Sunday, March 27, 2016


I've been wondering when the Hands2Help Challenge would show up... little did I know, it started a while ago, and I'm a little late to the game! This year they have three nice programs that participants can choose to support with the gift of a quilt. I usually try to do one for all three programs. We'll see what I can manage this year.

Want to join us? Click on the Hands2Help badge I have in my sidebar. It'll take you to the right place to get all the info you need.

It's always fun to see the beautiful quilts that people donate. Time to start sewing something beautiful and warm! Join the fun, if you can.

This is a quilt that I donated a couple of years ago. I named it "Minnesota Nice."

P.S. I hope you had a Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Itching to Create

My local guild's quilt show is coming soon. We have to turn in our quilts by early April, so I'm trying to get them all bound and attach hanging sleeves. These steps are b.o.r.i.n.g. and take forever. I'm trying to stick to it and get them all done before I reward myself with a start on something new (or even play with an old UFO which would be way more fun than bindings and sleeves).

But I am itching to play with my scraps and make a new, one-of-a-kind quilt top.. my favorite kind of quilt play.

Here are a couple of quilts I recently finished.. binding is on, and hanging sleeves attached; they even have labels. This first one I call Urban Garden. I originally made it just of the strips, in an attempt to do some stash busting. It was boring with just strips, so I added the appliqued flowers. Those took a long time to finish, because I had to stitch them down, and there were very many ins and outs. I was so pleased and proud when I finally got them done. It was quilted by my friend, Diane.

The next one I call The Ugly Man Quilt -- is it an ugly quilt, or a quilt for an ugly man? You decide. (It could be both.)
The blocks were purchased in our little store that happens during our quilt show. They looked pretty in the bag, but I didn't open the bag to realize that most of the blocks are ugly. Oh, well. It's done. I do hope some man will find this to be an acceptable quilt. This one has leaves falling down the front, very similar to the flowers I did on the previous one, except I did a much better job on sewing the flowers. This was also quilted by Diane. Please notice that there is no snow in the outdoors picture! We got 6-8 inches of snow on Wednesday. Today, Saturday, it is all gone. That's March in Minnesota.

Here's another quilt. This was made by various members of our guild and was put together by Sally. I am attaching binding to this one next. It will also hang in our show, in the Community Service category. I love how cheerful this quilt is. I would not have thought of using orange sashing, but I love it, and love the border fabric, too. Sally dressed it up nicely. It was quilted at Missouri Star Quilt Company.

One more quilt. I made this one along with Crazy Mom Quilts when she did a Scrap Vortex sew-along. I wasn't super thrilled with this, but I guess it's not bad. (It was also quilted by Missouri Star Quilt Company.) I have already sent this on its merry way to a camp in northern MN for kids who have AIDS. If you want to contribute to that quilt drive, let me know, and I'll give you the scoop.

Now I'm heading back to my sewing room to work on... bindings. Hanging sleeves. Labels. *yawn*

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Books: Nightingale

I completed reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It's an engaging story about World War II. It focuses on two sisters who had tough childhood and how their relationship was altered by their memories, birth order, etc. Their early life also affects how they responded to the war.

There are endless stories from that war, are there not? But I still find them fascinating. Some people have burned out on reading WWII books. If that is you, I can tell you that you can skip reading this one and not have your world come crashing down. One woman who saw me reading The Nightingale said the book is "life-changing." I'm not sure what she means by that. It's a good story, and I was drawn in, but it's not great. It didn't change my life much (other than that the act of reading is transformative in small steps, and the sum of what I have read has changed me over time). I am glad I read it, but I can only give it four stars (which, after all, is not a bad rating).

Happy spring reading!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gorgeous Spring Days!

Here is what happened yesterday:

I thought we had received 8-9 inches of the white stuff, but in the picture it looks like only about 6 inches. It was beautiful! I can say that, because it's true, and also because it's spring, and we knew it wouldn't last long. We chose to not even shovel. Here is today:

The sun is shining brightly. The sky is a BRIGHT, beautiful blue. Just gorgeous. And the snow is melting fast.

I love Minnesota!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Road Trip to Nebraska, Missouri - Part 2

Back-tracking in my story a bit, we had dinner at my friend's house in Lincoln, and she showed us these three wonderful quilts she has made recently. She loves little scrappiness. These are gorgeous quilts!

Back on the road from Nebraska to Missouri, the skies looked menacing, but luckily we only encountered a little rain; the changing skies were interesting to watch.

(They even have a man cave.)

Next day we hit Hamilton, Missouri to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company! What fun! First, it was a beautiful day, and second, the stores were so much fun! Each store carries a certain theme. For example, one is florals, one is batiks, one is called Penney's, as Hamilton is the birthplace of J.C. Penney of the department store fame. Almost every store along the main street is a Missouri Star Quilt store. We each dropped off quilts to be machine quilted and mailed back to us. And we indulged in procuring several lovely chunks of fabric. A fun day! I recommend it as a fun road trip for any quilter.

the obligatory selfie, and a sample of some of my purchases - these are for bindings

We ate at the Blue Sage Restaurant which was YUMMY! It's a high-end place with a real chef. The food was fabulous. We each ordered dessert and this was our reaction -- Cousin: "this is the best cheesecake I've had since London." Me: "this is the best chocolate cake I've had since Paris." Truly, it was delicious, and a great way to top off our little road trip... a short six-hour drive would get us back home. Whew! We were tired but happy.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Road Trip to Nebraska, Missouri - Part 1

Last week my cousin and I traveled to Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska where we visited two friends: one in Lincoln, one in Omaha. We hit some quilt shops and the Quilt Museum in Lincoln. The museum is really good; if you get a chance, go see it. They are working on rotating more exhibits through there so that people can go more often and see new displays. This is what we saw:

plus one more exhibit called Man-Made - quilts all made by male quilters.

Here are a few shots from the museum. I can't show you much, because my photos from inside turned out really bad, with the colors of the quilts very much off their true colors. This will give you an idea, however.

(the above blue one was part of the Blue Echoes exhibit. All of those were stupendous, made by a quilter from Japan.)
From these you might get an idea of my color distortion. In the above grouping, two and three are the same quilt. Bah! I'm so disappointed with the bad coloring in my photos. Even editing them didn't help much. The last photo in this grouping is from Gees Bend.

This one is from the Man-Made exhibit. It depicts a space station and includes a whole story about the people and their community in space. Very imaginative. My colors in this photo are also inaccurate.

This is a couple of shots showing the museum itself.

Above: quilt shop "Cosmic Cow" in Lincoln, my friend's place of employment, and the Little Free Library (LFL) outside her work building. I like to visit LFLs when I travel.
After visiting Omaha, we landed at our retreat center... the Carol Joy Holling Retreat Center. This is the building we stayed in. Isn't it beautiful? (This picture is taken from their website.)
Various shots taken during the retreat. I'm working on my words quilt! Some of you may remember that. I started it for my 60th birthday, with your help. I'm determined to finish it before my 64th birthday which is next fall.

above: a couple of LFLs in Lincoln, and interesting sky when we were on the road from Nebraska to Missouri. See the continuing saga in my Road Trip Part 2 post which is coming soon!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Books: Still Going

I'm still reading The Nightingale and am enjoying it. However, I had a very busy week and didn't get to read much. I did get some time to read in this beautiful spot. Isn't it an idyllic reading place? It's at a retreat center in Nebraska. I was there on a quilt retreat with my cousin. We had a blast, and I'll report on the little road trip in my next post (tomorrow).

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Books: One Abandoned, One in Progress

I missed posting last week. I was out of town for my mother's 95th birthday, plus I didn't have a book to report on. I had started one that I thought I'd enjoy, but I found it a tad boring, so I gave up.

I am now reading Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I am enjoying it so far, though I am barely into it. I am hoping to find some good reading time this weekend. Want to join me in reading Nightingale, and then we can discuss it together? How about it?

a child reads to a cat in an animal shelter - and melts my heart