Tag Archives: travel

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!


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!



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!


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!



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!