Jo’s Country Junction Quilt Retreat Trunk Show–You’re Invited!!!


A post from Kelli–

As I’m sure you know by now, we are hosting a quilting retreat the first weekend in August in Oelwein, Iowa.  The weekend will consist of lots of quilting, laughs, good food, and tons of fun.  In conjunction with the retreat, we are also hosting a Trunk Show on Friday August 4th at the Oelwein Middle School, and we’d love for you all to attend!

We will be opening the doors for a vendor fair at 5:00 that Friday.  Currently, Mom and Dad are going to be selling some of their antique and vintage finds.  And let me tell you, they’ve found some really good stuff lately.  Yesterday I walked into their garage and decided that I could probably decorate my whole house in what they had.  I casually mentioned this to Kalissa, and she laughed cause she had said the same thing to mom too!

We’ll also be hosting a friend we met at a previous quilt retreat, Joey Mahieu, who is selling vintage sewing machines.  If you want to see what she has available, feel free to join our Jo’s Country Junction Quilt Retreat 2017 here––as she’s been posting pictures and answering questions all week.  You don’t need to be coming to either event to join and see what kinds of fun we have.

Our presenter Julie Letvin of Me and My Stitches will also be there to sell and share her quilted jewelry.  You can check out her website here–  Julie will also be starting off our Trunk Show presenations at 7:00 followed by Bonnie Hunter after.  Bonnie will also have her books available for sale following the presentation.

Additionally, we will be hosting a quilter’s garage sale with benefits going towards the costs associated with our charity quilts.  If you are attending the retreat, feel free to bring a donation if you would like.  Maybe you have a quilt book or two you are no longer interested in.  Maybe you finished a project and have some scraps or fabrics pulled that would make a great starter kit for another person to make the same project.  Maybe you purchased a fabric bundle, but aren’t interested in it anymore.  Feel free to donate it to our quilter’s garage sale!  If you have something you would like to bring, great.  If not, no biggie!  We’re just glad you’ll be joining us.

Tickets will be available at the door only and are $10.00.  And the best part–EVERYONE IS INVITED!  If you are attending the retreat, a trunk show ticket is included in your retreat fee and you will not be required to purchase a ticket.

If you happen to be interested in vending, please contact me directly at as we do have a few more openings.  At this time, we are looking for vendors who sell homemade goods or tools and supplies that are related to sewing, crafting, or quilting.

So grab your bestie, gather up a carload, or make it into a roadtrip!  We’d love to see you and include you in our quilting fun!!!

What I’m Watching–Manor House


A post from Kelli–

Lately, I’ve been in a sewing streak again.  I recently decided to work on prioritizing things that make me happy, so it’s no surprise that I ended up back at the sewing machine.

A while ago, mom and I each bought a pair of noise cancelling headphones.  This makes it considerably easier to listen to a show or book while we sew.  mom often uses them at the quilting machine while she is longarming and I use mine more for piecing when I’m at my machine.  They also come in handy when mowing lawn–but Jason has needed to remind me a few times that just because I can’t hear myself singing along to the songs when mowing, I sometimes get loud enough that he can hear me across the yard and over the sound of the mower–OOPS!

I’ve really been trying to find a new show rather than the good old stand-by shows I regularly watch–House Hunters, Flip or Flop, Love it or List it, Grey’s Anatomy, etc.  I decided to expand my horizons over to my Amazon Prime account and was delighted to find Manor House, an Iowa Public Television show!

The premise of the show is that they take a modern day family and other individuals or volunteers as they are called and pretty much transport them back to the very early 1900′s and teach and show them how people would have lived at that time.  One of the most interesting parts is that each character gets their own rule book and has to abide by the rules.  Some things weren’t a surprise to me–like showering weekly or working long hours–but some things were new and interesting–like who can look at who, much less talk to who.

The Manor family–The Oliff-Coopers– consists of the husband and wife along with the wife’s sister, the couples 10 year  old son, and another son away at college.  It’s interesting to see the differences between rights of women–both married and unmarried– compared to today.

Manor House

The servants however were the most interesting to me.  I liked getting to know each of them and their little quirks.  It was also interesting to see the heirarchy of the servants.  Previous to watching the show, I new that the Butler and Head Housemaid were likely in control, but didn’t realize the difference in roles and their status among the servants.

Manor House 2


I would say however that the most interesting thing was how the young 10 year old child of the manor was raised.  It perplexes me that the servants weren’t good enough to even speak to or be seen by the lowest servants, but it was just fine for their child to spend the day with the servants being watched or played with.  I wonder if this had any influence on the “fall” of the manor type system.

Throughout the show, they also do things such as host parties and bazaars to raise money for hospitals and charities.  It’s interesting to see how much work and preparation went into the event from the staff and their considerations compared to now days when someone throws a party and has the event professionally planned and catered.

If you are interested in more information about the show, here’s a link to their website–

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Chopping with Jason


A post from Kelli–

A few years ago, Jason and his brother bought a new chopper for the farm.  I always joked with Jason that it seemed as though the chopper they bought was broke more often that it worked, so when he had pulled it out and was working on it this spring, I told him he should just get a new one.  I was quite surprised when he told me that he had pulled it out to work on it so that he could get a new one.  I just kind of smiled and nodded until he told me that the new one they were looking at had a buddy seat.  Then I got excited–Cause I just so happen to be Jason’s buddy!  He quickly told me that the technical name for it is an instructional seat.  I told him I didn’t have a problem being the instructor.  He giggled!

The previous chopper was self propelled as is this one.  This chopper however requires that another tractor and chopper box drive beside the chopper to be filled.

Chopping3 (300x400)The chopper has an arm that swings out to the side and the other tractor just drives up along side the chopper and the chopped hay goes in the chopper box.

Chopping4 (300x400)

For the buddy seat rider or instructor, it can get a bit boring, but it was nice to spend some time with Jason as chopping usually starts early, ends late, and if the chopper comes into the yard in the middle of the day, one better hope it needs gas because broken choppers are not something fun!

Chopping1 (293x400)

The other thing that is pretty neat about the chopper is that it has a video feed on the end of the chute that lets the driver of the chopper see how full the chopper box is and if the chopped hay is evenly distributed in the chopper box.

Chopping2 (300x400)

I only ended up riding for a bit because they just had a little bit left to do, but it was fun anyways.  My favorite part was this lovely picture!  Jason really isn’t much of a picture taking person and he desperately needs a haircut and to trim his beard, but this is the Jason that I love!

Chopping5 (400x300)


The Day that Castalia’s Population Doubles!


A post from Kelli–

As I’ve said before, I live in the middle of nowhere.  Technically I’m closer to Castalia, but my address is Ossian.  It takes about 10 minutes to get to either, but I claim Castalia.  Castalia is the town we lived closer to before we moved to the farm and it’s the town that Jason claimed growing up.  It’s the town where my church is, where Grandma Lois lives and it’s where one of my favorite dive bars is.  It may not be the town for everyone, but I sure love it!

Every summer, Castalia hosts Castalia Tractor Days.  Up until recently, it really was just one day, but it sounded odd being called Castalia Tractor Day.  I think that I especially hold it dear because it was one of the first times I went with Jason somewhere and met his extended family.  The main attraction of the event is the Tractor Days parade.  For the parade, area farmers and tractor collectors get their best stuff shined up and drive through town, throwing candy and handing out treats–And my favorite–string cheese!

Jason’s grandpa passed away a few years ago, but when Jason was little, he has said that his Grandpa would start working a few days before the parade to try and get “things” ready for the grandkids to drive–whether it be a motorcycle, a tractor, or some kind of find that he came upon.

Here is Jason’s cousin Kayden driving one of Grandpa Ray’s finds–

Tractor Days 7 (300x400)

I brought Puppycat with this year too.  It was a pretty hot day, so I brought her some water too.  For it being her first year, she did pretty good and only got loose once.

Tractor Days 6 (300x400)

My favorite part though is the pride that the community takes in their farming heritage.

Tractor Days 1 (300x400)

They end up having all kids of entries in the parade!

Tractor Days 3 (300x400)

Here are two brother’s promoting their family trucking business.

Tractor Days 2 (300x400)


Here’s another that I thought was neat!Tractor Days 5 (300x400)My favorite though, was this one–

Tractor Days 4 (300x400)

If you look really close, you’ll see a little dog riding with this driver.  Isn’t that cute?!?!  After the parade, we usually head to Grandma Lois’s and have a little lunch.  If Jason is able to make it (he wasn’t this year) we usually end up going down to get milk shakes.  It’s a perfect way to top of a wonderful little day, celebrating one of my favorite little towns!