Spring Has Sprung, Block Sharing, Plano, Texas and Book Review

April 18th, 2014

Finally, we are seeing some of those spring flowers that we normally see in March.  Spring has been a long time coming to our area. We are so happy it has finally arrived.

blog 1



blog 2



blog 3


Molly has another one of the blocks finished from Fiesta Mexico.  I can hardly wait to see it all finished.





This past week found me teaching in Plano, Texas for the Quilters Guild of Plano, http://www.quiltersguildofplano.org/

Here are some of the ladies hard at work in our hand applique workshop.



The ladies decided to try something different. Sherry made two different soups and broccoli cheese bread for everyone for lunch.  I vote for them to do it all the time!  Sherry is an excellent cook.



One of the things this guild announced was that someone would be crowned the Queen of UFO’s. Obviously, I asked the person beside me if this was a good thing??  Not a title I would want.  But, as it was explained, they are asking everyone to finish some of their UFO’s and bring them to the meeting.  The guild is having a lot of fun with it and a lot of UFO’s will now be finished.  And, that is a good thing.  There are always creative thinkers at each guild which makes each one so much fun.






I believe this is the author’s first book.  If that is correct, I can hardly wait to see where she goes from here.

The book weaves through past and present.  Victoria Jones grew up in the foster care system.  One of the foster mothers she lives with, teaches her the Victorian meaning for each flower.  Victoria ends up homeless for awhile.  She eventually finds some friends and is able to make a connection through her knowledge of flowers.  Her friends share in her journey and struggles.  Good read.

This week I am off to what I hope is sunny Florida.  Until next week……

Happy Easter!  Hope the bunny is good to you……..

Pennsylvania Quilter’s Association, New Quilt, Quilt Sharing and Book Review

April 11th, 2014

This week my teaching trip took me only 2 hours from home.  Ah!!!  I was excited to have such a short drive.  Coming home was not as nice as I had hoped.  The fog was so dense it was scary to be driving and it lasted for at least 40 minutes.  Yuck!  I talked to my friend Barb, hands free, for most of the drive which honestly was helpful in keeping me calm.  Other than my crazy drive home, I had a very enjoyable trip.  My guild contact, Marie, was very nicely organized, which as I always say is extremely helpful.  Marie used a room at the hotel for classes and it was the same hotel where I stayed.  Really nice and easy for me.  The name of the guild is Pennsylvania Quilter’s Association and they are located in Wilkes-Barre, PA.


Renae Haddadin, longarm extraordinaire, and I have our second quilt completed.  I am very excited to share it with you.  It is called “Majestic Mosaic”.

Majestic Mosaic-small for blog



Here are some close-up photographs.




Majestic Mosaic-blog_____________________________________________________


Joan Dupuis-Neal from Canada sent me the three photos below.  She entered all of these quilts in the Winnipeg quilt show. And, got ribbons for every one of them….some got two ribbons!

Joan removed the outer border from my Japanese Garden pattern to complete her version of my quilt design.  She won first place in the category.

blog 1


In addition to first place in the category, Joan won Best of Show for Magical Medallions.  Joan said she added some piping to the scalloped border.

blog 2



Way to go Joan! I am so proud of you.

blog 3



Thanks Laura, for recommending this book.

As children, Michael and his brother Julian end up at the Iron Mountain Home for boys.  One of the brothers ends up killing a boy who is tormenting him and the other takes the blame.  As a result, the boys lead very different lives after leaving the home.  In a journey to reconnect with his brother and get out of organized crime, Michael returns to the Iron House.  This book had my attention from start to finish.  There are some good twists in the plot line.


I am off to Texas this week.  Until next week……

Empty Spools Conference and Book Review

April 4th, 2014

I just returned from teaching at the Empty Spools seminar in Pacific Grove, California.  You can find out more about this seminar by going to http://www.emptyspoolsseminars.com.  This is the most beautiful location for a quilting seminar.  Below are photographs of what I saw on my morning walks.  The concept of this seminar is to spend a full five days with your teacher.  They offer a great variety of workshops…from traditional to art quilts.

blog 2



blog 3



blog 5





blog 6



blog 7



blog 8



Asilomar 027 blog



This is the building where we met for meals.

Asilomar 112 blog


And, there is a beautiful herd of deer in the area.  Some days my students had to stop sewing, just relax and watch the deer.  Ahhhh!!!!

blog Asilomar

I was going to take a photo of all of my students on Sunday morning and then some of them had to leave early. So, here are some of my students.  As you can see, there were lots of happy faces.  The room we worked in had windows on three sides making a great room in which to hand applique.

blog 1


On one of my trips, someone recommended this book to me, “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes.  She did not tell me anything about it……just read it.  It’s three days since I finished reading the book and I cannot get it out of my mind.

Lou Clark just lost her job working at the local coffee shop.  She’s looking for another job because her family needs the money.  At age 27, she still lives at home with her parents.  The unemployment people offer her suggestions for jobs but nothing is appealing.  She really needs to work and finally agrees to go on an interview for a caregiver, something she knows nothing about.  The other main character is Will.  He had a great life….good job, beautiful girlfriends, traveled the world.  On his way to work one morning, he is struck and injured.  With the authors style of writing, I really felt like I knew these characters and the battles they were going through.  I definitely shed a few tears at the end.


Oshkosh, Wisconsin

March 21st, 2014

Joe and I flew to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the Quilting and Sewing Expo held at Fox Valley Community College.  It was an excellent event.  Show organizer, Marie Thull, did a fabulous job organizing the event.  Marie holds this event through the continuing education program at the college.  To find out more about the show go to http://www.fvtc.edu/public/NewsDetail.aspx?Id=312  

If you live in the area I would say it is definitely worth your time to go and if you don’t live in the area you should plan to attend.

One of the best things about traveling to quilting events with Joe is that we rent a car and see the area.  We asked some locals what they would recommend we see and do and we got lots of recommendations.

Everyone said, “You must go to the EAA Museum”.  We said, “OK”, having no idea what EAA stood for.  It stands for “experimental aircraft association”.  To find out more about the museum go to http://www.airventuremuseum.org

blog 4



blog 5



blog 6


And we all know Wisconsin is known for it’s cheese so while I was teaching one day Joe made a trip to check out some cheese at the Colonial Cheese House located in the historical town of Ormo. He met Jennifer Jordon, the proprietor, and learned about cheese making. You can check out their website at    http://omrocheesehouse.com.

blog 7


Joe had cheese shipped home since there was no room in our luggage.  Well, all of you cheese heads are right….the cheese is excellent…especially the cheese curds.

blog 8



There were two places in town that make their own chocolate and both places came highly recommended.  The first place has been making goodies since the late 1800s and was called the Oaks.  Their website is  https://oakscandy.com

blog 9


And the day before we visited the other chocolate maker, Hughes’.    The store is in the basement of a house.  The basement is rather small, but oh so quaint.  Only about 4 customers could fit in at one time.   The sign in the front had my attention…..OYSTERS.  Why would they have oysters at a chocolate shop?

blog 13


Unbeknownst to me they make a candy called “oysters”.  Of course we had to buy some.  I must admit they were so very tasty.  It was a vanilla cream or chocolate cream ball dipped in chocolate and covered with crushed peanuts pieces.  Excellent would be more like it.

blog 15



I understand the line goes down the driveway certain times of year….like Easter.


blog 18

I love their website name https://www.mailmechocolates.com

I can honestly tell you that I liked the chocolate from both places.

Next on our list was Ardy and Ed’s.  A delightful woman named “Sheila” who we met at a local store told us, “You have to go there.  They make their own root beer”.    So, off we went to Ardy and Ed’s.  And the root beer was really, really good.

blog 12


As we drove around town looking for some of the recommended places we stopped to look at the crazy people who drove on the ice and fished on lake Winnebago.  Joe wanted to drive out onto the ice in our rental car and I said there was no way I was doing that.  The idea of falling through the ice scared the you know what out of me.

blog 10

And since we could not get a flight out until the following day after the show at 4:15pm we decided to drive up and see Lambeau Field where for those of you who don’t know is the home of the Green Bay Packers football team.

blog 1



blog 2

All in all a fun trip:  teaching, sight seeing, and meeting some of the nicest people on earth, Wisconsinites.

The only bad thing about our visit…I gained a pound of the weight I just lost!!!!

A Couple More Quilts to Share and Students Work

March 14th, 2014

I still have just a few more photos from the AQS Quiltweek Phoenix to share with you.

“Obsession” was made by Mary Bauer from Crestwood, Kentucky.  She won third place in the Traditional Wall Quilt category.

blog 1-1





Kathy McNeil made “More Than A Memory”.  She took second place in the Innovative Wall Quilt category.



The more I looked at this quilt, the more interesting things I found….like the young couple kissing (thread work).

blog 1-4



And the heart on the tree.

blog 1-5



I just had to find the information in the show booklet to see what Kathy said about her quilt because the quilt was very intriguing.  Here is what she wrote, “Kathy dreamed about a tree whose memories spanned several hundred years and had seen lovers and pioneers come and go……”  You can find out more about Kathy at http://www.kathymcneilquilts.com/



“Savoring Twilight in Venice” was made by Patsy Kittredge from Sedona, Arizona.  She won third place in the Innovative Art Wall Quilts category.

blog 1-6



“Fissures” was made by Debra Jeske from Lynnwood, Washington.  She won 2nd place in the Modern Wall Quilts category.

blog 1-7



“An Unexpected Pleasure” was made by Nancy Arseneault from Tucson, Arizona.

blog 1-8



blog 1-9



Molly has been hard at work on her Fiesta Mexico pattern and shared another block with me.  I can hardly wait to see more of the blocks and how it all comes together.


Until next week……





Book Review and More Quilts from AQS Quiltweek Phoenix, AZ

March 8th, 2014


I was lucky enough to meet Suzanne Hyland in one of my classes in Phoenix.  She offered to send me a copy of the book her husband wrote, “Help!  I Married a Quilter”.  Many of you who read this blog will be able to relate to this book.  It could be a fun gift for your spouse or significant other.  There are lots of funny parts to the book.  I smiled a lot while I was reading.  One selection I really enjoyed was Mark’s interpretation of the meaning of some block names.  He referenced that many blocks had a significance relating to the Underground Railroad.  For example:  One story I read years ago indicated that if a slave saw a log cabin quilt hanging, with a red square in the center, it was a place to get help.  Mark mentioned some of these meanings but then came up with his own meaning of the “Secret Society of Quilters”.  For example:  “Log Cabin:  This person will keep all of your quilting secrets from your husband”.  I really enjoyed this section of the book.  I also liked where Mark compared golf and quilting.  He said “…when golfers finish a round all they have is a score to either brag or complain about. Quilters who finish a project have a work of art that can be shared and admired for generations”.  The Glossary in the back of the book is also quit funny.  You can purchase this book at http://www.quilterstouch.com/shop/product/help-i-married-a-quilter/.  The book is $9.95.


I promised more quilts form the AQS Show in Phoenix so here goes.

“Flower Baskets” was made by Betty Nyseth from Surprise, Arizona.  From a distance it looked like a nice, typical Log Cabin quilt.

blog 33


But, up close this quilt was anything but typical.  It has some wonderful details.

blog 34



“My Sedona Star” was made by Joyce Triezenberg from Grayling, MI.  It took third place in the Innovative Bed Quilt category.

blog 35



blog 36



“Keep It Simple” was made by Jodi Robinson from Enon Valley, PA.  It won Best Modern Quilt.

blog 37


To find our more about Jodi you can visit her website http://jrdesigns.wordpress.com/

blog 38



“Wandering ‘Round My World” was made by Beth Schilling from Columbus, OH.  Beth won the Best Innovative Quilt Award.

blog 39



blog 40



“Hurricane” was made by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga from the Netherlands and she won the Best Wall Quilt Award.

blog 41



blog 42

If you want to find out more about the many shows presented by AQS visit their website www.americanquilter.com

Winter in Sedona, Arizona and Carlisle, Pennsylvania and Student’s Work

February 28th, 2014

For this blog I thought I would share some of the photographs we took while we were in Arizona…Sedona to be specific.  Joe and I had been in Sedona many years ago.  And honestly, it was just as beautiful as we remembered it.  Enjoy!

blog 22



blog 23



blog 24



blog 25



blog 26



blog 27


Here are some of my favorite photos Joe took during some of our many snow storms here in Pennsylvania.

blog 28



blog 29



blog 30



blog 31_______________________________________________________________

Molly Wiegand is working on my Fiesta Mexico pattern.  She shared two of her blocks with me.  They look fantastic.

blog 1



blog 2

Talk to you next week……..

Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and Book Review

February 20th, 2014

I know I said in my last email that I would have more quilts to share with you from AQS QuiltWeek Phoenix but I decided to share some of my photographs from the botanical garden in this blog instead.

When asking people from the area, “What is the one thing we should do while we are here and have limited time?”  I think everyone gave us the same answer, “You must go to the botanical gardens and see the Chihuly glass exhibit”.  And are we glad we listened.  Below are some of the incredible gardens and also the glass.  It was impressive.

The lime green glass mixed in with the cactus….I loved it.

blog 10



blog 11



blog 12



blog 13


Love this close-up flower photo.

blog 14


We saw this bird on the ground. And then in the next second she was

blog 15


climbing into her nest in a really spiky cactus.   What a great hiding place.

blog 16



blog 17




blog 21



Purple glass spikes mixed in the green cactus.

blog 18



blog 19


Lime green/yellow glass amongst the cactus.

blog 20


I am not sure how long the exhibit is there but if you are close by you should definitely go see it.