Change

Fresh Lemons Quilts blog

This past weekend, I was busy with change ~ a big change. Changes that have been on my mind for at least a year. And if you are reading this on my blog, you probably know what I am talking about! Yesterday, I went live with a big website redesign.

Over the last year, I’ve really felt that I’ve outgrown my old WordPress template, colors, design, and layout. Yep, pretty much everything! Twelve months ago, I set up a test blog on my server and started brainstorming and testing changes. It was so overwhelming and time consuming that I sort of gave up.

Well pretty recently, I decided to revisit the idea. I felt a strong desire to create a more mature, cleaner look. I also wanted specific features, like a menu system in the top header. I had just really outgrown the capabilities of the old set up and my list of pages was just getting out of control!

Fresh Lemons Quilts blog

I purchased a template on Etsy as my foundation and started digging into the code and making changes that aligned with my vision. (These are the times I’m very happy to have a background in computer programming!)

Fresh Lemons Quilts blog

I’m so excited about the new look, I actually couldn’t sleep last week as I was thinking about it. I also know change is hard. Every time the Chicago Tribune or CNN redesign their websites, I am the first person to think “WHY!?!?!” Well, I hope not all of you think that when you see this new site.

** Oh, side note: the first time you load images, it will take longer than usual. It will speed up as they cache in your browser. **

All the blog content is still here. My biggest fear was somehow losing something important – or, you know, everything. The tabs that you used to see in the header are now listed in the blog menu up there. I’ve also made some (hopefully) helpful changes, like organizing my tutorials by category, listing my finished projects by year, creating a page with wholesale information, and giving my shop an easier to remember name.

Really, the best part about this new design though is it’s ability to grow with me. As I offer more tutorials, patterns, quilt alongs, and whatever else might come along over the next years. I hope you will take some time to look around. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking things over the next few days, but it’s mostly here!

Saturday Sales

Happy Saturday everyone! The last week has felt suspiciously Fall-like here, and that makes me want to sew! Here are some deals from my sponsors for the upcoming week. Enjoy your shopping!

Custom Labels 4U ~ Free shipping until 9/31/14 on any order of wholesale custom woven labels, using discount code FRESHLEMONS.

Dragonfly Fabrics ~ 15% off purchases made September 20-24th, using discount code Fresh15. Apply code at checkout.

Fabric Spark ~ New fabrics on sale in the clearance section. Great deals to be had on Amy Butler, Alison Glass, Martha Negley, Creative Thursday, and lots more.

LoveQuilting.com ~ At www.LoveQuilting.com through September 30th, use coupon code isew and receive $10 off orders of $50 or more. Also be sure to check out the What’s on Sale?! Category for even more savings!

Contemporary Cloth ~ 10% off orders + 30% off shipping everywhere with coupon code ThanksFaith through 9-24. *** Shipping will be refunded when your order is processed. ***

My Modern Quilt Shop ~ 20% off new Cotton + Steel with code FRESHCOTTON thru Sep 30th. All Kaffe Fassett Collective $8/yd. Our best Basics/Blender/Solids in Halloween colors, deep discounts up to 25% off!

Fort Worth Fabric Studio ~ Markdown Mania is underway! Just completed new markdowns on hundreds of items as well as further reductions on previously
reduced items!

Shabby Fabrics ~ Over 250 fabrics at 30% off and 72 colors of Presencia Finca Embroidery Floss on sale at 50% off! They also have a large selection of quilt blocks & kits, patterns & books and trims on sale.

Southern Fabric ~ 20% all full priced Moda until the end of the week (9/21), no coupon needed.

A Trip out West

Grand Teton National ParkGrand Teton National Park

A bit of a warning, this post has absolutely nothing to do with quilting. I just returned from an amazing, nearly 2 week vacation out west and I cannot help myself. I must share photos and stories. :) Last summer after coming home from a trip to Disney World, my husband and I decided we wanted to plan a trip for our family that was a bit more authentic. Nothing against Disney, our kids love it there and we’ve always had a good time, but we were searching for something a bit more “real” this time, if that makes sense. So I went online and started researching Yellowstone National Park. It didn’t take me long to realize people plan their trips to Yellowstone WAY in advance. Like two years in advance! Some of the lodging was already booked, even 12 months ahead of time. So I started booking various hotels and getting a plan in place. Well 2 weeks ago, the time was finally here!

Old Faithful at sunset
Old Faithful at sunset

Our plan was to drive out (20+ hours!) from Chicago to Jackson, Wyoming, taking 2 days for the drive. (We used Jackson as our base camp for the start of our trip at Grand Teton National Park.) With about 3-1/2 hours left on the first day of driving, we hit a big storm in western Nebraska. There was a heavy rain…then suddenly some little hail…then lightening. A lot of lightening. Which struck our car. While we were driving on I-80. There was a flash of light and a big noise, and then I think every light on our dash lit up. Every gauge except the speedometer died. The air conditioning died. The power steering failed. The car could still drive, but was definitely messed up. But fortunately, we were all ok.

Fairy Falls hike, Yellowstone National Park
Fairy Falls hike, Yellowstone National Park

We made it to a gas station to check things out and once we turned the car off, we couldn’t turn it back on. We couldn’t even get it out of Drive or Neutral and into Park! (Fixed that after some looking on the internet). It was a bit overwhelming and scary and stressful. We started making tons of phone calls to try to coordinate help, and I have to give a huge thanks to the Subaru dealer in Cheyenne for coordinating a flat bed tow truck to drive 2-1/2 hours to come get us and our car, and bring us all to Cheyenne (yes, I rode 2-1/2 hours in a tow truck with my family) to get the car repaired. So…a bit unexpected beginning to our trip. We left our car there to be repaired and picked up a rental for the rest of the trip. I’m not exactly a go-with-the-flow type person so this really tested my limits. :)

Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming

So we did eventually make it to Jackson, Wyoming, which is such a great city. My kids are 5 and 7, so one of the goals when planning this trip was to make it fun for them too. In Jackson we went to our first rodeo, a “shootout“, and did a float trip in the Snake River. They had a blast!

Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming

We also spent a few days exploring Grand Teton National Park. SO beautiful. Coming from Illinois, the scenery with the rivers and mountains and wildflowers and animals…it leaves you speechless.

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

I tried to keep our hikes with the kids around 1-3 miles roundtrip, keeping in mind a lot of the trails involving elevation gains/stairs/rocks/etc. We took a ferry across Jenny Lake and did a hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. A bit scary at the end, but the kids did great. We saw a marmot and two moose while we were there.

Inspiration Point, Grand Teton National Park
Inspiration Point, Grand Teton National Park

We had some great wildlife viewing in Grand Teton as well, seeing a lot of bison up close (from our car).

Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Bison, Grand Teton National Park

Spring means lots of babies!

Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Bison, Grand Teton National Park

Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Bison, Grand Teton National Park

After a few days in Jackson, we drove north to Yellowstone.

North Entrance, Yellowstone National Park
North Entrance, Yellowstone National Park

There was stayed in the park, a few nights at the Old Faithful Inn (West Wing Frontside room) and a few nights at the Mammoth Hot Springs Frontier Cabins. I mention the room types because if you ever plan a trip to Yellowstone, I highly recommend both. It’s hard to book online in a national park lodge, not quite sure what to expect. With young kids, we wanted a toilet and shower in our room, not a shared situation. So these were perfect! And the cabins we selected in Mammoth was recently renovated and very nice.

Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

We spent the first part of our time in Yellowstone exploring the southern half of the park (geyser country). I guess I didn’t realize JUST how many geyers and other geothermal features there were in the park! More than I could count!

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Probably our most challenging hike was down Uncle Tom’s Trail in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Not because of length, but due to the amount of stairs and elevation. Our lungs just are not used to that thin air!

Uncle Tom's Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Uncle Tom’s Trail, Yellowstone National Park

View of the stairs from the other side of the canyon.

Uncle Tom's Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Uncle Tom’s Trail, Yellowstone National Park

The falls – amazing!

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

We saw tons of animals. My daughter kept a list, which included bald eagles, bison, elk, moose, 7 black bears (including 3 cubs!), coyote, hawks, marmots, osprey, pronghorn…lots more I’m forgetting I’m sure!

Black Bear, Yellowstone National Park
Black Bear, Yellowstone National Park

Moose, Yellowstone National Park
Moose, Yellowstone National Park

Hilarious Bison, Yellowstone National Park
Hilarious Bison, Yellowstone National Park

Elk, Yellowstone National Park
Elk, Yellowstone National Park

Coyote, Grand Teton National Park
Coyote, Grand Teton National Park

Keeping with the “make-it-fun-for-the-kids” theme, we did a wagon cookout dinner.

Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park
Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park

They loved riding out in the park on the wagons and eating some great grilled food.

Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park
Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park

Leaving was really hard. It was so great to be surrounded my such natural beauty and also be away from the distractions and technology of the world at home.

Hiking at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
Hiking at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

We drove by Mount Rushmore on the way home, before heading back to Cheyenne to pick up my fixed car.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

I added several new places to my list of states I’ve visited: Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. All beautiful in their own unique ways! If you are looking for an amazing vacation and love the outdoors, I hope I’ve given you an idea of somewhere new to see. It wasn’t too horribly crowded yet (early June), but I hear July and August are quite packed as that is the busiest season in the parks.

So, as I mentioned, I’ve been away from technology for about 2 weeks. I’m working on catching up, but I have a lot of emails to get through. Please be patient if you need information from me – I will get to you! :) And hopefully back to the sewing machine this week as well!

A Spring Mix

Spring Mix Fabric Pull : Fresh Lemons Quilts

When it comes to the weather outside, this time of year always feels like two steps forward, one step back. Last week we had a great day with temperatures in the 50’s, only to be followed by a day of wet, heavy snow.

Cardinal : Fresh Lemons Quilts

When that latest layer of snow melted and I just felt defeated by Winter, I looked out by our woods and saw these.

Cardinal : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The daffodil bulbs I planted last Fall, starting to pop up. I am telling you, this mess of mud and leaves and tiny bits of green has been so good for my soul.

I’ve been trying to make sure the kids get some outside time on those warmer days. Between that and a sewing deadline that I can’t share right now, I don’t have a finished project to show you this week. But I have accumulated some new fabrics recently and they inspired me to take a little break and build a project pile from my stash.

Spring Mix Fabric Pull : Fresh Lemons Quilts

My inspiration for this stack was a print from Leah Duncan’s newest fabric line for Art Gallery Fabrics, Meadow. I love the soft colors.

Spring Mix Fabric Pull : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I pulled some coordinating prints from my stash, including some new fabrics from Lotta Jansdotter’s Mormor, Skinny Laminx’s Up, Up & Away, Eloise Renouf’s Bark & Branch, and Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park.

I made a block from my Off-Centered Squares quilt pattern. I’m thinking of using one color family per block…we shall see!

Off-Centered Squares Quilt Pattern : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Back to work on deadlines! And fingers crossed for a warmer week!