The Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, Mississippi and Book Review

November 5th, 2018

This past week, we drove from Pennsylvania to Tupelo, Mississippi to teach and lecture for the Gumtree Quilters Guild and the Piece Keepers Guild.



The first day of our journey led us to the suburbs of Nashville. The following morning, we drove to the quaint village of Leipers’ Fork, TN.



It had some wonderful shops and galleries.



We made our way to the Natchez Chase Parkway, an ancient path used by migrating animals. The Parkway became a Native American trail over 2,000 years ago. We drove from Tennessee to Tupelo and here are some of the things we saw along the two lane road. We only saw three cars for the first 200 miles!





I am certain that the falls are spectacular in the Spring.



But, I saw these beautiful wild flowers on our hike down to the falls.




We made it to Tupelo, which borders the Natchez Trace Parkway.




Tupelo was the first city to receive electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1930s. However, something more important to the city and the world also happened in the 1930’s. A King was born.



Everything in Tupelo is about its favorite son.











There are many, many painted guitar sculptures paying tribute to Elvis. Here are just a few examples.






I know Elvis passed away when I was 19, but he was so, so young at 42. Driving around Tupelo, I was dumbfounded at his humble beginnings. He was born in a two room “shotgun” house that his father built. The home is now surrounded by wonderful gardens and a museum. Thousands upon thousands visit it each year.




We were driving the back roads just outside of Tupelo and came across this home. See the resemblance?




It just makes me wonder that so many people can grow up with so little, yet can accomplish so much.


Did I tell anyone that I have a dog! And, she loved our trip to Tupelo.



One of my students thought Eve might like some fabric to lay upon.


I love this dog!!



I was able to spend a few days in my studio and just finished listening to “Daughter”.  The mother is a family doctor, the father is a well known neurosurgeon and they have three children.  Jenny, age 15, does not come home after a school play. A parent’s worst nightmare. A nationwide search begins.

This book did keep my interest and when I had to pause it to let little Eve out for a potty break…..I could not wait to get back up to the studio to see where this story was going.

Toronto and Book Review

October 26th, 2018

This past week, we visited Toronto. What a wonderful city. Great people, great food and great Quilters.


I gave a lecture and three workshops for the York Heritage Quilters Guild.  You can find out more about the guild at


Here are some of the ladies in the machine applique class.



And others in one of the hand applique workshops.



The classes and lecture were held at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. What a super location.



These photos are some of the wonderful things I saw while walking around the grounds.







A guild member, Janice, asked if I had driven across the street to some of Toronto’s Big Houses.  So, we drove over after one class and these homes were more than just big, they were huuuuge!





Check out this interesting stone structure in the round driveway.


On our drive each day from our hotel to the Botanical Gardens, we passed the Aga Kahn Museum. They had a wonderful display of rugs and textiles dating back a century.








This was a very good read.  I never lost interest.  There were many things that I never saw coming and I like it when that happens.  I had a strong dislike for many of the characters in this book which makes Emily Gunnis a great writer.  I would give this book 5 stars.

My Mom, Annice C. Sweigard, September 12, 1934 -October 16, 2018.

October 22nd, 2018

My mom fought a short battle with cancer.  She was diagnosed in May and the cancer moved quickly through her body.  Many of you who attended my lectures heard me talk about my mother and how she influenced my sewing life.  Here is one of my favorite old photos.  She was a real looker.


I am so thankful for all she did for me and all she taught me.

She brought me into this world in 1957 and made certain she spent plenty of time with me. Thanks Mom.



She instilled in me, my brother Rahn, and my sister, Paula, that if you start something always finish it. I still finish every quilt.  This is why I have nearly 400 finished quilts and the only unfinished project is the one I am currently working on. Thanks Mom.

As a small child and throughout my high school years, I have fond memories of my mom sewing in the evenings.  She also had a little bit of a competitive side as she was active in the Garden Club.  She entered and won ribbons for her flower arranging.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy entering my work in shows.  Thanks Mom.

And, she always made us pose for a photo to be placed in the family Christmas card.  I was not thinking at the time when we had to sit still….thanks Mom.  But, today I think, thanks mom, as we have these memories frozen in time.


Paula, Rahn and Karen



She taught me that when you are deep in thought it is O.K. to twist your hair.



Thanks Mom.

OK, this really made me laugh finding these two photos.



The Christmas that I was 20, Mom bought me my first sewing machine.  It was a refurbished machine because that is what she could afford.  That certainly helped me on my sewing journey. Thanks Mom.



In 1984, when my first few quilted pieces were publicly displayed, my mom and Aunt Lou were there to cheer me on. Thanks Mom.



I will never forget her smile. I was happy to spend so much time with her during these past months.  If there is one good thing about cancer… gives you time to say goodbye.


Annice Coleen Sweigard, September 12, 1934 – October 16, 2018






Birmingham. Alabama, Benjamin’s Quilt and Book Review

October 15th, 2018


This past week, I was the guest of two fantastic groups in Birmingham, Alabama:  The Birmingham Quilters’ Guild (visit their site:

and Evening Star Quilt Guild (also check out their site:

My contacts were Linda and Shirley and they were very organized and helpful. Thank you so much ladies! I loved every minute I was in Birmingham seeing old friends and meeting/teaching new friends. Here are some of the members from both guilds at my hand applique workshop.



And, members of the Birmingham Quilters’ Guild before my lecture.




My favorite assistant came to help. Sweet Eve.



We drove to Birmingham and stopped the first night in Tennessee. Joe wanted to pick up a new guitar, but this one was a bit too large.



The morning was quite foggy and the dew enhanced my new web sites. Get it?!?




Did I tell you I have a dog??



While in Birmingham, we visited Vulcan Park with it’s commanding view of the city,



and it’s tribute to the city’s steel industry: a 100 foot monument topped with the original Iron Man, Vulcan.




We walked the Rails to Trails path and found these morning glory’s.




I am so happy that I belong to such a wonderfully giving group of people, quilters. A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Becky Phillips from the Coosa Valley Quilt Guild of Sylacauga, Alabama. One of their members, Teresa Espinosa, had decided she was going to make my Fiesta Mexico quilt for her husband Benjamin. As she would finish a block, she shared her progress with her guild members.

This past December, Teresa unexpectedly passed away at the age of 69. She had a Master’s degree from Auburn University in Home Economics, loved baking, her church, her husband, her puppies and quilting. Members of her guild went to her home, found the patterns, the necessary fabric and contacted me with a few questions.

Then, they finished her quilt!



On August 14th, they presented the quilt to Benjamin.



Here are Ann Wright, Bunny Benson, Judy Goodwin, Jane Strickland, Justine Sims, Marion Payant, Helen Tucker, Martha Sherbert and Becky Phillips with Benjamin. You ladies are AWESOME!!!







I have been on some long car rides and listened to “A Noise Downstairs” by Linwood Barclay.  I like a good psychological thriller.  Paul Davis, college professor, is leading a normal life.  He sees a friend/fellow professor while driving down the road.  The professor has pulled behind a building and is tossing something in the trash bin.  Paul follows him a little longer and sees two dead bodies in his friends trunk.  (No longer a normal day.)  Good read.  I did not see the ending coming.  It kept me guessing throughout.

Paducah, Kentucky, the AQS Fall Show, Student’s Work and Book Review

October 1st, 2018

I was able to spend 10 days in Paducah for the AQS Fall Quilt Show.



Paducah is a very historic city and I found out this time, my 10th visit to Paducah, there are more things to the city other than the AQS Quilt Show, the vendors, and the National Quilt Museum. Who would have thunk it!


The Ohio River is so beautiful. Look at those wispy clouds.



And, you never know who you’ll meet on an evening stroll.



You can get to the city by River Boat,



by plane or by train,



or like us and most folks, by car. Paducah has the absolute greatest Welcome Center in the nation. Marvelous.



According to Joe, and now I have to agree, Paducah has the world’s best tasting doughnuts: RED’S



One evening, we were given a private tour of The National Quilt Museum by the museum’s CEO, Frank Bennett. What a treat.



Here are just a sampling of the Best of the Best quilts which were on display. Pictures do not do these exceptional works of art justice. You must and you should visit the museum.

Libby Lehman of Houston, Texas created this timeless master piece in 1993. I love Libby and her quilts. Here is “Escapade”



INFINTY by Nancy Ota of San Clemente, CA was designed, pieced and appliqued in 2005. WOW!



In 2017, S. B. Walsh of Southern Spain painted “Endangered – The Lemur’s Tale” which was then quilted by Maria Ferri Cousins of Lincoln, Nebraska. Bravo!



There was one quilt hanging which I had not actually seen in a few years. “Majestic Mosaic” was machine appliqued by yours truly and exquisitely longarm quilted by quilter extraordinaire, Renae Haddidin of Sandy, Utah.




The tour included the air and humidity controlled vault where all of the museum’s other great quilts are resting until they  are displayed. I got to visit “Fiesta Mexico”, the other quilt Renae and I created, which is part of the museum’s collection.



Did I tell you I have a dog! I love this dog!






I just received this photo from Carol Silva.  She took my “Circles Squared” machine applique workshop at Fall Paducah and she’s already finished…..binding and all.  Way to go Carol.  Your circles look perfect as do the points on your leaves.  You make me proud.






Another long car ride so I listened to this one.  I believe this is A. J. Finns first book.  It is a psychological thriller.

Anna Fox lives alone in her big house in New York City.  She has not left her house in 10 months.  She is getting help for her agoraphobia.  A nice family moves in across the street.  She watches them from her window.  I cannot tell you too much because I don’t want to give too much away.  All I’m going to say is that it’s a very good read.

A Beautiful Summer at Home and Book Review

September 20th, 2018

I have heard from a couple of you who missed the weekly blog.  Some of you thought that either your computer was not working properly or I had health issues because I have never taken more than 2 weeks off from blog writing.  But, neither of those were the reason.  For the first time ever, I decided to take some time off from writing the blog because I spent 9 straight weeks at home in my studio and with my little Eve.  I honestly have not had that much down time from traveling to teach in many, many years.  But, I’m back on the road again and will be back posting blogs about my travels.



Eve, Joe and I took long walks and my little girl has come along so well. We are all so happy to be together.



Our resident vulture, Velma, stopped by one morning to show us her twins: Violet and Victoria. I think they are girls because they look like they have lip stick on. What color? Black, of course.




They adapted well to the back yard. Love their fuzzy little heads.



We had about 60 baby blue birds hatch this year.



This female cardinal had a broken tail feather but she is still doing fine.



Also, we had dozens of monarch butterflies in our garden.




Kitty Carlisle got her first ride ever in a car.  Kitty had some health issues and had to make some trips to the vet this summer.  Kitty is doing well now and we hope it stays that way.



She would rather just be hanging around in or out of her little house. Kitty loves her outdoor house.  She looks pretty comfortable to me.



Oh, yeah. I did finish a major project and several smaller ones for some new classes. I will share them in the near future.


We just returned from The Fall AQS Quiltweek Show in Paducah and I have loads of pictures to share with you next week. Until then ….




Thanks, Laura, for this recommendation…..The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge-Selleck.  The story starts in the summer of 1976 with Ora Lee Beckworth telling us a story about the Pecan Man.  Ora Lee hired the Pecan Man to help her with lawn work as she was recently widowed and had no children.  One of her neighbors comes to ask her not to allow this man in their neighborhood. He is homeless and black.  The police chief’s son is murdered and Eddie, the Pecan man, is arrested.  Twenty some years later, Ora Lee is telling her story to set the record straight.

Springfield, Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, Gowns and Book Review

July 18th, 2018

I just returned home for an EIGHT week stay-cation. Yes indeedee. I’m home and I might just lock myself in the studio for a month. Yippie!

Eve traveled with us to Springfield and Taylorville, Illinois. She is so good and was well received by everyone at the guilds. Did I tell you I love this dog!?!?



I started with my border class in Taylorville, a small and friendly town 40 minutes from Springfield.  I love small town America where people smile, men hold doors, everyone waves and drivers are courteous. Here are some of the members of the Christian County Quilt Guild looking at borders.



The Q.U.I.L.T.S. Guild of Springfield has some of the best hand applique-rs I have ever met. What a nice and talented group. Here are some of the members at my workshop. To learn more about this group, visit



Springfield, Illinois is where Abe Lincoln resided, practiced law and was a state legislator. I think there are more statutes of Lincoln in Springfield, than there are Starbucks in Seattle. Maybe not. There he is outside of the new Capital building.



There he is inside the Old Capital building.



Here he is outside the old railroad station.




Joe even saw him walking up the street with Mary and the kids.



The Old Train Station was magnificent.



As was the Old State House.



This is Lincoln’s tomb in the Springfield grave yard.



I think Abe would have thought all the fuss over his passing was too much as he was a simple man.



But, not Mary Todd Lincoln. She was so happy to get out of Illinois and into the grand society of the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. She loved to throw parties and go on shopping sprees to New York City. There was a wonderful display of gowns at the Lincoln Museum. Here were some of my favorites, reproductions of the gowns of the Washington elite.



Check out the lace in the bodice. All of the floral designs were hand embroidered. Wow!



These are my colors.  The detail work was impressive.












Yet another good book recommendation.  And another new author for me.  I enjoyed the writing, story line and the reader.  I’ve been on some really long car rides and a good book is a very good thing on those long rides.

Miranda Brooks inherits her Uncle Billy’s bookstore.  When Miranda was younger, Uncle Billy would send her on scavenger hunts in his California bookstore.  Miranda has not seen Uncle Billy for many years and then all of a sudden she gets a call that he has passed away.  Now on the East coast, she had just moved in with her boyfriend as things were getting a little more serious between them. Then she flies back home for Billy’s funeral.  At the reading of the will, she finds that she now owns the bookstore and Uncle Billy is sending her on a very involved scavenger hunt.  She has a lot to learn.

Georgia, Adventures In Birds and Book Review

July 9th, 2018

I am just back from working with a guild in Georgia…the East Cobb Quilters Guild.  I really enjoyed my time with the ladies from this guild.  To find out more about the guild, which is big and very active, go to

This is a photo from our two day workshop….Bluebird of Happiness.  And, the ladies all look happy, too.

While teaching in Texas, Joe ventured out and found this magnificent pet store, bird shop, sanctuary and hatchery all wrapped into one.



Adventures in Birds was founded by its owner and breeder in the 80s and is a marvelous place. They have hundreds of beautiful birds. This piece of heaven is located in the greater Houston area and to learn more, visit their site


Here is part of the shop where you can find toys for your pet. How colorful!



And speaking of color, here are a few of the many splendid birds Joe saw.












and No, Polly does not want a cracker.



But, she would love a good home. Look, Ben is keeping his eye on you!




Until next week …




Another good recommendation.  This is the first time I had read this author.  If my information is correct, this is the 18th book in the “Joe Pickett” series.  I guess I’m behind.  Just so you know, reading this one and not having read the previous ones did not make me feel like I had missed anything.  I guess what I’m trying to say… my opinion…reading out of order is not a bad thing.  But, I know for sure that I’ll go back and read some of the others in this series because I really liked this one.  Joe Pickett is a game warden from Wyoming.  The governor asks him for help on a missing persons case.  And his friend, or sidekick, Nate, needs some help with some possible eagle killings.  I listened to this on some long drives and I not only liked the book, I liked the reader.

Texas Quilt Museum, The Quilted Skein quilt shop and Book Review

July 2nd, 2018

On my recent trip to Texas, I had a day off and found myself in La Grange, Texas at the Texas Quilt Museum.  There was a very nice display called “Contemporary Quilt Art from the Collection of International Quilt Festival”.  I really enjoyed the exhibit.  I had seen most of the quilts throughout the years at Quilt Festival but still enjoyed seeing them again.  The display that really got my attention was called “19th Century Quilts from the Collection of International Quilt Festival”.  This collection of antique quilts was incredible and showed some of the best hand quilting.

This first antique quilt is called “Grapes and Leaves and is from c.1860.  The maker is unknown.


I do not often see reverse applique on antique quilts and I liked how it was included in the red “V” shape on this basket.  And, of course, I loved all the circles.




The name of this quilt is “Strawberry Wreath”.  It was made by Sarah Dubois in 1860.  The hand applique and the hand quilting are outstanding.






“Baskets and Stars” was made c.1860.  The maker is unknown.




I only had one regret……the museum will host an exhibit of Sue Garman’s quilts starting on the 28th of June.  Oh, how I wish the exhibit would have been there while I was in the area.  I think you should put the Texas Quilt Museum on your list of places to see and I really think you should try and make it to the museum while Sue Garman’s quilts are on display.  I LOVE her quilts.  She was a great designer and maker of quilts.  She will be missed.  To find out more about the museum and upcoming exhibits visit

Beside the museum is a charming quilt/yarn shop.


Items are beautifully displayed.







I especially liked some of the notions……







Thanks, Grace, for this recommendation.  This is my first time reading anything by Lisa Jewell.  I enjoyed her style of writing and how she introduced the characters.  “Frank” is found on the beach with no memory of how he got there or anything about his background.  Alice finds him and wants to help.  There is another story about a family on vacation and the horror they endure.  I liked the way the stories merged.


New Braunfels and Le Porte Texas, Quilt Shops, Retreats, and Book Review

June 26th, 2018

I visited New Braunfels, Texas last week and it was hot, hot, hot. They have wonderful parks centered around natural cold water springs which flow into the Guadeloupe River. There are multitudes of people enjoying floats down the streams and rivers, but here are some of my favorite inhabitants.




You lookin’ at me!



Nap time in the shade.





We stopped by to see a friend, Rhonda, who owns and operates “Pieceful Stitches” an extraordinary Quilt Retreat in Le Porte, Texas. To learn more about the retreat visit



Rhonda has three separate buildings, the house that serves as the sleeping and dining quarters, the workshop building which is huge, well lit with great tables and work areas, and Rhonda’s quaint shop.  Every single thing about this place was impressive.  Each lodging room was decorated with a theme.  I loved Rhonda’s decorating style.



The work/play area



and Rhonda in her shop.



Even her bathrooms have a sewing theme. Check out the sink….an old sewing machine base.


If you are looking for a really nice retreat location, this is your place.  Everything about it was fabulous….including Rhonda.


Until next week  … …. ….I’ve got Georgia on my mind.


Book Review

I had downloaded this book by Lisa See a while ago and forgot to read it.  It’s from 2014.  I’ve read some of her other books and liked them so I decided to give another one of her books a try.  The time period is the late 30’s.  Three girls meet….Ruby, Helen and Grace.  They are from differing backgrounds, but all oriental.  They form a very strong bond through their like of dance.  They perform in nightclubs, etc.  This book takes you through Pearl Harbor and the aftermath which has a great affect on the girls.  I liked this book and would give it a four out of five stars.