Category: Promotional Events

What brings you joy

The past couple weeks I have been working on a commission art quilt. I’m re-making my “Goldfinch in My Garden” quilt from the Sacred Threads Backyard Escape exhibit. It’s not going to be exactly the same, but very similar. This new version will be part of a permanent collection at INOVA Schar Cancer Institute – Fair Oaks in Fairfax, VA.

It’s kind of fun re-visiting something I made before. The best part is I KNOW how it’s suppose to go together. Usually when I make something new, the entire process is play it by ear. I envision how something will work, but I’m not that sure that it will. This time around the construction was much easier.

The size of this quilt is different. I knew I was going to make the same goldfinch, but it needed to be larger. The new quilt is square versus the rectangular version I made last time.  The process of making the applique bird is the same. I documented it on a new YouTube video that you can watch here. I’m having fun making these videos, so expect to see more soon.

I’m also working with the Global Quilt Connection (GQC) again. So many of us want to take classes and with this pandemic our opportunities are limited. So GQC is partnering with teachers who offer online classes for individual enrollment. After I finish this commission piece, I will be back to work on building new classes. My plan for early next year is to offer some live Zoom classes you can sign up for where we can create together. GQC is offering teachers, like me, the opportunity to show what we offer in classes. There are some great teachers lined up to present. So if you’re craving some new ideas on things to do from home be sure to check out the presentations at I will be presenting on November 17th.

I hope you are staying inspired and finding time for your creative passions. Above all things…find time for what brings you joy!


Hope you are too

I am definitely not a fan of hot humid weather. This far into the the summer, I’m kinda over it. I wish. Like that’s an option. Here in the south we probably have another month or so of this sticky stuff. We’ve also had a lot of rain this year. So between the rain, heat and humidity, it’s not much fun being outside.

Fortunately, I’ve had reason to stay inside. This past week I was developing a 3-minute promo video for Global Quilt Connection. This group was created by Lyric Kinard and Sue Bleiweiss and is an opportunity for teachers in the industry to promote their virtual group lectures and classes. If you’re part of a group or guild that hires presenters this is a great opportunity to meet the teachers. I will be presenting next Wed, Sept 2 from 4-6pm (EST). You can sign up to watch it live or wait and watch it on Youtube. Find out more by clicking here:

Now that the promo video is completed, I’m working on updating my website and developing my next online class which I expect to launch it in October. Stay tuned.

So the good news is, during this hot weather, I’m staying cool and keeping busy doing indoor stuff. While I’m in my studio, I get a good view of my backyard and can watch the birds visiting my feeders. I get to see some interesting birds, like the cute little towhee (above). So even though I’m not getting out as much as I’d like, I’m still enjoying the summer. I hope you are too!


Textiles artists like me

I am proud to be an active member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates). Quilts and quilters are usually viewed as “crafters.” When you say you’re a quilter, people immediately think of an older woman they know who “used to quilt.” Usually, this person is their grandmother.

I think part of the reason I struggled with calling myself an artist for so long was because of this stigma. When I initially started exploring art quilting, I realized this was something different. The medium (fabric) is generally what “grandma” used, but the application is really different. Envelopes are often pushed.

Th perception that “textile artist = crafter” is changing because of SAQA. They are huge proponents for recognizing textile art as fine art. They advocate that quilts, and other textile works, be showcased in museums and art galleries, not just quilt shows.

I feel empowered being associated with this International organization. I’ve attended three SAQA conferences and I’m currently a Regional Representative. A huge part of my energy comes from the members. They are caring and supportive. If you need to know anything about the professional journey, they are there to answer your questions.

A major part of SAQAs funding for exhibits and advocacy comes from their annual benefit auction which starts Sept 14 ). Members were asked to make 12″ x 12″ quilts and donate them to the auction. Each week a different set of quilts is offered and the bids are reduced daily over the course of 7 days, or until someone accepts the current bid price.

Its fun to participate. There are some amazing pieces, with some created by top names in the industry. I’m happy to be participating for the 4th time. I’m in section #2, so look for the monarch butterfly wing or any of the other fabulous quilts (available for bidding September 24 – 30). Its a great opportunity to get a fabulous piece of art while supporting an organization dedicated to supporting textiles artists like me.



As Nature Speaks, a dialog with an art quilter
Featuring the artwork of Nanette S. Zeller
Oct 11- Nov 24, 2018
Page-Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, NC
For more information click here: As Nature Speaks

Artist Talk: Saturday, Oct 13, 2018 – 10:30-11:30 more info
Artist Reception: Friday, October 26 – 6-8pm more info

Blog Hopping #5

Today is the 5th Sunday of  our Mirror Ball Dot (MBD) Blog Hopping. The MBD enthusiast of the day is Elisa Albury who’s blog is called “Stitch Outside the Ditch.” Elisa has made a modern take of an old Amish classic quilt design. The MBD makes this pretty quilt shine. I especially love what she’s done with her border treatment. Take a look see here.

My friend, Mark Hordyzynski designed Mirror Ball Dot (MBD) fabric for Michael Miller Fabrics and organized this blog hop to showcase the release of new MBD colors. I’ve known Mark for awhile and it always makes me smile when I dig through my fabric stash and see one of his fabrics in my collection. I amaze myself on how many different Mark Hordyzynski fabrics I own. I avoid using them because I want to keep them forever.

This week, I started on my project for the blog hop. Mark sent me the warning today, that I’m up in 2 weeks!  Whoo Hoo!

Are you still wondering what I’m going to do?  You’ll have to wait, but here’s another hint: The scales are weighted in my favor that this idea will be fun.

If you would like to win a color card and five fat quarters of Mirror Ball Dot fabric in your choice of colors, simply leave a comment here on Elisa’s blog post.

Don’t forget about the 20% off coupon savings at good through the end of July. Share it with your friends!

20% Off any order
promo code: MHFD13M
Expiration: 7/31/13


May 19:   Elisa Asbury –
May 26:   Dory Smith Graham –
June 02:  Nanette Zeller –
June 09:  Mark Hordyszynski – Close of the MBD Blog Hop / More MBD Inspiration / Judging for Blog Hop Winner

Alzheimer’s Disease

I received a phone call the other week from my friend, Ami Simms. She wanted to let me know that her charity, Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) was expecting to reach a milestone this year. In 2013, they expect to reach the $1,00,000 mark for money raised to fund research in finding the cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

I spent many years helping Ami as she dedicated over 6 years of her life to attain this goal. Quilters from around the world donate 9″x12″ (or smaller) quilts, and then Ami’s band of volunteers sees that each quilt is either sold or auctioned to the highest bidder. These small quilts are sized to fit easily into a USPS flat rate shipping envelope, thus their given name “Priority Quilts.”

Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiatve

Ami was determined that every penny of the money raised from these quilts would go to the mission – research. And it did, with over $894,000 donated to research so far.  Annually, a thousand or more Priority Quilts make their way to Houston’s International Quilt Festival. Once there, enthusiastic quilters visit the AAQI booth frequently to look at the rotating stock of quilts. As one is purchased, another is pulled from the stock.  The energy is always very high. Every person involved with AAQI, including Ami, volunteer their time and pay their own way to Houston. I can tell you first hand that everyone works hard all year long. I’ve never in my life seen a charity that ran so efficiently and with so little overhead.

Sadly though, all things must end. In reaching this $1,000,000 milestone, Ami has decided to end her journey with AAQI this year. From the quilters, to the quilt buyers, to the volunteers and admirers, thousands of people have been touch by Ami and AAQI. I know I have.

In honor for all she’s done to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, I ask you to help Ami end this year with a bang. Step over to the AAQI website to look at the quilts for sale or on the online auction and consider purchasing one. If you’re a quilter, consider making one or two Priority Quilts. Or if you’re not interested in making or buying, consider making a donation.

In supporting the final year of this charity, you will be helping researchers find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Won’t have to work a day next year

At the end of September, I made a commitment to myself to post something to my blog every Wednesday. Have you notice? Its amazing what you can do when you commit to it.

threadRight now we’re in the midst of the holiday season. Christmas was yesterday, Boxing Day is today, Kwanzaa this week, and when I write next week’s post it will be the New Year. I do a lot of personal reflecting this time of year. I imagine a lot of people do.

I also start thinking of my plans for the upcoming year. I’m not a big planner, but I try to keep focus on what’s coming up. I have three big things in the first half of the new year:

January 4 – March 24, 2013 – ARTQUILTSwater – My FIRST professional juried art quilt exhibit. Which will be held at Page Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC. My piece “Spigot” was select for the exhibit curated by the Professional Art Quilters Alliance – South (PAQA-South). I’m very proud to be part of this organization.

March 20 – April 20, 2013 – Double Takes 2013fabric_choices_smallThis exhibit at Eye Candy Gallery matches photographer with other artists. Our challenge is to re-create a photograph from one of those submitted. I participated in this show last year and had a great time making the sunflower piece named “Sól”.  I’ve selected the photo I plan to “interpret” and started sketching and buying fabric (see my fabric choices in the photo).

May 2013 – Featured Artist @ Eye Candy Gallery – Now this one has me jumping. My inventory is low and time is quickly passing by. If you don’t see me out and about much, you’ll know why. I’ll be busy in my studio making new pieces of art. The artist reception is May 3, 2013. I would love for you to join me!

As you can see, I have a lot of work to look forward to the next couple months. Wait a minute. Work?…Is it really? I’m reminded of the saying, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” So I guess in reality, I won’t really be working at all. In closing my final post of 2012, I offer you a New Year’s wish to join me in doing what you love, so you won’t have to work a day next year.

We’ll have to wait and see

My studio still isn’t in the best of shape, but I finally have clear work surfaces. I was correct that having a clean-er work space helps with the creative energy. It also helps that I’m being inspired.

Remember last year when I participated in the “Double-Takes” exhibit at Eye Candy Gallery in Southern Pines? Well Eye-Candy is gearing up to do the same thing next year. They posted dozens of photographs for participants to peruse and last Friday we were able to make our selections. My first choice was granted to me. OH NO! I should have picked something simple. Something I could comfortably accomplish in a week or two….but no! What fun is that? I chose something that will make me think and work hard.

I know the photographer. We went to college together for wildlife biology. We have many mutual friends in the both the art and science fields. Our paths crossed many, many times, but we only met in person this past summer.

The first time I saw the photograph it was hanging in the Arts Council gallery. When I saw it I stopped in my tracks, a prescribed burn in a longleaf pine forest. I’ve been there. I’ve worked the fire line, could smell the smoke and feel the heat. I was amazed at the stunning image the photographer created. I was in awe.

Then amongst all the images I could choose for Double-Takes, there was that fire line photo. My first thought, “it’s too complicated,” but I had 2 weeks to make a decision. So, I thought about it. I could choose the cute kitten, the rusty truck, the pretty cedar waxwings, or the majestic tiger. Every time I thought about it my brain quickly skipped over the choices and went back to the fire line.  The trees, the fire, the sunshine, the smoke? How could I do this?

I know what I can do…but I love the challenge of what I can’t do. The brain is working. Its in initial design mode. It’s selecting fabrics, mentally sewing pieces of fabric, and contemplating how to embellish the details.

I’m ready to go…and excited to see the results. Can I really do this photo justice? We’ll have to wait and see.

Gifts in Life

Last week I had the opportunity to teach some wonderful ladies at my quilt guild. They were all very anxious to learn how to make fabric-wrapped coiled bowls. I’ve made my share of these bowls, totebags, coasters, and hot pads. The concept is much like rolling snake-like shapes of clay to make coiled clay pottery.  (Do you remember doing that as a kid?) In the fabric version you’re using a sewing machine to zig-zag stitch over wrapped cotton clothesline. There’s something zen about it. Such a gratifying feeling, I can’t explain it.

Well, I didn’t invent the process. There are quite a few people who have written patterns and books about their techniques. No matter what technique you follow, I’ve found that the coiling part (zig-zag stitching) is pretty much the same. However, it’s the wrapping part that holds variation between one technique and the next.

In order to help my students understand the process, I wrote a short tutorial with all the basic things you would need to make a small bowl (with or without handles). Since I have it all together neat and tidy, I thought you would enjoy having a copy [Use the short form below to download the tutorial].

Consider this pattern my gift to you for supporting me in my creative journey. Here’s to sharing our gifts in life.


Fill out the form below to receive a link to download the Fabric Bowl Tutorial.
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Let the sun shine in

While writing my two previous posts, it occurred to me that I never told you about my sunflower. Back in March, Eye Candy Gallery hosted a fundraising exhibit for Moore Regional Hospital Hospice. The exhibit, entitled “Double Takes,” presented a challenge to the artist who participated. Each of us was to take inspiration from a photograph provided by the Sandhills Photography Club. There were many photos to choose from and I chose one featuring the underside of a sunflower.

The fuzzy nature of the sepals was what caught my attention, because they reminded me of felted wool. The trick was how to interpret it.

I started by choosing some commercially hand-dyed wool from Weeks Dye Works. I needle felted some white roving on to it to create the fuzzy texture I wanted. Then I added some thread sketching to add more of a 3-dimensional feel.

Next the petals. It took me some searching to find the perfect yellow batik fabric, but I found it. My next concern was how to make the 3-dimensional feel of the flowers. Thread sketching every single petal seemed an overwhelming amount of work, then I had a thought. Fabric stiffener! This fluid is some sort of glue-like substance available at craft stores. I did some minimal stitching to outline the leaves and then painted them with the fabric stiffener. Once they were wet with the stiffener, I laid them on a board, gave them a little crunch in just the right spaces and let them dry for the evening. The next morning I had perfect 3-dimensional yellow petals. It all came together. From a vision to actuality, this piece turned out just as I visioned. It reminds me of the sun rising on the horizon. Let the sun shine in…

All Things Feminine

Sometimes words create a thousand pictures, at least that is the case for the Narrative Threads exhibit that opened this past Friday (June 29, 2012). The exhibit is a collaboration of quilt artist and writers and is sponsored by the Professional Art Quilters Alliance-South (PAQA-S) and Sharon Elizabeth Wood, a creative writing coach and consultant.

Each of the 19 collaborative pairs created original works of art and writing which are displayed side-by-side in the exhibit rooms at Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC. The exhibit is open to the public until August 27, 2012. It is most impressive to see how the words come to life.

My writing partner was Anne Barnhill who recently published “At the Mercy of the Queen,” a historical fiction novel about the court of Henry VIII, and notably Anne Boleyn. For this exhibit, Anne and I decided to put our focus on Moon Goddesses. She worked on the poetry while I worked on the quilt.

I was fascinated that the Greek Moon Goddess, Artemis, was a hunter. I envisioned her strength. There was a time that I tried shooting a bow and arrow. I felt very weak pulling the sting back far enough to make the arrow become airborne. To hunt at the time of Artemis and actually use a bow to gain your next meal, you must have needed tremendous strength, concentration, and stamina. My goddess needed to appear powerful.

When you look at the quilt, you see the divine figure, but there are also hidden symbols in this quilt. Through the development of our collaboration Anne and I reflected on how the cycle of the moon (29 days) relates to the female reproductive cycle. For obvious reasons, it became clear to me that the moon in this quilt had to be red. The swirls in the moon also had to be reflected in the Goddess.

Through our collaboration, Anne and I had numerous conversations about women and cancer. As we age, it seems breast and uterine cancer are common amongst our peers. Within their ranks we see the struggles, the fear, the fight and the determination these women possess. Like the Moon Goddess, they show the inner strength of a powerful hunter. Within the gown of my quilted goddess, you will see my acknowledgement in symbolism of these brave women. Can you see them?

And finally, to be strong and powerful does not mean you can’t be gentle and refined. To represent the softer side of feminine, within the blades of grass at her feet, I presented my goddess with tiny delicate flowers.

The quilt is a homage to all things feminine.