Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I'm excited to tell you about my latest quilt book editing project, which will be published in May! If you love wool and 1800s reproduction fabrics, you'll want to check it out! Simple Blessings in Patchwork: 13 Traditional Projects with a Twist brings fresh inspiration from the talented sister duo known as Yellow Creek Quilt Designs. Jill and Vicki's designs both grace the cover. I will share more details as I can but wanted to let you know you can pre-order the book on the C&T Publishing website at this link.

Thanks to all who so warmly welcomed my new kitty Figgy who I introduced in my last post. It took him a little while to navigate our stairs to find this favorite hangout on my cedar chest. The vet said he's about a month behind physically but mentally he is quite sharp.

He is fast becoming a spoiled kitty. This surprise package of kitty toys and treats arrived just last week from fellow cat-loving friend, Merry. How sweet is that?! We were so touched by her kindness. The box even came addressed to Figgy! Needless to say, Figgy didn't wait to let me take the toys out of the box. He helped himself to them!

All the toys were quite imaginative and ones I'd never seen before. The cute cat face in the photo above is a laser toy. Figgy especially loved this green toy (I call it a cat dog!). I couldn't get a good photo of him with it because he was moving so fast as he both hugged and kicked it.

I feel a little sorry for Figgy as he's living in a bit of a state of chaos as we pull up our carpet in preparation for new later this spring. It was quite a feat to move all the furniture out of our dining room. Those of you have seen photos of it before will know why! Here's what was under that old carpet. A friend suggested we consider painting the hardwood. Hadn't thought of that. 

I'm sorry to digress from the title of my blog post! I seem to be having trouble focusing this week! This past weekend we had the most wonderful dining experience at Strudl Haus here in Des Moines. It's rare to find a restaurant that has both good food and entertainment, so we were delighted to enjoy an idyllic evening at this Austrian restaurant where we could dine while being serenaded by the sweet sounds of a talented violinist.  She did an amazing job!

She played everything from classical and Celtic pieces to broadway favorites and pop tunes like Lady Gaga's Bad Romance with flair. I didn't think Lady Gaga could sound so good on a violin! No offense to Lady Gaga. I do love her music. The violinist (below) also played classics like the Beatles' Let It Be and the Hawaiian ukulele version of Somewhere over the Rainbow. Figgy loves to listen to the latter, it's so mellow!

We can't recommend the food enough! My husband had the chicken cordon bleu (below) and for dessert, a scrumptious Napoleon and raspberry hot chocolate.

I forgot to take a photo of the Napoleon while we were there but had taken a shot of it when we ate at Gaston at the Des Moines Art Center a few weeks ago. They also serve them there, although they are freshly made at Strudl Haus.

I couldn't wait to dig into the pork schnitzel and a decadent lemon cake (below). Both our entrees came with parsley potatoes and asparagus and homemade bread, and the restaurant serves a sampling of sauerkraut and other salad accoutrements before the entree. We felt the food was very reasonably priced as we were both able to eat quite well and enjoy some lovely entertainment in the process for $50. The chef takes great pride in his food and came out to greet his guests. 

If you live in the Des Moines area or ever pass through it, I'd definitely recommend Strudl Haus. It's not a very large place so reservations are highly recommended. Those who just show up have to wait awhile. The violinist plays on Saturday evenings. Because it was cooler that evening, I was able to get a little more wear out of my winter coats by wearing this vintage early 1970s purple crushed velvet coat. Quite frankly, I thought it was a bit of an oddity when I bought it so I was surprised when two people at the restaurant asked me about it. Most of the time I figure people are just being nice when they mention things like that but one of the waitresses even asked me where I got it. So I'm thinking it must not look exactly vintage. What do you think? I'd be curious to know! And for those of you who remember wearing 1970s fashions, do you recall seeing a coat like this? I buy vintage because I feel like I'm getting something a little more unique and I think it's better made than today's clothes. I also like their nostalgic charm. I've always thought I had quirky taste in clothes so I don't expect anyone to really understand it. The important thing is that it makes me happy.

The very next day I wore this vintage 1960s shift dress to church. Yes, I know, crazy weather we have here in Iowa where we can go from winter coats to sleeveless dresses in less than 24 hours! Again just like with the purple coat, I was approached by a lady telling me that she liked the dress and asking me where I got it. So I'm starting to wonder if vintage clothing doesn't really look vintage? I would be curious to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me. The shop I purchased the dress from suggested I wear it with a belt because the dress was a little baggy. The clogs are 1970s-style Swedish Hasbeens. You would think they would be uncomfortable and take awhile to break in but these were comfy from the instant I put them on! Some of their other styles took awhile to get used to, though.