Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween from Chicago!

Halloween fountain at Daley Plaza

Wishing you funny frights

And lots of delights!
Blessings, Patti

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bittersweet Sisters Projects

When the Bittersweet Sisters get together for our gathering, the idea is to work on our UFO's as we all have a lot of them :) But we also like to do a few small projects together as well. 

We all work with different mediums and it is fun to try something out of our comfort zone - especially if there is a pro right there to help :) 

Wendy likes to work with paper. So we made these little paper cones. It was interesting to see how she just whipped hers together. I took a little longer. Nicki's is on the left. I love the little flags on top and the little tags attached to the raffia. (Kim might have been working on her Star Party homework, but you didn't hear that from me...) ;)

Carla works in mixed media and designed this little ditty. Oh my goodness did we laugh and have fun with this! Yes, those are the Bittersweet Sisters in a somber pic reminiscent of the good ole days with added witches hats. Someone thought the Bittersweet Witches Reunion really started with a "B" and that started us laughing all over again. I think that mine almost came out as nice as the original and you can be sure that this Halloween decoration will have a place of honor each year ;)

Carla also came up with this amazing idea!
We made feathers out of old sheet music and wire. Then dyed them with really neat glitter mists that we also used to dye watercolor paper and ribbon. The idea is to tie it with the ribbon to a leather bound book. I have mine all put together and I am really loving it. But I just realized that I didn't photograph it yet, so I will have to share in a future post.

Thank you Wendy and Carla for having us step  out of our comfort zones and try something new and exciting. Projects that I would never have tried without you both at my side!

I had a little project as well. The idea started because my sister is an accomplished knitter. She creates amazing things that are really useful - socks, mittens, scarves, sweaters, I could go on and on.
I create pillows, table mats and pin cushions. not quite as useful.

So I designed something that we could carry in our purses and might trigger a memory of our times together when we see it.

Wool tissue pouch holders with velvet trim. 
My husband thought the idea was goofy, but I think they came out kind of cute.

Well, I am short of time tonight, so the fabric challenge will have to wait for another day.
I forgot to mention in my last post that a little pack of wool from Ewe & Eye is also included in my giveaway gift bag...

I also have to give a shout out to Osage's finest!
They showed up at the niche of time to help out these damsels in distress one night after a really exhausting day. But that is a story for another day... 

"Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
~Ephesians 5:19-20

Blessings, Patti

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Visit to Ewe & Eye in Osage, Iowa

Our visit to Ewe & Eye had been highly anticipated all year long!
We had such an incredible visit last year, that we couldn't wait to go back.
Marge and Beth are such beautiful ladies, inside and out, and we wanted to show our appreciation for their wonderful hospitality. So this year we put together a basket - each of the Bittersweet Sisters brought a food item that our state is known for along with a postcard for our area. I brought Chicago Mix popcorn from Garrett's along with a postcard of the Wrigley Building where I work.

The Ewe & Eye shop is so cozy and welcoming from the moment you get out of your car. 

Beautiful sights all around.

We had a lovely lunch in Marge's home.

This sweet sight is right inside the back door.
After lunch we had a little show and tell.

Bittersweet Sister, Linda from Georgia hooked this incredible rug of Buddy, her cat. Isn't he amazingly lifelike?! Linda always shares fun stories of her sweet Buddy and now we feel like we've almost met him ;)

Bittersweet Sister, Carla from Fargo shared her bobbin lace projects.
Can you even imagine making something so complicated?!?!

Bittersweet Sister, Nicki of Iowa shared a family hooked rug - a challenge project from Ewe and Eye - how fun!

Beth shared a great wool applique picnic basket that she picked up at a recent show - keep an eye on that basket - we are all coveting it!

Marge shared a lovely pillow from the same artist.

Here are a few of my purchases -
(the wools on the left from Ewe & Eye and those on the right from Country Threads)

I went a little crazy on the hand-dyed velvets - I just couldn't help myself!
And some of Gentle Arts new wool threads that I am anxious to try.
I also picked up a kit for Stacy Nash's Butternut Tavern - the way they had it stitched and framed was just stunning and I stared at it all day long :)
Marge and Beth gifted each of us with a beautiful piece of their specialty wool and a white pumpkin - both of which can be seen in my blog header. They have inspired one of my offerings for November...
We were so busy and having so much fun that we forgot to take a photo of our group! I was so very sad when I realized this as we don't have a single picture of all the Bittersweet Sisters together this year :( but if you have a chance you can see a really fun picture of the group from last year on Ewe and Eye's blog. Just click here.
Thank you Marge and Beth for another incredible visit!
I hope that you aren't bored with us yet, next up are our class projects,
gifts and the fun fabric challenge!
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
~Galatians 6:2
Blessings, Patti

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Visit to Country Threads in Garner, Iowa

When I enter the gate for Country Threads, I feel like I am entering another world. 

A world of beauty and inspiration around every corner.

A world that I don't want to leave

Both of my visits have occurred in the fall, but I think it would be beautiful in any season.

Quilts and cats at each turn

Ever so peaceful.

Mary, one of the owners of Country Threads, who also lives on the property, is such a kind soul. 
Bittersweet Sister, Nicki, arranged with Mary to give us a tour of her recently remodeled home!
Thank you so much Mary for being so kind and giving us this glimpse of your gorgeous home!

A beautiful stone fireplace and the sweetest dog.

A wonderful and unique use for old greenhouse windows.

Don't you love this wonderful cabinet of ironstone?!

And wonderful antique sewing tools.

I love this cabinet of antique pincushions.

I fell in love with Ernie. Look at the size of those wonderful paws! He is at least twice the size of our sweet Orion :)

Mary even let us see her sewing room - where so many wonderful quilts are created.
We were so sorry that Nicki couldn't join us.

These antique quilt templates are so wonderful, think of the stories that they could tell.
We even made the Country Threads blog and felt like stars lol.

When Mary heard that I was hosting a giveaway here on my blog celebrating the trip, she put together a wonderful and generous goodie bag - Country Threads "Back to Charm School" book, not one but two different Goat Gazette cookbooks, Heirloom Mallow Seeds from the farm, and lovely notecards and Country Threads pencils too! Wow! the giveaway gift bag is filling up.

Thank you Mary ever so much for your generosity and kindness!
We had such a very special visit! 

After our visit, we headed to Nicki's house for dinner and to talk about the special day.

These beautiful flowers were blooming in front of Nicki's lovely home, but I forgot to ask what they are... Hey Nicki, can you tell me the name of these beauties???

And look at this beautiful wall in Nicki's hallway featuring not one, but two Maggie Bonanomi Club pieces from Country Sampler.

Another lovely special day in Iowa!

For all those that have asked about my new shoes:
The button clogs are by Think! of Austria. Unfortunately they are from last year's collection and are no longer available. Maybe you could get lucky on ebay?
The boiled wool slippers are by Haflinger of Germany.
My husband thinks they both look like old lady shoes. 
I'm glad that someone else appreciates them as I do lol!

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
~Psalm 51:12

Blessings, Patti

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Saint Ansgar

The morning after our arrival, the Bittersweet Sisters took a trip to a new destination for us,
Saint Ansgar, Iowa.

Immediately upon arriving, we were beckoned into a little alley that was so welcoming.
I think the sign should have read no garden gnome on duty ;)

I would have loved to find a little bench to sit and stitch here.

For such a tiny space the meandering path was very endearing.
But the stores were calling us and it was time to shop.
Home Sweet Home has such unique home d├ęcor and fashions.
Then we saw another little interesting alley that hinted at treasures to be found within.

A wonderful chockfull antique store. I would stand in one place and just pivot around trying to take it all in...

 These are the treasures that went home with me:

Including an instant collection of Gurley turkey candles ;)
See the tiny vial of small antique mother of pearl buttons in the center of the photo?
Well there is a second vial to be included in my giveaway at the end of the journey.
After all that shopping, it was time for lunch.
Our Bittersweet Sister, Nicki, arranged for us to have lunch at the sweetest bed & breakfast.
We were so sorry that Nicki was unable to join us!

Isn't it lovely?

I usually don't photograph a meal as I want to eat right away, but look at this!

Isn't it pretty?

And here is my cottage pie:

Here are the Bittersweet Sisters, although it just wasn't the same without Nicki:
 After lunch, it was time to hit the road for our next stop
Country Threads in Garner, Iowa!

I am realizing that Country Threads needs its own post, so I will leave you with these photos of their wonderful barn where they were having a sale.
I'll be back soon with the continuing story.
Blessings, Patti
p.s. Wow! What a response to my new shoes. I'll tell you the manufacturers in my next post. But I did discover that the button clogs were last years style, so they are not readily available.