Tuesday, February 26, 2008


We have just returned from a wonderful dinner out at Neptune's in Blaine. (http://www.neptuneeatery.com/) This is the second time we have eaten there, and both visits have been wonderful. Tonight I had a salmon fillet on garlic mashed potatoes with a pesto-type sauce on top--scrumptious! Bob had the stuffed pork chop (support the pork industry!) and nearly licked his plate clean. We were joined by our friends, Debbie and Bob, who love to find new dining spots. I think they were pleased as well. Our waitress, Rachel, was a delight and we could have chatted a long time about our yarn/fabric passions. Very refreshing to find a young woman so enthusiastic about fiber!
I have included some photos here of some of the quilting designs that I have been learning on my longarm machine. Hard to depict well, but hopefully you can make out some of the stitching.

I have finished up a quilt for a friend, using a pantogram this time and liking it better. I have felt less comfortable with using the pantogram designs (for those uninitiated, this is a paper pattern design that is stitched row after row across the quilt top) because I didn't think that I do a good job of following the design which results in a sloppy look. But I persisted and this turned out much better. Would have been good to change the way that I laid out the rows so there was som alternation and overlap between rows, but that is part of the learning and now I know for next time!
Would have been good to get another quilt on the frame today, my only day off this week, but I spent a lot of my time preparing for the next 2 quilt retreats. Writing letters, creating newsletters, nametags, pattern directions, repacking and organizing what I need to take along Friday for the weekend retreat, doing laundry so I could pack my suitcase, figuring out food to take, watching Dr. Phil! And The Young and the Restless! That is like such a treat to myself to get to actually sit down during the day for some mindless entertainment, during which I finished a sock (that makes a pair now) and start an new one. The finished pair is from Knitcol wool yarn in bright colors, shown here as they are blocking, heavier than the usual sock yarn so made it much easier to finish. The new one is a pattern I am trying in worsted weight wool for clog socks, whatever that is! We'll see soon!
We'll call this done for now, I have been struggling with getting these pictures out of the camera and onto this page, and I'm not happy with the layout but will have to leave that for some other time when it's not past my bedtime!

Friday, February 15, 2008


This is a very good new soup recipe that I cooked for my retreat friends. I got it from the Fix It & Forget It Cookbook with a few modifications.
Winter Squash and White Bean Soup
1 cup chopped onions
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into bite-size cubes
3 cups chicken broth
1 can (~19 oz.) cannellini or navy beans, drained
1 can (~14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Quarter and clean out the squash, then microwave a couple minutes to make it easy to remove the peel. Combine all ingredients except cilantro in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high ~3 hours. Stir in cilantro before serving.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So many choices, so little time

Down to the last day of this retreat, so I am thinking about where I want to direct my time today.  New Block of the Month?  New socks?  Start a purse?  Needlefelting?  Repair and replace fabrics on a vintage quilt top?  Or all of the above?  I will have to see where the spirit moves me.  Some things I have accomplished:  binding 2 Christmas quilts, binding an Amy Butler twin size quilt, binding a strippy baby quilt, making an Indygo Junction Accent Vest, pieced together an Olivia the Pig baby quilt, finishing the Carry Nation quilt, finishing a pair of knitted socks and piecing a Quick Brick flannel quilt.  So that is a pretty good list!  
We have been enjoying some good meals, I have had the chance to try out some new recipes and if I can figure out how I will add them to my posts.  Yesterday we took a little field trip to nearby Rice Lake to visit Bargain Bill's and the Busy Bobbin Quilt Shop.  It was a short drive to get there and worth the trip.  It was a pretty sunny day and we even spotted an eagle!  On top of bargains, it can't get much better!  I know this probably sounds pretty boring to the non-quilty people, and some folks like to go to Vegas for the glamour and glitz for a winter vacation, but this type of getaway pleases me right now.  Only problem is I am missing Valentines Day with my sweetheart.  But I will be home tomorrow so that's not so bad.  Every day should be like Valentines Day, right?

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Just finishing up our first day at Beaver Lake Landing in Cumberland, WI, with 7 others at our Stitchin' Trips retreat. The thing I notice about being here is that I can disregard the clock and spend my time enjoying the chance to be absorbed in quilting. My accomplishments today include completing the binding on 3 projects, now officially DONE! Assembled all the blocks for my Carry Nation quilt and need to add borders but I concluded that I need a little black fabric for a skinny border before the main border, so that is on hold. Next is a little baby quilt. Have just about finished a sock, too. Others here have assembled a few other quilts and we have a scrapper in our midst, too. Good soup for lunch today that was a new recipe for me and one we liked--Winter Squash and White Bean Stew. Great lasagne for supper and good shiraz. Very cold out today and the wind blowing snow across the lake makes it fun to be inside. Movies watched include Dreamgirls, My Best Friends Wedding, Flashdance and Footloose. Now SNL is entertaining us and surprisingly we are all still awake! Normally I can only make it through "Live from New York" before snoozing!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Great Day!

What a great day! I cherish these days like today when I don't have to go to either job and don't have any appointments or anything to take me out of the house. I did a good bit of quilting, it is going better each time and I really do like it. Right now I have one of my own quilts on the frame, it is a pattern from one of the Blended Quilt books. I have been working on some new ways to fill in triangles, and long rows of feathers. I am also learning the steps needed to eliminate problems like wrinkles on the back by progressing through key areas and then going back to add more stitching. Hard to explain here, but very important. I listened to some of my podcasts while quilting, and I still have this notion in my mind to do one of my own, but where would I find the time? And I couldn't put any money into it at this point, so I am reading Podcasting for Dummies for the inside scoop on how to make it work. We'll see. I'm not sure it's something that fits my personality, either. Nancy was here today so we could finalize some of our plans for next week's quilt retreat. She and Leisl and I are partners in Stitchin' Trips, our own small business for hosting retreats. It is a very part-time business, we have 4 retreats for this spring and probably 3 next fall. We really enjoy the time at retreats with our friends and fun projects, we are always on the lookout for something fun to share with the group. You can see a little about us at http://www.stitchintrips.com. I need to go get my suitcase organized now so I can see if I need any laundry done. We leave Friday morning, and with work the next 2 days I don't have much time for packing up my sewing stuff in addition to the suitcase. We won't need to bring the trailer this time (yes, we honestly own a trailer for our retreat gear) since Leisl won't be able to join us. I will try to add some posts while we are away.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hats Off!

My San Fran kids deserve a huge hurray! They competed in the Kaiser-Permanente races yesterday--Ben in the 5K and Brita in the Half-Marathon. Respectable finish times for both of you, makes a mother proud! Honestly, the efforts they have made over the past few months to eat and live a healthier life have helped motivate me to make some changes for myself, so I owe you one for that. So when's the next run?

Danny Bob

OK, I warned you Dan! After the last entry about our Bubba, I now get to spill my guts about my wonderful son. And wonderful girlfriend, Krista! Tall and skinny, you two make a perfect pair together. Dan can be seen and heard presenting the ski report at http://www.mammothmountain.com/, when he is not out on the powder. From all reports, life in Mammoth Lakes could only be improved by one thing, and that would be Krista! Across the state in Santa Clara, she is pursuing her own dream in the photography business, take a look at http://www.classickidsphotography.com. Luckily, they can make the drive back and forth for a visit now and then. The winter weather and roads make it a little difficult, but really not a problem when you are 24! Dan has been a huge help to me with getting some computer design stuff done for quilt patterns, he can do a lot with a keyboard that is beyond me! He also gladly sports whatever knitted hats I can come up with and sleeps snug under my quilts (especially that last one that grew into the size of a large tarp!). Love you and miss you both!