Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cliff's of Moher

One of the most amazing places we will visit on our tour to Ireland in May is the Cliff's of Moher.  Considering we have quite a few photographers signed up to come along, I'm thinking I may have a hard time getting them back on the bus. 
Now, my first trip to the Cliff's looked a bit more like the photos below.
I was afraid to put up my umbrella for fear I'd become Mary Poppins.
Oh my it was rainy that day!  But it in no way took away from just how magical a place the cliffs are to visit.  Here's a few photos from our trip this past October when gorgeous sunshine was the weather of the day!


I'm so excited to take our tour group to the cliffs and share this amazing place with them!
 I'm also hoping for another meal at McGann's Pub...omg...the food there was out of this world good!

Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!  I had the vegetarian option which was this mushroom dish in a pastry shell.  So good!  Although the fish & chips was amazing as well!
We've got a few spots left if you'd like to join us.....

Saturday, March 1, 2014


A little follow up on the precious post about my quilt project with the second graders.  Our quilt arrived to our deployed soldier, Mike.  He sent us this great photo so of course, I just had to share with all of you!

Here's what Mike had to say about his quilt.
"I opened a package sent from you yesterday, literally the sweetest most thoughtful gift I have ever received. I cannot say thank you enough for this beautiful piece of art that I will no doubt keep for the rest of my life."
  Our story was shared in the District Newsletter as well as the local newspaper...and even though that was exciting for us....there's nothing better than knowing that our Soldier Mike loves his quilt and felt our love and thankfulness.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guest Blogger on Generation Q Magazine!

How exciting to be featured as a guest blogger over on the Generation Q Magazine site!  Go check it out and you can read more about our trip to Ireland this past October!  As you know, Don and I are working with Brack Tours and leading a group to Ireland in May!  It's not too late for you to sign up and come along with us!  Deadlines are fast approaching to get the best price!  If you've been thinking about taking this trip... NOW is the time to call! 

We've got a great itinerary planned that not only includes the most beautiful scenery you could ever imagine....but also a stop at The Sewing Shed, where owner and my wonderful friend, Nikki Foley will give us a lesson in fabric dyeing.

You can also check out this short Youtube video with just a few of the pics from our time in Ireland this past October.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Thankful Tree - The Story of a Quilt

 For the second year in a row, Don and I spent a "Christmas Craft" day with the second graders at Otter Lake Elementary School in White Bear Lake, MN, where our son John teaches.
I'm not sure who was more excited...the kids, having special guests...or me...getting to teach the kids how everything is better with GLITTER!
While wooden frames were being painted and embellished with glitter and bling, we set up a photo booth where the kids could dress up with an array of silly hats, glasses and other fun props.  A quick trip to the local one hour photo processing store and our gifts for parents were complete!
Once the paint and supplies were put away and desks were clean again (Let's use the word clean loosely matter how good their janitor is...I'd be willing to bet there's still glitter in the carpet!) we were ready to move on to our second project.
When planning our craft day, I contemplated having the kids draw pictures for a deployed soldier, who happens to be the son of a lovely quilter friend of mine.  As a military mom myself, I know firsthand just how hard those deployments heart knows exactly what my friends heart is feeling.  I also know just how much our soldiers love knowing that they are appreciated and getting mail from "home"!
Somewhere in that line of thought came this fleeting question....
"What if I had them draw those pictures on fabric?"
Well, for a quilter...that's all it takes, my friends.
 A quilt was born.
The pictures drawn were to say "Thank You" to this soldier for his service.
Here's a few of those very special drawings.

Sitting on my living room floor the next day, I spread out all of the drawings to see if I could come up with a design for the quilt.  It was then I realized that I hadn't been specific with the kids about creating a vertical or horizontal drawing.  Oops!  That was going to cause a problem, right?
Apparently not.  Within minutes, my quilt began to take a very specific shape.
I could hardly wait to get this quilt together...and I'm pretty sure the top was complete by the end of that day.  The machine quilting took just a bit longer.
The  finished quilt....we've named The Thankful Tree. 
A trees roots run deep, just like the love we have for our family, our faith and our country
close ups on the quilting
My intent was to return to Otter Lake Elementary School so that we could take a photo of the second graders with the quilt before we sent it off to our soldier. Sadly, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter have been trying to one up each other on a daily basis here in the Midwest, and it seemed like it just wasn't going to happen before Spring... I really wanted to get this quilt in the mail.
 So disappointing.
And then last Friday, in my basement studio, the second graders and I were able to chat via FaceTime.  By holding up my Iphone on my end...and John connecting the Ipad in the classroom so that it projected on to the screen in the front of the class.... I was able to show them the finished quilt.  They were each able to identify the drawings they had created and to see the piecing and machine quilting that I had done to complete our project. 
 It gets better.... 
Remember that group photo that I wanted so badly to take?
It Happened!!!!!
Not quite like I had imagined...but as they saying goes...where there's a will...there's a way.
Students, Teacher, Quilt, Me!
As soon as we ended our FaceTime chat, this quilt was boxed up and taken to the Post Office and is now on it's way to our soldier.
So excited for our soldier to receive this very special care package!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Galway, Ireland - IPS Western Branch -

On my recent trip to Ireland, I was lucky enough to be in Galway on the Saturday in October when the IPS-Western Branch (Irish Patchwork Society) was meeting.   The IPS was actually founded in 1981 and has 8 branches located throughout Ireland.

My friend, Cindy, from Fluffy Sheep Quilting came by our hotel and picked us up for the meeting, which was a thrill for me since she and I have been cyber friends for a few years now but had never met.  (can't believe as I look through the photos we took, and I didn't take one with her....geez! We'd better rectify that on my next visit, Cindy!)

Arriving at the meeting, I could not have felt more welcome by the Irish quilters.  So exciting as well upon my arrival was getting to meet another cyber friend, Linda, who owns a quilt shop in County Galway called Rags for Linda!  What a thrill to get to meet her in person too!

At each meeting, the local quilt shops take turns setting up a small "store" for those attending to get a little fabric therapy!  What a great idea!  I got to meet another cyber friend (I heart Facebook!), Lynn Naughton, who owns a quilt shop called Seams Sew Simple in County Roscommon.

As with most guilds, the Irish quilter's are no different in that not only is the guild meeting an opportunity to spend time with other quilters and share ideas, but also for those quilters to find a way to give to back to the community.  On this particular Saturday, a presentation was made to a local charity in Galway called COPE.  Check out these ABC quilts made for their new playroom.


 The guild also boasts a library as a resource for their members. 
It was a great morning spent with some very lovely ladies! I made several new friends and  I got to share with them a bit about myself and the quilty things that I am up to as well as share a give away of some Generation Q Magazines. (thanks, Melissa!). (stay tuned for details about my trip and spending time with Irish quilters in an upcoming issue of Gen Q) 

If you'd like to come along with me on an Irish adventure next the link in the upper right hand corner!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Going Back to Ireland - May 15-25, 2014

Many of you remember that just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to go to Ireland, and I fell head over heels in love with Ireland and it's people.  So much so that I have sought out an opportunity to return and I would love to take you with me.  My husband has agreed to come along and see what all the fuss is about.  He's a photographer and would love to share is photography skills with anyone who comes along...and trust me...there is so much beauty your camera will be working overtime.   

And because of my quilting background, I promise to include some quilty goodness in this trip!
Nikki Foley, of The Sewing Shed, has offered to allow anyone interested in our group to join her for a fabric dyeing class. 
Our goal is to provide those who come along with opportunities to spend time with local artisans and really discover the best of Ireland!

And now...for your viewing pleasure....I've added a few of my photos from my journey last year.



If you, or someone you know might be interested in coming along with us, feel free to contact me directly here in the comments....or send me an email at
Also, you can contact Sinead at Brack Tours at  For more info follow this link

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Festival Friends Block Swap...the Reveal

So in my last post, I may have mentioned that I was a wee bit stumped with how I was going to make these eleven blocks and the panel I had chosen, into a quilt.   And not just any quilt...I wanted my quilt to tell a story...or more story.

So for several weeks, my blocks were pinned on my design wall...and then they began to speak to me.  Come on now...don't tell me your blocks or fabrics don't speak to know they do.  Inspired by my friend, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and her book 15 Minutes of Play, I decided to use some of the blocks I'd received, as fabric, to create new blocks.  I also decided to combine some blocks to show how our lives become "intertwined" with those we meet.
Remember Nikki's block?

And Carol's?
I combined those two blocks to create this one.

And then the Palmer's block...

was joined with Pam's block...
And became this.
Cecille's Block....are you read?
Became this...because quite frankly... my quilt needed a castle.
Peggy's embroidered initials were cut into a heart shape and added to the tree as if they'd been carved there by very special friends.
The heart from Dana's block was added to the root of my healing tree...because true healing begins in the heart...and the pains of life run deep into our roots.
And my Festival Friends Quilt....(somebody play a drum roll please)
I am so incredibly proud of my creation.
a few close ups of some of the quilting....
And there you have it!  My first ever quilt created from a block exchange!  I'm thinking I might like to do this again sometime....
Got Blocks?