Relaxing in Mexico, Eve and Book Review

December 14th, 2017

Following Thanksgiving, we traveled with some dear friends to a wonderful resort near Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

 

 

We laid on the beach, visited markets, but most exciting were our morning walks through the hundreds of acres on the property. Here are some of the things we saw on the ground and in the air:

 

 

I had never seen flamingos up this close!

 

 

The colorful birds were amazing but I don’t know what kind they were.

 

 

Look at his tiny feet!

 

 

A male oriole

 

 

and his mate.

 

 

Another great bird….. I think it was a yellow-bellied whatsucallit.

 

 

One early morning we spied these four in a tree top. Glad we had the camera with us.

 

 

I know this was a red bird. We have blue birds in PA, in Mexico they have red birds. Makes sense to me.

 

 

Caught this guy just buzzing around.

 

 

Check out his cool wings!

 

 

And then, there were the coatis ( pronounced “what the heck was that?”).

 

 

How cute.

 

 

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Many of you know we lost our sweet little Sasha in January at 18 and our sweet potato pie, Tillie, this past month. To fill the hole in our lives, the day after we returned from Mexico, Joe and I drove 1100 miles to Kansas to rescue EVE.

 

Eve is a two year old Miniature Australian Shepherd, blue merle, and is absolutely wonderful.  Eve weighs 17 pounds and loves to come with me up to the studio. She is very, very shy and we plan on giving her lots and lots of love and attention. She’s had a ruff start in life but rest assured….we will do all we can to make her forget the bad times.  If we are coming to your guild and we are in driving distance, you will most likely be meeting her.  Our dear friends, Donna and Debbie, sent Eve her first toy.  Thanks ladies.

 

 

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BOOK REVIEW

While on vacation, I read Diane Chamberlain’s book “Necessary Lies”.  Great book.  I loved the character development in this book.  Time period is 1944 and the story takes place in the rural area of North Carolina.

Jane Forrester, newly married, takes a job as a social worker in the rural area of North Carolina against her husband’s wishes.  Jane’s husband thinks that her working sets a bad example because none of his friends’ wives from the country club work.  (Oh, I don’t like him)  Jane is shocked at what she sees and becomes emotionally attached to several of her clients….in particular Ivy Hart and her family.  Ivy’s father passed away and her mother was taken some place due to mental illness.  Fifteen year old Ivy is a tenant on a large tobacco farm.  She is in charge of working on the farm, taking care of her grandmother, her sister with special needs and her sister’s baby.

Very good read.  The story is fiction but based on true events.  Shocking things about which I did not know.

Next week……. more cool animals and sites from Mexico and more of Eve as we are home until February. Yippie!!

East Aurora and Kenmore New York, Niagara Falls, Students’ Work and Francis Senft

November 27th, 2017

We just returned from a fantastic visit to East Aurora and Kenmore, New York where I spent time with three wonderful guilds.

Here are the ladies from the Morning Star Quilt Guild in East Aurora at my morning lecture.

 

 

The Southtowns Piecemakers Quilt Guild hosted the Saturday hand applique workshop.

 

 

And, here are some of the ladies from the Kenmore Quilters Guild during their machine applique class.

 

 

Pat was so excited she went home, finished her project and brought it in the next day. I love it when students share, but I think this was the quickest ever!!

 

Great job, Pat!!!

 

East Aurora is such a quaint town. It is the home of Fisher-Price Toys.

 

It is also the birthplace of the Arts and Crafts movement and the Roycroft Campus based on the ideals of John Ruskin and William Morris which was brought to life by the Sage of East Aurora,  Elbert Hubbard.

 

 

 

 

 

East Aurora has such a vibrant Main Street with great shops.

 

 

A small yet grand quilt shop where Susie, Linda and Samantha (call me Sammi) are eager to help guide you.

 

A classic movie theater

 

 

and the best 5 and dime ever : Vidlers.

 

 

Kenmore is a few minutes south of Niagara Falls. I could visit the Falls every week and would never tire of seeing their brute power. Horseshoe Falls

 

 

and the American Falls and Rainbow Bridge. Wonder how it got its name??

 

 

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STUDENT’S WORK

Karla Vernon had a lot of fun making and changing my Circles Squared pattern.  I love to see people think outside the box…..

 

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I am home for the next two months and I plan on sewing almost every day. This is what I am thankful for.

Our dear friend Frank, who will turn 99 in January, could not make it out for Thanksgiving, so we took dinner to his home. For Frank still being with us, we are so very thankful. We love you, Frank!

 

Houston Quilt Festival, World Series Champs and Tillie, My Little Sweet Potato

November 14th, 2017

While spending October 29th through November 5th at the Houston Quilt Festival, we got to witness some fabulous quilts and a town celebrating in the streets following the Astros win in the World Series.

 

 

Houston was proud, happy and jubilant and its fans deserved some joy after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

 

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The quilts at the IQA Show were amazing. Here are a few of the winners and a few of my favorites:

 

Keiko Morichero of Sanda City, Japan hand appliqued 4,500 identical circles into a double wedding ring pattern . She added applique and exquisite hand quilting to create “For the Wedding of My Beloved Daughter.” She was awarded the Robert S. Cohan Master Award for Traditional Artistry.

 

 

A close up:

 

 

“Captivated by Nature” is a work in only black and white using  three different sizes of circles each machine fused applique. It garnered Olga Gonzales – Angulo of Saint Feliu De Guixols, Spain the Koala Studios Master Award for Innovative Artistry. Wow!!

 

 

 

“Kirara’s Garden Party” by Ayako Kawahami of Funabashi-shi, Japan won the World of Beauty Award. Amazing.

 

 

 

 

The Founders’ Award was presented to Junko Fujiwara of Narashino, Japan for her  incredible Baltimore Album quilt entitled “Fantastic.”

 

 

 

I loved Karen K. Stone’s new quilt, Lotus.  Karen is from Southlake, Texas.  She described her technique as “glue applique, machine quilting”.  It combines both cotton and silk fabrics.

 

 

 

One of my favorite quilts was “Do Dragon’s Like Cookies?” Tanya Brown of Sunnyvale, California created this quilt using digital printing, fabric painting and 3-D/CGI rendering. Magical!

 

 

 

The dimensional applique used in “Receiving Grace” was inspiring. Elizabeth McDowell Heagy of St. Clements, Ontario received a well deserved Honorable Mention for her extraordinary work.

 

 

 

First Place in the Innovative Pieced category was awarded to Frieda Anderson of Elgin. Illinois. Freida used her own hand dyed silk and cotton to create “Unfurling.”

 

 

 

 

“Turkish Treasures” was inspired by a trip Pat Holly of Ann Arbor, Michigan took to Turkey. This quilt is amazing. Pat used silk fabric and machine appliqued and machine quilted this masterpiece. Look at the border! She even handmade the Oya needle lace and topped each point with a bead!! Pat was awarded the blue ribbon in the Innovative Applique category.

 

 

 

 

 

More quilts and exhibits from Quilt Festival next week.

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Sad day at the Buckley Home.

Our sweet Tillie had been ill for awhile and she passed away this week. We were blessed to have had her for 17 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in Peace you sweet girl.

September 28, 2000 – November 9, 2017

 

 

Fall at Home, Bee Bee and Hazard Distillery

October 30th, 2017

Fall has arrived in Central Pennsylvania and as the leaves fall, Tillie and Kitty Carlisle seek the warm sunshine.

 

 

The apple trees in the back are drawing the deer.

 

 

They are so beautiful.

 

 

Thanks for the apples!!

 

 

A few more signs of fall: turkeys on the run

 

 

and rainbows, that is rainbow trout from Joe fishing.

 

 

 

 

Our dear friend, Wanda, stopped by with her new puppy “Bee Bee” – the cutest little chihuahua I have ever met. She weighs about 20 ounces. She is just adorable!

 

 

 

Last week while in Juniata County, we found a great new business between Mifflintown and Port Royal, Pennsylvania.

 

 

Bob Hazard was injured at work and was not certain where his life would lead. With the help and support of his wife Tina, they began researching the distillery business. They visited over 30 distilleries, spoke with owners and took classes. After purchasing a former gas station/auto repair facility, this summer they started their new venture. If you get a chance, visit Hazard Distillery. I love when people follow their dreams and make them realities. Thanks Bob and Tina and only good things are headed your way.

 

 

The store/sample area is so charming. As is Bob who greets you with a great smile and loves to talk about his products.

 

 

Such a delightful display of Hazard’s quality moonshine and whiskey. I loved that it came in jars!

 

 

Hazard Distillery spared no expense in their distillery equipment. Their state of the art machinery will carry them for many years into the future. It is simply beautiful, so bright and shiny and the finished product will make you shine!! Unbelievably smooth and soothing.

 

 

 

You know our local Vultures: Victor, Velma and Val? Well, they invited the whole family, all 17 of them, to visit for Halloween. Yikes. Glad I am heading out. Spooky, spooky. Happy Halloween from my haunted house to yours.

 

 

I am heading out early this morning for Houston and Quilt Festival.  Go Astros… Houston Strong.

 

Until Next week  …     .

Juniata Valley Quilt Guild and Book Review

October 23rd, 2017

This Saturday I taught for one of my favorite guilds, the Juniata Valley Quilt Guild, which meets in Mifflintown, PA.  This quaint county seat houses one of the cutest courthouses in all of Pennsylvania.

 

 

Many of the Juniata Valley Quilters are some of my favorite quilters and friends. They have always treated me so very well.

Here are just a few of the attendees for my machine applique workshop. We had some guests from Altoona and from as far away as Bucks County.  And, almost everyone in the room sewed on a BERNINA. Yippee!  I have never walked into a guild workshop and had so many students sewing on the same brand of machine.  It says a lot about the BERNINA dealer in the area.

 

 

The guild meets about an hour north of my home in Carlisle, PA. It was a nice day so we drove the back roads. I had forgotten how beautiful the drive it is. There are so many interesting barns, homes and sites along the way. Here are a few.

PA’s longest covered bridge, the Pomery/Academia bridge, is a two span Burr arch bridge and is 270 feet long.

 

 

 

 

Right down the road is the Tuscarora Academy, built in 1816, now a museum.

 

 

We saw so many wonderful stone houses and barns. Here are a few of our favorites:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, found a few barns and buildings adorned with quilt blocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week, we’ll visit Hazard’s Distillery, Pennsylvania’s newest distillery.

Have to rest up as Houston’s International Quilt Festival is right around the corner …

 

BOOK REVIEW

Having some long driving trips makes for some good audio book time.  I just finished listening to Diane Chamberlain’s book “The Midwife’s Confession”.  This is the write-up I saw online which covered it perfectly…….”The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle’s suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.
Yet there was so much they didn’t know.
With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle’s friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives – and the life of a desperate stranger – with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.”  Good read.

Charlevoix, MI, The Little Traverse Bay Quilt Guild, Mushroom Houses and Book Review

October 17th, 2017

We just returned from heaven on earth, Charlevoix, Michigan,  as we visited with the Little Traverse Bay Quilt Guild.

 

 

Charlevoix has Lake Michigan to its north, Lake Charlevoix to its south and the White River which joins the two. AHHHHH!!!!!

 

 

To learn more about the Little Traverse Bay Quilt Guild, its giving ways and its truly amazing members visit http://ltbquiltersguild.org   My contact was Jeanette Kling who I first met in Naples, Florida a few years ago. She is so lucky to winter in Naples, summer in Charlevoix and doubly lucky to be a member of two great guilds. Photo below was taken during my lecture.

 

 

Here are some ladies hard at work during the hand applique workshop.

 

This is day two of the machine applique workshop. Both workshops were held at one of the nicest libraries I have ever visited. It is the old high school renovated and now a fantastic library with great rooms.

 

 

Charlevoix’s favorite son, Earl A. Young, was a local real estate developer and self taught architect. During the 1950s, he designed and constructed a number of commercial and residential buildings using local stone which are commonly known as the “Mushroom Houses.” Amazing!!

Some are tiny

 

 

and some are HUGE!

 

Here is the front of one home that looks not so large

 

 

until you see the rear of the home. Incredible!

 

 

There were about thirty of his homes in the area.  Here are some more of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following two could only be seen from the water.

 

 

Truly magical! Thank you, Mr. Young, for gracing this world with such beauty and thank you citizens of Charlevoix for preserving his vision.

 

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BOOK REVIEW

 

 

 

With all my recent driving trips, I’ve had time to listen to more audio books.  I have read many Michael Connelly books over the years.  If I am reading (listening to)  numerous books from an author, you know I must like them.  I’m excited because in this book Michael Connelly introduces us to his newest character, Detective Renee Ballard.  A female detective.  Yippee.  Detective Ballard was on the fast track up in the ranks until she filed a sexual harassment complaint against a superior and now finds herself working the “late show”.  Generally, while on this graveyard shift, she never gets to see her investigations to the end because her work gets handed over to the day shift.  But, she gets two assignments that she wants to see through, against the wishes of her partner and her bosses.  Thanks, Michael Connelly, for this new character and a great read.

 

Until next week, …  .

New England in the Fall, the Quilt Cookies of Pepperell, Purple Moose Design Quilt Retreat and Book Review

October 11th, 2017

We just returned from Northern Massachusetts and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The air is so fresh, crisp and clean and the hills look like a bowl of Trix. AHHHHHH !!!

 

 

 

 

First stop was Pepperell, Massachusetts  and the Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild. To learn more about this active group who call themselves the “Cookies”, visit their website. http://squanicookquiltguild.com/

Here are some of the “Cookies” prior to my lecture

 

 

and later at our workshop.

 

 

On our drive between the two groups, we were not far from one of my all-time favorite quilt shops:

 

 

Love their displays

 

 

and fabric selections.

 

Carmen, Lytle and Barb….I have VERY fond memories of our trip to Keepsake many, many years ago.

I thought I should get a few new additions for my fabric library/collection.

 

 

Next stop was Mirror Lake at Waterville Valley Center, New Hampshire and The Purple Moose Design Annual Fall Quilt Retreat. The setting is breath taking.

A photo during my early morning walk before the sun rose

 

 

and after sun rose on the walk back to the lodge. Wow!

 

 

What a great group of ladies. We had such a wonderful time. To learn more about the annual retreat visit  https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com/index.php

and make plans for next year. Here are some of the great quilters hard at work during our workshop.

 

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BOOK REVIEW

We listened to the new James Patterson book on our recent road trip.  I like this reoccurring character, Alex Cross.  The book starts with Alex investigating what first looks like a road rage accident but then appears to be more.  While at the scene, Alex is notified to immediately come to another crime scene to investigate the death of one of their own.  The reader of this book was new to me.  I was used to the previous reader and it took me awhile to adjust to this reader.

The Quilt Barns of Boone County, KY and Book Review

October 2nd, 2017

Boone County, Kentucky has over 60 Barn Quilt Blocks. We spent two afternoons just driving down country roads and exploring these wonderful sites. I could not post all of the photos, but here are 10 of my favorite. To learn more about the project and how your area might start a similar project, visit http://boonebarnquilts.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never seen large fields of tobacco before.

 

 

We drove through the quaint town of Warsaw, KY and simply loved this home.

 

 

 

We came across these two other works of art.

One in our hotel parking lot…

 

 

the other on a Kentucky back road.

 

 

 

Until next week   …   keep on keepin’ on .

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BOOK REVIEW

I recently listened to the new John Grisham book “Camino Island”.  The book starts with a well planned theft from a secure vault located in the Princeton University Library.  The stolen manuscripts are insured for 25 million dollars.  One of the main characters, Bruce Cable, owns a bookstore on Camino Island in Florida.  He makes his real money as a dealer of rare books.  He becomes a person of interest.  There were some good story lines woven into the book.  Good read.

Stringtown Quilt Guild, Kentucky, Cabin Arts, the Quilt Box, Student’s Work and Book Review

September 27th, 2017

I just returned from a great visit to Florence, “Y’all”, Kentucky where I was the guest of the Stringtown Quilters Guild.

 

 

Here are some of the guild members at the lecture…

 

 

and some hard at work during one of the workshops. Visit their site: http://stringtownquilters.com/  to learn more about this great group and their upcoming lectures, workshops and membership.

 

We arrived in Florence a day early and went exploring. Of course, I had to visit the local quilt shop “Cabin Arts” and I am so glad I did.

 

 

The shop looked small from the road, but was deceivingly large inside and filled with wonderful bolts of fabric and fabulous displays. It is located in Burlington, just minutes from Florence and has been open since 1992. Happy 25th Anniversary!!

 

 

 

 

The owner of Cabin Arts, Linda Whittenburg, went in the back and came out with a quilt top. “I am going to take this to show and tell tonight but since you are here.”

 

She had taken a class with me in Paducah in 1995 and made this top.  Nice job Linda! If you are going to the Cincinnati/Florence area, stop by Cabin Arts. To learn more about the shop and classes, visit Linda’s website: http://cabinarts.com/

 

Linda gave us some great suggestions for places to visit.  So, off we went to Rabbit Hash where the town’s mayor, Brynn,  is a real B-i-t-c-h.

 

 

She is the fourth in a long line of canine leadership.

 

 

 

 

After my first workshop, students told me of another quilt shop south of Florence in Dry Ridge. So, off we went. We drove for 20 minutes on the interstate, then a few miles on a small county road and then turned onto a gravel road. We drove a little while and reached “The Quilt Box”….. another wonderful shop. To learn more about the shop visit: http://thequiltboxky.com/

 

 

A few things I loved about The Quilt Box: the little sculpture bugs near the entrance,

 

 

and “Buck”, a German Shepard/ Border Collie puppy

 

 

I love, love, love puppies. Look at that face!

 

 

Oh yeah, they also had a nice selection of fabric and great displays.

 

 

 

Behind the counter at the shop, sat an old replica of a barn. Joe commented, “That’s the Star Barn”. The owner’s granddaughter said the owner had purchased the model years ago from an Amish man but knew nothing of the barn.  Joe told her the story of the barn which is (or was until recently) located not far from our home in Dauphin County, PA.

 

 

Photo from about 2010 of the Star Barn in Middletown, PA. This past year it was dismantled and moved to Elizabethtown, Lancaster County and will be the center piece to a village of shops and restaurants.

 

 

Next week, we will take a tour of the Quilt Barn trail in Boone County, KY.

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STUDENT’S WORK

 

Diane Livezey, a member of the Stringtown Quilters Guild,  shared a completed project….. “Vegetable Garden”.  Linda took this class from me ages ago and thought I might like to see it.  Of course, I was very happy to see one of my patterns finished.  Great job, Diane!!

 

 

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BOOK REVIEW

On our recent driving trips to Tennessee and Kentucky, we listened to David Baldacci’s new book,”The Fix”.  The book grabs your attention right from the beginning when the main character, Amos Decker, sees a murder right outside of the FBI offices.  He sees a man shoot a woman and then turns the gun on himself.  While investigating the man’s family and co-workers, the team is having trouble finding a motive and a connection between the two. Because of a previous brain trauma, Detective Amos Decker cannot forget anything.  He just needs to connect all the dots.  I believe this is the third in the Amos Decker series.  I don’t think you need to read the first two before you read this one.

 

MELLOMOON MOONSHINE, TENNESSEE , STUDENT’S WORK and BOOK REVIEW

September 18th, 2017

While I was teaching for the Blue Ridge Quilters Guild in Johnson City, TN, Joe was driving around the Johnson City area. He visited the colonial, territorial home of William Cobb near Piney Flats which was completed in 1771. Cobb named it Mount Rock and in 1790, Cobb’s home and property became the first capitol of the Southwest Territory.

 

 

 

Rather than drive the main highway, Joe decided to head down a country road  through the village of Piney Flats. He passed its General Store…

 

 

and saw this sign –

 

 

After he saw this sign, Joe just had to stop and visit. Joe said he was only going there to insure the owners were not falsely advertising their product.

 

 

At the door to the distillery stood a large man who introduced himself as Tiny Robertson.

 

East Tennessee Distilleries was started by Neil (call me Tiny) Robertson in 2011. To learn more about Tiny, his family and great products visit his location or his website http://www.mellomoon.com/

After serving in the United States Navy, Tiny worked as a chemist in a corporate lab. He followed the call and has become a master moonshine distiller. His process and facility are wonderful. Mellomoon starts with pure, limestone Tennessee water

 

 

Corn and cane sugar are added to produce a beer which is fermented for specific periods of time

 

 

When perfectly fermented,  the beer is sent to one of two stills: Beulah and Suzie (Suzie is the larger of the two)

 

 

Once distilled to the desired percentage of alcohol, the moonshine is sent to Tiny’s better half, Doris, for bottling and labeling.

 

 

According to Tiny, the end product is “the planet’s finest Moonshine!”

 

 

Of course, Joe visited the tasting room and had to sample all twelve of their flavors, the 100 and 151 proof shine. I think he had to call a cab for his ride back to the hotel.

 

 

My Joe knows his Bar-B-Q, his Beer and his Moonshine and he agrees that Mellomoon is, in fact, the “Planet’s Best and Finest Shine!”

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STUDENT’S WORK

Brenda Barnhardt from the Clustered Spire Quilt Guild in Frederick, Maryland sent me this photo of her finished “Circles Squared” class project.  I love all the embellishments she added.  She took a first place ribbon at the Frederick Fair.  Here is the story Brenda shared with me:

“I really had fun with it and took it much further than my initial expectations.  There was a woman at my mother’s nursing home, Verna, who used to be her roommate. Verna had to go into Hospice in recent months.  She was a vibrant, intelligent and interesting woman.  She and I shared a love of sewing and fabrics.  As her health declined, her mind never did and I was inspired to take my quilt to a higher level as I thought about her.  I named it “Verna’s Garden – Ladybug Love” as it evolved and took it to show her at various stages.  I had hoped to finish it for her though her eyesight was failing, but she passed away a couple of weeks ago before I finished it three days later.”

Brenda, thank you so much for sharing your quilt and your story.  And congratulations on your 1st place win.  I was having a bit of a bad day, nothing serious just some minor things that were getting me down, and your email just lifted me right out of my funk.  Thanks.

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BOOK REVIEW

I cannot stop myself from reading more of Heather Gudenkauf’s books.  This one had me sucked in from the first page.  Amelia Winn is a nurse.  When helping a rape victim in the parking lot of the hospital, both she and the patient are hit by a car that does not stop to help.  The patient is killed and Amelia suffers numerous injuries….. the worst…..she is now deaf.  She spirals downward and her husband, who has tried to help her, kicks her out of the house because of her drinking.  Amelia is getting her life back on track with the help of her trained hearing dog, Stitch.  As Stitch and Amelia are paddle boarding on the river they come across a dead body.   Good read.  I could not put it down.