Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Shady Grove and Points Beyond

The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. - Claude Monet
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. - Frank Lloyd Wright

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. - Henry David Thoreau

Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life. - John Muir

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Inventory Today

The Reedsburg Quilt Show was a lot of fun. Many great vendors and quilts to tempt me. I came home with a beading embellishment book for fabrics from the Turtle Island Beads booth. I also came home with an over dyed tablecloth from Lorna's booth. Oh so gorgeous!
One of the viewers choice winners at the quilt show was a 5 year old boy. He helped his grandmother pick fabric and then he sewed the blocks together. His grandmother finished the assembly and quilting. It was really fun seeing his face when he saw the blue ribbon on his quilt.
I sold a lot of my hand dyed fabric at the show. I spent most of today making changes to my Etsy store. I added a few new colors of jewelry and quilt block magnets to my shop today. Yes, that was what I was hiding in the snowflakes and Chinese take out boxes.

All is inventoried and put away. This coming week I will be getting more items ready to send to the Iowa Artisans Gallery in Iowa City. This gallery will be stocking my jewelry and stained glass snowflakes for the Christmas season. If you are ever in Iowa City be sure to stop in and see this fabulous shop. I have a bunch of fall pictures to post. I hope to get those added to my blog later this week.

P.S. The first snow of the year is coming down right now and I haven't finished hand quilting the new quilt for our bed...Oh well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Too Busy For Words - Almost

I have been working like a mad woman trying to get ready for a Reedsburg Area Quilt Show this weekend. This will be my first attempt at vending. I will be selling my hand dyed quilting fabric and quilt block jewelry. My friend Lorna and I will be sharing a booth. Lorna is a wonderful teacher and pattern designer. She also sells overdyed wool. Her business is called Plumberry House Creations. The show is Saturday October 25th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Peter's Lutheran School Gym, 346 N Locust Street in Reedsburg, WI. Admission is $3. Hope to see you there.
Most of my wares are packed. It will take a few more evenings to work on the jewelry I plan to complete before Saturday. I'll show you what I'm hiding in the snowflakes and Chinese take away boxes after the show.


Word came yesterday morning that Jeanne Freymiller Neff finally lost her long battle with cancer. I was just getting to know Jeanne when she became ill. She was so free spirited and fun loving. It is really hard to see someone with her joy for life have to fight so hard to live. She will be missed as she made this world a better place.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Greetings From Des Moines

Sue and I traveled to Des Moines to the AQS Quilt Show last week. Seeing the Iowa Capitol Building always gives me a sense of homecoming. This is where my father and his brothers were raised. My grandmother still lives in Des Moines. Many summer days were spent here in my youth. Some fond memories from those days were trips to Younkers Department Store back in the days where department stores had many levels and an elevator attendant. I also remember a trip to the history museum. When you entered the floor that contained displays about the early history of the Iowa prairies you could hear the sound of running buffaloes. I could have spent hours there. Sue and I took a trip down Grand Avenue to see Terrace Hill, the Governor's mansion, and all the other old mansions from the days before taxes changed the lifestyles of the rich.

This show was fabulous. Rumor had it that there were 900 quilts on display. The Des Moines Area Quilt Guild had their quilt show along side of the AQS juried quilts. There are so many talented quilters in Iowa. The quilts of Judy Martin and Sandra McMillan were featured in two one woman shows. Simply stunning work by these two ladies. There was also a display of vintage aprons from Mary Jane Butters, how fun. I'm subscriber to her magazine Mary Jane's Farm.

One of my recent favorites is Run Birdies Run by Julie Duschack. I fell in love with this quirky quilt in Madison in September and was pleased to see it again.

I also love Millie Sorrells' Past to Present quilt. Can you believe she quilts on a regular sewing machine? Her hand quilting is wonderful too. Here is her Phantasy quilt. Much of the hand quilting is 1/8" apart. Amazing! Millie taught this applique pattern in August at the WQI meeting.

Next stop on the way home, FiberWorks in Grinnell, Iowa. So many marvelous fabrics, fibers, paints & beads. One small room is set aside as a quilt gallery. This is another shop I will definitely visit again.
Almost an entire wall of batiks!!!! I'm in heaven.
These are the items that made it home with me. I love the Bali Pops. Great idea! Shrink wrapped, no fraying. Sue and I found these at the Quilters Quarters in Lamont, IA. I have been to this shop once before on a shop hop. She has every fabric line your heart desires. This shop is located in the country down a gravel road.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Autumn Splendor and Some Tagging

October 7th at the farm.
The sumacs are brilliant this year. Our house in just beyond the grove of trees. The small building just to the right of the grove of trees is an old sugar shack where the previous owner made maple syrup.
The mist rising from the fields is from the hard frost changing to moisture as the earth warms in the sunlight.
A little further down the road on October 9th as I leave for DesMoines with Sue.

For Embellisher:

7 things you may not know about me:

1. In addition to our dog we have a cat named Cleo. She is a 19 year old Blue Point Snow Shoe Siamese adopted from a shelter. She is blind and deaf so she yells at us when she want attention. Despite the yelling is is very sweet.

2. I switched from an art major in college to nutrition. I plan to go back to get a masters in art some day.

3. I love science fiction and fantasy books and films. I am thrilled that Doctor Who is back in production after so long.

4. I used to be terribly nervous about speaking in front of a crowd. It is only in the last few years that I have overcome this problem.

5. I am fascinated by dragons and dragon lore.

6. I'd rather be traveling, teaching and writing about all I see on the way.

7. I'm shorter in person than I appear on the Internet. ;o)

For Bindu:

1. Clothes Shop - I only do when I have to. Not much available in the country.

2. Furniture Shop - Antiques for me. Both British and American Arts and Crafts Era and early 20th century southwestern furniture. Also Danish Modern. These are my favorites, but not necessarily what I own.

3. Sweet - Organic dark chocolate with ground ginger - to die for!

4. City - Country life for me. Where I live is as close to heaven as you can get.

5. Drink - Diet Coke or a Sam Adams lager.

6. Music - Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Natalie Merchant (solo or otherwise), Heart, Vivaldi, Mozart, Secret Garden. I love most of it as long as the singer can sing, no screaming please. I just don't get it.

7. TV Series - Dr. Who

8. Film - Don't make me choose - Fried Green Tomatoes (I adore Fannie Flagg's books too). The Color Purple. Time Bandits. 12 Monkeys/La Jetee.

9. Workout - Walks in the prairie grasses, bicycling

10. Pastries - Cinnamon rolls

11. Coffee - no thanks

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yellow Bird Art and a Trip to Lansing Iowa

I love river towns. So many of them have been kept well preserved. Lansing Iowa is no exception. It is a charming town that may leave you feeling a bit nostalgic. My husband and I took a day trip to Lansing early last week. For more than a year I have wanted to visit Yellow Bird Art, a quilt shop located in this historic Mississippi River town. It was worth the wait. This shop has a wide variety of fabrics. They are known for their large selection of Oriental prints and art fabrics. My attention was caught by the batiks and Kaffe Fassett lines. Yellow Bird has a large selection of books and wonderful shop samples for inspiration. This is definitely a place I will visit again and again. I can't resist old metal bridges. I'm always saddened to see them replaced by more modern versions. These shots were taken from the lookouts on Mt. Hosmer, a bluff on the north side of Lansing. The first shot faces north. You can see Minnesota on the far left side of the picture and LaCrosse, Wisconsin on the right.
Facing south you can see the bluffs of Wisconsin. This entire area is part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge was established in 1924 and consists of 194,000 acres of river bottom lands which extended from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois. This Refuge was created to preserve habitats of migratory birds, native wildlife and fish. It is an amazing site to see.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Never, Never, Never Give Up

I'd like to share an earlier post I published when I was a new blogger. I hope the 3 or 4 people who were reading my blog in May don't mind a "repost". :)

Every year we see at least one new breed of bird in the Shady Grove. Here is the latest to show up at our bird sanctuary, a red headed woodpecker.

I'd like to share something with you in hopes it will encourage you to unleash your creativity and share it with others. In my life I've met many people that tell me they can't do something because it's too hard or challenging. Along time ago I learned that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. It may not be perfect or beautiful the first time but each succesive time I work at it I refine my skills.

This is one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson. It reminds me to keep reaching for the lightness in myself and to share it with others in hopes they will pass their own light on.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I challenge you to be all that you are meant to be, share it, and never, never, never give up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

WQI Classes

I love attending Wisconsin's statewide quilt guild (you do not need to be from Wisconsin to be a member). Where else can you go and take classes from nationally renowned teachers at such a modest price. Jane Townswick was one of the teachers this weekend at the WQI meeting. The design above was appliqued by Jane and comes from her book "Applique Takes Wing: Exquisite Designs For Birds, Butterflies and More" available from That Patchwork Place. Jane's command of color in her applique work is phenomenal, her stitches delicate. All of the students raved about her class.
I took Barb Vlack's paper piecing class on Sunday. Barb has a unique and revolutionary paper piecing technique. I have never liked paper piecing. While I love the accuracy, I hate having to remove the paper once the sewing is done. Barb's technique teaches you accurate piecing using freezer paper without the need to sew the paper to the block. I am now a huge fan of this process. Thanks Barb! We had a lot of fun in this class. Every one had their own unique take on colors for this project. I can't wait to play around with this technique.
I am off to Des Moines on Thursday with my friend Sue. We will visit Grandma Virginia, who is 104, before we attend the AQS quilt show on Friday. You can see some earlier posts about Grandma here and here. I took time off of work this week so I could spend some time with my husband in between events.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Quick Blogging

I thought you would enjoy the video I found today on A Million Little Stitches' blog. Stop by and take a look at Stickies.

Weekend Travels

The drive to Green Lake was amazing. There was a hard frost overnight. I started my journey just after 5:00 am. Mist was rising off the lakes in the cold morning air. Along the way I picked up a new quilting friend, Tina. She shares my love of fabric dying and nature. The shot above was captured as we crossed a narrow margin of Buffalo Lake near Packwaukee, WI.

Tina found a bald eagle in a tree. This was a the best of the two photos I captured before he flew off with his morning catch. It was a wonderful weekend full of communion with creative quilters of WQI. I find so much inspiration and joy when spending time with these women (and Bob). There were times I laughed so hard I cried. I'll add another post later this week about the weekend classes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pineapple Class Again

I love Pineapple Quilts. The framed quilt is from a class taught by Doris M. Deutmeyer last summer. This pineapple quilt is well loved. It was the second quilting project I completed when I was a new quilter. This class was taught by quilt designer Suzanne Unbehaun.
This weekend I will be taking another Pineapple Quilt class from Barb Vlack at the quarterly Wisconsin Quilters, Inc guild meeting in Green Lake, WI. This will be the third and once again different technique I learn to construct this block design. I wanted to play with some colors that I love but don't always choose for my finished quilts. I haven't made final selections yet. I can't wait to see what I end up with. It could be amazing or just plain scary. Wish me luck!