International Quilt Show - Chicago

My friend Sue and I attended the quilt show in Chicago yesterday. It's tradition for us to go to these events together. We are perfectly suited to each other during these events. We walk at the same pace and we like the same things. It makes it easy to travel to quilt show together. Yesterday Sue was on a mission to find a new sewing machine. We stopped at many of the vendor's booths to evaluate each machine. At the end of the day she got a really good deal on one. Here she is with her purchase. If I needed a new machine, I would have purchased the same deal.

We walked through the many quilts on display. Some of the quilts had a social justice theme. I took more photos of those than any other quilts. Over the past year I've seen many of them on display at various quilts shows so I felt like it was time for me to pay closer attention to the causes they represented.

I also had to photograph my favorite medallion quilt. I want to make my own version of one so I am constantly looking for inspiration.

Here are a few quilts I liked for their artsy feel and the color selections.

I was drawn to this quilt. It probably has something to do with my upcoming trip to Amsterdam. Seeing the Anne Frank Museum is on my mind all the time.

One of the fun parts of the quilt show is the shopping. I am always thrilled to be able to purchase fabrics from shops that I would never be able to travel to. I love the variety of fabrics available at these shows. Here are my findings from this show.


Gypsy Wife Quilt

Jen Kingwell Quilt
I finished my Gypsy Wife quilt today. I purchased the binding last week and finally had some free time to sew it on.

We've been so involved in home improvements that there's no sewing time!

It just might be a while before I finish another quilt but I am having fun updating my house.


Milwaukee Brewers' Spring Training

Our spring training trip was a blast. We spent a beautiful long weekend with our son, Brian and his fiance, Amanda. It was great that he was willing to fly from Denver to Phoenix to hang out with us. As it turned out, Amanda was pretty burnt out from the rigors of law school and really needed the getaway. We were happy we could help.

One of my new travel traditions is to purchase lottery tickets from the different cities that we visit. I never win but they make cute souvenirs that don't take up much space - ha!

We stayed at the Grand Canyon University Hotel - it was recommended on the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training web page. It was a really nice place and we would definitely recommend it to anyone staying in the Phoenix area. There was a great bar area that was warm and inviting. They also had an amazing pool area that was very relaxing. I felt like we were at an exclusive resort.
Grand Canyon University Hotel Bar 
Jeff enjoying the waterfall at the hotel pool

We had great seats at the Brewers' game where we met Jeff's cousin Toni and her husband Les. They live in the Phoenix area and it was a great way to spend some time with them. It was fun to watch Christian Yelich hit a home run at this beautiful park. What a fun day!

Our great seats at Brewers' spring training
Me, Les, Toni, Amanda, Brian
An amazing thing happened to my son on his way to Phoenix. His friend Mark messages him while he is en route only to discover that Mark is heading to Phoenix as well. Mark's parents are snowbirds who happen to spend their winters in Phoenix. So on our day of rest and relaxation at the hotel pool, Mark and his wife spent the afternoon with us. We've known Mark and his family for nearly the entire 30 years we lived in Oak Creek. It is wonderful that Brian has what's becoming life-long friends.
Brian and his friend
The trip was great and a much needed get-away. We can now cross off the trip to Brewers' Spring Training off of our bucket list.


New Floors!

After building our home 30 years ago, we are finally renovating the upstairs. The house is a 4-bedroom and we have replaced the carpeting with hardwood floors in 2 of the bedrooms and installed commercial carpet in a third bedroom which is now my sewing studio. The full bathroom has new tile floor as well. Those rooms all have new paint and new windows. They are totally finished as far as I'm concerned.

What's left are the master bedroom, master bath, walk-in closet and the upper hall. They are all getting the same new floor. So we've been ripping out carpet like crazy.

Once we finished taking out carpet, we painted the bedroom and put up a ship-lap wall. I really like how the wall turned out.

Now that we've finished that, we have to take everything out of the closet and tear out the bathroom vanity and sink. Then I can paint those rooms.

But before we can do that, tomorrow we are headed to the Milwaukee Brewers' Spring Training in Maryvale, Arizona. Nothing like planning a mini-vacation in the middle of a major project - ha!


Patriotic Lap Quilts

A friend from the American Legion post gave me her mom's leftover fabrics. They were all patriotic themed and I thought making lap quilts for the VA would be a good use for it.

I made 6 of these little cuties. They are all bright and cheery, thankfully. I will get them all on the longarmer this week and finish binding them as soon as I find some matching fabrics from my stash.

These are two of the six squirrels that live in our yard. We feed them peanuts daily to keep the out of the bird feeders. Obviously that does not always work.


A Busy Saturday

It's a sad day today. My old car died and after a week at the repair shop, it was determined that it is not worth fixing. Apparently Santa Fe's have 3 catalytic converters and on this car, 2 of the 3 are in need of replacement. There are no after-market parts for these so you have to get them from a dealer. The cost of the parts with labor runs about $2K. If new converters are installed it's still not certain the problem will be fixed.

Considering the blue book value of the car it's just not worth the trouble so today my husband sold it 'as-is'. I thought I would take one last photo of it before the buyer loads it on his trailer. I enjoyed driving it and after I purchased my Mini Cooper, my daughter enjoyed it as well. So for the next week we will be searching for a new car for her. I think next week will be stressful until she finds one because she is using my car until then leaving us to have to alter our schedules a little.

Today we also had our appointment with our tax accountant to get our income taxes done. The new tax reform hasn't helped us much. We owe way more money than I thought we would.

Oh well.

We left the accountant's office and stopped at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. My husband loves the store. A few weeks ago he purchased a door from a deconstruction project. It was so old, heavy and well-made and he's enjoyed refinishing it. While we were there I picked up some beautiful crystal wine glasses and some glass door knobs. Since he is changing out our doors we might as well have new knobs to go along with them.

Here's the view out of my kitchen window this afternoon. It's starting to rain and all the ducks are coming in for a landing. We feed more than 50 of them regularly. They hang out here all winter.

You can see the hammock frame sticking out of the snow. Last week you could only see the top of the frame since the snow was so high. It is melting slowly and hopefully we are finally seeing the end of this brutal winter.


Sweet Sundays Quilt

My quilt group will donate this quilt to the spring craft fair at our church. During the craft fair it will be raffled off.

My job was to quilt it on my longarmer. The quilt is a king size so it took me 4 days to finish it. It is so very big that I didn't want to spread it out to take photos of it. It took up the whole room!

We picked a nice pantograph that had some large swirls so each row of quilting was a nice 10-inch wide pass. It still took a long time to quilts something this big.


What's on the design board?

Here are the first few sections of my second gypsy wife quilt. I decided to do this second one using a cat theme. I am going to fussy cut kitties all through the quilt blocks.

This will definitely be a scrappy version of the quilt. I am using scraps left over from many other projects, except the cat themed fabrics. Those are new.

I finally decided on the backing for my first gypsy wife quilt and loaded it on my longarmer. The thread choice was easy - a variegated gray. As for the quilting pattern, originally I was going to hand quilt it but I have such a hard time with my fingers in the winter. They are so cracked and dry that I struggle to hold a needle without pain. So that idea has come and gone. I think I will do some straight-line quilting.