Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

In the eleven days since I last posted, an amazing amount of energy has been expended by me and my family. I almost feel as though the universe is determined to make us use up all our old energy before midnight tonight and start fresh in 2014 with a new supply.

Since the solstice, we have finished packing up the house. Daughter Jo came on the 26th and helped clean while the movers loaded the truck. What a great team of movers they were! We've always loaded the rental truck ourselves when we've moved (about 10 or 12 times I think, over the years) but this time we hired a  company and I'm so glad we did! Thye got all our crap on the truck in 4 hours where it used to take us at least a day or more to load up.

So, on the morning of the 27th, we signed all the papers, turned over the keys, and were oficially homeless for the weekend. Don and I spent a well earned 2 days at the (relative) luxury of the Super 8 in town.We got all rested up for Monday, the 30th.

We signed the papers to buy the new house at 8:30, the moving truck arrived at 10:30 and 4 hours later, all our crap was deposited in the house and garage where most of it still waits to be put away. 

Don and I have spent this New Year's Eve unpacking and trying to make some sense out of all the chaos. I think the worst thing about moving to a new house is deciding where to put everything especially in the kitchen, and then remembering where I put them.  It gets harder as my brain "matures!"

The hardest thing about the whole move--not the fact that our belongings were frozen on the moving truck all weekend, not spending the weekend in a cheap hotel,  not the having to sort out the freezable foods and liquids so they could be stored indoors for the weekend--was having to put our two old cats in the kennel all weekend and not knowing if they were miserable or delighted.  When I brought them to the new  house yesterday, they spent several hours exploring and the rest of the evening and all day today they have been close at hand wanting to be petted at every opportunity. I think they're happy to be back with their humans. :-)

I retrieved my sewing machines from daughter Tessa's house today and they are in the sewing room, patiently waiting to be used again, but they'll have to wait until we come back from Hawaii in the middle of January.  Then the fun will begin again! I'll have 10 days to finish sorting  out  the house and getting ready for our month in Alabama. At least I'll be taking my machines and several projects along with and will finally be able to work on my quilts again.

So, happy New Year--may it be filled with serenity and contentment and a boundless supply of 2014 energy.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Winter Solstice

Today's the winter solstice, the time when the earth begins turning to light and warmth after six months of increasing darkness and cold.  I celebrate this day as the beginning of a new season in my life.

This past month has held many changes for me and truly, a new season is beginning. Just before Thanksgiving, I retired from my job and on that day as well, Don and I accepted an offer to buy our house.  This was followed by a frantic search to find a house in Menomonie that suits our needs. We lucked out and found a very beautiful house that will serve our purposes for the rest of our lives.  We are moving out of this house on the 27th and will be "homeless" until the 30th when we can move into the new house.  Every day since then has been spent sorting, cleaning, throwing and packing and we are nearing the end of it.  I managed to finish a crib quilt for my friend's new grandson and got that off in the mail the other day. In the midst of all this chaos, our son graduated with his Masters degree so we spent last weekend in Milwaukee for the ceremony and to have an early Christmas with Dan and Erin and the family. I'm so proud of my son--it's taken him a long time to get this degree but he managed to do it--and he landed a choice job as well!  

Enjoy this shortest day and fill it with things that bring joy to your heart and to your family. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The quilt tour

I went to the quilt tour wrap up meeting last night. What a huge success the entire fundraiser was!  Naomi's goal was to raise $5000 and when she told us that a couple of months ago, she said it with doubt in her voice.  Well, little lady, doubt no more!  The tour grossed over $6000 and after the program subtacted the (minimal) expenses they'd incurred, they came out with about $5900 in their pockets!  All for a very good cause, and I (and the other group chairs) feel very good for doing our bit to help this very needed service in our community.

We learned that a neighboring community had their semi-annual quilt show the same day as our quilt tour and we think that drew visitors away to a certain extent. We decided last night that we want to do the quilt tour again next year, and then, on alternate years, opposite the other quilt show.  That way, its a win-win for both events.

Will I step up and organize the show for the guild again?  You bet--if they want me to. I had a lot of fun doing it and working with the awesome ladies of my guild.  And hearing all the positive comments from the visitors was so rewarding.  Yes, I'm in it again, I think.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

I've been hearing bits and pieces of the news of the huge storm that hit the Philippines a few days ago but this morning, I sat down and read the NBC news article on the situation here: 


This article says it's estimated that 10,000 people have died but "Nearly 620,000 people were displaced and 9.5 million "affected" across the Philippines," according to the UN. How many more will die due to exposure and disease as they have to go without basic necessities such as clean water?

They are saying this storm is as devastating as the tsunami that destroyed so much of the countries along the Indian Ocean  in 2004! The storm was as big as the country of Germany when it hit the Philippines, for crying out loud! Maybe you already know these things but I'm just finding out this morning, so I'm horrified!

I worked with a Filipina over the past couple of years, helping her become a citizen and getting the benefits she's entitled to, and she has children and grandchildren still in the Philippines.  I called her today and she said they are okay but their house has been washed away. This is the second time her kids have lost their house in a huge storm in the past few years.  Of course, I will send some money to them, via their mother, to help them out.  I would encourage anyone who reads this to send a generous donation to the relief agencies which are trying to cope with this disaster.

As I read the above article, it occurred to me that Mother Nature has a way of solving her problems.  Several years ago, I learned that one of the signs of climate change or global warming, is an increase in severe weather episodes. It seems to me that it's happening these days.  But, when huge and disastrous events occur--such as record-breaking cold in Europe in 2011 which killed many people, storms like Sandy which hit the east coast of the US, and this most recent disaster--thousands of people end up dying.  Is this Mother Nature's way of coping with the human influence on climate change?  The fewer people there are on this planet, the less of a carbon footprint?  Is this nature's way of bringing climate back into balance?

It seems to me that we humans can assist in bring the climate back into balance without having to suffer these extreme weather events.  I'm glad I traded my car for a Prius. It's a very small thing, but it's what I can do to lessen my personal carbon footprint.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The First Ever Quilt Show

Yesterday was the first ever quilt show for my guild.  Last summer we were invited to participate in a "quilt tour" fundraiser for the local domestic abuse program and I was tasked with following up on the email. I actually moved myself into the position of coordinator of our part of the tour--something I've had no experience with at all!  Without going into the details, 5 of the 6 ladies who were on the team were real troopers and went full speed ahead and got everything done that they had to do--it was amazing to see it all come together. The 6th lady we'll not say much about other than even though she didn't attend the planning meetings and had no idea of our plans, she arrived on Friday night when we were setting up, and proceeded to tell everyone what they were supposed to do. That kind of thing really burns my butt!  Fortunately, the other ladies know her pretty well and for the most part, ignored her and went ahead with the plans we'd already made.

The tour was held yesterday and Yea, there was no snow, always a risk in November in NW Wisconsin. The turn out was overwhelming!  The thing was set up that 5 guilds or quilting groups set up quilt shows in 4 area churches. We were in one of the larger churches and shared the space with another guild which worked out very well.  People bought a "passport" and were allowed into all the churches on the one passport.  The domestic abuse program also had a raffle in conjunction with the tour and they had some wonderful items in the raffle. Each guild donated a lap size quilt and area businesses donated wonderful things.  I didn't win anything, but that's okay.

We had a store set up where guests could buy items made by members of the guild. We were given 1/2 yard pieces of fabric that the guild bought, and made items using the fabric--mostly table runners, pot holders and other small items. Almost everything sold and we shared the proceeds of the store with the domestic abuse program.

We also had a cafe where we had coffee, cider, punch and cookies for the guests. We set out a good will offering basket and again, shared the proceeds with the program.

I was busy all day on the floor of the show, mixing with guests, answering questions, and so forth. I was a "white glove lady!"  The last time I wore white gloves was when I still lived at home with my mother and we had to dress up for Sunday church--and that's a very long time ago! I heard so many compliments over how we'd set up our quilt racks and how beautiful the quilts were. We had a section of antique quilts that was a big hit. I displayed my husband's great-grandmother's quilt which looked so beautiful now that it's all quilted up.

When it was over and the raffle winners drawn, I helped take it all down and load everything in cars and trucks and came home with a very good feeling in my heart.  My hips and knees, however, had a very bad feeling in them from all the standing and walking as well as heavy lifting so I spent the evening in a comfy chair with my feet on a footstool.  Today, I'm back in the routine and hope to be spending some time working on quilts instead of looking at them and talking about them.

I think the quilt tour was a big success and I know our part of this show was a big success! I would definitely do this again, if we're invited next year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Julia arrives

Look who came to live at my house last month!  It's a Sears Kenmore Model 1400 that I found at the local Goodwill store for 8 bucks!  I was so excited that I didn't even try it out before I bought it--at $8 I can't go wrong, can I?  I immediately took her to the world's area's best sewing machine guy--Jim Jerabek--and he worked his magic on her.  I brought her home but she's had to sit for a few weeks until I had time to play around with her, and that was today.

This machine, according to Jim, is a real, solid little work horse that will last a lifetime. Well, that's not that long considering my age!  She's a pale seafoam green and reminds me of a bride's maid's dress from the 90s. She's a little worse for wear--her electrical cord is wrapped with black tape and there are dings and wear spots on her from all the sewing that was done with her in her 40+ years.  Can you imagine how many pairs of pajamas and nightgowns that were lovingly made with this machine? How many back-to-school skirts and dresses sewn and how many knees of jeans were patched.  Probably a few Christmas, Easter, First Communion and Confirmation dresses as well.  Maybe even a prom dress or bridal gown.  I think this little lady has been there and seen it all, don't you?

According to the Sears website, the Model 1400 was only made from 1969 through 1973. So that makes her between 40 and 44 years old.  Not that old, I guess.  Today, since it is raining and windy and not a good day to finish my outdoor work, I took an hour or two and simply played with her and all her fancy stitches (There are about 10 of them!  My, how sewing machines have changed in 40 years!) When I put the pedal to the metal, she purred as though she had been waiting to be taken out on a good run.  She is completely sopping with oil--I think Jim wanted to make sure there was enough oil to soak into all the gears and joints--and smells very oily. I washed her exterior parts with a lavender scented cleaner so I hope she smells better next time I take her out.

I have to figure out how to mark a 1/4" line so I can do quilt piecing on her and I have to figure out what to call her.  I don't call my other machine anything but she came with the name "Lily 454" and I think I have to come up with something more suitable for this machine than "Model 1400."  I'm leaning toward "Julia."  I think Julia Roberts has played a few bridesmaid roles over the years but I'm not sure if she ever wore a seafoam green dress. Also, I loved Julia Child when she was cooking on PBS during the 70's and 80's so I think Julia is as good a name as any for this machine.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another finish

I made a Halloween pillow for my Etsy store, but I like it so much that I think I'll have to make another one to keep.   I embroidered the center and used crayon to color the Jack O'Lantern, spider and the lettering.  I also embellished the orange rick rack and I like that effect very much.  So here's the pillow along with Mr. Vampire and a soon-to-be Jack O'Lantern.

And here's a closeup of the center panel. I think he's a little creepy looking but not so much that he'll scare the pants off little kids.

If you want to check out my Etsy store, here's a link:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/JollyRuby?ref=ss_profile

Don and I spent the weekend with our good friends in Lake Mills and had a wonderful time. He played golf with his old golfing buddies on Friday and Saturday. He really enjoyed being with his buddies again and playing on the course where he truly learned to be a golfer.  I spent the weekend with my friend-who's-like-a-sister visiting and on Saturday we went to a little bistro in Milton for a really tasty lunch. (No pix, sorry) We had shrimp and corn bisque and Elaine had a roast beef and Muenster sandwich on olive and rosemary bread (Amazing flavors!) and I ordered a ham and I forgot the kind of cheese sandwich on almond and apricot bread (More amazing flavors!)  Where I live in NW Wisconsin, we can't get unique combinations like that unless we go the Minneapolis/St Paul, an hour or more drive, so I have to take advantage of these opportunities when they come along.

Elaine and I had to stop at a little quilt shop I'd heard about in Milton and I added to my collection of red and neutrals for the Talkin' Turkey quilt that I plan to make--soon!  Elaine, who doesn't quilt but is an excellent seamstress, found the perfect quilt for her bedroom and came home with the kit.  She and I will collaborate on it by phone when she's ready to begin.  I'm absolutely thrilled that she's decided to take the plunge!

On the way home, I knitted while Don drove and got most of one sock completed.  I love my hand knitted socks but they do take quite a bit of time to complete, but, oh well.

Today I'm off work and will be getting the jalepenos in the dehydrator and making salsa and marinara sauce out of the last of the tomatoes.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ghosties and Goblins

I've made a Halloween table quilt.  Worked on it at last weekend's quilting retreat and finished sewing the binding today.  Just as I was putting in the last stitches, the sun broke through so I was able to take pix outdoors with the mums and the Jack-o-Lantern that Lily carved last weekend while I was gone.

 I found this Halloween fabric somewhere along the way and bought it on impulse.  The other fabrics I found in my stash and I think it all worked out ok. It's cute and not too scary. I love the cats in their pink masks with spiders hanging on their tails!

In the green squares, I quilted pumpkins in orange thread and in the hourglass blocks, I stitched spiderwebs in black.

I have enough green fabric left over to make a set of place mats but I doubt that I'll have them ready in time for Halloween this year. I have to finish an embroidered Halloween pillow and then both items will go up for sale at my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby, which is here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/JollyRuby?ref=shop_name_search_sugg.  

Happy Halloween, everyone. Don't eat all the trick or treat candy before the big day! ;o)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hammerschlagen 2013

I survived Flachtoberfest, 2013!  We had a wonderful time at niece Wendy's house. Even though it was rainy and drizzly most of the day, we still held the outdoor games. Like Hammerschlagen.  If you don't know what that is, look here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHW5rYQ3PyU.  

This is us playing Hammerschlagen at Flachtoberfest and, as usual, I didn't win anything. I had either had too much beer before playing or not enough beer. It's a delicate balance.  We play the women's division, men's division and this year, we added the kids division. You can see, the kids are intensely studying the women's technique and style so they can do better than us when it's their turn--doesn't take much to do better than us!--and they were better when they played the game.

I'm wearing my 2010 Flachtoberfest T-shirt which designates me as the "Mudderflacher"  and I'm so proud of that title (not!)

Nephew George brought a couple of Grandpa Flach's guns which he had restored and later in the day, a group went into Wendy's woods to do some target shooting.  Daughter Tessa had tried making rye bread and the loaves never rose so she brought them with to use a targets.  As they were leaving the house to walk into the woods, my husband commented that at his family reunions, we play softball but at my family reunions, we go shooting!  Well, the loaves of rye bread survived the target shooting and ended up being gobbled up by the 3 large dogs who also attended the party. And no one got hurt in the shooting except for a few bruised shoulders (and egos) when the shotgun kicked too hard and knocked shooter onto her butt!

All in all, I had a wonderful time!  Family members that I've not seen for years showed up and friends of family were there as honorary Flachs and some of them were just amazed and flabbergasted at the goings on. Lots of laughter and camaraderie, amazing food, and of course, great beer.

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's time for Flachtoberfest!

Tomorrow is the family celebration we call "Flachtoberfest."  My maiden name is Flach (pronounced flock) and Flachtoberfest seemed the right thing to do in this family of German heritage. It's basically a family reunion that we have every couple of years around the first of October at my niece's home. We have a variety of beers in kegs to choose from, a variety of German foods to munch on, some German-origin games like  Hammerschlagen and Schmear, and niece Wendy always finds the most unique prizes.  One year I won the Hammerschlagen contest (women's division) and my prize was a pair of racing Grannies.

Here they are, speeding across the dining table!

I'm the oldest one in the family now that my 97 year old Aunt Clara died a couple of years ago, so I'm designated the "Mother Flacher."  I love it!

This year I'm bringing Rouladen with gravy and Wendy's getting the spaetzle from the caterer. She'll also get smoked pork chops, various wursts, and other things from the caterer. If you don't know what Rouladen is, here's a picture of it before I covered it and put it in the oven. 

It's thinly sliced beef (I used top round and asked the butcher to cut it 1/4 inch thin and that saved me a lot of work and a lot of pounding ) that's spread with a thin layer of horseradish mustard. On it, you layer a slice of bacon, a quarter spear of dill pickle, some thinly sliced onions and some S&P. You roll that up like a burrito and skewer with a couple of toothpicks. Then they're browned and layered in the baking dish. The sauce is about half red wine and half beef broth with some bay leaves. The recipe calls for braising it on the stove top for 1 1/2 hours but I know my burners are too hot for braising and I have too many little bundles to fit in one pot, so into the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Then I'll make the gravy and it'll be ready to take to Wendy's tomorrow.

I also have to make up some Currywurst for apps.  When I was in Germany last fall, we saw currywurst advertised at the wurst (hotdog) stands. I didn't try it but I like curry and I like wursts so I think this will be good.   

Bratwurst with Curry Sauce (Currywurst )

I stole borrowed this picture from the internet since I haven't made my curry wurst yet. It's sliced knockwurst in a tomato curry sauce. Since I'm traveling with this dish, I'll be putting it in the crock pot and that should be good.

Just get a call that we have a house showing tomorrow while we're at Flachtoberfest. Keep your fingers crossed that the folks like the house, okay? Better finish my cleaning and get ready for it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The rest of the trip

Since I returned from my mini vacation in N MN, I've been on the go every minute and it doesn't look as though it's going to end any time soon.  I thought I'd finish up with some pix from the trip and show what I've done in the quilting room since I returned home.

I stopped at a new favorite quilt shop in Grand Rapids MN on my way home and picked up these coordinating fabrics to make up into place mats, and maybe a runner as well, to use during the holidays.  Even though I make lots of placemats, I don't have any that I can use at this time of the year, so now I will.

On the way to the resort, I stopped at an old favorite quilt shop in Floodwood, MN. This place is overflowing with precuts and every time I stop there, I'm tortured by all the choices. I'd like to just make my home in there and start using all those beautiful charm squares, jelly rolls, and layer cakes. At least, I don't think I'd gain weight with these kind of baked goods. ;-)  This time, I bought 4 of the charm square packs of Warmth by Moda, and I got some coordinating fabrics to make a red-white-blue quilt which I've been wanting for some time.

While I was at the cabin, I worked on this little table runner that I'm making as a fundraiser for the Guild. We were given 1/2 yard of fabric that the guild had purchased (I chose the red) and had to make up a small item that we'll have for sale at the mini quilt tour in which my guild is participating in November.  I pieced it and quilted it and when I returned home, I made the binding and sewed on a few sparkly snowflake buttons that I had on hand.

I tried making a two sided binding on this runner and I'm very pleased at how easy it was and how well it turned out.  I'll be using this technique more in the future, I'm sure.

I also began working on a Halloween table quilt/wall hanging while I was in the cabin.  I think this will go into my Etsy store and if it doesn't sell, I'll keep it for myself.  I'm thinking of making a pieced border using the leftover fabrics from the hourglass blocks and then finish it up with another border of the black polkadots.

I really like this fabric--cute and not too scary. And I like the combination of colors as well.

And lastly, I finished up my first pair of hand knitted socks. I've been wanting to try making socks for several years, and I enjoyed making them so much that I think I have a new addiction!  I have enough yarn left over to make a third sock, I think, so I'll have a spare when I need it and I can also use it with some other sock I've yet to make. I heard that the new trend these days is to wear unmatched socks. I can do that too!

I've been wearing them a bit so they're a little stretched out. They are sooo warm and comfortable, I'll be wearing them all winter, I'm sure.   Now, where in the world did I put the second skein of sock yarn that I bought last spring so I can begin on a blue pair.

 That's it for today.  I have a large number of tomatoes and bell peppers that need my attention as well as gardening chores that are calling me.  And with luck I'll be able to do a bit of sewing as well.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My morning walk

I've been going for a morning walk every day that I've been here at the resort. This is something that I like to do regularly but when I'm at home, there are always too many reasons to put it off so I relish the time I have when I'm on vacation to do these things.  I took my camera along this morning and here are some things that I saw:

The last of the summer's wildflowers 

An apple tree filled with tiny apples that will be appreciated by the birds this winter.

This is the cutest little garden shed at one of the lake homes I passed on my walk.
 Love the red flowers in the window boxes.

And, of course, the ever beautiful lake.  Wish I had a canoe or kayak with me.

Yesterday was a beautiful as today's starting out to be and I spent some time sitting on a bench in the sun reading my book.  After I settled myself in and got quiet, the wildlife made itself known.  Most of the rustling was from this little fella. Is it Chip or Dale, or maybe Alvin?  I think he lives under my cabin.

I also was visited by this big guy, a pileated woodpecker.  They're about the size of a crow so about 8 to 10 inches long, I suppose.  These are supposed to be very shy and reclusive so I think I was lucky to not only hear him--they're pretty noisy!--but to see him as well.  This is a pic I copied off the internet as I couldn't get a good shot of him from where I was sitting.

This is another pic from the internet. This is a flicker, another member of the woodpecker family, and they are everywhere around here!  

Northern Flicker Photo

I had to take a shot of the resort weather station.  This just about covers all the weather you could expect, I guess.  I'm glad the rock isn't bouncing--that would be bad! Today, the rock is dry and in the shade so I guess it's going to be sunny with no rain, right?

Tomorrow I head for home with a stop in Superior WI to meet up with a couple of friends.  Then, back to the real world, although I admit, I'm ready to be back with my home and family.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm at the lake

I drove to Bemidji, MN today for my 5 day getaway in the woods and this is the cute little cabin that was waiting for me at the end of the journey.  

This cabin is so little and cute!  It's perfect for me by myself.  If Don had come with, I think there would be trouble!

I knew I was in in Paul Bunyan country when I opened the door and the first thing I saw was this gigantic log rocking chair! It's absolutely huge and takes up about a third of the room's space.  It's so big that I can sit in it with lots of room to spare. (If you ever saw my rear end, you'd appreciate how big the chair is!  :)

I have this little smoking screen porch which overlooks the lake,

and the next picture is what I see from this porch.

It's so beautiful up here in the Northland, this picture doesn't do it justice.  The leaves on the trees are just beginning to change color and those glimpses of red and yellow among the summer green is so pretty. Can you tell that Autumn is my favorite season?

And this is another view of my "back yard."  It was late when I arrived and after I unpacked the car and got some groceries in town, it was too dark to do any exploring. That will wait until tomorrow.

I have all my quilting things with me and they too, will wait until tomorrow. I picked up a copy of "Winter of the World" from my library and I'll be buried in my book for the rest of the evening.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wow! What a summer!

I last posted an entry on this blog back in March, nearly 6 months ago.  No, I haven't been laid up in bed with consumption or the vapors or any other kind of chronic disease. I've been SUPER BUSY! ! ! ! !
Today, I have a chance to sit down a bit and try to figure out how to explain all that's happened without boring everyone to bits (but that may happen anyway. Some things are beyond my control. : 0 )

March flew by with Don and I cleaning the house and getting it ready to go up for sale. And we shoveled and plowed the last of the winter snows.
Snow_shovel : Amazing snow removal - people shovelling snow after snowfall

April was filled with joy as our youngest daughter, Jo, arrived home from her 2 year stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer. And we shoveled and plowed the last of the winter snows.

Snow_shovel : Amazing snow removal - people shovelling snow after snowfall

Late in April, I was began a new part time job with a one hour commute, while continuing with my old job.
In May, I began working a 3rd part time job ( and quit my original part time job ) which was just a "few" hours a week and would only run through August.  And we shoveled and plowed the last of the winter snows.

Snow_shovel : Amazing snow removal - people shovelling snow after snowfall

I don't remember June, July and most of August because I was scrambling to do all this work--which had numerous deadlines to meet--and still try to stay even somewhat sane. Please don't ask my  family if they think I was successful at this or not. At least, it stopped snowing sometime in May and Don was able to plant and tend the veggie garden.  Sometime in August, I did attend a machine quilting show in Milwaukee--Oconomowoc, actually, but that's real close to Milwaukee. :) --and took a couple of terrific classes and am just another wee step toward making an outstanding show quilt. (Yeah, right!)

I finished the summer job ahead of schedule and now I have only one part time job (with the hour commute both ways) and am now winding down to the point where I took the time to go back and read the blogs that I'd ignored for so long and finally today, when I should be canning tomatoes and making applesauce, I am putting together this entry.

As you may know, I "retired" from my job back in 2011 so why the hell did I work 50 hours a week this summer?  Sometimes I think my brains have been replaced by that lint and fuzz that builds up in the sewing machine!

At any rate, I'm currently coordinating a mini quilt show that my guild is doing as part of a fundraiser for the domestic abuse shelter in Menomonie and that's taking a bit of time. We have a team of truly excellent people who are taking on responsibility for many of the areas that need to be worked on so I don't have all the work to do myself.

Anyway, on Thursday, I'm heading for the woods of N. Minnesota for a long weekend at a resort.

Photos of Kohl's Resort, Bemidji
                                                       This photo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

All by myself. Leaving the hubster behind to fend for himself.  Taking my machine and a couple of projects, my Kindle Fire, and my favorite foods to cook up at the cabin.  Meeting up with old college friends whom I treasure.  The plan is to sleep when I want for as long as I want, same for sewing and reading, and do whatever the hell I feel like doing whenever the hell I want to. I love those kinds of vacations!  This is the reward I promised myself as I toiled away all summer, and I'm going to enjoy every minute!

If I can get a few brain cells to engage, I may remember to bring my camera and lap top so I can post some pix of my mini vacay.

Time to get a few quilting projects organized to take along.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Today I'll pick the next winner!

Today is the day I'll draw the winning name for the Traveling Stash box that's been sitting on my dining table, ready to be sent out to some lucky winner!  All you have to do to enter the drawing is leave a comment on my blog. I'll draw the winning name tonight.

Readers, this box( a LARGE USPS box) is absolutely crammed with quilting goodies!  From patterns, to books, to fat quarters, to yardage, there's a bounty of items in here that the winner will be able to choose from and keep. The rules for participating are that 1) You must have an active blog and you must post on your blog when you receive the box and invite your followers to enter the drawing. 2) You must be willing and able to ship the box to the next person within the USA--postage is too prohibitive for international shipping. 3)  You must replace what you keep with comparable amounts and quality of goods. Fabrics must be quilt shop quality and free from pet hairs and smoke and patterns/books must be new or gently used. Those are the simple rules for participating in the Traveling Stash, so leave a comment and you might be the winner tonight!

To refresh your memory, here are the things that are now in the box.


Fabric yardage

More yardage and many fat quarters!

I still have to decide on what all I'm going to add to the box to replace the fabrics I chose for myself. I'm not entirely sure yet--it's been super busy at my house this week--but I know I have a jelly roll of bright fabrics that will be sent on this journey along with some yardage and some fat quarters.

So, again, I invite you to leave a comment and get yourself entered in tonight's drawing to win this box of quilting bounty!  Good luck!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

More about the TS box(es)

I drew the winner of the TS box yesterday--congratulations to Robin who blogs here http://livinbluequilter.blogspot.com/!  Her box will go in the mail tomorrow morning.

More good news today about the TS boxes.  On Friday morning my post man brought me another TS box, this time from Sharon who blogs here http://vroomansquilts.blogspot.com/  Thank you, Sharon, for picking my name.

This TS is amazing!  It's chock full of the most wonderful fabrics! I know my camera can't do them justice but I'll do my best.The box is crammed with wonderful things, mostly fabrics but lots of patterns as well. There are many, many fat quarters in the box as well as several pieces of yardage.  The next 3 pictures show what will stay in the box and move on to the next winner.  If you want strawberry or apple fabric, they are in there. Need a bright large print for a stack and whack?  It's here.  How about a fabric with teapots on it or a bright pink polka dot?  These things are waiting for you.

 Choosing what to keep for myself wasn't too difficult since I liked so many of the fabrics. I decided to focus on neutrals to replenish my stash a bit and I chose these things to keep. I know, I know, the green and black dotted prints and the red/cream.blue birdhouses aren't neutral but I have projects in my mind where I'll use these.  So you may see these fabrics showing up in future quilts I plan to make.  :-)

 Now I have to decide what I'll choose to put back in the box.  I'm going to take some time doing this and you'll just have to wait a day or two to see what I'm adding from my stash.  :o)

If any one's not familiar with the Traveling Stash, it's a large USPS box that's packed with wonderful quilty items--fabric, patterns, books, notions, orphan blocks, etc--that are of quilt shop quality and are either unused or gently used by the donor. We all have patterns, notions, and fabrics that we bought on impulse a while ago and now know we'll never use them, right?  These are the things that can go into the TS cuz maybe the next winner will just love that bright florescent orange fabric!

I'll be drawing a winner on Friday, March 14 and will send the box on to the winner. All you have to do to participate is to have an active blog where you will post about receiving the TS and again when you pick the winner and send it on it's way; When you win a TS, you can take and keep anything in the box that you like and you have to replace your choices with comparable good quality items.  The TS isn't a "dumping ground" for you to clear out your sewing room!  The "golden rule" applies here--only put things in the box that you would like to receive, okay?

When the winner receives the TS, she/he is to post on their blog and invite comments from people who want to be included in the drawing.  When the winner's name is drawn, you need to post that as well.  Of course, pictures are great to show us what's in the box so we have an idea of what we'll get if we win. There are directions included in the box as well as a paper to sign to keep track of where the box has traveled.

So, if you want a chance to win this beautiful Traveling Stash box, leave a comment on my blog and I'll enter you in the drawing.  Easy peasy, right?

Friday, March 8, 2013

You Might Be a Winner Tomorrow!

It's not too late to sign up for a chance to win the traveling stash which is sitting in my sun porch waiting to be sent on it's way.  Tomorrow is the day I'll draw the lucky winner!  To refresh your memory as to what is in this box, here are some pictures.

These are items which I left in the box--a book of quilt patterns,  a magazine, a variety of fat quarters, some seam binding and probably other things as well.

These are some things I found in my sewing room that I decided to donate--all things that I thought I would use or make up and after a few years of sitting in the drawer or on the shelf, I can hear them whispering to me, "You know you'r never going to use me so why not send me on to someone who will appreciate me?"  So they are included in the box

I also picked out some fabrics that, again, I bought a while ago thinking I would find a use for them, but, no, it probably won't happen, so I'm sending them on to someone who is just waiting for that perfect fabric for their project.

As far as I can tell, everything in the box is of quilt shop quality and the patterns, books, etc are either gently or never used.

All you have to do to win this box of goodies is leave a comment on my blog. You have to agree with the rules which are:

1. Be an active blogger. Post about receiving the stash and about the giveaway on your blog in a "timely" manner.(This means ASAP since the next person is eager to get her hands on this treasure trove!)

2.  There is a note in the box that logs where the box has been. Please add your info and place the note back in the box.

3.  There is a list of Rules and Guidelines in the box. Please read and follow these and return the list to the box.

4.  You may take anything you like from the box.  Just replace every item with comparable quilt shop quality items equal to the amount taken. There are guidelines about this which I will post to the person who gets the box from me.

5.  Ship the box to the next person in a "reasonable" amount of time. (This also means ASAP! See #1 above)

6.  Due to the amount of postage, shipping is only within the USA.

Tomorrow I'll draw the name of the lucky winner and will email her/him.  The box will be posted on Monday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More good stuff in the Traveling Stash

I went through the cabinets and cupboards of my sewing room and found more things to pack into the stash box.  

I found  a couple of quilt patterns that I know I'll never make up, some zippers and buttons, an extra tape measure (I didn't realize I had a half dozen tape measures! And maybe more hiding around the house!), a book of patterns for quilt labels, a book of designs using charm squares, a magazine, and a bag pattern.  These patterns are ones I bought several years ago on impulse and have never gotten around to making up, so they're like new in the packages.

I got a large postal box and have repacked everything and still have more space in there. I'll have to take another look around to see what I can add to fill it up.

Please leave a comment so I can include you in the drawing on Saturday.  Whoever gets this box, I think will be pleased with what's in there. : -)

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's going on with Blogspot?

I follow a quilter known as Old Batt and for the past few weeks, her posts have been in a language other than English which I know is her native language. I tried to get Blogspot to take me off as a follower of hers since there are many posts every day, but they still keep coming. Today, I got a post about penis enlargement.  I don't know about you but I'm not interested in genitalia enlargement--I'm doing just fine with what I and the husband have been given naturally, thank you.  How do I get out of getting Old Batt posts which I know are not from her.  Please help me, someone.  I don't open any of them but they do tend to fill up the space and are a bit irritating to me.

Traveling Stash box arrived!

I've won a "traveling stash" box!  I was so excited about this since the TS that I got several years ago had been crammed full of delicious quilting yummies.  This is what I found in the TS when I opened it today:

There was a new magazine and a Debbie Mum book in there along with many, many fat quarters.  There were a couple of packages of seam binding and appliques.  However, one of the packages of binding was a little on the elderly side.  Can you read the date on the package?  It says 1969!  Folks, that's nearly 45 years old, for crying out loud!  I don't care if it IS made of rayon, it went into the trash!

I also threw this mess in the trash as well.  Scraps, bits and pieces, even a piece so stretchy it could have been used as elastic!  (There was a piece of flannel in there about 10" square that I considered keeping as a dusting rag. Except I hate dusting!)  Obviously these were NOT "quilt-shop-quality" fabrics! I found a piece of upholstery fabric in there as well!  Come on, quilters!  There is a list of the rules included in the box and they clearly state the fabric should be new and quilt shop quality, and nothing less than  a fat quarter unless it's been cut to be part of a collection ( postage stamp squares, charm squares , etc).  The rules also state "This is NOT a dumping place for all your outdated unwanted items."  

This is what I plan on adding to the box despite the fact that I'm not taking anything out of it for myself.  The pieces I left in are nice but not my color or design choices. The piece in the back--blue and gold cats--is 3 yards, and the under-the-sea piece is a yard as is the piece with the buildings on it. The rest are fat quarters, all purchased in my favorite quilt shops.  I may find a pattern or two and maybe some notions or other trinkets, but I promise that everything I put in the box will be of great quality!  I also will go to the PO tomorrow and get a LARGE box to fill up instead of the medium one that I got.

In case you're not familiar with the traveling stash, it's (supposed to be) a box crammed full of quilting goodies.  If you're chosen to get one of these boxes ( I think there are four or more boxes traveling around the US at this time), you get to take anything you want from the box and you have to replenish with things of equal value.  

Now for the rules--because we have to make sure everyone plays nice and that the box gets passed around as much as possible.


1.  Be an active blogger. Post about receiving the stash and about the giveaway on your blog in a "timely" manner.(This means "ASAP since the next person is eager to get her hands on this treasure trove!)
2.  There is a note in the box that logs where the box has been. Please add your info and place the note back in the box.
3.  There is a list of Rules and Guidelines in the box. Please read and follow these and return the list to the box.
4.  You may take anything you like from the box.  Just replace every item with comparable quilt shop quality items equal to the amount taken. There are guidelines about this which I will post to the person who gets the box from me.
5.  Ship the box to the next person in a "reasonable" amount of time. (This also means ASAP! See #1 above)
6.  Due to the amount of postage, shipping is only within the USA.

Okay. That's the low down on the traveling stash. Sorry if I sound like a witch about this but to be honest, I'm quite disappointed, both that there was such crappy stuff in there as well as disappointed in my fellow quilters for putting that stuff in   I thought we were better than that.  I'll do my best to make sure you're not disappointed if you win this box sent from me and I hope the next person to get the box does the same.  

If you want to be the next one to get a box of quilting goodies, leave a comment on my blog. I'll be drawing the winner at noon on Saturday, March 9, 2013.  If you want to share this opportunity to those who follow your blog, please do so. The more the merrier, right!