Saturday, January 31, 2015


Okay....I promise no long drawn out wake for my teaching career......but I found this yesterday as I was cleaning out my 'teaching closet' and decided to share it.  Never was there a goal to actually color in all the states I visited, but as a newbie instructor oh so many years ago, it was a fun exercise that I continued as the years ticked by.  Seriously, those first two years I thought each invitation would be the I just couldn't believe my good luck....

So....including the more difficult ones to get......Alaska and Hawaii....I've taught in all but three states and a dozen or more countries.  I've always kidded that if an airline ever stranded me somewhere....I'd check my extensive email or phone contact file and and start asking to be rescued from a long night on an airport floor! 

Friday, January 30, 2015


 Now that I've been officially retired for about a month......I find myself in a restless and an unfocused state of mind.  So...'note to self'.....get on with the rest of your life!!

Okay....I'm moving in that direction.....(with some questioning...grinning.) It's good to reflect and even better to realize that moving from my mini career of cookbook author to the wide, wide world of quilting was nothing short of a miracle.  I had no expectations; my interest started as a obviously there would be no disappointments.  My needle became a magic carpet....taking me places I would never have dreamed of....making new friends whose paths I would never have crossed if I'd have stayed in the kitchen.  

A short look back.......
 My first published book.....what??  Yes a children's cookbook.
The first of my 6 first published quilt books.
The payoffs were spectacular!!!  'Have suitcase....will travel' became my motto for 25+ years.  Yup...that's me in my suitcase in a hotel room in Paris in 2001. 
I truly wish I had blogged earlier......then I'd have had a record of this event. In 2002 I was asked to model this traveling tu-tu....and of course I felt the need to twirl.  A member of the guild I was visiting made a tu-tu (why?? If there was a reason I don't recall)....apparently she took it to various places and asked people to wear it while she snapped a picture.
Some of the most rewarding teaching trips were cruises...first as a guest teacher for Doreen Speckmann, then after her passing in 1999, as the host.  How I ever taught beading with paper or a white board, drawing with various colors of markers, is a tribute to the quality of eager students!

And learn they did!!!
The whole way I taught changed completely with the aid of a digital projector and the ability to stream a live feed. There's no turning back on my decision to equipment is now owned by someone else....a step I needed to take otherwise I know in two months I'd probably be back on the quilting highway.
My last book.

Yesterday I closed down my website and will now maintain only this blog and my blog gallery shop. (A special thank you to Nanette Zeller, webmaster supreme who is also an excellent art quilter.)  

With the exception of this book and my DVD, all the others are out of print but can be found in the resale market online (link on side bar), as ebooks, or print on demand from the publishers.  My goal is to continue to create.....with a fervent hope that I will be able to sell enough to allow me to keep creating!!!

Follow these links to see what others have been up to this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,  Crazy Mom Quilts, Whoop, Whoop Friday, and Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I know....this isn't fiber related.....however it IS ART!!!  And to look at it puts sunshine in my heart.....esp. today as we are stuck on our mountain with a temperature at 25 degrees, howling winds, blowing snow, and about an inch or more of ice on our roads.
Fortunately we got home in the nick of time yesterday from a trek to Daytona, FL for the Rolex 24 Hour race, beating the storm by about an hour.  The Porsche Club of America is celebrating its 60 year....the largest car club in the world.  Porsche has taken 2 years in secret to build 60 special (one of a kind...or one of 60 if you get my drift) cars.  This one was unveiled this past weekend and one lucky PCA member will win it.  The remaining cars are available for purchase after FIRST winning a lottery for the chance to buy one.  $$$......Don't ask...for sure it's wayyyy beyond our financial ability!!

Other useless news....Dr. McDreamy....of Grey's Anatomy - who now also owns Dempsey Motorsports and races a soon to be available, apparently a divorce is in the works.  

Okay...that's it.......back to the studio....hope to have something to share soon.

Friday, January 23, 2015


 National Nonwoven's designer program has provided me with some sneak previews of their new products.  Years ago I fell in love with Xotic Felt, a Bamboo/Rayon blend.  The colors are fabulous and the material is like working with butter....only sturdier of course!

This product inspired the following two pieces......

The 3 still nearly full boxes of Japanese fabrics gifted to me by my friend Helen are quietly awaiting further inspiration.  I've already made several lap quilts but wanted to try my hand at a small wall art piece.  

I'm not accustomed to working with such busy prints, esp. with a smaller scale I'm treading in choppy waters, but enjoying the challenge.  The plan was to create a 'background'....blending the prints as much as possible and to feature a high contrast design.  Ta-Da.....bamboo....been there, done that, and I can do it again!

Since I don't draw....visits to the Internet help guide me.  Since my pieces are intended to feature stylized designs....tracing or duplicating motif exactly isn't necessary or desired.  This photo was my jumping off point. I wanted to have a light/sun image represented, as well as the silhouette of bamboo.  
 Naturally I needed to buff up my motifs so they'd show up on the busy fabric!
The background was machine quilted with metallic thread. The bamboo was machine appliqued.
BAMBOO IN SILHOUETTE  20.5" x 24"  © 2015
Commercial cottons, machine appliqued & quilted. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


It's okay......I'm done feeling sad about the devastating Packer my humble opinion....Seattle didn't win as much as the Packers lost.  Like they say, there's always next year! 

My good friend Lynn emailed me this photo taken at the Milwaukee totally says it all.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Our Florida PTA member (Professional Textile Artists) is in Asheville doing some house sitting.  We are thrilled to have her back with us.  And, were delighted to visit the showcase home she's minding.  Oh my overload.  The owners have an excellent collection.
One piece that caught my attention was a framed felted design made by Chad Alice Hagen, felter supreme.
The owner is a felter's one of her stunning creations.  It's followed by several photos of examples from their collection.

Is this clever or what......fruit crates turned into art!!!
This piece was created by PTA member Barbara looks like it was made for this location......though it wasn't.  Great art fits anywhere!!
Just like most quilt guild and tell can become the highlight of any gathering.  Lynne has been on a hand-dyeing is just some of what she's created. 
Barbara was playing with black and white.....I know whatever comes of these blocks will be fabulous.
Kate reworked a piece of marbled fabric (that she felt was disappointing)...It was totally transformed bu using diluted house paint.  Amazing, no???
Here's a detail of her trademark tiny FM bubble stipple quilting.
Judy's daughter took a liking to a fabric collection in a quilt shop....she's not a quilter so guess who put the top together.....Mom of course!
Leigh Anne awed us all with this finished project from last year's PTA retreat.  It was inspired by Charlie Harper's designs.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Seattle 28.       Packers  22.     We blew it!   Ugh!

GO PACK GO!!!!!!

I suspect the majority of you faithful readers are wishing football season would be over so my posts would concentrate on fiber endeavors....and not our beloved Packers.

NOT yet.....with any luck after today, we'll have one more to go.....the grand daddy of them all....the Super Bowl....please oh please..... can be sure I'll be needing oxygen today as Aaron Rodgers and the boys take on the Seattle Seahawks.


Fingers crossed everyone!!!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015


NO....Retirement hasn't made me's just been a busy 'life gets in the way' week.  My hands aren't idle though.....

This summer, the Fiber Junkies spent a day painting ugly duckling previously unwanted projects using diluted house paint.  However, we never seem to stick to our original focus.  Judy shared some unaltered canvas that she brought to play with and this is what I did with it.
 Perhaps this wasn't the best thought out idea....but I decided to complete the design with hand embroidery.....wayyyy more time consuming than I expected.
 So, here I am....still stitching away.....actually quite thrilled that I have evening handwork.  I must admit....I'm beginning to like the 'before' look, rather than how the 'after' is looking.  Hopefully after it's complete, it will all come together.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Among my evergrowing list of techniques that intrigue me was a method of creating texture by painting with beaten egg whites.  I read about it on Ann Scott's blog.....a short description that sounded fairly straight forward.  We are fond of Hollandise Sauce.....which yields leftover egg whites.....what better reason to play with them.

Here are my results......which I'm grading as a big fat F.  
 Beginning with a piece of previously dyed fabric.....of course I have NO idea what method I employed!!  I really need to attach notes....but then again.....does it matter?  Next, using about 1 egg was hand whipped until frothy.  Ann suggested using a small amount of water along with the paint color of your choosing.  Normally, when beating egg whites for food consumption....water is an enemy....but I added it anyway along with a small amount of white paint.
 Using the whisk.....the foam was spread onto the fabric.

......and left to dry.  Big smiles at this point.....
 Next another egg white was used, along with green paint.  This time I suspect I added either too much water or too much paint...or both.
.......The mixture foamed but fizzled out almost immediately when placed on fabric.
 Next in line to paint was this cotton print.
 .......being extra careful......this time I achieved a nice consistency of foamy paint to work with.
 ......and again.....I'm smiling.....
.....And then.......I heat set this one and washed it. (Rather than washing it first and heat setting as Ann mentioned.)  Yes, there was a faint odor of eggs, but only slightly. The first thing I noticed was that the texture was flaking off as I heat set it. Now I'm NOT smiling.......once it was hand washed......I have nothing left but smears of paint.

The other two fabrics weren't successful either, despite altering the washing/heat setting steps.  Chalk this up to a fun, hopeful day that will allow me to move along to another subject.  Normally, I'd dig in like a bulldog and figure out how to make this work.....( I suspect the portion of paint needs to be greater)......alas....I'm not sure how I'd use the fabric onward....smiling again.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I am now certain....I have a healthy heart....what a football game!!!  Yeah, whooooooo hooooooooo next stop.....Seattle........


Saturday, January 10, 2015


We are a little more than 24 hrs. from the BIG GAME......Wisconsin's Packer Cheesehead pride is shown here......
Before -  Snow covered Lambeau field.
After - 500 Packer fans shoveling the snow......

See it live here.  Do the fans of your team match up??  I doubt it!!!  But really, isn't this just great?  I have to admit......I'm super nervous.....  I may live in North Carolina but you'll never take the Wisconsin out of me!  EVER!!  GO PACK GO

Friday, January 9, 2015


Since this seems to be the week to share my felting adventures, here's another recent project.  My dear friend Judy Simmons celebrated a milestone birthday last month.  Her fabulous work often features mushroom motifs, but she won't eat one!!
 I decided to see if I could needle felt one for her.  NOW...I must admit I know little to nothing about this method of felting.  With the help of some online tutorials, I decided to give it a try.....beginning with wool roving and a piece of pre-felt batting.
 It's common to needle felt onto a foam base.....well....I didn't own any but a piece of foam pipe insulation was a good substitute.  These very sharp, barbed needles work the fibers into a dense mass.  Both of which I broke....clearly I don't have the technique down pat!
 Not surprising, once a mushroom was completed, it seemed to need a base.
 .....and then another mushroom grew.  So I wet felted a 'forest ground' to display them.
 Yup.....and you all know how this idea leads to another and another mushroom was born. Some hand-dyed gauze threads helped to provide the mossy appearance.
A few felted and hand embroidered leaves, along with the roadside finds of acorns and moss and the little display was complete.  (click photo to enlarge)

I'm linking to the following blogs where you can see what others have been up to:  Off The Wall Friday,  Whoop, Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.