Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Kind of Town . . .Chicago Is

I just returned from a fantastic few days in the Chicago area. I headed out of Syracuse with a car loaded full of quilts and quilty goodies last Wednesday. My destination: Hinsdale, IL (just outside of Chicago) and the Salt Creek Quilters Guild.

First up: an evening trunk show to a packed house of smiling faces!

salt creek quilters guild

The next day, our first workshop started bright and early. Because I didn't know the area well, and I was staying with my niece and her family, I planned a little extra time and arrived at the workshop location a bit ahead of schedule. A quick google search for some morning caffeine landed me right in front of a famous bakery. A quick step inside Kirschbaum's Bakery, and I had scored dessert for later!

Kirschbaums bakery

Next it was on to some serious sewing! Bloomin' Steps was our project for Friday. Some folks (not mentioning any names!) came with a scraps ready to sew, counted and organized to a 'T.'

scrap fabrics

Soon we started seeing whole blocks, pressed to perfection! . . .

Bloomin Steps scrap quilt

On Saturday morning, a new set of smiling faces appeared to work on the Stained Glass project.


Although, it's hard to choose, this quilt has to be one of my favorite workshop projects. The resulting quilts always look so wildly different based on a couple of inspiration fabric selections and the coordinated scraps.

There are bright and whimsical combinations. . .

scrap quilt

. . . Reproduction . . .


Stained Glass Scrap quilt

. . . Misty neutrals. . .

Stained Glass Scrap quilt

 . . . Bold reds, gray, and black . . .

Stained Glass Scrap quilt

. . . A rainbow of colors inspired by stained glass.

Stained Glass Scrap quilt

Once all the workshop participants retreated to their home sewing studios to continue working on their quilty masterpieces, I spent an extra day with Karen (my niece), Josh (her hubby), and Faye (their super-adorable 2-year old). Our destination for a stunning November Sunday? The amazing Garfield Park Conservatory.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Step inside to a series of connected greenhouses, each representing a different climate. Tropical palm trees to start.

Garfield Park Conservatory

With the terrible events only recently unfolding in Paris, this worker was arranging pennies purposefully in one of the water features.

Garfield Park Conservatory

This greenhouse was like walking into a quilt of light.

Garfield Park Conservatory

And the flowers. . . delicate orchids. . .


. . . Splashes of color to make a quilter drool!


Pin cushion?


Giant leaves of every color and shape. . .

Garfield Park Conservatory

Even Chihuly glass leaves in the koi pond.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Deserts full of prickly succulents in the next greenhouse.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Each greenhouse has so much to take in. This must be a gold mine for teachers and botanists in the Chicago area. And a treasure for people like me who enjoy perpetual summer sun and plant life.

 (I feel a sudden desire to make a pineapple quilt!)

Garfield Park Conservatory

My drive back from Chicago was uneventful with clear, sunny skies the whole distance. And a star-filled sky after sunset. Pretty unique for November in the central and northeast US!

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

A day in the life. . .

. . . of a quilter

A few weeks ago, I lamented over my fading smart phone battery. Well the new phone is now in my possession, and I'm so excited I can now take photos, interact on social media, and actually make phone calls and send messages again without the phone battery going dead at a moment's notice!

This week I'm offering a quick photo essay from my sewing room and vicinity - all the photos were taken with the new phone! . . . Enjoy.

My day usually starts with a little fabric inspiration . . .

quilt fabric

. . . and some sewing . . .


. . . and trimming.


Then, maybe a little exercise at the local rink. Depends on the day. . . and the inclination.


Back at home, time to cut some interfacing to pack some Mini Mug Mat packs. Lots of paper work to do, too, but that's not so much fun to photograph.

Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing

A step outside to enjoy a bit of Indian Summer. Frosty nights and mornings haven't completely swept the Summer away, yet. These begonias are hanging in there.

yellow begonia

A few years ago a twig appeared growing in a strange spot in the garden. We didn't know what the plant was, but let it root and grow. It's now about 12 feet high, and this year, we have a real clue to the plant's identity.

apple tree

Fall . . .


Fading summer. . .

fading sunflower

Milkweed, to draw the monarch butterflies.


This plant was part of the landscaping added with the front patio this summer. All summer long its green foliage gave no hint of the bright red berries to come. I'm not sure what it's called. Anyone?


And all the while, I can't shake the feeling that I'm being watched.

Sleeping parrot

Happy Stitching!