Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
Follow the link below to my featured post on the Bad Ass Quilters Society blog.
Such lovely comments I've received from other quilters on my story. Humbled.
Friday, October 10, 2014
What could be more fun than an entire week devoted to celebrating QUILTING across Ireland? We've encouraged quilt shops and guilds and any other Irish quilters to post the events they've planned our on our website www.quiltireland.com
The Anam Cara (Soul Friend) Artisan tour that Don and I are leading next Spring will take in some of those events listed! Our tour has stops planned at four quilt shops along the way. We'll keep any photographers who come along busy snapping the most amazing photos too! You can check out some of those photos here: https://penny-barnes.squarespace.com/
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Earlier this week, I was perched in my favorite chair, drinking my morning coffee and sharing peanut butter toast with my pooches when there was a segment on the Today Show about childhood cancer. I was sobbing as I watched the video that Hoda Kotb had orchestrated with music artists Sara Barielles and Cyndi Lauper, combining their songs "True Colors" and "Brave" to create Truly Brave . (click the song title to watch the video...tissues required) A tribute and encouragement to kids battling cancer and the stars of the video were none other than kids who are currently fighting the disease. It was so touching...I was a blubbery mess. I shared the link to the video on my Facebook page and not long after, someone I've know nearly my entire life, commented on the video....someone who knew firsthand just how devastating this disease can be.
Bobbi (Dombrowski) Thomas and I grew up in rural NW Pennsylvania and started first grade together. We didn't have Kindergarten then at our school. We're not so old that it hadn't been invented yet, I just like to tell people that we were so smart, we went straight to first grade.
Bobbi, was my first "Polish" friend. And no...I don't mean she was a little girl who came to America from Poland...she simply had the letters "ski" on the end of her name...and if my memory serves me correctly, she told some of the best Polish jokes in Elementary school. (now this was way before being politically correct was invented...we didn't take life so seriously back then... and we all made fun of ourselves). We were classmates all through school and like most people, after high school we went our separate ways and lost touch. Thanks to social media, we have now reconnected through Facebook. I do remember having a phone conversation with my Mom at some point several years ago, when she mentioned that Bobbi's young daughter, Kayla, had been battling cancer and the prognosis was not good. I remember thinking to myself then "I just can't even imagine...". I still can't....but after watching that video, I finally reached out and contacted Bobbi about an idea that I've had for quite some time and just hadn't followed through...a way not only to celebrate Kayla's life...but to do something in her memory that would make a difference to other kids facing cancer. Quilts. Of course Quilts! What if we collect quilts that could be given to other children facing cancer...to honor Kayla.
I never met Kayla, but thanks to Facebook, I have seen pictures of her occasionally and I get to feel her family's love for her....as well as their sense of loss. I asked Bobbi if she wouldn't mind sharing a bit of Kayla with you and here is what she wrote....
When Penny first approached me with the idea of gathering quilts as a way to honor the life of my daughter Kayla Rose I was instantly brought to tears. As anyone who has lost a child will tell you, there is a deep fear that your little one will be forgotten, and just the thought of paying tribute to Kayla's life on what would have been her 25th birthday is beyond special.
Most of you never had the opportunity to know Kayla, but through this letter, I am hopeful you will find a sense of the child she was, the young lady she had grown to be, and the woman she never had the chance to become.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
|Laura (Rita's SIL), Myself & Rita in Chattanooga|
So many people walked into our booth and said "Creative Grid Rulers are my absolute favorite rulers to use!!!". A few suggested they would be selling all of their other rulers (one woman said for fifty cents a piece) and replacing them with Creative Grid brands. They've got these great little "grippy" (that's a word) circles on the back of the ruler so they stay in place while you cut your fabrics. No sliding around! One of the most popular rulers was the Corner to Corner Curve Strip Ruler. Say that three times fast!
|Corner to Corner Curve Strip Ruler|
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
1) They simply had to be Irish
2) They had to follow through with the promises made to travelers
3) They had to be Fun!
I made so many lifelong friends on that first trip, one of which was our driver. He is the one who said "You were made to do these tours and you need to contact Peter at Brack Tours". So I wrote to Peter and told him what I wanted to do and literally had a reply in my inbox within the hour inviting me to lunch the next week. Surely he'd misunderstood that my location was I-O-W-A. As I replied how much I would love that but that we were geographically challenged, I was thrilled to discover he was traveling the Midwest and was only one state away! We did indeed schedule lunch for that next week and I knew within the first five minutes that I had found the perfect travel company for our tours. I get chills every time I tell that story....so meant to be.
Peter took in everything we said about the experience that we wanted to provide to our travelers and together we put the finishing touches on a tour that allows us to give our travelers a unique Irish adventure. From that moment on, we became a part of the Brack Tours family and it has been absolutely wonderful.
|Don, Peter & I traveling in Ireland|
I thought it would be fun to introduce you to more members of my Brack Tours family who've come to mean so very much to me.
Maura, works here in the US processing your information when you sign up for our tour!
|Maura and I at Milwaukee Irish Fest 2013|
|Nuala and I at Milwaukee Irish Fest 2013|
|Mary Ann and I and Milwaukee Irish Fest 2014|
|Sinead & I in Galway|
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
This year I'll be bringing along a few quilts to share with those who visit the Brack Tours booth.
First there's this quilt designed by Nikki Foley. Cead Mile Failte means "One Hundred Thousand Welcomes". I have to say, in my travels to Ireland, I've felt every single one of those welcomes.
|Summer on the Mountain|
Friday, August 1, 2014
One of those stops was at the Kilmakader Church, the ruins of a Romanesque Church dated back to the twelve century. Step inside with us, won't you....
|This is one of the gravestones in front of the church.|
|These carvings are in the archways inside the church|
|These colors are perfect!|
|Look at this amazing blue!|
|Imagine my squeal of delight when these showed up in my mailbox!|
I've often said that when you add the "quilting" to a quilt, it brings it to life. Never more have I felt that then when I quilted this piece. I had to stop quilting several times to wipe away the tears as the emotions of that day at Kilmakader Church came to the surface once again....my heart felt it in every stitch.
So are you on the edge of your seat to see this quilt? I know I am and I made the quilt! I already know what it looks like but Nikki and I are so excited to share it with all of you.
|Whispers of the Past|
|Inside of quilt/headstones|
|Our outer blocks with quilting|
|Back of quilt|
|Two quilty girls....who made a quilt together...even though they live 3800 miles apart.|