Sunday, August 29, 2010

We're Back From Ohio

Did you miss me? I missed all of you but I took loads of photos to share the trip with you all. If you just can't wait you can go see them all on my Flickr account. You will miss all the lovely stories though, but it's up to you. First of all let me say that I had a fabulous time with my hubby. We decided to take a mini vaca to Berlin Ohio. The heart of Amish country. I found out that the largest population of Amish are located in Berlin. We hopped in the car and as we got underway we stopped for a light and this is what I saw.
What is this
What in the world??? Your guess is as good as mine, but at least you have to believe me when I say I saw this oddity!
The first place we stopped was Lehmans. A HUGE, gigantic everything shop. I don't really know how to describe it other than that. It just kept going and going. Kind of like a hardware, country store, feed store type of a deal. Just look at what I found in the candy department!
My Big Hunk
Ok it was really my DH but I think they made that candy bar for him! We bought some stuff. I was especially fond of this owl cookie mold, which may (or may not) have found it's way into my shopping cart!
owl cookie mold
We went to the quilt shop right behind this gargantuan shop. I bought a few things there, but not too many. I need to get pics of the things I got here. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow, it's too dark right now.

I don't even know how long we were there. I just bought the new quilt shop finder book on Monday and where was it for this trip?? At home on the couch! BOO!! I had to wing it. We stopped at the Lone Star Quilt shop(mt. Hope, OH) on the way to Berlin. I made a few purchases. I am going to have to show you the purchases tomorrow as I still need to photograph them and also I can't remember what I bought where, mostly. When we came outside these adorable Amish children were just down the sidewalk. So cute!
Amish girls 01
All the quilt shops I will talk about can be found here, at their shop hop page. It is easier to just have them all in one place for you to go and visit if you wish to.
We did a lot of driving and saw a lot of beautiful scenery too.
Cows on a hillCows on hillside
Lots of buggies too
kids in buggyThree in a buggy 01
We made it into Berlin and is it ever a hoppin place. Lots of shopping and lots of antiquing and a little quilt shop shoppingand LOTS of Amish! We went to this cool shop and got a few new additions like this Carved and lighted Jack-o-lantern gourd.
Halloween gourd
and this wonderful Amish hand made sewing basket.
Amish sewing basket
One shop had some awesome fairy garden displays.
Fairy Garden 05Fairy Garden 01
I *will* be making one of these! Just stay tuned!! Aren't they adorable??
Now how could I resist this photo op? Too funny!
Pam's Place
Went to the Country Craft Cupboard and found these goodies plus a fisherman pattern (poor photo of that, so no pic) It said something like give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day but teach a man to fish and he will be gone all weekend! LOL
Berlin Ohio Trip purchases 8-10 004Berlin Ohio Trip purchases 8-10 003
Oh yeah and this too. A little for PTM?? I think so.
Berlin Ohio Trip purchases 8-10 002
Everything closes up at 5pm so we headed out to our B & B, Hasserman House. What a treat! We stayed in the boys room and it was fantastic. Here is our bathroom, and our bed and our room.
Our bathroomOur room
The blue pillow on the bed is mine, I can't sleep without my own pillow!
Our bed

They are owned by the same people that own the Amish Door. Which is where we ate dinner that first night. We shopped at their little shop too and DH said, "Hey I found the perfect mug for you". I went around the corner to see if he was joking but he was right it was the perfect mug for me, so I bought it.
Owl mug
Ok, I have to stop here and go and throw in some laundry and then pay some bills and pack my gym bag before heading off to bed. I did weigh in on Sat and thought I would be up but I was down another 0.4, so good for me!

Oh and if you made it this far I have a treat for you. I FINISHED MY DESIGN STAR CHALLENGE QUILT TOP TODAY!!!! I don't think I should show it until McCall's shows it on their site though, but PHEW am I ever happy to be done. I LOVE how it came out too. You will have to wait until September 15th to see it finished though. I also labeled the monster rag quilt and wrapped it and the chenille blanket for gifts to be given this week. Off to make caramel brownies too, almost forgot!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PTM and TAP's BIG Adventure

Yes you did read that right. You remember my BFF Pauline (Pauline The Magnificant) and now she has her very own blog and she calls me TAP (The Amazing Pam), LOL. Not sure if that is really true but it is what it is! So I started a week of vacation this week, and boy do I need it. I had planned on a trip to the local fabric distributor with PTM for their BIG open house celebration on Monday. I was dragging my behind after my Sunday adventures so we left at 9am instead of our usual 7am. It was better that way!

We got to Checker and checked in and got our packet and lunch tickets. Then off to the show room. Some very famous folks were there demoing their stuff. Elenor Burns was there with her new Barns book. PTM was waiting to talk to her. (That's her in the pink striped shirt)
Checker trip 8-10 001
We saw some slick new Creative Grid rulers, a piping ruler that was really slick (and I meant to go back and buy but forgot). We met Nancy Halverson too. She was talking about a new fusible product that you can run through your printer and print your applique patterns onto rather than tracing them. She even has all her patterns for Tidings on her website that you can download for a small fee to print and use. Really slick! We also met Karen Eckmeier. She does the book Happy Villages and Layered Waves. Amazing stuff. She was so very plesant to talk with and she signed my books too. Here are 2 of the quilts from her books.
Checker trip 8-10 005Checker trip 8-10 003
Don't you just love the Halloween one?? I do! Very cool techniques, both of them.

We had preordered some stuff and I ended up with a bolt of Kona Snow and a really good deal on a 6.5 x 24 CG ruler! We saw some quilts from the Hobo book that were kind of cool.
Checker trip 8-10 007Checker trip 8-10 008
I had a conversation with a woman about this one...
Checker trip 8-10 006
Some woman was saying how ugly it was and yet I was fascinated by it. Apparently it is supposed to be hats and scarves. I thought it looked like modern sheep! How funny is that?? What do you think??

They had a catered lunch for us with pulled pork, chicken, mac and cheese and green beans. It was awesome! (Goodbye diet, hello weight gain, but sooo worth it! Here we are in the lunch area. (well, PTM anyway!
Checker trip 8-10 009

We finally got out of there and headed home. We decided to stop in Tecumseh at the Quilt Patch. We bought a few things, on sale and headed out to the farm to see LTW and bring her her pre-ordered things too. She couldn't go and play since her boss had been away for a month and got back on Monday! Bummer!! So we played with the chickens, got some eggs, and some veggies and went on our merry way.

Today was spent doing laundry, fixing the garage door, and the fridge (leaky hose). Tomorrow we are planning on going to Berlin Ohio (heart of Amish country) just me and my DH. He had been away in Canada all last week but is now home and on vacation for this week too. We will stay at a B & B and just have some fun together for the next 2 or 3 days.

I probably won't post again until we get back, so have a wonderful few days and I will touch base when I get home.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Traverse City Triathalon

DD2 and I left around 10 to make the four and a half hour drive to Traverse City for her to compete in her first triathalon on Sunday. What a big adventure we had! We ended up leaving 2 hours later than planned. This should have been the forewarning to me that this would not be a smooth trip. Along with the fact that I saw soooooo many crows on the way there (a harbinger of bad things happening for me when I see them).

After we finally got on the road, we decided to stop in Bay City to see one of her best friends and her mom. We ate at a place that has amazing Caesar Salads, Tommy V's. I knew where we were going except that the place had moved. Sign number 2. Lunch was a blast and the food was so good. We finally got on the road around 3. We weren't a mile down the street when DD2 remembers that she left her running shoes at home. Sign number 3. She called her friend that we just ate lunch with and borrowed a pair of her shoes, 2 sizes too big but it's her feet. I was just going to get her another pair, but no. Back in the car almost to TC when she looks at me and says, "Mom, you're gonna kill me...I forgot my quick release in my car at home". This little thing hooks the front wheel to the bike. Sign number 4. No problem, go on my phone and find a bike shop. Closed. Ok how about Walmart? Drive another 45 minutes to Walmart, thankfully in TC. No part, Toys R Us? No part. MC Sporting goods? No part. Gander Mountain? No part. (Lost track of how many signs this was). No problem, let's go and get your packet since it is now after 7 and we have to be there before 8 to do this. Where do we need to go? McClains BIKE SHOP! Told you, no problem. Got the part, got the packet.

Off to the hotel right? No. "uh, mom?" "yes?" "I forgot my bike helmet, can we go to Meijer and get a cheap one?" "Sure". So we head off to Meijer. Helmet in hand we arrive at our hotel. Open the back of the van, there is her helmet! You just have to laugh at this point right? RIGHT?? We eat the food I had packed for lunch for dinner and go to bed.

We get to Bower's Harbor on time and get her with her gear to the transition area. She is watching everyone around her pump up their tires so she goes to the bike shop station and asks them to pump up hers. As she is wheeling her bike away, her tube inside the tire blows. Great, what sign are we on again? They replace it for free, and pump it up and it blows again. Third times a charm right? Yes, we got the bike back to the transition area no problem. Here she is getting ready.

Kelsey's First Triathalon 001
I told her not to worry, all the bad stuff was already over and now she could just concentrate on her races. Pre swim, swim and finish of the swim part.
Kelsey's First Triathalon 004Kelsey's First Triathalon 014Kelsey's First Triathalon 019
She was third out of the swim, which was, as you can see in Bower's Harbor, part of lake Michigan inside the Traverse City Bay area.
Kelsey's First Triathalon 024
After they exit from swimming the 750 open water swim they run to the transition area, clean off their feet and change into biking clothes like this
Kelsey's First Triathalon 028Kelsey's First Triathalon 033
Then off they go on the 12 point something mile bike race ( this was the sprint race too!!)
Kelsey's First Triathalon 036
I was watching her go and saw her roommate Betsy, who lives in TC. She had come to watch too and brought a sign her mom had made.
Kelsey's First Triathalon 045
This was so sweet of her. Now we just had to wait for her to get finished with the bike part, and head back to transition to drop off her bike and begin the run. Here she comes down the hill heading into transition again. GO KELSEY!! I'm pretty much the proudest person alive at this time, I'm pretty sure!
Kelsey's First Triathalon 040
Dropping off the bike heading out.
Kelsey's First Triathalon 042Kelsey's First Triathalon 044
Still smiling, not too bad!
Kelsey's First Triathalon 049
They ran half a 5k. They finished up in the park with a 0.8mile loop around the park. Here she is starting into the park, almost done!
Kelsey's First Triathalon 051Kelsey's First Triathalon 055
They wore a chip on their ankles that will provide all the times. We didn't stay to find out.
There were volunteers at the end of the race to remove the chips.
Kelsey's First Triathalon 056
She is already planning on how to improve for the next one. OK, I need a checklist if we are going to keep doing this!
Kelsey's First Triathalon 058
She was tired but happy! I was tired and so very proud. We really did have a great time. Next stop? Higgins Lake with those same friends we met for lunch. I have to go off with PTM in about 20 minutes so will share more later.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm Going On A Trip and I'm Taking My...

Do you remember playing that game? One person starts with "I'm going on a trip and I'm taking my________________(fill in the blank). Then the next person repeats what the first person says and adds whatever they are taking. It's a great ice breaker game.

Anyway, I'm really going on a trip with my DD2 to Traverse City. I haven't been there in a long time and it is so beautiful. It is kind of a dreary day here but hopefully it will be nice there. I spent all last night (after the torture class at the gym) preparing for our trip. Groceries, food prep, laundry and of course house cleaning. Why is it I feel better leaving with all the laundry done and the house clean? My kids call me a "clean freak" but I'm not really.

DD2 is participating in her first Triathalon. She needs to pick up some kind of packet tonight and we have to be at the course between 6 and 7am tomorrow. I sent DD1 off to a bridal shower and DS is still in bed (lucky him!) I went and weighed in this am and lost 0.4 pounds. I seem to be up a little, down a little but not able to push past this point. I am hoping the Friday night torture class will help with that. Hmmm, maybe I should just be more diligent about what I put in my mouth, eh?

DD2 wants to go to the beach and I would like to stop at at least one quilt shop on our way up. There are a zillion wineries there too so maybe some wine tasting? We'll see how we are on time. DH is due home from Canada tonight too. He was trying to figure out if he can meet us in TC, so will see how that works out for us.

I am, most likely, not going to post again until Sunday or later. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We Interrupt Your Normal Week For a Quick Quilty Break!

Wow, I had a fantastic day today. I had stayed up late last night canning my salsa and so didn't get up at the usual 5 am to go to the gym. I did go but not until around 9:30! I did half an hour and came home because I had taken the day off to go over to PTM's house to meet her sister, her sister's friend and her 2 nieces. I had a blast in PTM's basement. First we had lunch. Fabulous. Then we headed to the basement. I got to use PTM's sewing machine, so I left my little portable in the bag.
Here is her sister Margaret (on the right) and her friend, Sharon on the left.
Sharon and Margaret
I got a pic of Kristen and Nicole but they didn't turn out very well, (not my camera). I also had Margaret take one of me and Pauline to share with you all too. Wow, I have no idea what was going on with my wild hair!!
Pauline and Me
I managed to get the white borders of the challenge quilt all cut out. I need to get some more muslin for the string piecing for the border but still, I got the rest cut. They all loved my blocks too. I had brought the mermaid with me to work on also. By the time I was done I had one wave row complete.
Working on MermaidMermaind with one wave
Then I had to rush home to grab a quick bite before quilting. I had put boneless ribs into the crock pot before I went to PTM's so had s bite with some left over summer squash and green beans, YUM. Then packed up and off to quilting. My newest BOM had arrived from the FQS so I took it with me and ended up getting that all made too. I have been able to make 2 from the last 2 blocks but was short just a bit of getting that to work with this block. I will have to cut into my stash to finish this one! Oh well.
Wreath 03
I finally got home and now need to do the dishes and put away the food and put my quilt stuff away and then off to bed. Back to the normal work day tomorrow, boo!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Designing is Difficult!

I had the opportunity to work all day on Sunday on the quilt I have designed and am now making for the McCall's Design Star Challenge. I am pretty happy with how it is coming along. It's amazing what the humble strings can turn into, LOL. If you are following along, you will remember my color palate is aqua and green with white. Two different star patterns. I love my humble strings! Here are the first few building blocks.
Challenge Quilt 1 First block 002
Notice how they form a darker square in the center...except that the one in the lower right corner is not playing nicely. The string I chose for the defining line reads more as a medium. So I scrapped that block and made another one. Then I got to put my star together. It is a dark aqua square in the center, inside a medium aqua square using light aqua points. Please let me know what you think of this one. I am in love with it!
Challenge Quilt 1 First block 004
In fact block 2 quickly followed! So now there are two!!
Challenge Quilt 1 First 2 blocks 004
You should know that each finished star is 24" x 24"! So they are BIG!!! Easy right? NOPE!
All those seams coming together with the addition of foundation made lining things up tricky. I think I managed but there was some un-sewing involved.
Then I sewed the green string blocks. I layed out 2 different versions of that star.
Challenge Quilt 1 Third block 004Challenge Quilt 1 Third block 003
In the end, I decided that the first one could be deemed to be the same as the aqua star, so I made the one with the pinwheel in it. I still have the 4th one to put together and then I can begin the borders. I am still playing around with that. I will keep you posted though.

It's 11:30pm, and I am beat, but can't go to bed just yet as I *finally* made salsa and still want to can it before I go to bed. I am washing the jars in the dishwasher and have everything in a state of boiling in anticipation of the jars. It is my first attempt at canning my salsa, so will let you know how it turns out!
I took tomorrow off work so I can go over to PTM's house and "play" with her, her sister and her niece. I am looking forward to it. I hope to bring some border stuff to work on, or maybe the HST blocks for the mermaid quilt. I will have to see if I can borrow DD1's camera since mine has decided to stay broken. OK, time to go and finish the canning!!