The Mobile Whisperer

January 26, 2013

Lucky, lucky me.  My father-in-law makes the most incredible mobiles–and even though I have quite a few, I just can’t get enough of them. It’s difficult to truly capture them in photographs, but here’s a little peek at a few of my personal collection.

This is one of the first he made for me. I love MCM Atomic style.  Update it with more saturated colors and you have:


He also works in natural woods, salvaged from branches he picks up on his walks. This one has wood from 12 different Indiana hardwoods.


Sycamore grain is gorgeous. This one has a different structure, and moves beautifully.

He also makes table-top models (and eight-foot versions of this!)  The stand is made of apple, and the individual elements are dogwood.

My favorite is a hexie mobile he made me after seeing my working on some English paper pieced hexagons.


It’s difficult to capture the size of my most recent gift.  It hangs in my foyer.


He has begun to play around with some new elements–computer components.



My daughter has a fun painted moon & stars mobile.

photo (28)

My son has a mixed dogwood/painted elements.

photo (29)It has been wonderful watching the evolution of his work, and I love it when he says, “Hey, I made an innovation . . .” I always try to lay claim to the prototypes. I like to think I’m his number one fan.  If you’d like to see more of his work, you can find him at Sculptures by Joe.

Chapter February 3

February 5, 2012

In which I guest post on my daughters’ blog.

A Cameo Role

December 5, 2011

Psssssst!   Take a little peek at the incredible Thread and Film.

That’s one of my quilts appearing with Sam and Jess Gensic, cinematographers extraordinaire!  Okay, I guess I’ll have to own up to the fact that Sam is my nephew and Jessica is his lovely bride.  They produce amazing wedding cinematography (and commercials, and some other really cool creative films!)

They were married during a really busy time in my own life when I didn’t get much time at the sewing machine, so the wedding quilt I promised them didn’t actually get completed until sometime around their fifth anniversary. (I even had to sneak in a baby quilt for them before I completed the wedding quilt!)

Thread and Film

Well, it appears that the quilt is now well-loved, and playing a cameo role in their business. Nothing makes me happier!

And please check out more of photographer Nicole Morehead’s beautiful work. She gets credit for Sam and Jess’s portraits. (And the baby portraits in her gallery are redonkulously adorable!)

Paris Inspiration

July 23, 2011

It’s fair to say that getting to know Paris takes more time than the average American vacation–it takes a lifetime!  Having only three days to spend there requires being extremely selective (and it helps if you already have a little experience getting around.) Since this trip was for my 16 year old son, we decided to do what we called “Tour des Morts” or “The Dead Guy Tour”

We focused on the gorgeous cemeteries like Montparnasse and Pere Lachaise, trying to see as many famous tombs as we could.

Pere Lachaise itself is worthy of a week of exploration, so we power-walked our way to a small selection for this trip.

We also went down into The Catacombs.

If you can get through the morbid history, the sheer volume of the bones of millions of Parisians re-entombed there, you will find a little bit of design inspiration.  I tried really hard not to see the artistry. It became easier as we walked along because we were simply overwhelmed by the place and wanted out.

So while we skipped around the city from tomb to tomb, I sought other sources of inspiration.

Like the Dome in Galleries Lafayette–circled with all of the individual designers’ retail spaces (I think I’d only need, oh, about three weeks here each season to take it all in!)

Or perhaps more appropriate for a short visit–the chocolate bar aisle (this is only a fraction of the entire chocolate display) in Lafayette Gourmet, where you can find incredible edibles.  I love big department store food!

A quick Metro ride from L’Opera to Trocadero at dusk brought us to the Eiffel Tower just in time for Friday night sparkle! Hearing the throngs of people gasp in unison as the light show began was worth having to always share the Eiffel Tower with throngs of people.

The Pantheon has a large number of famous people entombed there.  It also has gorgeous domes to inspire, should you look up.

Ditto Les Invalides, where Napoleon is entombed directly below this glorious dome:

And, of course, a quick run through The Louvre to see the highlights, including my favorites:


The Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) is my favorite piece in the Louvre.  And check out that dirty girl Psyche . . . . she got around! That’s her with Cupid in marble, and with Hermes in Bronze.  I love how she makes Hermes’ toes curl!  We also spent a little time in Musee d’Orsay, where I got to introduce my son to Dante and Virgil in Hell by Bouguereau. No pics allowed in the galleries, but this work screams to be experienced up close, anyway.

I was unexpectedly impressed with the Musee Rodin.  Wow.  I’d never really been very interested in his work–I certainly am now.  I can’t wait to go back and stroll through the gardens a little more leisurely.

I’d like to return to sweet Hotel du Nord when I have time to ride one of their bikes along the Canal St. Martin (or maybe use Velib when the US finally gets around to having Chip and Pin credit cards–but that’s another tale) And maybe if I’m really lucky, I’ll get to plan a trip around Pour l’Amour du Fil.

Care to come along?

Another Missed Quilt Show

July 1, 2011

Two summers ago, I was in Sisters, Oregon just two days before the Beautiful Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  We couldn’t change our travel plans, and two kids actually had the flu, so our time in Portland was spent nursing them in a hotel room rather than exploring as planned.

A few weeks back, I was in Rudesheim, Germany, just days before

How do I do that?  Don’t answer that!  This time it’s just because I just don’t pay attention to international shows–because otherwise I would have changed my trip around to attend this one!  In any case, I fell in love with Rudesheim.  My son and I spent a day cycling through the vineyards along the Rhine. It was truly inspiring. I now want to spend more time along the Rhine when I can cycle a little more leisurely–and perhaps enjoy the wine, too!

And Cologne!  Wow!  The Cathedral is enormous.  We climbed the 500+ spiral stairs to the stop of one of the spires–making me think twice about my lack of fear of heights. I was thrilled to finally see Gerhard Richter’s controversial window–a modern interpretation of traditional stained glass.  My camera just couldn’t do it justice.

Some German friends recommended we go take a stroll through Frankfurt’s Palmengarten–an incredible botanical garden complex.  We initially planned to just stop by to humor them, but ended up spending nearly an entire day there.  By the time we left, all of the other things we had planned to do were closed for the day–but we really didn’t mind.

"Life is Short, Art is Long"--Goethe (Goethe Gardens, Palmengarten)

Oh, Germany!  I had no idea I would love you so much!  But I should have phoned ahead and let you know I was coming.  Maybe I could have found an open fabric store in my serendipitous strolling of your streets.

I did love your quilt magazines.  Good thing I brought an extra bag to haul them home with me!


And what do you think Tim Gunn would have to say about this look (in a small shop in Wiesbaden). My daughter calls it “Booblashes.”

Coming Soon:  To Paris!  To Paris!  Mais bien sur!

Duly Chastised

June 20, 2011

I was recently informed by my very young 80-ish aunt that ever since Facebook came into being, I haven’t been blogging enough.  NOTED!

So what have I been up to lately?  Plenty!  Kid Number 2 graduated from HS.  In our house, rather than throw a big graduation bash, we head off on a European adventure.  Last year Kid #1 and I hit the streets of Paris.  Kid #2 and I had a little bigger trip.  And so, to the quilty-ish part of our tour.

Amsterdam is my new favorite city.  I really had no idea it was so beautiful.  And peaceful (although that might be a result of the nice smells wafting out from the coffee houses . . .)

I adored strolling around, enjoying all of the wonky architecture along the canals.

We found exactly one colorful house inside the Singelgracht (outermost canal in the older part of the city.)  There may have been more, but I’m sure there must be historic restrictions.  And this one was on a small alley.  And right on the #5 Tram line, just a few steps away from Koninklijk Palace and Nieuwe Kerk . . . .

Birdblocks Quilt Shop!  I passed by on the tram a few times on our way to and from our hotel before I was able to finally stop in during regular business hours.  Merel (Mrs. Scissors!) was there with a smile–and some gorgeous colorful yardage!

Next door, there is a sweet, upscale traditional Dutch fabric store.

I tried to find some of the market fabric vendors that I read about in advance online, but didn’t have much luck.  Nor did I have enough time to pursue them too heartily.

Being avid cyclists, my son and I really enjoyed all of the bicycles–although we didn’t ride anywhere in the city.  We’re saving that for our return trip.  I do believe I will be going back to The Netherlands.  Next Up:  Deutschland!

Quilty Visitors

March 15, 2011

There are some lovely quilts visiting my house today! I got my niece (who’s only a couple of years younger than I am, so she’s more like a sister) interested in quilting about 15 years ago.  Here are a couple of her recently completed quilts.

Gorgeous Crazy Eights by Bits ‘n Pieces quilt using Anna Maria Horner Good Folks:

And a yummy purple/lime/black & white flying geese star featuring some of my own favorite Jason Yenter dragonfly fabrics:

And a gorgeous scrap quilt she made for her daughter:

There’s also a visiting quilt-in-progress.  Larisa Key’s Fat Quarter Frolic in Patty Young’s Flora & Fauna:

Quilty visitors are always welcome to come play with fabric at my house!

Meanwhile, Back at Squint Central

March 12, 2011

The Life-Altering Hexie Quilt is coming along.

I never wanted to admit it, but this quilt is forcing me to come to terms with my middle-aged eyesight.  Ott Light and funky reading glasses to the rescue!  Anything to keep me from having to ask my kids to thread needles for me.


March 7, 2011

They’re up!  I have a little show going on at Greyhouse Coffee & Supply in West Lafayette, Indiana.

I’m glad they finally made it up there, because I was spending a little too much time with them and starting to doubt myself.  All it took was seeing them on display, and I fell in love in a whole new light.

This is the first time I have had anything on display (with the exception of the permanent installment of the West Lafayette Public Library’s Leaf Quilt) in 10 years.  It’s a little scary, but I’m really happy with the results.

My in-house graphic artist, Kiwibug, did a great job as usual on the promotional material.

Now I’m back to piecing little green hexies.  And I already have a concept for my next series work.  I might just be a quilter after all.

Deadline? What’s a Deadline?!

January 2, 2011

No resolutions to reveal.  But I do have a teeny reveal of a series of quilts I’m working on to hang in a local coffee house in February.  Just a hint though–more soon!

Happy New Year, all!