Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan, Oh my!

A couple of weeks ago, I rented a mini-van, stuffed it with all kinds of quilty goodness, and headed west. The Evergreen Quilt Guild in Green Bay, Wisconsin was my first destination.

But between me and Green Bay, there's a big lake, Lake Michigan. I decided to avoid some of the congested traffic in the Chicago area and opted to take the Lake Express ferry from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When I made the reservation, I had high hopes that high seas would be out of the question--the pictures on the website looked really appealing, after all. However, as I waited for my turn to board the ferry a couple of Mondays ago, I was advised that Lake Michigan had 5-7 foot waves at its center. Rut-roh!

I've never been adversely affected by sea-sickness, so I opted to stay on track and take the ferry crossing. Plus, at this point, I didn't want to be late for the trunk show in Green Bay.

Let's just say, I made it, but I'm pretty sure my face turned several shades of green on the cross-lake journey. Next time, I'll take the long way around!

We had a great time at the guild meeting later that evening (my insides were much calmer by then), and a very dedicated group of quilters worked on 99 Bottles the next day at the guild workshop. Before I headed out of town, my hostess, Tracy Reeb took me on a short tour of Green Bay. Tracy is also my virtual assistant--if you book a workshop with me, Tracy makes all the arrangements, so it's very likely you'll talk with her much more than you talk with me before the event. And she's fabulous! Very detail-oriented.

A drive-by of Lambeau Field.

And a stop in nearby Quilters Connection. They are located very close to the football stadium, and their Row By Row pattern appropriately reflects the local team spirit!

As does the counter display of Green Bay Green and Gold fabrics!

Just in case, you forget where you are, there are reminders everywhere!

A second quilt shop shop at Quilting Divas Sewing Boutique.

I fell right in with the 'diva' at the front entrance!

On to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts.

The museum is housed in an old barn, beautifully refurbished inside. And, of course, the quilts are amazing.

And another quilt shop, just down the road. Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilts. Step inside this late 1800's era schoolhouse and you are greeted with an amazing array of fabrics, displays overloaded with beautiful quilt samples, and friendly people.

And looky here, a Snap Sack kit! Gramma's Favorite!

Cheesey grins from Tink and Dick Linhart (my facebook friends, now real friends) who invited me on this off-the-beaten-trail side trip, Jeanie, the shop owner, and yours truly.

Tink and Dick make tons of quilts for military families. This one, for example. Nice!

The shop is full of unique details. For example, the classroom chairs are painted with classic quilt blocks, identified by name on the back of the chair. Each chair features a different block. Of course, I would choose the bird-themed block!

Then a little R&R with my niece and her family. Back about a year or so ago, Karen asked me for some advice--she wanted to know a little more about this 'quilty stuff.' The Quilting 101 blog follows her step-by-step journey into all things quilty. She's a very creative gal and likes all kinds of crafty stuff. Here, she's adding a little embroidery to a quilt label (like the socks!?).

. . . Karen's little girl, Faye. 14 months old and cuter than cute!

 . . . Let's not forget Karen's husband Josh. Enjoying the park on a beautiful Saturday in Chicago.

After a nice break in Chicago, it was time to get serious and set up at AQS Quilt Week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first day of set up is a lot of box toting and unloading. Afterward, it was time to relax at sunset with a fabulous outdoor dinner at the hotel.

There were plenty of great restaurants nearby in downtown Grand Rapids. The Mexican Restaurant, Cinco de Mayo had bright and colorful decor, including this chair, with--you guessed it--hummingbirds carved into the back of the chair.

Once the booth is set up, a quick photo op. Will anyone come? (Can't seem to shake those last minute jitters! I've been told I'm too much of a worrier!)

Brenda Miller from Among Brenda's Quilts and Bags, crossed over the border from her home in Ontario, Canada to be my booth helper extraordinaire. She handled all the money! Many HUGE thanks to Brenda for her able assistance. She also made sure I had plenty to eat and drink each day.

 . . . and, of course, all that worrying for nothing. Many new friends showed up. I did a variety of demonstrations over the four days of the show. Mostly I talked about the Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing and a new pattern, Taste of Nectar--little quilty 9-patch pins made with the interfacing and fusible foam batting.

And, what do you know, after a day or two, the pins came back to visit the booth with their makers--All complete! Here's Janice wearing her pin!

And Janie!

Future quilters could also be spotted in the booth, complete with kitty headband, face paint, and traveling kitty companion. . .

I also got to present at one of the information sessions. Lots of fun!

And, it wouldn't be a quilt show without a quilt show. This piece was amazing! Lots of dimension and texture and color! (Including a pretty red ribbon!)

 . . . if you like something more traditional . . .

Yowser! . . .

I wonder if the quilter used the Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing to make all those little squares?!

Not to mention some familiar names. My friend Laurie entered her quilt in one of the guild challenges . . . Bravo!

"Phew!" What a whirlwind. Time for a little break! But only a little one!

Happy Stitching!

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