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September 2007
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November 2007

October 2007

Quilt Market preview ...

Well ... all across America, designers and manufacturers are doing the last mintue scramble ...  getting ready for thousands of shop owners to give the nod of approval to the projects and ideas they've been slaving over for months.  Quilt Market starts on Friday at 9AM!  And even when they aren't actually going to market, they're still working up to the last minute with new stuff to send to the distributors. Case in point ... Terry Atkinson's Winner's Bouquet!
Winners_bouquetI've been watching this develop for months ... since June or so ... it was sort of like seeing someone going through the stages of pregnancy ... and now the birth! Terry's had this idea forever  ... her inspiration is  an antique quilt she's had for over 15 years ... waiting for the moon and stars to align in order to make it into a pattern. It sort of has the Orange Peel look to it but because of the placement of the lights and darks, the name was called Winner's Bouquet ... Terry liked how the lobes looked like flowers. I know she struggled with how to make it without templates but finally caved and found someone who could make her some that were perfectly cut. And the hard work paid off ...  a project that is easy to cut and sew ... even for beginners! I love when I can sew a curved seam using only one pin.
Imgp1358Look what you can do with it ... instead of joining the finished blocks into a quilt or wall hanging, you can set them side by side for a fabulous table runner. This one was huge. Terry hosted a shop owner's workshop this summer at a retreat house in Wisconsin.  It was a chance for them to stitch new patterns into shop samples ... and to get a preveiw of what was coming from Atkinson Designs. As her helper, one of the fun things I got to do was set the table each day.  The table in this case was seven feet long! You can imagine how long this runner truly is!! In the center of the blocks, Terry put yo-yo's ... using the Clover Yo-Yo Maker, of course. Done in the 30's repro fabrics, it was as sweet and delightful as can be. Look at this table scape as  a springboard for your next luncheon to celebrate the birthdays of your quilting friends. Up on the cake plate are fabric rolled cupcakes as party favors ... cute as can be.   Fun fun fun!! Makes me want to throw a party!

Let them eat cake!

Cakesmithkermes2My little boy Alex ... cute kid on the right with the short hair ... is into his third year as a  member of the Marines Corp Reserves. Now, as a veteran {I served during Vietnam} of both the Army and later, the Air Force Reserves, I have to say that I've begun to realize that the Marine march to the beat of  a different drummer. They don't always make sense  to me ... or maybe I should say they don't do anything like the Air Force does! Alex trains at the air base I did as a reservist so it's hard not to compare.

Aside from how they choose time to train ... which seems really wonky to me ... no set weekend schedule, for instance, so a person can plan ... they don't eat like the Air Force or Army does.  We had a chow hall we could utilize, or the NCO Club or Officer's Club for lunch, or we could go off the base to a restaurant. Alex's version ... "they feed us when they remember" ... sometimes they get MRE's {Meals Ready to Eat} which aren't really that appealing.  As a mom, I'm concerned ... what do you mean you didn't feed my little boy!!!

So this past weekend Alex and his friend Smith {on the left no first name because apparently they don't have them} cooked for the unit ... hundreds of people. Not sure if they volunteered so they'd have a meal or to get out of something they didn't want to do. I  found this pretty entertaining as I've never seen Alex make anything that didn't require a microwave. {I'm a failure in the motherhood department on this matter.} Breakfast burritos, BBQ chicken, spaghetti ... I was amazed at what they turned out from their kitchen. But their most impressive piece of work was The Cake.

They made marble cake for Sunday dinner. I'm guessing there was more than one pan as the group is rather large. Not sure if they decorated all of them like this, though. They were excited enough about their work to preserve it for the future by recording it on a camera.  The design ... well let's just say it doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside like roses and flowers would ... but it IS well done.  The thing I don't get ... how on earth did they get the frosting to be that black??? I've decorated a few cakes in my time and have never been able to get  anything but grey. 

I'm impressed by their work and it cracks me up because I know they were having a good time together. Nothing like working in the kitchen to bond a group of soldiers together!  Do you think they had to do the dishes, too???

I just can't get away from my work!

On Monday, my friend Liz and I had made arrangements to drive to Iowa so we could visit one of the new Quilt Sampler shops ... Red Bird in Lansing. It had been raining buckets all night long and was pouring down when it was time for me to leave to pick her up ... plus the weather guy on channel five was saying to expect flash floods in the area we were traveling through. So ... I wimped out.

But then I called Liz back and suggested we just drive along the southern edge of the Twin Cities to visit a few shops I've wanted to see. Liz is always up for a quilting road trip so we were good to go. Picked her up and we headed down the interstate ... after getting Starbucks, of course!

We were so sad to see the first shop was closed on Monday. It looked adorable inside ... we pressed our noses really tight up against the windows to see what we were missing. Back out on the highway ... taking a few wrong turns in the country and laughing about maybe we should have brought a map! We had directions ... we were just not quite paying attention because of all the chatting.  The scenery was beautiful ... but inspite of all our attempts, we couldn't locate the second shop. Very disappointing.  We're striking out. On a third shop ... Eagle Creek in Shakopee ... great place in a railroad depot ... classy classy place. I want to move in. Chatted with the owners for a bit and then took off to our fourth shop ... and of course ... we were lost again! But look what we found on the way!  Doesn't this place just scream Autumn in Minnesota? So cute ...

Imgp1474_2Back on the road we finally found our way ... only to be side tracked by detours. We ended up getting to Waconia and had a fabulous lunch. There were a number of places we could have chosen but Liz picked the one called the Green Door ... or was it the Red Door ... I can't remember.  But I do remember how great it was to finally be out of the car and relaxing. We were starved! And this was a wonderful place ... fresh green side salad along with our sandwiches ... yum!

Lucky for us we had seen the quilt shop on our way into town so we knew how to get there.  The place was pretty busy because the Harvest Sampler shop hop is going on. {Did I mention that MY store was involved in the same shop hop and I decided to play hooky from it? Deb's gonna kill me when she finds out why I left her with all those people that day!!} Heavenly Patchwork was a cute store ... giant windows ... tons of flannel. Liz can't resist the baby flannels ... she is an extremely generous person and makes baby quilts for her employees. She had a stack of those to cut and the makings for another quilt from a line of Moda fabric. The shop owner had just let her employee go home to get her kids off the bus and we all walked in.  There was an empty cutting table. So look what happened ... Imgp1477I wasn't in my own store cutting fabric ... I was in someone else's store!  {Notice my purse still hanging on my shoulder.}I just can't seem to get away from work, can I? It makes me laugh thinking about it and is such a happy memory of a day off from work.  I know our initial plans didn't happen but that phrase 'making lemonade from lemons' is very appropriate here. I still had a well-deserved day off ... I got to hang out with someone I like ... I had a chance to enjoy quilt shops I've wanted to visit ... it was just a grand day all around. I sure hope Liz agrees.  {Look how cool that polka dot fabric is ... how couldn't she have a great day??} It'll probably be a million years before I get another day off ... and I sure hope I'll eventually be able to get down to Lansing to visit Red Bird.  Something to dream about I guess.

A link to Leah's blog ...

No blog for me today but following this link
to Leah's blog. Leah used to work for American Patchwork and Quilting but left ... all in the name of love! Her sweetie works for a cruise ship and she tossed all the fun of magazine publishing to the wind in order to sail the seven seas with him. The scenery in her blog is breathtaking. Sit back and pretend you're watching the travel channel.

Woo hoo ... a new quilting tool!


Who doesn't love to be on the 'cutting edge' when it comes to quilting tools??? Well I know I do ... so here's a shameless commercial for OLFA's newest gotta-have gadget. The Quick Change Rotary Cutter isn't quite in the market yet ... I had to beg my local distributor to get some in because the customers I was letting pet mine were drooling on it. Once again, I'm sitting by the door waiting for the UPS guy. Chris loves it so much that everytime I'm searching to find it, I usually locate it in her hands. {Hey look ... that's her hand in the pic!} I sure hope she didn't take it home with her today!


So why do we like it so much? A couple of reasons ... you can cut with it in your left hand and then hand it off to your friend who can cut with her right hand. You don't have to flip the blade around to get it right. Fabulous engineering!


The handle is very comfy ... a little thicker so it's easier to hold. It has grips on it. But here's another reason we like it ... it's not called the Quick Change for nothin'! The blade drops off instead of having to unscrew the pieces ... and then remembering the right order to put the cutter back together.


We managed to get our hands on this cool product before the competition sees it at Quilt Market. And yes ... I've shared the info with a few close quilt shop owner friends so I wouldn't look greedy ... but I hope I get mine before they do! $29.99. Coming to a Cottage near you ...


{Did ya see the frosted ruler in the background? Next time you see me, ask why we love that product, too! Why have they been such a secret?}


Autumn at the Cottage

Over at Rosebud's Cottage, the colors of Fall really are perfect for the look of the store.  Now I know some people refer to us as a 'brown' store ... but at this time of year, our colors are positively vibrant! All those deep reds, golds and greens that we love the rest of the time get to be paired with purple, orange and brown ... then twisted around into some fabulous projects!

FallpouchI love this Fall pouch ... I made it late it while on vacation at Itasca Park so it has that special memory for me.  I cut the pieces out on my AccuCut die cut machine, then stitched them down with easy running stitches or X's and buttonholed that baby together.  It was so fast to make!

This project was very popular at the State Fair ...  can't decide if it just has that certain appeal ... or if it's because we cut everything out so all our customers have to do is thread the needle!  Quilters going on a retreat have been picking them up for a handworked project.  One woman who was in last week was going to a weekend get-away at a cabin without electricity!! ... and needed something that she could just stitch without getting ready.  That's sure a throw back to an earlier time ... but then again, we do specialize in that colonial America look so I guess it all works, right?  Quilting by candlelight just like great-grandma.

Last Spring I made a pouch that was just so sweet . A little wool chick surrounded by lavender and pink tulips embellished with beads.  Adorable!

For the Harvest Sampler Shop Hop ... going on right now from October 4 thru the 13th ... we all had to have a project with a free pattern for the hoppers. I've had my idea for a few months but was missing a couple key ingredients ... namely time and the right fabric. So on Tuesday when our UPS guy finally dropped off the boxes, I was able to get going. Thankfully, it all went together easily ... thanks to those wonderful drafting skills of yours truly ... and the outstanding quilting skills of Chris and Bobbi.
-N-Whirl is made with just some basic blocks ... Flying Geese and a Pinwheel ... but the stitching technique makes it so easy ... even a newbie quilter could make it! What we love is that when you stand back, it looks like propellers ... or the gold jumps out for a 3-D effect ... or it looks like a curved block ... it all depends on your perspective I guess!

The fabric I was waiting for is Destiny from Red Rooster.  It has  those more vivid primitive colors that are becoming popular ... the blues are wonderful ... great paisleys and flowers ... rusty reds. It was hard to choose which pieces to use!

Bobbi loved this block soooo much that she bought yardage of the new Look and Learn fabric we just got in from Moda.  It's one of those 50's kids fabrics that everyone is squealing over.  I enlarged the block to 10" for her so that she could make it as a baby quilt for her daughter. I guess the fact that mom-to-be isn't married and really isn't serious about her current boyfriend is irrelevant ... she just loved the fabric so much!  Gotta love those grandma's who think ahead.

Imgp1379Here's are the Petal Pincushions I made with Look and Learn last Spring. They're in the December issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  The ones on the left are more Christmas color combos ... but my favorites are the ones other set.  Who doesn't love polka dots and stripes and wonky flowers all jumbled together?  For me that line looks so much like the aprons all my mom and her sisters wore everyday ... that June Cleaver appeal that makes you feel safe and warm and comfortable.   Makes you want to pull out a cookbook and bake a cake. Well ... these pincushions really are as easy as whipping up a treat ... I used my favorite tool ... the Clover Yo-Yo Maker ... to do the yo-yo's that embellish the top.  I love how you can stack these  or use them by themselves. Laura Boenke made them into ornaments for the color option in the magazine ... that would be a great gift ... sewing buddies could tie them on to their sewing basket to keep their pins and needles tidy.

Ok ... so that's it with my little slide show for the moment. Can you tell I was going through my photo files?  So many to choose from ... so much to talk about!!

What a dish!

Imgp1276I just love dishware! When I was sixteen, I started collecting a set of china through the savings dividends at my bank. By the time I was 20, I had a place settings for 12 people, carefully packed away at my mom and dad's house.  I must have had a lot of $$$ in the bank!

Fast-forward to my time spent in the Army on the east coast. I had a set of Hull Pottery ... puchased at the Williamsburg Pottery and used for everyday. They were heavy, dark brown and very early American looking. I loved them to death. Part way through my tour of duty in Virginia, I discovered Phaltzgraf's Yorktowne design. Well gee ... I had to have those as a souvenir didn't I? I bought them piece by piece at this little pottery shop in Yorktown ... I loved that town and was so disappointed that the shop was gone when I visited last summer. But I had accumlulated yet another set of dishware that I loved {later in life I wish I had collected the Folk Art design but oh well ... they just didn't have the right name}.  Let's see ... I have three sets of dishes now and I was about 23 years old. Hmmm. 

Moving along in life ... like five years or so down the road ...  Bob and I are getting serious ... and he has dishes, too!  His everyday dishes were nothing to write home about ... but he did have this wonderful set he inherited from an elderly aunt in Blue Earth MN. They were handpainted pinecones and berries on a cream background with a silver edge. So pretty and perfect for Thanksgiving! And then the Air Force {I joined the reserves after my stint with the Army} sent me to England for two weeks of training ... right in the heart of the Wedgewood china area. Newly married and anticipating children, I picked up sweet little place settings for the nursery, including little teacups, a creamer and sugar bowl. Adorable! Can't remember how I got that all back in a duffel bag. Christmas rolls around and Bob decides we really should have a set of holiday dishes because we entertained so much. We picked the line from Phaltzgraf again ... but should we have done Spode instead? Too late ... we have place settings for 12.

I've lost count ... how many is this now?

We used my Yorktown dishes for everyday ... until the summer we went to Itasca State Park and they were selling the dishware from Douglas Lodge in the gift shop! No more coveting the pieces we saw in the dining room ... we could have our own for every day ... complete with Minnesota's state flower, the lady slipper, AND the seal of the state of Minnesota ... all on the same place. Yorktown got packed away and the Itasca dishes are in the cupboard.

Somewhere along the line I picked up a set of dishes that belonged to my Grandma Waldoch ... can't believe none of my cousins wanted them when the Aunts were clearing out Grandma's house  ... they're so pretty and have darling little flowers and that crackled finish ... well used by the adults at family holidays ... kids weren't allowed to touch them!

Early this Spring, we came into owning yet another set of dishes ... the pretty group in the pic above. Bob's siblings were finally clearing out his folk's home and they found these dishes wrapped in layers of newspaper and packed into four suitcases. Bob's dad was from Uniontown PA and he and my MIL  went there each summer to visit his spinster sisters. It looks like they brought a little piece of home back with them to Minnesota each time!! The newspapers were dated over a number of years. We think they belonged to Bob's grandparents. They're in perfect shape ... and included in the suitcases were all of the wine and water goblets, too. What a treasure! Serving for 12 including soup bowls with little handles.  We unpacked them all and used them for the first time for Easter dinner with our boys.  Such a pretty table!

And did you notice the gold plated eating utensils? Ya ... those came with Bob. Don't ask how many other settings we have. Or about the glassware.  Or the linens.

I'm so glad my sisters gave my mom's china to my neice. Whew!