Inspiration from up north: Jill’s denim quilt

As I write this post, I’m sitting in a sparkling sunroom surrounded by windows on three sides and admiring the majestic greatness of a northern summer. I spent this past weekend in a small town near Madison, Wisconsin, visiting my brother Jason and future sister-in-law, Sarah. We spent the weekend celebrating Jason and Sarah’s recent engagement and new house in addition to my dad’s retirement from dentistry. I also visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the first time!

wisconsin

Wisconsin as seen via my iPhone — A new “You Are Here” Starbucks mug, the infamous
terrace chairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Belgian Red cherry ale.

While I love my “Florida life,” spending time up north during the summer is always special. Everything feels just a little different outside of Florida – the grass is softer, the breezes cooler and the sounds reminiscent of my childhood summers in the Chicago suburbs. And of course, a change of scenery is always inspirational for a creative soul. I first realized this a few years ago when I wrote about some regional differences I noticed when visiting a fabric store in Northern Wisconsin.

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November and December in 15 photos or less…

I haven’t updated my blog since Halloween, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Talk about MIA!

I could write a novel about what I’ve been up to since then, but instead, I’ll show you… iPhone-photo-library-style…

Lindsay and Gizmo

I went home to Chicago for Thanksgiving… I spent some time cuddling my brother’s dog, Gizmo, in the backseat of the car while we drove to Wisconsin.

Baby Cow

We spent our Thanksgiving on a dairy farm!

Spool of Thread Ornament

On Thanksgiving, my family was a part of a very special tradition in which we each received a special ornament. The little spool of thread fit me perfectly!

Christmas Tree

Back to Florida, and put up the Christmas tree. We don’t have a tree topper, so the Mickey ears Santa hat is our traditional solution.

Winnie and the Minnie Wreath

Winnie proudly admires the Minnie Mouse wreath I made two years ago. We have the most magical house on the block!

Clothespin Wreath

Put the finishing touches on my Christmas card clothespin wreath. Since then, we’ve filled it up by clipping our Christmas cards on all of the clothespins! I promise we’re more popular than this photo portrays. 🙂

Mickey Popcorn Bucket

Found this lil guy sitting on my desk one morning and felt really happy!

Corn Chowder

I tried to keep it healthy one week and made some delicious corn chowder. As you all know, Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday, so I use my heart-shaped measuring cups all year long. The hearts were a welcome break from all of the Christmas madness! A lovely reminder that my favorite holiday is just around the corner. 🙂

Sewn Christmas Cards

Sewed a few Christmas cards by quilting some fabric panels and sewing them onto blank cards. It was my first attempt at free-motion quilting. Man oh man! Free-motion quilting is crazy, you guys! As you can see, I didn’t do a great job – LOL! More on that later…

DAK Lodge

My mom came to visit and we spent a lovely weekend at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We loved watching the zebras and giraffes outside our balcony when we weren’t hitting up the Disney parks!

Zebra Domes

Delicious zebra domes were the snack of choice when we returned to our room each night. 🙂

Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle

It wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing the sparkling Christmas lights on Cinderella Castle… caught this pic post-fireworks at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with mom.

MVMCP

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

WIzard of Oz inspired zipper pouch

Squeezed in some craft time and sewed this lovely Wizard of Oz inspired zipper pouch! Ruby slippers and a yellow brick road…

Studying with Winnie

And of course, through it all, I’ve been doing schoolwork. This morning I worked on my accounting exam while Winnie snacked on my accounting textbook. Nom nom!

Well, 15 iPhone snapshots later, and I’ve covered November and December!

So… what have you all been up to?

The Quilt Cottage & other tales from up North!

With some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations at our fingertips, have you wondered where we Central Florida “Disney” people go on vacation? Well, here’s the answer – in my case, at least:

Wisconsin postcard

Mooooooooooooooove over, Mickey Mouse!

My family started taking annual summer trips to Minocqua, Wisconsin long before I was even born – my dad’s family started going when he was a kid. We spend more than a week residing in lakeside cabins with a large group of our closest friends.

Ideal Minocqua days are spent water skiing, boating, kayaking, jet skiing and swimming in the lake; Evenings grilling, playing board games and passing out from exhausting, activity-filled days.

Dad water skiing

My dad is really, really good at water skiing!

Of course, there’s always at least one dreary day in Northern Wisconsin – it’s not the Sunshine State, after all! This year, my mom and I visited The Quilt Cottage, a warm and welcoming Northwoods-y fabric shop.

The Quilt Cottage

The Quilt Cottage on Highway 51 in Minocqua, Wisconsin

The store was homey and friendly, and definitely had an overall woodsy feeling. Most of the fabrics were very muted without many bright or bold colors. I spent a lot of time checking out the small selection of bag and purse patterns. I liked more than a few of them, but I refrained from getting any knowing how many patterns I have sitting at home! Even though I didn’t purchase anything, it was interesting to see how regional differences can affect the overall tone of a fabric store.

Now that I’m back from vacation, I do have a rather large scale sewing project in the works, but as usual – it’s top secret and I can’t write about it until it’s finished! Of couse, my “to sew” list is pages long, so hopefully I’ll have a new project to write about soon.

Although not completely responsible for my month-long blogging absence, my vacation preparation and recovery time have definitely taken a toll on my sewing adventures this past month. What have you all been up to?