Home Again

Welcome!  Last Friday I told you we were taking a trip to Colorado to visit with one of our three daughters.  Well I’m happy to say we made it home safely.  I’ve been spending the last few days resting up and stowing away our gear.  Today I finally got around to chronologically arranging my receipts.  As I sorted them I thought what better way is there to recreate our travels than by sifting through a pile of receipts.  They obviously have a tale to tell.  From the receipts I compiled a list of our favorite hideouts.  Here’s the list I came up with.

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Extreme Pizza

Five Guys Burgers and Fries  Their French fries are to-die-for.  However, be cautions when ordering them.  The small order is enough for a party of four.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill  Very, very delicious

Omelets Etc, 1616 South Eight Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Wonderful, wonderful omelets and pancakes.  A must visit.

Toast  First time I ever ate at one of these restaurants was in Chicago.  Really great food.

Wahoo’s Fish Taco  They have unbelievably fabulous food!  We were lucky to dine at Wahoo’s twice during our visit.

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Gifts and Antiques Shops

Gatherings Furnishings & accessories for your home.  We found this neat little shop on our last visit to Colorado.  We just had to include it this time as well.

Littleton Antiques & Such  Great little shop with loads of vintage finds.  In my search for tea cups, saucers, tea pots and even a child’s little tea set I hit the jackpot at this shop.  Definitely a must see.

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Great Places to Purchase Gourmet Food Items

Savory Spice Shop  The BEST place to buy organic spices, blends, flavorings, etc.  Although they offer online shopping the preferred method is an in person visit.  How else can you taste-test their wonderful concoctions.  Savory Spice Shop’s Taco Seasoning is always on our shopping list.

The Chocolate Therapist  If, like me, your favorite food group is chocolate, then you MUST visit this store.  Yum, Yum!  Note:  as I am typing this I am sampling a small bag of their Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Seeds.  Also making the trip home with us were Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, as well as the following four chocolate bars:  The Purist (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate), Extreme Therapy (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate With Organic Cacao Nibs), Super Hero (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate With Whole Almonds And Tart Dried Cherries), and Blue Suede Shews (72% All-Natural Dark Chocolate With Blueberries And Cashews).  From my list of purchases perhaps you have detected that I am a fan of dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate is not the only chocolate they carry.  They have many fine offerings in the milk chocolate arena.

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Fabric Stores

LadyBug Hill Quilts  Great little fabric store tucked away in Colorado Springs.

Nana’s Quilt Cottage, LLC  Of course a trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to local fabric stores.  This shop is run by a very sweet lady. Although her shop is small in size she has it packed with tons of patterns and wonderful fabrics.  She even carries an inventory of unusual sewing accessories and supplies.

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Well that’s a wrap.  I’ve just taken you on a whirlwind tour of my all-time favorite shops in the Colorado Springs area.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  Why not at least visit one of their websites and see for yourself.

See you next Friday.

Jessica J’s First Quilt

Greetings on this second Wednesday in October, 2012.  I recently returned from a wonderful visit with my daughter in Colorado.  During my stay I willingly adopted one of my daughter’s projects.  She had pieced together a lap quilt and begun the process of quilting.  Unfortunately the stitching had not gone smoothly.  In fact many tears had been shed while attempting to quilt the project on her own and after disappointing results she stuffed it away in a closet.

Since my daughter was new at piecing quilt tops, out of curiosity I inquired about her progress.  She began describing the ordeal and sharing the disappointing outcome.  I encouraged her to retrieve the lap quilt so that I could have a look.  When my daughter returned from her office she handed me the object of her labors.  There before me was a collection of beautiful fabrics combined together to create her very first lap quilt.  Granted there were a few issues that required attention but all-in-all I thought it was quite good for a first timer.

I offered to remove her quilting stitches, re-baste the sandwich and do the quilting for her.  My daughter was more than thrilled with the idea.  At once I requested a seam ripper and began the task of extracting the existing stitches.  I had a mission to accomplish and didn’t want to waste any time.  I even took the lap quilt along on one of our excursions.

My daughter has a very limited sewing supply inventory.  There were two items missing from her collection that I just knew would make the quilting process go much smoother.  On a visit to a fabric store I browsed through the notions department looking for their display of Dritz Quilting Curved Basting Pins Bonus Pack, Size 1, 300 Count.  I located and purchased for my daughter a large box of these pins along with a Kwik Klip Safety Pin Fastener Tool.  She was very appreciative of my gift.

At the earliest opportunity I carefully repressed her quilt top, made a few repairs to her stitching, re-sandwiched her quilt top, batting and backing, then began pin basting the layers together.  My daughter found the whole process very educational.  It was thrilling to share my knowledge with her.  I wanted so much for her to be successful and not apprehensive to tackle another quilt.

The time allotted to quilt her lap quilt was not enough to finish the project.  I got as far as I could then carefully packaged it up to take it home to Wisconsin for completion.  As soon as I am able to finish the stitching I will return it to my daughter for her enjoyment.  I can’t wait to share pictures of the completed lap quilt.  Perhaps I will be able to do so next week.

Since I have a strong desire to participate in anything and everything related to sewing I asked my daughter if there were other sewing projects she wanted to complete during my stay.  Not having a work-in-progress list like mine she had only one request.  When she visited us in January she noticed my pin cushion and thread bag hanging from my sewing table.  Since seeing that nifty little accessory she had the desire to own one of her own.  Apparently she had intended to ask me to bring along the pattern for the pin cushion.  She shared her disappointment at the revelation of her omission.  I was not at all sad that it was not included in my packed sewing supplies.  I found the pin cushion and attached thread bag to be incredibly awful to construct.  After making numerous changes to the pattern and subsequently finishing the job I vowed I would NEVER make that one again.

Not having a pattern to follow was not at all an obstacle.  I knew exactly how I wanted to make the pin cushion and thread bag.  Using two of my daughter’s fat quarters I measured out and created an adorable little accessory.

Fat quarters used to make our project

We attached this button to the bottom of the pin cushion.  The thread bag was attached to the pin cushion using this button.  It almost seemed a waste to use such a cute button since it would never be seen.

I had fun using some of the decorative stitches, in my sewing machine’s library, to embellish the thread bag.  I let my daughter chose several of the designs then made a sample of each one.  This is the stitch my daughter chose.

Here’s a picture of the thread bag laying on its side.

This is the finished project.  Isn’t it just adorable!  We had a wonderful time making this little accessory.  I just know my Colorado daughter will get loads of use out of her new gadget.  I think I will be making a few more of these thread bags.  I could use one for my ironing board, my cutting table and even my long arm quilt machine.  Looks like I have a few more items to add to my work-in-progress list.

Speaking of work-in-progress lists you may visit mine at this link.  Thank you for sharing your time with me.  I look forward to sharing with you again next week.  Till then I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Stop by her website to see what everyone else is doing.

Oh My Gosh It’s Beautiful!

Several weeks ago I shared a post about my great grandmother’s vintage sewing machine.  In that post I talked of how the wooden cabinet was badly in need of repair.  Ten years ago it had been left in the hands of my mom and a close friend.  Both had taken a furniture refinishing class and intended to use their new-found knowledge to restore its lustre.

Earlier this summer I reclaimed the cabinet from their possession.  The cabinet restoration had been started but never finished.  A portion of the veneer had been replaced but not much else had been done.  Being as we have a trip to Colorado planned for this fall and since that sewing machine was destined for my Colorado daughter’s home I thought it was time to retrieve the machine and take finishing the restoration into my own hands.

After transporting the machine home an assessment was made of its current condition.  The cabinet was in worse shape than I had remembered.  The veneer, which had been replaced, appeared nice but had been installed improperly.  The grain of the veneer flowed in the opposite direction as all of the other wood, numerous other sections had veneer that needed replacing and there was an accumulation of old varnish on other sections.  After examining the cabinet I came to the revelation the scope of this project was way beyond my talents.

Deciding how to proceed was a no-brainer.  My older brother is what I call a master craftsman.  He can turn an ugly, dilapidated piece of furniture into a beautiful show piece.  I just knew he was the man for the job.  I presented my case to my brother and asked him if he was up to the challenge.  Plans were made for him to stop by and check out the cabinet before he made the commitment.

We invited he and his wife down for a family gathering.  While at my home we both went into my basement to look at the cabinet.  After asking a lot of questions and a bit of pondering, my brother agreed to take on the project.

The cabinet and machine were transported to my brother’s house early in August.  Since the required amount of reconstruction was more than we had anticipated I told my brother he didn’t have to finish the cabinet in time for our Colorado trip.  He was appreciative of the extension afforded to the timeline.

As my brother began the initial phases questions arose as to missing hinges, how much veneer I wanted replaced and what type of finish I wanted applied.  We worked through the list of questions and established the priorities.  Since I didn’t want the task to be too burdensome for my brother, by the end of the conversation I basically left it up to him.  He could decide how much time and effort he wanted to invest and then take it from there.

Today 5 1/2 weeks later the restoration was completed.  We met my brother at his home to take delivery of the finished project.  As we approached his driveway I could see that his garage door was open and the sewing machine and cabinet were sitting in plain sight.  I believe the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh, it is beautiful.”  I didn’t for one second think that my brother would do less than a stellar job.  Everything about my brother’s workmanship screams excellence.  My husband and brother carefully loaded the cabinet into the back of our truck.  Once it was safely secured we offered to take my brother to lunch.

During our meal I asked my brother to share the details of his restoration. process.  In hind sight I wish I would have had him keep a photographic documentation of his work.  Perhaps next time I will think of that ahead of time.  He shared about the removal and replacement of the veneer, the gluing process he used to reinforce other areas that were coming unglued and the vendors he used to acquire the missing hinges.  Two of the hinges were found on Ebay and the others came from a local hardware store.

Before parting company I handed my brother a check for his monetary investment plus a stipend for his time.  A big smile washed over his face as he read the amount of the check.  His efforts and his talents were well worth the price I paid.  I know that the dollar value I placed on the cabinet was well above the price we could expect to receive on the market but I didn’t care.  What was important was the restoration of a family heirloom.  Hopefully this machine and cabinet will remain in the family and be passed down from one generation to the next.

Well, there you have it.  My great grandmother’s sewing cabinet has been brought back to life.  So what do you think?

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Be sure to visit her blog and see what everyone else is up to.