Thursday, December 29, 2016

Nichole Quilts Across America!

Good morning, Quilters!

Over the past couple of days I have had an amazing experience reconnecting with someone from our quilting community and I am so inspired by her story that I want to share a bit of her incredible mobile studio with you!

Imagine a time, many moons ago, and long before social media and blogging - when I was a fairly newbie longarm quilter. (I purchased my first APQS machine in 1995, I can’t believe that is nearly 22 years ago!)

Email list-serves were the thing back then, and for comradery and support I joined an email list for longarmers like myself for networking, problem solving, idea inspiring and fun and laughter and making friends.

This was the first time I became aware of a fabulous longarm artist by the name of Nichole, who’s last name was Webb at the time.  But is no longer!

Fast forward to October 2015, and I am teaching at a retreat in Washington State, where a Nichole Wilde is a student, with a broken leg and a head injury (Wilde is aparently a very appropriate name for this daredevil of a quilter!) and ME, without a head injury, just didn’t put two and two together that THIS Nichole and THAT Nichole were one and the same until I came across a video that she shared on our Quiltville’s Open Studio page on Facebook.

Nichole is now living in a 40 foot diesel motor coach called the Art Bus, complete with a LONGARM in it!  Her “Art Bus” is taking her wherever she wants to go, she is quilting up a storm along the way, and having quite the adventure.

This is Nichole with a beautiful smile and a gorgeous quilt behind her!

I asked Nichole if I could share her story with you, and with a resounding yes and some more pictures shared between us this morning, here we are.

Nichole's observation is Making Things Matters!  And I agree. We are always doing, making, creating --it's in our nature.  It's our way of life, and at the core of who we are as quilters.

From Nichole’s website,  http://www.nicholewilde.com/
I am thrilled to announce that I am embarking upon a North American road tour to launch my Random Acts of Artwork movement, my Making Things Matters! Podcast and my new book into the world in an even BIGGER WAY than this summer!  
After the last two and a half years of the honestly devastating losses of my family in the 2014 Oso Mudslide in Washington state, my divorce, then my foolish horse accident that left me without two of my senses (there really is a joke in there, it's okay! It cracks me up too!), I have had a lot of time to think and feel and get perspective on life.
This has led me to the knowledge that my energy is contributing to building the world I live in. The status quo world that we are fed by culture and media is, quite frankly, completely insane to me.


Reality is that we are all a part of a larger whole. We are like cells in the body of Earth, everyone a vital part of the whole. Being the most sentient of cells, it's rather up to us to be good stewards of that which we are entrusted. It's clear that the vast majority of us are not thinking that way. 
There are a lot of good reasons to excuse ourselves from actually being the change we want to see in the world. It's uncomfortable to put yourself "out there." People might not like you. You might starve! Blah blah blah. 
The one thing that I know about life is that is does not matter what your opinion or actions are, you can find someone to say you are wrong and disagree with you. That knowledge has inspired me to do it anyway.

During my Summer road trip I jumped in a big way and purchased a diesel pusher motor-home. I did a lot of research because my intention was to find one that I could fit a longarm quilting machine into. 
Introducing: Artie The Art Bus! I now live full-time on the road, living a life of sharing, community and beauty. 
I am so excited about what Nicole is doing with her life that I want to jump right into the video where she shows us how it all fits:

Where there is a will, there is a way!  I am Quilter, hear me ROAR!

I have to admit at this moment I am feeling a tiny bit jealous, and a bit way over-loaded with stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my machines, and stash and everything, but I think in 2017 I want to start doing MORE with LESS!  I’ve even thought about taking some vintage machines on the road with me when I have road trips and finding them new homes.  It’s time to start thinking about that.


Is there room for stash?  YES!

And you can see Nichole’s bedroom with beautiful quilt just beyond.  Could you make plenty of quilts with the stash in this one cupboard?  Yes.  So why do we think we need MORE?  Just SEW IT UP.  When you need more, get more.


Everyone needs a companion in quilt-crime!

Nichole travels with Snoopie by her side.  Snoopie was rescued in Texas back in July. She was emaciated and sick and showed up at a friend’s house and was quickly adopted into her new fur-ever rolling residence.
Snoopie the Art Bus Road Warrior Dog!  Oh, those ears are slaying me.

I am looking forward to seeing what adventures Nichole takes us on this next year.  She is teaching courses, still quilting for others, and hosting video chats on her YouTube Channel after taking a much needed 3 year hiatus.

I am inspired by the resilience of quilters who have overcome amazing obstacles, hardships, and unfathomable loss.  I gain the courage to go forward by watching them rise above.  I am in awe.

Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of your story, Nichole --

I am cheering you on and sending you every positive wish for a fabulous 2017 ahead.


This happened for me last night, after all was done.

Do you see something different here?  Do you see what I am sewing on?  This poor baby that I bought back in 2009 has come out to play after years in isolation.  Last used to piece “Pineapple Crazy” from my book String Fling, I just haven’t needed a machine with a thread cutter.  But let me tell you, when you are paper-piecing small stuff, and you have to end or begin in the center of the paper template, a thread cutter sure beats all of those long thread tails everywhere.

And let’s face it.  Even the more “modern” machines in my fleet need to come out for some attention every now and then.  It wouldn’t fit IN the cabinet, so I put a pressing board over the machine hole and set the machine on top.  A bit too tall, but hey – I raised my sewing chair a bit, and LOVED that thread cutter to bits.

Does this make me a traitor?  Probably so.  So be it!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Quilt shared by @photokevin74.

There are only a couple days of 2016 left.

I love to end the year on a high note and think of all of the positive things that have happened this past year. I am so grateful for all of the experiences that 2016 has brought and look forward to the next adventure!

I love this interesting quilt that looks like spinning tops, not quite dreidels but this is for my Jewish friends still celebrating Hanukkah. While Christmas only lasted one day growing up I was always a tiny bit jealous of those who got to celebrate for a full week!

I’m off to remedy that.  As soon as today’s orders are ready to drop off at the post office, Sadie and I are on the road and up to the cabin.  That property we liked near Mouth of Wilson, VA?  We are going back to look at it on Saturday.  Fingers crossed, everyone!

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  1. What an awesome and venture she is having. She enjoys her quilting and has all the stuff she needs. I have three sewing machines: a treadle, my grandma's sewing machine and my singer that my husband bought me for Christmas. I have a stash but not a very big one. I do not have fancy sewing room I just used what I had when I set my room up. and my room is small. I am perfectly happy in my space.
    I will also let you know that we went from a 3200sq ft house to a 1000sq ft house and boy did I have to get rid of the stuff that we just did not need!! I feel so much better to have less stuff. Much happier living with less. I know we have two more moves in our near future and it is less to move as well.
    Have a Great Day. Time to get back to Clue 5!

  2. Wow! That's amazing. What an interesting life and opportunity.

    Happy New Year Bonnie!

  3. What an amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing the video. It was inspiring for me to see someone longarming in such an unusual set-up. I've been thinking about how I could increase my quilting because it seems like I accomplish so little. Reading about your friend gives me hope that I will find a way.

  4. Great to read about Nichole. She has been through so much in her life and has picked herself up and is living her dream. What a great example for us all.

  5. How fun to see you write about Nichole here! I was able to re-connect with her recently too. She is such an inspiration and a hoot! Her Art Bus adventure is awesome. I hadn't seen pics of the inside of her bus yet and loved seeing those and especially the one of Snoopie. It feels so good to see her doing so well.

  6. I took my first long arm quilting class from Nichole about 12 years ago in Arizona. Her enthusiasm and joy of the process was very empowering to me at a time when I was afraid of my machine. We all need to continue to be supportive of each other in our quilting community.

  7. Thanks for sharing Nichole's story - what a remarkable woman! I subscribed to her YouTube channel and hope she'll share her adventures with us!

  8. Anonymous11:13 AM EST

    I love this story! Thanks for sharing it, Bonnie.

  9. Love reading about Nichole and her story! Wishing her Happy Trails on her wonderful adventure!
    Nancy C. in So. Calif.

  10. Thanks so much for this...Nichole was also the first long arm teacher I took a class from, long ago in Big Timber, Montana. I would lose track of her and then find her again, and recently found her on Facebook and then her website. She is such a beautiful person, inside and out. Love her philosophy and her resilience, too. Will be watching out for the Art Bus!

  11. How ironic that I was just reading about her last night...before you posted this blog. The hubs and I have always wanted to be on the road, and now I see how I can do it and still sew. How cool! I also thought about your dilemma of sewing on a new machine.....I look at it this way...all those vintage machines were new once...you're just 30 years ahead of your time. It will be vintage in due time. Enjoy your cabin search. Hope it is fruitful!

  12. Love the story. By the way if you want to get any of your machines would love to have first deps on the pink atlas. Been looking for one

  13. Thank you so much for sharing Nichole's new art bus adventures. I remember when she lost her family and didn't realize that she had more heartache after that. It's so good to see that she's feeling better and has created a new life for herself.

  14. Wow! Nicole is awesome. I have a friend that also lives and travels full time in her motor home. She is not a longarmer but she is a quilter and had outfitted her home with a quilting studio. It's fantastic what you can do if you set your mind to it.
    By the way, you aren't a trader for using a newer machine...just an equal opportunity quilter! Nothing wrong with loving all machines, young or more mature!

  15. My husband and I retired in 2001. We sold our home (and everything in it) and bought a 1-ton diesel truck and a 40' fifth-wheel trailer with 3 slide-outs. It was like a small apartment when the slide-outs were opened. We traveled around the country for 3 1/2 years (when diesel fuel was .99/gal.)and finally settled in TX and bought another home.

    We're glad we had the adventure when we did but wouldn't want to do it now. We had some really great times but we also had some scary, nerve-wracking times.

    Hope she has safe travels. I kept thinking about how heavy her coach must be with that long-arm and how she must get about 8 miles to the gallon :)

  16. Thanks for posting this.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing Nicole's wonderful story. Wherel there is a will there is a way. We have been traveling fulltime in our 31' vintage Airstream. Living, working, and playing in 240 sq feet is a challenge. Thanks to you and your scrap saving system I am quilting on the road now. For the winter I am enjoying a like minded group of quilters. Hopefully I will see Nicole and her Art Bus one day down the road.

  18. I am sew inspired!! Thanks for sharing Nicole with us.She is amazing and I hope to spot her one day to give her a hug and Snoopy a scratch behind the ears. Never a traitor my friend . . . right tool for the job. I've used a newer machine for the same reason -- awesome automatic thread cutter. Wonderful time to reflect and fingers are crossed for the revisit to the first property. Hugs and happy last Thursday of the year my friend!! Hugs, Allison C. Bayer, Plano, Texas USA

  19. She is amazing! I was hoping you would show us how she got a long arm machine in the bus. I have a small home and was thinking it may give me an idea of how I could get one in my house.

  20. She is amazing! I was hoping you would show us how she got a long arm machine in the bus. I have a small home and was thinking it may give me an idea of how I could get one in my house.

  21. Anonymous5:35 PM EST

    Bonnie I met you in 1995 in Idaho. You probably don't remember me, but I remember you and you hobby.
    Seems like you're doing really good for yourself. Although I don't live in Idaho or the USA anymore I think of you offen. I am giving you my email account maybe you'll write.

  22. Nicole's story is so inspiring. I wish her and Snoopie the very,very best! Thank you for sharing her story with us. I LOVE my vintage machines too but thread cutters are great! Love those little blocks! Happy Stitching!

  23. Interesting story. I used to follow Nicole for a long time. So now I am wondering where her small children are? She always referred to them as the "littles".

  24. Thanks for sharing Nicholes story! What an inspiration. My family lives in Washington state and I know the tragedy of that mud-slide. I'm so inspired by her ability to grab life by the horns and live. Wishing her God-speed!

  25. Wowzer!! Love the video, love Snoopy, love Nichole's attitude. I hope she checks in regularly and keeps us posted on her doin's!

  26. What a fun post! I admire what she has done with the adversity she encountered. Wow! What a story!

  27. Bonnie,
    Thank you so much for Sharing Nichole's Story. Nichole- Thank You for telling us a little about yourself, and your adventure. I am sorry for your family loss in the OSO, WA Mudslide disaster. May you find peace, continued healing and tranquility in your journey.

    Bonnie- Good luck on your Cabin Hunting! :D

    Kasilof, AK

  28. Love that video! We have a 30 ft camper and I tell hubby all the time we need to do this! I do take my machines with me, but no way would I have room for my longarm! Hmmmmm maybe if I break it down to 5 ft only! Ha ha I told hubby we could always stash my stash in a cab of the truck! Oh 2nd retirement, I can not wait!!! ❤❤
    Thank you Bonnie and Nicole! Btw, Nicole, I am so sorry for your loss! 😢 it was such a worrisome and frightful time! Our son and family live in Marysville, but at the time, lived in the "boondocks " in Arlington and spent a lot of time in that area playing and hiking with our grandsons. It was a heartbreaking thing to watchfrom tv and break my heart to hear of your loss.
    Will definitely follow now that I'm learning of your adventures! It's so cool! 🤗❤

  29. Nicole's story and video were amazing but then so is your generous and informative site, Bonnie. God bless you two strong and talented women. May 2017 bring you only grace and blessings.

  30. Man. Is that your Janome 6500/6600 (can't remember which...)? If it is, I remember when you bought that, and I cannot believe it was '09! And I have been following you that long. If it is, that is funny because I was actually going to ask you if you use that much anymore, since we always see you using the vintage ones....who knows why these things come into their our heads....

  31. Bonnie, I too remember you from that Longarm email list. I also got my machine in 1995 and the email list was quite fun for awhile. I always remembered your positive posts. That is why I was so pumped when I stumbled on to your blog a couple of years ago. You probably don't remember me but I go back to 1997 or so with you on the Longarm list.

    Happy New Year from alice in texas. Back then: Lone Star Custom Quilting


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