I was honored and speechless to be considered for such a clever and thoughtful Birthday Present.

Back in January I received an email from a man named Tom who wanted to give his wife one of my workshops as her birthday present. Wow! What a cool husband—definitely a keeper! I was honored and speechless to be considered for such a clever and thoughtful gift.

We made the arrangements and Rita, the birthday girl, picked Coral Reef as her class and invited 14 of her friends to join her. The class was held this week in Hastings, Nebraska at Calico Cottage where she works. I’m just about to head home and boy have I had a blast. Suzie Brown, the owner of the shop, added onto my trip with a lecture, book signing, and a second workshop.

Suzie chose Coral Reef for her birthday workshop.CoralReef

Clever man that Tom is, he ordered an Ariel birthday cake (remember, Ariel lives in a coral reef!) so we had birthday cake after lunch.


Rita and her friends–what a gift Tom gave her!


Everyone hard at work on their blocks.


As everyone completed their blocks, we added them to the ‘design floor’.  Eventually when there were enough blocks, we were able to start playing with the myriad different ways to set the blocks, creating totally different looks with each arrangement.


Arlen, Suzie’s husband, stopped by periodically to chat and see what was going on. He’s a quilter too so he was truly interested in what everyone was doing.


But I have to tell you about the shop itself. It’s located in an old department store in downtown Hastings. The owner of the building, rents the space out to an amazing group of arts and crafts stores to include beading, weaving, scrapbooking, needlework, knitting and crochet, jewelry, and of course the quilt shop. But rather than partition the space, it’s all presented just like in a department store. You can wander from one ‘shop’ to the other looking at all their wonderful wares on display. Talk about eye candy!

I think this would be a fun place to ‘accidentally’ get locked in overnight. Think of all that time to browse and explore the nooks and crannies of each shop.

Look at how the beading shop displays their wares. Isn’t this the coolest thing? They collect interesting glassware from yard sales and antique stores and then arrange them artfully on the display tables. The photo doesn’t do justice to the allure of all that beautiful glass filled with the most amazing collection of unique beads I’ve ever seen. It was irresistible to say the least!




The quilt shop is located on the first floor right next to the beading and the yarn shop. The class room is on the third floor surrounded by the weaving, jewelry, needlework, and scrapbooking stores. There’s a neat old elevator to take students and customers up and down and the shop provides a rolling cart for everyone to load their machines and supplies and deliver them right from the door to their tables. Easy as can be. And Arlen, Suzie’s husband and co-owner, is there to help too.

Look at all the beautiful spindles and looms. Reminds me of my mother-in-law (sadly gone and missed) and also my friend Kari—both weavers and spinners.


The scrap booking store had the most amazing collection of beautiful papers–just as appealing as fabric. Many of the paper designers also design our quilt fabric. Makes sense.


Who can resist richly colored and tactile yarns?


So, if you ever get near Hastings, you really need to stop in to see this place. Plan on spending some time and say hi to Suzie and Arlen for me. Ask to see photos of Arlen’s quilts—he’s an award winning quilter in his own right and his work is amazing.

Til next time~