Monday, December 28, 2009

tiny stitches

Hard at work once again, in the film making studio! This time, I talked to my mom about the work she has in progress:

Friday, December 25, 2009

New Toy!

My wonderful kids sent me a new toy for Christmas! How nice to turn the tables, instead of shopping for toys for them, they now can return the favor! I had mentioned to them that I had been interested in the Flip Video camera, thinking that it would make a good tool for recording little lessons to share with you here. So today, while we are snowed in, and I'm not sewing but knitting instead, I recorded this little story for you. It's in 2 parts because I had to stop while my cameraman (Bob) fixed us some tea, and I don't know if or how to combine them into one. Still have some learning to do!

Winter wonderland

We are hunkered down in the comfortable warmth of my parents' home in NW Iowa, watching the snow blowing horizontally outside. These pictures were taken yesterday when it was still just accumulating and the wind was low. The trees along the lakeshore are beautiful and the colored lights were nearly buried. I had to go out and do a little shoveling and knocking the snow off some of the lighted shrubs. Then last night the snow started again and the wind came up, creating some beautiful snow drifts around the corners of the house. Haven't been outside yet today, the door is snowed shut, the interstate and many roads are closed with no travel advised, so we might be staying another night. The Hansen Christmas fest has been postponed to tomorrow so we will have to see how the driving goes to make it the 30 miles to another holiday gathering. Working on knitting a scarf that is a gift to myself and reading a new book from a box of James Patterson novels. I can smell chocolate cake in the oven and we have leftovers from our ham dinner yesterday so we are not going to starve! Enjoy your Christmas celebrations!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Greetings

Here's our family at one of our best moments of 2009. I hope that 2010 brings the same happiness and joy to all our friends and families. Safe travels and best wishes to all of you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

odds & ends

I've been a little uninspired to post here lately, sometimes I just don't feel that I have much noteworthy to say! Also, I lost my tracking analytics for visits to this blog site over a month ago, and when I can't actually see that anyone is visiting I sort of don't feel like writing. Should take care of that problem, but it's something that I avoid because I'm not sure I understand what I need to do. Mind you, I did set it up the first time correctly, so I shouldn't be put off by the techno speak that I encounter when I go to google help, but I shy away from it.
I would much rather spend my time with my quilts, and the quilts of others who entrust their quilts to me. On Friday I actually delivered 3 quilt tops, relatively small, to 2 different women but I neglected to take pictures of them. Both were pleased with the results, which is always a relief to me. This morning I finished up this one for Nancy:
It's 2 1/2" strips of homespuns all sewn up in one continuous length.
Also spending some time in the kitchen, Bob and I baked Christmas goodies last Sunday and have been sampling them ever since! My new favorite is the very addicting pretzel rounds, sometimes called "Can my butt get any bigger cookies" but I think of them as the crack cocaine of cookies because all it takes is one to get hooked.
They are like the completely satisfying cookie/candy because they hardly take any time to prepare, only 3 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, and can be made with many variations. These are chocolate stars in the center with an M&M on top, but are equally as good with other things like rolos, kisses, mints, nuts, etc. I have also determined that the best way to eat them is simply to pop the whole thing in the mouth at once so you don't end up in that socially uncomfortable position of a partial crumbled pile of pieces in your hand. You know what I mean. Better to just take the whole hit at once and keep all the crumbles contained internally!
And now I have to tell you about this hairbrained idea (where did that phrase come from?) that is all Debbie's fault. She so graciously gave me a new book for Christmas that has me thinking it could be turned into a fun monthly group at the store as we make our way through the 100+ blocks included in this quilt.
Not so awfully unusual, except that it is written for HAND PIECING! And I have actually even made one!
When I first learned about quilting in 1980, the class I took included hand piecing so I kind of wanted to see if I could still remember what to do. The answer is Yes! The class was at The Cotton Shop in Richfield, MN, no longer there. We lived only a few blocks away, and I could pop my little baby Brita in the stroller and take her by there on our walks. Fast forward to Brita all grown up!
Anyway, it must be like riding a bike, because it seemed easy enough to put needle and thread, templates and fabric, all together once again. As far as whether or not this one block becomes a whole quilt, we shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am simmering cranberry juice, spices, and red wine for some mulled wine to be served this evening to our neighborhood friends on our progressive sort-of dinner. Two houses of appetizers and one of desserts! Yummo!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sun Dog Days

On my drive to work this morning, I was fighting with the glaring sun in my eyes. As I'm squinting and bobbing my head around to use the visor or mirror to block the light, I realized that there were 2 brilliant sun dogs on each side of the sun. These were much bigger than I have seen before, so I found a spot to pull over and shoot a picture. Fun to see something special like that to remind me that no day is routine unless I make it that way! There's always something special to behold if I just pause to appreciate it. Yesterday I was home and busy with all sorts of tasks, when I caught a glimpse of some bright red cardinals flitting around the yard and trees. Looking very pretty with the fresh white snow in the background, just like a Christmas card!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

a friendly challenge

As promised, I am ready to reveal the outcome of the Great 2009 Posse Pass! Let me explain:
Along with my good friends, Nancy, Maggie and Leisl, we were once dubbed the Posse, I think it has something to do with the fact that we have a habit of traveling in a pack and taking charge when given the chance! We even have star badges! For several years, we have had a little Christmas party and exchanged gifts with each other. This year someone came up with a bright idea as a substitute for the usual gift exchange. In the spring, we each constructed a large applique block using the design and fabric and colors of our own choosing. We aimed for something like 16"-18" in size. Then we each tucked our center block into a bag along with some coordinating fabrics, and so the Pass began. Every 2 months or so (sometimes the deadlines got a little stretched) we moved the bags along to the next taker, and each one of us was responsible to add some kind of a border onto the ever-growing center blocks. And the rightful owner didn't get it back until last night, when we gathered for dinner and dessert and the Big Reveal! What fun to get the bag back and peek into what had been created along the way! Here are all 4:
And now for the details--Nancy's style is sort of primitive and her quaint house and darker colors reflected that. Leisl added the little triangle border, Maggie the wide applique border, and I put on the finishing touch with a stripe all around the outside. Maggie's applique includes "Big Swan Lake" because Nancy's home is there.
Next, Maggie created a large "M" with flowers and vines intertwined. Nancy sewed on the 9-patches, I added the scallops, and Leisl finished it up with pinwheels.
Here is Leisl's project, starting with some 3-dimensional flowers sort-of cherry blossoms. I added the shaded strips in border #1 (really dug into my batik stash for those), then flying geese by Nancy and finally Maggie added corner applique flowers like those in the center.
Then last, but not least, is my own. I made an applique basket of flowers for the center. Maggie heeded my request to make it into a rectangle instead of a square and figured out the right combination of square-in-a-square blocks. Then Leisl added an applique border, reducing the flower shapes that were in my basket (and I heard she nearly broke the bank buying just the right fabric which is perfect, by the way) and to wrap it all up Nancy added 2 skinny borders with tiny triangles. It is all FABULOUS!
It was a very interesting challenge, involving a lot of thought and consideration as to what would be just the right touch to enhance the overall look. It helps that we know each other very well and can trust our instincts. I know we were all very pleased with the results, and now the challenge is on to get the quilting and binding finished! And what shall we do for 2010?

Turkey Day report

I have the Thanksgiving report for you today, and then the much-anticipated big reveal of my Posse Pass. What's that, you ask? Well, you just wait and see!
Bob and I drove over the river and through the woods (sort of) on Thanksgiving, heading south towards Lake Park (IA) with a stop in Jackson(MN) along the way. Have you ever driven anywhere on Thanksgiving or Christmas? It's really hard to find something to eat on the way! All we wanted was a snack of some kind to tide us over to the real food, but we found fast food places closed at 11 so we ended up getting a cookie and a muffin and coffee at a gas station! We had not thought that we would be able to join the Hansen dinner but when the Herbert dinner got moved till later, we decided to swing by Jean's house to say hi to the family there. Arrived just as the turkey was being passed and Jean had saved 2 seats for us, how lucky can we get!? I think there were 14 people there, and we ate rather conservatively (well, at least I did!) and had a good, although brief visit. Then it was another 30 or so miles to Lake Park to my parents house where the turkey was roasting on the grill and the table was set. Jarry, my brother, likes to grill the turkey over charcoal, so he was in charge of that and my mom had prepared the rest. We are a smaller group, there were 8 of us around the table. It was a delicious dinner.
My mom likes to work on hand quilting during the winter, so she has started on this project.
It is an old quilt top of unknown origin, probably something a great grandma might have pieced together. It is feedsack fabrics and just randomly placed squares and rectangles of great variety. I did a little bit of cleaning and patching on it and now she has it on the frame. We decided to just use a muslin backing and will probably bind it with a solid color.
And the lovely day ended with this colorful sunset over Silver Lake.
The fun continued throughout the weekend with special attention for my mom's 80th birthday the day after Thanksgiving!
She really doesn't look 80 at all! She's not sure when this was taken, but she looks lovely in her good dress (which I am sure she sewed for herself). This looks like the yard at our farmhouse, complete with the fuel oil barrel in the background. We drove out to the farmhouse on Friday, it is not habitable anymore so stands empty and sad.
So it was a busy and fun weekend, catching up on a lot of family news and happenings. And just a few weeks until we get to do it again for Christmas! We are lucky that we are within driving distance of our family homes and that many of the relatives still live in the area. They are a good bunch!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

sliding downhill fast

Choose one of the following to describe the picture:
a. Olympic slalom champion in training
b. cover guy on Mammoth Mt. website
c. quilt pattern cover design guy
d. very happy transplanted MN son
It's great for us long distance parents to see and hear that Dan is doing something that he loves to do. Not everybody is so lucky. To get to use your education in a job that also happens to be your passion--what could be better? Well, maybe living closer to your mom would be good!
Back home again tonight after several great days visiting our families. It was a good trip with great celebrations: Thanksgiving, birthday, card games, dinners out. But we headed for home today after church in Jackson, in time to enjoy the Vikings' victory! Well, actually I was quilting through the entire game, but I was cheering them on subconsciously.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blog writing must be a genetic thing! Now my niece's daughter, Aurora, all of 18 months old, has started her own blog, just like her Grandma (MissesStitches). Good to see this next generation getting a head start. You can read about Aurora's perspective on life, including the fact that she now has the croup! Poor little Princess!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In praise of rubber gloves

Not feeling very inspired lately so nothing special to show you on here, but there are things in the works. Actually, some secret things have been occupying my time, so can't show those! But I did catch sight of a cute video that I wanted to pass along to you, involving a breast cancer awareness promotion and a product that was indispensable to me for many years: rubber gloves! During my nursing career, the lowly rubber glove transitioned from being unnecessary to vital. Can't even imagine how many gloves I went through during those years, but here's a guess. Maybe in a typical hour of patient care, I would put on and discard 10 pairs. Never really counted, but we'll just use that number. Sometimes more, sometimes less. So in a 12 hour shift, that's 120 pairs! That's not too far out of line, because I think that they are usually packed in a box of 100 and I could definitely see using a box/shift. So if I work 3 shifts a week (typically) and 50 weeks in a year (gotta take a vacation sometime!) that makes 18,000 pairs (36,000 single gloves) in a year. In just 10 years' time, that's 360,000 gloves! Whoa! Wish I had invested in one of those companies about 30 years ago when gloves were just a nuisance and not required for every little task! And what landfill are they living in now??? Don't want to go there!
Taking off tomorrow AM to drive down to Iowa (God's country) for Thanksgiving with the family and a special birthday for my mom (80!!!). I'll have a turkey report coming your way!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Red Hots

So what have I been working on?? Here's one:
This pattern is Cinnamon and Ginger by Allison Quilt Designs, and it is a whole conglomeration of Kaffe Fassett fabrics that are hot-hot-hot!
I think I will call it Red Hots. I quilted it all over with these funky little flower-like designs that I learned from a new book by a friend and local quilter Janet Hanson. She has published her first book of quilting designs, Absolutely Fabulous Echoed Blossoms and Blooms. And since I have admired Janet's excellent quilting for several years, I was eager to get my hands on her book, and luckily she lives in this area so I could get it fresh from her own house. Honestly, when I started quilting on my longarm, my hope was, and still is, that someday I will be on par with the level of her quilting. Just give me a few more years...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a good read x 2

I mostly get my books in the form of recordings, but there is still a chance now and then to get my hands on the pages of a book and become engrossed. I love books, always have, and found that I could turn my drive time into reading time with the help of recorded books. I usually enjoy the voice of the reader, occasionally not but that's easy to deal with by just turning it off and moving on to something else. Bob and I have gone through many, many recorded books from our local libraries. But we do still like a good old-fashioned read, and buy books for special occasions or recycle books from friends--Debbie seems to always have a new book to pass along to me, I swear she never sleeps! Anyway, I just finished reading Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag, it's a bit grisly in a few places but the redeeming quality is that it is set in Minneapolis so that makes it fun to read. Now I have started on The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow. Can't remember where I first heard about it, but the idea intrigued me. With that title, it could be a romance novel starring my hunky handsome nephew, Spencer, living in Ames and attending ISU. But no, it's nonfiction and is the story of 11 women who grew up in Ames and the paths of their lives. They are a little bit younger than me, but we share many common experiences stemming from similar childhood backgrounds. Might be something you would like to read...
It's been a very healthy week around here, and Bob and I can now proclaim this to be a polyp-free household! We have done our duty and been examined inside and out like never before! With a clean bill of health, we should be good for quite awhile, at least long enough to wear out the new washing machine! With any luck, it will still be around 10 years from now for our next colonoscopy experience!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I love it!

I am thrilled that I have finished the quilting on this piece, but a strange thing happened on the way to done. I love the fabrics, I love the design, I love the people it is going to. But turned out I literally struggled to get it done. I used different quilting designs in each of the squares and felt tapped out to keep finding new ways to do that. So I repeated some of the things here and there, but tried to add variations throughout. By the time I got to the last row of squares, I was unrolling back to the beginning to see what I did there that I could recycle! This is made using Elisa's Backporch circle templates to make 195 7" blocks, enough to fit a king-size comforter. I pondered quite awhile on how to accomplish turning this into a duvet. I had made one before from a pieced quilt but that was before my longarm was here. On that one I had just done straight line quilting through some of the seams to anchor it to a plain backing, then made the back of the duvet from some other pretty fabric. With this one, I wanted to be able to do some pretty quilting in the blocks so I put a thin batting and solid fabric with the top.
The batting helps the quilting show with a little depth but I didn't want this to be so hot and heavy that it was not practical. The batting I used was new for me, it was a Fairfield product that is cotton and bamboo. I was a little leery of using it because I have come across some Fairfield batts that were not so nice (uneven, weak, way too stretchy) but I liked this one. It had none of those problems, although it did have too many dark flecks to make it workable with a white fabric. So anyway, the gamble paid off and it looks and feels great. Now I have a king size flat sheet to attach for the back of the duvet, and before long it will be done done!

Monday, November 2, 2009

a little bit about binding

I have a sort-of tutorial here for you today to tell you about something I have learned that helps me with my binding process. I get pretty picky about my bindings, they have to be neat, flat, straight, sharp corners, etc. I watched a video by Sharon Schamber that carries bindings to a whole new level, and while I don't feel the need to follow each step of her process to the letter, I did find one or two things that have benefitted me. Today I am telling you about bindings and starch. This pertains to the preparation of the binding strip before it is even near the quilt.
Here's what you need:
a fabric strip, spray starch, iron and ironing board.
My fabric strip in this case is 2" wide which is all the wider I wanted for this project. It used a very low-loft batting and needed to look narrow in the end, so 2" is plenty wide. This fabric happens to be the same color on both sides. I LOVE Niagara spray starch in the aerosol bottle, but it can be a little hard to find in stores so I have even ordered it online. Type of iron doesn't matter, and my ironing board got covered with a clean piece of muslin so all the stains don't show in the pictures!
With the wrong side of the binding strip facing up, lightly spray the starch.
Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together with your fingers, carefully matching up the raw edges. The damp starch will help you stick the layers together with just the pressure of your fingers. Just work on a section at a time, however much is laying on the surface of the ironing board, you want the fabric to stay damp so you can't work too far ahead.
With a hot iron press the folded strip.
This will give you a crisp folded edge and a little more body to the fabric.
The starch actually kind of glues the layers together, as you can see in this picture of a partially pressed strip.
Then you are ready to sew it to the quilt edge, and I find that it is easier to sew neatly if it has been starched this way. There is little or no shifting or twisting of the two layers of the binding fabric and it ravels less on the raw edge. And that's what I know about binding prep!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

check this out

Today I am supposed to be quilting up a storm, but I feel compelled to pause and tell you about this. One of the things that I do while running my quilting machine is listening to podcasts that I subscribe to via Itunes. I'm not sure if I mentioned this here before, but I want to suggest that you tune in to a very informative program from National Public Radio called This American Life. First, let me sort of explain the "how-to" in case you aren't familiar with this method of programming. This is a talk-radio weekly show but I never have the radio on at the time it is broadcast. I make use of the fact that it is available through their website and I can listen to it at my convenience either on my computer or ipod. I "subscribe" to it on Itunes, this means that each time they broadcast a new program it goes into my Itunes library on my computer, and is saved there for me. It's all free. I can listen to it once or as many times as I want, save it or delete it. If you don't want to do it through Itunes you can go to the program's website and get their entire archive of programs. The newest program is a free download from them, or the older programs can be listened to for free directly on their website.
So why am I telling you this? This American Life is sort of a digest of real-life short stories centered on a weekly theme. Sometimes very funny, sometimes serious. There are 2 programs that I encourage you to listen to that explain some of the ins and outs of the healthcare situation in our country. I'm not trying to get political here, I can't swear that every fact or detail you will here is 100% accurate, but NPR does have a good name for reporting the news, at least as I know it. The programs are titled "More is Less" and "Someone Else's Money" and were broadcast in October. If you like these, you might also like to look back in their archives for a couple other programs they have done in 2009 about the mortgage and economy problems. Check it out!
Did you remember to set your clocks back?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


As part of my own personal appliance health plan, I had to pull the plug on my washing machine. It gave up the ghost last week and the examination by the AT (appliance technician) was not promising. Given the fact that it is the youngest appliance I own, I was actually surprised that it could not be resuscitated for a more reasonable investment. It's only 7 years old, which in this house is just an appliance infant. It stands next to my lovely antique Kenmore gas dryer purchased in 1982 and going strong ever since. Bob has had to tinker with a few things to keep it in shape, but I really don't mind that the handle for the lint trap is fastened on with a chunk of wire, it still catches the lint! I had actually expected the dishwasher to be the next to go, both it and the refrigerator were purchased when we built this house in 1988. The dishwasher is in sad shape, badly needs a new bottom rack, but keeps on ticking. I know I might be able to replace the rack, but it's one of those items that never moves up very high on the Must Do list. Plus you know as soon as I replace it, the whole thing will die! After shopping in the appliance department at a couple local megastores, I realized just how humble my little refrigerator is--no fancy faucet with computerized keyboard in the door, no high tech food storage containers inside, not even an ice maker! Must be my inner Amish, but when I am looking at appliances I try to keep it simple! (Actually, the fridge is an Amana so I do see the connection there! Who knew appliances had religion!) For example, when choosing a new washer, I know that basically I use only 2 cycles (regular or gentle) and 2 temperature settings (cold/cold or hot/cold for felting), so why can't I find a frontloader that doesn't have 15 choices? Anyway, I await the delivery of my new washer and removal of the washer carcass that is easy to say goodbye to because I don't have 20+ years of attachment!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things done

I was very productive the last 2 days and have moved a couple things off the ToDo list.
Some little invisible machine applique wall hangings, samples for the store, patterns from When Quilts Fly. I used the applique fiber that this particular designer has developed for her patterns. This is being offered as a class at the store on Tuesday 10/27.
A new sample of my own pattern, Solitaire Bear, using batiks and rather detailed quilting, at least in my world! I kind of enjoyed the challenge of trying to do some very small-scale quilting on this but can't imagine doing it on anything very much bigger! This little tabletopper is my limit for tolerance of tiny stitches!
A new little baby-sized quilt using Texture Magic in alternating blocks. This is a very fun product that shrinks when steamed, and causes the quilting fabric to bubble up and become textured. I made up a new quilting design (new to me) for the non-textured blocks and a similar shape in the border, I like it so much when I get to experiment with something like this and it even turns out well! This might become the newest Emmaline Design pattern!
Lest you think that all I ever do around here is sewing/quilting, let me share with you a good recipe that isn't new at all, but not something that I had stirred up for a long time. Now that I made a batch I am hopelessly hooked on them again.

Monster Cookies
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
pinch of salt
5 cups oatmeal (quick cooking type, or old-fashioned oats that have been chopped in the food processor)
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups creamy peanut butter
your choice of 2 - 3 cups of added ingredients, things like chocolate chips, M&M's, chopped nuts, butterscotch chips, toffee bits, coconut, etc.
Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl, use a mixer if you have one. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Add the flour, salt, soda and oats gradually. Fold in the goodies and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight. Make large clumps (1-2 tablespoons) on parchment paper covered cookie sheets, bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Leave them on the cookie sheet about 10 minutes before even trying to move them to the cooling rack. You can make the cookies bigger, but adjust the baking time so they are just barely browned. This makes a large batch.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

pretty things

This is a quilt top that I put together while I was at Nancy's last weekend. The fabric is the new Amy Butler Love group and the pattern is Archipelago by Blue Underground. Went together very well, and makes a nice cheery quilt. It is on display at Bear Patch and kits are in the works, in case you can't resist!
Hot Tip
Every now and then I find out something new that I am surprised that I didn't know about before. This is one of those things. And it seems like it's too good to be true because it's so simple! I learned about it from other longarm quilters. When I first started learning about longarm quilting, I took great care to iron all the quilt backs and tops carefully to get all the wrinkles from folds out. I even constructed a "big board" for my ironing board next to the quilt frame. Well, that big board has grown dusty lately because I learned the magic of a spray bottle of water! Low and behold, no more toiling over a hot iron! Now I lay out the fabric flat on my work table/cutting table/former pool table or drape it over the rails of the quilt frame for bigger chunks. Just so it can lay or hang flat. Then spray all over, especially any creases or fold marks, and let it dry. When you come back it is like magic! This even works to get that stubborn crease out of the fabric where it is folded on the bolt. Who knew it could be so simple? I know, you are feeling doubtful about this right now, and you are thinking I must not know what wrinkles really are because this is just too good to be true, there must be a catch. That's what I have been thinking about the Vikings lately and last Sunday they almost proved the point. But I digress. If you don't believe me, just try it, even if you do believe me, give it a try. It just might save you some ironing!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

other things

Stuff I have been working on:
the clapotis scarf made from Happy Feet yarn. A very different approach to making a scarf, it is knit diagonally with intentional dropped stitches causing a repeating open ladder across the scarf. I have to admit that it was really fun to pull the stitches and watch the ladder open up, I had to force myself to put down the knitting because I just wanted to get to the next repeat! I found the pattern through Ravelry, which is a wonderful source of knitting information and inspiration. Wish someone would come up with the same thing for quilting!
quilted this up for Laurel, it is called Tea Time and kits and patterns will soon be available at Bear Patch

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Progress report

Thought I should show you a little of what we are doing this long weekend. Leisl picked me up Thursday morning and we drove the ~2 hours to Nancy's house near Long Prairie. Moved all our sewing equipment into her luxuriously large sewing room and kicked into gear. I did go out for some groceries on Friday but otherwise we have been perfectly content to sew, cook, talk, watch movies, etc., without interruption. Here's a sampling:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Very Important News!

We have been working on our fundraiser at Bear Patch Quilting Co., and have a great chance for you to donate to Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer reserach and take home a wonderful handcrafted item. Even if you are far, far away, we want to include you in the fun! So if you look at the front page of the store's website, you can click through to a display of each item. Then you can call or email the store to find out what the current bid is and add your own bid. We have 17 items from little things (like a dishtowel and dishcloth) to big things (like quilts) so there is sure to be something to interest you. Please take a look and help us make this a super fundraiser! Thanks!

wonders of nature

We are treated to some great images with our changing seasons. On Saturday I took some pictures of the pretty fall colors, which never seem to look as good in the pictures as they do in real life with real sunshine highlighting the leaves.
Then yesterday I watched the snowflakes coming down and piling up on our patio furniture which hasn't yet been put away for the winter. Most of that snow has disappeared by today, but there is still some white stuff out there. This is only October 14 and already I've had 3 snows--one out in CA and 2 here in the week that I've been back home. Very odd weather, but at least so far there has been no shoveling!

Monday, October 12, 2009

family heirloom

One of the fun parts of preparing for Brita and Ben's wedding was knowing about the quilt that my mom was making for them. It started last winter, I think, or thereabouts. The Tessallating Leaves pattern (I don't know the designer) was a good pick because the kids have an affinity for the outdoors and nature. The fabrics came from Bear Patch, the border fabric was from a Moda line and then I picked out numerous coordinating prints. It was a major chunk of sewing time for Mom and required careful planning to get the layout correct. Then she loaded it up on a frame in the living room and handquilted the whole thing. It turned out beautifully! It was fun to keep the secret, even when Mom made a set of coordinating pillowcases and gave them to Brita at her shower in August.
This picture was taken after the rehearsal dinner with my mom and dad, Ben and Brita. It was very special to also use the quilt as part of some wedding photos. The golden fabrics in the quilt blended perfectly with the tall grasses. Future generations will be able to know the history of this one!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


If you are looking for some good ideas for free motion quilting designs, take a look at this good website. A new design every day! One thing I really like about this is that there are not just pictures of the finished design, but a video showing the actual process. And the designer narrates with such a calm, cool voice that it makes everything seem totally achievable.
This came to my attention from my sister, Jan, who also loves needle and thread. She has some good info and even tutorials on her blog, so give her a visit!
You will find a bit of overlap in some of the things we have posted, most noticeable recently because her son and my daughter each had a wedding within a month of each other. Jan lives way out in San Francisco, so for a long time that has been one of my favorite places to visit. And she has been a great surrogate mom for both my kids who for a variety of reasons have migrated to CA, and that helps ease my mind a bit when I think about my kids (young adults, I know) living so far from me. This picture was taken at my daughter's wedding reception one week ago yesterday, and is appropriate because if she's not holding a needle, she's likely holding a wine glass! So here's to you, Jan!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Truly Vintage

So about 59 years ago, a lovely young couple were wed in a little church in a little town in Iowa. Fast forward to 10/3/09, and the same cake topper graces the wedding cake of their grand-daughter. What a good feeling when the circle keeps going on and on and on...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Way to go Twins!

Not usually a big fan of TV sports, but couldn't ignore the Twins fever here tonight. The Twins kind of have a history of being the underdog, and tonight toughed it out to beat Detroit for the Division Championship. Bring on the Yankees!
Wanted to share this taste of winter with you, this was last Sunday morning in Squaw Valley, a coating of snow over the area and on the mountains. It wasn't very deep, but I did see some pictures from Mammoth Mountain that day with a good 6" or more of fresh snow, making the skiers go nuts, I'm sure!