Tag Archives: Exploring

Wednesday Wanderings

Wednesday Wanderings - Gaggle of Geese - piecefulthoughts.com

Just for today, I’m joining the gaggle of other creatives and  heading to the Northwoods Boutique craft fair with a friend. We are looking forward to seeing all the lovely goods — maybe I’ll even get some Christmas shopping done!

On Friday, I’ll be joining with the Fat Quarter Shop quilt along reveal and showing my Jolly Braid Tote Bag made with Jolly Bar precuts. I’m looking forward to telling you a little bit about it and how quickly it goes together!

Wednesday Wanderings - Jolly Braid Tote Bag Sneak Peek - piecefulthoughts.com

See you Friday!


Little Elephant

Little Elephant is making his appearance today. I apparently have a thing for elephants, since I have an elephant quilt hanging on my wall, and now this little elephant project. This was not intentional. It just happened somehow.

When I visited the quilt shops in Maine, I really had no plan. I just wanted to check out the shops. My fabric and pattern choices get a bit random when I do that, picking up whatever strikes me at the moment.

I’m not exactly sure what made me buy this little elephant pattern, especially since I am not really a fan of making things that need to be stuffed. And have little pieces. And curves. This little guy is just so darn cute, though.

The pattern is called effie & ollie Elephant by Heather Bailey. The pattern is very well explained, the pieces are accurate, and overall the pattern is easy to make. She also has patterns for little turtles and whales. Why I didn’t decide on a whale since I was in Maine is beyond me, but elephant it was!


Little Elephant - piecefulthoughts.com

So here he is. I used a fat quarter from my stash for this first one rather than any of the fabric I picked up on the trip. Just in case I messed it up.  He doesn’t have any eyes yet and his trunk needs to curve a bit better, but it’s not bad for my first try.

Here he is with a mug in the picture so you can see how little he is. The mug is about 5″ in diameter. The little elephant is about 4″ tall.

Little Elephant and Cup - piecefulthoughts.com

He would actually almost fit inside the cup.

I bought the little elephant pattern at Alewives Fabric along with these four fat quarters.

Little Elephant - fabric purchase - piecefulthoughts.com

A little random, right? The left two are from Carrie Bloomston’s Dreamer line. The bright teal on the right is Alison Glass, I think. I don’t know anything about the other one (no selvage to tell me), I just liked it.

I was delighted when I got home and found this half-yard piece in my stash that coordinates well with the Dreamer fabrics. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Little Elephant - fabric pull - piecefulthoughts.com

I’m just itching to create something with them, just not sure what yet!

What about you? When you are on a trip and stop at a quilt shop, do you shop impulsively like me, or do you go with a plan?

Happy Wednesday, all!



Mainely Quilt Shops

Mainely. I saw that used in several businesses as we trekked around during our stay, so I thought I’d use it in the title in an effort to be clever. Ha.

As I mentioned, I didn’t bring any quilting or sewing with me on the trip. However, I did have one quilt shop that I was determined to see. And I did, along with two more. One is just never enough.

My bucket list shop on this trip was Alewives Fabrics. Kathleen mentioned Alewives in her post here. I knew I had to see the shop.

I was curious about the name. Why Alewives? Imagine my surprise when I found out that an alewife is “a northwestern Atlantic fish of the herring family that swims up rivers to spawn and is also found in the Great Lakes”. Thank you, Mr. Google.

There is a significance to the quilt shop having this fish in their name, but if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to go to their website and find out. Plus, I want you to go there and check it out.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Alewives Fabrics - piecefulthoughts.com

You know it’s going to be a fun visit when you see a sign like this.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Front Door Sign - piecefulthoughts.com

As I walked in the front door, I heard a cheery greeting welcoming me to the shop. I looked to my right and saw this.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 1 - piecefulthoughts.com

Then to my right.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 2 - piecefulthoughts.com

Up on the top of those shelves are the cutest little elephants and turtles.  No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get a brighter picture, and I was too short to zoom in on it (BigJ was napping in the car.) The elephant pattern came home with me, so I’ll get one made and you can see the cuteness then.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Elephants - piecefulthoughts.com

There was Kaffe Fassett fabric. All those bright colors!

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 3 - piecefulthoughts.com

There were softer colors with some low volume prints.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 4 - piecefulthoughts.com

More bright colors, organized by color family. There were several garments on display, as well as bags. A bag pattern came home with me too. I really didn’t need another bag pattern, let alone another bag, but I can’t wait to make it!

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 5 - piecefulthoughts.com

Throughout the store were clever displays.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 6 - piecefulthoughts.com

That little basket on the bottom left with the blue fabric in front is all Liberty of London. Did I pet that for awhile? Why yes, yes I did. See that green bag up top? That, my friends, was swoon-worthy. I wanted to take that home with me!

In the center of the shop, near the cutting tables, was this center island. It is full of fat quarters. While I was there, several women were gathered at this island, on the hunt for Anna Marie Horner fabrics. There was so much fun and laughter, you couldn’t help but be a part of it.

Mainely Quilt Shops - View 7 - piecefulthoughts.com

There was yarn too, lots of beautiful yarn! About that time, I was getting itchy to do some handwork and considered getting yarn and needles. I thought better of it since (1) I’m a horrible knitter and (2) I have just about every size of knitting needle known to man (thanks, Mom and Grandma) at home.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Yarn - piecefulthoughts.com

That’s what I would consider the main room of the shop. Off to the side was another room that had quilting notions, felt and thread.

The ladies, Rhea and her team, were so friendly and fun. If you’re into EPP, you really need to look at their Lucy Boston kits. Oh my, they are gorgeous!

If you’re ever in the Damariscotta Mills area while in Maine, don’t miss this shop. You’ll leave smiling from ear to ear, a little less cash in your wallet, and a beautiful stash of fabric in your bag!

Quilt Shop Surprise

BigJ knows me all too well. On our drive up to the cabin, we made a stop in Freeport, Maine. He said he needed to find a place to stop to stretch his legs. Usually this is a rest stop, but this time we were winding our way through streets until I finally asked where we were going. He pulled up in front of Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop, a cute little shop snugged into a little group of shops. BigJ is like that — he finds me quilt shops. Gotta love the man.

When you walk in the door, you see the whole store. It’s not very big, but it is filled with lovely displays and fabric. They had a nice variety of fabric; some modern, some traditional. They had a large display of embroidery items and mini quilts.

The ladies were friendly as well. I would’ve taken pictures, but they were a bit frazzled that day because their credit card machine was declining every card. Can you imagine that headache? I decided not to add to the chaos by asking if I could snap pictures. At any rate, it’s a cute shop that is worthy of a stop.

Quilt Shop Serendipity

There was one other shop I really wanted to visit while we were on our trip, but when I looked at the distance to it, I decided it wasn’t going to happen. However —

On our way home from Acadia National Park, BigJ again had to stop to stretch his legs. He pulled up at a parking spot in Belfast, Maine in the downtown area. I looked to my left, and there it was — Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.

Mainely Quilt Shops - Fiddlehead - piecefulthoughts.com

We arrived just shy of closing time, so again, I didn’t snap any pictures. I was the only one in the store and felt like I was holding them up (I really wasn’t). Besides, I was so excited I’m pretty sure the pictures would’ve been even blurrier.

It isn’t a large store. One side of it is art supplies, the other sewing. My kind of shop.

The fabric. Oh my. Little bundles of Alison Glass. Bundles of Kona solids. So many designer lines. And patterns too. Seriously, I could have spent hours in this shop. It had little nooks, stocked full of fat quarters, half yards, and bolts. Farther back in the store was garment fabric and patterns.

I honestly wish we would’ve stumbled into the town of Belfast just a bit earlier. It would be a fun town to explore!

So, there you go! When you head to Maine, if you go to this area, don’t miss these three shops.

Did I buy lots of fabric? Actually, no. I decided to let my carryon luggage determine what I could buy. (Yes, I know I could’ve shipped fabric home.) So I bought a few fat quarters and some patterns. I’ll show you some of that in later posts.

Happy Monday, everyone!


Wednesday Wanderings

Hi everyone! We are back from our anniversary trip and we had a wonderful time. Once we got our ducks in a row,

Wednesday Wanderings - Boston Public Gardens - piecefulthoughts.com
Make Way for Ducklings – Boston Public Gardens

we walked all over Boston, finally finding our way to Fenway Park for the game. Red Sox fans, just for one night!

Wednesday Wanderings - Fenway Park - piecefulthoughts.com

We walked over 17,000 steps in Boston and barely covered all there was to see. The next morning, we headed toward Maine. We stopped in Amesbury, MA at this little place called The Noshery for brunch.

Wednesday Wanderings - The Noshery - piecefulthoughts.com

That’s a crepe, filled with scrambled eggs & bacon, topped with maple syrup. It was delicious!

We made a couple of stops (one quilt shop, more about that later) and then we were finally at our home for the next few days.

Wednesday Wanderings - Cabin Life - piecefulthoughts.com

It was a lovely cabin, situated on a point with a beautiful view. We spent quite a bit of time just relaxing on the deck.

Wednesday Wanderings - cabin view - piecefulthoughts.com

Day trips included a drive to White Mountain National Park in New Hampshire and one to Acadia National Park in Maine. Here’s a view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. That little town below is Bar Harbor.

Wednesday Wanderings - Cadillac Mountain - piecefulthoughts.com

We walked through some lovely Maine towns — Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, Belfast, Round Pond, Bar Harbor.

I didn’t bring any sewing with me and the only tech item I had was my phone. Most days when we were around the cabin, I read. I’m reading a series by Louise Penny. I brought one book along, and came home with two more.

When I wasn’t reading, I decided to play a bit with watercolor. This picture is another shot off of the deck.

Wednesday Wanderings - Deck view - piecefulthoughts.com

I decided to try making a watercolor of it. I don’t do much watercolor, but it’s very relaxing. It’s just for me anyway, so I’m good with it.

Wednesday Wanderings - watercolor - piecefulthoughts.com

I even left my messy little napkin in the photo to prove I actually did this. Haha. I did just a few paintings to remind me of things we did on the trip.

We ate more lobster than I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was very tasty and very fresh.

Wednesday Wanderings - lobster lunch - piecefulthoughts.com

So of course I had to paint that too.

Wednesday Wanderings - lobster painting - piecefulthoughts.com

If you follow me on Instagram, you also saw that I had my first raw oyster. It was much better than I thought it would be. It was huge, so I had visions of choking on it, but I didn’t. I’m glad I tried it.

I did design some little quilt blocks too, so we’ll see if I get them out of the paper stage!

I visited three quilt shops on the trip. More about those in my next post.

We had a wonderful time on our trip. The people we met were so kind and friendly. Thanks to those of you who gave me advice on places to visit. It made the trip even better! We’re so glad we went, but so happy to be home! (And boy, did I miss my sewing machine!)




Wednesday Wanderings

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . . Nope. Does this bag look like it’s ready to go??

Wednesday Wanderings - empty bag - piecefulthoughts.com

The anniversary trip is here! We leave tomorrow. I still have plenty of time to get packed. I should probably make a list. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a Last Minute Lucy when it comes to packing. Hey, at least I’m doing laundry!

You’ll remember that we were wobbling between Hawaii and Boston/Maine. Which did we choose? While Hawaii seemed like a hands down no brainer, we decided to head to Boston/Maine. We want to go to Hawaii as a family someday, so we decided to wait.  We will be spending most of our time at a cabin in mid-coast Maine. Thank you to those of you who have helped me with questions or given tips on places to go, etc. We are pretty excited!

I have a mental list, mind. I kinda know what I need to bring along. Of course, I have what I need to bring related to quilting and sewing all planned out.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m not bringing any sewing along. I’ve decided to make this trip a creative play and designing trip. So here are some of the things coming with me.

Wednesday Wanderings - piecefulthoughts.com

From the left:

The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston – I’m thoroughly enjoying the creative prompts and nudges she shares in this book. I’m taking my time going through it, so this will be good to have with me. Some of the prompts require some thought, and I’ll be away from the distraction of sewing and able to focus on this. Here’s a video about the book by Carrie Bloomston if you’re interested.

Quilter’s Planner – I have some blank spaces that need filling for the coming months, so it will be a good time to reflect, think and plan what’s coming up this fall and into the end of the year. If you’re not familiar with the planner, you can read about it (and order the 2018 version) here.

Moleskine Notebook – this is used with The LIttle Spark for my notes. If you were to look through it, however, you’ll also see a few little design sketches.

Plein Air Watercolor Kit – This is probably the cutest thing ever (it’s about 4″ x 6″). I want to play a bit with sketching and watercolor while I sit on the dock by our cabin.

The Sketchbook Project – I decided to join in the fun of this project, and I need to decide what I will fill my journal with. You can read more about it here. Join me — doesn’t it look like fun?!

Artist Tiles – these are 4″ tiles that I use when I doodle or zentangle. I haven’t done much in months, so this is perfect for travel.

What you don’t see in the picture are my pens, pencils and larger graph paper Moleskines which I use for designing quilts. I enjoy sketching out quilt designs, so I hope to have plenty of time for that.

I’ll also be doing quite a bit of reading. I’m currently working my way through the Louise Penny mysteries and thoroughly enjoying them. I’m reading Trick of the Light which I’ll likely finish on the plane or shortly thereafter. Which means a bookstore visit will be necessary.

We’ll also be meeting a local author, Van Reid, while we are there. I’ve read Van’s books through the years, so I’m looking forward to meeting him!

We won’t be tucked in at the cabin the whole time. We are planning to visit Acadia National Park, Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta and some other fun places. Of course, there will be seafood to eat — yum! Oh, and yes, I have a quilt shop on my list too!

I have all my projects that I wanted to have completed before the trip done! Here a little peek at what I made from the leftover scraps of my latest improv project. I’ll be finishing that project once I’m back home, so more on that in a future post. This little lovely finishes at about 8″. The fabrics are Kona Pink Flamingo and Kona Snow. I quilted it with a light dove grey and pink threads.

Wednesday Wanderings - scrap improv mini - piecefulthoughts.com
That little bulge on the left is a binding glitch. Glad it’s just a play piece!

I’m going unplugged (mostly) while I’m gone, so you won’t hear from me for the next 10 days. I won’t be posting on my blog, but I’ll be reading your blogs. I won’t be commenting, since my phone doesn’t seem to want me to. Follow me on Instagram (@piecefulwendy) if you want to see what I’m up to.

Ok, I really better get packing! See you later, my friends!



Wednesday Wanderings

I haven’t posted a Wednesday Wanderings in awhile, and since I have been wandering a bit as of late, I thought it appropriate to post a few pictures.

One of the things we enjoy while traveling is finding coffee shops. Not Starbucks or other chains, but local coffee shops. Thank goodness for Mr. Google and all things internet these days, which makes that so much easier!

While we were on our way to Florida, we stopped by Innkeeper’s Coffee in Galesburg, Illinois.  It was a bit of a drive off the freeway, further complicated by construction, but well worth the effort. Upon entering the shop, I was surprised at how bright and sunshiny it was. It was just a happy place to be. The staff were smiling and cheerful, as well as patient as we tried to decide what we wanted. We are a divided family, with two of us coffee drinkers and two tea drinkers. All of us agreed that the coffee and tea were delicious! I was so busy with ordering coffee and looking around that I forgot to snap any pictures, except for this boring (and blurry) one of the street signage. If you go to their website, however, and click on “About Us” you can see a photo of the inside.

Wednesday Wanderings - coffee shop - piecefulthoughts.com

Anyway, if you are traveling through Illinois and are near Galesburg, it’s worth the stop!

Works In Progress

Meanwhile, I’ve been stitching away on the Maureen Cracknell kit, with little to show for it I’m afraid. If I get some decent stitching done today I should get the second set of blocks done. They go together pretty quickly, so if I stay on task I should have the top done — maybe this weekend!

I made another little dress, so now I have two. I do plan to make a few more.

Wednesday Wanderings - pillowcase dress - piecefulthoughts.com

Wandering Wednesday - pillowcase dress - piecefulthoughts.com

I also made this little flannel receiving blanket, and had enough flannel left over to make two little burp cloths. This will be gifted later this week. I’ve had the fabric in my stash just waiting for the right time, so I was happy for that. The flannel is so soft and snuggly.

Wednesday Wanderings - receiving blanket - piecefulthoughts.com

And just as I decided to take this picture my camera ran out of battery, so I apologize for the dark photo.

What are you up to this week? I’d love to hear!



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!