June 27, 2009

Trip to Galena, IL

Recently Hubby and I went on a mini vacation to Galena, IL. We totally enjoyed our trip. Illinois' Northwestern area is one rolling hill after another, beautiful farmlands and a joy to travel through. This first photo is a distant one of the town of Galena.
This is a view of the downtown or business area. There is one little shop after another. There are many different types of shops there ranging from quaint little antique shops to shops that have the latest of apparel. I had three favorite shops there: Phat 1/4's (a wonderful quilt store), Fiber Wild (a good name for that store as I went a little wild with the different yarns there) and Galena Beads (I always wanted to learn how to make jewelry). I also found a little treasure in an antique shop. This post would be too long if I went into detail about the shops and what I bought, so I will save that for the next post. Oh, did I mention the many restaurants to choose from? Or about the chocolate shops and the popcorn shop? Yum!
Since Galena was founded as a mining town it is no surprise to see the houses built into the hill sides. What was interesting to me was the steps that lead from one street up to another. You may have to click on the next photo to get a good view of the steps that seem to go on forever and forever. One thing Hubby found interesting was the number of chimneys that the buildings had. So many fireplaces! I will admit I found looking at the trees, the number of church steeples and thinking about the next shop to wander into more interesting then the chimneys. I guess it is a girl thing huh?
I thought the steps were lovely to look at, but with a heat index of 100 degrees I had no desire to try to walk up them. Dear Hubby is much more adventurous then I am. He is also in much better physical shape then I am. He wanted to see what was at the top of the stairs. Here is a photo of what he saw looking down from the top of the stairs. See the little purple spec standing by the top of yet another flight of stairs? You may have to click on the photo to see it. That is me.
Okay, you may want to know what was at the top of the stairs. This house. Neat!
I did walk up and down some stairs while we were in Galena, but not to the extent of dear Hubby.

There was to be a Hot Air Balloon Festival that weekend and we were so looking forward to seeing the sights. The weather, however, did not cooperate. There were severe storm warnings on the evening that we were there. We figured they would have to cancel the event but we drove to the golf course/resort where the event was to be held anyway. Once we got there we found out that yes, the event was canceled. We were very disappointed but we decided to drive around a little to see what there was to see. Imagine our surprise when we rounded a corner and saw this waterfall. It wasn't a bunch of hot air balloons taking off into the air but it sure was beautiful!
There are many different things to see and do while in Galena and I am only touching on a few. I would be remiss if I forgot to tell you that while in Galena you can visit Grant's home and a few other old but beautiful mansions. There is a statue of Grant, a memorial to the soldiers of the Civil War from the Galena area and many cannons to view. I am sure I didn't get a chance to see everything there so I hope to return one day. If you get a chance to stop by for a visit to the Galena area I can tell you that you won't be disappointed!

June 22, 2009

What's Up

Do I ever have a lot of things to talk about, but I will start with what I had originally planned for last week. We have been having problems with our DSL and phone service. Never any fun, but I guess you always want what you can't or don't have. So, what I wanted to post last week was what I had been working on.

I pulled out this little project out the other day. I started this foundation paper piecing project years ago. It had been sitting on a shelf waiting to be noticed again. I just had six more blocks to make before I could sew the blocks together. Now it is waiting for a border. I believe the block is called Delectable Mountains. I like how this is turning out. I don't plan on letting it sit for a few more years before I finish it though!

I taught a beginning machine quilting class last week. I really enjoy teaching, but the only problem is that I can't seem to leave the quilt store without spending some of my pay check. This is that called to me:

I just love those reproduction fabrics. I bought a new type of basting glue. In the past I have always used a different brand that had a poor applicator tip. This new one's applicator isn't supposed to clog up in between uses. I will let you know how that turns out when I get to try it out.

Hubby and I got to go out of town for a few days last week. We had a great time. We went to Galena, IL. It is a beautiful town with rolling hills and many many steps. I will talk more about what I found to do and buy there another day. For now I will talk about a quilt shop that we stopped at on the way (kind of) to Galena. Ever since I purchased the Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler 2007 magazine I have wanted to visit The Quilt Merchant shop in Winfield, IL. They specialize in reproduction fabrics. They have been a vendor at the Chicago Quilt Show that I try to go to each year and I have spent time in their booth drooling over the fabrics, patterns and quilts that they brought. Yes, I always spent money in their booth, but I always wanted to visit the store. When I first walked into the store I will admit my first thought was , oh is smaller then I thought it would be. I was a little disappointed. But then I realized that every bolt of fabric in that store was a reproduction fabric. Every single one! The smile spread on my face and the shopping began. I found yards of fabric that needed to go home with me. There is a great sale corner that has some great fabrics at 50% off. Neat! I found a few other things that I had been looking for too.

I am looking forward to trying out that little light on my sewing machine. I think it will help me to see where I am going while I am machine quilting. I'll let you know if it does what I hope it will. I will post about the actual visit to Galena soon!

June 11, 2009

The Needle Chaser?

Well, I think life is finally turning more back to normal around here now. I have been spending every available moment quilting on the Red & White quilt that I was making for my Quilt Guild's Challenge that was due on the 9th. I have mentioned the quilt in previous posts, but could not even show a photo of my progress on it because it had to remain a secret until the the challenge was unveiled last Tuesday. Many long hours were put into the creation of this quilt, and while I became weary of it from time to time I am very happy with the result. The winners of the Challenge are pictured below. From left to right, third place, second place (Me!) and the first place winner. Since I did not get prior permission to list the other winners names, I will refrain from posting them, but aren't their quilts just wonderful!

It is a rainy gloomy day here and it is not easy to take a nice photo, so until that photo can be taken I will just have to share these. The block's actual name is the Wild Goose Chase. I am thinking about naming this quilt "The Needle Chaser" because I broke, bent and blunted more needles in the making of this quilt then any other quilt that I have ever made.
I used Kona Cotton fabric, and it tends to be on the heavy side, so the seam allowances were quite thick at times. Because of this the open toe foot on the sewing machine barely cleared in some areas. (I quilted this on my regular Pfaff sewing machine.) Moving the quilt around during the quilting process sometimes caused the foot to move out of place. When this happened of course the needle would break when it hit the foot. Ugh! When I was piecing the blocks I found that I had to sew through so many layers of fabric that my Pffaf couldn't handle it well. The needle would bend and then blunt. I ended up piecing the whole top on my little antique Singer Featherweight machine. It held up to the heavy layers just fine. Go figure!

I used silk thread in the white areas there the highly detailed quilting was required. It makes it easier to have dense quilting in small spaces.

Now that this little quilt is finished I can now get back to reading my favorite blogs and getting my house back into order after being neglected. Talk about the laundry that is waiting for me!