Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wranglers Among Us


“Vision” ~ By Richard Caro

Currently on Display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden, Colorado


This weekend our quilting path finds us in Fort Collins, Colorado. Even though I love the prairie, I do admit a little envy toward those fortunate individuals who live in the foothills where the prairie meets the mountains. They have such a scenic canvas in front of them during their everyday lives of just doing the mundane, like driving to work or going to the grocery store; I truly hope they have appreciation for their scenic back drop in their everyday lives, it must lift their spirits every night when they come home from work.

Matthew was excited as we trekked across four states, he constantly was studying the GPS to make sure we were on the right course. Friday night we stayed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. As we headed south yesterday, Laura wanted to read her book, giving me instructions to let her know if there was anything interesting to look at, she wanted to be sure not to miss anything. After being distracted by me for the first 25 minutes of reading, she set down her “nook” e-reader because the enduring scenery was just too beautiful to miss.

As we drove past the Anheuser-Busch plant, I spied some of the famous Clydesdales in the paddock, out for exercise. Matthew instantly wondered if Dick was there and if we could stop in and see him. (Dick was his favorite horse when we saw the Budweiser Clydesdales on tour at the Black Hills Stock Show last year.) We pulled in and toured the stables at the training facility, and visited the gift shop. Dick was on the road at a show, however we were able to see Dan, Serendipity, and Wheeler; young Clydesdales being trained for the hitch.

Passing on the distillery tour, for lack of motivation and time, we continued toward our more exciting destination: The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado. The exhibits changes four times annually. Shows range from historic to contemporary, traditional to art quilts, using many styles and techniques. Biennially they present an exhibit of quilts by men. Click here to visit their website.


Here is an excerpt from their description of their current display:

“WRANGLER’S AMONG US: 10th Biennial Men’s Show:”

“Men make quilts, too, and their work continues to make a significant impact on the world of quilting. Quilts by Ricky Tims, David Taylor, Joe Cunningham, Carmon Slater, Scott Murkin, Edward Bostic, Richard Caro, Allen Tremain, and more will be on display. RMQM continues to showcase the fine quilt of men you know and men whose names you will be hearing.”

Sadly, I guess I have to confess, that my name falls under the category of “men whose names you will be hearing”. However brief my mention might be, I can officially say that my quilt enjoys the company of afore mentioned famous male quilters. Of extreme interest to myself was the Men's Round Robin, which also was part of the exhibit.

Click here to see the page on our website for the “Men’s Round Robin” that I participated in. These five quilts were included in the “Wranglers Among Us” display at the RMQM. It was an honor to see them in the gallery, and interesting to chat with the visitors who were enjoying the display.

If any of our readers live in the Denver area please consider a visit to the RMQM this quarter, as the display runs from February 2-May 2.

Also, for any of our friends in the SD, ND, MN or IA areas, please make plans to attend the Brookings Quilt Show, April 17- 18, 2010. Here is a link to the show website:

This year the featured quilter is Joe Cunningham, one of the afore mentioned ‘famous male quilters’. There is class information on their website, however one event not to miss is the Saturday Luncheon: (tickets need to be purchased in advance for the luncheon, contact information is on their website).

In a self bio Joe says, “Now I travel all over the country to perform my one-man musical, Joe the Quilter, and teach classes.” Joe will be giving a trunk show and performing his one-man musical during the luncheon. I can hardly wait.

Also featuring: SPECIAL EXHIBITS: ‘Montana Men Quilts & Local Men Quilters.’

What they failed to mention is that Dakota Cabin Quilts will be one of their vendors this year FEATURING: ‘yours truly’. (Since I am not famous I gotta grab the spotlight when I can!)

~ See you at the show!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Rites of Spring

Good Morning!

The snow is melting, and rain is in the forecast. We've officially entered our "season of mud", and both Sox & Matthew must meet inspection before coming in the house.

I've been hard at work at the most uncreative task imaginable... income tax preparation. I'm blessed that Laurie-Ann keeps our business records up to date and as organized as could be. But, both Wesley & myself need to supplement her files with our "stuff", so we've been working on that. The good news is that we're nearly done. Hooray! One of the best feelings in my world occurs on the day that Wesley & I deliver our completed records to our accountant's office up the street. We walk back to the quilt store in the sunshine, hand in hand, feeling like a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders. For us, it's an important "Rite of Spring".

What I've been lacking in creativity, Wesley & Matthew have more than made up for. With Wesley's help, Matthew has completed his first Cub Scout Pinewood derby car, just in time for tonight's big race. Matthew found a design template on the internet, ordered special stickers & wheels, and spent a big part of the past week in the basement, carefully sanding, painting, and customizing his car. The process can best be described as "Two steps forward, one step back", with a few mishaps along the way. But, the project is done, and his sense of accomplishment is immeasurable.

Wesley was approached by the Pack & Den leaders to help the Cubs make a quilt, acknowledging and thanking the American Legion for their sponsorship of the Boy Scouts. With Rose's help, the quilt was finished yesterday, and I think it is really amazing. First, Wesley contacted the Boy Scouts of America head office, and obtained graphics for each of the scouting badges. He printed the images on "Printed Treasures" fabric sheets, and the Cubs colored the images at the last pack meeting. Then, he used a variety of prints from the Robert Kaufman "Boy Scouts of America" collection to frame the patches into a cohesive design. Rose brought the project to completion, expertly quilting, binding, and adding a hanging sleeve. We still need to come up with a creative label for the back, and then the quilt will be placed on display at the American Legion, or in the Boy Scout area at the Dakota Buttes museum.

cubquilt6    cubquilt5  cubquilt3cubquilt4

I also need to thank Rose for stitching Matthew's patches to his uniform. The poor child was wearing a Cub uniform with safety pins holding the badges in place. It's a pity his mother doesn't know how to sew :) !!!

I discovered a wonderful travel piece online yesterday, as I took a break from tax preparation. Click here.

Entitled "Rites of Spring", the piece features "some of the best places to shake off the winter doldrums and (literally) smell the roses."

Unfortunately, I'm unlikely to visit any of these beautiful gardens this spring. I am going to make a list, and make a point of seeking them out during our travels. But, I'm pretty sure some of our readers (over 13,500 of you at last count) will have visited one of these spots. If you have, please send a quick e-mail with your personal list to (you can't just hit the reply button... this newsletter comes from a closed address).

I'll keep track of the replies, and let you know how many of the spots we've collectively visited.
I invite everyone to spend a few moments enjoying the beautiful photos... I think about walking those garden paths, sunshine on my face, the scent of blossoms filling the air, and spring doesn't seem so far away!

Top photo: Keukenhof, Netherlands, Slide show text by Amy Swanson, Bing Travel; photo editing by Connie Ricca.

Cabin Award Winners

Congratulations to MaryVal and Nancy Rubeck!

You are both winners of a Cabin Award!  You will each receive (3) new patterns from Fig Tree Threads: “Cherry Blossoms”, “Purselets”, and “Scarfletts”, plus a Whimsy charm pack.

Retail value of the prize: $26.00


Click here  for our current assortment of “Fig Tree,”  designed by Joanna Figueroa.

Time got away from me last weekend, and I didn’t get any blogging done.  So, instead of one winner last week, and one this week, we have two winners today.

MaryVal….  Nancy Rubeck….  Please send an mail to Laurie-Ann at with your mailing address, and she'll help you redeem your reward.

The next cabin award winner will be announced Saturday, April 3rd. The lucky recipient that day will  receive a 2 yards of  “Easter Vintage” fabric, with (4) coordinating thirties reproduction fat quarters.  Retail value: $24.00. This charming print features children engaged in an Easter egg hunt.  Click here to purchase yardage.

FYI: in a similar style, “Picnic on the Fourth Retro” features children engaged in a Independence Day celebration.  Click here.

Cabin Award Winners  are randomly chosen from our list of blog followers. To become a follower, click on the colorful “FOLLOW” icon on the left side of this page, and proceed with the instructions.

If you enjoy our blog, please encourage your friends & fellow quilters to become “followers”.  The more the merrier! I’m hoping to pass the five-hundred point sometime in the next month or two, and when we do, there’ll be cause for celebration! (Hint, hint… :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unexpected Beauty

Good Morning!

The newsletter is going out a little later than usual today. We had a long day yesterday, rising at 3:30 am to travel to Mobridge, SD, to spend the day with their quilt guild. I taught a class using the "Fox & Geese" pattern by Eleanor Burns. We talked a lot about Eleanor's special way of "doing things", her rulers, and her carefully thought out instructions. She is truly the "Queen of Quilt Making."
It was a great day, but the drive home in the fog last night was crummy. We were really glad to get home, and I promised everyone that we would sleep in. With the time change, we're getting off to a late start.
For the next week or two, it will be a challenge to get Matthew to school an hour earlier than usual. But, I promise not to complain, as this is a necessary evil on the pathway to spring. At the class yesterday, we all agreed that "Spring can't come soon enough!"

An unexpected result of our power outage is the emergence of beautiful blossoms on my old Christmas cactus. This plant has sat tucked away in a corner for a few years, gathering dust, so familiar that I pretty much forgot I had it.
A couple of weeks ago, small fuchsia buds began to appear on the tips of the thick leaves. Then, little blossoms. When the full flowers developed, we couldn't believe the beauty. I honestly didn't think the little plant had so much potential.

And, in my naivety, I wondered if the plant was trying to tell me something. It's supposed to bloom at Christmas, and it's nearly Easter. Did that mean more winter months ahead?

I turned to my usual source, Wikipedia, and learned that "Christmas cactus will create flower buds when subjected to cooler temperatures (10–14 degrees Celsius / 50–57 °F) for 6–8 weeks." I guess two weeks in a cold house without electricity will do it. I also learned that "If taken care of properly, a single planting can last for hundreds of years." Wow! I'm definitely going to be more attentive.

The unexpected beauty is a heartwarming sight. Each time I walk past the little plant, I admire the blossoms, and appreciate the loveliness. It serves as a fore-bearer of spring... re-birth... new growth... blossoms and berries... warm rays of sunshine pushing fresh green shoots up through the topsoil... baby calves & lambs kicking up their heels as their mamas stand contentedly in lush pastures, grass up to their knees...
It's supposed to be in the 50's on Wednesday... followed by more snow.

Spring can't come soon enough!

Top photo (crocus) courtesy of Wikipedia.  Second photo (Christmas cactus) is my own.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cabin Award Winners: March 7, 2010

Congratulations to Laura Reade and Colleen Germann!

You will both receive  a table-topper kit with fabric & backing, designed by  Sherri K. Falls (This & That Quilt Patterns). The new “Summer Thyme” pattern features Holly Taylor’s newest fabric collection, “Lakeside Resort”.  The scrappy appearance comes from a charm pack,  but extra fabric is needed for the background, borders, binding, and backing.

Rose just finished our shop sample, and it is really pretty!

Retail price for the kit: $33.75.

lakesideresortlogo SummerThymepattern summerthymepattern2

Click here to view the Lakeside Resort collection.

Please send an mail to Laurie-Ann at with your mailing address, and she'll help you redeem your reward.

The next cabin award winner will be announced Sunday, March 14th. The lucky recipient that day will  receive (3) new patterns from Fig Tree Threads: “Cherry Blossoms”, “Purselets”, and “Scarfletts”, plus a Whimsy charm pack.

Retail value of the prize: $26.00

ftqcherryblossoms ftqpurselets ftqscarfletts whimsylogo

Click here  for our current assortment of “Fig Tree,”  designed by Joanna Figueroa.

Cabin Award Winners  are randomly chosen from our list of blog followers. To become a follower, click on the colorful “FOLLOW” icon on the left side of this page, and proceed with the instructions.

If you enjoy our blog, please encourage your friends & fellow quilters to become “followers”.  The more the merrier! I’m hoping to pass the five-hundred point sometime in the next month or two, and when we do, there’ll be cause for celebration! (Hint, hint… :)

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
                                                                                                                            I simply remember my favorite things
                                                                                                                          And then I don't feel so bad"

                                                                                                                  ~ Rodgers & Hammerstein, The Sound of Music, 1959

Click here for a You Tube compilation of beautiful photos set to this classic song, created by beth8896.

This topic occurred to me as I snuggled under one of my favorite quilts this morning, and smelled the aroma of fresh brewed coffee, as the coffee maker's timer clicked on. Since our two week absence from home during the power outage, I've become acutely aware of the comforts of home... I guess "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things:


1.) My "Tag Sale Quilt". I made this from a Miss Rosie pattern in 2004, adding a few scraps of chenille to the nine patches. Thus began my "love affair" with Miss Rosie's patterns, Three Sisters fabrics, and scrappy quilt. But, to me, it's more than a pretty quilt. When we were done with it at the shop, it hung in the mammogram room at the hospital for about a year, giving countless women a bit of comfort during an otherwise stressful experience. Now at home, it is the first quilt I reach for when I need a "pick me up"... it's been washed numerous times, and is aging gracefully. As we tuck away the Christmas quilts until next year, "Tag Sale" holds the promise of spring.

2.) The Body Shop: founded by Dame Anita Roddick (1942-2007) over 30 years ago. On the surface, a cosmetics company with an emphasis on natural ingredients. But dig a little deeper, and you'll find an organization committed to social and environmental responsibility. Their community trade program "creates sustainable trading relationships with disadvantaged communities around the world and provides essential income to more than 25,000 people across the globe". The company also runs a "Stop Violence in the Home" program against domestic violence, and a "Staying Alive Foundation" to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Click here to learn more.
My favorite Body Shop products include: Satsuma Shower Gel, Mango Body Butter, and the entire "Spa Wisdom" group.

3. Aurifil Thread. I suppose it is overly dramatic to claim that "this thread has changed my life." So, I'll just say that Aurifil thread is the nicest, smoothest, cleanest and best quality Egyptian cotton thread that I am aware of. One problem.... I am so spoiled by using this thread that I don't like to use anything else, and I've gradually given away all of my non-Aurifil thread. But, my quilting friends who have been converted to Aurifil won't take it! They are trying to get rid of their old thread too.

File:Latte art.jpg
4.) Good coffee. (Image credit: Wikipedia) Hot in the winter. Cold in the summer. I recently invested in a new Capresso "Grind & Brew" machine, and I love it! Both Laurie-Ann & I also love our Nespresso espresso makers (these machines use espresso pods, so there's essentially no mess), and we've perfected the art of making iced cappuccino. Since I'm the only coffee drinker in our house, these indulgences seem a little over the top. But, at this point, there's no going back. I'm hooked.


5.) My family. My friends. My pets. No explanation necessary:)
Take some time today to enjoy a few of your favorite things. Don't think of it as self-indulgence. Every gift you give yourself will be transformed with abundance into inner strength that you will share with others.