Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Many bloggers use this time of the year to reflect upon the year that has passed and of course to look forward.  My 25+ years of travel teaching are now a memory....very good memories in fact, but hopefully just a spring board to what's ahead.

It's not necessary to offer a list of past or future here......instead....I'd like to wish you a very successful, healthy, and happy NEW YEAR! (OH...and GO PACKERS!)

And perhaps take time to do a little partying......

          PARTY ANIMALS  Mary Stori © 1996
46" X 46"
Hand appliqued, hand quilted, 3-D and mixed media embellished.
Private Collection - Prescott, AZ

Have you set goals for 2015?  Where will you be 12 months from now???

Monday, December 29, 2014


Several months ago the Fiber Junkies spent a day altering fabric by adhering paper with a glue medium, followed by many layers of paint.

In order to allow sufficient drying became a two part project. I have to admit my commercial mottled blue/white fabric didn't inspire me much....nor did the paper images I chose to work with.
However, that's what's soooo great about this group. On day two, with encouragement and suggestions from fellow Junkies....we all got into the mixed-media spirit!

It's now been glued, washed with painted, repainted, and drawn with paint.
After sandwiching the layers, the painted branches were machine stitched.  I kept wanting to do more, but really....there are times when the piece says....I'M FINISHED.
A narrow dark binding was planned, yet after auditioning several....I decided upon the unusual choice of using a light colored print.  It was a bit tooooo white, but a quick dip in hot tea was just enough to make this fabric work.

A POPPY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS  13.5" x 16"  © 2014
Mixed-media on cotton, machine quilted. Text reads...
Meet Your New Secret Ingredient -  UPGRADE -  Most Wanted.

This will be the last sale item offered in available pieces here.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

GAME DAY......GO PACK GO......

What we've waited for all year.....the final match up....Packers vs Lions...the division championship is on the line.  It's a home game for the PACK.....their win record at Lambeau Field is very positive.
No Robbie....after miracle endings all year by the Lions....there won't be one today!!!
 Saint Vincent will be watching over the 'boys'
What can I say.....he's the greatest!!!  In case you aren't keeping up with the important things....#12 is our QB......Aaron Rodgers......

Our flags (yes multiple) are flying, our clothing is laid out, Sooty will be donning her Packer jersey....and we will be glued to the TV come game I type this the Kohl's Countdown clock has that at  8 hours  21 mins. and 49 seconds....

GO PACK GO.....    GO PACK GO.....    GO PACK GO....   GO PACK GO.....

Thursday, December 25, 2014


With astonishment, I realized that my first blog post was Christmas Day 2007.  While visiting our son in CA, his (now) SIL helped me set up my blog that day while the rest of the family was either preparing our feast or watching football!

It began as a means to keep in touch with students and became a helpful method of documenting my work as well.  My posts have remained fairly constant, about 20 per month, with a total approaching 1,900.

Now that my travel teaching retirement has arrived, I expect to continue blogging....perhaps not as frequently??  Hard to say right now.  But I wanted to take a moment to thank you....faithful readers for giving me a reason to write!

I'll be hanging out a lot more now in my home studio located in the beautiful Crabtree mountain valley community in Western North Carolina.  My goals have changed since 2007, focusing now on creating fiber art to sell.  I'm sure it will be as rewarding as the previous 25+ years.

May the season bring you peace, joy, hope and happiness. 


Monday, December 22, 2014


What a special treat for us to bring home a small handmade gift, made by each member of our group.  We are supposed to keep these tokens small.....but of course each year I do believe the gifts have gotten a bit more elaborate. 
Tempting pile, isn't it??  This year my gifts were presented in small felt bags...I cut out the initial of each recipient from red felt and tacked them onto the bag with decorative thread.
 Kate made us tags and note cards with some of the paper fabric we enjoyed learning how to make together.  Lucky us....she loves the process and often makes gifts using her paper fabric. 
 Sorry for the blurry photo.....we each got an apron from Denny.....all the better to save our clothing during our dye days!  She found the color chip fabric at a fabric shop!  It came in this hand-made bag.
 Believe it or not....the fabric for this bag started out in a package of white cotton rags from Home Depot. Denny dyed them!
 Gen....our true Jack (sorry Jill) of all trades....made each of us a knitted hat.  I didn't get photos of everyone modeling their....but here's Denny.
 ......and Kate
 ......and Val
 Clever Judy.....she used Dyna-flow to dye Perle cotton for each of us.
 .....Val found a use for the quilted fabric she painted (during our house painting day....for a technique none of us were sure we'd like or find helpful....that truly hasn't been the case).  Each of us received a small handmade book.
 .....some of the pages were printed, painted, or stenciled....and of course some were left blank for us to add our thoughts/designs.
Because all of us have gotten a bit smitten with making paper cloth....Val added a variety of print napkins for us to play with.
This is a credit card holder.  An example of my gift.....each featured a different color scheme and design.

We always spend time during our December meeting to make a list of the 'goals' (techniques) we'd like to cover the following year.  Thanks to 'Professor Denny'.....we had a two page - single spaced list.....we will be busy for years to come.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


We gathered at Judy's house for our 2014 Fiber Junkies holiday meeting.....
Besides being such a gracious hostess, she goes all out with her decorations, making it a wonderful festive day. 
We are in the heart of Christmas tree farms.....this live tree was a beauty.
We feasted like we haven't eaten in weeks.  Our menu was topped off by Denny's yule was as delicious as it looked. To her credit....she willingly admits that she 'made it' by picking up the phone.....
 Our show and tell was pretty much a Denny show this was just one great piece after another!  She utilized some dyed/printed fabrics to make large rocks.
 Here is a close up of the 'mortar'!!
 This is such a charming piece......but it was the textured tree bark that awed me.
 I'll interrupt the 'Denny show' with this marbled piece made by Kate. She wasn't thrilled with the original design, so she brought it the day we painted completed/quilted pieces with house paint.  After numerous applications using several colors, plus highlighting with some metallic was truly transformed. Her trademark machine quilting elevates the entire work. 
 I wish I had photos of the dozen plus looks this piece had.  Denny brought it to our paint day.....but it had already been stitched, dyed, painted, stenciled, and so on.  By the end of the paint day it was BLACK....seriously......she kept adding paint the entire day and was so unhappy with the results.....she decided to paint the whole thing black.  And...honestly it didn't look bad.  After taking it home....she got after it again.....taking a sander and removing some of the layers.  Then she continued with more surface design techniques.  Finally when she was was covered with polyurethane. 
Since I'm bragging on Denny......please take a moment to really meet her here.  She's a retired psychiatric nurse and feminist therapist.  Recently she has focused on a series of 'healing' quilts.

Now....this is truly brilliant.....her quilts are LARGE and heavy....and nearly impossible to easily transport as a group so she turned to Spoonflower.  She had the images of the quilts printed onto individual pieces of fabric.  She sashed and stitched them into a managable size wall quilt. (Note how large it comparing her holding it.)
But she didn't stop there.....she made a 2nd one about half the size......what a GREAT idea to preserve her quilts! (This one she's holding it by the top with two fingers of each hand!)

 And finally, isn't this a great portrait?  Denny has decided to scale back her vast collection and this piece (if I recall correctly with all 6 of us talking at once)'s going to the model.

....Come back see our Christmas gift exchange.

Friday, December 19, 2014


 I've repeated this so often.....but it bears saying again.....I'm not that fond of piecing....and I really don't enjoy machine quilting.....

With that said, I must use up some of the fabrics I've been hoarding for years!
 These are Primrose Gradations hand-dyed fabrics, purchased at least 10 years ago. (No longer in business)  Love, love, love the colors and the quality of the fabric.  However, the dyes were never washed out completely or set properly.  It's such a hassle to now go back and treat 1/4 yd. or even 1 yard cuts.  

So.....this is an experiment....I plan on doing that AFTER the top is pieced...if it doesn't work out well....I'll report back.
I blogged about this patchwork design approach here  On that quilt I used two different sizes of rectangles (one large - one smaller).  However, because most of the fabrics I wanted to use for this quilt were not large pieces, I decided to cut as I went....making the sizes to fit the spaces. 

The idea was to avoid having the seams of the narrow horizontal setting strips line up.  Yes, this took a bit longer but it enabled me to efficiently use a lot of those smaller hunks of fabric.
Here's the is actually straight but I have a devil of a time obtaining that in a photograph.  That's because my design wall is a office divider that leans against the wall......

This will probably be the last it won't change much with the straight line machine quilting I'm planning to do.  

Check out what others have been up to this week:  Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday,  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Some of you may already know this....but prior to quilting, I was immersed in cooking.  I still love to cook, but with only the 2 of us, aging bodies and all......elaborate meals don't often fit our lives.
However, we had a guest so that was excuse enough.....while the meal was cooking, the dogs played and played.  Our weather has been GREAT.....nip in the air of is winter.  But daytime temps. have been mid. 60's.....I'll take it.  This IS what we expected moving here....though the past couple of winters seemed like we were still living in Wisconsin!
 This was a new experiment for me.....baking a head of cauliflower!  It was smothered with a mixture of olive oil, dark mustard, and crushed fresh garlic.  Baked for an hour at 425 degrees.....
When removed, it was topped with a mixture of mustard, chopped fresh parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  I snapped a photo before the final topping melted.....and AFTER I began cutting it into wedges.  (Thus the messy looking dish.)
 Our protein was my newest favorite, a burgundy/black pepper boneless leg of lamb.  (Purchased at Trader Joe's....finally there's one in Asheville!!)  Even though I'm not much of a meat eater.....this is fabulous.  

We cooked it for 48 hrs. in our Sous Vide at 130 degrees.  If you aren't familiar with this equipment...I'm not surprised.  This home model is fairly new to the market.  It's a take off of what restaurants use.  Haven't you ever wondered how on earth you can order a medium rare piece of standing rib roast and it's delivered to your table in a short amount of time...cooked perfectly??  Commercial kitchens use these 'water bath' cooking machines...which can cook and hold items vacuumed sealed for several days at the exact correct temperature...never overcooking!  

It's a bit of a learning curve to begin with.....but we've never had better tasting meat.
One negative can be the appearance....since the meat isn't roasted in the typical fashion.  We now have that problem solved.  'The husband' under-cooks' roasts very slightly.....removes from the water bath and finishes off on the wood fired grill.  It improves the taste, crust and look of a roast.  Sorry.....he was nearly finished carving before I could take a picture.
 As long as we were feasting.....potatoes made an appearance too.  A food item we rarely have anymore.  Here, thinly sliced raw potatoes are arranged on a foil covered shallow baking pan....drenched with garlic infused olive oil....salt, pepper, and a tad of fresh rosemary.  

Baked @ 425 - covered with foil for 45 mins. and uncovered the last 15 mins.
Yummmmmm!  I'll be walking twice today.....

Monday, December 15, 2014


Our PTA (Professional Textile Artists group) goes all out for our annual Christmas gathering.  Our gracious hostess was Barbara this year....
We arrive early.....arms full of packages, food, show and tell, books to get the idea.  We do a white elephant exchange that always generates much laughter.  Some 'gifts' are desired....others not so much.   Wrapped packages are collected and.......
 ..........each of us draws a number from a bag.  Starting with #1 - that person selects a gift from the pile.   
.......Clearly Cathy is happy with her gift (which happens to be my contribution....not exactly a 'white elephant'....but my Christmas decorating days are over so this guy needed a new home.)  #2 now can either select a gift from the pile or 'steal' any of the previous gifts opened......and so on until all the gifts have been distributed. Cathy's glee was short lived as the Santa was 'stolen' by #3 or #4.  A specific gift can only be 'stolen' twice during that single round.
Connie loves vintage clothing and has gotten so creative utilizing textiles that we might pass up.  Here she models her Christmas table cloth skirt!!
Dort makes a "use it up" scrap quilt about every two's astonishing to see how she utilizes so many different fabrics into one cohesive quilt!
The PTA members......unfortunately, 3 of our members were unable to attend....and I took the it's not quite complete.  We look so well behaved don't we?? 

Some members use our white elephant exchange as a means to clean out their sewing rooms.  Here Georgia Bonesteel models an 'oh so once stylish' apron that was one of the items in the package she selected. Immediately, our vintage clothing stylist Connie called dibs on it!
Linda Cantrell (left) is trying to retrieve the purple sweater from her package which Lynne tried on and decided to keep for herself!!
You see why many items are called 'white elephants"???
Judy is modeling a painted paper cut accordion hat that was in my looks adorable on her.  Hats give me a headache and this one was super tight...guess it had to be or it'd fly off if worn outdoors.  Actually the construction and design were quite amazing.

The unwanted items have a way of showing up throughout the year....left in members sewing rooms etc. for them to discover when the group has departed for home.  Or even the following year as part of the next exchange.

I'm counting my blessings to have been included in this group of fabulously talented, generous, kind friends.