Wednesday, November 26, 2008

somethings fishy

After going to Houston I had a few weeks home and then I was lucky enough to go to Hyannis (Cape Cod) MA for three days with my quilt guild. We stayed at the Cape Codder and it was awesome. I roomed with Gail, Annie and June and we had a blast. There were 51 woman in the ballroom, all working on various quilting projects. Most of those projects were being made for other people. Quilters are such generous people. The weekend is filled with laughter! One reason for this was the serendipity of finding a joke shop in downtown Hyannis where we bought a remote controlled fart machine. I know it sounds immature....but seriously it was the best money I ever spent (the four of us chipped in $5 each). We hid it in scrap boxes and peoples project boxes and let the magic happen! We laughed all weekend. It really was the funniest thing. It's still funny...
Below is the quilt that I finished while at the cape. I bought the pattern in 1995 and my husband made the blocks in 1996. He wanted to try quilting so he came down to my sewing room a few times and worked on this. He traced every piece of the pattern (12 blocks total) and cut them out. He chose all the fabric - he did an excellent job considering the choices I had for fabrics then ! He was able to get 5 blocks ready for applique. I don't know what happened but we never went back to finish the blocks. I felt a little guilty leaving again so soon after Houston and it was his birthday on Sunday (the day I was due home from the cape) so I snuck the blocks out of the house and finished it for him! I was a little worried that he would be disappointed that I finished it for him. He was thrilled! He said it was the nicest quilt I had ever made. I really felt rushed to finish it because I hadn't planned on working on this during the get a way weekend. I had plans to finish my brown and jade bed quilt and to start my next art quilt.

This is it's new home. I thought he would want to hang it in his office by he wanted to enjoy it (and he can show it off when someone comes over). I hung it in the front hall. I also hung my Slice House Quilt in a new spot. When I took it down from over the mantel I filled the open spot with art work and more plates. I like the new spot because it isn't in sunlight but it seems a little cramped.

I am really looking forward to this weekend ~ it's my 25 class reunion. I have only been in touch with a few people from high school so this will be really fun to see everyone. I have been in touch with a few friends recently on facebook. That has been fun and if you don't have a facebook I suggest you get one. You are never too old to reconnect with friends and family.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Home from Houston

Group quilt: blocks made by Jane Lowell, Carol Middleton, June Peckingham, Gail Niland, Linda Ramrath, Suzanne Thibeault, Louise Redding and Kathleen Murphy (front door). Borders and quilting by Kathleen Murphy

Well, I had the best time in Houston. Many, many thanks to Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant (founders of the International Quilt Association) and their staff. It was all just so incredible! I would like to say hi to all of the great people I met last week. Meeting you all was the best part of this trip!

I had two awesome roommates. One from NE PA named Cathy Neri - she is an expert dyer and made me a gorgeous silk scarf. She made all the arraignments and she has been going to Houston for many years. The other roommate was Margarete Steinhauer. She is from Scituate MA. She won first place in the small art abstract category. You can see her quilt and all the other winners here~ click on the Quilts: A World of Beauty button on the left side of the page. You can see the quilt she won first place in the same category in 2006 on the front page of her web site Her quilt sold on Saturday...It was really beautiful. Below is a picture of Margarete with the winning Tiara for the QuiltArt Reception hosted by Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant. The ladies at stickball fashioned this one of a kind Tiara and loaned it to Margarete for the night. It was worth about $200.00! She won a beautiful and coveted Tiara pin from Karey's collection. The food was deliciuos too. I made a Tiara for the parade using my hand dyed fabrics and crystals but it fell out of the bag in the taxi on the way to the reception. I wore it the next day to lunch...and plan to wear it now and again at home:)

I enjoyed everything about the show: The award ceremony - sitting in front of Sharon Schamber (you can see her quilt at the top of the page of the winning quilts) It was the most beautiful quilt in the show, Preview Night - seeing the quilts in person, QuiltArt Reception - meeting online friends,The Silver Star Salute Dinner honoring Alex Anderson~ she gave a lovely speech (the winners speeches were wonderul too, including one from Japan who gave her speech in English), the vendors - I bought some crystals from Cheri's at, some paints and goodies from again for the help Judy), a quilting frame from Bernina, I bought some magazines and goodies at the Quilting Arts Magazine booth - those ladies had great Halloween costumes, and last but not least lots of fabric from many vendors. I shipped home a big box with purchases and I can't wait for it to get here, I almost forgot what I bought!
I encourage any quilter out there to join the IQA ~ they are a wonderful organization doing tremendous things for woman and
I can't wait to go back and bring some friends from home so they can experience it all.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

making plans

Well, I am going to Houston! I found some roommates (really they found me but you know what I mean) They are members of and both of them have been to Houston before. One of them is a winner from the 2006 show. The other is a winner because she had the room reservation! The International Quilt Festival has 50,000 attendees each year. I will be gone from 10/28 to 11/2...I am so thankful my family is supportive of me going. I will miss a couple of things going on, Halloween for one. Halloween with 4 kids can be challanging with two parents:) I know Kevin can handle it and hopefully Morgan and Jillian will help Paige and Griffin with their costumes maybe they read my blog?)

Here are some photos of the quilt I sold this week. It is from a photo Kevin took of a waterfall at the Mumford River in Uxbridge, MA. I couldn't find the photo in my pictures but I think it is in his folder, I will look later. I made two of them, the other one is very similar but not exactly the same. There are NO crystals on it but lots of pretty threads and silk fabric. I got most of the Batik fabric at the quilter's loft in Webster MA. I heard they are closing:( I went with my friend Kathy - you can check out her blog from the link to the right of this page - finishing lines. She is an unbelievable quilter/artist and a great friend.

I sold 5 Murphybags this week! What a thrill to make something that you love and have other people want one too.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

IQF Winner

I got a phone call today...One of the best I have ever quilt "slice of life" won a cash prize at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I entered in the group category and so I share the honor with the 7 woman who made a block for my quilt: Suzanne Thibeault, Louise Redding, Gail Niland, June Peckingam, Carol Middleton, Jane Lowell and Linda Ramrath. The subject line was the heading of the email I got.
This is such an honor. I would love to go and receive the prize in person. I don't know if I can make it happen but I will try. Anyone have a friend in Houston that wouldn't mind a house guest:)?

I also entered the quilt below "Jade Willow" but it didn't get in.

I love the story of the blue willow and have a collection of blue willow plates. I made this quilt to be hung over the bed in our masterbedroom done in the same color scheme.
this is a close up of the willow tree, it's 3D I want to do that again, loved the results.

the color is off in this picture the true wall color is in the background of the quilt photo

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

a new adventure

I am thankful to be able to say all is well here. The kids are back to school and they are all happy and busy. Morgan is still working at the zoo, secretary of the Impact team and has a very heavy class load (junior year), Jillian is playing JV field hockey (she scored the winning goal last week) and taking tap/jazz and ballet, Paige is playing piano and Griffin is playing soccer. We are looking forward to the fall, we got a couple of pumpkins last weekend across the street. Vandervalk Christmas tree farm is across the street - great neighbors. They sell Christmas Trees in the winter, blueberries and lily's in the summer and pumpkins in the fall. We can walk home with all of that good stuff.

Kevin (3 miles), Paige and Griffin (1 mile) ran in the Douglas family fun run last Sunday and that was very cool. Kevin came in 27th out of 99 for his age group (43) not bad for a guy who never runs.

I get a lot of compliments on my bag seen in a post below...I have made some for friends for birthday gifts and I am teaching a class called What's Your Bag? I am planning to have a bag party at my friend Jen's house to launch my new line of hand~made bags. I am calling them Murphy Bags. Here is the write-up:
I make my bags with the user in mind. I want it to be functional and cool. I make each bag combining my favorite fabrics. They are all one-of-a-kind. There are at least 8 pockets in every bag. One large enough to hold a water bottle. I use two different fabrics for the pockets so you can remember which one holds your cell phone. I custom machine quilt each piece and add Swarovski crystals to them. My bags are light-weight, have comfortable handles and they are machine washable/air dry. I opened an account I will be adding more bags to the shop. I love to make them ~ each one is like an art-quilt.

I would love your feedback.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Challenge 2008

Our Guild challenge this year was "How does your garden grow?" I had the border fabric for this quilt for a few years and just loved it. It reminds me of a corduroy dress I had in elementary school. My goal in the challenge was to use the hand dyed fabrics we had been making and the fabric was the perfect compliment to the hand-dyed pieces. I replicated the border fabric in the center using one full repeat of the pattern and enlarged it. I wonder-undered each flower on to the background, quilted it with black thread (I wish I had a picture of the back, but I am too lazy to go and take another picture, upload it, etc.) and then made three dimensional petals for all of the flowers and tacked them on to the quilt. The photos don't show the 3-d flowers too well but they add a nice texture to the quilt. I put crystals on it and it is now hanging in my daughter Jillian's room.

Summer has been great, the kids had a busy June and July but August has been laid back and we all need that. They start school on the 27th :) Kevin is on vacation this week and that is always nice.

Friday, June 20, 2008

coming full circle and planting the seed....

Below is a picture of the Massachusetts Quilt I helped my daughter Paige's third grade class make for her teacher, Mrs. Berthao. The kids did all of the work, I quilted it and put on the binding. Some really nice parents and a quilting friend helped the kids with the wonder under part and the sewing of the sashing and the posts. I am amazed at the wonderful work. Each square is a symbol of Massachusetts. The label lists all the symbols and has a class picture. The teacher can use the quilt year after year with her students as they learn the unique symbols of our state. I love quilting with kids, they are so creative and it plants the seed for future quilters!

This my new license plate. I have always wanted a vanity plate.

Here is a shot of the Gallery where my quilts were hanging during Alumni Weekend at Framingham State College. The gallery is in a nice location in the newly renovated campus center building. The campus was beautiful and it was great to go and see an old professor of mine. I was lucky to have seen her because she is retiring. Her name is Sachko Fuji Beck and she is a wonderful artist. I wish her well. Life has come full circle, I had visited the gallery as an Art student here and now I had my own art on display. Wow.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's your bag?

I am teaching a class called What's your bag? The gist is that you make the bag the size you want, no pattern needed. People like my bags but often say "I would like to make one smaller, taller, more pockets, longer handles....Check out the cool glass button from We've Got the Buttons - She was a vendor at our show and I bought several....wish I bought more. I bought the piece of hand dyed fabric at the sew expo. but I don't remember from who. They were a nice couple and very helpful. My friend Susan F. bought a beautiful piece of brown from them.
This is Paige, daughter number 3! She just turned 9 and here she is opening presents. She is a great kid, so easy going and smart. Happy Birthday Paige!
I am trying to get a lot of quilting done in the next two weeks. Summer vacation with four kids doesn't allow for much to to make ART! A couple have asked to sew with me during the summer so that will do, I guess:) I am looking forward to the break in activities...

Monday, May 19, 2008


This is my oldest daughter, Morgan, before prom last Friday night. She was (is)beautiful. The boy who asked her is a friend. We had never met him until he showed up at the door, cute kid. She has braces so she is trying to hide them in the pictures. She is a sophomore so I can look forward to 2 more proms for her, I don't want to count the total including her 2 sisters and her brother.

I have some exciting news regarding quilting. 2 of my quilts will be hanging at the Mazmanian Gallery at Framingham State (class of '88) during alumni weekend in their Alumni Art Show.

I gave a lecture a few weeks ago to a guild in Townsend, MA on the slice house quilts process. There were 125 people in the room. They were a great guild with lots of good things they do and a lot of show and tell, my favorite part of our meetings.

The end of school is quickly approaching which means I better get any quilting projects done soon. I am working on my challenge. I am using all hand dyed fabrics. We have gotten together 3 times now to dye and the results get better and better. I am sketching lots of ideas for future quilts so hopefully I will find some time to make them during the summer.

I am working with my daughter Paige's class (3rd grade) making a Massachusetts quilt as a gift for her teacher Mrs. Berthao. Each child chose a symbol to reproduce in fabric. It is going to be awesome. I will post pictures when it is done.

I made this bag for my friend Tammy Sue...She is an unbelievable quilter/artist. It was a little nerve wracking to pick out the fabric but she was pleased. I found a great glass button from a vendor at our quilt show and the best bra fabric for the lining. She was chairperson for our Embellished Bra Exhibit at our last quilt show so it was appropriate. It is jeweled, of course.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Shows over, back to life

The show was a success, whew. We had approximately 1,300 attendees. We had a state senator and state rep. come! It was so much fun to be there watching people enjoy all the quilts. We find we don't want to go home. Much like a wedding, you greet friends, take pictures and wonder at the end of the day, where did the time go.
This is a picture of my friends Shirley, Kathy and I standing with our replica's! The pattern is by Amy Bradley. So much fun to make. The quilts were a big hit at the show. I loved picking out what I would wear:) Her (my) beaded purse was made by my friend Sharon Thornton who lives in NC.

Below is our Slice House display. They were a big hit. Everyone was amazed at the work. One comment was what a generous guild we are. They were impress that we would work so hard on each others quilt and spend almost a year and a half on this project. We were asked by a few people if we could put them on display is some cool venues, more the follow.

This is a photo of a portion of the journal exhibit. There was a nice tribute to Karey Bresenhan at this display. She is the founder of the Quilt Journal Project. The journal quilts were really amazing. I loved reading what each quilter wrote.

It is great to be back to quilting just for the pure joy of it. I am looking forward to many projects that are waiting to be started/finished.

I sold 4 bags that I made for the boutique...I was happy about that.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

bags for the boutique

Thanks to my friend June for helping me with my blog the other day. She is so cool.....she makes very cool quilts too. FYI - You can click on any of the photos to see the details.

I wouldn't be doing my duty as publicity chair if I didn't give you the specifics about the show again:

Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild Quilt Show
Nipmuc Regional High School, 90 Pleasant Street (off Route 140), Upton, MA
March 29 & 30/Saturday and Sunday from 10 – 4
$5 Admission/Free Parking/Handicapped Accessible

This Biennial show will feature:

180 Quilts - Made by members with Viewer’s Choice Awards – voting on Saturday only.
Raffle Quilt – Brightly colored stars with hand appliquéd floral border
Silent Auction - Quilts made by guild members
Boutique Table – Various quilts, quilting related items, patterns and books
Vendors – 11 vendors ranging from sewing machines to our favorite local quilt shops
Round Robin Exhibits – 40 quilts featuring traditional round robin, block robin, slice houses and row robins
Boxer Shorts Exhibit – Fighting for a Cure - Embellished boxers made by guild members. Proceeds from this exhibit will be donated to Prostate Cancer Research
Journal Quilts – 39 8 x 11 quilts made by members

I have been making some tote bags to sell at the quilt show boutique. I finished my quilts a few weeks ago and because I love to create I have spent my free time making bags. People often ask me if I sell the bags I make for myself and friends.

This fabric came from The Franklin Mill store in Franklin MA. They are vending at the show and I am really happy about that. Mary and her sister Margaret are gems and we are lucky to have a place that has every sewing notion you can think of .

I love this bag, the fabric from The Franklin Mill, the piping, the velvet button, the braided button clasp, the jewels. If this doesn't sell, I am keeping it!
This bag is recycled from a jacket I made 5 years ago. The blocks took me a year to make. I never wore the jacket, it just didn't fit well. I made 3 bags out of that coat. It has a funky button clasp. I had this cool selection of beads from Friends Fabric Art that I bought at our last show, they are vending again this year.
This bag is made from the fabrics we dyed a few months back. I love this one too, I may have to make another one.
I made this wall hanging for the Silent Auction at the show. The inspiration was the birch tree fabric, I love birch trees.

Friday, February 22, 2008

time to blog

It has been crazy around here but I finally had time to upload pictures and blog a bit.

This is my slice house. Sixteen of us started this round robin in October of 2006. There were two rounds of eight quilters. We started the round after making a quilt for a friend who was moving to NC. You can read about that below. We each made a block for the people in the round. The owner of the quilt made their own front door. The quilters who worked on my house are starting from the top left clockwise: Suzanne Thibeault, June Peckingham, Louise Redding, Jane Lowell, Carol Middleton, Me, Gail Niland and Linda Ramrath. I am thrilled with the results of the quilt and it is hanging up over the fireplace, Kevin says it makes the room! Here is a detail of my block.

I made this tote bag during the weekend away with my guild. It is for an auction item for the Nipmuc Warriors Athletic booster club. I hope they make some money from the Auction and the bag. I jeweled it (of course) and I must say it was hard to part with.

I made this bag for my secret valentine. My quilt guild does a secret valentine swap and it is such a wonderful thing. The gifts that members make for each other are exceptional. I had my friend Shari this year. This bag was also made during our GAW and Shari was there too. I had her help me pick out the fabric for the bag. She did suspect that it was for her. I didn't care because I wanted her to like it, she can be hard to please:) I think she likes it. I added some funny stuff to it, that most of you reading wouldn't understand but we got a good laugh from it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

getting ready for the big show!

We had a fabulous Christmas here at our house. Kevin took two weeks off and we enjoyed every minute of the vacation. Personally for me it was the most pleasant Christmas as far as shopping and planning goes. I did a lot online, early. One thing that didn't get done was Christmas cards. I have always sent them out. The picture at the top of this page is the from our 2006 Christmas card. The kids all got the things they really wanted for Christmas and that feels great as a mother. With Kevin home (playing guitar hero on the Wii) I was able to spend a lot of time in my sewing room. I decided to take the two weeks off from work (making window treatments, etc.)and just quilt. I got a lot done.

Below is our Raffle Quilt to be raffled at our upcoming Quilt Show. Thanks to Piece O' Cake Designs for giving us permission to use their pattern. I am the publicity chair for my guilds quilt show Thimble Pleasures. I have begun the mailings to local shops and quilt guilds. I will be busy these next few months.

Show Details:
Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild Quilt Show
Nipmuc Regional High School, 90 Pleasant Street (off Rt. 140), Upton, MA
March 29 & 30/Saturday and Sunday from 10 - 4. This Biennial show will feature:
· 180 Quilts - Made by members with Viewer’s Choice Awards – voting on Saturday only.
· Raffle Quilt – Brightly colored stars with hand appliquéd floral border
· Silent Auction - Quilts made by guild members
· Boutique Table – Various quilts, quilting related items, patterns and books
· Vendors – 10 vendors ranging from sewing machines to our favorite local quilt shops
· Round Robin Exhibits – 40 quilts featuring traditional round robin, block robin, slice houses and row robins
· Boxer Shorts Exhibit - Embellished boxers made by guild members. Proceeds from this exhibit will be donated to Prostate Cancer Research.

I am really excited about this show. The Round Robin Exhibit will feature several rounds. I participated in the slice houses, the display is going to be so cool. There will be 16 of these quilts in the show and they are all incredible. You can see some of the quilts in progress below in an older posting. I am working on the border to my house right now. It is coming out great. Here is an example of one of the slice quilts- it is incredible. It is Suzanne T.'s house. Isn't it beautiful?

The other part of this show is that I am looking forward to is the Boxer Shorts exhibit. We had a Embellished Bra exhibit at our last show and it was terrific. We donated the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Embellished Boxer Short exhibit was born when a friend Tammy D. was talking to a reporter about our last show. The reporter Linda Bock asked how we would top the Bra Exhibit at our next show and Tammy said "We will do boxer shorts". The proceeds from this exhibit will be donated to prostate cancer research.

Here is a a quilt I started at our last quilting weekend at the Cape. It is for my master bedroom. I have plans to use bias around the circles. I will show it when it is complete. I love our room. It is so relaxing an peaceful. We painted the ceiling the same color as the walls. One of the walls is painted brown-to camouflage the dressers.

I am working on a landscape for over the bed. I am using the story of the Blue Willow as my inspiration. I used most of the fabrics in the circle quilt in the landscape. I am almost ready to quilt it. It will be in our show.
We went to Albany to visit my cousin Jimmy and his family including his mother, my Aunt Aggie, who is like a mother to me. The have a new baby named Quinlan and a 3 1/2year old daughter named Shea. They graciously offered to watch the four kids overnight so Kevin and I could go to Saratoga for the night to celebrate our
19th wedding anniversary. We had a blast! We ate our dinner in three different restaurants! We bought ourselves a beautiful piece of art in a gallery.

This is the quilt I made for Quinlan. I used several of the fabrics I dyed. I love using them. I put flannel on the back and binding. I did a lot of quilting on it. I was pleased with the way it came out.

Our Guild is headed to Sturbridge MA 2/1-2/3. It will be great to have three days to finish up projects for the show. My friend Sharon T. is coming up from NC. She used to live here in Mendon. She is the one we made the first slice house for. We are all really excited to see her and to laugh for three days.