Tag Archives: Exploring

Wednesday Wanderings

For the rest of the week, you’ll either find me here:

Or at the Minnesota Quilt Show with friends, old and new!

I’ll be back next Monday to share my thoughts on the weekend and the show. This is my first Minnesota Quilt Show! I know, right?! I’ve lived in Minnesota how long and I’ve never been to the quilt show?? Time to get out from under my rock and go!

Hope to see you there!



Serendipity. A “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”. For me this week, it was a pleasant surprise.

It was serendipity, while shopping at Santa Fe Quilting, that the owner mentioned the Made in New Mexico: Structural Diversity exhibit at the Capitol in Santa Fe. It just happens that BigJ wanted to see the Santa Fe Capitol building, so do you think this exhibit was going to be missed? I think not.

It was serendipity — a pleasant surprise — that I decided to contact one of the artists and ask her if I could post pictures of her quilt, she agreed and we have had a pleasant email exchange.

Presence and Absence

I’m going to introduce Polly to you by way of her description of her quilt. Read it, and then take a look at her work.

Presence and Absence by Polly Summar, 2017 piecefulthoughts.com

Polly says: “The natural landscape structures the emotional content of this quilt’s story. While making the quilt, I was trying to come to terms with my relationship with my brother, who was killed at 23 by a drunk driver. I pieced a background of fabric squares, sliced them in a haphazard manner and turned the pieces in random directions, just as our lives had been upended when my brother died. With red thread I began to stitch. The green thread came in serendipitously as a relational counterpart. As the process unfolded, the two lives were bound together again, intertwined and inseparable.”

The next two photographs were sent to me by Polly. (My photos were not crisp, and I want you to be able to see the quilt well.)

I was deeply moved by this quilt, the story behind it, and Polly’s talent. I hope you can see it close enough to see her work.

Presence and Absence by Polly Summar, 2017 piecefulthoughts.com

Look at the amazing stitches in the quilt. So many stitches, so much beautiful work.

Presence and Absence (detail) by Polly Summar, piecefulthoughts.com

Quilting is good for the soul. It brings forth many things, a catharsis, or purging of emotions. Healing often comes through the work of our hands, either when we work alone on a project or join together.

By the time you are reading this, we will be heading home. I’ll have more to share with you next week. See you then!




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!


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.

The view from our deck
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.

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.


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!

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.

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.

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!

Sunset at the lookout area
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.


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.

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!



Friday Roundup

One weekend each year, our cozy little city bulges at its seams with people from all over who come to celebrate The Defeat of Jesse James Days.  It is one of the largest festivals in our state. It began last night, with what the locals call “townie night”. The food vendors are open on Bridge Square and other activities are beginning, so the locals come out and play to get the busy weekend rolling. The weekend is full of food, art fairs, antique car shows, and reenactments of the bank raid. If you’re in the area, come and join the fun and see how Jesse James and his gang put our little city on the map. I may not get to any of the festivities this year; BigJ and I are sneaking away for our anniversary.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing a little quilting and sewing. Here’s my roundup for the week.

I finished this mini.


And these three wool applique blocks for two different BOMs.

Block 1
Block 1
Block 2
Block 2
June Block
June Block

You can read more about those blocks here.

I also finished this little mini quilt. I quilted in the ditch and then stitched inside the larger pinwheels.


I finished the July block for the River’s Edge Antiques and Quilt Loft Mystery Block. I wasn’t sure I would like this block, but now that it’s done I’m happy with it.


Those are my finishes for the week. It’s been a productive one, so I’m happy with it. Tonight we are having guests over for dinner, so I’m off to try to make my home look presentable! There are quilts to be hung!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


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.


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

In the evenings, we did this.


While we waited to see this.


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

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.


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!



On the Road Again

Last weekend, we decided to do something a little out of my comfort zone. We took a road trip, of 1800 miles. That isn’t the part that was out of my comfort zone, although admittedly my body doesn’t enjoy long hours in the car much anymore.

A few years ago we came across an indie folk artist by the name of Holly Arrowsmith. She is a young woman from New Zealand. We enjoy her music, so when we found out she was touring the U.S. and would be in Wyoming, we decided to go see her.

The closest location for us was Lander, a cute little town located in central Wyoming. Approximately 900 miles, one way. We gazed at much of this beautiful landscape on our travels.


It was a house concert. Have you ever been to one of those? They are small, intimate affairs. And that was a little out of my comfort zone. Upon arrival, it had the feeling of walking up to someone’s house and saying, “Hi, mind if we sit in?”

The house, located up on some foothills, was amazing and had spectacular views. Here’s the view as I stepped out of the car.

We are above the town of Lander. You can’t see it in this picture, it’s just below that little rise in the foreground.

The hosts were a delightful, welcoming couple who had offered up their home for the concert. All told, about 35-40 people gathered on their deck to hear Holly and Zach Winters, another indie artist.

Zach and his wife sharing their music with us.

It was a relaxing evening, listening to great music while we watched the sun set below the mountains. Outside, no bugs, nice weather, friendly people, good music. It doesn’t get much better than that.

We were able to visit with Holly and her husband for a bit afterwards. Once we explained where we were from, she was a little amazed that we were drive as far as we did to come and see her. She is a quiet, humble person, who just wants to share her music. We enjoyed hearing her share her thoughts about her songs.

I didn’t take any stitching along on the trip. I thought about it, but because I was finishing up the sample pieces and getting them mailed, I didn’t make it a priority to bring anything along. I needed the break, and I wanted to spend time with my husband and daughter. I don’t think I could’ve concentrated on sewing if I’d wanted to.

I have today and tomorrow to get some stitching in before another busy weekend with more driving (shorter trip, this time). Since I’ve been in sight of the mountains, I think that today I will do some stitching on my Mt. Hood Nickel quilt. I need to get some more blocks done so you don’t have to keep seeing this picture!


It’s going to be hot, hot, hot here for the next few days, so it’s a perfect excuse to hide in my quilt cave.

Happy Quilting!