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

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

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

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.




Edmonds, Washington, Students’ Work and Book Review

July 20th, 2017

I get to travel to some wonderful places. I just returned from one of the coolest: Edmonds, Washington and the Quilters’ Anonymous Guild. Coolest in temperature, sites, shops, galleries, coffee, flowers and quilters. To learn more about this guild visit their website http://www.quiltersanonymous.org/

Here are a few photos of quilters attending my evening and morning lecture and my machine applique workshop.

First is the evening group.


This is the morning group.

And, here are some of the ladies hard at work in the machine applique workshop.


Edmonds is a port town a few minutes north of Seattle built on a hill overlooking the water. It is known for its flowers, shops and salmon fishing. We walked every morning and here are some of the amazing things we saw.


The Ferry which runs every 30 minutes.



A great salmon sculpture at the fishing dock.



Another sculpture entitled “Whale Watching”.






Check out those snow covered peaks in the distance. Ahh!!!



We could not get over the flowers. They were everywhere and so lush.










Joe visited the Ballard Locks while I was teaching. He wanted to see the salmon ladder on the side of the lock.



He spotted a fisherman standing in front of the ladder.  This guy is truly one of the best fisherman.




Look, a female and male king fisher.



We did get to spend some time in downtown Seattle and the surrounding area which I will share in future blogs.



On my recent trip to Edmonds, Washington, Cathy Baughmann brought her finished Folk Art Fantasy project.  Cathy had taken this class from me awhile ago and, since I was in the area, she was kind enough to bring it in and share it with me.

Sandra Olsen, also a Quilters Anonymous member, shared her completed Garden Medley Project. Great job ladies.





I had not read a Lisa Gardner book for awhile.  I really like her books and realized how much I missed reading her.  I believe this is the 7th in a series she calls the “Quincy and Rainie” series….the names of the two main characters.  Quincy, retired FBI profiler, and his wife, Rainie, are getting ready to adopt Sharlah May Nash.  Sharlah and her brother Telly have not seen each other in many years.  They were separated when Telly killed their father defending he and Sharlah’s life.  There were great twists and turns in this book.  I would have never guessed “who done it”…….Great read.

Cleveland, U2, The Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame and Student’s Work

July 10th, 2017

Joe wanted to spend his birthday weekend in Cleveland and I said “What?? Cleveland, Ohio??” I am so very glad we went. What a wonderful city with a great downtown full of refurbished historical buildings, theaters, sports complexes, restaurants, parks, museums and Lake Erie.



We arrived at our hotel and walked to the Cleveland Brown’s stadium for a concert featuring OneRepublic and U2.



We had a wonderful view of the stage and sang along with Bono and the Edge.



A grand time was had by all 60,000 attendees.




In the morning, we walked to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame and around town. Here is what we saw…..



We had to get a shot of us.



The world’s largest rubber stamp made for John D. Rockerfeller’s Standard Oil Company and donated to the city.




The Veteran’s Memorial with the names of all residents who have given their lives for our nation.



I loved that the city has taken many of its older buildings and re-purposed them into hotels, offices, residences, shops, etc. Here is the former Cleveland Merchant Trust Building which was across the street from our hotel.



Here  is the dome from inside the building. The murals tell the history of Cleveland.



Check out the amazing stained glass.



And what is it now? A phenomenal grocery store with bakery, deli, coffee shop, and sushi bar. Great use for this space.



In the afternoon, we visited the Hall of Fame. Wow!




A few of the hundred of musical groups, duets and individuals honored at the Hall. Of course: the King.









I loved Jimmy Hendrix’s outfits: my style and colors.



Of course, Steven Tyler’s outfit from Aerosmith was equally amazing.



Whether you call him Jonnie Cougar, John Cougar, John Cougar Mellancamp, John Mellancamp, or just John, this hometown boy from Bloomington, Indiana and his music will live forever because he’s “” R” ” O” “C” “K” in the USA”




The school boy’s uniform of crushed velvet and guitar of AC/DC’s Angus Young.




And, of course, a tribute to Ireland’s finest: U2!



The featured exhibit was for Rolling Stone Magazine’s 50th anniversary and all it’s covers were displayed. Some of the ones from the 70s



and some recent ones.



We ended our trip to Cleveland with a stop at the home featured in the movie, A Christmas Story . “You’ll shoot your eye out.”



I think I spy a major award in the window.



This may have been our first visit to Cleveland, but it will not be our last! If you have never been to Cleveland put it on your list. You will thank me later.



Student’s Work

Joan recently finished her version of my “Bluebird of Happiness” pattern.  Good job, Joan!




Until next week …     .

More Carlisle, The Fabric Center and Vulture Update

July 3rd, 2017

The town of Carlisle has so many great restaurants. Here are some of my favorites. If you like Thai food, and we love it, Carlisle Thai Cuisine is the place to go.



If you want authentic Mexican, try Taqueria Laurita’s.




The Back Door Cafe has wonderful subs and salads.



And, Carlisle Bakery is a must stop for the finest baked treats.



Can’t go wrong with a cup of Joe and a sandwich at Denim Coffee. Thursday night is Open Mic Night.


The soups at Lili’s place are made each morning by Lili.


And, Ross Morris’s Northern Italian Cuisine is heavenly at Trattoria Piatto. Ask for a seat on the patio or porch.




Our favorite, Mark Bricker’s: Brick Kitchen & Bar, serves the best fish tacos in the world!! Think I’ll call now for a table.



In addition to the excellent restaurants, Carlisle has some fabulous shops…..







a little sweetness



and my favorite, non-quilting shop: Camellia’s.


The outside is welcoming



and the front entry way delightful.



I love her teas and her displays are so bright and cheery.



Of course, we have a quaint quilt shop: “The Fabric Center” . To find out about them, visit their Facebook page!




When I need a new green, and I love green, I know right where to find it.



The Fabric Center has a great staff of knowledgeable quilters,  a nice selection of fabric….



wonderful patterns and displays





and a large classroom (when class is in session more tables are set up) with some great instructors.


Took a few shots in our garden today.




The Cabbage White Butterflies and the bumble bees love the lavender.





Velma, the vulture, was at the door a few days ago, again, looking for Joe (he feeds all the birds).



He followed her out and she flew into the abandoned barn next door. Joe followed her in and  here is what she showed him. Her new baby which is quite large.

Think we will name him Val.



Marsha Bohling from Idaho shared this picture of her version of my Fiesta Mexico pattern.  Doesn’t it look great?  She won second place in the applique category at the “Fiesta Arizona” show in Northern Idaho.  Congratulations, Marsha and thanks so much for sharing.


Peggy Keirstead finished her Kansas Rose block from the class I taught in Garland, Texas last month.

Good Job, Peggy!

I love to see the finished project!


Until next week…….





Carlisle, PA, Vulture Update and Book Review

June 26th, 2017

I have never written about my wonderful home town of Carlisle, PA. I thought you might enjoy seeing this quaint little town.  It is a wonderful place to live.

In colonial times, Carlisle was the gateway to the west.


It is a very historical area…..


and its public square is grand with churches and courthouses.



We have a very nice public library.



One of the oldest fire houses in the United States dating back to the late 1700s can be found in Carlisle.




Check out its weather vane. Very cool.



We have Joe’s alma mater, The Dickinson School of Law, now a part of Penn State.


A fantastic college and campus.



The campus really is beautiful.  Every building has limestone on the exterior and I am told it all comes from the same quarry….even the newer buildings.







Carlisle is also home to the Carlisle Barracks and United States Army War College, where Colonels learn how to become Generals.  This military base has been in continuous operation since the 1750s.


Next week we will visit a few of the 25 restaurants and some of my favorite shops.





I just finished reading my second book by Heather Gudenkauf.  That means I liked the first book and guess what?……..  I liked the second book just as much if not more.  This book had me pulled in right from the beginning.  Good characters and good character development.  During a spring snow storm, a gunman walks into the local elementary school.   Officer Meg Barrett has a daughter who attends the school and knows many of the children and parents.  Another story line has Wil Thwaite waiting outside the school as his two grandchildren are inside.  He’s responsible for his grandchildren because his daughter is in the hospital after being severely burned.  And then there is Evelyn Oliver, the teacher who is trying to protect her students.  Good read.



The Arlington and Garland Guilds of Texas

June 19th, 2017

We just returned home from visiting two guilds in Texas. I love Texas, but this past week was hot, hot, hot. How wonderful to see some friends from past classes, cruises and shows. And, it was nice to make some new friends.  The magnolia trees still had their fragrant flowers.



First, I lectured and taught for the Quilt Guild of Arlington. Learn more about this great guild by visiting http://qgoa.org/

Here are some of the members waiting for the lecture.



And, some of the ladies at the machine applique workshop.



Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers baseball team and a visit to their ball park is a must, even if they were on the road.



Next, I was the guest of the Garland Quilt Guild and taught machine and hand applique classes. To learn more about the guild visit their site: http://garlandquiltguild.com

My photographer and roadie, Joe, forgot to capture photos of the ladies in the class as he was out and about in the historic part of town. First, he stopped at a museum housed in the old railway station.



He learned the history of the area and how it grew from a one horse town in the late 1800s…..



To a small town by the turn of the 20th century.



It became a thriving small town of 10,000 in the 1950’s where the Plaza Theater was in full swing.


Garland Texas was a town of about 20,000 people in the 70s and 80s but now has a population of over 250,000. Wow.

Joe also loves Texas BBQ, the best in the world, and Garland has one of the best in all of Texas: Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.



It has a beautiful tap room.



Mountains of meat and sauce (Texas Heat or Texas Sweet). Joe had to sample some. He says he skipped the chicken.



And, of course, Joe had to discuss and help Brew Master Chris taste and test the latest batch of IPA. It must be a science if you drink it out of a lab beaker.

I think I know why he forgot to take photos of the quilt class!



I am home for a couple of weeks. More sewing, yippee.  My new project is really taking shape. Until next week  …   .




Fawn Grove Quilt Guild in PA, Backyard Birds and Book Review

June 7th, 2017

This past week, I lectured for a group that was about an hour and a half from my home.  They are located in Fawn Grove, PA which is a community on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border (The Mason/Dixon Line). To learn more about this wonderful group, visit their website  http://quiltingontheline.com/



I have taught for this group before and it is always fun to be asked back. Susan was my contact and she was a treat to work with. Here are some of the ladies at the lecture.





I will be home most of the summer sewing and designing. Yippie. One of my favorite things to do is to watch the birds in our back yard. Right now, all the parents are bringing their chicks into the yard to feed. My favorites are the blue birds. We feed them meal worms. Daddy blue bird gathers the worms up….



as a little one watches from up above.



Dad might feed only one at a time…..thanks Pops.



Or, he may have several worms.



O.K. kids line up, it’s lunch-time.



We have counted over 30 different types of birds that come to our yard for food, water or both. Here are a few from this week:


A Blue Jay





A Tufted Titmouse



A male Cardinal



a female Cardinal



A red bellied woodpecker



a Catbird



And, of course, our pet vultures: Victor and Velma. Can’t wait for their babies later this summer.




Until next week …    .








I just finished reading “The Whistler” by John Grisham.  Another very good read.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct.  Lacy has been working on the board for nine years.  The board investigates complaints against judges.   Greg Myers (assumed name) is a disbarred attorney who is afraid for his life and wants his identity kept secret.  He comes to Lacy with some information on a judge and wants the board to investigate.  The story line takes some good turns and kept my interest throughout.

Lake Arrowhead

May 30th, 2017

Just returned from a relaxing and fun few days at Lake Arrowhead in California.   The temperature at 6,000 feet was a perfect 45 at night and 68 during the day. The mountains are so relaxing. Our friends have a great lake house and from their deck each morning, here is what we saw.




Our friends feed the birds and we would watch them as we had our morning tea and coffee. The Jays…….nice hairdo.





The hummingbirds (I think she is ready to lay some eggs).






And, the woodpeckers!



Think they needed a drink after all those peanuts.



We were driving down the road and spotted where the woodpeckers stored all their peanuts. Amazing.



On our morning walks, we saw some beautiful flowers…..






We drove into the canyon and hiked a few trails. Great rock formations.







On the drive back to the lake, we saw this golden eagle leading the way.



We returned home yesterday and most things were normal. Kitty Carlisle was her old self, “Oh, you’re back,” she yawned.



And Tillie made a new friend, yikes!



Until next week …     .