Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who Won???

I know.....this is overload.  I really hadn't intended to continue the car race talk....but since Melody asked, I was sure there must be others who were waiting for the news about who won the race.  There are numerous categories......kinda like quilt competitions, but the 'best of show' if you want to think of it that way,  was car #1 - a Lexus Riley Daytona Prototype.  (Hummm...a Lexus?  not a Porsche!) Interesting color combination.

Here's what may interest you though.....the drivers were:  Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti (in case you didn't know is MR. Ashley Judd - she usually attends his races but wasn't there because she was ill.), Scott Pruett, and Memo Rojas.   So, now you know.....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Through A Quilter's Eye - Part 4

I know....this event seems to go on and on......believe me I KNOW!  You gotta this a car race or a carnival?  Yup, that's a water skier on the lake that's in the infield of the track.

During much of the daylight hours of the race.....this blimp circled the speedway.  Just after the national anthem was sung, there was a goose pimply 'fly over' of 3 huge jets from a nearby military station.  My photos only showed 3 dots in the sky, so I've spared you that photo.  It's one of those -  ya had to be there things.

And of course there is the food......huge sides of beef skewered on poles, smoking over an open wood fire.

What did I this a carnival?  If you've ever seen the old Steve McQueen movie, Les Mans, this scene will be familiar.  If's just another ferris wheel!  Pretty at night though.

Another shiny, decal filled Porsche in the garage area, just prior to the race, when expectations are high.

Garage race.......THE END

Monday, January 28, 2008

Through A Quilter's Eye - Part 3

Sorry, Dr. McDreamy was hiding himself very well....but here's his the start of the race. Believe me, NONE of the cars looked like this at the end....all were banged up and extremely dirty.  The good Dr. finished in the 39th position....of 66 starting cars.

Boys and their toys.....maybe we should have signs that say:  Powered by Bernina or Powered by Pfaff!!

And, thinking about about these 'car strips'....they are even numbered!

What can I say??  Boy toys!!  With bought and paid for front ends??  There were lots of 'May/September' couples walking around.  Hummmm

The only kind of front end I hope 'the husband' is interested in.  Even if he thinks Lowe's is a 'girlie' hardware store.  Real men apparently prefer Home Depot!

One more day of photos to come.....stay tuned.....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Through A Quilter's Eye - Part 2

Day 2 - COLD (for FL) and a bit rainy....of course that doesn't stop the cars.  Wonder who ever decided.....hey, let's get in our cars and race around a track for 24 hours?  Definitely a guy thing!

No, Dr. McDreamy sighting yet.  Though we went to his garage area.  Nearby I saw this crew practicing getting in and out of their car....FAST is the word here.  Most of the drivers are quite small in stature.....not bad in the butt department though.  (Which was the action shot I tried to get here....they were too quick and there are sooooo many people everywhere, it's difficult to take pictures.)

What is it about guys in their fire suits.....not bad hey?

Auto art: of celebrities all over this Porsche.  Though it may not show up well enough......the Rolling Stones are on the door.....but most of the images featured Jimmy Hindrex.

More art:  I spotted this portrait at the same booth with the auto art.  Gerry Garcia (in case you are too young to recognize this rock star.)  The image was a collage of hundreds of small photos (about 3" sq.)........amazing.

Here's a detail of the Garcia portrait.

Oh.....the race is still going on.....after over-nighting in sensible fashion -  at a hotel, we are now headed back to the track to wait and watch (oh still my heart) for the finish of the race at 1:30 PM EST.  66 cars started.  It's always interesting to see how many manage to finish. When we left last night, Dr. McDreamy's car was still running, though I don't know which of the 4 drivers was at the wheel.  Again....stay tuned....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Through A Quilter's Eye

I managed to amuse myself today, while 'the husband' and I attended the first of 3 days of the Rolex 24 Hour Race at Daytona Speedway, in Daytona Beach, FL.  I spent my time viewing the activities with a quilter's eye to detail.  24 Hours, which begins at 1:30 PM EST......means 24 hours of continuous racing, with various drivers (cute butt photos already taken and hope to post all need something to look forward to!)  BUT.....24 hours of racing does NOT mean we stay at the track that long....we camp out at the Hilton and return early on Sunday morning.

Patchwork seats!!  The top is your traditional layout, squint and it's a 9 patch.....below is random patchwork in primary colors.

Now, here's something for the machine embroidery folks.....since we are Porsche lovers....we wear this crest proudly.

How about this design for applique??'s something we can all understand.  And my mission tomorrow will be to spot Dr. McDreamy.  The car he drove last year (as I recall) retired after about only an hour or two on the track.  He didn't even get his turn to drive.  Stay tuned.......  

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Where In The World Is Mary??

Believe me, I truly realize no one is holding their breath to find the answer to this question.  But if you are curious, tune in Friday night, I hope to find something of artistic  interest during the day to share with you....though considering what I'll be doing....that may be a challenge.......

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Girlfriend's Blogs

My inspiration to begin blogging came from Melody Johnson's excellent "Fibermania" blog.  She's a very successful artist who is always generous with her design and construction advice.  I'm convinced her middle name is COLOR.  

Another pal from 'up north' is Mickey Depre who creates fun, whimsical quilts.  While Mickey begins her travel along the quilting highway, Melody has retired from teaching.  Both are talented quilters who specialize in one-of-a-kind art quilts and share a love of knitting.

Take a peek at their blogs.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Daily "forced marches" up and down steep streets in our mountain environment (otherwise known as exercise) has led to lots of discoveries. I've noticed many interesting feathers scattered about and I've challenged myself to recreate their details using beads. I begin by sketching a rough design.

Felted wool is basted to a pellon interfacing marking the size I want my center square to measure. The shapes of the feathers are also basted through these layers. Next, with a variety of seed and bugle beads, I use various beading stitches to obtain the desired texture. This isn't immediate gratification, but so worth the effort!!!

The center square is machine quilted and trimmed to its finished size. The wavy cut grey 'mock' sashing strips (which cover the unfinished red edges) were bead appliqued to the blue felted wool foundation piece. The outside edges were finished with hand blanket stitching using wool embroidery thread.

The piece is called "Free Floating" measures 15" square. It's one of numerous "feather" pieces that is currently available for purchase. UPDATE - This piece has been SOLD

Monday, January 21, 2008


I'm with ya Brett.....what happened? any loyal Packer Fan......we know there's always next year!!  Thanks for a great season!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where In The World Is Mary??

Well, I'm still in Texas.  You'll need to excuse the quality of the photos on this post, my camera is giving me some trouble, but the subjects are worth viewing.  

The Ft. Worth Stock & Rodeo Show is going on here, and there are "cowboys" everywhere.  Hay bales in truck beds are commons in the parking lot of my hotel.  Blogging is making me so much more aware of my surroundings.

Dinner with my guild hosts was at the Blue Mesa (delicious and great company) where this adorable family agreed to be photographed.....aren't they the cutest?!?!  Is this a wonderful country or what......

A huge bonus for any traveling quilt instructor is gathering with friends.  My long time pal, Pat Campbell and her beau, John Van Pelt made an hour drive to meet with me for dinner during this trip.  Pat has completed her therapy at the Women's Stroke was great to see them.  They are heading off shortly on a road trip to Arizona in their motor home....they send greetings to fellow quilters.

My day can't end without these words:     GO PACKERS!!!!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008


It was my pleasure to present a lecture today at the Trinity Valley Quilter's Guild in Ft. Worth, TX.  Member Mary Kirwin came up with a fabulous idea for their 2008 quilt show challenge. Guild members are encouraged to create small donation quilts for the grass roots "Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts" project, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.  The mini art quilts can be any theme, any construction style, with a 9" x 12" maximum size (so it fits into a USPS Priority Mailer without folding.)  These quilts are auctioned during the first 10 days of each month.   

It's part of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, organized by Ami Simms.  To learn how you can help, please visit:

Since January 2006, AAQI has raised over $110,000 for Alzheimer's research.  Kuddo's to the the Trinity Valley Guild!  Their goal is to collect at least 300 mini quilts from their members, and as you can see, donations are already coming in!  

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Wow, the Arlington Quilters Guild (TX) is one eager group.  Yesterday, nearly 25 of us squeezed into a small classroom while we learned 'speed beading'.   Why 'speed beading'?? Basically, once we were all in our seats, there was no other choice than to bead, bead, bead, because only a shoe horn could budge us from our tight quarters.  

And you know what?  There wasn't ONE complaint or grumble.  These quilters know how to rally and one can tell, this group is all about learning, having fun, and cooperation.  It was a delight to introduce my beading techniques to them.

The work station I used was in the center of the tables, with about 2 inches on either side to move to the reminded me to keep my dieting resolve!

The students assure me that beads will be shining at their meeting during show and tell. Thank you for being such a good group!

I'm on the road again today to Trinity Valley to teach another beading class and present a lecture this evening at Parker County.  Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I hope to post some photos from here in Arlington, TX, or later tomorrow when I head to Trinity Valley....but here's a thought for the day....or should I say prayer.  It was sent to me from Packer fans, my sister and brother-in-law.


Our Favre,
Who art in Lambeau
Hallowed be thine arm.
The bowl will come,
It will be won.
In Phoenix as it is in Lambeau
And give us this Sunday
Our weekly win.
And give us many touchdowns passes.
But do not let others pass against us.
Lead us not into frustration.
But deliver us to the valley of the sun.
For thine is the MVP, the best of the NFC,
and the glory of the Cheese heads,
now and forever.


Sunday, January 13, 2008


Tomorrow begins my 2008 travel teaching schedule.  I'm off to Dallas/Ft. Worth to share my work with 4 groups.  Though, of course, I'm always anxious to spend time with other quilters, I'm finding myself getting sentimental about leaving our mountain living.  I hope to be able to post daily during my travels, but if the available internet connections don't work, continue to feast your eyes on the awesome scenery that we are treated to every day.

We live 30 minutes west of Asheville, NC in Crabtree Township in Triple Creek Meadows, which is in Bald Creek Valley.  (Got that??)  The first photo was taken from the lowest part of our development, probably around 2,800 feet elevation.  I love looking at the cloud cover below.  The little creek gurgles along the west side of our property.

We build some pretty nice digs for the lawn tractor!  It's a reclaimed log home (hard to believe anyone could live in this tiny place), that was found in TN.  A local 'fella', built it for us.  I suppose he might call himself a handyman carpenter, to me he's an artist.  We asked him to sign his work.  I was fascinated watching him dry stack rocks for the foundation.

Each morning 'the husband' and I do a 45 min. trek up and back down the mountain road in our development.  The 3 horses along our route know we come bearing apples.  The fence is this feeding task is done carefully by both parties.

Our walk takes us up to this spot, about 4,000 feet elevation (our house is at 3,200)  Beautiful and it will all be waiting for me when I return next Sunday!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Score  -  PACKERS 42   -   SEATTLE  20

Hooray!!!  My lucky socks I'm taking the credit??  Geesh.  
If Dallas wins tomorrow, you can be sure I'm packing my socks to wear in  Dallas next week where I'm teaching for 4 groups.  Hopefully I won't be run out of town!

Grinning from ear to ear tonight!!!


We couldn't be more anxious or nervous as game time counts down for our beloved Packers who are in the playoffs today.  We proudly fly our flag, knowing it's probably the only one of its kind in miles and miles.  *Note the famous "smoke" as in the "Smoky Mountains" in the background.  It fills the valley down below us, yet blue sky shines above.  

I'll be decked out in my Packer sweatshirt (arms already raised in triumph) and my lucky socks....they never fail!  We want a win for Brett, he's so deserving!  I grew up about 45 mins. from Green Bay, and like most cheeseheads....we love our Packers.

I'll bet if you listen carefully, you'll hear me screaming......hopefully with joy!

Friday, January 11, 2008


The notion of creating a blog had been percolating in my mind for some time.  Sol, a new friend, who resides in Argentina, joined our Christmas celebration this year.  She patiently helped me get started.  Thank you again Sol! 

I knew I'd adore this gal even before we said our first hello.  I was told she loves bright colors and heart motifs.  With that knowledge, I designed this small bead embellished felted wool piece for her.  

Since the edges of felted wool don't need to be turned under, it's the perfect medium for a technique I coined 'bead applique'.  The beading actually attaches (appliques) the felted wool motifs to the background fabric, embellishing the work at the same time, adding texture and sparkle.  

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Our small fiber arts group meet today at Georgia Bonesteel's home.  She's pictured on the left, doing a bed turning of dozens of both antique quilts and her own originals, which she's preparing for sale in a few weeks.  If you are interested, visit her website  Our members are all established fiber artists, several of us travel teach.  You may recognize Linda Cantrell to Georgia's right, and Judy Simmons in the far right corner.

Georgia arranged for our group to have a private tour through the Warm & Company manufacturing factory which is nearby.  They are best known for their Warm & Natural Batting, Steam-a-Seam, and other battings with varying fiber content.  Their newest product is a flame retardant batting for children's quilts that will be available soon at Jo-Anne's.   We were delighted to know that this US manufacturing company uses cotton that is grown in the US, mostly from Georgia.  YEAH!!   Although I took dozens of photos, these couple of views should give you an idea of the process.  The facilities were spotless.  As we watched some of the batting being hand cut and individually packaged, we found it difficult to keep our hands from reaching out and grabbing some.

This is a carding machine.  Cotton from huges bails is spread onto a cement floor and this machine runs back and forth over it, cleaning and breaking it into tiny fibers.

After carding, the cotton goes through more machinery and into a 'fluffer".  (The purpose is to separate an puff the fiber with blowing air.)  It's incredibly soft and thin.

The 'fluffed' cotton is now feed through another machine, until it is 7 layers thick.

Those 7 layers now pass through the needle punch machine.  The quality of the photo is not great as it was taken looking through a plastic viewing window....but you get the idea.  It comes out looking like the batting we are all so familiar with.  It's then feed onto huge tubes and stored until it's cut again to size and put onto smaller rolls, bolts, or shrink wrap packages.

Wouldn't you love to have access to just one of these boxes?  I was so surprised to learn they employee only about 27 people....heck, they must work day and night to keep us quilters so well supplied!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


In June, 2006, 'the husband' and I made a huge lifestyle change.  We moved from Wisconsin, to the mountains of Western North Carolina.  This view of our home was taken just prior to moving in.....I'll share updated photos soon.  NC is the land of BBQ, not Brats, which I consumed regularly each Saturday night in Cheesehead land.  My favorite comes from Meisfields in Sheboygan, WI.  Wisconsin has 4 major food groups:  cheese, brats, beer, and bars (not the drinking establishments, think brownies instead.)

Though I'm not that much of a meat lover, my spouse is.  He loves experimenting with various methods of cooking on our Big Green Egg.  It's a ceramic outdoor grill that can sear steaks at 700 degrees, or smoke slowly at 275 degrees.  Since beef brisket is readily available at our market, we decided to give one of my standby recipes, Beef Brisket in Beer Gravy, a Southern BBQ flavor. 

I wish this was aroma-vision......the picture actually does not do it justice.  The meat fell apart and was divine.  We'll be eating brisket for the next 2 weeks.  Well, one of us will be, I'm off to teach in TX next week.....hummmm, they are known to create some pretty tasty BBQ there too!

Here's my newly adapted recipe:

1 beef brisket (about 4 pounds)
2 large (that means BIG....really big) yellow onions, sliced
1 - 16 oz. bottle Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
2 cans beer 

Cook the trimmed brisket over hot coals mixed with a little pecan wood, till nicely browned and crisp on both side.  Remove and place in a large foil pan, cover with onions.  Mix the beer and BBQ sauce and pour over the meat.  Cover with foil put back on the grill.  Close the lid and simmer slowly about 5 hours.  Add more beer if necessary.  Yummy.....