Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dubuque and a box of Chocolates

I have been so lax on my blogging. It has been a very busy month, with last weekend the first weekend in four that I had been home. And I ended up working for part of Saturday so I still was out and about.

This weekend I have 4 days off-FOUR! Yesterday it rained all day which turned into an inch of snow. Now today it is in the upper 50’s. Go figure.

Anyway, back to the story of. The last trip we took was to Dubuque for a Dave’s niece's wedding.  It was such fun and very relaxing.

We left on Saturday, Oct 10th. We took this route-

You can’t see it very well but it is HiWay 61.

(From the Rand McNally Website)

Anyway, we stopped in Viroqua so I could go here

Ewetopia Fiber Shop

                           Ewetopia Fiber Shop

I suggest if you are passing through you stop there. They had a great selection AND very reasonably priced. I went there to find local yarns for a swap I am doing. It is very difficult to find local yarns for under about 35/skein, but I found them here, the yarn is made by  Driftless, in SE Wisconsin. Blend of bamboo and Marino and oh so soft.

After that we went to Sinsinawa, Wi where the Dominican sisters live.

Queen of the Rosary Chapel fall scene

It was very nice there.

We found our way in and I took pictures during the wedding. I should have had my other camera because 1) it takes better pictures and 2) it doesn’t make so much noise.


First come the sister of the bride and the son of the groom.

Then came the bride, Katie, and Mike, Dave’s brother


She was quite lovely.


I was trying to get a shot of the front of the church, didn’t do so well but you get the idea.


Here is the handsome couple, Katie and Keith. He is quite dashing in uniform, don’t you think?

So after that we went to Galena, Illinois. I, however, didn’t realize we were in Illinois until we were back in Iowa. I had never been to Illinois before-I missed out on the whole excitement of it! Jeepers, paying attention is not as over rated as I once thought.

The reception was at the Ramada


In this dining/conf room


I should have taken a picture of the food. Absolutely delicious.

I did get a few pics of the Meldes.


Ed and grandson Hunter (As you can tell by the blur, Ed  moves much more slowly than Hunter)


Here are the Meldes-back row from L-Ed, Dave, Mike

Front row Joe and Barb. It is very dark and blurry. Told you I needed my other camera.

Here’s a bigger shot of more Melde’s


Sorry about the quality-like I said, needed other camera. But it was lots of fun to visit with them all.

We then went to Dubuque and spent the night here


At the Mainstay Inn and Suites. Now the blur in this picture is entirely the fault of their website, not a reflection of my photography skills

It was very nice, had a kitchen, sitting room, bedroom. Why I didn’t take a picture of that I don’t know. Slipping I guess.

The next day we drove back towards St. Charles taking this route. (HiWay 52)


It was a pretty drive. Some of the scenery looked like this



Black cows and smudge on window-



We stopped here to go to the bathroom. It was somewhat disturbing that in the women's bathroom there was a sort of hangman’s noose made from wire. I think it was supposed to be a handle of sorts to help one get up and down. Sort of a handicapped equipped type of outhouse…I hope.


This outhouse was in a little park with a church, cemetery out back, and a pavilion.



This plaque was on the church.


Then we went to a trail outside of Decorah.


This trail wound around by the river-



It was very peaceful.

We got home on Sunday.

The following week we had snow-in October. This prompted much complaining from the locals-too cold, too snowy, too wintry. Which I find rather odd since this is MINNESOTA! I mean, if we were in L.A. I might be concerned, but I thought it was OK.



It melted the next day.

I am one of those strange birds that likes both summer (although I don’t like big humidity) and winter. I like having seasons. Winter does tend to get old around April, but spring is right around the corner at that stage in the game.

I promise to keep up on the blog now.

Oh, I forgot one thing-

My friend Alicia, aka Frostyknits, nominated me for the box of chocolates award.

Isn’t she sweet? I am so happy to get my first blog award. I want to say thank you to the people that actually read this, and I hope it amuses just a little.

Thanks Frosty! And feel free to visit her website (I linked above)-that girl knits like nobody’s business. She knitted a cover for a chair! That really impressed me, along with the lace shawls and cute hats.


So I am paying this forward to Caillie because she sent me the sweetest swap package for the last Starbucks swap, and she went to Ireland last spring, and she now has a regular day job. She is also my neighbor in S Dakota.

These are the rules for a box of chocolate award-

Here are the rules for the Box of Chocolate Award.
1. That you must pass this award to others.
2. Link back to me when you have passed them forward.
3. Write a nice post about this award.
4. You must read this award with a southern accent. I call it southern day where we all have to speak with a southern accent. I know that will be hard for some of you, but for the rest of us, we will be fine. So now, ya’ll just enjoy this little ol’ award and have fun with it.
5. And of course let your folks know that they have a nice award waiting for them.

So congrats to Caillie, who reads my blog and I read hers.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Retreat oh-nine

I have to apologize for my taking forever to blog the retreat pictures. Jeepers. Suzie is politely asking where in the heck they are! She could not be there and we missed her like crazy.


So here’s a little picture tribute to Suzie, who had better show up next year.

However, the rest of us had a smashing good time. Get ready for a long blog with a ton of pictures!

Arrived on Friday, October 2nd after quite the day at work.


We set up our stuff and off we go!


I brought this little tool bag my sister gave me for my birthday. I have to say it came in so handy-thanks Debbie!


I sat with Sheryl and Ardie. Poor Ardie. She had to put up with an awful lot from Sheryl and me. Plus the fact the the vibration from Sheryl’s machine was giving her tremors! Although Sheryl and I spent much time bickering about who was right about what, I have to say I have not laughed that hard in ages. And I was right about almost everything except the 1/4 inch guide. Who knew?

Her Royal Highness, Marcia, had to come and give Ardie the blessing of the queen. Or give her the extra patience spell to put up with us. I am not sure which.


Poor Jill was there too. She was pretty good at ignoring us and she was on the end so she could escape when needed. The unfortunate ladies behind us said we sounded just like sisters. Oh-oh…..

This year I helped out with the mystery quilt. I made the sample at home and the dogs really dug it.


Lots of the girls worked on this project at retreat and I thought it was really exciting. I hope they had fun with it.

But before we get into that, there were other things going on-

Connie did some pressing



Marcia did some announcing.

DSC00661Of course we ate, and ate, and ate…..And when we couldn’t eat in the dining area we, of course, had a few things up in the work area…


We worked well into the night. Actually, I think this is early in the AM, but some people worked well into the night.


We scrounged up coffee because we need it bad in the AM-a kick start to sewing all day.

I had a carafe, but Sheryl bought a huge mug in the store there. It was almost as big as my carafe. It will become a legend of retreat 09.


           See that giant thing?

Here’s a close up!

   DSC00662 Seriously, it is like a 40 ouncer.

The weather was nice on Friday, but rained on Saturday which made it a perfect day to complete the mystery and all other projects.


So, this is how the mystery turned out.


This is the sample, resting by the fireplace after it’s busy week with the dogs.


Here’s one going together. Cool, huh?

DSC00660 This one belongs to Lois. Very different fabrics. That’s what is so exciting about it, they are so unique.


Very cool.


Brights and darks make the transition in the Transitional Quilt.

And here they are all put together-


I love the feet underneath.


My camera doesn’t capture color very well, but this one had some great batik blends.


This one had the orange set in triangles which really showed off the pattern. It is also on a different diagonal, which is also really neat.

We called this the Florida quilt. It had fish and bright sunny colors.


And here’s the group. I thank them for making the mystery quilt so much fun. I enjoyed it a lot, and I hope they did too.


But wait, there were lots more people there doing lots more things. I took over 70 pictures. I can’t blog them all, dang it, but here are a few of the best.

DSC00648 Connie wins the prize for overachieving. Look at all those pieces. We love you Connie!


Jill made this and I wish I could get the true color. It was more pink than this, but you can see the design and how cool it turned out.


These are fabrics from the 30’s or 40’s. They feel and look very different from what we work with today.


Very nicely done!


More pieces. These girls really know how to sew a quilt.


This one is very modern and cool. I wish I could think this kind of thing up.


I hope I am right about this, but I think Margaret made this and the crossings between squares will fray when washed.


Ardie finished Super Bowl quilt 09. The same quilt that is sitting on my project table. Hers turned out beautifully.


Sheryl made the embroidery Christmas wall hanging.

DSC00699I like these two a lot. The one below is very asymmetrical. DSC00700

Tulip Time came along.


DSC00690 Of course, no retreat is complete without a showing from Gramma. I wish this showed the detail better.


I tried to blow it up a little to show off the hand work.

Last, but not least, well, I think this picture is pretty self explanatory.


In Marcia’s defense, she did not get crabby one single time. Weird. I was testing her but I couldn’t detect even the slightest amount of crabby. Marcia wasn’t crabby and Suzie wasn’t there-I was a little out of my comfort zone for a minute……

But we got back into the swing and here is our little group all together.


Whoo Hoo! I had to leave about noon to go back home and do homework. Bleech! I could have stayed another week.

I would like to thank the girls, Connie, Marcia, and Suzie, for making Retreat 09 possible for me this year. I can’t say enough good things about the Pine Needles staff and commitment to their customers. I think most people feel more like friends than customers and there are few places where you get that anymore.

So, am looking forward to next year already. I hope to be a little more organized than this year.

I’ll be putting more pictures up during the blogs to come-stay tuned.