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Peace by Piece Quilt Shop in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The Kessler family — mom Bell, daughter/sister Cathy, and son/brother Michael — own Peace by Piece, a quilt shop in Biloxi, Mississippi. They're proud to have purchased, remodeled and moved into new space in the last year. In addition to fabric, notions and all that you find at quilt shops, they also have a significant long-arm business. Bell was working on a Gammill with a 36-foot bed while Michael was quilting an overall pattern on a computerized Quilting Master IV by Lancaster County Quilting Creations.

It's a friendly shop. When I asked to take photos for my road trip blog, they offered to give me a tour of the full operation. They were working hard to complete multiple quilts for "snow birds" who are wrapping up their winter stays in the Gulf area.

Their specialities include Mardi Gras and seashore-inspired fabric.

Check out their website.

Cathy Kessler working on trimming a quilt in front of the shop logo she painted on a shop wall.

Michael Kessler works on a quilt.

The streets of Biloxi glittered today with piles of cast-off Mardi Gras beads.

Mardi Gras Clean Up

Biloxi city workers were out with rakes to clean the streets from Tuesday's Mardi Gras celebrations. There were long lines outside churches for Ash Wednesday services.

Guif Islands National Seashore, Davis Bayou area.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

It was a warm, sunny day with relatively low humidity on the Gulf Coast, perfect for hiking and searching for the woodpeckers in the trees but a bit chilly for the alligators to be out and about except at midday.

A Few Random Thoughts from the Day

Driving into Biloxi, one side of Highway 90 was lined with casinos. There were large homes on the other side, many with historic marker signs. I had to laugh as I passed signs for several of these homes with the final sign in the chain reading "Waffle House." It didn't indicate it was an historic site.

Later, I walked by a half dozen buildings — gift shops I think — in Ocean Springs, each with a sign saying "No Public Restrooms." If there is a municipal public restroom nearby, the signs didn't mention it. I had to wonder what kind of world doesn't allow folks to use bathrooms. I decided I will not patronize such businesses.

Coming Tomorrow:

Highlights of my visit to the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs.

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Working drawings for a monochromatic quilt.

While at Tomoka State Park, I had a few hours to sit outside at my campsite's picnic table and sketch. I refined plans for a monochromatic quilt I plan to start stitching soon. More on it as it comes together but you can see I'm continuing to play with warping, grids and Ohio stars.

I left the Daytona Beach area today after a successful debut teaching and speaking for AQS (American Quilter's Society) and spending time with a dear friend. You would have thought we were middle schoolers having a sleep over talking into the wee hours. We enjoyed several good meals, and I got beat (only by a few points) at miniature golf. I forget how much I like miniature golf. Playing with a good friend was the best.

I arrived this evening at Gulf Islands National Seashore after navigating an unexpected detour into the park. I'm surprised I didn't get an email explaining the usual entrance is closed for construction. The phone number I was sent to call for the after-hours campground gate code was a disconnected number. I lucked out. A couple on a motorcycle who are camped a few sites down were right behind me, and they had the code. I had decided to wait at the gate in hopes someone would come along but had thought I might have to wait a while. Looking forward to seeing where I am in the mornin light. I'll likely post some photos tomorrow.

What Are You Reading?

I'd love to hear if you have a quilting or textile book to recommend. I'm finding Amy Butler Greenfield's book, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire, quite interesting.

When driving, I often listen to books. It makes the time pass quickly. I usually listen to fiction as I need to read nonfiction with highlighter in hand. So far this trip, I've listened to I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez, The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton, and Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult. I'm part way through Kristin Hannah's The Four Winds. I'm open to fiction recommendations too.

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A walleye that didn't get away on a canoe trip in the Quetico in the 1970s.

I began going on canoe trips to the Boundary Waters and Quetico through the United Methodist Church when I was in high school. In college and beyond, I was recruited to lead the trips. On one of the high-school trips, I met Colleen, who was to become a lifetime friend. As I write this, I'm awaiting her arrival at my campsite in Florida. We'll spend tomorrow catching up.

We've seen each other about once a decade over all these years yet when we get together, it's like we've not been apart. I hope you have a friend like that.

A Few More Winning Quilts

"Amish Chow Chow" by Nancy Simmons won best traditional design at the AQS show in Daytona Beach.

Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison's "Spangled" won Best Movable Machine Work at the AQS Daytona show.

I thought you might like to see a detail of the AQS Daytona Best of Show quilt "Midnight Frolic" by Molly Hamilton-McNally. I shared the full quilt in last night's blog. Check it out if you haven't seen it. The blue is actually closer to a turquoise. The full quilt photo is closer to accurate for color. The quilting on this is exquisite.

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