Saturday, October 5, 2013

Country Threads Quilt Shop and More

Several weeks ago my mom and I took a road trip to a couple of quilt shops around West Bend. I was on the hunt for some backing for a quilt that I've had for a few years. I had recently pulled the quilt top out of storage and decided it was way past time to finish it. But I just wasn't finding what I wanted in the stores around my house. Everything was too flowery.
We started out at Quilting on Main in Pocahontas. It was a fabulous, small town store with a great variety of fabric and lots of samples to look at.
Then we headed to Country Threads in Garner. This was a shop like I had never seen. The ones I usually go to are in strip malls, but this one had character. It's located on a farm and is in an old chicken coop.
There was a lot of fabric, tons of patterns, and loads of samples on every available surface.

The above picture is in a second building and was just as amazing as the first. It had mostly Civil War fabrics in it.
So many fabrics and ideas I don't know where to begin.
The hayloft of the barn is used for classes when the Iowa weather is good.
I've also found several great quilting blogs lately. Check them out sometime. 
Oh, and by the way, I never did find the backing for my quilt. But it was a great day. I'll definitely be going back when it's time for my next project.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Quilted Steeple

This past weekend my Mom and I went to the open house for The Quilted Steeple in northern Iowa. It's a new quilting and crafting retreat in the former Good Hope Methodist Church and parsonage.  
I was pleasantly surprised to see the many quilts hanging among the trees. I was just expecting to see the renovated buildings.
I always get great ideas of quilts I want to make or least different patterns I want to try but maybe in a wall hanging or table runner.

 It was a gorgeous fall day to walk around the grounds.

 The parsonage has five bedrooms with two beds each for overnight quilting or crafting retreats. 
 This one is on the main floor.
 More quilts to look at indoors.

Here's another Grandmother's Flower Garden. Still my favorite. I told Mom that maybe by the time I'm 80, I'll get one made.

The church has a space for speakers. The lower level has the work areas and a kitchen. Check out their website linked above to learn more about the beautiful setting in rural Iowa.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Doll Blanket

I had a birthday party this weekend and hadn't given much thought to a gift until the last minute. I just thought I'd run to the store and see what I could find. But Friday after work I decided to check out my fabric stash and make up a quick doll blanket. So I set aside my other quilt project and got started on this one.

 I found some great pieces.
 I decided to go with smaller blocks of 2 inches. I wanted a random pattern so I didn't use strip quilting on this one. I just cut all my pieces and started sewing.
The random pattern is more time consuming, but I really like the way it turned out.

 I usually hand stitch the binding, but because of time, I tried a zigzag stitch. I really like the way it turned out. The machine stitching will really help the quilt hold up over time.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Flower Update

It's been awhile since I posted an update on my flowers. There was plenty of rain this spring and into June to take us out of our drought, but we've seen very little rain for the past six weeks or so.


Love the brown eyed Susans.

Been watering to keep everything looking good.

These are much more orange than the ones in the main garden.

Surprise lilies just popped up earlier this week.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Weeds Have Taken Over

Yes, I will admit that my flowers have been neglected. Last summer I didn't accomplish much in any of my gardens because of a sore foot. And this year I spent lots of weekends helping get ready for the auction. So I was behind before I even got started. Most of it was just tall grass and not weeds.
Buried under all the grass is some phlox. But to really get all of the grass and weeds, I decided to just dig it all out.
So I got started on a nice cool Saturday morning. I only planned to spend a couple of hours out there, but the sun never really came out to make it hot and before I knew it, it was 5 hours later.
I started in the corner first since it was the worst, because if I ran out of energy, I wanted to at least have something to show for it.

It looks so much better. I replanted the tulips that had been dug up and plan to put some mums in later this Fall.

Then I started along the side of the deck. This is the before shot.
I got the first few feet finished and then called it quits for the day.

A few days ago there was another cool day for me to get outside and finish weeding this area. I found a few more tulips as I was digging so got those replanted too. 
I also happened to run across some electrical along the concrete that runs from the house to the garage. So glad I was digging with the hand digger and not my big spade in that spot.

Now I'm debating about putting mulch down along the entire deck but will make the final decision next spring.