Monday, September 30, 2013


Since we moved into our 1885 Victorian almost 10 years ago, I have dreamt of turning the dreary attic into my own sewing nest—a place where I can stitch the day (and night!) away. One of my friends even volunteered to help with the renovations! Isn't it funny how a good friend can change the way you look at the world and make something that seems so overwhelming conquerable? Unfortunately, that dream of an attic sewing room had to take a back burner to more critical improvements like stabilizing the roof and updating the electrical system. As a result, we've had to stick with simpler projects to keep living in an old house fun. But after seeing Sally's spacious yet inviting attic sewing room during Eagle Creek Quilt Shop's Quilted House tour, that faded dream of creating my own sewing nest has been renewed. The following photos will show you why! Sally's enchanting enclave is just off this cozy 2nd-story sitting room.

Sally is an avid rug hooker. I forgot to ask if she made this beauty that is displayed on the door to the sitting room.

Shop owners Becky and Lori had the sitting room all dressed up in quilts like this one decked out in delightful dwellings.

After climbing the stairs to the attic, I was greeted by this wondrous sewing retreat. It was like something out of my dreams with all the nooks, ample storage, and even a decorative tin ceiling that I didn't get a good shot of. There's just something magical about an attic and what it can become.

Sally and Tom maximized the space under the rafters by installing built-in cupboards with a beautiful milk paint finish.

On the other side of the room is an inviting reading nook lined in more built-in storage. Can't you just envision cuddling up under a quilt here?

A spacious worktable that separates the two areas showcased a quilted treasure for the tour. I think it might be one of Patricia Cox's designs.

Sally's sewing room features all sorts of creative storage ideas like this vintage chicken nester that now corrals quilting and rug hooking supplies. She originally wanted to use it in the bathroom for towel storage but it was too large for that space.

That's all for now. Come back tomorrow for the final installment of my Quilted House Tour blog posts when I'll share a few of Sally's creative decorating ideas as well as some more quilted treasures from the tour. If you missed the first installment from yesterday, be sure to go back a post and take a look.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


As a quilter, one of my favorite stops in the Twin Cities area is Eagle Creek Quilt Shop, a Quilt Sampler Top 10 shop. Owners Becky and Lori have done an amazing job of creating a home away from home for quilt lovers in the vintage brick depot that houses their shop. They're also expert event planners with a knack for orchestrating one-of-a-kind experiences for their customers. One of those events is their annual Quilted House Tour. This year's theme was Quilts in the Country, and the setting was a beautiful 1890s brick Victorian home nestled on a pastoral property. Doesn't it take your breath away?

All of the quilts on display were brought from the shop or are antique treasures. We were greeted by one of the shop quilts on the welcoming porch, enveloped in a verdant garden of evergreens and hydrangeas.

Dressed in a charming table runner and a wool appliqué pillow, this rocker evokes days on gone by.

The heart of the home, below, was not original to the house, but owners Sally (a gifted quilter and rug hooker) and Tom (a gifted woodworker) did a phenomenal job of creating a haven that reflects the period charm of their home. I just love the apron-front farmhouse sink in the island, and what a treat it would be to have a cooking zone lined in brick walls! I'll share more of Sally's wonderful kitchen decorating ideas in a future post.

The cozy dining room beckoned with more beautiful quilts from the shop. As you can see, Eagle Creek Quilt shop owners Becky and Lori have a knack for displaying quilts.

The living room hosted this amazing antique crazy quilt that was a gift to Lori from local quilter, teacher, and designer, Patricia Cox.

The home was replete with wonderful woodwork, such as this railing that partially enclosed the living room. 

Cloth dolls make wonderful companions for quilts. I loved how the shop owners paired this quilted treasure with a cloth doll in the entryway. 

A beguiling assortment of pink antique and reproduction quilts lured me into one of the upstairs bedrooms. Isn't this little reproduction quilt darling? Becky had it displayed so prettily on a dresser.

Want to see more of this amazing quilted house tour? Come back soon when I'll share more photos, including my favorite space in the whole house—Sally's attic sewing room. I could have easily moved right in! Speaking of Sally, she and her husband were such gracious hosts, and they happily shared details about their wonderful home with us. Their enthusiasm for their home gave us renewed inspiration for our own old Victorian. Owning an old home has it's challenging moments (we often refer to our house as the "old yellow doghouse" with all its problems) and with the Great Recession, many of our remodeling efforts came to an abrupt halt as we decided to wait things out so we could feel more comfortable about making continued improvements. Needless to say, we definitely needed fresh inspiration! 

Monday, September 2, 2013


This past month has been been filled with fun thrifting excursions, which I typically make on Saturday mornings. Last Saturday, I rescued this vintage 1917 Arts-and-Crafts-style White treadle sewing machine from a garage sale in Des Moines. The homeowners were having trouble selling it, so we ended up taking it home with us for free. I don't need another treadle sewing machine but I didn't want to see it go to the dump!

It has certainly been well used and loved, but to me, that only makes it more beautiful!

I also happened upon an estate sale with several antique toy sewing machines and was delighted to come away with this little green gem for $35, pictured below among my other finds from the sale.

As I've mentioned before on my blog, I collect antique sewing trade cards. In the back room, I found several plastic sleeves filled with them. The ones pictured below are a small sampling of them.

The homeowner must have been a lover of all things sewing as she also had a sizable collection of sewing accessories, including these sewing scissors. These were made in Germany.

And what a thrill it was to find this sweet antique squirrel pincushion. To be honest, I wasn't sure if it was old or new even though it was labeled as an antique from the Victorian period. I couldn't find any "Made in China" tag on it, so I'm fairly sure it wasn't mass produced. It doesn't really matter to me whether it's old or new because it just spoke to me, and it was quite reasonably priced at $7.

I also found these new miniature wooden spools in a variety of sizes. I plan to use them for the papier mache dolls that I make. They're the perfect size for them! See the quarter placed among them for a better idea of their teeny scale.

And how I could resist a vintage cookbook in my favorite shade of pink?! It was only $1.

So what DIDN'T come home with me? Lots of fun stuff like these vintage quilts...

And this doll cradle fashioned from a vintage sewing machine case top...

And this sweet collection of miniature crocks that each stood about 2–4 inches tall...

On a totally different note, our small community recently got a new Hy-Vee grocery store and we stopped by on opening day this past Tuesday. I promised my mom I'd post pics so she could see them. So if you're not into grocery stores, you can stop here because the remaining photos are all of Hy-Vee! We were most impressed by their exotic selection of fruit. As you might imagine, it's rather difficult to find exotic fruit here in the Midwest but there was no shortage of it here. For their opening day, the store was providing free samples for customers to try. I've found several recipes for this white dragon fruit on Pinterest, and now I could actually try them!

These kiwano melons looked rather dangerous with their spiky exteriors. The sign next to them said they have a mild flavor similar to cucumbers.

Who knew there were Korean melons?! The sign next to them said that they have mild sweet flavor similar to that of a pear.

My husband likes lychee, so it will be nice to be able to buy fresh. 

These mini pineapples were so cute, but I can't see buying them over a regular size pineapple because I'm too much of a pig when it comes to pineapple. I could practically eat half of one in one sitting were it not for the fact my tongue cannot take that much acidity!

These donut peaches were tempting but I think I'll stick with the Missouri peaches I've been enjoying. I like it that they are practically grown in my backyard.

I wonder if these Cotton Candy grapes really taste like what their name suggests?!

The cauliflower was quite colorful. I've tried the green and purple kind before but didn't care for it as much as the regular white kind. The sign next to them says that the green variety has a pleasant nutty aftertaste and that its texture is softer than white cauliflower. The purple cauliflower is supposed to taste the same as regular white cauliflower but it is very high in antioxidants. Maybe it tastes different to me because it's purple and not white?! Hee hee!

I don't know that I'm adventurous to try many of these exotic offerings but I was pleased to find and take home some white asparagus! Yum!

There's certainly something for everyone at our newest grocery store—even our four-legged friends. This doggie food bar was getting a lot of attention and I had to wait awhile to get a decent photo of it without a bunch of people in it! 

So Mom, I hope you enjoyed the photos of our new Hy-Vee! That's all for now! Back later with more thrifting finds.