Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm full to the brim with quilting!

I can't believe the last 3 days of my life!  An amazing journey in quilting, unlike anything I've experienced before.  Three days on retreat with about 20 members of my guild--Ah, life is good.

We stayed at a northwoods resort on Lake Holcombe an hour's drive east of where I live. We were all in one room with our machines whirring away, irons steaming, Ipod playing great tunes, and a "special" table spilling over with delicious snacks. A quilter's heaven!  We all worked on projects that we had brought from home as well as a charity project. We each sewed a dress for "Little Dresses for Africa" and we'll send them to Nancy's Notions to be shipped to the organization.  I hope the girl who receives my dress enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it. 

We played a few games, had drawings for door prizes--I won a book of seasonal quilts and a little table to keep near my sewing machine for pressing little blocks or to hold quilting supplies as I sew--and talked/laughed/sewed/ate until the wee hours. 

I finished the applique on Lily's D 4 Patch quilt.

I also did most of the flannel owl baby quilt for my friend's expected new granddaughter.  (Thank you to whoever put this fabric in the Traveling Stash!) I created this quilt as I went along and decided I needed a bit of green flannel for a narrow inner border or flange before putting on the main border. When I packed up to leave on Sunday, I headed for the shop where I'd purchased the rest of the flannel to get the green.  I also decided to make prairie points instead of flange. 

Other than the tremendous amount of camaraderie, stitching, and sometimes reverse stitching that occurred, there were 2 highlights for me.

1) We took a trip to a new-to-me LQS about 20 miles away and they had some very cute things. I couldn't pass up this fat quarter bundle of Xmas prints (Can you believe 8 FQ for $12.50???) and I also bought this bag pattern which I'm wanting to make up RIGHT NOW!  and 2) On Saturday, I took a 2 mile walk in the afternoon (which I normally don't do because of knee pain when I walk) and NO KNEE PAIN afterwards! Hurray!

All in all, it was a wonderful retreat for a first timer and I'll definitely return next year. As Lily would say, "Aww--Do I have to wait an entire year for the next one? Not fair!"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apples and tomatoes

I've been up to my elbows in apples and tomatoes.  Don picked all the apples off the two trees we planted a few years ago in the yard and after a couple days' labor, I am the proud caretaker of 5 apple pies in the freezer (Hey! Thanksgiving is just around the corner!) And 4 quarts of the most beautiful and delicious apple sauce I've ever tasted or seen!  Next was tomatoes. I had picked all of them a couple of weeks ago--both red and green ones--when I was cleaning up the garden. Almost all of the green ones are now red, so they were washed, quartered and thrown into a freezer bag, ready for me to use in making chili on cold winter days. 

I've also been working on Lily's quilt and am ready to begin appliqueing the vines, flowers and leaves on the border.  I'm leaving tomorrow for a 3 day quilting retreat at a nearby resort and will work on that while I'm there. I'll be taking the stuff I need to begin working on Dan's quilt as well as some place mats and tables quilts I have in mind. I think I'll be delightfully busy, quilting for 3 days with a group of super great people.

This is the second guild I've been in. The first one I was in for 4 years when it dawned on me that I didn't feel like a member and I certainly wasn't treated like a member and if it hadn't happened in 4 years, it likely was not going to happen at all. So I left and haven't been back. I don't have hard feelings--this was a group of people who had grown up together in the same small town, went to school together, likely were in each other's weddings, babysat each other's kids, etc.  They didn't need to let a newcomer into their group, which is perfectly okay.

The second guild--my present one--I've been a member of for about a year. This is a more diverse group of women.  Many of them grew up in other towns and have moved from time to time because of job demands. I have more in common with them since I too have moved a lot and have been a "stranger" in many new towns. (Some would say I'm always "stranger" whether I'm in a new town or not, but that's another issue.LOL)  Anyway, I feel very comfortable with these ladies and I think I'm going to have a great time at the retreat.  I'll let you know how it turns out and what progress I make on my projects. I may just put my feet up, read a book, indulge in the goodies and treats, and laugh along with the others until I wet my pants. If I do that, I won't blog about it.  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Traveling Stash

The TS is at Bernie's (check out so if you want to have a chance at getting it at your house, leave a comment on her blog and she'll put your name in the drawing which she'll have on October 13.  Take it from me, that box is full of quilting yummies! 

The rules are 1) You have to have an active blog 2) You can take anything you want out of the box but you MUST replace it with items of equal value and quality 3) You must post about the TS on your blog and 4) You must be willing to send it on to the next recipient. Because of the cost of shipping, this is limited to the US and Canada. 

When the box arrived at my house and I opened it up, it was like a quilter's Christmas!  So many wonderful things in there! The hardest thing about the whole venture was choosing what to take out, but it was fun shopping my stash to find replacement items. Bernie says she has some Halloween fabric to add to the stash--Sweet!

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to get the TS and to send it on to another delighted person, so please check out Bernie's blog and enter your comment into her drawing.

Lots of news

It's been awhile since I've posted--because I've been BI-IZZ-ZY!  I don't know what all I've done but all of a sudden we're well into October! Yikes! I hope I had a good time with whatever I was doing! :)

The last weekend of September Don and I went to Nelson Dewey State Park near Cassville WI in the SW or "driftless" area of the state. The weather was perrrfect!  This is a pic I snapped from the car window as we rounded a corner on the way there. Beautiful autumn colors. I love the deep wine color of the sumac.  Autumn is my absolutely favorite time of the year--such beauty but only for a few weeks unfortunately.  In the North where I live, the trees are just beyond peak color and the fierce winds are blowing off the leaves in heaps.

While on this camping trip, we were joined by some friends and Elaine and I spent the day exploring downtown Mineral Point while the guys played golf. I liked the old turn-of-the-century (the last century, not the most recent one. LOL) buildings in this town. A lot of the shops were closed for the season or at least for the day we were there, but we were still able to see lots of local art and crafty things for sale. 

The second day of our trip we spent several hours at Stonefield, Gov Dewey's Victorian era "gentleman farmer's) 2000 acre estate. It's now a state historical site and includes some of the original buildings as well as recreated buildings of the era. The state farm machinery museum is there--lots of old steam powered equipment, if you like that kind of thing!  Also a typical small farming village of the 1900's which I found very interesting. We'd been there about 15 or 20 years ago and on that trip, I had my first (and only) glass of sarsaparilla in the saloon as well as my first (of many) pickled egg.  This time, we were too late in the season for the saloon to be open. Darn!  And, I forgot to bring the camera that afternoon--double darn!

Since we got home from camping, we've been outside a lot, getting the gardens in shape for winter so I've not been doing much sewing. But last night I played with my fabrics for awhile and made several 6" friendship star blocks. At the recent guild meeting, we were challenged to make these blocks in autumn colors and bring them next month. You'll get an entry in the drawing for each block you bring and whoever's name is drawn will take home ALL the blocks!  I made 6 blocks last night and hope to have many more to enter.  I'm already thinking of how I could use a bunch of these blocks--Hmmmm.

At the guild meeting we discussed the upcoming retreat--only 6 more days!  And I can't wait!  I've been having trouble deciding what to bring with and I decided to begin working on a new quilt for my son. I'd bought this collection of fabrics a couple of years ago and have finally decided on a pattern for them.

When I looked pulled  them out, they were OK but then I remembered what our guild guest said the other night about adding from your stash to liven up the collection fabrics. So I did. Look at how much richer they look together with the additional fabrics.

This will be a "controlled" scrappy quilt!  I usually think I'm "cheating" if I add to the collections, I suppose because I think the designers have done their job perfectly and who am I to second guess them. But Jill gave me "permission" to go ahead and trust myself in this area, something I should have been doing all along. Why do I not trust that I'm doing things correctly???

So, I'm going to make a modified log cabin pattern out of these fabrics using 2" strips, and I can't wait to get started!  I also will add the borders to Lily's Disappearing 4 Patch quilt and have it ready to begin appliqueing the flowers on the border. I'd like to try needle turn applique, but for a child's quilt, I think I'll do it by machine.

That's enough for one post.  Got to plant tulip bulbs before the rains come today and before I get ready for a baby shower this afternoon.