Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Today things seem a little misplaced here in blogland.  My pictures won't line up like I want them to.  I am doing a little work-around to even get the pictures in here because the usual system I use is not cooperating, so I will just be happy that I even got the pictures to appear!
While I was just away on a fun quilting retreat, we started talking about the good places to find tools that help our sewing and quilting.  These are not items found at a quilt shop.  Let me explain.
These little paper clips/binder clips are from the office supply store.  They have a heavy paper tab added that can be written on.  I have used these not just for papers, but for groups of blocks or pieces that I can clip together, label, and then come back to later.
IKEA does hold a wealth of gadgets and gizmos that can be applied to our quilting hobby.  Even the button rug I wrote about not long ago!  This item below is a magazine or paper or letter sorter.  Now it is a ruler holder!  Hanging nicely on the wall, it helps tame the ruler madness.

Not every ruler fits into the wall holder, so the remainder sit nicely in this desktop letter/file holder.  This was a thrift store find.  If you are looking for one for yourself, be aware that some of this type of holder are wire.  That works, too, but not very well for the smallest rulers because they fall through the bottom.  The one in the picture is plastic and has a solid bottom to each division so nothing escapes.  I even put small cutting mats in here.

Again, from the office supply store, I landed on a stack of screw top containers meant for lunch or snacks.  Now they are a neat way to transport little necessities.

And lastly, these adhesive pieces can be found in your everyday discount store (Target, etc).  They are adhesive on both sides with a soft gel-like center.  Available in strips or squares.  I have used them when I need to make a seam allowance other than my usual 1/4" width.  I remove the cover from one side of the adhesive, then measure my seam allowance from the needle, and adhere the strip to the bed of my sewing machine.  It has a little thickness, so serves as kind of a bumper for the edge of the fabric feeding under the presser foot.  And when I am done, I just peel it off, replace the strip of clear plastic that covered the sticky stuff, and save it for another day.  The pack contains multiples, so I likely have a life time supply!

Another discovery to share with you--a new brand of oatmeal!  It is certainly the time for oatmeal here with winter upon us, but it can really be eaten anywhere anytime.  This particular brand of oatmeal is called Better Oats and comes from Malt-O-Meal.  Just down the road a bit from here!  I don't have a picture to share, and my attempts to "borrow" the picture from their website have been unsuccessful, but if you go to the website you will see it.  It is Oat Revolution Steel Cut Instant Oatmeal with Flax.  I purchased mine in the little Gordy's grocery store in Augusta, WI.  Mine is flavored with maple and brown sugar, but you can get them plain or in other flavors according to the Better Oats website.  It cooks a little longer than regular instant oatmeal (2 1/2 minutes) but comes out with more chew to it and I like that.  If you can find it in your area, give it a try!

That's the limit of my discoveries for today!  Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

bike boys

Here's a little history lesson mixed with a quilting lesson!

Friday, November 7, 2014


I just happened to find an interesting article about fabric design and wanted to share it with you.  

With my work at the quilt shop and related activities, the topic of fabric designers often comes up.  When a fabric company representative is showing us samples of 20 new designer groups, we pick and choose and critique freely.  We generally have an idea of what styles and looks will be interesting to our customers.  Most of the time we are familiar with the name of the designer and the concept she/he brings to the collection.  That can help a lot in referring to past sales of that designer's fabrics and how well the past designs sold in our store.  Most often, we don't really pay attention to the name of the designer as a factor in the final decisions.  But it is nice to know about the background of the person behind the designs.  And it's nice actually know some people who do the designing, and hear about their process.

Now, for a completely different kind of design, but quilt-related nonetheless.  Lauren is quite a connoisseur of beverages, and has a sharp eye for detail.  She brought me a 6-pack of special beer called Jubleale from deSchutes brewery.  She told me to take a closer look at the label and the package.  Wow!  It's quilted applique!  Isn't that cool?!

Cheers to you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

this and that

Our days have been packed lately so a lot has been going on that I haven't written about.  Here are some highlights:

Little Jack Robert Burke was baptized at home with us, thanks to our pastor who is generous with his time.  We needed to fit this into a weekend when Dan and Lauren were here, and we are so glad that it worked out for them.  Grant Tanner is our pastor at Cedar United Methodist Church.

It is a special day when our kids can all be in one place at one time.  Dan and Lauren live in Whitefish, MT.  Ben and Brita and Ian and Jack live in Minneapolis, but are soon moving to Charlotte, NC.  So I think these group photos will be hard to come by in the future.  But we do have a good time and laughs whenever we can.

It was bittersweet to take Dan and Lauren to the airport for their trip back to Whitefish.  So sad to see them go, but after I got back in the car and felt that big void where they had been, I decided I should turn that frown upside down and go to IKEA!  It is just on the other side of the airport and it is a treat to go there since it isn't convenient for any spur-of-the-moment trips.  And I had been lusting after this rug for my sewing room for quite awhile! 

Now it makes me happy to see it and remember Dan and Lauren's visit with something bright and pretty.

A few weeks ago, Ian got to visit his great grandma and great grandpa in Iowa.  He always gets to do something new when he is there, this time he learned how to pick tomatoes with great grandma.  I think he will be hired again next summer!

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I have become a temporary citizen of Wisconsin!  I have spent the better part of the last 10 days across the border in Augusta, WI, and have 3 more days to go.
Staying at this retreat center makes me feel kind of spoiled, it is such a nice pleasant place and surroundings, and someone else does the cleaning!  

A week ago I was here with a group of quilters, organized by the Ham Lake Piecemakers, but attended by an assortment of quilters who enjoyed the time together.
Here are pictures of some of the beautiful things that were created:

Judy G. put all the pieces together on her quilt of pears, a pattern by Fig Tree.
Love her color choices!

A wise owl quilt by wise Tracy E.--destined to be a gift.

Bags to the left of her, bags to the right--Leisl's beach bag factory!
She reconstructs discarded broken beach umbrellas during her summer
at the East coast, and they sell like hotcakes!

Tiffany, daugher-in-law of Judy, finished her first quilt!

We all shared meal duties and feasted on good food, snacks, and laughter!
Another excellent adventure, sign me up for next year!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

alive and well

Just letting you know that I am still breathing!

I have found the answer to one of life's important questions:
How many times can a 2 year old ask "What's that"?
Answer:  Infinity

We (Bob and I) spent a wonderful long weekend with our 2 little grandsons.  And then collapsed!
There are many entertaining things to do when you are 2.
Ride on Grandpa's lawn tractor.
Look for toads.
Go to the apple orchard.
Help grandma cook something.
Build a fire with Grandpa.
Pull weeds.
Play outside with front end loaders and dump trucks in the sand.

And then there's baby brother, who likes his bottle many times a day.
And learning to eat cereal.
And work on rolling over.
And tummy time.
And holding onto rattles.
And jumping in the bouncer.

We all had a good time, and we were all glad to see mom and dad return from their trip.
Being grandparents is a good thing!

One of our weekly produce bags brought us these very pretty vegies, and I just had to take a picture.  I have never seen a purple cauliflower before!  It turned the water purple when I steamed it.  I should have used it for dying some yarn!

Remember the new yarns that I bought on vacation? I made myself leave them alone until I finished the little sweater that I had been working on.

Here it is after washing, all laid out to dry.  
The letter "B" stands for Burke, their last name.
And solves the problem of whether to put their first initial on it and then the other won't get to use it.
And now that that's done, I am figuring out my next project!