Monday, April 14, 2014

ONE LIGHTING PROBLEM SOLVED....ONE TO GO...

After my happy dance, finding the solution to my poor lighting problem while stitching on my machine......the very next day my floor lamp in our great room literally fell apart.  

I've been spending hours and hours and hours online trying to find a replacement. Really, I've done very little for the last couple days after embarking on this mission!

Our open great room (with a high beamed ceiling) allows for only one placement of our furniture. I hand stitch sitting on our denim couch, with a floor lamp centered behind the sofa, over my left shoulder.  The problem is that our couch is very deep....meaning the lamp needs to have a very long arm (no less than 22") ...with a min. of a 100 watt bulb.  

 98% of the lamps look like this....short reach and a 60 watt bulb!
OR GIANT super expensive ones like this......
All my hand stitching is done at night......projects are piling up....cause I can't see and yes, I'm getting grumpy.  I'm sure the issue will be solved....just not fast enough for me.  

Have you faced similar problems?  How have you solved it?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

QUILTS FOR SALE AT THE PISGAH INN

Each year, from April through October, our small Professional Textile Artists Fiber Group is fortunate to be able to display quilts for sale at the Pisgah Inn Restaurant.  It's located at the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Asheville, NC. 

 At 5,000 feet elevation, the vistas are breathtaking.
 We were able to access the facility before it opened for lunch.....marveling at each others pieces and how well they were displayed.  Below you'll find some closers views.



 You can see why visitors love this restaurant.....again, the views are amazing.
Though it was a bit chilly, we decided not to disrupt all the diners with our show and tell, so we moved outdoors.  Hummm.....it was colder than we thought...here Judy is shivering as she shows her finished quilt retreat top.  I gave up taking photos after that as it was windy and quite bright...and of course I wanted my hands in my pockets!

If you are in the area.....consider putting a visit to the Pisgah Inn and the Blue Ridge Parkway on your list of activities....you'll be glad you did.

Friday, April 11, 2014

LED SEWING MACHINE LIGHT

I'm constantly fussing about the lack of adequate lighting in my studio.  Though there's a lot of space, it's located in a loft area with a vaulted tongue/grove ceiling (no reflective quality there!) and not very many windows.  

After much research the only lighting system we could find was a hanging track system. I have light....BUT....I also have a lot of shadows, no matter how I position the individual fixtures!  I have 13 lamps...the photo shows a portion of the track.  I think if I added more, I'd burn the house down!

 Recently I read about this LED light for sewing machines......it's a plastic ribbon,(with adhesive backing) fitted with lights.  
 Installation was easy.....the machine was turned over onto a towel.
After cleaning the surface, and following the manufacturer's instructions, the ribbon was pressed in place.....along with a on/off switch which was adhered to the back of the machine.....
And in less than 5 minutes....I had light. This new light source will be so helpful.  The cost with shipping ran just under $25.00.....a real bargain!

"The husband' found it on Amazon.com.  Its maker has his own cottage industry, (Summer House Products).  It was developed in response to a request from his quilter wife who was also in need of more light when sewing at her machine. Click here for the Amazon link.

I'm linking with Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday......head over to see what the talented folks there are up to this week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

TREATED LIKE A QUEEN.....

I've returned from my teaching trip to the Chattahoochee Evening Start Quilt Guild in GA....with fond memories and 3 less pieces in my inventory!  My hostesses couldn't have been more thoughtful, generous and fun to be with.

The skill level of the gals and one brave man (Ben) in the workshop was one of the highest I've every had the pleasure to work with.  They got down to business and really worked hard to learn each and every beading technique I could throw at them in a 6 hour workshop! 
 When I was initially booked, there was confusion about the actual dates I'd need to be there.  By the time I learned that I'd have to travel on my birthday (not really that big of a deal) but also had to miss a Bluegrass concert we'd already purchased tickets for, there was no other choice than to rearrange my previous plans.  Lucky me!!!  I got treated to a yummy pot luck at Barbara's house (small world who knew me from the time we both lived in Illinois!)....plus numerous other guild members who helped me celebrate.  

I've never tasted a more fabulous cake made by the hands of the guild's president......who by the way runs a tight ship for the meetings.....Using a prerecorded sound clip from the movie Jaws.....she plays it to get the attention of the members!!! Love it.....no question then that the audience knows the meeting/program/announcements are about to begin! 
 Really....this was such a memorable evening......new friends, great food, (esp. the cake....did I tell you how much I loved the cake??) and balloons....yeah!!!
Several pieces of my work also found new homes....Here's Marie modeling her new wool purse!!
 Unfortunately, during the hectic time that members had to view the quilts......these two went home with the same person, but I didn't get her name. However, it's such a nice feeling knowing someone will enjoy the work.......
And speaking of work....I've been flitting off here and there so much, I haven't gotten too much accomplished....I hope to change that this week.....that is once I get unpacked and tackle all the household duties that have piled up in my absence!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

TIMES TO REMEMBER

When I was younger I tended to look toward the future.....anxious to grow up and see what's around the corner.  Now....as I grow older, I'm looking back!  Birthdays seem to bring out nostalgic, sentimental memories. Do you find that to be the case too?

Left - Mary Theobald Stori         Right- Nancy Theobald Willmas  1946-2002

For most of our lives, my sister and I were thought of as fraternal twins.  In 2001 a DNA test proved we were actually identical!!  The doctors assurred us "DNA does NOT lie".  We were both stunned!!  Apparently, there are many ongoing studies about twins which confirm that it's the DNA makeup that makes us identical, not necessarily facial features.

It's funny now to look back at old photos to see how often we were dressed us alike. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

PUTTERING WITH NEW WORK

There's not been a lot to show this week....just peaks at some of the projects I've been working on....none completed as yet.  For me, it's difficult to really dig into something when I know I'll be leaving to teach in a few days.  Though I've packed for these trips, what seems like a million times, I still follow a check list to be sure everything I need is with me!  Multi-tasking is not as easy as it once was!! 
After putting the cabochon embellished wool piece aside (blogged about earlier this week), my attention turned to a larger project.  While looking for something else, I uncovered a whole yard of dyed green/yellow cotton fabric.

 ..which gave me an idea.....I started with this panel....
 ...In my mind I saw smaller flower blocks of varying sizes to complete the overall design.  BUT...that's not what happened.....
I talked myself out of having one lost leaf on the far right block....and instead positioned 4 as shown in this photo.  Now that I see both pictures....my first idea was more interesting.

For now, this will be another piece waiting for further design inspirations. I doubt I'll do alot more to it because I truly like simple graphic designs.  Surprisingly, so far there's no hand work planned. 

This piece is intended for my upcoming exhibit at the NC Arboretum featuring nature themes.  The pieces must be for sale and from past experience I know that prices need to be on the low side for this venue. So, I'm trying to keep down the time I commit to work that is featured there, yet still develop eye-catching appealing art.


I'm linking to Nina-Maries "Off The Wall Friday"....do stop by to get inspired by all the talented artists!   Whoop Whoop Fridays is another site to get your creative juices flowing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

COW QUILT BLOCK

Although the number of us who travel the quilting circuit has grown quite a bit since I began teaching in the late 1980's, there's still an incredible amount of dedication and support readily given when one of us is in need.

To my knowledge, the first instructor our group made blocks for was Pat Campbell.  After her series of strokes, enough blocks were generated to make two quilts.  We also took up a collection to ensure she got fresh flowers delivered once a month for about 6 months. Since then there have been others who've we rallied around.

Another quilt is in the works and this is my block.  It's based on a wall quilt design I created that was inspired by the work of Alexander Calder.  Since for now this is a secret, I can't share with you who the recipient is.  I hope to share that information and the finished quilt when allowed.

Isn't this what quilting is really all about......to help show how much we care!?!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IT'S FINALLY SPRING!!

Happy Days.....we went from a blizzard and 3 more inches of snow on Sunday....

Ice Storm - by Mary Stori
 22" x 27" - hand appliqued, hand quilted, machine stitched, bead embellished.


 .......to 75 degrees today....just like that....spring is here!!!


 Spring Has Sprung - by Mary Stori
22" x 27" - hand appliqued, hand quilted, machine stitched, bead embellished.

These two pieces are from my 4 Seasons series.....they are available here...along with Summer Sizzle and Autumn Colors.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A BEADED CABOCHON

Yikes....it's Tuesday already!?!?  Seriously, days are simply disappearing on me.....  There probably won't be a heck of a lot to share this week since I'm  preparing kits and packing up for another teaching trip over the weekend to the Evening Star Quilt Guild in GA.....but of course a day wouldn't be complete without and stitching so....here's one of the three current projects I'm working on.
 I began the designing around a beautiful cabochon, gifted to me by Janet Ginn.....it's a treasure!  I've gathered some compatible colors of felted wool and pulled out a circle template.
 Then a little auditioning of shapes and colors was in order.
 This combo seemed to show off the cab nicely.  After it was beaded to the layers, hand embroidery was added.
 BUT...and it's a BIG BUT.....what to do next??
 It's been days between the completion of the first design element and I'm still struggling to come up with other design elements that don't look so staged.  I may abandon the circle theme....
It's still sitting on my design wall....waiting for a new direction.....maybe I'll narrow the background, add some beads and frame it....it seems to want to be smaller than what I originally planned.

Does that happen to you too?  When new quilters hear the phrase ' the quilt led me'.....they look at you like deer caught in headlights.  WHAT?? Led you??  But if you listen....and are patient (not my strong point).....the quilt often will do just that.

So....I'm listening and waiting.....ideas are welcome...bring them on......

Sunday, March 30, 2014

UPDATING HOME DECOR

Do you ever get the itch to move?  Maybe there's no real reason to move....but the challenge of decorating all over again is compelling?  That's been me lately!

 Well....we aren't moving...even though AGAIN today we've got a terrific snow/ice storm threatening to blow the house down!  Spring...where are you??

Okay, my rant is over.....  We've had this almost identical wall of family photos in our last 3 homes.
 ...and it's time for a change!
"The husband" spent hours scanning and cleaning up several photos, then calibrating his computer screen to obtain a quality black and white print.

BUT....never, ever hang pictures with 'the husband'...enough said!!!
The lamp was removed for a cleaner look.....we didn't use it anyway.
Now finally, there is a place to display my bowl of hand felted faux river rocks!  It's up high...out of reach of our ALWAYS hungry black lab who ate the entire first bowl full of these time consuming to make treasures.