Weekend Wanderlust

This past weekend brought another trip to the Twin Cities, this time for our nephew’s wedding at the Como Park Conservatory:
A stunning backdrop for a wedding, and I personally couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous flowers:
Once upon a long time ago, I had house with a yard, and a garden, and I grew hydrangeas, foxgloves, roses, etc… I miss my garden, but I have to say, not having a garden to tend to does give me more time to sew!

As always, a trip to a fabric store was in order. On your next trip to the Twin Cities, might I suggest a stop at Treadle Yard Goods, on Grand Ave., in St. Paul:
They are celebrating 36 years in business this week, so everything was on sale. They have cotton quilting fabric from freespirit, Riley Blake, Dear Stella, and many more, but what I really like about this store is their specialty fabrics that I can’t always find locally, such as the “great wall of silk”: Liberty of London tana lawn, that I probably could have stood around and petted all morning (seriously, it’s like silk!):Specialty silks, velvets, and even feather fabric!Just inside the entrance are rolls and rolls of laminates and oil cloth, this is just a small portion of the laminates they carry in stock:
I came home with 50% off Soul Blossoms rayon (Amy Butler) for a summer dress, 30% off Loulouthi voile (Anna Maria Horner) and Tula Pink voile for summer blouses, and just one piece of a new Riley Blake line for quilting fabric.

The drive also afforded me some time to work on hexagon blocks, and tomorrow I’ll post an update of how far along I am (exciting!):Parting shot of the Conservatory as darkness descended:


Supply vs. Demand

I remember trying to explain to my husband (then boyfriend) in 2010 why I had purchased the end of three bolts of fabric I happened to stumble across, just to turn around and sell it.  I told him, if I wanted to, I could probably get $40/yard for it.  I was paying $6/yard, it was found on the sale shelves at the back of the store.  It was Flea Market Fancy (FMF), the original.  He was astounded–“you mean, there is collectible fabric?!?”  Well, yeah, kind of.

I never bought any of the original FMF, when it was new and full price.  I never laid eyes on it until it was essentially sold out and “in demand” as an out-of-print, hard-to-find fabric.  I did have an original FQ bundle of Lightning Bugs and Other Mysteries, but it got used up on a project(s) I wasn’t quite thrilled with and basically went to waste.  (Forgive me…)  I’ve seen fabric from both of these lines go for over $50/yard.  I did sell my bargain FMF fabric at a profit, but not that kind of profit. 

Do you plan to buy some of the Flea Market Fancy Legacy collection?  I haven’t decided.  The new colors seem very different from the originals, which was the primary quality of the original fabric that drew me, personally, in.  The original (photo courtesy of dsquilts.com):

The new (photo courtesy of Red Pepper Quilts):

The soft aqua blue seems to have more green in it, the grey is certainly a nice additon, but the greens are not the bright, unique greens of the original.  I understand, it’s a re-release, and it’s an updated version.  I get that.  Just not sure I’m as crazy about this one as I was the original.
Do you think the re-releasing of some of these lines of fabric (FMF Legacy Collection, the Mono-Pez prints by Moda, etc.) is going to pop-the-bubble, so to speak, in the high cost of OOT/HTF fabrics that we’ve witnessed over the last two or three years?  Or, because of the internet, blogs, flickr, etc., there will always be certain fabrics in high demand and short supply? 

p.s. for those of you annoyed by Blogger’s word verification for comments (I know, I find it ridiculous as well) I tried going 48 hours without word verification, the spam comments and moderating comments drove me mad–so word verification is back.  I’d love for you to leave comments anyway–painful as it may be.

Gifties, happies, and goodies

The gals I retreated with last weekend are a generous bunch.  Many brought gifts, what Michelle and Rene define as “happies”, a concept handed down from their momma.  And a great concept it is!  I brought home a lot more stuff than I left with (but, of course, there was some shopping invloved, too!)

Stephanie drove all the way from Kalamazoo, MI to sew with us, and she brought us fresh picked Michigan blueberries, a blueberry batik FQ, and Michigan Mix trail mix from the berry farm.  Yum!  I think she earned her invite back for next year’s retreat… (just kidding, Stephanie!  You know I love ya!) 

Cindy brought us patterns she has designed, and glass pendants that her husband creates (I’m wearing mine right now!), Shelly brought cowboy FQs and a cute cowboy card that says “I never met a quilter I didn’t like!”.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a cowboy I didn’t like, either, but I digress.  Rene gave us an envelope of charm squares, the cutest little quilty buttons, and a pair of quilt earrings from the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. That pendant in the middle is a necklace I bought for myself as a birthday gift, its’ made by Michigan artist Robin Goodfellow.  I bought a set of postcards at Ikea that truly seemed quilt inspired, and I just could not resist!  Toni gave me my birthday gift, which included a Gruber’s Quilt Shop gift certificate, that adorable vintage photo birthday card and the sewing pattern blank book (that girl does know what I like!)  And those two tea towels at the right I picked up at Target–too cute to resist!  If I missed anyone’s happies, I apologize…I loved every last one!

Now, for the fabric I brought home with me…

Gruber’s Quilt Shop was directly across the parking lot from where we slept and sewed… perhaps a little too convenient from the perspective of one’s pocketbook.  Stephanie explained the make up and the geography of the retreat center very well here.

On the way to Waite Park/St. Cloud, we hit Calico Hutch in Hayward, MN:

  • purchase 3 FQs

Ikea in Bloomington, MN:

  • purchase: set of 5 postcards, cutting table towel rack

Then in Waite Park:
Grubers (two separate visits):

  • on visit #1, scoped out what I would come back and spend my money on!
  • purchased 6 yards on visit #2 (including those awesome laminated bicycles for my new cutting table cover!!)
  • purchased 4 yards with my birthday gift certificate on visit #3

Briar Patch Gift Shop (next door to Grubers):

  • purchased Robin Goodfellow necklace for myself

Old Time Antiques (next door to retreat center):

  • purchased a vintage feedsack apron

On the way home, stopped at Quilted Treasures in Rogers, MN:

  • purchased a Art Gallery Fabrics bundle at 30% off
  • purchased the June issue of Quiltmania magazine–awesome!
  • purchased 4 more yards of “couldn’t live with out it fabric”

It’s a good thing I haven’t been buying much fabric or quilting related stuff this year!  I made up for it in one weekend!

Buy Local

Huh…. that was a completely unintentional (and long) blog break. Life has just been incredibly busy, not much time to create, and even less time to shoot photos and write something about it!

I have some things to show you this week, so be sure to check back… But today I want to show you some goodies I purchased over the weekend at a few Iowa shops that are sadly closing their doors. I went to visit my Mom, who lives about 100 miles away, northeast of Des Moines. On the way to her house, I stopped at Grinnell Fiberworks, a shop I once adored, but was forced to seriously downsize a few years ago and are now closing. All of their merchandise is marked 50-60% off and they had some great fabrics still available. This is what I picked up:

Some great Kona Cottons, a few yards of the fabuolous Michael Miller Jet Brown solid, an older Amy Butler print, an older Kaffe Fassett piece, some batiks, reds, dots…all great basics! I picked up some thread, my favorite applique needles, and handbag hardware as well.

On Saturday morning, Mom and I took off for a road trip to my Favorite Quilt Shop in the world, Yellow Bird Art in Lansing, Iowa. Sadly, it is closing at the end of this month, and this was most likely my final visit.

Lansing is nearly a five-hour drive from my home, so I have not been there often in the last few years, but I’ve ordered from her online shop. The owner, Amy, is such a gracious host and great shopowner. Sadly, the economy is forcing her to close the doors on her business dream.

Her shop is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, in a 19th Century building made of local limestone. Her shop has just as much personality and charm as Amy!
‘Yellow Bird Art was once featured in Quilt Sampler magazine. It’s been open for a little over five years, and she has the same employees/staff that she had when she first opened the doors. That says alot about the kind of business she ran, I think! This weekend was a good reminder, for me, of why we need to support our local businesses.

I brought home these lovely fat quarters…aren’t those the softest colors you’ve ever seen?

And some yardage for a few projects I have brewing in my melon…

And this thread holder, which I’ll make a cover for to keep the light and dust off my threads when I’m not sewing.

Be sure to show your local small business owners some extra support this Spring. It’s been a tough year and they deserve our support.

Happy creating,

Picture Piecing

I love a three-day weekend, but, wow, do those three days fly by, or what? Saturday was a fun sewing day with my quilt group, Seams Sew Easy, and our sister group, six lovely ladies from our Guild who invited us over to show us what they learned in a class they took last year with Cynthia England. Cynthia authored this book (which has been in my library since 2005, but never read) and is one of my quilting idols:

Her method involves foundation papers, but you piece it from the front or “right” side of your fabric, not the back as in traditional paper piecing. This is the block I made on Saturday:

Check out my friend Emma’s star block here. It comes from this practice pattern in the book:

The idea is that you can take any photo or image, and adapt it using Cynthia’s method, into a quilt block or quilt top (Like the American Flag in the photo).

I wasn’t sure what to do with my little practice block. When I got home and moved onto my next project (Beth’s Sew Connected 2 January Bee block), I realized my little star block matched her fabrics perfectly so I made a “stars outside the cabin window” block, for Beth:

Saturday also brought some “sunshine in the mail” for me, in the form of a bright yellow Hancock’s of Paducah envelope. (Don’t you LOVE those yellow envelopes!?):

My new supply of Kona Cottons for some upcoming swaps and Bee blocks:

My Big Girl Birthday Party

A few weeks ago, I had a birthday. It was one of those big ones, y’know, like 16 (driving age), 18 (voting age), 21 (legal drinking age), 25 (cheaper insurance age), 30 (leaving your 20s behind age)… You get the picture. All I asked of my sweetie, my sister, and my best friend who co-hosted the party was that there be no over-the-hill insinuations. My sister assured me there was nothing “over-the-hill” about this party theme! (Click on photos to enlarge)

You see, I wasn’t the only one to turn 40 this year, the Hungry Caterpillar did, too! I’ve always loved this book, the colors of Eric Carle’s artwork, and the story. On the door to my sister’s house was a sign with images of the caterpillar (and butterfly) that read “40 is fun! 40 is young! 40 is beautiful!” And my sister and niece made that fabulous cake and butterfly cupcakes…

My best friend made frosted flower sugar cookies (my faves!)
and brought me a vase of 40 long-stem roses!

She also made these amazing invites:

My sweetie gave me a dozen roses, as well, and my 4-year-old nephew brought me a single red rose…53 roses at once….L-O-V-E-L-Y!

There was great food (inspired by the book, of course!), great company, most of my family made it to the party, and lots of friends, including one college friend I have not seen since April 2000!!!!

We played Pictionary with clues my sister came up with, including bonus points for 1969 themes and “Doris Fave” clues…

and kept the little ones busy with their own “Pictionary” board…

In lieu of gifts, the hosts asked everyone to bring that I could put into a quilt to remind me of all those who helped me celebrate my 40th birthday. Everyone did a fabulous job selecting fabrics…my brothers even went to quilt shops for me!! The “guest book” was squares of fabric that everyone signed to go into the quilt. The quilt design is still in my head…but I have a grand idea…

My loved ones did a wonderful job of making this such a memorable and special birthday for me, I had no angst whatsoever about the “big number” attached to the day, and I truly could not have asked for a better celebration…this is one HAPPY birthday girl:

Everyone should be so lucky to have a birthday like this!