Thursday, February 28, 2008


Although areas of our home had character built in, others were overlooked.

The 27' floor to ceiling fireplace certainly got our attention when we first walked into this unfinished home. 

Houses here are most often multi-levels, ranch homes aren't practical because houses are built into the sides of the mountains. This staircase leads from our main living area to the 'man cave' in the lower level, with its walkout french doors.  Unfortunately, the room to the right is not open to the stairwell, except by a doorway, which makes this area feel like a tunnel.  BLA....boring.....okay ugly!

We had the lower wallboard removed in preparation for tongue and grove bead board.

Better, yes???  We ran around in Asheville yesterday trying to find suitable picture frames to display some of the many wonderful photographs David has taken.  We struck out, but the search will go on, perhaps in a bigger city to locate a better variety. Once completed, it will feel more like home not a tunnel!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The Alliance for American Quilts has spearheaded Quilter's S.O.S. - Save our Stories.  I mentioned recently that I was interviewed about my participation in The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative - AAQI

My interview, along with many others is now online at QSOS

My quilt, 'Brain Cramps' is part of the traveling exhibit - Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece.
Be sure to follow the links above, we'd love to have your support!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Western North Carolina is famous for it's down home bluegrass music.....happy music as I call it.  'The husband' has been a fan forever and converted me.  Friday and Saturday we attended the 13th annual Bluegrass - First Class festival, in nearby Asheville.  10 hours each day of almost non-stop shows. Due to very limited seating, (800 tickets) the venue is wonderfully intimate.  We didn't roll into bed last night until after 1:00 AM, ears buzzing.....unheard of for us!

The entire hotel is filled with talented attendees......pickin' and a grinin'  in small impromptu 'jam' sessions in every available space.  Playing goes on in hotel rooms most of the night.....doors are left open and anyone with an instrument can join in.  

Of course I was on the look out for fashion guidelines.  How about these snake skin boots? Cowboy boots are most often associated with country and western performers, though not unheard of for Bluegrass musicians.

The highlight of Saturday's venue was Doc Watson....VERY famous.  He's nearly 85, and has been blind since early childhood.  He was given a standing ovation upon entering for his first set. I'm sure my goose pimples weren't alone, as the room then hushed to a stillness, where you could hear a pin drop.  We all sat quietly watching them do their sound checks before playing, that's how much reverence the audience had for him.

I don't think I'll do too much complaining about how much I have to haul around on my trips.  This group flew in on a red-eye..... imagine gate checking this carry on!?!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Yesterday I was interviewed by Karen Musgrave, on behalf of Quilter's S.O.S. - Save Our Stories.  This oral history project has conducted nearly 700 interviews with quiltmakers of every type.  Through Karen's hard work and dedication, Alzheimer's:  Forgetting Piece by Piece is the first exhibit to be included.  The Library of Congress is the project's archive.  Some of the interviews are now available at: 

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative  (AAQI) is the brain child of Ami Simms, founder and executive director.  It began in Jan. 2006 and has already raised over $157,000 for Alzheimer's research.  Forgetting Piece by Piece is a nationwide quilt exhibit of 52 quilts, each interpreting the artist's view of Alzheimer's disease in some way.  It's the most moving exhibit I've ever seen!  My quilt, Brain Cramps is included.  All the pieces are featured in a CD, narrated by each artist, and in a recently released book.  

Be sure to click on the link provided to learn more about how quilters are making a difference, one quilt at at time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Short and mild winters are one bonus of the climate here in Western North Carolina.  It's certainly a change from living my entire life in the midwest where they have gotten clobbered this year with terrible storms.

Our home was built on what was a pasture, in a mountain valley.  It was screaming for some landscaping, which we are adding little by little.  This lovely plant is heather. Interestingly, it flowers in the winter and has a lovely aroma.


Our development features 3 creeks, one flows along the edge of our property.  We also see lots of smaller trickles of springs throughout this subdivision.  These interesting frozen water 'spikes' must develop from surface water that gets pushed up as it freezes.  The shapes are similar to thin stalks of asparagus......fascinating!

I'm not sure what this plant/bush is......the color of the tiny waxy needle like leaves that are emerging is striking.  So, despite the previous two photos (taken the same day) this sure looks like SPRING to me!

Another sure sign that winter is waning.  This is new growth of an anise type herb/plant, though it sort of looks like hens and chicks now.  Our area has experienced a fairly severe drought last year, but even with the lack of water, these plants grew about 3 feet tall and looked like a bush, with thick woody stems.  We are anxious to see how all the plantings survived over the short and moisture deprived winter.  It won't be long now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Almost every quilt I make features a theme or specific subject.  Holstein cows have been a long time favorite.  As the process of reducing my inventory of original work continues, here's some quilts looking for good homes.  If you have one, email me.

BUT.....WHAT IS THIS???  Where are the spots?   It's an "oreo-cookie cow"......  Actually, it's a Dutch-belted dairy cow grazing not far from our home.  She must be embarrassed!!


"Frieda In Flight" is a bovine kite, made for the 1989 AQS "Go Fly A Kite" challenge.  It was my first original piece.  Here's what I learned:  The best thing about creating your own designs is that no one knows what they are 'supposed' to look like, so you can say, it's just what I planned! 

"Eat More Chicken" was made for an embellishment article I wrote for Quilting Today Magazine.  The spots are's super easy to applique since the edges don't need to be turned and your thread is virtually invisible as it sinks into this very forgiving fabric. 

"A Day At The Beach With The Girls", is a highly embellished applique quilt.......and the girls, are Holstein cows.

Detail - featuring a Bovine Bar & Grill a 65 pound concrete calf......who loves the Green Bay Packers as much as we do.  Cute, isn't she??  

Saturday, February 16, 2008


My luggage arrived late yesterday......big sigh of relief! 

The San Fernando Valley and Camarillo Quilter's Guilds really know how to show a gal a good time!  Their hospitality was incredibly wonderful, thank you!!  I appreciated all the effort each of the many unselfish volunteers provided.

We have beautiful scenery in Western North Carolina, but there are some drawbacks to living in the mountains.  The lack of shopping centers for one.  CA always seems to be over the top in that department.  A new shopping center I visited with Susan in Simi Valley was about this reflective pond to calm the nerves of any heavy duty shopper!

What fun....there were several water spouts for kids to cool off.

The Camarillo Guild, near the ocean, is also home to glorious produce.  These strawberry fields went as far as the eye could see in some areas. 

Yummm!  Carol, my escort one afternoon stopped at one of her favorite road side stands where we nibbled on some of these HUGE strawberries.   The next day I was treated with more - hand dipped in chocolate by Carol.  Along with macaroons too....I LOVE coconut.


A walk along the sandy beach was the perfect place to see the sun set.......all in all, I wanted to take every one of these very generous new friends home with me.

Despite airline woes, traveling the quilting highway sure has it's benefits!!  

Friday, February 15, 2008


I'm alive and well, but wasn't able to post as I traveled due to uncooperative internet hotel connections.  The CA guilds were great hosts and I'll be posting photos soon.

Since my airport shuttle was picking me up at 4:00 AM on Thurs. morning.....I got up at 3:00. At 3:30 AM I got a call from United, informing me the 2nd of my 4 flights for the day was canceled.....Denver to Chicago.  So, they rerouted me from Burbank to SFO, to Chicago, to Charlotte, to Asheville.  I'll stop here with the drama involved in getting home because it was what it was and I'm pooped.

The photo is a view of where my luggage should be.....on the floor of our guest I unpack.  See any luggage??  Neither do I.....grrrr!

Stay tuned......will chat tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2008


This ladder was made from Wisconsin barn wood.  It has wide 'shelves' that hold small baskets perfectly.  What's in the baskets??  Important stuff of course, like misc. pressing sprays, teflon press sheets, muslin press cloths, and tubes of iron cleaners.  Other baskets store all sorts of glues, chalk & soap making tools, sewing machine oils etc.  I like that they are easily accessible, and yet not visible.

Knife blocks work great to store and protect scissors.  I have several that sit on top of a large covered wicker basket, which is beneath my cutting table.  The basket was a great solution to hold packages of bulky quilt batting.

I'm a sucker for wooden boxes and containers of any sort (and wouldn't want to admit how many clutter up our house!)  This iron handled one was probably a tool chest.  It has divided compartments and is so handy to organize marking tools, small rulers, and rotary cutting tools.

In a large walk in closet, located in our guest room, only steps away from my studio, is where you'll find the real mess.  Pictured is about half of my bead stash.  I organize them in embroidery floss containers....using only those with permanent dividers to prevent the beads from wandering under the plastic dividers and joining another color or style group!  In theory, they are grouped by style.  For instance, I have about 5 boxes that hold nothing but bugle beads, yet they are further stored by color as well.  The boxes on the floor contain kilos of beads that are purchased in this bulk form to make kits for my workshops.

Not shown, but can be imagined:   The closet also contains all my fashion show garments (well, the one's I haven't yet sold....I take several pieces with me each trip...I want them to find loving homes.)  Filing cabinets for all the paperwork from years of teaching, 7 books and a DVD. There's a special section of shelving that holds the materials for my workshops, each class in its own space.  That makes it more efficient to pack for a trip. My MANY suitcases are also stored in this walk in closet, but when my trips are close together, the most I can manage is to unpack them on the floor of our guest room and begin repacking almost immediately.  Not a pretty sight, but it works.

I'm headed for CA tomorrow and hope to have adequate internet connections so I can post....surely I'll find something that will interest you.....  Maybe photos of the beautiful colors my wrists now display. 

Thursday, February 7, 2008


With the help of some serious pain meds., I've bumbled through my week.  My wrist has graduated from ice packs to ace bandages, and my fingers now work enough to do limited tasks. I'm still wondering how I'll manage the 4 bags that need to be hauled with me as I fly out of here on Sat. to present classes and lectures at the San Fernando Valley and Camarillo Quilter's Guilds in CA.  I guess I'll just have to look pitiful and hope someone comes to my rescue!

Since I can't sew, my studio is pretty I thought you might like a peek.  The first photo is an overview of my loft space.  It's measures 14' wide x 32' long and overlooks our great room.

After having to replace the wallboard in our previous house when we removed my large design wall, I decided to make this one using a free standing office panel divider.  (left)  I had hoped fabric would stick to it well enough without having to cover it, I layered it with batting and flannel.  If I decide to rearrange the room, this piece can easily be relocated.

Our wood tongue and grove ceiling makes the room quite dark.  It's also very tall, over 15' at the point above my cutting table. only had one electric access for me to add extra lighting.  After enormous research by 'the husband', we found this commercial lighting track system, often used in galleries.  The track hangs from almost invisible wires, except at the point where the electric is connected.  The lights slide on the track so I can adjust as needed.  It still is a tad shadowy but doable. 

Here's my 'office corner' that contains my desk, computer, printers, scanner, photocopier, files....all the stuff I need to run the business part of my life.  The window has a wonderful view of the forested mountain.  The great room's stone fireplace is 27' tall;  the backside is visible in my studio as well.

I've collected antique furniture ever since we got married.  This oak library card file cabinet was a Christmas gift from 'the husband' several years ago.  I use it to store thread, zippers, snaps, pins, etc.  The two drawer chest on top came from my dad had it in the basement where he stored nuts and bolts.  It's labeled 'Crowely Needles', and now used for decorative threads.

I have a large closet just off the studio where I keep all my fabrics.  Clearly, the weight is a bit too heavy for the bottom shelf......rearranging is on my 'to-do' list.

It's time to sign fingers are sore.  Check in with me again, in my next post I'll be sharing some of the unusual methods I use to store my sewing equipment/tools.  Maybe some of the ideas will translate to your space too.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Will probably be silent for a few more days:   We walk twice become more fit....hummmm. Yesterday, stepping over a large branch in the roadway, apparently my shoe lace got snagged on a smaller twig.  I fell.  HARD....naturally onto both my wrists and a knee. 

I'm right handed.....sadly, that took the brunt.  After a trip to Urgent Care....I'm relieved to know it's not broken, but badly, badly sprained.  Dr. prescribed: 48 hrs. of rest, hands elevated, ice, and pain meds.  (Even with meds....this still HURTS!!  grumble, grumble)

Yes, if you detect discoloration in my are right.  However, as bad as it looks, I'm hoping for fast healing because I leave Sat. for the San Fernando Valley and Camarillo Quilt Guilds.  The good thing is, I'm off kitchen duty for the next few days, but must admit I'm getting bored since I can barely even hold my toothbrush, a needle is impossible!  Typing with one finger is not efficient either.

What's the moral of the story?  Maybe if I was more 'fit', I could lift my legs higher when I need to cross over downed trees!!

Friday, February 1, 2008


How fun is this? It's a real pleasure being an author with C & T Publishing.  They send flowers to celebrate the release of a new project (I currently have 3 books and 1 DVD on the market with them). My latest book, "Embellishing With Felted Wool" has just hit the bookshelves!!

The book features 16 projects.....two are shown below.  I've gone completely crazy over felted wool.....easy to work with and it combines beautifully with embellishments!

You can view some of my other wool projects by clicking on the side bar's  'wool project' label and the "Quilts for Sale" slideshow.  Although I use some 100% wools, I prefer working with a blend since it will hold up better for the 'bead applique' techniques I've developed.  What's 'bead applique'??  It doesn't get much better than this.....I'm appliqueing and beading at the same time!!