Saturday, January 27, 2018


It feels so good to be back at work!  I am pleased with my birdie.  Applique involves so many stages: searching thru fabric, ironing fabric to freezer paper templates, starching down the turned edges, lightly gluing down the pieces with Elmers, then tacking all down with basting prior to any stitching.  That part is completed-now I get to do the stitching!  After stitching, there is some embroidering of stems and leaves and feather-work on the bird.

Here is my wren next to pattern so you can see what embroidery will be completed.
Before I started working on the wren, I pulled out a couple of my bird books to refresh my memory as to the feathering of wrens.  It occured to me then that tho this pattern is called the Naturalists Notebook, the birds are somewhat impressionist-that is not an exact copy but rather evokes the bird. 
I use 100 wt silk thread for applique work.  I have used other types and they all have their pros and cons.  Aurifil 50wt is the current favorite being pushed as the go-to thread for appliquers and I am sure it is just great.  I am going to stick with silk because I am tired of changing-as I said, they all have their pros and cons-no one of them is perfect.

 Here is another view-I am having a hard time capturing the colors.

A couple of the bits on the bird were hi-lighted using Caran D'ache Neocolor II.

I know most of you follow the wonderful Esther Aliu @  .
She has begun an exciting new group on facebook.  You can find it at: Stenciled & Painted Quilts Group to sign up.  She is demonstrating some beautiful stenciling work right now.  The idea behind this group is for us all to share our experiences with textile paints and help each other learn.  I know most learning is done by playing but helpful hints from other's experiences might set a person in the right direction.  For instance, I have trouble with the Caran D'ache appearing to dull out the fabric so the new color may be correct but the overall look is meh! Any ideas?

On Feburary 1st, Helen Godden will release her pattern and video classes on how to paint Aussie birds using Jacquard Luminere acrylics.  I have all my paints, brushes, and black Kona ready to go!
The Sweet William pattern I mentioned last post has morphed from reproduction fabrics to a "Liberty of London" feel.  Liberty of London, as you know is lovely colored, finely printed, small florals-very expensive here in the US.  There are some clones available such as Regent Street by Moda and Garden Delights by In the Beginning fabrics.  After having lived thru the hardest year of my life, I found I did not want to use the toned down reproduction fabric.  I want sunny!  Tho subject to change, here is kind of what I am thinking of:

 Instead of yellow gingham, maybe this mottled yellow with the basket blocks picking up the lightest tones.  I have ordered a charm pack of the Garden Delights and am thinking of mixing them with Kona cotton pastels.  I can tell more once I receive the fabric.

These are computer models of weather patterns.  I was struck by the similiarity to Van Gogh's swirlings.  It must have been hard on him if he saw the world like this:

 That's all for now!  Happy quilting until we met again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, January 15, 2018


and we are not talking wind chills here either! That slight glow in the sky is the sun. You can see the ice which formed on my hair from my breath. COOO-OLD!

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look forward and make plans for the future.  I have settled on three projects on which to work.  Some painting, some old-timey feel, some realism-a variety of possibilities.

1.  Sweet William

This is the "old-timey".   This quilt has an antique look which I love plus the color yellow.  I am striving to use fabrics such as reproduction fabrics which will adapt to an aged look.  May have to do some tea dyeing also.I have not yet received the pattern yet so I cannot show detail photos.  This project seems like a good one to work intermittently and will enable me to switch back and forth on projects.  The pattern maker is Susan Smith, an Australian designer.

2.  Feathered Friends BOM with Helen Godden

Another Aussie designer!  (they are my favorite!) This BOM is different.  For about $60 US, you can access a link and each month beginning Feburary 1, Helen will post a new downloadable pattern.  This exciting fun of this BOM is that the designs are is painted on using Jacquard Lumiere paints, and then quilted in the most charming ways.  No applique this time.
There are nine 14" blocks all of which are of Aussie birds!  I can't wait for Feb 1!  I have ordered my paints and some new sized brushes, and have the black kona pfd (prep for dyeing) fabric so I am ready.  Here is a link to Helen's facebook page describing her class if you are interested:
You can google Helen Godden to find her webpage-for some reason I could not get the link right.

3.  Sandra Leichner's Naturalist's Notebook block series.

Here is the first block which is 9.5 square :

This is block number 1 and it is relatively simple just applique and embroidery. The end result is very naturalistic.  These blocks require a lot of batiks and, as time goes on, more and more sophisticated techniques.  You can see this pattern and the other 10 on her webpage under "shop":
I have lots of batiks but I also will be tinting the fabric here and there to create more tones and variations with my Caran D'ache pastels.

Soooo....that is me all sorted for awhile!  I am looking forward to receiving the Sweet William pattern and beginning the search for the correct yellow gingham, and for Feb 1 to roll around.

And a jigsaw puzzle for your moment of zen:
Pretty tricky I betcha!

Happy quilting to you until we meet again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


This turned out nicely.  I really like it and it makes a good snuggle since I enlarged the pattern to 72x72 inches.  I enlarged it by adding a wider margin of black around the edges but I also bought a charm pack of the same woolies fabric.  I cut each one in half so the pieces were 2.5 x 5 inches and added this extra bit onto the end pieces of the matching fabric.  You can see the difference by comparing the original pattern below to mine above.

Kitty first checks the patterning to see if it has been done correctly, then thinks about it and decides to clean her toes.

Other than finishing this quilt, I have not been busy.  I have been puttering around, playing computer games-I have a whole collection of these mostly puzzle adventure sort, more cerebral than action oriented.  I finished the Hygge shawl I was crocheting.  My daughter Mary is returning to India and is taking the the shawl as a gift for her yoga teacher.  It gives me no end of pleasure and satisfaction to think of this piece of work assuming its own future in the east.  Who knows what will happen to it, whose life it will pass through, and what lands it might see.  

Two of my quilts have also begun their own voyages.  I donated these 2 quilts to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah for their annual fundraising auction.  Where they went, I do not know but I wish them well.  Quilters whose quilts are accepted for auction receive a little gift which is the little commemorative  plaque celebrating 25 years.

Here is what I will be working on this week: 

This will be a free motion quilt project.  The dragon fly is from Edith Choiniere.  She has a free motion pattern  each month which you can download for free for that month only.  Her site is:  I shrunk the dragonfly motif about 50% and am designing a world for it to live in of water and water plants.  I have some iridescent turquoise and purple metallic thread for the dragonfly and some 100 wt silk thread for the vegetation.  I am thinking also of very faintly washing the vegetation with green and brown.   But faintly as the main event is the dragonfly.

An image from my walk on the wild side:

A beautiful thing to delight and enchant our eyes and selves.
And last but certainly not least is our moment of Zen:

This is not an exquisite oriental ink painting but rather a photograph of the sun as viewed through burned tree branches and smoke filled skies during the California wildfires in Santa Rosa Oct 9.  

So......this has been my life this past 2-3 months.  I hope your time has been good.

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!

Sunday, August 20, 2017


This is the beginning of Over and Down Under by Bonnie Sullivan.  It is a simple pattern but the hard part is making sure the 2.5 inch squares of fabric arrange themselves in the right places necessary to create the basket weave look. There are 40 different fabrics.  I ended up putting each of the different fabrics into their own numbered baggies. Soon the patterning made sense and I could dispense with the baggies.  Here is the pattern so you can see what the aim is:

The size on the pattern is 56 inches square which is to small to cuddle under properly-a person's feet would always be sticking out the bottom-how can that be warm and cozy.  So I am thinking of simple ideas on how to enlarge the quilt without losing the really charming essence of it.

Suki (my Juki sewing machine) has been a joy to work with. As I have mentioned before, my piecing skills are non-existent and I would never even attempted this intensively pieced quilt without the fabulous compensating foot that came with Suki and which makes perfect seams:

I am still working on the Hygge Scheepjes CAL 2017.  I have finished the body of the shawl (except for the spacers between the different motif rows) and have crocheted around the body of the shawl 2 times.  After I do the decorative spacer, crochet around the body a couple more times, and do some pretty decorative stitching at the two ends-Viola, fini!!

Maybe you remember on my 1st year blogiversary, I listed upcoming projects.  I have not even looked at any of these since that time.  When I lost my sweet Annie. I turned everything to face the wall as if all my projects were sitting Shiva.  Shiva apparently only lasts for a week or so, but mine are going on 4 months.  They have pretty much left me alone-they have not called to me or nagged me to get on with it.

However, I have ordered some background fabric for the Village quilt. I ordered ombre fabric with a lovely texture from Daiwabo in blue (for sky and water), green (grasses and hillsides), tan (rock walls), and gray (for rock pathways and plaza).  I ordered more than I need so I can play with paints to add some dimensions.

Not a good photo but you can see the ombre

Yesterday I ordered fabric for Yoko Saito's Enchanted Garden pattern from Quiltmania.  Her quilt is in blues, greys and some light tans.  Mine will be different-maybe i can show you my ideas next week.  Here is her pattern.  You can see it is very applique intensive (my favorite).

Found object of the week-from my walk on the wild side

I saw the neatest quilt the other day.  Its name was "Dangerous Roads".  I wondered if it were an original design so i googled "dangerous roads" to see.  I did not see the quilt (which is an original design) but I did see some of the most amazing roads.

Here is the quilt that began my voyage:

This quilt is by Julie Stocker of Pink Doxies.  I am not big on pieced quilts but this one just captured me. She has a way with color and design and you should check out her site! are some of the insane dangerous roads she let me to:
Atlantic Road in Norway
Dangerous Road in Romania

Tongtian Highway in China

Guoliang Tunnel Road in China

Friendship Highway in Pakistan  AKA The Karakoram Highway

These are just of few of the Dangerous Highways.  If you really want to scare yourself, google this for more!

That's all for this week (that's plenty!).  Happy stitching and see you next week.  Have a good eclipse!!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!

Sunday, August 13, 2017


These are the two sides of the shawl.  You can see my passion for orderliness:  each side repeats the other with the pattern of 2 elements, then 4 elements, then three and then 6.  On each side the motifs are similar in that they are a like motif using related colors but the designs on each are different.  The first is two birds of differing blues and differing pink/rose flowers and green stems.  The second is 2 different sets of upright flower motifs in similar colors.  The third is similar starbursts using the same colors, and the 4th is different vine and leaves with 6 buds each.

The little sections set off by the yellow yarn are reserved for decorative stitching which will separate the rows.  I have not decided what that will be composed of either by color or pattern.

Here is the shawl laid out and seen from both ends.  You can see what the final section will include the rainbow bauble stitching that appears in the first photo.  The bauble stitching is very charming but you can also see my lack of crocheting skills in the wonky edges.  Oh well!

So I am nearing the end of this project-just do the bauble stitching, figure out the section dividers, and crochet a few times around the shawl when completed.  

I think this photo is interesting.  It is a close up of the cross stitching surface decoration on top of the dark gray stone washed Scheepjes yarn.  I ordered the kit from England but found I needed more shades of the colors and some colors of the kit did not appeal to me like the sharp red and the bright yellow.  So I ordered a second batch of the Scheepjes Catona yarn mostly in differing shades of individual colors (Catona yarns form the decorative shipping).  The Wool Warehouse in England is such a lovely place to order from and, even with overseas expedited shipping, was cheaper than shopping for this pretty yarn in the US.


I have received so many thoughtful, kind, and sympathetic condolences from my blogging friends.  Your encouraging words meant so much to me and I can never really thank you enough!  One thing I have discovered during this grieving time is how many other mothers have lost children to untimely ends.  Losing a child must be one of the worst things that can happen to a parent but we have all suffered similar grief at losing someone dear.  We all understand the pain and hurt of it.  It strips away differences and makes us all the same.  Thank you again.  Your words have meant so much to me.


I have been collecting found items on my walks in the woods.  I am not classifying or categorizing them as I have with birds.  With birds, I can tell you which family one belongs to by looking at the beak or instance.  Not so with my found items from my walks.  I will follow the bard's advice when Romeo says:

What's in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet;

So no names or categories-the found item will stand on its own:

And this beautiful butterfly does!


Last but not least, we must not forget our moment of Zen:

This outstanding photograph taken of a man gathering flowers from lily pods in Vietnam.  Attribution is below the photo.

Well, looks like I am back blogging again and it feels okay!  So happy stitching to you until we meet again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!

Saturday, August 5, 2017


It's true! I had my 70th !!!!! birthday ( must be some mistake-somebody counted wrong) and realize I am part technology and part human.  I have several bionic parts: eye lens implants, new teeth, 2 titanium knees, and  2 tiny implements to enhance my hearing.  I am proud of my status as part human, part android-makes me feel very modern.

Hygge shawl I have been working on while relegated to my recliner
based on Scheepjes Cal 2017


I have not posted in over three months: we have had the most terrible time that a family can have.  My younger daughter Ann died May 9 in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was a PhD student.  Ann died of complications of juvenile type 1 diabetes.  She was 33 and beloved of her family.

In case you don't know, there are two types of diabetes-type I and type II.  Type II is the one most everyone is familiar with-the usual adult onset diabetes which can be somewhat controlled by proper diet, weight, and exercise.  Type I, or juvenile diabetes, strikes children or young people and is an auto immune disease.  Generally, the child becomes ill with a serious virus (as Ann did) and the immune system attacks the pancreas, which is the source of insulin in the body, and destroys it.  The child will the spend the rest of their lives testing the level of their blood sugars 6-8 times a day and injecting insulin several times a day. The body needs insulin in its system to survive and the person with type I diabetes can only receive insulin with injections. There are no vacations from this.

Ann was 8 when she became diabetic.  I always worried about her as she was so petite-she weighed 40 pounds as an 8 year old and seem thin and delicate. Well, she was not delicate and with her scientific and mathematical mind managed her diabetes very well.  She was diagnosed 25 years ago and, at that time, the endocrinologists all prescribed a regime of "tight control" which meant keeping your blood sugar levels comparable to a non diabetic. This involved frequent testing and lots of insulin.  Their method for teaching "tight control" included vivid descriptions of blindness, loss of limbs, kidney disease etc if blood sugars levels where not kept within certain limits.

The scenarios of possible devastating outcomes which would strike a type I diabetic always caused Ann much anxiety.  Consequently, she was always very much "in control" to the point where she sometimes took too much insulin-which happens to all type I diabetics.  Too much insulin causes a person to loss consciousness, and, if not revived with some sugar, to die.

This moment is the saddest of my life.  I will never be whole again but after 3 months, I am no longer lost and adrift at sea.  Some wind has begun blowing in my sails and my hand is once again on the rudder.  To further the devastation of Ann's death, I became infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever a few days before.  I was quickly put on doxycycline which killed the bacteria but was forced to spend 4 weeks in my recliner with extreme fatigue.

To have some occupation, I decided to join the Scheepjes cal (crochet along) 2017.  I have a blogger friend in France who is making this shawl which I long admired.  I am not much of a crocheter but I loved the surface decoration of this garment.

All I wanted was a simple project where I just simply followed the directions, make a copy,  and not think about how it could changed for better or worse.  That did not last long-I noticed right away that the bright red criss cross sectioning between the design areas was not sympatico. 

Life always asserts itself in the midst of saddness.  Life in this case being the strong dislike of the color red used in this project.  I began to rethink the entire design.  I spent hours on pinterest (my favorite) looking for ideas especially the pinterest page of Jose Koster who has many images of what others have made using the Hygge as a begin point and lots of ideas.

The image at the top of this post is my version of  the center block.  Next week I will show you some more.

I have been taking walks with my husband 3 times a week-we have the loveliest place to walk.  It is an abandoned highway going to Truman Lake and is filled with flowers, trees, and fauna.  Here is the walkway:

That's all for now.  I am glad to be recovering somewhat and back to the work/play I live for.
I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!

Ann's Obituary

With great sadness I announce the death of Ann Marbourg  May 9, 2017 of complications following her 25 year battle with Type 1 diabetes. Ann died in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was studying for a Ph.D. specializing in developing programs to assist people in underdeveloped and disadvantaged parts of the world.

Ann was a lifelong student. At five, she knew the names of all of the dinosaurs then known, their taxonomy and ecology. At seven, she studied Greek mythology and knew the stories and actions of the gods. At ten, she was carrying around a book of Shakespeare's plays and laughing at all of Puck’s adventures. In the pre electronic age, she was always up and to the encyclopedia to check on a fact to get it right. Later in the smartphone era she prided herself on finding and checking facts quicker on the draw than any gunslinger.

At 16, Ann was enrolled in a large Midwestern University for her two final years of high school making straight A's. Her course work included physics, chemistry, biology and English, but she excelled in mathematics completing all three of the foundation courses in the infinitesimal calculus followed by courses in differential equations. It was quite a jolt to see a petite young girl with flowing red hair writing out long equations of 2 and 3 lines across the page like a person doing a quick shopping list.

In Ann’s senior high school year she took the SAT test and achieved a near perfect score missing only one question. She had not studied, nor received tutoring, nor did any special preparation for the SAT. She simply showed up, took a pencil, and went through the questions.

Other activities in high school included being the student director of several plays, a docent at the Wornall House civil war museum, a student assistant at a local museum where she computerized their data, and participation in several archaeological digs, among others.

Ann was a recipient of a National Merit Scholarship. Due to her many activities and achievements, Ann was invited to attend many universities throughout the U.S. including the University of Chicago, the California Institute of Technology, Cornell, and Rice University as well as others. She received a full scholarship to Caltech being one of very few women admitted there at that time. She later transferred to Cornell in New York finding the rigid science at Caltech too constricting.

Ann had a wonderful sense of humor laughing heartily at various comedic groups including the Capitol Steps, Prairie Home Companion, and Shakespeare comedies. But most of all Ann was wonderfully kind, retiring, never one to aggrandize herself. Her favorite novel was Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky because she loved the angelic Sonja who waited 20 years for R to be released from prison. She loved simple quiet, modest figures, but always championed women as equal in every way to the males of the world.

Ann loved to go to new places. She was an exchange student to France for her high school sophomore semester and became fluent in that language. Later, at 22 she traveled further to China to teach English there, learn Chinese, and to see for herself the nature and substance of that country. But Ann loved cold and snowy climes most. She lived and worked in Alaska as a researcher for several years. She was teaching herself Norwegian in the hopes of residing in Scandinavia. Her last address was in rainy cool Aberdeen Scotland which she found to be particularly enjoyable and compatible.

She is survived by her sister Mary, who has been residing in Northern India for several years, and by her mother and father who live in Missouri, U.S.A. We will always miss her.