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

Tuesday, 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   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.







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

Wednesday, 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.

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

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




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

Monday, 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














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 .



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

Wednesday, 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:  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:


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:



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.




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!!





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.



Monday, 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

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!”



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.



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.

Johnson City, TN, Tennessee Quilt Shop and Book Review

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

I just returned home from a trip to the Blue Ridge Quilters Guild in Johnson City, Tennessee. What a beautiful area and a special group of quilters. To learn more about these quilters and their bi-monthly meetings and classes contact:

Here are some of the ladies at the lecture.



And, some at one of the workshops.




Jonesborough is a few miles from Johnson City and is the home of Tennessee Quilts, one of my favorite quilt shops. Any time I am within a few hours of the shop, I make a stop. You should too!!



The fabric choices and displays are heavenly.






And, their selection of scissors…….simply Perfect!



We ate every meal in Johnson City at Cootie Brown’s, a must stop for anyone living in or visiting the area. Tuesday is Tamales night!! Yummy.



Just walking up puts a smile on your face. What great colors.



I like the flowers and the broken, colored glass.



Check out these cool and colorful tables. No two are alike.



Their menu is a newspaper!!





Wanda John of Bristol, TN showing her finished Garden Medley Quilt. Good Job, Wanda.



Darlene finished her Majestic Mosaic block! Way to go  Darlene. Your work will inspire others to finish. Thank you for sharing.





As I’ve been doing some hand applique, I listened to another good audio book, “The Twenty-Three” by Linwood Barclay.  I have read several other books by Linwood Barclay and liked them so I thought I’d take a chance on another one.  Good news….it was good, too.  Over Memorial Day weekend, the town of Promise Falls is in trouble.  Hundreds of people are getting sick and many have died. The emergency crews cannot keep up with the catastrophe.    At the same time, a college student is found murdered.  (Glad I don’t live in Promise Falls.  Lots of bad stuff going on there.)  Detective Duckworth has his hands full.  Good listen while I was sewing.  I remain a Linwood Barclay fan.

Pictures from this summer and Book Review

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Summer is coming to an end and I will be venturing out to teach tomorrow.  I’ve enjoyed six weeks of what I call “down time” which means sewing time and not traveling time.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from the last three weeks.

Someone dumped this tiny kitten, Stray Kitty 42, near our home. She had a respiratory infection and weighed one pound.  After feeding her for four days, we were able to catch her, take her to the vet and find her a good home.



Here she is, ten days later, the day she left us, healthy and ready to join her new family.



Kitty Carlisle did not mind the guest for a few days.  Several of you asked about Kitty Carlisle and she is doing very well.




You know I love bugs.  (I like them outside of my house….not inside…I don’t like them inside…) Here are just a couple of my bug photos from the past several weeks.







Of course, our vultures: baby Val



Mom and Dad, Velma and Victor, laying at the bottom of our steps!



And, all three waving at us!




As always, there was fishing with Uncle Joe.  How cute is Adeline?  She’s adorable.



Parker is looking good, too.  Yep, fishing with Uncle Joe went well.



And, so many wonderful flowers.




Enough down time, now to hit the road. Tennessee, here I come. Until next week   …     .




Being home for the past several weeks, I have been getting lots of hand applique done on a new quilt.  While I’m sewing, I enjoy listening to audio books.  I just finished “Shadow Creek” by Joy Fielding.  I had not read one of her books in ages.  Sometimes I find new authors and I forget to go back and see what new books my favorite old authors have published.  This was a thriller-murder mystery.  A young couple is murdering older couples in secluded wooded areas.  The main characters end up camping in the area where this young couple is murdering.  ……..If you are a camper or live in a secluded place in the woods you might not want to read this….scary.

A Few Of My Favorite Things, Student’s Work and Book Review

Monday, August 14th, 2017

I’ve had some requests to share information on my favorite chairs in my sewing room.  While I’m at it, I am going to share information on more than just the chair.  First, the most comfortable chair I have ever owned is one made by Herman Miller.  This chair is not cheap.  During my travels many years ago, there was a Herman Miller chair at the desk in my hotel room.  Here are some thoughts….great marketing idea because I bought one after sitting in it.  The chair adjusts in many different ways…height of seat, height of arm rests, tilt, back support….  If you think this is something you might want, I suggest you do what I did….go to the store and sit in them (many different options).  If you are a sewer/quilter, you can be in this chair for hours at a time and still be comfortable.  Comfortable is a necessity!  No back pain after sitting for a long time so I feel my money was well spent.  If you search Herman Miller, you can see if there is a store near you.  There were no stores near me however, I checked around during my quilting/teaching travels and there was a store in the area where I was going to teach.  Lucky me.


Also, in the above photo and below are several more of my favorite things.   Yes, of course, my BERNINA sewing machine.  I love my BERNINA machines.  Yes, I said machines plural.  I have two in my room.  My opinion again…what if one is not working properly and it needs to go to the BERNINA hospital for a check up or surgery?  You don’t ever want to be without a working machine.  Not ever.  I don’t think I could sleep at night if I did not have a working sewing machine (just kidding. Kinda).

Next, the light over the machine.  I saw these in the classroom last year at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  Not even my classroom….just a machine sewing room that I passed by.  I stopped and walked in (not during class….right before class started) and thought….now that’s one nice light. So, I ordered one.  I don’t have one single regret.  These lights are made by Daylight.  Here is the information:  LED Slimline Table Lamp S, Model U35107 Chrome.  This one clips onto my table.  They also make a floor model version.

And, finally, in this photo is a thread stand that attaches to my machine.  It holds multiple spools of thread along with some of my bobbins.  I have found that a lot of my threads like coming off the spool and going through the thread guides on my stand as opposed to sitting on my machine thread spindles.  What I mean by that….I get a better stitch, better tension.  I think the stand is called a Conductor Thread Stand under the BERNINA accessories.  If I am remembering correctly, there is one that holds 10 spools and one that holds 20 spools.


The last of my favorite things for this blog is my other Herman Miller chair.  Since I do a lot of prepared edge applique techniques, I sit at my ironing station for many hours at a time.  Again, I don’t want to have back pain and I was getting it right between my shoulder blades.  Ouch.  So, I looked and found a Herman Miller drafting chair.  The height was perfect for where I sit to iron edges.


Not realizing this when I took the photo…two of my other favorite chairs sit in the background of my ironing station.  They are the two Best of Show awards received in Paducah.  Crazy as it sounds, Renae and I were sooooooo excited to get a chair.  If you are a top winner at the AQS show in Paducah, you win a chair.  (Think of this like Oprah saying….you win a car, and you win a car….because that is how I feel.)  Getting two of these chairs is a very big deal.  If I never get another chair the rest of my life, I’m going to be OK.  I love my chairs.  All of them.

I am in my happy place when I am in my studio/sewing room..



Anne Chamberlain from the guild in Edmonds, WA, where I taught in July, just emailed me a photo of her finished machine applique Circles Squared project.   Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful finished quilt Anne.



Just finished reading “Same Beach, Next Year”.  Two couples have an incidental meeting at their beach condos.  Adam Stanley and Eve Landers were high school sweethearts and this encounter, a chance meeting at the beach, brings back lots of memories.  Their spouses notice the glances between them.  The four of them along with their children, look forward to seeing each other at Wild Dunes every summer during their vacations .  The whole time I was reading this book I kept thinking it would be a great read for the beach….while I was sitting on my sofa at home….no where near the beach.  But the story took me to the beach so I felt like I got a mini vacation.  Enjoyable summer read.

Until next week……

Seattle, Chihuly, Mount Rainier and Book Review

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Dale Chihuly, Seattle’s favorite son and glass artist extraordinaire, built a beautiful museum to house some of his work. It is located adjacent to the Space Needle.


Here are a few of the pieces on display inside the museum. Incredible!!








One afternoon we drove out to Mount Rainier and passed through a nice little village.



As we drove through the park we’d round a bend and be amazed at the glacial peak.




Purple mountain majesties.  Bet there is fruit out there on the plain.




I just finished another great read….”The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf.  I could not put this book down.  The story begins with two little girls that have gone missing.  As the story unfolds you find out about Calli’s alcoholic father and the toll this has taken on their family.   Calli is a selective mute which came about because of a situation she witnessed between her parents.  Petra and Calli are the same age and meet in school.  They become best friends and Petra becomes Calli’s voice.  Good read.

Enjoy the rest of your summer……

Seattle, Book Review and Student’s Work

Monday, July 31st, 2017

After teaching in Edmonds, we drove into Seattle. What a wonderful city and we had Perfect Weather!  In the mid 70’s and not one drop of rain.

Must stop number One is Kerry Park. There was a plaque in this quaint little park that read “Kerry Park was given to the City in 1927 by Mr. & Mrs. Albert Sperry Kerry, so that all who stop here may enjoy the view.”

Wow, what a view! And, check out Mt. Rainier in the distance.




Second must stop: The Public Market; its fresh fish and flower stalls are fab-u-lous.







The Market, specifically Number 1912 Pike Place,  is also the birthplace of:



Joe loves their coffee.  We waited a long time to see the inside and purchase a collectible mug from the very first Starbucks.



Although it may have been the first, it is one of 24,000 worldwide today (I think 20,000 of them are in Seattle).



There are so many wonderful stores and shops for whatever you need: need a parasol? They’ve got it



Walked by a store called All Saints and they had a display of over 600 antique sewing machines. Amazing!





Another must see is Pioneer Square or Old Town Seattle, with its quaint shops. Nice totem.


Grand building entrances



and my favorite: Chocolate!!




Next week, we’ll visit the Chihuly Glass Museum and Mount Rainer National Park. I love that I am home sewing for 6 weeks straight and spending time with my sweet girl, Tillie.  She’s not in the best of health so I like spending as much time with her as possible.






I just finished listening to “The Black Ice” by Michael Connelly.  I’ve read most of Michael Connelly’s books but somehow had missed this older one from 1993.  It is the second book involving one of my most favorite characters: Harry Bosch.  Harry is investigating the death/suicide of a fellow police officer. He loves his job, but hates rules, police policy and butt kissing brass. They all get in the way of solving crimes. Harry travels to Mexico to follow some leads and disobeys the chief when told to return. Great characters and great story.

If you are a Harry Bosch fan or even if you don’t know this character….. Amazon Television has an original series, which I did not know about until recently, called “Bosch”.  It is in it’s 3rd season.  I’m not normally one for binge watching, but this was my exception.  I could not stop watching.  Each season has a story line that threads through the season.  The acting was spot on with the book characters.  All the actors were very well selected for their rolls.  I cannot wait for season 4. Thanks Amazon and Michael Connelly.



Sandra Fry took my Kansas Rose machine applique workshop when I taught in Garland, Texas last month.  She sent me this photo.  She used her finished block on her new tote bag.  Nice job and very good use of your block Sandra.  Thanks for sharing.