Tennessee , Bush Beans, Adeline’s quilt block and Book Review

April 9th, 2018

Last week, while teaching in Pigeon Forge, TN, many of my students suggested Joe drive thirty minutes east to visit the Bush Beans’ factory. Joe loves to explore and he was so happy because he got to meet Jay and Duke. Joe said Jay was a little stiff.



In the early 1900s , Andrew Jackson Bush and his wife, Sallie Bush, opened a general store in the village of Chestnut Hills, Tennessee.



The family also began canning local fruits and vegetables.



The store sold fabric, thread and sewing notions. Sallie Bush and her mother, Frances Ketner, who lived with them were quilters. Here is a beautiful example of their work, an Irish Chain.



During the Depression, Mr. Bush, his brother and their families decided to add a new product line. This would be a cheaper meal for the millions of hungry Americans: pork and baked beans.



Today, the Bush Brothers Company sells 80 percent of the beans consumed in America! The old General Store is now a museum and a huge addition houses a cafe, store and tribute to the five generations of the Bush family.




Check out the beautiful quilt block on the side of the building.



Step inside and step back in time.



The original Bush home sits across the street from the general store, but it is dwarfed by the massive canning and distribution plant.




The billion dollar company now has operations in many states and is a great example of how hard work, effort and planned organization can become the American Dream. Thank you A. J. and all the Bushes. Still think the Bush Bean theme song should be Jumping Jack Flash (it’s a gas, gas, gas).




My grand niece, Adeline Ashby, is just adorable. She is six going on seven and loves to sew. She is so lucky to have a grandmother (JoAnn Ashby) who is a quilter. Look at what Adeline made.



Not to be out done, her handsome brother Parker, 9, created this scenic wall hanging with a little help and guidance from JoAnn.



Great job Adeline and Parker!! I am so very proud of you two!





Another great listen while on the road.  I am a Harlan Coben fan and his newest book did not let me down.  I would give this book 5 stars for sure.

15 years after the death of his brother, Leo, and missing girlfriend, Maura, New Jersey detective Napoleon, call me “Nap”,  is still looking for answers.  His girlfriend’s finger prints show up at a recent crime scene.  I liked the character development and the story line.  There are some really good one-liners that made me laugh out loud while riding in the car.  I liked this character so much that I hope the author writes more books with this character.  I would love that.

Pigeon Forge, TN and Book Review

March 28th, 2018

We drove south to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this past week for the 24th Annual Mountain Quiltfest. The show is sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce and the City.  Not only is this a nice quilt event but the city and surrounding area have a lot to offer.  The classes and the show are held at the LeConte Convention Center. Although there is a cost for classes, the entrance to the show and vendors is FREE.  Here is a picture of the convention center. The classrooms are really nice with each student having their own large table and great lighting.



The LeConte Convention Center as the sun was setting. Ah!!



Here are a few of my happy students in one of my hand applique classes.




This is a fun group of ladies who attended my paper piecing and machine applique class.



Lori Goehring from Woodstock, Georgia took my Kansas Rose class on Tuesday and came in Thursday morning to show this:


Truly amazing!


We had a chance to drive into the Great Smokey Mountains to the Tennessee-North Carolina Border. Seeing the mountains up on the Gap always takes my breath away.



A storm blew in a few days later and the first day of spring looked like this.



We spotted Tom hitching a ride in the snow storm. What a majestic bird.



A close up of Tom the Turkey.



Within a few days, the snow melted and we drove over to Gatlinburg.



Next week……. a visit to Bush’s……….







I am a Lisa Gardner fan.  I’ve been on some very long car rides and have been listening to several books.  I think this is the 9th in the series with Detective D. D. Warren.  In this book the author brings back an old character, Flora Dane.  D. D. and Flora are an unlikely team.  They are working to find a missing 16 year old who’s entire family was shot in their home while she was out walking the dogs.  My opinion….I don’t think you need to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one.  I give it 5 stars.

Danville, IL, Dayton, Ohio, Student’s Work and Book Review

March 19th, 2018

I just returned from a trip to the Threads of Time Quilt Shop and Retreat Center in Danville, IL. The new owners, Cynthia and Harris, were great and the retreaters were the best. To learn more about the shop and the threads and beds retreat center, visit  https://www.threadsoftimefab.com  and plan a group outing.  Eve joined us and she loved it.



I really liked the area because they named a nearby town (population 732) after me. (The Dutchmasters were a baseball team from the town in the early 1900s.)



Danville had some very famous residents: Bobby Short, Jerry and Dick Van Dyke, Gene Hackman, Donald O’Connor and Helen Morgan.



Illinois is the land of Lincoln.   Abe gave a famous speech there in 1855.  Abe gave another famous speech not too far from where I live………..Gettysburg, PA.



One of the coolest things we witnessed in Danville was a Great Blue Heron “Rookeries” which is a group of nests for this majestic bird.






These giant birds lay 2-7 eggs. The males and females take turns sitting on the nest while the other fishes. The eggs hatch in 20-30 days and the chicks stay in the nest for 2-3 months. In this Rookeries there were 8 nests.

We left Danville and headed to Dayton Ohio, home of the Wright Brothers and American Aviation. I was the guest of the Miami Valley Quilters Guild. To learn more about this great group of quilters visit http://www.miamivalleyquiltersguild.org/

We spent a day at The National Museum of the United States Air Force and it was one of the neatest and largest museums I have ever visited. Eight massive hangers filled with full size aircraft from all time periods.


Early years of air flight



World Wars I and II





More recent years




They even had a Space Shuttle!



As we were walking from one hanger to the next, we stumbled upon this amazing quilt.



This quilt was created in 1997 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the United States Air Force. All 85 Air Force installations world-wide responded to participate in the project and sent a quilt block. The blocks, the Center design, Corner blocks, together with the borders were assembled into this phenomenal quilt.


Here are some close-ups of a few of the blocks….









When I was in Daytona Beach teaching at AQS Quiltweek, Emma Fleischer stopped by to show me this quilt.  Emma reminded me that many, many, many years ago….when I first started doing what I call “traveling teaching”, she took a class from me on piecing a Mariner’s Compass.  She wanted me to see that she used it as a center in her wall quilt.  Thanks for sharing this Emma and for reminding me just how long I’ve been doing this…….


I was in Dayton, Ohio teaching on Wednesday and Thursday.  On Saturday, I received this photo from Diane Vanhook.  To say that I was blown away is an understatement.  Diane finished our “Heart to Heart” machine applique project from the time I left on Thursday at noon until she emailed me on Saturday afternoon.  Rest assured, Diane did not get much else done but working on her project.  I was so excited to receive her email that I just had to share.  And, she even incorporated a flange which we talked about in the Thursday morning “Borders By Design” workshop.  Way to go Diane! I love seeing what you learned put to great use.



It had been ages since I read a Sue Grafton book.  Kinsey Millhone, Private Investigator, has some interesting cases which lead her to bring us some familiar faces and introduce us to some new characters in “Y is for Yesterday”.

The main story line is from 1979 where 4 teenage boys (friends) video the sexual assault of their 14 year old classmate.  The other story line is about a very nasty guy holding a grudge against Kinsey.  I liked how the story went back and forth between the story lines.  Good read/listen.

This is the 25th and final in the series. Sue Grafton passed away this past year after courageously battling cancer. Sue will be dearly missed by us all.

AQS QuiltWeek Daytona Beach, Student’s Work and Book Review

March 8th, 2018

When AQS asked me if I could teach in Daytona Beach in February, I said “I’m in!” It’s a no brainer….Pennsylvania or Florida in February?? Now let me think about that……..


Joe, Eve and I drove from Carlisle, PA to the Hilton Resort “on the Beach!” Thank you, AQS. Fabulous location and fabulous show.





It was Eve’s first trip traveling with us and she loved it. Eve had her first walks on the beach



and naps on the soft beds.



But, I had to remind her that she, being an Australian Shepherd, is a working dog. She was tasked to guard my products during classes.



She did so well and became the unofficial mascot of the show. I love this dog.


From our perch on the 11th floor, we saw some great sunrises



and some equally great moon rises.



Look, it’s Joe’s Crab Shack!



Oh yeah, there was a Quilt Show. Here are a few of my favorite of the many awesome quilts.


Rhoda Adams of Grasonville, MD exhibited this wonderful piece quilted by Jane Hauprich entitled “With Milk or Sugar?”



A close up…



“Between Heaven and Earth” was created by Audra Rasnake of Meadowview, VA.



Here is a close up of this award winner.



Jan Fraizier of Elwood, Victoria, Australia created “Chromascope.”



“End of Season by Jan Berg-Rezmer of Gladwin, Michigan is small yet grand.



Teresa Yielding Rawson of Tuscumbia, Alabama appliqued this amazing quilt she named “Contentment- A 20th Anniversary Celebration”.


The details on this quilt were amazing.




Wanda Blacksher sent me a photo of her finished quilt using my pattern, “Fiesta Mexico”.



And, Kathy Kenney sent me a photo of her finished “Bluebird of Happiness” block.


It’s hard for me to explain to you how happy it makes me to see these finished projects using my patterns.  If you could see me now you would see the big smile on my face.  Thanks very much ladies for sharing your projects.



I am addicted to Heather Gudenkauf’s books.  While I was doing a lot of hand applique. I listened to this book.  I really liked the book and the reader.

Sarah Quinlain goes back, along with her husband, to his hometown as his aunt is very ill and in the hospital.  They have been married for awhile and this is their first trip back to Jack’s home town.  Heather starts to find out that Jack has lied to her about many things including how his mother died when he was a teenager.  Sarah keeps digging and uncovers many truths as well as being stalked in her email.  I highly recommend this book.  Enjoy!


Until next week  …     .

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Las Colcheras Quilt Guild, Student’s Work and Book Review

February 26th, 2018

This past week, I was the guest of the Las Colcheras Quilt Guild in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is so beautiful and the mountains are mesmerizing.



It was my first journey away from home since early December and the ladies of the guild were wonderful. My contact, Vivian, was AMAZING! To learn more about the guild visit their site at http://www.lcqg.org

Here are some of the ladies in my hand applique class.



Some in my machine applique class….



and more at my lecture. Hi everyone!! Thanks for such a great time!



The Rio Grande is right outside of the city. It flows from its head waters hundreds of miles north in the mountains (Spoiler alert: it is neither a Rio nor too Grande this time of year). But, the scenery is beautiful. Joe drove up old Route 185 along the Rio Grande from Massilla to Hatch and this is what he saw.





The town of Hatch has a little over 1,000 residents but is the Chile Capital of the World.



I did not know that green chilies turned red when they are dried.






A must stop to get a bite of the best avocado and chili burger is Sparky’s. Joe said to ask for the extra large glass of ice water. You’ll need it.




The Town of Massilla was a stagecoach stop in the 1850s. Today it is a quaint village of artisans and great restaurants.

I loved the buildings, the windows and the doors.




We spent two wonderful afternoons in Massilla: one with Vivian and the other as guests of Marsha and Izzy, the owners of the local quilt shop and BERNINA  dealership. I did not get a chance to visit the shop as Marsha closed it to attend my classes, but you should check out their store. http://www.bernina-lascruces.com The food was fabulous and the company even better.

We discovered the most famous resident of Massilla had only lived in town for a short period of time.


Doesn’t say he escaped.




Some ladies in one of my classes in Las Cruces approached me and said that several of them made my “Fiesta Mexico” pattern.  And I said, “Where are the photos?”.  So, Lori Box sent me this photo of her quilt.  Lori changed Block One, across the top of the quilt, and I really like her change.  Great job Lori and thanks very much for sharing.




On a very long car ride, we listened to Stephen King’s book, “The Dead Zone”.  Man, he is a good writer. James Franco did a fantastic job reading this book.

Johnny Smith, small town school teacher, is involved in a very serious car accident and ends up in a coma.  He’s in the coma for 4 1/2 years.  When he comes out of the coma it is a very long road to recovery involving many surgeries.  He can now see things in the future.  This book kept my interest from beginning to end.  (Warning…if you are a dog lover like me, there was one section in the beginning that made me cringe.  Once past that, I was good.  I still wanted to pummel the guy who harmed the dog, but….. very good read/listen.



I am off to Daytona Beach and the AQS Show. Until I return  …    .

Carlisle Ice Sculpture Festival, More Thailand and Book Review

February 19th, 2018

This past weekend, the town of Carlisle had 74 ice sculptures placed throughout the town. It was great to see them with all of the people walking, shopping and enjoying the day. They were created by a company in Hatboro, PA. Here are a few of the many.


Darth Vader, presented by Sterling Realty Management, in front of one of it’s rental properties.



The Carlisle Chamber of Commerce displayed shaking hands.



Carlisle’s Finest Brewery, Molly Pitcher Brewing Co. (for non-historians, Molly “Pitcher” was a water bearer in the battle of Mammoth, NJ during the Revolutionary War. When her husband was injured, Molly took up his position and acted as the ramrod for the his canon. After the war, she moved to Carlisle and in 1791 while then President Washington visited Carlisle, he honored her.  The Brewery’s IPAs are great! (That’s coming from Joe as I am not a beer drinker.)




Great sculpture outside a local gallery,



Dia del Muertas “Day of the Dead” sculpture outside the Mexican Restaurant.




The Bosler library had it’s own ice-cold book.



But, because Joe had recently visited his brother, this was our favorite. It was outside one of our favorite restaurants.



Signs you only see in Thailand….





Just a few more of my favorite photos from Joe’s Trip!


A local man up early and hoping to get something good for dinner.



A monument to King Rama V who was tutored by Anna, from the “King and I”





A Close up of this magnificent bush



“See you next year, Joe. We’ll just hang out until you return!”






Ron Rash is a new author to me.  The book was recommended by an online reading group.  The story follows two brothers, Bill and Eugene, from their teen years in 1969.  Their lives were forever changed by some events during that summer.  Ligeia comes to their small town in North Carolina.  She’s from Daytona, Florida.  She’s a free spirit.  She’s been banished to this little town to live with her relatives because her parents were having a hard time controlling her.  After the events of this summer, each brother took very different paths.  Very good read.


Until next week………..

I’m Back, Joe’s Trip to Thailand and Book Review

February 12th, 2018

I am so, so happy. For the past seven weeks, since my last blog, I have been working on a new project and spending hours in the studio sewing. Also, I have been taking long walks with my new rescue dog, Eve, and bonding with Sweet Eve. She is getting better every day and even starting to play. She had a ruff first two years of her life.  But it will be ruff no more.  We plan to spoil her rotten.



Guess what? Eve’s favorite color is green, mine too!


I love her.


While Eve and I were bonding, Joe traveled to Thailand to visit his brother and nephew. They said the 3 Bees (the Buckley Boys) were having a reunion. Here is the first photo he sent home, three bees in a lotus flower. How fitting.



Here are some of Joe’s photos from his trip. Just say Ahhhh!!



Something you didn’t think you would see walking down the beach……………..



But, maybe on a side street where you can stop and feed them.




Something you might not expect to see while riding down a back road.



Hey, hey we’re the Monkeys! I am diggin’ the Mohawk.



A young female getting ready for a date, make-up not required.



A young mother and baby.





Smile for the camera!



The boys hiked to some secluded waterfalls and took a dip in the cool pool.



They found some very neat lizards, in Thai called “Na Kong” or river dragons.






They witnessed the migration of thousands of fish running up stream to spawn.




And, visited some beautiful Watts (Buddhist Temples).



They are so colorful and intricately designed.






Here’s what it looked like in Carlisle, PA as Carlisle Carla, our resident groundhog saw her shadow………. again. I hate her because based on her prediction we are in for another 6 weeks of winter.  Not diggin’ the groundhog.




This coming week, I am headed back out on the road. First stop – Las Cruces, New Mexico. Can’t wait to visit the warmth of Las Cruces, eat some great Mexican food and meet some wonderful quilters!






I just finished listening to this book.  I am going to give it five stars.  Good reader and good book.  It is based on a true story of a young Italian teenager,  Pino Lella, who just wants to be a kid and fall in love……but, it’s during the 1940’s and the war is just beginning.  Pino ends up leading refugees over the mountains to safety.  His parents call him home and make him enlist, thinking it’s better to enlist and have a choice of where you will go. If he is drafted, Pino could end up on the front lines.  Pino ends up being a driver for a General.  I would highly recommend this book.


Until next week, I promise, …       .

Happy New Year, More From Mexico, New Products and Book Review

December 26th, 2017

The Holidays are upon us. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!


Love, love, love visiting Mexico. I showed some of my favorite photos is last weeks blog and here are some more of my favorites.



A snowy egret with the coolest feet!



But I also love the lizards and iguanas.



Look at the texture in his body.




These next two giants were so beautiful.



Scary smile!



And his cousin.







We were walking on the board walk when this tiny little fellow popped up and and gave us a wave “Thanks for not stepping in my toes!”






This past week I introduced my “New” Perfect Scissors – Multipurpose. They have a razor edge (not micro serrated) and are wonderful for cutting templates, paper, fusible and even fabric.  They are included in the sale which ends December 29th.




After 5 years working with our manufacturing plant we were able to find a method to produce Perfect Leaves. I had received hundreds of requests for leaf shapes and now we have them. There are 15 different leaf shapes ranging from very small (less than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch) to medium/large (2 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches).  They are also included in the current sale.



I posted a free video on the website, “Free Tutorials”, showing how to use the Perfect Leaves.  When you have a minute check it out.

Enjoy.  And thanks to everyone who supports and encourages me.  I really do appreciate it.




I recently read “Best Day Ever” by Kaira Rouda.  Another new author for me.

Paul Strom is planning the best day ever for his wife.  They have a sitter for their two sons so they can enjoy the weekend at their beach house.  The best comment I can give on this story….you think you know someone, but maybe you don’t.  This was a crazy story/weekend.  I really enjoyed it.  It kept me guessing.



I am in my studio for the next six weeks working on a new project and bonding with Eve. I love her!! Look at that face.


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.





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.






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??





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




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!