Thursday, July 31, 2008


What do the movies Amadeus, 1984, starring Tom Hulce.....

......and The Long Way Down  - a 2007 mini series about 2 guys and their motorcycle trip which began in May 2007 in Scotland and ended 15 months later in South Africa, have in common?

ANSWER:  The last and most recent films the Stori's have seen in a movie theater.  Yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, we haven't been inside a movie theater since 1984.'s not that we don't watch movies....we do....lots of them, but I guess we prefer the comfort of our own home...ya think??

So, tonight we are heading to Asheville to see a two-hour "director's cut" of the 10 part series which will be shown one night only in movie theaters nationwide.  Apparently 'the husband' is really interested.....hopefully he isn't secretly dreaming of such a trip for us!!

In 2006, these same two men were featured in the film  The Long Way Round  That movie was billed as 2 men, 2 bikes, 20,000 miles from London to NY in 115 days.  Ya gotta ask -  why???

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BEES - Part 2

As it turned out, my friend Connie and her husband Ted, both bee keepers did indeed think our bee hive discovery was worth investigating.  

They are helping with North Carolina University's 'Save the Hives' program, to learn more click on:  "Feral Bee Project"   Bees colonies throughout the United States have been greatly reduced over the last two decades, here in NC, managed colonies of bees are down 40%.

Click here to read a short intro about this situation.

Connie and Ted are putting on their protective gear....while 'the husband' and I stand far back from the tree trunk.

Ted is already on the ground and inspecting the site of activity.

Here they are scooping bees into vials for DNA testing.  The goal was to capture about 50 bees. 
They thought these bees appeared to be of Italian descent.  (I hope I understood that correctly....believe me I wouldn't know one from another, even if they were were their country's flag!)

Successful harvest!

Look Mary....there's nothing to be scared about!!  

After shaking the bees down to the bottom of the glass vials, Connie is pouring a preservative solution to keep the bees fresh for the impending DNA tests.

All done, and no stings.  Ted hopes to come back this weekend, assuming the bees stay with their hive, and will attempt to cut it out of the trunk and relocate it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


There seems to be something new to see around each bend in the road as we take our twice daily walks.  Today we found a big ole tree had crashed down in the road, breaking in half, near the top of the route we take up the mountain.

So, as we walked around the debris.......the husband...who is always 20 ft. ahead of me, turns and says be careful.  Hummmm......then I notice......a swarm of bees.  Careful?  What's to be careful think I'm passing by this, I'm turning tail and heading home.

Well, I was persuaded (guilted) to pass by anyway and immediately realized my quilting pal and bee keeper friend would want to know about this because she's now involved in doing DNA work in regard to feral bees.

These are wild honey bees......the husband took the picture....I was too chicken to get close. Connie and her bee keeper husband are coming later this evening to see about rescuing the hive.  It sound fascinating.......hope to get some good photos if that happens.....

Monday, July 28, 2008


Our community is called's not difficult to see why.  Last summer the trees were bare due to an ice storm in the spring just as the crab apple trees were in blossom.

This year, the trees are bending over with their heavy fruit.  We keep wondering whether we'll see a bear wander down to munch on the apples.

All our wild flowers are blooming.

Apparently there is some concern about the loss of the bee population in some parts of the country.  That's because they are all here!  It may not be that visible in this photo....but there are probably 30 bees along with a butterfly or two just on this one plant.

We are enjoying a beautiful garden this year due to more frequent rains.  However, much of this area is still far behind the normal rainfall and sadly, some communities are considering mandatory water restrictions.  Hopefully the weather pattern of good soaking rains here in the mountain will continue!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Purple Patch Project

I've been cutting fabric donated by Connie Brown for The Purple Patch Project  which is part of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.  Please consider contributing to this worthy cause.  I'd even be happy to cut it for you, or better yet, get your group of pals together and join the fight to honor and remember the 24 million individuals worldwide who have Alzheimer's.

Groups hosting Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece  are encouraged to raise awareness with a ceremony of remembrance.  Quilters are donating 2" x 6" patches of purple fabric with the name of a family member or friend who has or had Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia written on the back.  The patches are given to participants at the beginning of the ceremony.  At its conclusion, they are invited to pin the patches on each other and wear them throughout the day.
Please click on the above links to learn more about how you can help.....we quilters ARE making a difference.....we are closing in on raising nearly $200,000 since January 2006!!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


In my rush to post yesterday, I may have left you with the mistaken impression that there is a new real estate TV'd be a good one......but the 'Firehouse' I mentioned is a real piece of property that's for sale.  

Viewing its very own website about the property was almost like watching a HGTV show.....tons of photos, but no sound!

I'm in the process of cutting fabric.....check in tomorrow for news about this worthy task.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Are you a real estate TV junkie?  Seriously, I watch as many of these shows as's like window peaking, with a little dreaming thrown in too.

So, what can you get for $6 Million + ??  A totally remodeled firehouse in Noe Valley of San Francisco.  This property is a block away from 'the perfect child's' house, and of course everyone in the neighborhood I'm sure is watching this listing closely.  Though the prices are extremely high in SFO, this is not the average for this area.  It's so high end it has its own website  Engine No. 44 Firehouse  

I wasn't able to download anything but a thumb nail photo of the property from the website.....but if you are anything like'll spend a good hour looking at every photo, blueprint, history, and all the credits.  Check it out and dream on......

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Talented new friends here in the mountains are just another bonus of our move to North Carolina.  Connie Brown (email: is not only a really, really good quilter, but a bee keeper who produces excellent honey. 

Her honey is delicious and great for gift giving too.  I wrapped each jar in several layers of bubble wrap, then into two zip lock freezer bags and placed in my checked baggage for my last trip.  I had a total of 4 flights to SFO.....meaning my soft side suitcase was handled a lot.....and still there was no problem.

I enjoy introducing friends and family to our local products......especially the edible ones!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Airlines have certainly gotten a bad rap lately.....often well deserved due to bad service, long delays, and high prices.  My day began at 4:00 AM, as did my dear daughter-in-law who cheerfully drove me to the SFO airport for my 6:00 AM flight departure.  What a pleasure to have only 2 flights back to Asheville, both on time, and fabulous service....thank you Gloria....Delta flight attendant supreme SFO/ATL flight. 

This fascinating tree branch sculpture is located Delta's A concourse.

Here's another folk art piece... I loved, loved, loved it.....especially the idea of recycling all this crazy material into ART!

It's been a long day........with wonderful memories of a great week......

Monday, July 21, 2008


Family life has overtaken my blog.....of course all things fiber/beading are still very much in my thoughts, but right now, projects are on hold until I return to NC in a few days.  What is probably ho hum posts for you readers is really big fun for me.  With the kids living clear across the country, we miss even the most mundane things such as the process of decorating a room, so I'm really enjoying the involvement during this visit.

Since big city living is so foreign to me, it's been exciting to explore their residential area of Noe Valley .  I hope to be back soon to lend a hand as they slowly make this house their home.

We are making progress.  After several days of work we are finally nearly finished painting the trim.  Kelly's smile is an indication of how close she is to reaching the final corner!

Baseboard painting was left to Chris who is just as talented with a paint brush in hand as he is in the boardroom.

Nali, (who has personality plus) likes being with her people.  She managed to wiggle past the doggie gate and now sports paint not only on her ears but her legs and tail too.  She's happy!

I was forcibly retired from painting after about 5+ hours.  I'd literally developed a huge blister from holding the paint brush while painting trim & the louver doors.  Of course I ignored it too long and now have a hole in my skin.  Sorry for the graphic photo, but what mother wouldn't work the skin off her fingers for her kids!?!?

It was too late to begin painting the final color on the walls so we took a break and headed to downtown SFO.  The perfect child works for a firm located on the 47 & 48th floors of the Bank of America building.....the 2nd tallest in the city.  Talk about amazing views.  

He's on the road most of the time, and in fact will be heading off to London later today......but when in the office, his view includes the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance with the city below.

AND.........Alcatraz (the island on the right).....typically July and Aug. are chilly due to the fog that rolls in from the ocean.....but the view was still spectacular.   

Sunday, July 20, 2008


It's such a pleasure to experience differing lifestyles.  Urban living has many advantages, especially now with high gas prices since walking to stores, restaurants, and shops is all so doable here in Noe Valley, CA.

Yesterday, within less than 30 minutes of walking, Kelly and I had picked up 'the perfect child's" dry cleaning, shopped at the hardware store (which will probably be a twice a day visit while their renovations are underway), & bought fresh produce at the farmer's market.

This is a very pedestrian & dog friendly area.....benches and dog water bowls line the streets.

Of course you'll find a Starbucks about every 5 blocks.  I had my skinny, sugar free vanilla latte yesterday morning and am already yearning for another.  BUT.....wait......this is true.....the perfect child just brought me a cup of hot coffee, made with his own hands.  Life is good....tx's Chris!!  Talk about perfect timing....and I'm not making this up......

Many of the homes are built right up to the sidewalks.  I'm amused by the fun window displays some owners have provided for the passers by.

Although many of the streets in SFO are very steep, our son's house is on a relatively flat one at the top of several hills.  Much of this neighborhood has already gone through major redevelopment. I wouldn't even want to imagine the amount of money spent bringing these Victorian homes back to life.  The houses pictured here are directly across the street from our son's. The style of his home is quite different;  more arts and crafts, which will lend itself nicely to their decorating style.

Kelly's parents joined us for dinner last night.....seriously, one would never need to cook here.....there seems to be 4  restaurants on every block.  We had an amazing meal last night at nopa   

I'm not an inexperienced cook, yet I had a difficult time understanding about half of the meal descriptions, but trusting everything would be divine.....we all just took our best guesses when we ordered and were NOT disappointed.  One of our appetizers was called "Little Fried Fishes"....the photo is a bit blurry, however you should get the idea.  Those of us who grew up along the shores of Lake Michigan......think smelt!  Yummy and not a bit fishy.

With all the fun and culture I've been enjoying......surely you must think we've given up our redecorating projects.  NOT.....I oiled several pieces of wood furniture, and spent HOURS scrubbing off years of dirt from louvered doors.  The prep work is now completed in our targeted room, and painting has begun.....we intend to hit it hard today.  Chris has to fly to London on Monday and I head back home very early on Tues. morning......with that said.....I'm off to find a paint brush.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


After a day of manual labor on Thurs., yesterday I planned a little R & R with my friend  Lynn Koolish  -  Lynn's been my editor on several of my C & T projects and is an accomplished quilter and author herself.  Her newest book (a June release is a follow up to her C & T DVD) its focus is about dying fabric.  Check it out!

Lynn learned about a San Francisco non-profit creative re-use center, store, and workspace.  It acts as a distribution center for donated materials which artists can purchase reasonable prices. It's called SCRAP - Scroungers Center For Reusable Art Parts.

You can find just about anything there.  And as we understood it, the merchandise is always changing.  Here's a huge box of button hole twist on cardboard spools.


They do a pretty darn good job of keeping things organized.....cubbyholes of various types of fabric bundles, bins with pieces of felt, letter, & boxes of fleece....make shopping efficient. There didn't seemed to be large pieces of any fiber, but the variety was huge.

Lots of zippers if you like pink, maroon, and black.....all the same length.  There MUST be something I could do with them!!??!!

Lynn couldn't resist playing with this funny looking the paint brush beard.

Balls of yarn were recycled into an art piece by simply stringing them in vertical rows...who thinks of this stuff......WOW!

Naturally, we couldn't call ourselves quilters if we didn't find a place to have a meal.  "The perfect child", lives in Noe Valley which is mostly residential, yet there are many shops, restaurants, and other stores sprinkled in the neighborhood.  We found THE BEST authentic Mexican Restaurant on 24th Street, just East of Noe for lunch.  My burrito was almost too pretty to eat.......but I did.....and despite the size, I nearly polished it off.  It was beyond delicious.

After Lynn returned me to the 'Home Improvement Central', I got busy again cleaning light fixtures, among other tasks.  Many of the fixtures are original to the home.  It's stunning to see their gas fittings, which were once turned on by turning a key for each gas jet.  I'll try to get back up on a ladder and take a's pretty amazing that these pieces have survived with most of the glass in tact.

It's now 7:00 AM - Sat. morning and time to don the work clothes again.  Our goal today is to wash down the room we'd stripped and where 'the perfect child' sanded the walls yesterday'. We hope to get primer on the plaster and a coat of oil paint on all the trim before the end of the day.  A bank of louvered doors may slow us down....but today there are three of us, Chris, Kelly, and myself, oh and Nali - their faithful black we expect good results.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I've traveled to SFO to lend a hand at some decorating chores for the 'perfect child', and his 'perfect wife, in their new (1907 old) recently purchased house.  The home has great bones but is in need of some renovations and love.

While the kids worked yesterday, Kelly's Mom (who is also 'perfect') and I removed wall paper.  

Tests gave us hope that stripping it would be optimistic we were!

Whoever applied the paper, which had been on for years and years, must have decided it would stay in place forever.  I'm guessing they used 10 times more wall paper paste than necessary. The handsome woodwork, tall ceilings, striking staircase (not quite visible), will be better showcased, once the paper is removed and the walls are painted. 

Kelly's Mom, Keiko still has a smile on her face as we turn corner # 1.

SUCCESS!!!  I'll admit, my bones are a bit stiff step is to get all the remaining paste off the walls, give everything a good scrubbing, before painting.  It's fun seeing this come together as the kids make this home their own.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Isn't this internet magic simply amazing??  Someone, somewhere has the answers to almost every question we could pose.  

Charlene another blogger, reports that Cincinnati was once the pork capital of the US.  So, a few years back they started a theme of Flying Pigs.....yes, from the famous motto.  Local area artists were called to paint fiberglass pigs to put outside businesses....., so you'll see a lot of pigs in that area.  Even funnier.....the airport isn't even in's in Northern Kentucky! Apparently the folks in Ohio didn't want the noise or to give up the land for the airport. Considering how airports bring growth to surrounding areas....that was probably a mistake.....

Tx's Charlene for the insight!

I have to go rest down (grinning) stripping wall paper is for younger folks than me....


My 12 hour travel day on Wednesday went surprisingly smooth, considering the 4 commuter flights from Asheville to San Francisco.

I thought it'd be fun to highlight something about each of the airports, but I forgot to take a picture in Asheville....think small but cute...with rocking chairs scattered about for comfy seating.

I have no clue what this artwork at the Cincinnati airport represents....but we've all heard the term, when pigs can fly, so it was worthy to include.

This is what I saw of the Denver flight was late getting into Denver from Cinncinati, it was supposed to be just a layover, not a plane change.....but that's not what happened.  However, with unexpected efficiency, Delta hearded about 10 of us off one small plane and walked us across the tarmac to our outbound  Salt Lake City plane.  That's the way I like connections!!

I've never traveled through Salt Lake City's airport so with a 2+ hr. layover, I had lots of time to explore their many exhibits.  This one featured silver items from the collection of the Utah Museum.

I was surprised to see so many shops in the airport.....mostly unfamiliar names, though of course the name brands were also there.  Beaded items were everywhere, sincerely, beads seems to be attached to just about everything....

This purse was so unique, heavily embellished but not to the point of tackiness....well at least I thought it still remained classy.....

Today both Kelly's Mom and I are going to strip wall paper off the bedroom walls in our kids' new (1907) San Francisco Noe Valley vintage home.  There's a Starbucks 3 blocks away that we can count on to keep us energized.  This is going to be fun.....really....I'm pulling on my gloves as we speak.