Tuesday, March 31, 2020



Monday, March 30, 2020


In no particular order.....here's some of our correspondence & a visual.  It may be that these are the kinds of things that 'one would have to have been there' to appreciate, but I offer them in the hope that it will bring some levity to our now isolated days.

 Click on image to obtain a more readable view.....

Francie is the one with short hair, mine is long...... Top two photos are of our projects at the first Split Rock class we took, minus the instructor who left after the first day.  Bottom photo is how full my car was packed as we headed off on this first class together.

This is a fill in the blank letter we sent to a fellow student who sent the Spritzer Sisters South West style cow pins after we returned home.  Since you won't have a clue about who the others mentioned are.....I didn't redact their names.  Francie typed the letter and Mary filled in the blanks.  An amusing method for a two-person letter to be penned.

This was a 'safe' correspondence.....no names to redact....just another example of the lighthearted view the Spritzer Sisters have on life.  One we all need right now!!

Here's the original copy of our camp song.....I've tried to darken the type for easier reading....again, you should be able to click on the image to enlarge it.

This will probably be the final installment of the Spritzer Sisters......as too much redacting would be necessary on other documents.  The Spritzer Sisters often had strong opinions and our correspondence was never intended for public disclosure.    Be safe out there everyone....and SMILE.....SISU....

Sunday, March 29, 2020


I've received a lot of reaction to my Spritzer Sister post.....so I thought in these 
stressful times, you might enjoy a few more ditties about our adventures.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Spritzer Sisters wrote a series of articles for Ladies Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine.....here's one that appeared in June 1997.  You should be able to click on the image to enlarge it....all contact info on lower right is out of date.

Our guild motto was "Open Mouth Insert Foot".  SSF made one for each of us.

 Upon returning from another (AND LAST) week long quilt class at Split Rock, SSF sent me this card.  The only redeeming thing about all the classes we took was our time together and a couple of wonderful friends we met along the way.
 Inside was her small drawing of one (very typical) moment together.  We had forgotten that I drove my car to the hall where our class was held at the U of Minn. and after class, we simply walked back to our on-campus apartment. After heading to bed, suddenly I hear this screak from SSF......followed by much laughter as she asked if I knew where my car was.  We weren't allowed overnight parking in that lot so we had to get dressed and limp down the many steep hills to retrieve it.  We both complained of having shin splints due to the ever present steep hills we had to traverse on this campus.....

As I've gone through my (memory lane) Spritzer Sister folder, I've come across such amusing escapades......  There a many newsletters, special reports, board meeting minutes, our camp song...etc.  I may share more assuming I can figure out how to redact the identity of certain people that may not have appreciated our fun loving ways.  Therefore, the Spritzer Sisters didn't enjoy them!

Saturday, March 28, 2020


Francie Ginocchio and I are the founding members of a two person quilt guild called the Spritzer Sisters. (To honor our favorite adult beverage, white wine spritzers.)  I believe I posted snippets of our hilarity sometime in the past.  We enjoyed writing articles about our 'guild' for Ladies Circle Patchwork magazine back in the day.
 SSF (Spritzer Sister Francie) just sent me (SSM) this photo.... no words were necessary.  Wow...what a spirit lifter and memory reawakening this is.  So....here's the story:

SSF and I (SSM) attended a Split Rock week long quilt retreat many years ago in Duluth, MN.  The UWM campus was also hosting a gathering of Finnish folks.  Everywhere we went we heard these happy adorable people calling out  'SISU' as a greeting to each other.....naturally we were curious.  Soon we adopted this phrase.  Here's the definition:

To the Finnish people, sisu has a mystical, almost magical meaning. ... It is a Finnish term that can be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage.
At our next Spritzer Sisters "annual meeting" (at my Wisconsin weekend cabin) we held our annual two-person quilt show, voted and presented ribbons for two viewer choice awards, had show and tell, commenced our annual board meeting with election of officers, reviewed our bylaws, and enjoyed white wine spritzers.

SSF made & gifted me this Chrissy Crisis Doll.  She was inspired by the notion of SISU....  We both hold our dolls very dear and will keep them forever.  So....in these difficult times SSF & SSM want to say to you all.....SISU!!!

Friday, March 27, 2020


Self-isolating has provided plenty of time to complete this large wall quilt.  One I hope will be visibly striking to a buyer, additionally a design they can live with for a long time.  Photographing this high contrast piece (in my less than ideal studio for this type of task) unfortunately yielded a visual that doesn't measure up to the finished piece.  Hopefully someone will see beyond that!

Dear readers, please stay safe and well...this won't last forever....we can do this.

NOIR ET BLAC - 60.5" x 60.5"
Cotton fabrics, machine pieced, appliqued, & quilted.

Linking to:  Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Let's enjoy what we can.....Spring is not closed.

Friday, March 20, 2020


I've often said, the simpler the basic quilt design is....the more difficult it is for me to create a successful piece.  This one was a hair puller for sure.  

If you saw the last post......my idea was to highlight the black and white fabric with red.  Unfortunately, the reds I had in my stash simply weren't right.....too bright, too pink, too dull.  Sale-ability is also a factor.....in your face designs are what I prefer, but that's not necessarily the case for shoppers who wish to own a piece they can live with daily....and NOT tire of it.

 I'm now committed.......the appliqué is complete and pin basting has begun.  I wish I could turn it over to a long arm quilter to tackle that task since it's rather big 60" x 60", but I simply can't.  Selling work for me means selling myself...my work.....so I'll struggle through....stay tuned won't you?????

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Like most Americans, we are hunkering down & heeding the advice to minimize social contact.  Being a quilter, thankfully I'll have plenty of fabric to keep me busy until this crisis passes.  My heart goes out to all those affected, not only in regard to heath issues but the financial impact so many will be experiencing. 

Here's how I've been spending my time.....and quite honestly it's been a ridiculous amount of time trying a whole range of ideas to enhance the black/white patchwork background. This is merely a sampling.......the path is much clearer now.  Stay tuned.....

Monday, March 16, 2020


My project utilized a minuscule amount of my black and white fabric stash. I cut 576 patches for 64 blocks to make a 60" x 60" wall quilt.  As is my practice, the patches were cut at home and even with that jump start, I didn't go home with a completed top.  However, I did get all the blocks pieced!
 We sew in a large space with many windows overlooking Lake Logan.....Judy and I always share a little corner and push two tables together for easier chatting!
 Here's the stacks of my completed blocks.
 Now at home the blocks have been arranged on my design wall and will be pieced together as time permits. And with the now recommended social distancing, I should be finished in no time!
 My initial idea was to enhance the top with squares and circles in a selection of bright colors.  But after auditioning a few, I'm having second thoughts.
I may limit the number of colors and stick with just reds, yellows, and greens.  At this point I'm not thrilled with this either....perhaps the motifs should be larger, or positioned in a more defined pattern rather than an all over random appearance as planned.  Hummmmm.....

As is usual, the quilt will tell me what to do (probably after I spend lots of time auditioning ideas....finally an arrangement will catch my eye and guide me).  Suggestions welcome.......or hang back and see what happens.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


As you might imagine......documenting everyone's projects slips my mind as the days go by....but here are a few. Most participants get FAR more done than I do.  I'm a terribly slow and methodical sewer that insists on pressing seams as I go.....but I will share my project in the next post.
Leigh Anne used some wonderful Japanese Indigo fabrics for this woven quilt.  She was doing a lot of fussy cutting which will make it even more special and interesting.
She also brought these prepared Dresden Plate blocks, along with several fabrics and experimented with this unique and very successful layout.  Poor Leigh Anne.....she had input from all 9 of us.
 Cathy used our community "i-spy" box full of conversation prints to make TWO adorable baby quilts for a family member who had twins.
 Judy out did herself this year.....she made this small wall piece using indigo dyed fabrics and companion strips.  Her plan is to enhance it with hand embroidery....I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of the jump start embroidery she did, it's just lovely.
 Barbara worked on several projects.....we all loved this sweet polka dot piece.  She has plans to complete it at home and trust me....it will no longer be a two color quilt when she's finished!
 I shared some black and white pre-cut triangles of varying sizes with Judy about a year ago. As she was struggling to decide what to work on at retreat I mentioned I was working with more of that black and white fabric.  She got her stack out and used her accuquilt to cut new uniform shapes.  This is the very eye appealing piece she came up with.
We walk back and forth from our retreat house to where the sewing room is located on the property......I spied this sign of spring on the way back to our house for lunch one day.  Honestly, I'm waddling now.....and the zipper on my pants may not be fulled closed....way tooooo much yummy food and adult beverage calories were consumed.

Friday, March 13, 2020


Comments about our 12 annual PTA retreat will be posted in several parts.....probably because I'm so darn pooped just sitting and staring at the computer screen is making me sleepy.  We say this every year.....it was the best time ever!!
 I'm starting with a hilarious view.  Here's Georgia Bonesteel, our stellar piecer was working on a Quilt of Valor. There is so much activity, noise, & commotion it's a wonder any of us get anything accomplished.....and accomplished correctly.  She positioned a completed block on her design wall only to have us all falling apart with laughter....can you see what she did?  
 Half of us suggested she leave it.....the other half urged her to fix it......she did the later.
 Marene makes complicated quilts....at least in my view they are complicated.  Because she's been spending so much time away from home and her machine, she's been working on English paper pieced blocks.
 I wanted to share her terrific idea of keeping all those pieces organized.  She places them between sheets of Glad Press and Seal plastic wrap.  Brilliant!!
 This allows her to position the prepared pieces where they need to go and they stay that way as they are transported.
I've purposely kept the view of our last night dark and difficult to see......but you might be able to tell we are almost statues we are so tired.  There were 10 of us....I took the photo and the missing person was obviously out of the room fetching more adult beverages. 

We rent a large house on the property of Lake Logan Retreat Center in Canton, NC and already have our date set for #13 Retreat next year!

Thursday, March 12, 2020


The highlight of our March meeting was the celebration of Gen's 91st birthday.  I've said this countless times before on this blog.....we all want to be Gen when we grow up.....besides being the sweetest, most kind and generous person that one could ever know...she can do anything with a needle....talent galore!!
 Here's an eye popping 12" square that she collaged and embellished with both hand and machine work.  Isn't it a great color combination?

She also used paper to create this design style .
 The technique we explored this meeting was painting over previously quilted pieces.  Since I didn't have any samples at hand....I dug out a couple of small completed hand quilted minis that I used as samples for my workshops.
 After probably 8 different colors of both traditional indoor house paint and craft acrylics, this was the result.  I know....it's pretty ugly.....but I'm not finished yet....not sure where it will go....but I haven't given up.
Here's why.....this is a 12" piece (sorry photo cut off at top) of another quilted piece I treated the same way the first time we played with this technique two years ago.  AND.....it sold....so ya never know!  As is typical....it's obviously more attractive in person!
 Judy played with this piece made from sections of previous quilted fabrics.
 Susan was just beginning this one.....she didn't use a brayer or a squeegee to apply the paint, instead she sponged it to the fabric.  I like that affect a lot.
 I'm pretty sure these were Kate's......we envy how productive she always is.
Here's another one that Susan made.....a winner we all agreed.

We may use our next meeting as an opportunity to stencil over these pieces to create another layer for more depth and texture....I'll report back after our April meeting.