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Friday, September 1, 2017

Minnesota Jaunt Day 2

On Wednesday, we had another full day in St. Paul.  Barb is such a good tour guide.  I asked her to take me to a stained glass store so I could get some dichroic glass.  Mom and I are making some glass jewelry and dichroic glass is so pretty and sparkly.  I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head but since there is a large glass kiln in my garage why not use it.  We went to Glass Endeavors where I found some very pretty pieces, so it will be fun to use it.

Next we were off to Artscrap, which is this very cool place where people donate their old art supplies and the store sells them at garage sale prices.  Loved it.  I got some zippers for $,25, some jewelry supplies for $.10 each.  It was a fun place to spend some time and very little money.

At 1 p.m. we headed to a retirement home for Barb to help with a ceramics class.  This is such a cool retirement home, the residents have dogs, the building is gorgeous and they have all these fun rooms, like a sewing room, a library and I'm sure there are other rooms but these were the ones I was interested in.  They even had a cafeteria that was serving fair food for the week.  We stopped for more fried cheese curds.  There were 3 ladies at the class and it only lasted an hour.  Two of the ladies were from the neighborhood and the nun lived at the facility.  One of the ladies was very talented too.

Did I mention Barb is an awesome artist, she works on all these fun and interesting projects with some of her friends and they have an art show every year.  She is a Photoshop wiz and can do great tole painting - she even painted this sweet little stool for my daughter when she was little.  Totally jealous of her artistic ability.

Then we headed to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.  This is such a lovely botanical center so I took tons of pictures.  Hope you like them.














It was such a gorgeous place it was worth being hot in the green house.

On the way back to Barb's, she got a call from a friend who had two tickets to the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball game.  What a perfect way to end a wonderful day.  The weather was beautiful and the night was lovely.  We had seats in the top row of the first section on the aisle with tons of legroom right behind the home dugout on the first base line.  It was pretty much a pitchers battle and when we left at the end of the 7th inning it was 1 to nothing Winnipeg.  One strange thing about the game was that people didn't really cheer.  I usually like to yell during a game but it wasn't appropriate at this one.  Sort of odd.  The stadium is pretty new and they had quinoa and black bean lettuce wrap which was probably the healthiest thing I at the whole trip.  Such fun.

Left for home on Thursday at about 7 a.m. thanking Barb profusely for an awesome visit.  She was the perfect hostess.  Picked up mom in Des Moines on the way back and had lunch in Valley Junction at The Tavern.  They make the best onion strings.  I love being retired.

Minnesota Jaunt Fair Day

OMG I had a great time on my quick visit to Minnesota this week.  About a month ago I decided I wanted to go to the Minnesota State Fair.  My friend Barb works for the fair each year setting up the displays for the crafts building.  Every year she is so excited about the items that she gets to see and I thought I need to go back to Minnesota and check this out.  I lived in Minneapolis over 33 years ago and I went to the fair once but I didn't really have any memories of it.  Having grown up in Iowa I was sure that there was nothing to compare to the Iowa State Fair but I was wrong.  The Minnesota State Fair rocks.  I'm not saying it is better, I am saying it is very cool,

On Monday, Mom and I started the drive about 5:30 a.m.  I dropped her off in Des Moines to visit friends and I was way ahead of schedule so I stopped at Woodside Quilting in Des Moines and checked them out.  I saw several things to love but I am going on a quilt bus trip next month so I decided not to buy anything but I did have a nice conversation with one of the owners.  I also stopped at Quilter's Cupboard in Ankeny.  This is such a cute little shop I really like it.  There were several small bag pattern's I hadn't seen before but I only walked away with one yard of fabric.  It was really cute Halloween fabric.  What can I say I'm a sucker for Halloween!!!!!

I made such good time that I made it to Barb's house in St. Paul before 7 p.m. so we went to dinner at IndoChin which is one of my favorite places to eat.  I had the Kung Pao Mock Duck.  So Good!!!! Nice and spicy and great texture on the mock duck.  Gotta love a place that give you vegetarian choices.

Barb has owned english setters for all of the 36 years I've known her.  Ariel is her current dog and a very sweet dog.  Even though I'm not a dog person I enjoyed petting the sweet girl and getting dog kisses.

On Tuesday we headed to the fair.  Barb got us free parking since she is an employee and we didn't have to wait long for the shuttle to drop us off at the front gate.  We were on the hunt for good fair food but we did enjoy some entertainment too.  There was a drum group that did a little acrobatic show as well and I found the glass blowing exhibit very informative.  How cool that they had all their furnaces on this small trailer.

There were some interesting vendors near the front gate.  I was particularly interested in the vendor that re-purposed old mechanical pieces to furniture and lamps.  


Then we found our first tasty item, deep fried cream cheese stuffed green olives.  It was a bit pricey but then what can you expect at the fair and it was delicious.  Hot and salty and creamy.  MMMMMM.

We strolled through one of the vendor buildings and on the way out saw the yarn bombing.  Such fun!!!  The horse used to be a topiary.





As we headed to the Creative Arts building we had some of the famous Danielson's Daughters Onion Rings.  Oh what battered goodness.   There was a plethora of wonderful projects at the creative arts building.  I loved, loved it.  My favorite quilt was this beautiful two sided quilt.  



What you can't see from the pictures is that the quilting was coordinated.  When you looked at the quilting from the front it looked like it had been custom quilted for that side and if you looked at it from the back the same thing.  It was so well designed.  Just breathtaking.  What was amazing is that it didn't win a ribbon but the fair personnel were smart enough to hang it so you could see both sides.

There was this cute idea to tie in with all the fair food on a stick (did you know they have pork chops on a stick) there is a category of quilts on a stick.  How fun are these!!!!!  Oh, oh apparently this is the fifth year of these cute little quilts and the theme is quilters can bake too.  Brilliant!!!!




 Here are a few of the other entries I liked.







Then we headed over to the fine arts building and checked out some of those amazing entries.  These had to be juried into the show.

I loved this sculpture.  She just had so much attitude!!!  Her price tag read $6000 by the way.  No wonder she feels superior.


Next up was the food building and deep fried cheese curds.  Longest line I had to stand in.  Then we had some really delicious, refreshing watermelon.  For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the great food, guess I was too busy eating.

Then we strolled over to the horticulture building.  The place they carve the Fair Princesses as butter sculptures.  Did you know that the Princess gets to take her butter bust home after the fair.  A bit creepy taking a hunk out of your ear to butter your corn.!!!!  

Barb and I loved the seed art.  Turns out all the seeds they use are from Minnesota and there are about 20 or 30 types of seed.  Some amazing and tedious art work.




There were also a bunch of very fun scarecrows.  Who knew there was a scarecrow competition?!?




There were also some very cute fairy gardens.  I didn't know that was a thing until a friend mentioned she built one this spring.




Next up were the animal buildings.  Had to go to the very cool "Welcome to the World" building which is where baby are born.  They had giant screens of a live video of a baby lamb being born.  Sort of gross and I felt bad for the ewe with all those people watching.  Here are some of the babies we got to see.  SOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!



































We also checked out some of the adult animals.  Did you know there are more pigs in Minnesota than there are people. The biggest pig there weighed 1400 lbs. Taking care of the animals is an exhausting job so this young person was catching a few zs.  At this point in the day,  Barb and I could identify.  We were ready to head back to her house.  The main gate seemed miles away but we made it.  I was very glad to sit down on the waiting shuttle.


Have to take my hat off to Barb.  After all that walking at the fair, she came home and walked Arial.  I declined to join them and sat with my feet up.

And as if we hadn't eaten enough we headed to the Green Mill for dinner later in the evening.  I had a delicious pizza for dinner and then the leftovers for breakfast.  I love cold pizza.  It was a wonderful day and I just want to thank Barb for being such a great tour guide.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival

On Thursday my mom and I drove up to Kansas City to go to the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival to meet up with my friend Twyla.  We met her at Hawthorne Suites and caught a quick lunch at Freddie's which has pretty good veggie burgers and fries.

We got to the show in early afternoon and caught the shuttle from the off site parking lot and took leaf from my aunt's book to visit all the vendors first thing.  That took a good three hours since there were about 120 vendors and I could have easily spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars. But I decided to wait to buy anything substantial until Friday.  That way I would be sure I really wanted it and it wouldn't be as much of an impulse buy.  I left thinking about this giant cat quilt kit by Moda called Meow Or Never by Erin Michael.

I've been coveting this kit since it came out but was disappointed when I found out the cat was a panel rather than applique.  So I have been resisting it for months.

I was also thinking about getting this kit called Papa's Pickup from Material Girl.  The pattern is by BJ Designs from my home town of West Des Moines, Iowa.  I just love her stuff, it is so whimsical and fun.

I also found some great solid color fabric for a Jinny Beyer quilt I'm thinking of doing.  They are by Paint Brush Studio out of Kansas City and have 168 colors.  Pineapple Fabric had them available for $6.99 per yard and the feel of this fabric is so nice.  I will definitely be ordering some in the future.  I did purchase a really cute pattern by Sew Sweetness for some small make-up type bags.  

I also bought some 100 weight YLI silk thread to use for hand applique.  I found that 100 weight just gets buried in the fabric even though I'm not a great at hand applique.  While purchasing the thread we ran into our friend Karen who had come up with three of her friends, EJ, Kathy and Sue.  We made arrangements to meet up for dinner later that evening at BRGR which is one of my favorite spots in the Kansas City area. 

Here are some of the things that caught my eye in the vendor area.  We stopped at Stephanie Brandenburg's booth first.  She is mom's favorite designer and we got the chance to talk to her for a few minutes.  She was very nice and has some amazing new fabrics that are being printed in the USA.  So cool.

I thought this quilt was cute and I loved the title, "Monkey Wrench".
  I also was enamored with this quilt at a booth that had numerous cute quilts with yo-yos.  

Before meeting for dinner, Twyla wanted check out IKEA for a table she needed for her new house.  She just moved into the church she converted to her home, she is so talented!!!!!  I love IKEA.  I didn't buy anything but mom found this cool table that goes up and down.  So she can sit with the sewing machine at exactly the right level and then raise it up to cutting height.  So perfect for those with small sewing rooms.  We weren't able to get it this trip as it wouldn't fit in the car but we'll get it in July.

After checking into the hotel we headed over to BRGR and had a wonderful evening of food and conversation..  We laughed, shared information and just had a wonderful evening.

I was pretty happy to climb into bed as I was dead dog tired.  

Friday morning, we met Twyla for breakfast and worked out plans for our trip to the Sister's OR outdoor quilt show and Seattle trip in July.  This is going to be such a great trip.  I've never been to that part of the country and am looking forward to it.

We were at the door of the convention when it opened and I made a beeline to buy the cat quilt kit.  Once the shopping was completed I headed to check out the quilt show.  I have to say there were so many awesome quilts that I felt super intimidated so much so I started to think I should give up quilting entirely.  Here are some of my favorites.

I love this quilt.  So mid-century modern.  I mean don't you just love those cats.  I'm trying to track down Linda Frost to get the pattern.  Wish me luck.


These two quilts really struck a chord with me.  The message was spot on and the quilting on both were wonderful and creative.




This one reminded me of a character my dad used to draw.  He wasn't much of an drawer but this little guy always entertained me.
There were several one block wonder quilts which I am always fascinated by.  I'm going to be trying my hand at one in August thanks to Twyla teaching a class at the Table Rock Quilt Guild.


This Harry Potter Project of Doom quilt is on my list of quilts to make.



Words really aren't necessary for these amazing quilts














So many talented women!!!!

We left the show a little after noon and headed up to Liberty MO to check out Angela Walters' shop, "Quilting Is My Therapy".  Cute shop but after all the quilt vendors at the show it was not as impressive as it would have been otherwise.

Mom and I caught dinner with my brother and part of his family before heading home.  It was a wonderful couple of days and can't wait to do it again.