Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Denver and the Birthday Visit!

This is me and my friend Jessica Vaughn!

We’ve been friends for oodles of years – I met her in Kansas on one of my teaching trips there and I love seeing her whenever I can.

She is warm, loving, has a heart of gold, and a wicked sense of humor that will leave you chuckling days later remembering just what she said and how she said it – she can deliver the way only Jessica Vaughn can deliver!

After picking up my rental car in Denver yesterday afternoon I braved the traffic through Denver rush hour ---and first things first – I headed for a manicure.

It was MANDATORY for these two days of tapings and a good thing because my fingernails have never been my priority.

I have too much quilting to do to worry about fingernails.  They just don’t STAY nice with all of this typing and stitching and handling of sharp instruments.

But it was a MUST.  So I did.

And then I put Jessica’s address for JMV Studios in my GPS and I wound my way to her Long Arm Studio!

The Road to Golden!

This is an Eastern Iowan Cornfield on the way back to Cedar Rapids, Iowa early yesterday morning.

Hello 6:30am, let’s get this day going!

My friend Irene was packed up – loaded to the gills and ready to roll when she picked me up bright and early.

It was a 2 hour drive to the airport in Cedar Rapids from West Union, but what a beautiful morning for a drive!

Let’s just say that there is not much rush hour in these parts, and we got a lovely remembrance of driving past farms and fields with tall corn and abundant with beans.

Chatting all the way, we made it to drop me off  at the airport by 8:30 am.

My flight didn’t board until 11:50 –but Irene was driving ALL THE WAY BACK to Texas, and I didn’t want to hold up her long trip, so I waved her on as she headed back out on the road and I wheeled my luggage into the airport to get it all checked in.

And then what?

Monday, August 03, 2015

Winner! Rock that Quilt Block: Weathervane!

Rock that Quilt Block - Weathervane

Guess who forgot to draw for the winner of this giveaway last night?

Guess who is using the “life on overload” excuse card as to why this drawing is a day late!

Oh, well! It is just giving more people the opportunity to enter to win on this one --

And enter you did!  There are ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO entries for this giveaway!

I know you are just as thrilled as I am to have the opportunity to win this book, signed – directly from Linda Hahn.

It’s been a long day of crazy travel so I’m not going to delay – we are just going to do this thing so I can settle in and get to bed.  I’ve got to be up early – I need to be at the studio at 7am for make up and hair!  Oh this is going to be FUN, if I can get past the nervousness!

And the Random Number Generator says:

Midnight Flight at Moonlight Stitching Studio!

Oh my dear ladies, I miss you all already!

Today was our second workshop day at Moonlight Stitching Studio and Sisters Retreat –but these gals had been sewing away, some since Wednesday evening when the retreat first opened!

Their first two days they were taught by Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken of Jo’s Country Junction while I taught another group down in Oelwein for THEIR first two days..and then on Saturday we teachers swapped locations!  I stayed with this group in West Union while Jo and Kelli headed down to Oelwein!  It has been the best retreat fun ever.

We’ve made lots of memories, chalked up loads of giggles and out right belly laughs, and even sang and danced to the music along the way.

As much as we love the quilts, and the quilting is what brought us together – retreats like this turn out to be more about the PEOPLE and less about the fabric…and we will carry a bit of each other back to our homes, hoping that our paths will cross again down that quilty road.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Bit of West Union, Iowa!

This is the Fayette County Courthouse in downtown West Union, Iowa!

I took this photo on Wednesday night – the evening of our arrival for this retreat weekend.  The sun was setting at just the right angle to reflect the sky in those windows.

Complete with clock front and center, this building makes me feel like I’m in a redo of the movie “Back to the Future!”

The weather has been perfect! 

I even caught the moon in the mandatory water tower photo:

West Union, Iowa & Kiss in the Corner!

Little pieces, precious patches, swapping strips and squares with new found friends and having a wonderful time down in West Union, Iowa!  That is what retreat is all about!

This adorable little town was founded in the 1840s.  Many of the buildings in the downtown area around the courthouse square boast the year of their building right there on their fascades.  It was a booming time in America’s heartland when immigrants were finding their way to the central states in America, willing to work and farm and earn their own piece of the promised land.

As quilters, this little retreat center holds a lot of promise for us as well!

Approximately 20 miles from where I was previously in Oelwein –we are set up here at Moonlight Stitching Studio and Sisters Retreat Center!

Kiss in the Corner came back out to play for the second time this week.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A Sneak Peek at Lou Ann’s Quilt Garden!

Have you ever had a dream of owning your own retreat center?

There are ALL KINDS of different retreat situations out there, and this week I have come across not only one, but TWO places that have brought life back to small quaint towns, turning older neglected buildings ((But still with oodles of character!)) into gems, bringing folks into town ---you know how commerce works?  Bring people in and they need a place to stay!  They have to buy gas, food, lodging, and of course, they shop!

These small sweet towns are PERFECT retreat getaways..

And I absolutely loved my time at Lou Ann’s Quilt Garden and retreat in Oelwein, Iowa.

Favorite thing right off the bat?  Originial wood floors and rustic old brick walls.  The feeling of HISTORY updated.

Midnight Flight in Oelwein, IA!

Retreat day #2 was an absolute blast!

What’s not to love?  A fabulous retreat center, friends from all over the planet ((Yes, we are international, we’ve got CANADIANS! HA!)) and time to sew and sew and sew!

Not only that, the weather here has been absolute perfection ---After Tuesday’s continual storms, the humidity broke and it has been just lovely --

Yesterday’s workshop in Oelwein at Lou Ann’s Quilt Garden and Retreat Center was Midnight Flight – an absolute favorite workshop.

There are so many things we can do to make our quilts come out “just that much” better – and we go over them all.

Of course, THAT SEAM ALLOWANCE ---but once that is down and we can visualize WHY things have to be a certain way, and we do it – things just start falling into place better than ever before.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Kiss in the Corner in Oelwein, IA!

Iowa Retreat Day 1!!

We’ve got this retreat going in two different nearby towns, Oelwein, and West Union –with fabulous retreat centers housed above shops –nearly 60 women (And one hubby that I know of!) participating!

It’s a roaring good time, and we had a wonderful start yesterday morning.

Yesterday and today you will find me in Oelwein at Lou Ann’s Quilt Garden and Retreat center, while Jo & Kelli of Jo’s Country Junction are with the other group at Moonlight Stitching Studio and Sisters Retreat over in West Union!  Both of these cute little Iowa towns are a haven for quilters…and they are each getting four days of workshops, as Jo, Kelli and I will swap locations on Saturday morning!  I’ll be in West Union, and they will take my place over in Oelwein to continue the fun.