My Design Wall is Full!

Here is what my design wall looks like today! There is a lot going on…

The right hand side has to do with my two upcoming workshops at Greenville Center for Creative Arts. The first, covering hexies and Grandmother’s Flower Garden is on Saturday. Six pointed stars is in July. Click here to get more info.

At the top right, you can see a quilt emerging, made up of (hand pieced) half hexagons. There are many ways to sew them together, but this is by far my favorite. It’s such a strong graphic design. The two plain colored areas in each block are my hand dyed fabrics and I have them strewn all over the floor as I pick them out.

The black stars in the middle are six pointed stars hand pieced in a Seven Sister sort of design. Below them is a pattern, first published in Godey’s Ladies Book in the mid 1800’s, called bricks. It is also a 60 degree diamond, but the “sides” of the brick shape are elongated.

The left hand side of the board is devoted to a deconstructed lone star. Using Moda precut fabrics, I have cut out stacks of 2.5″ x 5.5″ fabrics to sew on a Quiltsmart base. I hope to be giving a talk about how to make this amazing design at Island Quilters this Fall. Lots more coming about this project!














The Incredible Work of Salley Mavor

I have followed Salley Mavor’s work for a very long time. I think the first time I saw it was in Fiberarts Magazine’s annual book. I was blown away by her tiny people/dolls and all the amazing details that I could see. Happily, she has a show at The Upcountry History Museum in Greenville and I was finally able to see her work up close and personal! I’m not sure where to start with all the pictures that I took…

The show was called A Pocketfull of Posies, the title of a book that she wrote and illustrated. Thus the tags by her work were about the Nursery Rhymes and not how she did what she did and it was billed as a children’s exhibit… Let’s start with two very familiar Nursery Rhymes, Old Mother Hubbard and Hickory Dickory Dock. Her dolls are all about 4″ tall! Look at all the wonderful details from Mother’s cutwork apron to the wooden pieces for the furniture. Salley has written several books about how to recreate her work and I read that the heads are wooden beads and the armature is usually pipe cleaners!

Valley Mavor Old Mother Hubbard

All the arms and legs are wrapped and the figures have shoes. I should have brought my reading glasses to see even closer, but it looked like the dolls even have finger nails!!! I believe this part of the piece is Daffy-Down- Dilly. I took this close-up so you could see the embellishments that she used. I found myself examining the leaves in all Salley’s work. The stitch is button-hole and she usually has several layers of color.

Salley Mavor Daffy-Down-Dilly

What a charming sense of humor! Do you see the Old Woman’s house? (Perhaps it’s not such a joke since Salley is a New Englander after all.)

Valley Mavor Old Mother Hubbard

The sheep lover in me was entranced by the next two photographs. Here is Baa Baa Black Sheep and you can really see the lovely felt she used. In perusing her website, I discovered that she did purchase hand-dyed (and perhaps hand felted) felt. The colors were soft and uneven, adding more depth to the work.

Salley MavorBaa Baa Black Sheep

And here is Little Bo Peep. This piece was interesting in that the girl has a felt face, rather than a bead. Notice her apron…

Salley Mavor Little Bo Peep

What exquisite chain stitching; so tiny and so precise. I wondered what this was doing in the show, but then realized that it was for the frontispiece of the book. (Or perhaps not called the frontispiece but the pages when you open the book?) Her work is framed in lovely shadowbox frames made by her husband. I tried to get out of the way when I was photographing.

Salley Mavor frontispiece

I believe that this show is done traveling, but if you look at Salley’s website, there are other shows to look for. Salley’s website and blog have a wealth of information, should you be interested. She has many videos which I am looking froward to watching, as I think I must make a doll! In the latest blog post, Salley announced that she is selling these pieces! I would love to have one…

Jamie Wyeth’s Animals

The Greenville County Museum of Art had a show of Jamie Wyeth’s recent work and I was very anxious to see it. I grew up In Pennsylvania and we (along with the Maniacs I’m sure!) consider the Wyeth family to be ours. I’ve been to Chadds Ford several times and enjoyed all the Wyeth-related things to see and do. (GCMA claims to have the largest watercolor collection of Andrew Wyeth’s work in the world and I look forward to seeing it as it’s shown!)

Jamie Wyeth, born 1946, initially studied painting from his Aunt Carolyn. I remember first hearing about him in the late 1960’s when Jamie was asked by the Kennedy family to paint a portrait of the late President – – – at age 20. I also remember there being a lot written about him in the 1970’s when he was pals with the likes of Andy Warhol and Rudolph Nureyev in New York City. Anyway! I enjoyed the show and decided to share with you his paintings of animals. I’m lucky as the museum just recently decided to allow non-flash photography.

What is a polecat? I would have said these were skunks or badgers, but they are polecats! I thought they had foam coming out of their mouths, but it’s eggs. Perhaps while they eat the eggs, the poor hens are safe.



They look pretty scary in this painting. Imagine unsuspecting Aunt Carolyn wanting to pick her iris and finding these guys growling at her.

Carolyn Wyeth's Irises

Carolyn Wyeth’s Irises

I found his whites to be so interesting. Here is an angry swan with the most amazing sunrise in the distance. I like the position of the swan in the painting – he certainly looks like he’s ready to attack.

Angered Swan

Angered Swan

And more incredible whites in this painting, called The Coop, Fourth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Mohegan Island. Looks like the chickens escaped the coop and the kids are trying to save them from the polecats!

The Coop

The Coop

Here is a close-up of the chickens. The whites are full of so many colors in the late day sunlight.

The Coop close-up

The Coop close-up

This fox is watching the sun set, and aren’t sunsets are so brilliant in the Winter? That amazing strip of bright color would attract anyone’s attention.

Snow Fox

Snow Fox

For the cat lovers among us is this wonderful piece with hunting cats in every position imaginable. This is Birding, Fifth in a Suite of Untoward Occurrences on Mohegan Island.



And yes, this is not an animal! I wanted to end with one of Jamie’s dramatic landscapes. This lonely house (perhaps) on Mohegan Island on a Winter’s evening sang to me. Or maybe it’s not lonely – do you see the light on in the upstairs room? I can hear the waves crashing as someone snuggles into bed and picks up a good book and perhaps a fire is burning too. The title Spindrift intrigued me and I looked it up. Spindrift is the spray from a cresting wave.



The Pleasures of April in South Carolina

April is coming to an end and despite all the rain, violent thunder storms, tornado warnings and hail, it has been a beauty! It is going to take me awhile to get used to how early Spring arrives here…

The many azaleas in our yard are blooming profusely. We figure they are 15 years old and badly in need of trimming and a hit of fertilizer. They are pink or white or fuchsia and we’d like to start a collection of more unusual varieties. So Peter and I drove down to Aiken, South Carolina to a plant sale and had a lovely time exploring. (And got caught up in tornado warnings and power outages!) We were quite interested in the native varieties the nursery had on offer. We did not buy this beauty, but one very like it which blooms in the Fall and has a scent! It will not be a bush, but a tree that may grow to 10′. The other one we bought is slightly smaller and will have yellow, fragrant flowers.

Gorgeous rhodo

Though they were not offered for sale, the nursery had many mountain laurels in full bloom. I just love them. As a little girl, I went to camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and the mountain laurels would be blooming in the woods when my parents dropped me off in June. Such a yummy pink…

Mountain laurel

And back in our yard, can you see Papa Bluebird with a special, wiggly delivery? One of our neighbors gave us a bluebird home for Christmas and as soon as we got it up, the couples were investigating. There is just nothing like the intense blue flash of this guy in flight.

Special delivery

And look at this – – – strawberries! I grew up in Pennsylvania and my grandparents’ strawberries were ripe in time for my mother’s birthday in the beginning of June! I must admit these are not the best berries I’ve eaten and I think it’s because of all the rain. Think I’ll wait to buy more until we have a few more sunny days in a row to sweeten them up. But still – yum!

First strawberries

And again, we always hoped the roses would be out for Mom’s birthday, and the first rose opened on Sunday. There are snow peas on the little vines and I am planting tomatoes and veggies and annuals everywhere.

First rose

I just wonder what May will bring?




Greenville’s Euphoria 2013

Everyone was hurrying to downtown Greenville over the weekend to attend the 2013 Euphoria food and music events.

Geese on the ReedyIt’s a show that’s all about food and music and helping local charities, with events for several days all over the city. We bought tickets for the Tasting Showcase on Saturday. There was too much to do and way too much to eat and drink! We went to several demos and the one I found most interesting was by Lionel Vatinet, French master bread maker. Though I have been baking bread for a very long time, I learned some interesting tips. The best part was watching his hands as he shaped all the traditional French breads….not a wasted motion.

Lionel Vatinet

There was a whole lamb roasting outside the demonstration tent. What yummy smells! Peter got a bite but it was bones by the time I got there.

Lamb roast

Across the street was a large parking lot with three huge tents set up. Inside was the tasting area filled with representatives from breweries, wineries, restaurants and caterers as well as spirit vendors! Inside our totes were a wine glass and a beer glass and when you approached a vendor, they gave a sample. Some people spent all day in the tasting tents and by 4, they were really gone. We stayed away from the distillery tables. I wouldn’t know a good bourbon from a great one, and I would have had to have a nap! There were local restaurants cooking up yummy treats.

Euphoria tasting tent

We went to a beer and food pairing event, which was very fun. There was a panel of brewers who talked about their beers and then the chef created dishes to go with the various beers. There are several new breweries in Greenville, with more to open. Apparently South Carolina passed new laws that make it easier to open breweries and gastropubs. There are some interesting laws in the area. In Greenville, you can drink beer and wine on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant (with food!) but not mixed drinks. And beer and wine is sold separately from spirits….. And evidently there are some areas around Greenville that are dry.

Beer and quesadilla

I was pinching my self all weekend. This time last year, I was on my second where-to-live-next trip, checking out Hendersonville, Charlotte and Greenville. The morning I left, I wandered around downtown wondering what Euphoria was and thinking that I loved Greenville… And here we are, celebrating one month in our new house.

Dreams can come true!

A Very Happy Week!

We have been home owners for about a week now. Looks like we have chosen a place that we will both love. It’s been lots of work – appointments with the cable guy, the dishwasher installer, getting a garbage service and changing our address yet again. Lots of manuals to read and things to figure out how to use. The usual.

It was fun to move in on a holiday weekend as we would work awhile and then we felt like we could play for a while! Our neighbors on one side invited us to their house for drinks one night….so nice! We actually sat on their dock, overlooking Lake Robinson! It was lovely and cool and they told us all sorts of things about themselves and the neighborhood. Then, into the cove motored a pontoon boat (they have just recently been approved for use on the lake) and it was a neighbor. He docked and chatted for a bit and then drove off. Wow. Lake living is sure different. We did some boating of our own. We bought the homeowners boat and after Peter read up on how to start the motor, we tooled around the lake. I haven’t been in a boat since Summer camp in the Poconos! It is very fun to check out everyone’s homes and docks.

Peter reading

There are still loads of boxes to unpack and the labeling is always interesting. I was curious to see what exactly was in the box marked “slow cooker” since we don’t have one. Turned out to be the ice cream maker. I understand we have a lot of odd stuff, but could things like pillows and computer supplies be marked? And I have unpacked three lamp shades……. No boxes have lamp bases written on them…. I have been working hard to get enough put away that we can relax In the eat in area of the kitchen. It’s important to have a calm area in the caoss, i think. I was glad that I moved the Flor tiles. This set was in the dining room, but looks just fine in the new kitchen. Isn’t this a great space?

Eat in area

We had some visitors. Hard to see, I know, but this was the Goodyear blimp flying overhead! We think it might have been covering the Clemson game, which is an enormous deal around here.

And a flock of geese honked by our dock on the lake.

20130906-151041.jpgWe are so enjoying settling in……

House Hunting in Earnest!

After what seemed like forever, we started house hunting this week. When we arrived in Greenville, I wanted to relax and Peter wanted to get some work done, and our realtor was busy. Then she went on vacation. A lot of time to research, drive around and think, turned out to be a good thing, since we really don’t know the area nor do we know what we want. When doing a company relo, the simplest thing is to be led around by the realtor, choosing what will work for the next few years. Though this may not be our last move, we want to love our new spot and not find a need to move.

I have spent hours, {and hours and hours!!!} on, Trulia and Zillow. Peter gave me a new iPad for my birthday which can run on AT&T as well as the hotel network, so I am able to do anything I please, from “house hunting” to watching Netflix. After a week or so, when I thought I’d found a “target area”, I let her know and she started mailing me appropriate listings. This was my first system for keeping track of it all….

I had bits of paper everywhere! I also found that I kept looking at the same listings and couldn’t remember why I liked or disliked them. When I was working out one day, I thought of a better plan and marched off to a local big box store to buy the supplies. This system is helping to keep me organized.

After we had dinner many nights ( the Residence Inn actually serves a little supper 4 nights a week, which we often eat) we would head out with phones and iPad in hand, and check out the houses and properties I’d found. We call them “drive-bys”. This has been very helpful as we have found lots of places that don’t suit us. I want privacy and Peter wants a backyard where we can have a ham radio tower, and so the search area has gotten further from Greenville. Developments with strict HOAs and covenants are out, which is not a big deal as neither of us want other people telling us what color we can paint the house or what we can plant in the yard anyway. So much for the tidy idea of a target area!

I looked at quite a few houses this week and then Peter came along to see what I thought were the most interesting ones. ;-D We checked out a very private place with a sweet backyard and a pool. It had over 5 acres with a good-sized house and chicken coops and some other penned areas and a small rotting barn. I really liked it and it did sing a little song to me, but I agreed – too much work……


We saw a very nice brand new house, but it has never been occupied and sits in a new development with one other house…….. Much as I liked it, and the views of Paris Mountain, it seemed like a bad idea to buy there.


And this one had a high deck with lovely curving gardens out back! Lots of privacy and room for that tower. These people like to garden, as we do, but the house was enormous. And I must say, I’m delighted at what we will be able to grow – rosemary bushes, gardenia and many flowers that “up North” are annuals.


Our realtor is wonderful and seems unruffled as we keep saying “No, this won’t work”…..

“It looks like the Circus is leaving town…”

Part One of our move is history and it went very well. I had forgotten how crazy busy the days are leading up to the crews arriving. Perhaps some people just let them in and say “go to it” but in the interest of knowing where my studio things are, not to mention kitchen supplies, we did a lot of packing and stacking ourselves. It was exhausting. The 4 man packing crew came on Tuesday and they did get everything done in one day – and by 3 PM! This was a sight for our tired eyes…

On Wednesday, three full-sized moving trucks pulled in our small street! I almost fainted. I know we have a lot of stuff, but really? When I texted this picture to my brother he said ” it looks like the circus is leaving town”!

The crew leader explained that our precious cargo ;-D was being packed into wooden pallets for storage and they take up lots of room. After going through the house with them, I headed off for some much needed caffeine and missed my favorite part – the loom move! They said it was easy getting it up the stairs but I know it involved balancing many hundred pounds of maple and cast iron on their heads!

I had forgotten how much wrapping and packaging goes on during the loading part. Anything not in boxes was cocooned in plastic wrap and/or padded cloth. And again you look at vignettes like this and wonder why you are moving these items. Both days we had the nicest men who listened carefully to any concerns we had and handled our good with care. Kudos to Reebie/Allied movers!

Last stop in Chicagoland was one of our favorite spots for a hot dog and the yummiest milkshakes! Superdawg is a must for a Chicagoland to-do list.


5 Days & Counting…

Each state is different so previous experience doesn’t help in the matter of selling the house or the settlement. Ours is June 21, but in Illinois, the buyers don’t have to attend. Though I like the idea of not having to sit through the endless paper shuffling, signatures and issues to resolve, it does make me a bit nervous. Both Peter and I have been fretting over all the things we need to do for that, but the lawyer has assured us that everything is in good order and that we have completed our part. {Can’t wait to get her bill.}

It’s funny how getting the house ready to sell has nothing to do with the moving part! All that time spent making the house look empty and tidy and appealing is now being undone. We are pulling things out and looking critically at them. We are paying for this move and have the estimate {ouch!} so we have been tossing things liberally. The house is looking like this. The storage unit is empty and we’re going through all the closets and cupboards one more time. The packing has been scheduled for one day – it’s always been two before – but the company assures me they are sending a big crew. I hope they eat their Wheaties on Tuesday.

Livingroom junk

I have also been packing up a good bit of the studio so that I can find things on the other end, hopefully! All the china and breakables we leave for the packers – it’s what they do best.

Blue & white to go

We have areas where we are collecting what to take with us to our temporary residence. Clothes, cat necessities, Peter’s business thing are going in boxes. And I’m sure you can imagine how carefully I am selecting projects to keep me busy. ;-D I had forgotten all the little things that need to be done when you close up a house. The pantry and the refrigerator need to be cleaned out and most everything tossed. The movers don’t move food or liquor. Since we will be in an extended stay motel, we can take some of those things, but the issue is – how much room will there be in the cars? Though I’m not a frugal person, I do dislike throwing away all the partially used condiments and baking items. We are taking some of them with us, but we can’t spare the room for the ketchup bottle with that precious 1/2″ of goodness left…

The cats are really wound up by the unfamiliar routines, rugs rolled up and boxes everywhere. Gizmo’s new routine is gulping down breakfast and retreating under our bed for the day – no matter what. Jasmine is braver, but she anxiously yowls now and then and needs lots of attention. They are both sleeping with us and lying on top of us as if to hold us in place……Wait until they spend two days in the car, a night at a motel and then move to a new place!

When we’re tired, as we are every day now, we look at all our stuff and think, is anything worth taking???

More stuff!