Thursday, December 27, 2012

Time together

This is the first year that we were not able to follow our family tradition of going to a Christmas Eve service and then out to eat afterward.  My husband didn't get home from work until eight and so the restaurant we have been going to for years had stopped serving by then.  So our son, Peter, stopped at the restaurant and picked up our favorite appetizer to go so we could share it together when his Dad got home.

We open our gifts on Christmas Eve and since there are only three of us, and we don't go hog wild, it goes pretty quick.   This is for you from me , this is for you from me , this is for you from me.  Zip!  That's over!  Thank you and hugs all around. :)

What we really enjoy is the time together.  It is something we don't have much of these days.

I cooked a huge meal for the three of us on Christmas Day.  The old fashioned kind; where you eat it, savor every bite, and don't care about calories. Afterward each of us found our own special place for a little nap....

Later, we had pie and ice cream to finish the festivities and Peter had to go back home.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All through the house....

....every one is busy with holiday preparations.  Enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

Be back soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ukulele holiday cheer

I've decided to link this to Judy L's even though I don't have anything quilt related to post for this week.  I thought you might enjoy "seeing" the quilter behind my blog.

Here is a musical rendition of "Silver Bells" for you....

Ukester is playing a Kala resonator ukulele and yesterday he asked me if I would like to join him.  We haven't sang together for years.  Hope you enjoy!  

Be sure to watch all the way to the end.  ;)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas memories

Here we have the latest in 1970's Christmas tree decorating.....

made by me when I was in Junior High or early High School (can't remember).  I used whatever my Mom had on hand left from sewing and crafting. It contains green corduroy, white denim, cotton/poly and regular cotton.  I remember cutting squares, sewing them in strips and just sewing the strips together.  Then for the circle I did the pencil and string thing. 

I remember thinking that it was pretty cool to iron on the letters that spelled "joy".  I think I was going to iron words into the other white squares but found that the letters didn't fit.  Oops. Also, we probably weren't going to go out and buy any more letters - whatever we had, we had.

There is elastic around the center in case one has a really big tree. :)  I put a red and white print on the back that works for those who prefer a little less patchwork and classy ball fringe around the edge to dress it up either way.

Now, for the best part?  We have used this tree skirt every year since we have been married!  The first few years we couldn't afford to buy a lot of Christmas stuff and by the time we could I had grown rather fond of it.  Now, each year I smile when I get it out and I just flip it over to the red side and tuck it around the tree all bunched up like a quilt. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thank You to my Commenters

Remember way back at this post I mentioned what my next little project was going to be?  Well, this week I completed it.  I am so happy with how it turned out and had such fun working with the Civil War reproduction fabrics.  The pattern is called "Jacassa's Journal" and was designed, I believe, by a store employee of a recently closed local store.

It has been nearly a year since I started my blog and I appreciate all of you who comment each time I post.  It is like getting a letter in the mail each time I open up and see a comment waiting for me. 

Today, as a way to say "Thank You!" to my commenters of my blog I decided to have my own give away.   I had the Ukester pick a number between 1 and 266 and I went and found that comment out of the 266 comments I have had so far this year.  It belongs to Patricia at Dogwood Lane Rambles!  So, Patricia, please e-mail me your address, I will send you the kit (as pictured in the first photo) to make your own little quilt like mine. 

Thanks again to all of you who comment on my posts.  I will do something like this again sometime.  Stay tuned! :)

I will be linking to Judy L's Patchwork Times tomorrow morning so be sure to head over there to see what others are working on this week.

Happy Stitches -

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bricks and Stepping Stones

My latest project has been one I have wanted to do for some time, Bonnie Hunter's Brick's & Stepping Stones pattern, and suddenly I had the perfect reason.  The black and white checkerboard was perfect for this occasion.

I needed a quick quilt for someone and I wanted to use something from my precut scraps.  So, I sorted through my large "bricks" and tried to pick out fabrics that didn't read too feminine - this is going to a male.  The hardest part about this quilt was narrowing down my fabrics. Flowers still crept in there; he'll just have to overlook them.  If I could have been more random (like I usually work) this quilt would have been a snap.  

Once I had everything sorted I was on my way....

I recommend this pattern to anyone looking for a fun, fast quilt.  I think it would also be fun with all the bricks being in one color family like red, or blue, etc.

The backing was another matter.  Doing this project made me realize my backing fabrics are really more feminine or geared to specific quilts that I have in mind. I also tend to buy backing only as I finish quilts. So I had to dig deep and I came up with this green homespun plaid that I think worked out fine. (It's much darker than the picture shows.)  Then I quilted it with an all over design called Spiral Path by Desert Stitches and you can see a bit of it in the picture below with the snowman.

The snowman has nothing to do with this quilt - I just thought I would add it to the picture to make it more interesting.  I purchased him at a quilt shop that was going out of business.  Isn't he cute?  I don't have the patience to make stuff like that.....just quilts.  ;)

I washed the quilt to take care of colorfastness.  Since I was using scraps, and some of them are fairly old, I didn't want to take the chance they would bleed when the recipient washed the quilt. Generally, I am not a pre-washer of fabrics, unless they are batiks,  and darks such as reds, blues, blacks that are going to be against lights. I have never (knock on wood) had a problem and did not this time either.

I will probably link up to Judy L's on Monday so be sure to check out what others are doing on their design boards.  There are so many wonderfully creative people out there and it is generous of  Judy to let us link up there.

Have a wonderful week and a great start to December - WOW this year has flown by!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Go Get'em Girls!

Saturday the Ukester and I headed south to the city of Austin, MN to tour the Spam Museum.  This is something that we have wanted to do together for a while and just decided to do it.  Now, before you start snickering and holding your hand up to your mouth for polite chuckling....let me tell you it is actually very interesting.

As in all company museums there is always the history behind how the company started,  its meager and humble beginnings, etc. While that is certainly true of Hormel there is so much more. Some of you may not be aware of how important Spam was in feeding our troops during WWII and the Korean war.  A large part of the museum is dedicated to that part of history.

In fact, military personnel were so weary of eating Spam that after WWII Jay Hormel developed a very clever marketing plan to get Spam into the average American kitchen and onto our dinner plates.

Jay heard former military musicians jamming after work and it gave him the idea to form what was called "The Hormel Girls".  It was a 60 piece ensemble of women, mostly former military musicians, who traveled and marketed Hormel products. They travelled in car caravans and went to grocery stores, refilled stores shelves, went door to door handing out coupons and tickets to their shows, and then performed live shows on Saturdays that went out over America's radio broadcast systems.  Because these women were former military musicians they were naturally excellent musicians, marchers, physically in good shape, well trained and able to perform well together.

This whole part of the Hormel/Spam history was totally new to me!  I found this so fascinating.  Here is a video of a Hormel girl being interviewed.  It's about ten minutes long but includes a lot of history.  I encourage you to watch it.... (you might need to turn the sound up on the video itself, I did)

We grew up eating Spam occasionally in my family.  My Mom would fry it, sliced and serve it along with fried potatoes and I'm not ashamed to say that we ate it.  I know some people won't admit to liking it or eating it. Sometimes we ate it glazed and spiced like it used to be pictured on the front of the can.  

My Dad always mentioned eating a lot of it in the Navy....but that didn't keep him from eating it at home.  However, he wouldn't eat peas and when I asked him why he would always say, " I had too many of them growing up."  lol  :)

So, there's my history lesson for today.  Hope you enjoyed it and learned something new!  Did you eat Spam growing up?  How was it served  And, do you know which state has the highest Spam consumption?

The museum is free, by the way, so if you're in the area - stop in and look around.  :)

Edited later:  Here is another interesting article about the Hormel Girls if you would like to know more.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hang it up!

We have a split level home and the wall in the entry of the "split" stair area is a large blank canvas that is the perfect place to hang something large such as a quilt.  Rotating different quilts makes the space interesting but that means having lots of interesting quilts to hang there.  Not all quilts pass muster due to size and the location.  For instance, I made this particular quilt to hang in this location but failed to measure how long the wall was.  Oops!  The quilt was too it didn't make it up on "the wall". The last quilt hung there for over two years.  So, the wall has been bare for a few months because frankly I got tired of looking at the quilt that was there.

This weekend my husband recommended I get something back up on "the wall" and so I did a bit of rotating in the house and decided to put up a quilt that I made in 2008 at a mystery class.  The pattern is
Bear Tracks by Glad Creations and is 61" x 79". (Part of what you see at the top of the quilt is a ceiling fan blade and two cords hanging down.)

I thought I would show you how we have this hung up on the wall.  We used these hooks from IKEA...they are the  2 3/4" Blecka hooks.  Then we used 1/2" x 10ft galvanized conduit pipe from a home remodeling/hardware store.  (Yes, we have a popcorn ceiling.  We will probably hang onto it until it becomes in vogue again!)

We used three of the hooks. My husband shortened the middle hook that the bar rests on so that it doesn't push into the back of the quilt and cause a "bump" to show in the front when a quilt is hanging.  When I attach my sleeves on the back of the quilt I put on two instead of one leaving space in the middle; that way the hook in the middle doesn't interfere with the sleeve.

Initially we discussed painting the pipe and hooks the color of the wall; however, this is the narrowest quilt I have ever hung up there.  Usually very little of the pipe shows and it is rarely noticeable.  What does show doesn't bother us.

If I remember correctly the pattern for this quilt called for  24 different fabrics and I used 48 because I wanted it to be scrappier looking.  Also, I wanted the background fabric to be very low contrast.  I wanted the quilt to look somewhat vintage. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 8, 2012


We did a little leaf peeping yesterday in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

This was taken in Frontenac State Park in Minnesota along the Mississippi River.  The colorful leaves were still hanging on enough to enjoy them.  A beautiful day for a drive.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn's Abundance

I  spent this afternoon walking around one of our many lakes here in Minnesota.  We are suppose to have 10,000 lakes in this great state and I know for sure I have walked around three or four (larger ones) in my lifetime so I have a way to go on that list. Not that I am actually counting....

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day, one to write home about.  Well, almost.  That why I am writing this. It was just picture perfect. Perfectly blue sky, 79 degrees, sunny, slight breeze and the trees are about 60-70% at their peak of fall colors. Which means we have about one more week to enjoy the beautiful transformation from green to "autumn".

A number of years ago I made a quilt called the "Blooming Nine Patch" from this book out of batiks.  I wanted it to have the feel of walking through the woods when the trees were at the peak of their fall colors. I was reminded of this quilt while I was out today so I pulled this picture out to show you.

Some of you may remember seeing this a number of years ago when I had a blog once before.  But it is one of my favorite quilts so I thought I would post it again!

I am linking up with Judy's Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times so be sure to take time to check out what others are working on this week.

Have a great week - thanks for reading....

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Minnesota Get-Together, Part 2

As you read in my last post we were at the MN State Fair yesterday.  So, in this post I thought I would talk about what I saw in the Creative Arts Building.  Of course this building is one of the places that I must visit when we go to the fair.  I believe my desire to quilt goes back to when I was a little girl and my Mom and I would go to the Indiana State Fair.  I remember seeing the quilts exhibited and being in awe of the workmanship and thinking, "Someday, I want to make one of those."  My mother was not a quilter so she didn't encourage me in that direction....but I went every year to see the quilts.  For me, that was what the fair was all about.  Quilts.

Anyway, there are always many beautiful things (other than just quilts) exhibited in this building.  As I was walking through I heard one teenager say to her mom, "There is no way this stuff is handmade - it's too perfect!" I agree....there are many things that you look at and think..."Wow, the hours and hours that must have gone into's just so perfect."

I really liked these Barbie wedding gowns - I remember those dolls too. :)

Here someone got creative with golf balls.  Notice the quilt behind and underneath.

We don't just have food on a stick - we also have quilts on a stick.  :)

 Again, because my interest is in quilts, that is what I am focusing on here.  Now, I am going to step up on my soap box at this point and say something that bothered me as I walked through the building.  I read that in 2011 over 2000 participants exhibited over 6800 items (over 2800 food/baking and special contest items).  That is a tremendous amount of items to display in an aesthetically pleasing manner and I felt that overall the items in the building were exhibited as such.  Many displays were done by theme such as bugs, up north, Christmas, spring, religious, halloween, animals, children, etc. 

As I show the pictures that I took I in no way want to discount the hard work that went into any of the quilts that I point out. I simply want to point out what bothered me about the displays.  I have never entered anything in the state fair but my thoughts are that most people who do are wanting to win a ribbon and hoping for their quilt to be visible to the public because they won something. And, they certainly don't think that their quilt will be damaged in the process of being displayed.  Quilts were used as props, backdrops, etc. and they were stapled, pinned, stretched, draped in any fashion to meet the need for the exhibit.  Often in the exhibits the ones that were winners were the least visible.

The above quilt is hand quilted/hand appliqued and looked to be about 36- 46" but I am not sure because I can't see all of it from top to bottom or side to side because of all the things pinned to it.  What a shame - it got two blue ribbons!

This was a fun and cheerful exhibit.  I really liked all the things shown here.  The quilt hanging in the back is a great quilt made from what looks like mostly Kaffe fabrics and just shouts FUN! Little children's clothing is hanging in there along with lady bug quilts at the bottom and a tiny one up in the right corner.  See the Lone Start quilt draped to the right of the picture?  Here it is close up...

Of the two large quilts in the exhibit this is the one that won a ribbon.  It is hand quilted and had applique in the corners (from what we can see) - but it is not the quilt that was given the most exposure in this exhibit. I think it also shouts FUN! Which one would you have rather seen?

I took this picture to illustrate that they are not at a lack of space to hang winning quilts.  None of these three were ribbon winners in any categories. They were all well made quilts - but why not put winning quilts here?

This picture shows the back wall of the building where they usually hang/display the outstanding works. Of the five quilts on the back wall only the second from the right was a ribbon winner the other winning quilts were on the far left wall and down in the far right corner, again, not fully displayed - when they had the room to completely display it!  The one in the middle I am sure got such prominence because of it being hard to interpret if not fully shown. It is made up of what looked to be finished half inch squares....It really was very unique.

If I am wrong about anything I have posted here - please let me know.  I don't want to offend anyone.  Thanks.

OK, enough of my gripe session.    I want to leave you with something positive.  These two life size ladies tickled my fancy.  They reminded me of my great aunts that used to come and visit at my Grandpa's house and sit in front of the fireplace and gab....

Funny thing is now I am a great aunt and I wonder if I look that old to my little great nieces.  :)

Thanks for reading...have a wonderful holiday!

Added later:  I have had several wonder when the items are judged.  Before or after they are displayed? I don't know the answer to that question, do you?  If you know would you comment please?  Thanks.