Wednesday, September 30, 2009


After a day of sweltering heat on Saturday, we got to Alden Lane at about 7:30. Our booth was set up already, it was nice and cool, so we sat on a bench to eat our breakfast and enjoy the view.
This was the scene that greeted people each morning as they came to the nursery.

Since they had to rehang the quilts on Sunday morning, the view from our booth now included the fronts of every other quilt.

Loved the backs of these two quilts:
And this color wheel just made my heart sing.
It was a great weekend, even with the heat. The local quilt shop in Livermore is going to teach classes using each of my patterns, and as always we made new friends and connected with old friends.
I'll leave you with this parting thought...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

quiltish---does a giveaway

One of my favorite etsy shop owners (and blogger) is doing a 100th post giveaway. Allisa Jacobs, owner of quiltish, makes some really cute (really cute) things. These are two of my favorites right now, because it was too hard to narrow it down to just one.

pictures by Allisa Jacobs

I post this somewhat reluctantly because although I certainly want to get the word out on how awesome quiltish really is, doesn't this actually decrease my chances of winning?? Ah, well. I'll take my chances....or lack thereof.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quilts that sizzle

I think a while back I made a quilt from a book called "Quilts that Sizzle." Maybe I didn't actually make it. Maybe I just have the book in my quilting library. Maybe I'm just making it up. Maybe I'm suffering from heat stroke.

Yeah, so was really nice when we got to Alden Lane this morning. It was really nice until about 11:30. Then the heat smacked us. Hard. But people were still nice and friendly. We had a nice day of sales.

We took a picture of our special friends, who drove all the way from Fresno to see us quilts.

Jennifer, Jessica, Rachel and Bethany even made some blocks, learning fusible applique

And they took a picture of us. And don't be fooled by the shady look of our booth...

I meant to dazzle you with pictures of the quilts hanging from the trees. I had energy to take a picture of the quilts in the line of vision from our booth. You gotta love looking at the backs of quilts all day. But they have to take all the quilts down and rehang them tomorrrow morning, so maybe tomorrow we'll get to look at the fronts. Here's hoping.
And right now.....we're sitting in our hotel room with the temp set at a chilly 72 degrees.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A little tease...

We got our booth set up this afternoon. It was hot. Hot. Tomorrow it is supposed to be 103! Maybe Livermore, California, didn't receive the memo that fall has officially begun. Shouldn't the weather be crisp in the morning and balmy in the afternoon?

So here is a little collage of pictures as the nursery looked today. So gorgeous and colorful. Just wait until the quilts are hung from the huge old oak trees tomorrow. Definitely "one in every color."


Mark and I are leaving this morning to be vendors at Quilting in the Garden. We had a lot of last-minute things to do: final jewelry assembly, pricing, packing, loading the trailer. So what was I doing yesterday afternoon? New product development. Seriously?? What was I thinking??

I have long been obsessed with fabric selvage edges. That has already been established, I think. Since we are going to be at a quilting show, wouldn't pincushions be a good idea? Wouldn't thinking about this a couple of months ago have been a better idea?

What have I learned from this?

1. It's kind of a messy process, but really fun.

2. I have a "piping" foot for my Elna...and I now know how to use it. This is my first prototype. No close-ups allowed, because you don't want to see the mistakes I made when learning how to use my piping foot.

3. I used crushed walnut shells to stuff the pincushions. Eco friendly, nice and weighty. But I need to find a bulk outlet. I only had four cups and then had to slit my prototype open and steal from it to stuff the other two.

4. Procrastination--not such a great idea. Two pincushions ready for sale. Two....for a two-day show. Planning ahead would have been a really good idea. Can you say "special order and free shipping"?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Color Therapy Thursday: House of Blues

My friend, Sue, is a warrior. She is fighting one of the toughest battles there is: to become strong and healthy again.

She loves blue. Loves.It.

And here is the proof:

Her friends knew she needed to be surrounded by a shield of love. We have done this before with friends who have battled cancer. In fact, when Sue was helping to finish the last quilt, she said, "I sure hope I'm never the recipient of one of these quilts." Little did she know...

Friendship quilt made by Sue's many friends

Making a quilt for someone you love is about so much more than the fabric you pick and the time you spend. It is about putting your heart into each little stitch that goes into it, and then letting them wrap themselves up in your love. Ready to face their foes, not alone, but surrounded by those ready to fight the battle with them.

The label on the back of the friendship quilt (thanks to Maggie)

"Guest book" quilt made by Dotty Warkentine

Truer words could not be spoken...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little House on the Prairie

Click. You are now tuned to the History Channel. Because...I'm really behind on getting caught up. So even though I may be breaching some kind of blogging etiquette or something, where no one really cares what you did last month, there were such great highlights in our week in Minnesota that I'm certain you will agree it is worth sharing.

First of all, we didn't stay in a little house. We stayed in a two-story farm house with our good friends, Roger and Clarine. Nor was it in Walnut Grove, that town where Little House on the Prairie is based. But we were really close to Walnut Grove, so there you have it.

We went back there for Mark's high school class reunion, which always coincides with the Butterfield Threshing Bee, which takes a town of 600 people and turns it into several thousand for the weekend. Think tractors, lots of tractors. In a parade. Long parade. And not just your run-of-the-mill tractors either. Big, small, unusual (to me at least, but I guess that is my city girl showing through).

Mark's class reunion. Well, first let me say that I graduated from a school in Seattle in a class of over 700. And keep in mind that of course his whole class was not able to attend. So including spouses...there was a grand total of....31. I have never been to one of my own class reunions, and I have attended quite a few of Mark's, so it was very fun for me as well to see familiar faces.

I was able to spend a bit lot of money at three different quilt stores. Interesting quilt shops too. One in what used to be a bowling alley, one in which the wife shares space with her husband's feed store, and one in Mankato where I got Minnesota-themed fabric to make Mark a quilt I've planned for a long time called Minnesota Hot Dish (and if you are from Minnesota, you know exactly what hot dish is. Out here in California, we call it a casserole...)

We went to Bergen Bar and Grill twice. Bergen, Minnesota, with a population of 16, but wow, do they know how to grill. While we waited, I took a picture of the local crops: corn and windmills.

Bergen Bar and Grill doesn't seat too many people inside. Like the town, it's rather small. But they do have a nice deck where you can wait in nice weather (in bitter cold winter, you wait in your car and they call your cell phone). And if you want to order a soft drink (okay, "pop" for you Minnesotans) or a beer, you just walk right up to the window and place your order.

We went to the Fairmont County Fair. We actually changed the dates of our trip, leaving and returning a day later than we had originally planned, so we could attend the fair. As far as country fairs goes, I think it was pretty typical. However, this kind of blew me away. Someone was raising money by selling tickets for a raffle. See the ticket container? See the money box? See the empty chairs???? Very trusting people here in Fairmont County...

Now you may be asking yourself why we would want to change the dates of our trip. To go the Fairmont County Fair. Well, all because of these guys, Tonic Sol-Fa. Amazing acapella singers. They sing a huge variety of music, jazz, pop, country. Mark first found them while channel surfing a couple of years ago when they had their own PBS special (and they are filming another one--they're that good). And here they were, at the fair, free with our paid admission of $3/person, thanks to Roger and Clarine getting tickets on the radio! Really outstanding concert. Well worth $3. No, really, I would have paid ten times that to hear them in person, and we were in the sixth row!

But my personal highlight? It would have to be meeting my online pen pal, as Mark refers to her. My friends and family know that I am blog-obsessed. Some people spend free time playing free cell or solitaire. I read blogs. Even when I don't have free time. Anyway, first I became a fan of her daughter's blog, How About Orange, and I can't even tell you how I first discovered that one. But shortly after I started reading it, I was hooked. The best part was the dialog between Jessica and her mom, Grandma G, in the comment section. I was intrigued. I clicked on Grandma G's link and found out she lived in southern Minnesota. About 40 miles from Butterfield. We emailed back and forth for nearly a year, found out we had a lot in common, including each of us having a super cute granddaughter with brown curly hair, and we made plans to meet. She lives out in the country so we met at the very cool coffee shop in town, Left Bank Coffee, which Mark learned was named that because apparently there used to be two banks in town and this was....uh, the one on the left. I have to admit to being nervous while we waited. You know, kind of like a blind date. Like what if she met me...and hated me?? Anyway, thankfully, that didn't happen. We drove out to where she lives, which Mark, being a farm boy at heart, really enjoyed. This is the view from Candy's house.

Thanks, Candy. Meeting you was definitely one of my highlights. Who knew I would make such a good friend because I love the color orange?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Recap...and the winner is...

After Charlotte's birthday party on Saturday (and excuse me while I post this picture again, which I love, even though her Grandpa says, "You can't even see all of her her face..." I love it and I think she looks very chic)...

As I was saying, after Charlotte's party, we left for the coast (Carmel, to be exact) to see our very good friends from Calgary, Russ and Ingrid, who always stay in Carmel for a week in September. And as usual, Ingrid and I went shopping at Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove.
We got to see the finished results of a beautifully remodeled second home for one of the major homebuilders in Fresno, where Mark was responsible for all the cabinets, in the kitchen and thoughout the rest of the house. This was especially interesting to Russ as well, since he is in the same line of work in Calgary. Last year when they were here, the house was completely down to the studs, so this was quite a change. (Could I please move into this house? I'll take excellent care of it, I promise...)
We walked around town, ate a lot of good food, took our annual photo...

Mark and I watched the waves for a while before heading home...

And as soon as we got home, picked the winner of Playin' the Name Game (drum roll...), Number 7: Happy Cottage Quilter. Even though this was totally random, and you didn't even have to make any suggestions to be eligible, she had some great names. So thanks to all of you who commented. We'll be doing this again the next time I get stumped for a good name.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Safari So Good

Our incredibly cute granddaughter, Charlotte, turned 3 today. And she celebrated with a jungle-themed party at the zoo. Lots of yummy food

Safari hats for keeping the hot sun off your head and binoculars for siting all the animals. A cooler day would have been nice, but the weather wanted to play along too, so we had a jungle-like hot and steamy day.Presents...

And more cake than someone knew what to do with.

And then off to the animals (this sign just sizzles).
Hey, check this out...
And I even got a picture of these four, looking surprisingly similar to flamingoes.

Every time we asked Charlotte what she wanted for her birthday, she always said, "chocolate and a yoyo." So a bag full of chocolate kisses and Grandpa's blue yoyo, and then we continued with an art theme. Colored pencils that smelled like root beer, bubble gum, oranges. A great little crayon wallet, complete with crayons and a pad of paper that I got from Sew Fantastic, and an artist's apron that I made from Anna Maria Horner's most wonderful oilcloth. (If you can find some of this fabric, grab it!)
(Side note: In keeping with the whole jungle theme, tonight I sewed bindings on two quilts: a quilt for Levi made from lots of jungle animal prints, and a bright floral quilt where I used black and white zebra print called "party animal," which would have also been a good post title, now that I think about it...)
Happy Birthday, Charlotte. You're getting so big, and we love you so much.