Thursday, March 31, 2011

This came from my friend in Alaska today..made me laugh, hope you find it funny also

Thank Heavens for Friends with Cameras! Thank you Susan

Stuck up is where I love to sleep when I am at Asilomar. Nice room, quiet and smells like the ocean and fresh air. Stay tuned for more photos as the girls send them to me. In cese you didn't read before I lost my camera which had hundreds of great photos. So sad. I am off to go and buy another one at Costco.I am in hopes this will help me find the old one. Does this make sense?
This is Janice working on her great quilt at Asilomar. She is very tiday...look at her work space...this is how I wish I was but I can't be even though I try. I have fabric all over the place. Janice's story quilt is going to be wonderful. It is a couple dancing and a dog holding on to the man's back because he is in love with him. It is darling and hilarious.

Though we had alot of rain, the ocean was lovely and so Susan took a photo of Laurie and I in front of the ocean...isn't the ocean an awe inspiring thing to see and smell? I always feel at peace when I am down by the ocean. I wish I could afford to live close in something other than a tent. :0)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Laura from TX shows her new quilt,There is nothing like a RED dress or three and things I LOVE

Three adorable dresses all different and fun!
Look at the darling sleeves on this one below and the way the colors lay on there! A couple of years ago I spent part of a wonderful week with my friend Marilyn Wall at her home on the Lake in South Carolina. Marilyn has the most beautiful home with the most beautiful antiques and furnishings and she is a fabulous quilt artist and she is very modest about it. She is married to a man named "Kermit"-you can imagine the comments this brings. Anyway, she had some of these little dresses framed around her house and I just couldn't get over how cute they were. You all know (I think) that I love red and white and my kitchen and livingroom are those colors. So this last week in the mail came this package with these three adorable dresses in there. Marilyn thought I might put these into one of my quilts but I want them framed just like she did because they are so darling that way. Marilyn has a wonderful blog that I check out at least every week. Please say something nice to her because she is so nice and would really appreciate it.
I am leaving for Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow morning -ahhhh warm weather! Hope it gives me a little pep! We will be building "Hoity Toity Houses." Then I will be going to Asilomar from there in Pacific Grove and we will be doing story quilts and enjoying the ocean and each other. Then I come home and take piles of quilts over to LaConner so they can hang my show. :0) I will be busy but doing what I love.
Hope I get to see some of you at things coming up. I still have room at my retreat I Post Falls and I have promised one of the girls I will show her how I paint some of my story quilts. They are fairly fast and you can get alot of information on them if you want. So we will do both kinds of story quilts. I will provide the paints and brushes and you provide the muslin. More info when you sign up.

A darling red dress with surprise! CHERRY earrings on there...I am taking them to Florida with me tomorrow! Once I have these framed and up I will share them. They are something I just LOVE and it is nice to have something that you cherish from someone you love and admire.

Can you say "French Chicken?" Le Poulet....can't wait to make a chicken or rooster out of this fabric!

Many of you who have taken workshops from me know the power of cheddar and the reasons why. I found these French yellows which fall into the cheddar catagory for many reasons and I went nuts.

I showed you some of the hearts people sent me and this one was sent by Pam-I love anything with a message and such a nice one too!

Had to show you the birds someone made last year at my Post Falls Retreat...pretty cool!

In all of my dreams I never thought I would see an actualy "Hello Kitty" house. Who would pay big bucks for this? I like whimsy but this seems like it goes a little far. What do you think?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Guess what this is - Heart blocks of LOVE and my Treasure Jar quilt taking lots of time to sew buttons on....

Isn't this the best handbag ever? I got this at the perfect time from Linzel McBride. It was made of candy and cookie wrappers in Mexico. I LOVE it and everyone stops to ask about it. Remember when we used to do this with gum wrappers? I only did the chains, I have No idea how you would do a purse. But it is funky and it is fun and that is what I love. Makes me grin anytime I grab it. Linzel, I am so glad you took my class at Road to California. Hope we get to see each other again.

So One nice thing about being in the hospital is that hearts started showing up at my house and as you can see I have the beginning of a lovely, colorful quilt which will probably have some pieced lettering in it and many more hearts. Stephanie, your heart is at my friend's house as I took it there to show it off. I know some of you sent hearts this week and I will be showing those as well and I will be making my own hearts to add. I have never had a quilt like this and it is lovely to have those of you who made these be a part of my life. I plan to put some comfy backing on this to use for a comfy, loving quilt to have on those days when you need a lift. What better than hearts. And isn't it fun to see the differences in the designs? Deb my friend wrote loving messages all the way around the heart. Quilting leaves us with so many ideas and aren't quilters the most loving people? Just had to share this with you people who read my blog.

I am using my hsuband's computer as I have some kind of virus or problem and it won't let me into my blog! Arggggh. The main problem here is my husband's computer won't let me turn the photos the right way. The quilt below is a series I am doing that has a Bible verse or truism that will be left for my kids, Grandkids or someone once I am long gone. I love the verse that reads "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Years ago my Dad used to get up early and go to garage sales looking for buttons for me. He found lots and I always wanted to do something with them and get them out of jars and containers. This "treasure jar" will have many of the buttons he so dearly found for me. Treasures in this instance aren't really things at least to me. Treasures are people in your life, a lovely card from a friend (I got a lovely selection when I had my surgery), flowers in my yard, a piece of fruit, a shared cookie and cup of coffee with a friend, laughter of children and adults too, stories from my elders, a gift from a friend you can use as a reminder of them, a hug, and loads of other simple things. Counting your many simple blessings leads to happy lives. I think of my many blessings as I read about the people in Japan. They have my sincere prayers for rebuilding their lives and getting back to happy lives and the beauty of Japan.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Better Choices for Fabric for Better Quilts and Textile ART

I should keep my mouth shut but I can't. I spent the last hour looking at new fabrics on line on many of the spots you all buy fabric from. I should mention that last year I spent thousands of dollars on fabric for my palette. Tonight I thought I would just shop around and see what is exciting and fun out there.
As many of my students know, I like fabric with alot of color dots on the selvege as it shows depth in a fabric that has a large number and also fabric that is dyed and made in better places has more of these. I like at least 14 or more. I avoid fabric with two colors because the fact is fabric manufacturers can get these made cheaper and the dyes are not as good and the fabric looks flat in quilts. Why use a flat polka dot when you can use something that has light and ultimate beauty built in before you even begin to make the quilts.
In my experience (I am old and have alot of it) I have found that those fabrics that are flat and have two or three colors do not hold their color. I have examples of quilts I made that are now beginning to be brown and gray and as Freddy Moran found, some of the black and white fabrics she used in her quilts are now brown and white. Cheaper dyes that do not hold their color are what this is about and who wants a black and white quilt that turns brown and white a few years later with other fabrics retaining their black color?
My discovery tonight while I looked at hundreds of fabrics is that many fabrics are what I call "collector" fabrics. They are pretty and have butterflies or flowers or things on them and they are great for a piece of fabric. But their role in life is to be a "STAR" and they do not work or play well with others. I see people pick these fabrics all of the time and it is a shame because though the fabric is pretty, they do not mix well with other fabrics except possibly two things in that same line and who wants a quilt that has no surprises, no artistic license for imagination and no creativity outside of the line? Isn't this why we are quilting and working? Don't we want to do things that people will say "Great choice of fabrics I would never have had the nerve to use those." Or "my goodness what a stretch and a fun use of those fabrics!"
"If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you always got." I don't want to always get what I always got and frankly, I can't imagine half of the fabric for sale on some of those sites as anything but paint by number and with the result of flat and boring once you back away from the fabrics chosen.
If you see a bolt of fabric up close that you love for the little design on it, then make sure it enhances the other fabrics once you get four or five feet or more away from it. If it is flat with not much value, it is going to moosh and look flat with the rest of the fabrics in your quilt.
Ok, I am not sure if I make any sense and manufacturers won't like me saying this because they don't like you to know that fabrics with only a couple of colors can be printed somewhere cheaper and we still pay big bucks.
With all of that said, I stand on the fabric that I design because it has light, it has interest, it plays well with others and it makes pretty and interesting quilts.
In the end, I hope you buy fabrics with lots of dots on the selvages, buy fabric with light, buy bigger prints because when they are cut up they are interesting and that you buy things with three values all in one fabric for those will pump up your quilts and make your blocks far more interesting. Hope you learned something from this.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

My Two Latest Story Quilts Going to the Quilter's-I can't wait to see them!

This is the one quilt I have wanted to make for years. It is on it's way to the quilter so there are no faces or detail yet. But there will be. Many years ago my Dad told me that whirleygig hats were motorized and we were going to fly to see my Grandma in South Dakota in the summer. I believed him. So this is something that feels very nice to me. My Dad had a good imagination and he sweetly kidded me and after all he was my biggest influence in my art. I miss him greatly.
Think about the wonderful story quilts you could do about your school or something fun that has happened to you or? Grab some fabric and an open mind and come and join me for the fun of building something wonderful to represent YOU.

I finally got my line here in my studio. Wonderful, clear pretty colors and pretty colorful plaids that you can't find anywhere. Taking these pretty fabrics and mixing them with some wilder large prints make you look like a color genious. Isn't that fun to have it so simple and it looks so complicated? I will be putting these on my website as soon as Becki from Quiltropolis can walk me through it. I want to redo alot of what is in the store so it looks a little nicer. :0)
If you would like your store to carry this line it is called "The Best of Mary Lou" by Benartex. My designing another line depends on the sales of this line. If it doesn't sell well, than I am done with Benartex. We'll see what happens. I would like to see them do a few more lines with me after all.

This is anew story quilt on the way to the quilter's house- it is going to be FAR different once I embellish it and stitch in the words....good advice for my Grandkids who are represented by the six flowers in the treasure jar.

I have been having so much fun laying trims and laces and things inside these flowers...I discovered this goofing around-GREAT fun for any one who likes new things and "stuff" and embellishments- can't wait to show this quilt off when it is is going to weigh tons! But it is going to be colorful and have many treasures all over it! OK, after surgery I realized I needed a new pedicure and so far I haven't felt well enough to go and get it. Sorry my toes are showing. :0)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


If you haven't heard my lecture then you might not know why Story Quilts are so important to YOU and your family and friends. I started quilting in the early 1970's thanks to my Grandmother in Canada. I made lots and lots of traditional quilts and then in the mid 1980's I started making quilts that had stories about my children, myself, my Grandma's. My parents and Bible verses and other words with a message. These quilts have become time capsules. In 50 years, when people look at the quilts you are making today what will they know about you, your family, your friends, your pets your collections and the things that inspire you and make you happy? Are you leaving a legacy of who you are? If you died today, what would you be leaving behind about YOU? Do you have quilts with your favorite things, quotes, friends names, pets you love? This is what story quilts are about.
With that said, a good story quilt class is longer than 2 days. Two days barely scratches the surface. I would love to invite you to come and join me in a variety of places in the US for a longer, more in depth place to have fun, surprise yourself, learn about color and your fabric choices (that may be wrong or may be not), good story development, sentiment and humor and techniques that make a quilt a winner. Below, I added some photos from friends of their story quilts in the works....Linda, Mari, Stasi, Ginger and maybe others. Think about YOU and what you love and consider making that quilt that tells the world you are important because.
There are hundreds of stories each of us can do.
All story quilt classes include a tiara for fun and a royal punch of inspiration----
North Carolina Quilt Symposium has THREE spots left in my class-June 2,3,4,5. Come and join me in wonderful North Carolina for building stories in a story kind of a place! contact Jane Hall


Madeline School of the ARTS in Wisconsin -
Contact Kate-715-747-2054 FIVE wonderful October weather filled STORY QUILT Days
West Virginia -contact I will be teaching there May 1,2,3,4,5
Five wonderful days of STORY QUILTS.
Mary Lou's retreat Post Falls Idaho is June 13,14,15,16,17-Tiaras and fun abound