Sunday, October 31

A Halloween greeting........

To all my friends who celebrate Halloween.......

Have a great night!!!

Friday, October 29

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Once again, Amy is hosting a Blogger's Quilt Festival during the week of Fall Quilt Market. Just go here and you will see the on-line festival of quilts at oh-so-many-wonderful-blogs!!!
I'm going to share one that I've shared before but it is a favorite. This is a quilt that I made for the youth area of the Prior Lake (MN) Library. I like it because I thought of my kids and their friends as I made the fall side of the quilt that you see here.......

and then again when I made the Spring side of the quilt. The quilt is reversible! It was a commissioned piece and it had to represent the library and the community of Prior Lake. I drew my sketches and then used fusible to iron all the pieces in place. Most of the fabrics are cotton, but I found knits and other fabrics in my stash that were perfect for the jeans, sweaters, rug, etc. The picture over the fireplace represents the lake that is the "heart" of the community where we used to live. Elements in the Fall side are things that were in our home and those in the Spring side are bits and pieces of places we would pass as we walked to the library. To read more of the story in my original post on this quilt just go here .
One day, I would like to recreate this quilt so that I can hang it in our new home. It is like a storybook of our visits to the library and the books the kids would read when they were young. If I ever make the quilt again, I will do one thing differently. I will do more machine quilting. At the time that I made the original, I was concentrating more on creating the scene.....almost like painting a picture and I did not think about how the fabric might sag over time. I should have known better. :-)
No progress to share on the current Halloween quilt that I am working on.....maybe on Saturday.....or Sunday. :-) Today, I did some decorating on our porch with lights and stuff so the Trick or Treaters will know that they can come to our door for some sweet treats. And tomorrow, I am meeting my friends, Laura and Sharon, for a day out with lunch and fabric shopping. I guess you could say it's our "Halloween treat"! :-)
Have a great weekend! I'll be back on Sunday for sure with a Halloween post!

Wednesday, October 27

The Halloween projects continue......

This is not a finished project but it's getting there. Two years ago, I made a set of Nanette's Christmas Cottages in Halloween fabrics. I finally sewed them into a quilt top this past Monday. I laid the quilt top on an orange tablecloth for the photo and it does not look good on the orange. Oh, well, I'm planning to bind the quilt in black and add some embellishments for pizazz.

The tutorial for her block design can be found here . It's a fun and easy project to do. The cottages go together quickly, although "fussy cutting" the scenes for the windows adds a teeny bit of extra time. I changed one little thing in the block....... I put the window in the center of each side of the cottage instead of right next to the door. You'll see what I mean when you check out her tutorial. I made a set of Christmas Cottages for the swap that Nanette coordinated ... go here to see them ... and you will see that they are made as shown in her tutorial. For all the cottages, Christmas and Halloween, I added rick rack or trim along the edges of the roof. It doesn't show up in the photo above. Really need to get a better photo for you all. When the top is finally quilted, I will add tiny pumpkin and spider buttons for door knobs. :-) I'm also planning to add a ghost or two after the machine quilting is done. This is all I'll do on this one for this Halloween season, as I don't plan to do the quilting til I get a new machine. I'm hoping that will be soon. :-)

This next photo is just fabric and I didn't turn it into a quilt but instead I made an apron from this fabric. It's almost all finished except for a bit of hand-stitching. I'll post a photo when it's done and that will be soon.....I want it done in time for me to wear it to cook up some witch's brew this weekend. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!
Before I get to any cooking, though, I'm going to stitch up this project that has been in the Halloween fabric pile for a couple years.

There are six preprinted blocks with different scenes and the coordinating border fabric that you see in the background. I'm not sure how I am going to piece this but I'll know by Friday. That's the deadline I set for myself to get this one sewn into a finished quilt top.
I may "scare up" a couple more projects before Halloween arrives on Sunday but once it's over.........the Halloween fabrics go back in the box until next year!
We have had a big wind storm that is still howling outside my sewing room window. This has been some storm that has hit the midwest. We are fortunate that it has just been wind here and no damage. I was happy that I did not have to go anywhere except downtown to the post office. Even walking the dog was interesting as I had to work hard at standing up when we were outside yesterday! Hopefully the winds will be gone by Thursday. Reality has set in ............ summer weather has been fully blown away, and even fall will soon be gone......those winds have been a sharp reminder that winter is just around the corner. That's plenty of projects to keep me busy through a long, cold, snowy Minnesota winter! :-)
Have a good day!

Monday, October 25

"What's on the line?"

Halloween fun is on the line today!! This is another photo that I took a few weeks ago when the weather was much warmer. That will be the case from now on. The weather here will not be good for outdoor photo sessions! Yesterday's weather was foggy and gloomy, so that was great for staying indoors and doing lots of sewing! Since this is Minnesota, it won't be long before the weather could be snowy!
The quilt is called "Boo-tiful Halloween" and is one of the twelve small quilts I made in 2000. It has loops and hangs from a tree branch when it's hung for Halloween. When I designed this little quilt, I thought of houses that we would pass when we were kids trick-or-treating in my hometown of Lehigh, Iowa. Granted, there were no tombstones in anyones back yard but I do remember spooky looking trees!!

There are two more little Halloween quilts to share...........
I just cut a group of patchwork shapes and stitched them together and then added some shapes that I sketched and cut from cotton (backed with fusible and ironed in place). I made two of these in 2000 - one for me and one for my daughter.
The year before that, I made this little sampler quilt. If you want to make one, too, you will find the pattern here . It's quick and easy. If you have any trouble printing the pages, just e-mail me for a pdf file.

I have never been fond of the color orange but when autumn rolls around, I love it. And for Halloween, I really like it!!! I was going to post a photo of the current orange themed Halloween project that I'm working on but I got so busy sewing that I never got to any picture taking. Maybe by tomorrow, I'll get a couple photos taken and show you what I worked on this past weekend.

Have a good Monday!

Saturday, October 23

A candy corn treat!!

Like so many of you, I love candy corn and especially when it's mixed with salted peanuts. I also just like the look of candy corn. I mean, it's, yellow,'s just plain bright and cheerful!!
I loved that candy corn fabric that my swap partner Cheryl used in the totebag swap and got lucky enough to find the same fabric at JoAnn's. And that's when I thought........oh, that would look so cute with that 'Happy Jack's" fabric (by Alexander Henry) if I made it up in Pat Sloan's blog hop pattern "Wishing Well"......and that's what I did..........
It turned out so cute, that I think it's sweet as candy corn! I know you're not supposed to "crow about things" but I just love how this turned out! I found the perfect flecked orange and some scraps of a perfect vintage yellow in my stash and they look just like candy corn - almost good enough to eat! I love how this looks on my table and at Halloween, I'll replace the flowers with a big ceramic pumpkin filled with candy for the "Trick-or-Treating" kiddies.

I stitched this up last weekend. I was actually looking for fabrics for the tablerunner that I shared on my blog yesterday, when I got the idea to use these fabrics on Pat's pattern. It was super easy and I made it in just one afternoon/evening. The quilt is just "stitch in the ditch" because I wanted to see all these fabrics. Now if you want to make one, too, just pop over to Pat's blog and you will find a link on this post that will give you all the info on Pat's free patterns. Pat made her sample in a cottage rose print and come spring, I have some rosy-posy fabrics that would also look good in this lay-out. In the meantime, since Halloween will soon be over and Christmas is just around the corner.......I've pulled out the sweetest peppermint candy fabric that will be my 6-1/2" square on a Christmas themed table runner. When you see a post titled "A Peppermint Treat", you'll know it's finished!
I was going to show you an "in-progress" Halloween project but I have not really made much progress today. LOL! Some unplanned things called my name and I only got a wee bit of sewing done but that's okay because ....... tomorrow is just a day away. :-)
Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, October 22

"Sew Many Possibilities" = Halloween Table Runner!

I am really having fun stitching! Last night, I finished this table runner and I really like it because I love that polka dot fabric!!! I had one fat quarter of it that I bought in 2008 (it's an RJR fabric called "Halloween Night") and I wanted something that would really show it off. I chose not to do any quilting on the fabric because I wanted it to "pop". :-) The quilting is all "stitch in the ditch". The edges look more "wonky" in the photo than when you see the runner in person. Not sure why that is. Anyway, the design may seem a bit familiar. That's because it's a variation of my "Flowers for Mama" wallhanging (posted here ) and the tutorial that I shared here . This won't be the last variation of this pattern as I am going to make one for every month of the year and maybe even a Happy Birthday one, too. It's so fun and so simple to make.
If you check out the tutorial you will see that it is basically 2-1/2" strips that form the borders (29-1/2" long) and sashings (12" long), the side inserts must measure 5" x 12-1/2" and the center block is a 12-1/2" square. You can use any 12-1/2" block in the center of this table runner. You can also use any 9-1/2" block and just need to add 2" strips on all sides of the 9-1/2" block and you'll have a 12-1/2" block. Make sense? This is a great way to use "orphan blocks" and scraps. Charm squares and jelly roll scraps would be great for this project, too. I'm planning one with both options. Maybe I'll even do one with layer cakes. And for my readers who aren't quilters....a charm square is 5" square, jelly roll strips are 2" wide by the width of the fabric and a layer cake square is 10". And then, of course, you chop them all up til they make a new recipe. :-)
In case you want to make a Halloween runner similar to this's a refresher......
In the photo above, I have laid out the pieces of my runner.........the completed 12-1/2" center square and the 5" x 12-1/2" side strips. I placed my 2-1/2" strips around it to see if I liked the look of the black. I was also considering a fabric with more pattern and colors to it but it took away from the center block and the polka dots.
In the photo below you can see that I have sewn the center block and the polka dot side strips to the 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" black strips. Once that is stitched, you press it and then........
Sew the top and bottom strips in place, press again and you are ready to add batting and backing. Then you can "quilt as desired".
So, are you counting my finished projects? I am. That's two candlemats and a tablerunner finished in one week. I can't remember when I got that much done in one week! Ah, but there's more. Last week, I finished another tablerunner made from a Pat Sloan pattern and I'll show you that one on Saturday. I might also be able to show you the next Halloween project I'm working on if I continue stitching along at warp speed like I have been this week. LOL! Plus, I am hand-stitching a couple projects, too. I am on a "stitchin' roll!!!"
Have a great Friday!!!!

Thursday, October 21

Halloween Candlemats!

I've been sewing this last couple a weeks. I mean really sewing. I've cut down on my computer time and spent more time at my sewing machine. I've also spent time at my cutting table and have had a lot of fun with my fabric. I needed some sewing therapy really badly and I got it. Here are two results from my sewing fun...............
I know that some of you are participating in Michele's Quilting~Gallery swap. I designed the candlemat for her swap and had so much fun making the samples for the swap. With Halloween just around the corner, I decided I had to make one for a "candy dish mat". :-) I also wanted to simplify the project and that's what I did in the mat pictured in the photo above. If you compare the top candlemat to the original made from an "Adoring" charm pack from Moda (go here for the introduction post on the candlemat project), you can see these differences........
*I used only three fabrics in the candlemat pictured above.
*The narrow border that surrounds the center section is a solid color. I cut 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" strips instead of two 4-1/2" strips sewn together.
*Instead of 1-1/2" strip sets on each side of the mat, I cut a 2-1/2" x 8-1/2" strip for this section.
*I rounded the corners on the mat.
*I added rick-rack to the edge of the mat and then sewed the top, batting and backing together and then turned it inside out through a small opening on the edge of the mat. I slipstitched that opening and you can't really tell. I pressed the entire mat and then machine quilted it.

By simplifying the pieces involved, you can make a candlemat like this one in just a couple of hours. :-)

In the photo below, you'll see that this mat is very similar to the original mat. There are some differences........
*I used Halloween fabrics from my stash instead of a charm pack.
*I "fussy cut" the fabric that says "boo!" so that it would be on all the outside triangles of the center section.
*I used a single strip 1-1/2" x 8-1/2" of striped fabric for most of the border that surrounds the center section. For the corner sections of that border, I did some more "fussy cutting" and put a screaming ghost in the corner of each of the 3-1/2" corner squares.
The rest of the candlemat was made like the original. I machine quilted the piece and completed it in an afternoon of sewing time.
This mat will be for a Halloween pumpkin. They are both for me. :-) I signed up for the swap and have to make the candlemat for my partner but it won't be in Halloween fabrics. I can't tell you what fabrics I'll be using, though, as if she were to read my blog, she would know that I am her partner. It's got to kept a secret!! I won't be able to show the mat I make for her until after she receives it. I'll be making her candlemat next week and then I'm going to start on some as gifts for friends. Some will be Autumn Harvest themed and some will be in Christmas prints. I've pulled fabric for them and can hardly wait to start them. That's for next week. This week I am still sewing Halloween. Tomorrow, I have a Halloween table runner to share, one you can make quickly from stash and scraps. Plus there is other fun stuff I am stitching so that I can make my dining room/entry "boo-tiful" for the trick or treating kiddies. :-)
I am really enjoying this sewing fun!!! Back to the sewing machine for more therapy!


Wednesday, October 20

Wooly Pincushion Swap...........

I'm participating in a "Wooly Pincushion Swap" that Brenda over at Pumpkin~Patch~Primitives has organized. You may remember that my pincushion base has a stalk of corn on it. There have been other items added to it as it has passed between stitcher's in this Pincushion Round Robin. It's on it's last stop and then will wing it's way home to me. This one below arrived at my house just before my retreat. Aren't those snowmen cute?
This is Michelle's pincushion base and you can see that winter is her theme. She stitched the snowmen to get the winter theme started. I am stitching a little something on here that reminds me of winter. Earlier tonight I felt like I could have used a pair of them while I was stitching. That's a hint. LOL!! We haven't turned the heat on yet but I think the time is coming soon. Anyway, when I finish what I am stitching on this piece, I'll show it to Michelle first and then share with all of you. Check out Michelle's blog here and also, her website Rocking~Chair~Stitches.

With the weather getting cooler, my thoughts are really returning to wool projects. I find that I just cannot get motivated to work with wool when it's hot out. I really try but it just does not work for me. Going to be plenty cool really soon here and it will stay that way for many months!!
Thinking of wool projects, I was reminded to get out two of my favorites that are perfect for this time of the year. They are both the same design and can be found in the Better Homes and Gardens pattern booklet Folk-Art Quilts. I think the booklet is out-of-print. There is no date in the booklet but I think I bought it in 2002. The design is by Melissa Young and Karen Fahel of CrazyFolk (I would provide a link but I have searched and cannot find one). The pillow is made from wool and the wall-hanging with the twig frame is made from woolfelt. The pillow was a blue ribbon winner at the county fair a few years ago. I remember it not so much because of the ribbon but because of a little boy who really liked the pillow and picked it up and walked away with it. It was really funny! The ladies who were watching the exhibits had him put it back so no harm done. :-)
I'm meeting my good friend, Barb, for lunch today. She is not a quilter but she appreciates quilting and she faithfully reads my blog. :-) We worked together many moons ago as teacher's aides at an elementary school. Plus our kids went to school together. We'll have a great time catching up. We'll have a great day and I hope you do, too!!

Tuesday, October 19

Halloween Tote Bag Swap!

Way back in August, I signed up for the Halloween Tote Bag swap over at Aunt~Pitty~Pat's blog. I thought it was about time that I showed you the really neat totebag that I received and also what I sent to my partner. My partner was Cheryl in Virginia and she made the neatest totebag. I've actually used it as a purse. She machine quilted spider webs on it and that gave me the idea to do that on a tablerunner I'm working on. :-) There are two pockets on the front and lots of room inside!!

We had to send goodies with our totebag......3 fat quarters, some sweet treats, a Halloween gift item and a spool of thread. I've already used the fat quarter with the bats on it and have plans for the Halloween cat fabric. My grandson loved the candy and I am going to use my cookie cutter for some pumpkin cookies at Halloween. Thanks so much Cheryl for a boo-tiful totebag swap!!

Here is the bag I made for Cheryl............
I love this pumpkin fabric called "Happy Jacks" from Alexander Henry. Then I found the "Boo!" fabric and it was perfect.

The photo on the right is taken just before I sewed the handles in place. This is a fun and easy totebag to make and I plan to do a tutorial on it come Spring. Yes, that may seem a long time away but there is good reason for that. The time will be right for this come spring. :-)

I tucked in three fat quarters, some packs of needles, the spool of thread and some Halloween buttons...........and then...........
I folded the bag very nicely and placed it on top of those goodies .........and added some sweet treats. I got lucky......Cheryl said Mallo Cups are her favorite and I had no way of knowing that. I just remembered that they were a favorite of mine when I was a kid so when I saw them at the store, I had to put them in her package. :-) She liked her totebag, too, so we were both very happy swap partners.
She doesn't know it but she almost got this totebag ...........
It's not easy to tell from the photos but this one is about twice the size of the one I sent her. You see, this is the first totebag I was making for her and I just started cutting fabric and stitching. I knew what I wanted to make but I was kind of doing two things at once and it didn't work. At the time I working on this, my husband was trying to solve some computer problems for me so my mind was divided between answering his questions and also trying to be at my sewing machine.
The bag we made was to be at least 13" or more in size. I was planning one about 15" and then just as I got ready to sew up the sides, I realized that I had sewn in double side panels and the bag was way bigger than I wanted. I promptly set it aside and started a new bag and finished it in time to send it off before the swap due date! I kept the large bag for me as it will hold alot and worked great to fill with goodies for my recent trip to Iowa.
Obviously, you can now see that my bag project needs a little work before I post that tutorial. LOL! There is a prototype already laid out and I'll work out the "challenges" on that one and then make another one before I finally post the tutorial. In the meantime, I am working on some wooly things and a couple of tablerunners that you might enjoy seeing. Wooly stuff is coming up tomorrow. See you then!

Monday, October 18

"What's on the line?"

"Autumn Leaves" are on the line today. I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when there actually were autumn leaves on the trees. Had I actually taken it today, the trees are almost bare. A great deal of the leaves have fallen from the trees and soon the wind will take the rest of them and blow them into the woods.
I love the fall leaves and so I made this table topper or wallhanging to celebrate autumn and it's colorful foliage. This quilt was made in 2003. I designed it, stitched it and my friend, Sara Peterson did the machine quilting. She used a variegated thread that really adds to the quilting design.
The design for the quilt came from little sketches I did when I used to work fulltime. :-) I was often on the phone with customers but would be put "on hold" and so I would "doodle" while I waited. I "doodled" a series of five quilts that are all about the same size - approximately 36" square. Once again, this was a project that I shared with my friends at church (I also taught it as a community education class). This is the project that I made reference to a couple of weeks ago as a "Mystery Series" that I taught. Some of my friends thought we should do a mystery quilt series, so I told them I had designed some small quilts that might work well for mystery projects. The first one was called "Winter Star" and you'll see it in December. The second was "Hearts in the Pines" and you'll see it in November. The spring version is "Spring Wreath" and then for summer comes "Patriotic Pinwheel". I had stitched them and knew what they looked like. I gave clues to what type of fabric to buy regarding lights, darks, prints, etc. However, the one thing about mystery quilts is that sometimes you might have chosen a different fabric and ended up with a quilt that you like a lot more. And that is exactly the case for most of the quilts my friends made. Granted some turned out just right, but others not so sweet. After this series, none of us were interested in any more mystery quilt projects. I have never put these patterns into "pattern format" but my friend, Marianne, is going to "test" my instructions so that I can make that happen. I'll be sure and keep you posted on progress on this project. :-)

A little over a week ago when I was home visiting my mother, there were signs of autumn every where you looked.......trees turning colors, harvesting in the fields, hay bales being put up for the long winter, and the sun going down earlier every day. On that Saturday after we had spent the afternoon shopping, we decided to spend our evening at the McQuire Bend United Brethren Church Supper and Bazaar. It's a little country church that was founded in 1890 and still serves an active congregation. It's a very pretty, very peaceful setting. Many of my family members attended church here in the 1940's and earlier.
As we arrived, folks were pulling into the parking lot in anticipation of a good meal. That young man on the steps is anxiously waiting for his cousins to arrive.
The food smelled delicious. Is there anything better than food at a church supper? In my book, it is the best. There was homemade vegetable beef soup or chili, and beefburgers and, of course, PIE! That's a piece of really fine coconut pie that I had after I ate the nutritious stuff. :-) And for those who were still hungry, there were baked goods that were auctioned off after dinner was over..........

We didn't stay for the auction, as it didn't start til 7:00 p.m . and it is hard for my mom to get around and she doesn't like to be out after dark. But we took a look at all the pretty things that others were going to be taking home............

In the photo above you can look down the table one way............ and in the photo below you can look at it all from the other direction. There were so many sweet things. My favorite were these dishtowel sets! I especially liked the ones on the left.
And the crocheted doilies were just exquisite!! Double-click on the photo below and you can see the detail of some of them.

I also really liked this crocheted angel...........and if there was an item that I really wanted to stay and bid on, it was this rose quilt. It was one of three vintage quilts included in the auction. I wonder who went home with that quilt?
My mom heard that the church group did really well on their supper and bazaar proceeds. As I said earlier, this is a country church but it is an active church. If you want to know more about worship times, just go here.

Behind the church lies the cemetary. I took this photo just as we were leaving and the sun was going down.
Before we ate our meal, I had gone into the cemetary with fall flowers that my mother had bought for the headstones of family members. This is where my grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents are all at rest. I remember coming here as a child with my grandma. That was back when Memorial Day was called Decoration Day and was all about honoring those who had passed away. As we all know, Memorial Day has become more of a holiday than a day of remembrance. This is not the church that I attended as a child but I did come to church picnics and programs here as it was a "sister church" to our congregation, the Lehigh United Brethren Church. That church closed many years ago but fortunately this one survives. :-)
So, one last photo.........did the cousins ever arrive for that little guy sitting on the steps? Yes, they did because as we were leaving, I snapped this photo of them climbing on the church sign. And where there are continues. :-)
Hope you all had a really good weekend. I had a good day of rest yesterday and I am ready to start a new week and a new day. Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 17

A sweet treat!!

That's the only way to describe my day yesterday! It was a real treat and no tricks even though Halloween is just around the corner. It all started with a call a few weeks ago, when I was asked if I would volunteer some time to "sit with some antique quilts" that were to be on display at the Stans~Museum in Shakopee, MN. The exhibited quilts were one of the events that would be included in the American~Quilt~Study~Group Seminar that took place in Bloomington, MN this week. All of the quilts are from the collection of Patricia Cox, well known quilter, author, designer, collector/caretaker of antique quilts, etc. It never even occurred to me to say no to this opportunity!!

Here is the Stans House where I spent the day and on the right, you see the smiling faces of the two new friends that I spent the day with .......Gail is seated and Jean is standing. We spent from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. together and never stopped talking. LOL! Yes, I think we are "new friends". Surrounding us as we talked were quilts of all sizes and patterns and fabrics from Pat's collection. We spent the day in the parlor where crazy quilts were on display. In the kitchen there were colorful patchwork quilts. In the dining room, there were many examples of log cabin quilts and other patterns stitched in silk and many with gorgeous stitching on them. When Pat came to pick up her quilts, I asked if I might take her picture and share a quilt or two on my blog. She graciously said "yes".
Be sure to double-click on these photos so you can see some of the details in the quilts. This is not the first time that I've seen Pat's quilts. She lives in the Twin Cities and teaches numerous classes and exhibits her quilts for others to enjoy. And speaking of "enjoy".......well, I thought it was fun to chat with Gail and Jean, and I was thrilled that pictures were allowed. I took a picture of all the quilts on display so I can enjoy seeing them all again (about 30 in the Stans House and another ten or so on display in the Stans Museum). However, the really interesting and enjoyable part came as the quilts had to be packed up. While Pat packed up her silk quilts, Jean and Gail were packing up the red and green quilts you see in the photo below...........
They were all sooooooooo beautiful. I was packing up the smaller ones in the kitchen and then got to help them fold the quilts in this room. A few ladies arrived to see the quilts as we were packing them and Pat began to share histories of the quilts. You had to be there, but it was just awesome to listen to her share the dates and stories of some of these quilts. You can find many of her quilts in various books that she has published. I have her book American Quilt Classics and if I had only been thinking, I would have brought it along and asked her to sign it. Sometimes good ideas just don't come until too late, don't they? Oh, well, I am just glad I got the opportunity to "sit with some antique quilts"!!!!
Oh, but wait............there's more.......because Pat shared more of her quilts and they were on display here............
This is Eagle~Creek~Quilt~Shop and another dozen or more of Pat's quilts were on display inside the shop. This was my favorite vignette. I loved the pink and yellow quilts displayed together and found the yellow one especially charming.
If you are in the Twin Cities area and you are reading this, I am sad to say that the quilt exhibit ended Saturday.
This is also the end of this post. I was going to share the Church supper and bazaar photos from last Saturday but that will have to wait til the next post. I'll include it in my "What's on the line?" post on Monday. I am taking today, Sunday, as a day of rest. My back is giving me some grief and I know that I've been on the road too much, carrying too many things and generally not being good to myself. Going to do that on Sunday.......just rest. Take time for yourself. It's good for the soul. :-) Have a lovely day!

Saturday, October 16

Three Retreat Friends and projects

Today, you will meet the last three friends from my recent retreat at Villa Maria in Frontenac, MN. I'll be honest.......the retreat weekend went so fast that it has been kind of fun to stretch out the photos and stories over the past two weeks. Makes it feel like it lasted longer. LOL!

This is Jane Fournier. She was one busy stitcher because she was on a mission to finish a quilt top for a grandbaby! There is nothing like a deadline to get us to finish projects. Right?!!

I met Jane in 2003 when she came to our February retreat. She loved Villa Maria as soon as she came in the front door. It reminded her of her college days and her first teaching assignment. And Jane didn't know it when she arrived that day in February but she was going to meet someone who had influenced her as a young teacher. Here's what happened........

In the lower hallway at Villa Maria, there are pictures of the buildings, the Villa's history and the Sisters/Nuns who have taught or served at Villa Maria. Jane noticed a familiar face and said that it was a Sister who had helped her during a hard time in her early teaching years. She wondered where she was now. Well, I knew immediately this was Sister Marian, a little sprite of a woman who will all enjoyed seeing each time we came to Villa Maria. So, in reply to Jane's thought.....I answered........"why that's Sister Marian and she lives here at Villa Maria." Jane couldn't believe it. She had to find her, so we went to the lobby and asked the receptionist where Sister Marian might be. She replied that she was over in the other building (Ursline Hall) looking at all the ladies quilts. Jane could not get out the door fast enough and I can still see the look on her face and Sister Marian's when they first saw each other. A big hug followed and for the rest of the weekend, the two were together as much as possible. It had been more than 30 years since they had seen each other but if you have ever had a teacher that impacted your life, you know the joy it is to visit with that person.

Jane and Sister Marian got to "reconnect" at more of my retreats but this year, we were missing her. Sister Marian passed away in 2008 but she lived a long and very active, very caring life. I can remember that she would come into the room where we would be sewing or crafting and often sit and stitch with us. One year, she made fourteen little woolfelt valentine heart pins for her Sisters who were in care facilities. She was such a sweetheart and is dearly missed. But isn't it wonderful that she and Jane got to know each in those last years of her life? I just love it when those kind of things happen. :-)

Next up is Gretchen Hughes. She is a retired teacher who now enjoys spending lots of time quilting. She makes lots of big quilts and makes lots of them for family. Lucky family!

I can't recall exactly where I met Gretchen but I think I initially met her because she and Sandy Chapman are good friends. Gretchen and Sandy both came to the quilt retreat at Villa Maria in February of 2003. I think it was that same year that they hosted their first "Sew Close to Home Retreat". They had a nationally known teacher the first couple years, and then in 2005, they asked if I would be the teacher for their retreat and would I please design a project that could be done in a weekend.......really and truly? So I did. :-) And in 2006, they asked me back again and I designed another quilt top that could really and truly be stitched up in one weekend. I've not shared either one yet on my blog but they will make an appearance after Christmas (if not before).
Gretchen enjoys piecing quilt tops but she is also great at embroidery. So is her sister, Bronwyn. Go here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the sweetest pillowcases she made when we all made quilts and things for Iowa flood victims. The quilt in the phot on the right is a Sunbonnet quilt that Gretchen made. She has also embroidered all the Snowmen blocks that I designed in 2009 and the quilt is finished! I drew all the designs but even I haven't finished embroidering them yet!!! She forgot to bring it so next time I see her, I'll get a picture of her and the Snowman quilt. I can't remember if she did the Angels or not. I'm having some major "Senior Moments" as I write this post!
And the last of the retreat guests is Pat Zoerb. I met Pat as she is a friend of Sandy and Gretchen and came to their "Sew Close to Home" retreats. She made both the quilts that I taught so when I finally pull out those pre-digital camera photos this winter, I can show you what some of those quilts look like!! In the photo below, Pat is really focused on machine quilting in rows. That's blue painter's tape that is marking her quilting "path". :-) Pat didn't have any show 'n tell to share but I wish I had taken a photo of her coordinated sewing machine cover and mat that she has for retreats. It was too, too cute. I need to make one, too. :-)
We always take a group picture on the front lawn of Villa Maria. Look at the happy faces of all of us......................
We look forward to returning again in the spring of 2012. We are going to "change things up a bit" and each of us will take a job and the retreat will become a "community effort". I have some back issues that I need to listen to and gotta quit carting so much stuff all over the countryside. LOL! Oh, but I love it but I am always game for a new plan and this will be fun. I'll still coordinate the room bookings so that will be my role in the "community effort". I'll share more on this as we go along, because I know that some of you might find it of interest if you are wanting to plan a retreat.

I have just two more photos to share. Remember the gorgeous tree I shared in my first post about Villa Maria? Well, that one was taken on Saturday and this one was taken on Sunday, just before we packed up to return home. Isn't it gorgeous?
A professional photographer arrived while we were loading stuff in my car and she took shots of the tree from all angles. It was my daughter, Collette, who noticed some ladies pointing to the front door of the Villa .........................
That glorious tree was reflecting perfectly in the glass doors!! I am so glad that my daughter, Collette said I had to "come and see". At an angle it didn't reflect at all but straight on, it was just beautiful. We really hated to leave but we decided we might just go back, just the two of us and take some mom and daughter time just for us. You won't tell anyone, will you? :-)
Today I will be volunteering at the Scott County Historical Society and it has to do with a quilt display sponsored by the American Quilt Study group. I'll be sure and post about it this evening. The church supper and bazaar photos are coming up later tonight or tomorrow for sure. Sometimes, I'm at the computer so much, I feel like I'm writing a book! Actually, I've turned the computer off for long periods of time this week and have done quite a bit of sewing these last couple days. It was necessary. I needed some stress relief, and uninterrupted time at my sewing machine worked like a charm. :-)
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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