Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Do you hear me whimpering???  The joys of airline travel.....grrrrrr......my flight departed Milwaukee late this morning........which caused me to miss my connection in Charlotte.  So now I sit till nearly 6:00 PM for another flight.

The good news is.....thanks to Joyce, the Lighthouse Quilter's Guild President, who made a side trip along the way to the airport this morning.....I've got TWO Kringles in my checked baggage.  "The husband" may end up having that for dinner.......I'll be good a pooped by the time I get home!



An energetic groups of ladies joined me yesterday to learn the tricks and tips I use to create my embellished felted wool pieces.  

As a general rule, students use the day to design their small projects, and some even have the time to practice some of the beading techniques demonstrated in class.

Please enjoy the inspiring creations of the members of the Lighthouse Quilters Guild........

I'm seconds from shutting down my computer as I head off the the airport for my flights back to NC......enjoy your day.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Well.....I arrived back in WI in the nick of time yesterday......just as a winter storm moved in.  I woke up to what looked like a blizzard & 6" of snow.  But......these hardy Wisconsin folks still arrived at the workshop with a smile on their face!

And they continued smiling as they learned basic beading stitches.

Even after 6 hours of continuous instruction.....they would gladly have stayed for another 6 hours.  Their skill level was high which matched their enthusiasm.  This is the reason I teach!

Ann Fahl is one of the best quilt artists I have the pleasure of calling a friend.  Happily she was not on the road herself so we got together this evening and gabbed for hours.  Opportunities to spend time with inspiring quilters is another reason I teach!!! 

Friday, March 27, 2009


Cheesehead land.....here I come......  I'm off to Racine, WI.......home of the famous Kringle.  The husband has already requested that I bring one back in my suitcase.

I had a bunch of photos to share with you of our small group's production sewing day at Georgia Bonesteel's home today....but DRAT.....I packed all my camera cords in my carry on bag....which is already stowed in our car so I can't download them to my computer.  It's quite a distance from our mountain top to the Asheville airport for my morning flight.....so to avoid getting up even earlier I finished packing tonight.

The weather predictions for here and Wisconsin are not favorable......but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the travel gods will be kind to me tomorrow.......will report soon.....or listen for my pitiful wimpering if I get delayed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Well......I'm forging on......with new ideas from all you clever readers.  I think Kay might have hit upon the solution.  Interestingly......Kay is very much responsible for my leap into quilting. We met, probably 25+ years ago and if I remember correctly, it was at a WI quilt event where my wonderful Mother-in-law was presenting a fashion show.  Kay encouraged me to join the Chicago suburban's Northwest Suburban Quilt Guild and went out of her way to introduce me to her friends and make me feel welcome.

Here's my update......I've continued drawing patterns on the paper fusible backing which was secured to a 4" x 5" rectangle of hand dyed fabric.  It took hours to carefully cut them out......with less perfection than I desired....due to the size, this was much more difficult than it looks. 

Kay wondered whether fusing tissue paper or light-weight silk might allow the back to acheive a finished look, which would then allow the motif to be attached so they could hang loose at the top of my wall quilt.

Tissue paper didn't work.....the glue melted right through the paper....what a mess.  But after digging for what seemed like an hour to find a stash of matching colors of silk, I fused a piece onto a sample.  With more tedious cutting, I was able to trim away the silk in a fairly tidy manner following the outline of the already cut designs.

It didn't seem to matter which side I cut away, the front or back.....both worked about the same. My plan now is to remove the paper from one of the 'real' pieces and fuse silk to it....then spend (goodness knows how long) cutting the silk away and judge the result of that one piece before moving on.  It doesn't make any sense to me to start completely over by fusing three layers and redrawing all the patterns.  But....it may come to that if the silk doesn't hold up.......

With fingers crossed........

This is what quilter's are all about....someone always has a method, solution to any situation.....and best of all.....we are all so willing to share.....thanks again Kay......  The finished piece would fit right in your FL home!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm grateful to so many of you faithful readers for the numerous suggestions about how to achieve my goal of making the Mexican paper cut-out decorations....with fabric.

Jane suggested craft felt.....which actually goes along with something I'd tried.  I used National Non-Woven's Woolfelt.  This product isn't as thick as the typical felted wool and it cuts cleanly, which craft felt often doesn't.  But, neither held up to the process of cutting through folded edges.  I considered cutting each motif individually, but ultimately, the look of this material does not coordinate with the quilt so I passed on this material as my solution.

Next....I moved onto the process I explained in my post yesterday.....with very unprofessional looking results.

Sue provided another great idea......to machine stitch the motif, rather than cutting them away.Brilliant......but yikes,  I'm not that good at machine work....hummmm, now is the time I wish I'd have purchased the Bernina 830......I could load it up with stitches, walk away, and return with my problem solved!!  I'm definitely keeping this idea in mind though.

Incidentally, originally I also considered stenciling motifs but worried the look was too country for my piece.

Here's what I came up with yesterday afternoon..... it's one layer of fabric, fused with paperbacked adhesive on the backside.  I drew out a pattern onto the paper, and using a small, sharp embroidery scissors......carefully cut out the motifs.  A paper punch was used for the circles.....apparently it's not sharp enough because 1/3 of each circle remained only barely pierced so I had to cut that portion out by hand.

It achieves the feel I want, but requires fusing (rather than hanging loose from a string).....maybe that's not the worst thing.  I always find it difficult to make the break from a vision.....even when I know I must.  The size of these pieces is another factor....they are only 4" x 5"......maybe I should have made a bigger quilt!  I only need 4 to top off my design vision.....so I think I'll keep beating my head against my studio walls until I'm satisfied.

Karen K. Buckley's Perfect Circles came in handy......no more hunting for tiny round objects to trace around!!

There is also a larger version of this handy notion available......today I'm going to cut one more sample, varying the design before making my final decision.  

Overnight I had a back-up plan......I may (heaven help me) piece 4 very small Mexican Star blocks to replace the fabric cut out motifs......  Stay tuned......

Monday, March 23, 2009


I've been struggling to find a way to create the look of papel picado (traditional Mexican paper cut decorations) made from fabric.  Often created by folding tissue paper, then cutting out areas to acheive a pattern....much like making paper snow flakes.  

The idea is to have them hanging from near the top of a quilt on a small string.  So, obviously I needed to stabilize the fabric to make it easier to cut and prevent frayed edges.  I fused two layers of fabric together....tried folding and cutting and got this mess.  

The layers are way toooo thick to cut with any precision.  I'm bummed, because the only way I can now think to do this is to draw a pattern onto paper-backed fusible adhesive, fuse to one layer of fabric......cut it out and then fuse to the quilt.....NOT what I envisioned.

Any other ideas anyone??

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Today I'm hauling out the travel weary suitcases to begin what usually is a full day process of packing just the teaching materials/samples/handouts etc. for a road trip.

I'm heading to the Lighthouse Quilters Guild in Racine, WI later this week.  I've been looking forward to coming back to my home state and am keeping my fingers crossed for spring weather.

In addition to a lecture on Monday evening, I'll be teaching two workshops (next Sunday and Monday).   I understand there is still some room in both so don't hesitate to contact me or Lighthouse Quilters if you'd like more info about how to sign up.

Monday's class will be Bead Embellished Wool Collage projects......everything you need to know to work with this great fabric......to make fun and quick pieces.  Here's an example of a wall quilt with a style similar to Penny Rugs.

This small wall quilt has a decidedly more contemporary look.  It's created by 'bead appliqueing' strips of felted wool and buttons to a whole cloth felted wool background.

This sample is also wool, but also features one of the many beaded edging techniques I like to use on my pieces.  Students will learn a large variety of beaded edging and trim methods during the afternoon portion of Sunday's class.

This netted edging technique is stitched to the fold of the binding.

Sunday morning students begin their beading lesson by learning basic bead techniques.....such as continuous line single bead backstitch, quick curves, picot, and learning how to attach large beads to fabric surfaces.

If you are in the area and have the time.....I'd love to see you there.

Friday, March 20, 2009


During our son's recent visit.....we enjoyed a beautiful day hiking and stumbled across a chair and foot stool made from tree trunks along one of the paths.  Of course that meant I had to document the moment!

'The perfect child" on his throne.....

Aren't these just the neatest?  These incredible stamps were an early birthday gift.  Chris got them in London....direct from the artist who casts them from bronze.  The detail is amazing and perfect to combine with inks and embossing powder......  My head is already swimming with ideas.......thank you again Chris and Kelly!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


One of the many pleasures I've experienced over the nearly 20 years of travel teaching is the opportunity to get acquainted with so many talented and fun quilters.

I met Judy Kriehn during a visit to the Dallas Quilt Guild.  She held the job of program chair and took wonderful care of this road weary instructor!

She emailed me these photos of her two latest quilts which were on display at the recent Dallas Quilt Show......which has a super reputation for quality competition quilts.

Judy graciously allowed me to share them on my blog.......Tx's Judy.....I know all my faithful readers will love seeing your work!


This wall quilt earned a ribbon!!  Judy clearly knows how to make her sewing machine stand up, walk across the floor, and take a bow!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


We PTAer's are so proud that one of our own, Dort Lee has a one women show at the Arborteum.

In mass.....we visited the exhibit.....here's Dort in front of one of her charming pieces.  

Her quilts often feature lighthearted views of everyday lives, as well as landscape images......and well,  just plain fun to view because of all the details she incorporates.  Here's a close-up of the first photo.....doesn't it make you smile?

This piece is titled 'That's Amore'......and the details are right up my alley........  It was created with another PTA member, Connie Brown.

The hairy chest just made me howl.

No detail is too small to overlook.....check out the buttons and 'strings' on the guitar.  If you get the opportunity.......visit this fun exhibit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Like most large quilt guilds, the Asheville Quilt Guild has many talented members.  Today one member, Meg Manderson, shared her journey as a quiltmaker with us.  She began stitching using traditional approaches, realizing quickly her personality and design sense wasn't suited for patchwork.

After lots of evolutions, Meg now concentrates on what I'd describe as minimal landscapes.....there is detail........ but only what's necessary.....  Please enjoy her lovely work.

These last two pieces are her newest.  Meg has been 'rust' and 'mud' dyeing muslin and acheiving some really fascinating effects.  Who'd have thunk red clay dirt could provide such interesting texture and inspiration.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Here's the final batch of photos from the Southern Living home.....

There was lots of tile in all the bathrooms.....the various styles of tile coordinated in unusual ways but pleasing.  However, in my humble opinion......it often felt somewhat cold.

I miss the large soaking tub we had in Wisconsin.....I'm not fond of whirltubs.....the water cools off too quickly and I feel like I need to hold on......therefore it's not very relaxing.  This one was a dandy....

I mentioned the lack of storage in the house.....look at this ridiculous drawer.....one of 6 in one of the bathrooms (not a powder room).    It was no more than 6" wide......what on earth would even fit in here??

The metal bamboo looking strips in this shower stall was very unusual and coordinated so well with the other furnishing.  

It's always fun to see how million $$ + homes are decorated.......

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I could have hung around for hours checking out all the unique decorating ideas utilized in this home.  The theme was what I'd describe as 'soft Asian'.......with lots of muted grays, greens, taupe colors.

A guest bedroom.....note the 50's looking bedside tables.  The clean lines of that style, blended nicely with the theme of the home.

This simple headboard could be duplicated by someone handy......basically it was a wood frame, with woven leather strips.....which...by the way.....were merely stapled to the back of the frame (I looked) .....heck, that's doable.

The candle holders on this unit were made locally of wood and stone.  And again, this piece reminded me of furniture from the 50's.......sorry....I didn't like it then, and don't much now......

What a simple, yet very affective arrangement to fill a nook....the door to the left lead to 2 bedrooms and a bath.

This very large sun room, surprisingly had no window coverings.  Personally, I didn't like the tile flooring which reminded me of limestone outdoor pathway material.  It was very uneven, bumpy, not glazed, so I wonder what a hassle this would be to clean?

Oh.....did I mention cleaning......look at the dust bunnies I found!!!

The table was created from an oak barrel....again, very simple decorations made from natural materials are displayed.

The door panels inserts are made by Corning Glass.....VERY pricey (I checked them out after visiting the Southern Living home in the Asheville area.)  One large panel (which can be cut into sections) was about $600.   This one had what looked like raffia between the layers, others have bamboo, grasses etc.  

This mud room is between the sun room and the garage.  The open shelves provide an open feeling for the space, but surely it wouldn't be nearly as attractive when people actually LIVE there.  There wasn't a coat closet....only hooks on one wall.  Like much of the house, it was attractive.....but ya gotta wonder if a man designed it.....storage space is minimal.....but maybe in the 'green' world....we aren't supposed to be storage and accumulating 'stuff'????