Friday, October 14, 2011

Wishes for my Birthday

2011 has been a challenging year in too many ways to count. So, for my birthday yesterday, I decided to create a crazy quilted heart. While I stitched, I spoke aloud my desires, wishes and prayers for the coming year. Thoughts of love, creativity, laughter, friendship, prosperity and good health were woven into every stitch. My birthday heart is now pinned on the studio wall, where I can see it daily and remind myself to make those wishes come true!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crazy Quilt Earns Blue Ribbon

My crazy quilt, "Paisley", won a blue ribbon in the New York State of Mind Quilt Contest at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, NY this weekend. It's made completely by hand. I fashioned the wired ribbon roses in the center, embroidered the paisley, added beads and such. The center fabric is a paisley tone-on-tone silk brocade I have had for some time. The green velvet I fashioned into a quasi-Moorish arch to frame the main embroidery. Then, I bordered it with crazy quilt panels on two sides. There is a lot of hand embroidery throughout the crazy quilted portion. I added velvet ribbon borders. The pink ribbon treatment around the outer two edges was inspired by an antique crazy quilt. I had a lot of fun making this wall hanging!

I've been asked to display three of my crazy quilts next April at the Quilt Expo en Beaujolais, France. I'm delighted to do so! 2012 promises to be an extraordinary year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quilt Exhibit

My crazy quilt, "Crazy Diamonds" is on exhibit at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY from 24 Sept - 31 Dec in the "Unfolding Stories" exhibit. Every stitch in Crazy Diamonds is by hand. It has won blue ribbons at the American Quilters' Society, Empire State Quilt Festival, Bennington Quilt Festival, Vermont Quilt Festival, and New York State of Mind Quilt Contest and has also won several Viewer's Choice and Vendor's Choice ribbons.

As I was completing it in April of 2009, my daughter went into labor. I quickly gathered up the bits and pieces of the quilt and drove to her house and started talking to my as-yet-unborn grandson through her belly. I asked him, "Baby, please wait just a bit for Granny to finish this quilt!" And you know, he did! A few days later the quilt was finished and Raffaele was born. My daughter has not forgiven me. :-)

Hurricanes Irene and lee

On August 28, we were hit fairly hard by Irene. This is not a creek or river. This is part of the garden by the road. At the base of the tree is a 3 foot slope. The waters were flowing quite quickly across the entire 5 acres of our property. Just a week or so later, we were hit by Lee. Not as bad as Irene, but most of the property had flowing flood waters. Our basement was flooded to 4 feet, destroying the sump pump, new boiler system, water softener and damaging water pipes and oil tank. We lost power for 6 days. Had power surges from generator which played havoc with computers and burnt out our stand-up freezer filled with organic food. We lost a lot of our business packaging and raw materials. There was 2 feet of water in the barn and garage. It's been over 4 weeks and we still have no hot water or heat.

However, the surrounding area fared much, much worse! Entire houses were destroyed. Businesses and homes had extensive flood damage. Roads and bridges were washed away. In villages, there were gas and oil spills, sewage problems, etc. They are calling this event a 500-year flood. Let's hope so. Middleburgh School just opened for the year yesterday. There is still extensive damage, but work goes on while students adjust to all.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Sweet Friend!

Tina Sams, editor of the wonderful herb magazine, The Essential Herbal, blogged about our gardens. Thank you Tina!!! Click on the title above to see it. And, don't forget to subscribe to the mag. It's a knowledgeable, folksy, user-friendly herb magazine.

Sweet Words from a Kind Friend.

Susan Elliot is a Renaissance Woman. She is a stitcher par excellence, an outstanding photographer, a writer with an extraordinary gift and a woman with a true, golden heart. She blogs about her life - and what a life it is! She was kind enough to blog sweetly about the class she had with me. Please have a look and make sure you look at her other posts - she has created a life for herself filled with joy and love.

Click on the title above to view Susan's blog.

Rose-scented Bee Balm

Rose-scented bee balm in our garden. (Monarda didyma 'rose-scented'). Bee balm is also known as bergamot. But, it shouldn't be confused with the bergamot flavor in Earl Grey tea. That bergamot is an orange, not an herb. Although, the native bergamot was also known as Oswego Tea. Apparently, the Oswego Indians showed colonists how to brew this into a beverage and it got very popular after the Boston Tea Party.

But, this variety of bee balm is a bit different than others. The fragrance of its flowers and foliage smell like rose-scented geranium and it is heavenly! Bees and hummingbirds and butterflies all love it. And so do I! Delightful as a cup of tea, for use in potpourri, or just to gaze upon.

In fact, on days like today, which are clear and sunny, just standing next to this plant and gazing upon its beauty provides a balm for me. I can totally understand why bees are lulled by this plant. Perhaps I am part bee? Buzzz.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventure in CQ 2012

The Adventure in Crazy Quilting retreat was phenomenal. Maureen Greeson has asked me to come back again next year and I readily said "YES"!! Click on the link for the information. I urge you to sign up quickly! Classes sell out WAY before the retreat. This is the project I will be teaching. The other terrific teachers are: Diane Fitzgerald, Helen Gibb, Pat Winter, Sharon Boggon, Nancy Eha and Shirlee Fassell.

Teaching Crazy Quilting

September 30, October 1 & 2 will find me back in Wisconsin, teaching in Oconomowoc. I had such a great time last year, it didn't take much convincing to have me back again! Cheryl Anderson is hosting and organizing this event. If you are interested, please go to her blog and email her to get more info!

CRAZY QUILT DESIGN. Bring a partially completed block that you are struggling with, or a new block that you have specific ideas or themes for but want help implementing them. Betty will share her ideas for each block with all of us, and we will then have an opportunity to start stitching our block using those ideas. There will be many ideas shared in this class, so bring a notebook along to jot down ideas you like from all of the blocks that Betty is going to be sharing. Half a day will be spent on learning how to design these blocks with Betty, and the other half of a day will be spent working on your design with Betty's help along the way.

CRAZY PIECING WITH VELVET. Betty Pillsbury is known for her beautiful curved piecing techniques that allow the block to flow from one area to the next. Her piecing is all done by hand which allows for greater portability as well as greater control over curves. Learn how she incorporates velvet into her piecing without the slippery slidey frustrations that usually go along with using this beautiful fabric.

KICK IT UP A NOTCH SEAM TREATMENTS: Learn a few more seam treatments from Betty that feature some beaded and beautiful seam treatments for your next project. You can either bring fabric to practice your seam treatments on, or a block that you can work them on.


The rugosa roses are abundant this year! Here's a pic of my granddaughter, Salena, helping me pick roses in the garden. We'll be making rose petal jelly, rose petal syrup, rose petal glycerite and rose petal vinegar. Perhaps a rose petal and rhubarb tart too! Roses are good medicine and food. Make sure you use organically grown roses.

I finally finished this crazy quilt wall hanging! The center portion has been done for some time. It's a combination of embroidery, beading and wired ribbon flowers. The borders are crazy quilted and include all sorts of embroidery techniques. All embroidery is by hand, of course!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lecture and Trunk Show in Bloomfield, NJ

Please join me for a lecture and trunk show of crazy quilts (antiques and my own award-winning work) at the fabulous Edwardian Needle in Bloomfield, NJ. March 27, 1-3. If you haven't been to this shop, you are missing a treat! More threads and beautiful, needful things than you can imagine!

Contact The Edwardian Needle at

The Edwardian Needle
225 Belleville Avenue
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Phone: 973-743-9833


Friday, February 4, 2011

Heirloom Love Letters

Brent (one of The Fabulous Beekman Boys) asked me to design and stitch a Valentine. I came up with this, which Brent calls an Heirloom Love Letter.
One the reverse is fabric upon which you can write your romantic sentiments and then send it through the mail to your loved one. It even includes a Beekman postage stamp! Go to the link above to order one for your sweetheart.

While on the Beekman 1802 site, check out the Seasonal Lady Pillows I stitch for them. My husband, Dan, and I also create the Four Seasons candles and Milk Baths. Soon, you will be able to purchase a few other products we make in the Four Seasons scents on the Beekman 1802 page.

To order our other herbal, handmade products, go to GreenSpiralHerbs.

Brent and Josh love supporting local artists (we live in the same county as the Boys). Our son, Ryan Pillsbury and his business partner, DareRick Krufchinski, own Legacy Woodcraft. They make the Garden Hods, candle boxes, soap boxes and various other wooden products for Beekman 1802.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 Class Schedule

I've just updated the website with classes for the next several months. Things crazy quilt and things herbal. We are in the process of remodeling the building next door. The space is light and bright and perfect for classes! A new series for this year will be "The Herbalist's Table". Throughout the seasons, I'll take you into yard and garden where we will harvest plants and then come back to the kitchen and transform them into delicious dishes!

I'll also be giving classes on crazy quilting - piecing, embroidery, beadwork, etc.

On June 15, there is a free herb walk around the property - which is a certified Botanical Sanctuary. We grow hundreds of herbs, as well as fruits, berries, veggies and mushrooms. Hope you can join us!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

2010 certainly was a busy one! From our collaboration with The Fabulous Beekman Boys (making Heirloom Love Letters, Milk Shakes, Candles and a few more goodies to be introduced in 2011) to Danny's accident with the table saw, the barn fire, kids moving, finishing David Winston's 2-year Herbal Study Program (and my herbal thesis quilt), a new grandson!!, and renovating a new space for retail to open in 2011.

I'm starting an herb/plant study group called BIG - Botanical Interest Group.

Botanical Interest Group – Do you love plants, herbs especially? Would you like to get
together with like-minded folks to discuss growing and using useful plants?
Join Betty Pillsbury at Green Spiral Herbs in Huntersland on third Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and see what grows! January 19 is our first meeting.
I'm setting up the class schedule for 2011. Details posted soon. Coming up January 11 is a lecture and trunk show for the Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Middleburgh, NY.
May 2011 bring you blessings of good health, love and abundance.