Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Applique Academy

This close up of my hand quilting should give you an idea of how I approach my own work and the way I will approach my instruction of the hand quilting class. I have sandwiched the main conference class sample in between the two quilting views so my students learn that making a quilt is a package. From beginning to end, design concept, fabric selection, construction of the top, choosing a quilting design, marking, basting and quilting, adding the binding, and lastly the label. leave out even one step, no quilt.

I am pretty excited to be going to the Applique Academy for my sixth year as an instructor and for the fifteenth anniversary of the Academy. It is always fun but this should be a special year. For me this will likely be my last year so I am hoping it will be my best. My main conference class is "Pretty in Pink, Yellow and Red" It is a full class and should be great fun as we will be working a three day workshop taught over four days. I am definitely at an advantage as a teacher. It is a wonderful way to present all your information so everyone goes home prepared to complete there version of my design.

In addition, I was asked to teach a hand quilting workshop. I have done that before but not for a long time. When I got my mind around the idea that anyone who signed up would be looking for me to share my ideas and techniques, everything came together and I am so looking forward to this two day class. While Pretty in Pink is full there are still eight places in the hand quilting class. I would love to share this experience with you. The Academy in Williamsburg is held in a hotel across the street from the college of William and Mary and two blocks from Colonial Williamsburg. It doesn't get any better.

Happy New Year to you and those you love and love you back---- Nadine

A little more Christmas.

For forty eight years I have made cookies at Christmas for family and friends. It has taken me a long time and I am still not a pastry chef. but this year I think I have successfully put together a plate that even I believe to be pretty. I especially like the mittens. It gives such pleasure to send out my son danny and his dad, with cookies for the neighborhood children.

I thought you might like a close up. Actually, I like the close up, so you are kind of stuck with it.

This is our Libby with Papa getting ready for some target practice at the local Bass Pro shop. It seems ridiculous to call it a shop since it is huge, but there you are. I hope Libby remembers in the years to come all the Papa days when he would pick her up after school and take her where ever she wished. Important things first, as school is hard work and one is very hungry at day's end. And so, a trip to McDonald's in the early days for apple slices or a parfait, these days for donuts at Krispy Cream or Braum's for ice cream. Let's not forget the memorable afternoon I came home to a fabulous tee pee in the back yard. Did I mention it was covered with the paper used to cushion china on it's way from CA to our new home in the mid-west. Underneath, four of my longest quilt frame poles with a pile of wood inside covered with foil and a shop light hooked up to make it look like a wood fire inside. Oh, I have to rat papa out as Libby was wearing great grandma's mink jacket!These days they often hit the flea markets and thrift stores. That girl likes to get a bargain!

Back to the holidays. Above are the fruits of gingerbread labor. From left to right. Aubrey's sweet cabin with of course, Santa's feet and legs sticking out of the chimney! Then there is Grace' two story home for children. Don't you love it? last but not least is Libby's house. She has been deemed the icicle expert and has earned the title as you can see. It would be incomplete without the peace signs on the roof and the puppy in the dog house. These girls have certainly honed their craft.

You sometimes want to be careful just who you invite to your ginger bread house party. Men do not always work out, if you know what I mean. This outhouse is my son-in-law, John's idea of Christmas, or not. Pretty funny.

And of course, here is Lucy. Four month's old and already reaching for the candy canes. She is not my great granddaughter by blood but certainly by heart. She has so many people in her life to love her that she will never lack for arms to hold her and lips to kiss her. You go Lucy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas is a time for sharing

I found this Christmas ornament in a shop in Kansas City a few days ago. It seems to admonish us all to remember that this is supposed to be fun. So, I wish you fun and want to share my holiday preparations with you.
Don't want you to think this is my holiday window, just hope you get to see the Tiffany windows near you. This is exquisite! The young lady has a tiara of diamonds. The reins are white gold and the gifts decorations are also diamonds. This is a particularly small window and everything else is paper cuts.
This is my tree without a topper as we are struggling with using the angel we have had for 48 years. She is falling apart but we cannot decide whether to let that happen or place her under a glass dome and replace her or leave the tree top bare.

Look closely, you will see that this is very worn.

Her wings are almost gone, but I love this quirky little angel we found in an upscale florist shop just before our fors Christmas together as a married couple of eight months

My sister sent this magnet snowman home from CA with me last spring. He does look happy don't you think?

Some of the nicest things on my tree are the decorations given to me and made for me by friends and family. This sweet little snowman was made by dear friend Karen B.

This stocking was a gift from Nancy T. and Kristina B. They were my employers at the quilt shop I worked at for several years.

Later, the shop was sold to Vilma S., lee Ellen C., and Debbie M. This lovely cross stitch Carolina Lily is their work.

My dear friend Jody is fighting a heroic battle for her health. Last year she make this darling ornament for me.

This gang of good fellows was made in the seventies by my mother. Mom never learned how to read a crochet pattern, but she could figure out what to do when she saw something she wanted to re-create. My children played with them and my granddaughter played with them. My mother, who passed away too early in 1981 would love knowing that.

This little stocking was also made by mom.

This bell also hangs on my tree. I could never let it go as it was made by my mother. Dorothy Jewell Bates

My friend Gordy drew my name in an ornament exchange for a work party many years ago. he made this wonderful star for me to hang on my tree.

I have few ornaments of my own to share. This smocked ball ornament was a one time attempt. I like it but did not have to make any more.

This santa was fun. The little rag is only an inch and a half tall, yikes!! Fun

He is pretty cute don't you think?

Okay, now be kind. These are photos are of my children, Kelly and Danny. It was the seventies. I was in my sequin phase and decoupage was my friend. Just look at those sweet faces. In addition there were at least four more sets. Grandparents and aunties you know?

The felt ornaments are also projects of mine. In those days the felt was soft and pliable and so easy to work with. made in the late seventies, early eighties, with the exception of the rocking horse, they look the same today. The horse faded.

Last, what Christmas is all about in families. The children. This is Miss Libby, my only grandchild. However, when they are this good, one is enough don't you think. I want to wish you all the best of holidays. Please continue to check in with me as I love hearing from you. I will be getting back to sharing my quilting after the holidaysand cannot wait to show you my studio at last. Nadine

Just a word of caution

Just want you to know why my car is wearing plastic and duck tape. My husband spent a couple of days in KC doing holiday shopping we cannot do where we live. Lovely days in the Crown Center as well as an attempt at shopping in the evening at Park Place a beautiful outdoor shopping center, which was foiled by a dramatic drop in temperature which lead us to put off those plans for the next morning. All was not lost however as The Cheesecake Factory is of course and inside experience and we had a wonderful dinner. Too full for dessert, but because it was so cold the car trunk was a perfect place for take out. When we were ready to spend the next morning shopping, my husband went out to bring the car around front. That's when we found out that someone had used a pry bar to break the driver's side window and steal our GPS. The irony of this is that while my husband disagreed with me in principal that GPS units were being stolen a lot, he usually remembered to take it out and did not give me a hard time if I was the one to bring it inside. He's a believer now. The interesting thing is that the trunk was full of shopping. I am so grateful that they were not after things like that. They did not even unlock the door, just reached inside. We got some advice from the police. First of all GPS thefts are at an all time high and even removing the unit may not be enough. You have to remove everything including the cord and also don't leave any evidence of the suction cup on your window. They are looking for that. We feel lucky and I wish you a safe holiday as well

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just a little more history

Before I leave Philadelphia for awhile and continue on to Christmas, I just want to share a little more of the historic district in Philadelphia. I found myself especially take with the Liberty bell exhibit. It is in it's own new building now with many displays giving the history of this important American icon. The day I visited, there were a lot of school groups and while they were out and about from school to have a good time, something happened when they came to the end of the hall and were standing in front of the bell. The laughter and loud voices came to a halt and there was quiet. Then, soft requests for photos standing in front of the bell. No one left right away. The first photo is an ex-ray taken of the bell. Any time it is moved and ex-ray is taken to ensure any damage is found early. The second picture features a huge number of soldiers standing at attention in a formation of the bell. Finally the bell itself. If you haven't been to Philadelphia, I hope you will choose to go, walk where George Washington walked, explore the area where Benjamin Franklin made his home, Stand in Independence hall and hear the whispers of history in that 300 hundred year old building. Visit the Constitution center. One of my favorite things there was Signer's Hall. I walked among life sized statues of the 39 delegates who signed the constitution and three who didn't. I signed it. It was kind of eerie walking around. There were times I felt I was being wached only to turn around and find myself face to face with a sculpture.
Oh and on a lighter note, my daughter and I visited the biggest Macy's store and probably one of the first, just a couple of blocks from the hotel. They were decorated for Christmas with a huge tree and the biggest pipe organ in the world. The organist was practicing the evening we were there. Loud but great. In addition we had lunch/breakfast at Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar Cafe. Did we order omelets or sandwiches or salad? Nooooooo.......! Kelly had Cinnamon Apple and White Truffle Cream French Toast with sugar spiced pecans, and warm Toffee sauce. Yum! I had Illegal Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Pancakes with 60% dark chocolate truffle cream, milk chocolate shavings and caramelized bananas. In addition, we each had two tiny beakers of chocolate sauce, white and dark. Trust me it is worth the trip. If you do make the trip or have already been, let me know what you think.

I have changed my mind

You have seen this block before. Several months ago, I removed this image from my blog because of others. I am replacing it because of me. This block finishes at eight inches, so the individual applique pieces are very small. The smallest blue flowers are ultra-suede, everything else is needle turn applique. The design is from a beautiful vintage Baltimore Album quilt reduced to fit the parameters of the small quilt this design will be pieced into. The finished quilt along with perhaps 12 others will appear in a special Baltimore Album quilt exhibit at International Quilt festival in Houston, Texas in the fall of 2010. There is also a call for your new Baltimore Albums. I hope you share your work and spend some time looking at all the others. Applique is my passion and Baltimore applique my obsession.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Constitution Center

I saw so much in the historic district. I walked where Benjamin Franklin walked, stood in the hall where the Constitution was hammered out, held my breath in front of the Liberty bell and shed tears as I viewed a monument in memory of the emigration of the Irish during the devastating famine. I, like so many others, wish I had asked more questions of my mother. Her mother, Nancy Elizabeth Hampton Bates was a first generation American, a tiny Black Irish spit fire, who died when my mother was only eight years old. In the end, for this post, I have decided to share several posters I photographed in The Constitution Center' massive foyer.


We were constantly drawn to our view of the city. This building has a sculpture of William Penn on top and a native American on the left. I am embarrassed to say that over the few days we were in town, I did not find out any thing about this interesting landmark. I will be back to share when I know more.

Trip to Philadelphia

Just before Thanksgiving this year, I traveled to Philadelphia with my daughter, Kelly, She was attending an important writing conference with speakers such as Nicholas Sparks and Julie Andrews. While she spent her days in workshops, I spent mine walking through the historic district near the convention center and hotel. Our evenings found us getting caught up, not only on our days away from home, but on our lives at home. We cried a little and laughed a lot. We are friends as well as mother and daughter. We had a corner room at the Loews hotel on market street with an incredible view of the city. I hope to return to Philadelphia one day with more time to explore.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Just one more tidbit for now. My daughter gave us a beautiful granddaughter and then when she married three years ago we acquired granddaughters by marriage. yay. So related to that birthday I spoke of earlier is a gift from two special little girls. I addition to a really cute pair of Sponge Bob Square Pants pajamas my car was also "tagged" by those same little girls. Enjoy


Having dispatched October with a post about the trip to Quilt Festival in Houston, I am now into November with another birthday to report. Sigh.......... (68) Disney remembered, as did TGIF, Macy's, JCPenney, well you get the idea. Okay this was an especially nice birthday this year and really, I simply want to share my birthday cake. Well, not literally as of course the cake is long gone. We have a really wonderful bakery not very far away. My husband who tries very hard, but often waits too long, remembered this year to order the BD cake at least two weeks ahead of time. This bakery is really popular and sometimes at holidays, a month is more realistic. The cakes not only look wonderful, they are really delicious! So enjoy the pictures and remember, the cakes at Charm city cakes can cost as much or more than $1000. Beth's Bakery, so much less. Happy Birthday to all of you.


I know! I am terrible at keeping current on this blog thing. I really do think about it and check often to see if there are any patient people still watching. Needless to say, there are not many of you, but I love you more for your loyalty and so once more I promise to try harder once again.
Halloween was a fun day here in MO. For one thing for the first time since we moved here six years ago, the evening was relatively warm and we had quite a few trick or treaters. One of my favorites was a group of three young people dressed as mimes who "said " trick or treat in sign language! How cool is that? Of course my very favorites were the children in the neighborhood looking god as Luke Skywalker, Queen Elizabeth, fairies, hobos, and many more. This was our first year to have children driven in to the neighborhood from what I can only assume are poorer areas. I have to say they were sweet, charming and fun. I was able to greet them this year with and old relative of mine. She is a little the worse for wear as she passed in the late 1800's and resides for most of the year in Mincy Cemetery, a half hour south of here. What I know about her is that she was a merry sort of soul and while originally designed to be scary, she does miss the mark because she simply will not stop smiling despite dozens of spiders and a few small mice. Isophenia is simply a great fan of Halloween. By the way, just in case you ere confused, she is the one on the left!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quilt Festival

Quilt festival in Houston this year was wonderful as always. Karen, my wonderful friend from CA was my roommate. Carolyn, also from CA was also there. My husband's cousin Gladys from Louisanna comes every year and we get together to catch up. I never know how many friends will make the trip but it is a wonderful venue for a visit. I am so happy that MaryAnn, also from CA, stayed over after Market so we could connect once again.
As always, there were the most beautiful quilts and I thought I would share a few with you. Three to be exact.
But before I do, I want to put out a call to those of you who are like me, a traditional quilter. You are needed! The vast majority of entries were contemporary art quilts and while I have no problem with Art quilts, out of almost 400 entries there were only 37 traditional quilt entries. We exist, there are a lot of us and we need to share. I dare you!!!
The bottom quilt is called "On The Wings of a Dream" by Carol Bryer Fallert
The middle quilt is "Santa Claus Comes To Kirara's Hometown" by Ayako Kawakama ( My personal favorite
The top quilt is "Snapshot, Shannon's Bantam" by Denise Havlan
I hope you like what you see.