Join me at Empty Spools…

I am teaching a 5-day Independent Study class, March 19-24, during Session III of the Empty Spools Seminar. Empty Spools Seminars are held at Asilomar, a wonderful facility on the Monterey Peninsula. There are a variety of classes taught during each session.

In my independent study class you are free to work on anything, not just appliqué. Your project can be art or traditional, hand or machine sewn, pieced or appliquéd. Draft a new quilt from scratch or work from a pattern. I am there to help you with any questions or problems you might have. Click here and here to see what students did in my 2016 and 2015 Independent Study classes.

This is one of my favorite classes. The room is always happy and full of energy. Asilomar is one of the prettiest places on the planet. There are still some openings in this year’s class and I encourage you to join me :-). Click here to go to Empty Spools.

Independent Study Class - 2016

Independent Study Class – 2016

The Idaho State Fair…

Before I left Boise, I got to spend an evening at the Idaho State Fair with Patty, Marsha, and JoAnn. They go to the fair every year and know what exhibits to visit and where to find the best fair food.


Let me just say that the corn on the cobb was mighty fine but my favorite fair food was the Tortato made from Famous Idaho Potatoes.


Imagine a deep fried spiral-cut russet potato. That’s a Tortato. Just looking at the picture makes me want another one. Why are these not available everywhere? On the other hand, maybe it’s good that they are not to be found in Sherman, TX.

We visited the flower show. Isn’t this an amazing flower!


This sunflower seemed to glow. Both of these flowers had ribbons.


We saw all kinds of needlework on display and I got so busy looking that I forgot to take pictures. We visited the Guinea pigs and rabbits and then we hunted down dessert: caramel apples for Patty and Marsha, a candy apple for me, and an apple dumpling for JoAnn. Too busy eating to take a picture.


We did not ride any rides but they sure were pretty against the clear blue sky.

I can’t remember what this guy was selling, but his Minions were pretty cute.


From Munich…

We arrived after an overnight flight to Munich in the morning. We are staying in an apartment and got checked in by midday. Before long we were out walking around to see the sites. It was rainy, but nice. These shots were taken from the bell tower of St. Peter’s church.

Munich City Scape Munich City Scape

There are many, many churches in Munich and many of them are Catholic. I feel right at home :-).

Today we went on a tour to Neuschwanstein, the castle build by King Ludwig in Bavaria. I have wanted to see this castle since I was a girl so it was great fun and I do so appreciate Celia for finding the tour. Below is Mario, our guide.

Mario - tour guide

We stopped at two lovely churches, one Baroque and one Rococo, on the way to the castle.

Bavarian Church Visit

Neuschwanstein is the castle that Cinderella’s castle at Disneyworld is based on.


If you are interested in the castle, you can find better photos than I took online. The best shots are from from the bridge behind the castle that is closed for repairs. Deep sighs on our part. No matter—it was a beautiful day, no rain, cool weather, and great company!



We stopped for cheese, sausage, and beer at a cheese farm on the way back to Munich. I’ve never seen cows this color before… they were more taupe than brown. They all wore bells and it was fun to sit by them as we ate a late lunch.

Bavarian Dairy Cow


Tomorrow we head to Salzburg!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade…

We walked a few blocks from Jeff and Celia’s apartment to 64th Street and Central Park West. We got there an hour before the parade started and there were already lots of people there. None of us are committed enough to parades to have gotten there in time to be in the front row.

Anything below head level was hidden from us, but luckily most of the good stuff is tall or floating. The Macy’s stars were first…

Followed by a turkey float…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My favorite was Adventure Time…

Jeff is in the kitchen cooking. Celia and I have been decorating their Christmas tree, and Steve is having a nap. What a great Thanksgiving!

Images from my quick visit to Quilt Market…

I stopped long enough to take a photo of the construction in the daylight. Downtown Houston has been looking better every year. It’s more crowded, bustling, cleaner, and there is a lot more that is interesting to look at. I suspect that next year the Convention Center is going to look better than it ever has.


I took the next two shots before market opened so the folks you see here are vendors. It will be a lot more crowded once the doors are open and shop owners start walking the floor. It will be even more crowded when Quilt Festival opens. The booth occupants will change, the floor plan generally remains the same.

The opening in the far, white wall goes to the quilts. Aisle 1 starts there…


Turn and look in the other direction and wayyyyyy down there is aisle 29. This is an event that requires good, sturdy

C&T had our new book, Wool Applique the Piece O’ Cake Way, prominently displayed!


I didn’t stop to photograph many booths because I was moving fast. I did stop at Art Gallery Fabrics because of this wall:


The fabric designer showcased here is Maureen Cracknell. I was lucky enough to get to visit with her for a little bit. She is a lovely young woman who has designed some wonderful fabric. She also has a great eye for display!


It’s not just that the butterflies are pretty, it’s the way the colorless butterflies flow into the colorful ones. They enhanced the fabric that was displayed with them.

In a similar way, RJR used origami cranes…


I didn’t know until just now that there is an RJR Quilt With Love blog! Click here.


If you go on social media and look for #quiltmarket you’ll find lots more photos. Tomorrow I’ll post a few quilt images.

More from the Iowa State Capital…

The library inside the Capital smelled like old books, which is a nice smell! It’s a tall space with two amazing spiral staircases. 

The books were pretty on the shelves. I would have taken many more photos but we didn’t get to stay long. 

Also seen on the tour were mosaics which made me want to play with tiny tiles…

And spiral stairs to climb up and down to the dome. I got a little dizzy and my thighs are still sore. 

We got to look outside from one window when we were high in the dome. I guess squirrels don’t come through the gap in the screen…

I was surprised to find the signs of the zodiac painted on the ceiling on the ground floor. 

There were quotations in many places. Every politician should take this one to heart…

And then we went outside where I had noticed a gold building. It was, not surprisingly, built to reflect the Capital!

I think this last photo may be my favorite one of all. 

The Iowa State Capital Building…

I was told that this was a must-see Des Moines site so yesterday morning Catherine and I went to see it for ourselves.

If you are in Des Moines, you are likely to see the capital’s golden dome gleaming from far away. We took the tour so I can tell you that that is real gold leaf, thinner than a hair, and that it has to be re-applied every 20-25 years.

The architectural details, both in and out, are really amazing and, now that I think about it, the whole place was really clean!

If you look down you’ll notice that the tile designs in the floors are varied and quilt-like…

But when you look up, your jaw will drop.

If you take the (free) tour, you get to go up to the the balcony high in the dome, just below the banks of lights that illuminate the space. I was standing there when I took the following photo, looking up…

…and then looking down to the floor far below, where the ‘x’ is. That’s a person walking away, to the right of the ‘x’.

Even the smallest details were not forgotten…

door hinge

door hinge





window pull

window pull


sconce arm

sconce arm

There’s more to share tomorrow but for now let me say that this really is a nice place to visit. Way to go, Iowa!