You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2009.

Congratulations to Mariya Waters on her BEST OF SHOW for her quilt  RENAISSANCE REVIVAL at the 2009 AQS show in Paducah!

Mariya Waters - Best of Show, AQS 2009

Imagine my delight when I learned that Mariya used my Shade Cascade™, Latte in her quilt.


To read more about her amazing quilt, vist her website at




For the next few days, Rick and I are traveling with friends. . . riding through the Smoky Mountains and riding the Dragon’s Tail.

 Dragon's Tail TN by Wildtouch.

The weather looks beautiful, sunny skies, mid-70’s.  We can’t wait!

While in Charleston, I enjoyed dinner at the Hominy Grill.

I had read about Hominy Grill in Southern Living magazine and could not wait to have dinner there. I was not disappointed,  my dinner was wonderful.  Everything is prepared fresh, with locally grown ingredients. 

The cuisine in Charleston is referred to as “low country” – local fresh flavors with a mixture of African, European, Caribbean and Native American influences.  Hominy Grill is a perfect example of this. They are known for great classic southern food, simply prepared and beautifully presented. 

 For dinner, I ordered Shrimp and Grits. Now for a true grit lover, only  long-cooking stone-ground grits are worth eating. This is exactly what I found at Hominy Grill.

Some Grits history:

Grits (or hominy) were one of the first truly American foods, as the Native Americans ate a mush made of softened corn or maize. In 1584, during their reconnaissance party of what is now Roanoke, North Carolina, Sir Walter Raleigh and his men met and dined with the local Indians. Having no language in common, the two groups quickly resorted to food and drink. One of Raleigh’s men, Arthur Barlowe, recorded notes on the foods of the Indians. He mad a special not of corn, which he found “very white, faire, and well tasted.” He also wrote about being served a boiled corn or hominy.

In the Low Country of South Carolina and particularly Charleston, shrimp and grits has been considered a basic breakfast for coastal fishermen and families for decades during the shrimp season (May through December). Simply called ‘breakfast shrimp,” the dish consisted of a pot of grits with shrimp cooked in a little bacon grease or butter. During the past decade, this dish has been dressed up and taken out on the town to the fanciest restaurants. Not just for breakfast anymore, it is also served for brunch, lunch, and dinner.


I enjoyed the dish so much that I wanted to create it at home. To my delight, Hominy Grill’s recipe for Shrimp and Grits is on their webpage. I’m sharing the recipe here. 


Shrimp & Grits

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1  c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lge clove garlic
  • Tabasco
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • thinly sliced green onions

Fry bacon until crisp, remove from pan & reserve; pour off all but 1 tbsp of fat. Gently toss shrimp w/ flour until lightly coated; remove excess flour.

Add peanut oil to pan w/ bacon fat & heat over medium high heat. Add shrimp & sauté until half-cooked. Add mushrooms & toss. When they begin to cook, stir in reserved bacon, add garlic with a press but do not let brown.

Then very quickly stir in tabasco and lemon. Cook until shrimp are pink on both sides and mushrooms are golden brown. Season w/ salt, add green onions and then remove from heat. Spoon shrimp mixture over grits. Serve immediately.



I enjoyed my visit with the Quilters of South Carolina so much!  As I traveled from Charleston to the Pieceful Hearts guild in Augusta, Ga, I stopped at Drayton Hall.

This plantation is located just outside Charleston. The main house, pictured here, is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States. The grounds represent one of the most significant, undisturbed historic landscapes in America.


Drayton Hall is different. It is not restored to the vision of those who lived centuries after it was built. It is preserved, in near-original condition.   Drayton Hall is an artifact that has survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, the earthquake of 1886, hurricanes like Hugo, and maybe most surprisingly today, urban sprawl.

Built between 1738 and 1742, Drayton Hall is often described in superlative terms.  It is well deserved.  It is an amazing house!

Throughout the house, I found hand carved moldings that date to the home’s construction.




Everywhere I looked, I found inspiration for quilting designs.

The gate to the lower level of the house is beautiful.


The grounds are beautiful, filled with Live Oaks, draped with Spanish Moss.


I visited while the azaleas were blooming and their color was stunning.


As I toured the house and walked the grounds, I was struck by the beauty and grandeur of Drayton Hall.

The reflection pond was a perfect place to take this photo. I love the play of sky, water, house, lawn and trees.


As I looked around, I realized I needed to be careful where I was walking!  I almost stepped on a “teen-age” alligator enjoying the sun!

Drayton Hall


I had a wonderful time with the Quilters of South Carolina, at the Spring Meeting. Almost 300 people attend the meeting and were at my lecture.

Quilters of South Carolina Spring Meeting

Everyone was so friendly. What a fun group and very talented!


Here is a photo of the Quilt Queen.  . . . a fun challenge and some ugly fabrics were involved.  It was hysterical. You girls are too much fun!

The meeting was held in Charleston, South Carolina. While there, I visited the historical center and was on the hunt for inspiration.

The city is filled with beautiful homes and gardens.





It also features some amazing ironwork. Hmm, won’t these gates make wonderful quilt or quilting designs?





I also get inspiration from the colors, shapes and textures I see in gardens.

What a beautiful combination of shapes, colors and textures.




Love the shape of this Live Oak.


While I was walking around, I met this cat. . . he seemed a little put out by my photo!


 I love sharing my enthusiasm for optical illusions with quilters.  I enjoy inspiring people with my books and designs. 

Recently I received a lovely email from Jo Ann Cross, a optical illusions devotee as I am. She shared one of her lovely original designs with me and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Beautiful quilt, Jo Ann!  Love it!



Today I came across an amazing video from the TV Show, Britain’s Got Talent.  Susan Boyle, a 47 year old woman had entered the show and wanted to be a singer.

As she walked across the stage, you could hear giggles. As she started to talk and tell her desire to be a singer, you could hear laughter. (Shame on these people for judging her on appearance alone!)

Even the judges were cynical and stated just that. It did not sway Susan.  She sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis.  Within just a few seconds Susan proved that she has an amazing voice. Congratulations Susan for not giving up on her dream!

Enjoy the video, I know I have listened to it over and over today!

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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