Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spoonflower Sharing

I was so excited to get back home from our visit back to North Dakota to find that my recent order from Spoonflower had arrived! A bunch of proofs of my latest designs which feature family. The designs include vintage photos of my ancestors in four colorways; I've always loved looking at these pics over the years and now I can't wait to use these designs in my sewing, quilting and art quilting projects. The first project I'll be using them in are some coasters for a swap at The Creative Connection Event in a few short weeks!

It was also very exciting to check out the Spoonflower blog today and find that they are doing a giveaway again in a few short days and hours. I was lucky enough to discover Spoonflower a year ago when they were doing a swatch giveaway so I got my first couple of designs together and shortly after, my very own fabric designs arrived at my doorstep. I was completely hooked!!!

Spoonflower is doing another swatch giveaway to celebrate the move to their new facilities. You can give a small donation in lieu of the cost of a swatch or just get your free swatch. You'll need to set up a Spoonflower account if you want a swatch of your own design or you can get a free swatch of an existing Spoonflower designer (like me!). I've now got over 100 designs - hard to believe that in the space of a year!!!! I get no money for swatch orders, just so you know. The giveaway is for 24 hours only, between noon Eastern time on Thursday, August 26 until noon the following day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Burgers, fries and a big surprise!

Okay, not really a surprise as any trip back home means at least one visit (and usually more) to our iconic Big Boy drive-thru! It may be surprising to others that you eat your fries with their fantastic gravy and a pizza burger flying style. Big Boy has many other items on their menu, but for most people in our family (and anyone who marries into it) those are the only items ever ordered. There might be one more item - a Hot N' Tot (Coke with cinnamon syrup).

It's not just the food that makes the Big Boy experience so memorable, it's the shared event of eating your food in your car in the parking lot next to the restaurant as there is no eat-in option. Some folks choose to take their food out to one of the picnic tables under the trees but then you're a much easier target for the squirrels begging for your lunch. On our second visit to Big Boy on our trip home, we were treated to a show of a half dozen turkeys chasing one of their own around the trees trying to establish their pecking order.

Big Boy is also part of most Bismarck and Mandan high school students experience. Dragging Main in Bismarck included the Big Boy as one of the turn-around spots is the Big Boy parking lot!

A more elegant part of our culinary experience on this trip was a little visit to the Patisserie on Fourth. They hosted a Night at the Opera event which featured cakes all inspired by and named for elements or characters of the Phantom of the Opera. We sampled the Phantom and Opera cakes which were both beyond wonderful! We bought a box of truffles to take home with us for good measure and bought mom and dad a dessert as they didn't join us. Roses graced each table and art from area artists decorated the walls. I was particularly enamored with the artwork of Julie Neidlinger. I was also very tempted by the gorgeous silent auction cakes that were created for the event!

I only wish there had been more in attendance to support this fantastic and unique event. It's frustrating to find that people are so reluctant to step out of their comfort zone and try something new and really frustrating to realize the lack of support for artists and their creations.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rollin' on the River

This very hot North Dakota day found us riding the Lewis and Clark Riverboat. This little excursion on the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan is a journey I haven't taken since around junior high and it's a trip my husband has never had the chance to experience. Admiring the railroad bridge from a different point of view is a treat. Slowly paddling along between the banks of the river, admiring the cottonwood trees, and waving to the passengers on the passing pontoons and the speedy folks on jet skis is a great way to spend a sunny summer day.

I've also realized I'm nearing 100 posts on my little blog - something that didn't seem possible when I began about year ago. I'll have to plan for a little giveaway contest when I reach the momentous event! I think I'll have to do a giveaway when I reach 25 followers! Speaking of giveaways, I've discovered this cool site, giveawayscout.com, where they gather up all sorts of giveaway and contest opportunities out there on the web - you should check them out and find the contests that would be of interest to you. Who can't use more free stuff?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Badlands, Beach, and Beverly

Yesterday's activities while here visiting mom and dad included a trek to western North Dakota. Our ultimate destination was Glendive, Montana to a quilt and home decor shop that my mom and I love. We spent some time there while dad and hubby went off to explore other parts of Glendive as they're not really quilt store kind of guys.

Once our brief visit to Montana was over we ventured back to our familiar North Dakota border and stopped at the Flying J Truck Stop in Beach to grab lunch as shopping and exploring always makes you hungry! Dad and hubby both had BLT sandwiches that must have had a half pound of bacon; needless to say they loved their lunch.

We continued our way back to the capital city with a stop in Medora. We always have to stop in Medora! By then we were hungry for ice cream and the gorgeous scenery of the Badlands. We also had to pick up some nuts to tide us over for the rest of the drive home. Now hubby and I are planning our next, lengthier visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park to take in more of the beauty there.

After a brief stop in Dickinson we drove on to Taylor, North Dakota to visit the Art Depot. This old depot was actually moved from Richardton, North Dakota to become a kind of art collective for a handful of artists. We got to enjoy the art and the stories that one of the artists, Beverly, shared with us. We were also surprised to discover during our conversations with Beverly that she had been the prom date of my dad's cousin years earlier!

The day ended with a visit to one of our must visit restaurants when we're back in Bismarck - A & B Pizza!!! Sausage and sauerkraut pizza is the best!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back in the Peace Garden state

I am so excited to be back in the land that will always be home to me no matter what my current address is. Every time I cross the Red River and see the sign welcoming me back to North Dakota I do a happy dance in my car and squeal with excitement which makes my husband laugh. A couple days ago we ventured back in to North Dakota and the city of Fargo, where I was born.

Our visit to Fargo began with a wonderful lunch at the HoDo Lounge in the beautiful Hotel Donaldson which I've been wanting to visit ever since hearing about it's existence some time ago. This fantastic hotel features the art of regional artists that inspire the unique decor of each its rooms. This art also graces the hotel lobby as well as the restaurant and lounge.

This outing was made that much more memorable as my husband and I got to dine with the new president of North Dakota State University! Dr. Bresciani was one of my first bosses during my grad school days and it was great fun to get to catch up with him and share my excitement for him getting the job at this wonderful university and to share my excitement and love for my home state and its warm, wonderful people.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pretty pink power

I love being a godmother! I particularly love being a godmother to girl who happens to love girly-girl stuff as I am a girly-girl myself. Each year, I look forward to figuring out what I am going to create for her birthday and Christmas. My goddaughter just celebrated another birthday, but she hasn't received her gift from me yet as I'll be traveling to North Dakota to see her in just a couple of days.

As a girly-girl, I am very much a fan of all things Anthropologie. I was perusing their lovely jewelry one day and happened upon this necklace called Pretty in Pinking.

I got to work creating my own necklace for Rachel inspired by the Pretty in Pinking piece. As I've never met a ribbon I didn't like, I gathered up all my pink ribbons. After some experimentation and a few hours of work, my Pinky necklace was complete. I can't wait to see her wearing it, maybe even for the first day of school!