Yesterday, I took the day off, and MeMum, SweetiePie and I went to Shipshewana for the day. Shipshewana is a small town in northern Indiana, mid-way between Chicago and Toledo, just south of interstate 80.*

Shipshewana Map

Aside from being known for its Amish community, Shipshewana has a great auction and flea market. You may have heard of it! The flea market is every Tuesday and Wednesday, year-round (except, sometimes for very cold weeks in the middle of the winter), and the auction is every Wednesday. It’s a pretty popular tourist attraction and the town has some nice fabric shops and lots of crap craft shops.


We’ve always loved the auction. The big barn above is filled with lots of antiques, collectibles, furniture and you-name-it. All this stuff is organized into four long rows from one end of the barn to the other. At 8 a.m., roughly 8 auctioneers begin 8 separate auctions — four at the east ends of the four rows and four in the middle of the rows — and they all work their way to the west. The auctioneers stand on little step stools and do their thing and they’re usually done by around 2 p.m. The owner of all the goods in each booth acts as an assistant by holding the items up and there is a clerk to collect the money or write down an account number when the bidding for each item is over.

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In the above picture on the left, you can see the auctioneers — they’re a little taller than everyone else. (As always, you can click on pictures to make them bigger.) It’s hard to see very many of them — I think there were probably only 6 separate auctions going on yesterday. The auctioneer on the right is pointing to someone who has just made a bid. The clerk is just to his left and the owner is in the middle holding an item in the air. It’s pretty hard to hear in the big barn. There’s so much noise from all the people. Plus all the auctioneers have loudspeakers and they talk a mile a minute — as auctioneers do.

“HeyBatterbatterbatterbaaaaatttteeerrr” — whoops, wrong call. “Tengimmefifteengarbledstuffnoonecanunderstandfifteenwhatsmybidmoregarbledstufftenfifteen…” You get the idea. It’s great fun to stand around and watch how much people are willing to pay for something. And to see what’s hot and what’s not. Some days, things are really cheap. Other times, they’re pretty pricey. Prices are definitely inflated during the summer, when there are so many tourists. Yesterday was probably the best day that we’ve ever been as far as smaller crowds go. Probably because it was so soon after Labor Day. The crowds will start to pick up again during the fall and into the Christmas season.

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Here are some of the things that were at the auction yesterday. Not very many quilts, but a fabulous Grandmother’s flower garden on a beautiful bed. One booth had tons of linens and hand embroidered items. Obviously, with so many auctions going on at once, you can’t see what everything goes for — I missed seeing the final bid on these items because we were spending most of our time at the booths with dishes. MeMum has a VERY weak spot for dishes!

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This booth had lots of glassware and it took forever for the auctioneer to get through it. One shelf was full of Little Red Riding hood collectibles! The fiesta ware was really interesting to watch too. Prices for the fiesta ware were all over the place (probably reflecting the difference between old fiesta and reproduction fiesta) and several of the bidders were obviously dealers. I was very surprised disappointed at how they broke sets up for the bidding. Obviously, they get more money that way. See the set of four nested bowls in the foreground of the above picture on the left? They sold those four bowls separately. I was having a heart attack. The smallest bowl sold first for around $60 to one woman. The next three bowls sold to another woman for between $30 and $50 each. And those little appetizer bowls to the left of the nested bowls went for about $120 each. Fortunately they didn’t try to sell each piece of those bowls separately. Apparently they stop short of being totally stupid! ;-)

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This booth above on the left had more fiesta ware and lots of neat Halloween collectibles. And for all you spinners out there, I took a picture of this spinning wheel. Oh, how I was wishing I were a spinner and had a clue about how to use a spinning wheel. This wheel was in beautiful condition and sold for the unbelievable price of $60. Another booth had a beautiful brand-new-still-in-the-plastic silverplate double chafing dish that sold for $35. MeMum and I were kicking ourselves that we didn’t bid on that one. This was the first time ever, in the 20 years that we’ve been going to the auction that we haven’t bought something.

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As an added bonus, if you get tired of the auction (I don’t know how that could happen!) there’s a huge flea market going on outside. There are rows and rows of junk stuff, some new and some old. There are definitely more vendors between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but during the rest of the year, there are plenty of booths to keep you busy and make your feet hurt by the end of the day. Pickings are pretty slim in December, January and February though, on days that the flea market is running. If you decide you’d like to visit then, you should probably google some Shipshewana Auction phone number and call to see if the auction and flea market will be in operation.

I think that’s enough for now. Next time, I’ll tell you why we REALLY go to Shipshewana! ;-)


*Sorry for the blurry map, I suck at that sort of stuff!


Boy, I feel like I’ve been MIA. It’s only been four days, but it seems like a lot more. Especially when I go to bloglines and see that several of you have posted multiple times in those 4 days! Sigh. Behind again.

I spent the weekend cleaning. Most of the time in the kitchen doing some much needed, heavy cleaning. And then, because it was so clean, I had to make some cupcakes.

Cupcake 1

I’ve had the Magnolia cookbook for a few years now and I’ve been meaning to try their cupcake recipe. You know, see if the homemade version tastes like the bakery version. Oh. My. Gosh. They were fabulous. SweetiePie declared them just like the original. Clearly, we don’t have the decorating flair that the Magnolia bakers have, so we’ll have to work on that.

In other cupcake news:

  • Did you notice the new little cupcake picture over there to the right? It’s no longer coming soon — it’s here! This week. This Friday to be exact. Tune in with Ms. Hollycakes and her baker’s dozen for some fun stuff on Friday. (I love Holly’s new banner — go feast your eyes!)
  • I think I want this pan. If a normal sized cupcake is good, wouldn’t a jumbo one be better? I saw this one somewhere in a stand-up version — you make two of them and put them together — very cute.
  • Check out for more cupcake inspiration.

I’ll leave you with a picture of SweetiePie pinching a cupcake!

Cupcake 2


The Wedding Planner

You may remember that there is going to be a wedding around here next spring. And by the time it’s over, you’ll probably be a) glad I’m not the Bride’s mother, and b) sick of hearing about it.

(Note to quilty peeps: You’ve already seen this, so you are excused to go spend your time more wisely! ;-) )

Wedding Planner 1

When TheFirstChild and SweetiePie got engaged we had a quick, fun, little impromptu champagne (how many adjectives can one noun have?) party. In addition to a REALLY big hug, I gave SweetiePie this wedding planner in a box.

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It was lots of fun to make and SweetiePie has started to use it. My favorite cards are the Cake divider (’cause I liked the ribbon coming out of the top of the cake) and the little card with the “something” tags to put behind the Traditions divider.

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I hope everyone has wonderful weekend plans. I’ll probably be cleaning — this place is a pigsty, I haven’t really cleaned in a long time. The change of seasons always puts me in the mood!


Back to Work.

All good things come to an end, and now, it’s back to work. Enjoyable time off is always too short and fleeting. I didn’t get as much done this weekend as I would have liked, but I had some good family time, and that’s what’s most important.

Yesterday, we all met at BigDaddy’s and split firewood so he’ll be stocked for the winter. Goofy me, I didn’t take my camera. I was very sorry about that as the picture of TheFirstChild and BigBurlyBIL both swinging axes at the same time would have been a good one. They worked up a soaking sweat chopping wood, while TheManoftheHouse, SweetiePie, and I picked up the pieces and stacked them. After all the work, we had a little cookout. MyDadLovesMeBestSister outdid herself by bringing four fabulous salads. Bratwurst, end-of-season corn on the cob and Cowboy Baked Beans rounded out the menu and filled us over the top.
I made Karen’s S’more dessert. Being a S’more fanatic, when I saw Karen’s recipe I knew I had to make it. It was a VERY BIG hit — even with TheManoftheHouse who doesn’t usually like desserts. Karen jokes about all the Fudge sauce — holy cow it takes two bottles. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think it was almost too sweet for me. I would have been happy with more ice cream and less fudge sauce. I was overruled though — everyone loved it just as it is!

I did manage to get a little bit of sewing in over the weekend. Back in May, I saw this cute celery crisper on Monica’s blog. Now, MeMum makes The Best green salads on the planet. They’re always crisp and delicious. She washes the lettuce, spins it, and then wraps it up in a flour sack towel and puts it in the fridge for 20 or 30 minutes before dinner. So, when I saw the celery crisper, I thought how fun it would be to make a lettuce crisper for her. I mentioned this idea to my quilty friend Junie a few months ago and she found a picture of a lettuce head similar to the one I put on this little bag. Thanks for your help Junie, MeMum thinks it’s really cute!

Lettuce Crisper

And one last thing, the lovely Holly has tagged me for the middle name game.  Ahem.  I don’t have a middle name!  It’s been a long-standing tradition in our family that the girls don’t get middle names.  There have been a few dissenters though.  One of my cousins, feeling gypped, just made one up when we were little and it stuck.  And MyDadLovesMeBestSister gave one of her girls a middle name.  ???  The one without the middle name was feeling left out however, so she now has one too.  I’m afraid if I’d had girls, they would have been middle nameless.  Tradition, you know.  Oops, I digress, another tradition around here.
Anyway, I read somewhere that if you don’t have a middle name you should just use one that you like.  I’ve always loved the name Tess (thank you Thomas Hardy), so I’ll use that one.  Anna Tess sounds pretty stupid, but that’s not the point now, is it?

T – Tired.  Had to go back to work today, that makes me tired.

E – Embroidery, of course.  I LOVE embroidery.

S – Sewing, I REALLY love sewing.  Anything.  All kinds.

S- Sorry.  I’m very sorry I don’t have something really incredible to blog about today.  Like maybe I whipped out a beautiful quilt this weekend.  Nope.  But I sure thought a lot about it, does that count?

Now, I’m supposed to tag one person for each letter in the name.  Just so that those who are blog-less don’t get left out, I’m tagging Judy (MSN Judy are you there?) and the three quilty peeps, Gurney, Junie, and Jewels who can play in my comments if they want.  Let’s hear it for your middle names!

Busy Puttering

I’m having a nice busy break, but there’s not much on the crafting front to report. BigDaddy has been a BadDaddy this week. On his regular visit to his Dr. on Thursday, he mentioned that he’d been having a little bit of chest pain. (When BigDaddy speaks of chest pain, doctors listen. He’s had two quadruple bypass operations, and a mild heart attack!) So, the Dr. decided to put him in the hospital overnight to run a few tests.

Me: BigDaddy, did you happen to mention to the Dr. that you’ve been playing Paul Bunyan again?

BigDaddy: Um, well, no.

That’s what I thought. BigDaddy had a few BIG trees blow down a few weeks ago and last week he whipped out the chainsaw and proceeded to cut up those trees and then haul those big logs all over his lot (because Babe the Blue Ox was apparently unavailable for the hauling.) BigDaddy has chest pain. Hmmph. The rest of us would all have had heart attacks over that much work. BigDaddy, don’t make us take your chainsaw away! There will be more tests next week and hopefully he’ll only need some medication adjustments.

While the nurses were checking under BigDaddy’s frock, I took MeMum and her FloridaFriend to JoAnn’s for a quick visit. I picked up this issue of Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts.

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I’ve always loved the BH&G family of magazines.  (American Patchwork and Quilting is my favorite quilting magazine.)  They’re usually full of lots of inspiration.  But the past few years, the Holiday Crafts issue hasn’t held much of interest for me.

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This year, however, I was pleasantly surprised.  I saw several projects that I’d like to try.  Especially the paper mache (hmm, I wish I knew how to make the little hash mark over the “e” in mache) items.

Holiday Crafts 3

I hope you’re all having beautiful weather like we are.  I’ve finished my yardwork today — our weather is spectacular — a wonderful unofficial end to summer.  Now, I’m off to decide which sewing project to work on.  There are many choices, but I’ll have to wait on the one I really want to start.  Holly if you’re reading, throw more peanuts to your hardworking squirrels on their treadmills.  I ordered your champagne dots for the wedding quilt and they’re on backorder!  And speaking of Holly, did you notice that cute little “coming soon” button in my sidebar?  Busy little Holly has a fun surprise up her sleeve, so stay tuned!

P.S.  To you all of you blogspot bloggers:  I think I figured out why my e-mail wasn’t appearing when I commented to you.  It was an ugly fix.  I comment under a google username that has no blogspot blog associated with it (apparently a typepad or wordpress blog aren’t good enough for a google account.)  I ended up creating a fake blogspot blog and hopefully that will solve the problem.  I know you’re getting comments from other people whose e-mail addresses don’t show up and perhaps they have a similar problem.  Lack of e-mail addresses in comments was my biggest complaint with my old blogspot blog, so you have my sympathy!