Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm back...

Back in the comfort of home sweet home, recovering from 4 wonderful days of family, fishing, food and lots of fun! We returned to McArdle's Resort on Lake Winnibigoshish, here's a few of the highlights:
That's Cade with me and one of my favorite fishies, Willy the Walleye! Cade is 6 and lives in Memphis, this is his second fishing trip and he better come back next year because I think he brings me luck! His dad, Trevor, is our nephew and personal meteorologist, which unfortunately didn't keep us from getting chased off the lake by thunder and lightning one afternoon. This fish was a keeper, it was just under the "slot size", which means I didn't have to release it. Walleyes measuring 17" - 26" are in the "slot" and cannot legally be taken from the lake, so the population will keep growing. So you better believe that we keep the measuring tape handy and feel a bit of regret when we land a nice big one that has to go back in the lake. Oh well, we still had plenty to eat 3 meals for 34 people and enough to freeze and bring some home.
Here's a precious picture of Grandma Hansen and the grand and great-grandkids (minus the Obens who had to leave early)---
One of the first things we have to do when we get back home is check on the plants and flowers, do some watering, etc. Our water lily in our little pond is blooming, it is beautiful. It's good to be home!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pinch me

Some days are just almost too good to be true! Special things happening here today:
1. saw a fox
2. saw an albino squirrel (not near the fox, thank goodness!)
3. hugged my boy, Dan
4. got a new cap
I bet anyone in the Eastern Sierras knows about the Tiger Bar. Great local hangout, even serves breakfast! This is perfect for our fishing trip the next few days. I better make sure I have tackle and an outfit to go with it, we have to keep our fashion standards high, don't ya know!
It's only 4:00, I wonder what else wonderful could happen??

Friday, June 18, 2010

welcome to my world

I have been putting in some hours lately between EQ (Electric Quilt design program), cutting mat and sewing machine while concocting what I hope to be something wonderful for our MN 2010 Statewide Shop Hop. I am ready to show you a section of it---
I think I have it to the point where I am done fussing with the layout and measurements, and ready to move on to the quilting. And compose the directions in understandable format! Since Moda is cutting 5" charm square packs and the featured panel print is designed in 5" squares, a portion of the quilt uses those. And I'm already thinking about all those other wonderful 5" squares I have stashed away, they will easily slip into this pattern in the near future! This just gets better all the time!

My June project for the Posse Pledge to Finish, I have completed this little tabletopper:
It is sooo Iowa! Yes, the state bird is the goldfinch! I purchased this at Country Threads the last time I was there, probably 2008. I sewed it together and then laid it aside, but rescued it from oblivion so now it can rest on the table at my Mom and Dad's house. We get plenty of goldfinches at our own house, somehow they don't understand that they are supposed to stay south of the border!

After I finished the sewing of the MN quilt yesterday afternoon, I took a look around me and decided it was high time that I did a little cleaning up in the sewing room. It was kind of like a festering wound, gradually getting more irritating as my messy piles grew and grew. Well, the wound has been opened, drained, irrigated and covered with a nice tidy dressing so I can show it to you--

This used to be a bedroom and is on the second floor of the house. The big double windows face west and I included a shot to show you some of the view that I enjoy there. When I purchased my longarm, the only place it would fit is in the basement. I considered moving all of my sewing down there, but I love this room and the great view of the trees and sky, so it has stayed right there. It does mean some trips up 2 floors and down 2 floors many times, but until I am too feeble to pull myself up those stairs, it stays put. I have my Viking 830, Juki mid-arm, and Bernina serger all lined up ready to go.
Next to that is the cutting table, which is just a dining table raised up on some stilts that Bob engineered for me. The plastic storage drawers just fit under the table, and hold scraps, beading supplies and misc. crap. In the corner over the table is a suspended TV and a bulletin board of inspiration and mementos.
On the wall opposite the window I have my Martha board, so named because it's a Martha Stewart product from KMart and bigger than your average ironing board. (I don't think Martha can do anything small.) And showing that I need to change the cover, starch is my friend but not the friend of the cover! Back in that corner is a grey metal medical supply cabinet that I rescued from one of my former places of employment as it was going to the trash, and it serves me very well for a lot of my small items. Each drawer has a metal label slot on the front, so I can keep it organized.
In what used to be the clothes closet, I have a good portion of my fabric stash. Probably one of the best things we have done to make my sewing life easier is this closet. We removed the bifold doors and installed shelving from the lumber yard. The drawers hold fat quarter size chunks, sorted by color. The open shelves hold bigger cuts of fabric.
No way am I showing you my "overflow" room, which houses lots more fabric, kits, books, patterns, yarn, and more misc. crap! It's in the bedroom right next to this one and not nearly so neat, and would be really can hardly be called a bedroom right now!
Well, after the cleanup ended, a funny thing happened. I just sat in my chair and gazed upon the space, MY space, my territory, and felt the need to just stop and ponder for a moment. Reminding myself how lucky I am to have this space. I haven't always been able to have this room of my own, so I can appreciate what a difference it makes in my life. It allows me the chance to open my mind to more new ideas and possibilities.

I want to also show you a sewing room that has me green with envy! I have come to know Heather Mulder Peterson, designer of patterns and fabrics known as Anka's Treasures. She shared pictures of her mother's sewing room on her blog, Trends and Traditions. Now this is one sewing room that I could just live in. Maybe have Bob throw me a crust of bread now and then. I don't think I would ever want to come out! Well, a girl can dream!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

need to catch up!

I should be out for a bike ride this morning, but I will spend a few minutes with you, instead. The bike will still be in the garage, and the sky does not look the least bit rainy so I think it's safe to say that I will still get some pedal time in today. Between weather and work and family and travels, the bike has been at a standstill for over a week! So it's time to get back in the saddle to see if I can work off a few of these unwanted pounds that are hanging around here! Anyway, I have some fun things to report on, mostly family and very little quilty, so if that is not your thing just come back in a day or 2, I will have some other good fibery stuff to share!

We had such a good time during the week+ that Brita and Ben were visiting, they are a great pair, and that's not just the mom in me talking! They are honest and fun-loving and thoughtful, and clearly loving each other.
I went along with them to spend a couple days with Brita's grandparents, which was heartwarming to see that they value that time during their precious days in Minnesota. We drove to Jackson, where Grandma Hansen lives, to catch up on things with her. She is such a bright spot in our lives, always so positive and upbeat. The kids got her to reflect back on some of the good ol' days, when livin' was not always so easy, what with raising 9 kids on the farm! But to hear her tell it, life was a joy and full of wonderful memories.

Continuing our journey, we crossed the border into God's country (Iowa) and found more family fun. We had a special event to celebrate, the 60th anniversary of my parents' marriage! That's a lot of years!
This big cookie came from one of their favorite coffee spots, Hey Good Cookies in Spirit Lake, IA. In fact, they have a regular coffee group that meets there every week. I have had the good fortune to join them more than once, and I can vouch for the delicious goodies they bake!
My hometown, Lake Park, is near a couple of large lakes in NW Iowa, which have always been a popular spot for vacations and entertainment. One thing I remember from my days as a kid was the allure of the Queen, an excursion boat that cruised the waters of Lake Okoboji during the summer. A newer version of the Queen still exists, so we hopped aboard. We listened to some great stories and narration about the lake and the area, from history to geology to eagle's nests to $5 million homes. Okoboji is big and deep (130'), so it took about 90 minutes to cover only part of the lake. Here's our motley crew with the boat visible in the background:
Not all of the family could be present, that's my brother, Jared, on the right with his wife, Mary. Their son, Spencer, is on the left. It was fun to have our little group together for the afternoon and dinner. Later, some of us got to listen to Damon Dotson playing at a local club. Please go to his website to hear some of his very likeable tunes. He is a "local boy" and talented musician. I was happy that he happened to be playing there on the night we could attend.

The next day we attended a wonderful wedding for Ashley and Jon in Jackson, MN. I didn't get much for pictures, this is kind of a poor shot of the happy couple, sorry! It was a beautiful celebration, lots of the Hansens from all over--Arizona, Ohio, Texas, California, Nebraska, etc.
The wedding colors were a turquoisy blue with black, very pretty. I liked these centerpieces--
and the cake made by Denise, it's wonderful to have a cake artist in the family!
So that's the wrap-up of recent adventures! Now counting the days till my wonderful son gets here so I can hug him more than necessary!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Several busy days here lately, with family here to visit, work and play, etc. So here's a couple random things:
I have another quilt pattern popping out of my head! I'm seeing stars! This is the start of my design for Bear Patch for the MN Shop Hop fabric designed by Holly Taylor for Moda. It's all shades of blue with some fun little scenes depicting the wonder of MN in winter. Gives me a shiver!
Had a fabulous time last Saturday at the wedding of Anne and Tim Sheridan, here you will see that we do clean up OK! This is Bob, Brita, myself and Ben, pausing between dances!
Finally got around to potting up some plants for our porch and patio, and at the nursery I spotted this very unusual corkscrew plant that I just had to have. It was the only one left there, so I gave it a good home with this little petunia. The knotted and twisted spikes really unique, at least for this area.
Had a bunch of rain yesterday, which sadly cancelled the plan for golf for Bob and Ben, but over an inch means everything is really growing now! Tomorrow we get to drive to Iowa so we can examine the crops along our route. Taking Ben and Brita with me to visit the grandparents, celebrate a 60th anniversary and a wedding over the next 3 days. What fun!
Hey Dan--will this do for now?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

love these colors!

Do you ever think about how your tastes and likes evolve? When I first started making quilts, I was a big fan of dark tones, prints by Thimbleberries, Debbie Mumm, etc. Now I look at a group of fabrics like these--

and I find inspiration! Things have changed, to be sure! I enjoy putting together a group like this, starting with 3 prints (number 1,3 and 5) purchased recently. Supplemented with some dots from my stash (number 2 and 4) and additional selections from the wonderful shelves at Bear Patch (numbers 6-10). I have come to learn that one of the most frequent challenges to many quilters is choosing colors and fabrics. As a quilt shop employee, I always try to encourage customers to trust their instincts and go with what feels good, to not be convinced that they have no ability to see the colors they like. To me, it's kind of like a game to see how many unrelated fabrics from various manufacturers I can pull together to create a unique look. When I brought home those first 3 fabrics, I really had no idea if I had anything that would fit with those colors, but with a little experimentation I think I have a good start to a fresh quilt. And there's a bonus in it, too--that little squiggly stripe on the bottom of the stack was from Bob's Bargain Bolts!