Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Travelling Quilter

When I travel, I usually don't buy the typical souvenirs. No plastic palm trees, t-shirts or pine boxes with Wisconsin Dells stamped on it. I tend to buy small items for our Christmas tree or fabric. I have purchased lace from Germany, lace and trims in Paris and towel fabric (yes that's right) in Rome. When I'm down south, I tend to try to find Heirloom Sewing shops to add more heirloom laces to my stash. Otherwise, what I find are quilt shops. This year, I have been fortunate to find some great quilt stores while traveling. Our first trip in April was to Arizona. We stayed in Williams, Arizona, right on Route 66. The town had a wonderful feel to it. Part 1960's, part wild west. Jeff had noticed an ad for a quilt shop while reading the local tourism paper. I told him that we really did not have time and we needed to get on the road. But we drove by it and it was in a wonderful old building. You could envision horses tied up to the railing oh so long ago. Well, I had to stop. The quilt shop is called Quilter's Merchantile. This is one of the few times that I actually bought a t-shirt. My t-shirt has a drawing of the store on it. Talk about cowboy heaven, lot's of cowboy and western fabric here. Taylor and I had lot's of fun picking out new cowboy fabric. We met a lovely woman from France who worked in the shop. She had to move back to France and she was quite sad about it. She had been living in the states for several years. Her husband is American but he has health issues. So she is moving back home. She is able to pick up her teaching job that she previously had so her husband could have medical care.

A few days later on our Arizona trip, I found a quilt store in Sedonna. As luck would have it, it was about a half block from our hotel. I didn't get any pictures of this shop. The name is the Quilter's Store and Gallery. Talk about batiks. I've never seen so many batiks in one shop. Also lot's of southwest themed patterns and fabric. Taylor's limit is one fabric store per trip, so she decided to stay out in the truck with Jeff.

This past weekend, Jeff and I went to up to Beaver Bay, Minnesota. Population 175. I would have never imagined that many quilt shops in such a desolate area. Yes, it is a touristy area due to all the wonderful state parks, but still, there are a lot of shops. The first stop, was down a gravel road thru the woods. We saw a small sign on the main highway and Jeff turned around and drove to the quilt shop. The road lead to a handful of cabins on Lake Superior. The picture that I have of Lake Superior is the view that you see right outside the quilt shop. You can tell that the shop really is off the beaten path. The name of the shop is Quilters Cabin. It's on Castle Danger Road in Two Harbours. Here if I purchased my first kit ever. I never buy kits. Too hard to shell out the money all at once. I had found a pattern that I liked and was going to buy, then I saw the kit and decided to buy the kit.

The next shop we stopped at was outside of Silver Bay, MN. The shop is run by four sisters. Their mother is in her 80's and she makes sock monkeys and sells them at the shop. I hope that I am still stitchin' when I'm in my 80's. Here if found some more sock monkey fabric to add to my stash. I also bought a purse pattern. I usually don't like fabric purses but decided to buy this pattern to use for gifts. This shop has been open for a year and a half now. This shop is called Behind the Seams Quilt shop.

Usually Jeff will stay in the truck and listen to the Brewer game. At this last stop, there wasn't a game to listen to so he took the truck and decided to venture up the mountain. As we drove down the road to get to the shop, we saw a sign saying "Lots for Sale". While I was safely in the store buying fabric, he was getting himself in trouble on the mountain. He took the truck up too far and said he almost toppled the truck trying to get to the top lot to see the view. After he picked me up from the quilt shop, he then took me up the mountain. I didn't get a picture of the view. It would be an absolutely stunning view to have if you built up there. We grabbed a brochure. The lots are a little out of our price range. As we travel, we look for places that would fit our lifestyle for retirement. We loved the view and the outdoor activities that the area offered. Realistically, I don't think I want to be that far from the girls and I can't imagine the cost of drilling into rock for water. They still had the blasting wires on the mountain.

I think on our next trip, I will have to take Jeff into the fabric store. It would be safer and cheaper to keep him with me instead of having him roam around.

Soccer, the Final Season

All good things must come to an end, and that is true of 0ur soccer life. We were at Taylor's last game and Jeff had mentioned to one of the parents that we have spent 21 years at girl's soccer games. Lauren didn't start soccer until about 4th or 5th grade. I think we will have a hard time next year when the season starts not sitting on the sidelines. I won't miss standing out in the pouring rain or freezing cold though. We have been lucky for the most part that the girls have been on some great teams. Taylor especially has been blessed with having a wonderful coach. Maybe I'll finally understand off-sides by the time I have grandchildren.

Dang Varmints!

The first couple years that after we moved to Ridgehaven Lane, our garden life was pretty simple. Surprisingly, we had no creatures wreaking havoc on our plants. Well I guess, we really didn't have many plants. We had trees, lots of them. We had evidence of deer going thru the yard but there really wasn't anything for them to feast on. Slowly as we added gardens, shrubs and trees to the property, we've also added more wildlife. Today we are dealing with woodchucks, deer, rabbits, chipmunks, skunks and squirrels to name a few. We had little rabbit activity until year two of our tulips. Year one, the rabbits didn't know the tulips were here. Now every spring, we can't get out there fast enough to put a spray (wolf urine, ick!) on the tulips. Our current nemesis is a squirrel. We had a good week of watching the woodpeckers on their feeders before two squirrels moved onto our property. Now Jeff and I are in a battle of wits with the big squirrel. We now have found two of our woodpecker feeders on the ground. Two weeks ago, we spent some decent money of squirrel guards for the bird house and woodpecker feeders. So far, the big squirrel has managed to maneuver around two of the three the guards. You can see how the squirrel has managed to pull the woodpecker feeder up higher onto the tree limb to get at the food.

We are fighting a loosing battle in our orchard. The birds pick off our cherries. The rabbits chew on the bottom of the tree and the deer feast on the top. We had so much damage to a pear tree by both rabbits and deer that we may never see fruit on that tree. This is only year two for our apple trees and you can see that the deer are very kind. They have broken the lead branch completely in half. Jeff is considering taking out both apple trees and starting over. While in Minnesota this past weekend, we did get better ideas how to fence in the trees from the deer.

Last week, I spied a skunk in the yard. We have seen evidence of the digging but never had seen them. Since I have been on squirrel watch for the last few weeks, I have a habit of walking to the windows early in the morning to see if we have been outfoxed. Well I managed to find the skunk digging for grubs in the back yard. The picture is a little hard to see since it is about 6 am.

The picture of the evergreen trees shows where the woodchuck lives. Yes, you little bastard, I know which tree you live under. That spruce tree is not doing very well. You can tell it is getting more barren at the bottom of the tree. Jeff did kill one two years ago. After he shot it, he wondered if it was illegal to kill them or not. Those little suckers are fast. They hear Jeff slam the door when he's got his gun and the run for the spruce trees.