National Parks Birthday Club ~ Month 1 Progress

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery National Parks Birthday Club : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This year our country is celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service. I love our National Parks. Living in a suburb of Chicago, it does take a bit of effort to get to one. We don’t exactly walk out our front door and face mile after mile of unspoiled nature. I think that makes us appreciate our trips to visit the parks even more. If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit of time, you may remember our big Yellowstone and Grand Teton family vacation 2 years ago. It was amazing, and I guess you could say it got us hooked. Last June, we took another family vacation out west to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.

Olympic National Park : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This time we included a few days in both Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier National Park.

Olympic National Park : Fresh Lemons Quilts

We love staying in the national park lodges, seeing animals that we certainly don’t get to see at home (slugs, grouse, marmot, bald eagles…), exploring and learning about different environments. There’s no internet, no tvs, no cell service…just spending time together. At the Mt. Rainier lodge, Paradise Inn, we played a lot of evening Yahtzee by the fire while a gentleman played the piano and it snowed several inches (in June!) outside.

Our kids earn Junior Ranger badges that I stitch onto their backpacks after each trip.

Junior Ranger Badges : Fresh Lemons Quilts

All of this is just to say, I really like National Parks. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I signed up for the National Parks Birthday Club from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. They released the first “clue”, or piece of the pattern, on the National Parks Birthday last week. I couldn’t wait to get started.

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery National Parks Birthday Club : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I don’t do a lot of cross stitch. Pretty much none! I am enjoying it so much. We’ve had a lot going on in our house over the last month and a half and I’m not going to lie – my anxiety levels have been through the roof. This has been a huge source of calming and relaxation for me. I stitch mostly in the evenings or while the kids are doing their homework. They have been very excited to watch the progress as well. I have one more section to stitch on the bottom and then I am done until the next piece of the pattern is released later this month. I will be sharing as I go!

Palete Cleansing

Palete Cleansing : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’m back! Those of you that follow me on Instagram know that I just spent ten wonderful days in Ireland with my husband to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was a great break, a beautiful country with just the nicest people. I missed my kids a lot though – it was the longest I’ve ever been away from them (by far!) I’m happy to be home, getting back into the routine of soccer and sewing on scout patches.

Ireland : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I always feel slightly lost when I return to my sewing machine after a break. I feel like I need a bit of a project cleanse before tackling something large. There’s just something about simple squares that helps calm my mind.

Palete Cleansing : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I pulled some Fall inspired colors, mostly from Leah Duncan, and paired them with an Essex linen. I can’t get enough of using a textured neutral lately.

Palete Cleansing : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This probably won’t be a large quilt. Maybe a large pillow? I’m going to enjoy piecing it together this week.

Weekend in Wisconsin

Fresh Lemons Quilts

Last weekend, I drove up to New Glarus, Wisconsin for a little relaxation and creative recharging with some of my favorite Iowa, Wisconsin, and Upper Peninsula Michigan quilty friends (and a couple of Houston and Nashville ladies thrown in for good measure). Somehow, I have no pictures with any of them! I suppose we were having too much fun. We rented the house you see above, about 5 miles outside the downtown New Glarus area. I had no clue that New Glarus was like a mini Switzerland, so you can imagine my surprise when I rolled into town. Lucky for me, this meant cheese fondue was on the menu and yes, I indulged.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

The weekend was just perfect. I love Wisconsin with the rolling hills and beautiful farms. On the way up from my home in the Chicago suburbs, I saw lots of corn, lots of black and white cows, a huge sunflower field, and at least 15 quilt barns.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

Our house even had sheep! I’m pretty convinced I need to move somewhere with sheep now.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

I spent quite a bit of my two days there sewing, and managed to finished all the blocks for my current quilt. Jeni came up with the perfect name too – Picnic Point. I’m so thankful that I trimmed up all the HSTs before leaving. Everything went together easily.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

I threw the blocks up on the design wall for a quick photo before packing up to leave. I’m hoping to sew the blocks together this week and start basting!

Progress and Friends

Fresh Lemons Quilts

What a fun week it has been, and it’s not over yet! Tuesday, I was lucky enough to spend the day with my Vintage Quilt Revival coauthors, and best quilty friends, Katie and Lee. Believe it or not, the three of us haven’t been all together since promoting our book at Quilt Market almost two years ago. We text each other pretty much everyday, but this felt like such a treat. Katie’s husband was in town for business so she tagged along with her new sweet baby girl.

Fresh Lemons QuiltsPhoto taken by my 8 year old 🙂

This was the first time our kids met! This isn’t the whole crew, as Katie’s older two kids stayed back home in Utah. But 5 out of 7 isn’t bad! After some initial shyness, everyone became fast friends as we hung out in downtown Chicago.

Fresh Lemons Quilts

Yesterday, I spent much of the day trimming those 256 HSTs that you see above. Not the most fun I’ve ever had, but I’m glad it’s done! I was admittedly easily distracted, so it wasn’t really a 12 hour job. And today, I’m packing up to head to Wisconsin for the weekend for some sewing time with fellow quilty friends. I’m feeling very spoiled to have some “me” time. I’m hoping to knock out all the blocks for this quilt top, and who knows what else! I’ll try to remember to take some pictures along the way. 🙂