a "little bit of this and a little bit of that cook". Then when someone asks for the recipe, it's hard to tell them what was in the item. Sometimes I do write my recipes down but even then, I leave room for changes. It's the same way with quilting. I don't make many things from patterns as I like to start from scratch and just see what develops. When I finally started putting patterns together for some of my quilting, embroidery and penny rug projects, and then teaching the same, I always encourage students to use their own creativity and vary from the design they see on the pattern. Let your creative spirit soar. As my blog rolls along, I'll be offering a variety of free patterns, and at some point I'll add a link to my list of patterns for sale. But in the meantime, I am taking things one day at a time. So, with my planner in front of me, I was determined to lay out a plan to get myself organized. And to help my thought processes along, I sat down for breakfast this morning and enjoyed this..........

........... homemade baking powder biscuits! (The felt cupcake substitute didn't last long.) I added a dollop of vanilla yogurt in the middle and when you combined it all it was as close to clotted cream and scones as I could get here in Minnesota. I had never heard of clotted cream until I went along with my husband on a business trip to England in the 1990's. We had stopped at quaint little place in the country for tea and scones and then they brought out the clotted cream. It's loaded with all things that are bad for you, I'm sure, but oh, the taste is so good. And the taste of my biscuits with butter, strawberry jam and vanilla yogurt was a close second to the real thing. It put me in a good mood up until midday. That was when the cable guy had to come by because we're having problems with our phone and internet service. Then after he left, I realized our dog is sicker than I thought he was. He's been having what we thought we're allergy issues but then his breathing was labored and so I called the vet. Tomorrow we'll go off for a check-up and see if he needs an antibiotic for whatever it is that ails him. And I am thinking, didn't I already raise my children? And so there was no quilting or stitching of any kind going on today but after the dog gets home from the vet, it's my turn. I have an idea for a Redwork pincushion that is rolling around in my head and I've got to get it on paper and then I'm going to stitch it up tomorrow afternoon. We'll see what tomorrow holds and whether I can post about it or not. :-)

P.S. Here's the recipe for my biscuits. Makes one dozen really great biscuits.
Southern Roots Biscuits (so called because my mother is from Missouri and her sister-in-law Muriel made the best biscuits I have ever eaten!)
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (the baking soda adds to the golden color when biscuits are baked)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (recommend that you use Butter Flavor Crisco)
3/4 cup whole milk
Stir together the dry ingredients, then cut in shortening with a pastry blender (this works best but you could use a knife) until crumbly.
Next, make a well in center of this mixture and pour in milk. Mix just until ingredients are blended and dough almost forms a ball.
Place dough on a floured surface (I use waxed paper or parchment paper with flour sprinkled on it). Flatten just a bit, then fold dough in half and then fold dough in half again. Place on floured surface and sprinkle lightly with flour and roll to approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness. Using donut cutter, you should be able to cut at least nine biscuits. Place on cookie sheet. Gather up leftover dough bits and roll and cut to get the remaining three biscuits. Or you can use these leftover bits and just bake the odd-shaped pieces to use in chicken noodle soup where they will taste just like dumplings!
Bake at 425 to 450 degrees for 8-9 minutes or until golden. Every oven is different so judge accordingly.
Hope this works well for you!

Sunday, August 17

It was a "beary" good time!

It is quiet tonight and all the toys and books that come with a grandson have been put away. After being here for four days, our grandson, Jacob, went back home with mom and dad. But while he was here, we had a "beary" good time. We are going to do our own blog with more pictures just for family but here is a sampling of the good times we had the past few days.

Here are some pictures that I promised in a previous post that feature "Brown Bear". Jacob said it looked like "Brown Bear" was "eyeing" my ice cream cone when we made a stop at Toody's Sweets and Treats on Main Street. The ice cream would mess up his fur so he decided to read the local newspaper, The Henderson Independent.
We made a quick stop at the grocery store where he picked out the bread for us and then we took him to the park next to City Hall. We took a picture of him on almost every piece of equipment on the playground. Jacob enjoyed it most when he was giving him a ride on the merry-go-round.
Then we came home to paint and work on our "masterpieces" and Jacob decided "Brown Bear" should join us. We were going to take him to the library yesterday but got busy and never made it there. Then this morning as we left church, Jacob reminded me that we were going to bring him to church and we had forgot him. We plan to do that next time he visits. We had a lot of goofy fun with this!

This last picture is my favorite. Jacob wanted to know if he could walk Kaiser, our beagle all by himself. Kaiser's a rather fiesty little dog and would be dragging you down the road if he saw a squirrel, rabbit, or someone else walking their dog. But as this photo shows, Kaiser was being a good dog and so, boy and dog were getting along just fine.
None of this has anything to do with quilting but it all adds to the joy of day-to-day living and makes it all worthwhile.
Time for a good night's sleep.......zzzzzzzzzzzz.....zzzzzz.......

Looks good enough to eat!

Here it is, the sweet little cupcake that I won on Mr. Monkeysuit's blog. Josie, maker of many lovely things made 51 assorted little felt cupcakes and offered this one in a drawing (you can find all 51 here). So, of course, I left a comment and said it looks "good enough to eat" and I hoped I would win. The next day I got the e-mail that I had won. Lucky me! When the package arrived there was also a sweet little strawberry, too. Now this might be just the thing to help me lose some weight because one look at these little things and I can taste the yellow cupcake and the creamy chocolate frosting topped off with that fresh little strawberry. Who needs the real thing? I sent my thanks to Josie but I repeat them here - Thank you so much!!!!

Saturday, August 16

A Happy Day ! - Final retreat photos!

It was a happy day for my grandson with more painting on his masterpiece (we will not get these finished this visit so posting will come later), computer games, time spent playing with the neighbor girl, and ending the evening at their house roasting hot dogs, marshmallows and making s'mores. Beautiful night here with just a hint of the fall weather that will soon be here. It was such a busy day that I am guessing he may sleep a little later in the morning. Let me rephrase that - I hope he sleeps a little later in the morning! I am not the spry young thing that I was when I was raising my kids!!
I tried to do some cleaning in my sewing room today and it did not work. It can wait til after Jacob goes home. There's always tomorrow! But right now, I am here to take you back a week to the final day of our retreat. If you have never gone on a retreat, I really urge you to try it. And if you can't find one happening in your area, then gather a few willing friends, find a suitable location, and create your own retreat. It really is easy and so enjoyable!! I've taught at area retreats and held my own so if you have any questions, I'd be glad to offer any help that I can.

One of the best things about a retreat is that usually someone else is doing the cooking. I cannot recall ever eating bad food at a retreat. And as most quilter's do, we also bring along our favorite chocolates and other snack items. Food is never an issue. We are smiling in this picture because we are so relaxed and have had such a good weekend. It flew by so fast, though! By now, you know who we are. This was early Sunday morning and Bonny fixed us some oatmeal that had raisins in it and yum, it was good!

We had time for some more sewing and a little show 'n tell. Laura started working on this runner the night before. This is what she got completed and now she must do the machine quilting and then add the petals and other pieces that will make it three-dimensional. I think she's thinking "this was so much more putsy than I thought it would be!" And the next thought is - "but it will be worth it!"
Another great meal - brunch and the "eggstrada with ham" that Bonny made was so good. More fresh fruit, muffins and whole grain bread. And dessert was our choice of the left-overs from Saturday. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Here's Stephanie with another top that she finished. This one if from a class by Jane Hall. The blocks were sewn before she got to the retreat and she just had to sew them together. I love it!
And ta da!!!! I finished my third and final quilt top just before brunch. The two on the wall are identical and the one I am holding has one block that is different. Here's a challenge that just occurred to me - to the first one who posts what the difference is in the quilts, I will send the patterns for the twelve blocks I made. Post a comment here or send me an e-mail at I designed the blocks for a group at my church called Hearthside Quilters and plan to offer it as a BOM starting on my blog this November.

Sharon is holding her "Dick and Jane" quilt that she made last year. Sara Peterson machine quilted it and Sharon liked Laura's striped bias binding so much she decided she wanted to do that on her quilt. Then she realized she didn't have quite enough fabric, but then Bonny came to the rescue. She went into her closet of fabrics and patterns and came out with a bag full of Dick and Jane fabrics and there was just the piece that Sharon needed. Perfect ending!

We hated to pack up and leave but as with all good things, they must come to an end. And this is the end of my post for tonight but I have saved a good thing for last! This is the pincushion I started late last Saturday night. I had glued the stuffed pincushion part and needed to let it dry overnight. But right after breakfast on Sunday morning, I was anxious to add the finishing touches. All the lace trims came out of the super box of trims from the thrift shop and the little pink flowers were a clearance find at JoAnn's. I just love it and it looks so pretty in my pink bedroom. Kind of looks like a fancy little cake. The pretty doily that it is sitting on was made by my mother many, many years ago. Both things just make me smile!!!

P.S. A little smile package came in the mail today. It was the tiny felt cupcake that I won from Mr. Monkeysuit's blog. The day got too busy and I didn't get a picture loaded but I will share on tomorrow. It is so sweet. I had a happy day, too!
A little update: Gretchen and Sue H. (please e-mail me with your address, Sue, and I will send the patterns your way) both identified the "Churn Dash" or "Hole in the Barn Door" blocks (middle blocks in the bottom row of each quilt top) as the different blocks so I will send them both a set of the pattern pages. Those blocks ended up different because I cut them wrong! I decided to "make do" with the blocks in two of the tops. Then I corrected it in the one I will keep so that it matches the instruction sheets that I did and can be shown as a sample if I am doing a trunk show. One of those things that was an "oops" but it turned out all right in the end. :-)

Tootsie Roll Pop Challenge at Blue Nickel.....

As previously mentioned, I made a little quilt from Tootsie Roll Pop wrappers. This was "way out of my comfort zone" and so that is perhaps why I gave it a try. Click here to go to Blue Nickel Studios , then click on "Projects", and vote for your favorite little art quilt. There are prizes involved but truly, I just enjoyed the challenge of using candy wrappers to make it. Check it out. :-)

Friday, August 15

Busy creating masterpieces......and some more retreat photos...

My grandson is here visiting. We have been very busy having a very good time. Usually at this time of year I host a "Teddy Bear Picnic" at the library but this year due to some construction at the library and the family health issues, I opted not to do it. Wrong decision on my part! My grandson, who is nine, said "no Teddy Bear picnic! That's why I came!" Sooooooo, quick thinking on my part and we invited our neighbor and her daughter to our own little picnic. And then I came up with the idea to take "Brown Bear" everywhere we went yesterday and take his picture - at the bank, the grocery store, the playground and more. Jacob really got into it when he said the bear was "eyeing" my ice cream cone. Hee hee! Then this afternoon we took on a project - we got out canvas and paints and created masterpieces! It was fun but we're not quite finished so can't post pictures of what we did yet. We should finish tomorrow and we'll post them then.

In the meantime, here are some more pics from the retreat last weekend. Time goes so fast!

Lunch on Saturday! Aren't those napkin rings gorgeous?!! Our meal was a delicious Oriental Chicken Salad topped off with this divine Chocolate Pecan pie! It was sooooooooo good! And in case you are wondering, I got the okay from Bonny to post photos of our weekend at her wonderful retreat home.

We weren't wasting a minute of sewing time and got right back to our machines after lunch! We were sewing like crazy all through the afternoon and by dinnertime at 7:30, Stephanie had finished this spectacular Delectable Mountains quilt top. This was a project she took at a class from Debbie Caffrey in the Chicago area. I only wish I could make something with that many triangles and have it look even half as good as Stephanie's quilt top does! Give me squares, though, and I can do just fine. I finished top number one of the three quilt tops I planned to complete. I laughed as I stitched the blocks together and told my friends that I can hear somebody saying many years from now when this quilt ends up in someone else's hands - "what was the woman who made this quilt thinking with all this mix of colors and prints?!" And if I could answer, I would say "it was all about choosing fabrics that reminded me of growing up with my brother and sister and since life is colorful and often 'mixed-up', well, then this quilt top is juuuuuuuuussssssst right!!"
Saturday evening dinner at Bonny's Quilt Haven is a "formal affair" - well, sort of. You see, Bonny's husband Don, serves dinner in formal attire. He is an excellent butler!!! And in real life, he's also an excellent farmer! Dinner that evening was a delicous (sorry I am using that word so often but it's true!) pasta dish with artichoke hearts and chicken, a recipe by Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries (her quilt shop, The Cotton Shop, is located on Main Street in Hutchinson - Bonny's Quilt Haven is only a few miles from the shop).
Laura was taking pictures but here we are seated at another beautifully decorated table and awaiting that wonderful meal! From left to right - Stephanie, me, Don and Bonny (on their knees to fit the picture!), Sharon, and Arlis. And for dessert that night....................
we moved to the patio in the backyard where the sun was just beginning to set and so it was a lovely, warm summer evening. Our butler served up coffee and Bonny's divine chocolate and peanut butter concoction with whipped cream on top. See Arlis saying "oooohhh, this is soooooooo good!!!"

We probably needed a walk around the block (something Stephanie did earlier in the day) after all that good food, but instead we headed right back to our sewing machines! Here's Sharon with her dainty Redwork Fairies quilt top. She found the designs in a coloring book and had stitched all the blocks before she got to the retreat (well, except one that she hadn't quite finished). The red and white print blocks are left-over fabric from a king-size quilt she made a few years ago for a library quilt show project. Double-click on the photo to get a closer view.

Laura has a friend who's expecting a baby so she was working on this great, colorful baby quilt. She did a bias binding with some striped fabric that really added to the pizazz of the quilt! Then she started working on a fused swan and water lily runner that was a little more challenging and was not so fun at first. It's going to turn out great, though, and I'll post that pic next time.

I kept stitching until I finished the second of my three quilt tops around midnight, and then I decided I had to focus on something different. Enter the box of lace..................

It's just an ordinary box of lace and then again it's not. I found it at the thrift shop that is only a couple shops north of The Cotton Shop. I stopped there before I joined everybody for dinner on Friday evening. We found the shop the first year we went to Bonny's. There's a little story that goes with it. - - Since it was summer we had all packed clothes for warm weather but we found that we were too cool as we sewed. We all picked up a sweater or sweatshirt at the thrift shop that year. Bonny has laughed every year over the fact that we went out and bought things to keep us warm instead of asking her to turn down the air-conditioning! I wore the little white sweater I found until I wore out the elbows and then had to add checked patches to the elbows to give it continued life! Shortly after I arrived this time, Bonny asked if I had brought my "lucky sweater" and I realized that not only had I forgotten my p.j.'s, I was missing my sweater, too! Anyway, it's more of a story we enjoy than one you all care about but if you're in Hutchinson don't miss a stop at that little thrift shop. This time around, I found a white glass compote to make into a pincushion, a little basket, some blanket binding and this box full of lace. When I pulled it off the shelf, I figured each piece of lace would be priced individually but the box was taped shut and marked "no discount $2.00". I couldn't believe it! Took it to the front counter and asked the ladies if that was right. It was and I bought it on the spot. It's full of lovely laces, some old, some new and they will be great in my crazy quilting and pincushion projects. And that's just what I did with some of the lace! I made a stop at JoAnn's and found a white, pink and silver striped fabric that would be perfect in this concoction I could see in my head. So, after everyone went off to bed for the night, I started working on the pincushion. I stopped at 2:00 a.m. with the piece almost finished and knew that come morning, I could finish the pincushion and the last quilt top. And sure enough, I did. Photos will be in my next post.
And back to the present ------- it's time to get to bed now so I can rise early with my grandson and finish our masterpieces. Toodle-ooh!

Wednesday, August 13

Retreat Day Two and pretty flowers, too!

Before I tell you about Day Two of our retreat, I have to share this picture of the beautiful bouquet that graced the table at my friend, Joanie's, for our Bible study group yesterday. These are all flowers and grasses from her gardens - and she has many gardens!!! In a few days, I'll share some more pictures that show just what a green thumb this woman has!! We are cooking up a plan to share our creative passions in a project that would combine my quilts, old and new, and Joanie's florals, fresh and artificial. And that's all I can tell you about that right now, so just imagine you have been sent this bouquet and take a deep breath and smell how sweet it is!!!

When I got home from Joanie's, I felt so energized that I finally got to some organized house cleaning and laundry. The "dust bunnies" were washed from the corners of the kitchen floor and the mountain of laundry (that's the part of going away that doesn't go away - laundry is still there when you get home) is now just a small hill. :-) In addition to flowers, Joanie had fresh huge tomatoes to share with all of us. We enjoyed them on hamburgers for supper and there is nothing quite so good as fresh tomatoes. Or at least until, I fix some of the sweet corn that is available now at roadside stands. I love summer for it's fresh produce because in a few months it'll be back to whatever is trucked in from the coast.

I had planned to post Retreat Day Two after supper but earlier in the day I had begun a little challenge that involved creating a tiny quilt from Tootsie Roll Pop wrappers. It was so much fun that I started working on it again and just kept working until it was finished. The photo of the little quilt will be posted on Blue Nickle Studios site on Friday. I'll post the link the same day.

Then today I pulled together a packet of 24 of my pincushion patterns that I sent off to Gudrun's World for quilters who lost items in the Iowa flooding. I don't even like to think about how I would feel if I lost my stash, my quilts, and all that goes with it! I picked up my grandson who will be here for the next few days and we enjoyed supper at his choice - Dairy Queen. There's a bit of calm now so here are the pics from the morning of Day Two.

One of the special things about Bonny's Retreat is that it is small and intimate. There are accomodations for eight (five is the minimum) and it is like stepping into another world as Bonny prepares special dishes and then serves them up on different dishes at every meal! It is too much fun! Here's what our breakfast table looked like. We dined on fresh fruit and a delicious french toast dish with syrup and I cannot remember the name but I can remember the taste. Excellent!

After breakfast, it was time to get down to work. Having "slept on the layout" of my blocks, I knew I didn't like the way they looked. So I asked the gals for help. Stephanie suggested I put the blocks with red and navy on them in the middle and I would get a better balance. It worked! I moved a couple other blocks to finish the "balancing act" and got busy sewing the strips.

Notice that the clock behind me says 10:30 a.m. and I have begun sewing the blocks together. Notice also that my sewing area is totally cluttered and looks like I have been there a week and I haven't even been there for 24 hours at this point! I have realized that I cannot sew unless I have clutter. Are any of the rest of you like this?

By the time we ate lunch at 1:00 p.m. I had finished sewing all the blocks into rows - enough to make those three quilt tops. You may remember that I posted about doing the embroidery on the animal and flower blocks a few weeks ago and mentioned that I was making three quilt tops - one for me, one for my sister and one for my brother. That first year I came to Bonny's, I cut enough blocks to make four quilt tops. I gave one set to my daughter, Collette, and she is about half done with her blocks, because, like me, she only works on them at retreats. The second year, I began sewing the blocks together and each year I finished a few more. Last year, I finally finished all the blocks except for the bit of embroidery. I was determined to get those tops sewn together this year. So, did I get them done? Wait and see.
More pictures of our sewing projects tomorrow after Jacob and I do some picnicing or painting or whatever we decide to fill the day with.

A little note for those of you who may want to leave comments and have difficulty with the Google sign-up - I have set up an e-mail address where you can leave comments, complaints, suggestions, etc. for my blog. So, if you want to sign up for the Giveaway (more items were added today) and have not been able to, please send me an e-mail with your name and I'll toss it in the bucket. I am not sure how other bloggers do their drawings but I am throwing all the names in a bucket and will have my husband draw the lucky winner. The new e-mail address is
Have a good day!!

Tuesday, August 12

First night at the Retreat.......

This was the sixth year in a row that Laura, Sharon and I have gone to Bonny's Quilt Haven in August. We added Stephanie and Arlis joined us a couple of years ago. To say we have a wonderful time is putting it mildly. Bonny's Quilt Haven is an experience! It's like the Ritz of Quilting Retreats as far as I am concerned!

However, before we arrived at Bonny's we met for dinner at our "usual" place - McCormick's Restaurant. We wondered if we should bother eating as the food at Bonny's is so good, we probably didn't need to eat. And there is always a really good snack on Friday nights! We ate anyway and enjoyed the conversation as we hadn't seen each other in quite some time.

After we arrived at Bonny's, everybody headed to their rooms and dumped their suitcases and then out to the sewing room to begin working on projects!! Here's Arlis working on some applique blocks. It was a pattern in Better Homes and Gardens Patchwork Quilting from last Spring. It's going to be gorgeous when she gets it finished.

Laura jumped right in and began machine-quilting a baby quilt thatshe is making for some friends. She was a woman on a mission as she worked on this quilt.

We all enjoyed a tasty snack that Bonny brought us - carmelized Cheerios and nuts that was still warm from the oven. Yummy!

Stephanie (Laura's sister-in-law) had completed the colorful blocks you see on the table prior to our retreat. She began to assemble them as soon as she was set up and stitching.

Sharon loves to do Redwork. She had completed a series of fairies done in Redwork and her first project was to sew some scrappy red print blocks that would connect her Redwork blocks.

Then there's my project. I have spent the last five retreats at Bonny's making the blocks you can see in the photo below. There's more to the story than just those twelve blocks. That story will come in my next post. First, I need to tell you that if you are going to a retreat, make sure you don't forget anything. I was so excited to go that I started packing three days before I was to leave. I was sure I hadn't forgotten a thing. I brought all my quilting stuff and more projects and fabric than I could sew in a year. So, after we arrived and our bags were put in our rooms and we had set up our machines, I was ready to get comfortable - it was p.j.'s time!!! I went to my suitcase to get out my comfy p.j.'s and, holy cow, I had forgotten to pack them. This was not good! Bonny came to my rescue with the pretty blue p.j.'s I'm wearing in the picture. Thanks goodness!

I wanted to finish a project before I started sewing the 30's blocks together, so I made a set of pillowcases to donate to the Sew and Share flood relief project. I really liked the balloon fabric and wanted to see what it would look like sewn up into pillowcases. When they were done, I put my 30's blocks up on the wall so I could move them around and see which lay-out looked best. I decided to "sleep on this layout" and play with it in the morning.

Speaking of sleeping, this was my bed. It was so pretty, though, that I hated to mess it up by sleeping in it! But sleep I did and "like a log" just like the rest of the group. Time for some sleep now and although it won't be quite the comfy experience as at Bonny's, it will suffice. Tune in tomorrow to see what we finished on Saturday and hear about the food!!!

Monday, August 11

Filling the Mystery Giveaway Basket.......

I have added more goodies to the Mystery Giveaway Basket that I am offering. To enter your name in the drawing, just leave a comment on this post or the original one posted on July 30th for the Giveaway. This past weekend I spent my time working on projects with my 30's fabrics, so picture this - there is a whole bundle of 30's prints that have been placed in the giveaway basket, plus a couple of other fun items. There will be a little bit of everything in this basket. I am having fun preparing it as I miss not making up the doorprizes that I used to offer when I held my block-of-the-month projects at the church (we moved so don't offer this anymore) and so this is my substitute. :-)

I want to post some photos of the retreat and will still get to that today. We are having some "interrupted service" on our phone/cable/internet system and I think it must be due to the storms to the north of us. I don't want to be in the middle of loading photos and lose it all, so will wait til later and the storms have passed. The rain is much needed for the crops and if we are lucky more rain will fall tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10

Miles of smiles............

These are the smiling faces of five friends who have just a spent a wonderful quilting weekend at Bonny's Quilt Haven! We had such a great time but the time flew by too, too fast! I am still not unpacked but there's always tomorrow. Check back later in the day and I'll post pictures of the projects we worked on and more. Gotta get some sleep now to make up for lost zzzzz's this weekend!

From left to right- Sharon, me, Laura, Arlis, and Stephanie

Friday, August 8

Ready! Set! Retreat!

I am packed and ready to leave for our weekend retreat at Bonny's Quilt Haven! Before I go, though, wanted to share the pics of the “Tuesday Crazy” gals cutting out the pieces for their “One Block Wonder” quilts. I learned of this cool project on Mark Lipinski’s Quilter’s Home Yahoo group. He calls the members his Pickle Posse. Well, last winter a lot of the Pickles began talking about making an “OBW” and I hadn’t the faintest idea what they were talking about. They posted some photos of fabric they planned to use and how it looked when it was cut and pieced. Then Denise, a local quilter brought one for display at the Jordan Library Quilt Show and I was hooked! I started looking for the book, One Block Wonder by Maxine Rosenthal, and found it at JoAnn’s (put my 40% off coupon to good use). The technique is similar to Stack ‘n Whack by Bethany Reynolds (and I’m still going to do one of those one day) and probably has it’s roots in some long-ago kaleidoscope quilt that would have had “fussy-cut” pieces. The possiblities are endless for a variety of designs.

Here are Sue and Pandora lining up and then pinning the layers and then cutting strips, then cutting triangles. As you can see, Sue picked a lovely fabric that is going to provide some really interesting designs. It will be quilt bold and colorful.
Carol picked a butterfly and dragonfly print that will be colorful and whimsical. (Double click on the pictures for close-ups.) It is fascinating to see the designs that unfold after you cut the triangles! My choice was an autumn fabric which Sue and I cut later on that night but I didn't take any pictures. I'll post the OBW when I finish it!!

As I have packed up to go the retreat this weekend, I have become painfully aware that I really do not need to purchase anymore fabric for the rest of my life! Considering that the stash I have is the product of 40 plus years and also includes a lot of fabric from my mother, plus some from a couple of friends who gave up quilting (one for knitting, the other due to health issues) and more, it would be impossible for me to use it up even if I live another 40 years. So, does this mean I will not buy anymore fabric? Well, of course not!! Fabric is like chocolate. You just can’t get enough of it!!
I have decided that the current GIVEAWAY that I am doing will not be my last. I can put together a different Giveaway two or three times a year so stay tuned to my blog!

Time to head out for our retreat weekend. I am so looking forward to what has become an annual ritual with good friends Sharon, Laura, Arlis and Stephanie. There’ll be pictures and fun stuff to share when I return. Leaving the dog home with my hubby and with the cupboards well-stocked and with plenty of projects that my husband plans to do, they will not even miss me!
Have a good weekend!!!

Thursday, August 7

Introducing "Tuesday Crazies"!

Here they are my "crazy quilting friends"!! We started out working on crazy quilting projects so that was what brought us together. We met on the first Tuesday of the month and pretty soon I think it was Sue who dubbed us "Tuesday Crazies". Believe me when I say that when we get together we have a crazy time!
I can't recall when we first started meeting but I think it was about 4 or 5 years ago and it began by coming to my house once a month. Most of us were also crazy quilting once a month at the Scott County Historical Society on the 4th Thursday of the month. That was an evening meeting, though, and I also wanted to meet during the day. So we decided we would each bring a bag lunch and then when we were done eating, we would get out our stitching projects and enjoy an afternoon of stitching. We usually had a bit of "show 'n tell" and somebody always brought something sweet to eat. Then we decided to take turns and sometimes we would make soup or a hotdish to enhance the bag lunch. We had fun with Christmas exchanges and even when Sue and I moved away we decided to continue to meet. Last year we even met in the winter months and we have decided that just isn't smart with Minnesota's snow and ice. We'll miss our Christmas gathering but we drew names and will send off our special packages to each other in early December. This past Tuesday we met here at my house in spite of road construction that seems to be everywhere in Minnesota in the summer.
Drumroll and introductions...............
I took this picture from the upstairs landing looking down at the gal's admiring Kate's wool applique quilt. I will have to find out who the designer is as Pandora has also made the quilt. From left to right that's Sue, Pandora, Kate, and Carol.

Here's Carol (on the left) with her butterfly baby quilt. It was so sweet. When I moved from Prior Lake, the Prior Lake Quilter's used this pattern (again I will need to find out where the butterfly pattern is from) and presented me with about 40+ blocks stitched and signed by club members. If I stay on task, I may get the blocks sewn together by the end of August. This is the month for the Monarch butterflies to be flitting about so I decided it would be most appropriate to finish that project this month!!
Missing this day was our other member, Lori. She is the newest member of the group but caught the crazy quilting bug quickly and was stitching up blocks in no time at all!
Here is Jane (to the left) and while she is not a regular member of our group she usually joins us at the retreat I host at Villa Maria in Red Wing, MN which is in October this year. Jane and Pandora are long-time friends. The project that she is working on is a vintage triangle quilt that is sometimes known as a "Depression Quilt", not because it will make you depressed but because it was a frugal way to use flannel and cotton scraps during the Depression.

That's Adella in the picture below. She had just recently finished this quilt top and I love the way it looks like stained glass with the sun shining through it.

And on the left is Pandora with her first "One Block Wonder Quilt top". Since she had thoroughly studied the book and successfully made one, we deemed her the "expert" so she helped Sue cut fabric that she had chosen for a "One Block Wonder" quilt top. That turned out to be a lot of fun! Tomorrow, I'll post the photos of the "OBW" in progress.
Here's one final picture of the loveable bunch that are my "Tuesday Crazies" friends................

Pandora, Sue, Kate, Adella, and Carol..........couldn't ask for a better of bunch of "crazy" quilting friends!!

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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