Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feeding Your Artist Until YOU are Bursting With Great Ideas and Positive Thoughts! AND something funny....

This was a very fun week for me. I taught two classes for this wonderful guild and enjoyed the kindness, talent, and humor of each girl I met. Flower Power is so much fun and some girls got LOTS of flowers and butteflies and fish and other fun things done. There was talk of making hoochy blocks around the borders or small blocks and string piecing. Also the Out of the Box with Easy Box has two pieced alphabets and people talked about doing the word "bloom" or "Spring" or Garden"....nice to imagine isn't it? Happy and fun too! What a beautiful area they live in and you know, it is different then where I live, there are loads of restaurants and not chains. I LOVE that!
The two girls in front on the left were the vice presidents ( Ellen and Amy) great girls and the lady on the left came a long was as she belongs to another guild.
What a blessing to come in early and Ellen was my sweet and FUN hostess. We spent the day going to the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum. I had driven by years ago but never had the chance to go inside. Here the wings on the top of the Museum are closing...they were open really wide when we first got there. Music plays outside and it was a beautiful day and happy adults and children all over. It was busy with happy and chatty people.
     The artwork there is quite wonderful. My two favorite exibits were impressionism and Outsider Art. Both were exceptional.  The impressionism had great colors and people and Ellen and I saw some paintings that were simple people and houses and things with bright colors and they were exquisite! Then we went to see the outsider art and though many people would think it rather crude or simple, it was wonderful in so many ways. I would so love to go to the Shelborne Museum is on my bucket list! We'll see.
     I am often surprised when people tell me they do not visit museums and art shows in their own communities. I think this is because they did not get into the habit or learn to do this when they were small or in fact in adult hood. If you are not going and treating your inner artist to treats of beauty and composition and impact, then you are missing out.
     I often talk about setting a date with our inner artist to explore and learn and
LOOK. How can you feed your artist with ideas and creativity if you don't discover what creativity is out there? When you take art classes in college the teachers often give you places to go to see things you have not seen before and then you write about what you saw.
    Ellen and I went and saw Gatsby and one of the reasons we went to see it was for the art experience. There is so much great color and textures and ideas in that movie and as Ellen pointed out, there was a ton of symbolism that if you don't SEE it, you miss half the impact. The Movie Frida is like that too and I highly recommend you see it as it is so visually appealing and your artist can use a lot of what is in that movie and in fact it is MADE for our inner artists and if you see the movie you will see what I mean.
     Reading new books, looking at a flea market , opening your eyes to new flowers and leaves etc, you notice (or should) that in fact things are actually shaped or look different in my minds than they really are.
    I hope that this week you open your eyes and your mind and feed your inner artist with good stuff. This is what we talk about in our five day story quilt classes. Feeding our artists brings out ideas and we get to take out memories and make them into great quilts! It is so much fun!
See how wide this roofline is? Give you ideas?
Here are a couple of the flower pots, isn't it great that people can start with the idea and they are all different?  I love many ideas...
While I get a chance I want to share a quilt that Tina my buddy is making about her son's at the beach when they were teens. She has great memories of Stone Harbor and is making the beach and the boys and landmarks and a big beach signs with all of their favorite places. I can tell you, this quilt will be one of the kids and her husband's favorites because it is telling of a time that is gone and remembered.
What are you remembering about your good times? Leave a lasting legacy and make a story quilt.
Don't feel creative? Buy Out of the Box and learn how and how to be a better artist....all concepts are art concepts that many quilters never learn.
If you order the book from me, you get a free pattern and a fat quarter and a Mary Lounie pin.
The colors in this quilt are wonderful. The brown sign post is on the left and the signs are going to be added along with more sea shells, a crab, a bucket etc....I love this. Plus she will add the boys names and birthdates and place of birth on there.
Below is the bottom of the quilt (sideways)
I have some other quilts that friends have sent and I will be sharing these for sure!
     On another topic, if you shop at Costco they have something called "Chicago Popcorn"- it is cheesecorn and caramel corn in the same bag and it is delicious...not diet food but something that is a great treat! Just wanted to share this with my friends.
I am on my way to North Carolina John C. Campbell Folk Art school for a story quilt class this week. Then when I get back, we have my five day retreat in Idaho and Farm Chicks and Artfest. Great fun and you can bet we will be feeding our artist and with Tina's cooking, our tummies too
And I added this a day later as I got it from a friend and it made me laugh...sad but funny too!

Love a good Catholic joke ...... (Mother Angelica)
An old nun who was living in a convent next to a
construction site noticed the coarse language of
the workers and decided to spend some time with
them to correct their ways.
She decided she would take her lunch, sit with
  the workers; and talk with them.
She put her sandwich in a brown bag and walked
over to the spot where the men were eating.
Sporting a big smile, she walked up to the group and asked:
"And do you men know Jesus Christ?"
They shook their heads and looked at each other...very confused.
One of the workers looked up into the steelworks and yelled out,
"Anybody up there know Jesus Christ?"
One of the steelworkers yelled down, "Why?"
The worker yelled back,
"Cause his mom's here with his lunch."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Moorage makes it debute....Rebecca and COW how to's and details, easy piecing for Whimsical Creativity!

Rebecca who is from Nebraska has done two cows and both are great. Isn't the theme and the fabric and the details in this cow awesome????
Have you started your cow yet? We have a LITTLE time and then we need everyone's details in for the shows we are putting together.
The pattern for the cow is in the "Out of the Box with Easy Blocks" book. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to do and then the fun of details and embellishments.
Hope you take the challenge. It is so much fun!
GREAT job Rebecca, I love this!
Rebecca has long been a member of my swap groups and here are the trees she received and also the houses for another swap.  She is putting them together along with fun! I just love it.
     If you haven't taken a workshop from me, please consider coming to one. I will be at this coming week and would love to show you easy piecing and some of my storyquilts too. You learn a little and expand on the basics for fabulous results....very very fun!
Easy piecing can be birds, hats, animals, flowers and a ton of other fun things....the sky is the limit.
Fish-you cannot believe the cool things you can do here....
Bees! A zillion kinds of bees so much fun! cannot believe how many different owls one can come up much fun!!!
I am not sure whose Cowgirl this is and hope that she sees this...If this is YOUR cow, please contact me! It is adorable!!!
IF you aren't doing easy piecing, you are missing out on a ton of fun, color, and new friends! If I am in your area, please join in! We love new happy and positive friends!
I am getting questions again about the cow quilts.  The pattern for the cow is in the "Out of the Box with Easy Blocks" book. We ask that everyone begin with this basic pattern that takes about 2 1/2 hours to make. Then you add the fun stuff to go along with your theme which can jump off of the words "MOO", "BEEF", "VEAL:", "HERD", :DAIRY", "STEER", etc....there are literally hundreds and hundreds of ideas out there...every place I do, people have NEW ideas with these is so fun!
If you want to enter into the last show of the year we need your cow photos before June 20th.
You can do it! Just make up your mind that you can do it and you can...I do it all of the time.
We would welcome your cow to join the Cow Parade!
Write to me at
MOOntana, ChiCOWgo, COWlorful, MOOgoogaipan,MOOvelous, Dairy Queen,Dairy Fresh, COWch (sofa), MOOn over my Mammy, MOOchachos, MOOtisse, PiCOWso, and so on.....

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

June Varner Makes GREAT Quilts...look and see!

June has come and taken three of my five day story quilt workshops. It has been so fun for me to see what she has done with her inventiveness and imagination.
For my five day workshops we have "fairy gifts". A fairy gift is something brought by each student to give to fellow students. This has proved to be such a fun thing and people leave class with remembrences from each person (almost each person).
Things given are like playing cards, scarves, bracelets, earrings, garden things, seed packets, crayons, notepads, pens and pencils, hand creams, candies, books, book markers that are alot of times like jewelry, quilt things like pin cushions, fat quarters, markers, drinking cups you can put quilt blocks in, little boxes, scrubbers, darling napkins, and so many cool things that people find on sale or make sometimes.
Anyway, June made me this adorable quilt of the quilt fairy and she even crocheted her tiara. I give everyone Tiaras in my five day workshops also. June put a tape measure in her pocket (the fairy) and also a hand made bracelet that she showed us all how to make (adorable!). I am passing it on with my retreat girls.
June is always generous with offering her fabrics or whatever when someone needs them and she always has good ideas when someone gets stuck. West Virginia has provided both June and I some really wonderful friends and we are all meeting again there next year. In the meantime the Quilt Fairy is going onto my hallway wall...and she may take a trip or two on the road with me.
Note all of the hand stitched beads on her wings, her belt and her shoes...she is really glorious in person and I hope you can see all of the work she went to. What a lovely lovely gift.   :0)
June went to Tahiland last year and on her trip she got to ride an elephant. I think she is very brave...I couldn't bring myself to do this I don't think. The elephant on her quilt has a dimensional ear you can lift up and she has something written under it.  When she started this quilt, she said I only have a small wall and this HAS to be really small. It is a full size quilt now or close to it, hee hee. But isn't it fun? You cannot really tell but in the middle of each block is a photo from her trip....very cool.
And she found a wall for it which is the best news of all!
Thought you would like to see a closeup...note the beads and on the elephant there are hanging metal cool!
June also did two great cows....Moospaper Cow here....and another really clever one I will show a photo of when I can find a good one.
What is black and white and red (read) all over? This cow!!
Here is the cat that June was working on this year ...very fun and she will be adding alot of embellishements and the rest of the border too....June is a pretty clever lady....
This quilt is a story quilt about June's Mother who was running from her Mother and she said "you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread man"....the quilt has all old pieces and fabrics and laces and nice things from her is so sweet!
A nice memory and a story quilt to live on for others to enjoy. I love it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

ARE You Worrying About What Doesn't Matter So Much in Life????

My Friend Terry posted this and it is so full of wisdom. I used to spend way to much time on my house. I guess when you have three small children, you have to and then there are the people who stop by and the people from church dropping things off and people coming in when they drop your kids off and well,,,,your house is an open door really.
 In past days I baked alot of cookies and cakes and things like that and big meals and things I do not make anymore but miss. I miss the days of the kids coming home and sharing what happened in their day and what was going to happen on the weekend etc.

 It is fairly easy to remember times when they got into a fight with a good friend at school and cried and it broke your heart and you felt so bad and were so angry with the kid who did this. The next day as you seathed they came home smiling and said "what fight?" "MOM she is my good friend! That was nothing." Sigh....that happened with each kid more than once and I didn't learn the first time. :0)

I came home this week to dust, clothing that needs laundering, weeds in my garden, floors that need doing, many things need sorting, papers to go through and letters to answer. I got up this morning thinking I needed to hurry because I had so much to do...and then I looked outside, and I saw the sun and I walked out and it felt so good.
I called my neighbor who was coming over to help me figure out a quilt and I said "let's do it Wed instead because I have so much to do here."

     And then I went inside and moved some quilts to the basement and washed a couple of dishes and then went and took a shower.
Abd suddenly I didn't care about all of the things I needed to do inside. I cared about doing something I rarely do in town. I drove down the street, picked up an ice tea, drove to Michael's to waste time and look at beads and "stuff" and then I went to JoAnn's and I found some nice things for something great for each person coming to my retreat and then I walked about in the sun to my car which I parked a long way away from the building and I was so happy, so relaxed. What a treat.

     I am home now with a melted ice tea and I am sort of picking up as my laundry washes and I am here sharing with you so that you too will "enjoy the day."
Each day is such a gift to us and we don't even know it.

     I have several friends who are going through alot in the hospital and out. They are faced with mortality we should all think about. Quilters are saying "we MUST make a quilt for them." Really in my mind for right now I think we must pray for them and when they are better, then we can make the quilts to let them know how much we love them. But for now, a prayer is the most generous thing we can give because after all, God runs the Universe and the events in our daily lives and we are so naive about this and some well meaning people think a quilt block is more important than a simple prayer. I understand this but it is my hope that they will understand what a gift a prayer is...and to keep praying daily for people who need it.

    We are blessed to BE a blessing (Gen.12) and by blessing others, we receive enjoying the day and seeing plants and the blue sky which we take forgranted. And kids laughter and people's faces and smiles and a kind gesture of someone opening the door ot saying "thank you."

     I just wanted you my friend to know what a wonderful world it is out there and to not get caught up in the negativity of the world and the news and people who whine because they do not know any better.
    I am getting ready to go and watch a baseball game for my 4 year old Grandson who can already clobber the ball thanks to his Dad. How fun to watch a group of 4 and 5 year olds play. I am going to enjoy each little face, each action, each thing that makes the day special with little kids and parents and people at the park.

     Take a deep breath along with me and enjoy the day and all of your many blessings.
                                 Love- Mary Lou

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cedar Lakes Stories and Crafts for a Fabulous Time in the Middle of Fab Beauty and Old and NEW Friends

Here are some of the women who took the workshop at Cedar Lakes. We had five wonderful, warm, creative, happy days to create memories in cottons and other textiles... If you have not been to West Virginia, this retreat is cheaper than  any other story quilt retreats I do and everything about it is lovely. We draw women from all over the UCS and these women become great friends while sharing stories and sentiments that last. The stories this year were wonderful and women hugged and shared details of their lives and creative ideas, fabrics and fairy gifts. It was wonderful and we plan to come back next year for mor (in May).
Above is June's wonderful story quilt about going to Thailand...the ear of the elephant is loose so you can lift it up to see a message-wish you could see these in person!
A story quilt about six  sisters to love to go to the beach (one is in the foreground) -this quilt is a gift Mary made for a friend...darling!
This quilt is a story about when you are so busy and everything needs doing at once and you say "Hair on Fire!" This quilt is by is so cool and the hair in person is just great! Very fun quilt!
This wonderful story quilt is about Betty's parents when they came to the US from China and it will have photos and passport pictures...this was taken on a hot day in full sun and I am hoping one of the other students has better photos than I do so I can share...The details in this are really wonderful and will be a diary piece for future generations to see as will any story quilt....priceless!
This quilt is a gift for Terry's sister and her partner and has images that are for their children and things they chickens in the will have lots of other details and story parts in it as she works along....Terry has come to my workshops for years and she is responsible for bringing me to West Virginia
This quilt is by Carol who rode her bike 100 miles-the bucket on the bottom is her bucket list and she got to check this one off....very fun quilt! What is on your bucket list?
This is Sharon who is making a story quilt about three generations....this was taken in the bright sun and isn't the greatest is a fab quilt-she realized after getting some of the figures appliqued on that one of her sides of her quilt is upside down...that will be set right later on....wish you could see this in person...the fabrics and faces are wonderful!
Quilt in the working is so great
Quilt above is by June who did this cat and is surrounding it with hoochy flowers and great in person...why can't photos show the details and fun like seeing them in person? Oh well, they are still cool here too
This is Mary's story quilt about her husband who passed away...he will be leaning on a shovel and there will be a cow and a chicken in the barn...across the top it will say "Goodnight Wife" because that is always what he said to her before they went to sleep....Mary did the coffee cake quilt last year that is wonderful and this one will be too.
The above quilt is by Carol who did Halloween and has all kinds of cool embellishments to put on it...I am hoping someone can share a photo of the coolest hoochy pumpkin and owl I have ever seen that she did-she is incredibly talented and creative! Such fun to be with someone who is this way and shares with everyone in such a nice way...I bet she was a fab math teacher and could have taught me what I could not know?
This quilt is by Rosemary about her husband's garden in West Virginia. Rosemary has some every year but could not make it this year so she stopped to show us how far she got on her quilt. Pretty wonderul! She will be back with us next year. ;0)
     I will be sharing more as I get better photos and I have great show and tell things to show too...stay tuned.
This is on the walk to the dining hall every day...such beauty!
This is a wonderful historical home on the property and I think Terry with her cute sun hat fit in well here...the inside is all decorated with furniture and things from the is fabulous there....
Above is Carrol, Kim and Moni making bracelets....we had so much fun and in the front is a Christmas tree quilt I am doing for a class and on top is a necklace of memory wire made my Kim. Notice in the photo below of Kim that Junes Cat is in the background before the cool border she did! It is so cool in person...she also added a mouse hanging from his mouth....
Below Moni shows Kim how she made the bracelets....
Above is the crocheted necklace parts and Betty working on them so everyone has a necklace...I get an F when it comes to crochet and that has been for years...I just can't get it....But I do have a pretty necklace thanks to Betty! See the cool colors?!
Below is June who brought memory wire and tons of beads and cool things to add to make great bracelets! She made me one and tucked it in a qult I am going to show you about a Quilt Fairy. I made three of these cool bracelets and most people made more than one....they are so cool! We have a craft night every year and this year we did that and then Terry also taught everyone how to do a mosaic quilt which was awesome. We had a wine and cheese night and I mailed a box of many kinds of crackers, chocolate, fig jam and two salsas...other people brought all kind of things to eat and cheeses, and wine, punch fancy beer and strawberry one drank that much and we all noshed and shared and had fun making our bracelets and necklaces and things.....
Above is Carol and Tiffany and Carrol looking at Carrol's creative scrapbooks that she taught us last year...she is as talented in scrapbooking as quilting and I think she is one of those girls who can do everything...she was a math teacher and really when any subject came up, she knew something about it in a nice and valuable way....they are all people who share how they do fun!
Below is Debbie who has the nicest smile and a kind and fun personality to go along with it. People were teasing her and I said "don't make her feel bad" and she said "if they didn't like me, they wouldn't tease me"-I think she is a great person! And last year she was a beginner quilter and this year she brought LOTS of samples of things she made and she is sure no beginner now...she is hooked! :0)
Above is Margo who is from Australia (has a lovely accent) and now lives in Maryland  (as does her best friend Carolyn who together with her are kind of like Lucy and Ethel) and she is making a bracelet. Below is Cindy who is using this class as studio time and making a dragonfly piece...she sewed everything by hand and she uses paints, couching, threads, dyes, embellishments, photos, transfers and interesting things in her work....very cool/
Below is Terry and Rosemary walking to lunch ....they are good friends thanks to this retreat three years ago...
This is one of Kim's many birds-I gave out a pattern for this and it was fun to place it on the front porch...I wanted to hang it on the building but didn't want to get in trouble.
There were so many beautiful flowers and red buds in bloom! LOVE this time of year, it just fills the soul!
The quilt above is a quilt that is from show and tell from last year...great fun. This is June's (I think). Stay tuned for more from everyone and the ideas, and sentiments. If you are interested in coming next May to West Virginia retreat, google "Cedar Lakes" and you can get their catalogue. They are probably the cheapest way to take a story quilt from me for five days.
Marylynn wrote and asks if I am teaching in Kansas or Missouri...not yet. I don't know how much longer I will teach and there are some places I really hope to visit.
Like Kansas and Missouri and Mississippi and South Carolina and DENVER and Cape Cod (which I do not think will happen) and Rhode Island (a SMALL state)...and well other places...the next two years will be interesting to see who contacts me...I pray more girls will do stories they remember about school, growing up, their children, their Grandchildren, their first home, college, collections of things like antiques, garages sales, Grandmother stories, neighbors, history things etc.....
We all have so many interesting things about ourselves and it is a shame that not every quilter will leave a true story about themselves...not a quilt with blocks for a story but people and things and happenings for a diary piece...
THINK about it!