Saturday, May 31, 2008


Life here in the mountains differs quite a lot....definitely more laid back, scaled back too.

The weekend after Memorial Day, a small group of mostly art quilters have a quilt show at Lake Logan.  The setting is's a retreat center on a wooded mountain, overlooking a lake.
Flowering shrubs and plants are everywhere.

The modest entrance doesn't provide a clue to the depth of this small show.

This group calls itself the Shadie Ladies.  I had the pleasure of judging this quilt at the Asheville Quilt Show two years's charming.  Obviously, it's self portraits of their members.

They had a fabulous challenge this year.  37 members participated by drawing a number from a basket.  The number they picked was the number of fabrics they had to use in their challenge quilt, PLUS the addition of either black or white.  So, the quilt above is made with 3 fabrics. Beside each quilt they displayed a small scrap of each fabrics they used.

This one used 4 fabrics.  No specific theme was required....just the number of fabrics.  What a clever idea for a challenge.  

More tomorrow......

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I love reading blogs, but like you.....time is an issue. takes time to navigate to a specific blog, only to be disappointed because there isn't a new post.

Here's an easy way to keep up with your favorite weblog, without having to log in each day. Use a service called RSS = Rich Site Summary (or Really Simple Syndication).  This service sends you an alert, either by email or automatic download to your email mailbox bar, when for instance I've added a new post to my blog.

To get started now, click on the RSS icon which can be found on the far right end of the URL address bar (after at the top right of this page.  Follow the instructions that will come up to add my blog to your Feed Reader.

For more info see:  What is RSS?  

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I've made a $1,000 donation promise to the Alzheimer's Priority Quilt Auction  But, because my first two of four donation quilts were a tad larger than 9" x 12", they were auctioned as Little Treasures, sadly those sales don't reflect on my promise.  So, I'm gearing up to reach that goal.

I just finished this little piece (the correct size which fits into a USPS Priority flat envelop).  I posted Woodland Fern, another bead embellished wool piece that will also be donated a short time ago.

As always, I stabilize the felted wool background with a Pellon lightweight non-fusible interfacing to help support the weight of the beads.  The final size, 8" x 11" is documented with help keep me on track!  Since I want to provide a 'mock' border, by extending the backing piece, the main fabric will be smaller than the finished piece.

Work in progress

Completed -  'Around & Around'   9" x 12"  -  I was really, really struggling with this abstract design.....which moves me out of my comfort zone of working with a specific theme or a leaf, or fern.  

Just as I was totally discouraged.....a package arrived in the mail from two new student friends who took my workshop when I was visiting their guild last month in Redding, CA.  They sent 3 absolutely perfect flat round glass beads.....(yellow, orange, and red).  TA DA.   Thank you Carlotta and Louise!!!  It will be hard to give up this piece now.

Detail - the beautiful flat yellow bead is attached using my 'washer/nut' method.  If I learn when these new pieces will be put up for auction.....I'll post it here.  But, please check out the auction which runs the first 10 days of each month.  ALL the money goes towards research to find a cure for Alzheimer's.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Let's all take a minute out of our busy day of picnics, travel, shopping, relaxing, or whatever else is on your agenda today, to reflect and give thanks to our present and past military. I for one am proud to be an American, and am grateful to all those who service our country.

Recently, the husband and I watched the documentary John Adams.....this is a must see for all Americans, especially those of voting age.

Enjoy your day. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008


We will soon celebrate our 2nd year living in the Blue Ridge Mountains and still marvel over the differences and yes, some familiar seasonal changes.  In Wisconsin it seemed that we'd have spring from perhaps mid March through April.  Then, overnight....summer would arrive.

The process is much longer here.  Since the weather isn't harsh, by February we think it's spring, though the wise farmers in this area know it isn't.  With one round of blooming flowers and plants appearing in March-April, we now have another......

The fragrances are positive aspect of our twice daily 'forced marches' that the husband and I do in an effort to burn off more calories so we can have dessert!

Now all I need to do is LEARN what all these plants and trees are!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


The Alliance for American Quilts, located in Asheville, NC has announced a new major collection has now been posted on the Quilt Index 

Click on the link above and navigate to the Featured Contributors bar on the on Mountain Heritage Center.

The Mountain Heritage Center, established in 1975, is located on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.  The center's focus is the study of Appalachian culture, history and traditions.

The following 3 photos are samples of the many quilts now available for viewing online.  Don't ya just love these old beauties?? 

Friday, May 23, 2008


I've been trying to post since early this morning with news of another wonderful resource to view antique quilts.....

Wanted to share photos and info.....will keep trying throughout the day.

Basically, this is a test to see if this even gets through.....

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Despite my dislike of motorcycles....and after years of negotiating....the husband purchased one last year.  Western North Carolina is a 'destination' for cycles.....beautiful scenery and curved mountain roads.  

New adventures means new we spent the day yesterday in Atlanta researching a different bike for the husband.  

Showroom floor......a place for men to dream and wives to avoid!

The dream bike....notice, there is supposedly room for a passenger.....NOT!!!  More negotiations are certainly ahead!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Yesterday the Asheville Quilt Guild's meeting featured a lecture by Mary Ellen Kranz, a fellow instructor who creates the most wonderful compositions, blending printed images taken with a digital camera and off the bolt fabrics.

Afterwards, our small fiber art group took a side trip to the Black Mountain Arts Center to view the LINT 'transparency' exhibit.  Two of our members also belong to this very talented group of 12 women.  Their pieces personally blew me away! 

Made by Bernie Rowell

Detail - this piece has been created from mostly sheer fabrics....stitched & painted.  It was backed with what looked like heavy stabilizer (almost cardboard like).....and what appears to be beads in this detail, are actually holes punched through the layers.  Stunning!!

This is one of 4 almost identical pieces that artist Vicki Essig created.  A very finely woven fabric featuring a tiny found object (this one is a shell) are mounted behind glass with a mat, but no backing.  The shadow in this photo is due to my camera flash; in person one sees the wall.  I've never seen anything  like this.....again stunning.

Norma Bradley's piece has been created with many layers of various sheers and metallics, machine stitched.  Her title was God's Little Acres....perfect.

Judy Simmons created this wall piece, mounted on a wooden hanging rack made by her woodworker husband.

In this detail you can see that there are rows of leaves suspended from the top of the piece on fishing line which allows them to move freely in front of a sheer background that had been printed with leaf shapes.  The leaves were photo transferred onto add color and texture, the edges were burned, which also prevents fraying. 

Made by Jen Swearington.  The sails, boat, and some of the waves are made from Xray film that had been painted then carefully cut and stitched onto her background, which I assume she also hand painted or dyed.

There were many more quilts to view.....sadly my camera battery didn't last long enough for you to savor more.  This community has the most wonderful, creative artists......inspiration is everywhere! 

Monday, May 19, 2008


After a struggle, I finally completed my beaded fern project.  I've been neglecting my commitment to the AAQI so this little guy will be donated to this worthy cause.  To learn more visit Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts

The beading was a bit time consuming, but the final construction proved to be another challenge.  I decided to keep it small, and add background texture.  After trying everything from machine stitching various designs & hand embroidered tendrils, I finally resorted to using french knots.  I experimented using several different colors and though higher contrast colors seemed like the right decision while doing samples, they began to look like chicken pox, so I matched the embroidery floss to the lighter green felted wool.  

Thank goodness I used National Nonwovens 100% felted really held up to all my unsewing!

One important aspect of this type of construction is the need to use a backing to hide and protect all the beading stitches.  This piece seemed to need a border as well, so I bead appliqued the design to the darker green backing, cut larger than the finished size.  After all the beadwork was completed, the backing was trimmed to size, using a wave rotary cutting blade.

If I learn when this piece will be auctioned, I'll report back in case anyone here is interested. Hopefully it will find a new home, enabling AAQI to provide more funds for research into Alzheimer's Disease. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008


My busy teaching schedule hasn't allowed enough time for too much creating, however, here and there, I've been working on another NC mountain life inspired piece.

Ferns are a subject I've explored with hand quilting and trapunto.   Seeing lush areas of ferns during our 'forced marches' each morning up the mountain, I decided to try to recreate the look with beads.  

Again, I've chosen felted wool for the body of the piece.  National Nonwovens 'WoolFelt' is a blend; 20/80 wool/rayon or 35/65 wool/rayon.  For the first time, I'm using their 100% WoolFelt and I LOVE it since it's sturdier.  Providing an adequate stabilized background is vital to support the weight of the beads.  Look for this brand at JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, your local quilt shops, and online merchants.

So....finally now the main design is beaded.  Obviously, it requires a backing to hide and protect all the beading stitches.  That's my next step, incorporating it into a finished piece.  Stay tuned.

Friday, May 16, 2008


What an eery's so foggy this morning, we can barely see beyond our windows!!

I see the sun (upper left) just beginning to peak out which will burn off the fog....I was sort of thinking about hunkering down in my studio and creating.  With all the travel teaching I've had lately, it's been awhile since there's been time.  Maybe tomorrow I'll have something to share as I'm nearing the end of a small piece.....assuming the weather doesn't improve which will force us outside instead.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yup, after all these years, we still have the 'perfect child', and now a perfect daughter-in-law too.  Since I was out of town for Mother's Day.....I had a wonderful long phone chat with each.....and then returned home late Monday night to the beauty and fragrance of this awesome floral arrangement.

Thank you Chris and Kelly!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


What a bonus....this teaching trip I was able to add an extra day to my travels and visit with my brother and his family in Eugene, OR.  Although I couldn't spend this Mother's Day with "the perfect" child, it was great spending the day with my niece and nephew, who both came from their college lifestyles to join us for the afternoon/dinner.

My brother Richard is a fabulous gardener.......Barb, you plant a mean germanium!

After 23 years in their home, they've decided to redecorate and asked for my opinion....yeah.....we spend hours looking at paint chips, crown moulding, new lighting fixtures, drapery hardware, all on their dime so I could spend as much as I wanted.   My sister (in-law) Barbara has kept me laughing all day.....she was SURE the color I suggested for their "updated" walls was way too dark.  When we got back to their house and taped the sample to the wall, it was nearly the color they already had. (The white is the color for the crown moulding.)   It's interesting how my quiltmaking has helped me to develop a better confidence with colors....specifically the value of the color.  It's now after 9:00 PM....we need to get to bed since I have to get up at 4:00 AM for my flights home....she's still trying to change her mind, after taping about 20 samples to the wall.

Of course, all this nervous energy needed to be burned off.  So we headed to the tennis courts.  Since I didn't have the proper gear....they set up a referee chair for me, plus a blanket in case I got cold.
My baby brother, his beautiful daughter Amy, and her boyfriend.....  sorry Barbara and Brian.....the speed of your return serves were blurred on my photo....that's why you won!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Members of the Mt. Stars Quilters Guild came together to learn new techniques from my book,  "Embellishing With Felted Wool".  They collaged felted wool and embellishments into eye catching projects!

This piece began with a simple birds......the addition of other motifs make it a complete, integrated design.

Quilter's are always so clever....Jo is taking a coffee break.....the lack of a coffee stirrer didn't faze her......her scissors worked just as well!

So what could be a more appropriate subject for her project?  Yup, a embellished scissors the dragon fly she created!

A small purse is a doable class project (pattern can be found in my new book, "Embellishing With Felted Wool").  This design will feature embroidered & beaded stems, and multicolor embellished flowers.

This bouquet of flowers will be tied together with a button bow.

The Paisley design on this table runner will offer Gerri lots of opportunities to show off her new found beading skills!

After my lecture today, I'll be heading to Eugene, OR for a short visit with my brother and his family......Can't wait!!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Wednesday night, I was handed off to the Mt. Stars Quilt Guild.  Had a fun dinner at the Billy Goat restaurant with the program chairs of both groups in Mt. Shasta.  Be sure to stop there if you are ever in the area!!  The drive between Redding, CA and Grants Pass, OR was stunning. Sadly, my camera was not handy....and I've been too busy teaching to document the views.

Dinner last night was at 'Nancy's',  a small local country restaurant which features organic produce grown on site.  The gardens were so beautiful.

Flowering trees enhanced the scenery along this herb garden path.

My host Karen (who is an exceptional ambassador for her guild and area).....tells me the owner of this eatery is typical of many folks in the area.  Creative and very independent.....X hippies. As we walked the grounds......I couldn't help but smile when I saw this old 'hippie' van parked in a field.  Must have been a free-spirit with's a Mercedes,  not the expected VW van!

I'll be teaching my embellished felted wool workshop today and expect to share some new creations with you all soon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Dotti Hart was my generous and very thoughtful hostess during my visit to the Redding, CA quilt guild.  It's rare to have time to site see during my trips, but luckily we were able to spend several lovely hours at Turtle Bay Exploration Center nearby.

The scenery was beautiful as depicted by this view of the Sacramento River with Mt Shasta in the background.

One of the displays was the work of Patrick Dougherty who makes art with sticks and twigs, turning them into interesting shelters.

The mosaic bench and various art pieces, made by local artists were also fascinating.

The Sundial bridge is a glass bottom walking bridge that connects Turtle Bay to the arbortiem

A butterfly tent was a hit with the school kids visiting the park......this was a very educational exhibit.

Although I was a bit concerned about walking into the aviary, for free I'd be wearing spots when Ieft....however, I did zip in for a minute to take a photo.

Loved the display of recycled trash gathered by nearby streams that have been turned into fantastic and creative art!

I'm now in Grants Pass, OR......the drive from Redding was breathtaking......class all day today, but will try to get some good shots of this awesome scenery.