Shipshewana, Student’s Work, Book Review

June 28th, 2015

I just got back from teaching at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival.  What a beautiful area and great people.  There is a large Amish and Mennonite presence.  Pristine farm land for miles and miles.  To find out more about the show visit their website

I worked with Kim throughout the planning stages and while at the show.  Talk about one very organized and hard working person.  I loved working with Kim.  I don’t know how much she gets paid but I’m voting for her to get a raise!  If you have never been to the show, you need to check it out.  They have lots of fun events and shopping!  There are workshops, shop hops, flea markets, lectures, quilt show with lots of vendors and a fun event called “Schoolhouse” which is actually held in the school.  At the Schoolhouse, each participant signs up for the day, 9-4, and then every 30 minutes moves to another room to listen to a 30 minute demonstration or discussion related to quilting.  The comments I heard from the participants were excellent.  It was a great idea.

In this blog, I am going to focus more on the show. In upcoming blogs, I’ll share photos from the area.  Here are some of my favorite quilts/cars from the show.

When you walked into the show, there was an exhibit of old Hudson cars.  The cars were pristine….spotless…..shiny…    At first I thought….quilts on cars, I’m not so sure about this. But, the cars were so clean and it did draw me into the room  As many people said, it gave the husbands and significant others something to do.  The quilt on the car below is named “Let Your Light Shine”.  The top was made in 1915 and recently quilted by Deb Levy from Louisiana.

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“Miss Sally” is from the 1930’s and was recently quilted by M&M Quilting in Virginia.

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And here is the car I most wanted to bring home.  Love this car.  I think I am in my pink/salmon phase.

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The quilt below, “Ewe Are My Sunshine” was made by Janet Stone from Kansas.  I am a Janet Stone fan.  Love her quilts.

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The attention to detail is impressive.

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I did not get the name of this quilt but it was made by Claudia Clark Myers and quilted by Marilyn Badger.  I am also big fans of their work.

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“The Challenge” was made by Cathy Benke from Michigan.

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And I loved this quilt called “The Pink Lady”.  It was pieced by Russ Schmidt and quilted by Jan Hutchinson.

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Jan’s quilting was impressive and very complimentary to the quilt.

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This quilt was made from tiny little squares.  Seriously crazy.  The quilt was adapted from a cross stitch pattern with permission from the designer.

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I received a great email from Roxann this past week.  She took my class in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida this March.  The workshop was Block Three from Fiesta Mexico.  She admitted to not being an applique person.  She took the workshop with her daughter.  I think she may be a convert…..    Roxann added Block Five and she used the gecko from Block Four in her center block design.  I like the added touch, using the butterflies.   It is just the top but Roxann plans to quilt it soon.  It is so fun and cheery looking.

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On the drive home from Shipshewana, Joe and I listened to “The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins.  The book starts off by introducing you to all these characters and you have no idea where the story line is going.  But, in the end it all comes together.  Rachel takes the same train back and forth to work every day.  One day, she sees something that causes her to share it with the police.  It is a “who done it” kind of thriller.  Good read.

Until next week…….

Pittsburgh,PA and Book Review

June 19th, 2015

Earlier this week, I had a fairly short teaching trip to the Pittsburgh area.  Nice to be in Steelers’ territory!!

My first stop was a quilt shop, Quilter’s Corner, located in Finleyville, PA.


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The owner, Mary Beth, is truly one of the nicest, giving shop owners I have ever met.  When the students arrived (and the teacher), we found an apple, chocolate bar and a fat quarter on our table.  How nice was that?  Mary Beth and her daughter made lunch for everyone!  Seriously……awesome.  Awesome applies to the fact that they took the time to do it and also to the food itself.

Mary Beth’s shop was so bright and cheery and her fabric selection – fabulous!


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The ladies who worked with Mary Beth at Quilter’s Corner, Barb, Cathe and Deb, were warm and welcoming. Deb teaches a class on creating caricatures using fabric. Here’s Deb:

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Here is her creation:

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What fun and I love, love, love the pin fabric Deb used for her forehead!

My second stop was the Three Rivers Quilt guild located in Pittsburgh  Great group of ladies!  If you live anywhere around that area, check it out.

And, of course, as I was working hard (or should I say having fun teaching) Joe was out goofing off, as usual.  Here are some of the photos he took around the Pittsburgh area. A nice shot  of the city and the confluence of the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers to form the Ohio River taken from atop Mt. Washington.  It had rained like crazy the night before so the rivers were really muddy.


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The capital of Steeler Nation: Heinz Field.        Go Steelers!!!!  Less than 90 days until kickoff.

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As Joe and I drove around Finleyville, surrounding townships and boroughs, we noticed that attached to the telephone poles were large vinyl, weather proof  photographs honoring local veterans. How wonderful. It made us both tearful. My father was a veteran as were Joe’s father and brothers, Also, Joe is a veteran. We slowed and stopped to read the names, branches of service and the wars they fought for us. Not one person in the cars behind us beeped their horns to hurry us along. What a special tribute these small towns in southwestern Pennsylvania pay to honor those who serve.

John A. Allridge

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Paul Lacko

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John Calvin Parry, Jr.


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Donn R. Kegel


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Arnold H. Kegel


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Lance R. Lawrence


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and Louise M. Desmond


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In case you are interested, here is a link with the names of all the veterans in Finleyville/Union Co.

We are so thankful and grateful to those who have served and those currently serving.




I just finished listening to “Dragonfly in Amber” by Diana Gabaldon, the second in the “Outlander” series.  It is following the story of Jamie and Claire as she has traveled back in time.  Here are some words I read in a review to describe this series of books…

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I’ll be starting the third book in the series very soon.  So, two down and six to go.

This week I am off to Shipshawana to teach, lecture and demo…..sounds like fun.  My friend Nancy went two years ago and recommended I take pants with an elastic waist band as the food is apparently very, very good!

On The Road Again and Book Review

June 12th, 2015

We just returned from visiting the Cal-Co Quilters,, in Battle Creek, Michigan.  What a fabulous guild.  Natalie had everything organized quite nicely.  I do appreciate a good program chair because it makes my life a lot easier.

It was my first trip out since surgery and things went very well.  I am so happy that Joe went with me.  I don’t think I could have lifted all the luggage, boxes, etc. on my own.  And, it’s good to have someone keeping an eye on me so that I don’t over do it.  While I was teaching, Joe went exploring. He’s sharing some of the wonderful sights around the area in this blog.

On the long drive across the Ohio Turnpike, I made Joe slow down so I could take a photo of the Cheez-It car/truck.  So, there were ten cars backed-up behind us……Hey, I had to get my picture!

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Battle Creek Michigan is known as “Cereal City, USA” and what a wonderful town. Upon entering the town is a great monument to one of its residents and  great American hero: Sojourners Truth.

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The town is so pristine and inviting

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Fantastic downtown

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Amazing fountain and relief sculptures in its central park

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and great bike and walking paths

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While I was teaching for the guild, Joe said he had to visit Kalamazoo about 20 miles west. He said the city was great and its Institute of the Arts and central park a must see.

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In the city’s square Joe found dozens of plantings with topieries. Here are a few.

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On our drive home many of the guild members suggested we visit Marshall, the county seat of Calhoun County and I am so happy we stopped.

They have a “dancing waters” fountain which is lighted in the evenings

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The Old Stone Barn, now the City Hall

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A quaint downtown with the National Museum of Magic and a preserved and operating turn of the century United States Post Office

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and the Honolulu House

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If you you have the opportunity to visit South Central Michigan, don’t hesitate and go visit some wonderful people and memorable places.



16158542Thank you so much to those of you who recommended reading “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.  I had a hard time putting this book down….loved the style of writing and the content.  The story follows one of the rowers, Joe Rantz.  There is background information about the other rowers as well as the coaches and the boat builder.  It is amazing what these boys went through in their personal and rowing lives.  The odds they had to overcome seemed insurmountable.  Impressive accomplishments.  Thanks for taking me on the journey.  I felt like I was there with them.

Health Status, Vultures, Book Review and Student’s Work

June 5th, 2015

The surgeon and cardiologist both gave me good reports this past week.  They keep reminding me that the recovery for this surgery is 6 months to a year.  And, I have been reminded of this by numerous people who have had open heart surgery, as well.  Rest assured….I am taking it easy.  I have nurse Joe to deal with if I try to do too much!


Every summer, I post an update on the vultures in our bird bath.  They are back again.  Every time I see these large birds in the little bird bath it makes me smile.

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I usually review novels. This time, I am actually reviewing a quilt book.

book reviewWe went to Virginia yesterday to meet some friends for lunch.  Since Joe was driving, I had some time to read.  I had just purchased Becky Goldsmith’s book called, “A Quilter’s Practical Guide to Color”.  Great job Becky.  I love the page layouts.  They are a feast to the eye.  I will look at it over and over again! Not only because the photography and illustrations make me happy, but also because Becky has explained color in a way that is very understandable and applicable for quilters.  I highly recommend this book.  Visit Becky’s website listed below to order your copy.  While you are on the site, check out all of Becky and Linda’s other books and notions.  Get out your charge card now and have fun shopping!



I got a great email from Hazel Mark from High River in Alberta, Canada.  She took a class from me a while ago.  Let’s not say just how long because Hazel had some health issues and flood issues which kept her from quilting for a while.  But, her Magical Medallions-Block Three is now finished and it looks great.  Thanks for sharing Hazel.


Until next week……

Beach and Drive Home

May 29th, 2015

One of my favorite things to do while walking on the beach is to collect sea glass.  This is but a small portion of what we collected during our week at the beach.  Clear, frosted, green and brown are fairly common.  I get so excited when we find blue because it is more rare.  Finding the glass on the beach makes me really happy.  I don’t know why…..I just know it does.

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On our way out of the Outer Banks, I took this photo on the bay side.  Mr. and Mrs. Duck were out for a stroll.

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As we entered West Virginia on our drive home, we stopped at the Visitors Center.  It had just stopped raining.  Their gardens were wonderful.

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Until next week……

Students Work, Beach and Book Review

May 21st, 2015

Barbara Marcone took a class from me a few years ago on Long Island, NY. She said she learned so many techniques for hand-pieced and hand appliqued quilts and was able to use most of them in the making of this quilt. Looks like it did pretty well, huh? The judges’ comments were that the “piecing and applique were well executed and the circles were excellent (all 180 of them). Barbara said she would have been happier if the judges said the circles were “Perfect”.

Great job, Barbara!


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More photos from beach week.  Did I mention I love the Outer Banks??  Love it.

We have been vacationing at the Outer Banks for many years.  Some years we see a lot of sand dollars.  This year we only saw the one pictured below.  Wonder why some years there are lots….like the year we found 27 perfect sand dollars in one walk. And then this year there was only one during a dozen walks.

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The cormorants sit as sentinels at the  border.

The North Carolina side…..


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and the Virginia side.


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You horse’s______  Oh, I did not just think that!!

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I loved this bug on the beach.  What fantastic colors.  He would look good on a quilt.  Not the real bug.  I mean he could be made out of fabric, or paint or thread, or a combination of all three.

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A couple of weeks before surgery, I asked Joe if he would order the Outlander series on audio for me.  I had started to read this series many, many years ago and then got side tracked.  For those of you who don’t know…..Diana Gabaldon does not know how to write a short book.  I’m not saying they are bad…..I’m saying they are long.  I thought….I’ll have time during my recovery from surgery to listen to the series.  What was I thinking?  I had forgotten just how long each book is.  The good news… recovery will be over long before I finish the series!!!

The book starts in 1945 with Claire Randall, a former combat nurse.  She is just back from the war and on a second honeymoon of sorts with her husband.  Clarie walks through a standing stone.  It takes her back in time.  It is now 1743 and Claire has to adapt.  Just so you know and are prepared…there are many sex scenes…get ready.

R & R at the Beach and Book Review

May 18th, 2015

With my doctors blessings, I was able to take a week of R&R in the Outer Banks.  I tried to convince them to write a prescription for a week at the beach so I that could submit it to my insurance, but……no go.  As my sister taught me when I was young….it never hurts to ask.

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from the week.  There were a lot so I’ll share more with you next week.

The first two are views from the house we rented.  It was right on the beach.  Ahhhhhh…..

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There was a pool at this house.  It was a little too chilly for me to swim.  However, as we were getting ready for our daily walk, I looked out from the upper level of the house. I saw a toad in the pool and he was desperately trying to find a place to get out.

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Not to worry Mr. Toadie, I will save you.  Gladly.  Here he is safely on the concrete around the pool.  He was exhausted.  After he thanked me, he jumped under the fence to freedom.  You are welcome Mr. Toadie.

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This part of the Outer Banks is known for it’s wild horses.  This year, we saw more horses than normal.

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What was not normal….. after I saved Mr. Toadie, was a noise I heard behind me. I turn to find a horse on the porch trying to enter our rented house.  Within a short time, he wandered back into the grasses for grazing.  So, maybe the grass is not always greener on the other side…..just saying…..

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Well, of course I would read a book that mentions thread.  However, the thread in the book was not really about sewing.  This book takes you through 3 generations of the Whitshank family.  Abby loves to tell her children about the day she feel in love with their father, Red.  Red’s father built the house where Red and Abby now live.  The story takes you back through the time the house was built and brings you to the present.  As Abby and Red are aging, their children have to deal with how to best care for their parents.  Good read.

Until next week……


Photos From My Morning Walks

May 8th, 2015

Recovery from surgery is going so much better than I ever would have expected.  I’ve been walking each morning for about 45 minutes.  I may be walking at a little slower pace than before surgery….but not much slower.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my normal pace soon.  As I’ve been on my walks, I have not had any shortness of breath or pain of any kind.  It’s been amazing.  I’m not yet ready to go back to weight training, which is part of my normal routine.  I’m going to need many more weeks before that happens.

Something I feel I must mention as the question has been asked of me so many times.  People who know me well were aware that prior to surgery I would do 30 to 60 minutes of cardio at least 6 times a week and weight training 4 times a week.  (Sneakers don’t take up much weight in my luggage so there is never an excuse not to have them with me when I am on the road!)  Anyway, the questions relate to my heart problem and exercise.  I need you to know that the first time I saw the cardiologist he said, “You need to know you did nothing wrong.  Not too much or too little exercise, nothing about what you did or did not eat, nothing to do with weight caused this.”  The problem is congenital. Apparently, it was there for a long time. I had decided to have a family doctor check-up and they found the murmur which lead to surgery.  I think I am very lucky that I went to see the family doctor when I did.  Intuition???

Here are some photos I took this week during my walks.  I’m not sure if we’re having an exceptional spring or if coming out of heart surgery and having some down time is making me see things I might have otherwise overlooked.

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Until next week……

Recovery Continues to Go Well and A Student’s Work

April 30th, 2015

News from the surgeon’s office was awesome.  As a matter of fact, they said I was doing better than normal.  The PA said my blood is “beautiful”.  I always was an over achiever!  Here’s to hoping the good news continues and I can keep walking further.  I’m up to about 30 minutes.  Yippee.   I am blessed.  If you had told me I would be able to walk this far so soon after surgery, I would not have believed you.

Here are some photos from my recent walk.

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Lavina Smith took a class with me last summer in Jonesborough, TN. It was on one of my Majestic Mosaic quilt blocks.  Here is her finished block.  Good job Lavina.  You should be very proud.

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Until next week…….

Recovery Going Well

April 25th, 2015

My recovery is going well.  At least according to me.  I’m sure the surgeon, who I see Monday, will give me the full lowdown.  I just got back from a 15 minute walk and I feel good.  I do have the best nurse in the world, that would be Joe of course.  My arm is locked in his during each walk.

Yesterday was the first day I was up and moving for most of the day.  It was the first day I felt good enough to stay up and moving.  Monday through Thursday I would get up and shower and then have to go back to bed and rest for 20 minutes or more before I had the energy to dry my hair.  On Monday Joe, being ever to helpful, thought he would dry my hair.  You’ve seen pictures of Joe so you know he does not need to use a hairdryer.  I could not stop laughing.  And it hurts when I laugh.  I had to make him stop because my right boob was hurting from so much laughing.  He’s going to need some hairdresser training!

Today I sewed on 16 very small circles and about 32 beads to finish one of the blocks going into my next big quilt.  Yippee!!  Sewing makes me feel even better.

And Cheryl, just so you know, Joe is making sure I do my breathing tests.  Seriously, he would have made a great nurse.  Maybe he missed his calling……

Having my assistant, Lynn, is a true blessing.  It was so wonderful to not have to worry about orders, emails, posts, etc.  Lynn just takes care of it and does a great job.  It allowed me to focus on recovery.  And it allowed Joe to focus on me without having to worry about the business stuff.  Thanks Lynn.  So glad you work here.  You have made my life much, much easier.

I cannot thank you all enough for the outpouring of emails, notes left on my blog (which I finally read today), snail mail, flowers… get the idea.  I love being a quilter and part of a giving, kind and thoughtful family.  I have to stop now before I start to cry.  I know I have found my calling…..