Vineyard Jaunt

Over the weekend, my family and I took a little trek to LaCrosse, Wisconsin – a three-hour journey from Stillwater, Minnesota.  We have friends there who left their corporate careers early,  and started a vineyard in the beautiful LaCrosse Valley-a perfect climate for grapes.  The vineyard has grown over the past five years, with hundreds of new plants of several cultivars planted each year.  They grow Marquette, LaCrescent, Edelweiss, and Frontenac gris grapes…to name a few.  They are bottling their own wine now and work is almost complete on their new wine tasting room and banquet hall.  We can’t wait for the grand opening in spring 2013!

Our trip was not for wine tasting or cheese eating, however.  We went to work.  Some of us worked picking grapes-we each picked nearly 500 pounds in one day.  The rest of the group worked at the winery crushing grapes. It was a lovely day to work outside and the setting could not have been more beautiful.  We left late in the evening, satisfied with a day of work well done and with a renewed appreciation for all those who work in agriculture.  We all agreed that whatever we pay for a bottle of wine–it’s not enough! 

 

A Color-filled Jaunt to the Farmer’s Market


One of my absolute favorite things about summer is the Farmer’s Market.   As I may have mentioned before, I love gardens, but I really don’t like gardening.  That holds especially true for the vegetable garden.  I tried my hand at it once and it was an unmitigated disaster.  I went crazy planting tomatoes of all varieties.  What I didn’t know was that those tiny little spring plants… turn into enormous tentacled monsters by August.  Everything was tangled together.  What the deer didn’t eat, I didn’t want.  That’s when I discovered Minnesota’s many Farmer’s Markets.  I have never looked back…

The bounty was overflowing today.  The people, the colors, the aromas….I have to confess that my purchases today had more to do with color and beauty than with nutrition or taste.  I bought the radishes, the elongated purple eggplant, and red peppers…It should be quite an unusual stir fry…
I hope you enjoy this little jaunt to the Farmer’s Market!  For more color inspiration, check out Color Route Co. (My daughter’s blog) or Rows of Six (My other daughter’s blog)…

Doodles make the BEST quilt designs!

I hope by now, you have had  time to do a little free motion quilting using your favorite doodles…I find it very relaxing.  After 10 minutes of warm up, I’m usually in the zone, quilting away.  The first 10 minutes can be the hardest...It takes the right brain at least that long to wrestle the left brain to the mat and force it to give up the lists of things to do…problems to be solved…etc… ( More on the right brain/left brain another time..)

Doodles make the best quilt designs because they are personal.  They are as unique as your signature.  They are also original.  As much as I love quilted feathers, they are not original.  Everyone does quilted feathers.  There are many many books about how to create the perfect quilted feather!  This brings me to my next point, doodles are easy.  Doodles are hard wired in your brain.  They have been repeated so many times throughout your lifetime that there are neural pathways making them automatic.  You don’t have to think about them (let alone read a book about them!).  Doodles are as easy as riding a bike!  Because they are automatic, you can concentrate on the mechanics of sewing: stitching speed, moving the quilt, even stitches…

For the next few days, work on free motion quilting your doodles.  Try to work for at least 20 minutes at a time.  Turn off the news and just day dream or listen to your favorite music.  (oh, and see if you can connect your motifs without lifting the sewing machine needle….)