Monday, July 28, 2008

Iowa Shop Hop

Wow! What a four-day quilt shopping trip through Iowa. I went with Marlena, her mom, and another quilting friend. It was so much fun and I bought so much. My main objectives were to get 40 fat quarters for Miss Rosie's Gone Buggy pattern, find some different threads to try in my machine, find the back for the Dick and Jane quilt, some fabric to finish off my Shadow Play quilt, and anything else that might be shop-specific. I was able to get that, and so much more. I have so many projects to work on now, and I'm not good at having multiple projects going on at once, so I've got to get going on one so I can get it finished up. We ended up going to 11 stores over the course of the 4 days. Here's the list of them, plus what I bought.

Our first stop was Adel Quilting and Dry Goods. It was a tiny shop, but had so many cute things, such as stitcheries and jackets. I picked up a few fat quarters for my Miss Rosie's Gone Buggy pattern and this cute stitchery from Mac-A-Doodles. I'm going to have to wait til we're actually done having kids... which means I should probably start stitching now or our youngest would probably be 21 when I would finish.
Next stop was Creekside Quilts in Clive, Iowa. This shop was big and while the last shop had only about 1000 bolts, this one had close to 3000. Even though it had so many bolts, there weren't a lot that really stuck out and I just got a few more fats for Miss Rosie.

From Clive we headed to Grinnell Fiberworks. This stop was definitely not my taste. I bought a spool of Superior thread to try on my machine and that was it. This shop had lots of Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett. I think the big, bold designs of their fabric just intimidate me. The others along really loved the shop, though.

We stopped by two places in the Amana Colonies. The first was Fern Hill. This shop was amazing. They sold antiques and had their own fabric artist on staff, so they had their own line of fabric. The staff was so helpful and I walked out with 7 fat quarters. I wanted two of the kits they made up, but I had my objective list and was trying to not veer too much. I veered at the next store, though. Heritage Designs had a TON of reproduction fabric, as well as many stitcheries. I got a panel to make Ian a farm book. He already has confiscated it so I don't have a picture. I got a few more fat quarters there, a spool of Aurifil thread, and these fabrics to make the Foldover Bag, which I already had the pattern for. The paisley fabric is the main fabric, the cream is lining, the blue is top and the brown the bottom.

That brought the end of day 1, and what an exhausting day. I was surprised at how all the shops were different, and at how I had done a pretty good job of restraining myself....

Day two started at Quilter's Quarters in Lamont. This was my favorite place of the trip. She had SIX THOUSAND bolts of fabric. You could barely walk down the aisles there were so many. I went nuts in this shop, and the great thing is, I drive past it every time I go to visit my parents! I wanted to by fat-quarter sets of all the lines she had. She just had so many things. We spent at least 2 hours in the store. I bought 11 fat quarters for Miss Rosie- which were actually priced at 1/4th the cost of the bolt instead of a flat rate. I found the back for my Dick and Jane quilt here as well. I also got this pattern for a future project and a fat quarter collection from Buggy Barn- In the Pink II line (the star pattern was from Quilter's Cupboard).

We drove a scenic route to Lansing along which we saw many barns with quilts on them. Our stop in Lansing was Yellowbird Art. It was another shop that had fabrics too 'out there' for my taste. I ran into friends from childhood at the store though, so it was completely worth it. I bought the cream lining for my fold-over bag here and that was it.

We spent the rest of Saturday night and most of Sunday quilting. I sewed together Ian's farm book so I had something to give him and worked on Shadow Play. On the way from my friend's house to my parent's house, we stopped by the quilt shop her aunt's own- Forest Mills. I got a few more fat quarters for Miss Rosie.

We left for Omaha Monday morning and our first stop was Quilting Connection in Ames. By this point in the trip, I was expecting shops to look the same, but you could still find fabric lines and patterns that no other shop we had been to had. My Miss Rosie collection grew by 8 more fabrics.

Just a short trip down the road took us into Ankeny and Quilter's Cupboard. This is where I got the star pattern I'm using with the pink and brown fat quarters above. I once again added to Miss Rosie's (2 fats) and got a Christmas table runner. The table runner pattern comes with more applique designs than just the holly berry, so you can make one for all the seasons. It is "brewed" by "Tea for Two" from Cherokee, Iowa.
Our final stop of the trip was to Elk Horn and Prairie Star Quilts. This place was a close 2nd to the Lamont shop. They had lots of fabrics, mostly reproduction and country. They had a neat mailing you could sign up for; for $7, they would mail you a 5 in. square from every bolt of fabric they got in that month. That really allowed you to see how diverse their fabric line was. I actually didn't get any fat quarters here for Miss Rosie's. I did buy the Runaroud Bag pattern by Lazy Girl and fabric to go with, along with some reproduction fabrics for an Americana wallhanging I have a pattern for.

It felt like while we were shopping, I bought more than that. Looking at the total bill, though, it was enough. We've already begun planning for next year. Our thoughts are to invite all our female family members down to Omaha next year and rent a cabin to quilt in for the weekend. We're planning on inviting our family members that quilt and don't quilt, and have a few 'classes' for those who are new to choose from. Now we just need to figure out a name for our group. Here's all the fat quarters for Miss Rosie. Not sure if I have all that I need yet, but I'm pretty darn close.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quad Cities Weekend

We spent this past weekend in the Quad Cities. Saturday was Walcott Day and Ian enjoyed bits of the parade, like the fire trucks and tractors. We sat back from the road so he didn't get in on all the candy catching, but did get to take advantage of a Popsicle. I think he actually preferred when the parade ended. He liked climbing up and down Great-Grandma's stairs.

Ian added a new word to his vocabulary during Walcott Day as well- bike. Before it was always a 'car' but now he's learned bike. He watched his two cousins we were staying with ride their bikes to Great-Grandma's, and he wanted to as well. All he wanted to do was get pushed around on the bike.

Ian surprised us at the ribeye dinner that night- he actually ate steak. Hopefully this is a sign he's getting over the 'texture' thing that's keeping him from enjoying yummy food. Here he is posing with his cousin, who, when he saw we had the camera out, sided right up to Ian and put a smile on his face. Can't wait til Ian learns to pose for a camera like that.

On Sunday we spent the day in Davenport with my grandparents. We enjoyed a great breakfast buffet at Golden Corral. Ian went to town on the fruit and really enjoyed the pancakes as well. We went back to my grandparents and Ian loved looking at all of great-grandpa's tractor magazines. He kept pulling them off the table and bringing them to all of us.

He was getting pretty sleeping after the full breakfast and from the fact that he was up from 1:30 until 3:30 during the night in the SAME room as us (UGH!) . I have no idea what was up with that, though it was kinda cute. He was singing to himself and talking to us, and we were doing our best to ignore him. Because of this lack of sleep, he was getting really fussy. We couldn't get him in a picture with my grandparents without me holding him. He was so tired that when we left, he was asleep in the backseat within three minutes.

We had a great time, and like always when we visit family, I wish we lived closer to them. Is there any way Omaha could be moved east of Des Moines?

New Toy

It has arrived! We got our new Nikon D60 Digital SLR today. It came with a ton of accessories; though I'm not sure what all of them are or if we'll really use them. It included a tripod, SD card, lens cleaner, flash, some lenses and filters, a backpack, and a briefcase, and more stuff I'm really not sure what it is. I feel like more of a photographer than I really am. Here's a picture of everything piled on the table (minus the actual camera, I'm using it...)

Darrin and I had to try it out on our favorite subject and the reason we bought the camera: Ian.

Sad Ian

Tired Ian

Deer-in-headlights Ian

Happy Ian

Friday, July 18, 2008


So other than quilting, I like to scrapbook. The problem is dividing my time between these and everything else I love. Marlena and I had devoted Friday nights to scrapping, but summer came and other things took over. Well, I had an in-service on Wednesday for work and it really hit home how close the school year is to starting again (groan). It also made me realize how behind I am on my summer to-do list. I want to finish the Dick and Jane quilt (the top is done, so I'm close), I want to re-do my math curriculum before the school year, I want to transfer all Marlena's VCR tapes to DVDs for her, and I want to get Ian's scrapbook complete through his first year.

Here's my hold-up for scrapbooking. Unlike a quilt where I have a pattern to follow and have an idea of what the outcome will be, I don't have that for scrapbooking necessarily. I constantly second guess myself; does that look right, are those the right colors, is that placement good... so I look for pages I like in magazines and such and usually scraplift from there. It takes me forever to finish a page- Marlena would get at least three done on a Friday night and I would be glad if I got half done. This will probably be the hardest goal for me to meet this summer (of which there are only 3.5 weeks left of). Here's the page I did:
Darrin snapped these four pictures one day while Ian was laying on his lap. The top-left is still one of my favorites to this day. The pictures are of when Ian was 3-months-old. That's how far behind I am. It's ridiculous. I won't get caught up this weekend, either, as we're headed to the Quad Cities to spend the weekend with my extended family. I'm looking forward to it, as well as next weekend when I go on a 4-day quilt trip across Iowa with 3 friends. I plan on getting the backing for the Dick and Jane quilt on the trip so I can finish it when we get back. Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quilt Top Finished...

but I'm not sure about the border. I love the red and piano keys, but I'm not sure about the pinwheels in the corner. I think maybe I should have extended the red to completely frame the quilt. Luckily, it can still be changed. Darrin says I'm being too picky though and that it looks good. What's your opinion?

a) leave it as is
b) replace the corner pinwheels so that the red border goes all the way through and make smaller pinwheels to line up with the piano keys.
c) extend the red and piano keys in place of the pinwheel
d) extend the red and then match a fussy cut Dick/Jane square to line up with the keys
e) suggestions

I don't have enough fabric to completely get rid of the red and piano keys (which are the part I don't mind too much, although I think the red should have been one of the blues, but hindsight is 20/20). I have scraps of the big D/J fabric, the smaller fabric, the ABCs, and a bit of each of the dot fabric. Ideas? Suggestions? or am I just being too picky?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Zoo Trip

Since we have a family membership at the Henry Doorly Zoo, I try to take Ian once a week in the mornings. This week I was lucky enough to have Marlena and Noah's digital SLR camera with me. Darrin and I have been thinking of getting one, so they've been gracious enough to let us play around with theirs. I love how quickly it snaps photos and the control I have over those photos. It's convinced Darrin and I to get one. Here's a few shots from today's trip.
Ian's favorite animals are the monkeys, and we see a lot of them at the zoo. He's gotten so good that I don't have to point them out any more, he just says, "Ooo-ooo-ooo." We watched these two monkeys fighting in the trees for quite a while.
He groups the gorillas right in with the monkey group, and so the gorilla house is another favorite. It must have been nap time, though, as every gorilla was asleep, or at least chillin'.

Another part Ian loves is the aquarium. It has a tunnel you walk through that is surrounded by fish, sharks, turtles, and rays. Here's Ian checking out the ray that came by.

I got this shot of a turtle, which I don't think would have been possible with just my point-and-shoot camera. His face came out a bit blurry, but I love the blue coloring and how light it was without a flash. I can't wait to learn how to actually use the camera.
With hot temps, Ian's water was never very far from him (until he continually threw it on the ground and I had to confiscate it.)

We saw a few more things at the zoo- the cat house, the bears, elephants, and rhinos, and while Ian likes those, he doesn't stare for hours and ask to get out of his 'car' like he does the aquarium, jungle, and gorilla house. I, however, think I could stare at this all day long:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What Ian's Learned

Maybe it's that we were away from him for a week, but I swear he's getting too smart for his own good (or my good). We only have to show him something once and he figures it out. Here's some things he's learned this week:
  • Ian asked for more cereal and I said no, because it was almost lunch time. Wouldn't you know he went to the pantry, opened the door, and pulled his cereal off the shelf. Time to get a door lock or move the cereal up a shelf or two...
  • He realized he can reach the light switches from the stairs, and continually flips the hall light on and off.
  • The bottles I used for pumping are in a drawer Ian is allowed to play in. He pulled them out and likes to twist them. He hasn't completely figured how to get them off (he doesn't pick his hand up and reposition it) but he twists it and then asks for help to get it off. He's now trying to twist the cap off of everything (toothpaste, lotion, sippy cup)
  • Once the lid was off the bottle, he learned to put his Cheerios in them and carrying them elsewhere to dump out.
  • A couple weeks ago, Ian learned how to take the cap off of a pen, so now every pen, even if it doesn't have a cap, he does the motion to take it off. This week he learned how to work a pen with a 'clicker' top.
There's probably more, but those are the highlights. Ian had a busy week this week. We went swimming at my co-workers pool on Tuesday. He wasn't a fish in the water, but he didn't necessarily hate it, either. Wednesday and Thursday we spent at Creighton University. He was a guinea pig for the physical therapy students who needed to work with kids to acquaint themselves with different assessments. Friday we celebrated the 4th with a fantastic dinner at Marlena's mom's and then he stayed up until 10. He never seemed to notice the fireworks there, but when we got home, he didn't really care for all the noises going off on our street.

All this playing has tuckered Ian out and I've gotten some work done on my Shadow Play (Ocean Wave) quilt during his naps. I have about 1/3 of the green blocks done. The napping has also given me time to enjoy some Wii Fit. I have discovered through using it that I have TERRIBLE balance when needing to stand on one leg for a period of time. I get nervous getting on the balance board every day, because it shows whether or not you've gained weight. Darrin and I splurged on some Ben and Jerry's today, so I'm sure it's up... (probably why I haven't hopped on today).

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Our vacation to Montana was wonderful and relaxing. It was amazing how much Ian seemed to change during the week we were apart as well. We swear he grew three inches and gained some weight (which could happen when you're getting spoiled by your grandparents).

Here's the cabin we stayed in, owned by someone Marlena knows. It was about an hour south of Glacier Nataional Park.

We spent our first day there hiking the Morrell Falls trail near our cabin. It was a five-mile hike round trip. This fall greeted us at the turn-around spot. The temperature dropped drastically and the spray off of the fall was amazing.

We spent two days at Glacier National Park. The main road through it, "Going to the Sun" was closed still because of snow. You could only go about a third of the way. The views along the way and in the rest of the park were fabulous. Because there was still snow on the mountains, it was hard telling the difference between a glacier and just a snow covered peak. The water on the mountains was so clear and had this neat green tint to it because of the glacier sediment.

We spent another day white-water rafting down the Flathead River, but we haven't developed the pictures from the waterproof camera yet.

We stopped by two quilt shops in the area and I'm so glad we did. Each shop had such different fabric from each other, and yet both had many different fabrics from the shop we're used to back in Omaha, too. We spent two days at Deer Country Quilts. The first day I bought some fabric to finish off the Shadow Play quilt and a Halloween wallhanging quilt. We went back a second time just so Marlena could buy a pattern she didn't get the first time. Turns out they were having a fabulous sale; fabric, patterns, and notions were 25% off and finishing a bolt 30%. Needless to say, ended up walking out with more than just the pattern Marlena wanted. The other quilt shop we went to was Bigfork Bay Cotton Company. I bought a Miss Rosie pattern called "Going Buggy" and some fat quarters that will go with it. I plan on picking up more fat quarters as Marlena and I, along with two other friends, shop hop our way across Iowa at the end of the month.

I had hoped to get a few blocks of my Rachel's Reel hand appliqued; I didn't get a single one finished. I worked on it, but not as diligently as I read. I finished six books on the trip, most of which were in the Blackbird Sister's Mystery series.

It was a great trip, but like so many it was nice to be back home in our own bed. Ian didn't exactly know what to think when he first saw us, but he's back into the swing of things. Hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend.