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Winter Wonderland

Six inches of snow fell late Sunday evening, and it has since turned to ice.  Our boys have been out of school all week, and won’t go back until Tuesday due to MLK Jr. holiday.

It was fun the first day, sledding, throwing snowballs, and hiking mountain trails in the snow.

The second day it was still fun, but the ground was icier:  better for sledding but more difficult to get around.

The third day the ground was covered in ice.  It was my son’s birthday, and he was stuck at a friend’s house after spending the night.  He couldn’t walk home because it was too icy (the snow was powdery enough to walk to his buddy’s house the day before).  He waited until the sun came out and tried walking home.  He fell a couple of times, but was slowly making progress when some friends picked him up in their 4WD Jeep and gave him a ride home.

I’m now officially over it.  I ran out of Coke Zero yesterday (a true emergency), but we still have milk, eggs, bread, and other staples.  Cabin fever has set in, and the kids are grumpy.  I got out all kinds of art supplies, science project books, and anything else I could think of to keep them busy.  They’re tired of sledding (as am I), and my husband can’t convince any of us that this is fun anymore.

Sounds like a great day to quilt, doesn’t it?  How has the snow affected you and how have you coped?  I’d love to know!

Studio Tour

We”re doing a virtual studio tour over at the Color-of-the-Month forum, sharing photos of our creative quilting studios, and I thought I would share mine with you.  My own studio is the bonus room over my garage, and I share it with my husband, who has his office here too.  He often jokes that I take up 3/4 of the space in the room, which is about right.

This is my main sewing and writing nook, where I have my Bernina Artista 170 (which is about 10 years old) and my writing desk to the left.  My computer is normally on the table, but this particular day it was busy elsewhere.  My favorite part of this alcove is my husband made both my writing desk and my sewing table, which folds up into a sideboard when you’re not using.  But when am I not using it?  He built this for me when our children were infants and toddlers, and I was without a sewing space of my own.  I sewed in the den, after the kids were asleep at night, and I could open up this cabinet, sew to my heart’s content, and close it up with no pins, thread, or other items that might end up in a child’s mouth.

This is my second machine, the Bernina Activa, which I use for teaching, taking to workshops, and sewing campers during the summer months.  When the machine isn’t being used, this table is the Willow Ridge Press shipping area.  Multi-tasking anyone?

My armoire, with my sons’ drawings on the doors.  Open those doors and voila . . . .

all kinds of storage inside.  This was a prefab, unfinished armoire, and my oh-so-handy husband stained it and added the rods and hooks inside.  This was in the den along with my sewing sideboard before I had a studio.

My cutting table, assembled from DIY kitchen cabinet units from Home Depot.  My husband offered to build me a custom cutting table, but he’s a builder, and I knew my project would be put behind everyone else’s paying projects (as it should be), so I suggested we just pick some ready-to-assemble units and make our own from those.  I think he was secretly relieved.  It has three deep drawers on the end, great for craft supplies.

My design wall, but I can show you only half of it.  Other projects are in the works and they aren’t ready for their debut yet!

My thread racks and color collages, which I have all over my studio.  I used to post my collages in my bedroom closet when I didn’t have a studio, and every morning when I got dressed, they would greet me.  I loved it!  I also stored my fabric in wire shelving units in my closet.  Don’t let lack of space inhibit your creativity!

My Emotional Week at Paducah

I spent the last two months getting ready for being a vendor at Paducah.  I’d heard wonderful things about the town and its residents from other quilting vendors, so I was excited to learn I’d gotten a premium booth with Susan Edwards at Wildhair Studios, just one block from the National Quilt Museum.

Richard, a friend and fellow quilter and watercolor artist, spent days cutting and assembling jelly rolls, charm packs, and fat quarter bundles for me.  I was furiously printing patterns from my Color-of-the-Month series, making hotel accommodations, and packing my van.  I was ready.

I arrived on Friday, set up on Saturday, with much help from Diane and Lowell Cook of Details by Diane.  They were generous with their time and would later become so important to me.  Susan set up her t-shirt booth in the back of her store, and Betty of Village Mercantile set up a mini-quilt shop in her booth.

Traffic was slow before the show, and while it increased through the week, estimates from other, more experienced vendors than I were that attendance was down by 1/3.  The AQS show was uncrowded, restaurants had empty tables, and the streets of Paducah looked like tumbleweeds should be blowing through.

Then on Tuesday morning my husband woke me up with a 6:30a.m. phone call, starting with the words, “I’ve got some bad news.”  It was too early for me to recognize how grave he was, but he continued to tell me one of my best friends, Virginia, had passed away unexpectedly.  Virginia was 41 years old, was a nurse who worked in a hospital everyday, and was diligent about her healthcare.  She was afraid of dying young, because both of her parents had passed away at a young age.   We met in childbirth class when we were both pregnant with our first child:  we both had sons, who were best friends.

Virginia was a devoted friend to me at the awkward times in life when most people don’t know what to say, so they say nothing, something entirely wrong, or they just avoid you altogether.  When I had my first miscarriage, Virginia took care of me and comforted me.  When my mother passed away, Virginia flew out from Colorado with her kids and visited me, again comforting me.  When I was told I had to have surgery, and she was too many states away to visit, she sent me a care package.  I sent my son on his first solo airplane flight to visit Virginia and her family.

I couldn’t believe what David was telling me.  How could it have happened?  I got a speeding ticket driving to the store that morning.   I couldn’t focus on anything the rest of the week.  I broke down into tears after a customer said “life is too short for me to complain about my wife buying fabric.”  Poor man, he was just making conversation and this crazy woman from Georgia starts sobbing.  Susan’s husband Robert hugged me, and Diane and Lowell were wonderful with their Christian love and support.

On the last day of vending, Saturday, I felt like things were getting back to normal for me.  I talked with Virginia’s ex-husband and her memorial service wouldn’t be until next week, so I still had time to attend.  I talked with my kids and husband:  my older son was barely awake after an all-night lock-in with his youth group.  Life was normal – good, uneventful, normal.

Then my husband called me 30 minutes later to tell me my older son was being rushed to the hospital.  I asked him repeatedly to explain, because I couldn’t register what was happening.  He was frantic and couldn’t really tell me much.  All I knew was that my son was ill, being transported by ambulance to a hospital, and I wasn’t there.  I couldn’t hold his hand, tell him he would be okay.  I wasn’t there.

Again, Diane, Lowell, and Robert came to my rescue.  And my friend Pat, who drove from Georgia to stay with me and help me in my booth.  Again I was crying in Paducah, and again they comforted with hugs, words, and actions.  They packed my booth and my car in 10 minutes.  I drove through severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hail to get to my son.

He was fine, but shaken.  His younger brother hugged him a bit tighter, as did we all.

So, Paducah next year?  I can’t even think about it.  All I know right now is I will never again talk to Virginia, and I can’t make sense of that.  I miss her, and I ache for her son and daughter, 14 and 12.  Life will never be the same for them, or for me either.

Bliss

Sweet and pure elation over catching this rainbow trout on Saturday.  We ventured out on the first warm and sun-filled day and spent the afternoon on the boat.  It was true bliss:  sun warming our faces after weeks of snow and clouds, his catching not one, but two rainbow trout and pleading with his dad to cook them for dinner, even though David doesn’t eat fish.

Our dog Ranger joined us for the lake cruise, and he was happy just to get out of the house, after pleading with us with his big brown eyes, “somebody take me outside!!  Dogs get cabin fever too!”

As grateful as I was for two sunny days in a row, and on a weekend, no less, I was still a bit chilly, covering up with David’s flannel shirt and the lime green knitted chenille scarf made for me by my friend Pat.

We enjoyed the trout for dinner, making Trout Meuniere, Julia Child-style, baking the whole fish and removing the entire backbone and rib cage in one swift movement.  If you saw the movie Julie & Julia, you’ll know what I’m talking about:  it’s the dish she’s in heaven over when she and her husband Paul arrive in France.  The best part?  David cooked it.  What a lucky girl I am.

Snow Deja Vu

Haven’t we been here before?  Twice in one winter is almost unheard of in this part of the country, even if we are in the mountains.  We just don’t see that much snow, not that anyone around here is complaining.  More opportunities for snowball fights, sledding, building snow men, and making a fort in the den, which happens to be the perfect place to snuggle with the family dog and watch the Winter Olympics.

We’re Olympic junkies here, watching every minute of coverage until we’re bleary-eyed and falling into bed.  Snow, olympics, and school break.  What could be better?

A Green Valentine’s Day

My favorite school party is on Friday:  the annual Valentine’s Day party in my son’s elementary school class.  Why is it my favorite?  It’s the one time the children focus on really giving something to others in their class.  Everybody gets a Valentine’s Day card, and they each decorate a box to hold their treasures.

In year’s past, my son saved his Valentine’s cards for years, bringing them out every so often to reminisce.  A romantic at heart?  This year however, he was sick, out from school, and beginning to feel a bit too old for all of this Valentine’s fuss.  He just couldn’t get excited about decorating his own shoe box for the party.

Until he spied a funky project I had done from WhipUp, my absolute favorite craft blog.  Picnic Basket Crafts shared how she repurposed an old cereal box into a DIY shipping box for her items on Etsy.  It was just so cute I had to try it.  I had no use for it – my books and kits are too large to fit into it, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do whatta girl’s gotta do.  So I followed her great instructions, and voila – I had my own lunchbag-style box.  And it sat on our counter with really no purpose or destination.

Until my son spied it and decided it would make a perfect Valentine’s Day card holder.  Out came the construction paper, tape, scissors, and glue stick.  He did it all himself and is excited about taking it to school.  He even made his own lunchbag-box with an old cereal box I provided.

You never know where creativity will take you.  Even with the simplest of materials.

All Dressed Up . . . .

The cupcakes were baked, decorated, and ready to be nibbled on in a ladylike manner.  My studio was sparkling, ready for the Mom & Me Quilter’s Tea guests to take a tour.  Their parents won the experience at a silent auction for my son’s school.  Books autographed, check.  Camera, check.  All done a day before.

My elder son and husband were away at a Boy Scout caving trip, so it was just me and my younger son.  Who came to me in the middle of the night saying, “Mom, I don’t feel so good.”  Poor guy.  He was up all night with a stomach bug.

Tea postponed, check.  After all, fiddle-dee-dee, tomorrow is another day.

Like the frosting on those cupcakes?  Then you won’t want to miss February’s Color-of-the-Month show.  It’s the first Tuesday in February, only 7 days away!

Beautiful Mondays

Amicalola Falls on a Sunny, Fall day

Most people dread Mondays.  After all, they mean back to work, away from home and family.  And rainy Mondays are the worst – as it’s doing here in Georgia today (the photo is from Amicalola Falls on a sunnier day).

I’m deciding on a different outlook.  Mondays present a great day of opportunity.  Monday is a day to start fresh, with an entire week of possibilities ahead.  I can’t wait to see what this week brings.  I’m looking forward to new quilt design ideas, fun business opportunities, friendships, and time with my family during Fall break.

What opportunities await you this Monday?

Okay, here’s one:  I produced a new video on fall’s two hottest colors this season, and it’s over at my Color Mastery blog.  Check it out.  Who knows what possibilities await in your stash or the quilt shop?

Side Trip

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We spent last weekend with family attending my father-in-law George’s funeral.  My boys were dreading the long drive home, so I scheduled a side trip to break up the drive and work in a little history as well.  I guess once you’ve been a homeschooling mom, you’re always looking for those teachable moments.

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We decided to stop at Andersonville, the civil war prison site for Union soldiers.  It wasn’t exactly on the way, but we felt like it was important enough to make our trip significantly longer.  My younger son did the Junior Ranger activities and earned his badge, while my older son enjoyed our driving tour, stopping at sites to look and learn.

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13,000 soldiers died at Andersonville, and many states whose dead were among those later erected monuments in their memory.  The Womans Relief Corps had more than one statue, and I did a rubbing of their insignia.

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Of course, I had to know if a quilt had been made to honor any of these soldiers, and there was (please see update below).  James George, a Union soldier who had been captured and stayed at Andersonville six months, later recovered at a Washington D.C. hospital, where Boston women made James an album quilt.

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From the Permanent Collection of the New England Quilt Museum, Photo by David Stansbury.

I have received an email from Judy Schwender, Curator of Collections at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, which offered the following:

There is no definitive evidence that the quilt was given directly to the Union soldier James George by the makers. Since I first saw this quilt ten years ago, I have been gathering information on its history. There is no indication from either the family history, including documents, which states this was the process. If you wish to read what has been uncovered to date, please see the book “Massachusetts Quilts Our Common Wealth”. An essay written by Anita Loscalzo and myself, along with wonderful photographs, can be found on pages 252 through 256. I am continuing the search for information and hope to complete a paper on this wonderful quilt in the near future.

Both Anita and Vivian are skilled quilt historians.  An excellent resource for quilt history is Uncoverings, the journal of the American Quilt Study Group.  You can find out more about articles from this journal athttp://www.americanquiltstudygroup.org/uncoveringSearch.asp .

Seems a bit of controversy surrounds the origins of this quilt and no definitive answer exists.

Farewell, Beautiful Summer

Tuesday my two sons will go back to school for another year.  We had such a lovely summer it’s hard to say goodbye, but the friends, memories, and good times will be with us always.

Farewell to:

  • sunny days swimming and socializing at the pool
  • sleeping late after staying up until the wee hours finishing a great summer novel
  • cookouts with friends, sharing out favorite dishes and good times
  • cruising and fishing on the boat and meeting up with friends on the lake
  • reuniting with family and friends we haven’t seen since last summer
  • enjoying fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, zucchini straight from the farmer’s gardens

Hello to:

  • new schools, teachers, and classmates
  • early morning alarms
  • after-school activities
  • multiplication tables, essays, and homework

My guys will be gone all day, and I will miss them so.  I enjoy my children every day, delighting in their smiles, growth spurts of 6″ in one year, enormous appetities, fabulous imaginations, and hugs.  Welcome new school year!

Quilt Camp at Willow Ridge Press Studios

Quilt Camp at Willow Ridge Press Studios

This week I hosted six children in my quilt studio to make Quillows.  They were practically giddy they were so excited! We planted the seeds of lifelong sewers and quilters, and they were beaming with pride and tightly hugging their Quillows when they left.

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On Monday we started by making a mini-Quillow.  This turned out to be quite important to understand the whole process.  The real Quillows were so large it was easy for the campers to get lost in the fabric and what step we were doing, and they really liked doing the smaller sample first.

L. topstitching her Quillow.

Overheard at Quilt Camp this week:

  • “Duh!” – a lot
  • “I don’t want to sew through my dog’s eye/nose/mouth!”
  • “The machine came unthreaded . . again!”

Mini-Quillow

Here’s our Quilt Camp by the numbers:

  • 5 girls
  • 1 boy
  • 3 homeschoolers
  • 3 private schooled
  • 1 horse fabric
  • 1 chick fabric
  • 1 dog fabric
  • 1 floral fabric
  • 1 plaid fabric
  • 1 motorcycles & baseball fabric
  • 6 pincushions
  • 250+ pins
  • 24 yards of fabric
  • 12 yards of batting
  • Priceless memories and confidence.  These campers completed a long quilting project and have the skills to tackle any sewing project they want in the future!

A big Happy Birthday wish to Camper E. who turns 12 next week and had her rock-climbing birthday party today!  A rock-climber and a quilter – you go girl!

Room with a View

Front Porch

This is my favorite spot this summer.  Peaceful, lush, and serene.  Hot, of course, but not terribly oppressive when I’m in my hammock swing.

The planters are an anniversary gift David and I gave each other years ago.  It was love at first sight at my favorite nursery in Alpharetta.  The carved bear is a gift from a family friend.  He’s an artist and a fellow artist made it for us.

The rocking chairs see a lot of use during the summer.  Nothing like sitting on the porch and eating a popsicle to cool off.  The tiny chair in the background is an Amish handcrafted chair my brother brought back from one of his travels.

I even cut my younger son’s hair on this porch.  He sits patiently on a stool while I use the clippers on his coarse hair.  But he’s taking a break from haircuts this summer.  He’s rebelling from school rules that require his hair over his collar.  June is a perfect time to cast off rules, relax, and unwind.

Hammock Swing

What I Do for Love

Happy Father's Day

My boys and I spent a hot, humid, Georgia morning in our yard trimming, pruning, and cutting back shrubs and other landscaping that had become overgrown in the searing heat the last few weeks.  All this for Father’s Day.  David has been working tirelessly, and I didn’t want him to come home and be reminded of all the yard work needing to be done.

Shrubs

Pruning bushes is an art, one I don’t think I’ve mastered.  When we were done the poor shrubs looked like my son’s hair when he was four and tried to cut it himself with safety scissors.  I was avoiding the suburban lollipop look, but didn’t quite want the post-tornado wreckage image either.  I guess we achieved something in-between.

Monster Bush

My arms are covered in scratches and scars from all the pruning.  The large shrub on the left, had thorns that were more like spikes, and one buried deep in my finger.  It really didn’t like me.  Japanese beetles hung out on my hat.  Spiders came and went.  Nothing stopped me.  I was fearless.

We cleaned both of his grills too.  Nothing but the best for our guy.  And the lastest Clive Cussler novel.  I taught Sunday School for my eight-year-old son’s class and we made laminated cards Dad could hang on his rearview mirror to remind him of how much his children love him, along with a Bible verse:  1 Corinthians 13:4, with Dad substituted for “love.”  So, “Dad is patient, Dad is kind . . . . Dad hopes and never fails.”  Every Dad needs to know how much his children look up to him, a little reminder never hurts.

Self-Portrait

I took this photo of me around Mother’s Day.  I’m in my bedroom, painted a creamy yellow color, which I love but so many find it difficult to get right.  Behind me is a quilt made for me by my bee group:  we each asked for specific blocks that we would put into a quilt, and I wanted house blocks.  The whole notion of home and nesting I love, and this quilt hangs in my room to remind me of home, family and friends.  Many made the traditional Schoolhouse block, but Ginger made a Mayan ruin reminiscent of her trips to Mexico, Cheryl made a birdhouse, and my funky home sits in the center.

My boys’ artwork and photos are tucked into every nook of my dresser, which we’ve had since our first apartment.  It was our first big purchase, and was oversized for a tiny apartment, but has proven durable and fit into our homes since.  The artwork is my favorite way to greet the day, and includes a bookmark from kindergarten, a Mother’s day bonnet made from a paper plate, a sonogram photo of a baby that didn’t make it to us, birth announcements, and even my own class photo from first grade.  I take a copy of this and show it to the students I speak to at schools.  Giggles abound as they try to pick me out of the class photos, and it helps to show them that even adults were kids once!

I could have all these precious items in an album, but I prefer to have them out where I can see them everyday, touch them, and remind me of what a delightful and abundant life I have.

Delightful Summer Days

One of my favorite summer events is Symphony on the Green in my community.  The local symphony orchestra sets up on the golf course, we bring our quilts, picnics, and sparklers.

Symphony on the Green

Symphony from the lake

These folks had the best seat in the house.  They were across the lake and could watch from the comfort of their back porch.

Symphony on the Green flag

My absolute favorite part of the event is making my sketches.  After all the cooking for the event is done and packed, we’ve set up our quilt on the ground, the kids are tossing the football, my husband is munching on the goodies, I can steal away and sketch.

Symphony on the Green Sketch

It’s a great way to remember the details of the day in my journal.  And you never know where these images will show up in my quilts later.  Maybe.  Or not.  That’s the great thing about creativity:  the options are endless.

Nesting

I feel like Dorothy after she dreams of faraway places and travels to Oz, only to find out there really is “no place like home.”  I adored every moment of my book tour, all the women (and men) I got to know personally, their stories and quilts, and spring Quilt Market was a fantastic experience.

And now . . . home.  I’ve been hiking among the mountain laurel and ferns.  Sketching every day.  My goal is to sketch each day in June.  To walk in my community and find the everyday gems I’m usually too busy to stop and appreciate.

I’m cooking – a lot.  Nothing like food on the road to make me crave my own healthy cooking.  Today my younger son and I made mini-pizzas for lunch, including our own pizza dough from scratch.  “It’s as fun to make as it is to eat!”  Yep, he really did say that.

And quilting.  Even some hand work at night.  Nothing I can share now, but I promise you’ll see it soon.

The pool every day.  I’m getting golden brown even though I use an SPF 50 sunscreen.  Today we were forced to take a break because it was raining – a downpour really.  So, we sat on the screened porch and napped instead.

This weekend I’ll be at Lake Oconee in Eatonton at the Stitching Barn teaching my Color Mastery workshop.  Join me and shop owner Becky Pittman for a fun-filled Saturday.  Call 706.485.0028 to sign up or just say hi to Becky.  Her shop is brand new this is grand opening week, so stop by, fondle fabric, and enjoy a bit of retail therapy.  I will.

Spring Break Holiday

Enjoying the Florida Keys

We’ve just returned from a lovely spring break holiday, full of sun, white sand, and wonderful natural resources.  Our family is big on enjoying the great outdoors, and we walked, biked, kayaked, snorkeled, and took boat rides into the Everglades and Biscayne National Park (which is mostly underwater in the Florida Keys).

Our original plan was to visit a natural part of the Florida panhandle, but the weather was cold and rainy (we missed tornadoes and snow at home!).  At the last minute we changed our plans to travel farther south to the Everglades.

Junior Ranger Oath

My younger son became a Junior Ranger at three national parks in Florida:  Everglades, Big Cypress, and Biscayne.  Here he’s taking the oath at Everglades National Park.  The hat belongs to a real ranger at the park.

Everglades Boat Ride

We took a boat ride into the Everglades’ mangroves.  In the summer our tour guide says he wears a screen suit to protect himself from all the bugs.  Spring break was definitely the time to visit!

Gator in Everglades

Water Moccasin

Alligators everywhere, and the occasional water moccasin.  It’s the dry season in the Everglades, so alligators gather close to the water sources.  They were thickly nestled together on the banks of the river.

Hoath Family

Visited my dad and stepmother, a lovely visit with family.  The boys hit golf balls with my dad and their grandmother pulled out her mah jong set to show them how complicated that game is.  Trust me:  you don’t want to go up against my stepmother in any game.  She wins.  A lot.  Her famous line is “I’ll just play until I run out of chips.”  She soundly trounced us all in the family poker tournament three years ago on our beach vacation.  We played Go Fish this time.  Lower stakes.

Easter Eggs 2009

Finally, the all-important Easter egg dyeing tradition.  You’re never too old for this, are you?  We had to wait until we returned home to dye the eggs, but the boys didn’t mind.

Now I’m putting the final touches on the book tour starting next week.  Look over in the sidebar to see if I’m visiting a location in Georgia near you.  Can’t wait to talk color and quilting in your hometown!

New Season, New Look

Easter Egg Cake

What is it about spring that makes me want to throw open the windows and swap out the winter pillows and fabrics for brighter, more light colors?  Same goes for the blog.  I’ve photographed a new header image and am trying a new WordPress theme that’s easier on the eyes.  Larger fonts, wider sidebars.  I do so much reading online now (our daily newspaper no longer delivers to our county) that I appreciate any site that gives my eyes a break.

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Girls Lunch.  Had lunch last week in Dahlonega with Jean (JeanAnnQuilts at Twitter) and her friend Julie.  We shopped at Magical Threads, savored the Tomato Bisque at Crossroads Cafe, and chatted about quilting, market, writing, and teaching.

Georgia Book Tour.  The shop owners are so excited and promoting it to their customers.  Savannah’s shop, Colonial Quilts, told three television stations and their daily newspaper!  I’m gathering the last minute details, the family is preparing to be without mom for a while.

Kay’s Book-A-Round.  Still blogging across the U.S.  Great posts and a variety of perspectives.

Easter.  Time to rejoice, reflect, and be so grateful for all the things that are important that don’t show up in the daily newspaper.

Book Swap.  Just discovered Paperbackswap.com and Bookmooch.com through my friend Malissa.  I sent three books out yesterday and I’m getting The Thirteenth Tale, hopefully in time for our Spring Break.

Facebook.  Yes, I’ve cautiously joined Facebook.  My sister uses it a lot and I decided to finally plunge in after some friends decided it was the best way to post updates of their son’s journey across the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve actually avoided Facebook for a long time, but my goal is not to get entirely sucked in.

Twitter.  I love this tool.  If you’re not using it, you really should be.  I can keep up with other quilters, UGA coach Mark Richt, NPR’s weekend anchor Scott Simon, and other really interesting people.  I’m Colormaster.  Follow me!

Birthdays.  Happy Birthday to my good friend Pat.  We share a love of family, friendship, quilting, and gardening.  Pat just got a longarm quilting machine and has returned from classes ready to take on big quilts!

Committees.  PTO.  Church.  PAC.  School.  Guild.  Yikes!  Too many meetings, too little time.  May be time to cut back.

Soon it’ll be carpool time for school, and life as author/publisher today will be done, and I’ll be mom and wife for the rest.  It’s a lovely mix, isn’t it?

Instant Comraderie of Quilters

Quilting buddies

I had a lovely visit from a quilter from New York recently.  Janet Root, SAQA member, quilt teacher, and avid quilter, stopped by to chat about quilting on a rainy day.  We sat in the keeping room, fire blazing, and talked about teaching, our students, and where the best sales are (end-of-bolt sale at Little Quilts and Magical Threads?).

Isn’t it incredible how quilters enjoy a common interest that bonds us, no matter where we’re from?  We even have a common language:  fat quarters, batting, squaring up.  It was quite a spectacle for Emily, my neighbor who Janet was visiting.  Did I tell you how Emily and I know each other?.

You see, Emily and I were in the same book club in our neighborhood.  At my first meeting, we were all introducing ourselves, talked about our families and jobs, and Emily offered that she used to teach at Sequoyah High School.  And then it hit me.  This wasn’t just any Emily, this was Mrs. B, the toughest English teacher at my alma mater.  She taught AP English, and I had interviewed with her and been accepted into the class, but my family moved that summer, so I finished my senior year at a different school.

How small the world really is.  I don’t live anywhere near that high school, didn’t finish there, have moved to a tiny mountain town, and Emily and I are now friends and she introduced me to a wonderful quilter.  Aren’t women great?

Chatting About Color at the Book Launch Party

I’ve got an entire gallery of photos from the book launch party over at the Color Mastery book blog.  Here are the personal ones:

My younger son announcing the winners of door prizes.  He was all smiles, sneaking sweet treats, picking out fat quarters, and giving me hugs throughout the evening.

My older son would quietly rub my shoulders as I was signing and talking; he was also the photographer for the evening.

My husband David talking to one of my best quilting friends, Pat.  They were both so proud and thrilled for me.

My friend and cheerleader Kay and her granddaughter.  Thank you, Kay, for the wonderful book title!  Kay attended a quilting retreat last year at my home, during which I floated several titles for the book.  Later that week Kay sweetly suggested several other titles, which were terrific, and Color Mastery was the winner!

And finally . . . me.  I’m all smiles after all the two years of loving working that went into Color Mastery.  It was a night to celebrate it all.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support me, Jeanne, and quilting.  Jeanne was thrilled with the shop’s sales that evening.  I was giddy over the book’s sales, and quilters had a blast eating, drinking, and getting tips about color.

I’d be delighted to visit your local quilt shop and do a book signing, lecture, or class.  Tell them about the book, and show them the blog.  I’ve got a page at the book blog just for quilt shops.  I look forward to seeing you at your local shop or quilt guild!

Valentine’s Festivities

I was party mom for my son’s class, and it’s my favorite party of the year.  The one celebration where the students give gifts to each other, make handmade Valentine cards, and lovingly decorate boxes to hold all their goodies.  Chocolate, handmade cards, and a soft & fluffy craft – what could be better?

About the Author

It’s here! Color Mastery’s publication date is here! The books are in the stores, on shelves, available online, and the publicity is hitting the media.  I’ve written so long about quilts, creativity, and color, that I haven’t shared that much about me.  So I thought I’d take a few moments to let readers get to know me:

  • I’ve been quilting for over 15 years, sewing for 30 (yikes!)
  • I’m the first person in my family to attend college
  • I find humor in everything – life is too short to take so seriously
  • I live near the base of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia
  • I love to cook almost as much as I love to quilt
  • I love to exercise and find it’s when most of my creative ideas surface
  • I had seven published books by the time I was 30
  • I homeschooled my children for three years
  • I was Director of Courseware Development for the nation’s largest training company
  • My favorite quilt:  All of them, including the ones I’ve yet to make
  • My favorite book:  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • My favorite song:  Man on the Moon by REM
  • My favorite movie:  Terms of Endearment or The Bourne Identity
  • My favorite TV show:  Burn Notice
  • My favorite way to spend a Saturday:  quilting, hiking, or hanging out with my family!

An Author in the White House

I watched the inauguration yesterday with my teenaged (!) son who was home sick.  He delighted in pointing out all the places he visited on his leadership trip to Washington D.C. this fall, and he was visibly excited about watching the swearing-in ceremony.

As I tucked my younger son into bed last night and we cuddled on his pillow, he confided to me:

“I think Obama will be a good president.”

They have so many hopes for this one, very human, fallible man.  He has my prayers for wisdom and good counsel, and the dreams of so many are on his shoulders.

What I’m excited about is an author is at our country’s helm.  Someone with an appreciation of, and great faculty with, the written word.  His well-noted model for his presidency is Abraham Lincoln, also a president with a great command of our language, as so many of his speeches and letters stand that all-important test of time.  How many presidents have their words remembered throughout history?  For most, we can’t remember their names.

And let’s end this post with a good joke:  Someone is now selling diapers that read:

“Ready for a change.”

People never cease to amaze me.

Gingerbread Smash Video

As promised, here is the video of our great gingerbread smash.  We have a blast pulverizing our creation that we so lovingly built one month before.  A fun family tradition here.

I’ve created my own channel under ColorfulQuilter at YouTube.  It will have videos I upload during the upcoming Color Mastery Blog Tour, Feb. 2-10.  Watch for more!

The Family That Blogs Together

It’s official.  My husband David is a blogger.  It was only a matter of a time before he would launch a blog for his homebuilding business.  With a little help from his beloved wife.  He’s offering a series of posts on building “green,” as well as what changes you can make to your current home to become more energy efficient.  Our last electric bill was only $130 for a three-level home.  The right changes truly make a difference you can see, long term, in your wallet.

Welcome to the blogosphere my love!