Thursday, December 30, 2010


My friend Kay Sorensen, another Cheesehead.....shared this cute photo with me. Her almost 5 year old grandson Cooper decided he could cook.....and with a little help recently made coffee, hot chocolate, and tea to serve to Kay's family. (His older sister Heidi is in the background.)

So....why is this of any interest? Because he's holding a copy of my cookbook which was published in 1980. Cooking was my 2nd career (after working for TWA for years). Interestingly, one my favorite parts of cooking was the garnishing......and now that I've found my way to favorite activity is embellishing. All I've done is change mediums!

When I asked Kay if I could post this photo.....she remarked: We never know how far what we do, say and write goes and how it influences others. She couldn't be more insightful......because it was Kay who talked me into attending my first quilt guild meeting at the North West Suburban Quilters Guild (Chicago area). The guest that night was Ginny Beyer.....that meeting changed the course of my life. Thank you Kay!

It's with creative respect that I highly recommend her blog......Kay is one talented lady. we say goodbye to 2010......we can look back and smile at all the good times and look forward to new adventures in 2011! Happy New Year everyone....thanks for sharing this past year with me........


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


When we can't be with 'the perfect child' and 'the perfect daughter-in-law' for Christmas.....we've opted to head to Nashville to attend the Grand Ole' Opry which takes place during this time of the year at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

The 'Opry' was held here from 1943-1974, in what was once a church. You'll have to excuse my camera doesn't do a good job taking photos in very dim indoor lighting (or its operator doesn't)!! We prefer sitting in the balcony....and believe's never this empty during the show.

On the left, in the light, you'll see an announcer. The Opry is preformed as a live radio show each week. We get a kick out of watching all the behind the scenes activity that goes on while the announcer presents the commercials and other chatter. In the foreground, in the dim light....the stage hands are preparing the microphones etc. for the next musical group who are standing around yacking to each other. Of course you can't hear what they are saying.....clearly there is no nervousness.....they are all just chatting it up......and then w/o any outward signals that we could see...they step up to their microphones and begin their set. Amazing!

The 4 artists to the right of the Christmas tree are background singers.....however they don't perform during every song. When they aren't singing you can see them wandering around on stage as well. Between acts, a stage hand puts sheet music on their stands....and then every so often they reappear to sing along with the artists. It's my understanding there are no rehearsals for the shows, so it's really remarkable how they can just chime in when needed with just the right vocals.

This is the view of the 'set' musicians.......they too play backup for the various acts.......and are considered some of the most talented musicians in town. When they aren't can see them hanging around the stage....gossiping, laughing, glad handing each other. It's really fun to watch all this activity while the live radio show is being broadcast.

Well, yet's my favorite group, Dailey & Vincent.....the highlight of the show. Their bluegrass music is perfection!

Their current CD is an homage to the Statler Brothers....another famous bluegrass group. I always thought the Statler Brothers were brothers whose last name was Statler. Well......two of the members of the group ARE brothers but their last name is not Statler. In fact, the group took the name from a box of tissues! (which is on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame.)
The Statler Brothers received the CMA's Vocal Group of the Year award six years in a row (1972-77) and again in 1979, 1980, and 1984.

I'm wearing out D & V's newest CD....which features this talented group preforming all Statler Brothers songs. Every single one will set your toes a tappin', such as "I'll Go To My Grave Loving You". What fun it was to see its original manuscript in the County Music Hall of Fame Museum.

Wouldn't it be fabulous to be able to write the words and music to a song? I'm in awe.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This was our second visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville......and it will probably take several more before we see and absorb all its history.

This banner caught my eye........doesn't it resemble a quilt?

The newest exhibit on display honored Tammy Wynette (of "Stand By Your Man" fame). Her gowns were amazingly detailed and all blinged out.

Jef Billings designed this white chiffon pleated gown with beaded overlay. It was worn onstage by Tammy and on the cover of her 1998 album "Christmas With Tammy Wynette".

I had to wonder how the gown designer was able to stabilize the fabrics enough to support the weight of these beads/pearls.

This music museum has a little bit of everything. Do you remember jukeboxes? I recall when I was about 10 years old, a girlfriend had one in her basement's rec room.....filled with Elvis records. It's funny how such a long forgotten memory can be resurrected so may years later.

And of course...... blue suede shoes......made famous by Carl Perkins.

There are numerous massive 'walls of fame' (gold and platium records) that are so impressive and fun to study....which will provide you with another walk down memory lane.

Even if you aren't a dedicted country music fan......treat yourself to a visit to this very special place if you are ever in will enjoy the old films, vintage TV show clips, the music, the history, and the fascinating of which is Elvis's gold plated piano!


Water display at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel - Nashville, TN

Sunday, December 26, 2010


With the 'perfect child' & 'perfect DIL' living across the country.....we enjoy spending Christmas in Nashville when we can't be with them.

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel provides a very festive feel for those of us (like me) whose enthusiasm for Christmas decorating wanes when we don't have company. If you aren't familiar with this massive hotel.....all under one on the link provided and explore this incredible place.

Around every corner you'll find waterfalls, walkways surrounded by tropical plants, restaurants, shops, entertainment, and even a man made river with its our tour boat.




THIS IS WINTER IS WORSE THAN THE LAST. The locals said last year....... "It hasn't been this bad in 30 years"......well this year they are all saying it hasn't been this bad in 45+ years. This is our thred big storm in December...and winter has just begun. Oh goodie...what comes next?!?

Actually.....we were spared some of it because we were away on a little jaunt to Nashville, TN to attend the famous Grand Ole' Opry at the historic Ryman Theater on Christmas Eve. In a word....FABULOUS!

Our drive home was delayed by a day due to this far reaching winter have heard about it I take??

We headed out this morning.....quite nervous about what kind of road conditions we'd find traveling through the mountain gorge between Tennessee and North Carolina. Thankfully, 'the husband' is an excellent driver and we crawled along about 20 miles an hour through that 30-40 mile stretch of road.

My photo may not show it......but it's snowing horizontally.......

We got home, safe and sound......and it looks like just in time. More snow is falling fast and furious...... we can now barely see across the street. Weather predictions expect another 4+ inches added to what looks like about 12" already.

I sound like a broken record....but really....we didn't sign up for this!! The good news is.....we are home, warm, plenty of food, and I need to sign off now. But first....let me say.....I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

My final parting words today........ GO PACKERS....... we will have a play off spot if they win these next two games....fingers and toes crossed......

Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas....from our house to yours.....

Christmas Day is a milestone for 'The Inside Stori'. Today marks the beginning of the 4th year of this blog. Yes....I realize I'm chatty....but even this amount has surprised me. Thank you all for hanging in there with me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Since my day moved along faster than I did.....the next step for my current project didn't reach the point of being able to do some hand stitching last night.

So, because 'the husband' controls the TV......I grabbed my lap top and did some long overdue checking into some of my favorite blogs.

C & T Publishing has been my publisher for my last 4 I enjoy reading the latest on their site. And....what do I see?? of my quilts (Funky Rooster) which was featured in a C & T project titled: "Inspired! Creativity Cards".

Here the cards have been 'assembled' with the aid of Card Works.....a card building set....which uses connectors to attach cards to each other to enable various shapes to be built.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Are you rushing about too.....trying to put the finishing touches on your Christmas preparations?

I know, I stress reliever is putting a needle in my hand, even if it's for only a short time each day.

So....after locating a stabilized, pre-marked & basted square of wool-felt (a sample from my book, "Embellishing with Felted Wool"), I was able to get a jump start on a small wall hanging.

I began by digging into my stash of white buttons....some old, some not. They were positioned to fit within the basted star shape.....selecting sizes to fit. After sliding the layout onto my work surface.....I began stitching them in place. The piece was fitted into a Qsnap frame & the stitching was done using a single length (not doubled) of Nymo white beading thread.

I sewed through only 2 of the holes (in the 4 hole buttons).....the idea is to attach the button just to hold it in place. I like to position ALL the buttons before moving onto the next be sure the entire button design looks great and that the buttons lay flat on the fabric.

Now.....the fun I add beads to give the bead design a more polished and finished appearance. Don't you agree......look at the before beading and's worth the extra time!

I'm not sure yet how I'll complete this piece......for now, I'm just enjoying a few minutes at a time......with my needle in my hand!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


You know.......Nashville has its Country Stars, Detroit had Motown, London had the Beatles, and Haywood County, North Carolina has Balsam Range!

The Colonial Theater in tiny downtown Canton, NC is a restored beauty. Unfortunately, my picture isn't good so it can only hint at how lovely this small theater is......guessing only about 300 seats.....not a bad one in the place.

Balsam Range is a local bluegrass group with national and now international recognition. If you have satellite can catch their tunes often on the Blue Grass channel. Marc Pruett (far right playing the banjo) is a Grammy award winner. This group is destined for fame!

We had a very special night in this intimate setting with Balsam Range and two other very famous musicians. Tony Rice, (center) has a long, long, long list of accomplishments and always keeps the audiences spell bound as he so seemingly and effortlessly plays his guitar. He lives somewhere in Eastern NC but travels the world to play his music.

Bobby Hicks, (left) is from the Marshall, NC area. He too is world famous and had this crowd hooting and hollering as he made his fiddle sing.

Bobbie was recently introduced to this young man (seated) whose singing gave ya goose bumps. He's enrolled in the Bluegrass BA program at Tennessee State in Johnson City, TN (The only such program in the country.)

We are so fortunate to have such fabulous talent in our area who take the time out of their busy schedules to (as they say).....give back to the local community by presenting such a fabulous concert.......with two of their own favorite industry giants. I'm sure due to the size of the audience and the ticket price......they didn't even make enough to pay their gas....... If you are a bluegrass fan......visit the Balsam Range website and treat yourself to their newest CD.....'Trains I Missed'. It's their very best ever!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The Fiber Junkies Christmas party was the perfect way to end the year, celebrating the love of crafts with good girlfriends.

We had a guest join our gathering.....a "cover girl" Dee Dee Triplett is a master doll maker....with many other great skills to her credit as well. She regularly shares her talents through workshops she teaches at John C. Campbell.

Dee Dee was in the same deconstructive screen printing class earlier this year that Judy Simmons took and shared with our group. Dee Dee printed these huge leaves.......isn't the detail great?

......and more

Carol Sloan brought some more finished books.......honestly, can this girl get any more creative?

The inside cover of this one had a small patchwork pocket made from an antique quilt.

She also has used textiles as pages.....what a wonderful way to show off vintage treasures that may be soiled/stained in some areas and are now unsuitable for their original purposes.

Val has been dying tissue paper......then backing it with fabric......then incorporating stitches to create one layer which will find its way into some of her work. She 'may' have painted a coating to the top layer......I'm not sure what. Like I've explained....our show and tells is fast and furious......there is so much talent in this group. Each piece that is shown......we all yell.....I wanna learn that...... So, I'm sure there will be a lesson soon and when that happens.....I'll be sharing it with you!

Val also blew us away with these...... She took a panel of 4 deconstructed screen printing images that were done at one of our meeting. While I'm still trying to figure out how to utilize mine.....Val has jumped ahead and added more to hers. She will be framing them individually to be sold as one unit.

She screen printed a dotted design over her original....and then added more color in some areas. And this is what really made my head explode....with a fine line black pen....she outlined some of the more prominent motifs in her design to give the piece an entirely new look.

Here's one with the new layer of screen printing outlining has been done yet.....

Here's another......look how she altered the entire piece with these additions. My mind doesn't even think this way.....or so I thought when she was showing them. But alas.....we each have our own passions....mine being beading...... I now have a few ideas to explore for my pieces.

Though I've complained (me complain??) about the unexpected cold and snow last winter and now this probably couldn't yank me away from here if you tried. And that's due to the unbelievably talented, generous, and fun pals that have so enriched my life in a place called Western North Carolina!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


After days of being house bound due to our bad weather - which meant I was unable to attend several fiber arts holiday gatherings, grumble, I ventured out....

To the Fiber Junkies Christmas party.......where we had several spreads available for munching....

Before sitting down to this beautifully decorated table at the home of Judy Simmons.

Nancy Bruce brought her famous coconut cake......which takes days to make and that I personally have waited all year for another piece!!

Nancy amazed us at show and tell as usual.....she experiments more than any other artist I know. Nancy originally nuno felted these fibers together, but due to the fiber content it didn't stay together very well. (Sorry, for the life of me I can't recall exactly what they were....if you are reading this Nancy...jump in) In the process, Nancy dyed it.....then pulled the layers apart .....yielding two fabulous pieces that will surely be incorporated into some of her art. It's a new art form, ala Nancy.......deconstructed nuno felting!

Here's some sort of gear.....very thin but super rusted.......which of course means Nancy used it to rust some fabric. I love the precision she achieved.

Patsy Thompson (master of free motion quilting) showed her newest piece. She has been experimenting with a Sizzix Cutting System......many of the flower shapes have been cut using this tool. I MUST get it will cut Woolfelt...... Pasty has an extensive online shop, both the machine and the dies are available here.


Here's another one of Patsy's new quilts......I'm crazy about it!

Again, her Sizzix machine made quick and accurate work cutting these motifs.

Show and tell continues tomorrow......