Saturday, December 31, 2011


WELCOME 2012......BRING IT ON......

This photo has been in my 'bead inspiration' file for quite some time.......wouldn't this be great fun to translate to beads??  Maybe this year I will!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a great guy! 

You'll have to indulge me......especially faithful reader Robbie who will be understandably cheering for the Lions this Sunday.  New Year's day will conclude NFL's regular season.  The Packers will play the Lions for the 2nd time this year.  Reflection is typical for the season.......though like all Packer fans, we hope our team will have a repeat Super Bowl win, but if not....really it's okay.  This remarkable team has provide us all with such a fabulous, exciting season, always exemplifing good sportsmanship and for that we are grateful.  

Paulette, another faithful reader of this blog shared the following was written by Jen Lada, a sports anchor at Fox 6 in Milwaukee, WI.  Truly, this says it all.....

 "Save Me a Spot" 

This job affords me some incredible opportunities. Being a member of the FOX  6 Sports team means I've been able to witness and report on events and 
 people that many can only admire from a distance. I never take these 
 situations for granted and sincerely appreciate being involved in whatever 
capacity each permits. 

 Monday marked just the most recent case as I had the unparalleled privilege 
to be a part of Aaron Rodgers charity event to benefit the MACC Fund, a  charity towards eradicating childhood cancer and blood disorders. 
 Scattered throughout the crowd of rabid Packers aficionados, were the 
 people who I consider the event's real MVPs. They are the families who've 
 been forced to deal with one of life's toughest sentences - the loss of a 

 Those who sprung for the tickets were not disappointed. In a world where 
 many athletes regurgitate canned and rehearsed responses, the Packers 
 quarterback was refreshingly candid. Aaron addressed a number of topics 
 with in-depth, honest reaction - even some that if reprinted and mass 
 distributed might raise some eyebrows. 

 Aaron stressed the importance of availability and accountability. In his 
 opinion, it is a player's responsibility to attend all of the team 
 activities as they are all intended to better the team as a whole. And 
 then, similarly, he addressed the importance of taking the heat/criticism 
 when one falls short of expectations and duties. 

 He is never nervous to take the field. Aaron is supremely confident in the 
 preparation he's put in during the week leading up to Sunday's match 
 up. The way the 2009 season ended was disappointing but his self-confidence 
 was not affected by the outcome. One of the toughest realizations was that 
 that combination of players would never take the field together again. He 
 likened the team to a family and admitted that conflict can and does 
 occasionally exist but they try to handle such situations with maturity and 
 He talked music and his love for tunes at a young age revealing that his 
 mom used to sing and play lullabies and country music when he was a child. 
 Aaron's record label Suspended Sunrise is a product of this passion but 
 also a contingency plan for life after football. His favorite song is Ben 
 Harper's 'Forever' and he's envious of John Mayer's guitar skills though 
 not his tabloid reputation. He appreciated my affinity for Keith Urban but 
 gave the audience a thumbs-down when I mentioned fellow country crooner 
 Kenny Chesney. 

 His favorite book is The Bible and he tries to read it every day not just 
 when life's challenges and struggles surface. 

 His favorite movie is The Princess Bride which he admits he's caught flack 
 for but says he and his childhood friends can recite every line from the 
 film and it is simply a great story. 
 Rodgers' answers to questions on this night were certainly admirable. And I 
 honestly didn't think I could respect Aaron more. But I was wrong. 
 My friend, the father of that young girl who passed away named Cheri, was 
 there that night. He was one of several attendees brought up on stage where 
 he caught a football thrown by the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. 
 He asked Aaron to sign the football he'd caught. He wondered if he'd make 
 it out to his daughter Cheri. It isn't shocking that Rodgers obliged. What 
 caught me off guard was the dedication he made. It wasn't until after Aaron 
 left that I first saw the autograph... and the simple yet sweet message 
 that brought tears to this father's eyes: 
 "To Cheri the angel. Save me a spot. - Aaron Rodgers" 
 I hope that Packers fans realize how lucky they are to have such an 
 upstanding young man leading their team on the field every weekend. I hope 
 they appreciate the challenges that were thrust upon him and acknowledge 
 the maturity with which he handled them. I hope they stand behind the kid 
 and respect him not only for his incredible talent but for his intelligence 
 and honesty, poise and compassion. 

 My job has afforded me the chance to watch Aaron Rodgers play football for 
 the last few seasons. But I am truly thankful for the opportunity to see 
 the other side of this impressive young man. And pass on some of what I 
 witnessed to you. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


May you have as much fun as you can before someone makes you stop!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


For me, creating isn't a race, nor do I compete in shows any longer either.  Instead, inspiration spurs me, whether that comes from an amethyst cabochon, a piece of hand-dyed wool, the design of a screen printed fabric, an object from nature, or whatever.......

Do you keep track of the number of quilts you've made?  I've never counted them because for me it's the process and the results that matter, not the volume.

We all view this creative past time so differently which is why it's so easy to become passionate.  Each of us can fit it into however we live our lives! 

So as we are nearing the close of 2011, I too have added the last stitch to what will be my final work of this year.  I have stacks of materials, several other projects in process, and lots of ideas to kick off 2012.  Don't YOU??

 AMETHYST 8.5" x 8"
Hand painted cotton, silk, scrim, hand embroidered, featuring
an amethyst cabochon and beadwork.

Available for purchase here


Saturday, December 24, 2011



......and a special thank you all for keeping me company as I babble away on this blog.  Tomorrow will begin my 5th year as a blogger....oh my.....did I really have that much to say?  I guess so......and it's been fun sharing it with you!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Really, I hadn't planned on beading the outside edge....I just can't help it.  I've guided students for years and years by telling bead it like ya mean it.....

Another reason for the decision to bead the edge.....I'm a SUPER perfectionist.....does it show??  So once the facing was stitched in place, it became apparent that turning the corners of this painted fabric caused them not to be perfectly square.  Yes, I trimmed and graded the seam allowance, however this is a small piece, appx. 8" sq. and the fabric is super stiff, yet some what stretchy if that makes any sense.  

Beading the edges should mask the slight imperfections in the outside edges.  Hummm.....that's just another reason to bead!  I'll post the final view soon.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


For now, I've managed to avoid any more mistakes!

 I've harped for years to my students about my motto...."that mistakes are merely design opportunities."  They are!!  Instead of beading this cabochon surrounded with an even count peyote stitch growing toward the center of the stone, the pattern was worked toward the outside.  Thus covering the offending areas of glue that escaped.  More decorative beading techniques were added to acheive more interest and to help contain the cabochon.

 Next, hand embroidery was worked around some of the painted splotches.

 .......and a few additional fabric accents help to balance the design.

 Darn...I just realized I should have cropped this photo before posting.....sorry about that.  I believe you can click on the photo to get a better view.

Though I generally don't use a facing to finish my work, this piece seemed to need a nice clean edge finish.  It appears a bit wonky right now because the facing is only pinned in place....ready for some hand stitching this evening.

Wrong side......the corner triangles are slipped beneath the facing which will allow a thin rod to be positioned for hanging purposes....thus eliminating the need to add the 'traditional' sleeve.

Perhaps beads will be the final touch along the edges......stay tuned.... I'll post a photo of the finished piece shortly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Can this be happening again??   

 Well...darn it all.......after the spray basting glob momentarily discombobulated my design efforts, I was SUPER careful on this next step.  Apparently, not careful enough though.  Before a Cabochon can be beaded, it needs to be temporarily held in place.  I do that with several dots of glue.  

I said 'dots'......tiny dots to avoid the glue from spreading once the stone is positioned on the fabric.  Gulp....  Another design opportunity is ahead.

The yellow square rescued the first mistake and a wider beading pattern is now covering the excess glue.  This cabochon is going nowhere, it's secured soooo well.

Now let's see what else can happen....oh...perhaps I'll cut a hole in the fabric....let's hope not.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


No, I haven't drowned in a sea of green tears after the Packer's loss on Sunday.  Okay, so they lost, at least it wasn't to da Bears!  Now they can concentrate on the big bring it on.....the Pack stumbled a the loss out of the onto bigger goals!

So, my heartfelt Packer Backer statement is out of the way....back to sewing...... 

Recently, I posted this pile of potential materials, along with two others, as I pulled together items for several new ideas I wanted to explore.

 I decided to start with this one.....I have no clue where I got this small (very stiff) painted fabric.  The colors are totally out of my comfort are the materials I've selected to work with.  That's good.....growth isn't possible without trying to expand knowledge.

So, after literally an hour + shuffling around pieces to highlight this cabochon, a plan was beginning to emerge.  Normally I thread baste a non-fusible stabilizer to the back of my work to support the bead work.  In this case, since needling is a pain, I opted to spray baste it to the back.  Oops.....I'm reminded WHY I don't like spray basting.....  A big glob shot out and of course migrated right to the area where I'd hand embroidered two hand dyed silk rectangles.  

Naturally, washing this junk out didn't there it is.....ah ha......a design opportunity?!?

 This is how I planned to position the cabochon....

 ....but I considered relocating the stone to cover the stain......

.....nah, after studying the design, I realized it was off balance so instead I'm now playing with tiny pieces of various hand dyed silks....thinking that a touch of color over the stain might change the mistake into an inspirational design.

Let's see what happens next....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

OH NO!!!!

Halftime.....Packers o Chiefs 6



Today is such an appropriate day for this post.......why??  Well if you are a football fan you know why.....the Pack is back (though for some of us....the Pack is always alive and well, no matter what their record is.) Today all us Cheesehead/Packer backers will hold their collective breathe as the Packers try for a 14-0 record.

SANTA CAME EARLY TO THE STORI HOUSEHOLD......AND HE TOO WEARS GREEN.  We give thanks to our very, very thoughtful kids for such a perfect Christmas gift!.

 So, we get this UPS envelope.......

 .......Looking all legal and official......

......and behold.........what do we see......why, it's a GREEN BAY PACKER STOCK SHARE.  We are now official owners of the Packers!!!!

The Green Bay Packers, Inc. has been a been a publicly owned, nonprofit corporation since Aug. 18, 1923.  A total of 4,750,937 shares is owned by 112,158 stockholders, none of whom receives any dividend on the initial investment.  In fact, in this 5th (ever) round of stock sales more than 1K of stock was sold in 11 minutes. It's THE ONLY publicly owned NFL franchise in the country and that will assure the Packer will always remain in Green Bay, hopefully playing on real turf in an open air stadium (where football should be played)!!

Of course it's a glorified, yet treasured, piece of memorabilia since it can't be sold or traded. So what....we are OWNERS!!!  However, it does entitle the holder to purchase special "owner" items from the Packer Pro Shop, attend the annual stock holders meeting, AND purchase an "owners" Super Bowl Ring......just another reason to cheer on the Pack!  2011 Super Bowl Champs, I like the 'ring' of that!


Saturday, December 17, 2011


It's such a busy time of the year....and not conducive to lots of studio time. I'm in the midst of a large PTA challenge project that for the moment does not require handwork.  

Perhaps like many of you....I NEED handwork....feel lost without it in the evenings.  Ideas come easily to me....but yesterday when I vowed to gather supplies and get started on something....I found myself pulling piles and piles of materials and not able to decide what direction to take.

Here's my starting points.......your guess is as good as mine which one I'll pick up!  But I'll keep you posted....

Friday, December 16, 2011


All you faithful readers of this blog already know what a hotel snob I am..... I really appreciate a four (okay 5 is better) star hotel!  Well, who doesn't?  I've had a silly routine I follow ever since I started travel teaching that makes me laugh when in the worst places and more appreciative when housed in the best.

Before unpacking, and not necessarily in this order.....I check to make sure the toilet tank isn't running (which will drive me NUTS at night), make sure some fool hasn't set the clock radio to wake me up at 3:00 AM (unless of course I'm housed so far away from the airport that my wake up call for my flight home would be at that time...not unheard of).  I also make sure the hairdryer works (not a good thing to learn at 7:00 AM), that the AC/Heat work, that the TV remote is present, that there are hangers in the closet, that the drapes can be closed without leaving that strip of light from the parking lot. (But...that's why I pack two clothes hold the drapes together!!)  You get the picture and perhaps I should stop admitting my craziness!  However, the first glance and sniff test might cause me to back out of the room and head back to the desk to be assigned another room. 

Okay so you get the picture......I make no excuses for my particular attitude...and will out and out refuse to stay in a motel with outsides entrances....a safety concern esp. for women staying alone.

 So this brings me to the subject of my blog today.....  My pal Connie gave me this cute book.  
 Click on the picture to enlarge the can purchase your own here.

I guess one could amuse themselves for hours with the suggestions in this book such as: Sugar Zen Garden (using sugar from the coffee tray), Soap Scrimshaw (carving figures into the bar of soap), and Shadow Animals (use a light source, a blank wall, and your hands.)

However, you'll need to be staying at a high end hotel to participate in many of the fun activities.  For instance: Minibar chess, Dental Floss Pom-poms (dental floss has never been provided in a Hampton Inn!), Room Service Memory Game (cover the tray with a towel and count to thirty....write down everything you can remember that was on the tray).  

A really funny one is how to make a Balcony Scarecrow...sit him on your bed, at your desk, or use a chair and place on your balcony.  It's created by using the guest hotel robe, a pillow case stuffed with a towel for the head, two more pillow cases stuffed with towels for the legs, fitted with hotel slippers....accessorize with an extra pair of eye glasses, and baseball cap or wig if you have one!

I've been subjecting hotel's to my own 5 star rating system for I have added items to consider when doing my there a hotel robe and slippers?!?!  Thanks Connie for the fun!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The holiday season creates just another reason for special gatherings for the small fiber groups I belong to.

Yesterday L.I.N.T. (Ladies in New Textiles) held our Christmas very special tradition is the exchange of hand made ornaments/gifts.

It's done via random drawing so I consider myself very luck to have selected the bag that contained this lovely ornament.  What a fabulous idea for creating an unusual and attractive gift.  It's a glass ornament filled with hand dyed wool roving!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My friend Jackie has the knack of finding the greatest bovine related greeting cards.....seriously, I have stacks of them for every season & reason that she's lovingly sent.  Thank you Jackie!!!

The message inside:  Have an udderly Merry Christmas!!!  Now if that doesn't just say it all!!

Monday, December 12, 2011


What a great time it is in Packer nation.......with a 13-0 record and a playoff spot secured.

We are all so proud of MR. RODGERS.....who is such a class act.  The tributes keep coming and words are failing to describe this very special man and very special time.  If you are a here for your smile for today. 

Like most Packer fans....of course I'd like them to have an undefeated season...BUT.....the Super Bowl is the real prize....fingers crossed....

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Our PTA Christmas party always includes a white elephant exchange.....the process of which is a game where wrapped presents are chosen using a number system...stealing each other's open gifts is allowed when your number is called (instead of selecting a wrapped gift).  A gift can only move three times in each round of numbers gets wild!

The gifts range from nice items we all covet to the ridiculous and this year to Xrated.  Yes, I said Xrated!  I'm saving the best for on...

 To kick off the festivities...this was one of the first gifts opened.......we are still laughing.....

Perhaps you can imagine what it's like to have 13 women together....all talking at I never did get the story behind what may be a vintage clutch purse....and don't know who ended up with it, but I'd have gladly taken it home!

 I had the first number and in the bag I chose there were some beautiful marbleized fabrics made by Judy Simmons, plus some silly holiday head bands.  Connie Brown stole this gift from me......and being Connie...she immediately put on the two head bands and further embellished them with the boa that was also in the package.  She's wearing a light up Xmas tree bulb necklace that was "won" last year at our exchange.  You see why I love this group!!!  Such fun...

 This pattern was among a dozen others one of our members put together in her gift box.  I couldn't believe my eyes....what a small world.  The "No Sweat" shirt was designed by Kay Sorensen, a long time friend, whose work I admire & who guided me into joining my first quilt guild.  It was Keepsake Quilting's #1 selling pattern for a long time!

 So...then Lynne opens a gift containing one of those tacky crocheted baskets that was probably intended to hide toilet paper....but wait, that's not the funny part. She hauls out a painted plaster Father Christmas.....which was the brunt of some joking as well......

 ....and then......before we could recover from our laughing......our hostess runs into a different room and brings back one that she had on display.....awkward!

 Now the Xrated item......Linda Cantrell brought this doozy......and you can order your own from the website stated in the photo above.

 I've been trying for days to decide whether or not to show every detail but in the end I'm going to use words, rather than a photo.  So....what is it??  Mr. Hunk is on an ironing board cover......when the heat from a iron goes over the disappears......and ya, you get it....something else appears.  Gen ended up with this gift....we know she's still ironing!


Friday, December 9, 2011


It might be a busy time of the year but PTA members aren't idle!

 Lynne has been having fun dyeing pin whale cordoroy that she'll sew into pants. She found it easier to find the colors she likes to wear by dyeing them herself.....clever!

 Georgia Bonesteel is still crazy about her chickens......a fun hobby she started about a year ago.  This quilt will be her entry into our exhibit "Inspired By" which will premier in Feb. at the MidAtlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton Roads, VA.

 She also completed a HUGE quilt.......and quilted it on her Bernina home sewing machine!

 This wording was on the fabric.....we don't know what it says but love that she included it.

 Kate has the top of her "Inspired By" piece finished too......sorry I can't recall the name of her artist......though I's a stunning piece.

 We got Kate to model this fur trimmed vintage wool coat.  Judy brought it to share.....apparently young adults are having theme parties where they bring & exchange vintage clothing.

 This is Barbara's "Inspired By" piece.....again if you will be attending the MidAtlantic sure to seek out our exhibit.....13 artists have created work that were inspired by 13 famous artists.

Jack of all trades - Gen - made this sparkly's embellished with sequins....and was deliciously soft and cozy.