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February 2009

January 2009

The mother-lode of quilts!


I was in California last weekend for the CHA show and we happened to have Saturday free after our plane landed. Everyone has talked about the antique stores in Orange, so that's where we headed. Here are some pix of one of the nooks and crannies in Down Home Antiques where I stumbled upon the most antique quilts I've seen in one place in a long time! And this was only one part ... there were quilts scattered all over this store! This store was really worth the visit. Too bad I was flying!





A to Z ... the BEST font quilt book around!

Font quilt 

Last Summer, when Terry Atkinson held her seminar for quilt shop owners, she had them test a new applique technique she had developed. The remarkable part of it is that it has no turned under edges and uses no fusible web. Its a really cool technique.

Finally, after months and months of  being a top secret, Terry is ready to release her bookFat Quarter Fonts. It went to the printer today. You need to go over to Terry's blog to see the fabulous projects. Plus, she's having a contest and will be selecting lucky winners who will receive a copy, hot off the press.

Frankly, I think it's a amazing that this book is going to press. Everytime she turned around, Terry was coming up with one more cool project for the book. It's a miracle it doesn't weigh a hundred pounds!

She and I both agree that I need a banner just like hers for my workshop. And those cute bags with the initials on them ... do you think the 'R' stands for Rosebud? A girl can wish ...

Window shopping for quilting inspiration!


With the colder weather, everyone is hunkered down in their sewing rooms, working on projects or searching for a new one to create. There have been a lot of people in recently trying to pull together fabrics from their stash but combining them with newer colors to keep them looking up to date.

I thought it would be fun to go to my favorite spot for inspiration and the current look ... the dishes at the local chain department store. (Can't say their name because I'm still mourning my beloved Daytons!) Look through these pix and see if any of them help you with your own designs!

If you're looking for something new and light looking, we have Jezebel from Red Rooster in the store and are loving how it looks in projects! Come in and take a peek. 








Mmmmm ... burritos!


Here's Ted chomping into a steak burrito (no onions, hold the beans) from our favorite local Mexican food place ... Casa Lupita. It's right around the corner from us off of Hwy 96 in White Bear Lake. When the temp is way below zero making it too cold to even think about heading into the grocery store, it's nice to have some place close to home that everyone likes. Everything is made to order while you wait so for some of those picky people in my family, they can get their food exactly the way they want.

Casa Lupita is a family owned restaurant ... you can eat in or take home. It's not uncommon for the line to snake out the door during the summer. I love that the owners are so friendly and remember me and my family when I come in. (Alex ... they want you to come home from Africa soon ... revenues have dropped since you left!) 

When Teddy's been an especially nice boy, I'll get him a serving of flan ... they make it there every day but in a limited amount. Gotta get there early! None tonight. :(

Oh and if you're stuffy and congested send someone there for a bowl of their tortilla soup ... I swear it's even better than grandma's chicken soup! That's where we head at the first sign of the sniffles ... it's a miracle cure.

Next time you need a fix for authentic Mexican food, you should head over ... they're open for lunch and dinner. Yum!

PS ... Bob's chimie would have looked a little bit better if my bag hadn't slid off the seat!


My 'perfect' breakfast!


Ok ... it's -17 here in Minnesota this morning and that's without the wind blowing! Yi yi yi!! So how do you warm up? And maybe have it be something healthy? Well, I found a great solution for me with Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal

Last summer I tried to kick by latte habit ... both for financial reasons and health reasons. But I felt so guilty when I'd go into Kowalski's and see Laura and Diane's sad little faces as I was buying my soup ... and not stopping by to get something from them,  too.

But then one morning, when I fell off the latte wagon and wandered over, I noticed the oatmeal for the first time.  That's when Laura told me about it ... how I could get stuffed mixed into it ... like brown sugar, dried fruit, nuts. She mixed some up for me and I experimented with toppings for a few tries and finally settled on the combo that I like. Laura drops in a brown sugar pack, nuts (for that omega thing) and makes it with milk so I get my calcium. Oh, and Laura also mixes in a little bit of love, too ... just like Mom! By the time I get down to the Cottage it's all mushed together and perfect! ... just like Starbucks said it would be.

I can't do a coffee drink and oatmeal at the same time because it's just too much ... so mostly I opt for the oatmeal when I stop by. It's interesting talking to other customers about it while I wait in line. And I have to laugh at how predictable I am ... yesterday Diane yelled over from the Starbucks kiosk as I was paying for my soup ... "oatmeal today Roseann?" ... why yes, I think I will. You should too!

Scrounging through the junk box

Knitting nancy 

I've been in one of those moods to reorganize my stuff ... cleaning out baskets and the junk drawer ... and being continuously surprised by what I find! I keep coming across a variety of 'knitting nancy's' that I've collected. One of them was the spool version like we used as kids but others are a little more sophisticated. I must have some kind of fascination with them because I have more than one!

Knitting Nancy's are used to make cording ... lots of knitters are getting into them to make draw strings for knitted bags. A simple version is a spool with small nails pounded in around the hole. Once you load it up, you just keep looping your thread in a sequence around the nails and the cording goes down through the center hole of the spool. It's kind of fun and relaxing ... great way to keep kids quiet. My mom knew THAT secret! Here are some good instructions to use.

Spool Knitter is an interesting site devoted just to these tools. I love looking through all the photos of the types of knitters people collect.  They come in all shapes and sizes ... many are very decorative and interesting. One entry refers to them as knobby knitters which is kind of a cute name.

I like looking through Wayne's This and That as well. Here you can find how to make tools that are different from the spool version and more instruction on how to use spool knitters. There is a ton to read on this site and many links ... allow enough time!

So what do you do with the cording besides the obvious? You can make coasters, embellishments for your clothing or purses ... some people use very fine wire and shape the cording into jewelry. If you don't have a vintage version of a knitting nancy laying around in your junk drawer, find an old wooden spool and make your own. Great way to have fun on a cold Winter afternoon!


Creating Valentines!


I work best in a mess. I like having every possible component in front of me when I start to work on something. Some of my friends are lucky ... they can draw out a project and then execute it from their plan. I can't.

Me ... I'm more of an intuitive assembler. I'll see something in my head, dig through my stuff to see what I have and then go shopping if it isn't quite what I had in mind. Then I come back and lay it all out so I can see it ... and then look through my things one last time. And then I get to work. And sometimes happy surprises take place!

When I started this Valentine's project ... it's for White Bear Lake's Girls Night Out on January 15 ... I started it with an idea and templates I had worked out but a  totally different group of paper. What I had just wasn't cutting it, though. And then I remembered that I had a pack of Cosmo Cricket's Hey Sugar paper some place ... once I put my hands on it was all came together.  It was like magic started to happen ... the perfect items seemed to fall right into place and it was totally fun!!

I love how this heart-in-hand Valentine turned out but the thing that pleases me most is how enjoyable it was to make it. That's the best part of creating, don't you think?


Resolve: To accept creative challenges in 2009!


Do you sometimes cringe when you tell people you quilt? It just seems like that stereotype of little old ladies in rocking chairs is the image others pull up when you tell them what you like to do. When editor Jennifer Keltner of American Patchwork and Quilting told me about their new program, I was really excited. Finally, we can all stand up and proudly say I am a Quilter! 

Jennifer has challenged every quilter to tell their story in fabric. To tell who you are as a quilter. I loved hers ... little fabric envelopes ...each containing something she loves about quilting. All the others on APQ's staff made their own 9x12 quilts and wrote a story about themselves as quilters. 

I was able to drag some of my pals into the challenge, too! Darlene's is a combination of fabric and wool ... Zeeda focused all on cats ... Chris has always wanted to make a sampler quilt. I love their stories as much as I love their quilts!

I still haven't gotten mine done ... but I have all of the components to do it! I'd love to have some company ... anyone feel up to a challenge? Perhaps we could meet one night to brainstorm and sew. Or at least just email encouragment to get the quilt done. Let me know if you're interested.

Form your own group to take the I am a Quilter challenge ... or do it on your own. Tell the world your story. Once you get your quilt done, have someone take your photo with it. I love how Jennifer said they came to decide the size ... it's about how big your head is! While you're working on your quilt, think about your own quilting story ... what leads you to be creative with fabric and thread?

I hope ... and I know Jennifer does, too ... that at the end of 2009 everyone will know that quilters come in all shapes and sizes ... all races ... all ages ... and that they aren't just a bunch of old women sitting around a quilting frame!