Thursday, October 16, 2014

Onward to Yellowstone!

Onward to Yellowstone!

Every curve in the road was another great vista and inspiration! So much to see and take in, so little time.
Next we were traveling from Jackson, Wyoming through the park to Belgrade, MT, where we stayed for several days and took trips from there to Virginia City, MT the Lewis and Clark Caverns and last not least embarked on our Motorcycle trip over the Bear-tooth Pass.

Making our way from the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone and stopped to take photos of these
Spectacular Mountains!

A River runs through it -
everywhere or most everywhere we went.

Old Faithful!

we waited just under half an hour to see this spectacular geyser eruption and it was so worth the wait!

 The Great Prism Basin

The colors are so vibrant - and hot - steam is wafting up and micro-organisms are making rust colored  carpets along the edges of the pools.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

To Yellowstone and Beyond - I - Bear Cubs, Snake River Float and a little Hiking in the Grand Tetons

of Bear Cubs, Snake River Float and a little Hiking in the Grand Tetons

continuation of my September Newsletter!

Welcome to Southwind Inspirations

Inspiring Today's Quilters with Dimensional Curves

Traveling for fun is a special treat!

Especially for a traveling teacher.  It is true - I seem to be traveling more than ever, but this trip had been a long time in the making and we planned and changed and planned for a long time. We had so much fun and it was very different traveling with my husband and going on an official vacation without care or obligations, an extra treat for both of us.
We had decided to spend our 25th anniversary traveling through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone and so I booked 7 different hotel rooms and we logged roughly 1500 miles by car and another 600 on a rented Motorcycle.

Time flew by much too fast and we have been back a few weeks already.  It took all this time for me to catch up with everything around Southwind Designs and this is my first chance to write about our trip.

It all started with an early airplane flight to Salt Lake City, where we rented a car in the airport and started out on our trip north through Utah, Idaho and through the Mountains into Jackson, Wyoming our fist stop.

Here are some photos from our trip, feeding bear cubs in Rexburg, ID and floating down the snake river right along the Grand Tetons. Take a look at the beautiful land we traveled through.  An inspiration for many quilts to come.

Bear Country:  We drove our car through the park - safari style.  Instructions from the staff: Never stop and keep your windows rolled up at all times driving through the bear enclosure. 

Scratching an Itch
Bear cubs resting after their exhausting feeding

The Safari experience let us drive right in among the bears

Hiking around Jenny Lake was another adventure.  I had been training (walking) around here to get ready for hiking in the mountains, but of course nothing quite prepares you for hiking in high altitudes when you live at or near sea level.  It may have taken me a few more stops and extra time to hike up to the Hidden Falls at Jenny Lake but giving up was never an option.  Here are a few more pictures of our river float on the Snake River and hiking at Jenny Lake.  Bear Spray highly recommended which our hotel generously provided.

On the Snake River and looking at the Grand Tetons

Bald Eagle - resting and not inclined to take flight for my photograph

Mike enjoying the trip

Bear spray recommended

The hike around Jenny Lake

Another great quilting inspiration 

Looking at Jenny Lake from my inspiration point

Hidden Falls

Hope they found all these antlers - one of four corners around the Jackson Town Square

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Grape Jelly from my Garden!

Inspiring Today's Quilters with Dimensional Curves

Grape Jelly from my Garden!

Summer is a time of exploration.  I always look forward to some extra design and quilting time to create new patterns and finish some of my many waiting projects.
Sometimes I get overrun by other events such as things growing in my garden.

A few years ago I received a concord grapevine from my dear friend, Louise.  I planted it along my fence and waited patiently for something more than leaves to grow.  Nothing happened the first year and I heard that concord vines don't grow well in North Carolina, the land of the scupper-not grapes.  I added another concord grape vine to move things along.
Finally, this spring - much to my surprise - I saw tiny little flowers emerging from below the dense leaves.  The flowers turned into small grapes and finally turned a luscious purple color.  Since I only have two grapevines and the grapes took their time ripening, I collected as many purple grapes as possible in a colander each day and stored them in my fridge for up to a week until I had enough to make grape juice.  I repeated this twice and felt like a lucky lady to get two "cookings" from my rich, beautiful grape juice.

It was so much fun making the grape jelly.  I learned how to make it from Louise, of course. She definitely started something and has forever spoiled me for all store bought grape jellies, especially now that I know how easy it is to make my own. I do love making my own jelly, the picking, the smell and lining up all those jars filled with delicious jelly.  I feel happy and strangely accomplished when I spread this jelly on my bread and my neighbors are happy too, since sharing the jelly is half the fun.

I have to say I do love my garden. In busy times it can get a bit neglected and wild and on rare occasions I just go there to relax,  but it always provides me with inspiration and lots of quilting ideas.
The frogs below "happened" when a whole clan of frogs moved into our pond.  They were constantly on my mind because of all the noise they made.  No wonder they are called a chorus.  I had no choice but to make the Feeling Froggy quilt, just to give my mind a rest.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Notion Commotion Blog Hop - Bias Binding Simplified Ruler

Good Morning - Today its our turn to blog about a Notion discovered at Quilt Market.

My special featured tool is a ruler:   

Bias Binding Simplified, designed by Janice Pope for Creative Grids .

I can’t wait to show it to my students since it makes bias binding so easy

Best of all, the ruler has all the instructions printed right on it, so there is never a question on how to use it.    It is 21” long on it’s longest side and has a 45° angle on one side, it is 2½” wide with an added 2¼” line for cutting binding in two sizes.

Why even worry about Bias Binding? -
Bias Binding is much stronger than straight-of-grain binding and absolutely essential to bind quilts with rounded corners or curvy edges.  Bias binding will smooth out around curves and make the binding lay flat and pucker free.  Once you use bias binding you will want to use it for most of your quilts - 
I definitely do, even for small quilts and table runners.

Here is another fun use for the ruler :

Striped bias binding:  
Sew several 4½" strips of fabric together, stagger the strips to save fabric, press all seams open.  Cut the strip set on the bias using the bias ruler's 45° edge to line it up along one side and cut into strips to make a fun striped binding.  Its easy and you can use up fabric strips for a fun, different looking binding.

 The ruler is also the perfect width to make the “Streak of Lightning” pattern, made from 2½" strips. 

Look for the ruler at a quilt store near you and don't forget to check out Janice Pope’s video: Bias Binding Simplified at

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Notion Commotion Blog Hop 9

Swirly Girls Designs are blogging about the Creative Grids Kite Plus Ruler.  Check it out.
July 15th

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Notion Commotion Blog Hop 7

PDGLogo 300 x 709 copy

Click on the logo for Perkins Dry Goods to find out about Corner Cutter Tool for Fast Flying Geese.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Notion Commotion Blog Hop 6

image002Let Brenda's blog tell you all about Sewlite Task Lighting!

Notion Commotion Blog Hop 5

Click below to hop over to Wendt Quilting and find out the latest information about a neat binding tool.


Notion Commotion Blog Hop 4

Check out Seams Like a Dream Quilt Designs and find out about this neat sewing guide!

Notion Commotion Blog Hop 3


Click on the logo to see the Fat Quarter Gypsy's blog about Binding Clips

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Notion Commotion 2

Join our Notion Commotion and hop over to Janice Pope's blog to find out about a neat Mini Mug Mat

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We are venturing out into the EXPO:

Come see us at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo, June 26, 27, 28 2014 in Raleigh, NC.  Showtimes are from 10:00am to 6:00pm!

We are showing a large variety of our brand-new quilts and patterns in our first booth at the Expo.  We can't wait to see everyone and are looking forward to connecting and reconnecting with a lot of our quilting friends.  So come see us in Booth 316!

Meet the Whoo's at the Expo!


This is just one of our brand new patterns:  Whoo's There? 

This and many other patterns and fun things are ahead.  Keep tuned to the blog and our facebook page for previews and more news.  If you can't wait and want to see all the new patterns, browse our Southwind Designs website