Monday, November 30, 2015

The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

*This post contains no news about quilting or even sewing in general, but when ones father turns 85 years old a blog posting is in order.
The man is Orland Niemeier. The myth is just that - a myth. In his own words 'what myth?', we celebrate years of hard work, adversity, ingenuity, and physical fitness. The legend is just beginning.
On October 21st, 1930, in the dry, dusty, prairieland of North Dakota a young babe was born in the back corner room of a two-story squared farmhouse. And in that same farmhouse, albeit remodeled several times over, that same babe sat in the opposite corner room in his favorite recliner listening to his offspring describe what would become known as The Farm Olympics. Many surprising guests were on hand - a sister from Florida, escorted by her son, four-fifths of dad's children, and several grandchildren and one grand daughter-in-law.
The Challenge was comprised of many of Dad's routine activities, some of which men half his age don't partake in. The list is shown here with legal counsel, Julie, giving her approval. Note that two of the events had to be removed from the roster as they were too risky for ordinary folk (Ditch Burning and Rodent Blasting). And so our version of Are You as Fit as an 85 Year Old was birthed.
1. Grain Bin Vertical Scramble
2. Boulder Grapple
3. Nailed It
4. Mower Circumnavigation
5. Farmer Calisthenics
6. Bicycle Sprint to Mailbox
Sis Julie flew in from Virginia Beach, Virginia.
 Below are action shots that I snatched from Gary's Picasa account. The poor quality in no way reflects on his photography skills.
Dad bringing the mail in!

Dad at the top of the bin

Edie and Mom doing jumping jacks

Laina mows

Stella tagging Troy

Troy getting a hernia
Back: Rodney, Annette, ClaraMae, Troy, Kim, Maren, Lee, Orland, Carol, Gary
Front row: Laina, Stella, Ava, Julie, Edie
Every great challenge demands a T-shirt and Dad's was designed by Francis Raval, a friend from my work. Francis' other works can be viewed on Instagram under his name.
We have four years to prep for Mom's 85th on 7/4/2019, which I already have plans for. Can you guess the theme?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

September, er, October Retreat!

 Long ago in a far away land, ten ladies came together from across the Minnesota plains for one purpose; to escape our husbands, our homes, our routines, our troubles for what would become an epic 36 hours of both mayhem and might. To be cliché, our destination was nested away in the rural landscape of rolling hills and flowing streams, which were dotted with picturesque farms complete with BARN QUILTS (OMGosh!). This place is the real deal and is named Hutchinson or better known as just plain ol' Hutch to the locals. Right on main street is a quaint shop called Quilt Haven on Main. Previously owned by a cranky old witch, a new princess has taken up residence with her handsome prince. Gone are the days of dingy frumpy prints and dusty cival war quilts. Fresh paint, fresh finds, and fresh atmosphere are served up with such honest to goodness friendliness that you want to move right in. QHoM is comprised of two floors, both as satisfying as the next. The lower level holds the goods and the samples (which let's be honest - we want them all!) The upper level is the studio shaped in a large U around a majestic staircase. Modern sewing centers frame the perimeter of the U with quilting inspiration hanging everywhere. The front windows cast a warm light on those lucky enough to snag tables there. The back room has been converted into a mini kitchen/cafeteria for employees and sewers to fuel up and share their love of quilting. We were blessed to visit with the owner, flushed from her bike trek over (who doesn't want to bike to work!?) and then her husband who farms some and manages the finances some. The duo have a long history of hosting sewing parties at their other establishment and hubby has been known to dress in his tux to play butler.

It's no surprise then to find our Tori looking as relaxed and happy as a daisy in the field. The poor gal had a lot on her mind and just quietly sewed while the bright colors of her fabric uplifted her.
Marcia was in heaven! So much so she came back the following Thursday to sew. The trip clocked in at 1 hour 15 minutes, with Rod's instructions to stay away from 494.

 Sue had just purchased another baby quilt kit, this one inspired by her son's trip to Africa. Safari animals await that grandchild - now we just need the grandchild!


Joining us were Sarah's Mother, the lively Linda, who we know and love! And new to us were a set of twins, Karie and Kathy and their best friend, Carrie. One twin is married to Sarah's brother. These ladies do a lot of sewing together, not to mention all kinds of other life activities - travel, holidays - you name it, they're connected at the hip. And they're no novices when it comes to quilting!


Carrie was working on these tiny blocks shown with a scissor for perspective. I can't imagine making those, yet I'm oddly compelled to try. I even bought a tiny pattern (gasp!) for tiny Christmas blocks.


Lovely Sarah claimed to be sewing a prom dress as her selection was all glittery and flowy. It turned out to be a display drape for Tori's store.

I added another block to the PLUS RUNNER - not the Ecclesiatical Runner or Altar Cloth as my sister calls it. And that lovely delight below is chicken something something pizza from a neighboring restaurant. I have neither the dish or the name! Ugh. I'm not a research journalist! Aha! I am a research journalist. I looked it up. It's Zellas and it's fabulous. The item I ate was a Smoked Chicken Flatbread. So there.
 And last but never least, Pam showed off her latest quilt - a spectacular batik number and then she whipped up a patchwork sewing machine cover! Go Pam!
All too fast our retreat came to a close. Naturally, I had to leave out all the racy details that occurred eating out on Friday (Sarah's parking...Sarah leaving Marcia behind...etc) or at the hotel lobby. But feel free to ask any of us in person what really happened! ;)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Finished Quilt

Ok, it's just a baby quilt, but it's finished and it feels good! This is one of the cutest things I've copied blatantly from Pinterest. Thank you random person for coming up with this layout.  I highly suggest taking a trip to her very professional website. Such cute things! This layout uses one charm pack and whatever solids you have to coordinate.
My cousin Sharon is doing the 'honors' of holding it while
I direct her a 'little bit left', 'little bit right' trying to avoid shadows.

I ordered one of the fabrics from the Fresh Cut Collection for the backing. It was so hard to choose - everything in this collection is so cute! End the end we went with the grey floral and did an all over meander on it.
We had a gorgeous mid-Novemeber day with temps in the
50's and bright sun.
That weekend was our church's craft fair and a friend offered to display some of my quilts for the sale. Nothing sold, but I was just a tiny bit proud to see my quilts hanging there.
At Community of Hope's Craft Fair in Rosemount, MN

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fat Quarters are Fun

I love Fat Quarters! They're just the right size for small projects that you're only going to try once. I think I bought these beauties at Millie P's in Anoka. As soon as I laid eyes on them I knew I wanted to make this folded zippered case. Call it a make-up case or a cord carrier - it's pretty darn cute! I made it at Quilt Club (Sewn Together) and had Laina in mind because she was off in Tulsa. 

I don't know the name of this fabric! Oh no! The binding
is Cotton and Steel, though.

One side has mesh and the other clear plastic. Don't you
love how the word 'laugh' ended up showing through?
 This is a flat pouch with clear plastic. I got to keep this one and as you can see it's pretty handy for candies! Usually, there's Dove chocolates but somehow they all disappeared! If you know me, you know there's no mystery there.
Again, I have no idea what that gray piece is - I just thought it was cool and
it paired well with the Cotton and Steel crosses.

Quilted using a wide serpentine stitch. I love those colorful clusters!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Couple of Gift Items

First up is this Fall runner I made for my sister, Julie. I bought these fat quarters at my new fave quilt shop - Twin Cities Quilting - in St. Paul. It's only 10 minutes from work so very dangerous indeed. They have a nice selection of modern fabric and good examples up everywhere. This is from the Silver Lining Collection. I love the leaves. Here it is on Julie's countertop in Virginia! Looks good in her kitchen, I'd say.

A design from Fabulously Fast Quilts by Amy Smart
Chair by Uncle Otto
And then this is the baby quilt I made for Jeri. I think I already shared about the construction of this adorable butterfly pattern in another post so I'll keep this short. It was so easy and fun to watch the blocks come together. The fabrics are a mix of stash and solids.
She wasn't so sure of the person peering down at her!