Thursday, April 30, 2009


Thanks to Amy, "a faithful blog reader".......apparently the do not call list chatter is a hoax.  Meaning, it's not true that cell phone numbers are being released.  I still registered mine....esp. since I was getting a few annoying calls and 'the husband' was getting many more.  Can't hurt I guess.

When I reviewed the following site, suggested by Amy.....I noticed that the info there hadn't been updated since Dec. I guess it may still be possible doesn't have the latest info.  

To see more visit:

Now I'm off to the dentist....YUCK!!!!


I'll get back to quilt related posts soon....really, I will.  But, I thought this was helpful to pass along......thanks Connie for sharing this info.....

Cell phone numbers go PUBLIC next month.......ALL cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start receiving sales calls.  **In fact, both 'the husband' and I already have been getting calls and wondered how they got our numbers!

Remember, you will be charged for these calls, even if the message is saved to voice mail and you listen to it.

Call the National DO NOT CALL list at: block your phone number for 5 years.  You must call from the number you wish to block.  This number is not just for cell phones, if you haven't already blocked your home number, do that too.

At the end of the automated announcement tells you what and how you can report companies who do not comply.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Since most of you readers are female......I wanted to take a moment to remind anyone over the age of 50 to get a bone scan.

I've known for years that I was losing bone mass.......and in fact it reached the stage of osteoporosis over 10 years ago.  The common prescription treatment by such drugs as Fosamax, Evista, or Boniva do not agree with me.  The last two  GP doctors I've had....sort of ignored the problem...though they recommended I take calcium and get weight bearing exercise.

After my recent scan, it was clear I needed to pursue further help.  Thankfully, after a 4 month wait for an appointment....I saw a wonderful female doctor....who took THE MOST thorough history, and has sought to see if there was a reason for my continued bone loss.  After many vials of blood and other tests.....I'm relieved to know there aren't any scary issues to deal with.  

Despite taking Calcium with Vitamin D - yes, must include plenty of Vit. D because it helps your body to absorb the bones were still thinning.  Bike riding (which I did for years)  is not weight bearing exercise.....but forced marches up are mountain roads is.  Turns out that walking is great weight bearing exercise....who knew??  Other do's and don'ts  =  don't smoke....keep your weight down, and no more than 3 units of alcohol per day.  I'm not sure what a unit is.....hummmm....but I'm pretty sure they don't consider 1 unit = 1 bottle of champagne!!

Turns out my Vitamin D levels are not only on the low side of the curve....they are beneath the I'll be getting massive dosages of Vitamin D for the next 12 weeks....and another medicine to see if I can tolerate that.  One idea was for me to try a new drug - Forteo - which requires a daily injection (YES.....needle type injection...ouch) for 2 years.  We will save that for a last resort since the cost is $650 per month AND the drug needs refrigeration.....impossible to do as long as I'm traveling.

Consider this a nagging if you must.....but do get a bone scan.  Osteoporosis can be a very serious problem and in the extreme, life threatening.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Spring has been slow coming the the mountains this year......but worth the wait.  Trees, bushes, and wild flowers could be seen everywhere as I endured our morning 'forced march' of an hour up to the top of our mountain road and back down.


Saturday, April 25, 2009


Students from the Greenville, NC Quilt Guild are hard at work in my "Beading Basics & Beyond workshop.  I'm heading home tomorrow....

Several members joined me for dinner tonight......we all thought the margarita one gal ordered looked like desert.

This wasn't my meal but I couldn't resist sharing it with you since it's a new one on me.....deep friend corn on the cob.......

Thursday, April 23, 2009


So.....I've moved along the quilting highway to New Bern, NC.  What a fascinating city.....with southern hospitality PLUS!

The city is nearing it's 300th's dotted with beautiful historic homes, many reminded me of colonial Williamsburg.

such as this building.....

So often I talk about the great students who support my classes...tonight I want to send kudos out to the hostesses who make my visits so special.  Penny presented me with a large care bag of comfort foods, and Sue made the yummiest goodies.

During our lunch break today we stopped at an old time hardware about classy....look at this charming store window.

Locals can purchase seeds right out of old ball jars.....

Each meal here has been fantastic......I wish we had this this kind of culinary expertise in our area.  Lynn, my hostess this evening.....(who originally contracted me...many thanks)  enjoyed this soup.

Take a look at these sea scallops......embedded with sauteed spinach and spicy rice......yum....

I'm long overdue for bedtime......have a full day workshop tomorrow.......

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


My travel day went very smoothly yesterday, despite a very close connection in Charlotte between my two small commuter flights......I arrived in Greenville, NC on time.

And to my surprise....the plane drove up to what appeared to be a small parking lot......none of the typical trappings of markings on the tarmac, no luggage carts anywhere,.....however there was a small covered walkway which apparently is used during inclement weather.  I entered a tiny lobby which contained a single baggage track.  And ah, ha....within bags were there!!  So....maybe big isn't better.

The small lobby featured  a lovely vertical waterfall and a few comfortable chairs......perhaps soothing environment is necessary when passengers and their bags aren't matched up immediately.

My hostess Gretchen drove me to Washington, NC where I'll be teaching 'Beading Basics & Beyond' today.  The town is charming......lots of huge old homes - dare I even say mansions.....dotted the streets along the water front.  This area attracts many retirees for its great fishing.

Funky and highly decorated 'crabs' can be seen all over the downtown area thanks to a program begun by the Garden Club.

The downtown had the feeling of walking back in time.....and hey.....look who asked me to dance!  (just kidding....this was a plaster statue.....but doesn't it look real??)

What did I say about walking back in time???  This is the marquee on an old movie theater, turned art center.  Some of you may not know John Beluche (sp??) or the Kingston Trio.....what can I just had to be there.....

After class today....I'm heading over to New Bern.....and am anxious to get acquainted with another part of this lovely area......the roads here are pretty straight and flat....I thought I was back in the midwest!  

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm heading out tomorrow to spend time with 3 NC quilt guilds.  What fun it will be to get acquainted with quilters from the coast side of the state.  Hope you are one of them....

Pamlico Quilt Guild - April 22 - workshop
Twin Rivers Quilt Guild - April 23 - lecture and workshop - April 24 - workshop
Greenville Quilters Guild - April 25 - workshop

Sunday, April 19, 2009


My studio has less than adequate surroundings for good photos.....too dark, too many shadows, but I hope you'll still get the idea.

As slowly as my last piece progressed......this one feels like someone has entered my space, made all my decisions, and done the stitching for me.  It's been that easy....hope that doesn't mean it's that BAD!

In honor of the fiber content of National Nonwoven's new Xotic-felt....with 50% bamboo content.....I decided to feature bamboo for this piece.  Remember....this product is brand new, it's being premiered at Spring Quilt Market.  You are getting a sneak peak.

So...for the design process I've been describing in my last post....I've now added the center circle....not necessarily intended to be a moon or sun.....   Next, I've cut and fused motifs of the eye popping lime green (Grass Skirt) Xotic-felt along with bits of brown (Coconut Shell).

I tried all kinds of paints, paint stixs, crayons etc. to achieve more texture and shadows for the bamboo stalks....but the fabric didn't hold the dyes well.  So, instead I did some machine stitching with rayon thread.

The day got away from me so the addition of leaves will have to wait until tomorrow.  I'm jazzed!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I couldn't wait to cut into the samples of National Nonwoven's new Xotic-Felt.....really, my fingers were tingling....

The sample colors are fabulous, yet I'm finding them a bit of a challenge because the majority are brights, one dark, and one medium.  Since the material contains 50% bamboo.....that will be my theme and I'll need to get creative with my color placement.

I wanted to see how this material will hold up to machine's so soft I was somewhat concerned about distortion.  I cut a 17" sq. of the felt to which I basted a piece of lightweight non-fusible stabilizer.  My finished piece will be 16"......I'm working slightly bigger......just in case.

As a guide, I basted a large circle in the center of the fabric square.  Using a 'pencil-type' chalk marking tool....I sketched (with artistic license) bamboo leaves, marking two units at a time before sewing.  With an open toe foot, I've machine stitched with a matching color rayon thread along the lines.  Starting and stopping within the basted 'circle', allows those threads to be hidden, once the next felt motif is positioned.

One down.....many more to go.  Sewing on this felt is effortless......I wondered if the stitches would sink into the loft and not provide an impact since the colors matched.....but they are surprisingly visible and the pressure foot glides easily along the felt.

The basted circle not only helped me to begin and end in areas that will be covered, it also provided a guideline for positioning the felt circle after the stitching was completed.

Marking with soap slivers is my normal routine.....but soap or chalk would easily rub off with all the handling during thread basting was the answer......and really....took only seconds.

The rest of the designing will now begin.......  I know it might seem unusual for the machine background stitching to be done first.......however, because I'm working with felt, the edge finishing needs to be considered.  Our typical quilt binding treatment is not appropriate for these projects due to the thickness of the fabrics, so I prefer to stitch the background first and keep them away from the outside edges.  This will give me more flexibility later when I decide how I'm going to finish the piece.

My fingers are tingling again.......more soon.....

Friday, April 17, 2009


If you've been following my blog for awhile you know I'm smitten with National Nonwoven's Woolfelt.  The company will be previewing their newest product at Spring Market.....but I have a sneak look for you right now.

It's called XoticFelt....made from 50% bamboo and 50% rayon.  Oh has the look of felt, but it's super soft and drapes well.  As with their other felt products, their are no edges to turn as it cuts very cleanly.

I was lucky enough to get some samples from National Nonwovens and can't wait to dig into it.

The first experiment I did was to soak several pieces in cool water with a drop of laundry detergent in my washing machine.  I let them agitate for about 1 min. before the rinse cycle came on (can't turn off this function on my I had no choice).  Then they ran through the spin cycle, and finally dried in my dryer.  The fabric on the right has been washed. It developed some texture due to this process...which I like.  Shrinkage was minimal however the loft was greater.  I didn't detect that washing really 'felted' the product....meaning....making it stronger and more dense, so this task would not be necessary unless you wanted the appearance of more texture.

As with their other felt products.....I would recommend washing like colors together because there was some dye residue in the water.  

Look at these luscious colors.......oh happy days......

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I guess because I've concentrated on small bead embellished wool quilts for so long......I'd forgotten the struggles that can pop up when creating other types of work.'s those struggles that take us out of our comfort zone.....moving us along new paths to discover exciting alternative directions.

A simple phrase was the inspiration for this piece. Though my initial idea to hang the Mexican fesita flags from a string (as they would be in their typical setting) didn't work due to the shortage of the central wholecloth piece of fabric........I was able to overcome the difficulty of making flags that now hang freely, attached with a bead at the top on either side.

$350 (includes shipping)
••• update....this quilt was sold in April 2010

I envisioned beads as salt on the rim of a glass the moment I read the little quip.

Fabric (folded paper-cut style) fesita flags.....hand dyed cotton backed with silk.

The final touch......a simple beaded edging treatment......

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This is the art of Ran Hwang, a Korean artist.  The installation, titled "Dreaming for Joy" was exhibited at the Asian Contemporary Art Fair in 2008.

A sharp eyed student (thank you Cathie) forwarded it to me, knowing I'd be enthralled because the bird is created entirely out of buttons......  My jaw dropped and my head is spinning with ideas....though in a way this subject is a bit sad.

I tried to find more info about this artist......but with limited time here's one link that provides a bit more....    

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Please enjoy these great nuno felted wool scarves.....

Two samples made by Nancy Bruce.....both have are edged with hand button hole stitching.

Another Nancy Bruce sample......I love the charming addition of the fiber and bead fringe.

Patsy's looks like a painting.......she very skillfully feathered the edges of her wool roving.

Mine was more heavily felted.....and I added a curvy section to join the edges to help support the weight when place around the neck.  Notice how the gauze drew up with the felting, giving it a nice texture.

Judy only lightly felted hers....scattering the roving throughout her piece.  The results were fabulous......much of the gauze now gives a spider web appearance.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Here's a rough overview of the steps involved with Nuno felting....I'm sure there are books on the subject, but since we had our own guru, Nancy Bruce.......we just followed her guidance.

Step 1.  Lengths of hand dyed silk gauze were arranged on a long table which was covered with a cut piece of a swimming pool cover.  Traditional see-thru bubble wrap can be substituted.  Next, thin bits of hand-dyed wool woving were arranged onto the gauze.  Due to time constraints, we 'decorated' only the ends of our scarves.

Step 2.  These layers were covered with a thin, almost sheer, nylon material.  Having several hands helped to keep the roving from being disturbed as it was positioned.  Next, cool water was worked into the layers.

Step 3.  A bar of soap, fitted into a nylon sleeve was rubbed over the material.....along with more water until everything was fully saturated.

Step 4.  The layers were carefully rolled up and tied tightly with strips of nylon (panty hose worked great for this task).  Now the hard work began.  Using the pressure of hand and arms, this 'log' was rolled back and forth on the table....for what seemed like hours....but was probably only 20 mins.  This friction begins the process of matting the layers together so the fibers can work their way into the gauze.

Step 5.  About every 50-100 rolls of the 'log', it was unrolled and checked for signs that it was beginning to felt.  Until the fibers stick to the gauze (when they can no long be picked up between a finger and thumb), the rolling continues.  Once it does, it's unrolled and more agitation on just the scarf is required.  This again means the addition of soap and water and lots of picking up of the material and slapping it down onto the table.  This where it can get messy.

Martine's scarf has now felted.....notice how the gauze has shrunk up and gotten distorted as the wool fibers have penetrated the material, becoming one.

Here's our happy 5 some....I've got a bubble wrap bib on because I wasn't smart enough to wear really old clothing.  From left to right-back row....Martine House, Judy Simmons, Nancy Bruce, Patsy Thompson.  Front row - yours truly.

I'll post some photos of the finished scarves asap.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Today 5 friends met for an 'enrichment' day.  Interestingly, 4 of us are professional instructors, and one shy friend is not.....but she's the one who led us through our creativity day.  I know Nancy Bruce wants to be anonymous.....but ooops....she's not now.  She's incredibly knowledgeable about how to dye every kind of fabric.

The first thing she shared was several pieces of rust dyed fabric.  She takes a variety of rusted metal objects and transfers their shapes, and their rust run off, onto material.  This photo in no way does justice to how rich and interesting this specific design was.

Nancy even utilizes a method to 'rust' non-metal objects.  This mask is plastic.....but using a variety of techniques, she made it appear, and even feel, like an antique metal treasure.

Our main goal for the gathering was to make Nuno felted scarves.  Here are some of the samples Nancy brought.

Nuno felting is a method of integrating wool fibers (usually dyed roving) into a woven fabric....such as gauze.  Other fibers such as thread snips or curly wool snippets can be trapped between these layers.  The 'design' is arranged in layers in a dry state, but are worked together with soap and water.....which basically 'fuses' together by rolling, rubbing, and slapping to create one piece of fabric. 

The resulting fabric features lots of texture and color.

With practice and skill, specific designs can be created.  So, after an introduction......we 4 students, guided by Nancy......began the process of making our own scarves.  It was A LOT more time consuming and work than I could imagine.  Follow our process in the next post.