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June 2009

May 2009

A little bit more about Gettysburg!


All around Gettysburg, there was a LOT of carved stone and ironwork ... little tiny details that you needed to take a minute and check out. Some I suspect were already part of the area ... others added as time went on.

The people of Gettysburg were in total shock after this huge battle happened in their town. There were so many things to deal with ... like putting the town back together. However, within a few days, they realized that this was an historical event and immediately made plans to preserve it. They set aside land for a national cemetary ... documented the battle ... collected artifacts.

These stone monuments to remember the various units who fought are amazing. The details weren't cut by lasers ... more like chisels and elbow grease. There are around 1400 of them. And they aren't all in places that are flat and easy to get to ... this one is at the top of Little Round Top ... a smaller version of a mountain. But look at the carving! So cool.




The Pennsylvania monument was at the top of a small hill in a large field. It was massive with fabulous stonework and scuptures. Lots of detail.



These were put together within a pretty short time after the Civil War ended. How did they get that statue up to the top of the dome?


Back in town, there were buildings that have stood the test of time ... like the Gettysburg Hotel ... it's been in the same location since 1797. Obviously spruced up but it had good bones! It was hard not to look at every little detail as we walked around ... you felt history and craftsmanship all over the place. The town is well preserved. An active, bustling town!


The clock on the town square was a massive amount of ironwork ... with accurate time according to my t-mobile check!


Buildings were painted historical colors. I loved the combination on this one ... the place next door was bright pink and cream ... teal and yellow were common up and down the street.


This place got more interesting the closer I got ... panel doors ... leaded windows ... wrought iron fencing.


But look at this door knob ... isn't this beautiful???

Totally loved everything about Gettysburg and can't wait to go back!




When I found out Quilt Market was going to be in Pittsburgh, I talked Bob into turning it into a mini-vacation. I've always wanted to go to Gettsyburg and was surprised that he had never been there. He's a huge fan of the Civil War and often went to Pennsylvania to visit relatives.


Gettysburg is a charming town filled with adorable stores!


The town square is set up exactly like that in Orange CA ... obviously an east coast influence on that west coast town! Unfortunately, I didn't discover this one amazing antique store until we were leaving town. Who knew it would be two floors packed with fabulous finds? Bob was in heaven checking out the Civil War artifacts in the shops who sold those things. He found a few interesting items to add to his collection.


Our main purpose was to visit the battlefields ... we were both amazed at how compact the battle area actually was. It would be like taking Hwy 96 from 35E into White Bear Lake ... five blocks on either side ... and filling it with 160,000+ soldiers, all of their equipment, horses, supplies and camp followers. And then fighting with guns and artillery. It had to have been an amazing thing to live through ... and many didn't. Reading the personal stories of those who were there was really hard. The museum at the visitor's center was filled with memories of those who took part.



Throughout the town and battlefields are monuments built to honor various military units. Governor Ramsey was the first to commit troops to the war ... 1000 soldiers made up the initial group of the 1st Minnesota. This is their monument placed at the site where they fought. Not a happy outcome. Bob's brother was part of a reenactment group and took part in the filming of the 1st Minnesota's activities for the movie Gettysburg.


Personally, I couldn't imagine how hard it was to pull artillery and equipment up to Little Round Top. It's total rocks and these walking paths were not there in 1863! Soldiers have many personal reasons for committing to a military life.





As soon as I saw the Gettsyburg Address inscribed on this window, I was back in fifth grade and remembering it word for word. This was a beautiful display ... the words written on the window and the view from the window behind it.


Bob and I know we barely scratched the surface in the two days we were there. We'd love to go back. Hope I don't have to wait for market to be in Pittsburgh again to justify the trip!


A visit to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


All eyes were on Pittsburgh last week as hundreds of quilt shop owners from around the world descended for Spring Quilt Market. This was the second time market was here and I hope they select it again. Its a great city with lots going on!

I walked back and forth to the convention center each day and there was this one park with eyeball sculptures. They sort of gave off the feeling of aligators in the swamp ... a little bit human ... kind of creepy kind of fascinating ... and as it turns out, they were benches! You could sit on the other side of them. How fun is that?


You can feel the history seeping out of the ground in this area. Pittsburgh is a river town ... in your mind  you can see boats loaded with supplies pushing their way up the three rivers during the beginning of our country ... later paddleboats and barges off-loading at the levee. We were on one of the paddelboats for a dinner and it gave a unique look at how the city is carved out of the hills along the rivers.


We stayed in the cultural district ... you could tell by the flags on the signposts and also because it was carved into the curb cut-outs at the corners. The streets had a European or Colonial America feel to them ... not too wide with small shops lining the sidewalks. Tons of places to eat and a very active theatre community.


A series of bridges connect the downtown area. This is the Seventh Street bridge ... we stayed a half block from the Sixth Street bridge and I'm kicking myself for not walking over it ... was pretty whipped after walking the convention center each day. Pat Sloan did though! She went to a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game at the ballfield on the other side of the bridge ... check out her fabulous photos of buildings and bridges, too!


There really is a lot of green space downtown ... little parks like this tucked away and filled with people sitting and relaxing.


One park I passed each day had this tree with these beautiful blossoms the size of saucers. I have no idea what kind it was but was fascinated by it none-the-less!

I was kind of trapped in the convention center each day but Bob had a chance to tour around ... visited the science museum ... took a trip south to Fort Necessity ... visited Uniontown where is father's family came from. Perfect weather for the most part and just a nice time. I'd love to spend more time in Pittsburgh discovering what it's about! Putting it on my list ...


Quilt Minnesota Girlfriends Getaway Bus Tour


Head out to Minnesota's beautiful lake country during the Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop! The metro area is exchanging buses with the Central West section on Friday and Saturday, August 7th & 8th. This is a great way to be able to easily complete another whole section of the state shop hop and be eligible for prizes. Leave the driving to us ... relax with your friends ... maybe stitch on a project as you watch the beautiful scenery float by the window!

The price for the trip is $30 for deluxe coach bus transportation. We've reserved overnight lodging at hotels and you'll pay for that when you get to the hotel. (Prices range from $38 to $65 ...  you can share a room with a friend or we'll set you up with another quilter.) Meals are on your own but don't worry ... we won't let you starve to death!

Visit the following shops on the Girlfriends Tour ... Colorz for Quilts, Brainerd; Common Threads Quilt Shop, Garfield; Country Fabrics, Brainerd; Dawn's Quilt Shop, Alexandria; Gone to Pieces Quilt Shop, Kimball; Gruber's Quilt Shop, Waite Park; Patchwork Alley, Buffalo and Quilts on Broadway, Foley.

On our side of town, you'll be able to board the bus ... and leave your car overnight in Stillwater or White Bear Lake ... and you'll return to your starting location the next day. We have a limited amount of seats on the bus and lots of quilters competing for them! Your check in my hands will reserve your space so register at the Cottage right away.

Don't forget the metro bus tours during the shop hop! Check out the schedule  here. Seats on the first weekend are filling the fastest right now. Remember you need to do two routes to complete the whole Twin Cities ... we have fabulous prizes for those who do! Charms are included again this year with a $10 purchase ... I love mine!

The stores are getting revved up about the shop hop as we approach the beginning on July 31st. It's going to be a ton of fun and a great way to celebrate quilting in Minnesota this Summer!!

MN Fabric

Pre-order these fabulous Quilt Market finds!


Have you ever wanted to have a bias tape edging to match a project but were frustrated with making it?  Or needed bias for applique? All that folding and pressing and burning your fingers. I saw the proto type for Simplicity's Bias Tape Maker when I went to CHA in January ... am VERY excited to see it available now!


With the push of a button, you can make 12' of folded bias in 60 seconds! You feed the beginning of a strip through a tip (various sizes are available ... even for making binding!) ... the tip folds the fabric which is then passed through a heating element and comes out the other end, perfectly folded and pressed. It's a miracle!


The bias maker has been hugely popular during demonstrations at recent consumer shows and I know it's going to be in demand when it becomes available next month. Call the Cottage right now ... 651.426.1885 ... to pre-order yours. It costs $99 but is worth every penny!


Do you love Prairie Points that open in the center but can't seem to get them to look quite right? Susan Cleveland has the answer! Her new Prairie Pointer helps you make them perfectly without burning your fingers.


You cut a strip of fabric and fold it in half then cut segments from the strip for your Prairie Points. Next you fold them over the Prairie Pointer and press in place. The tool is calibrated for different sizes of points and is lined so you can get the bottom edges straight. You can leave the point on the tool to cool or slide it out and move on to the next one. It's metal so it won't melt. It's very clever!


Susan used a decorative stitch along the folded edge of some of her points before she cut the strip. It adds a terrific touch. The Prairie Pointer is $20 ... I brought a few back from market and have more coming. Call and pre-order! Prairie Points aren't just for around the edge of a quilt ... look how they add a little zip to a project from her Magic Miters book! Imagine the possibilities ...



Time for another Creative Craft Crawl in White Bear Lake!


The stage is set for our Craft Crawl this Friday ... May 15! We had such a great time last month ... people have been telling us they're planning on being there and they're bringing their friends. We're ready!

Our project for the Crawl is an upcycled coffee sleeve. You can bring your own or grab one from the stash Starbucks at Kowalski's gave us. We have great papers, fibers and stamps to jazz up your coffee sleeve ... one is as cute as the next and such an easy way to recycle. Bonus ... you won't mix your cup up with your friends ... it's sort of like a wine glass charm!

The Crawl is from 10am to 3pm at do-it-yourself shops in White Bear Lake. The stores taking part are Avalon Tea Room, Bear Patch Quilting, The Needlepoint Cottage, Nesting, Sheepy Yarn Shop, Truly and us. Everyone has small projects to make for a fee ... ours is $4 ... or they might have a demo to watch. Circle the third Friday of the month ... don't want to miss the fun!

See you Friday!!


It was a great time at the Governor's Fishing Opener!


Everyone caught the fishing bug at the GFO last weekend in White Bear Lake! Grandma's Bakery had cookies and cakes shaped like bobbers and fish.




Marge over at the Sheepy Yarn shop was busy putting out one of the large fish that were displayed all over town. They were decorated by the local schools and will be returning to them now. One was as cute as the next!



Fish were everywhere! The school kids make paper fish to hang from the roof of the tent for the Community Picnic. They were adorable. People lined up for blocks to eat bbq sandwiches and salad and cookies ... and lots more donated by local vendors. The weather was a little cool but fishermen were pulling in decent size fish on the lake. We had fun in town entertaining all those who had interests in things other than fishing. It was a great weekend ... wish we could do it again!


Pre-market jitters!


For months, designers and manufacturers have had their noses to the grindstone in anticipation of International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh PA next week. This week they're shipping boxes of booth props, samples, books and patterns so that everything will be in place when they begin to set up their booths next Thursday. It's exciting ... a ton of work ... a bit of a gamble. Nerve-wracking. What if the quilt store owners hate all their stuff? What if everyone else has come up with something even better than they have? Lots of sweaty palms and sleepless nights just before market begins. I've been able to have sneak peeks at what some of the Minnesota designers have been working on ... thought it would be fun to let others see what they've been up to! Maybe it'll ease their jitters a bit. So ... in no particular order ... other than who's photos I come across first ... here's a preveiw of everything new.


Looks like we're going alphabetical. First up ... Anka's TreasuresHeather Mulder Peterson has two new books ... Stop Drop and Roll & Sizzlin' Sixties. If you guessed that the first one is filled with projects using jelly rolls, you'd be right ... but how about the second one? You're probably thinking rock-and-roll but really ... it's 60-degree angles ... only easier! Peek at the insides of these books on her blog. (Check out the adorable kids in her behind the scenes photos, too!)

Back Cover (2) 

Ok ... it seems kind of weird to show the back of a book ... but that's where the best picture is! Look at all the totes in Terry Atkinson's  Big Bags, Little Bags!  There's every size ... from small zippered ones to hold your sewing feet to the Bigger than a Breadbox bag ... some are quilt-as-you-go ... there are options too ... like zippers, pockets, different styles of handles. One is as cool as the next! (If the books get back from the printer in time, we might have them for the Govenor's Fishing Opener this weekend!)

Cobblestone Lane Main Pic 

Sherri Falls from This&That is introducing a block of the month ... Cobblestone ... at market ... it is completed in six months ... the blocks are big and you make two of the same one each month. We're taking pre-registration so give us a call to get on the list ... we'll call you with details after we get them figured out. Sherri has a bitty pattern called Nifty Notebooks that shows you how to make a cover for 3x5 notepads ... darling dolled up with rick rack.  I'm hoping to see a sample or two when I get back from market! 

Cover Frenzy 

In Frenzy by Debbie Bowles from Maple Island Quilts , every stripe will create an entirely different look. The design uses the line of the stripe to make a fun statement. No triangles to cut or stitch, just squares and rectangles create the blocks which will be different every time you stitch them together. Fun and no stress about matching up the stripes. Ok ... and not that I'm playing favorites showing two pix but here's another new pattern from Debbie ... she won't have these on her web site until after market and I know you want to see. Sidelines  is easy for all skill levels yet graphic and bold. The four Sidelines blocks could create many different looks. Make it mini with the half sized blocks. You'll learn how to use a partial seam for easy construction in this pattern, too!

Sidelines cover 

Fast Furious cover 

Oooo ... here's another cool one ... Fast & Furious by GE Designs. Seventeen projects including several terrific totes, some quilt-as-you-go runners ... all kinds of things you can get done quick. There's something for that bridal shower you'll be going to! Gudrun rushed us an order of books right after they came off the truck ... we'll have them for the fishing opener! Be the first to get your hands on one. (I know Chris and Deb already called dibs on two.) Gudrun has several other new patterns being introduced at market, too.

PDG 406 Four Patch Topper 01 Perkins 

Look how great Four Patch Topper by Perkins Drygoods looks. It's one in Celine's Just For Fun! series and it uses the ever popular charm packs. It includes a short cut technique for making Y-blocks, too. It would be wonderful for a gift or to take along as a retreat project. Celine has a new book called Great Expectations, too. Four fabulous quilts with a medallion feature. She said everything would be loaded on her blog by tonight so you can sneak a peek.

I know I'm missing Linda Hohag from Brandywine Designs. She didn't get back to me when I emailed this morning ... but I know she has new things because she's part of the Minnesota Road Show. Maybe she's still packing boxes!

Unlike these designers, I won't be going to market as a vendor but I do have something new! Take a look at our Nesting pincushion. We've cut kits to have ready for the fishing opener this weekend in White Bear Lake ... stop in and pick one up ... or shop on our web and we'll drop one in the mail. I'm excited to see all the new fabrics and patterns the rest of the companies will have at Quilt Market. Hope you enjoyed this preview!