Bayside Quilters

 
Thank you so much to the Bayside Quilters for inviting me to lecture and teach. I explored the lovely town of Easton and drove to St. Michael's where I took the picture above. It looks like I'm on the water but really hanging out from the dock, just wishing I was kayaking!
 
 
The area is steeped in history, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas and there is a maritime museum and streets lined with lovely harbor homes dating from the 1700's. Great restaurants, ice cream shops and boutiques.
 
 
Someday I am going to return to the area so I can sail on a skipjack or long canoe– they have sails! Definitely to eat Maryland crab cakes and Chesapeake oysters.
 
 
This trip I am having a wonderful time with the Bayside Quilters. They even have a Summer Camp for quilters in this active guild. I'm wondering if they have s'mores…!
 
 
Everyone jumped right in to learn the Quilting in Layers technique. These ladies are skilled and talented quilters and I think their quilts are going to be beautiful.
 
 
Isn't this the perfect background for a sunflower.
 
 
Sue decided on a neutral color way so she has some options for tulip appliqué.

 
Nita has a coffee theme selected and plans to appliqué a steaming mug. I can't wait to see these quilts. Every time I teach this workshop, I learn something from the quilter's creativity. Thank you all for letting me spend a great day with the fun quilters of the Eastern Shore!
 
 
 

 

 

Lilies and Quilts

 
My quilt, Tiger Lilies, has traveled a long way from home. It is currently hanging in Kigali, Rwanda in the American Embassy. I was so honored to be selected to exhibit my work through the Art in Embassies Program. Ambassador Donald Koran and his wife Cynthia Goodson are admirers of American craft and wanted to showcase this type of artwork in the offices and residence in Kigali.
 
 
These colorful day lilies grow in profusion all along the roads and old stone walls in Chester County. They are not native plants and some people consider them “invasives.” But I think they are beautiful and I love to think about the people who carried them here and shared them long ago. Along the Delaware/Pennsylvania state line are so many roads with the name Mill– Barley Mill, Snuff Mill, Burnt Mill, Spring Mill, Burrows Mill and many more. I really think these millers planted the lilies along the banks of the mill streams.
 
 
It was lovely to receive an email from a visitor to the Rwandan Embassy who saw my quilt in Kigali. He and his wife love quilts and he asked me if I had a quilt similar to Tiger Lilies for sale. I did have a smaller version that my customer was pleased with.
 
 
So now Day Lilies bloom in Washington, D.C. As well as Africa and Chester County. Quilt “invasives” I guess. That’s a good thing!

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric Art at Mt. Cuba Center

 
I had a wonderful morning teaching at Mt. Cuba Center.
 
 
The gates at the entrance hint at the natural beauty inside the garden preserve.
 
 
Toad Shade trillium along with Lady Slipper orchids and many other native plants adorn these amazing gates.
 
 
The first step is choosing fabrics to coordinate the composition. Patricia making her selections.
 
 
And her finished postcard is lovely.
 
 
Karen chose a different color way for her pink trillium.
 
 
Maggie's card reflects her knowledge of trilliums– she works at Mt. Cuba! She was very artistic and free-cut her shapes from the fabric. She even had a very cool trillium water bottle.
 
 
I think the striped border really sets off Pat's card.
 
 
I took the samples I showed in class home and added some stitching. We had a fun time and I think these creative ladies enjoyed learning to make fabric postcards. I'm betting they will be fusing fabric to explore more designs on their own.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Meadow

 

 
I used to own the meadow walk at Longwood Gardens…well, not really. But it seemed that way because I rarely ever saw any guests venture that far from the pavement and conservatory. I had a lovely relationship with a red fox. He would dart into the trail and watch me walk toward him, warily making eye contact, then trot up a few paces and wait for me to catch up. It seems I wasn't the only one because Longwood has just reopened the expanded meadow, and this beautiful sculpture is positioned near one of the learning stations, just where I would encounter the fox.
 
 
The “new” meadow is stunningly gorgeous. I should have known Longwood could be trusted to showcase the natural world in a beautiful way. Gone are the old bridges, replaced with these curvaceous walkways. Some walkways are elevated to the level of the tree branches, making for a very special entrance to the meadow.
 
 
I am looking forward to enjoying this tree in all seasons, walking up to the top of the hill.
 
 
This house was believed to have been built by William Webb, a Quaker farmer, in 1730. Longwood selectively restored the farmhouse and it is now open for visitors to view galleries that explore the history and natural beauty of the meadow garden.
 
 
The exhibits showcase the work of many artists and artisans.
 
 
Birds of the meadow habitat are described using these amazing paper sculptures.
 
 
There are over three miles of trails in the meadow and along the way are benches for resting, observation stations and learning centers.
 
 
I think it will take me quite a long time to explore all the new additions. I didn't want “my” meadow to be messed with. It was just fine in a totally natural state and I loved the solitude in all seasons. Now the paths are populated with parents pushing strollers and toddlers running around, birders peering through binoculars, and I hear the sound of different languages spoken by foreign visitors. What a transformation and how incredibly wonderful it is!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Trillium Postcards

On July 1st I'm teaching a class at Mt Cuba Center on making fabric post cards. Located in Hockessin, Delaware, Mt Cuba Center is a botanical garden dedicated to inspiring appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and protecting and creating habitats to sustain them. The center offers education credits and certifications, research, conservation, horticultural programs and events. “Gardening on a higher level!”
 
 
Mt. Cuba Center is known for its extraordinary collection of trilliums. I have visited the gardens in late April for the Wild Flower Celebration and been just delirious, enjoying the incredible trilliums and diverse wild flowers, taking millions of photographs. OK, just a slight exaggeration on the millions.
 
 
We won't be sewing the postcards because we aren't bringing sewing machines, just fusing fabric to create the designs. I am providing a pattern and all the materials to make the cards that can actually be sent through the mail. They make nice thank you gifts. I like to send them to Program Chairpersons of Quilt Guilds that have booked my lectures and workshops.
 
 
The postcards can also be framed as a small piece of artwork.
 
All these trilliums are bringing back fond memories of making this quilt, Save Me From the Trilliums, and my hike coming down into Nantahayla Gorge on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
 
 
I think we're going to have a fun day at Mt. Cuba Center. If you live in the area, join us! There are still a few spots left in the class. You can sign up here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Downton Abby

 
I’m a huge fan of the BBC television series, Downton Abby. Andra suggested our Sometimes We Do quilt bee should go see the exhibit. Winterthur is the only venue in the U.S. to display the costumes and over a thousand people a day have viewed the exhibit. Lucky for us, Andra has has worked at Winterthur and arranged for a special tour of the museum before we saw the Downton costumes. I wish I could show some of Andra’s amazing needle work on the historic furnishings, but they don’t allow photography. If you live anywhere near Wilmington, Delaware it is a fascinating museum and a wonderful place to spend the day.
 
 
The costums were displayed along with props and furnishings from the show. The exhibit was arranged beginning with morning wear and progressing through the day, ending with the evening attire.
 
 
In the background there were scenes of the actors and explanations and details about the costums worn.
 
 
The stripped material on Lady Mary’s dress on the right, was sewn using the wrong side of the fabric for a softer look. The costume on the left was the only real vintage dress. The mannequins were actually carved to resemble the bodies of the actors so that the clothing fit correctly. You can see the difference in the shoulders.
 
Both “upstairs” and “downstairs” costums were shown.
 
 
The designers had to plan for action in Lady Edith’s wedding gown since she had to run from the church and up a long flight of stairs when she was left at the alter.
 
 
The level of detail in the garments was amazing. And they only had six weeks to design, sew and fit all the costumes for the cast for the season.
 
 
Absolutely my favorite costume was Lady Sybil’s harem pants.
 
 
The bodice was constructed of fragil vintage fabric that split during filming and had to be repaired. The mended and frayed edges didn’t show on television.

 
I think this was the favorite gown of many. The “spider web” overlay was entirely beaded.
 
 
Often there were video clips playing in the background. In this proposal scene, the snow softly falling made us feel as if we were actually at Downton.
 
 
We all agreed we want to watch the show again and really appreciate the amazing art of the costume designers. Thanks for “herding cats” Andra and organizing a wonderful day out with best friends.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Trip

 
These are cool garden sculptures made by my sister Denise.
 
I'm in Illinois for a quick trip to visit my amazing mother and family. Yes, we really read the fine print in the color coordination memo!
 
 
This is my favorite quilt shop–anywhere! Peace and Appliqué in Rochester, Illinois.
 
 
There are three big rooms of fabric and everything else a quilter might need in this lovely, historic old building.
 
 
Aren't cell phones cameras and texting wonderful? My friend Jane needed me to shop for her, too. She wanted the fabric on the left. I should have detailed my mom and brother (I've always wanted “staff!) with the task of “cyber shopping.” I got too involved with my own selections and missed one of Jane's fabrics.
 
 
This fabric is coming home with me.
 
 
I found this pattern by Jaybird Quilts and I think it will show off some of my fancy long arm machine quilting. Thank goodness for the wonderful ladies in the shop who can do math fabric requirements. I never seem to want to follow the pattern plan and they were so helpful and knowledgable. You can't get that kind of expertise with on-line shopping.
 
 
Now this is the way to recover your strength after power shopping for fabric! A trip to Springfield wouldn't be complete without lunch at Steak n' Shake. So sad you're missing this, Gary!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Gone But Not Forgotten

 
This sign used to say Roundabout Quilt Shop. Ahh, such fond memories of the lovely quilt shop owned by my good friend, Andra.
 
 
Recognize this room? Those shelves used to be filled with bolts of fabric. Now diners chat over coffee and ice cream where the cutting table used to be.
 
 
The little shop is all decked out in a Hunt Country theme, very appropriate for the area.
 
 
You might see a fox and hounds chased by horses, ridden by red coated riders blowing horns, while sitting on the verandah.
I haven’t tried the ice cream or coffee yet. I know you don’t believe that! but I just stopped to get a look inside and a bottle of water. So now my closest quilt fabric shop is The Quilt Ledger, about 20 miles away in Christiana, Pennsylvania.

 
It is a lovely shop with enticing fabric. The owner also has a Victorian house across the street to hold quilting retreats. There are several ladies having a great time shopping, carrying pizza and cake from from cars into the house. I’m jealous. I love “going on a sewing bender!”
 
 
How far is your local quilt shop? JoAnns and Walmart type stores don’t count because the experience just isn’t the same– to say nothing of the fabric quality. Why couldn’t Andra just have added the coffee and ice cream in with the collections of Moda, threads, books and patterns? Now there’s a winning combination. Or a mess… Or a quilting retreat!
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home

Somewhere along the Appalachian Trail? No, this is a favorite trail in the Laurels Nature Preserve just a few miles from home.
 
 
We usually hike along Doe Run and Buck Run and cross the creeks on two old covered bridges. Both bridges are Queenpost Truss, single-spans, constructed in 1881. The Brandywine Conservancy is restoring the bridges so they're under construction and closed to all walkers.
 
 
No problem. Well just take another trail today.
 
 
Still a few jack-in-the-pulpits blooming.
 
 
And these lovely white flowers that I don't know the name of.
 
 
A perfect day for a hike and a country drive in the little sports car.
 
 
Looks like Napa Valley but it's beautiful Chester County, not even a quarter mile from my house.
 
 
The Galer Vineyard and Winery is a great place to relax with a glass of wine.
 
 
And sit on the deck and listen to live music. Sometimes you don't have to travel very far and the best of days can be experienced pretty close to home.

 

Bee Day

 
It's always a good day on Quilt Bee day. Our hostess Jane has just finished this beautiful quilt.
 
 
Andra always has a new quilt for show and tell. I love how she used the black and white fabric.
 
 
This is the back of the quilt. Just as nice as the front!
 
 
Joan brought lots of older quilts a friend of hers had acquired. And we admired!
 
 
This was my favorite, hands down.
 
 
 
Jane knows quite a bit about old quilts and offers suggestions on possible repair of some worn areas.
 
 
Susie inspects the quilting.
Thanks Jane! The brownies and blueberry muffins were delicious.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

CAMACO


CA MA CO. Cape May County Quilt Guild. I have been looking forward to my lecture and workshop for the Cape May quilters. I've never been to Cape May, New Jersey but I've always wanted to visit. I'd like to take my bike on the ferry from Delaware but couldn't really do that in my car loaded with quilts and workshop supplies.


 
I think I'll pick a better day for the beach and bike ride.

 

 
The weather didn't stop me from taking a quick trip to see the lighthouse. I love lighthouses!
Tourist pleasures aside, I'm here to present my lecture, Inspired by Adventure, and to share my quilts. Gail and Helen have graciously invited me to have dinner with them and some guild members before the meeting. I don't understand this, but I can always pick out the quilters right away, even in a crowded restaurant. And, they're enjoying a glass of wine! Purely as an excellent preventative for the dreaded quilting malady– lint lung– I'm sure. Ohh, these are my people! It's going to be a fun evening!
And it was a wonderful evening after what I am sure was a stressful day. In the wee morning hours, someone crashed a car straight through the Millman Center, where the Guild program is held! I believe the driver wasn't seriously injured but the auditorium was wrecked. So these ladies went into action mode and found another meeting place, notified the membership and directed a set up crew. I even got a co-pilot so I wouldn't get lost, driving to the new venue. Thanks Shirley! My hat is off to you all, way to scramble!
 
 
The Quilting in Layers workshop was held at Historic Cold Spring Village. Now I really need to return and spend some time here. This wonderful living history museum brings to life the “age of homespun.”
 
 
You can purchase artisan made items and treats in the country store or eat in the restaurant or stroll the grounds and pet the animals.
 
Today, the sign on the Visitor Center door reads Quilting Class in session.

No hesitation here! These quilters jumped right in and tried something a bit different.

Even some innovative, modern fabric choices.

 
In this workshop, we start the quilting first and everyone gets quickly into sewing mode.
 
 
Don't you love the unusual but very trendy color choices in this quilt. I can't wait to see the dark green leaves and stem.
 
 
I had a great day with the CAMACO quilters. You all inspired me and I just wanted to sew when I got home! Thank you so much!
 
 
 
 





 

South of the Border

 

Innkeeper Pam prepared a delicious breakfast for the guests this morning. I could get used to this kind of pampering! We have a beautiful day for our bike ride, sunny and warm. From Jackson House in Railroad it is only a mile and a half to New Freedom. Even though we just polished off cheese and sausage strata, baked oatmeal, biscuits and jam, fruit, coffe and juice, Gary thinks we need to grab sandwiches at the deli for a picnic. OK! I'm in!

We take some time to look through the railroad museum inside the restored train station. Volunteer docent, Chuck, is fascinating in his knowledge of the railroad and the history of the area. New Freedom is the highest elevation on the rail line and it required two “pusher” engines to get the train up the mountain. From here, the grade drops 400 feet. I'm looking forward to flying down, but it may take a “pusher” engine to help me peddle back up…
 
 
One last look and a wave good by to the steam locomotive because the rails for the train, end here. The bike trail continues on the actual railway, now paved with limestone ballist.
 
Our ride crosses the Mason-Dixon Line and south into Maryland where the trail is called the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, formerly the Northern Central (NCR) Trail and extends another 20 miles to the Hunt Valley, Maryland area. We've decided to ride to Parkton, about 9 miles. This downhill is great!
 
 
Quite a different kind of ride, much of the next 20 miles goes through Gunpowder Falls State Park.
 
 
Frequent stops to scope out the fishing possibilities.
 
 
Great place for a picnic lunch! All along this amazing rail trail, there have been numerous picnic tables, benches, parks, restrooms, and amenities, sites to see and much to learn. No wonder Heritage Rail Trail County Park was named one of the top ten trails in the United States.
I've had a wonderful Mother's Day. Thank you to four great kids and one fantastic husband. Love to you all!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Riding the Rails

 

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, a day late! I was having way too much fun this past weekend to write a post. On Friday, Gary told me to pack a bag for an overnight trip and be ready to leave by noon on Saturday. Umm, what should I pack? Do I need a backpack? Do I need a dress and nice shoes? (help!) The only clue I got was, I don't need to bring my bikini. Good thing…

 

The bikes loaded on the car gave the secret away. Gary booked a night at the lovely Jackson House Bed and Breakfast in Railroad, Pennsylvania. We have the Cottage room with a private patio garden, overlooking the Heritage Rail Trail.

 
I love staying in Bed and Breakfast Inns! After checking in, Gary and I take a cup of coffee and home made cookies, still warm, from Innkeeper Pam's oven, to relax in the comfortable patio chairs and survey the scene. The Jackson House was built in 1859 and was known as one of the finest hotels along the Northern Centrail Railroad.
 
Railroad was once a thriving town along the rail line between Baltimore, MD and Harrisburg, PA, and is now enjoying a revitalization. This beautiful restored steam locomotive passes right in front of us and we wave to the kids and passengers. An afternoon bike ride was the plan but dark clouds are building and no way will we escape a pounding downpour. Lucky for us, another trail beckons. We are in the heart of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail and we can visit one of more than 20 wineries by car!
 
I wish we could sit on the deck at Seven Valleys Vineyard and Winery to enjoy a glass of Chardonnay. But the consolation is live entertainment, inside.
 
Now we have a delima. Visit another winery or, now that the rain has stopped, get on the bikes?
 
Bikes it is and we ride from Jackson House in Railroad, north to Seven Valleys about 18 miles, round trip. Last year we road from Seven Valleys into York, Pa so riding this segment will complete the 21 mile Heritage Rail Trail. This rail trail is incredibly beautiful and steeped in history. The railroad was a prime target for the Confederate Army. Rebel troops destroyed bridges and cut telegraph wires, attempting to isolate Washington, D.C. After the Battle of Gettysburg, President Lincoln traveled to Hanover Junction on his way to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

You can stand in Abraham Lincoln's footprints and gaze out the same window he did. Restored to its 1863 appearance, the train station is a Cival War Museum.
And we ride behind this old woolen mill, now the Glen Rock Mill Inn, where we have dinner reservations later tonight.
 

The Restaurant is beautiful and we are seated in the Fountain Room, a dramatic space with high ceilings, stone walls and floors, and a fountain fed from a natural spring. The spring provided the water to turn the wheel that operated the mill stones and the water trickles through a stone trough in the dining room still! Dinner is excellent, rack of lamb for Gary, pasta with grilled shrimp and asparagus for me. Could this get better? Yes! After dinner we listen to live entertainment provided by Blind Owl in the bar. Fantastic group that plays all the music we love, James Taylor, Van Morrison, Jim Croce, Crosby Stills… Everybody sings along. We know every word. What a great day!

 

Flood!


I think we have surfaced because I can see blue sky! And I can hear neighborhood kids outside playing, happy for a “flood day” off from school. Kennett Square, Pennsylvania got seven inches of rain yesterday. We even made national news! Everything, everything, everything, everywhere is flooded. Kennett Square, the Lake District.
We have power but no cell phone or internet. Our land line telephone does work and a friend called Gary to let him know they have opened nine holes, of the three courses, where they play golf. So Gary and Jim have spent the last forty five minutes trying to plot a way to actually get to the country club. Any route involves getting across the Brandywine River and every bridge they know of for miles in each direction is flooded out. The country club is pretty near the Brandywine. I'm really wondering if he is considering the kayaks in our garage…

 

Coloring Book

I stopped in at Terrain, a cool plant nursery and home goods store in Glen Mills, PA. I didn't find the herbs I was looking for but I found this really nice coloring book.
The line drawings are amazing. I almost wanted to buy two books. One to color in fine point magic markers and one to keep pristine.
You know what I'm thinking.
Quilting designs! Wouldn't this be beautiful stitched on a quilt.
 
I tried my hand at adapting some of the simpler designs. Now to try stitching them. Easier said than done, I'm sure.
Even the shopping bags at Terrain are pretty.