Monday, December 22, 2008


So, I haven't shown any pictures lately of what's in the works, so here's a little catch-up:
A new sample from my own pattern, Hocus Pocus, to be a class at Bear Patch.  Made with Rowan fabrics by Kaffe Fassett, mostly.  The first photo shows half of the quilt, I don't have anybody home to hold it up for me to get the whole thing.  One thing I really need to come up with is a better system for hanging quilts for pictures.  I quilted it with a pantogram called Flower Power.  The colors in the pictures look a lot more faded than it actually is.
Some knitting highlights:  a simple scarf using Noro Silk Garden yarn and a pattern from Ravelry

Socks for Leisl, a BD present, they are on the back burner at the moment while my impulsivity makes me do other things

Another scarf from a pattern on Ravelry by Yarn Harlot, the yarn is a synthetic and nice and soft, I bought it at a place in Spooner,WI.

Finished a quilt of Nancy's--

Just sent off a package to Dan with a stocking cap and scarf, among other gifts.  Yesterday we got to surprise him with a gift card at the service counter of the grocery store he goes to, that was fun.  Thank you to Vons for arranging that!
And now I am on my way upstairs to work on star blocks for a new Block of the Month class.  Beautiful fabric!  The fire is burning hot in the woodstove, the Christmas lights are on, a little music and -20 outside.  Poor Bob, had to go to work!  I thought I might have to go out to get a couple more stocking stuffers, but that plan might change unless the thermometer makes a recovery!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cap and gown time

An event that just doesn't happen very often--siblings in one room together!  Gathered for the occasion of Nora's graduation...

shown here with proud parents Mary and Jarry following the ceremony in Frost Arena on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD.  Very fun and we are all proud of her for making her way through all the fun and not-so-fun moments and now she will be another in our family of nurses!  It also was fun to be back at my own alma mater, as just a scant 32 years earlier I graduated with the same degree in the same building (which happened to be new at the time!) with the same hopes and fears, relief and trepidation.  I did have the bonus of Bob to hold me a little bit steady over the rough spots, it does help to have someone else who knows what it's like to be put in the spot of holding someone else's life in your hands, and then go home and act like nothing happened because if you talk about it you are breaking every confidentiality rule in the book and besides they just don't get it and that's OK because I just don't get the essence of what they do either!  So it was very good to meet Nora's good friend, Abby, and see that they will surely be there for each other over the next few months.  Nora is getting set to move to her own place in Sioux Falls and go to work for Sanford Medical Center (lucky for Sanford) in the near future.  Best wishes!  Kudos!  Congrats!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Missing Denny

In memory of our friend and cabin cousin, Denny Arnold

just one of those nights...

Having one of those nights...wake up at 2:30, not sure why, can't find a comfortable spot, can't get back to sleep, think it might have something to do with all the very rich food I ate at our Bear Patch Christmas party last night!  It was a very fun holiday event, 21 of us met for appetizers at the store then over to Ingredients for wonderful food.  My choice was the walleye, preceded by a delish salad which contained poached pears and greens and nuts.  The pan fried fish fillets were done perfectly, nestled on top of a mountain of yummy mashed potatoes, drizzled with lemon sauce, and topped with finely shredded strings of beets that must have been deep fried or something to make them curly crispy.  The presentation was awesome.  Dessert was a chocolate present--literally, a chocolate brownie and molten chocolate wrapped up in pastry, escorted by ice cream and nuts.  Lovely in so many ways!  Then we returned to the store for our gift swap/exchange, and time to visit together unimpeded by customers!  Debbie and Laurel always give us very thoughtful gifts, in addition to our own private sale, we received personalized tote bags with the cutest labels and our 2009 calendars.  All-in-all, a good way to celebrate the season with my co-workers.  Did I mention we also brought toys and toiletries for donations?  We had one whole cutting table full of good things to give away.  The fresh snow wasn't enough to stop us all from attending, although we did see several cars off the road, hope they weren't missing any fun parties like ours!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

you know it's a good day when...

I don't require a lot to make me happy, a day spent at home is one of my favorite treats, and last Thursday it was especially nice because I got to sew on all 4 of my machines in one day!  What makes a good day for you?  
At the moment, I am in the recliner with my feet up because I have been on my feet all day at Bear Patch, we had a sale today and it was well-attended, to put it mildly.  We had 5 cutting table and 2 cash registers up and running almost the entire day, a lot of yards of fabric went out the door!  We collected food for the local food shelf and toys for the Lions Club, too, and many boxes of that went out the door.  It was a fun, upbeat day and I saw so many people I know.
I am so happy to report that I have had some good sales of my patterns, lately the most popular has been Chill Pill, which is kind of surprising to me.  I thought that it was almost too simple to justify putting it into print, but I am learning that there is a place for that, and simple doesn't mean without value.  I liked it myself, but didn't think it would attract much attention when there are so many patterns to choose from.  It helps tremendously that I can have the quilts on display prominently in the store, and being there to tell people about the pattern and myself is also a bonus.  I'm having fun with it!  And a huge thank you to Dan for his help with the pattern cover designs, it is so crucial to have an attractive and appealing cover to gain the attention of the looker.  He is doing an awesome job!  He also has had a very busy period at work so it's not easy to pin him down on a deadline for my patterns!  
I completed a quilt for a customer yesterday and got permission to share it with you, it is different because it is hand embroidered and then colored with crayon.  This shows one of the 9 different blocks--

I finished knitting a helmetliner to be sent off to the military, I was going to post a picture here but the uplink isn't working right.  It's like a hoodie-hat, and the picture of me wearing it is just something you are going to have to live without, believe me, you aren't missing much!  Cast on a sock that will be for Leisl, I was thinking about trying out the 2-at-one-time method on the "magic loop" needle, but didn't have the right needle so doing it my regular way.  That's all for now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not dead yet!

As the title states, I'm still here, just taking a break from some things to take care of other things!  Doesn't mean I haven't thought about you, but just in my own little world for a bit.  A good chunk of my recent time was spent at Nancy's new house, very conducive to concentrated sewing and creating but no internet so I had to struggle along without my daily fix of on-line time.  We went out a couple days for lunch and shopping and so I could get a wireless signal and at least read emails.  Cell phones didn't work reliably there, either, so there was some peace and quiet to be had.  She does have very good satellite TV so we could watch something other than political commercials!  And, of course, take in the beautiful lake and scenery.  What a great house for sewing and crafting!  And what is it about a new kitchen that makes cooking so much more fun?  She has a kitchen island about 5 or so feet long, perfect for measuring and cutting long borders!  Some might think that is just a lucky coincidence, but I'm thinking Nancy had that in the back of her mind when she made the floor plan just for my convenience!  I thank you, Nancy, from the bottom of my heart, for your thoughtfulness and hospitality!  
In your honor, I have decided to name a new pattern that I put together on your counter the Chill Pill--you know what that means!  Nancy's words of wisdom for whenever we get in a snit, just take a chill pill!

Patterns:  Square Pair, Hocus Pocus and Chill Pill.  Soon to be released!  As soon as I get the final changes on the instructions, photos to Dan, time for Dan to get the covers together and back to me, then to the print shop.  So a bit of time but the end is within sight!
Can you believe that Dan went skiing yesterday?!!  Mammoth Mt. opened Monday for the season, they were the first CA ski area to open this year after some good snowfall, and he is psyched!  He was in San Fran last weekend for a trade show and a couple weeks before that for pleasure, and it warms my heart to know that Dan and Brita and Ben can all be together.  I miss you guys!!  Brita ran a half-marathon--YAY!!  I remember all those days of running cross-country at St. Francis, just think of all the miles those little legs have run!  And now she is doing charge nursing on her station, I predict that she will be "VP of Excellent MN Nurses in CA" shortly!
The clock just struck 11 so I am going to see if I can get a few minutes of Y & R before bopping downstairs to my machine.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

trip report

A trip to Iowa's capitol city, Des Moines, was a treat for me and Debbie last week.  We went for the American Quilting Society's Quilt Expo held there over 4 or 5 days.  We attended 2 days and found some very good ideas, beautiful quilts displayed, talented people, new patterns, and good food!  Even had a chance to reconnect with my cousins, Ronna and Debbie, over dinner at Centro which was an excellent eatery downtown.  We kind of lucked out with our hotel accommodations since we decided to go a bit late and I had to basically take what was available.  We stayed at the Quality Inn, comfortable and a very short walk to the Event Center for the show.   For a first time event, this show was worth the trip.  And Debbie got to be a cover girl!  

Being in downtown Des Moines brought back some distant memories of ~1970 when our school would shuttle a busload of us wonderfully well-behaved students down there for HS basketball tournaments, we even stayed at a hotel, I can't imagine who drew the short stick to chaperone!
A highlight of the show for me was talking to the people at the A-1 booth about my longarm machine, got a few questions answered and tips from the pros.  I hope to be able to attend again next year and maybe get in on a few more classes, I only registered for 1 this time but there were many more that were interesting to me.  Click on the link in the first paragraph to find the dates for 2009 and start planning your road trip!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm possessed!

Do you ever see yourself doing something and wonder what in the world was I thinking?  That was me at 2 this AM knitting like a crazy woman on something I had no business doing, given the fact that I should have been #1 sleeping or #2 quilting if I am up at that ridiculous time anyway!  After swearing off knitting except for socks (ha!) I have been tempted and unable to resist some other little things like these:
The Hawkeye Hat from Kathryn Ivy, it's not done yet, it gets a brim like a baseball cap but I haven't been able to satisfactorily pick up the stitches to do that part of it yet.  It is probably destined for Dan, seeing how he is the one most wearing hats.  It is knit of a washable wool from Moda Dea, and should look better on a real head than a plastic bowl!  I really like the swirl on the top, it should look pretty cool when it is finished and blocked.  Shouldn't it be called the Radar Hat?
And then there's this little ditty bag that was my downfall last night, just couldn't sleep so rummaged around to sort of organize some of my crafty supply stuff that was strewn about, spied this turquoise yarn that I just had to have once upon a time but had no plan for, combined with this little pattern called the Mini Drawstring Bag from Fiber Wild in Galena, IL.  My bag is way bigger than the pattern since I am using bigger yarn and needles, but it works except I don't like the pokey DPN's (those wicked double point needles for all you non-knitters).  Since I don't have a circular in the right size and wouldn't have found a store that would be open at 2 AM selling knitting needles and allowing me in the door in my pj's I persevered until my eyelids finally got weak.  The yarn is Ella Rae Kasbah cotton/acrylic.
And then there are actually socks on my needles, I am on the downhill side of this pair:

It's a yarn called Soles and More, washable wool, from JoAnn's.  Here are some small quilt projects that have been getting my attention the last few days.

The bird on the left will go into a bag made from an Indygo Junction pattern, Grommets and Grids, using large drapery grommets.  The fabric is by Anna Maria Horner and is decorator weight.  The penguins are in a baby quilt, a pattern I have used before, Roll Over by Bean Counter.  It's a sample for the store, we have the whole group of fabric coordinates.
So tonight I hope to get lots of sleep!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An apron by any other name...

I am readying the instructions for a new pattern I have come up with, and I really puzzled over the title a long time.  That is a tough part of the process, it has to be appealing, attention-getting, memorable, but not inappropriate.  I am liking the idea of staying with rhymes, but try and come up with something good for apron!  I even use a couple websites for rhymes and they weren't much help for that.  So then I branched out my thinking along the line of other kitcheny-type stuff, and kind of a little retro feel, and lo and behold, "Flower Power" popped out of a cobwebbed corner of my brain, and morphed into "Flour Power"!  So that's that!  Soon available for purchase at Bear Patch Quilting Co. and any other store that's interested!  The sample on the clothesline above is the one Maggie made as she tested my directions, it is cute in the 30's repro prints.  There also is another sample available for purchase on the store's silent auction, I will snap a picture when I go tomorrow.  Now to my machine!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sew Red silent auction

We are preparing a new display at the store which will include this quilt to be auctioned to the highest bid.  It was sewn by Debbie Engh and quilted by myself and I am hoping it will bring a good amount to contribute to the American Heart Association.  There will be many other items, large and small, on the silent auction.  Watch here and the Bear Patch website for more info.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Of strawbales and winding roads

Yesterday was a perfect day for bouncing around on a hayrack and winding around some country roads, good thing Larry and Denise had all the arrangements made!  We had a tour of some of the land just north of where Bob lived, including a stop at the house where his grandparents lived when he was young.  Five of his brothers and sisters plus the matriarch, Ruth, were able to take the tour, too, so it was good to catch up on family doin's.   And enjoy all of Larry's wisdom and corny jokes!  Ended up at a perfect little hunting cabin with weinie roast and smores, thanks to Denise for putting that part all together.  Had to take a shower at 11:30 last night when we got home to get the straw and dust out of my hair!  How did that not bother me when I was a kid?  We used to have regular adventures in the haymow, covered with dust and leaves, and likely a few bugs, too!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I don't remember if I have covered this here before, but I recently left my employment at North Memorial, making this the first time in about 32 years that I have not been involved in nursing in some form.  My past few years have been spent working in the Trauma/Neuro ICU, a very interesting place.  It was so nice to be invited to a little farewell get-together last Monday.  Thanks to Sharon for offering up her lovely home to entertain us!  You have always been a special person to work with, and have saved me many troubles with your medical secretary skills!

Pictured below is my Girl Gang, my #1 supporters, the cream of the crop!  Second from the left, Diane, has just moved from ICU to PACU, so we shared the party night!

Thanks to these 4 and many more, patients will be blessed with the care and attention they need.  

Friday, September 12, 2008

A lovely bag

My luck was good last week, I purchased an unfelted wool bag from my friend, Thora Lee, at her stash buster sale. She had knit the bag but never got around to felting it. She wanted it out of her space, so for a small fee I was able to do that. Well, now my lovely bag is the love of my life! I gussied it up with a pretty lining, magnetic snap, and cute little fabric flower and voila!

The fabric flower instructions can be found here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

State Fair part deux

I had some more great pictures to share from our recent trip to the MN State Fair:
creepy looking vegetables
Notice the scale on these bad boys!

Imagine being immortalized in butter!

You just never know what you will find!

Free Leisl!

It was an important occasion so we had to have a special celebration--what could be more special than $2 beer and $1 burgers!  We really know how to party in style!  If that wasn't enough frugality, get this:  a friend/neighbor of Leisl's picked up the tab for our table so this was indeed a "free Leisl" party.  She's the one in the white shirt in the center.  We are celebrating the fact that Leisl's household has shrunk from 4 teenage boys to 1.  So our good friend no longer has to live in her vehicle, shuttling kids back and forth, cell phone glued to ear.  I do not understand how she does it, but she has proven that she is well-suited to be a den mother.  Maybe she should adopt a scout troup.  Add to this the fact that she survived knee surgery last week so now she can get back to running marathons!  Of course, all this means more quality sewing time so we will no doubt be seeing great things coming from the depths of her basement.  And retreat time is fast approaching, allowing days and nights of uninterrupted fiber frenzy.  Life is good!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I figured out how to place a video of my quilting here, it's only a few seconds and doesn't have great detail, but it gives you a little feel for what I do.  Yesterday I finished quilting a small Christmas quilt that has been a group project for the daughter of a friend, Kay, who was killed in an accident.  She had the pieces all cut in preparation for a class she was registered for, and when her family was deciding what to do with everything she left behind, I was asked if I could help get it finished.  So Maggie put all the blocks together, I quilted it, and now Debbie is going to stitch on the binding.  Needless to say, I have thought often of Kay lately.  Wish she was here to see her quilt!
I have added a couple things to the blog page as little experiments, let me know if you like/dislike them.  They are easy enough to add and remove with changes by Blogger.  Wish I had more time to explore the possibilities.  One thing I wanted to pass on to you is the link to another blog that I really like to follow.  It is written by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a knitting author from Canada, known as the Yarn Harlot.  She adds lots of humor to the world of knitting and good reading for non-knitters, too!  
Speaking of writers, I was sad to hear this week of the death of Helen Kelly, a quilting author.  I was a reader of her monthly columns in Quilters' Newsletter Magazine long before I met her.  She was from the St. Paul area and frequented the quilt shop I work at, Bear Patch Quilting Co., as she searched for just the right fabrics for her creations.  Dressed in jeans and sweatshirt, she definitely was not one to play on her fame!  I would never had known she was other than any of the other great customers had I not been informed by a co-worker.  She was gracious and funny, creative and practical.  We miss her.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

weekend away

OK, so I haven't been glued to the keyboard lately!  Although Bob has been dropping hints (not so subtly) that I am overinvolved with my computer, like this morning when he inquired if I had found a way to attach the laptop to my body yet.  I don't think he was joking!  So I will share some great pictures that I took on our little 3 day tour last weekend.  We drove eastward, stopping in the Dells to see if the lake had filled up again (yes, even though it appears low there were still tourboats operating) and then to Madison.  Not usually thought of as a vacation mecca, but a hotel room was available and it is an easy drive and Taste of Madison was happening.  So we wandered, had good food, good beer, listened to music that was not outstanding, and got sunburned.  We spent awhile Saturday strolling the Botanical Gardens, which were lovely, and a good source of pictures as you see:
And we found a cool spider tunnel web:

The second closeup picture shows the spidey in its lair!
Sunday we drove to Geneva, Illinois, to explore what I had read was a quaint little old town, which is true, and they were holding a Folk Musical Festival on an island in the river so we wandered there and found some entertainment amongst the antique hippies.

The railroad bridge was a busy place, several trains crossing and sometimes going both directions.  There is this sort of oddball windmill in a park there and Bob felt his Dutchboy ancestry calling or something.  It was perfect summer days for us.  We continued on to Galena for a stopover but decided not to spend the night.  It reminded me of Stillwater on steroids, if you don't live around here that doesn't make sense, but it didn't hold a lot of allure for me.  It was a bit of a long drive home after that.  But I thoroughly enjoyed all the fields and little towns that we went through, that is to me just as scenic as the mountains or the ocean.  Actually, I can't really think of anyplace I have travelled to that I haven't found to be interesting and beautiful in its own way, yes, even the Badlands, even Nebraska!
So now home again, finished a quilt on Labor Day and have the next one ready to go on.  Yesterday I had the Ladies Sewing Society group at the store:

We are nearing completion of our block-of-the-month club, I will have pictures of some of the projects next month as they get blocks together.  They are a good group!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Special Day

If you can figure this out you win the prize!