Monday, February 28

Live from Florida. . .

A week ago we were soaking up some sun in wonderful Daytona Beach Florida
on our favorite family vacation to the Daytona 500.
On our free day before our racing marathon started we dragged the Daytona strip and found of all things a quilt shop!!
Even the men were sports and smiled pretty for the camera in the tourist friendly
Byrd Nest Quilt Shop.

This store had lots of bright fun colors to reflect the beach setting we were in. It was very different from any quilt shop that we've ever been in and we had a blast snooping around and left with lots of different inspiration. If you are ever in Daytona Beach make sure you check them out!
After the quilt shop it was off to the beach.
Daytona Beach is such a fun place to visit as you can actually pay to drive your car along the waters as the sand there is quite hard (those of you who may follow the history of the racing that started there know that they actually raced on the beach!)
Living in the land of 10,000 lakes makes you aware of how calming waters can be to a person, but there is nothing quite like the ocean. The sights (all except for the man wearing an all too tight red speedo) and sounds of the waters was wonderful to take in and we enjoyed every minute of our time there.
Of course you had to watch where you walked as these little fellows had washed up on shore.
None of us had actually seen a jelly-fish this close, and thanks to curiosity and a pocket knife to touch the fish we got to see what they look like when the jelly top is flipped over. (Kinda gross!!) Can't say that I'm very disappointed we don't have them in lakes around here....

Not only does Daytona draw in beach crowds, and racing crowds, but motorcycle crowds too.
This week starts Bike Week down there and this weekend will be a large race at the track. I have no desire to attend one of these and motorcycles make me nervous--I'll stick to the four wheels. But this was a beautiful marble engraved statue sitting along the beach in memory of those who started the sport and those who tragically lost their lives doing it.

Above this statue was a complex full of eating places. We of course picked to eat at Sloppy Joes to try something new. Doesn't Joe look excited to take a picture by his sign?! In order to view the ocean while we ate we sat in the bar area. While waiting for our pop to arrive we noticed Darci do a bit of a startled dance in her chair.
If you look towards the back of Darci's chair you'll notice a pigeon.
You'll have to excuse the poor photo--the eating area had lots of people and I didn't want to be the obvious tourist (as if the ghost white complexion didn't give that away already) taking a picture of a bird on the floor. Turns out that the open window of the bar serve as a free entry for pigeons. They are even smart enough to know that if they stand by the automatic opening door it'll let them in. Thankfully the chairs are high and they short enough to not touch your feet as that would have been more startling. Many people shared with them a fry or two and it was kinda comical to watch.

What would our racing trip be if we didn't hit up a go-kart track?

Us gals decided to just take in the action but sitting in the stands-we gave excellent advice such as what kart to pick if they wanted to win and how to pass the people they were racing against-
the only problem was they couldn't hear us. Even though the karts that everyone were racing in were losing springs and running out of gas everyone racing seemed to be having a good time, which in the end is all that matters!

Then came the real race day. . .
We got up really early to get a good parking spot and snoop around the track. We spent most of our time by the Chevy tent. The above photo and below photo are 2 of the 3 Transformer Cars. (Jimmy Johnson's car is above)

Dale Jr. (car above) These cars will actually make an appearance in the movie due out sometime this year and made their way around the track on Sunday. They were really neat in person and may be worth checking out in the movie!

Of course all of the car brands had some of their hottest vehicles sitting out for you to sit in. Check our Lacey's new ride!! Would have been a fabulous car for Florida and a darn cold one once we arrived home. Can you say speeding ticket here she comes?

The Chevy stage proved to be a wonderful hang out as they interviewed all of the Chevy drivers. We got in on two days worth and were standing as close as we'll probably ever be to many of the big names in the sport. The guy above is Juan Pablo Montoya.

Five-time series champion Mr. Jimmy Johnson.

I have to share that he was much taller in person than I thought and also much smaller than I would have guessed. He seems quite humble about all of his success which was kind of cool.

Jeff Gordon.

Class act guy. I was very impressed with him in his interview. He really does seem like a truly genuine person both on and off the track. He really does make a good role model in that sense for kids of all ages.

Jeff Burton.

Didn't really know what to expect and would say he's also a classy guy. Not sure that I'd do well spending a day with him as he is very methodical and very routine structured but certainly a good guy!

Two favorites. Kevin Harvick (on the right) Clint Bowyer (on the left)

I've been fortunate enough to meet Kevin Harvick twice before this and will tell you that where you see him he always has that big smile on his face "Happy Harvick" says it all. We also were able to watch Clint race a couple years ago at Volusia Speedway (dirt track). These two guys are more our style--laid back, rolling with the flow, full of crap. You can tell these teammates have a lot of fun off the track and yet can get the job done on Sunday.

Ryan Newman.

This is Darci's most favorite driver. I love having captured him with a smile on that cute pudgy face of his. He really is a super guy--laid back loving to work outside with his wife, new baby daughter and dogs on their hobby farm. We were also fortunate enough to meet him up close at the Volusia dirt track a couple years back. Would be an easy guy to spend a day with.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Wow...was the crowd around the stage big!!! He is certainly one of the fan favorites.
Looking back on all of the photos taken we were thrilled to see he was practically looking at our cameras the whole time!! This was just so neat to be this close to such a big name like him. You can tell that he is just such a laid back guy and I sort of wish for him that the lights & cameras that constantly surround him would give him and break to let him be himself. I can't imagine what that constant pressure for him to preform must be like and I admire how well he handles everything. Truly a great guy--I'm so glad we were there for that!

Also close to by was this. Jimmy Johnson has claimed FIVE of these!
That is such an amazing accomplishment and it was really cool to see the trophy up close!

On Saturday (day of the Nationwide race) we had "fan zone passes" which allowed us to roam around the garage windows, stand on top of the garage area and look down into the pits, and get up close to the stage for driver introductions. It's a fun day with so much going on in that area.
While there, Darci had here photo taken with of the Budweiser Clydesdale's that would bring in the trophy on Sunday's Daytona 500. I didn't know that their skin could be so marbly.
Now we didn't know this on Saturday but Trevor Bayne (name sound familiar today?) was signing autographs in his garage window. There wasn't a huge crowd gathering around the window as on Saturday people would have said Trevor who? So both us gals got his autograph on our tickets! Who knew that a mere twenty-four hours later he would be the winner of that prestigious 500 race! You talk about a wonderful role model for kids--watching interviews of him he is the real deal! Quite a humble and good natured kid. Good things will come for him for sure!
(I would have shared photos of the driver intros but the computer wouldn't let my cropped pictures appear any bigger than an inch...bummer) After the intros we headed towards our seat. The guys had not yet made their parade lap around the track and so we stood close enough to the track that if Clint Bowyer (above) would leaned way out he and I would have leaned way out over the flimsy rope we may have been able to have almost slapped hands!
The last thing to enter the parade route was the famous Clydesdale horses carrying the Harly J. Earl trophy for the winner of the Daytona 500.

One of my favorite parts of the start is when the planes come over.
It is SO amazing how much speed and sound they pack in and it just gives you goose bumps to hear the our national anthem end and then the roar of the fly by--totally awesome. They of course come back and fly low and do a peel off before they head back to the airport. Nothing like--so glad we get to see that both days we are there!!

This is a view from our seats in the Turn 4 corner. I've zoomed in a little bit but this is pretty much what it looks like. We can see the cars on the whole track which is wonderful and sit at the start of pit road where there is always lots of action. This year we even had the start great views of some big crashes which was kinda fun-not that wrecking is fun.

And of course when that checkered flag fell it was Trevor Bayne who won!
Awesome sight to see and to hear the loud applause of the crowd--gave you goosebumps.
For not knowing what we'd be in for it was a heck of an entertaining race!!
Having been there there are now 3 of us who can't wait for the fun to start up here :)

But as with any trip at some point we must venture back home.
Having drove both ways we had the privilege to see our beautiful country.
From the barn quilts in Iowa, the Arch in St. Louis, the oil wells in Illinois, the large Ohio river and each farm sight with a barn in Kentucky, the mountains in Tennessee hanging moss, red dirt roads, cotton and peach fields in Georgia and the palm trees, ocean and sand in Florida . . .

. . .to the snow covered town in Minnesota.

and this was our driveway. We made a heroic attempt to get to the house but when our Avalance started to push snow with the grill we knew it'd never work. Turns out this was about the average heigh of the banks and in spots it was deeper. What a nice welcome home!
And now that we are finally home, unpacked and ready to work again we hope to post more quilt related things again soon!

Tuesday, February 8 that the football season has come to an end (wasn't the Superbowl a great game?! We sure enjoyed the game and a handful of commercials. . .or at least those of us who managed to keep our eyes open did!) But now, we all start looking forward to-you guessed it- baseball!! A few weeks ago, we ventured to Willmar to the Twins Caravan to see Dan Gladden (see man to the above) and Matt Tolbert and Danny Valencia (see below)

These three gentleman put on the best Twins Caravan we have ever been to, and we were not the only ones to say so. It is wonderful that the Twins organization brings their players out to see all of us and we always like to take advantage of their trip out to see us. Having Heard stories of the upcoming baseball season and the start of spring training in sunny Florida, we left with the "want the sun" itch.

so much so that we decided to change the shop around to show off our spring spirit.

We have sewn up enough samples that we could take darn near everything off the walls out front and re-arrange it with new samples!! We have smiled as those that know the shop as walking into bright and bold yellows, blues, greens, and reds is so not what we are known for! But stepping out of the box and changing things up is fun, and keeps things fresh.

Isn't this just Lovely?
The projects above used the new Lovely fabric by Sandy Gervais.
The runners are a G.E. Designs pattern (quilt as you go) called Double Duty Runners.
The bag is a Beach Bummin' Bag by This & That patterns.
The best part about the photo above is that if you cut carefully you should be able to get both table runners and the bag out of one charm pack!! Talk about a great way to use up the whole thing in many projects!!!!

This cheery table runner is a free pattern on the Moda website (not bake shop)
It features the Fresh Flowers fabrics by Deb Strain and has cute little dimensional buds in the border created with the charm pack!

Keeping the merriment of working with fun colors we did up this bag out of the new Kate Spain fabrics called Central Park. Earlier the day the bag was made, we received a shipment of the newest Quilts & More magazine. While looking through the mag, we noticed the bag and loved it. A few hours later, the UPS man brought us the fabric. It was a match made in purse heaven. This bag is not only super fast to make, but is also reversible!

Now, unfortunately although we have tried to bring spring in with samples we haven't convinced mother nature of the change yet. We want to say a big THANK YOU to all of the ladies who ventured out and about last night in the Arctic air to take in the "break out of winter" sale in the shop. It was so much fun to see you all with your bread bags, snow pants and hats.
(We were sure glad we didn't suggest dresses & P.J's!)

Until next time, keep warm and happy sewing!