Category Archives: travel

North Platte Hidden Gem

We left Minnesota on Thursday afternoon and I felt like the overcast weather snagged onto our car and followed us. We drove in it all the way to Colorado, with only one break in Lincoln, NE on Friday morning. The next ray of sunshine came, in another form, when we stopped in North Platte, NE.

Continue reading North Platte Hidden Gem

Wandering Wednesday

Wandering Wednesday, Ocean Play, (c) 2017 piecefulthoughts.com

My thoughts are wandering to sunny days lately. We haven’t had too many here, and we’re all waiting for warm days, sunshine, and going to the lake!

The picture above is a memory of a trip we made to Florida a few years ago. We had some time to spend at the ocean, so that was where we headed first. My daughter and a couple of friends had a great time splashing in the waves.

My thoughts are back on oceans as of late. BigJ and I are trying to make a decision, so I’m going to ask your opinion. If you had the choice to go to Hawaii or Maine, which would you choose and why? These two might seem like odd companions, but we have reasons we’d like to go to both.

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends! See you Friday with all my finishes for the week!

Wendy

Wandering Wednesday

I’m starting something new today on my blog. Welcome to Wandering Wednesday! I thought it would be fun to share with you some photos, old and new, of people, places and things. It might be places I’ve wandered, wandering thoughts, or quilts I’ve made that have wandered to their new homes.

Wandering find - Planter at an inn from Bayfield, Wisconsin

On a family trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin, a few years ago we stayed at an inn that had these planters sprinkled throughout their landscaping. They amused me, so I snapped this quick pic of my favorite one.

This picture still makes me smile. Somedays it’s a self-portrait, with my mind overflowing with creative thoughts that just sort of tumble everywhere. Other days it just makes me laugh, because I feel like I have no brain, only pretty little flowers floating around in there!

What do you think of this picture?

I did some wandering with a quilting friend yesterday and enjoyed every minute. I’ll tell you more about that on my next Cool Tool Monday. See you then!

Wendy

Pieceful Monday

Well, what a weekend. Sometimes things just don’t work out like you plan. There was a big snowstorm headed our way this past weekend. And there was a big ski race in the works. A great combination, you would think. We made some changes to our schedule to avoid driving in the storm, leaving late Thursday evening and heading to Duluth. Friday we would head to our hotel for the ski race.

Friday morning, I woke up to this beautiful view of Lake Superior. Usually the lake is frozen, but with the unseasonably warm winter weather we’ve had this year, Superior is all open water.

BigJ has had it on his bucket list to ski the American Birkiebeiner, a 55k x-country ski race, and this was the year. So after a late breakfast/lunch, we headed for Hayward, Wisconsin to pick up his race gear. Here’s our view as we drove along. Notice anything missing?

No snow, or very little. The storm track, which the race authorities were depending on, went south, so no snow meant no race. Poor guy. He was pretty disappointed, but we picked up the bib, hat and other race items. This is the second cancellation in the history of the race, so it was worth picking up the memorabilia.

We came home to about 4 inches of snow. Life is funny sometimes.

I had packed up some stitching to do while I waited for him to finish the race. I didn’t have time to work on any of them, since we arrived in Duluth around midnight, and we came home on Friday after the race had been canceled.

So this is all basted and ready for me to hand quilt. That will keep me busy for a few days. The saying still makes me chuckle.

Saturday I spent the day working on the commission quilt blocks. I have six blocks ready to be stitched together, which will bring me to almost 2/3rds done with the blocks. Yippee! I’ll work on those today.

While I haven’t been doing much quilting other than the commission quilt, I have been stocking my quilting library. Bernie from Needle and Foot contacted me to let me know I had won this book in one of her giveaways. If you haven’t met Bernie, head over to her blog and get to know her. She’s a gem! I’m very pleased and already have my eye on one of the patterns in this book for a precut that’s been patiently waiting on my shelf. Thanks, Bernie!

I have a quieter week ahead, so I’m hoping to spend a good chunk of it with my sewing machine.

Happy Monday, all!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

It’s been a bit since I’ve posted, so let me give you a peek at what I’ve been up to.

Part of my work these past weeks has been trying to figure out how to restock my quilt room. When I cleared it for the new flooring, I was determined that I would make it less cluttered. While I think that will eventually happen, I am now in the “Keep” “Give” “Find a Place for This” phase. I’d like to be done with it all, but I have a feeling it will be an ongoing process.

Meanwhile, BigJ had a conference in California and I decided to tag along. We thought it would be a fun deviation from the chilly Minnesota weather in November. Funny thing, we had extended warm fall weather right up to our trip, so we went from lovely mid-60 degree weather to beautiful 70-80 degree weather. We did our best to enjoy it anyway!

Morning coffee included these views.

img_4933
The view from our deck
img_4975
From a local coffee shop

We had a free day before the conference really got rolling, so we decided to take a drive on the Palm to Pine Highway. This is apparently the course for a popular bike race. The winding roads, no shoulders, and drop offs made me wonder why anyone would want to do that. Not to mention the climb, ending around 8,000 feet. I’ll just keep my foot on my sewing pedal, thanks.

We stopped off in a little mountain town, Idyllwild. Isn’t that a great name for a mountain town? We weren’t quite used to the time change (2-hour difference for us). We got up early and headed out, so we arrived at the town around 9:30 California time. Not many shops were open, so we just walked around the town. Soon we were ready for lunch, but it was only 10:30 (12:30 in Minnesota) — thankfully we found a place that was open, the Gastrognome. The food was delicious, and the name made us smile. Here’s a view from our table.

img_4956
Ignore the heater on the left and just look at the mountain scene 🙂 There were deer statues throughout the town, all painted differently.

Unfortunately I didn’t find any quilt shops in Idyllwild, but we did enjoy browsing in a few of the other shops in the town.

We finished our drive with views like this.

img_4959

Meandering back to the resort, we stopped at a quilt shop in Palm Desert — Monica’s Quilt and Bead Creations. I was so busy looking at fabric that I forgot to take any pictures. It was a lovely shop and I impulsively found a few things. Look at these fun fat quarters!

img_7646
I amassing a library of free motion quilting books. Haha. This one is a good mix of reading and fun doodling.

There wasn’t much time for stitching during the trip, but I did manage to get my two woolies done.

img_7649
The block on the left is a Block of the Month from Woolen Willows. The block on the right is a mystery Block of the Month from Rivers Edge Antique and Quilt Loft.

We took a ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which is worth a visit if you’re in the area.

img_5013
Beautiful views at the top

The last big highlight of the trip was a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. We went later in the day so we could see the sunset; it was worth it. What a beautiful place!

img_5074
Sunset at the lookout area
img_5188
View down below after sunset (unfiltered).

As much as I enjoyed the trip, reading your blogs had me itching to get back home and do some quilting. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

Just before we left, I quickly stitched up these little 2″ tree blocks. They are paper pieced and I made 12 of them.

fullsizerender-1

I had to leave them at this point, so I was pondering what to do with them while I was gone. I have an idea in mind that I’ll be working on today.

I’m also working on my sampler. I had hoped to have it done so I could post it here today, but it didn’t happen. Part of the pattern included wool, but I didn’t have enough wool, so I decided to applique quilt fabric in its place. No worries, I like to do that. So I pulled up a movie, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (I was in the mood for an action movie) and got to work. Yesterday I sat down to finish the sampler, only to find that I had appliqued one piece twice and missed the other one altogether! Apparently I was more into the movie than I thought. Anyway, I should be able to get more done on it today. Here’s a teaser shot.

img_7651
Curious yet? I should have this done this week, hopefully!

We came home to a blizzard in the forecast. We didn’t get much snow, but those around us sure did. I tucked in and quilted anyway, while we were having thunderstorms and downpours.

I’m linking up today with Cooking Up Quilts and Em’s Scrapbag.

Happy Stitching!

Wendy

 

Quilting at the Speed of Life, Part 2

We’ve had good things going on around here lately, but very little of it has involved quilting. And that’s okay. I have high hopes for getting some serious quilting time in September.

Mid-August we moved our daughter into her first solo apartment. Those of you who have done this understand the amount of work that goes into the packing, loading, driving, unloading, etc. It was a whirlwind weekend. She had been at a conference the week of the move, so she literally flew home on Friday, we loaded her stuff on Friday evening, got up and drove to her new place and moved her in on Saturday, and we drove back home on Sunday.

Once that craziness was done, our family took a few days and unplugged at a cabin up north. We loved every minute. We did alot of this.

IMG_7381

Just sitting by the water and listening to the waves lap.

In the evenings, we did this.

IMG_7423

While we waited to see this.

IMG_7483

During some of the days, we managed to tear ourselves away from the water and did a little of this.

IMG_4573
Is this chocolate? Oh no, no, no. This is Daily Grind. Coffee ice cream, with espresso beans and caramel swirls. Oh. My. Goodness.

Some of us did this.

IMG_7386

In between all of that were endless games of Ticket to Ride, and naps. Lots of naps.

I am still working on Mount Hood. I ended up having to take the inner borders off because they were not the right width for the pieced border. Now that the pieced borders are sewn together, I can determine the width of the inner border and get both borders sewn on. Here’s to hoping my calculations are correct. The downside to this new calculation is that I may not have enough blue material for the final outer border. I am determined to finish this from my stash, so we’ll see what I come up with. I hope to have some pictures of the quilt for you on Friday.

So here’s to a quieter September, fall weather, and time to quilt!

 

 

Pieceful Monday

Ahh . . . home! I am happily slurping coffee and reading through emails and quilting blogs and enjoying a quiet Monday morning at home. We have been on the road again over the weekend, with a short trip to Wisconsin (a working weekend).

I’m amazed at my quilting friends and how much they accomplish while I’m doing other things! It’s so much fun to come home and catch up on their blogs.

As for me, I did get most of the blocks for my Mt. Hood quilt finished. The next step will be to play with layout, then stitch them together. The border for the quilt has smaller blocks, which I haven’t started on yet. Perhaps today. No pictures of my progress, I’m sorry to say. I haven’t been home long enough!

One other little project I did get done with this little Christmas ornament. This is from Kim Diehl’s Simple Christmas Tidings book. I was given this book just a bit ago, and I was just itching to make something from it. This little project fit the bill with the time I had!

FullSizeRender (2)

Kim has a really simple method to putting this little star together. While she uses organza ribbon for the loop, I used a cute little measuring tape ribbon I had. I thought it added a fun touch.

This week will be another busy one, but thankfully busy from home. I will be able to get some stitching done, so look for updates on my progress later this week.

Happy Monday!

Wendy