Tag Archives: traveling

Tu-Na Travels: Tu-Na Helper’s Side of the 2016 Quilt MN Shop Hop

You’ve heard from me about how fantastic our 2016 Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop trip was and I know at least a few of you have asked what my husband had to say about it. To satisfy your curiosity, I asked my husband if he’d share his thoughts about the trip. He was my helper: paid for everything, chauffeured me around, found things for me in shops that I had missed, and was in charge of taking interior and exterior shop photos while I interviewed and shopped. Without further ado, here’s Tu-Na Helper….

Hi everyone! Who’d have thought that I would be the talk of the internet (or at least this blog) and I am not even running for President!  Yes.  I accompanied my wife Karen on the MN Shop Hop not only this year, but for a total of three years now. I’m sure some of you think I may not have a life of my own. Not true! I have my own interests and hobbies that keep me more than occupied at times.



Here we are taking a selfie at the giant mosquito poster just outside of the Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe in Paynesville, MN. Had I known that this would be my internet debut, I would have combed my hair!

But first, where did my nickname come from? Well, we offered to bring my sister-in-law along for a day on the hop. Karen explained to her that she was going to blog about our journey and that I was taking photos for her blog. Karen told her that the name of the blog was “Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats”. My sister-in-law immediately piped up and said ” Oh, so that would make you Tu-Na Helper”. We had a good laugh about that. But unfortunately for me, the nickname seems to have stuck. What makes it even more unfortunate is that I do not even like tuna (fish)! Oh well, I’m a tough guy. I can take it.

So why would a husband agree to spend all this time shopping for fabric with his wife? I guess I do not think of it as lost time. I get to spend quality time with my wife doing something she enjoys (which also means she is in a pretty good mood). I enjoy looking for unique quilts and decorations that can be found on display in the shops. We also get to see areas in Minnesota that we otherwise would not get to see. Even after three times around the state, we manage to find something new and interesting. We are usually pretty focused on getting to our next destination, but we do look for some unique eateries for our evening meals. A couple of my favorites were Sherwood Forest near Nisswa, MN, and The Sawmill Saloon in  Virginia, MN.


I found this quilt design particularly intriguing. It is called Gentlemen’s Agreement and was displayed at the Calico Hutch Quilt Shop in Hayward, MN.



On this trip we also took time off one afternoon to take a sailboat ride on Lake Peppin. It was both exhilarating and relaxing. On our way back to the dock we saw this hearty group of sailors out for a spin. I could not resist taking a photo or two. One never knows what wonderful sights you will come across when you take in the world around you.

I do enjoy helping Karen find some of the fabrics she needs. I have a fairly good eye for color matches if she has an idea of what she needs or a piece of fabric she is trying to match or contrast. I also monitor her spending to some extent. I know that it may not seem that way now that you have seen her loot, but believe me, it could be worse.

One of the sayings she frequently hears me remind her of is to “Spread the love”. What I mean by that is that she should not buy all the fabric she wants in one shop. Since we plan to visit all the shops on the hop we try to spread our purchases to as many shops as possible. We did not find items to purchase in every shop, but there was only a handful that we missed. The shops all go through a lot of expense and effort to hold the shop hop. Their reward is some additional business, sales, and recognition. While I understand that it is unrealistic to make a purchase in every shop, I feel that is also rude for a hopper to run in, get their passport stamped, and run back out without even looking around the shop a bit. Half the fun of the hop is talking to the shop’s owners and staff and seeing some of the fantastic quilts they have in their shops. Sorry about that, I will get off of my soapbox now…

A little more about my role as “Tu-Na Helper”. Using the Quilt Minnesota website to get the list of participating shops, I plan our route using an online site to find the most efficient route. While this is very helpful, it usually changes more than once along the way. Load the car, fuel the car, and we are on our way. My new role as photographer for the shop hop posts kept me busy while Karen would talk to the staff and do her shopping. I always ask someone on staff if they have any issues with me taking pictures in their store. Most shops have no problem but there are a few who prefer that no photos be taken. I honor those requests. I take my photographer role ‘very’ seriously. So seriously, in fact, that I took over a thousand photos! See what I mean!



This cute little saying met us at the door of Sadie Rae’s Quilt Shop in Wilton, MN. It applied pretty well to Karen. The amount of creativity that is shown in all the quilt shops is simply amazing. And yes, I said “cute” and I am man enough to admit it.


 We usually do not know where we will end up at the end of the day. By mid afternoon we have a better idea and I can check ahead to see where we can get a room. It’s more exciting that way don’t ya know! The only time we had much of an issue was last year in the southern part of Minnesota along Interstate 90. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally overlaps the Quilt Hop and every room within 30 miles of I90 was booked. In calling around I tried the Old Railroad Inn Bed & Breakfast in Jackson, MN. Luckily, they had just had a cancellation from a biker who had engine trouble earlier in the day and was not able to get to Jackson that day. We had a great night there!

Earlier I stated that I had my own interests too. I am an avid gardener and tend to supply my family with all the summer vegetables they can handle. We have a small fruit tree orchard as well. We have nine apple trees that are providing a record harvest this year. We have been cidering apples these past two weekends and have already pressed 134 gallons of apple cider with our cider press along with the help of family and friends. So what do you do with that much apple cider you may ask. Well, you ask everyone you know if they have any freezer room to store it. So far so good! Actually, fresh apple cider is a great tasting healthy drink. If that doesn’t suit you, we also take several gallons of cider to our local vintner to turn into apple wine. Doesn’t that sound better!



This is the reward for a day’s work at the cider press.

 I also enjoy photography and reading ( I prefer science fiction stories). Having retired from an information technology job I still try to keep up with what’s new in that field as well as any new personal technology developments. I have started entering my photos in some local contests with limited success.



This photo, “Apache Lake Vista”, earned an honorable mention in a people’s choice photo show.

This past week our local library had their annual used book sale. Books are sold by the pound at the sale, at one dollar a pound. Now that’s a deal! I got a little carried away, but in my defense I was shopping for four people. I even picked up one book for Karen. However, the vast majority were books for me. My purchase totaled sixty dollars! When I told Karen how much I spent she didn’t make a fuss. After all, what could she say after all the loot she picked up on the hop? Hmmm…  I wonder if the library book sale is still open tomorrow…

Well, I think I have used up enough space here. I hope you enjoyed it. I know Karen is excited about her blog and hopes that you will continue to follow her posts. Her blog is currently being read in 42 countries. I certainly never expected her to have so much success in such a short time. Enjoy life and stay safe!

What I, “Tu-Na Helper,” Learned Today:

  1. A person can get pretty cold while picking apples on a windy 40 degree F day.
  2. We would never be able to use up all our apples without the help of family and friends.
  3. Happy wife, happy life.

Question: What is your favorite apple desert?

Thanks to my husband for being a good sport and writing this guest post. I’ll be back soon with a story about that plus quilt and some apple eats.

Linking to

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop (button on the sidebar)

Finished or Not Friday (button on the sidebar)

Em’s Scrapbag Moving It Forward

Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday (button on sidebar)

Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making





Tu-Na Travels: Day Seven on the Quilt MN Shop Hop: 354 Miles, 5 Shops, Credit Card is Smoking

My heart skipped a beat! Traveling along North Shore Drive north of Duluth, we curved along the road and this came into view.


This is the third time I’ve seen Split Rock Lighthouse and it still impresses, calms, and comforts me.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that lighthouses are one of my favorite things to see. If you are new, click here and here to check out more about me.

We’ve been plagued with some road construction and detours on our journey through Minnesota but not nearly as much as last year. Or maybe, it just didn’t bother me as much as last year.



Even waiting for the pilot car, didn’t phase me much because the view was so beautiful! Maybe it takes a long road trip through countryside and city, to give us time to pause and reflect on this great country in which we live.

After a long drive and a lot of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, we came to the small town of Cook and drove right up to today’s top shop on the hop.



Cabin Quilting is located at 227 1st St. SW & HWY 53, Cook, MN.


 We were warmly greeted at the door by Jill and Brandy. These 4-legged welcoming committee members ran to meet us, sniffed, and were a bit disappointed that we had not brought any treats. Next time, girls.



There’s a lot of fabrics, patterns, and items in here. Those white drawers hold lots of fat quarters.


Susan, the owner of Cabin Quilting, opened for business 5 years ago. According to Susan, this log cabin used to be a “mancave.” Chain Saws and parts were sold out of the front and the back had a small engine repair shop. She overlooked the grease on the floor, saw the potential, and purchased the building.



Cabin Quilting carries a wide variety of fabrics including Repro 30s, Brights, flannels, and over 200 bolts of batiks.


When selecting a building for her quilt business, the most important criteria it had to fulfill was to fit her longarm quilting machine. This beautiful log cabin did just that.



Susan offers long arm quilting service for others. She began quilting in 1996 and has now quilted over 5000 quilts in her career. Now that’s experience, and dedication!


Susan offers this advice for beginning quilters “Don’t mess with cheap fabric. Buy quality fabric so it won’t fall apart and join a quilt guild as you will learn much.”



When you visit here, remember to go up the stairs into the loft to see quilts and gift items for sale.


For new shop owners, Susan highly recommends having a business plan and a knowledge of business. She says, “Do your research as anybody can throw fabric in a shop.” She highly suggests that wanna-be shop owners have business skills and encourages owning your own building rather than renting.



She also ships.


Susan doesn’t have a website but Cabin Quilting can be found on Facebook. Stop in at Cabin Quilting to pet that doggie welcoming committee and tell Susan and the girls that Tu-Na sent you. 



Susan, me, and Jill (one of the girls)


Continuing on our journey we found ourselves as far north in Minnesota that we could possibly go without our passports.



Hello, Canada!



A friendly greeting for travelers entering from Canada.


When we were in International Falls, we completed another section and received another fabulous fabric prize. I bought the pattern for the Labyrinth Walk quilt that’s been circulating around Facebook. We actually got to see a labyrinth quilt in person and talk to the quilter that sewed it so I know it’s doable.



21 Flannel 10″ squares


Back into the car and on our way to another shop. Walking into Sadie Rae’s Quilt Shop, we discovered this very appropriate sign.



57 times in 7 days. Need I say more?


Now a lot of people think Sadie Rae is the owner and so did I until I actually met her. I thought you might like to, too.




Actually here she is in person.



Me and Sadie Rae


Now onto my sister’s log cabin by the lake for supper and sleep.



On the menu tonight was Grilled Barbecued Ribs, Oven Baked Cauliflower, Steamed Kale, Rice Medley, and Fresh Tomatoes and Pea Pods. All the vegetables were fresh-picked from the garden; I know that for sure–I helped.




Now that’s a room with a view!




Bald eagles soar over the lake.

What I Learned Today:

  1.  We live in a beautiful country.
  2. My sister is a fantastic cook.
  3. I really like log cabins.


Question: Have you seen or made the Labyrinth Walk Quilt shown on Facebook?

Be sure to read my previous posts for my daily top shops on the hop and my packing my bags posts. I’ve featured some great shops: you won’t want to miss a one. Only two more days of hopping left.

Linking to:

Myra at Busy Hands Quilt for Finished or Not Friday. (Button on the sidebar)

Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for TGIFF

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Caroline at Sew Can She For Show Off Saturday

Tu-Na Quilts: Like Mother, Like Daughter

Nothing pleases a mother more than to know that her daughter shares her love for fabric and adventure.


Emilys 4th of July quilt 2aa

My daughter was 24 when she made this quilt using a pattern called “Lincoln” from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company.

My daughter tagged along for the weekend on my first Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop adventure a couple of summers ago. I watched as she carefully and deftly rolled red, white, and blue scraps and stuffed them into a small plastic bag hoping it didn’t burst until after she’d paid for it. She told me she was thinking of making a special quilt to sit on to watch the public fireworks display at the Fourth of July celebration in town.

At another shop further down the road, she spied the perfect quilt on display. This shop specialized in Civil War fabrics and she bought the quilt pattern as well as some fabric that coordinated with the scraps she’d purchased earlier. It didn’t take long and she had finished her quilt in plenty of time to use last year.


Emilys 4th of July quilt1aa

The backing is flannel making the quilt very cozy. Using the Bernette sewing machine that “Santa” gave her when she was 16, she free-motion quilted stars amongst a meandering stitch.

My husband and I will be traveling to visit our daughter and her husband later this week and maybe, just maybe they’ll share a corner of that special quilt for us to sit upon while we watch the fireworks—the ones in the sky.

What I learned today:

  1. My daughter is already a talented quilter.
  2. A passion for fabric and quilting is a good trait to have inherited.
  3. No matter how you label “like mother, like daughter” (a phrase, a saying, an idiom, a proverb—even the experts disagree) there’s a lot of truth to it.

Question to Comment: Does your daughter share your passion for quilting or did you inherit your mother’s love for fabric?

Linking to  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts

Tu-Na Travels: Unexpected “Music to My Ears”

“Happy Anniversary, Honey” my husband said as he started his iPod shuffle. We were driving to visit the kids and grandkids and I had just settled in for a very long 16 hour road trip. Our trip had been delayed a few days and we were leaving the day of our 42nd wedding anniversary.

wedding pic

I breathed a deep sigh as I recalled hearing hours and hours of Money Girl, Sixty Second Science, and Sci-Fi Podcasts on our last several trips. I love road trips but there really is a limit to how many money tips or how much scientific information a brain can absorb in one trip. Let me not forget the uncountable miles I have also spent listening to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” which isn’t really so bad to listen to if I can stay awake.

So imagine my surprise when I hear a voice coming through our car stereo system saying, “Welcome to American Patchwork and Quilting’s Podcast. I am your host, Pat Sloan.” What a guy!