Friday, July 24, 2015

Finish It Friday, 7/24/15

In January, I joined Katja Marek's New Hexagon Millefiore Block of the Month quiltalong. Her New Hexagon book is wonderful and highly recommended. I know a lot of people are doing the La Passacaglia millefiore quilt but it just looked too intense for me. All of Katja's hexagons measure 6 inches and are arranged in rosettes, which will eventually fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

I don't have a completed quilt to show, but Rosette 1 has taken me since January and I'm so happy with it. Each rosette will use only Denyse Schmidt fabrics. Last week one day, I spent the afternoon on the couch watching TV and sewing the hexagons together for the first rosette.

Ta da! It is 36" from side to side.
I might have done a happy dance when Denyse reposted the picture in HER feed!

Rosette 2 is coming along nicely as well.
And then Denyse commented again. Talk about motivation!

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Really Random Thursday, 7/23/15

Welcome to this week's edition of Really Random Thursday.

Quite a few years ago, my good friend, Jennifer, handed down this toy telephone. It has lights and lots of fun sounds. But what has fascinated each one of the grandchildren, all at about the same age of about 1 1/2 is the fact that the telephone cord can be pulled apart and put back together. Such good practice for fine motor skills--and I'm sure it was simply a safety feature for the toy.

Last week the youngest Wiens grandchild figured it out. Kept her busy for the longest time.
Lately it seems I get the best life lesson quotes from @ryanwalshquilts in his Instagram feed.

I find it fascinating to ask people what single food is their least favorite. Mine is cucumbers, followed by cilantro. So this will never be on my list to try.
It seems to be taking over a week for me to recover from traveling. Consequently, there is not much randomness to share. I was able to catch up on bee blocks, however.

The first is a July block for Susan in our Mid Century Modern bee. She used the Stepping Stones tutorial from Sew Fresh Quilts. Red and white is such a classic look.
The second is a July block for Mary in our Sew Sisters bee. She is also in the Mid Century Modern bee and we made this Union Jack block for her last year. She needed a few more. I love her color combination of orange and aqua. The tutorial can be found on Molli Sparkles blog.
And I saw this in Kim's instagram feed yesterday. Haha. My shipping and handling fees are higher than I would like, that's for sure.
What's going on with you?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Finish It Friday, 7/17/15

When I left off yesterday's post,  Mark and I had just returned to Denver on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, he flew back home to Fresno and I flew on to Minneapolis to attend the annual quilting retreat at Gruber's

For the last three years, my brother-in-law Leon has picked me up from the airport. I had a short wait at baggage claim, but fortunately they have a Starbucks right there so I grabbed some coffee and a newspaper. This was pretty close to my table. 
Quite a few years ago, there was a display of Snoopy's houses all around St. Paul (Charles Schulz grew up in St. Paul), each one decorated differently. I snapped pictures of nearly all of them. It makes me happy to see one of them again.

For years I had wanted to go to Mickey's diner, which is legendary in St. Paul, so Leon took me there for lunch. It was quirky in the most awesome way.
We sat right at the bar, pictured above
The next morning, he and my sister-in-law, Sharon, drove me to Amanda Jean's house, where I always spend the night before the retreat starts. I have always stayed in her daughter Abby's room. Abby is nearly the same age as my granddaughter, Charlotte. I just know they would be great friends and I sure hope they will meet each other.

This was on my door. Isn't it great? 
And of course, I always look forward to seeing which quilt is on the bed.
I always get to choose a quilt to take along for the retreat. Such a hard choice.
This was filled up shortly after I gave it to Amanda Jean. Oh Scrap!
Purchased here
The trip to Gruber's is only about 20 minutes and it didn't take long to get settled in.
For the first time, I didn't travel with my Featherweight. So SEW nice not to have to lug a sewing machine around the airport. Amanda generously loaned me Hello Kitty, and one day I happened to match my machine.
Mark was following along on Instagram and wondered why we kept posting pictures and then commenting on each others'   Instagram feed when we were just two or three feet from each other. Haha.
By the way, this is what Mark was doing (other than nearly nonstop working at his office) while I was away--attending a beach-themed 13-year-old birthday party.
Each year we make "happies" for each other, just a little something to make each of us smile. The bar was set quite high this year. And we briefly discussed not making them next year.'s too much fun.
 Mine. All mine.
This is the first year we had movie night. No big screen, but it was still fun. I would like to know how many times Rene' and Michelle have watched Pitch Perfect.
When you stay up late sewing, and then even later chatting with your roommates, by the third day things start to get ridiculous. Anything can sound just hilarious. So when Amanda Jean came up with the brainiac idea to sew a micro quilt, it seemed like such a great idea. Her parameters--it had to be less than 4" per side, and definitely smaller than a coaster.
"Please hold up your end better so it doesn't sag in the middle."

  "Do you need charm square for the backing?"
"No, I think you should piece the backing...."
"Are you going to make a scrappy binding?"
"Are you going to pin baste or spray baste." 
See what I mean?
 Oh scrap!
I sewed on a larger scale--making some blocks for a charity donation quilt for next April.
"Moccasin" by GenXQuilters
We usually go out for dinner, although this year we ordered pizza in on Friday night. And we dress up a little for Saturday night dinner.
Everyone left on Sunday afternoon, except for Rene', Michelle and me--I hitched a ride back to the airport with them on Monday morning. But Sunday night---we were under a tornado alert, with constant thunder and lightning flashing. So what did we do? Watched Pitch Perfect again.
It was such a great weekend--with so much sewing and sharing, laughing and eating, our friendships get better and better with each year.

Oh, it's Finish It Friday: My happies were one-hour baskets for everyone, using the license plate fabric from Timeless Treasures, fussy cutting so each person's state was front and center on one side, adding big stitch quilting in red around the license plate.
I had some Gruber's ribbon from a previously purchased fat quarter stack, so I cut it all apart and added a little tag to each basket.
The other finish for this week is a completed Flora supply case for Amanda Jean for her friendship throughout the year and her hospitality when I come to Minnesota. (And this might be a little sneak peek at her upcoming fabric line for Connecting Threads!--she had a milestone birthday on July 4th so the red, white and blue was the obvious choice.)

One of the best weekends of the year. Until next year...

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Really Random Thursday, 7/16/15: The Western Kansas Edition

Two weeks ago today, Mark and I took a trip to western Kansas. We had spent the first five years of our marriage in the small town of Scott City. Mark taught P.E. in the grade school for the first four years, and then made the transition to the high school, coaching all five years, including being head girls basketball coach and head coach of the football team his last year there.
We get our last name misspelled a lot. :(

As we had always done when we lived there, we flew into Denver. Scott City is about midway between Denver and Wichita, but connections are always better in and out of Denver. This is something you don't see in California airports.
 Also spotted in the Denver airport. No comment.
We stayed with our very close friends, Don and Trudy. When we lived in Scott City, we were both far from our own families--Mark's family was in Minnesota and mine was in California. We usually didn't have the time (because of Mark's coaching schedule) nor money to go home for holidays. So Don and Trudy, and Trudy's brother Bill and his wife Sue, made us feel like we belonged. Staying with Don and Trudy is also extra special as they spent years rehabilitating this beautiful home. It's like staying in an upscale B&B.
It sits on kind of a triangle-shaped piece of land that they have beautifully landscaped  so that it looks like a park.
Part of the back yard
Don is building Trudy a sewing studio. His friends tease him about building a "hen house," but it is going to be a really great studio. I can hardly wait to go back for a sewing weekend.
Every five years, the high school holds an all-school reunion.
They honor a different set of teachers each year. This time it was past and present coaches.

On Friday, we got to tour the high school, which has changed dramatically since our time there.
I think it would rival many junior colleges, with computer labs, beautiful classrooms, including amazing art, music, woodworking, etc., classrooms.
   These were our tour guides. They were fabulous.
The school has their own TV station, so while Mark was sitting with the green background behind him, on the TV monitor he appeared to be sitting behind a desk.
The school mascot is the Beaver.

Mark even found a fellow Vikings fan.
 On Saturday, he was part of a parade.
We had lunch.
And then there was a special ceremony where all the attending coaches were introduced, and the former head coaches were able to say a few words.
Mark really enjoyed spending some time catching up with former students. He remembered them as mostly 18-year-olds so it was kind of weird to realize they were in their 50s now! Time flies...
That night there was a reunion dinner. Scott City is a community where wheat and cattle are a large part of the economy. So the dinner was held in the indoor arena, catered by people wearing these t-shirts. Alrighty then...

 Yes, that is a dirt floor...
Trudy had taken me shopping in the afternoon, to a little shop that sells vintage and shabby chic items. The town has been replacing all the street signs. We bought our first house in Scott City, and I was able to buy the sign from the street that we lived on--and it was only $4!

It was SUCH a great weekend. It was July 4th weekend and we sat outside each evening and watched fireworks--they are allowed to shoot off fireworks from June 30 through the 4th.
Sue, Bill, Trudy, and Don
These four will always be among our very closest friends. We have been fortunate to see each other every few years and always seem to pick up right where we left off.

We drove back to Denver on Monday. My friend, Anne, and her husband, who live about 45 minutes from the airport, came and had dinner with us.
The next day, Mark flew home to Fresno, and I continued on to Minnesota to my annual quilting retreat. More about that coming up next time.

What's happening in your world?