Saturday, February 28, 2009


I don't know about you......but I can barely listen to the news these days with all the 24-7 economic drama.  Our quilt industry is not unaffected and those of us trying to earn a living at something we love are having to get creative to find new sources of income.

I saw this the other day when driving in Asheville.....and thought......hummmm, I'm going to start marketing myself as a Mobile Quilt Instructor.  But wait.......don't I already do that??  Just exchange the van for an airplane.

Friday, February 27, 2009


'The perfect child' told us about this recipe which has been flying around the internet.....and of course 'the husband' had to try it.  It's called Bacon here for more details.

For some strange reason, I can't get all 7 photos to post in one blog please go to part 2 to see the finished product.

This isn't for anyone on a low fat basically consists of 2 pounds of bacon, wrapped around 2 pounds of Italian sausage......slattered with BBQ sauce and cooked on a smoker. Honestly, I can't say as I loved it.....but it was a fun experiment.

  Weave 1 3/4 pounds of thick bacon strips....we did it on foil to make the next steps easier.  Sprinkle with seasonings.

Form a large thin patty of bulk Italian sausage to fit over the bacon.

Cook the remaining bacon till crisp & crumble over the sausage.  Cover with BBQ sauce.

Roll up the sausage patty, sealing the ends....make sure the seam is on the bottom.

Now using the tin foil to help......roll the bacon weave around the sausage roll and sprinkle with more seasonings.

Continued on part 2........


Next we cooked it on our Big Green Egg Smoker until done......and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.....yummmmm.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


One of the most innovative quilt professional I know is Ami Simms........she's always on the cutting edge of techniques, design, and technology.  To help coordinate the needs of guilds and with the services of hundreds of quilt instructors, she's developed a new website.  It's called Find-A-Quilt-Teacher.

The benefit of this subscription based site for guilds is the ease of locating instructors, previewing their specialities, workshops, lectures, location, fees, and other requirements in one location, and with a simple click.....go to the websites of those they wish to explore further.

Our industry is changing......I for one am delighted to be a part of this service and hope to generate more know I want to buy that new Bernina......

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


About a year ago, our mail delivery gal set 'the husband' up with a blind date.....  Well....she connected him with Michigan rider who was renting a house nearby while waiting for their new house to be built.

As couples, we now socialize and are delighted to have Midwest friends.

After more problems than you can imagine with contractors.......we are talking out and out fraud here....they have finally moved into their beautiful new home.....completed by a new contractor.

Their dog Morely totally runs their lives....and is the sweetest thing........I made the following portrait as a house warming gift for them......   

Framing my work is a new finish for my work and I love the effect!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BERNINA 830's Bernina's new top of the line machine...the 830!  They also offer the 820 which comes without the embroidery module and a few less features.

To make your heart skip a's some of their many features:  
*  A 15" extended arm and expanded height = 50% more than the largest top-of-the-line machines. 
* Jumbo bobbin that easily winds on the front of the machine - holds 40-60% more thread
* Gigantic 7" x 14" screen located in center of the machine
* Dual feed (similar to Pfaff)
* Stitch regulator (BSR)
* Push button auto needle threading (that REALLY works!)
* Push button bobbin thread cutter
* 3 pin spool holder
* Sews 1000 stitches per minute
* Major improvement in lighting.......even my old eyes can see without further illumination

Close-up of screen.  I might add that this machine is much more user friendly than others I've tried.  The only problem is that there are sooooo many functions and first it might be a bit overwhelming.

Bernina offer a CD 8 Series Emulator which really helped us get acquainted with the machine by first reviewing its many options on a lap top.  For instance, we were able to select an embroidery design, duplicate or mirror image it, add additional motifs, resize them, relocate their positions.....I mean it was amazing.  Above is a photo of the lap top screen and my 'redesign'.

Later, we could use our design and stitch using the embroidery hoop.

I always thought of Bernina as the BMW of machines vs the it's upgraded to Porsche!

Monday, February 23, 2009


The last several days were spent attending the Bernina National Artisan training program in Chicago.  About 70 of us were guided through the incredible features on Bernina's newest top of the line machine the 830.  Oh's sweet.  I'll provide specific details in another post.

But, before word gets out.....several of us have a confession about how we used our time after this event. We took advantage of a 2 for 1 boob enhancement special.......

Our new bodies were unveiled at a small evening gathering of some of the teachers....apparently Nancy Prince (right) likes my updated look!

Judy Simmons....elegant as always, is showing off her new chest in this glamour pose.

Bobbie Aug (left) didn't want her new boobs to compete with her beautiful long hair so she didn't size up as much.  Clearly Sue Nickels (right) was still impressed.

So, what was the cost you might ask?  Since we are all saving to purchase the new Bernina 830 which has a price tag of $12,000......we received cheap enhancements....really cheap......consisting of 2 nerf balls and 2 mini marshmallows......   

We have returned to our professional selves already......

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I don't expect to be posting until next week because I'm headed off to Chicago for the Bernina Annual National Quilt Teacher's Retreat.  This resource program offers those of us who travel the quilting highway an opportunity to learn the features of the newest machines and products.

Each year a 'challenge' is offered.  This year we were to decorate a denim shirt (recyled from a thrift store if you didn't own one.)  We were to spend no more than a total of $10 and spend no more than 1 hour making our creation.

Bernina's newest machine is Model 830......I understand this can practically cook your evening dinner.....which might be a good idea since it's $1,200 Updated correction....I meant to say $12,000!!!   I'm very anxious to have the chance to work on this machine!

My shirt's theme is "Quilt Police"........we've all been told they are out there.

I'll be clicking my camera as the event progresses and will share what I learn when I return......

Monday, February 16, 2009


One nice benefit of blogging is the chance I get to review my photos and relive moments/events all over again.  We can hardly wait for next year's Blue Grass First Class.....this was such a great time.

It's heartwarming to see youngsters getting into the business.....and these kids were good!  The Snyder Family features Dad on the bass (another short bass player)....the fiddle player is only 10 and her brother is 13.  Their stage presence is of young adults not children!  On Sat. night, the boy was invited onto stage to play with Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz......the house went wild....this kid can play.....and you could clearly see he was thrilled.

Russel Moore & IIIrd Thyme Out are very well known.....their harmony will make your eyes tear.  Note....another short bass player.

This is Rhonda Vincent......her high energy and slinky outfits makes me wonder what vitamins she takes.  Clearly, her butt is not sitting at a sewing machine all day!!

Constant Change is a new group to this festival.  They perform in the traditional Blue Grass way of using minimum microphones......gathering around one center one for the vocals.....and when you've got folks that can sing like they do....that's all ya need!

We've been listening to The Seldom Scene for probably 30 years.  There is only 1 original band member left, but you'd barely notice the difference.  The group originated and still come from the Washington DC area.....where all had other professional careers (one was a vascular surgeon)......they rarely went on the road, instead, played local venues.....therefore the name: The Seldom Scene.  (Note the short bass player.) This group closed the show both nights.....and it's clear they LOVE to play.  Their set began at 11:00 PM, the show was supposed to close at midnight......both nights we didn't leave until after 1:00 AM......grinning from ear to ear.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Oh ears are still buzzing and my toes are still sore from tapping......we spent the last two days at a fabulous Bluegrass First Class Festival in Asheville.  This was the 14th year of the event....the kick off to the area's many Bluegrass festivals.  It's held in a hotel small ballroom....only 800 tickets are sold.

Due to the constant diligence of 'the husband', we purchased our tickets the day they went on sale.  It was the first year reserved seating was offered, at a premium price, but sooooo worth it.  We got 1st row, center seating.......we were no less than 4 feet from the stage!  Now that's the way to see and hear music!

This is truly a big deal......the line up of musical stars appearing went on and on.  Many are on the road constantly and travel in huge buses.  This is Rhonda Vincent's home away from home. The Martha White Company has sponsored famous bluegrass acts for probably a century. Looking like a total dweeb (or star struck fan)......'the husband' made me stand here for the photo.

Inside the hotel, participants are everywhere 'jamming'.....seriously, this is music 48 hrs. straight.  Although we don't stay at the hotel since we are only about 30 mins. away, I understand folks are up all night playing in the hotel rooms, lobby, hallways.....   We personally listened non-stop for 12 hrs. each day.

This was a new band called Broken Wire........though most folks in the audience, including 'the husband' can tick off the  name of most members in the majority of the groups.....I'm shallow and find other interesting aspects to dwell on.  So....for this band.......I totally think the guitar player looks like the main character in the Lord of the Rings movies.....(sorry, I'm ignorant of the name....never saw the movies....but have seen clips....)

This band is the Grascals.....a very lively, fun, and audience pleasing group.  Note the base player, he's one of the few exceptions that is not short.'s amazing......almost every bass player is really short....hummmm......are they trying to make up for their size by playing this monster instrument?

I digress......this group has won like 8 major awards this year.....and features a new female banjo player who won the 2008 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award.  Her husband is in another one of our favorite groups.....they have a 2 year old child....and both are on the road in different hard that must be!!

At the end of their set....they each threw out a player tossed his right at me. Each group has a table to sell their products and visit with their fans ( all these groups are very fan friendly and thank their audiences for supporting's refreshing!!).  I managed to get 4 of the 6 members to sign my cap....the player that threw the hat to me said he did so because he appreciated seeing me smile during their entire time on stage.  How could I not? This is good happy stuff!!

You'll probably be sick of reading all the posts these two days will generate.....but if you've never listened to Bluegrass yourself a it will put a smile on your face too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


FIRST.....HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!   'The husband' and I will spend 12+ hours at a Bluegrass Festival we did to come.....some of you may be holding your breath, others your nose.....  I decided perhaps I should become a female bluegrass star like Ronda Vincent......her figure surely must be attributed to her incredible concert schedule and all the bouncing around she does on heels that must be 4" tall....amazing.....she can't possible retain any calories, which explains her figure!

This post concludes the Show and Tell our PTA group did at Georgia Bonesteel's retreat on Thurs.  The Asheville Quilt Guild has pledged to present every baby that is born in Asheville's Mission Hospital on National Quilt Day.  Here's an adorable piece Connie made to donate.  Isn't that a great idea??

Judy Simmons made this darling 'hat' quilt.....I love the fun!

Barbara Swinea loves to piece.....her ability to combine so many different patterns and fabrics into stunning designs always amazes me. If I wasn't so hooked on beading......these are the types of quilts I'd like to make.

How's this for Southern hospitality.....after our visit with the retreat gals, we (naturally) went to lunch in downtwon Black Mountain.  Afterwards, we wandered some of the shops.....our final stop was Marti's Patchwork Cottage.  It's a small quilt shop that truly has everything you might amazing amount of fabric and lots of notions/patterns/books.  Marti was just heading out on an important errand and was going to close the shop for 30 mins. or so.......  BUT....instead....she just invited us in to babysit the shop while she was gone!!  That gave us all pently of time to do more shopping than we might have otherwise....wise business woman!!!

What a small world....Marti is a transplant to NC too.  She said she first saw me lecture at Prarie Star Quilt Guild, in a Chicago suburb......we guessed that was about 17 years ago......  

I'm off to listen to non-stop time to even proof-read this post......hope it makes sense.....see ya all tomorrow.....

Friday, February 13, 2009


Before I share show and tell from our PTA fiber group.....I'm going to show all of you how Georgia gets through running her retreats........

Hummmmm......soothing tea and what's that other beverage??

I've talked about our PTA challenge.....we were assigned a letter to feature in a 32" square quilt. When hung, viewers will be able to spell out the word  LAUGHTER.  Connie Brown has "L" and mine is "A".  The "U" piece isn't finished yet......but it's going to be adorable.....hope to share that photo soon.

Georgia has "G", Kate has "E"......the letter has yet to be added.......and Dort has far that's it.

Dort will be having a one person show at the Arboretem soon.....more details to follow shortly.

Connie shared another one of her fun quilts.......created by using a photo of a flower as inspiration.....

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Today our fiber art group traveled to Black Mountain to crash Georgia Bonesteel's retreat.....well.....we WERE invited.  Students came from all over the country for a week of sewing with Georgia.  It was such a pleasure to see their projects and in turn, we shared some of ours.

This busy group of ladies were working on Trip Around The World quilts.  In-progress quilts were pinned/taped on every wall surface.

Several had already completed their quilts......amazing, since these quilts are not small.

This photo can not possibly detail the piecing perfection......every seam was pressed was so incredibly well constructed.....the back side could have been the front of the quilt.

We all gushed over this original feed sack patch quilt.

Georgia has a really unique piecing system for this pattern.  Rather than creating 4 patch or 9 patch blocks...the units are assembled in horizontal sections.  The benefits of this method was the ability to rotate various sections, reversing the planned colors scheme.  One of the participants altered the center of her quilt by switching pieces that had originally been located on the outside corners.  I was ready to go home and cut squares and start my own!!

Georgia is on the left, the maker of this scrap quilt on the right.  I believe I have this correct......Georgia told us almost every student used fabrics from their own stash.....rather than purchasing fabrics specifically for these quilts.  I'm guessing most of us have enough fabric in our own collection to do the same.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


NO.......I'm not pregnant!!!  But, I did want to share a photo of our extended family.  'The perfect' child (5th from the left), married  and gave us a 'perfect daughter'.....Kelly, (6th from the left).

They attended her brother's wedding in Argentina over Thanksgiving weekend.  This is one happy family.....we were so sorry to miss the wedding!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Ahhhhh......besides the obvious joy of being able to share my work with quilters as I travel the quilting highway, I especially appreciate being housed at a Hilton Garden Inn.  I rate the hotels I stay in......just my own silly little rating system......a 4 bed pillow score is the highest.  That doesn't necessarily mean that I have 4 bed pillows.......rather that the bed is 4 bed pillows comfortable!  This one even had it's own adjustable mattress....sigh....I was in heaven....

AND......I had the remote all to myself....

Not that I had much time to watch TV......but I got a delicious sense when scrolling through the channels, that IF I had wanted to......I could have watched Dr. Phil.......without negative comments from 'the husband'.

The Forsyth Quilt Guild's show and tell was incredible and it was great seeing so many traditional pieces.  In some areas it seems as though the focus is totally art quilts, while I know that isn't was encouraging to have visible proof.  Please enjoy the work of just some of their members.