Every year, my friends and I exchange gifts at our annual retreat, which we call “happies” because it makes us happy to give gifts. This year a few people went overboard in making their happies.

Grubers Happies 2015

  • Cindy made us the 1 hour basket with the cool license plate fabric, which we all used to throw our scraps in over the weekend.
  • Rene’ gave us a custom coffee mug with the logo I designed for our quilting bee, a stack of 2-1/2″ squares of fabric and a patchwork mug rug/mini quilt.
  • Michelle made us a catch-all fabric basket.
  • Amanda Jean made us her work in progress bag, included the pattern and gave us a stack of 2-1/2″ squares from her upcoming fabric collection, Good Neighbors. She also gave me an autographed postcard from Sarah Watts, since I love her illustrations and fabric.
  • Doris gave us charm packs and a cute scissors key chain.
  • Mary gave us a pin cushion with the tiniest hexagon flower. Sew cute!
  • We’re all in the same quilting bee together so Stephanie used the logo I designed to create custom embroidered totes for us. She threw in a jar of honey from her very own bee hives.

happies from StephanieShelly made us perpetual calendars, with each index card date-stamped, as a way for us to track happy moments.happy from ShellyI made a dresden color wheel mug rug for everyone. Click here to see my tutorial on how to make your own.dresden color wheel mug rugsIt was better than gift-exchanging at Christmas!


A Weekend Retreat With Friends

I spent the weekend with my friends at our 6th annual retreat at Gruber’s Quilt Shop in St. Cloud, MN. As usual, we had the BEST time together, sewing, shopping, eating, drinking coffee, talking, laughing, teaching, watching a movie, sharing and staying up way too late!

Grubers Retreat 2015

From left to right: Amanda Jean, Rene’, Doris, Mary, Michelle, me, Cindy, Shelly and Stephanie

grubers retreat grubers retreat

scrap pile

star blocks Good Neighbors patchwork

Doris' micro quiltThey are the best friends anyone could ask for. Each one of them is kind, generous, loving, loyal, ambitious, creative and talented. They make me laugh until I can’t breath, and they make me cry with joy. They have touched my heart, and I cherish the friendship they extend to me. They took good care of me all weekend!


It’s fun to look back at posts from previous years:


2013 – I couldn’t make it due to a couple internships ;(




My Sewing Friends

These are my sewing friends. They are quite awesome!Grubers Retreat 2014

Front row: Cindy, Amanda
Back row left to right: Rene’, Doris, Toni, Mary, me, Stephanie

I can’t remember the last time I sat at my sewing machine, especially since going to art school and starting my own business. Life gets busy, especially when you have so many interests and hobbies. So it was a treat to spend an extended weekend with my sewing buddies at a retreat center. This was our fifth year together, although I couldn’t make it last year because I was working at two design internships and a freelance job.

I managed to make this cool new bag using the new Pretty Potent fabrics which I love because they are bold, bright and beautiful. I also adore the illustrations that make up the repeating patterns on these prints.

Pretty Potent sew together bag

my sew together bag using Pretty Potent fabrics

The pattern seemed complicated, especially since I haven’t sewn anything in a long time, so I enlisted help from a few of my friends who already made this pattern and ended up making another bag with me. It’s the Sew Together Bag designed by Michelle of the Sew Demented blog, and it was actually very easy to follow. I called it the magic bag because it’s magical how everything comes together to make three zippered pouches on the inside that also form four additional inside pockets with one long zipper closure that doubles as a handle. I envision using this bag to hold sewing notions, but I need another one to hold drawing tools and another one to hold makeup, so I definitely need to make more of these. I really love her design and the pattern.

Sew Together Bagsfrom left to right: Stephanie’s bag using Kaffe Fassett fabrics, my bag using Anna Maria Horner’s Pretty Potent fabrics, Cindy’s bag using Kaffe fabrics

I worked on some more patchwork using leftover squares, but no finishes to show yet. It was just fun to cut fabric and sew with friends.


Everyone brought wonderful gifts to exchange, which was like Christmas: a giant pincushion, a patchwork notebook cover including a composition notebook, a tea towel and hotpad set, a mini boxy pouch with a bar of soap, a patchwork zipper pouch filled with homemade caramels, and a spool of  Aurifil thread and “happy” sign.

happy gifts

When you connect with a group of like-minded people who share similar interests, cherish them!




Sewing With Friends

My circle of sewing friends includes my blog readers who sew and a couple people I know locally who sew.

It’s a lucky day when you get to meet your blog readers / sewing friends in person. An even luckier day when you get to spend an entire weekend sewing with them! Last weekend was the third year in a row we got together for our retreat at Gruber’s Quilt Shop and retreat center in central Minnesota.

We had eight people this year instead of our usual ten: (front row) Cindy, Amanda Jean, Stephanie, (back row) Doris, Michelle, Rene, me, and Mary. (we missed Shelly and Toni this year.)

Our fabric tastes and sewing styles are different and complementary, so we get along quite well. Of course, we do A LOT of sewing! I haven’t had much time for sewing over the past six months, with the busy class and homework schedules I’ve had. I didn’t realize how low my sewing motivation had gotten until I started sewing again. I sewed a lot!

I made two patchwork rugs using my Innocent Crush stash, one for a bathroom and one for my new screen printing station in the basement.

I pieced together a patchwork tablecloth using a variety Garden Party fabrics, Loulouthi fabrics and solids from my stash. It just needs a border and backing.

I quilted concentric squares on my scappers delight block to be used as a pillow cover for the 25-inch pillow form Amanda Jean made for me.

I pieced together wonky stars for a table runner and a center piece using more of my Innocent Crush stash.

I made a set of zipper pouches from some of my Spoonflower fabrics to share with everyone for our “happies” exchange. (I will share the happies I received in another post.)

The most fun was digging through my scrap bin to piece together new fabrics. I ended up making giant pincushions. Giant, as in this 9-inch square!

For this one, I had a wrist rest in mind but it also kinda looks like a bolster. I just love it!

It was crazy fun hanging out with like-minded people, fabric lovers who share my same creative enthusiasm, uber talented sewers, and the nicest women a girl could ask for in friends. Thanks for stopping by!

PS – I did a bit of fabric shopping which I am excited to share with you in another post.

Quilting Retreat Projects

I am excited to have some fun quilting projects to share with you from my quilting retreat this past weekend!

I finally finished piecing my pinwheels quilt top. I love how Sis Boom fabrics, which I started piecing last fall. I love the way it turned out so I can’t wait to quilt it and snuggle up in it when our air conditioning gets too cold.

I also stippled two sets of patchwork that I’m going to use as bathroom rugs. I finally reached a point where I feel comfortable stippling and love the relaxation of free motion quilting.

One patchwork rug is for summer, and measures 18 inches tall by 31 inches wide, made from Sis Boom fabrics I cut into charm squares.

The other patchwork rug is for fall, measures 22 inches tall by 31 inches wide, and is made from Nature Walk fabrics.

I found these cool coffee prints while fabric shopping, so I had to make a mug rug and a 36-patch mini quilt that I’m going to use as a placemat.

I finally made a ticker tape wall hanging, which measures 16 inches wide by 18 inches tall. I LOVE THIS QUILT! Thank you to Amanda Jean for sharing your inventive and amazing idea with us! And thank you for sharing some of your snippets with me. If anyone has ever been tempted to try making one of these, go for it! It produces fabulous results and becomes addicting. You’ll never look at a tiny scrap the same again.

I also made a new maverick star wall hanging using Gwen Marston‘s liberated star block from fabrics I bought over the weekend. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, so this project was especially fun to dream up as I went along, getting feedback from my fellow quilting retreaters. I added a wide white border so it came out to a 34-inch square, which will make a nice wall hanging.

It felt great to be so productive at retreat, especially when there was so much talking and laughing going on!

10 Women, 9 States, 1 Common Bond

I love sewing. I don’t have any local friends to get together with for a sewing day, so I have learned to love to sew by myself. But I cherish the connections I’ve made through blogging with so many other like-minded women, who are also different and fun and interesting. I always try to seize the chance to meet them in person, this time for a weekend together sewing and quilting.

(Terri, Amanda, and Cindy)

I love making lists, so I made a list of words and phrases to describe our weekend quilting retreat:

New WIPs, More UFOs, Stash Building, Idea Sharing, Inspiration, Advice, Motherly, Sisterly, Friendship, Laughter, Bonding, Heartwarming, AMAZING!

Since most people don’t like to have their picture taken, I took pictures of everyone’s sewing machines and workstations instead. We all love to see people’s creative space, so I thought it would be cool to see  our work stations at retreat. (Doris has a group photo, which I think she will share soon.)

Cindy’s work space

Amanda’s work space

Doris‘ work space

Shelly’s work space

Rene’s work space.

Rene’s sister Michelle joined us, but I missed getting a photo of her workspace before she had to pack up to return home. Sorry Michelle!
Toni’s work space

Stephanie‘s work space

Mary‘s work space

My work space (which I photographed in between projects so it looks a little too neat and clean!)

How far would you travel  to spend time with a group of like-minded women you know but you’ve never met before? If it means the privilege of getting together with such an amazing group of women, I highly recommend it!

PS – I got a lot of projects done at retreat which I will plan to share with you in another post.

Annual Retreat

Last year, I was lucky enough to go on a quilting retreat with a fun group of quilting bloggers.

I am lucky to get to go again this year, with most of the same group and a few new people, including Amanda Jean, Cindy, Rene, Rene’s sister Michelle, Shelly, Shelly’s friend Stephanie, Mary, Doris, and Toni. I haven’t done a lot of quilting this past year so I’m bringing a couple quilt tops I made at last year’s retreat to finish quilting this weekend. No more starting any large projects until my current pile is done!

I leave you with pictures of a couple lilies from our garden. Promise to give you a full report when I get back.

My Cheeks Hurt!

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much that my cheeks hurt! I just returned from my first quilt retreat – what an amazing weekend.

The retreat center was amazing, and the quilt shop was overwhelming and wonderful.

The best part was our group of women. You know them:

Shelly S of Shelly’s Quilts

Shelly P of Prairie Moon Quilts

Andrea of The Little Collection

Mary of Mary on Lake Pulaski

Doris of Threads of Conversation

Amanda of Crazy Mom Quilts

Toni of All Tangled Up in My Underwear

Rene of Rene’s Creations

Heather of Anka’s Treasures

Victoria of Bumble Beans Inc.

If you haven’t visited these blogs lately, go straight there. Your cup will overflow with inspiration and happiness.

I also can’t remember the last time I sewed ALL day, and then stayed up past midnight to continue sewing!

I got these two quilt tops almost finished (the one above needs a couple more rows, and the one below needs a wide white border).

I made progress on a third project, with all the blocks made and sashing on about half of the blocks.

We talked, we shopped, we browsed the MN Quilt show, we sewed, we shopped, we loosened up, we ate, we sewed, we laughed, we sewed, we laughed, we sewed, we slept a little. I am so thankful to know such wonderful women! I feel lucky to be able to call them my friends.

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Don’t forget to check out my post about the upcoming Christmas in July Ornament Swap!


I am hitting the road this weekend for my first quilting retreat which is at Gruber’sQuilt Shop in St. Cloud, MN (yes, it will be a six-hour drive!). I thought it might be nice to leave you with some garden updates until I return. We’ve had some bizarre weather around here lately – cold temperatures (60s), then five days of dreary overcast mist and rain, now it’s hot and humid! It’s hard to keep up with our yard in between all that.

Our beautiful lilies opened this week. I sure wish we had more of these lovelies!

Our clematis is doing very well this year too.

Finally, our daylilies have started to bloom. We received a whole bunch of these from my mom a couple years ago, so I should have more colors to share in the weeks ahead.

Enjoy this fine summer weekend, my friends! I hope to come back with pictures and stories from a weekend of quilting, shopping, eating and visiting.

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Don’t forget to check out my post about the upcoming Christmas in July Ornament Swap!