Venice, Florida, Gators and Book Review

February 25th, 2019

Just returned from Venice, Florida and again, missed a snow storm at home. I hate it when that happens.

I love teaching in Florida, especially in February. Here are some of the ladies from the Venice Area Quilters Guild who attended my hand applique class.

The evening lecture was well attended and I was so happy and surprised to see some of my quilting friends who both live in the area and some who are lucky to spend their winters in the Venice area.

Across from my hotel was a large park with a huge pond. Here is the sign by the water.

Trust me, if you see this sign in Florida, THEY ARE NOT KIDDING!

A close up of this big fellow. Sign should read, “Let Sleeping Alligators Lie.”

More walking……… and I believe the sign should read “Alligators” plural.

Florida has some great birds and I was so glad to see the Wood Stork which is an endangered Floridian bird.

Let’s all sing together with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith: “Walk this way … .”

We also saw a number of White Ibis.

I love their blue eyes. Speaking of blue eyes, this cormorant has some great baby blues.

Got to spend some time walking the beach.

The shells were abundant and colorful and many I had never before seen.

I returned home to the cold and my sweet Eve. She will follow me anywhere. Check out her little coat as we are out for our daily walk.

Another great teaching trip in the books.


Another good read. This book by Georgia Hunter is based on a true story. It follows a Jewish family at the start of WWII and takes you on their journey through the war. The subject matter is heart breaking. The writing is great. I had a hard time putting this book down.

More Thailand and Book Review

February 21st, 2019

The Buckley Boys were lucky to see some elephants on their travels. Here is a 30 year old.

And, a 3 month old.

This is a one year old saying, “Hi guys, where’s my chow?”.

The boys found several troops of monkeys. Here is a mother feeding her newborn.

This old fellow loves his oranges.

Check out his hands.

Others were just going bananas.

Check out this little fellow.

“Look Mom, I can fly …. really! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!”

But, Joe said the scariest thing was driving past gangs just hanging out. “You lookin’ at me?”

The Gang Leaders.

The Buckley Boys had another great adventure.


Here is another great audio-book.  I am a Jodi Picoult fan.  I have read every one of her books.  “A Spark of Light” was another good read.  If you are unfamiliar with Jodi Picoult I always tell people she writes about thought provoking subject matters.  She does a lot of research and gives differing points of view.  This story takes places in an abortion clinic.  I highly recommend this book.  Very well written and great character development.

Joe’s Visit to Thailand and Book Review

February 14th, 2019

Joe travels to Thailand every winter to visit his brother, Mike and his nephew, Roy. The Buckley Boys travel around Thailand and always have loads of fun. They especially love to visit places where they can find animals in the wild. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of Joe’s photos.

Mike lives in a fishing region and the colors of the fishing boats are amazing.

Many of the local fisherman paddle small boats out early in the morning and return by 9:00 AM with their catch. Here is Ken returning to take his catch to market.

The boys found some great butterflies and moths. Joe took my new macro lens so he could get up close and personal.

They also found some great flowers.

So delicate.

While taking the above photograph, the owner of the property came out and asked Joe if he knew which fruit came from this flower. Joe said “No”, so the owner showed him.

They found some interesting fruits at the market.

How colorful.

Even the weeds are beautiful.

The Buckley Boys had a wonderful time and there will be photos of elephants and monkeys next week.


I read “A Man Called Ove”. I loved this book.  I give it five stars. 

This older gentleman, Ove, lives a solitary life.  He’s kind of cranky… put it mildly.  He has some pushy neighbors move in next door.  As the story progresses, I liked Ove more and more.  A definite must read.

Carlisle Indian Industrial School

January 21st, 2019

My good friend, Carmen, asked me to join her for an exhibit at the Trout Museum on the campus of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. After hearing someone speak about the exhibit, Carmen thought I would enjoy seeing it. I’m not sure she knows just how right she was. It was very moving. My interest in Native Americans started when I was in high school. I actually wrote two papers on the subject. I am by no means an expert, just an interested party.

I’ll try not to bore you but a little history is needed. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the flagship Indian boarding school in the Untied States from 1879 though 1918. It was the first federally funded off-reservation Indian boarding school. General Richard Pratt believed if Native Americans were to assimilate they needed to be educated with American culture.

When the students arrived their hair was cut, they were given “American” clothing and their names were changed. Pratt followed a military regimen and believed in corporal punishment for students who exhibited Native behaviors.

What moved me about the exhibit was the detailed workmanship and the subject. I have a strong opinion on this but I will keep it to myself. I would like you to form your own opinion.

Heather Flaherty, Curator of Education, walked us through the exhibit. It was obvious she too, was moved by this exhibit and that she loves her job. Her enthusiasm was infectious. It’s great to be around people who love what they do.

This exhibit is the work of artist Shan Goshom. Read below please.

After each group of photos, I have included the plaque which includes details about the art and the artist’s statement.

From a distance you cannot appreciate the details.
I am very impressed that this artist is able to print her designs onto the paper, weave the paper and line-up her design. That cannot be easy.
Sorry I cut off some of this text.

The artist, Shan Goshom, passed away this fall. The last basket, “Two Views” was purchased by the college and is now part of their permanent collection.

I hope sharing some of this exhibit has moved you as well. If you live in the Carlisle area, the exhibit will run through February 2nd. It is located on the campus of Dickinson College at the Emil R. Weiss Center for the Arts, 240 W. High Street, Carlisle, PA. Call for hours 717-245-1344.

More Mexico and Book Review

January 14th, 2019

I had so many wonderful pictures that I wanted to share with you from our Mexico trip. While I sit here in cold, snowy Pennsylvania, I like to dream of warmer climates.

I loved these butterflies. Their wings look as though someone dripped pink paint on their wings.

My new camera and lens allow me to get close and sharp photos. Many of you know how much I like bugs, so check out these colorful insects.

We saw a falcon. He was so majestic yet cautious of everything around him.

We discovered some very colorful lizards. This first one was over three feet long.

I absolutely love all the textures.

And, another only six inches long but oh, so adorable.

Check out the tortuga. (I am learning Spanish. I am up to eight words.)

At home in Carlisle, I took some photos of my backyard birds. This little guy flew into the window and was stunned. Joe nursed him until he has able to fly away, but I snapped this quick photo before he flew the coop.

Just a few more of our many, winter birds. Good eats at the Buckley compound.

I am loving being at home, enjoying walks with Joe and Eve and spending more time in the studio. Until next week … .

Book Review

I have read several of Tami Hoag’s books over the years but I think this is my first with this set of characters.  If my information is correct, this is the 5th book with the characters Liska and Kovac.  I really enjoyed listening to this book while I was sewing.  I knew the two story lines would eventually come together but I did not see this one coming.  It connects a cold case murder with a present day murder.  Liska and Kovac were partners but Liska moves to cold cases to have more time to spend with her children.  Kovac gets a new, green partner and he’s having trouble with the change.  I will definitely read more with these characters.

Sewing and Book Review

December 30th, 2018

In my early years of quilting, I made lots of quick sewing projects. They were fun and it gave me joy to make them for gifts and for my own use. Over the years, I moved away from those quick, piecing projects and started to enjoy making more challenging projects. When I started to make quilts for competitions, I would often make a quick piecing project in between each big competition quilt. Then, I just started to work on competition quilts and quilts for teaching projects. I was not doing any kind of basic straight line sewing. This past year, I decided it was time to get back into using some of my old plaid fabric collection, or as some people in my area call it, “the homespuns” and to sew some “straight lines”. I have made 5 of these quilts this year after having not made one in probably 15 years.

This might sound crazy, but I took a class with Roberta Horton in the 80’s to learn how to cut plaids. I know it sounds kind of funny.

I come from an era where we were taught to cut on the lines. Roberta made us layer the fabric, so we could see nothing but the top fabric. And then we had to cut shapes….squares, triangles, etc. Yikes. After I made one quilt like this I thought….now that was kind of freeing.

This fall, while at the Fall Paducah AQS Quiltweek, I purchased a lovely featherweight from one of the vendors. He had it all cleaned and purring smoothly for sewing.

I wanted to take this sweet machine for a test drive right after I got it but my teaching schedule this fall was so busy and my spare time was spent at the hospital with my mom. I recently had time to get into my studio and take this sweet machine for a test drive. (And yes, for those of you who have attended my lectures, HGTV is on in the background. LOL)

One of my favorite accessories for this machine is the 1/4″ foot.

I have a few other featherweight machines…..not telling how many. But, honestly, not that many. I decided to purchase an extension arm based on my experience using my other featherweight machines. And, I love it.

It’s called the “Sew Steady”. It fits perfectly. It was easier sewing the long rows together with this bigger work space.

So, this is the fifth quilt like this I made this year. I have donated all of them to my guild’s (the Letort Quilters) charity quilt project.

As I have traveled this country, teaching and lecturing for guilds, I have seen so much charity work being done by every single guild. It makes me happy to be part of such a giving group. My part is small but there are so many quilters and if all of us have a small part it becomes a very big thing. What I know for sure……there are many happy recipients of these quilts. Recently, this really came to the forefront as I read Cindy Needhman’s Facebook posts about all the quilts that were donated to those who lost their homes to the fires in California. To see so many happy faces………

So, thanks Roberta Horton for teaching me something fun, freeing and creative that still brings me such joy these many years later. And, thanks to all of you who are part of giving to help those in need. A special thanks to Cindy Needham for all her work with the recent California fires.

May you have a very blessed and Happy New Year.



Oh yes, another long car ride.  So, I listened to C. J. Box’s first book, Open Season.  I read a more recent book by this author and liked it so I decided to go back and listen to the first one in the series.  Joe Pickett is a new game warden in Wyoming.  He finds a local hunter dead in his wood pile.  Two more bodies are found in the area.  Joe decides to investigate which does not make him popular.  He’s putting his family and himself at risk.

I like this author and I also like the reader.  I plan to read all the books in this series.

Birds of Mexico and Book Review

December 23rd, 2018

Joe and I took a week off and traveled with some friends to Nueva Vallerta, Mexico. Ah!!! Sunrise over the mountains.

And it is the holidays, so we had to have a Christmas Tree, Mexican style.

A close up of the hundreds of colorful baskets used to create this festive work of art.

We love taking photos of the birds, animals and flowers. Here are some of my favorite bird photos from this trip.

A picture is worth a thousand words. So I just saved you from reading 16,000 words.

We returned home and Kitty Carlisle had already started decorating her Cat House for the holidays.

And my sweet Eve was so happy to see me. I love this puppy and she is glad we are all home for the holidays.

Book Review

Oh, I’m on a roll. Another good read. It has been ages since I read a John Hart book and I had forgotten just how much I liked his books. It grabbed me right from the start. Police officer released from prison. Within hours a young boy pulls a gun on him to avenge his mother’s death. And I never saw the ending coming. OK, I had an inkling but I thought…no way.

Where ever you may find yourself this holiday season, Joe, Eve and I wish you the very best with hopes the New Year brings you joy, peace and happiness.

Houston’s International Quilt Festival and Book Review

December 3rd, 2018

The Houston Show is a Quilter’s dream. Simply heaven on earth. Thousands of quilts, hundreds of classes, thousands of vendors, and nearly 75,000 quilters all in one beautiful George Brown Convention Center. This years addition was exceptional.



The Show is always incredible with all of the special exhibits and the IQA Show. But, I love the vendors and seeing what is new with machines, fabrics, notions and other goodies. Ready, set, CHARGE!




I also like seeing everyone having fun and the outfits are amazing.




But, after three days of classes, an evening lecture and two days of shopping, drinking caffeine has no effect and it is time to nap. Can you say “Shop til you Drop!”.



Here are just a few of my favorite quilts from the show and I will be sharing more in a future blog.

“Is She Ready Yet?” by Heidi Proffetty of Bridgewater, MA won first place in the People, Portraits and Figures category. Remarkable piece and a remarkable woman.



A close up:




Bridget Villeneuve together with Diane Cote and Doris Boivin of Jonquiere, Quebec won first place in the Group category for their quilt “Ice Fishing Village”




This next piece was perplexing.  When seen at a distance and close up, it looked like randomly placed circles of differing colors and sizes. I tried to replicate what the quilt looks like to the naked eye



But, when you looked at it through your phone or camera, here is what the lens saw. Amazing study in lights and darks from Carol Morrisey of Double Oak, TX and her quilt “Kora”.



“Velvet Flowers” by Linda Anderson of La Mesa, CA was a top prize winner and given the Gammill Master Award for Contemporary Artistry.




Chizuko Ito of Hokuto City, Yamanashi, Japan won first place in Hand Quilting for her quilt: Song of Early Spring.




I love Laura Wasilowski’s quilts, I love Laura and I love Libby Lehman. Here is Laura’s quilt, “Libby’s Leaves #2” and guess what, “I love it!!”




Dell Jones, a doll maker from Houston Texas, exhibited this phenomenal piece entitled “A Stitch in Time.” I want to buy her!!



More quilts next week.


Book Review



If you read my blog, you know I am a really big Michael Connelly fan and this book did not let me down.  LAPD detective Renee Ballard is working the night shift.  She finds retired detective Harry Bosch going through some old files.  Harry is working a cold case of a 15 year old girl, Daisy, found dead and left in a dumpster.  Bosch and Ballard join forces to find Daisy’s killer.  Unlike many of today’s authors, Michael Connelly only gets better and better.

Naperville, IL and Book Review

November 29th, 2018

Joe and I returned from the Houston Show and Festival on Sunday evening. We hit the road Monday morning for Naperville, Illinois, one of the greatest towns in the United States. Naperville has the best restaurants, the best shops, the best walkways and the best planned city in the world. It is dog friendly and the people are kind and oh-so pleasant. We arrived early afternoon on Tuesday and it was sunny and 60 degrees.





Dick Tracey was checking his wrist radio…



squirrels were barking at us,



dogs and cats were hanging out together,



and happy children were chatting about the lives they would have together. Ah, Life is Good.



On Tuesday evening, I gave a lecture and on Wednesday I held a hand applique workshop for the Riverwalk Quilters Guild



I had the day off Thursday and slept in and dreamed about a day of shopping downtown. We looked out the window and forgot how quickly things can change in the Chicago area.




So, we all decided to just stay in bed a bit longer. Did I mention, “I have a dog!” Sweet Eve loved the trip, the hotel, all her new friends and the walking paths throughout Naperville.




By evening, the snow had melted and I gave a second lecture and in the morning, a machine applique workshop for the  Pride of the Prairie Quilt Guild


I ended my week in Illinois with a machine applique workshop at a great shop. If you are in the Chicago area, you must go visit Bob and his excellent staff at Quilters Quest.






I am not teaching any classes for two months. I’m looking forward to some sewing time. Yippie!!


Book Review

Another log car ride and another good book.

I’m going back and reading more of the C. J Box, Joe Pickett series.  This is the second in the series.  Joe is a game warden in Wyoming.  I liked the plot and the characters.  This book has Joe involved an some environmental feud.  Great listen.

Autumn in Pennsylvania and Book Review

November 13th, 2018

Fall has arrived in Carlisle and it means cool, windy days and wonderful sleeping weather. Even the sheep have to wear coats. “Ba, Ba black sheep have you any wool….”



We took a ride around Carlisle and some of the things you are bound to see are:

Corn stocks,



colorful leaves,




Bucks out looking for Jane Doe,



and Tom turkeys calling for hens.



Is he over there or is he over here??



Joe thinks the fall is the best time to fish. Looks like a bowl of Trix to me.



He says the fish are as colorful as the scenery.






Another great read.  I really enjoyed listening to this book while I was cleaning my studio.  I think the book was about 12 hours long and yes, I was cleaning that whole time.  Not fun, but necessary…… Joe was out fishing.

The book follows the story of a female spy, Eve Gardner, during WWII in France.  The other main character was a young girl, a socialite, searching for her cousin in 1947.  Loved the characters, story line and the reader.  Highly recommend.  5 stars.