Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tales from the Kitchen and Beyond

I love the rituals of baking a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The smells remind me of family far away. We have so many things to be grateful for this year. All we love are healthy and have a warm home.

There are so many friendships in my life that lift me up and inspire me. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement this year.

I finished my Christmas ornaments and hung them in the kitchen window to enjoy on Thanksgiving day. They looked so nice there that my husband asked me to leave some hanging in the window year round.

Here are some of my wares in progress. I finished my work late (as always) Friday night and packed for the craft fair. I was not sure what to expect as I am new to the craft show scene. We were in a small town and I had a reasonably good day despite the fact.
I am happy to say the mad rush is behind me. Next weekend will be spent at Patsy's Homestead Cabin Retreat. If you would like to join us, there are still four openings left for this discounted weekend. I am leaving my sewing machine at home and taking a tumbling blocks quilt that I have been hand piecing as well as a hand quilting project. I can't wait!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Apple Picking With the Twins

We have spent the summer watching this doe raise her two fawns. A few months ago I found them in the apple orchard early one morning. The fawns were very young and still had their spots. They were racing around chasing each other. They are so much fun to watch. The deer are very possessive of the apple trees. They will snort and stamp at us trying to chase us away so they can come down and eat.

Winter is here. I'm not sure I am ready for it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So Little Time to Write Lately

A few weeks ago I received this from Lynn andLinda:

Thank you Ladies! I've recently gotten to know them. They both have beautiful art quilts on their blogs and are both members of Around the World In 20 Quilts. I can't wait until December to see your "Stellar Progress" completed.

I have homework to do. I hope you don't mind if I wait to name some of my blogging friends in another week once my Christmas items are all assembled and the next craft show is over. I will be vending this coming Saturday at the Elroy Quilt Show and Christmas Craft Fair at the Royall High School in Elroy, WI. Stop by and say hello if you are in the area. I'll post some photos of my last few weeks of stained glass work in a few more days.

I leave you with a photo of part of my first quilt. It is a king size quilt. I read the advice "start small". I'm not so good at following advice. I wanted to make this quilt for our guest bedroom. I figured if I didn't like quilting at least this quilt would be finished. It took me a couple of months to piece the blocks and then I hand quilted it. The project took me 11 months. Most of the quilting was completed in the last two months. I quit smoking during that time. Whenever I felt like smoking I hand quilted instead. Now I'm addicted to hand quilting.

Monday, November 17, 2008


"Red Sails at Sunset"
These are two of my favorite paintings. They were painted by my Grandmother. I have always admired her sense of color. She spent so much of her younger days exploring nature that I think her eye easily captured the essence of a landscape.
"Home from Market" was painted from memories of a trip to the market in Octavolo, Ecuador. Grandma traveled the world on a retired teacher's salary. She had so many stories to tell.

Grandma gets a visitor.
My father took these photos earlier this summer.

My Grandmother is 104 years old. I had a chance to visit her recently. She was having a good day (her memory is not very sharp these days) and we had a lovely time together. When we were leaving I ran into a friend of my grandmother's. She described my grandmother as one of the most elegant women she had ever known. I had to smile because she had come up with really appropriate description.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Serious Stash Enhancement and the Winners Are...

Thank you so much for all of your comments on my 100th post. It was really helpful to hear your favorites. I won't keep you in suspense. The winners are....

Quilt Crazy Gal Jenna who has a wonderful blog showcasing all sorts of quilting techniques and

Jackie's Stitches, a knitter and a new quilter. She has some lovely pictures of a recent trip along the Appalachian Trail. I've always wanted to make that trip.

A big thank you to everyone that turned out for the Fabric Sale yesterday.

Here are my purchases, made in the afternoon after most people had come and gone. There are 4 sets of purchases in the photo above. The assortment of oriental prints fanned out in the front is the most expensive group on the table. The other 3 groups were bags of 2-3 lbs each (or 8-12 yards each) purchased for $5.00 a piece. On the left is a group of silks that include a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired fabric. The bag in the center holds strips sets of light and dark hues of brown. (I always need more of these in my stash.) The last on the right are generous scraps of different African prints. I've always wanted to add these to my collection.

This sale is on two levels of the home. I worked in Jeanne's quilting studio where all the fancy fabric are located. Oh... there is still so much left to choose from. I don't think it will matter what day you come to shop. You will not go away unhappy.

There still many large pieces of African print. Some are mud cloth, some with shells and still others are appliqued. There are a couple of bins full of hand dyed cotton sateens, print cloth and hand painted fabrics. Other items on this level include fancy garment fabrics, wool, overdyed wool, fleece, oriental fabrics (both silk and cotton prints), velvets and upscale batiks.

I came home with yards of Laura Wasilowski's cotton sateens, lovely hand dyed flannels and some of Wendy Richardson's overdyed velvets. Scrumptious!!!

The upper level of the home houses the traditional fabrics. There are cottons, flannels and even courduroy fabrics to choose from.

There are three more days left to this sale. Look for details in the upper right hand corner of my blog. I borrowed some of these pictures from Patsy's blog. You can see more photos here.

Leonids meteor showers peak tomorrow night November 17th in the late evening. I hope your skies are clear.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Making Every Minute Count - Updated Friday PM

Update***Patsy has a post about the fabric sale with photos. ***Click here***
A couple weeks ago I took a few evenings off to enjoy the last of nice weather. We had some glorious days. My husband and I took a couple of trips up the hill to watch the sunset.

Last weekend I finished putting together a jewelry shipment for the Iowa Artisans Gallery in Iowa City. It took a bit longer than I had planned. I ended up with a head cold that stole most of my energy. It took 16 hours of sleep to put me on the path to recovery.

I have also been working on some stained glass snowflakes and Christmas ornaments for the local art galleries and an upcoming craft show. Stained glass is the perfect cold weather project. I cut the glass after work in the last of the daylight and cover the edges with copper foil in the evening after dinner. I should be able to get some of these finished by the end of the weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, I will be helping with the fabric sale this Saturday in Blue River, WI. There is a link to the sale information in the upper right hand corner of my blog. Four dates are scheduled, spread out over the next week and a half. There is so much fabric to choose from. Volunteers have been sorting and organizing by color and theme for weeks. There are a few sewing machines available too. Tell all your friends. The prices are too good to pass up.

P.S. Don't miss your chance to enter my 100th blog post giveaway. Drawing will be this Sunday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quiltville Comes to Spring Green, Wisconsin

Bonnie Hunter came to town yesterday and brought a beautiful scrappy trunk show with her. I've been following her blog for a while now and couldn't wait for this day to arrive. She spoke to a full house. People came by the car load and bus load. (I'll let Bonnie tell the story about the bus on her blog.) Bonnie is a excellent lecturer. She had so many tips to share and she kept us all laughing.

You can visit Bonnie's blog Quiltville to find links to her mystery quilts. The quilt above was made by Bonnie.

And here is the same pattern made and modified by another quilter (I wish I knew her name).

I purchased a copy of Bonnie's book "Scraps and Shirttails" a few weeks ago. I've been wanting to make this quilt ever since:

This is Virginia Bound. It was my favorite until I saw this quilt:

I love these little log cabin blocks. When I first saw this quilt I thought WOW! Then I thought, "who would want to make blocks so small? Oh yeah, me, duh."

I hope all of you have a chance to hear Bonnie speak. She inspires and will change the way you think about your stash. Thanks Bonnie!
Pictures published with permission of Bonnie K. Hunter.
P.S. There are still four more days to enter my 100th blog post giveaway.

Friday, November 7, 2008

100th Blog Post Giveaway

It is hard to believe that this is my 100th post. I have known this day was coming and have been trying to decide what to give away in celebration. Because I have not been able make up my mind, I thought I'd let you choose. Please take a minute to log onto my Etsy shop, Shady Grove Studios, and pick your favorite item. Then leave a comment for me with your choice. I know which items I like and I'd love to hear your favorites. I will choose 2 winners a week from Sunday on November 16th.

Writing this blog has allowed me to tap into my creativity in a new way. I started taking pictures as an opportunity to discover more about light and shadow. I wanted to improve my drawing skills and gain confidence to be used when I learn to paint in the not so distant future. Taking time to write about the things I enjoy has helped me focus and develop new ideas. I have notebook full of projects waiting to be started. But I have to say the best thing that has come out of blogging is the wonderful people I have met. Your creativity and spirit lifts me up and I thank you for your friendships.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I received this photo in an e-mail today with words which simply stated "November 5th".

For the first time in a long while I feel a great sense of hope for our country. This is a monumental day for America, a healing day. How lucky are we to have the right to choose between two candidates who both care so passionately for our country? I pray for peace, unity, tolerance, compassion and understanding for those in America and through out the world.

I have read wonderful messages to America from blogs all over the world. It is uplifting to see how closely we are all tied together.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Old Farm

I love old brick farm houses.
Each of these houses is located with in a couple of miles of our home.

This simplified Italianate style is common in almost all of the brick homes built in our area prior to the turn of the 20th century.

I love to see these homes in good condition. So many have fallen into disrepair and are no longer salvageable.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bonnie Hunter Coming Soon

Pardon the duplicate post....

Bonnie Hunter is coming to speak in our area!

Some of you may know Bonnie from the website and her famous blog too.
I am happy to announce that she will be speaking at Arthur's Restaurant in Spring Green Wisconsin on Monday, November 10th at 7:00pm. That is at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 23 in Spring Green.

Her trunk show and lecture will be a spectacular show to say the least. And her long awaited book, "Scraps and Shirttails" will be available for sale at the book signing following the Trunk Show.

I am so excited to host Bonnie. I have been a follower of her "Scrap User System" in which you learn to cut your scraps into usable sizes like 2" strips, or 2 1/2", or 3" strips or more. You cut your smaller pieces into usable squares or bricks too!

Then after organizing your scraps into bins of same sizes, Bonnie gives you patterns on her website that she created pulling fabric from those bins and using those precut strips and squares!
soon to be released book...............Bonnie's new book will have even more patterns to use those scraps up. After all, $9 a yard is still $9 a yard even in scraps. You can see from the book's cover that Bonnie also recycles in its finest state. Using 100% cotton shirts from thrift stores as fabric too.

So if you want to get off work early, come for dinner, stay for the show -- save the date now.
Monday, November 10th
Arthur's Restaurant, Spring Green WI
* 7:00pm * small fee at the door
More details later, Lets show Bonnie that Wisconsin quilters support great Quilt Teachers!
**If you would be willing to distribute flyers to your local guilds, contact me at Thank you! Patsy

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Late Fall and Winter Approaches

This time of year can be a bit bittersweet. You can feel winter's approach in late October. The sun is lower during the day. Parts of our valley now stay in the shade until near sunset. The sun will not start to warm our house until after 10:00 am.

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago at 9:30 am.