Sunday, May 31, 2015


Here's blog post 2 of Quilt Market. Had hoped to be back sooner, but shortly after returning from Quilt Market, I had to head off to Kansas City for the National African Violet Convention. And between the trips, I hosted a fish luncheon for Memorial Day and went to the local symphony's patriotic performance featuring Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and musical hits from Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot. Needless to say, it's made for a hectic past few weeks. I just returned home from KC and hope to stay put for a while! I have much to share about the latter trip, too, including some gorgeous photos of African violets. But first back to Quilt Market, where I had the pleasure of seeing Dawn Heese's inviting booth. Dawn's designs never cease to amaze me. I especially loved her color combinations in the two quilted beauties behind her, but any of her classic designs would look right at home in Ashton House!

Norma Whaley's timeless designs are also a favorite of mine. Her booth was bustling with admirers, so I snapped this photo of Norma as soon as I could!

As usual, there were lots of new fabrics on display. I especially adored this upcoming fabric collection by Yvonne Cook. It's produced by a new fabric company called Washington Street Studio.

I'm a big fan of Bunny Hill Designs and love to use their wools in my wool projects. Her latest fabric collection, Kindred Spirits, features this pretty palette of pinks, blues, and browns. It was fun chatting with Anne. I follow her blog and enjoy reading about her many furry friends.

I also enjoy the vintage charm of Darlene Zimmerman's fabric. 

Lots of fun seasonal prints will be on their way to a quilt shop new you. I was captivated by these Christmas and Halloween prints by Anna Griffin's fabric company.

I'll close today's post with a charming vignette from the Cotton & Steel booth. While passing by, I spotted the vintage green Elna sewing machine. Speaking of vintage, I'll be back next time with some scenes from my visit to one of Minneapolis' vintage clothing shops, where I found several goodies to add to my wardrobe. It's amazing how many of the vintage clothes are as stylish today as they were then! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I just got back from the whirlwind that is Spring Quilt Market. I got back just in time to catch the series finale of Mad Men. What a brilliant way to end the show with the Coke ad--at first I thought it was a bit ambiguous but then I totally got it. But I digress! Back to Quilt Market matters. This spring it was held in Minneapolis, an easy drive for me. Opening day was last Friday, and my first stop was our booth (For those of you not familiar with my blog, I'm the editor of Primitive Quilts and Projects magazine). Gretchen and Leah did a great job setting it up. Gretchen is one of the three founders of the magazine, and Leah is the daughter of one of the other founders (Judy).

While Gretchen and Leah greeted guests in the booth, I walked the floor, scouting potential project designers, checking out the latest products in the quilt world, and catching up with the many designers whose projects have graced our pages. One of the latter is the effervescent Phyllis Meiring, who has a knack for turning wool into the most whimsical creations. I've worked with her wool for several years now and can't say enough positive things about. The colors are out of this world.

I always enjoy seeing Pam Buda and her timeless designs. Enveloped in warm brown and red tones, her booth made me want to curl up with all the beautiful quilts. That classic color duo also takes center stage in Pam's latest fabric line, Treenware & Berries, inspired by Pam's personal collection of early American Treenware. Be sure to check it out at your local quilt shop or an online quilt shop.

And it was lovely to run into fellow Iowa girl, Deanne Eisenman, whose projects have been featured in multiple issues of the magazine. Isn't the quilt behind her spectacular? Deanne has a new book out. It's called Blooming Patchwork: A Celebration of Appliqué in Quilts. It's definitely one you'll want to add to your quilting library.

That's all I have time to share today today, but I'll be back with more posts about my Quilt Market trip, including some cool products and fabric, as well as some scenes from the few area shopping excursions I managed to squeeze in after Quilt Market duties!

Thursday, May 7, 2015


It's that glorious time of year again when the magical morel mushroom makes its awe-inspiring appearance, and my husband and his dad sure hit the bumper crop during their latest forage for these golden nuggets. Searching for them is harder than you might think as they like to hide under brush and twigs (see below photo) and the woodland terrain can be rigorous. Undeterred by this challenge, the intrepid duo emerged victorious from their mushroom-hunting excursion, bringing back more than 100 of them! Dad put them into gallon bags and only kept about 10 of them and let us have the rest. How lucky am I? My husband doesn't eat many, so I end up eating the lion's share of them. I'll eat these goodies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until they're all gone as you want to eat them as fresh as possible.

As soon as my husband returned with this golden harvest, I got right to cleaning them in time for dinner.

It's hard to imagine a more memorable meal than one with morels. They're the cream of the mushroom crop—or for that matter any food! Typically, I sauté mine in butter. I love the mixture of their crunchy exterior with their soft, spongy interior.

Because of my kidney condition, I have to limit my intake of fried foods. So lately, I've been baking these beauties instead. I do miss the buttery flavor but they taste equally divine freshly baked since it's the mushroom's inherent flavor—and not really the butter—that I truly love. These are dipped in egg, then covered with Panko breadcrumbs (I use about 1 cup for my whole batch—I typically eat about 20 mushroom for one meal, depending on their size). Like many mushrooms, morels are very nutritious. They are low in calories (just 20 calories per cup) plus they are packed with iron and potassium (the latter is something I especially need and is now the only medication I have to take). Here is what they look liked baked:

It must have been my day as that same afternoon, my crazy cat lady outfit—a delightful black-and-white cat dress and two pairs of low heels—arrived in the mail. A few weeks ago, I noticed the company that sells the cat shoes was having a 25 percent off sale with free shipping. The shoes fit perfectly and are so comfortable for heels. I bought the dress because it reminds me of Teddy, my sweet black kitty who passed away last year. The dress will come in handy for my goal to wear more dresses this spring and summer. So far, I have worn 10 new dresses in the past month. I wear them anywhere from church to a simple trip to the post office. As one fashionable friend told me, you don't have a special occasion to wear a dress, and you know, she's right. It's about wearing what makes you feel good and quite frankly, that's all that matters.