Friday, July 30, 2010

Where has my quilting gone?

I have been asking myself that same question for a while now. Other than alterations to Caroline's dress I haven't been near the machine in too long. I did sew some binding down last week - on a runner I made over 7 months ago!! so - something is wrong!!

I decided one sure fire way to kick start myslef againwas to goget some more fabric - so I signed up for a 9 patch exchange on line and it is in Civil War Reproduction fabrics (which I do NOT own) so off I went last night. Fortunately we have a quilt shop near me that I know specializes in these fabrics so I went down after work and spent a good two hours stroking and matching fabrics. I walked out a whole lot lighter in the wallet but I love the fabrics I chose and I got most of it on sale. I also hit the FQ sale and so I got some variety for the future also. Now I am excited to get my 9 patches done and mailed in - though the swap doesn't complete until Sept. I will use this as a way to get back into my room!

I actually had started clearing the room to prepare it for Stephen but we have decided to see how he does his first semester back at school and if he gets good grades he will move down then - so I get to keep my room for 4 more months. I don't mind giving it to him, I hope it is part of his motivation to do well. I'll have lots of time to sew in it after he graduates and gets a job and leaves for his new life in 3 more years! (fingers crossed!)

So it is in a bit of upheaval right now and I hope to spend some time down there this weekend fixing it back up so I can use it!

Fallen off ?

Well - I fell off the blog for a bit - so the last day of vacation - nothing really spectacular -

We headed out early from Mineral Point, going north til we could catch the road east that would take us to "Little Norway' . Mark and I are big fans of the old Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 so this was a must see. Little Norway is a property just SW of Madison (still part of the drift) anyway this area was setttled by Norwegian immigrants. For the exposition (previosuly mentioned) Norway had a rendition of a traditional StaveKirche (church) built in Norway then dis-assembled and shipped to chicago and re-assembled. This was the Norway display at the exposition. After the exposition the Stavekirche was sold at auction to a Norwegian man who had it moved to a vacation property near Geneva WI. This property was later sold to WIlliam Wrigley (gum anyone?) There it stayed until the mid 1930's when Bill decided to sell it to a Norwegian friend of his who once again had it dismantled and moved to the farm (it's present location). The farm had originally been settled by a young couple who lived in a dug-out (literally a small room dug into the wall of a hill) for several years. When their second daughter was born they built a small cabin outside the dugout and had yet another daughter (or was it 2?) anyway - today there are little buildings dating back to the turn of the previous century ringing a lovely green space. So the Stavekirche moved there and the buildings were restored and inhabited by family and used as a summer getaway place for over 70 years. Today the property is still in family hands and is open to the public. It houses the largest collection of Norwegian artifacts held by an individual and is a wonderful example of how the Norwegians settled and lived. You can picnic at the park and there is a small gift shop. Tours are given by local girls in traditional garb and they are very informative - highly recommend.

Well it rained on us while we finished our tour of Little Norway, so by heading south we could drive out of the rain. Several rolling hillsides later we arrived in New Glarus. This town was settled by immigrants from Switzerland. We arrived in time for lunch and queued up at the traditional Swiss New Glarus Hotel for a yummy soup and sandwich combo. But first........ as we pulled into town we espied a resale shop on a major corner and there on the front step was a fine set of kissing dutch children lawn ornaments. Mark has always wanted a set, so after parking and despite my grumbling tummy we went there first and purchased the set. They have their original paint job which includes tulips in assorted colors and were just wonderful. They also weigh a ton being made out of cast concrete, so we had lunch then drove back around the block, and lovingly secured them in several blankets in the trunk. I'll have to post a picture. They are pretty darn cute.

Well that was the end of our sightseeing, we had a deadline to get home so we set off crossing into Illinois near Rockford and then caught the highway (and heavy traffic) back to Roselle. The kissers are in the front of the house under our big spruce tree. Far from the road so they won't go 'missing' and close enough that I can see them and smile every day. Mark wants to now plant and build a whole vignette around them - more on that later!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day two of the Long Weekend

SO... Sunday was our second day in SW WI and we spent a bit of it sleeping in and almost missed breakfast in the hotel lobby - but we made it in time for me to have a nice belgian waffle and Mark is on a new healthy kick so he had a bagel and a piece of fruit. It's really good to see that he is learning how to eat fruit and manage his diabetes, for the last 12 years that we've been together I rarely saw him eat fruit and he always blamed the 'natural' sugars. So this is good!!!

After breakfast we headed North about 15 miles, drove through the nice little town of Dodgeville and up to The House on the Rock. This is an attraction that you pay to walk through and see all the stuff a man collected in his life. It's kind of a weird story but this son of well to do parents in Madison used to go picnic on this big rock that was in the middle of a farmer's field. One day the farmer caught him out there and instead of throwing him out, took $10 and let him stay. Years go by, the farmer decides to sell, the man buys the farm, and begins building on top of the rock. People come out to picnic, or people see construction going on and they want to go see inside, so he charged them 50 cents. The more he made on admission he realized he could finance himself and his vision so the more he spent, built, bought - including the two neighboring farms so he had space to house his staff of engineers, caretakers etc. He was into animatronics and calliopes and he has whole rooms dedicated to animated music of different themes.

It took a few hours to go through and you just get to a certain point and realize it's kinda freaky weird. Why would a grown man collect dolls and then have a whole multi level carousel built with them on display? and he has mannequins with wooden wings flying overhead in the main carousel room? and rooms and rooms of doll houses? There are some interesting collections and interesting 'made' things but there's a little sign along the way that says the collection was valued at 4.8 million dollars (it's an old sign so mark that amount up for inflation!) and you have to wonder what kind of person does this? Think how many people could be fed, clothed, etc with that money. Oh well, we paid to see it, so what does that mean? LOL.... We mostly went because Mark had gone when he was a kid and it's fun to see how your perspective changes with age (and wisdom!) so we had to do it!!

We headed back to the hotel and hung out in the pool and hot tub (mostly) and met some local people who gave us the info on dining choices in the area. (no cuisine - just good old eatin') but also pointed us towards New Glarus - more on that location on my next post!!

So we ate, and wanted to see fireworks but didn't trust the weather. We drove back to Mineral Point, had some incredible ice cream (double dips in a sugar cone!!) at the Atomic Ice Cream store on the main drag and then headed back to hotel. Sure enough right when the fireworks should have started the heavens opened up and it rained like crazy!!! We decided missing fireworks was fine this year and we lounged until it was time to go to sleep again - rest needed for Day Three of the weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Long Weekend in WI

This is my friend Brenda's husband Dean. Dean was NOT in SW WI with us. But I did think about him and Brenda an awful lot as Mark and I headed off on Saturday for SW WI. I was thinking about Brenda and Dean first because they came up from Eastern TN to see us a few weeks ago. Really they came up for an Eagles Concert at Soldier Field so it was a quick trip but the bonus was they got some visiting in with us too! Anyway - Brenda is just a road trip crazy girl! We did lots of them when we were buddies in University together (UT Knoxville). She has done the concert in Chicago trip several times over the last 10 years (since we got the house) and it's always an adventure for her and her passengers and I always love seeing her. I thought it was only natural that as we started our road trip I be thinking about my road tripping friends!!
So we started out a little later than I had hoped in the afternoon but our only deadline was to be in Mineral Point WI by 8 pm as we had tickets for theatre.
We started across Illinois on I-90 to Rockford but then headed north up to Jaynesville, WI (home of Jaynesville Flyers - wooden wagons) and decided from there on we would take back roads. It helped the decision that we were warned at a friendly roadside stop about the zero tolerance of local law enforcement for speeders, especially speeders with out of state plates! So we caromed around and across rolling hill sides and saw some beautiful farms!
I also saw some quilt barns on the way! I was surprised because I knew they were popular in Ohio but I guess the word has spread across the midwest. I remember being young and driving south through PA and seeing the PA Dutch symbols on homes and barns but this was my first quilt barn experience. It was pretty cool and no - we didn't stop for pictures!!
Why SW WI? Good question. Not just the proximity to us but also this is a very different landscape than most of the midwest. Many years befor emy time (believe it or not) as the glaciers headed south the scraped the midwest flat. For some reson they drifted over the SW corner of what is now WI and the land was left with rolling hills and lots of abandoned rocks (think HUGE boulders) from the glacial movement. This area is referred to as the 'driftless' . Well, in those rocks there were minerals!! So when the minerals were discovered (early 1800's) settlers flocked from EU and the East coast. Many of the miners were from the Cornwall area of England, andthey constructed the town of Mineral Point in their traditional style using the local rock . By the mid-1830's the minerals were playing out and news of the CA gold Rush came and the miners left Mineral Point in droves. One day saw 60 families leave town all at once!
Time goes on like it always does, and eventually some preservationists saw the beauty and history of this area and decided to restore what could be saved. The town has evolved into an artistic center. So now there are historic homes you can tour, art galleries to browse where you can meet and see the artists in action and there is also a nice local theatre group. It is outdoor theater in the woods, with interesting original productions, very talented players and musicians. We saw a play called "You Have No Idea"and enjoyed it very much. If you are interested in more info on the theatre group visit
More tomorrow!!

The dangers of editors!

I composed a lovely entry on the blog last week and meant it to kick off a series of postings about all the wonderful places and things we did in SW Wisconsin (WI) over the holiday weekend. Then I went to find a picture to put on my entry and while I was in editor I noticed a spelling error and when I fixed it, I got an error message and when I hit my back button I lost the entire posting!!
I was so upset I just logged out and never started the series - but now I am back and ready to tell you about some interesting things to see in SW WI - just in case you're ever in the neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

GO, GO Giveaway!!!


I just found this link and am sure you will want to go visit it also - for the chance to win an Accuquilt GO!
I have been seeing dramatic progress being made by users of the GO cutters - and am hoping that having one will help keep me closer to all the inspiration I am constantly subjected to!
Anything that helps speed the cutting process equals more quilts to be made! It's a win and it's FUN!!!
Join the Accuquilt group on Facebook or go to for your chance to win!!