Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Unfortunately, my music report from day two of Bluegrass First Class is quite abbreviated.  We had to leave early because "The husband", after over 3 long months, is still recuperating from cervical surgery.  We were both terribly disappointed but he was simply in too much pain to stay.
 We did get to see Town Mountain, another new local Asheville, NC group (new to us that is). Their style didn't appeal to me.....despite having the 5 main elements of any bluegrass band; a fiddle, mandolin, upright base, guitar, banjo, it was too booey wooey pretending to be bluegrass for my taste. Their harmony was nicely done but sadly, the main vocalists when singing solo impossible to understand.  Like the day before, this venue is a great opportunity for less established groups to perfect their performances.
 We've been fans of Darin & Brooke Aldrige since we first saw them at Bluegrsss First Class a number of years ago.  They've now teamed up with John Cowan. John's fame came from playing with the New Grass Revival, from the mid 70's when he was only 22 years old until the group disbanded in 1990.  He went on to play in many genres, from country, jazz, rock-n-roll, to soul. Their performance was quite a departure with the inclusion of John than when Darin & Brooke were on their own.  
 This is one of the three groups I personally came to see.  Flatt Lonesome....love, love, love their music.....based very much in traditional bluegrass but with their own twist.  3 members are siblings.....thus their absolutely and unforgettable harmony.  They've already won tons of awards and not one of them has yet to reach the age of 30!
The Seldom Scene is my all time favorite Bluegrass group.  The name (selected way back in 1971 when they formed) can be explained by this Wikipedia notation:  Each of the band members had a job during the week; Duffey repaired musical instruments, Eldridge was a mathematician, Starling a physician,[1] Auldridge a graphic artist, and Gray a cartographer with National Geographic.[2] They agreed to play one night a week at local clubs, perform occasionally at concerts and festivals on weekends, and make records. The band's first home scene was the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda, Maryland, where they spent six years before starting weekly performances at The Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia.

The last founding band member, Ben Eldridge retired in 2016....yet the majority have now been with the group since mid 1990's. Ben played the banjo on the tune linked below.

Sitting here writing this post.....I've been listening to another one of their famous hits, "Old Train"....written by Herb Pederson who I blogged about yesterday.  I NEVER tire of this group.  

So until next year, we will have to be satisfied with recorded songs from many of these artists.....but will jump at any chance to attend live shows when possible.

Monday, February 20, 2017


We moved from Wisconsin to NC in 2006.....one of many reasons we chose this area was the abundance of great bluegrass music.  Every February the best of the best come to Asheville, NC to play at Blue Grass First Class.

Many of the same acts appear almost every year.....but since they are top notch bands....we are always as excited as our very first time at this event 11 years ago.  The following is a short overview of the first day of the festival.  The days' events run from noon to midnight for two days.....a bluegrass lovers dream come true.....all in indoor comfort.
Each year new or up and coming bands kick off the event.  Blue Mafia, yes you read that right, was introduced.  Their album is titled "Hanging Tree"....and yes you read that right too.  Despite their enthusiasm and obvious thrill to be included in this event, they have a long way to go before I would consider them polished performers.  Everyone needs a start and perhaps this experience will help guide them.
 The Grascals haven't appeared for several years....always excellent, well prepared.....with fantastic musicians and incredible harmony. Unlike County Music....women band members are rare in Bluegrass.  Their banjo player is none other than 4 time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award Winner Kirstin Scott Benson.
A newly formed California based group,  John Jorgenson Blue Grass Band made their first appearance at Blue Grass First Class. John (center) played for many years with the Desert Rose Band and has a list of accomplishments pages long. He plays just about any string instrument and really excells at the mandolin.....fabulous!  The other icon in the group is Herb Pederson (right) who knows everyone and has played with everyone.....from Rock, to Country, to Jazz, to Bluegrass for probably 50+ years.

Herb BLEW the whole room away when he sang two very, very well known tunes he wrote, made famous by my long time favorite group The Seldom Scene.  He shared how this song, Wait a Minute" came to be written. I couldn't get my recording to upload but found one recorded with Chris Hillman (an original member of the Byrds back in 1965) on YouTube that you can safely click here to experience.

 He'd been on the road in Europe for an extended period of time...home only a day or two before getting a call to play on another tour.  He shared this news with his 'then' wife who tersely said "wait a minute"!  As he said, this was the beginning of the end.....she KNEW who he was and what he did for a living before they married.  

Day two coming up shortly.......

Friday, February 17, 2017


I've been busy.......just added more wet felted votive holder sets and bowls to my online shop.  Here are just a few examples.....click here  to see the current inventory.

Take some time to see what other artists have been doing this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,  Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Having so many talented friends has had an enormous impact in my life.  Their creativity is always inspiring, which opens my world to new adventures.  My pal Nan has been taking glass moulding classes.  She's gotten so interested that she just invested in her own equipment.  I was excited to experience a short tutorial.
 This helpful book is great for beginners.
 Here are two of Nan's pieces.

 We set out to make 3 small trays using iridescent glass.
 A paper template is made of each shape.
 And transferred onto the glass.
 Next the glass is scored.
And using a special tool, the shape is released from the sheet of glass.

We were using her brand new kiln for the first time.  Setting the timing for the various heating/cooling cycles was super complicated.  Unfortunately, after 3 attempts......
.....and anxiously opening the kiln each time, our glass remained exactly as it had begun, poised on top of the forms. Nan then sought help from a neighbor, a very skilled glass maker who was able to program it correctly.  It was time for my departure but I can report....it worked and I'll post a photo after the sharp edges are polished.  

Thank you Nan for a look into glass moulding!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Sometimes it's the little, seemingly simple projects that become quite challenging.  The goal was to retain the happy feeling of the colorful fun circular motifs, without resorting to taking the easy way out and simply make it a whole cloth piece. Incorporating two rows of polka dot scraps, adding hand embroidery  and finally machine quilting with long black dashes seemed to fill that intention.

Okay I admit.....my fingers were itching to add beads.....but fearing that would add too much clutter I restrained myself!

19" x 14.5"
Cotton fabric stamped with thickened dye, hand embroidered, machine quilted.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Look what came in the mail yesterday!!!  A gorgeous Valentine postcard from the very talented Robbie at Robbies Paw Prints.  I'm sooooo flattered to receive one of her very special postcards. No matter what construction style....this gal can do it all.  It's always fun to see what she's up to...use the link above and wander over to her blog.
Blogger friends are truly the biggest bonus of hosting a blog!  Thank you Robbie.

Now....a note about today.....
Darn it....I was hoping to have a reason to wear my lucky Packer socks that pal Gen knitted for me......but as they say....maybe next year.  For me....football season was over two weeks ago.....(not pouting...just a reality).....but I will say....best wishes for both teams...hope it's an exciting injury free game.

Friday, February 3, 2017


The Fiber Junkies spend spring - fall months playing with fabric dyes and paints which yields A LOT of fabric.  My preference of working with felted wool can over shadow other fun fabrics.
Yet, my eye seems to meet this small cotton piece every time I glance towards  my painted/dyed fabric stash. (7th railing on the right.) The question was....what the heck do I do with it?
One problem was the flaw smack dab in the middle of the length of fabric which was required removing a narrow section.  yes, I could have covered it up....but...
                      Instead, I decided to incorporate some polka-dot scraps.
Here's one layout idea.  The very top section is the strip cut from the whole-cloth....adding 1 patch to achieve the required width.  Actually, viewing the photo now as I pen this post....it isn't too bad.....  Yet, during auditioning various layouts, I chose not to go this route.
My blogging format preference is to share some step-by-steps followed by the finished piece. Because my plan calls for a lot of hand stitching....that won't happen for awhile.  Stay tuned....

Consider visiting these great blogs where other artists share their work:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Well....football season may be over for Packer fans, but they are definitely not forgotten.  How cool is this?  Car door LED light featuring the Packer logo!!

Monday, January 30, 2017


After having this task on my 'to-do' list for far too long.....finally photos and measurements were taken of all the felted bowls/baskets/votive holders currently in my inventory.
This is just a partial look at the collection which is now waiting to be fitted with sales tags.  Need a gift for someone special (including yourself?  Visit my  online shop....click here to view.

Friday, January 27, 2017


Many happy hours have been spent with my buddies Kate and Judy ice-dyeing fabric.  We've all come away with loads of treasures....but what the heck to do with them??
The patterns are often so high energy, with colors that don't blend well with our existing fabrics.  Yet, who wouldn't love the results or wish to find a way to incorporate them into a quilt?
I've always been fond of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style of design.  His stained glass panels hit all the right notes for me.  That got me to thinking about how this fabric echoes the look of various types of glass used in making stained glass items.  I'm not a planner/drafter of patterns because I'm an idiot about math.  Plus so often my rotary cutting is inaccurate despite trying to be meticulous. (I blame it on the shadows from my overhead lighting...in part quite true.)

And if you are a long time reader of this blog you already know that sewing patchwork is not my favorite construction method.....especially since my Pfaff died and was replaced by my nemesis a Janome 8900.

Yet I plunged ahead with this inspiration, the result is below. My next least favorite technique is machine quilting....which will be the next step for this piece when I can figure out what I want and am capable of doing.  

As I write this....I'm struck by the realization (though not for the first time) that machine work continues to be an area of quilting that I enjoy the least.  Perhaps that's why beading and hand quilting had become such passions for me! 
 quilt top 
With all this said, yes, I do believe a way to utilize this type of fabric has been achieved.  Since I actually just completed it.....here's the final look below. 
Ice-dyed cottons, machine quilted.

You can find work produced by fellow artists....do check them out here:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,  Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Sews.