Saturday, October 31, 2009


In the three years since we've moved to the mountains of NC, we've only seen evidence of the black bears that roam the area....but we've never actually seen a bear.

This region has a long history of hunting bear.....which of course was probably a necessary food source for families in years past. It's difficult for an outsider to see the 'sport' of hunting when today packs of dogs, outfitted with radio collars, are let loose to seek out bears......and run then up trees. Then a dozen or more hunters swarm the area and shoot it down. Hunters do very little work.....the dogs do it.

As you can tell, based on my limited viewpoint, I find this sickening. This morning we witnessed it first hand. The amount of noise coming from what was probably 2 dozen dogs that had cornered a black bear up a tree was deafening. There were certainly more than a dozen hunters standing below and a bunch more spread out nearby waiting for a shot. Fortunately, the owner of the property called the sheriff since the hunters were on private property which ended the stand off.
This is a copyright free photo I grabbed from the internet....but certainly could have been the view I saw today.

Unfortunately, and we are told, surprisingly....the bear came down from the tree and fled. We left while the hunters were still milling around staring at the bear....there was no way I wanted to witness one being shot. About 20 mins. later we got a call from a neighbor telling us the dogs/hunters had crossed into our subdivision and shortly afterwards we heard one really loud shot coming from the mountainside directly above our house.

Next two truck loads of hunters entered our private subdivision and proceeded up the roadway. About 20 mins. later we saw them come down with a bear on the truck's top platform. It is illegal to hunt bear on private property....

We are disturbed by what is surely a natural event for many locals and trying hard to understand their culture.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Indecision is something we quilters get used to......our mental vision isn't always as clear or doable as we originally thought.

So, I reworked this motif, removing some of what I had and added more.....

And then I did it again.....I may cut back on some of the bead 'strings' in the center......decisions, decisions. Here's a little beading trick I use for times like this..... Begin and end with thread knots often (here I did that every string or two). This will allow you to remove just those units that may not meet your design goals, without having to remove everything.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I've been anxious to experiment with National Nonwoven's improved Bamboo Felt ever since I received some samples recently.

While working with their first batch, I realized the colors bled, it wrinkled terribly (perhaps not a huge issue for a wall quilt), but it also pilled.

The colorfast problems seemed to be solved now, and so far, I see no evidence of pilling or wrinkling. However, I'm only working with small pieces at the moment. It's still wonderfully soft and easy to needle, but it's about half the thickness of the initial felt I worked with.

So for my purposes, besides stabilizing with Pellon's lightweight non-fusible interfacing, I added extra strength to what will be the main background by machine stitching an uneven grid.

Next, I added a few purple design elements....heavily stitched to the tobacco color background. This will be a small piece......probably measuring no larger than 8" x 10" with the red border. The embellishments will be the focus of the piece. I began with a carved piece of mesquite wood...attaching it using beadwork running through 5 holes.

I didn't like what I did, so I took it all off and started over. I'm still not satisfied....... It's been so hectic here that I haven't had a huge chunk of time to work, perhaps today..... Working small should mean quicker results, however, getting the right balance of design in a limited space is more of a challenge to me since I always want to 'over' embellish!

Stay tuned......

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Thank you everyone for your caring notes of support.......'the husband' got his GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD yesterday!

He's still on some minor restrictions.....nothing he (or I) can't live with..... We are thankful that the retina is healing nicely and hopefully for fully restored vision.....

Obviously.....there will be no stitching today....he wants OUT of the house...... I hope to get back to the small new project I've begun, working with the new Exotic Bamboo felt. A review of this 'improved' fabric to come soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


This is why leaf peeper flock to the Blue Ridge Mountains.......and especially Western North Carolina. Breathtaking....isn't it?

Color is at or just past its's been a marvelous long fall with plenty of warm days to enjoy it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Stop reading if you have no interest in football or are just sick of it. It's now NFL week #7 and I'm still in the suicide pool.....out of the 40 something that started.....12 now remain. The last 'man' standing (which I hope will read 'woman standing') wins the loot!

Football of course is an American Sport!

Buffed up guys run around throwing or carrying this odd shaped ball, bashing each other silly as much as they can.

European countries, such as England are passionate about a different sport.
It's called Soccer, where lean, physically fit men use their feet to wonk the ball into a large net...and oh ya.....there's lots of body bashing here too. You've heard of Soccer Mom's haven't you......what does that tell you?? Generally in the US, soccer is the sport of kids. Take no offense you soccer lovers.....'the perfect' child played soccer and I still love to watch this fast passed sport myself.

So.....why are these New England Patriots traveling in the lap of luxury to the UK where they will play the Tampa Bay on Sunday? It beats me!!

The last time these two teams met in 2005, the Patriots shutout the Buccaneers 28-0. I sure hope jet lag and a cushy 'European vacation' doesn't provide them an excuse for losing this game.......because I picked New England to win!!

Fingers crossed everyone......

Friday, October 23, 2009


C & T has just informed me that one of my quilts will be included in a fun new project for their 2010 Spring product line.

They will be marketing a deck of playing card "Inspired! Creativity Cards: 36 Secrets & Quilts to Ignite Ideas". Considering their prestigious stable of authors to choose from, I'm honored to be included.

BTW - I'll be teaching how to make this quilt at the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Guild next month (see details, upper right side bar). It's a fast way to create a fun quilt. Each of the self-faced fused fabric motifs are attached to a stabilized whole-cloth background using various beading techniques. There is no 'typical' hand or machine applique methods used, so basically you are beading and appliquing at the same time to create this whimsical folk art style wall hanging.

Good Morning 24" x 24"

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Our property is large with a fairly steep sloping lawn with lots of ruts/half buried rocks/ditches/and a very sharp drop off near the tree line where a mountain creek runs through our land.

Now for years and years when we lived in IL, I did all our yard work...... (before the 'perfect child' was old enough to stick him with the job.) Because of the size, we used a lawn tractor.....and this is that had a steering it was really not much different than driving a car.

With 'the husband' still under 'house arrest' until at least next week when he sees the doctor, I would be a good idea for me to cut the needed it. Hey, how hard can that be??

Our tractor resides in the log cabin all I 'thought' I had to do was pull it out and away I'd go. Really, how hard could this be??

But first....yup, 'the husband' has way tooooo much time on his hands now....he's truly going crazy with all this inactivity. Being the engineer type mind set....he drew a diagram of the pathways I should travel to minimize turning around etc. My eyes were rolling as he went over every minor point. Honestly, how hard could this be?

Each of the known half buried rocks were pointed out so I could avoid mouth was now flapping....ya right......I can SEE rocks......let me just get going....I have sewing I want to get to later today!! Seriously, how hard can this be??

But, NO....still more instructions followed. He got our walkie talkies out so that I could call him if I stalled the mower......for safety reasons it has a complicated set of steps to start/run....I probably would need his input when I stalled it. Now my eyes are crossing..... wondering, how hard could this be???

So...finally we decided to allow him a short walk to our shed so he could oversee as I pulled the tractor out. Oh, and by the way.....there might be dead mice in the traps (yes 2) and be sure to make a lot of noise to scare snakes it gets colder at night.....they might decide curl up under the mower. But, I'm still hard can this be?

Yikes.....I KNEW this thing didn't have a steering wheel.....and knew our neighbor's (wife) refused a pending purchase by her husband of this type since SHE was the one who cuts their grass......but I wasn't alarmed by any of this....I COULD do it!! How hard could it be??

It was a nightmare.....literally! To steer you use these arm like things.....pulling them together and forward to go straight, pull right arm out to turn right, back together and back...only to a certain point to stop....but if pulled too far back the darn thing back ups. Before I knew it, I was half way down our property, traveling nearly a 1/2 acre in seconds and heading toward the creek. Every time I tried to turn or back up, I found myself half stuck on a huge rut, afraid the darn thing would tip over. I was paralyzed with fear....really, my heart was pounding....each movement brought me closer to the drop off for the creek.....I was shrieking. I'm NOT a quitter, but I finally did what any sensible person might do.....shut the darn thing off and decided this job was for a professional!!

I spent a nice afternoon hard can that be??

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It's always such an unexpected pleasure to find quilts (as art) on display in a place of business. Due to a small set back in 'the husband's" recovery from eye surgery....we had another vision to his retina specialist in Asheville.

While waiting, I had plenty of time to snap photos of some of the stunning antique quilts they have carefully and thoughtfully displayed. Unfortunately, there were no visible signatures on any of the pieces, nor any signage provided. Each, hand pieced/appliqued, hand quilted quilt is in remarkable condition for its age, which I'm guessing is late 1800's.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Western North Carolina is famous for its mountain terrain, splendid waterfalls and the spectacular fall colors......


Monday, October 19, 2009


I feel so fortunate to be included in a small and very talented fiber art group here in the Asheville area, known as PTA. I've bragged about them in previous posts.

Connie Brown is one of our members......this gal does it all. Besides being an excellent quiltmaker whose work frequently features curved piecing and beautiful machine quilting, Connie is also an AQS Certified Appraiser, a member of the prestigious Southern Highland Craft Guild, a bee keeper, avid fisher woman, and a great story teller.

Recently Connie told us a 'fish tale' that happened on a Florida vacation. The sun was setting, the rest of her family had headed up to their lodging......but Connie wanted a few more minutes throwing her rod in the ocean.

Well....she got more than she bargained first she thought she caught a huge fish....the way the line moved.....but then she realized a Pelican had flown in the path of her line and gotten tangled....landing in the sand a distance away.

Happily, she was able to release the bird and no harm was done.......and she had a good fun story to share with everyone. I love Connie's stories.....she's such an active person with a very full life which is hard to keep up with.

I could imagine this event in a quilt, so of course I made one. It's tiny (13" x 7") and sadly, the color here isn't very accurate....but the quilt was made as a gift for Connie so I can't reshoot it, but perhaps you'll enjoy seeing it anyway.

What makes this so special is the "perfect" background fabric created by my pal Judy Simmons, who marbled and stamped it...and best of all shared it with me for Connie's quilt.

Judy also shared her methods of photo transferring pictures to fabrics, which was the base of the Pelican. It was printed on satin fabric which was fused to the background and thread painted to provide more texture.

I had more darn fun making this piece.....sometimes we need to stop and remember that not all our work needs to be those show masterpieces......(I'm not sure I'm capable of that anyway).....but sharing our love of quilting in smaller ways can be just as rewarding.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


GO PACKERS!!!!! Yup, you guessed week 6 suicide pool pick is a Packer win over the Detroit Loins. There are still 19 participants left in the pool - 4 selected Packers.....but in all 7 different teams were picked to win. I'll have my eye on those games too....hoping others might get bummed out of the pool!

The Packer game will be played at historic Lambeau Field.......where I'm sure the tailgating has already begun! Our flag is already waving it's gold and green....a perfect compliment to the stunning fall color we have here in the sun filled mountains today.

Okay Aaron, we are counting on you and your arm (and hoping you have more protection this week). We'll be smiling along with you......

Saturday, October 17, 2009


AAQI'S booth is staffed and selling Prority Quilts like hot cakes. As of this quilt at a time has raised $30,000.....and there are 2 more days to go!!! We quilters do have strength in numbers!

To learn more......visit the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative's website provided will touch your heart.

My donation piece for this year's silent auction is Inner Strength, measuring the required 9" x 12". It features bead embellisment and embroidery on wool felt. sold for $350. I've now surpassed my $1,000 donation promise by then some. I'm not finished yet!!

In honor of National Alzheimer's Awareness Month, Ami Simms, founder of AAQI issued a fun challenge to 4 renowned quilters: Hollis Chatelain, John Flynn, Becky Goldsmith, and Sue Nickels to face off to fight Alzheimer's in the World Quilt Federation Smackdown (obvious a totally fictitious association)

Their quilts are on display at International Quilt Festival this weekend, booth #4660. Each carries a price tag of $10,000 to purchase at this event. You can follow the progress of the entire Priority Quilt auction on Twitter. Though I suspect if any of the Smackdown Quilts sell......there will be shreaks of happiness across the airways.

These quilts will be available for purchase online Nov. 1-10 in the AAQI Smackdown Auction Arena. where you can bid to own one for a very worthy cause.

Friday, October 16, 2009


It's been quite a week.....last Friday we were in Birmingham, AL, beginning a long awaited for motorcycle event (well.....long awaited by 'the husband')......this Friday we are 5 days post eye surgery.

'The husband' lost vision in one eye about 28 years ago as a result of glaucoma which was first misdiagnosed in his teens and then mishandled in his early twenties. He's adapted remarkably well to the use of only one eye. He has glaucoma in the 'good' eye too, which has been treated with good care for years. During our trip to this race, he had a sudden onset of lightening flashes in his eye that got worse as the weekend continued. He saw a retina specialist early Monday morning which was followed by surgery within 2 hours. Happily there appears to be a good outlook.

After the surgery, the Doctor told him the hardest part was yet to come. Doc's instructions were 2 weeks of house reading, no computer, no lifting, no bending......and no walking. We both have bad backs and walk twice a day. The poor guy is almost like a caged he paces back and forth inside the house, trying to get a bit of exercise without much exertion. But he's doing fine and we both thank all of you for your concern and well wishes.'s 'the husband'....there really is one! The photo was taken at the Barber Motorsport Museum....which houses something like 5,000 motorcycles. 'The husband' was traveling down memory lane when he spotted this Triumph, the exact model he once owned.

This museum is unbelievable......5 sparkling clean, modern floors, filled with creative displays of every kind of motorcycle.

We quilters are familiar with the method of hanging quilts from fishing wire......well this must be really strong wire holding these bikes!

These displays reminded me of Christmas trees....

What a clever display......bikes that appear to be traveling around a track....

Does this bike ring a bell with anyone? It's the famous motorcycle featured in the 60's cult movie, Easy Rider.

Attention to detail is evident everywhere.....these engraved 'stoppers' are placed in front and behind each wheel...... Seriously, this place was amazing.....the owner made his fortune (and it must be a huge fortune) in his milk distributorship.

I'm not a fan of motorcycles, frankly they scare me and I won't even get on 'the husband's'. However, 'if' I ever did travel in one.....this looked more my style....of course I'd be out of the wind, rain, and sun....perhaps stitching away in comfort.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


A quick note to say that I'm in Pause Mode for a few days......
'the husband' had emergency eye surgery on Monday........per Doctor's order....he can do NOTHING for 2 reading, no computer, no walking, no lifting, no bending over......get the picture.....I will be the entertainment.....

We are thankful for what appears to be a good outcome......he has sight only in one this incident in his good eye was scary.....which means following Doctor's orders is even more important.

Back soon.....

Sunday, October 11, 2009


One jaw dropping attraction we saw while visiting the Barbersports Race track this weekend was the Wall of Death: daredevil motorcycle riders racing bikes and go-karts on the side of a vertical 15' tall board wall. Words and even pictures can't describe the sheer these guys have the nerve to do this is beyond me........heck, ya gotta wonder how they learned without killing themselves?!!?

The first two photos were taken with my camera.......these are the only two (of about 30) that turned out.....the cycles were traveling as such a high speed, my camera simply wasn't fast enough. The audience stands on a platform about 20' feet high, around the opening of what looked like a large wine barrel. The rider begins circling what look like wooden fence sections placed between the floor and the wall.

And gradually moves up the vertical wall as he circles around and around. Look hands! (Also take helmet or protective gear!) You can just imagine how fast he's going by looking at this blur of man and cycle.

The rest of these photos 'the husband' took with his fancy the rider looks like he's standing still.....NOT.....the go-cart is actually traveling really fast along the vertical wall.

Audience members hold out paper bills in various denominations, and faster than your eye can see.........the rider reaches out and grabs them.....keeping the money balled up in one hand as he collected dozens.
Again, you have to realize they are going super fast in order to be traveling side by side along this vertical wall.....a motorcycle and a go-kart. At one point the riders even held hands.....I was looking through splayed fingers...... this was so nerve wracking to watch (loud too).

Look how high up he rides....nearly to the top of the 15' wall...... I know I'm repeating myself, but this is amazing. Click on the link I provided above to visit their website where another link will take you to a U-tube video. Okay...enuff excitement for me this weekend.....I'm going to bed!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


'The husband' is interested in sport car racing......but now this interest has expanded to motorcycles too, so I'm being dragged along to witness the nuttiness of grown men strapping themselves into all sorts of machines and traveling at a high rate of speed around tracks.

Fortunately, I'm able to find many amusing blog worthy subjects to share....and you can read them in the comfort of your own house. This event was held at the Barber Motorsports near Birmingham, AL. where on Friday it was hotter than an oven, and Saturday it was WET.....I tried not to whimper....but often failed.

Now look at this......can you believe anyone would subject themselves to this discomfort.....'sidecar' racing' !?!? This machine is barely 2" off the ground. Both the driver and rider fling themselves around on this thing....I guess to make it go faster or else to prevent it from tipping over. 'The husband' probably has better photos when the bike is actually on the track......showing how the passenger flings his body prone....hanging off the side of his little ramp area. I'm sure if anyone requests more info on this subject, I can post more photos!

Just looking at this, you can't help but puzzle about the thought process of those who race them....surely they can find a better use for their time??

Now this I get......there were about 20 rows of flea market booths where one could purchase an old seat, a gas tank, or even a motorcycle. We quilters know about vendors, so I found this acceptable (even if we had to walk every aisle.)

And of course, knowing a little something about patchwork, I was tempted to help this group with their flooring design. It's made with plastic tiles that snap together, forming a firm but foot friendly surface. I definitely see a shaded 4 patch design that went astray.

The grounds of Barber Motorsports are top's the cleanest, most litter free space I've seen since we moved to the South! They must have spent a fortune on the landscaping alone.

Artwork is EVERYWHERE......some obvious, like this gate....

....others in the most unexpected places......

We found this remote lawnmower roving around in front of the was fascinating to watch it come to the edge of the grass.....back up, turn, and head in the opposite direction. Some people have just tooooo many toys!

You many want to click on this photo to enlarge it......this scene was located in a valley......which was not accessible by foot..... one ant has a coke bottle, one a motorcycle, and one a driver.....cut off the photo to the left was the back end of an ant as it entered a huge ant hill. Someone has a great sense of humor!

Which is how I try to spend my day at these race tracks.......with a smile plastered on my face.....even in the rain. (Well, I don't always succeed!) I didn't take even one photo of the bikes on the race track.....heck, there were so many other interesting subjects.....

More to come tomorrow...the highlight being a visit to the "wall of death"......worth the price of admission to this entire was one of the most heart stopping things I've ever seen.