Sunday, August 31, 2008


Fri. & Sat. were not spent sewing.......oh how I wish!  Instead, 'the husband' is preparing to sell his year old BMW motorcycle......and being VERY particular about his toys......he felt it necessary to get a 6,000 mile check up before showing it.

Sigh.....the dealer is 2 hours away....that's ONE way via the fastest route.  Unfortunately, the work couldn't finished in one day so I had to follow him in the car for the drive home.  We returned on Sat. to pick it up....but it wasn't completed when we we had to waste time shopping.

I purchased a frame and spent today matting my newest felt piece.  Will share a photo tomorrow....I'm pleased.

Back to the reason for my silence......about 4:00 PM on Sat. we headed back home....the LONG way over the mountains in SC and then the mountains in NC.  This route is very scenic and much loved by bikers as you can see.  I took this photo from my front windshield while driving....scary.....there's a curve about every 30 seconds. 'The husband' (the last one in the line of other bike nuts) I'm sure is grinning ear to ear.....he LOVES riding....and is terribly disappointed that I refuse to even get on the thing.  Maybe that's why he kept this one in the first place instead of selling it when he got an even bigger machine in early summer....I think he wanted me to ride it myself!  NOPE........

Friday, August 29, 2008


Urban life isn't for fact, just being in a big city now makes me anxious!  However, there are some pesky adjustments and surprises to rural mountain living.

We were woke last night before 3:00 noises on our covered porch, which we could clearly hear through our open windows.  It continued with pattering, scuffling, and even some yelping.  Finally, the husband got up with a flash light to check.

Good grief.....not one, but 3 hunting dogs were making themselves at home on our porch!  We are learning the ways of folks who've lived and hunted in these mountains for generations and are respectful to their heritage, despite not understanding why anyone would let dogs run around in the middle of the night just to scare a raccoon up a tree!  

I only got a snapshot of two....who have decided to share our front mat instead of going out to 'work'.  They both actually tried to come in the house as I stood with knees bent at odd angles blocking the doorway trying to take a picture.  The third one (I'm convinced) was taking its turn as night if their master showed up......they'd all get up and look busy!
Apparently, the orange collars are fitted with an electric tracking device.....the hunters (supposedly) are hanging about somewhere monitoring some sort of equipment.  When the dogs stop roaming means they've found something, then the hunters go find the dog and their 'catch'.   

At any moment we expected thunderous feet to stamp up our stairs with guns ready.  Instead, no one came for these darn dogs and they continued to make all sorts of noise just outside our window for the rest of the night.  Every once in a while....we'd nearly hit the ceiling in alarm as they give a LOUD howl or two (just pretending they are still 'working').

We had to leave here early this morning and in the process (in the dark) of getting out of the garage.....the three rascals decided that would be an even better place to slack off.  'The husband' had to trick them back outside with dog biscuits (kept for treats for our neighbors more mannerly doggie.)

So....I have nothing sewing wise to share today.....with about 5 hours of sleep and most of the day spent on our errand in Greenville, SC......I haven't done a stitch.  But, I certainly am plotting about what to do next.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Thank you to all of you who shared many good suggestions to help punch up this piece.  I may explore these ideas in upcoming pieces.

After I posted my plea....'the husband' and I went for our walk.  I'd been urging him to photograph ferns (and other foliage) to print in black and white for art in our newly decorated guest room.

Soooo, my attention was focused on ferns of all shapes and size....suddenly, I had an inkling of an idea.....what if I 'printed' their shape onto my background.  This technique is not unknown to me....I've done it quite a lot on woven fabric, but never wool felt. worked.  The process was as simple as painting the ferns with a thick stencil paint, then carefully positioning on the fabric.  I covered the foliage with wax paper and ran a brayer roller over the areas.  Finally, the paper and ferns were removed.....and ta da.....I'm now happy with the design.  

The final touch will be the addition of a few more beads here and there and securing the piece into a frame.  It will be available for purchase by Tues. - Sept. 2nd.,  please email me for details.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


There doesn't seem to be much to show for a day's work...which mostly consisted of standing in front of  my design wall looking puzzled.

The sticks are beaded onto the stabilized light grey background, which in turn is bead appliqued to a darker grey felted wool piece.  The dark grey background has been cropped for this photo because my intention was to mount and frame the piece.  Thankfully, I haven't actually cut the excess grey fabric since now I'm not sure that's a good idea.  Hummm.....this needs help.....suggestions anyone???

Monday, August 25, 2008


Found objects continue to inspire me.  The copper, picked up at a construction site will be saved for another project, however the small sticks are yelling for attention.

Abstract designing is out of my comfort zone, although I've tried a few pieces with some success and a great deal of sense of accomplishment.  Again, (no, I'm not sick of felted wool yet) my materials will be National Nonwoven's Woolfelt.  The grey heather adds depth, without any work!  

Simple machine stitching is used to attach the blue sections and add texture.

Now I can begin to play.  My idea is to couch these small sticks to the stabilized wool background bead strings to secure them.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

PEACOCK FEATHER - COMPLETED more finishing touch needs to be added.....I'm hand blanket stitching the outside edge with a matching blue wool thread.  This design was far, far the most time consuming of my feather series and unfortunately, way too heavy to be packed in my suitcases as a workshop sample.  

Therefore, before putting it on ebay in a week, perhaps a reader would like a Mary Stori original for $150, shipping included.  If so, click on 'email me' (on the right).  Payment can be made via check or Pay Pal if desired.

Peacock Pride
13 1/2" x 18" (hanging sleeve attached)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've been dinking with this project now for months.....why?  Because I've taken it apart 3 times. The shape is a little off for the finishing I had in mind.....

But...let's see what happens.  This piece is VERY heavy, and if I had more width, I'd consider mounting or framing it.  So, the trick now is to make sure it's stabilized enough to hang with a sleeve...that is, after I mull over what additional wool felt colors will enhance the piece.  Back soon for a report......

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Despite getting the paint from the unfinished furniture shop, I suspect it was the cause of my difficulties achieving the look I wanted.  It was VERY shiny......thick and yet didn't cover well, which required at least 3 coats in most areas. 

That meant it was impossible to randomly 'lightly' hand sand the white to expose the blue underneath.  I had to resort to my Black and Decker "Mouse" fitted with fine grit sand paper. 

Naturally, I began in the back....I don't remember this tool being so heavy......the first thing I did was to gouge a big mark in the upper right leg, just beneath the top.  It took 6 hours to complete the arms and hands ached terrible but I was grateful we had this hand tool.'s what I'm talking about....this is the look I wanted but it took an amazing amount of time, patience and control.

Some areas show less control of the sander than others....but all in all, the shine is gone and the piece now is 'aged'.  For an investment of $175 plus 3's not too bad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I had the 'brilliant' idea to save some $$ by purchasing unfinished furniture and antique them myself.  The pieces are the exact size and shape I wanted, and luckily we found some really good quality furniture, none of that cardboard stuff...this is HEAVY and well made.

I've used this method in the past with success......but not this color combo so here goes.  This view is after my first color was applied.  The process is simple:  paint one color first and let dry, then go over lightly with a second color.  Before that's completely dry....paint again and wiping off lightly as you go.....the idea is the blue will show through in various areas (as if worn off).

Good grief!!!  Now I'm worried.....I've had to do 2 coats and let them dry because so much blue was streaking through. It still looks awful due to the messy appearance of the white paint brush marks.  I'm heading out now to do a third layer, will let that dry and try another method.....light sanding to allow some of the blue to show.  With finger to you all later.....

Sunday, August 17, 2008


This is the final segment of the Southern Living Green Home tour....focusing on just some of the decor that still has my head reeling.  Believe me, I have a ton more photos......but honestly, you really just need to see it for yourself!!

Earlier, I showed a view of the custom iron bunk's another, taken from the entry of the children's loft at the top of the ladder.  This rug looks patchwork inspired to me.  Of course it could also inspire me to make a patchwork quilt.....something I haven't done for quite awhile due to my love affair with felted wool.  The slide show (top right) features some of the pieces currently for me directly if you'd like to add one to your collection.

The window covering in the kids room was really unique.  It consisted of 3" wide strips of heavy woven fabrics, unfinished edges, which were hung from a handsome iron curtain rod.

No two lamps were alike in the house......this is just one.

I really, really liked this piece.  Again, a patchwork appearance.....  It was made using recycled metal advertising signs.

Fiber wall pieces helped to soften the walls as well.  This is a Mija piece.  This husband/wife team collaborates to create involved abstract wall pieces using vintage cotton clothing.  They live in nearby Marshall, NC. 

   Pattiy Torno is another Asheville fiber artist.  This large quilt was displayed on a staircase wall.

These 10" ceramic tiles replaced the expected photo or framed art on the (bed) wall in the master bedroom.  Objects were embedded into each tile.  It's the work of Kathy Triplett.


I snapped photos of at least 5 other framed tile pieces that were sprinkled throughout the house.  Perhaps it too is the work of Triplett, sorry..... I'm unsure.

Friday, August 15, 2008


The 'kids' room featured 2 sets of bunk beds.  One was three high, the other set consisted of 2 and was arranged with the bottom bed under the top at right angles.

The disks on the lower left post are the steps.  The beds were made by a local Doctor/artist. Southern Living has a line of bedding that will be introduced in stores shortly, handsome prints with solids that would fit into any decorating style.

How's this for a night stand!

Metal bookshelf in the 'kids' room which is located on the 2nd floor.

We made our way up to the 3rd. floor via a 12' wood ladder from the kids room.  One climbs the ladder, then crawls through an opening into a playroom that only an adult could dream of for their kids.  Here, Cathy and Judy write notes for others to find later.  This space was actually much larger than it appears.

The lower sections of the walls were painted with chalkboard paint.  Connie left a note that PTA Fiber Artists visited.


Southern Living Magazine has built a fantastic eco-friendly home in  Whisper Mountain, a new gated development about 40 minutes Northwest of Asheville.  In fact, it's probably about 15 mins. (as the bird flies) from the back of our house, yet the drive takes 50 mins. over the most amazing switchback roads.

Nine of the 12 members in our fiber group (PTA) toured the home yesterday.  We all want to live there and each room we visited became our favorite.

The home is priced around $1,400,000.....worth EVERY penny.....I mean dollar.  Seriously, 'the husband' is totally sick of me talking about the house now for a whole day.

No photos will do justice to the fantastic decorating.  Work of local artists were used throughout.  This table is an example.  Two huge slabs of wood are set on a metal frame, each end is trimmed with metal...probably iron.  The ceramic place settings had every one of us drooling....each was different, yet they blended perfectly.

I lost count of the number of porches....this one is located off the kitchen/great room area and is adjacent to an outdoor dining room.  The furniture is Martha Stewart.  I especially liked the unexpected touch of the hanging candle holders.

One of the many bathrooms.  Counter tops throughout the house (as I recall) were all concrete.

This charming barn wood wall is found in another porch nook.

I took a lot of photos.....and now that I review them, most feature art and decor, not the layout or actual rooms.  Clearly, I was awed at the tasteful interior design. Part 2  will be posted shortly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cumberland Gap

We used the final day of our vacation (from our retirement), to explore and learn about the surrounding area.  I must have slept through not only geography but history classes, so much of what I learned was totally new to me.  Happily, the signage at the Cumberland Gap National Park provided a wealth of information.

We drove the maze of roadway in the Cumberland Mountains where you can view Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The elevation from which this photo was taken is only about 3,800 feet, but appears so much greater.  The view was breathtaking.

I got a kick out of placing one foot in Kentucky and the other in Virginia.  

There are many groomed walking and more challenging hiking paths within the park.  Natural beauty abounds, some that defy nature!  This formation appears ready to topple over at any moment.

The area was occupied on and off by both Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War and was said to be a natural defense post.  Unfortunately, it was also almost impossible to keep supplied and ultimately, both sides decided it was easier to go around the area than try to man it.  Several cannons remain near the top of the mountain and ya gotta in the heck they got them up there?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


It's a short drive down the road from Owensboro to Jerusalem Ridge, the Homeplace of Bill Monroe, the Grandfather of Bluegrass music.  As we walked the hallowed grounds, seriously we could almost hear him pick and sing and it was easy to recognize the inspirations for many of his famous songs.
The setting was incredibly peaceful and beautiful.

The family home had fallen into a state of disrepair until a foundation bought the property and began to restore it in early 2000.  Today, fans can tour the home and enjoy a 4 day Bluegrass festival on the grounds every October.

Inside, furnishings, photos, and other memorabilia gave one a real sense of his younger years. His mother died when he was only 9, then when Bill was 16 his Dad passed away.  Young Monroe had to leave the family home to find work elsewhere, but he never forgot this special place.

There were utility quilts on every bed, and this very unexpected one hanging on a wall.

Every design motif represents moments in his life and music.  It was made and donated by two Missouri fans.

The quilt was machine appliqued and quilted.  The detail is just amazing.

We seemed to have found the end of the road again on this part of our journey.  This is the working general store in Rosine, which is the nearest town to the Homeplace.   It's  just about the only building in the town and only a few steps away from the community cemetery.

So, naturally we had to visit his resting place to pay our respects.  Bill Monroe had married and fathered two children.  I found it so interesting that his headstone featured his dog....and not a musical instrument (or other symbol) as many of the other musical Monroe clan's markers did.

We concluded our day on Tuesday by driving to Corbin, Ky to overnight, before heading home on Wednesday while continuing to enjoy the history of this country and its people.  I'll be reporting back tomorrow on the final leg of our trip.