Saturday, November 29, 2008


Lately I've been creating designs using words and numbers.....sorry, since I'm talking Xmas presents.....I can't post the results till Santa comes.  

My research of this subject has taken me to such amazing internet sites.  One of the best is  It's a toy for 'word clouds' generated from words you provide.  It allows you to use different fonts, layouts, color schemes and the results are yours to keep!  I've been spending a serious amount of time checking out the gallery.

Here's one I created to use in my challenge design for a fiber arts group I belong to.

Once I downloaded a jpg. of the words, I imported it into Keynote, running the 'clouds' together.  After my first sample printing on paper, I noticed that the vertical words gave the appearance of a line which was distracting.  I removed the offending words and added a few horizontal ones to fill in the blanks and printed it out on solid fabric sections.  I'll piece these together and use for the background of my design.

The website will make you on earth do they do's just fascinating....have fun!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


GOBBLE, GOBBLE......  Mr. Turkey is giving thanks that he isn't our meal today!  We recalled yesterday that we haven't seen the neighborhood brood of wild turkeys lately.....oh my, perhaps some of the locals are planning their day with them.

However, we are doing Moo....... on this our 3rd. Thanksgiving in NC where the temperature will be near 60 that's what I'm talking about.....and this is certainly worthy of Thanks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Well....if you are reading this, and not in your kitchen, you are probably not hosting Thanksgiving OR you've got a big generous family who will all be bringing a dish!

In times past, I always enjoyed spending the day before Turkey away as I listened to sappy Lifetime TV movies.  Our move 'down south' has created such a distance from family that popping in for turkey and pumpkin pie is no longer an option.  Actually, we lived about 3+ hrs. from any family anyway, so gathering was usually a weekend long event.  Our son (the perfect child) and his wife now live on the West coast and in fact are in Argentina to be part of her brothers wedding on Friday.

So.......we are still keeping busy, but in different ways.  'The husband' is considering putting up the Christmas lights since it's a balmy 46 degrees and rising.

Me?? Instead of cooking potatoes in hot water.....I steam cleaned our bedroom carpet.  Yup, I really did.

As a youngster growing up in Wisconsin in a city on the shores of Lake Michigan, I can still picture snow on the ground during this holiday.  The family generally gathered at our house.....two sets of Aunts and Uncles each with 4 kids, and our family with 4 kids......gosh it was festive.  The Packers ALWAYS played that day.....usually against Detroit and everyone would gather around the TV yelling about stupid plays and/or screaming with delight over the great ones.  Touchdowns by the Packers were a free-for-all.   It was a different time then, when families were physically close and bonded.  Only 2 of the 12 offspring still live in that town....the rest have scattered across the country; TX, OR, CA, NC.

This year it will be just the two of us, so we decided to forgo the traditional Turkey/Stuffing/Pumpkin Pie menu for a standing rib roast, Yorkshire Pudding, fresh sugar snap peas, AND.....ta da.....Turtle Cheesecake......which can all be easily prepared tomorrow......when we WILL give Thanks for the wonderful life we have.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I've been contacted from so many of you, both via the blog and directly, regarding the beaded pouches.'s the scoop regarding the circular designs.

They are created using a even-count circular peyote stitch around a large flat sequin.  Beaders who make jewelry also use this stitch to attach cabochons to leather or ultra-suede.  I don't feature this stitch in its entirety in any of my books, however, the first round of beads is stitched with the basic bead back stitch, which is covered in every one of my publications.  Here's a link to a book, Best of Bead & Button Magazine which provides good instructions that can translate to secure sequins (and other round objects) to fabric.

Don't forget to be sure your fabrics are properly stabilized....I like to use Pellon non-fusible lightweight interfacing to support the weight and prevent buckling of the surrounding fabric. 

Monday, November 24, 2008


These little zippered wool bags continue to keep my fingers busy in the evenings.  Rather than using National Nonwoven's Woolfelt, I've dug into a stash of 100% wool.  The extra sturdiness of this much thicker wool has its benefits, but obtaining sharp corners is impossible.  Although I've washed the fabric several times in an attempt to felt it, the quality of the fiber is fine so true felting isn't possible.  So, what does that mean??  Answer: the edges have to be surged or finished in some manner due to the fraying which creates bulkier seams.

I'll be experimenting some the mean time, the heavier fabric is still a good choice especially for 'working' pouches as they are bound to hold up better.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


A good friend sent this's been check out on and is legit.  (Tx's Jackie!)

Xerox has a wonderful program called Let's Say Thanks where you can select a card designed by a youngster.  As a'll especially love the creativity.  Xerox will print it and send to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq.  You can't pick who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers need to know we support them and that they are NOT forgotten.  This takes only seconds......please take the time to so something special today.  As we prepare for Thanksgiving......please remember.....we can never say enough thank you's.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Kuddos to the Capital Quilters Guild of Raleigh, NC!!  What a fabulous group who were so welcoming to this substitute speaker (Ami Simms had been booked but had to cancel due to her Mom's failing health.) 

Darn it.....I forgot my camera so I wasn't able to capture the talent on display for show and tell (at least 30 members shared their work) and another 30+ generously created charity quilts and not one was made from cheaters cloth.

Now I need to unpack and put the suitcases away till after the first of the year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'll be substituting for my good friend, Ami Simms at the Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh, NC the  next few days.  Ami's Mom, who was Ami's inspiration for the formation of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is nearing the end of her struggle with this horrible disease, please keep them in your prayers.

I'll be presenting a lecture, Viewed With A Smile, Humorous Quilts by Mary Stori, Thursday evening.

Friday, there will be two half-day hand quilting workshops.  It often seems that hand quilting is a disappearing's all about fast, fast, fast these days.  I've always believed that quilters really WANT to hand quilt, especially on those very special quilts, but because they aren't satisfied with their quilting stitches, they don't want to TAKE the time.

Here's a perfect opportunity to learn all my tricks and tips for small, uniform stitches on the front and back of a quilt.  I'll even hold your hand to guide your needle if necessary!

So if you are in the area and interested in the few seats that are open, contact me (click email on the upper right) and I can get you connected.

Yes, I really do hand quilt!!  This is titled Spring's hand stipple quilted, trapunto, and yup...a few beads to give the illusion of dew drops.

Perhaps if you look closely enough, you can see the actual hand quilting stitch.  Well....I'm off to pack!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Well now.....what's this nonsense?  We've got snow again.....and actually it's looking like a Wisconsin blizzard.  I took this photo from my loft studio...through the window.....after our 1+ hr. walk in blowing wind and snow, I'm refusing to go out again today.

Happily though, despite  the appearance, the snow isn't really sticking too much or else these incredible winds are simply blowing the snow into the next state!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I LOVE this quilt!  Twice I've tried to get a good photo of it, but wasn't satisfied with my efforts.  Kate Weston, a member of a small fiber art group that I belong to, agreed to share her work, Caster Bean, for all of you to enjoy.  Her work is always so well designed and well executed.

This is the kind of quilt I wish I could create....

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Ya, might be 48 in Chicago......BUT......THE PACKERS TROUNCED THE BEARS!!!


I've been lulled into ignoring the's mid November......yet I expected, wished for weather no colder than the low 50's!  My hearty Wisconsin blood has thinned already....look what we woke up to today!

The picture simply doesn't show the stark reality......gusty winds 30-40 mph, 1-2" of snow.....AND a crunchy layer of ice beneath.  This was to be a rain event.....hummm.  Up here in the mountains, it's the ICE that everyone fears.  Happily we have really, I'm not complaining.

We were told to expect snow about 6 times a year.....this is our 2nd fingers crossed, there will only be 4 more.

GO PACKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Spoonflower is a small enterprise, located  in North Carolina.  This is totally COOL!!  After reading this post, STOP and click on the link provided.  

For a mere $18.00 per yard, YOU can have your very own designs printed onto fabric....all done via the internet.  My mind is whirling......

Friday, November 14, 2008


Both Thursday and Friday have completely disappeared......oh...where does the time go?

For one thing, our fiber art group, PTA meet at one of our member's home for numerous's a good thing we don't have any major decisions to make.....seriously, we get off topic very easily.

We've been trying to make rules for a group challenge for's not that we don't get's just that this group is so creative, it's hard to pin down a subject, much less the other details that go with any challenge.  BUT......after much giggling and lots of great ideas....we think we have a plan.....will share my quilt when I begin...which should be shortly as our deadline is March.

We always do show and tell.....and I was able to capture a great image of Lynne Harrill's work.  I love her scrappy quilts that are always innovatively pieced and quilted.  

Sadly, for the second time I couldn't get a good image of Kate's's fabulous....if you read this Kate....maybe I can talk you into sharing a jpg with my readers.....

Today disappeared due to yet another doctor appointment in Asheville....gad you'd think we were traveled to another state as long as some of these treks take.  But, while sitting in the doctor's waiting room (which was FULLY occupied when I arrived...thus more time that disappeared while I waited), finally it cleared out a bit and I glanced at this wonderful pattern on the upholstery.  Inspiration can hit anywhere......and hopefully, I will now have more time to explore ideas.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I almost feel like a fish out of water.  My lust for working with felted wool and beads has kept me from making a 'real' quilt for quite some time.

Our small fiber art group has organized a 2 night - 3 day retreat in early January.  Trying to figure out how I can best use this time has been sort of hanging over my head.  Luckily, my friend Judy mentioned she wanted to make an 'i-spy' the next time she has to come up with a baby gift....she'll be ready.  Brilliant!!

It's the kind of mindless sewing that will keep the whole process fun as I'm sure there will be lots of breaks, giggles, meals, walks, etc.  So, concentrating on a major piece for me would be too much pressure.

As you can see.....I have tons of novelty prints in my order to make the best use of my time, I'm going to fussy cut the fabric into 4 1/2" squares....along with some solid bright colors for sashing strips now so I'll have to do is play with patches and stitch them together when the time comes.

We are finally getting MUCH needed rain so perhaps in the next few days I'll be all set.  Right now, I'm off to our monthly PTA fiber art meeting.....see ya!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


While many of you are beginning to think about the holidays.....I usually use this time of the year to get a jump on making my beading kits for the beginning months of next year's trips.

Type "A" personality you ask?

Okay, I admit it.  However, since I purchase my supplies in bulk, it's less costly and easier to order supplies only twice year.  Now is the time to access what I'll need for future kits.

The kits are made in assembly line fashion.....and yes I do count out many of the items before I begin kitting each class (consisting of 25 kits per workshop).  This way if I have a silk flower left's a clue....I probably missed putting one in a kit.  

However, there is a flaw in this theory.......if I put two of one item in a kit, I won't discover that! So, I spent most of the day yesterday making kits for 3 different classes, a total of 125 kits. That allowed me to catch up on most of the dribble I DVR.  Have you watch the "Housewifes of Atlanta" (not sure that's the exact title), on Bravo?   Oh my.....ya gotta wonder what our world has come to!  These babes behave like jealous teens.  I'm so happy my hobby turned into a career.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Mountain surroundings are still a source of amazement to this flat lander.  This photo was taken a few days ago as we were headed down the mountain to town.  At our 3,200 ft. elevation, it was a bright sunny day, yet as you can see....the lower elevations were banked in fog.

That burned off shortly so we could still enjoy the fabulous fall color that Western North Carolina is known for.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  A mere 4 days after the took the photos above, this is the view from our deck.  Because we are higher, the leaves disappear more quickly. However, with the very short winters here.....spring will be just around the corner!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I'm not very good at sitting idle in the evenings, heck.....I'm not in control of the remote anyway!  So generally, I'm stitching on something and lately that's been small bead embellished zippered pouches.

Finished sizes are appx. 5" tall x 7 1/2" wide.  The outside is felted wool and the lining is cotton Batik.

1.  Cut a rectangle of felted wool the desired size, plus seam allowance.  Keep the size of the zipper in mind
2.  Stablize the wool with non-fusible pellon lightweight interfacing.  I thread baste the layers together, though you could spray baste.  Note: the basting lines running through the center still remain on this embellished section.  This reference line helps to keep the design placement away from where the lower seam will eventually be.
3.  Next, I gather up my beading supplies and plunk myself down on our denim couch with a bright light over my shoulder.  I like to work on a June Tailor, Cut and Press Mat....which I use basically as a lap board.  
4.  These samples utilize a technique called circular even count peyote stitch to trap the mirror circles, which are further decorated with the whim of the day!  There are lots of decorative stitches to explore in my DVD "Mary Stori Teaches You Beading On Fabric" or my introductory beading book, "Beading Basics".
5.  After embellishing, I cut the rectangle in half, along the basting line to create two pieces. The beaded one is the front, the other, the back.  Why didn't I just do this in the first place?? Because....I find it easier to bead on a larger piece of fabric.  Sometimes I bead the back section too if there is car racing on TV!
6. Then, I machine stitch the zipper to both top edges.  Next, the side and bottom seams are machine stitched with a scant 1/4" seam.  Since this is felt....there's no need to finish the edges, felted wool won't unravel.  Note:  I didn't remove the interfacing, I like to retain it to make the pouch sturdier.
7.  To complete the bag, I use the same rectangle measurements and make a lining using Batik fabric.  Turn the wool bag inside out, and secure the top opening of the lining to the zipper/wool seam allowance by hand or machine.

These make nice gifts. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008


'The husband' commented yesterday that if we didn't have doctors appointments, our calendars would be empty!  Lately that seems to be true.  Besides trying to keep a monthly calendar updated, here's what I do with all those appointment cards.

I've made a fabric (sometimes called) ribbon message board to fit a narrow wall space at the end of our kitchen cabinet area.

I designed my own version of the popular ribbon message boards using  C & T Publishing's Fast 2 Fuse (fusible) interfacing.  Here's another link for online purchases.  This product is a hefty fusible interfacing that can be cut to any size and even shaped into bowls and other vessels with heat.

The concept is really simple and you can customize it for any space.  
1.  Cut a piece of medium or heavy weight Fast 2 Fuse 1/2" larger than the desired finished size.
2.  Cut two pieces of fabric to fit the cut board shape.
3.  Fuse the wrong side of one fabric piece to the board, work out wrinkles if necessary.  NOTE: be sure to cover your pressing service with a Teflon press cloth to prevent the back side of the Fast 2 Fuse from fusing to your ironing board.
4.  Now cut narrow strips of Fast 2 Fuse in appropriate lengths to create a grid design to fit your size board, PLUS about an extra 1" length for each one.  (I cut the fusbile 1/4" wide)  Cut narrow strips (a generous 1/2" wide) of fabric in lengths to fit each piece. Fuse with the fabric just meeting on the wrong side of each piece of Fast 2 Fuse.
5.  Position the fabric strips onto the fabric side of the 'board', seam side down, and tack them at each intersection and end by machine, hand sewing, as I did, use beads to hold them in place.  I call this 'bead applique'.  The material is now quite firm so you'll need to work a bit when hand stitching on the beads....but it's doable and worth the effort!
6.  Next, fuse the 2nd piece of fabric to the wrong side (this finishes the back and hides/protects all the stitching).  Trim the piece to your desired size.  (Remember you cut it larger....which now allows the opportunity to straighten and tidy up the edges.)
7.  Prepare and machine stitch a double fold binding to the outside edges, just as if you were binding a quilt.  I hand stitched the folded edge to the wrong side, but you could machine sew it.
8.  Bead the outside edge of the binding using one of the many edging stitches in my book, "BEADING BUDDY'.
9. Attach a fabric sleeve to the back or two small curtain rings if the piece is small.

Detail of the beaded intersections and binding.

This piece appeared as part of a C & T exhibit 3 years ago in Houston.

Here's a detail of another one I made for a friend to hold pictures.  For a quicker approach, I used narrow grosgrain ribbon, attached with beads, instead of fabric covered strips.  And a wider ribbon was machine stitched to act as the binding. 

Have fun getting your life decoratively organized.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I've been MIA lately due to a teaching trip and the fact that 'the husband' and I spend most of our free time doctoring lately.  Hopefully.....we are back on track.

I've actually been doing some stitching.....but can't share photos as they are gifts......

Thought this wedding invitation was so clever....our son's brother-in-law is marrying a darling gal in Argentina...where they both now live.  The wedding celebration is expected to go into the wee and I mean wee hours of the morning.  Apparently that's the custom.  We would have loved to attend, but neither of our backs could handle that 12+ hr. long plane ride.

What a wonderful way for everyone to have a little part of the happy memories.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Southern Hospitality

I've just returned from the Heart of Trial Quilt Guild, outside of Winston-Salem, NC.  Southern Hospitality is alive and well!  I'm ready to be adopted by this group!

There were 26 eager students taking my beading basic workshop and a very full audience at the lecture. Unfortunately,  I was late getting my camera out during show and tell.....but......

Here's an example of their skill, thanks Karen for allowing me to share this fabulous quilt with my readers.  I loved it!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I'm heading out to the Heart of Triad Quilt Guild for a Mon. evening presentation:  Let It Shine.....this educational and inspirational lecture's focus is beading on fiber.

During the day we'll be having fun learning to basic beading techniques.....this is an example of just some of the stitches the students will learn.

More workshop info can be reviewed on my website.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I'm sorry for the poor quality of this photo due a camera that doesn't have anti-vibration necessary for low lighting situations.  BUT.....I just HAD to share the cutest Halloween costume I've ever seen.

It was 'the husband's' birthday yesterday.....his Mom always used to say children's birthdays with all the typicial activity, plus ice cream and cake  AND Halloween with its  typicial hyper activities, plus all that candy does not make for a good nightime for any Mom.

To celebrate the day, we had dinner out......all the staff were in holiday mood!  This young waitresses crocheted  her own sock money costume, including a tail......I LOVED her huge red lips....she even made her slippers and socks.  What fun......