Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan, Oh my!

A couple of weeks ago, I rented a mini-van, stuffed it with all kinds of quilty goodness, and headed west. The Evergreen Quilt Guild in Green Bay, Wisconsin was my first destination.

But between me and Green Bay, there's a big lake, Lake Michigan. I decided to avoid some of the congested traffic in the Chicago area and opted to take the Lake Express ferry from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When I made the reservation, I had high hopes that high seas would be out of the question--the pictures on the website looked really appealing, after all. However, as I waited for my turn to board the ferry a couple of Mondays ago, I was advised that Lake Michigan had 5-7 foot waves at its center. Rut-roh!

I've never been adversely affected by sea-sickness, so I opted to stay on track and take the ferry crossing. Plus, at this point, I didn't want to be late for the trunk show in Green Bay.

Let's just say, I made it, but I'm pretty sure my face turned several shades of green on the cross-lake journey. Next time, I'll take the long way around!

We had a great time at the guild meeting later that evening (my insides were much calmer by then), and a very dedicated group of quilters worked on 99 Bottles the next day at the guild workshop. Before I headed out of town, my hostess, Tracy Reeb took me on a short tour of Green Bay. Tracy is also my virtual assistant--if you book a workshop with me, Tracy makes all the arrangements, so it's very likely you'll talk with her much more than you talk with me before the event. And she's fabulous! Very detail-oriented.

A drive-by of Lambeau Field.

And a stop in nearby Quilters Connection. They are located very close to the football stadium, and their Row By Row pattern appropriately reflects the local team spirit!

As does the counter display of Green Bay Green and Gold fabrics!

Just in case, you forget where you are, there are reminders everywhere!

A second quilt shop shop at Quilting Divas Sewing Boutique.

I fell right in with the 'diva' at the front entrance!

On to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts.

The museum is housed in an old barn, beautifully refurbished inside. And, of course, the quilts are amazing.

And another quilt shop, just down the road. Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilts. Step inside this late 1800's era schoolhouse and you are greeted with an amazing array of fabrics, displays overloaded with beautiful quilt samples, and friendly people.

And looky here, a Snap Sack kit! Gramma's Favorite!

Cheesey grins from Tink and Dick Linhart (my facebook friends, now real friends) who invited me on this off-the-beaten-trail side trip, Jeanie, the shop owner, and yours truly.

Tink and Dick make tons of quilts for military families. This one, for example. Nice!

The shop is full of unique details. For example, the classroom chairs are painted with classic quilt blocks, identified by name on the back of the chair. Each chair features a different block. Of course, I would choose the bird-themed block!

Then a little R&R with my niece and her family. Back about a year or so ago, Karen asked me for some advice--she wanted to know a little more about this 'quilty stuff.' The Quilting 101 blog follows her step-by-step journey into all things quilty. She's a very creative gal and likes all kinds of crafty stuff. Here, she's adding a little embroidery to a quilt label (like the socks!?).

. . . Karen's little girl, Faye. 14 months old and cuter than cute!

 . . . Let's not forget Karen's husband Josh. Enjoying the park on a beautiful Saturday in Chicago.

After a nice break in Chicago, it was time to get serious and set up at AQS Quilt Week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first day of set up is a lot of box toting and unloading. Afterward, it was time to relax at sunset with a fabulous outdoor dinner at the hotel.

There were plenty of great restaurants nearby in downtown Grand Rapids. The Mexican Restaurant, Cinco de Mayo had bright and colorful decor, including this chair, with--you guessed it--hummingbirds carved into the back of the chair.

Once the booth is set up, a quick photo op. Will anyone come? (Can't seem to shake those last minute jitters! I've been told I'm too much of a worrier!)

Brenda Miller from Among Brenda's Quilts and Bags, crossed over the border from her home in Ontario, Canada to be my booth helper extraordinaire. She handled all the money! Many HUGE thanks to Brenda for her able assistance. She also made sure I had plenty to eat and drink each day.

 . . . and, of course, all that worrying for nothing. Many new friends showed up. I did a variety of demonstrations over the four days of the show. Mostly I talked about the Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing and a new pattern, Taste of Nectar--little quilty 9-patch pins made with the interfacing and fusible foam batting.

And, what do you know, after a day or two, the pins came back to visit the booth with their makers--All complete! Here's Janice wearing her pin!

And Janie!

Future quilters could also be spotted in the booth, complete with kitty headband, face paint, and traveling kitty companion. . .

I also got to present at one of the information sessions. Lots of fun!

And, it wouldn't be a quilt show without a quilt show. This piece was amazing! Lots of dimension and texture and color! (Including a pretty red ribbon!)

 . . . if you like something more traditional . . .

Yowser! . . .

I wonder if the quilter used the Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing to make all those little squares?!

Not to mention some familiar names. My friend Laurie entered her quilt in one of the guild challenges . . . Bravo!

"Phew!" What a whirlwind. Time for a little break! But only a little one!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Alaska or Bust . . . Part 3

After leaving the Tracy Arm Fjord in Alaska, it seemed nearly impossible that we could  encounter scenery as beautiful anywhere else on our journey.

Then our last stop was Victoria, British Columbia.

Hey, no time for any monkey business, we have places to go and people to see!

A short drive from the pier, the world's tallest totem pole, 127 feet and seven inches tall.

I met my good friend and colleague, Daphne Greig. She's a pattern writer, owner of Patchworks Studio and lives in Victoria. Daphne was my tour guide for the day. She's currently running a "Flowers on Friday" Summer Challenge. Check it out on her blog.

Our first stop (aside from the Totem Pole) is Butchart Gardens. In the early 20th century, this property included an limestone quarry. Once the quarry was exhausted, Jennie Butchart got busy building a gardener's paradise! Even before you get inside, visitors get a shock of brilliant color.

Hydrangeas the size of footballs!

Begonias . . .

Hummingbirds were buzzing around the fancy fuchsia blooms just moments before.

The garden is split into sections. This gateway opens to the rose garden. . .

. . . where roses of all shape and size were in full, fragrant bloom. There were red ones. . .

. . . white ones . . .

. . . multi-color . . .

 . . . pretty pale pink. . .

. . . sunny yellow. . .

 . . . blooms at every stage, from tight buds to fully blossomed.

There were plants that almost looked like they dropped in from outer space!

Edges of color . . .

 . . . Busy bees. . .

Dahlias. . .

More color, color, color!

Another totem pole, this one featuring carvings of the eagle, bear, salmon, and orca.

Hard to believe that this was he main part of the limestone quarry.

At the entrance to the Japanese garden, a sculpture fountain, with the original Butchart home in the background.

You are never far away from the sea on Victoria Island.

Lilly pond.

All these flowers can make a quilter hungry. Time for some lunch with Daphne.

Awesome view just outside the restaurant.

Then a drive back to the ship, past The Empress Hotel, where high tea is served in the grandest style.

 . . . and there's a quilt shop stop along the way!

In Victoria, flowers are everywhere you look.

Absolutely everywhere!

Back on the ship, time to start the journey home. At the pier in Seattle again.

But first, all that luggage that went on has to come off.

And the ship needs to be re-supplied with lots and lots of goodies for the next group of passengers.

With a couple of days in Seattle, we headed back to Pike Place Market. Something about this sign struck me as funny. What exactly is the message here? I think one thing is clear, mom doesn't want to deal with dirty diapers!

On a Seattle sidewalk. Looks like a quilt pattern to me!

Seattle Icon, the Space Needle.

Then on to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. Seattle-ite, Dale Chihuly turns glass into giant blown glass sculptures.

This was in the ceiling in one of the exhibit rooms.

Glass forest. . .

A close-up. . .

The sculpture continues in the gardens as well.

The Seattle Great Wheel, a must-do! (We did!)

One last look at the Puget Sound. . .

 . . . before ascending into the clouds.

You know, a trip like this creates so many memorable photo opportunities. But really, it's not about the 'what,' it's about the 'who'--the people you meet along the journey who make any trip a truly important memory. . .

Like the Mounty (Canadian Royal Mounted Police) on board. His horse, Bob, was on the ship, too. But we didn't meet Bob.

Our dining room wait staff, Kevin, and Roj. By the end of the week, they were more like our best buddies than our waiters!

Captain Gustavo stopped by the quilting room a couple of times during the week. Aside from his being a cutie pie, his Argentinian accent made listening to his daily announcements a real treat.

Gail, my on board roommate for the week, and Ashley, my long-time friend who now lives in Seattle, oh so far away from Syracuse. Before and after the cruise, we got to have some good, old-fashioned girly time together.

Jacquelyn. Our Quilt Retreat at Sea 'Mom.'

Michelle. Our Quilt Retreat at Sea Behind-the-Scenes Everything Person.

. . . and the quilters. If you didn't come, this would not have been very much fun at all!

I hope you enjoyed this photo journal. Next time, join in on the fun and come on the cruise! Hugs and  . . .

Happy Stitching!