Saturday, August 13, 2016 more ways than one.

This has nothing to do with quilting but everything to do with being a woman who quilts.
I have been finishing up some of my beach quilts and getting them ready for upcoming shows but today I had to stop and take care of the dreaded task of dyeing my hair. Yes, I dye and cut my own hair. I can’t seem to keep a regular appointment with a stylist since I'm on the road so much.  So today was dye day.

I like it when my husband is not home for this activity, but today, and now most every day, he is home.  I think he is tired of looking at me with the same ponytail I have been sporting to hide the telltale signs that, yes, I have gray hair. I have found that if I twist my hair just the right way I can cover up one graying spot and it looks OK for a few more days.

So I told him just stay downstairs until I am done. He said OK, because he doesn’t want to see me with dye in my hair anymore than I want to show him.  So the process begins by laying out the tools, covering up the counter and putting on my gloves.  Now the dye is in and I ask Joe to set the timer for 25 minutes. While my hair is curing I go into the studio and work a little more on my beach quilt.  I can feel that it’s going to be a hot day today and go to turn on the air conditioning and then hear Joe saying Really? Do you have to turn that on now?  YES, I scream back, as I feel something dripping down my face. Of course, the dye is melting on my head this hot day (but it's a dry heat - or so I've been told since we moved here in 1996).

The timer rings, he calls out Time's up!  and I go to take a shower, knowing I will come out looking hot and young again for my cute stud muffin.  Well, maybe.  I precede to get dressed and think about wearing something cute but first, let's try on my new undergarment I got from Spanx yesterday.  Yes, that will make me feel sexy. The new underwear goes on first and I feel that it may be a little tight but they go on and are a cute peachy pink color which makes me happy except for the top of the undies, which  keep rolling down under my mommy bump.  Which is really is a big fat roll.  I pull them up, they roll down, I pull them up and hold my breath and the minute I breathe, they roll back down. Well, this is not good.  Off they go and back to the good old reliable Fruit of the Looms.  Now for the new sports bra.  This can’t be as bad, and it’s in a cute color, too.  I give it a good stretch and pull it over my head, where it gets stuck on the wet towel that my hair is wrapped in.  Oh, no.  Spanx and water is never a good combo.  I stretch it a little more to get it down over the girls and it snaps back into my face.  I try and reach up to put it down again and it gets stuck in a tight roll at the base of the back of my neck.  I can’t reach it.  It’s too high.  I twist and turn to try and grab it and it's just STUCK.  Stuck on my wet, hot body!   I can’t get it on or off!   A panic flashes across my mind. What if there’s a fire?  I would be trapped like this.  I can see the headline, Famous Quilter Found Topless with what Looks Like a Wet Pink Rubber Band around her Neck.  I do not want that to be my legacy.

I can’t get this alleged bra down, so I have to do the unthinkable, and call to Joe for help.  I tried to cover my body with a small towel but it’s no help.  I saw my refection, that I was trying to avoid,  in the mirror.  Oh, God!  I was just standing there when he enters the room and says,”Now what have you gotten yourself into?  Help, I say, I'm trapped in my new bra!  He shakes his head and rolls the bra down over my back fat and then,  just for fun, he gives it a big snap into place and suggests that maybe I need to get a bigger one.  I tell him it's my size, it’s just a Spanx.  Yes, Spanx, he says, I remember cutting you out of that after your son's wedding.  Yes, I said.  He leaves without further comment.

So today I have a new bra on that I may not be able to get off without help but maybe I can work that to my advantage later tonight.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Big Winners in Syracuse NY

I get asked about judging all the time and thought I would spend this blog time talking about how judges make decisions and how it all works.
Judging a quilt show is never easy. In fact, it downright crazy hard. There are so many top of the top quilts in the show it can get very overwhelming at first look.  
The quilts have been categorized and juried into the show before we even get there to start judging.  If you have 2 quilts in the same category one has to be move to another category.  Which throws the judges a curveball as we walk by and say, this should be in another category.  All this pre work has been done before we the judges arrive. 
AQS has a stickers system that is so amazing on how it all works.  Many years ago Bonnie Browning went to Japan for AQS and learned all about this respected system of judging. The Japanese think these thing out in detail.  This system takes all egos out of the game and makes the cream rise to the top.  
Now, hear is the hard truth, your idea of what is best and my idea of what is best may differ on any given day.  That is why all shows change judges all the time.  The judge’s they pick have quilting knowledge in a verity of techniques and styles.  3 judges all knowledgeable.   One maybe is a long arm quilter, one in traditional and home machine and one is more arties-farties with a traditional back ground.   It’s a good mixture of skills always.  But it still is a little subjective.  Because I can’t control the other judges nor can they control me.
How the stickers work.  Each judge is given a sheet of sticker in a certain color. We go around the first category and put our stickers on all the quilts that we like, that represent the category and we think personally are worthy, until all our stickers are gone.  The number of stickers very in each round and I don’t know how they, AQS, decide that part.  As we move around and around the quilts, over and over, looking at everything, we don’t talk to each other.

In next round, you put a sticker on a quilt that already has been sticker-ed in the first round.  Now we are down to all the quilts that have 2 rows of stickers on them.  It’s a process of limitation.  Finely the last round we can talk to each other.  And as a group we decide who will be # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 place.  This part can get a little animated and passionate. We share our expertise and it always seems to work.  Then from the first place in all the category’s and we have picture of each of those quilts. We then choose the best of show and the best quilts in that category’s.  Not necessarily the best in that technique. It the best overall quilt the knock our socks off. We are looking a color, design and workmanship, all of these elements as a whole. 

If you are one of those people that has and over whelming drive to keep putting the same quilt in 4-5 shows in one year where one award is not enough for you, that OK, but don’t  think we don’t know that?  And what is to say there isn’t something more well executed in the next show?  So don’t get you panties in a wade or get hurt feeling.  Under your name in the quilt books it will always say "award winner" even if you just won 1 ribbon! Funny how that works.

Here is the top of the top quilts in this year’s AQS Syracuse show for 2016. And I will comment on why they won. Because the best part of judging is we get to touch the quilts, lift them up into the light and look at there backs.  And they are Spectacular!  We never know who made them.  Then when we see them hanging in the round at the Winners Circle, we know we picked the right quilts.

 Best of Show-  JANET STONE! Janet's quilt, Ewe Are My Sunshine, 
 The detail on this quilt is overwhelming. Beads, trim embroidery. 
 This is an original design. 
 Up against the black and white strip is a thin blue silk cord that lay in the ditch. Amazing!

Flora Joy of Johnson City, TN,  SLEEP, PRAY, SCREAM
Who isn't amazed by Flora's work! but when you can touch it you see so much more going on!

 The engineering of this quilt and her technique is mind blowing. On each layer in-between the quilt there are embroidered saying and beads and its just takes your breath away.

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2, Aki Sakai, Hachiouji, Tokyo, Japan
The detail in this quilt was truly made by a master of hand stitching.  She had even made the beads that dangle from its borders. It is made up of 11 little quilts all finished and bound and held together with tinny little orange yo yo's.

The more we looked the more we saw. So well executed and fun to look at!

    BAILANDO EN LA NOCHE (DANCING IN THE NIGHT), Shelly Stokes, Alexandria, MN

Very unique design!  The hand work on this quilt was spectacular! The subtle changes in the color blew us away and her hand embroidery was perfect.

HOPELESS, Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga, Kollumerzwaag, Friesland, Netherlands
 Beautifully executed quilt with spectacular color that knocked my socks off the minute I saw it. The quilting was fabulous.

 SILK ROAD SAMPLER, Melissa Sobotka, Richardson, TX 
I real have no words except Amazing!  This is not painted! Each color has been cut out and fused.  Great job at shading with fabric and bring this subject matter to the forefront. 

SHELLABRATION, Christine Wickert, Penfield, NY
This is all done by hand. I thought the composition was fresh and modern even thou it was a classic design. The rich color change is elegant and each row of clam shell have an alternating pattern  design. Beautiful.

 These are the top award winners but there was so many award winner in the show it was hard to break it down to these top 7.  Congratulation to all in the show.  And for those of you that have never entered your beautiful quilts in a show. I  say, Stop It.  If God has giving you a gift, share it with the rest of us.  That's why he gave it to you. 

Friday, July 22, 2016


Packing my bags for my next teaching trip, this time in Syracuse, New York with AQS, July 27-30.

I have a little ritual I do before each and every trip which is to start panicking at least 2 days before I leave when I realize I’m not as ready as I thought.  It’s always a time crunch to get your patterns and kits to the venue and to do it without breaking the bank is a challenge, too. There was also the fact that I was in Texas teaching last week at IQF Summer Quilt Camp which was a blast but now my reasonable shipping dates are gone.

Shipping costs for 6 boxes for a fashion show and 4 classes with hand-dyed fabric kits and patterns was just a shade under $600. That is not including the Summer Rose kits that will be in a suitcase. Then there are 3 suitcases which, on America Airlines, will cost me another $400 round-trip. So you want to be a famous quilt teacher?  These are the costs of doing business today. I did schedule plenty of time on my calendar between trips to have the extra days so the shipping price would be a little less, by around $200, but I can’t control the weather in Texas which changed the original May dates to July.

I find that when doing business from California to the east coast there are two ways of shipping, 7 days or 2 days - there is nothing in-between. And don't even talk to me about the USPS or my head will explode!

But it is worth it in the end. That is why you marry a math guy. Mine taught me how to do an expense report before each and every trip. Remember, he said when I first started teaching, This is a job, not a hobby! and he has taught me well.

La Grange, Texas is known for the Texas Quilt Museum but it also is next door to a town called Round Top or Round Head or Round Bottom. I can’t remember, but it is a fun place that is known for great antique stores. All of this out in the middle of the beautiful country.

My hostess, Ann, took me on the tour of the Quilt Museum and they were showing some Redwork quilts. Just beautiful, and next door is an awesome quilt/knit shop you don’t want to miss. 
We drove around looking at the shops and old houses and had fun taking pictures of flowers.  In fact, we were jumping out of the car with our iPhones ready and running up to this very unusual flower when two guys in a truck yelled out, Are you searching for Pokemon?  No, I said, we are just 2 old ladies looking at flowers.  How sad is that?

So now I leave for Syracuse, New York.  Stay tuned for more fun.  Does anyone know the name of the flower above?  I am calling it my Pokemon flower.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer Dogwood

Its been a crazy spring at my house. We are getting ready to sell our house which means packing up your item to stage your house like you don't really live there. I understand the process but when you work and run a business out of that house it get real tricky.  When I need to find all the things I just hid from the people who are on there way over to look at your home, I get a little crazy.
If we sell this house I will be surprised for sure. But we are trying.

In all the commotion I have not been blogging, so sorry for that.  I do have some new videos to show you.   The first is a video that I created is of the building process of my Dogwood flower pattern. My patterns are different than other designers.  So I like to give you more visuals to help you create or just purely entertain you for a moment.
The song is by Darius Ranker and its called Wagon Wheel. I made this video back in December. Enjoy!

Today someone emailed me that forgot to write in the pattern how to do the seeds in the center of the flower.  So here it is. I put the seeds on the flowers, last. So here is the video and the instruction for the flower seeds below.

  1.  Fuse your U fabric. 
  2. Trace 3-4 seed shape from the large lay out guide.
  3. Fold you U fabric in half and pin the traced seed pattern onto the fabric and cut out the 4 shapes out. because the fabric is folded you will have 8 seed shapes. do this again until you have the desired amount.
  4.  Now arrange like the photo shows.  
  5. Press in place.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

I spent the month of October and some of November working on a new flower pattern, a Poinsettia. During the process, I was lucky to get to visit a warm, sunny beach in Hawaii over Thanksgiving, which I highly recommend. Unfortunately, my tan is quickly fading.

So, when I got home, it was back to my new flower. I was asked by RJR Fabrics to use some of their beautiful batik fabrics, which I did. The pattern and fabric kits will be available through Keepsake Quilting around the first of the year, in plenty of time for you to get it done for next Christmas.

I documented the building of this quilt with a video and set it to some Christmas music to show how I developed this quilt. I even show how you I quilted it so you can see how easy it really is (but don’t tell anyone)!  I want you to have the thrill of your friends and family saying  I can’t believe you made this!  That’s why I make patterns.

I made this flower 3 times in different combinations of fabrics and also in my hand-dyes. I love to see how my patterns can be translated into a variety of fabrics and still look great.

As I said, around the first of the year, Keepsake Quilting will have this pattern and fabric kits available for you to make for next Christmas.  Hey, Christmas isn't just for December!
In fact, I'm thinking that if I keep the tree up all year I will be so ahead of the game.

Oh, no!  Now I'm sounding like my mother, who did keep the tree up all year long back in the 80s.  She would redecorate it for each month’s holiday.  Her thought was that the tree represents Jesus so why not celebrate Jesus by keeping the tree up all year, not just at Christmas time.

We had a Valentine’s Day tree, 4th of July tree, Easter tree, and Thanksgiving tree. The Martin Luther King Day tree was a little tricky but she pulled it off.  Did I tell you she was an interior designer?  I guess that proves that the nut, in fact, doesn’t fall far from the tree!

On second thought,  I'll just enjoy my Poinsettia quilt and take down the tree until next year - it's easier to explain.

Friday, December 4, 2015

My iQuilt Class

Turn your favorite flower photo into a master piece art quilt.

For the next few days iQuilt will be offering a great deal on my online classes. Check it out by clicking on the word iQuilt above!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gulf Coast Quilters Here I Come!

In January I will be traveling through the Gulf Coast reign of the United States teaching and lecturing for a large group of quilt guilds spread out along the Gulf Coast.  Then I will end my trip in Venice Florida for the last of my classes.  

 This is going to be an adventure because it will be almost 3 weeks on the road.  But I have never been to these great places and I get the thrill of checking these states off my “how many states have you visited” map.  Looks like I have been to almost all of them after this trip.  Still haven’t been to North or South Carolina or Maine? That will be something to look forward to.

Some of the quilt guilds are doing my hibiscus pattern. So I thought I would show the student’s and you the hibiscus in varying stages of completions to give the kids an idea about all the colors they can make this flower in.  

 Hibiscus come in a wide verity of colors. So pick your favorite color and use the color chart as your guild when choosing your fabrics. Here is how you do this.
The body of the flower is made up of fabric A, B, C. They are arranged from the lightest to darkest. All other pieces are laid on top of these base petals.  D, E, F make up the center and they need to be darkest of color with D being black. Then notice on the color chart how color G H I J K L M N O P run from dark to light also? These are the showdowns and highlights.  In class I help you make a color chart with the fabric you being.  So pick your favorite color and bring lots of fabrics to choose from.

The more fabrics the better.  You can also order a fabric kit made from my hand dyed fabrics.  $65. Order through your guilds program chair.  Hope this helps. This is a stunning quilt. And bring a verity of backgrounds to choose from and greens.  I have a trick on how to pick the right background for your beautiful flower quilt.