My favorite white pencil is famous!

I have used a white charcoal pencil made by the General Pencil Company for as long as I can remember. They are the perfect pencil for marking medium to dark fabric AND they are very affordable! You can find them here and here on my website.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a feature story about General Pencil today in the New York Times! It is a great story, with amazing photos by Christopher Payne, that tells us how pencils are still being made in the US.


I’m even more impressed now at both the quality of every pencil and the low prices!


Click here to read the article in the New York Times.

If you want to take better photos…

Ricky Tims is taking sign-ups now for the 2018 Photo Challenge class. I took this class 3 years ago and learned so much! I’m not only a better photographer now, I have learned to see the world around me better.

If you want to take better photos, learn how to use Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, and get better acquainted with your camera, this is the best way I know to do it. The class is broken up into two 26-week sessions. Ricky is offering a very good discount right now.

  • November 9 – 30 Registration is 75% off, at $149
  • December 1 – 18, Registration is 50% off at $299.
  • After December 18, Full price, $599

I’ve been part of the follow-up Critique group since finishing the first year of classes. This week’s challenge was ‘self portrait’. It happens every year and this time I finally got a photo that looks like me!


Steve and I will be NYC visiting Celia and Jeff all this week. Watch for my photos of the big city here, on instagram, and on facebook.

Patience, the hardest virtue…

I had planned my first day back from vacation carefully. I was going to choose photos, write blog posts, and get all caught up before leaving at the crack-of-before-dawn on Wednesday to teach in West Houston. I even had dreams of sewing! Dang. None of that happened.

Instead, I answered some email and then took mom to two doctors. Her primary Dr.’s associate saw mom for a UTI, swollen leg, and an open (but not infected) wound. While not great, this is not unusual medical stuff for an 84-year-old diabetic.

Cue up a happy sky photo because so far, so good.


I took mom home for a nap after doctor #1, where she could rest and put up her leg. That didn’t happen. Instead, she was playing bingo when I came back an hour and half later to pick her up to go the eye doctor.

My mom has seen every eye doctor in Sherman over the last 5 years and she still can’t see as well as she wants to (this is after cataract surgery, in case you are wondering). I admit it — I lost patience long ago. Every doctor said ‘use drops’ and they tweaked her prescription. I figured my mom’s age was the problem and that her eyes were never going to be as good as she thought they should be.

Well, not so much. Last month, she saw Dr. Long who, with his associates, figured out that mom was seeing double. Did you know that they make glasses for that? Yes, they do.

The new glasses came and we all thought the problem was fixed. Except that it wasn’t. Damn.

Mom’s 2nd doctor visit today was back to the eye doctor. I figured that her glasses needed to be tweaked. Again, I was wrong.

It was a long visit. I admit that I was less and less patient as we waited, but I didn’t lose it and remained nice throughout. My younger self would not have stayed as nice. Does that indicate growth that comes with age? I can only hope.

Long story short is that her eyes are changing, too much and too fast. The doctor wants an MRI of her midbrain. Mom was a nurse and I know enough physiology to know that he suspects something stroke-like. Damn, again.

Mom was not thrilled, but she was calm. Nothing had really changed. She has trouble seeing and she has been a stroke risk for a long, long time. Life goes on. And we will try to remain gracefully patient, no matter what comes. It’s time for another happy picture, right?


To those of you who find yourselves taking care of parents, children, or grandchildren, I hope that you find graceful patience when you need it. And if you have any to spare, please do send it my way :-).

Be nice.

Dr. Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, spoke at the Austin College commencement this year. One thing he said has stuck with me: Be nice.

He went beyond that to say that when you aren’t nice, people won’t like you. And if no one helps you [when you need it], it’s because no one likes you.

That’s harsh! But take a moment to think about people you don’t like. Are you going to go out of your way to help them? Not so much. Which takes me back to the top: Be nice. Build relationships with people. We all need friends.

I could stop there, and would have if I had not read this post from Generation Q yesterday. It appears that there is a ‘secret’ facebook group of quilters that is not being remotely nice to people who are different from them. Who knew?! There are unhappy people on facebook! Deep sighs all round, right?

I shy away from politics and religion online and in classes and I’m not going to spout opinions here. That said, my mom and grandmother taught me early on that if you can’t say something nice about someone, it’s best to say nothing at all. It’s better to make friends than it is to make enemies. It’s never nice to intentionally hurt someone else’s feelings who is doing nothing to hurt you.

So, please, let’s all do what we can to spread niceness in the quilt world, and beyond!


Who wants these?

Wow! That was fast! These books have found a new home. Thank you, Kimberly!

These Piece O’ Cake books were printed in languages other than English which is very exciting, but I never look at them. It seems like someone could use them. Could that be you? All it would cost is shipping which will be between $6 and $14 in the US. Send me an email if you would like them:


Applique With Attitude – French


Covered With Love – French


A Slice of Christmas – French


The Applique Sampler with DVD – Portuguese?


Applique Delights – Spanish – 2 copies


Quilts With A Spin – German – 2 copies

Learning new things…

I’m home from visiting 4 lovely guilds in the greater Kansas City area. I lectured and taught all day and into the evening for 3 days. I enjoyed all of the people I met and I hope they enjoyed me.

Because I was working so much, I missed much of the news coverage of the election. No talking heads, no in-depth analysis, I got the results. I was surprised, as you may have been, because the polls were so wrong. (Note to self: Ignore polls in the future.)

I’m not going to veer into a discussion of politics. Donald Trump was legally elected. He’s our president. I truly, sincerely, want him to be a good one. Our fates are tied to his — how can we wish the worst for him?

Lastly, I had an opportunity to visit with a woman who voted differently than I did. It was wonderful to have a conversation without rancor. Neither of us butted in with ‘well, but….” We had a series of conversations over the course of the day and I am better for it. I believe that most of the people in our country are good at heart and will, when exposed to hate, speak up in favor of love and tolerance.

I have been guilty of thinking that if those on the ‘other side’ knew what I did, they would surely think differently. That’s wrong because we each view the world from a different perspective. Understanding our differences is the first step toward figuring out how to live together in peace. I am going to seek out people who think differently than me and who are willing to have a friendly conversation about the issues.

Tomorrow Steve and I will clean house (because it’s Saturday), and work in the yard (because we can’t ignore it any more). I need to work on the computer and then, if I am very lucky, there will be time to work on the quilt I am in the middle of quilting. In short, it will be a normal weekend day… I can’t wait!

Fall, Kansas City, 2016

Fall, Kansas City, 2016


Let’s be nice…

I was out with my camera yesterday and spotted this sign. It made me think.


I have this to say about the election: I know who I voted for, I don’t know who you voted for, and I don’t want to know because I want us all to stay friends.

Many of the people I know and love are voting for the other person, but I will not let politics come between me and my friends and family. People are more important than politics.

Some of you may want to tell me I’m wrong (in all caps) but let me ask you this: When talking about politics, have you changed anyone’s mind? I have not and I’m going to stop trying. No matter who wins, I expect that life as we know it will go on.

Now I’m going to quilt, be happy, and stop worrying about things I cannot control. I hope you can do the same :-).