Friday, November 28, 2014


I love Thanksgiving! My heart is full thinking of the blessings in my life. Most years my family gathered at my brother's home in Austin, Texas, and we often drove through East Texas to pick up my parents in Lufkin for the trip. My sister's family also lived in Austin, so we got to be with both my siblings and their children.
We nearly always decorated with leaves and branches we found outside. So this year, although the setting was different and there was not a crowd, the "homemade" centerpiece was a natural. 
This year there were only my daughter and me at my table. But who can keep from getting nostalgic over the memories! There was joy and celebration and thankfulness! It doesn't have to be a turkey/dressing meal to be a celebration. We prepared tacos and pinto beans--a feast with very little kitchen duty. She helped me with my cell phone and tablet. (Here's a piece of advice for my peers--buy the same kind as your younger family members so they can troubleshoot.) She was working on a research paper and I was repairing a quilt. Kittens were trying to help us both.

I made these little pilgrim dolls more than 45 years ago and they bring back memories of my grandchildren and my great nieces pictured with them. The container is a turkey cookie jar that might be valuable if it didn't have a patched crack in it. But it's been passed down from my husband's family, so its a treasured part of our decorations.
Elizabeth and Tarbaby knocking off red berries

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pine Belt Quilters Celebrates 30th Anniversary

My guild, Pine Belt Quilters in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Who would have predicted back in 1984 that this group of 25 would grow to 160 quilters who have hosted 15 quilt shows and donated hundreds of quilts to hospitals and shelters for children and veterans?  After PBQ was organized and active, we participated in organizing Mississippi Quilt Association in 1991, and I was honored to be its first president.
Most of our friendships we develop over the years are through church affiliations, jobs, sports/hobbies like tennis, and passions/skillsets like quilting. How blessed I am to have quilters all over the state and US (and even in Canada!) because of our mutual love of designing, arranging bits of fabric, and stitching intricate thread play to express the artist in each of us.
Doris Aultman and I were among the first officers and organizers, and are still active in the guild. Eleven of the 15 past presidents were at the meeting, pictured below. Mary Nell Magee was absent, and Susan Ryan Kelley, Judy Spiers, and Cheryl Owens have moved away.

Doris Aultman and Martha Ginn
Eleven past presidents: (front) Martha Ginn, Doris Aultman, Sarah Farris, Ellen Hall, Ella Lucas
(back) Rosalie Schoell, Elvia Edwards, Gloria Green, Barbara Peters, Shirley Wiltshire, Betty Allen

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Holiday Expo in Hattiesburg

My display at the Holiday Expo
There are many exhibit opportunities in Hattiesburg, which makes artists very happy. Our South Mississippi Art Association (SMAA) has a large booth at this HOLIDAY EXPO this weekend. The event is advertised as holiday shopping, kids' Christmas village, gifts, stocking stuffers, decorating ideas, Christmas party ideas, entertainment, fun, prizes, photos with Santa, food demos & more. It's at Midtown Market, next to Tabella's, Saturday and Sunday, 9:00-4:00; noon-5:00.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stone County Community Quilt Project

Team Volunteerism's block
I participated in a marvelous community event last weekend--the Stone County Community Art Quilt Project, at the invitation of Betsy Rowell, Stone County Director of Economic Development. Kathryn Lewis of the Stone County Arts Council had gathered twelve teams composed of a community leader, a 9th grade Stone High student, and a quilter or artist to help interpret different assigned themes in a fabric square that would then be assembled into a quilt.

We met at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on the Perkinston Campus and had plenty of art suplies to work with. Award winning fabric artist and storyteller Diane Williams from Jackson was there to share ideas on using textiles to tell the story. The teams had previously researched the history and culture of Stone County in their assigned theme topic, such as Spirituality, Patriotism, Health/Welfare, Higher Education, Natural Resources, City of Wiggins, and Stone County.

My team was assigned Volunteerism, and my student, Hunter White, had drawn and cut out a very clever design featuring helping hands and some of the activities these hands participate in, such as food pantry, fire fighting, sports events, animal shelter, Christmas Child boxes, and church youth groups. These activities were laid out around a map of Stone County with the major highways (49 and 26) intersecting at Wiggins.
Hunter White with Team Volunteerism block

Adding fireman's hat and axes

Two other team blocks

J. Marcus Weekley (also a quilter, writer and actor) will assemble the blocks and complete the quilt, which will then be dedicated to the "community and its people" and displayed at the Courthouse and other public venues.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Japanese Lanterns With Orphan Blocks

I had a special surprise a couple of weeks ago at the Mississippi Quilt Association Gathering in Vicksburg. Gatherings are always a good time to visit with friends we don't see often and to catch up on what we've been working on. I taught a Japanese Lanterns workshop several years ago, and Cindy Pannier brought her finished quilt to show me. Shelley Taylor and Cindy Melton have previously completed their quilts, and I was delighted to see another completion of this big project. Not only had she finished her quilt, but she framed it with orphan blocks, adding more color and making good use of these other blocks.
Cindy Pannier with her Japanese Lanterns Quilt

The pattern is Courthouse Steps, as old as the Log Cabin, but the arrangement of lights and darks creates a design that reminds one of Japanese Lanterns, hence the name. Each block is made up of four color sections, and the challenge is how to keep strips organized so that the adjoining block (on the row below, for instance) will have the right strips to finish the design.

To better understand this, look at the upper right corner of Cindy's quilt (inside the black border). The block is made up of half the blue lantern, half the black lantern, half the purple lantern, half the olive green one. Blue strips from the block to the left had to be saved for this block, and olive green strips had to be saved for the block on the row below.

I'm especially proud when a class I taught helps a quilter finish a quilt, and Cindy's use of her leftover orphan blocks is brilliant!
My Japanese Lanterns Quilt

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Barn Quilt Sign Is Up

My Barn Quilt Sign is painted and has several coats of clear acrylic spray. I needed to do some trimming of the loropetalum bushes to open up the view by the little shop building where I wanted to install the sign. After this was done I asked a friend if he would come and help me put the sign up. His wife had made him one as a surprise and I knew he was pleased with it. Here is what it looks like on the side of my shop building. It is visible from the side street where my long driveway goes to the back of the house.

I'm so pleased with it!
Meanwhile, in the house I've been working on some Advent banners for my church. They are cut-away royal blue felt and are in four parts--The Angel, The Shepherds, The Family, and The Kings. Several people have been helping construct these. All are 48" wide; two are 72" long and two are 96" long. These will be hung for the November 30 service which begins the Advent season. These occupied the dining room table for several weeks, with a sheet protecting from kitty paws.
Ellen, Martha, and Kat working on Advent Banner
While I was painting the Barn Quilt sign and working on the Banners in the dining room, my sewing room stayed unusually neat. Now that these two projects are finished, it has taken on that familiar "well-used" look again.

Something interesting outside