Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Pony Club Quilt

I started working on this quilt back in December and mentioned it a few times here and there. The quilt is made of 90 blocks from the book The Farmer's Wife Pony Club by Laurie Aaron Hird . Many of these blocks were challenging because of their tiny size and what seemed like infinite number of pieces but, in the end, I'm so pleased with the result and my perfectionism tendencies.

It's actually one of my favorite quilts I've ever made. And I've made a few.


Monday, July 27, 2015

While I was away in BWCA

Ahh. I enjoyed my break from my little corner of the Internet. Two full weeks of it was spent on a trip to northern Minnesota where we rented a cabin on an island on Burntside Lake. It was rustic (no running water and no electricity,) remote, quiet and disconnected. Two families with a total of five kids ranging in age from 8 to 15 and four adults.

Our island was a 1/4 mile paddle to an official entry to Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA.)

There really aren't adequate words to describe what this trip meant to me. Really there aren't. I mean, how do I put into words the gratitude I felt for being able to take a trip like this? For being in complete wilderness? For seeing my daughters so peaceful, playful and curious? For adventures into lakes where it felt we were the only humans to have been? To fall asleep to the sound of a loon?

And to feel so unencumbered by the ritual of daily life at home? I mean by biggest decisions of any day were whether to read in the hammock or on the dock. Or paddle south or north.

Travel always gets me out of my own head space. I feel stronger, more patient, more relaxed, and more beautiful away from the daily ritual and constant inner dialogue running through my head. Vacation Dana is such a pure version of myself. I really like Vacation Dana and BWCA Vacation Dana was over the top cool.

We also spent a few days along the north shore of Lake Superior and spent time camping at Tettegouche State Park and exploring both Grand Portage and Grand Marais. We hiked, ate self-proclaimed world's best donuts, learned about the fur trade, combed beaches for perfect rocks, devoured frozen custard, and howled with wolves in Augusta State Wildlife Area near Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Our family then split off from our friends and spent a few days in Chicago. We walked miles and miles and saw a sampling of all the great things that city has to offer including the Art Institute, Millennium Park, Willis Tower, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier and shopping along Michigan Avenue.  

Travel is good for the spirit. Home is good for the soul.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Message received. Loud and clear.

Go here. Go there. Do this. Do that. Drive this one to camp for a week. Teach this one to drive. Tend the garden. Mow the grass. Walk the dogs. Tend to the injured cat. Do laundry. Always so much laundry. Fill the hummingbird feeders. Water the plants. Shuttle them to practice. Make another batch of soap. Determine amount of supplies to order to make just enough soap to keep Old Red Barn Co. going only through the remainder of the year. Consult accountant on closing the business? Schedule oral surgery for the oldest. Grocery shop. These people always want to eat. Sheesh! Stand in front of my sewing machine wishing for the time to sit and use it. Pull weeds. Make another batch of raspberry jam. Strum fingers on countertop as I anxiously wait for the blackberries to ripen.

Beautiful photography in the new book by Amy Gibson called For Keeps.

I try to ride the wave of life. I'm swimming hard right now and if I don't slow down that wave will crash up over my head and leave me tumbling aimlessly in the undertow.

I've only thumbed through this book and already know it's a keeper!

 So, I'm going to log off for a few weeks. Settle in. Re-boot. Find my center again. I think I'll take some books, a sketch pad, and colored pencils with me to the mountain meadow and wait for those deer to saunter by again.

Hope summer is treating you well!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Posey Patrol

Dude. My yard has been such a show off this spring. I use hashtag #poseypatrol on Instagram to share photos of pretty blooms in my yard. Would love to see what's blooming in yours too! Use the hashtag if you fancy.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Deep south

Just as soon as that final school bell rang for the year, the girls and I jumped in the car and headed south. We had people to see and things to do.

Specifically to see my parents, brother, sister-in-law and this cutie batootie.

And to build the brick patio we had promised Mom for Mother's Day.

A week seeing family and doing hard labor while being provided a constant supply of lemonade, watermelon, popsicles and beer seems a good way to usher in summer.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Learning from the pros

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a class on hand piecing, applique and hand quilting from Jen Kingwell and to say it was wonderful is the understatement of the year. There were twenty of us in her class and everyone was just buzzing with excitement. We listened to Jen tell us her quilting journey and then she started showing us her quilts.

I. Can't. Even.

Her work is scrappy and patchy. And whimsical. And bright and playful. And all done by hand. I asked her how long an average quilt of hers takes her to make and she said about a month. By hand! She's amazing.

She was so gracious with her time and knowledge and taught me tricks to make my hand stitching more precise and faster. The first quilt I ever made, I pieced entirely by hand. It really taught me the importance to accurate cutting, accurate seam allowance and how to maneuver fabric to make it do what you want. I loved the process then and being in Jen's class reminded me of that.

She signed my copy of her book and inscribed the nicest thing. Loveliest thing as her Aussie self would say. And now I've got the corners bent marking the pages of three quilt patterns that I want to make right this very second. I think I'll start with Glitter. Or maybe Flea Market Dash. Oooo! Wait! Maybe I'll start with For the Boys. . .


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Starry patchwork

I pieced this quilt top last fall when I was away with friends for a sewing weekend. I had already made the twenty star blocks and just brought lots of blue prints along to place the stars on a field of scrappy patchwork.

With a few pops of red. And red binding.

And jaw dropping quilting by way of The Back Porch Quilters.

Simple patchwork is my favorite but I'm loving the movement that these stars give to it.