Archive for September, 2008

Day 2 – Anniversary Trip

(As usual, click the pictures to open them in a bigger format)

As much as I tried, I didn’t sleep in on Sunday but Phil did until 8. (JP slept in too but that was OK, the pigs were still there when he got out for chores.)

Phil & I had a brunch buffet at a local restaurant and then at 11:30 headed to our “cruise”. We took a 2+ hour boat ride on the Mississippi River.
After we had checked in & paid, we walked a bit along the river. It is really a nice park and along the walkway, they have marble signs telling some of the history of the river & area. (One read: “In times immemorial….” Wouldn’t that be “times immortal”? I should have taken a picture of it for you… or Jay Leno… but that made me question a bit!)

This is an old railroad hotel that the local billionaire is restoring.
I’d love to stay there!!

I’m not very good at these self-portraits….

How’s this?

We left from an island (didn’t really realized it was an island until the Captain said so) just off of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The boat could hold 100 but there were only 25 of us on Sunday. Several sat out in the front, but we were inside where it wasn’t quite as drafty. We were able to wander around in & out for better views.

Here we are getting our introduction and met our guide for the day, Captain Annie. Mississippi Explorer was our host.

It was cool (63′) and cloudy so the breeze with the boat was chilly with my 2 shirts & a denim jacket.
Because this was advertised as a Fall Foliage Tour but the leaves were barely starting to turn, it became more of a Wildlife of the River Tour. Phil thinks he gets enough wildlife here at home and would have been more interested in the story & history of the barges and other boats on the river.

The railroad depot, now a bar & grill, and the railroad hotel from the boat.

Villa Louis

loading barges

Our first eagle sighting!!

And he landed, near another eagle. Annie said these were young ones yet, possibly born this year or last, as their color hadn’t developed fully.

The best part for me was seeing many Bald Eagles! We think we saw at least 10!! I have only seen one in a zoo before so this was quite fun for me.

Captain Annie actually said it was good that it was cloudy & cool. If it had been warm & sunny there would have been more boats out disturbing the wildlife and the eagles would have been hiding in the shade.

This was on the bluff near our hotel but we could see it from the boat. (well cropped!)

And then….

PELICANS!! I really didn’t expect to see pelicans!

We got this close to one.

Cropped shots:

A blue heron

Pikes Peak in Marquette, Iowa
(the first peak he named after himself)

Fall Foliage… not quite

And then we came upon this flock of pelicans! Annie would shut off the engine when we’d be near birds like this and just let us sit and watch them. We really thought they were moving around like they were going to fly off but they didn’t.

Heading back, this is the Prairie du Chien bridge, smaller than the Lansing bridge.

After our cruise, we drove through town and I wandered quickly through a downtown fabric store. They are redoing the downtown streets & sidewalks with brick crosswalks and accents so it will be quite beautiful when they are done. (It is a mess now!)

The store I visited is just like an old style fabric/craft store. She had quilts & quilt fabric and offered classes. Then in another section there were basic yarns & crafts supplies. She also had gift items. I didn’t “have to have” anything so didn’t stay long.

Besides, we were looking at a 3+ hour ride home yet.
We headed back and chose a route through Platteville and then on to Shullsburg. I had read about their Creamery and thought that would be a good place to walk around and maybe get a bite to eat.

Of course, I didn’t have exact directions but we made it to the downtown, just from the back side. A beautiful little town and the downtown is old-style narrow and well-kept! All the windows had beautiful displays and most of the buildings were full. Some for tourists, others just local insurance office or the dentist.

We stopped at the Shullsburg Creamery (no tour) but saw the gift shop, cheese shop (got some clearance blocks!), and then had an early supper (we hadn’t had lunch) in the Brewster House restaurant. Yummy!! A great choice!!

After that, it was the final stretch home. Passed the new wind farm and it was quite fascinating to see the parts in various locations ready for assembly.

We got home just after 6 p.m. Great fun!!
I was thrilled to NOT be exhausted and in a lot of pain on Monday. Yeah – I keep getting better!

JP kept the home under control and did chores for Phil. A few sows decided to farrow over the weekend instead of starting on Monday when they were due. JP handled it fine.

On the counter when I got to the kitchen: 1 plate from pizza, 2 small plates from breakfast pb & j’s, 2 milk glasses, and 3 ice cream bowls. (He had Sat lunch w/ Gma & they took him out for Sunday noon.) https://i0.wp.com/img108.exs.cx/img108/5527/i1lsmile.gif

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Finally Phil & I got a night away… he’d been promising a night (or 2) for our anniversary. He had a big part for his combine to pick up in Iowa so we left early Saturday morning. We estimated it might take a good 3 hours. We had 4 hours to get there before they closed.

We went through about 10 road construction zones. hmpf!
We went through a town where we saw Jewish people going to (what we assume) their Sabbath services. Long beards on the men, long black dresses/robes on the adults, 2 young boys with Jewish caps & short hair except for long curly sideburns (long like 6″ long on 4 year old boys!), the young ladies, also in long black robes/dresses, had a sort of nontransparent hairnet covering their shoulder-length hair, the men had a scarf (prayer shawl, I now know) they carried.

As the highway snaked through town, we saw the most multi-ethnic & multi-religious variety of people any Iowa town could display. Quite fascinating!! (Later, I found out the town also had a quilt shop but we didn’t return to it.)

{I googled the town and it has quite a history with a kosher meat plant and then illegal business practices there. But reasons why such a mix in a small Iowa town.}

Great views as we continued on Highway 52 to northeast Iowa along the Mississippi River. Too bad we didn’t have enough time to stop at the many overlooks! Phil tried to drive, I tried to take pictures for us to enjoy later!

Not cropped… this close the edge as we drove by!!
They had overlook areas…. we just didn’t stop!
Finally we arrived at the tractor parts place with 25 minutes until closing. Whew!! I walked off my 3 1/2 hrs of sitting while Phil got the men hunting down his part. It slid right into the back end, Phil tied it down a bit, and we were done! ….with that part of the trip. Phil now was able to relax.
We went about 1/2 hr to Decorah, IA and found a very nice downtown. We parked and walked about a block to Ruby’s for lunch. A very clean and newly redecorated restaurant with Norwegian flair. Their shirts had a Viking image, one special of the day was Norwegian meatballs, and their accents told of their nationality as well.

We saw this building on the way back to the highway. A mural of farming:

Out the front window (which was clean when we left) and the sight was beautiful!

After lunch it was just 20 miles NW to Cresco for the first quilt shop! The Pine Needles Quilt Shop was across the street from the city park that was full with youngsters and lots of carnival rides. We were happy to have a parking place just down from the quilt shop on the main street.

The shop was HUGE and wonderfully stocked! A main area, the back room, and upstairs all had fabrics and kits. They have a Jo Morton Club and I’d love to be in that but will email them to get more specifics. Of course, I’d lose out on the gathering each month but may be interested in the club patterns.

I only got a few things knowing that the next shop I was headed to was part of the NE Iowa Quilt Shop Hop and had 20% off.

Instead of backtracking… we headed north and then east to pass through Burr Oak, a childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We were on a sort of back road so we had no signs to guide us. However, just a few extra miles of wandering (I was sure it would be on Silver Creek Road but it wasn’t…) we found the museum in the little town of Burr Oak.

If I had read her books, would I have known that?

We didn’t pay for the official tour but I saw this, the only childhood home of Laura’s still in the original spot. Right next to Barney’s Bar & Grill… is Barney in the books?

The Burr Oak Mercantile

By looking at the atlas, it seemed as if we continued on the road to the east, we’d cross 95 and then jog a bit and end up on the road into Lansing.


We were in the back country!!! Only 3 miles south of the MN/IA line at one point we could see into Minnesota for several miles. Up on a ridge… it was just beautiful!!

Finally a cross road and a sign that said “to 95 –>” so at least we felt like we were on the right track.

Yep… a dirt track!!

We were following another vehicle in its gravel dust and winding back and forth for many miles. Across Iverson Bridge (if that matters…) …. this bluff. Isn’t it so pretty?

I didn’t take many pictures. We were thankful the IA gravel roads were wider than our IL ones but still I was glued to the map for clues as to where EXACTLY we were driving.

Part of this jaunt was a very winding road along a creek. One side creek, the other side rocky bluff so we were glad to be on the gravel road. Only about 2 houses in this long expanse of curvy road.

Finally, finally, we got to 95 and headed north a bit into Lansing. A quaint little town and there near the river’s edge was Yellow Bird Art, the quilt store for which I was hunting.
After Phil walked in the store for a minute, he found a bench near the river and talked to the kids on the phone while I shopped!

The store carried a lot of what I like…. I came home with a fall wallhanging kit, another McKenna Ryan (her newest) pattern and some of her fabrics for a long wallhanging, some fibers in colors of the Caribbean, and a packet of clearance patterns. First I have seen the idea of packaging 3 clearance patterns in a bundle for 5.95.

I could have done some damage in the batik aisle and the Amy Butler & Kaffe Fasset aisle. Yummy!! Both of these shops have been featured in Quilt Sampler magazine so I had reread those pages on Friday.


Now it was time to cross into Wisconsin… unfortunately I don’t like crossing bridges. Phil had scoped it out as he sat on his bench… he was sure I’d not like it.

He was right.

It was a grated bottom bridge and “the highest bridge I’ve ever seen,” said the driver. So not only did I put my head down, I closed my eyes, and covered them with my hand. The bridge had a steep ramp UP /, then leveled off across the mighty Mississippi. As soon as I thought I’d breathe, a big bump again, and heading straight down \ !!! Oh my! No pictures of this….

We had about 35 miles south along the river to get to our hotel. A crowded highway but beautiful scenery with the bluffs to the east and the river to the west.

We easily found our hotel and then decided on a place for supper. However the map in the travel magazine in our room didn’t know where our restaurant was located! So after a bit of a drive around not-the-side-of-town-I’d-be-eating-in, I called the restaurant and she gave me good directions. It was actually near our hotel…. not in town!

After a good dinner and salad bar at The Barn, we headed out just as the sun was setting across the marina.

This has been a long & full day! I’ll write about Sunday another time.

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Good Tidings!

Lots of good things…

** Cathy & Tom sold their house and move in 5 weeks to IA from NC! Congrats!!!

** K had a dinner with the SAIC President this afternoon!! And as part of the discussion when asked what they are doing to advertise SAIC… Miss K pulled out her magazine!! WooHoo!!! The Pres was impressed but the VP (a woman https://i0.wp.com/img103.exs.cx/img103/6541/biggrin.gif ) was VERY impressed!!


** Home improvements are planned here & there!

And it was sad….
when another one called asking for help with the wife’s struggle with Fibromyalgia. It is so sad to hear of her suffering. I hope I gave enough encouragement that they will try the guaifenesin. What a benefit that the dh is going to learn what she needs for skin care products with the protocol so her brain fogged mind doesn’t have to work on that!! A tad confused how they got my name… but that person’s in-laws are friends with my in-laws. Small town. ūüėČ

I still think there will come a day I’ll have group meetings in town to help others with the protocol. Location seems to be a problem in my mind.

I just love the DJ block I finished yesterday…

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Dear Jane Progress

I am back to working on my Dear Jane blocks.  Yesterday I finished (so I thought) through month 4 of my BOM.  I get 8 blocks and 2 triangles each month.   (Just a few months behind!)

Then I scanned them and saved them in My Block Chart.  I just love this feature on the software!!

When I scanned them I realized one block needed 4 diamonds appliqued in the corners so I worked on that first today.  

Wanna see?  
The blocks finish at 4 1/2″ square and the triangles are 4 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ finished. ¬† I’ve moved on to month 5!! ¬†Yippee!!

I just realized my triangles are all upsided down. ¬†Ooops! ¬†The base is along the center and the tips point to the outside. ¬†I’ll fix that next time around. ¬†

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Outside Quilt Show

Saturday was quite delightful as Elinor & I took a trip to near Oregon, Illinois. We attended “Not Your Sister’s (Oregon) Quilt Show”.

For those of you that are not quilters, there is a famous outdoor show held in the town of Sisters, Oregon. We didn’t travel that far yesterday.

Main gate to home area

Several friends of mine from quilt guild put this together.

The weather was perfect.
The setting was just stunning.
The friends were fun!

Just going over the pictures makes me happy! It was exceptional!!

We liked the simple style of this quilt and found it in another colorway later.

Lining the driveway were vintage metal chairs draped with old & new quilts and a variety of decorations.

Down the hill to the main viewing area… this is what awaited us. Isn’t this setting darling!!

A beautiful pastel quilt with circular hand quilting we admired.

Quilts on clotheslines, quilts in wheelbarrows…

Elinor liked the layout of this red, white, & blue one. She has hand embroidered blocks she & her youngest did years ago that could be the on-point centers.

This could be an option for a friend who wants a Northwoods themed quilt.

I have this wildflower pattern and would LOVE to make this!!

Love this simple strip set!
Another peak before we head back up the hill.

The hill back to the house from the wooded area.

Love this quilt layout of the 2 blocks. I have some scrappy squares that would work here.

We listened to the soapmaker’s SO/DH tells us it was “the best soap around”… and quietly sauntered off. https://i0.wp.com/img93.exs.cx/img93/2706/lengua9ep.gif Ha!! Little did he know…

Before we left, we found out Elinor had won a door prize!!

The walk back to our car… down the basket-lined lane.

We finished our outing with lunch at Rachel’s in Oregon. Yummy!! Great fun was had by all!!!

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Sample Digital Fabric Book

For Friday’s class:

inside pages
Back cover

I love the colors –
the finished book –
serged edges –
plaid on the back cover.


For info on what the assignment was and other important details, watch the comment box for K’s response. ¬†Big Grin¬†¬†And while you are there… leave a comment.¬†

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Blogging in Google Chrome is sometimes better and sometimes there are things I’m used to that don’t function here. ¬† Do you use Chrome? ¬† Do you like it?

The forecast for the next 7 days calls for sunny & high 70’s – 80’s! ¬†

JP’s first Adv Bio test went well¬†today.¬†

A new set of classes for K has me really confused!

Our twins are celebrating their 19th birthday…¬†
without us…¬†
…today. ¬†¬†
Bummer for us.
I’m the only one that remembers. ¬†

Our county that has only 2 permanent stoplights now has 2 more in the distance between our house and our old house. ¬† That makes going to “town” a real hassle!

I fixed a large hole in a pair of JP’s work jeans today. ¬† Then saw there were holes by the back pockets, by the zipper, and the hem is ratty. ¬† His favorite pair. ¬†¬†

I think I’m ready for the next set of Dear Jane blocks. ¬† I need to scan lots of blocks that are done so I can show you. ¬†

A short nap sounds yummy.

Water aerobics is tonight! ¬†Even better… massage is tomorrow. ¬†

I made 3 batches of soap last week.  

Dan’s garden looks MUCH nicer than my garden. ¬†I don’t even want him (or anyone) to see my garden. ¬† Last night Phil said he was going to take out the fence and start mowing. ¬†¬†
In the span of 7 days, K’s building had one fire drill and one real fire alarm. ¬† Smoke came from the door to floor 5. ¬† A floor for freshman in a special freshman program. ¬† Someone hasn’t learned to cook supper yet. ¬† She said there were 3 fire trucks and the men jumped off and rolled out the hoses. ¬† Such excitement!! ¬†She is getting good at 13 floors of steps. ¬† Ugh.

JP mowed Gpa’s lawn on Tuesday and is mowing our lawn today. ¬† ¬†He gets paid for Gpa’s lawn. ¬†¬†

However, you wouldn’t believe how much he made from selling scrap metal & pop cans yesterday. ¬†Wowsers! ¬† Phil suggested JP was taking us out to supper. Alas, ¬†the money went to his savings account. ¬†

Everyone we show K’s magazine to is sooo excited for her. ¬† You’ve never seen her dad so proud. ¬†

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September Quilt Guild

Last night was quilt guild. No afternoon workshop so I arrived by 6:25 p.m. to be greeter (as VP, one of my jobs) and to get all the other necessities done.

Found a chair, put my secret sister gift in the kitchen, sorted my nickel squares (rust this month), all the while everyone was clamoring to me with their President’s blocks. I was thrilled so many turned their blocks in last night!! I just counted 24 blocks! Yeah!! Out of 66 members, I’m pleased. (Members were given a pattern and fabric recommendations to make a block for the president. What pattern should I choose next year?)

Our program was a trunk show by the owners (Cheri Ebens and Kathy Tilsy) of a quilt shop in Ashton. I’ve never been there as it is quite a ways for me. The shop is called Cottage Garden Quilts. (pardon the messy background as the church where we meet uses the stage for storage!)

I didn’t get many pictures but tried to snap a few so you could see a bit. I bet they brought over 50 quilts to show! It was fun!!

This quilt was given to one of them by her husband. He had gone to Iowa with his friend to specifically buy her a quilt. He knew all about prairie points and that she liked them. This is beautiful & dreamy in person!

This is a quilt make using nickel squares. This is my first year to be in the nickel square exchange so I was interested in a use for them. This pattern is free on their website.

Maybe Aunt Eileen recognizes this pattern as it is the Orange Crush mystery quilt from Quiltville. She just used burgundy instead of orange! https://i0.wp.com/img115.exs.cx/img115/9916/z4dwink.gif

The Dixon quilt guild let us know about their November program and I’m going to go! It will be Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville! https://i0.wp.com/img103.exs.cx/img103/6541/biggrin.gif Then that same week, I’m going to attend a workshop by Bonnie using her Pineapple Blossoms pattern. I’m thinking pinks and darker tans…. but brights would be fun or all blues… too many choices! I’m excited for the program and the class!! (Mrs. So & So paid for my class fee today. WTG!!)

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JPM meets NJP

JP had a great week when his online friend Nick came to visit from New Jersey! We got him from the airport on Monday and he flew back to NJ on Saturday. The guys had a blast together!

A fire outside in the pit and s’mores:

A trip to see the Mississippi River:

I thought the teen boys would love the look out tower at the highest point in IL.
However when we arrived and found the orange construction fence around the bottom, the only other option to them seemed to be… the top of the picnic shelter:

Yes, JP was on his way up and arrived on the top as well. They reported they still couldn’t see over the trees. Bummer!

Thanks for coming Nick!!

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New Room

By evening the kitchen was all unpacked and we had places to sit….

I’m in the middle of the kitchen here, just inside the door.

From kitchen, either up the ladder to the loft or in the bathroom. Her bathroom here is huge! I counted tiles… 5 1/2′ by 7′ and then the tub & shower.

Phil got the TV hooked up so rested with a movie.

K had just bought this tapestry to decorate one wall. Cover that drab white! This is her living area. The doorway you see is the kitchen area.

We are glad she has space to breathe here and a view to the south with sunshine streaming in the windows! She is going to set up her work & sewing area behind the couch & TV area. She had gotten such nice moving boxes, some will be turned into tables in the corners with fabric draped over them.

By Monday evening she had the closet all organized and was getting to other boxes. (Besides 2 classes, another training meeting, getting supplies for Tuesday {Sculptured Headwear}, making lunch & supper.)

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