Friday, February 28, 2014

The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140 acres botanical garden in Phoenix, Arizona. Founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937, the garden now has more than 21,000 plants, one-third of which are native to the area, including 139 species which are rare, threatened or endangered. Of special note are the rich collections of agave and cacti. Plants from less extreme climate conditions are protected under shade houses. It focuses on plants adapted to desert conditions, including an Australian collection, a Baja California collection and a South American collection.

Dale Chihuly was featured at the Desert Botanical Garden with a stunning exhibition of his work.

 Chihuly (born September 20, 1941), is an American glass sculptor and entrepreneur. His works are considered unique to the field of blown glass, "moving it into the realm of large-scale sculpture". The technical difficulties of working with glass forms are considerable, yet Chihuly uses it as the primary medium for installations and environmental artwork.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Casa Grande National Monument

Archeologists have discovered evidence that the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E.

The Casa Grande was abandoned around 1450 C.E. Since the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built it left no written language behind, written historic accounts of the Casa Grande begin with the journal entries of Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino when he visited the ruins in 1694. In his description of the large ancient structure before him, he wrote the words "casa grande" (or "great house") which are still used today. More became known about the ruins with the later visits of Lt. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza's expedition in 1775 and Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny's military detachment in 1846. Subsequent articles written about the Casa Grande increased public interest. During the 1860's through the 1880's more people began to visit the ruins with the arrival of a railroad line twenty miles to the west and a connecting stagecoach route that ran right by the Casa Grande. The resulting damage from souvenir hunting, graffiti and outright vandalism raised serious concerns about the preservation of the Casa Grande.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Just down the road from Ajo, is the wonderful Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. (You do realize that this isn't a short 'down the road'?) This cactus species has several narrow stems that rise vertically, growing from a single short trunk just above the ground level. These stems are about 6 inches thick and grow to a height of 16 feet.It takes 150 years to reach maturity.

And some of the straightest roads I have ever seen! It looks like someone used a ruler to plan them!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

International Quilt Festival - Houston TX

Save the date: International Quilt Festival - Houston TX
October 30-November 2, 2014
Preview Night October 29
Classes begin October 27

I'll be there with lots of workshops something for every one! 
Interested in quilting design? Two classes Stitching Through the Layers, The Art and Elegance of Straight Line Quilting Design 

A Fine Line: Creating the Quilting Design.

Fast finishing techniques?

Super-Fast Binding and Piping 


 Joining the Blocks-Quilt-As-You-Go Style.

Decorative stuff? 
Fun & Fancy - Make a Purse


  Fantastic Fabric Foiling
 Decorative Threads.


Anything else? 
 For the Love of Color

 Borders; the Final Chapter

A laugh filled lecture? So Many Ideas; Sew Little Time.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Quilt Show in Tiny Ajo Arizona

Ajo is the quintessential southwestern mining town, with occasional strikes and shutdowns. The 1983 strike that began in July that year crippled the community with acrimony on both sides. Though the mine struggled on with non-union labor, copper prices plummeted and so did Ajo. Mining stopped in 1985. Many retired people bought houses and started a new era in Ajo‘s history. The acquisition of the old Curley School and the plaza by the International Sonoran Desert Alliance has both preserved and altered the flavor of the community, which is home to many churches, fraternal groups, and social and cultural organizations with long and rich histories of their own.

I visited the Ajo Piecemakers' Quilt Show "Quilting in the Sonoran Desert" at the Curley School Auditorium. There were new quilts, a quilt raffle, a Bed-turning presentation of antique and unique quilts, quilting demos, vendors.

The Curley School Auditorium.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Weeks of Fun in the Sun! I'm off to Arizona

Things are different in the desert. The sky is bluer. The stars are brighter. The sunsets stop you in your tracks. It’s a feeling that can’t be conjured, landscaped or kindled with twinkling bulbs.
America’s sixth-largest city still has real cowboys and rugged mountains and the kind of cactus most people see only in cartoons. Phoenix is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history is a testament to the spirit of puebloans, ranchers, miners and visionaries.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Best Little Quilt Show in Texas

Presents 17th Annual Best Little Quilt Show in Texas
“The Hills are Alive with the Quilts of Music”

Friday & Saturday, February 21 and 22, 2014
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission $7.00

Commercial Exhibit Hall, Fayette County Fairgrounds
Hwy 77N, La Grange TX

Judged Show 
Theme Challenge:  “The Hills are Alive with the Quilts of Music”
Guild Challenge:  “I Remember …”   using provided “special” fabric
Raffle Quilt
I Spy Game for children

Additional Quilt Exhibits:
La Grange:  
Quilts-on-the-Square in downtown La Grange - free
Old County Jail Quilt Exhibit:  The Quilts of Jo Knox - free
Quilts of the Faison Home, S. Jefferson St. - donation
Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center – free -  Czech Easter Traditions, Fiber Arts Exhibit + light lunch for sale (Homemade Czech food) from 11:30-2 at Fairgrounds        
Round Top:  Copper Shade Tree:  The Art in Fiber - free
Winedale:    Red and White and l Little Bit of Another Color,  979-278-3530; – free

For more information visit the website at                                                

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Fast Way to Finish Small Quilts

Some quilts just need a fast finish. I just learned this method from my friend Linda.

It really only works well on smaller quilts, because the batting and quilt top need to be cut the same size. Add the backing which is at least 1 1/2" larger than the front all the way around. Quilt.

Cut the backing exactly 1" larger than the front.

Press the back in half.

Fold the quilt diagonally, and place a ruler perpendicular to the folded edge. Draw a line from the fold down 3/4".

Stitch on the line, back stitch at both ends. Trim.

Tuck the edges in and top stitch. The corner is perfect every time!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rhinestone Rosie

If you ever want to go on a vintage hunt in Seattle this is my favorite spot. Rhinestone Rosie's shop is divine. I found so many great things. This is a Mother-Daughter team and they have put a lot of love in this shop and it really is a wonderful inviting space with lots of treasures.

They even repair costume jewelry too!
I like BIG, this pair of earrings was WOW!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

3-D Bow tie blocks

3-D Bow tie blocks are easy to make in any size. To make an 3" (finished) bow tie, you will need two 2" squares of your background fabric and three 2" squares of a print fabric for each block. 

Fold in half, wrong sides together, one of your bow tie squares. Finger press. Place this folded bow tie square between a background and another print square, right sides together, with the fold in the center. Sew along the raw edges.

Open up, and pull out the folded tie piece. Sew that together the remaining background and tie squares.

If the background is on the top of the first set, then it belongs on the bottom set this time. 

Open the knot piece and put both pieces right sides together, matching the center seam. Put seam allowances on opposing sides, one in each direction, so you won't have a huge lump on one side. Sew.

Open and press.

Want a different size? Cut all the squares one half the desired block size plus 1" for seam allowance. The process is the same.

Have Fun!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Pretty Day in Seattle

Living in the Seattle in the winter means that every pretty day needs to be celebrated! (okay I admit it's an excuse to go out for dinner).
Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal has been the base of the North Pacific fishing fleet since 1913 with over 700 commercial fishing vessels calling it home.
My husband's favorite place is Chinook's at Salmon Bay located in Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal.
With good food, and a great view, what could be better!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Support Your Local Guild

I have belonged to Evergreen Piecemakers Quilt Guild almost since it was formed 30 years ago on a hot summer’s day in an apple orchard in Kent, Washington. The “founding mothers” outgrew the original meeting place and chose the First Christian Church, 11717 SE 240th, Kent, WA 98031. Our meetings take place the 2nd and 4th Mondays at 7 p.m. Please join us.

There are many reasons to belong, friends, fellowship, the opportunity to learn and share. One of my favorites is the opportunity to hear great speakers.

This month's speaker was Sonia Grasvik. I've know Sonia for a long time, but never heard her speak. What a delight! 
Image of quilt titled "Speed of Light" by Sonia Grasvik
"Speed of Light"

She says about this quilt: As a child in the Midwest, I was privileged to witness the beautiful display of the heavens unmarred by the light pollution we know today. Told that much of what I was seeing was no longer there, it was the beginning of a life long struggle to “see with my heart” and not with eyes only.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chinese New Year - No, 2014 is the Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year 2014 - Year of the HorseChinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar.

The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations and is considered a major holiday.

Those Born in the Year of the Horse

The noblest of the signs, some might say, is that of the horse. Horses are popular, quick-witted, charming, cheerful, and talented. People born in the Year of the Horse are popular. They are cheerful, skilful with money, and perceptive, although they sometimes talk too much.They are wise, talented, good with their hands, and sometimes have a weakness for members of the opposite sex. They are impatient and hot-blooded about everything except their daily work. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are very independent and rarely listen to advice.

They are most compatible with Tigers, Dogs, and Sheep. Chinese New Year 2014 - Year of the Horse