Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tummy Warming From Quilt Villa! (Recipe and More!)


It’s the very beginning of my favorite season – CROCK POT SEASON!!

When the temps turn cooler, when nights turn to two-quilt weather, and my day by day uniform of choice goes from capris and t-shirt to full length jeans and t-shirt with the addition of a favorite comfy denim shirt over the top (sleeves rolled up – gotta get down to business!) it’s also time to bring out and dust off the tried and true crock pot recipes and add a few new ones to the mix.

White Chicken Chili – just the ticket!  And I had a mostly devoured rotisserie chicken in the fridge that would be perfect for making chicken stock in the crock pot the night before. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

I’m a Winner, You’re a Winner–YAY!

 have drawn the winners of our September Quilty Box and Quilty Box mini!

And there is more on that below – but I have been neglectful in something – I’ve heard from many of you with congratulations upon my being chosen as winner of not just one, but TWO categories in the National Quilters Circle Blogger Awards! (Best Quilting Patterns Blog and Best Overall Quilting Blog).

The announcement came September 6th – just 3 days after my brother Mark passed away, and I was reeling and making family plans to get to Arizona, to order flowers, to take care of this and that – and acknowledging awards just went on the way back shelf.

I’m grateful!  I appreciate your nominations and votes – but most of all for following me here through it all.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Of Dentists and Downtown Antiquing Digs -


What’s a girl to do when she walks into the antique mall after extensive dental work – the entire right side of her face numb from eyebrow to chin, and tongue feeling like it is too big to even close her teeth around it?

Not feeling like I wanted to drive home just yet – I decided to wander the antique mall where I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone and sound like my tongue had been stung by a bee.

I wasn’t there 5 minutes – I swear! 

And I saw this canvas of an applique quilt painting against the wall.  It’s huge – about 5 ft square, and I looked at the price.

40 BUCKS!?

And I knew.  Well, I hoped I knew – just where this would go.  The landing at Quiltville Inn!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

China Cabinet, Thread Cabinet, China Hutch, China Buffet -


This is NOT a China cabinet.

Evidently it’s a thread cabinet – oh, my stars! 

Melinda stood there patiently, right next to it – just waiting for me to round the corner from the next booth where I was poking around – in search of the right China Cabinet, Hutch, Buffet for the long wall in the dining room at Quiltville Inn.

This is NOT a China hutch, and I don’t think I could even fit a teacup into it – but again - Oh, My Stars!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

To Wytheville and Back!

I was hijacked off to Wytheville, Virginia yesterday for a round of picnicking, antiquing and quilt shop fun.

The culprits in quilt-crime?  Melinda and Wendy from Davidson, North Carolina!

Little did I know when throwing myself into the shenanigans just how much I needed this day. 

The conversations in the car and around a picnic lunch, and folks we met along the way being even more important that the shopping by itself.

But the shopping was good, too!

This photo was my attempt on a cloudy Tuesday morning to get a photo of the Wytheville, VA banners on the lamp post.

Can you see it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

About Rediscovery


Any upheaval of significance can derail even the most stalwart of “routine followers.”

I never would have thought this to be true – but over the past month have found myself going to bed as one person, and upon waking up find myself staring at the ceiling wondering “Okay, how are you going to function today?” “Which Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde emotion is going to take charge?”

Where one week ago I couldn’t even bear to look at needle and thread – afraid that I’d never be able to feed my creative self again, if I could even FIND her – I am going through rounds of digging in and digging out and finding projects that were somewhat begun, but had reached a standstill along the way. I’m asking questions like “Where did you come from?  Why did you languish?”

Such is the case with this pink bin full of  scrappy basket blocks (pattern from a previous Addicted to Scraps column with Quiltmaker) and the other items in the bin give me an idea of just what was going on here -

Monday, September 24, 2018

Hello, Monday!

There is something very satisfying about putting the last stitches into ANY project – whether big or small.

I finished the binding, hanging sleeve and label stitching on my Heritage Quilters, Illinois signature quilt last night with a smile.

I re-read each name, each wish and word.

I was transported back to March of this year, iffy weather that included snow flurries (and total snow dumpings!) and the promise of spring around the corner.

A week of beautiful clear skies and lake views – but that Chicago wind – oh, boy!

But mostly I remember the smiles and the excitement and the fun of being in the midst of all of this constructive creativity.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Bit of This, a Bit of That -

First things first – and last things last!

And all those things in between!

I finally finished the binding, label and hanging sleeve on my Diamond Tile Quilt. 

And I love it!

I had a ball choosing fabrics for this one, using up charm squares for centers, and digging into my Scrap User’s System for the other sizes of strips needed in a rainbow of colors, each block becoming a project in itself – complete with its own personality shining through.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

September Quilty Box Gift-Away!

There are good things happening right here today as we celebrate the Autumn Equinox and the first day of fall!

I grabbed my September Quilty Box on my way out the door for my round-about drive to the cabin in Virginia yesterday, planning to un-box it right here in the comfort of my cabin studio.


There are so many WONDERFUL goodies in this month’s box and I know I will have a use for them right away!

What is a Quilty Box?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

First Things First.

This girl says it all.

She velcroed herself to my side the moment we walked in the door last night.

It’s like she “KNOWS.”  You know?

She also snores, but I didn’t mind.

I was amazed at the amount of debris and limbs, leaves, and STUFF in my neighborhood as we took a walk to clear my head this morning.

Leaves and limbs and small branches clog the driveway, walkway, yard and even the back porch.  (It’s a covered porch, so that wind must have been blowing everything sideways.)

It will take a while to put things back together.  And we were lucky.

I live on a hill, so no flooding happened here, but I know folks not more than a couple of miles away who have been dealing with flooded basements and more.

The physical hurricane may have passed, but the emotional one still rages from time to time within my heart.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Roman Baths of Bath!

After our group tour at the American Museum in Bath, we had free time on our own to wander and discover and see what we wanted to see.

One of the great things to do is purchase tour tickets ONLINE (avoiding the line outside of the baths) for the Roman baths, which also give you additional tickets to the Fashion Museum, and the Victoria Gallery which was featuring an exhibit by Kaffe Fassett and Candace Bahouth.  BONUS!

Being a complete history nut – I was so intrigued by the story of discovery and restoration of this historical site.

There is a legend that Bath was founded in 860 BC when Prince Bladud, father of King Lear, caught leprosy. He was banned from the court and was forced to look after pigs. The pigs also had a skin disease but after they wallowed in hot mud they were cured. Prince Bladud followed their example and was also cured. Later he became king and founded the city of Bath.

King Lear! And we’d just the day previous  left Stratford upon Avon, recognizable lines from Shakespeare still dancing in our heads.

Viewing the green waters of the bath from the second level, the Abbey just beyond.

I think the biggest help while touring the baths and museum areas were the headsets available in a multitude of languages.  

Items were numbered and all you had to do was punch in the number for the item you were viewing and listen.  

Play it again if you want to listen to it more than once.

Move at your own pace – and we did!

The museum also has holograms of folks dressed in Roman period garb doing things in a very Roman way as you find your way through the winding paths of the tour.

It was very well done, and I would love to see it again and listen to the OTHER versions of the tour through my headset.

Audio guides are available in twelve languages, with one especially for kids, one for people of all ages and another by Bill Bryson commenting on the Roman site.

Some of Bill Bryson’s comments on the baths complimented the “official” story. Others were totally Bryson. 

The temple was dedicated to the Roman goddess Minerva and a sculpture of her head is on display. 

Bryson said he likes the male heads but the females scare him and Minerva isn’t someone he would like to meet. 

He wonders how a civilization that could develop aquaducts, fountains, architecture, and war machines could have religious beliefs that were so “stupid.”  (LOL!)

When visitors to the bath wanted special favors from Minerva they would write their requests on a sheet of lead, fold it up and throw it into the pool. 

Several have been recovered and translated. Bryson was amazed by the petty vindictiveness of the requests. One asked that the person who stole his gloves have his eyes poked out at the temple.

These comments kept me chuckling, while bringing a real "human" aspect to the mystery of the Romans of that time.

I also really enjoyed the kids versions - plain and simple, and recorded to keep their interest while learning.


Trying to imagine ancient Romans here -


And you can drink the “healing waters” here!

But be prepared – it tastes like old copper pennies mixed with rust!


It was a great tour!


Back in time for our hexie session!

This trip was very much go go go go with not a lot of time for a stitching class, but we met in the bar area for an hour or so of hexie instruction thanks to the kind folks at paperpieces.com! They had sent me 40 little hexie rosette kits, enough to get our fingers wet. 


Many new English Paper Piecing fans were born this evening!


And in the morning we would leave the fine streets of Bath for London!

Yesterday was a quiet day of spending time with my dad.  I’m glad we made it a day early.

From what our son Jeff tells us, the storm is getting heavier as he, Sadie and the cats wait it out at home.  We live in north-central North Carolina, about 4 1/2 hours drive inland from the coast.  Our main threat is wind and rain that knock down trees, and when trees go down they take out the power, and it can be several days before power is restored should that happen.

I’m grate4ful that he was willing to stay behind so we didn’t have to kennel the animals to come to Mark’s funeral.

Today is a day of family arrival.  Some are driving, some are flying – My first job today is to swing by the airport and pick up my sister Mary and her hubby Kelly when they arrive at 1pm.

Evening visitation is tonight, funeral tomorrow.

It feels so unreal.

I will be taking the weekend off from posting. 


Quiltville Quote of the Day.

Grateful for friends who lift me up when I can't stand on my own.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Bath, UK!

Hello from Gilbert, Arizona.

We left Greensboro yesterday afternoon – a day ahead of schedule due to the uncertainty of the behavior of Hurricane Florence.

If we waited until TODAY to fly out, we could have been hammered by rain and wind, not knowing how it would affect flying times.

This weekend is one thing I just can NOT miss.  It was better to come early.

It amazes me that it was just a month ago we were in England.  And how quickly the following weeks have flown by.

My sharing of photos from that trip stopped as other things took precedence in the “NOW.”

And going into a few hard days ahead, I think it’s a good time to get these other happier times off of the back burner.

Bath, UK!

This is the second time I’ve been in this lovely city, and I was able to notice things I had not payed nearly as much attention to as before.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Evening Quilting–Signature String Star!

I quilted up the Signature String Star quilt last night.

It took less time than it could have – but more than it should have.

I don’t know where my brain is these days – (Well yes I do.) but I set the length and width of the quilt mistakenly 20.5’’ square instead of 30.5’’ square.

And that is a problem when digitally scaling a quilting pattern.  The machine goes into “end of row” editing, thinking it has reached the end of the top, when it hasn’t.

And I didn't want to pick out the whole top row and start over.

I figured it out – I would watch until repeat number 5, a bit more than half-way across the quilt.  Mark that ending as my new starting, and then run the pattern as if it was starting from the beginning again.

It might not be the easy way to do it, but if I changed the length, the scale size would also be changed slightly and I’d be running over previous rows of stitching, or not get a pattern that nested like it should.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Of Dishes and Cabinets, Sittin’ a Spell and Cows!

I have a friend I met through Facebook – who lives up here in Mouth of Wilson, and I haven’t met her in person yet!

i am hoping to, very soon.

From what I understand there is a group of ladies that meet once a week at a local diner for coffee and chat, and I want to join in so badly.  I believe it’s Thursdays – and I’m usually not here on Thursdays.

This week I came up on Friday (Dentist appointment) and leave on Wednesday to fly out to Arizona.  Once again – I am missing Thursday morning with the Mouth of Wilson Girls.

Soon.  Hopefully soon.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Kitchens & Baby Steps

It’s all in the little things.

Shelf and drawer liner is a heinous job, but it put things RIGHT in the kitchen at Quiltville Inn yesterday.

If I can get the kitchen cupboards, cabinets and drawers lined, then I can begin the washing up and placing in of all of the kitchen gadgets that will make this kitchen a happy place for all those who come to stay here.

Heck, if I get the kitchen set up so it is fully operational, I just may move in myself and give it a trial run. Coffee makers, crock pots, pots and pans, baking pans, casserole dishes, and everything anyone could want have been gathered over the past 6 months or so – all new.

The orange handled cooking utensils I purchased with Mona on our trip to Asheville in the spring.  I always wanted some like this – they have a bend in the handle that will rest on the edge of the pot without the ladle or spoon sliding into the stew so you have to go swimming for it.

The gifted towel reads: “Here in the SOUTH we don’t hide CRAZY – we parade it on the front porch and give it a cocktail!”  LOL!  Oh, I love this!

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Weekend Stuff.

Yesterday was a day filled with one phone call after another.  Double checking flight times with siblings all descending on Arizona next Friday.  Who has rental cars?  Can someone pick Rick up at the airport?  No, he’s not flying Allegiant into Mesa, he’s flying Delta into Phoenix.

Why?  Because Allegiant only flies on THURSDAY from Ogden, UT and that will cost him an extra night of hotel -This reminds me of all of the chaos of a family getting ready with all of the details during the beginning scenes of "Home Alone."

Mom, my step-dad Gary, Scott, Alicia, Mike and Nicole are all flying in on Allegiant from Boise on Friday evening getting in close to midnight.  Of course, Allegiant being what it is, it flies from Boise on Fridays, but not on Thursdays.  Should you WANT to fly out of Boise on a Thursday on that airline, you can't.

"Will SOMEONE be around to pick up Rick in Phoenix?"  “Maybe he can take an Uber?” is the reply – and likely a good choice as there will be a plethora of rental cars on the scene as soon as the remainder of the family arrives near midnight Friday night 2 hours after Rick lands. But they are arriving in Mesa, not Phoenix. 

Friday, September 07, 2018

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back.

I sewed last night.

Into the very late hours.

It was a night of “Can’t go to sleep.”

Jeff, who works his lawn maintenance job starting very early in the morning, was off to his own bed by 8pm – leaving me in a house that was too quiet, yet with too many voices echoing through my head.

I had received this very cute signature quilt from the quilters in my class with the Heritage Quilt Guild in Lockport, IL.  Was that only March of this year?  It already feels like so long ago.

I adore the vintage string block center, and decided to carry the theme to the outside edge of the quilt by adding a string pieced border for more color, using strings from recycled shirts. Many of these strings are the remnants of the fabrics used in the quilt I made for Mark when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma nearly 5 years ago.  The fabric remembers.

I was piecing these during our last “impromptu” Quilt-Cam – July 30th.

That also seems like a whole world-away-ago.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Unfathomable Gifts….

With the Summer Series in Pennsylvania over – and finally being back on my own “turf”, in my own bed – familiar sounds of washing machine, dish washer, icemaker in the fridge clunking away as it drops ice into the hopper every once in a while, all of the stress of the past month-plus (that I thought I was handling rather well) is hitting me.

In the chaos of the past several weeks, there are many things that were forgotten, overlooked, in one ear and out the other, should have written this down, assumed there would be a note, pieces falling through the cracks–

I was doing my best to hold it all together, shooting for some semblance of normalcy when the winds of far away family and the grief of Mark’s passing-to-come were shoved back and compartmentalized. 

I received several remarkable gifts in Pennsylvania – but this one thing, this one thing…I didn’t discover until I unpacked the box on Tuesday morning, after waking to the news that Mark had indeed slipped away.

A HUGE box – full of linens, blue mason jars, Hoosier jars, pottery vases – and in the bottom of the box, folded and protected inside a vintage embroidered pillow case was this quilt.

Where is the name on the box?  How can I contact the giver to thank her once again?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Painting & Memories

This kitchen may look slightly messy, but it is greatly improved from just a few hours before!

I needed something mindless to do.

Something that required enough concentration to do a good job, but nothing that would require a great amount of creativity.

Something that could be interrupted by wanders out to the front porch, or taking a break to arrange and rearrange some area of the house, every addition getting it closer to being habitable. 

The kitchen is a big job – and one that really needs to be DONE so that I can get the boxes of kitchen “stuff” out of the den and start getting that room ready for quilters, too.

Everything needs to SHIFT – because the kitchen stuff is in the den, which means den stuff is in the dining room, etc.  Bags, boxes, totes and piles.

I love this kitchen, commercial range and all.

On a whim I brought a take & bake pizza over for my lunch and actually USED the oven for the first time.  Of course, it involved finding the manual and actually READING how to turn it on and heat it up.

(Will have to have this manual blown up and laminated for guests!)

My kitchen objective?

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

With Love and Remembrance

My little brother Mark slipped peacefully into eternity last night at 9:05pm Pacific time.

No more struggle.  No more suffering.  No more debilitating brain cancer.

I will miss him every minute of every day in every way possible as long as I live.

My heart is ripping into so many pieces. I don't know if I would be able to find them all and even begin to repair a heart that functions.

I will be making arrangements to get to Arizona. My apologies to the guilds I was to visit in September, but family always comes first. We will also pick up those pieces at a later time.

My family and I need this time to gather not only to mourn, but to remember all the good times and to find the way to keep that spark that was Mark alive in each one of us.

Monday, September 03, 2018

A Huge Round of Bedford Show & Share!

And the quilts kept coming – from day one all the way through our workshop day number six -

Our excitement grew with every reveal – so many beautiful quilts, the work of your hands, hours and hours and hours -

I love to think how far it would stretch – if we were to lay all of these bindings end to end to end – MILES of binding, hours of productivity, each one adding their own artistry and twists and vision to their projects.

And I know a whole lot of living has happened between each and every stitch.

What memories are recorded between the pieces as they were sewn together.

I am astounded and grateful and so proud that these wonderful quilters brought their quilts to share at our “after lunch” show and share time.

Shown above is Jill with her On Ringo Lake quilt – FABULOUS, my friend, FABULOUS!

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Van Tetris, Round Two!

This is a big old place on the corner in Schellsburg, Pennsylvania – a dream place I see every time I drive through town.

“How DEEP does this building go?” I say to no one in particular. 

"How many bedrooms do you think it could have inside?” that same no one in particular queries back.

Count the chimneys – and notice the attic dormers.  I love the round door at the front – and wonder what this building was in it’s original state.  I wish I could see inside!

I know it’s held gift shops and even a coffee shop/restaurant inside.  I don’t think there is anything going on with it now, but it is a wonderful old building.

I said good bye to the building yesterday morning when the light turned green and I made a left on route 30 – making my way toward Washington DC after cutting across a tiny corner of Maryland.

It was a day for round two of Van Tetris, the game we’ve named after seeing just how much Quiltville Inn furnishings can be shoe-borned inside and still leave me room to drive!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

A Day Filled with Wanderlust!

Workshop number 6 and our Quiltville Summer Series hosted by Mary’s Quit Shop & Mary Koval is in the rear view mirror!

We had such a great time.  It’s been so memorable!

Folks from Texas, Utah, Idaho, Tennessee, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia & West Virginia, North Carolina and more --

Canada was represented from East to west with contingencies from Vancouver BC to Ontario -

This was a week for the books to remember!

So many fun instances – and funny moments to record.  I should write a book on “Things Overheard in Quilt Class….” that just left me rolling with laughter.

I know I have a good life.  I appreciate it every day.  But especially on the leaving days when I pack everything up and know I won’t be seeing these folks for another year.