Friday, April 24, 2015

Finish It Friday: Minnesota Hot Dish

My favorite cousin, Cathy, and I are both California girls. We each went to Tabor College in Kansas, and each met and married Minnesota boys.We currently live about 30 minutes from each other.
Here is the thing I have found out. You can take these guys out of the state of Minnesota but you will never take away their love of the state and desire to spend lots of time there. When we were shopping at Costco a couple of months ago, we noticed they were carrying a new line of vodka. We took one of the boxes, and a side panel from the box is now framed and decorating our kitchen. So you're getting the picture, right?
Side note: For years, Mark has said that at some point, we will live in Minnesota for a few months. During the winter. Because "everybody should experience living one inch from death." In other words, on one side of the door you can be warm and cozy, on the other side of the door you run the risk of freezing to death. So far that has not been a good selling point to me. He needs to come up with a different marketing strategy. 

So on to the quilt. Over a decade ago, Terry and Cathy found some land on the Crow River in northern Minnesota and started to build a cabin. Log by log. Seriously. After a few years they built a garage and that was where they lived while they spent weeks in the summer building. And building. And building.

We visited them three summers ago. We stayed in their garage, their home while building the cabin. Wood paneling in a garage is really very lovely. And it was a great place to stay.
I showered in the three-sided outdoor shower. Along with the mosquitos. But it had hot water and the view was wonderful.
We used the outhouse.
And were amazed at the beauty and potential of this not-quite-completed log home.

Two summers ago I stayed with them for a couple of nights. There still wasn't indoor plumbing. But we had wifi. This is where I was when we heard William and Kate's new royal baby had been born.
Last summer, we weren't able to visit, but it is for the most part finished. (Terry will probably laugh if he reads that.)  They have indoor plumbing, so in my opinion that qualifies as a finish. They spent Thanksgiving there with their two sons and daughters-in-law.
My Friday finish is a quilt I made for this cabin. It is from a Minnesota designer, Terry Atkinson, and the name of the pattern is Minnesota Hot Dish. Every year there is a big shop hop in Minnesota and line of fabric is designed just for the shop hop. I'm not sure which year this is from, and it is different than the fabric I used for the quilt, but it gives you an idea.

And every summer for the past five years I have been going to a quilt retreat in Minnesota. So two years ago, the quilt top was made at that retreat.
 It has been beautifully machine quilted by Darby.
She used a design that gives me the feeling of a lazy canoe ride down the river on a warm summer day.
The backing fabric has some Minnesota landmarks--including the iconic spoonbridge and cherry at the Sculpture Garden. See it there kind of in the center?

Minnesota pattern designer: Check.
Minnesota fabric: Check.
Made in Minnesota: Check.

And something no Minnesotan should be without--a cutting board in the shape of their beloved state. Mark received this one from our son and daughter-in-law for his birthday a couple of years ago.
We're looking forward to visiting the cabin again soon. It will probably be in the middle of summer so I won't have to wrap myself up in a quilt. But maybe Mark will consider this as a home base for my Minnesota winter experience.

I'll bring my sewing machine along.

I'm linking up with my dear Minnesota friend, Crazy Mom Quilts, and also TGIFF.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Really Random Thursday, 4/23/15: The (mostly) shopping edition

Forgot it's Thursday so this is a little late. Oops.

I would like to purchase this book for our son.
He already has a head full of seemingly useless information, all of which he can retrieve in a split second, and yet it is equally filled with all the brainiac information he needs to be a successful optometrist. Meanwhile, I have absolutely no math or science cells left in my brain.

Oh, Target, how I love you.

Wondering how the shaver work on curves before you buy it? Well, demonstrations are provided. (It's blurry because the shavers were going up and down over those curves.) Side note: I did feel slightly weird taking a picture of the Flexiball so I waited until no curious shoppers were around and wondering, "Why??"
 My new favorite coffee:

Even the shoppers are inspiring:
So the other night I sewed this little diamond going the wrong way. Un-sewed. Re-sewed. When I looked at the front, one of the little tails was peeking out through the seam. I cut it off.
Last night I sewed a larger hexie into the rosette, which takes considerably longer because of the three seams. The center diamond? Going the wrong way. In my case, diamonds are clearly not a girl's best friend.
I located all the bee blocks from the three times it has been my turn to make the choice. Aren't they pretty? I'm super excited to work on all three of these sets over the summer. The Dresden blocks actually came from two bees: Mid Century Modern and Sew Sisters. I love them all--the blocks and all the special friends in these two bees.
Yes, indeed.
Seen on Instagram
How about you? Anything random happening?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Animal Planet: the quilt (and LOTS of pictures)

About 1 1/2 years ago, I saw the most awesome picture in Dani's instagram feed (@knitty34)--a quilt full of animals, each one made using the drunkard's path block. I knew immediately this was THE quilt for my grandson, Gabe.

Of course I contacted her right away. Soon thereafter, she had added the template to her blog.

A nice highlight was meeting Dani at QuiltCon in February.
 The first version was pretty much a carbon copy of Dani's.
For some reason, I started searching for the original source. By a stroke of luck, I found animodul, a brand of children's clothes and toys.
Be sure to check out their website for lots of cool ideas: Clothing! Cookies! Blocks! These are all images from a fun video. (I immediately bought a set of plain wooden blocks and they are just waiting for some paint.) friend thought the animal quilt would be a hot seller for the charity auction. And besides, by then I had found some more animals that HAD to be part of Gabe's quilt. The original went to our church quilting group and they are currently hand quilting it with prairie stitching for next April's auction.

It was so much fun sewing this quilt. The one thing I would do differently next time is to add the eyes to each animal block before I sew all the blocks together. Fusing and blanket stitching around each of those dime-sized circles after the quilt top was already together was, well, NOT fun. And the animals really come to life when the eyes are added. Before they have the eyes, it can be kind of tricky to decide what they are.

Before it went out to my friend, Darby, for quilting, Gabe had to try it out.
I was thrilled with Darby's quilting--it is one of my very favorite quilting designs.
And what I love most about the animals is that many of them are open to interpretation. My favorite is this crab.
And the parrot is fun and colorful.
At first I thought this little guy was another version of a turtle. Apparently, he is a frog.
This one has been the subject of the most discussion. I originally called him a whale, until someone pointed out that he obviously was a scorpion. In Gabe's animal world, he most definitely is a FISH. What do YOU think?
And then I saw these two ducks (or is that bottom one a baby chick?) and...well, what do you think the top guy is? Maybe a lizard? Whatever, I will either have to make some pillows. Or start another new quilt!
Anyway, this quilt is probably the one I have had the most fun with. Thanks so much, Dani! Oh, and Gabe is pretty thrilled with it too.

I'm linking to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF and Confessions of a Craft Addict.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Really Random Thursday, 4/16/15

I can hardly believe it is Thursday already. Seems like we were just enjoying the weekend at the annual MCC sale, raising money for Third World relief.

Quilt auctions are really interesting. You just can't tell ahead of time which quilt will cause a bidding war--all it takes is two people wanting the same thing. My friend's sister made this quilt from my first published pattern, Charm Parade. She added some borders to increase its size and it was really fun to see.
Early on Saturday morning, there is a 10k run and two-mile Fun Run. Have you ever done a fun run before? I hadn't, and I really hadn't expected to do it this year either. Until I got a text at 10 p.m. Friday night from our son, Aaron, wondering if either Mark or I could walk with the kids in the fun run so he could do the 10k. I nominated myself. Turns out I walked with a friend and her 4-year-old as Charlotte and Levi walked/ran with a group of their friends. Levi did two miles in 19:19, which I thought was pretty amazing for a 7-year-old. Charlotte came in fourth place for most closely predicting how long it would take her to do the two miles.

Every year they design a new t-shirt.
  I think they chose their colors this year based on a local restaurant. What do you think?
Good food and being outdoors on a nice day makes you feel like relaxing a little bit.
In quilting news, this is a smaller version of Gabe's quilt (reveal tomorrow--please come back to see it) that will be up for auction next year at the MCC sale. It is being hand quilted by the quilting group at our church.

I've been working on some fun projects myself--making hexies from Bella Caronia's new line for Windham Fabrics, Spring Bloom.
And finally cutting into my precious stash of Henna Garden by Portabello Pixie.
Of course, I had to see what this pretty fabric would look like by using the Waterlogue app on my iPhone. I think I will print some of these out and use them for notecards.
We have no clue who this Siamese cat belongs to, but every single night, at dinner time, it likes to take a shady little nap on our roof, under the Japanese maple tree.

Yesterday we got out the new bubble guns.

And have you seen this on the Martingale blog? 
You can choose your quilty name. Mine is Starry Batting Binder. I think that qualifies as really random...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Make It, Take It Blog Hop (and giveaway!)

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who commented.
Photo by Brent Kane, Martingale, all rights reserved
I remember specifically where I was when I received an email from Krista, asking whether I wanted to be part of a book with projects related to quilting retreats--Mark and I were at the central coast of California for a weekend, walking into the theater to see a movie one afternoon. I could hardly wait to reply to that email. Yes, yes, yes!! Krista and I have been blogging friends for quite a few years. I was this close a few years ago to being able to attend her famous Loon Lake retreat; it was so disappointing when it didn't work out.

We finally met at QuiltCon in February and I was able to meet several other contributors as well. It was one of the biggest highlights of QuiltCon.

So. Retreats. I LOVE going to them, and attend several each year, ranging in size from about three of us (at a friend's cabin) to 70-90 (sponsored by our local quilt shop). Even for an introvert who happily sews alone most of the time, retreats offer the time to work on lots of projects, visit with friends who love doing the same thing, eating, laughing, recharging....

My contribution to the book was a little sewing mat for under your machine, with pockets to keep items handy when you are limited on space.
Not surprisingly, it is made from selvages! There is also a little story about my most memorable retreat experience.

This week it was fun to make a couple of other projects from the book. First up was Ayumi's tote bag. I have been sewing from my stash as much as possible this year so it was really fun to finally use this Alexander Henry fabric that has been on a shelf for a couple of years. Just waiting for the right project to show it off in all its glory, I guess. :) Strip piecing is used for the bags in the book but it was really easy to make it from a single fabric.

Naturally I couldn't resist adding the selvage at the bottom.
Next, I made Amy's scissor keeper. And learned a new skill--a magnetic snap. Easy peasy, especially using this tutorial.
Krista did a fabulous job with this book and some of my very favorite people have contributed projects. There are projects that will keep you and your supplies organized, along with more projects to make during a retreat or when sewing with friends.

I really hope you will take the time to visit all the stops along the way.

Blog Tour Schedule 

Friday, April 3 Blog hop kick-off: Krista at Poppyprint.
Monday, April 6: Berene at Happy Sew Lucky and Amy at During Quiet Time
Tuesday, April 7: Leanne at She Can Quilt and Felicity at Felicity Quilts
Wednesday, April 8: Martingale Inc. at Stitch this!
Thursday, April 9: Krista at Spotted Stones and Krista at Krista Withers Quilting
Friday, April 10: Lynne at Lilys Quilts and Cindy at Live a Colorful Life

Saturday, April 11: Ayumi at Pink Penguin and Krista at Poppyprint
Sunday, April 12: Kristie at OCD: Obsessive Crafting Disorder and Christina at Sometimes Crafter

And now the exciting part: you can win your very own copy of Make It, Take It! Two books will be given away: one digital copy (courtesy of Martingale, the book's publisher) and one hard copy (courtesy of me).

The rules are simple:
Just comment on this blog post. And let me know if you have ever attended a retreat (make sure you aren't a no-reply commenter, because if I can't reach you, then the Random Number Generator will have to choose someone else). I'll close this post to comments on Monday at 6 p.m. Pacific time. International entries are welcome.

Good luck, and happy sewing!

ETA: The winner of the digital copy is lindawwww who said: I haven't been on an official quilt retreat but I went away with two friends for a quilting weekend and had a great time.

The winner of the hard copy is Terri who said: Congratulations on having a project in this book! I love love love your project, which would be very handy to make for taking to retreats. I only go to one retreat a year, and this will be my 6th year with those same ladies!

Also, since it's Friday and I finished two projects this week, I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF. :)