There Is Still Time to Enter the Yvonne Porcella Tribute Exhibit

There is still plenty of time to enter your quilt (18″ x 26″) for the Live Your Brightest Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella (all of the information can be found here), but I thought it would be fun to share a sampling of some of the completed entries so far:

Yvonne Porcella Tribute Quilt Full View

“Pulse” By Laurie Ceesay





“A Toast to Yvonne (And Strong Women Everywhere)” by Cindy Cooksey



“Planting a Seed” by Judy Coates Perez




“Daily Joy” by Victoria Findlay Wolfe




“YP & Me” by Jamie Fingal




“A Tree for Yvonne” by Sue Bleiweiss



Yvonnes quiltAdios Amigo 72[1]

“Adios Amigo” by Therese May


Boschert Uplifting

“Uplifting” by Deborah Boschert


There is still just about three weeks left to enter a quilt and celebrate the life of this beloved and prolific artist. This tribute exhibit will debut in Northern California at “Quilting in The Garden” taking place September 24-25th in Livermore, CA at Alden Lane Nursery where C&T Publishing, Alex Anderson, and myself will be on hand. Please help spread the word and, I hope you will join us!

On Magazine Publishing & Quilters Newsletter Magazine



Many found out last week that Quilters Newsletter is shuttering (if you hadn’t heard, read Abby Glassenberg’s post). Current subscribers will now be getting Quilting Arts for the remainder of their subscriptions.

As the founder of Quilting Arts, I scratched my head on this decision, but out of the choices the parent company, F&W, had to offer, those at the helm thought this was the best fit.

Many of us—myself included—are incredibly disappointed and saddened that QNM is shuttering. It was an industry icon and leader—more so (in my opinion) than any other magazine in quilting.

No publisher wants to shutter a magazine; they want them to thrive. If an outside company acquires a magazine, the goal is to get a return on their investment and grow that investment, much of which includes leveraging the brand to create other offerings: special interest publications, TV shows, patterns, online communities, books, events and retreats, etc.

A serial print magazine has a lot of current pressures, competition and platforms that even 10 years ago did not exist. Anybody producing or publishing a specific piece of content—whether it be a news story, a technique, a pattern, an op-ed piece, in today’s world has to seriously consider how efficiently, cost effectively, and quickly they can deliver the content and be a cut above the competition. They have to take on rising print costs, competing online tutorials and classes (some deeply discounted or even free), free YouTube videos, blogs, podcasts featuring art & craft celebrities and industry leaders, free downloadable articles and patterns, and content that can be sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces where folks can pick and choose–and purchase for a smaller price than an entire subscription.

And herein lies the paradox: a lot of content is driven these days by SEO and Google Analytics. Editors and content managers take analytics very seriously, and also factor in the number of social media followers someone has in order to make a decision about whether or not to make a sizable investment such as producing an online class or a book (as examples).

But as consumers, sometimes we don’t know what we want…and we rely on the vision, knowledge, and passion of an authority to help guide and expose us to content that will be interesting to us.

Bonnie Leman had both the knack to drive an industry and the editorial foresight to expose us to stories, quilts, and happenings we may not necessarily know we wanted…but were sure glad we were given. I have the deepest respect for her and the support of her family for creating an incredible empire and a legacy.

I really do feel there are a lot of exciting possibilities in publishing today, serial print publishing included (have you checked out Flow or Uppercase?). Having said that, unfortunately a lot of things do have a life span. And, yes, I had wondered—and no, I do not know—if QNM was at all ever an option to be sold to another entity so it could keep going.

I am with everyone that I am deeply saddened about this magazine shuttering. I hate to see it.

I have a lot more to say on this subject but I’ll close by suggesting that if you like a magazine, go support it, then grab a cup of tea, coffee or glass of wine and enjoy the quiet, reflective time. Just think…there wont be any pop-ups or text alerts.





Art Barn is Complete

Breaking my silence to finally be able to say…

My art barn is done.


It took, from concept to design to construction, two years. But it’s at long last complete (minus a backsplash and a chandelier, but hey, those aren’t necessarily requirements for making art).

PicMonkey Collage


There were some sizable setbacks, like the 6.0 Napa earthquake just two weeks after I closed on the property, and learning–after a soil test during pre-construction–that I needed to excavate thousands of tons of dirt and truck in engineered dirt that was more stable for a foundation. Tantamount to all of this was what I placed on myself: very high expectations. I have felt on shaky ground getting to this point, consistently asking myself, did I take on too much?

Upon reflection, all of those mornings over the past two years calculating every construction cost; waking to the skull-rattling sound of hammering and sawing on the hill; watching (and worrying) as construction workers balanced themselves on narrow wooden beams 30’+ above ground; and the rare, startling occurrences like the emergency landing of a hot air balloon have all collectively been the key part of the journey. Building anything is risky, but the exhilaration during the process and at the end is heady stuff!

I am looking forward to hosting small art gatherings here as well as a few offsite workshops during Craft Napa, but as my office is headquartered in the loft, I’m eager to execute other ventures too.

For the moment, though, I am pretty happy that the building part is finally behind me.






What do Frankenstein and Craft Napa have in common?




The short answer is if someone asks: “It’ ALIVE!”


I have poured myself into this event–blood, sweat,  tears, social media, etc.–and taken into account what people want at a focused retreat  in this digital day and age, and that is community.

I’ve launched the registration for CRAFT NAPA 2017 this afternoon and classes are filling quickly. I am so thrilled and trying to spread the word as much as I can about this event with the goal to make this retreat experience even better and more meaningful for all in the future.

Craft Napa 2017

Here’s one new edition where Craft Napans have the opportunity to ask candid questions of the teacher panel regarding favorite materials, best practices for studio work, favorite shows to enter, etc.


Artists View WEB



And another excursion to close out the event and be together one last time (on a choo choo train with wine):




Hope you can join us,





Awesome, Creative Endeavors on the Horizon

Thanks to all for your kind comments from my last blog post. I am more than ready to move past all of that and focus on the fun and important work ahead! It’s been an industrious last couple of weeks creating, celebrating, and scheming some fun endeavors for the future. Cases in point…

Recently I helped celebrate a dear friend (not without holding back a lot of tears at the podium). I was invited to be a part of the tribute for Yvonne Porcella and speak at her life celebration and tribute at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. What an emotional but celebratory time together. This woman was clearly and dearly loved by so, so many.

Yvonne Tribute


At long last I finished a baby quilt for the daughter of a former co-worker and friend. I wanted this quilt to be all about color and whimsy and I hope I achieved both with my fabric selections (pattern by–and adapted from–Michelle Tucker in the first issue of Sew Moderne):




I finally have my industrial sink installed in my wet studio! Cabinets to come, but it means I am now in business and my hands will be (from here on in) a mottled mix of purple, chartreuse, teal, red, lemon yellow, and every color combination I can devise…



And I have a designated sink to wash the dogs, too.


We are about to announce the CRAFT NAPA 2017 schedule on the Craft Napa website…banner


A sneak peek at some of the art that will be taught:


Brought to you by…


This will be a fun time next January 12-15 with instruction both at the Embassy Suites/Napa and my art barn; a candid (and telling) panel luncheon; an artists’  market; wine blending; and wine excursions in Napa Valley and neighboring Sonoma.

I am also putting together smaller programs (when I say small, I mean small) for the art barn, too.

And I am rather excited to announce something in one month for a new endeavor for Crafting a Life, LLC— something with which I am extremely familiar.

It’s going to be a gorgeous weekend here in Napa for dyeing, sun-printing, and overall creativity. Hope you have an inspiring and creative weekend, no matter what your weather may be.


To all good things ahead,



Call for Entries! Celebrating Yvonne Porcella

A year ago, Yvonne came to my groundbreaking party in Napa. She had just gotten her nails done, and  she said to me, “This is a Groundbreaking Party, right? I just got a manicure, but I thought it was important to get my hands in the dirt…you know…to break the ground. I am willing to sacrifice my manicure, and get some dirt under my nails!” And then she walked up the hill to the dig site (escort in tow), came back, and put her dirt-ridden, yet freshly manicured hand in mine…



I introduce to you an exhibit to be held this fall:

Live Your BRIGHTEST Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella

Whether you knew her or knew of her, Yvonne Porcella was one of the brightest lights in the quilt world.

Yvonne unabashedly loved color, whimsy, and was a person of incredible strength and fortitude. Having founded Studio Art Quilts Associates, exhibited in countless exhibits worldwide (including the Smithsonian), authored books, served on a number of boards, taught hundreds (possibly thousands) of students, she embraced every challenge with strength, wit, and humor. Not even a diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer, which she fought for six years, could slow her down.

Yvonne was a class act, and she knew what it meant to really live.

“Live Your BRIGHTEST Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella” will be a featured art quilt exhibit hosted by Pokey Bolton at “Quilting in the Garden” at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, September 24-25, 2016. With fabric and thread, this is your opportunity to celebrate an amazing icon in the quilt world, and convey what living a bright life means to you.

As part of this exhibit, we are asking quilt makers to include a written tribute to Yvonne and share how she has influenced your art our touched your life–whether you met her in person or not. This entry will be placed in a book and given to Yvonne’s family.

Quilt Entry Specifics:

  • Quilt Size: 18”(W) x 26″ (H) (You may submit up to two entries.)
  • Must include a sleeve for hanging and your information on the back.
  • 2 narratives: 1) Narrative explaining your quilt. 2) A tribute to Yvonne to be placed in a book for her family.
  • Digital Images (72 DPI) and accompanying narratives due: August 6, 2016, emailed to Subject to read: YVONNE PORCELLA ENTRY
  • You will be notified by August 12, 2016 regarding inclusion and given shipping instructions.
  • The quilt must be received by September 9, 2016 in order to be included in this exhibit.


You are invited to have your quilt for sale, all proceeds to go to her founding organization, Studio Art Quilt Associates.

Cheers to Yvonne, our collective, incredible mentor and friend…

Cheers Yvonne








Tribute to the Greatest: Yvonne Porcella

A year ago today, Yvonne Porcella paid me a great honor by coming to my art barn groundbreaking party on Valentine’s Day.


She had every excuse in the book to not make the two-hour drive from Modesto to Napa and back, and frankly, I was not expecting her. After all, she was deep in her fight against stage 4 cancer, but add to that, she had just fractured a couple of ribs by coughing a bit too hard during a recent chemo treatment. She was in a lot of discomfort, but she hid it very well behind her signature bright smile and her whacky sense of humor. Case in point: she gave me a housewarming gift that sits on my kitchen table today. Meet the “Thing:”


Yvonne has been one of my greatest mentors, and I had fun with her every time I was with her. She brought color, style, humor, and love wherever she went. When I didn’t know many people early on, she was the first to introduce me to important folks. She had numerous articles in Quilting Arts dating back to 2001. When I didn’t know a particular quilting technique, she would gently show me. My favorite tip to this day is that if the thread color on a satin-stitched binding isn’t perfect… heck, just take a Sharpie to it and color it in! She was practical without sacrificing her art. She committed herself to everything she did, wholeheartedly, and  I think we can all agree, she lived a very bright life.



I spoke to Yvonne a couple of weeks ago and proposed an idea to her. Months ago Alex Anderson had invited me to be a participant in Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore this next September. It is a beautiful setting. Here’s a picture of Freddy Moran’s quilts hanging in the oak trees from last fall’s edition:

Freddie Moran's Quilts

There is a greenhouse towards the back of the nursery, protected from the outside elements that I told Cindy, the owner would be perfect for a small art quilt exhibit. Last month I spoke to Yvonne and offered up an idea to her: What about I host an exhibit at Quilting in the Garden and call it “Live Your BRIGHTEST Life: Yvonne Porcella style.” She agreed.

So on this Valentine’s Day, I invite you to think about a small quilt (more details later) to pay tribute to someone who has been so influential to so many. I love that this tribute to her will be housed in a greenhouse: a place where beautiful things first blossom and take shape.

As it’s Valentine’s Day, I am going to drive to the ocean, bring my “Thing” with me, and think about our special friend and mentor.

With love and gratitude for having known such a special person,





Last Stop on the CRAFT NAPA Blog Hop!


We’re here! The final stop on the Craft Napa blog hop for the $500 eQuilter gift certificate! (Who doesn’t want to win $500 worth of fabric around the holidays?!)

I invite all to share a response below, and I will collect the comments from all the Craft Napa blog posts, including this one, and announce the randomly selected winner tomorrow.

I am incredibly honored by everyone who has faith in me and is joining this inaugural Craft Napa event next month!


To that end, I am working as best I can to make it a success. It has meant a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, taking into consideration what is currently available in the market, including online instruction.

It means I am constantly asking the question: What do people yearn for out of a live, in-person gathering in the year 2016?

Getting personal…

Moving back to Northern CA, specifically Napa, has been nothing less than a stunning decision to me. And I mean that in the truest sense–a deer-in-the-headlights kind of stunning. I moved away a long time ago. I was 17 years old when I went to college in Boston. I am now 44. Chronologically speaking, I have been away more than I have been home.

Life events have ultimately brought me back.

Now that I think of it, Napa had left an indelible imprint just before I left the Bay Area in 1989. I grew up about 25 miles from Napa, and my high school offered a small weekend retreat in Napa County chaperoned by our class dean and a few other teachers. The house where we stayed was an old, drafty Victorian-style home painted lemon yellow with white trim, situated in a hilly countryside adorned with rows and rows of dormant grapevines. It was the stark of winter, but it was lush and green, frosty and cold.

It was invigorating.

I remember long talks with a trusted teacher at the retreat, discussing life’s possibilities. On the final morning, just before boarding the van to go home,  I thought: this is it. This is the most beautiful place on earth. And I asked myself: What is possible?


Winter Napa

And now, I ask myself that question again in my mid-40’s. Given life’s opportunities, given disappointments and loss, given mistakes and triumphs, given everything that has led me here– to Napa–what is possible?

I pose the question to you:

For you in 2016: What is possible?

Comment away!

And for those coming to Napa next month, I cannot wait to share this magical place with you…

Wine train






Thermofax Screen Printing on Paper & a Giveaway

I have been thinking for a while now how I could promote my business, and one idea I had was to screen print cards with the rendering of my art barn. I have written a lot of blog posts over the years about Thermofax screen printing on fabric, but I have historically had minimal success on paper; I often end up with blurred imagery.  However, I was really glad I was able to watch Lynn Krawczyk’s brand new DVD,  Thermofax Screen Printing Essentials because she had some fantastic tips for screening on all types of substrates:



It’s easy to see why Lynn was asked to create a DVD on Thermofax screen printing. Just check out all of these luscious fabrics of hers (currently in my possession…I am hesitant to send any of them back because I can’t stop petting them)!


Krawczyk Fabric


After watching her DVD, I thought about giving it a go to create greeting cards.  I first created a photocopy of the image in Photoshop that I then burned onto a screen.

Chalk rendering


And for the first time, per the DVD,  I used Jacquard’s Puff Additive, and mixed with Golden Fluid acrylics. The Puff Additive has just enough tooth to it to yield a very sharp image on paper, whether you later want to apply a heat gun to emboss it, or not.

Barn screen


I experimented with different colors, different amounts of pressure when pulling the paint down the screen to get a more organic result.

Screened barn


And now I have my first set of cards to send out to the greater world.



Lynn has a lot of wonderful tips in her DVD and she masterfully and easily explains the processes from start to finish. In celebration of her DVD launch, she is giving away two screens of choice to a randomly selected reader of this blog entry. A question I have is, if you could create a screen of an image, what subject matter or image would you choose?  Just leave a comment below and you’ll be in the running!

To check out other ideas for screen printing and surface design, have a look at these bloggers also participating in this blog hop:

Maddie Kertay

Lisa Chin

Briana Goetzen

Dawn DeVries Sokol

Pam Carriker (goes up tomorrow)

Lynn Krawczyk (Sunday)


News, Updates & Opinions Wanted!

What is my new favorite four-letter word in the English language?


After having my Houston house on the market for more than six months, and flying back a lot to tweak some things and getting this deal done, I can now cross this task off my list. Those who visited my Houston pad I hope would agree it was a great home, and my eyes smarted when I got this special bottle from my realtor at my closing:

Wine bottle

I will miss many, many things about this house and ‘hood, including this outdoor community chalkboard at the end of my street, which just illustrates how cool my neighborhood truly was:

Before I Die


And bike riding along the bayou with my little man; I will miss our rides…and him, always.

Louie Bolton biking


But thankfully the flight from San Francisco to Houston is an easy and fast one, and I have some very good reasons to go back rather frequently, including visiting friends like Leslie Jenison in San Antonio. It just so happens I caught my last visit this past week when Victoria Findley Wolfe was there, and we had a lot of fun experimenting with Leslie’s outdoor kitchen and pizza oven!

Lesley, Victoria, Beatrice

Leslie, Victoria, and Victoria’s daughter, Beatrice


Now just back to Napa, things are progressing at a good clip in my world. Some progress pix:



Waving from where my future office will be.



Closing up roof

Construction crew nailing down the porch roof.



interior dry wall

Interior ceiling completed.



office before dry wall

Upstairs loft/office is framed.



office with dry wall

Upstairs office with windows drywall, and most of the paneled ceiling.


before paint

Structure before painting, glass garage doors, and metal roofing.



painted barn

Current status today with metal roof and first application of paint.



Office view

Future view from my home office.


I have received a lot of inquiries asking when my studio/ art barn will be completed. The answer is…I don’t know. There is still quite a bit to be done, and I am dependent upon schedules and when items (like garage doors) arrive and can be installed. 

In the meantime,  I have been collaborating with some venues in Napa to coordinate retreats in the greater Napa Valley, and I have some pretty exciting news to announce soon. When I can spill, this blog will be migrating over to the new site, and I will have a lot more information for those who want to come visit Napa and create! 

So here’s where I would love some feedback.

Want to opine on a logo? 

craft nappa badges




View from Hartwell Vineyards












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