Saturday, January 31, 2009

More house quilts #2

"This is the Life #1", 24"w x 22"h. I've made a whole series of "This is the Life" quilts, just using different colors. I teach a workshop where people learn to make the house and the borders using a curved piecing technique.

"Over the Hill", 15"w x 12"h. I made this highly embellished piece in a workshop taught by Susan Shie. I've always enjoyed her quilts.

"Good Neighbors #2", 16" x 24". This is a class sample for one of my quilting workshops. The pattern for these three houses was taken from the border of my quilt "Make an Appointment". In this workshop I teach the students to draw their own whimsical cartoony houses, and make them in fusible applique. People think they can't draw, but when given permission to draw in a childlike way, they really have fun.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tara's 17th Birthday

Our beautiful daughter Tara is 17 today. Here is her photo when she was six. (Click on photos to make them bigger.)

This is her first formal, which she wore to the Rose Prom in 2006.

Here is a cute photo of her in August 2008.
We are so proud of her, and are so thankful we had one rose amongst all our thorns.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cheaper than cheap

I just read "Places That Are Your Friend in a Recession" by Jeffrey Strain, and I had to say "DUH!" I was already doing everything he suggested. Here are the "places" where he said to go to save money.

Have a Garden: I've never done one before, but after reading about the current severe drought in California, it will be really wise to grow our own salad ingredients this year. I bought vermiculite and cow manure mulch Tuesday, and will be making a Square Foot Garden soon. Stay tuned for my progress on this.

Stay in your kitchen instead of going out to eat: I heard that someone on the Oprah show challenged the audience to only eat out once a month, and the whole audience groaned. I really never eat out, so this is not a change for me.

I am starting to try all different meals made exclusively from my food storage. Tuesday I made northern beans with TVP ham in it. I cooked it in the crockpot, Wayne didn't like the taste of the ham TVP but I liked it ok. I also made cornbread using powdered eggs and powdered milk, and it was great.

Local Library: I have read thousands of books over the years from the library. It is one of my favorite places. Why pay for books when you can get them for free?

I used to check out huge piles of books for my kids every week. In 2001 when the Cary library card system was changed, I asked them if there was a record of all the books I had checked out. From 1995-2001 I had checked out 4428 books. After that, they changed the system and didn't have it on record anymore.

Used-goods sellers: I love yard sales, I love Goodwill, I love to shop second-hand stores and thrift stores. It is like a treasure hunt.

The Internet: I am one of the reasons newspapers and magazines are going broke. I get all my news from the Internet.

Hobbies: Just let me sew all day and I won't have to pay for any other entertainment.

If I have been this cheap for years, and now I'm supposed to live cheaper, I don't even know where to start! I guess everyone else can save money switching to these things, but I'm already there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Near Tragedy in the Lake

Wayne and I went on a walk a week ago, after we got 6 inches of snow. We have a lake in our neighborhood, and there is a parkbench on a tall bank by the lake. I went over to it and brushed the snow off the bench, and suddenly I slipped on the steep snowcovered bank and started sliding down toward the water. (Above: You can see in the snow the place where I slid down.)

Miraculously I grabbed the park bench and stopped sliding. I was so shocked, I realized I almost fell into the icy cold water. I kept thinking of it the rest of the day, what would have happened? I guess it was shallow enough for me to have gotten right out, but I would have been so cold and wet and it was about a half mile to our house. Moral of the story- stay far away from the edge of the cliff. You never know when you will slip and fall.

Below: I took that photo from the other side of the lake. You can see the bench at the top of the bank. (click on photos to make them bigger.)

(P.S. Lyric had read my Chuck It List, and commented that I should be careful what I say I will never do, because it might happen. "Never go swimming again" is on the list. She was right, I almost went swimming.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More house quilts #1

Anytime I can't think of what to put on a quilt, it is natural for me to put houses. Its about my favorite subject, I don't know why. Above: "Little Neighborhood", 17" w x 21"h. Below: "Frazzled", 17"w x 18"h.
Bottom photo: "Ragtag Houses", 17"w x 50"h.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Make an Appointment" quilt

I have made many quilts over the years with houses on them. This is one of my most famous quilts. It is 81" high x 66" wide. I made it in 2001, and it has been published several times and won many awards. I made the houses using fusible applique with satin stitching around them.

It says, "If you want to see me, come over anytime. If you want to see my house, MAKE AN APPOINTMENT".

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Shape of a House

For some reason, the shape of a house (square with pointy triangle roof) is my very favorite shape of all. My friend Lyric puts a lot of circles on her art quilts, I tend to put houses on mine.
I collect little houses, and other things shaped like houses, like these printers trays(below) or these salt and pepper shakers (right).

I really like this "Old Woman in a Shoe" piggy bank, it was one of my first "house" purchases, I got it at an antique store.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bryce's Mission Photos #3

Bryce on his mission in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Here is photo of Bryce's companion and some other people. I noticed that there are at least 6 different tablecloths in this photo. And look at the top photo, there is a vintage Christmas tablecloth on top of the fridge. I keep noticing that in almost every photo he sends, there are some really fun vintage textiles that I wish I could use in some of my quilts. (Just cloth tablecloths, I wouldn't use the plastic ones of course.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bryce's Mission Photos #2

Here are Bryce's living quarters in the Oaxaca, Mexico mission. Pretty bare. Sorry the picture is sideways, I don't know how to turn it yet. (Click on photos to make them bigger).

Actually, these are the best living quarters he has ever had on his mission. He had one place that was just a shack.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bryce's Mission photos #1

Bryce just sent us a CD of his photos from the past six months. He is on a mission in Oaxaca, Mexico and will come home July 27.

Right: Here is a street in Mexico.

Below: Its a tradition that when a missionary hits his one-year mark, he burns a shirt. Bryce is about to burn this one.

Right: No comment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Joy of Being Amy

(this is the second half of the talk I gave in Tara's Laurel class at church on Sunday.)
I was called to be the Public Affairs chairman for the Raleigh temple open house around July 1999, and I accepted the calling, but I went home discouraged because I had wanted to enter the Church International Art competition and the deadline was Nov. 1999. The temple open house was Dec. 1999, and I didn't think I could do both. I know the Lord helped me, because even though I was dreadfully busy doing the planning for the open house, it was like I had a timeturner from the Harry Potter books, because I miraculously finished my "Book of Mormon Stories" quilt in time for the competition, and the quilt was accepted into the museum. The Lord blessed me with what I wanted, because I was willing to do the work he called me to do.

We were blessed with money for our boys' missions. I was miraculously hired to do a large commission quilt for the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in 2001-2002, and it more than paid for Adam's mission, and it gave me joy to feel that I was a success at my quilting career

Because of the way the Lord has helped me in the past, I know that He would help me now to teach seminary and to continue my quilting business. I struggled with it for the first year I was teaching seminary, but by the second year I decided I just couldn't stand to do both.

So it is my own decision to take a sabbatical from teaching quilting, I just can't take the stress of the business plus prepare a seminary lesson every day. But I don't feel bad about it, because I know that the Lord didn't force me to quit my business, I know it was my own decision.

I know that the Lord wants us to have joy, and helps us with our joy. If it is important to us, the Lord will help us because He loves us. I know that the Lord helps us in our responsibilities and in our church callings.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Joy of Being Amy

Yesterday Tara gave the lesson in her Laurel class, and she asked me to speak and tell about the Joy of Being a Woman. I spoke for 10 minutes. I said I would speak on the Joy of Being Amy, because I have had lots of joy in my life, and how do I know how much of it is because of being a woman, and how much of it is just because I have the personality I have.

I loved to sew from the time I was 12 years old, and I remember it was difficult when I was a young mother, because I felt like I had to get everything done before I could have fun and sew. Therefore, days went by without having any fun. I went to my brother Larry's graduation from BYU, and they told about the apostle Boyd K. Packer's hobby of carving beautiful bird statues. I realized then that even an apostle is allowed to find joy in an artistic hobby and I didn't have to feel guilty.

So from then on, I have tried to give myself a little "happy time" every day or at least several times a week. I have a testimony that the Lord wants us to have joy in life. I told the girls that they all need to find something that brings them joy and make time to fit it into their lives.

I have a testimony that the Lord will help us in our quest for joy. I was trying to make a 50th anniversary quilt for Wayne's parents in 1998 with family pictures on it. The photo transfers were not working, and time was running out to send the quilt to them by their anniversary. I prayed about the problem, and as clear as a newspaper headline, the answer appeared written in my brain "USE SATIN".

I was shocked and wondered how in the world would God know how to use that particular brand of photo transfer paper. I found satin, and ironed the photo on, and it peeled off perfectly. Every photo I did on satin is beautiful, and all the ones I had done using cotton look faded and rough, and in fact half of them didn't even transfer. So God knew it would work to use satin.

I never could have predicted that God would help me on something that probably wasn't important to Him, but He knew it was important to me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hill Cumorah 2003, 2005

We got accepted into the cast of the Hill Cumorah Pageant for our third time, and we are so excited! Here are photos of our family in our costumes from the last two times we have been in the pageant.

July 2003: Wayne, Amy, Seth, Bryce, Tara and Zac.

July 2005: Wayne, Amy, Bryce, Tara, and Zac.

And for July 2009, there will just be 4 of us. Bryce will come home from his mission a week after we come home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Our family climbed at Triangle Rock Club while Seth was home for Christmas break. (Click on photos to make them bigger.) Wayne came too, but somehow he isn't in any of the photos.

Isaac's family came and watched Isaac climb too.

Above, I only belay, I never climb.
Left, Tara is belaying Seth. Below, Zac is belaying Isaac.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Camping in the Swamp

Doesn't this look like a great place to be on Dec. 28? Wayne, Seth, and Zac all went with the scout troop to canoe and camp at Merchant's Mill Pond, which is connected to the Great Dismal Swamp. They had a great time.

I wouldn't be caught dead at a place like that. (Click on photo to make it bigger.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Hot Stuff" quilt

This is a "Crooked Log Cabin" quilt I made last year, called "Hot Stuff". It is 25" x 25", and is embellished with couched yarn. To couch, I use a free-motion foot, and zigzag using monofilament in the top and regular thread in the bobbin. You can click on the photos to make them bigger and see the stitching.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Chuck It List

Things I never want to do.

Never go swimming again.
Never mow the lawn.
Never do a block-of-the-month or kit quilt.
Never attend a sales pitch in order to get a free vacation.
Never buy something from a telemarketer. Don't even talk to them.
Never wear uncomfortable shoes.
Never wear hose in the summer.
Never pass a stranded woman and child without helping them.
Never let a stranger come to church without greeting them.
Never be alone with someone without asking them the golden question.
Never eat peach or licorice flavored anything.
Never cook a turkey (Wayne always does it.)
Never own a pet.
Never have live plants in the house.
Never have so much food in the freezer that we'll lose a lot in an ice storm or hurricane
Never eat shellfish, crustaceans, or mullusks.
Never pierce my ears.
Never wait in long lines.
Never fight traffic close to a parade.
Never go camping again.
Never go to the bathroom on the ground again.
Never sleep under the stars.
Never hold a bug.
Never sing a solo.
Never bungee jump.
Never go skinny dipping.
Never run a marathon.
Never go sky diving.
Never break a bone.
Never get a tattoo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Bucket List

I thought of this list of Stuff I Want To Do Before I Die after I watched the movie The Bucket List, of course. (I liked that movie.)

See the Church's Granite storage vaults
Write my Life Story #2
Be in the audience of a TV show.
Attend Paducah, Kentucky AQS quilt show.
Go to Pigeon Forge car show with Wayne
Wear a Glinda the Good Witch dress in public.
See what its like to stand behind a 2-way mirror in some store or public building.
Go to all my children's and grandchildren's temple marriages.
Go to Newport CT and tour The Breakers
Go to Hearst Castle. California
Take kids and their families to England
Go on a cruise
Stay in one of the famous wooden National Park lodges
Go to New York City- see a musical on Broadway
Have a beautiful sky painted on a ceiling in my home.
Make baby quilts for every grandchild.
Ride a Segway- rent one for an hour or more.
Grow vegetables.
Publish a book.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Mother's Necklace

I have a necklace in my jewelry box that my mom gave me. It is fun to look at her old photo and see her wearing it.

It makes me hope my kids will have something of mine someday that they feel nostalgic about.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Book of Mormon Stories" Quilt, post #5

At the end of the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites had a huge war, and all the Nephites were destroyed. (See Mormon chapters 6-8) That left only the dark-skinned Lamanites on this continent. We believe that the Lamanites are the ancestors of the Native Americans.
After all of his people were destroyed, Moroni was the only Nephite left. He finished engraving his record upon the gold plates, and buried them. (see Moroni 10) These gold plates were delivered by an an angel to Joseph Smith in 1827, and he translated them and published them as the Book of Mormon (see Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Book of Mormon Quilt" post #4

Of course there really wasn't a "Wanted" poster in Jerusalem, but Lehi and his family did have to flee for their lives after Lehi prophesied that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed. (see 1 Nephi 1:18-20).
This is a picture of Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life (see 1 Nephi 8)
Here is Alma baptizing at the Waters of Mormon (see Mosiah 18).

Friday, January 9, 2009

"Book of Mormon Stories" Quilt, post #3

The three dark sides surrounding Christ's panel portray the three days of darkness when the tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds, physical upheavals and destruction occurred in the New World just after the time of Jesus' crucifixion in the Old World. (See 3 Nephi chapter 8 in the Book of Mormon) Click on the photos to make them bigger.

The fabric colors I used to make the people, buildings, and trees in those sections are the same colors I used throughout the quilt. However, I covered those sections with black organza to make it look like darkness.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Book of Mormon Stories" Quilt, post #2

This panel depicts the resurrected Christ coming to visit the people in the New World, as He prophesied He would do in John 10:16 "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." In the Book of Mormon, His appearance in America is told in 3 Nephi 15.

Click on the photo to make it bigger, and you will see the yellow glow around Jesus. I accomplished that by cutting ovals of yellow tulle (netting) in graduated sizes, and piling them up under him. This makes the "glow" less and less bright as it goes out from the center.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Book of Mormon Stories" Quilt, post #1

I made this 103" x 60" quilt in 2000, specifically for the 2000 International Fine Arts Competition for the Church Museum of Arts and History, and it was accepted and hung in the museum March - Sept 2000. (Click on photo to make it bigger.)

People of all faiths have enjoyed seeing my "Book of Mormon Stories" quilt. When I speak at guilds, I speak about the technical parts of the quilt, but in seeing the pictures they can't help learning something about the Book of Mormon in the process.

I look at it this way--if a person was from some Eastern religion, and had made a pictorial quilt using pictures from their own religious writings that I wasn't familiar with, I wouldn't feel offended if they told me a tiny bit about what each block portrayed. I don't go into much detail at all, but I do show them the block where Christ comes to America. Thats an important part of the Book of Mormon, and it is the central block of the quilt, and besides, it has some cool embellishment on it. So I tell about the embellishment techniques and then go on with my lecture. Just my own little contribution to their knowledge.

I plan to make many more quilts related to my faith in God, I think it is a great topic and I want to show that I am open about my religion, and able to show my beliefs in public.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fabric Nativity Scenes

I had fun this summer sewing these nativity scenes for my current and future grandchildren. I made three complete sets, but only stuffed one set, and gave it to Isaac's children at Christmas. (Click on photos to make them bigger).

As you can see, I found some McDonald's Happy Meal toys for the animals, so I didn't have to sew them. (Remember, I graduated from the School of Good Enough.)

It takes a long time to add all the headpieces and trimmings, so I will wait until Adam and Seth start having kids before I finish their sets. THEN I will wait for Bryce, Tara, and Zac to have kids before I begin another three sets.

These aren't stuffed or decorated yet. Sorry, I don't know how to turn the photo sideways.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Remembering these brave military men

Years ago, Wayne had a scout in his troop named Eric Croft. Eric's mother just forwarded the following note from him. I was very touched when I watched the video.

"Here is a video someone put together for the guys in our battalion who were killed overseas in Al Dora, they put it all over the web and it is very good, two of the guys on there were very good friends of mine, SSG Moon and SPC Workman from Baker Co. It is about 15 min. long so make sure you have time to watch it, send it to whoever you think might want to see it, these guys need to be remembered for what they did while normal people lived their lives in peace and woke up free everyday because these men were able to take the fight to the enemy and stare death in the face everyday."- Eric Croft

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I have kept a diary every single day since the 7th grade. And in the back of every diary for the past twenty-five years, I have kept a list of all the books I have read that year. I read between 20-70 books per year, almost all from the library, because I rarely buy them.

I read mostly non-fiction, and I have gone through many topics. I get interested in something and then read everything on that subject for a number of years, until I can no longer find any books about it that I haven't read. Here are some of the topics I have extensively read about: the Beatles, the Civil War, World War II, LDS Church History, natural disasters and calamities, diseases and epidemics, stock market crashes and bubbles, self-help books. In my younger years I read a lot of motherhood/parenting books.

Here are some of my very favorite authors, I have tried to read everything they have written: Barbara Tuchman, Hugh Nibley, A.J. Jacobs, J.K. Rowling, Ann B. Ross (Miss Julia Series).

I will be giving lots of book reviews in this blog, because there are SO MANY books I want to recommend.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fabric Buying Moratorium

In April 2007, a woman showed me her "fabric room". It was a good sized room, completely filled with shelves, which were totally filled with folded pieces of fabric. She proudly showed me all her collections of Asian fabric, truck fabric, daisy fabric, turtle fabric, striped fabric, etc, and told me how she was planning to make a quilt out of each collection.

I left there feeling troubled. I could see that she was a compulsive purchaser of fabric. I felt that she was delusional in thinking that she was going to live long enough to make all those quilts. I didn't want to be like her.

This is how much fabric I have. Three cabinets full. But she had more than 30 cabinets this full.

It made me take a second look at all the fabric I had collected. I made a vow to buy no more fabric for ONE YEAR and see if I could finish all the unfinished objects (UFO's) that I had, using only the fabric I already owned.

I am proud to say that for the past year and 8 months I have kept my bargain with myself. I spent no money on fabric from April 2007-April 2008, and completed 9 quilts in 2007 and completed 8 quilts and 5 quilt tops for future grandbabies in 2008. One of the quilts I finished just last month was one I started in 1992--it took me 16 years to finish it.

After April 2008, I allowed myself to purchase fabric, but I have spent very little, and it was just what was necessary to finish UFO's.

I only have 2 UFO's left, and then I will be free to start whatever new quilts I want. I think it was a great challenge, and I really enjoyed coming up with ways to use the fabric I had, instead of constantly running out to buy more.

(On second thought, I have to put a disclaimer on "spent no money on fabric from April 2007-April 2008". I did let myself buy second-hand from yard sales, thrift shops, and from the guild silent auctions. I knew I would never be able to pass up something unusual and cheap.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Took me 16 years to finish

The name of this twin-sized quilt is "Wild Thing", and I started it in 1992. I had some real issues with quilting it and with putting it together in sections, so every time I worked on it a while I would put it away again in my UFO box ("unfinished objects"). This past year, when I made a goal to finish all my UFO's, I finally got down to work and finished it. The shaped binding took forever!

I have made more than a hundred wallhangings, but this is only about the third bedsize quilt I have made.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Family Update Jan. 2009

Here is the family photo we took on Christmas Day 2008. (We are at someone else's house. So that's not my house you see behind us.) Click on the picture to make it bigger. And see the picture of Bryce below.

For the first post of the year, I thought I would give a short update on everyone in the family.

WAYNE: On Jan. 5 Wayne will start a new shift at work. He has agreed to work from 4 a.m. to noon every day for a year. This might be good for him because he finds it difficult to get more than 6 hours of sleep per night anyway, and when he comes home from work at noon every day he will have the opportunity to take a nap. So he might be getting more sleep instead of less on this schedule. And he gets paid more!

AMY: I am on "sabbatical" from my quilting business, I only have a few jobs lined up. I found that teaching early morning seminary and teaching at quilt guilds nationwide were not a good mix, so I am postponing the quilt business for awhile. We still have two teenagers at home so I'm glad I'm not employed right now.

ADAM AND TIFFANY: Both are still in school, Adam at NCSU and Tiffany working on her doctorate at Duke. They live in Durham.

ISAAC AND RACHEL: He just graduated from BYU, they moved here with their two little children, Elizabeth (2) and Thomas (6 mos). They are now in Cary 2nd Ward. He starts at his accounting job Jan. 5!

SETH: He is home for Christmas, he'll go back to BYU tomorrow. Seth's girlfriend, Janette, came to town during the Christmas break because her sister was marrying a NC boy in the Raleigh temple. So Janette came a day earlier and stayed with us and hung out with our family. We like her!

BRYCE: He has only seven months left until he comes home from his mission in Oaxaca, Mexico. Click on the picture to make it bigger.

TARA: Junior in high school.

Zac: Freshman in high school.