Category Archives: Things of interest to me

Occasionally, I might find a blog or picture or idea that I enjoy and that has nothing to do with anything. It shouldn’t happen often, but if it does, this is where it belongs.

Great Things at the Local Library

I’ve always liked my local library. I use the Mid-continent Public Library. When I was kid, I used the Raytown branch, but now my main branch is the north Blue Springs one.

As a kid, I grew up searching the short stacks for Dr. Suess and Diana Wayne Jones books. I still remember the first time I checked out my first book from the adult section.

When I started getting research projects in middle school and high school, the library helped with books, magazines, and online databases.

When school turned into long drives to and from college for laundry visits, the library allowed me to download audiobooks I could listen to on the road.

Last year, my family took a local vacation. The library had an area program. It was a walking tour of the Arts District. We got our exercise and learned some interesting history.

One library feature I want to try is the genealogy center. I keep driving by it, but with a last name like Ross, I figure I will need a good starting point.

So what spawned this blog post is an upcoming event at Trails West branch. Jim Butcher will be giving a talk, and some of my local writers group will be meeting me there.

Day Trip – Hamilton, MO

Hamilton is a great day trip for the craft spirit!

I totally stole this picture from Wikipedia.

Hamilton is the birthplace of J.C.Penny. They have a museum on the north end of the main strip. Its a quaint brick building that looks much like a library from the outside.

While I love and admire J.C.Pennys (because they sell bigger sizes in dress clothes and were the only place I could shop for a long time), Hamilton is now synonymous with quilts.

Taken from the Missouri Star Quilt Company Blog.

Fabric! I tell ya, they have fabric!

I quilt with a group of fine women at my church Fairmount United Methodist.
Flower Quilt Group You may have seen pictures of these ladies on my blog before. We quilt by hand and encourage each other to contiue quilting and to learn new techniques. Ruth is our resident applique expert. She taught me how to put together my first Sun Bonnet Sue. Viola started sewing when she was seven and does everything by hand. When the rest of the world has their machines out and are speeding through piecing, she methodically adds another octagon to her flower patch. Then we all sit down to top stitch, and she does three times as much as the rest of us. If it is done by hand, Viola’s our teacher. Mary is our master machine piecer. Over the years she has taught us wondrous techniques such as chaining and paper piecing. Two years ago, Mary started sharing videos with us that featured Jenny Doan, the founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company.

We were hooked, not only to the simple and easy instructions of the videos but also because these were not boring old quilts. Jenny uses bright colors and modern designs as well as the standards. When my sister and I started using pennants for scrapbooking and banners and everything else, Jenny already had a quilt design with strings of pennants. When my sister and I started looking for retreats and conventions, Jenny already had scheduled retreats/workshops where folks could go to Hamilton and quilt for a weekend.

So we went to Hamilton. First time we went was a year ago, and it was more of a shop hop type trip. Missouri Star Quilt company had just opened their seasonal fabric shop and we were hot on the trail of a religious advent panel. There was a holiday quilt store, we were going. We planned a route of three or four shops and started in Hamilton and visited quilt shops on our route back until we arrived home. (We never found the advent panel we wanted.)

This is a Pintrest picture. Missouri Star had their hoops hanging from the ceiling at various levels, but in their civil war shop, the hoops had crocheted doilies. If I ever find a reason to dangle sewing hoops with fabric, I’m pulling out my crochet hook and making ones like these.

This year we heard things were changing in Hamilton. Boy had it. Missouri Star Quilt Company has bought up most of the main strip. Instead of a good stop on a shop hop, Hamilton is now a quilter’s destination. There is the main shop, the civil war fabrics, the seasonal shop, the batiks, the licensed fabrics, and the solids. Each shop is brilliantly themed. It wasn’t until we walked out of seasonal and into batiks that Allison and I realized the music had changed to fit the style of fabrics. The window displays gave me great ideas. (I love a good display and particularly these sewing hoops.)

Plus my sister and I have been discussing getting a long arm sewing machine. Between the two of us we have over 10 quilt tops that need to be top stitched. It’s starting to get very expensive to finish these quilt tops and there are too many to accomplish by hand with our busy schedules. Missouri Star Quilt Company has a machine shop where they take orders and top stitch quilts with seven gorgeous Gammil machines.

We were allowed to walk in while they were working and ask tons of questions about machines and quilting. It would not shock me if some day Missouri Star Quilt Company opens up the front of one of their shops and has one of those ladies giving a regular presentation (like the blacksmith and glass blower in Silver Dollar City). It was fascinating. We appreciated their time and advice.

I took this one from their Facebook page.

What’s a day trip without food? We by passed the main strip. There was a very nice sit down restaurant just as we entered the main strip, J.R. Burgers (which has an adorable facade and a giant outdoor eating area) and its neighbor Poppy’s Bakery, but we heard word there was a great BBQ joint passed all the action and on the very far north end. So we passed up the obvious options and started walking. And walking. And walking. When they said the far north end, they weren’t kidding. But by the time we reached the J.C.Penny Museum, our noses told us we were on the right path. Then the old advice from our mother kicked in. Momma always said if you are in a strange town around lunch time and want to know where to eat, look for the restaurant surrounded by work trucks because the working men know where to go for good quality and well priced food, and boy did Hank and Tank’s BBQ have a collection of work trucks around it. Don’t expect something fancy from these boys (other than the ability to take credit and debit 😉 ). You might be order number four if you get there early enough. They are serving meat sandwiches with beans and coleslaw. I can’t comment on the coleslaw because I don’t eat the stuff, but the beans were delicious and on the spicy side. The BBQ sauce was spicy and sweet. The brisket was good too. They are serving straight forward and honest food.

If you get a chance, visit Hamilton. We enjoyed it. The whole trip took us about 5 hours in town.

Drowning in Writing but treading my crafts

I was working through a book 90 Days to Your Novel. I was doing really well, even ahead of schedule, then I ran into the section that said write act 1, write act 2, write act 3. Ack!

It might have gone better at that point if I wasn’t working three rough drafts and a novel revision. So I fixed it. Now I’m only working through two rough drafts and a novel revision. It may not sound like much of a change, but I have been able to shift from getting nothing done to writing one to three chapters a week. Yay!

Enough writing. Pictures time.

What I am getting done is some of the crafts in my house. I might actually have a sewing room that is usable in a few months. Since my last post, I have:


Made curtains. It may not be obvious from this picture, but this is a roman shade my sister and I made. It will go in the basement. It is backed with blackout fabric and uses 3/16 dowel rods to make crisp folds. We got the pattern and instructions from Sail Rite

This is a quilt I have worked on for a few years on and off. My sister bought the pieces for me on a visit to Jamesport, an amish community. What I finished just recently was filling in the designs on the sunbonnets. Now that all the girls have hats, they must wait to be quilted until the rest of the other quilt tops waiting in line are quilted.

Good news there, too. Because I can now see my quilt frame and may be able to start working on the quilt that is in it.IMG_0067

This blue and pink quilt is a charity quilt. My oldest sister is a minister. At her church, a lady dying of cancer was given an unfinished quilt top. The person gifted it with less than a fourth of the quilt top stitched. I took the quilting out and machine quilted it ditch-stitching style. It was my first attempt to stitch in the ditch, and this quilt was big enough for a king bed. My little Kenmore protested. Its not perfect in any way, but it is done and in time for the woman to enjoy it. Kudos given to my sister who helped hand stitch the binding.

IMG_0123[1]IMG_0121[1]Here are a few more pictures. These are my brand new bench seat cushions that we made.

Don’t look at the wall beneath them too much because we haven’t put up the molding anywhere.

These cushions have been sitting in my sewing room for near four years. It is nice to have the giant rolls of foam out of my craft room. Each cushion has four inches of cushion inside. I managed to get a bead of trim around the edge of the cushion as well, making it the fanciest upholstery that I have done to date. Almost gives me the gumption to do other small upholstery projects I have sitting around.

Either way. Another big project out of my house.

Ok. Show and tell time over. There are still more projects to work on and more writing to do.