What happens when you own a shop for 25 years, sell it, then plan to try something new? Beth Schillig tried, but found she couldn't escape the quilting bug and has rediscovered her passion. 
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Although I never considered myself a quilter until the past few years, fabrics, threads, and sewing machines have always been a part of my life. I owned the Bernina dealership in Columbus, OH for 25 years. I have bragging rights; I sold Libby Lehman her first Bernina!
Six years ago I sold the business with intentions of learning something new, something that did not involve sewing. I went into immediate caregiver mode for my Mother, an advanced Alzheimer's patient. She spent 4-5 days a week with me and would iron scraps of fabric. When she was not looking I would scrunch some back up and throw them in the basket.  She would keep ironing and whistling, she was happy as a lark because she was "helping me quilt." This gave her life meaning and purpose and isn't that what we all want? 
To keep myself busy, I began piecing some quilts. The quilting bug bit!  Quilting quickly took over my life.  Now I am creating my own pieces and exhibiting at National shows including Houston and Paducah. My quilt JEEPERS...It's Jane! is featured in the same section as Ricky's in the International Quilt Scene Magazine.   What an honor!
My mother taught me to sew when I was very young. Then at the end of her life, her Alzheimer's disease guided me into the quilting world and set me on an exciting new career path.  Thanks Mom!

Beth Schillig
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Icy roads in Wichita Falls, TX

I've made it back from Africa, but have not made it home to Colorado. The widespread winter storm has prohibited travel. The photo above is taken in Wichita Falls where I have been staying with my parents. Justin, who has been hauling our truck and trailer back from Florida (we had our seminar there just before leaving for Africa) got stuck in Sherman, TX and the ice was too severe to allow travel. There seems to be a window of fairer weather today and tomorrow so there is hope we can make the journey to Colorado before the next winter storm arrives.

Keep your fingers crossed - having been away since January 8th, I'm ready to be home.

It's been over two years in the making but the African Expedition is finally here. We leave on Monday, January 17th. I have packed more cameras than clothes. Here are some of the highlights included on the tour.

• In Nairobe, the Karen Blixen Museum, home of famous novelist Karen von Blixen and dinner at the world famous Carnivore Restaurant, renowned for is variety of delicious exotic meats.
• We will go to the Mount Kenya region and stay at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club, founded in 1959 by the late film star William Holden.

 • There will be numerous safaris.
• We visit the Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers
• One major highlight will be a special hot air balloon safari over the plains of the Massai Mara.


If you've been - tell me what to expect. If you have never been, tell me what you would most want to see.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Of course many of us make personal resolutions for the new year but what about making a quilting resolution? Did you set any creative goals for yourself this year? Are you going to finish "that project" or learn something new? If so, chime in and tell me about it. I'd like to know. I'm planning on finishing a major quilt. With my schedule that should be a challenge! Will you help hold me to it?

It was the piano that started the whole video idea. Our neighbors have a wonderful property up at 10,000 ft elevation near my home in La Veta, Colorado. Years ago the family hauled an old upright piano up to their mountain cabin. Someone eventually put it outside where years of snow, rain, and cold eventually took their toll.
There are deserted gold mines with deep shafts on their property too!. A few years ago the family realized the open mine shafts were dangerous so they started filling them in with trees etc. The piano was also dumped on top of the pile. In the video, I'm literally standing above the shaft of an abandoned gold mine!
After arranging and recording Jingle Bells the week of December 6, 2010, I started thinking about doing a music video and the old piano called started calling to me. I thought, "How cool could this be - to shoot a video with a decrepit piano while I'm standing over a gold mine?" That was the seed that took me on this journey. The mountain cabin is cozy and decorated with standard mountain-type items such as lots of antlers and a bear rug. It was the perfect setting to bring my new zany arrangement of Jingle Bells to life. Thankfully there was a bit of snow up there to help set the scene.
Factoid #1 - It was about 15º F with a wind chill of 0º F. Brrr. Yes, that's me in my boxer shorts!
Factoid #2 – It took about 2.5 hours to shoot. - Yes we were freezing - and even though it was sunny, you’ll notice a few snowflakes coming down. No, they were not fake special effects.
Factoid #3 -  The video was shot by Justin Shults with the help of our neighbor Jim Hoobler. Jim's wife, Peggy, took still photos and managed all the outfits and props.
Factoid #4 – The video was completely produced (shot and edited) in less than 12 hours. It was edited by yours truly.
So - that's my story and I'm sticking to it. If you like it, please forward this message. Help me spread a bit of Christmas cheer and be sure to tell everyone it came from your friend, Ricky Tims
A complete list of my holiday videos can be found here.

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