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August 2008

July 2008

Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop


It's finally here! Print off your passport ... and come visit the great shops throughout Minnesota.

Don't forget that with a $10 purchase at any of the metro shops you can get one of the 2008 collectible charms. Pick up a section of our shop hop pattern at each of the stores for free and you'll also get one of the images from the motif fabric to help you make it.

We're all excited to have you visit ... we've been sprucing up the place and making kits ... have a trunk show from Joined at the Hip ... Neumann's Bar is even having a quilter's special when you need a bite to eat.

Hours for the shop hop are 10-5 Monday thru Saturday and noon to five on Sunday. We'll be open until 7:30 on Friday nights for the car show so plan on having dinner on the avenue.

Enjoy the shop hop!

Color camp ... revisited!


Well ... a couple of weeks ago Terry Atkinson of Atkinson Designs had a shop owner's seminar ... scroll down and you can read all about it. But here we are back in Augusta with a new group of shop owners and a lot more fun! Right now they're exchanging ideas on how to sqeeze every penny out of their customers ... beware ... they are super sneaky about it ... I'm learning from the pros.


So you know how Ben Franklin said all work and no play isn't a good thing? Well ... these owners took advantage of free time today and decided to go to the Leinenkugel Brewery for a tour. But ooops ... there was a sign for a winery along the road and the car automatically turned down the road. Couple of tastings later and a bucket of bottles in the back of the car and we were on the road again. Do you recognize your shop owner?


So seeing this is color camp I felt it was necessary to actually take photos of colorful inspiration. But who knew I'd find so much at the brewery! Look at these luscious berry colors ... as delightful as a cold glass of Berry Weiss beer. I can't wait to get home, sit on my deck and pop the top on one of these.


Can't go wrong with yellow and blue ... perfect for a Yellow Brick Road and a Summer Shandy when you're done!


More color inspiration ... and a beer menu to boot!


Terry thought red and tan would be good inspiration for her next line of fabric.

And finally ... back at the ranch ... after dinner we had our Chinese take out exchange. Doesn't Shelly look adorable in her new bling?



At the water's edge ...


When you're from Minnesota, you cherish those moments in the Summer when you get the opportunity to enjoy being outside. There's a restaurant along the west shore of White Bear Lake called Wolfgang's Waterfront Bistro where you can either sit inside, on the porch, or on the patio across the street. I haven't been there for dinner but we're finding it to be our favorite place for breakfast after church on Sunday. Very limited menu during brunch ... it's all omelets ... but that's ok because then we get to spend more time looking out at the lake!


Those people on the east and west coast ... or the gulf ... with their harbors on the ocean have nothing compared to what we have in our town! You get to sit under these gigantic oak trees that are hundreds of years old, drinking mimosas and watching the sail boats bobbing at the dock. The patio is walled in with charming wrought iron fencing. Love Summer in Minnesota and this is just one of the many reasons why!


Come visit our Atkinson Designs shrine!


Just in time for the Quilt Minnesota shop hop, we got in the line of Pretty Paisley by Terry Atkinson. Early shipment ... we're pretty lucky to be one of the few stores in the country to get it! The colors are wonderful ... pulled from Terry's Fiestaware dishes ... but the designs are what are the most interesting ... paisley's flowers stripes and swirls all coordinated to work together. I made a quilt using Pretty Paisley for Quilts and More magazine and the fabrics were so much fun to work with ... and you all know my tendency is toward dark and dirty!

I asked Chris to put it someplace the other day when she was working and when I came back the next day, I saw the "Atkinson Shrine". She pulled all of our patterns and books from Terry into the dry sink by the cash register ... it's almost too pretty to disturb ... but we don't mind! If you have Terry's Let's Do Lunch or Time Out Quilts, flip through the patterns and find one you'd like to make with this cool fabric.

Hurry in ... even before the shop hop because I know it'll be gone in a blink after those shoppers hit the door!

That elusive 1/4"!


I don't know about you but trying to get an accurate 1/4" seam is always a struggle ... especially if you use muliple machines. Each of the machines I use has a little bit of variation and it makes a huge difference if I switch to a different machine midway through a project.

Celine Perkins from Perkins Dry Goods has this nifty little tool ... Perfect Piecing Seam Guide. Its easy to use and you'll want it in your sewing basket. You put your sewing machine needle into the hole that is drilled into the guide.  Then, you lay a piece of tape or one of those cling seam guides on your sewing machine, snugged up next to the edge of the guide. There's your perfect 1/4"!

One of my machines needs to be set a couple of clicks each time I turn it on and I can't always remember how many clicks! I found that I could put the seam guide under the needle and then click it to the right setting ... then I knew my presser foot with the quilter's seam allowance was at the right place. Didn't have to tape the machine because of the foot but I felt a lot more confident about my piecing now.

So if you're having trouble with your seams, come in and get one. It'll be the best five bux you've spent!

A colorful experience at Linder's!


So now that all the shopping center greenhouses are closed, we drove over to LInder's Garden Center on Larpenteur ... supposedly for mulch. Ya ... you know ... we weren't getting out of there with four bags of bark ... things don't work like that. So while Bob was out in the heat examining every bush and shrub they had, I stayed inside where it was a little bit cooler and looked around. Boy! Was I surprised! The place was bursting with color. Look at all the cool things I found to help bring color to your garden ... just in case your flowers are a little lacking.


I wish I was having a garden party. I love the flip flop drink dispenser ... and the flip flop relish trays!


Or how about the glass blown mushrooms in a terra cotta pot? Blew me back to the 70's! (I do love this pic ... kind of arty, don't you think?)


And I'd be willing to water the plants if I could have a sprinkling wand or two in some fun colors. Sprinklers on the other side of the display that were just as cute ... and they wouldn't be hiding for the lawn mower to find ... not that I've ever run over one.


I want to color coordinate my flowers with the pots next year.

Linders iron

And then I want to display them with these pot holders and shepherd's hooks.

Whew ... all this shopping makes me want to sit back and relax! Linder's is having a huge sale today ... you might want to run over and find something new for your yard. And Bob ... if you're reading this ... it's my shopping list. Oh, and don't forget the flowering crabs, too.


Dining out


You don't find them just anywhere ... unless you live in a city with Sonic ... but there's something fun about pulling your car up to a drive in and someone comes to the window to take your order. That's how it is at Tep's in Augusta WI ... this is the place our pal Jason the chef owns. {Read back through the last few days to catch up with the story.} I love his sign! Stinkin' cute.

For the last day of the Color Camp with Terry Atkinson, she took them all to the drive in for lunch. There were several 'blue plate specials' served on real blue plates ... that took me by surprise ... why would I think it would be any different? I had the pasta salad but the stuffed burgers looked pretty darn good, too! Why is it food just tastes better when you eat it outside? A lot of the girls had root bear floats and they looked d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!

So this camp is over but another group will be rolling into Augusta the last week of July. Here's a parting photo ... everyone received kits of Terry's Pretty Paisley compliments of Red Rooster fabrics. It's always cool to see how different the same pattern looks when you just switch out the fabrics. If you see your shop owner in the pics, bug her to show you all the stuff she made! 


What's black and white and red all over?


It's day two and a half of Terry Atkinson's color camp, of course! And don't you just love what she's done with her Seven Layer Salad pattern from Let's Do Lunch? The photo in the book is completely opposite of this one ... lots of colors ... but we love how these three colors have upgraded the look to urban chic. The table was fun to put together ... its simple and stylish. Toss in some greens and it would work for Christmas. Oh ... and Terry wants me to tell you ... the table isn't seven feet long ... it's eleven! Can you imagine having anything that big in your dining room? Yike. We were joking around over dinner about what ingredients would go into this kind of salad ... oreo cookies, whipped cream and marachino cherries! Yum.


I wanted to show you some of the projects the shop owners were working on but they are top secret until Terry releases the patterns this fall! They're adorable. You'll want them. But ... seeing I can't, let me tell you about our chef. Ya ... we have our own guy making our meals and cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Jason is the owner of Tep's Drive In Restaurant and Sweet Clarisse Catering here in Augusta. If you are using Bridge Creek Cottage for your retreat, hire Jason to make your meals. You won't regret it. (715.286.2838)

After Jason has our meal ready, he comes down to the sewing room and announces the menu. Words like saute and demi-glace (or however you spell it) heavy cream roasted ... roll off his lips like butter. But he is equally at ease serving food for Country Jam or the 100th anniversary dinner for Bush's Baked Beans. Versatile guy.  Tonight we had roasted herb-seasoned cauliflower and brocolli for our veggie. It was delicious! But we learned one of his little secrets ... oil, sour cream and booze will fix any recipe. Who knew? Remember that next time you're trying to jazz up a box cake mix.


As part of our fun tonight, we had a Chinese Challenge exchange while we relaxed after dinner. Everyone had to bring a red Chinese take out box filled with little red gifts to fit inside. To make the exchange easy and cute, we made paper fortune cookies with a number inside that corresponded to the one of the take out boxes. No one wanted to rip open their cookie because it was so stinkin' cute ... but we made them do it any way. After we passed out the boxes, all kinds of cool prizes were unearthed ... lots of tomato pincushions and red thread and fabric ... but a whole bunch of other interesting doo dads, too. It's just a nice way to get to know each other a little better. The little girl in all of us loves to open up a gift! Try it at your next girlfriend's get-together.

Tomorrow morning it's show and tell and finishing up the last of their projects ... then, after lunch at Jason's drive-in, everyone will pack up and head back to their shops all over the country. Maybe if you're nice, some of these quilt store owners will take you in the back room and show you the up-and-coming patterns from Atkinson Designs that they've made the last few days. Start hoarding your fat quarters!