Tag Archives: quilt

As the page turns… in the real Portlandia!

Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

Grieving is hard. It’s long. It does you in. It doesn’t end. Some days getting out of bed is the most courageous act you can imagine. And accomplish.

I already know I will be grieving Blaine the rest of my life. You have no earthly idea how much I miss him. Just to exchange one more glance, I would give everything. To see him smile. The universe for one more hug. The chance to say goodbye.

In what now seems clearly a survival strategy, I actually managed to finish the book I was working on when Blaine left. I dove headfirst into a deep and consuming project. Not only were the words my responsibility, but also the design and layout. And know this: when the author does the layout, the words seem never to be finished. Catch that typo. Use a different turn of phrase. Put in that cool thing you forgot. So it takes longer than it takes. (Credit to an old friend, Paul Nyrczinski, for that aphorism: “Things always take longer than they take.”)

But it finally got printed. And delivered to us. You can see a video of Joyce and I opening the first copies here. And we have a real live website and everything, look here.

Since the shipment of three pallets with 2,500 books arrived, we have embarked on a marketing campaign so we can sell the books and recover our costs. Yes, we self-published. It’s our very own necks on the line.

So far, in addition to purchasing the book from our website, you can buy it in a growing number of retail locations. Powell’s Books, for example (all stores except the one at the airport)! Did you know you can order from Powell’s online and pick it up in a store without any shipping cost? Or you could buy two books and they would be shipped for free!

The book is also available at a number of New Seasons Markets. Multnomah County Library has it (OMG, all copies are checked out right now, they better order more!!). Other bookstores like Broadway Books, Reed College Bookstore. Quite a few quilt/fabric stores: Cool Cottons, Fabric Depot, Pioneer Quilts, The Pine Needle, A Common Thread, Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest, The Cotton Patch.

And soon it will be in Made in Oregon. And who knows where all. We are relentless in our marketing efforts. By the end of this, we should be able to write a book about marketing a book. Not that that’s never been done. 🙂

We are proud of our book. We think it will appeal to a whole lot of people:

  • people who live in Portland and want to discover what they don’t know about their home town
  • people who visit Portland (or want to) and want a tangible record of their experience that goes way beyond a phone full of selfies,
  • quilters who have always wanted to see quilts in a leading role, and
  • every person not in the above categories

So we think you might fit in there somewhere. Check it out!


2012 at Madison Pond, as seen through my iphone camera

new years eve dinner

We started off the year with a New Years Eve dinner featuring turducken and the wonderful company of Tom and Joyce.

pups on couch

Pippi was diagnosed with cancer and when we found out she would need weeks of daily radiation under general anesthesia after surgery, and her heart condition would most likely mean sudden death during one of those, we decided to let her live out her days with us, one day at a time. And while her tumor is now the size of a cantaloupe, she is still with us, wagging her tail, playing with her toys, eating and drinking. As long as we feel she is not suffering and has a good quality of life, we love having her with us. She is one very special dog, Pippi is. Poppi too, who appears here to be camera shy.

memorial balloon

We lost a wonderful family member when sweet Cindy Coop was killed when her auto was struck by a flatbed pickup on Willamette Pass. Our hearts were broken and we wanted to hold brother Curt tighter.

superbowl spread

The Koss family came for our Superbowl extravaganza, but I must have been focused on eating as I have no pictures of the people, only the food.

book group

We had a wonderful visit with Cynthia, a woman from Beijing Marie met when she visited Joyce and Tom in China in 1997. She spent several days with Joyce and Tom and we were fortunate enough to get to share a dinner with them, where Cynthia gave us wonderful wishes on paper. She also came to a meeting of the world’s smallest book group, which has been meeting monthly since September 1990 (except those months when Joyce is gadding about the globe). From left, Joyce, Cynthia, me, Darcy and Reba.

mom and pippi

Mom visited with us each time she was seen at the Digestive Health Center at OHSU, following her small bowel removal surgery after it more or less came apart at the seams. We loved having her here, as did Pippi.

We got to watch grandson Owen in a baseball game he played near Portland, which was such a great treat. This is him at bat.

We got to watch grandson Owen in a baseball game he played near Portland, which was such a great treat. This is him at bat.

We were in completed admiration mode as we watched oldest grandchild Joe Stoutt graduate from Eastside Catholic High School, where he was a star student and athlete. He's now at Carroll College in Montana, where he is no doubt hard at work making a name for himself.

We were in completed admiration mode as we watched oldest grandchild Joe Stoutt graduate from Eastside Catholic High School, where he was a star student and athlete. He’s now at Carroll College in Montana, where he is no doubt hard at work making a name for himself.


Grandson Colin Stoutt taking in the scene at a party in Joe’s honor at their Grandma Donna’s house.

stonework in garden

We had some stonework installed along our driveway and fence moved to the property line and in the process created a new area for plants. YAY!

Toaster Moon

Ric and Marie got to go camping in Toaster Moon at Prineville Reservoir State Park.

ric fishing

And Ric got to fish!


Our yard bloomed like there’s no tomorrow! Apologies for our lovely neighbor’s lovely wall in the background. We’re working on walling it off with a wall of plants.

kitchen before

We remodeled our kitchen. It went from this….

kitchen after

…to this. We owe great thanks to old friend from high school Paul Dunn for seeing this gigantic project through! Another old friend from high school Terry Carpenter helped with the wiring. So it kinda feels like a CGHS kitchen now! 🙂

granddaughters eat froyo

We had four glorious days with our extra special granddaughters Calla, Caitlyn and Ellery. We stayed busy doing lots of things, including eating froyo

doing art

and art projects! and more!


Ric’s new CD came out and I do believe it is his best ever! And even better, you can support him by buying Consciousness as a song or album on itunes or broadjam or amazon.

smokey robinson

Thanks to the most kind and generous heart of Duncan Campbell, we got to see live and in person one of our family’s superheroes: Smokey Robinson. Take our word for it, he’s still got it!

Ric as Morning Reign frontman

But speaking of who’s still got it, check this out! Ric’s old band from the late 60s/early 70s – the Morning Reign – got back together for a Salem gig (along with the Kingsmen, Merilee Rush, etc.) so I finally got to see him perform. Let’s just put it this way: if I had seen him back in the day, I wouldn’t have been crushing on Mark Lindsay so hard.

caitlyn plays soccer

We also got to watch granddaughter Caitlyn Stoutt play soccer this fall, which was totally awesome. She’s one to watch, that’s for sure. We didn’t get to see Calla and Ellery perform gymnastics this year, but we hope to do so soon. They are so talented.

curt turns 60

Curt’s year was looking up by the time he turned 60 this fall. He takes such good care of Cindy’s beloved dachshunds.

blaine halloween

With the help of a caregiver Pat Arnold, Blaine transmogrified into the devil for Halloween. He’s far too convincing, I’m thinking.

We came to the realization that we are getting too old (and an ROI of about one egg per $100) to be gentleman/woman farmers so we gave our hens back to the Urban Farm store and the coop to a man and woman who told us they had three chickens living in their bathroom?? And now there's more room for more plants. Every loss is a win in disguise? :)

We came to the realization that we are getting too old (and an ROI of about one egg per $100) to be gentleman/woman farmers so we gave our hens back to the Urban Farm store and the coop to a man and woman who told us they had three chickens living in their bathroom?? And now there’s more room for more plants. Every loss is a win in disguise? 🙂

commissioned quilt

I managed to fit a bit of quiltmaking in this year, though not nearly as much as I hoped I would. There’s always next year…

bright lights

And speaking of next year, we hope yours is awesome and full of peace and joy. May it be as bright and colorful as this new quilt I’m working on.

Happy holidays from our pond to yours… may you have good food, good company and good cheer. Let’s kick 2013’s ass!

Quiltlandia: Quilters Just Wanna Have Fun


I started this in a Trash to Treasure Pineapple Quilts workshop taught by Gyleen Fitzgerald  that Joyce and I took together here in Portland. Joyce and I exchanged pieces of fabric scraps and sliced them into strips prior to the class. Gyleen’s approach made the class a lot of fun. Joyce and I really enjoyed it and were secretly proud when she named us the renegade members of the class.

I used Kona’s zucchini color for the solid to set the exuberant strip pieces against. As I flew around Portland one morning taking the last photos of quilts two days before my show, when I passed one of the Facing the Crowd bronze face sculptures by Michael Stutz outside Jeld Wen Field, I had a sudden inspiration that this quilt just wanted to have fun sticking out its tongue. I knew Gyleen would appreciate this choice.

An interesting side note is that I finished this quilt during the week of vacation we were supposed to spend at Prineville Reservoir last June, but Blaine’s sudden illness and hospitalization derailed that plan. Making the quilt was my way of healing from my fear and worry that surfaced during that episode. I guess you could say the quilt represents the celebration of healing in our whole family.

Quilters Just Want to Have Fun Facing the Crowd

Quiltlandia: The World Is Made Better By Flowers


This is a simple quilt, with squares arranged so the design is diagonal across the body of the quilt. The fabric is a variety of large scale (some so large they are ginormous) floral prints I collected over two or three years. The scale is so large in some of the prints only one petal is contained in the square. I did that on purpose, I just wanted a riot of color. You probably also noticed a kind of rainbow effect in the order of the colors, it was fun to figure out how  to arrange them.

I more or less improvised the border fabrics, with the primary one a geranium print with wonderfully rich greens and reds.

I started this quilt when my mom and I worked on sewing projects while we spent a week or so at the River House in Bandon by the Sea a few years back. That’s why it has a special place in my heart.

A floral quilt in a floral yard. With dog.

Quiltlandia in Portlandia: Swaddle Me


I’m going to post photos of and a bit of narrative about all the quilts in my Quilt Show at Bed Mart in the Pearl for First Thursday in October 2011. Joyce and I scampered across the city taking photos of my quilts set in iconic Portland places. This is the statue of Vera Katz on the Eastbank Esplanade.

I named this one Swaddle Me, a hashtag that @BravoAndy uses to very humorous effect. I dunno, maybe you had to be there. 🙂

I had a lot of trouble getting into a rhythm making this quilt. For some reason, I didn’t grasp the fact that it mattered what order the little pieces are when attaching the strip blocks to the larger whole block. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the two strip blocks on each side of the larger blocks are the reverse of one another. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that when I started and had sewn quite a few together before it dawned on me.

I didn’t buy any fabric for this project, using only what I had in my stash. Which wasn’t really a problem because I had collected a number of blue and purple and teal fabrics over time for a ridiculously complex idea I had that involved peacocks. Fortunately, I came to my senses before I embarked on that project, hence I have a plethora of blue/teal/purples tones. I’m not sure you can tell from this image, but some of the fabrics in this quilt are prints of peacock feathers.

This is not a hard quilt to make, especially if you are aware of what I overlooked. Cutting the small pieces is a little tedious, as is sewing them together, but it’s not difficult.

Quiltlandia in Portlandia: Swaddle Me

A day of me, for me, by me


Today is a bonus day. I find myself in the position where, if I don’t take a vacation day, I will lose it forever. Which brings me here. I have nothing planned today, no appointments, no obligations, no deadlines, no nothing, so I actually get to decide how to spend my time. What a luxury…

So I decided to begin my day visiting my long neglected blog. I want to use it to look back on the last three months since I posted our holiday letter thingie to remind myself what’s been happening so when I forget what happened, it won’t be lost forever.

Let’s start with last night. Greg Hartle came for dinner. He’s a guy with a very interesting backstory who is now touring the US with ten dollars and a laptop to see how people and communities are changing as a result of the Great Recession. After a serious health crisis, which was resolved by a kidney donation from his mom, he cast off his former crazy-ass-go-for-broke-get-rich-quick-everything-is-competition lifestyle, rid himself of his possessions, save for $10 and a laptop. He started in Washington in January, Oregon is his second state. He connected with me through a combination of people and the web, so I invited him to sample Ric’s delicious cooking and come over for a chat. You really should follow his updates and watch for him when he comes your way.

We really enjoyed conversing with him and learned a lot from him. Here’s just one gem to ponder: being fit is not the same as being healthy.

I’ve been on a major quilting jag lately. I would say more but then you would expect to see photos and I haven’t taken any yet. Quilts are really really hard to photograph. For one thing, they’re so big! When I figure out how to do it better, I will show them to you.

Along those lines, a very happy piece of work-related news is that Meyer Memorial Trust now offers sabbaticals to staff members who have been there more than seven years. And I believe I just reached the end of my 15th year there! Longest place I’ve ever worked by far! So I will have four weeks off in August. Do I hear a wOOt?!  I’m so excited!

We had to submit a plan for how we would use our sabbaticals – in both professional and personal realms – and get them approved. One of my personal promises is to plan a show of my quilts! And of course you are all invited. More on that in future months.

My dear friend Joyce and I took in the nation’s largest sewing show in Puyallup a few weeks ago. So much fabric. Not enough time. In a bizarre side note, I found myself being drawn to Japanese quilting fabric at the expo, buying some for the first time. A few days later, the horrible earthquake/tsunami happened. I’m so sorry.

Have you done what you can to help them? I need to do more.

I’ve been crazy busy at work, hatching a HUGE project, this after I promised myself I would never have any big ideas ever again, and if I did, I would keep my mouth shut. So of course I violated all those rules, but rest assured, I am being suitably punished. But I just know it will result in a really COOL thing that will really HELP people get shit done, as they say in the vernacular. As Joyce would say, it’s populist and involves technology. What else is there?!? When all is fit to print you will be among the first to get the scoop.

Ric made some seriously major improvements to our long suffering kitchen, triggered by a nasty ant infestation. The kitchen is better now. We hope the ants are not.

Would you believe that our hens have all been laying some days? Three eggs a day sometimes! Before spring began even! They are such productive little hens, as if they existed to create chicken embryos. Oh wait. They do.

Our yard is threatening to burst forth, the daphne and michelia fragrance is intoxicating and the white camellia flowers are opening. I dread discovering all that we lost in the harsh winter freeze though. We could all use a little sun and warm temperatures, that’s for sure.

I’m quite worried about my wayward adopted son, Rev Phil. He’s taking his bike porn tour across country lines and was detained at the border. Fortunately, he is channeling Hunter Thompson and has lived to tell. I know this makes no sense to many of you, and it is far better that way. A mother worries though. And seriously hopes he drops his plans to include Turkey in his European tour.

On that enigmatic note, I shall close this chapter and strive to remember anything else that has happened in the past three months. The well has run dry for now. I must go do something else unplanned.

Keep the faith. Sometimes that works.






Three girls, three days, three projects (and a bit more)


Today our three granddaughters left to spend some time with their Grandma Donna  before school starts. We were so happy to have them spend a few days with us, we had several projects lined up before they got here. We thought we would share them with you…

Doll Quilts and Pillows

The most elaborate project was making quilts for their American Girl dolls, I have lost count of how many of these dolls each girl has, so we’ll just get right to the result.

girls and quilts

From left, Calla, Ellery and Caitlyn display their American Girl quilts

The quilts each have 35 three inch blocks. They each chose different fabrics for the back and binding so they could remember whose was whose.

quilt backs

Bringing backs back

Each of the girls chose the pattern of her blocks and Caitlyn was always ready first and such a wonderful and willing helper to the other girls.

We used Calla’s sewing machine for a while, but we couldn’t make it work very well so we eventually gave up and she plans to bring the instruction manual when she comes next time.

After we finished the quilts, the girls were worried their American girls would be nice and cozy warm but their heads would hurt, so they decided their American girls would be far more comfortable if we also made pillows, so we did!

Cate used fabric from her quilt back and binding for her pillow, Calla isn’t sure she wants to reveal herself for another photo, and Ellery’s pillow (and lots of other things) makes her giggle.

Look at those dolls, don’t they look comfortable while they’re sleeping?

Well, at least Calla and Cate have restfully sleeping dolls. But I’m a little worried about Ellery’s doll. I’m thinking she might have a headache 😦

But sometimes a cute pose is worth a headache or two… 🙂

Art Projects

We did a lot more than sewing, however. For example, they painted and decorated birdhouses…

After the paint was dry (you’ll notice each girl used multiple colors), they applied glitter, stickers, special line art paint and lots of love.

As you can see, they’re quite small, maybe hummingbird size. Calla pointed out she really thought we should have provided large birdhouses because that’s the kind she always wanted to have.

Self Portraits

And last but not least, we did self portraits. I printed some portrait photographs (using the Poster Edges filter in Photoshop) that Caitlyn’s mom Stacey had taken they could incorporate directly in their art work, or use as the basis for a drawing.  They embellished them with paint, feathers, glitter, jewels and I can’t remember what else but I’m sure they can!


Caledonia, age 8 (she's a third grader!)

Caitlyn, age 7-1/2

Ellery, just turned 5!

Ellery just turned five years old!

Wouldn’t you agree that we have the most adorable, winsome and special granddaughters? They’ve only been gone a few hours but the house feels empty and sounds much quieter than it did not long ago. We hope they make this trip to stay with Grandpa Ric and Grandma Marie every summer from now on.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. We got a little foot therapy – pedicures at our neighborhood Dosha Salon. Doesn’t everybody look super comfy and relaxed! Just like the American Girls with pillows.


The most relaxed we all were this week!

We love you girls!