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!

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,





Quilt Festival/Long Beach: Some Of My Favorite Memories

I’ve attended the Long Beach show since its inception in 2008, both as an exhibitor and a member of the Quilts Inc. staff, and I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite memories from over the years. Warning: this is a people-centric (not quilt-centric) post!


• Editors on a Plane


This was an especially hilarious memory. After a long day of editing in the Quilting Arts/Interweave office, we scurried home, grabbed our luggage, and took a late night transcontinental flight from Logan to Long Beach…where the editing fun didn’t cease. As soon as we took off, out came the red pens!

Barbara Delaney Helen Gregory

Helen Gregory and Barbara Delaney opting to not watch the FREE Direct TV on Jet Blue but rather edit. Again.


• Touting an Extreme Manicure



Alisa Burke sporting an extreme manicure with her lime green hands.

Alisa Burke was one of our founding artists at Make It University!, and with her workshops, successfully convinced quilters that paper and paint can be just as fun and exhilarating as fabric and thread.


• Channeling My Inner “Chariots of Fire”


Last Run Long Beach

My morning solo runs in Long Beach, coupled with a music mix of Southern CA artists, made early mornings (typically dreaded at home) my favorite time of day.


Every year, I ran the length of the beach to the pier and back before the show opened, and although I chose a Doors playlist over Vangelis, that quiet time running on the beach made me feel like I could outrun anything or handle any (possible) quilt mishap.


• Getting By with the Help of My Friends



From left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Jenison, Pokey Bolton, Melanie Testa, and Jane LaFazio

I’ve gotten to know this crew pretty well, and the beauty of these prolific art quilters(besides their talent) is they are not cliquish, but rather inclusive–of everyone, embodying the spirit of the greater quilting community. (And they are pretty darn fun, too, as anyone who witnessed “Surviving the Runway” can attest.)

I got to marvel at and hug other quilt friends, too, like Maggie Winfield, who always dressed to the 9’s for the show:




And I got to know other artists who have a rather beautiful spirit:



Sheila Frampton-Cooper

I also hung out with women who turned their love into a business (not to mention are hilarious):

Jaybird Quilts

Julie Herman (left) of Jaybird Quilts


• Show & Tell….I Got to Play, Too



“This Thing Of Ours” by Pokey Bolton. My sister-in-law, Sally Murray posing with me in The Silver Screen exhibit.

With the Silver Screen exhibit I finally had a reason to turn my obsession for “The Sopranos” into a quilt.

Upon reflection in reading my narrative for this quilt (below)–given the passing of James Gandolfini–I wont see my silver screen wish come true, but it will always be my favorite  TV series!

My Narrative:

Fans of HBO’s “The Sopranos” know it isn’t just a TV show about wise guys. There’s a bit of Tony in all of us: impulsive and selfish; concerned friends will rat us out; living with the guilt of whacking others (so to speak); distrustful of those supposed to have our backs; and deep down, a little panicked that—in the end, and despite our best efforts—the ones we love most will fly away.

 Not only were heavy issues and the ensuing plot lines handled masterfully by David Chase and his posse of writers and actors, but the show was also hands-down funny. It’s no wonder millions of people waited patiently during the long hiatus between seasons to find out what would happen to the Don and his crew next. I can only hope that the intensely disappointing, anticlimactic last minute of the series finale was conceived for one reason, and that is…the movie’s getting made! Here’s to “The Sopranos” making it to the silver screen.


• Witnessing A College Degree Put To Good Use

2010 (or 2011?)


My niece Lindsey Murray, a recent proud Boston College graduate in this shot, blowing hot air into a plastic dolphin. I think she passed out a couple seconds after I shot this.


However it was the Long Beach show where my Lindsey bought her first quilt kit, and made her very first (of many) quilts:



•  “Somebody Pinch Me: I Won! I Really Won!”


Colleen BERNINA winner

Colleen from Redondo Beach rendered speechless when she realized she had the winning ticket for a new 550 model.


Helping to host the Iron Quilter challenge was a total hoot (for full, in-depth coverage with LOTS of photos, visit this page). However, the best moment for me was watching a very lucky attendee win a new BERNINA. She was so shocked and grateful…I teared up.


• Coming Home With Loot!


Khaleesi protest doglandia fabric

My kitty, Khaleesi disapproves of my dog-themed fabric.


What quilter doesn’t love to come home with gobs of fabric?

• Being With One of My Greatest Mentors


Pokey Bolton Yvonne Porcella

Sittingwith Yvonne Porcella, Founder of SAQA, My Mentor, Cheerleader…and Friend.

Yvonne Porcella has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. Perfect example: years ago at a BERNINA retreat before a TV taping, she saw how stressed I was with segment preparation, cleared off a pool table in the hotel bar (and made it clear no one in the bar could play), assisted me in setting up my sewing machine, and helped me finish everything, all the while being careful not to slash the green pool table felt with her rotary cutter. It was wonderful to catch up with her at the Dinner@8 supper at the Hyatt.


Working alongside some of the best people I know.


Ruth Polanco Pokey Bolton Iron Quilter

With Ruth Polanco, Show Director



And with Lindsey Murray McLelland and Sally Murray of Interweave


With love to Long Beach! I know it’s not on the roster for next year, but you never know what will happen down the line. Until we meet again…