Sunday, February 21, 2010

Omaha - Turkeys, Deer, and Great Classes

This week I taught for the Cottonwood Quilt Guild in Omaha, Nebraska. Wayne and I drove and along the way enjoyed seeing lots of wild turkeys (was hard to get a photo of them though at 70 miles an hour), deer playing in the fields (I did capture a photo of some of them), and hundreds of geese flying overhead. There was enough snow in the fields that it was pretty easy to spot them.

One of the many groups of deer we saw along I-29

By the time we arrived in Omaha on Saturday evening, there was a fine snow coming down. The problem was it snowed all night long that way. By noon on Sunday, the wind was blowing the snow so there were white-out conditions and we couldn't see the cars parked in the parking lot at the hotel where the class was held - lucky for us, it was the same hotel that we stayed in.

The classes were great - on Sunday, we did the Windmill Twisted Log Cabin - this is the quilt that I showed on Simply Quilts; that quilt received more mail than any other program on the show. Several of the ladies finished one complete Windmill. Here's a photo of them showing off their work at Show and Tell during the meeting on Monday night.

Show and Tell: It's always fun to see how different they look when different fabrics are chosen. I can't wait to see their quilts finished.

Sunday evening Wayne and I had dinner with Gary and Susie VonWeihe, who live in Council Bluffs. Gary and Wayne were stationed at Richard Gebaur Air Force Base in Kansas City. Can't believe that was 40 years ago, after Wayne returned from Viet Nam. We enjoyed getting to see how the Gerber baby has grown up with teenagers of her own. We always called Robin the Gerber baby because she looked like the baby on their labels. Gary and Susie have three other children...and a total of nine grandchildren. We had a fun evening together.

Then on Monday we did the Xquisite Scrap Quilt class. I always encourage people to bring what they have in lights, mediums, and darks. We went through my process for sorting the fabrics to get the values in the right piles. Then to just pick up a value and sew it to another square, using my formula. And they learned some tips for trimming and pressing too. About an hour before the end of class I take everyone's blocks and lay them out on the floor to show some of the variations you can make with these blocks. I did make believers out of them - value does the work and color gets the credit - if the value is correct, then it really doesn't make any difference what color the fabric is. See for yourself....
Quilt laid out using blocks from all of the students in class in the Sunshine & Shadow pattern

My Getting It Straight lectures on Monday evening and again Tuesday morning were well received. I hope everyone picked up a tip or two for making their quilts turn out flat and straight. And I even took a couple of photos of the snow piled in the parking lot of the church where the guild meeting was held. You definitely have to scoop and plow the snow they get.

Thanks, Cottonwood Quilt Guild, for inviting me to Omaha - snow and all!

Wayne and I enjoyed some nice sunshine for the drive home. Left Omaha with 14 degree temps and it was 35 degrees when we arrived back in Paducah on Wednesday.

Today (Sunday) we are enjoying 65 degrees here in Paducah and have the door open to get some fresh air into the house. Spring is on the way! Come on Spring!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In September I flew to Boulder, Colorado, to tape a program with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims for their online program, The program will be posted on their Web site, on April 26. In addition to learning how to make your borders fit your quilts every time, our interview was talking about the American Quilter's Society and my job as the Executive Show Director for AQS.

Here I am on the set getting ready to tape the show. Tune in to on April 26.
Episode 609 – Freeform feathers & Happy endings (Bonnie Browning / Judy Woodworth
Posts on April 26, 2010

This super show brings you two outstanding teachers for “the price of one!” First, professional machine- and award-winning quilter Judy Woodworth uses a Gammill Longarm Quilting Machine to create freeform, out-of-the-box feathers, and encourages Alex to try her hand as well. Then: Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Bonnie Browning, author of nine books, including Borders & Finishing Touches 2, involves our enthusiastic studio audience as she demonstrates a variety of innovative techniques, tips, and notions for giving our quilts the best endings ever! You’ll be learning something every moment of this jam-packed episode.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Visit with the Eagles on Kentucky Lake - February 6, 2010

Every year Wayne and I enjoy a February cruise on Kentucky Lake to see the American Bald Eagles. Yesterday we had a great time on the cruise, which is sponsored by the Kentucky State Parks and Kentucky Wildlife & Conservation Department. They have staff on board as guides and to answer questions.

We cruised in style aboard the CQ Princess, which is normally docked in Louisville. They bring this yacht to the lakes in January/February for the eagle cruises.

We saw 29 eagles, lots of ducks and geese, herons, and other birds. It wasn't sunny but at least it wasn't raining (like last year). I took my camera with the 300mm lens and an extender so I could get better shots of the eagles. It was worth the price of the cruise to see a female sitting on a nest and the male eagle sitting on a branch nearby. We were able to view it in 270 degrees since the nest was in the top of a tree that was on a peninsula. I was able to shoot lots of photos.

This was my first view of the nest, using my long lens to see the male eagle sitting on a branch, while the female sits on the nest. The captain slowed down the boat so we could go by very slowly.

How about this view? You can see the female tucked behind the crooked branch.

Now the boat is almost on the other side of the nest - the female (on the left) has hopped off the nest. Did you know that female eagles are 20-30% larger than the male eagles. And this is one type of bird where the male and female look alike - he doesn't get all of the pretty feathers.

An immature eagle - see the speckled head and breast. They don't have a white head until they are about 5 years old.

This young eagle is older than the one in the previous photo. See how it has more white on his head?

Another eagle nest that was tucked back into a group of trees. The other two nests we saw were closer to the water.

An adult American Bald Eagle. We saw 29 eagles in all; 15 were immature, 2 we couldn't tell, and the other 12 were adults. You can't miss the adults with their big white heads.

Two immature eagles sit in this tree on the point. See how they look like a big black blob sitting in the tree. They are so big that they are easy to spot once you know what you are looking for.

There were some eagles soaring close to our boat just as we were finishing our cruise. Look at that wing span.

Another nest that was close to the water.

Another eagle soaring - the staff called this one the greeter, it's the first eagle we saw as we left the dock and the last one we saw when we returned. He stays in a group of trees just across from the boat dock.

Part of this Visit with the Eagles program was an evening talk on Raptors (Birds of Prey) by Dale and John Stokes. They are associated with S.O.A.R. - Save our American Raptors. From May to September they present programs at the Rock City Raptors Birds of Prey at Rock City near Chattanooga, Tennessee. During the rest of the year, the give programs at schools and at state parks. All of the birds they display have been "humanized" - that is they have been raised by humans (and often depend then on humans for their food) or have been injured and cannot be released back to the wild.

I took a few photos, but they asked us not to use any flash, so the lighting isn't the best. You can see what the birds look like anyway.

Many of us have probably heard Screech Owls - here is what they look like. These two small owls are the only birds that live together at their sanctuary for these birds of prey.

The barn owl has such a funny shaped face.

This broad-winged hawk flew very fast...and this one came right over my head, parting my hair it was so close. But I got his picture anyway. Phew, that was close.

Red-tailed hawk has such beautiful coloring. I didn't get a photo of his back, but the back and tail feathers are really pretty. We have one of these hawks that torments the squirrels in our back yard (and catches one of them sometimes).

This black vulture flew back and forth over the heads of the audience. BIG bird.

This American Bald Eagle was rescued after being shot; his wing had to be removed as a result of that shot. Still a beautiful bird, but can never be released to the wild again. (The bald eagle is the bird up front...not the head you see in the photos...grin.)

There were people on this cruise from all over. If you are ever going through Kentucky in late January or early February, be sure to check out the Eagle Cruises through the Kentucky State Parks. We are really glad that they have this program and enjoy cruising to see the eagles every year!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Radio Interview on the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah

Yesterday I taped an hour-long radio interview with Sally Terry. We talked about many of the changes for this year's AQS Quilt Show in Paducah.

Here is a link to so you can listen to a replay of the program:

We were just informed this afternoon that there are some rooms available at the Hampton Inn (270-442-0200). Call immediately - these rooms won't last long.
Or, you can call the Paducah Visitor's Bureau (1-800-PADUCAH) for an application for the AQS Home Bed & Breakfast Program.

See you in Paducah in April!

Stay tuned...we'll be taping a program on the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paper Piecing Patterns - Now in an eBook Downloadable Format

My book, Paper Piecing Patterns, published in 1999, is no longer available in print. You've been asking for this book, and it is now available as a downloadable eBook in Adobe PDF format. You can download the book, and print the pattern pages you want to stitch.

What is in this book? I've been paper piecing since the late 1960's and have shared my technique in easy-to-see photographs. Besides the step-by-step instructions for paper piecing, you'll find a selection of patterns that can be paper (some call it foundation) pieced. I like to use vellum paper, so I call it paper piecing. Why vellum? Because you can see the lines from either side of the paper. You can print directly onto the vellum, and sew on the side with the printing. The vellum is very easy to tear away too.

Here are some of the patterns: Teapot, Tea Cup, Cupcake, Coffee Pot, Coffee Cup, and Chocolate Cake - and those are just the designs on the inside front and back covers. Then there is a Barn, Cabin and House; Squirrel Eating Corn, Hummingbird, Tree 1, and Tree 2. Traditional patterns include Snowball Variation, Pineapple, Log Cabin Courthouse Steps, Diamond in a Square, Double Pinwheel Whirls, Job's Troubles, 3-D, Mosaic Rose, Palm Leaf (one of my favorites), Airplane, Sailboat, and a Heart (on the title page).

As you can see, it is chock full of some fun patterns to sew, and it's all straight line sewing. No fancy or difficult sewing here.

Click here to purchase the eBook and download it right onto your computer. It's just $8.00 or only $6.40 if you are an AQS member.

Send me some photos of quilts you make using my Paper Piecing Patterns.

Happy piecing!

Bonnie B