Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Celebration

This is a Christmas Day photo but entirely appropriate for New Year's!

This is Ginger snuggling up to a bottle of my fav Champagne (not sparkling wine, mind you), Moet & Chandon White Star. Yum! She has excellent taste.

Can't wait for Bruce to share this on New Year's since the gift was to him. Thanks, honey!

And speaking of Bruce, here's a very nice picture of him from Christmas morning. Doesn't he look relaxed?

Incredible View

How's this?

We spent Christmas afternoon here with Jeff, Debbie, Keoni and Kimberly, their dog Lucky, and our dog Cody. Debbie was taking pictures with her new digital camera and I'm so glad she got this shot. I wanted to take it myself but managed to forget the camera.

This is one of our favorite beaches at Ukumehame (oo-koo-may-hah-mee) on the way to Lahaina.

Happy New Year and if the weather isn't warm where you are, may the company be!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy Dancing

Woo-hoo! I just got a call from Joelle at Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao and they want two of my quilts for an upcoming show!! This is a very prestigious multi-media gallery on Maui that is owned by, and features, some really great artists whose work I admire. This is such an honor and I am thrilled - can you tell?

More news as things develop...

A Good Family Laugh

I swore I wasn't going to cook anything complicated for Christmas dinner this year. Bruce and I decided we would go easy on ourselves and just grill filets, his mom would do twice-baked potatoes, and I would make favorite Warm Goat Cheese salad from "Barefoot in Paris" from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

While going through the cookbook, which has become one of my favorites, I ran across the dessert "Ile Flotino" or "Floating Island." I read the description, which had phrases such as "your guests will be groaning with pleasure, " and "they will want to lick their plates clean." Sounded like the perfect dessert for my family!

The "island" of this dessert is a fluffy cloud of baked meringue. Now, I know better than to make meringue in Hawaii. As a dedicated and fearless baker, there are some things that you know just don't work here, and meringue is one of them. It is far too humid and they will never become crisp and melt-in-your-mouth light like they are supposed to. However, against my better judgment, because I was so enchanted by the description, I thought I could pull it off.

I baked the meringues in the oven and then turned it off and left them inside, thinking the warm dry air was the safest place. When I took them out, they were a very light brown and dry to the touch, just as they were supposed to be. So, despite the fact that the creme anglaise was not as thick as it was supposed to be (but that's another story!), I assembled the dessert: a pool of creme anglaise, an "island," a generous sprinkle of almond praline and a generous drizzle of homemade caramel and VOILA it went to the table and everyone was impressed...until they tried to eat it!

The meringues, while dry on the surface, were extremely sticky blobs of goo, which was exacerbated by the sticky caramel. I am thankful I have a good sense of humor, because it was quite funny for me to watch my sweet family trying to delicately eat this mess (trying not to insult the cook!) and as soon as I started laughing, so did everyone else.

But the nicest thing of all was Bruce's comment that even though it didn't turn out quite the way I had planned, everyone ate their entire dessert and he even wanted to lick his plate (just like the cookbook said!). At least it tasted good!

New Year's Resolution #1: Don't be swayed by fabulous descriptions in cookbooks when you KNOW the recipe won't work, and if you do it anyway, be prepared for comical outcomes!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

First Quilt

While unpacking the Christmas decorations, look what we found! This is the very first quilt I made.

This is a hand pieced, hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt. When I bought the supplies to make this project, I invested in a pair of Gingher shears, which I still have today (and love!). This was also the first time I realized that you could put two prints next to each other!

I swore I would never do hand applique again after making this quilt. Believe it or not, the teacher made us press under the entire outside edge of the plate with an iron before we basted it to the quilt and appliqued it down. Now I know there is an easier way...needleturn! And after several Hawaiian quilt projects over the years, I love hand applique now.

Hope your pre-holiday week is going great!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Going Bananas

We picked bananas this weekend (we meaning Bruce - at least he's the one who cut them down). We have about 30 banana trees in our yard, mostly "apple" bananas. They are small, firm and very sweet if you let them get really ripe. After eating these you'll never eat another store-bought banana again, unless you are desperate!

The stock on the left is one of the largest stocks we've gotten from our trees. I think this one is especially big because the tree sits in the path of the washing machine water, so it gets plenty.

This is Bruce cutting down a second smaller stock. I didn't think to get the camera until he was done with the big one. He chops the stock off with a machete, then cuts the tree down. Once the trees produce a stock of bananas they are "pau" (Hawaiian for finished) and need to be cut down because they die anyway.

The last picture is of a stock as they grow on the tree. As soon as they start to turn yellow it's time to cut them down. You wouldn't believe how long it takes for a stock of bananas to start to turn yellow from the time they show up on the tree...sometimes months!

Of course, it seems like we always get several stocks at once instead of nicely spaced throughout the year, but there are plenty of friends and neighbors to give the overflow to. Kind of like our avocado tree, which still has about 100 avocados on it. But that's a story for another day!

Christmas Gift #1

This is the sample for my full-sized "Lily" quilt. I finished it just in time to give to my Secret Pal, Bev Lundquist, at the guild meeting last week.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to give it to her in person because Bruce and I were at the Eagles concert!!

This finished at approx. 9"x14". I'm happy with the black and whites. The large quilt will have multi-color blossoms in the same hues.

Cody Likes the Couch

Thank heaven for leather! Cody decided he really likes the couch...can you tell? He seeks out any place that's cool. We'll probably have to get him one of those cooling kennel pads for the summer months - we'll see. He's already the most spoiled dog I know.

We've started walking around the block twice a day and he's very well behaved on the leash. Our former trainer (the one who we worked with with Maile) sent us the Level 1 homework paperwork from the class...10 years later! Ramsay and Victoria Anakalea are super folks. Ramsay is a minister now and no longer does dog training (he is the former Maui Police Dept. K-9 instructor), so I really appreciated him sending me the schedule. I still have Level 2 and 3 on file, so we're set. We start "formal" training this week!

As you can see, he also likes his new pool. He spent about 20 minutes playing in it last week, so I know he's going to love the water and the beach!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Bad Daughter!

I promised my mom I would post new pictures and info last night, but I ran out of time. Bad Daughter!! We went to the Eagles concert on Tuesday night, I have more pictures of Cody, plus a couple of new quilt projects to post. Not to mention Christmas shopping and work, of course!

So, my task for the weekend is to get these posts up to date. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tomorrow's To Do List

Bruce is going bird hunting tomorrow morning in the hills above Lahaina with his brother, Jeff. My Uncle Jim gave Bruce a beautiful 410 last year and this is a great opportunity for him to get out there and use it. They will bring home mostly pheasant, but maybe some Francolins or chukkers too. Cody and the cats will go nuts with all the fun feathers to play with.

What this means is I get another day all to myself, since we probably won't go to Jeff and Debbie's until later in the afternoon when the guys get home. WHOOPEE!

So, here's my list of goodies to do:
  1. Bake the pumpkin pies (Libby's...what else?) and the cranberry duff (from Martha Stewart Living, November issue). I will make the pie crust tonight to be ahead of the game (yes, I make my own crust, and you should too - if you need a good recipe, use the All Butter Pie Pastry recipe from Ken Haedrich's "Apple Pie Perfect" cookbook - you can't go wrong). I am tempted to try the pumpkin pie recipe in my Baking Illustrated cookbook, but am on the fence since Thanksgiving (for me, anyway), is about tradition and family favorites. So much so, that I am going to miss my Mrs. Cubbison's Seasoned Dressing since we are going somewhere else.
  2. Fix the kitchen curtains. Of course, I made one curtain for our sliding glass door then decided I needed two and the fabric I used was no longer available. So, I bought a complementary fabric and I'm going to take apart the first one and sew the two pieces together with the new fabric, so the curtain will be reversible. Easy, straight, fast sewing which should be done in no time. I only wish I had a new Janome 1600 for much faster finishing!
  3. Finish the blossoms on the Lily of the Nile sample that I made and get it quilted.
I'm going to leave this list at the three things I know I can get done. If there's time to spare, maybe start some Christmas postcards.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2005

And She Can Cook, Too!

This is one of the best desserts EVER! I made it for a family dinner's from the November issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and it's called Coconut Carmel Cashew Tart in a Chocolate Crust (or something like that!). Now, mind you, I'm not much of a cashew fan, but this looked so delicious in the magazine that I had to make it, and I adore carmel and coconut. That's a teeny, tiny red orchid on the top. As Emeril says, "You need Smell-A-Vision for this one!"

It is super decadent and very, very rich, so even this smallish 9" tart will serve 12 people. I served it with vanilla ice cream. YUMMY! Here's the link to the recipe at Bon Appetit's website:

Bon Appetit!

More Cody

Cody has a new friend. Bruce are reading this book about Labs and it said that many Labs enjoy stuffed animals. We had this bear in the closet and now he's Cody's favorite companion.

Of course, he's already chewed the nose off!

More quilt stuff coming soon!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What a Day of Sewing Looks Like for Me

This is my little sewing hidey-hole. It's the laundry room, which is well-lit, cool, and has a couple of nice counters on which to work (see the bulk of my stash in the bins - good thing I'm tall!). The only thing this room is missing is a design wall.

Last Sunday, Bruce took our nephew, Keoni, fresh-water "prawning" out in Hana, so he was gone for the day. I've been anxious to get started on my next project, so I took advantage of this opportunity and sewed ALL DAY LONG. It was heavenly.

I'm working out the color scheme for my new Lily of the Nile quilt, and made a little sample. My MIL's watercolor easel made a great little layout table (to my left as I'm sitting at the machine).

I have been a HUGE Ruth McDowell fan for a long, long time. I still kick myself for not taking her workshop when she was on Kauai several years ago. So, I did the next best thing and learned her piecing method through her book, "Piecing: Expanding the Basics." I used the technique for my hula girl a while back and plan to use it for this new project. Here is the prototype:

All I need to do is add the purple blossoms and quilt it. I'm really happy with how the black and white background turned out and my piecing is getting so much better! I never thought I'd like piecing using templates, but Ruth's technique is easy and accurate once you get the hang of it.

Keep in mind that this is only about 12"x16". The big quilt is about 48"x60". I'll post a pic of the pattern soon.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Win and a Very Good Year

Hurray! I got a message last night from Rozemaryn Vanderhorst, the chairperson for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Quilt Contest , that my quilt "Kona Sunrise" won second place at the show! We had just returned from going out to dinner with my BIL, SIL and their kids, plus Bruce's mom, and there was the message on the answering machine. I'm only sorry I wasn't there to get the call in person. Thanks, Rozemaryn! See the winning quilts at:

Of course, I had to call my mom in California and my friends Joan and Keri with the good news. Bruce was cracking up, watching me go crazy. I was just so excited to win and it took forever for me to settle down and get to sleep last night.

The show is open at the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel through this Sunday, November 13. There are 35 quilts on display as part of the big Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Wish I could hop over for the show, but we've got our hands full here. The next best thing is my SIL will be over there and promised to take pictures of the show for me.

I've had a very good show year this year, with several awards. My quilts have travelled to Boston, Japan, Paducah, Santa Clara and Ontario, California, Kona and Cleveland. I wish I could have gone along for the ride! Now it's time to get to work on something new for next year, but how can I top this?

I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Quilt, Finally

This is a recent project. I started this quilt in August, when my mom was visiting. She helped me pick out the fabric and even gave me the idea to use the Log Cabin pattern. Thanks, Mom!

It's made primarily with batiks and is backed with cozy flannel for comfort. I used every bit of the lava-looking dark orange batik (the last round on the "light" side of the block) that I had; I wish I had more of that one!

We made this quilt for my cousin who had cancer surgery this summer. I named this comfort quilt, "Pele's Path" because the colors made me think of lava and in the hopes that rebirth and renewal in the spirit of Pele would comfort her during this rough time.

She's doing better now and even visited Maui this past week with her daughter and granddaughter. It was good to see them after almost 20 years! Since we live so far away and don't travel to the mainland often, it's difficult to see each other as often as we'd like.

Aloha and get well soon, M!

Getting up at 4:00 a.m.

Like everyone else in the world, I'm always trying to find a few extra hours in the day. Eureka! I've found some, thanks to our darling Cody.

If anything, Cody is consistent. He needs to go potty at about 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. Bruce usually does the 1:00 a.m. and I've been picking up the 4. My problem is, I can't seem to get back to sleep - my drowsy body is on the "off-ramp" to wake up time, my mind starts to race, and the tiniest noise seems to keep me awake (not to mention Bruce's snoring!).

So, I think I may try something tomorrow if the same happens. I'll whisk Cody back into the house and sneak off to the laundry room (aka my sewing area) and see if I can't get some creative work done.

If I set things up tonight so they're ready to go, that might be even more incentive. I have a small project I'm anxious to get started on - so we'll see what happens!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

All Systems GO!

Warning: Those with weak stomachs or who are sensitive may want to skip this post!

This picture is far from the peaceful time we had with Cody last night (that's the kitty's basket, by the way). Something's got his digestive system in an uproar and he had several accidents of the #2 kind. We couldn't let him out of our site for a minute.

Bruce had stepped in some the day before out in the yard, barefoot. I thought it was funny at the time. Funny, that is, until I stepped in some (barefoot) on the livingroom rug last night. After we got that cleaned up, we were sitting on the bedroom floor and playing with him and I still smelled something. Then I felt it seep through the seat of my jeans - UGH!! Bruce said it was my Karma payback for laughing at him the day before.

So, jeans in the washer, rug cleaned and me showered, we spent the night up off and on taking him out to go. All three of us are pooped (literally and figuratively!) today.

He's on a very gentle, low residue diet - hopefully he will feel better soon (like today!) and we can all get a good night's sleep tonight.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blog Whine

I've been surfing lots of blogs in the Artful Quilters ring lately, and I have a wish/whine list!

First, let me say that many are nicely laid out and easy to read. I enjoy everyone's posts and try to get through as many as I can. Here is my wish list:
  • First, for mine, that I would actually post something quilt-related. I seem to have deviated from the theme and reason for my blog: to share (what I hope is) interesting things about quilting on Maui and projects I am working on. So, my goal is to post at least one item once a week about quilt projects for the rest of the year to get back on track.
  • It would be great if the link to the AQ web ring was in a common place on everyone's blog so you didn't have to scroll down or search for it each time. I read a lot of the blogs regularly and if they aren't updated it would be great just to click and get to the next one.
  • Left and right margins (even small ones) are a good thing! Full screen text is hard to read (or maybe it just pops up that way on my computer).
  • Dark backgrounds are harder to read, but if your text has good contrast, it's easier.
Here's some of my favorite things:
  • Regular posters (again, a slap on my wrist!)
  • Lots of pictures of works in progress
  • Travelogues - it's fun to see where you've been and the things that catch your eye
  • Being linked to a like-minded web ring
  • Bio pictures - it's like getting to know you in person (I'll post one this weekend!)
Do you agree or disagree? Let me know your thoughts.

Aloha for now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Peaceful, Easy Feeling...

...on the outside, but I am giddy with excitement on the inside! Bruce and I have tickets to the Eagles concert at our very own Maui Arts and Cultural Center!!!

I remember the first Eagles song I heard. It was "Hotel California," and it played on the radio a couple mornings a week around the time my mom drove my brother and I to school. I must have been in fourth or fifth grade at the time. (They also played "Sultans of Swing," by Dire Straights, which was my brothers favorite song.) Was my mom cool, or what?

I won tickets from a radio station to see Don Henley at the former Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in California about 15 years ago, and won tickets again about 8 years ago to see the Eagles front row at Aloha Stadium on Oahu (BTW, the front row is highly overrated!). This time they sold out four shows at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu - I was dying to go and tried to win tickets again but, alas, no such luck. And it would have been far too expensive to fly over there.

Then, they announced they were coming to Maui. Now, you have to realize that this is a HUGE event! These rockers sell out entire stadiums and we are so lucky to have them here, on Maui, at our little A&B Amphitheater - the smallest and most intimate venue on the entire tour. It's kind of like having them play for you personally! I hope this encourages other big name groups to come here. Sting is probably the other biggie to play here, and that was great too.

So, about the tickets. Since they went on sale last Thursday, of course I couldn't take off work to stand in line, so I tried to order them by phone. After an hour of trying to get through and 40 minutes in the voice mail queue on hold, I pretty much talked myself out of it. "It's too expensive," "I was lucky to see them before," "How spoiled can I get?" So I gave up.

Imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law, Barbara, presented Bruce and I with tickets on Saturday morning!!! Our special early Christmas present, she said, since she knew I really, really wanted to go. How great is that? She had gone to see A Chorus Line on Thursday night at the MACC and stopped by the box office (no line!!) and picked them up. THANKS, MOM!

I am so jazzed and Bruce is looking forward to it too. I even dreamt last night that Don Henley came over for dinner - how cool would that be?

The concert's on December 6th. How are we going to wait?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Coffee Craziness

Coffee has been on my mind a lot lately.

My quilt for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival contest is safely in Kona waiting for the show to open on November 10th. Other coffee-themed quilts are swirling in my mind like frappuccino in a blender at Starbucks.

Speaking of Starbucks...I've never been much of a coffee drinker, but once again my palate is changing. As I stand in line pondering my choices: should I have a grande mocha frappuccino double blended no whip, or my new favorite (thanks, Jerry!) - a venti non-fat (sometimes decaf) caramel macchiato? Nothing like a little jolt of sugar-laced caffeine to get you going in the morning.

People ordering coffee drinks always cracked me up and here I am now, one of them! Listening to several pros order their cups of joe (sissy and serious) can be quite intimidating, but once you get the cadence down, you're set. This reminds me of the coffee store scenes in Will Farrell's movie, "Kicking and Screaming," which we saw this week. It was worth watching the movie just for those moments - any coffee orderer can relate and will appreciate them!

No doubt the serious coffee drinkers out there are poo-pooing my taste for coffee drinks (akin to juice cocktail - probably just 10% of the stuff)...

But back to the quilt ideas...I want to make an arty quilt called "Coffee and Cigarettes" (no, I don't smoke, but I like the name!). I wonder what I can come up with?

I think I'll grab a cup and contemplate it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cody Comes Home

This is our darling new boy, Cody. He is a yellow Labrador, eight weeks old. We are thrilled to have another dog in the house!

The first night was a little bumpy, but he's a very good puppy. We are crate training him and he's doing great so far.

Our last dog, Maile, who passed away in April, was an Akita. We've had two Akita's and this is our first Lab. He's quite a different dog...I think he's "tasted" everything he can get his mouth on. In fact, I think he's chewed more in the first 24 hours than Maile did in her whole life! Well, we will have lots of toys for him and give him plenty of attention.

Ginger, our newest kitty, wants to play but doesn't quite know what to make of Cody. She spent most of the afternoon in the avocado tree.
They've come nose to nose a couple of times, but Ginger spits and runs away if Cody moves. I'm sure they'll become fast friends soon - Cody was socialized with the family cats at the breeder, so he just has to wait for her to lighten up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

20 Things About Me

I've seen this on a couple of blogs now, so I thought I'd share some things about me:

  1. I was a hard rock “headbanger” in high school – leather miniskirts, thigh-high boots, silk jackets, bandanas and all.
  2. I loved being in marching band and color guard in high school, and was part of the Velvet Knights drum and bugle corps color guard for three seasons.
  3. Mean kids picked on me from 6th grade to 9th grade.
  4. I had poetry published in Teen Magazine in 1984.
  5. My first car was a Toyota truck, which I turned into a low-rider and then joined a mini-truck club (much to my parents utter annoyance). I had that damn truck for 20 years (the lowering stage was short-lived, however)!
  6. I know how to shoot a gun.
  7. The longest race I’ve run is a half-marathon and would like to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon or full marathon before (or when) I’m 40. (YIKES! That’s only 2 years from now…I’d better get on it!)
  8. I love my husband to distraction and he is also my best friend.
  9. I have very 1950’s thoughts and values when it comes to marriage.
  10. I am a fiercely loyal friend and that can sometimes get me into trouble.
  11. The ocean scares me and enchants me at the same time.
  12. Music is a very important part of my everyday life.
  13. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gone to culinary school.
  14. I am very happy with the direction my quiltmaking is taking.
  15. I still sleepwalk on occasion.
  16. My grandmother had a huge impact on my life and I miss her dearly.
  17. I cherish my small circle of friends.
  18. I love old things and could spend all day in antiques stores (this was cultivated in me at a very early age by my mom who loves old things too).
  19. If money was no object my husband and I would have a farm with lots of animals.
  20. I wish my family wasn't scattered so far apart.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sliced Pineapple Wins at PIQF!

Joan and I had a reason to celebrate this past weekend. Our quilt, "Sliced Pineapple," won the "Best Interpretation of the Theme - Innovative" category at the Pacific International Quilt Festival last weekend.

As you can see, I was lucky enough to be there in person and see the show. The quilts were spectacular and inspiring and there was a nice array of vendors. Keri was there with her quilt and needlepoint designs (Keri Designs - and booth traffic was very good. Hula Kahiko was just behind the pineapple quilt, Joan's fish quilt was right at the entry door, and Shel's quilt was just around the corner from Keri's booth. I even ran into Shel's daughters, grand-daughter and daughter-in-law as I was leaving the show for the airport.

There were 176 quilts in the Innovative category, 115 in the Traditional category, and 115 in the Wall Quilt category. Here are a few notables from my perspective. I tried to keep track of the quilt's and maker's names, but I can't figure this one out. I just love the greens and the frame around the flower to give it focus. If anyone knows the maker, please let me know and I will post an update.

The next one, "Traveling Poppies," was made by Grace Errea and Joan Werner of Laguna Niguel, California. The liked the bright colors and movement of this quilt. You can almost picture the poppies swaying in the wind.

Debra Roby's "Eucalyptus #1" also caught my eye. It was right at the entrance of the show in an excellent "feature" spot, kind of by itself. This is one of my favorite color palettes. Maui has beautiful and stately eucalyptus groves and this quilt really captures the essence of those trees. Note: this picture was taken at an angle (as were most because of the crowds) - it actually hangs straight, square and smooth.

This quilt, "Canopy" by Gloria Loughman, was in the Australian quilts exhibit, "A Slize of Oz." I passed this quilt a couple of times and each time it was surrounded by admirers. The quilt positively glows with color and light.

I have to thank my new friends, Sharon and Daisy, for telling me to be sure to see the International quilts exhibit. We flew up together from Los Angeles on Southwest and their lively company and conversation made the flight pass quickly. One shared cab to the convention center and a few minutes together at the show just wasn't enough time. I'm sorry we didn't have more time together - hope you ladies enjoyed the entire show!

I flew up early Saturday, then back to LA on Sunday, where I had another fun seatmate. It was nice to chat with Martha, who was formerly of San Jose, but now lives in Irvine, and makes it to the show for the weekend with another quilting friend who is still in the Bay Area.

I'm glad to be home now, but brought home a bug with me and have been home sick all week. Hope to be back in top shape soon. Will post more quilt photos as time permits.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pet Tuesday - Ginger Grows Up

My friend Robin has a day on her blog she calls "Family Friday." Well, we don't have any kids, so I thought "Pet Tuesday" would be fun.

Remember "new cutie pie" from a couple of weeks ago? Well, here she is in hunting mode in the backyard. I suspected she would be a good hunter and she is. She already dragged a lizard in the house - alive - and lost it. I'll no doubt come upon its skeleton when I least expect it; kind of like the squished geckos in the doorframe (ugh!).

We decided to name her Ginger since she's got a really "spicy" personality.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Lily of the Nile

This is the inspiration for my latest quilt. I only knew the flower as "agapanthus," but my mom let me know its more lyrical name, "Lily of the Nile."

I have the pattern drawn, which is a full bank of these plants and their firework-like blooms. It's about 72"wx60"h. It started with a photo I took, which I traced onto a transparent overhead sheet, then blew up to the size I wanted. My friend Joan let me use her overhead projector and design wall so I could get it the size I needed.

I'll be shopping for fabrics on my trip to California this week. I'll have about one day in So. Cal., then one day at the Pacific International Quilt Festival. I'm SURE I'll find something good there!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Visit from Barbara

I have a list of things I want to post, but have to get all my pictures together, then write the posts, etc., etc. Those of you with blogs know where I'm coming from! Where does the time go?

This is a picture of my new friend, Barbara Murak, and me at the Maui Quilt Guild September meeting. Barbara gave an inspiring presentation featuring her work over the years. There was something for everyone and it was neat to see her progression as an artist and what she's achieved. Her warm and gentle nature was extremely well received by our group. Check out her amazing website at

We're planning a postcard swap with her group in Buffalo for the beginning of the year. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The Artful Quilters ring owner recently asked us this question, "What magazines do you subscribe to, and why?"

Well, without launching into a long-winded diatribe about the delivery of magazines to Hawaii via the US Postal Service, let's just suffice it to say that it takes forever for magazines to get here. Actually, I think they swim them over on the backs of dolphins, or possibly send them by outrigger canoe, it takes so long. The same applies for mail order catalogs: nothing like getting "order by Dec. 20 for Christmas delivery" when the catalog arrives on Valentine's day.

That being said, I subscribe to a grand total of one magazine: Quilting Arts. I love it and subscribed because when they started you couldn't buy it here. Then Borders started bringing it in, but in small quantities, so you might sometimes miss out. They now bring in more stock, so I will most likely let my subscription lapse and just pick it up here when it comes out. Thankfully, Borders flies it in.

Other magazines I pick up occasionally:

  • Cloth, Paper, Scissors: I had a charter subscription to this one and liked it, but didn't renew because I needed to focus on quilting. I didn't need any other projects and goodies and wanted to try everything I read.
  • Bon Appetit: Love this one too. My SIL gave me a subscription for Christmas one year and I continue to buy it locally (see subscription lament above).
  • Gourmet or Food & Wine: Once in awhile, when I'm feeling fancy.
  • Runners World: Loved this one when I was running and plan to start picking it up when I get back to it.
  • Quilters Newsletter: Once in awhile, particularly if the cover appeals to me.
  • Other quilting magazines: rarely. I still buy American Patchwork & Quilting's Quilt Sampler when it comes out.
  • I also pick up "O", Vanity Fair, and various other magazines when I want to read about something or someone featured.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Where are the quilts??

September 13, 2005 - Maui Gas Price today: $3.99 for regular.

Where are the quilts, you ask. Well, between starting the new job, a few visitors, a new kitten and general chaos in our work-in-progress house, I haven't had more than one moment to work on anything remotely related to fabric.

Did I mention our remodel fell through? Thanks to the county, who changed the zoning in our neighborhood in 1997 unbeknownst to us, our addition would have been within the new 15ft setbacks. So, no expanded living area and no sewing studio. Ergggh. As a result, all of my fabric and sewing gadgetry is stacked in the laundry room and garage, waiting for the day when we can figure out a solution to our space issue. Thankfully, I can still access it when I need to.

I have 4 projects in motion right now, begging to be finished: a chemo quilt for another family member stricken with cancer, a quilt for the Quilts, Inc. project (, my self-portrait for Quilting Arts magazine, which must be postmarked by Thursday, and my guild's mystery challenge which is due at the October 4th meeting.

Last month, my new friend Barbara Murak ( came to visit and did a presentation for our guild. She left me with a beautiful piece of hand painted fabric and one of her Solvy creations to wash out. I can't wait to play with that, either.

Lastly, I have my newest quilt drafted and ready to go. My friend Joan let me use her overhead projector back in July to enlarge and trace it onto pattern paper. It's about 6'x5'. Once I find a place to pin it up, I'll post a pic.

So, for now, be patient with me. I'll have new quilt stuff posted soon!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Some People's Taste...

I realized the other day, as I was perusing my Amazon wish list, that I have very unusual taste in music. Right there, in the middle of a bunch of Alternative Rock, was the new Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers DVD set - which appeals to my appreciation of show tunes, which I probably developed watching old movies and the Lawrence Welk Show with my grandma.

I grew up listening to good Classic Rock: Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR, Aerosmith, Kansas, Queen, Eagles, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. I had a tiny AM transistor radio and a tape recorder with a microphone so I could record my favorite songs off the radio, disk jockey interruptions and all. In high school, my taste expanded to New Wave (Oingo Boingo, Wall of Voodoo, Flock of Seagulls, Devo, Thompson Twins) and some punk, while still sticking to my love of rock (Ozzy, The Cars, Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi) further enhanced by my then boyfriend, who was a drummer in a local rock band.

Shortly after high school, I met my husband, who grew up in Laguna Beach, California. As appropriate for the surf set he enjoyed listening to Rock, but would most likely be listening to Reggae. This was new to me and it took awhile to slow down and appreciate the easy rhythms of the music. I'm partial to Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers "Play the Game Right," which is probably the first Reggae tape I listened to, and which we no longer have in our collection, but the Bob Marley classic "Legend" in my car CD player right now.

But now, my taste is turning back to hard rock and alternative, and I love Seether, Audioslave (and Soundgarden), Weezer, Cake, Beck, Stained, Nickelback, and even Nine Inch Nails. Add a little Fiona Apple, Garbage, Tori Amos, and Hole to the mix and I'm happy.

My husband, who doesn't share my appreciation for some of the harder stuff, just rolls his eyes and smiles. I just say, "There's no accountin' for some people's taste!"

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Never Say Never!

I have a new job. Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be working in a place surrounded by kids, but here I am, the new accounting and HR manager for Boys & Girls Club of Maui. And it's great!

For those of you who don't know know, we have a "child-free" household. I often thought that kids really annoyed me, but I'm coming to realize that it's not so much the kids, but their bad behavior and/or lack of parental guidance. I love my nieces and nephew dearly and am happy to be the "Auntie," but having children of my own appeals to me less and less the older I get.

I went through one period of baby lust in my early 20's, when all of my peers were having kids. It all seemed so sweet and romantic when they came to visit. Then you hear about the horrors: fevers, earaches, crankiness, temper tantrums, lack of babysitters, lack of free "me-time," unhappy husbands, lack of "we-time," rotten teenagers and more, then the shine sort of wears off. I know of a few women my age (late 30's) with children of various ages who, despite the fact that they love their kids, appear to be suffering from something I call "baby regret." They bought into the family program and are surprised that they got much more than they bargained for. Call me spoiled or selfish, but I can't imagine giving up or sharing the time I have with my husband, our family and friends, our pets, or my creative time - my schedule is full.

But back to the job...

The kids here at the club are friendly and well-mannered. They are here to have a good time, learn, and share experiences with their friends. I am fairly well sequestered in my office dealing with the day-to-day accounting and staff HR issues, but the interactions I have with the kids are always positive (so far, and I hope it stays that way!). The adults are warm and caring and are great to have as co-workers. I feel like I am in an environment with people I can relate to who are on my level and it's nice.

Even with the ruckus in the club held to a dull roar by the steel door of my office, the warm and friendly atmosphere of 100+ kids having a good time is palpable, and I like it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New Cutie Pie

This is our new kitten, as yet un-named. Our older cat, Ruby, doesn't seem to mind her. Rather, she just looks at her with the disdain only cats can muster.

She is very tiny, only about 6 weeks old, but she is full of pep and energy! She came home with us last Sunday night and has really made herself at home.

We're hoping she'll grow up to be a great hunter (for rats, not birds, that is!).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Quilt Conference Countdown

Yeah! Quilt Hawaii starts tomorrow. All of my quilting friends here on Maui are gathering their supplies and packing their trunks in anticipation of the show.

I've yet to pack! I've also not selected the fabric for the "Giant Dahlia" class on Sunday. I toyed with the idea of not going to that class because the samples I've seen are so uninspiring, but this morning on DIY just before Simply Quilts, Staci Michell was giving a fabric dyeing demo and there was on with hand-dyes on the wall behind her. OK. Now I know what I want...but can I get my act together in time??

Thursday and Friday are full day classes with Libby Lehman of "Threadplay" fame. I am so looking forward to being a student instead of a teacher and spending two full days (maybe three) playing with fabric and thread, visiting the quilt show, and seeing what the different vendors have to offer. It is not often that we have such an event in our own back yard (it's been four years since Quilt Hawaii was here last), so I'm planning to make the most of it! See the show website at

More news later...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Juggler

The Summer 2005 issue of Quilting Arts magazine has a self portrait challenge. I've always wanted to do one and this seemed like a good place to start.

When I read the description for the challenge and thought about "a snapshot of how you see yourself on any given day" it made me think of all the things I have to juggle. Of course, I don't do it in such a pretty dress (usually in shorts, t-shirt and running shoes), but that's what worked with my design.

I'll post more pics as soon as I start adding the things I juggle each day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quilt Fever

I'm sick with a case of quilt fever. Like any other ailment, it comes upon me at the most inopportune times! Right now my house is a construction zone and I'm supposed to be helping with various projects, not to mention everyday chores like cooking and cleaning. It is not a good time to get out fabric or my sewing machine (after all, I just cleaned up after one quilt), yet I am compelled to do so.

Two weeks ago I heard about the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Quilt Contest. I hear about challenges, contests and shows almost every day through various sources: email, magazines, friends, etc., and certainly don't act on every one. But for some reason after hearing about this one, my mind went crazy with ideas. I pulled out paper and pencil and drew up a pretty good sketch for a design. And I don't even drink coffee!!

Later that week, I received the latest issue of Quilting Arts magazine and read about the Self Portrait Challenge. This one simmered a little longer before taking hold, but right now I am sitting in front of another workable design idea. I'm just trying to figure out how I can squeeze in some creative time tonight so I can at least cut out the pieces. Thankfully, it is only 8 1/2 x 11 inches. The deadline isn't until September...but I have quilt fever NOW!

Fusible, here I come!

Hula Kahiko to Quilt Hawaii

Speaking of hand applique, the border on this quilt was done in just that manner.

When I designed the border, I asked my husband if I should do the applique by hand or machine. He said, "You spent all that time on the inside, why would you take a shortcut now?" Translation: Do it by hand.

Bruce has had a front row seat to my quilting activities over the years. He is artistic and creative in his own right and has a good eye. He has developed an especially keen eye for quilts and is very good at zeroing in on the areas I'd prefer to keep secret. There is no cutting corners on his watch.

I'm actually glad he urged me to do the work by hand. I think it lends a little bit of a traditional Hawaiian quilting aspect to this piece since the rest of it, other than the subject matter, is decidedly contemporary.

I contemplated doing the applique by machine, since I was down to the wire to get it finished for another show earlier this year. I am very definitely the "Queen of the Last Minute" when it comes to deadlines, which has sometimes backfired and did on this quilt. I sometimes get into a rush and do things I wouldn't normally do if I just sat back and thought about it for awhile.

After it wasn't accepted in that particular show, I took out all the quilting on her skirt, which was heavy and flattened it out. I also added the beads to the pieced inner border.

The lesson I learned from this quilt is to slow down and do what is right for the piece, and don't cut corners just to rush a quilt into a show. I think I'd rather forego a deadline than enter something I just didn't feel was my best effort.

She's ready now.

To Fuse or Not to Fuse

I've long had friends who swore by fusing, but I've always associated it with the stiff, cardboard-like appliques of ducks and chicks on baby quilts (even though they didn't make those kinds of quilts). I even had the same association with satin stitching, but more on that later.

I've been a hand appliquer most of my quilting life. I love the rhythmic stitching of needle-turning which I learned from master Hawaiian quilter, Wailani Johansen, when I moved to Maui almost 15 years ago. I've needle-turned my way through a queen size Hawaiian quilt, several wall hangings, and tons of pillows. Fusing seemed like cheating.

But as my work moves away from the traditional Hawaiian designs to a more contemporary look, I'm finding that needle-turning is taking a back seat to other faster techniques. Although I've dabbled with fused pieces here and there, it really didn't hit me until I wanted to make "Kona Sunrise" (see previous posts) for a contest at the last minute.

Knowing that it would be impossible to hand applique the tree and all the leaves AND finish the quilt in a week, I pulled out my Wonder Under and got to work. And I LIKED IT. But did I have enough WU to finish the quilt? NOOO. When I needed to fuse the coffee berries, which are hand dyed silk, I discovered I was out of WU and had to resort to my back up: a piece of Steam-A-Seam. UGH. I don't like it. It didn't stick well to the silk and made cutting the 287 coffee berries cumbersome. It also gummed up the needle when I threaded the quilt.

So, now I am on a quest to find the perfect fusible to have on hand when I want to use it. I know there are many different types, and WU is a good start, but it will be fun playing with the different types on smaller projects until I find the one that works best for me.

I will still hand applique, but as we quilters know, there is more than one way to get a quilt made.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Coffee Quilt Home Stretch

It's a good thing that the deadline was extended for the Coffee Quilt Contest. I had forgotten how much time it takes to machine quilt a quilt on my Bernina. As much as I love my Bernina, I truly miss my old Gammill. The good news is, I may have another longarm before the year is out!

So, after three days of machine quilting this holiday weekend on the good old 160, I am pooped and my poor machine is pretty irritated. Things went smoothly until I made it stitch through the layers of fabric, Wonder Under, batting and decorative thread, and it began to balk. I changed feet, changed needles, even changed bobbin cases, but still had thread breakage and other ISSUES that were driving me crazy.

Then, of course, I ran out of thread and couldn't buy it locally (on Maui, decorative threads are virtually non-exisitent!). Thankfully, my dear friend Joan came to the rescue. She is the Queen of Thread. I ordered my back up from Web of Thread ( and will replace her spool with a full one when it arrives. There is a handful of leaves to finish quilting, but the binding, sleeve and label are on, so it's nearly done!

One of the most interesting things about this project is that it doesn't look anything like my original design. This quilt took on a life of its own and morphed into something completely different. There isn't even a suitable place to sew on the fun little glass coffee bean beads I managed to find, but that's OK.

I'm sure they'll find their way into another quilt later on.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hawaiian Sunset

It's summertime and we are treated to some gorgeous sunsets. This is the view from my sister-in-law's house in Kula, Maui. They call this a bi-coastal view, since you can see both the north (right) and south (left) shores from her house on the side of Haleakala (the House of the Sun).

Bruce's Grandma Lanning once gave us a picture with the following saying: "May you have enough clouds to create a beautiful sunset."

Grandma, you must have had this in mind.

Monday, June 27, 2005

In the Trenches, Literally

How is this quilt related, you might ask? Well, you're looking at the open area for our new room addition, part of which will be my studio. Bruce and I live in a small studio in his mom, Barbara's, house. This will give us both some stretching space, and I will have my own working space. When I closed my store in 2001, I lost my lovely 1,000 sf classroom/studio. Since then I've been working where I can, mostly on folding tables, requiring me to "clean up" often.

The "trenches" title of this post refers to the 50ft long trench you see in the left of the picture. Bruce dug most of the 2ft deep trench himself for a new drain line and sprinkler system, but I helped finish the last 20% or so and filled it all back in. When you are doing building projects on a tight budget, you do as much of the work yourself as you can. Thank heaven my darling husband, who is a carpenter, knows how to do it all.

Quilt in a Few Days-Part 2

"Kona Sunrise" is coming along! I finished the borders, tree and leaf applique, and started adding the beans. This is the quilt I started last week for the Kona Coffee Quilt Contest, the entry deadline of which is June 30!

My husband, Bruce, and I spent the weekend searching Maui for the best beads for the coffee beans, but came up empty handed. So, hand-dyed silk to the rescue! My friend, Robin Ferrier, is dyeing beautiful silks these days and I was lucky to have the perfect piece. I spent last night cutting out a bunch of little beans and will fuse them on today so I can quilt it tonight. You can see Robin's blog at

I've decided that I like fusible A LOT, especially when you have a ton of applique to do on a last minute quilt. I started out with Wonder Under, which I like the best so far. I ran out of it half way through and switched to Steam-a-Seam, which I don't like nearly as much. For some reason, it doesn't stick too well to the silk.

On to the quilting...

First Place!

My quilt, "Night Light" came home today. The First Place ribbon for the Wall Quilts - Mixed category from the National Quilting Association show was wrapped up inside.

I was so surprised to see my name listed on the NQA website the day the show opened in Columbus, Ohio. Today, when the show booklet arrived, I saw that there were 36 entries in this division, which makes the award even sweeter.

I worked hard on this quilt and feel that it is my best "technical" effort. It is square, hangs smooth and straight, and the binding has nice, mitered corners.

I am flying high!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Quilt in a Few Days

This is an exciting first post! My poor blog has been languising for months, waiting for me to do something, so I thought I'd start out by posting a pic of my latest quilt, "Kona Sunrise," in progress.

I have to finish it by Monday, so I can photograph it and send in my entry for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival quilt contest (see the details at I just found out about it last Tuesday and got right to work.

Thanks to my friends on the QuiltArt list, it will be embellished with coffee bean beads as a final finishing touch. I still have a ways to go, though, including borders and quilting. I always love a challenge and seem to work well under pressure, so I'll post more when it's done. Aloha!