Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little bit of Market

It has been awhile since I found time to write all of you, so I thought I would give you a little update....

I am all settled into my apartment in Portland...I was able to take a flying visit to Quilt Market in Houston. Kathy, my sister, and Sharon and Joe (the owners of the Loft) went down and put up my booth for me...after they had done all the work, I came in for a little over a day and got to enjoy it....

These are not the best photos, but they did a great job on the booth....It looked wonderful. Mary and Porter Versfelt who live in Houston again lent us sure helps to have something to put your stuff on...What we didn't borrow from them, Joe drove down in his truck....It sure is nice to have such great friends and family.

This is Kathy hard at work telling someone all about Crazy at Home....I can never thank them all enough! Market is fun...but a whole lot of work too.

I am all settled into my apartment in Portland. Megan had her first chemo treatment last week and is doing well. She had several really achy and tired days after it, but is feeling good this week. Thanks all of you for your prayers and good wishes....they mean so much.

Bye for now and if I don't post again before it, have a very wonderful Thanksgiving....Jo Ann

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crazy at home book signing

Today at the Country Loft we had a book signing for Crazy at Home......I thought you would like to see how everything looked set up in the backyard of the shop....

It was threatening rain all morning and we weren't sure it would work outside....but we were under an awning and that kept the light rain off of us....

We had all 15 projects displayed. It was such fun, because no one had seen all of them....

Next week they are all off to Houston. My sister Kathy and our owner Sharon will be taking them and I may come in for a day .....I am off to Portland tomorrow to be with our daughter Megan...

This is my mom, Gert....she was my special guest all day and made cookies for all the people who came to the signing....I think maybe they come for the cookies....:))))

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and prayers....All my best, Jo Ann

Monday, October 18, 2010


I want to thank everyone for the nice notes I have been receiving. All your thoughts and prayers are most welcome. Megan hopes to find out what the procedures will be sometime in the next few days. It will be good to be starting the fight against this unwelcome guest in her body. She has a great attitude and a lot of people who are there for her, and that goes a long way!

Gene and I went up to Portland on October 8th and we found an apartment for me to rent. I will be up there as long as I am needed to help out with the kids and whatever. I am so glad that I will be near her....a thousand miles is too far away to hug her!

I've been busy getting all of my classes in order and kits made up for them....It is great to stay busy.....and I've also gotten everything ready for Quilt Market in Houston. My sister Kathy and my boss and friend, Sharon will be running my booth there. I pick up CRAZY AT HOME tomorrow and we will be having a book signing at The Loft on Saturday from 10 to 1....(you can preorder books online at )

I am headed off to my studio to cut out some projects to take with me. I know there will be a lot of down time and of course I will need some stitching and wool to keep me occupied.

Take care everybody and if you have a chance check out the website my son just made for is You can't order from it, but you can dream and then contact The Country Loft if you want something.

All my best...Jo Ann

Some of the projects in Crazy at Home....:)))

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A bit more fall

Hey everyone....A few weeks ago I showed some of my fall decorations and I decided to show you some more.....This runner if from a pattern by Cheri Payne, made by my friend Donna....and the mat is one from a pattern by Cheryl Wall for her company, Country Quilts....

I love carved folk art....Here are some of the pieces I have collected over the years...

This jack-o-lantern bag is one we made in my monthly Brown Bag classes...(you come to class once a month and have no idea what you will make...all you know if that it will be in a brown bag)

......and a crate full of sister Kathy made the mat...

....and she also made the bird from Renee Plains book .... This little display is on my kitchen counter.....I actually did leave enough room to still use it when forced to cook....:)

I hope you enjoyed the little Fall Southern California the fall colors in our homes are much more abundant than the ones outside....:)

This last few weeks have been hard ones for our family. Our daughter Megan found 5 years ago that she had eye cancer. After lots of treatment and losing her eye, it looked like she was out of the woods.....but now the cancer has returned. They are doing tests and she will be starting to fight it soon (we are not sure what that will entail) . She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter.....I will be going up there to help out and staying as long as they need me....So, you may not be hearing from me very often......I ask that all of you keep her in your prayers. Take care.....Jo Ann

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jonnie's Paper Dolls

My friend Jonnie shared her rendition of the Cozy Quarter's "Paper Dolls" at our annual outdoor quilt show. I was so excited when she brought it in, because she included me as one of her "dolls"! That is me on the bottom right. I think that the Wool Bag should be a little bit bigger though! Isn't it great!!! Phyllis Paul designed the original and we were lucky enough to have her trunk show at the Loft. Jonnie loved hers and decided to try her hand at it.

I always tell my classes that building a Wool Crazy is like playing with paper dolls....remember how long it took to cut out all their clothes??? Yep, just like the appliques...:)))

Well I am off to my studio to do a little work....the last draft of "Crazy at Home" is waiting for me.....Hope your week got off to a great start....Jo Ann

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A little bit of Fall and a visit from Renee

Many of you will recognize Renee Plains of Liberty Star. She taught at the Country Loft last weekend and we were lucky enough to have her stay in our home....Here she is standing in the entry.....

There is a great boon to having someone come stay at your home, besides the good company and the fun conversation....and that is a clean house. Just ask my husband Gene. He told Renee on Friday night that he wanted to thank her for coming, because I finally stopped working on the book and you could actually sit on the couch before brushing it off....:))) I had been living off the excuse of construction dust for weeks (why bother cleaning when it would just get covered in dust the next day) I knew that I would have to eventually haul out the dust rags and the vacuum and company always gets it done...

I decided since everything was clean that I should decorate for I had pulled apart all my decorations anyway to take photos for the book. I love Fall. I have a birthday in October, so I am lucky enough to get lots of fall decorations for gifts. I have taken just a few photos...I will try to take more later.....This box stands in the entry to our home....

......and this great scarecrow is sitting on a trunk across from it....Notice his great crazy quilt jacket and pants....

I filled a shelf from an old trunk with pumpkins and leaves and this is in front of my fire place. Can you tell that I love crows....They are tucked all around....There is lots more, but this is all I took when I was waiting for Renee Saturday morning....We were off to a little breakfast before she taught at the Loft....

...and now I am off to teach at the Loft....I have 5 on-going Wool Crazy groups and one of them meets this morning..... I hope you all have a great day and find some time for stitching....
My best to you all...Jo Ann

Oh by the way....the bathroom is finally done....and I will take pictures soon so you can see it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A peek at my new book....

I couldn't believe when I checked my blog today that it had been 5 weeks since I posted!!!! It seems like they have flown by. I was working a lot at the shop getting ready for the outdoor quilt show. Then I was sewing in all the hours I wasn't at the Loft. Finally, I was done with sewing but now I have been busy writing directions for all of my projects.....15 of them for my new book, Crazy at Home.....

I am not quite done with it yet....but it is finally taking shape. On Tuesday, my friend Terri came over and took photos of everything. The first one you see is a close-up of one of the "framed crazies"....

......and this little bird is hanging out in one of the "bag crazies".....

Here are 3 pillows that you will find in the book and in the back is part of a quilt that is in it, I have been busy! Hopefully that is a good enough excuse for not stopping by and saying "Hi". I hope you have enjoyed your "peek"...

Oh and all the while I have been working on the book, my downstairs bathroom is being it is back and forth to the hardware store and decision making time all of the time.....Every day is started with a meeting with the guy who is doing it. He was hoping to be done by now, but has been slowed down by a faulty faucet. We are waiting on replacement of this pesky part! Soon as it is all done I will be posting pictures of it too....
My grandson, Timothy (5) spent the night last night and he has gotten very tired of not being able to use "his" bathroom.....right after he got up I heard the front door open and close....There he was in the front yard (which luckily is surrounded by hedges) peeing. We have 2 other bathrooms, but he decided this was his best bet.
I better get busy and go upstairs to work....and clean my studio. Renee Plains is coming to teach at The Loft tomorrow night and "her bedroom" is a bit of a mess..:))
Hope to be back really soon.....Jo Ann

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Studio

Hey everyone....I have been meaning to take photos of my studio to show you where I work....but I was waiting until it was clean. I finally decided that we all might be too old to open our computers any more if I waited that long, so I shot some quick pictures this morning...:)))

This is the back wall of my room....I use the tall counter as my cutting counter and the antique cupboard to the left is all full of wool....Above it is one of my favorite things. When Sally and Alice of Kindred Spirits left their shop, they sold some of their originals. This is "Sweet Annie" and I LOVE it!!!!

Do you see the overflowing box of wool on the side of the counter?. I am busy cutting a new project and since I am sure I will need them again.....why put it all away...:) (Is that rationalization or what?!)

The old cupboard sitting on the counter has buttons and ribbon, etc in it for my dolls....and the old metal stand is from a hardware store and holds rusty tin stuff.

The projects thrown over the old wooden folding chairs are ones I am working on right now ...I am planning a new book (Crazy at Home)and busily sewing away.... I hope to have it out this fall. (I figure if I keep on telling people this, that it will happen)

Here is another look at the room...You can see my fat quarter cubby to the side of my sewing table. I do all my sewing on my Featherweight! The cupboard on the wall holds folded fabric...

....and here is more of that wall....The quilt is one of my retired blocks of the month...."The Sounds of Time"...underneath it is an old shoe rack with loads of bits and pieces I use on dolls...

...a closer shot of the fabric cupboard.....

....on the opposite wall from the fabric there used to be a closet...We took off the doors and I have filled it with antique shoe racks that hold all my patterns....The shopping basket and bucket have doll hair for past and future dolls....

I hope you enjoyed the mini tour.of my studio...Now I think I better go up there and get some work done!
Hope you have a good day of stitching today....Jo Ann

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Several months ago I took these shots of Diane Jones' work on her Wool Crazy....She is in one of my ongoing classes. With some of you sweltering in the summer heat and humidity, I thought that a little snow would be welcome....:))) Don't you love how she added the snow to the roofs and all of her snowflakes? Even her finishing on the joins gives that feeling of ice.

...and here it is in conjunction with some of her other appliques. As you can see she has made this a Christmas/winter block....

I hope you have been following along on the Wool Crazy Sew Along. So many people have been posting lately and sharing their starts and progress. It is such fun to see them all. I was going to post Julie Heinen's wonderful round crazy, but Brenda added before I got a chance....Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I have finally finished my wool crazy pincushion! I had decided to use it as a top to a paper mache box....and stuff it so it would be a cushion too. When we started I didn't have the box in my hot little hands yet, so I faked the size of the top by looking at the dimensions on the order sheet....(not always a good idea)..... After much agonizing and discreet trimming..:))) here it is!

This shot is taken from the top....and the next a little closer up....Whoops my wool sign is sticking straight up in the air....(Roseann added these as a surprise for all of us)

Here it is sitting on it's side with the wool sign down now....:)))) I just distressed the bottom....I had planned on putting wool on the bottom, but the lid wouldn't go on....slight problem....This is what happens when you fly by the seat of your pants! Oh well...luckily I like primitive things!

...and here is a look at it from the side....still with some wet spray...:) I just couldn't wait to show you how it looks!

I want to thank Roseann (who came up with the idea); Pat (who organized us) and Brenda (who had so much enthusiam) for all of their work on my wool crazy. I love it and know that it will be come a favorite in my studio. Thank you....Thank you....Thank you.....

I love the box so much that I am going to design a few more....(maybe you'll see them soon in a new book I am planning:))) (My theory is if I tell enough people that I am working on a new book it will force me to do it!)
Happy Wednesday....I hope it is a good stitching day for you.....

Friday, July 9, 2010

A very special Wool Crazy

Last week at one of my on-going Wool Crazy classes Jan Gartland handed me this little package.....Some of you may recognize the paper...It is a scan of one of the color photo pages in my book!!!
Here I took a photo of it opened up.....I would have never thought to make paper like this..
.....and if this isn't clever enough, just look at what was inside....
It is a mini wool crazy!!!! It measures 4"x41/2". It is truly amazing. I LOVE it!!!! She used teeny tiny stitches and added some needlefelting too. It is a work of art. I am so excited to have it....and I wanted you all to see it too.

How are your Wool Crazies coming along???? It is such fun to see everyone's. Post yours on the Sew Along blog...or e-mail them to me, and I will post them on my blog.
Happy Friday....Hope you all are having a wonderful day....Jo Ann

Friday, July 2, 2010

HAPPY 4th of July

I thought that I would say Happy Fourth with two of my designs that I taught this year at the Loft....On Monday I taught 2 classes of this little stitchery quilt...."Signs of Summer". Kind of puts you in that "red, white and blue" mood...:)
........and in early June I taught this table runner...."Flag Crazy"....if you look really closely you can see the crazy patch background under the flag and stars...

I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday and eat way too many hamburgers and hot dogs and laze around in the sun all day long!
Have fun celebrating!!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Camp Loft

For the second year in a row, The Country Loft set aside a week for Summer Camp......Here is Kathy (my sister) hanging our Camp Loft banner.....We wanted to welcome all the campers from the moment they walked in.....

.....and here is a second banner on our back porch.....

Here is Kathy again welcoming all of the 15 campers that came to Camp Kit Day....and what a fun time they had. Kathy made them each a necklace (unfortunately none were photographed...but trust me they are CUTE small pockets on a cord to keep all of their prize tickets in throughout the week!)

...and here are some of the campers hard at work making covered boxes....Then they each got a great lunch after the class....and then onto the next fun project.....

.....Peggy is showing off her box and her tomatoes and she is all ready to make her spoolies.......Way too much fun in one day....At least one of the campers stayed on that night for a Wimpy All-Nighter that lasted until 11....Talk about stamina....:)))

....and next week has lots more fun to come....Wish all of you could join us.
Happy Summer to everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wool Crazy in FRANCE!

I just had to share this with all of you! When I opened my e-mail this evening, I found a message from my friend, Marie. She has just finished teaching at a three day retreat in France.
As you can see one of her all day sessions was on Wool Crazy. I was so excited!!!!! I knew that she was going to teach it....but now it is a reality. If you'd like to see more, visit her blog You will be green with envy when you see where they stayed during this retreat!

Well, this has inspired me....I am off to stitch....Jo Ann

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ROUND ROBIN on it's way home to Roseann

On Friday after teaching all day at The Country Loft I came home to a package from Pat Sloan. It was the looooong awaited round robin pincushion. .....but as you can see it was worth the wait!!!! Pat warned me that she had sent me a challenge. She had completed not one, but two appliques...but her second one went from being a "sun" to a flower and she wasn't sure where it would take me......

The green line is part of my solution, but I am leaving you in suspense a little while longer...:))) Is it a worm??? ..a snake??? The little patch off to the side seemed a little lonely, so I added a flower garden...I built my garden with a blanket stitch and then added some bullions and french knots for still needed something, so I couched a few longer lines and added some more knots....A stitchery can never have too many!

As you can see the green line was not a wriggling critter, but only a stem with some leaves. It still looked a little bare, so I added some backstitched lines and you guessed it ...some more french knots...... And what would a garden be without a butterfly.

The raw edge under the flower was still in need of a stitch so I added a simple fern fancy stitches were used, because I figured there was enough going on....:))))

Now it is off home to Roseann. I think that she will have a great time making it into a pincushion......We will all get ours back in the next week or so, so check in to see what becomes of them.....
I saw today that Brenda is all ready starting another one!!!! How about you? Will you be the next one to have a Round Robin going? I hope so! I can't wait to see them.
Happy Sunday (and Father's Day) to everyone....Jo Ann

Monday, June 7, 2010

A wonderful "crazy" at Quilt Market

One of the really fun things about Quilt Market is getting to chat with all of the shop owners and getting to meet in person people that you have only spoken to on the phone....I'd like to say that I can remember each and everyone, but some things become a blur after awhile...:))

I think it was on the last day of Market the girls from Eagle Creek Quilt Shop in Shakopee, Minnesota came to visit for the second time and had part of a Wool Crazy in hand. Their shop has a group working on their own, and Lori, one of the owners, brought her mom, Ann's work to share......

I know that you are going to love it....Here is her Annie ringing a bell...because she is in a bell ringing group.....and look at her thread spool....isn't it great?

......and her wonderful basket of flowers!!!! I love them!

....and this dragonfly is to die for....check out all the wonderful stitches!

.......and this polar bear patch was her husband's I think and she will be adding it in....

....Here is the whole piece so far.....It is so wonderful! ....and I am so glad that I got to see it!!!

Happy Stitching today.....I am off to teach a class at the Loft......JoAnn