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February 2008
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March 2008

Quilting out of our comfort zone!

Imgp1703Sometimes when it comes to quilting, you just have to take a chance. Yesterday I had a frequent customer in the store whose work I always admire. She takes chances with techniques, is fast and accurate, and her projects are always interesting. She's constantly striving to learn something new or try a technique that requires a bit more thought.  In my book, she has it together.

Imagine my surprise when she asked me for help in picking out some colors for a string quilt she was working on. Turns out she relies on the fabrics that look similar to each other because she feels safe doing that ... but she also recognized that she needed to expand her palette in order to pull off this project she was going to start.

This was quite fun ... pulling out fabrics that I knew would make her squirm but also knew were what she needed. By the time we were done, she had a nice selection that ranged from pukie green to bright yellow with a mix of odd designs in between. It was fun and I know they'll work perfectly with her stash.

It's helping customers like this that keeps me unlocking the door each day. In between mopping the floors and paying bills, I get to watch someone stretch their wings ... I get to help the young wife of a soldier leaving for deployment pick out fabric for the quilt she'll make while he's gone ... I get to celebrate weddings and graduations and birth days.  Not too bad, huh?

And every once in awhile, I quilt outside my comfort zone too ... like this quilt from Pieces From My Heart that we made last week using Wee Play by American Jane. Those of you who've been in the store know this isn't a typical look for the Cottage ... but it sure is fun!


A Perfect Pear

Imgp1694How can you resist a product called A Perfect Pear  ... especially when it's soooo pretty!  I stumbled on these in the deli section at Kowalski's last week.

There was a whole range of gourmet products ... pear balsamic vinegar, marinades, chutneys ... the names make you want to speak like Julia Childs! And they're soooo pretty. Did I mention that?

The vinegars come with a cork stopper and a little spout tied to the jars with ribbon and a pear leaf. Pretty. I'd want it for my shelf.

I asked Dexa ... the head cheese at the White Bear Lake store {she runs this specialty section at the store} what you'd make with the pear vinegar. She suggested replacing  regular vinegar in  recipes ... especially a sweet dressing for fruit. Yum.

But the thing both of us want to know ... how do they get those pears in the bottle? Aren't they pretty?


It arrived! Jitterbug fabric by Cosmo Cricket!!

Jitterbug2I was delighted when the UPS guy dropped off boxes yesterday from Andover Fabric. Jitterbug has made it and is as cute as can be. This is a short line ... only 14 pieces.  Some of the polka dots are almost 2" across and those stripes are W.I.D.E!  But I love them. They remind me of the skirts my sisters used to wear when they went out dancing ... it was tough being the little sister, left at home!

Not exactly sure but I think we're the first store in the country to get this line. I know they'll be showing it at Quilt Market in May. So if you want to be the first to have it too, give us a shout at the Cottage and we'll whack some off and send it right out.

Watch for a project featuring Jitterbug from me in a future issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. We'll be cutting and sewing this week ... can't wait!

In your Easter bonnet!

Misc_337Just the word "Easter" brings up memories of new shoes, a pretty hat and a dress that Mom got finished just in time! Not to mention flowers popping out of the ground and buds on trees. And baby chicks. Sigh.

It won't be that way around Minnesota this year! {When exactly IS Friday's snowfall supposed to end??}I feel badly for those cute little girls who have to slog through a pile of snow in their boots at the Easter Egg Hunt. Nothing can make you feel worse than a cute dress and inappropriate footwear!

So if I can't enjoy the weather and smell the flowers this year, I'm going to entertain myself by going through my postcard album. I must really like this season because there are a ton of cards to view!

Happy Easter to you!


Take the bus to the Minnesota Quilters Show in Rochester!

08logoOn Friday, June 27, we're offering door-to-door service from the Cottage to the very popular Minnesota Quilters show  being held in Rochester MN.

This is the 30th anniversary of the show and quite the celebration. My mom was one of the 'founding mothers' and I remember the first show they had in the Radisson Hotel in downtown St Paul. Man ... has it changed!

Our bus will leave promptly at 7am so that we're there when the doors open. You'll be back around 6:30.

The ticket price of $30 includes transportation and your ticket to the show. You'll be wowed by the quilts and astounded by the vendors! It'll be the perfect way to spend a Summer's day. Register soon as seats on the bus are filling up fast.

Join the metro' s largest car pool ... the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop bus tour!

07Head over to the Mall of America and hop on the bus for the Twin Cities section of the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop. Relax and forget about the cost of gas and traffic congestion as we whisk you around to the metro shops in the 2008 hop. On August 1 and 2, and again on August 8 and 9, you'll be able to choose from one of two bus routes ... north or south ... a total of eight shops each day.

When you choose the North Route, you'll visit these stores ~ Quilter's Haven, Quilt Cove, Fat Quarter Quilting, Bear Patch Quilt Shop, Charlotte's Web, Rosebud's Cottage, Colorful Quilts, and Quilter's Courtyard. The South Route goes to these stores ~ Fabric Town, Before You Quilt, Eagle Creek Quilt Shop, Heavenly Patchwork, The Sampler, Blue Bamboo, Four Seasons, and Glad Creations.

By visiting eight shops, you're eligible for the prizes offered for the shop hop. Do all sixteen stores and your passport will be entered into the metro prize drawing as well ... two Tutto rolling bags filled to the brim with cool quilting gadgets and gear! And don't forget ... with each $10 purchase, you'll get a charm from each store. Not to mention that we'll all have the coveted Minnesota Shop Hop fabric designed exclusively by Moda fabric ... and a specially designed pattern by a Minnesota designer {you get one section of it at each of the Twin Cities stores during the hop}.

You're welcome to bring snacks, drinks and lunch on the bus. If you want, you can pre-order a Subway sandwich and we'll have it ready for you at lunchtime. The price of the sammie is $7 and includes chips and a bottle of water.

The ticket price for each leg of the tour is $20. Make sure you specify when you register which route you want to do and which day you want to travel. The bus will leave promptly at 8am from the IKEA parking lot at MOA. You'll get a confirmation via email that gives you the details prior to the trip. It's important that you provide us with an email address.

This tour is being offered by all of the 16 Twin Cities stores so as you can imagine, space is at a premium! Sign up immediately if you want a seat. Grab a friend and hop on the bus for a fun day of shopping! All aboard!!!

A few last photos from the retreat.

Imgp1672Remember the Snails Trail blocks Sue was working on? They aren't snails at all ... they're the beginning to a cute cat block! Sue's shop Quilt Essentials    in Oskosh WI is offering this as a class and kit. The project is called Let Sleeping Cats Lie and is from Story Quilts. Look how those little kitties are snuggled together!

Imgp1676Bobbi started another quilt, too. She found it on QNNtv ... she signed up for their club and it was on one of the videos. The design is by Allissa Wilson and is called Twist and Turn with a Surprise ... I think. The ability to come up with another secondary design when you turn the blocks around another way is amazing. She said the curved pieces went together so easily ... those are always kind of scary to sew ... but so worth it!

Imgp1674Last one ... our Shamrock Pincushion looks darling on Chris's sheepy spool cover!

So now the retreat is a thing of the past ... we're on to the next event ... bus tours to the Minnesota Quilters show in Rochester MN, Quilt Minnesota metro area bus tours in August and our tour to the new AQS show in Des Moines IA this October. If you're on the email list, watch for info hitting your inbox. You won't want to miss out!