Thursday, February 28, 2013


After two cancellations due to bad weather, the Fiber Junkies finally met for a day of wet felting.
 A friend had a display of small felted balls, topped with acorn caps that we all admired....  So for most of January, during the morning 'forced march' with 'the husband', I started collecting acorn caps.
 We pooled our wool roving.....and placed prepared bowls of hot soapy water on terry towels, then set to work.
 It was more difficult to make the balls small enough to fit into the caps then you can imagine!
 .....But with restraint......we got the knack of using small amounts of fiber.
Cute, no???
I actually spent most of my time making more faux river replace the ones our dog 'Sooty' ate, as reported here.  After a few more sessions, I hope to have enough to create a new display which will be position out of reach from the ever hungry black lab!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Saturday was the final day of workshops for most of us instructors.  The evening concluded with 'Show and Tell".....where every teacher declared 'they had THE BEST students.  Oh no....they were so wrong.... I definitely had the best, most cooperative students.

Learning beading techniques in my workshops is fairly straight forward.  My hands are under a camera....projected to a large screen which allows students a close up view of the needle/thread/bead path.  The steps of each technique are broken down & thoroughly explained.....and they can be repeated as needed.

The only issue that sometimes slows down a student is vision!  Cheater glasses and a good bright light are a beader's best friend....  I'm guessing sales of eyeglasses will go up in the next few days.

My final day workshop's focus was the peyote stitch.

 "Agate" 7.5" x 5.5" by Mary Stori 2013
The focal point of this tiny resist dyed felted quilt is an agate...attached using Delica beads and the peyote stitch.
 Here's a round agate attached in a similar manner and further embellished with bead loops on the outside edge.  Click on photo for a larger image.
We began the day by learning the basics of the stitch by attaching flat mirrors and then embellishing them.
 After getting comfortable with the stitching pattern, students attached an agate and had fun embellishing it as well.
 These are all worked on Woolfelt (tm) which had been stabilized to reduce distortion.
 Aren't these great??
 Hummm.....some gals got a bit silly by late in the day....
 I'll bet you want to reach out and touch this....come on....I know you do.....
The simple addition of some 'branched fringe' (a technique found in several of my beading books) helps elevates the beauty of the agate.  I'm just sorry I didn't get a shot of every student's work.  

Girls you made me proud........and I know you all surprised yourselves too. Beading on fiber can be so impressive but not as difficult as it looks....... as you now know.  Thanks to all my students for playing with me for 3 days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


A perk I enjoyed at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival this year was arriving in plenty of time to get a sneak preview of the show.  The quilts were fantastic and inspiring.  Embellishments seemed to be featured on more and more quilts!

Whether they are embellished or not.....I had some favorites....hopefully you'll enjoy them as well.
"Spirit" by Georgia Spalding Pierce - Seattle WA

 The quilting was very well executed and totally perfect for the design.
 Each motif was designed with great care.

 "Coleus Up Close" by Sue Colozzi - Reading, MA
This piece was so visually appealing, you'd have sworn it was real.
"Jet Trails #9" by Marcia DeCamp - Palmyra, NY
This perfectly balanced design, both in color and scale of pattern stood out in the crowd!
 "Bellagio Afternoon" by Diana L. Campbell - Allentown, PA
I loved this felt as if you were in Italy just looking at it.
The intricate details such as this silk ribbon embroidery were outstanding!
 "Held Together By a Thread" by Susan Lenz - Columbia, SC
This wall quilt was part of the SAQA "I'm Not Crazy" exhibit.  I'm a big Susan Lenz fan. Her recycling/repurposing is always done with skill and excellent taste.

Detail -  How many of us would have totally discarded such a tattered quilt?  Susan turned it into a new form of art to be appreciated by a new generation.

Monday, February 25, 2013


As I feared, blogging during my time at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival turned out to be impossible.'s a wrap up of some of the highlights.
My trip began with a drive to Asheville to meet up with Judy Simmons and Linda Cantrell....both of whom were also teaching at the conference.  Stuffing Judy's car with all the needs of 3 teachers was quite a feat....I'm not sure we could have added a single item more.  This is the view from a side door.
.....and THIS IS the view from the back hatch.  Another layer of 'stuff' and Judy wouldn't have been able to see out the back window!
So.....after 7 1/2 hours of driving & non-stop chatter.....we arrived at the hotel where documenting of this trip Linda is doing here.
 Taking a photo of what you might wonder??  Well...that's myself on the left and Judy on the right as we were trying to convince Linda to push our cart toward the elevator so we could go back down to the car to pick up another load of luggage.
Instead, I pushed Linda!
 Happily, we were assigned rooms next to each other.  As I unpacked....a knock echoed on my door.  Here came the girls with the cutest slippers.....being on our feet all day teaching requires comfy evening foot wear.
 Adorable, no??

Ever wonder what a quilt show floor looks like during set up?  Piles of merchandise await busy vendors attention!

Tomorrow I'll share some of the fabulous quilts in the competition.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


If you aren't a bluegrass music won't give a hoot about this post.....except perhaps to smile at the thought of the famous words spoken by John Belushi in the movie "Blues Brothers".


Saturday night, at Bluegrass First Class you could have heard a pin drop before each of the artists of the Bluegrass Album Band were introduced....followed by a thundering applause and lots of happy memories for many folks.

Here's what Wikipedia says about this group:
Bluegrass Album Band was a bluegrass supergroup, founded by Tony Rice and J.D. Crowe in 1980.[1] Originally, there was no intention to build a group and the main reason for the collaboration was to record a solo album for Tony Rice. They found that this cooperation could work and the result was an album called The Bluegrass Album, released in 1981, with 5 more volumes of music to follow.[2] On September 5, 2012, they announced a reunion show to be held at Bluegrass First Class in Asheville, NC on February 16, 2013. This event will reunite the Bluegrass Album Band with their former manager and promoter, Milton Harkey.[3]


'The husband' and I were there.....what an accomplishment Milton Harkey achieved by 'getting the band back together'.  Alas, it was only for one night....they were to play for appx. an hour +.......happily with a standing room only crowd....and numerous standing ovations we were treated to the best in Bluegrass music for much longer.  It was 2:00 AM before I turned my light out Saturday night...oops...Sunday morning!

In the photo, are the original members of that first album....L to R.....Bobby Hicks playing the fiddle, Doyle Lawson on mandolin, Tony Rice (center on the guitar who has been VERY ill....and up to that morning, it wasn't guaranteed that he'd be well enough to attend, sadly it appears he may have done his last encore)....  Todd Phillips on the bass, and the new comer Josh Williams.....who got the opportunity of a lifetime, singing and playing with this band to replace the vocals that Tony Rice can no longer do.  Finally, there was JD Crowe on the banjo.

I know of one blog reader who will understand what a really big deal this Mary B. this post is for you.  I have now heard the best there ever was....and perhaps best there ever may be.....

So, before I get too sentimental here....let's lighten it up.  How about Doyle Lawson's jacket??  A country gentleman with style!  Here he's playing with his own current band in the afternoon. 

I was glad to be able to include Joe Dean (on the banjo) too.  Joe is now with Doyle's group after being with the very, very, internationally sought after group Dailey and Vincent.  Perhaps this is another "I can" example.  Despite the huge amazing success of the group he'd been in....he recently moved to Doyle Lawson's band.  They say Doyle has 'trained' more successful professional bluegrass artists than just about anyone.  Joe will expand his skills into different styles we are sure and will be a stand out for years to come.  BTW....he started playing with Daily & Vincent when he was only 18!!!  I know...he still looks 18!

By the time any of you who've gotten to the end of this 'personal love affair with Bluegrass' post......I'll be on my way to Hampton, VA to lecture and teach at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival with 'the husband and 'the dog' holding down the fort at home.

I hope I'll be able to post during my teaching stint but perhaps not since paying $12.95 for hotel room Internet access is not in my budget!  I'll keep a good photo journal going to share when I get home if necessary...and come and say howdie to me if you are attending.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Every February, Asheville, NC is host to my favorite Bluegrass Festival.  It's held in a small venue....only about 800 tickets are available.  We were fortunate to be seated this year in the second aisle!  Talk about up close and personal....and when I say 2nd row....I mean we were no more than 10-12' from the stage!

This post isn't so much about the music....which was fabulous as always.  Instead, I want to point out how the "I can" attitude can push help to achieve success.  Often in our frustration.....and I probably should be saying....often in MY frustration....that positive statement takes a back seat.  Eventually, I get there....but it's good for us to know that no matter what our passion in life is....saying "I can" is so vital.

The event is called, Bluegrass First Class....and that inspired my 'stamp' quilt "Bluegrass Forever".  The quilt is now the property of the show organizers and I was thrilled to see it publicly hanging at the registration desk of the host hotel.

 Every inch of this large convention hotel center is teaming with 'pickers'.  Right off the lobby a stage was set up where young and old non-professionals played to the delight of the attendees.

Many hotel room occupants leave their doors open for people to wander in and 'jam'....there is music everywhere at all time of the day and night.  However, there is a 'quiet wing' for those that actually wish to sleep at night!
 Back to the "I can" theme of this post.  This photo says it all.......
 This is the James King Band......a group I've seen many times and always especially enjoy the vocals of the band leader (center on the guitar).  One would never know by his professional presentation that he is struggling with the death of his daughter in a auto accident.
 Michael Cleveland's band....Flame Keepers is a high energy bluegrass group.  We've never seen this amazing fiddler player (Michael Cleveland himself!) not performing to his best...always a huge smile on his face.  He's blind.....and we think we have challenges to overcome!
 In an almost all male industry, Christen Scott Benson has won the highest awards in the industry for her skill on the banjo.  She plays with the Lonesome River Band.
And finally......'yes I can' is certainly important here.   The mandolin player on the left is now the son-in-law of the very, very famous Rhonda Vincent (right). let's all say....yes I can!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


My yard art post received so many comments, both on the blog and emails, that I thought it might be a good time to look in the rear view mirror.  Like or perhaps unlike many quilters, I am mostly self taught.  In fact early on, I had no idea even that there were such things as quilt guilds.  Thanks to my long time friend Kay Sorensen  I was introduced to the North West Suburban Quilt Guild (Chicago area).  The rest I guess is history.....I was hooked.

I began making traditional quilts....mainly two colors and when I finally branched out to scrap quilts....yup...I was still coordinating.  The sign of an A type personality I guess.

Eventually, my mind and thoughts began to wander since sitting at the machine making block after block was not all that enjoyable to me.  I started keeping a journal....NOT for profound thoughts....I really don't have any of those!  Rather, it was a way to document ideas and themes I found interesting.

Here's a page that has been featured in my lecture "Viewed With A Smile", which covers the making of many of my 3-D folk art pieces.  To this day, I still keep's a marvelous method to jump start ideas.

"Pulled From Every Direction"
As you can see, the crazy figure in the cartoon provided inspiration for me.  The piece is hand appliqued and hand quilted.  All of the pieces you see in this post are available for purchase here.....scroll through my shop to learn more details. All the photos here are clickable for a larger view.

Now that my teaching suitcases are getting ready to be zipped for the last time at the end of 2014.....these show pieces/published wall quilts are looking for new homes.

"Bacon & Eggs"
Both 'the huband' and myself are Wisconsinite's....even though we now live in NC.  While living there we often took long drives through that beautiful state.  On one such outing I noticed a sign posted along side the driveway of a farm.  It said, "Pigs & Chickens".  Immediately I thought...hummmm  Bacon & Eggs....and here is the result of that 15 second snap shot I took in my mind.

 "Here Come The Hybrids"
A fabric company approached me with an invitation to create a quilt for a traveling pay.....but free fabric..  They were so flattering about my work that yup....I said yes.  When I saw the fabric I nearly fainted.  

The exhibit was called "Enchanted Gardens"....but the style of the theme fabrics was Victorian.  Oh my...who did they think they were asking to make a quilt?!? I do/did folk art, not fussy Victorian.  However, the companion fabrics were great.....

And "Here Come The Hybrids" was the outcome.  We were not able to use any other fabric but theirs.....and I really disliked the border I covered it up with seed packages that I laminated and attached by machine.  The bulk of the motifs are 3-D, hand appliqued and embellished.

"Be Lighthearted"
 My twin sister was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2000. I made her a quilt featuring hearts for her hospital bed.  And.... without realizing it, I spent the next year making quilts that contained some form of hearts.  It really wasn't something I decided to do.....or like I said, even realized that trend at the time....

"Be Lighthearted" is mostly hand appliqued, embellished, and machine stitched. 

Now as I look at these quilts posted here, I am surprised at all the brown/dark and muddy colors I've chosen for such humorous themes.....  But, then again, if you look at my current work, I continue to be more comfortable working with lower contrast fabrics.....guess ya can't teach an old dog new tricks!