Sunday, May 27

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

This is a special weekend.........not because it's time to go camping or anything like that. It's a time to remember those who served our country. I've shared this photo of my dad before but I wanted to share it again.............
The photo was taken somewhere in Germany in the later part of World War II. My dad was proud to have served his country, to have defended the flag and freedom. 
I've shared the photo of this quilt block before, too. It's one of several that will one day make up a quilt in memory of my dad's service in the U.S. Army, WWII.
I have some other patriotic quilts, just small ones and I've packed them up along with some other things and am headed home to Lehigh, Iowa tomorrow to visit my mom and to attend the Remembrance service in honor of the men and women in the Lehigh area who served their country. My brother, Doug, is a volunteer at the Lehigh Historical Society and I'm helping him with the Remembrance service. It is so important to remember those who served, those who gave their lives. We can't ever forget the price they paid for our freedom.

If you want to learn more about how Memorial Day began, I found this interesting link...... Memorial*Day*History.  Wishing you a very lovely Sunday and a day of remembrance on Monday, Memorial Day.........

Thursday, May 24

I'm still here!

I've had a couple friends both near and far, that have wondered if I'm okay because it's been awhile since I posted to my blog. Actually, I'm doing very well, just very busy. Lots of family stuff going on and kind of a busy time of the year. Plus, I finally took a lesson on my new sewing machine..........and then I've been reading. It all started when I read this book while I was recovering from my surgery...............

This a new version of the book and it can be ordered here but the one I read was an edition published in 1949. That's the year I was born. It intrigued me to read a book that was published the year I was born. That's a long time ago. LOL! The book is set in the 1830's in the early years of Minnesota's history. That's an even longer time ago! I was fascinated by the characters in the book, the young girl DeeDee and the other characters who were early settlers in Minnesota. I read names of people and places that were now cities or streets or public buildings or parks. I read the names of Indian Chiefs and encampments that seemed familiar but not by the names in the book. And then they kept referring to the River St. Peter's and I had the feeling they were talking about the Minnesota River. Soooooooooo........I did some checking and for all you local Minnesotan's.......Did you know that the first name for the Minnesota River was the St. Peter's or St. Pierre to the French?  I didn't know that. I discovered I didn't know a whole lot about Minnesota and I have lived here for almost 38 years, longer than my home state of Iowa where I lived for 19 years! When I finished "Early Candlelight" I decided to check out some history books on Minnesota and that, my friends, is what has kept me busy lately. At night when I should be writing a blogpost, I go to bed early so I can read!
If you are from Minnesota and want to learn a little more about our state, here's where I started..........
I wanted to know more about the Native Americans of our state so I read..........
Indian Chiefs of Southern Minnesota by Thomas Hughes (can be found here)
and The Great Sioux Uprising by Keenan (go here)
Then I read this book Barns in Minnesota and I got tears in my eyes several times as I read the story that goes along with the photos of old Minnesota barns. You'll find that book here along with other titles from the Minnesota Historical Society. Another good one in this series is on School Houses and one on Churches.
I also found a good book on old farmhouses and when I thumbed through it, I thought of the house on my Grandpa and Grandma's farm. It's long gone just like many of the homes in this book. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though it made me sad to think of those homes once loved, were now abandoned. The book is called Death of the Dream-Farmhouses in the Heartland and can be found here.
I am midway through another book that is the journal of Frank B. Mayer an artist titled With Pen and Pencil on the Frontier in 1851: The Diary and Sketches of Frank Blackwell Mayer Since the diary was written in 1851, it is a bit difficult to read because the words are often spelled differently and written in the style of that time. But, it is fascinating to read his description of cities and people he encounters, and the view he sees as he comes north on the Mississippi into St. Paul. Go here for more info on the book.
I'm also reading a history of Minnesota that was originally a school text book, The Story of Minnesota's Past (go here) and next up, when I finish the Pen and Pencil book is a book titled...... The Minnesota: Forgotten River (go here). I am really enjoying this self-imposed Minnesota History course and next on the agenda is a visit to a few of the sites nearby like the Treaty*Site*History*Center . If you are interested in our Minnesota History, there's a bus trip that will visit some of the Dakota War battle sites. It is sponsored by the Scott County Historical Society in Shakopee and info can be found here.
Well, as you can see, with all the reading I've been doing, there really hasn't been much time to think about blogging. I've done a bit of sewing and continue to do some cleaning and reorganizing in my sewing room. More on that later. Ah, but there is some other news.........
We bought a grill and patio furniture! Haven't had a grill in six years! Haven't had patio furniture in a long time either! We added our deck last year and decided it was finally time to buy some furniture so we can sit out there and eat. Here's my Random Number Man cooking up steak and potatoes........I'm not a really big fan of steak but this New York Strip from our local grocery store, Wagar's was really, really tasty. I liked the potato slices best and then the fresh asparagus was pretty good, too. I see more of this in our future. :-)
Something else coming in the future is a new clothesline!! Yes, my "What's on the line?" feature will return soon. My husband, I mean Mr. Random Number Man, has bought new rope and some pulleys and is going to make a system that will allow me to adjust the height of the line so really long quilts won't drag in the dirt. This probably won't get finished for a week or so. He'll be preoccupied with Indy racing and NASCAR racing this weekend. I'm going off to Iowa to visit my mom while he and Kaiser hold down the fort here at home. :-) 
That's all for now as I am anxious to read some more Minnesota history. Back soon.

Monday, May 14

What's hanging on the deck railing?

It's the Mother's Day gift that I made for myself........a wooly totebag!
The sun makes the black wool look a bit faded and the red and black houndstooth wool blend is much more vibrant than it looks in the photo. I have wanted to use that fabric in a project and one of the members of my Seasons BOM group sent me a pattern that just said........."make this totebag and use that red and black houndstooth fabric!" So I did! The pattern is from Indygo Junction and is by Cathy Pendleton.  I added an extra pocket in the front but otherwise the bag is pretty similar to the pattern design.  I found it here if you are interested in the project.
I spent a little bit of time sewing on this the past four days. Did it leisurely. Well, almost. I got pretty focused on it yesterday afternoon because I was anxious to finish it. I get to a certain point on a project and I want it done so I can see the finished result. :-) 
This past week has been busy with a birthday party for grandson, Jacob. That's him in the photo above as he's reading his cards. Money or gift cards are great gifts for a 13 year old. Just sayin'. And this "Cupcake" birthday cake was made by his Aunt Mandy..........

We all enjoyed celebrating at Pizza Ranch and all I could think is...........wasn't it just the other day that I posted that picture of him when he was a baby? Oh, how time flies.
The week flew by and on Saturday, Jacob came over along with mom, Collette and then son Devlin and we all went to the Henderson Roadhaus for a Mother's Day dinner on Saturday night. Was good to get together. It's been a long time since I've seen both my kids on Mother's Day weekend. They live near, sort of, but work schedules and stuff often make it difficult to get together.

Collette brought me a little gift from our favorite shop........The Dollar Tree. It's rooster themed towels, potholders and oven mitt. We have so much fun finding things at Dollar Tree. I hope they never go out of business. LOL!

That's all for now. I've been busy reading and sewing on crazy quilting projects. More on that in a couple of days, plus some things I was going to post last week and never quite got to...........
Have a good Monday!

P.S. Couldn't figure out why my post wasn't up this morning. Well, if I had set the time correctly, it might have posted at the right time. LOL!  Oh, well, all fixed now. :-)

Monday, May 7

Mother's Day is coming up..........

and I thought I'd share one of my favorite projects...........
It's one of the twelve small quilt projects that I made to celebrate the Millennium in 2000. You saw it "on the line" here and then I shared a tutorial for the project here. Then I shared a Halloween version here and a blue and white version here on Sew*We*Quilt. You could easily stitch up one of these runners for mom or a friend .... or for you!
In my pile of "projects to finish", there are two red, white, and blue patriotic tablerunners in this pattern. They are all cut out and ready to sew. Do you think I can get them finished by Memorial Day?  I think I can!  I'm feeling better every day and getting lots of stitching done!  Off to the doctor this afternoon for a check-up and then I am good to go til late July. Feels so good to be feeling so good!!! Oh, dear, I can hear my fifth grade English teacher saying........"that should be 'feeling so well', not good". LOL! Whatever........You all have a good Monday!!

Wednesday, May 2

Sweet strawberries and sweet friends!

Yesterday was a lovely day. It was "Tuesday Crazies" day with some of my favorite quilty friends. We have been getting together for several years and because we met on Tuesdays, we gave ourselves the name of "Tuesday Crazies". We used to meet once a month but as some of us moved away, that became a bit of a challenge. Now, we try to meet a few times each year but this was the longest stretch between meetings. The last time we met was several months ago so I was looking forward to seeing my friends. Way last summer when I posted my strawberry pincushion tutorial (go here and you can make one for you or a friend!) and my friends were on my mind then. I began making strawberry pincushions for each of them. They are plump and sweet just like the real ones that are at the grocery store right now. They just can't be eaten. LOL!

Each one is filled with crushed walnut shells (available at pet stores because it's real use is lizard litter) and can be used as a pincushion or a paperweight because the shells make it heavy. LOL! We all seemed to have something to share with each other, plus "show and tell and also.........the celebration of two birthdays!
Adella, on the left and Kate in the middle both have early May birthdays so we were really having a party!!  That's Pandora on the right and you've seen pictures I've shared of her outdoor garden quilt show. Her next one is coming up on June 9th and if you go here you can see what it might be like if you made a visit to her garden! In the photo below from left to right........Arlis, Sue, and Carol.
Now, I've already apologized to Kate about this was birthdays for both Adella and Kate but I only got Adella in the photo blowing out the candles. I should have stood up and got them both in the photo. You will notice the cake and also a dessert..........

It was Adella's birthday but she made the most delicious rhubard custard dessert!!!!!!!!! So we all had a slice of it.............
and then we all had a slice of cake, too. Carol made a Rum Bundt cake and it was also really good...............
That gave us lots of energy, so we all got out our stitching projects and then Kate and Adella enjoyed their birthday cards. Interestingly, I remembered to bring my big strawberries and forgot their cards. They went in the mail today. Sometimes I wonder where my mind is.........
We do love to share our latest projects and I just had to share this one with all of you that Carol made. It is just the sweetest little quilt and I love all the little colorful embroidered blocks.  I like this one so much, I think I'd like to make one similar to it.
In addition to bringing the strawberries, I also brought some fabrics. Several years ago, my friend, Ruth, decided to give up quilting and just knit. She asked if I'd like to have her fabric and I said "sure". One day she stopped by and while I was away, she left 5 to 6 paper grocery bags jam packed with quilting cottons on my doorstep. Over the years, I have used them in donation projects, shared with friends and also used them in beginning quilt classes I taught as a library volunteer project. Still, there was the equivalent of one "jam-packed" paper sack. For ease of carrying, I put the fabrics in two paper sacks and brought them along to share and everyone went away with fabric for some project they were planning!
There was only a tiny bit of fabric left to bring home and I've got another friend who will get what is left. I am really on a mission to "downsize" the amount of fabrics that I have. However, I am not on a mission to "downsize" my friends. We love getting together and we have so much fun. Unfortunately, I got tired and I guess it's because I'm still recovering from my surgery. I left about 2:00 p.m. and got home just in time to call my daughter and then take a nap. There were thunderstorms in the area so she said she'd be my "weather warning" and call if storms were near. Sure enough......two hours later, just as I woke from my nap, she called. Quite a few storms rolled through last night and because of that, I stayed off the computer most of the evening. Today is sunny and bright and very humid. More storms could be on the way. I love the sound of rain, so I don't mind.
In my next post, I'll show you a bit of fun, that my friends had at a recent retreat. I missed it but I still got to be part of the fun. Back soon!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 1

Happy May Day and a little bit of a giveaway!

A winner has been drawn by my Random Number Man and it is Sharon of Stitching Along the Mississippi!! Congrats and for those of you that did not win.........Stay tuned to my blog as I will be doing a few more crazy quilting giveaways over the course of this next year!!

One of my favorite musicals is "Camelot". I used to put that 33 1/3 album (yes, some of you will know what that is and some of you might not!) on the record player and sing at the top of my lungs to every song on the soundtrack. My favorite tune from "Camelot" is "If ever I should leave you....." and no one can sing it better than Robert Goulet (at least in my opinion). Then there is no one who can sing quite so lovely as Julie Andrews and with so much energy as in "It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May!!!"...........and today is the first day of that awesome month of May!!!
I loved May Day as a kid and delivering the little baskets filled with candies to my friends. Every year I make a few and planned to make a couple yesterday. But then..........I made something else and I'll share that tomorrow because what I made is a surprise for a good friend.
Now, as you may know, I have been doing some crazy quilting and I have also been doing a lot of sorting and cleaning.  I have so much stuff of my own and people give me stuff. I have too much stuff!! So, I put together a pile of crazy quilting fabrics, some floss, some beads, some lace and a box to hold the threads and trims! Plus there's a pretty little journal to record your crazy quilting thoughts/designs! Think of it as a May Day Treat.....................

Here's what the box looks like when it's closed. I think it was a box for photos but I got it at a thrift shop and thought it would be fun to do a crazy quilting piece and insert it where the photo would go. I will never get to this as there are other "to do" items in my crazy quilting chest of goodies. Soooooooooo........I thought, let's give it away!
Just leave your name and e-mail link and tell me just how much you want to try crazy quilting. My random number man will draw a winner on Thursday evening sometime after dinner. :-)
Today, I am off to "Tuesday Crazies" at my friend Adella's house. This is my group of friends that connected over crazy quilting but everyone just brings their current project now. Mine is most often my stack of crazy quilting blocks because I never seem to be able to finish them. I'm on a mission, though, and those blocks will be finished by the end of this year. If I keep putting it in writing, it will happen. LOL!  Have fun while I'm away. Leave that comment now................
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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