Canada and Book Review

March 24th, 2015

I have been in the Waterloo-Kitchener area of Ontario, Canada for the past five days visiting the Waterloo County Quilter’s Guild.  My guild contacts were Elizabeth and Elizabeth!  It was wonderful working with both of them.  They had things very well organized. Their guild members should be giving them a big THANK YOU for all of their hard work.  Bringing in a national teacher is a lot of work.  And, going from the US to Canada can create some challenges.  You can find out more about the guild at

I gave two lectures on Wednesday.  One of the members brought her friend, Helen Blaskievich, along to the meeting.  Helen brought her finished “Magical Medallions” quilt.  I was awe struck.  Helen did an incredible job.  This is no easy quilt to make.  It has lots of difficult pieces. Helen conquered the task.  I am so glad Helen shared her quilt.  Love it.

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During the workshops, Joan Doke shared one of the blocks she made from Fiesta Mexico.  She is working on the entire quilt but she just brought Block 11 to share.  I love it.  This is Joe’s favorite block on the quilt so it’s fitting that he got into the picture.

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Lots of fun in the workshops….

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On my trip home from Florida, I started reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. I finished it on the airplane ride to Canada.  I have not seen the movie and did not know much about this book except that several people recommended it to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I really appreciate that kind of perseverance.  My feet hurt just thinking about how far she hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail.


Book Review and Broward Quilt Expo in Fort Lauderdale

March 16th, 2015

During my visit to Galveston, I was lucky enough to meet the author, Arlene Sachitano.  “Quilt As Desired ” is the first in her series she calls “The Harriet Truman/Loose Threads Mysteries”  This was a great, light read.  And, because it relates to quilting, I liked it a lot.  Harriet returns to her old stomping grounds to help her Aunt Beth with her machine quilting business while her Aunt is on an extended cruise.  I liked the characters and it kept me guessing as to who murdered Avanell.  I will definitely read more in the series.

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This week led me to Fort Lauderdale, Florida working with the Broward Quilt Expo group.  I worked with Janet, Linda and Jenny.  They were lovely to work with and they served their butts off putting together a lovely show.  There were vendors…quilts…and classes.  What more could you ask for?  The only other thing I could ask is for  students and quilters to share some of the quilts they made as a result of taking my classes or quilts created from my patterns.  The “Quilt Guild by the Sea” made their version of my “Midnight Floral Fantasy” pattern and they call their quilt “Green Garden Fantasy”.  It is their 2015 donation quilt project.

To find out more about purchasing tickets for the quilt raffle, write to

To find out more about the guild, visit their website

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I love the green background.  What’s not to like about green?!?  I consider it a neutral!

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Two students shared projects they made after taking some of my classes.  I am sorry I did not get the names of the makers to give credit to in the blog.  If you know their names please contact me so I can post them in the blog.  These are from my “Heard It Through the Grapevine” workshop.

Jo Wilson responded to my email request.  Jo is below holding her project.  Very nice job Jo.

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The next photo is from my “Garden Medley” workshop.

Thanks for sharing ladies.  I love to see a good finished projects.

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Peggy Mead took one of my workshops and I want you to know that she is perfectly sane.  Or, I think she is sane.  This little Grandmothers Flower Garden project is amazing.  Peggy showed me one of the templates she used to make her quilt called “Let Freedom Ring”.  The template was so small I could not even hold it.  It was sewn using the English Paper Piecing method.  Impressive.

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“Family Tree” was appliqued by Sara Michael and quilted by Helia Ricci.

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I really like this black and white “Dragon Fly” by Linda Nastro.

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A quilt with some whimsy.  Charlotte Noll made her quilt using Dipioni Silk.  A sewing machine design sewn using a spool block design.  How cool is that? Great idea!

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The South Florida Modern Quilts had a very nice exhibit at the show.  This one was quilted by Meryll Warner.

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I am certain people in Florida see lizards all the time.  But in Pennsylvania, this is not a common event. I am intrigued when I see them.  There are two in this photo.  One obvious and one by the purple flower.

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Fascinating creatures.

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This week I am off to Canada…around the Toronto area.  See you next week.

Academy of Applique

March 10th, 2015

This past week I taught for Barbara Blanton at the Academy of Applique in Historic Williamsburg, Virginia.  This is the third applique event I have had the pleasure of being involved in this year.  I absolutely love the Williamsburg area so I’m always game to make the journey.  I taught a 2-day class and then a 3-day class. So, five days of classes.  I think some of the classes were single day events at the start of the week.  In both classes, I had the best students…some experienced and some newbies.  To find out more about the upcoming show in 2016, visit the website

One or two of the teachers did a 10 to 20 minute presentation each day at lunch .  On Tuesday, Nancy Kern shared her presentation.  Check out her amazing quilt behind her.

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On another day, Jeanne Sullivan did a nice presentation at lunch.  It was fun to learn a little more about each of the instructors.

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One of my students, Liz Schuman, brought her finished Fiesta Mexico-Block Nine project.  Nice work Liz.  Liz is a little crazy…she took five days of classes with me!  She came with her posse from Long Island.

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Patricia Bandura took my Magical Medallions one day class a while ago. She decided to purchase the full pattern and make five more blocks for this fabulous piece.  Patricia changed the layout using gold bias strips to make a celtic design of sorts, framing the blocks.  Love it.

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Elma May Brey brought her finished Fiesta Mexico-Block Three to share with me.  You know how much I love seeing finished projects.  So, I was a very happy camper on this trip.  Great job Elma May.  And thanks for the hugs.  Some days I need a hug or two.

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During the afternoon session on Friday the fire alarm went off.  I got the important stuff…the students, my purse and my quilts!  Oh, and my coat.  It was rather cold.  The alarm turned out to be nothing which was a good thing.


Another successful event.  Talk to you next week…..







Applique Away on Galveston Bay, Joe in Thailand, Book Review and Product

March 1st, 2015

I had the pleasure of working for Amy, Bonnie, Sally and Judy this past week.  They are the organizers for “Applique Away On Galveston Bay”.  What a great group of ladies.  To find out more about their upcoming event for 2015 check out their website  It’s a really nice location for a workshop.  Their were four hand applique teachers and each class was two days in length.

One evening at “Show and Tell” Vera brought her finished “Garden Medley” project.  We won’t tell you how many years it took Vera to finish it!!  I absolutely love seeing finished projects from my workshops.  Thanks Vera for sharing.  It looks great.

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Here are some happy faces from my Wednesday-Thursday workshop.

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Joe In Thailand

Joe was in Thailand recently visiting his brother and family. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of his photos.  This was Joe’s second visit to Thailand.

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Ayuttaya, the capital of Thailand from 1100- 1600, has some wonderful ruins

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They are beautiful as seen during the day

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or by night.

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Five years ago Joe visited and played with a tiger cub. (Photo taken in 2010)

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Joe visited with the same cub on this trip but both had grown a bit.

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More from Joe’s visit next week

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I thought Clover discontinued their 3/8″ bias maker and I was bummed.  But, I was wrong.  I found it and now have it along with the 1/4″, 1/2″ and 3/4″ on the website.

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I read a previous V.I Warshawski’s, private detective, book and liked it so I went for a second book.  This one takes place in Chicago. V.I’s closest friend, Lotty Herschel, lost most of her family in the Holocaust.  Lotty fled to London with a childhood friend, Kitty.  Kitty’s daughter is in trouble and her grandson is missing.  The story takes you back to Lotty and Kitty’s past.  I enjoyed this book and would read another one in this series.


New Class Projects and Product Review

February 20th, 2015

I’ve been working on some small quilts to add to my workshop choices.  One of the new projects is called “Modern Poinsettia”.  It will be a three hour workshop.  There will be some other versions of this using different colors and different flowers.  Patterns and more quilt designs similar to this coming soon………

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Now, for a new 6-hour, one-day workshop, I just finished “Circular Garden”.  It still needs to be quilted.  I worked from some Cherrywood hand-dyed packets.  Circles…they make me oh, so happy.


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I am working on a new competition quilt and still playing with the layout.  I changed my mind from my original plan which meant I had to do some ripping.  I had to rip about 50 pieces of applique.  Yuck!  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done this before.  With my layout change, I needed to move these pieces to a different background fabric.

Well, during my travels, someone gave me a “RipTweezer”.  It is my new favorite tool.  One end is a ripper and the other a tweezer.  It worked beautifully.  I ripped about every 4th stitch and then used the tweezers to remove the loose threads.  This allowed me to save every one of my applique pieces for reuse.  Awesome.  For information on the “RipTweezer” visit


Kathy Dunigan Academy of Applique and Sasha

February 13th, 2015

I have recently returned from a new seminar held in Rockwall, Texas.  It is called the “Kathy Dunigan Academy of Applique”.  Kathy is planning to hold this annual event every February.  Check it out at If you like applique, you really need to consider this event.  The five-day schedule is set with two single days of classes and what she refers to as the “main class”. This means you have the opportunity to spend three days with your instructor.  I think there were a total of nine teachers.  The  evenings consisted of fun events to attend and lots of door prizes.

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The seminar is held at the Hilton in Rockwall.  The location and facilities were excellent.  The hotel was located right along the lake.

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The larger, convention area room held about six vendors.

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Texas Quiltworks had a booth selling BERNINA machines.  They provided the machines for my machine applique workshop.  Thanks Lynn, Joanna and Glenn.

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As I was walking around the vendor area, I saw this quilt.  From a distance, I thought it was painted. I was wrong.  This is all hand appliqued and hand quilted by Meg Maeda.  Meg is from Japan.  Her patterns are distributed here in the states by Myra K. Forbyn.  Her shop is called Aunt Myra’s and her website is

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Another of Meg’s patterns.

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Here are some of my students during the three day machine applique workshop.  Some of them should soon have photos of their finished pieces to share on the blog.

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The final picture is of Kathy Dunigan and her mother, JoAnn.  I wish I had a better photo.  The lighting in the room cast a yellow color over all of my photos.  I shoulda used my flash.  They worked so hard to put this seminar together and it paid off. Their hard work resulted in a very, very successful event.  It was an honor to be one of their first teachers.  Again, if you like applique, you’ll want to look into attending.

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The best dog ever…that would be my Sasha…turned 16 this week.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY SASHA!  And, here is to many more.

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Until next week…..

More Quilts from the International Quilt Show in Houston and Book Review

February 6th, 2015

Yes, I still have more photos to share from the show in Houston.

“Umbrellas in the City” was made by Terri Kryson and Page Johnson from Minnesota.  They won second place in Mixed Techniques.

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“Celestial” was made by Yuriko Ikuma from Japan.  She won 3rd place in the Mixed Techniques category.

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“One of the Flowers, One and Only Flower II” was made by Mitsuko Sugimoto from Japan.

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“Joyful Heart” was made by Aki Sakai from Japan.  She won third place in the Handmade category.

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I recently read “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling).  While on duty in Afghanistan, Cormoran lost his leg in a land mine.  Upon his return home, he opens a private investigation business.  His business is not in good shape financially or otherwise.

John Bristow enters Cormoran’s office with a story about how his sister, supermodel Lula Landry (known as Cuckoo to her friends), fell to her death.  The police ruled it a suicide.  But John does not believe it.  Cormoran’s investigation leads him to a world of millionaires, super models designers and more….

More Quilts from the International Quilt Festival, Raffle Quilt, Book Review

January 30th, 2015

I have some more photos from the International Quilt Festival that I took in October but never got around to posting.  Here are some of those quilts.

Marina Landi and Maria Lucia Azara won one of the top prizes for their quilt “Summer Wind”.  They are from Brazil.  They won the Baby Lock Master Award for Machine Artistry.

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“Revolution #9″ was made by Robin Gausebeck from Illinois.  She won 1st place in the Mixed Techniques category.

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“Imagine” was made by Yumiko Takami from Japan.  She won first place in the Handmade category.

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Mona, from the quilt guild in Charlottesville, sent me this photo.  The guild used my pattern called “Midnight Floral Fantasy” to create a raffle quilt.  They named their quilt “Posies and Pineapples”.  It looks great…doesn’t it?  I hope they raise a lot of money. Go to the guild’s website at to find out more about them and their raffle!

"Posies & Pineapples" CAQG 2015 Raffle Quilt




Marie-Laure lives in Paris with her father who works at the Museum of Natural History.  He is known as the keeper of the keys.  And, there are many, many locks at the museum. Marie-Laure, at the age of 6, goes blind. Her father builds her a miniature replica of the area where they live.  He works with her to learn the streets, distances, etc.  When the Germans enter Paris, Marie-Laure and her father flee to her uncle’s in Brittany, along the coast.

The second main character is Werner, an orphan.  Werner finds an old radio and fixes it.  He has a talent for fixing radios and he’s intelligent. This is what leads him to the Hitler Youth schools.

This book kept my interest, going back and forth between the two main characters.  Good read.

Albuquerque Convention Center and Book Review

January 23rd, 2015

This past week I taught for AQS Quiltweek in Albuquerque.  You would think I would show you things from the show…but, no. I was beyond excited about the exterior of the convention center.  The mosaic project was funded by the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps and the City of Albuquerque. This Public Art program was lead by artists Cassandra Reid and Margarita Paz-Pedro. While working together with dozens of young apprentice artists, these tile artists spent years creating a master piece. You can learn more about the artists and their projects by visiting their website at


Each section tells a story. Simply Amazing!!!


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This book takes us back to the law firm of Rosato and Associates, located in Philadelphia.  Judy Carrier works at the firm and is at a cross road of sorts. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, just became a partner at the firm and Mary is getting married.  It leaves Judy unsure about her love life and work life.  Then Judy finds out her favorite Aunt, Barb, has been diagnosed with cancer. When Judy goes to see her Aunt, she finds out her Aunt’s friend who had been helping her through her chemo has been killed.  Judy begins to investigate the questionable death and finds more than she bargained for.




Austin and Marble Falls, Texas and Students’ Work

January 12th, 2015

Just returned from a wonderful  trip to Texas. I love Texas! Everything is so big and beautiful and the people are all so friendly. First stop was the State Capital of Austin. Their Capitol Building, made of the pink granite from Marble Falls, is larger than the Capitol building in Washington D.C.


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I taught workshops and gave lectures to the Austin Area Quilt Guild. This is a great group with nearly 500 members. Last year they completed my Fiesta Mexico quilt and raised $19,000.00!!!! To learn more about this guild visit their site at Here are some of their smiling faces tackling a new project.

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While driving between my hotel and the meeting rooms, I noticed a massive wall decorated in tiles. I stopped and spent over an hour reading the history of the Crestview-Brentwood neighborhood as depicted in the mural. The neighborhood was started in 1952 and building lots cost a whopping $595.00. The hundreds of blocks told the story of the neighbors and businesses.

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It was nice to witness a neighborhood with so much pride. Did I say everything is big in Texas. Here is one of my favorite tile blocks.

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Next stop was the Junk Cathedral in a residential area in south Austin. Again everything is bigger, even backyard junk piles. The owner of the property and creator of the cathedral, Vince, reported that he was not a favorite of his neighbors and that two wives had divorced him. I am shocked!

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But his dog, Smokey, loved it!!

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My next stop was Marble Falls in the hill country. Mary, my hostess, was the BEST!! She shared her home, her quilts, her shop and her friends with Joe and I. The work space was fabulous! The quilt retreat was held in Mary’s guest house located in the middle of Cimarron Ranch, a glorious property cared for and loved by Mary and her family.

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Here are a few pictures taken while driving through the ranch.

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We took a short trip through the Hill Country and here are more things we saw.

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Historic Fort Martin Scott

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Enchanted Rock

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Texas is also known for its food. Slow cooked beef, brisket, pulled pork, pork steak, ribs, sausage – in short the world’s best BBQ. Joe tested the following places: Franklin’s in Austin, Opie’s in Spicewood  and Pete’s Mesquite in Marble Falls. Although he liked them all, Franklin’s was worth the hour wait for his four meat plate.

If visiting Marble Falls, a stop at the Blue Bonnet Cafe is a must. Where else can you find “Pie Happy Hour”?!


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Even the pies are bigger in Texas! Yummie.

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Meg Latimer sent me this photo.  She made 4 of the Majestic Mosaic blocks for a great looking wall quilt.  Thanks for sharing Meg.




Peggy Jo Smith sent me this photo.  She used my Kansas Rose block as her center square. It was a block of the month project, from 2011, called “Aunt Grace Circle of Friends”.  Great way to use the Kansas Rose block.

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And Kathleen Clendennen shared her photo of Kansas Rose.  She has the overlay piece pinned and ready to sew.  Looks great Kathleen.

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Connie Sutterfield send me a photo of her finished Fiesta Mexico quilt top.  It is off to the quilter now.  Amazing.  I know how much work this was.  Thank you so much for sharing Connie.  Your quilt looks fabulous!

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I am off to Albuquerque.  Talk to you soon…….