Category Archives: News

Last Day in Vermont – Manchester

It dawned on me today that I hadn’t sat down with the photos from the last day of our trip to create the final installment of trip blog.  Sorry about that – hope you weren’t on the edge of your seat waiting.

img_6255 Since we had an early evening flight out, we didn’t have a full day to spend in Vermont.  Looking ahead at art galleries and other activities, Manchester made the most sense for a Sunday, it was only a couple hours to the airport, and offered some unique experiences.

img_6262The first was the drive in and seeing the fog (clouds) rolling off the mountains.  It reminded me of the Smokies.  We’d been down these roads before on the way to Bennington, but not in the morning.

We arrived in Manchester which is all it’s written to be – very upscale shopping, and an impeccably maintained downtown area.  Doing a little research uncovered Manchester is one of the primary ski destinations for other New Englanders (persons who hail from New England – would that be New English?). Skiing in Manchester is like Huskers to Nebraska – even the elementary kids have ski lessons courtesy of the schools.

We stopped in Manchester Hot Glass first.  The owner/artist, Andrew, was there to greet us – a very authentic person who creates beautiful glass work.  If you’re there at the right time, he also teaches glass blowing classes.

After, we went over to Epoch, which is a cooperative gallery of Vermont artists and artisans.  The work there ranged from fine art to fine craft and all was exceptional.


img_6267We finished our trip to Manchester and Vermont with a self-guided tour of Hildene.  Hildene was worth the drive to Manchester, and we certainly could have spent more time exploring the grounds, but it was chilly, and there was a plane waiting for us.

Many original furnishings and other artifacts are throughout the home:

img_6270 img_6271




A view out of Mary Todd Lincoln’s room overlooking the formal garden – imagine how beautiful it is during warmer months!

img_6275 img_6278

A restored Pullman car, open to view on the inside as well:


There were certainly places and spaces we didn’t get to in our short trip, which leaves us plenty of opportunity to return.  In fact, I had about a half dozen hiking paths listed on our possible to-do’s, so we’ll have to plan a trip during a warmer season so we can climb to the top of some of those green mountains.


Northeast Kingdom, Ben & Jerry’s and Church Street

In hopes of seeing a Vermont sunrise, I set my alarm early… only to be greeted by grey skies and mist.  But, since we had a big day ahead of us heading North and West, getting an early start wasn’t so bad.

We headed up the Connecticut River Byway toward St. Johnsbury.  I took a lot more pictures along the way.  And YAY, today I was able to capture not only Witch Windows, but cool misty mountain photos.

The byway led us through more farmland than we had seen the previous day.  Along the way we found fields of Pumpkins, Brussel Sprouts, and my favorite, farm animals like the adorable (Scottish) Highland Cattle.

I’d never seen long haired cows before and made Jim turn the car around because I was udderly clueless what I had seen – were they huge sheep with horns?  Of course, Jim made fun of me just like the day before when I declared, “Boy they have big black birds here.” And he promptly corrected me that they had RAVENS.  Whatever, they were big, black and birds. 🙂

The City of Bradford was between all this farmland. As we came into town, I spotted a cool mill, but Jim quickly pulled into the parking lot because he spotted the waterfall that once fed the mill.


We kept on for St. Johnsbury, and I pulled out our handy Tourism Guide which led us to the Museum of Natural History and the Athenaeum.  The museum guide was friendly and we opted to visit at our own pace.  Filled with taxidermy from around the globe, and unique items across many cultures, it is definitely worth the visit.  They also have a planetarium, but we opted not to stay for that show.


Museum of Natural History, St. Johnsbury, Vermont


The only Moose we saw in Vermont.

We wandered into the Athenaeum, which is loosely translated into “a place to encourage learning”.  In St. Johnsbury, it hosts the Public Library as well as an incredible Gallery featuring many paintings, sculptures and original books from the 1700-1800s!  The docent there, Ewa, was passionate and steeped in knowledge about not just the Athenaeum, but fine art, architecture and history.  She was clearly excited to have visitors and give a tour. On our own we would have spent far less time, and had almost no appreciation for what the Athenaeum offered. Not to mention, having someone else tell the stories beats reading articles and museum signs any day!

After our tour, we headed toward our next major destination: Ben & Jerry’s.  Not too far away I spotted a sign for Cabot Creamery and made Jim follow the sign because I remembered reading that they had a factory tour.


We sampled many delicious cheeses, and learned about the industry, co-op and cheese-making process.  Did you know cheddar is lactose-free?

The tour wasn’t long, and we were back on the road heading to Montpelier, the state capitol. Being Saturday, the Vermont State House was closed, so we snapped a quick selfie and set our sights on ice cream.


Ben & Jerry’s isn’t too far away from Montpelier, and we pulled up to what could be mecca for many an ice cream lover, or hippie, or both!  The factory overlooks the town, so there is a winding ramp or stairs to take to get there. We went in and purchased tickets for the tour.  Although ice cream wasn’t being made on Saturday, our guide was quite comedic and did a good job explaining, or perhaps making stuff up, about the process.  We had samples at the end of the tour and mozied to the Flavor Graveyard before departing Waterbury.

Ironically, I grew up in Wisconsin, the Dairy State, and until our trip to Vermont, I had never experienced the cheese-making or ice-cream making processes.

It was late afternoon, and knowing we had a limited amount of time the next day to tour, we opted to travel onto Burlington for the evening.  We chose the fastest route in hopes of beating sunset, and found our way to the hometown of the University of Vermont. As with many college towns, Burlington is bustling with life, even after 5:30pm!  We stopped in a maker space, Generator, and took a tour and made our way to Church Street Marketplace on total accident.  My goal was to find the Burlington City Arts Gallery, and turns out it’s right in the middle of this awesome area that’s like the towns you see in the old Christmas Movies when folks are window shopping.  After visiting the Gallery, we strolled the three blocks, popped in a few shops and then decided to find a place to eat.  We ended up at The Scuffer, and were able to sit at the bar and eat, good food, nice bartenders.

Up Next: Last Day in Vermont – Manchester




Woodstock, Brattleboro & Bennington



Our first morning out was a bit damp and cool, but it didn’t stop us from making our trek.  We set out for Woodstock, and the nearby Sugarbush Farm.  Along the way we spotted our first Covered Bridge.  Vermont is home to over 100 covered bridges.  While covered bridges weren’t necessarily on our checklist, they are cool, and we stopped for several more during the trip.

After following the old winding roads that follow the river and lead to the farm, we arrived at the Sugarbush Farm.  The goats greeted us, one was eagerly trying to get us to spend money to give him food, but they had a huge bale of hay, so we didn’t feel bad.  We found our way into the cheese wrapping area and store where we sampled several delicious cheeses.  But more importantly, sampled REAL VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP!  Our hostess explained how the different grades occur, and told us about the sugarhouse, which was open to see how maple syrup is made.

img_6158After touring the sugarhouse, we made our way back to the byway and headed toward Brattleboro.  Driving the byways is both beautiful and educational.  There are many pockets of small populated areas, some are actual towns.  One of our checklist items was Witch Windows (aka Coffin Windows).  We saw only a couple during our drive the first day, and inevitably Jim would say, “There’s one.” and the car behind us would be too close for him to slow down or stop so I could take a picture.

We found our way to downtown Brattleboro and the Vermont Artisans Designs.  The gallery displays beautiful arts and crafts made by Vermont Artisans.  We spent quite a bit more time on the 2nd floor than I would have anticipated walking in.  There were many unique items and a wonderful gallerist, Greg Worden, who told us about some of the work as well as American Craft Week.  We wandered up the street to a local restaurant and had soup, New England Clam Chowder, and chili for lunch before heading out to find local Blacksmiths.

Our next destination was Grafton.  There is a blacksmith shop there, and the website advertised that the smith would be in on Friday.  We found a closed shop and stopped in the local gallery.  The gallerist there pointed us to Chester.  So we drove to Chester, most of the way GPS-free, because we entered a “No (cell) Service” zone in this part of the state. We found a small artisan outlet, though not exclusively Vermont artisans, but no Blacksmith.  Jim had looked up another smith before we left the hotel and we pulled up his information and headed to Saxtons River to see if Ian Eddy was in.  He was, and gracious to let us drop in, gave us a tour, Jim and Ian talked shop and tools while I admired his very fine work.



Ian said we needed to visit the Vermont Country Store img_6167which wasn’t too far up the road.  And that’s where I found Anti Monkey-Butt Powder!  Seriously, I had never heard of or seen it before – I know many of you have because you commented on my Facebook post.  I must admit, I’m not sure why it’s the VERMONT Country Store, I’d guess only about 10-20% of the store is stocked with local merchandise.  They do have a covered “kissing” bridge between the two parking lots.

Our final destination for the day was Bennington.  I did the driving on this leg, so no photos of any of the pockets of houses and towns we went through.  The drive was beautiful as it wound up, down and around the mountains.  One of the things I noticed is that the houses in Vermont are very colorful!  Sure, many white, cream and tan houses, but the houses in periwinkle, yellow, purple, pink, blue and rich greens easily outnumber them. The newer houses were generally double-wides, most with multiple additions.  Many are very close to the road, similar to old Europe. I’m sure this is mostly to minimize snow removal.

We drove past ski resorts and down into Bennington.  It’s not hard to find Bennington because the Bennington Battle Monument stands out.  It was dinner time when we arrived, and found that most of downtown Bennington was, well, closed on a Friday night at 5:30.  What made this more interesting to us is there was a lot of car traffic, and Standing Rock pipeline protestors on the main corner – but we’re not sure why since there really wasn’t anything to “do” as far as we could tell.  We shared a Cottage Pie (YUM!) and Chocolate Mouse Pie (also yum!)  at the Madison Brewing Company Pub before driving over to the monument.  I wish I had my SLR and a tripod, the monument was beautifully framed by the stars that night.

Then back on the road to White River Junction for a good night’s sleep.  Despite MOOSE signs on the interstate, we encountered none.  I guess that’s good, they’re pretty big.  By the way, the featured image at the top of this post is a flower pot in Brattleboro, I had never thought of planting cruciferous veggies as decoration, but why not?

Up Next: Northeast Kingdom, Ben & Jerry’s and Church Street

Vermont or Bust!


Stick Season – more leaves on the ground, and not as many in the trees

About a month ago I decided that Jim and I needed to get away and scope out what Vermont has to offer.  I went through Vermont as a teenager on the way from Boston to Montreal, and have fond memories of the drive.  Plus, my friend Gary Dulabaum hails from Vermont, and he’s pretty cool, even if he decided to move to a warmer climate. 🙂


Global warming allowed us to see quite a bit a foliage normally on the ground

Before leaving, I pulled up some fantastic tourism guides – Vermont is a state that really knows how to market itself!  I also read several bloggers and discovered some things that we would just have to watch for.

We flew into Manchester, NH and drove to White River Junction, just on the state line, across from Dartmouth.  White River Junction seemed about 2 hours to everywhere in the state from what I could tell, and it turns out, that it pretty much is.  We stayed at the Fairfield and the night manager was great in helping us with restaurant options. img_6150

We ended up at Tip Top Cafe, which happens to be in a building housing (mostly) creative professionals.  The food was incredible, and after, Jim and I wandered the halls looking at the art and offerings before heading back to the hotel.

We set our alarms and called it a night.  Up next: Woodstock, Brattleboro and Bennington!



Dusk and Dawn

We experience day and night as part of a 24 hour cycle. Dawn and Dusk explores the yin and yang of our day – light and dark, warm and cold, soft and hard.


Dawn and Dusk is a collaborative piece between Elaine Jones and Dori Settles. Jones created two like semi-circles art quilts out of fabric, wood, beads and trims. Settles created a plaster mold using one of the semi-circles and cast the quilt in glass using the pate de verre method to highlight the embellishments. These two pieces are mounted on a cold-wax painted cradle board, painted by Settles.

This piece is traveling to the SAQA 2016 Benefit Auction, which starts Sept 16th.  Many artists have donated quilts already, you can check out the pieces here –

DaVinci, in stitches

Making some great progress on DaVinci Doggie.  Today I pinned the batting and started in on his schnoz…


Thanks to my friend Shea Wilkinson, my free-motion “quilting” skills allow me to thread paint pieces like DaVinci.  A few years back she held a class and gave us the basics – but it is really all about practice.  I keep thinking I need a better foot for the machine though, because it’s very hard for me to see where I’m going when I drive backwards.


Oh, doah, I didn’t realize this picture was so blurry.  It’s a little hard to see, but I started with the nose because it’s pretty much the center of the piece, allowing me to anchor the batting and fabric.  In person, his nose is smooth and puffy, although not cold and wet.

After the nose was finished, I started in on the fur around the nose.  I’m working to capture the lights and darks in DaVinci’s fur, and decided to continue on with the purple threads to add more interest.

IMG_3845Tomorrow, I’ll start with the moustache, and work my way up into to the top of his head and ear.  If it’s quiet at the studio, I think I can get all of DaVinci finished!

DaVinci in Progress

davinciorigI am working on a donation piece for the Humane Society’s Black Tie and Tails Auction.  I decided that it needed to be an animal – and should be a “generic” animal to get the most attention.  I’ve always loved the style of colorists, instead of using the natural given color of an object, choosing colors in the same shades, like pink and purple houses instead of grey and brown.  So, the pet couldn’t be too serious, right?

I reached out on Facebook for FUNNY dog pictures.  I received a lot of dog pictures, most were pretty straight forward, not necessarily funny.  I did get some GREAT photos with “flying doxies” (dachshunds with their ears in the air while running), but not quite non-breed specific enough for bidding wars.  Although I’m sure all doxie owners would recognize the very look!

Then there’s DaVinci, Jodi Sangster‘s pup.  DaVinci is the PERFECT generic dog for one of my textile pieces – furry, big nose, just that look that every dog owner knows, regardless of breed.

My first steps to this piece are to edit the photograph to have stronger lines and contrast to help pick out the right fabrics.

IMG_3811 DaVinci, edited into greyscale and “sketchbook” with
Sharpie Markers to better define edges.

Then, after tracing with Sharpie, I flipped the picture over and had it copied and enlarged to fit the frame I picked out.


Now that the basic lines are done, I can work on cutting up fabrics.  I altered some traditional Christmas fabric (it was part of another challenge), as well as a big piece of black for the background.  Next post will be the fabric process building DaVinci Doggie…

Been a Busy Summer!

Hello World!  This is my first post in 2 whole months.  Happy Labor Day!

So what’s been going on this summer?  A lot of gallery work and not as much Funky Dori work as I’d have wished.  Although the creative team has come together on a few occasions to work on the next Village Pointe installation -yes we will be covering Peggy’s sculpture again.  This time, it will be less of a quilt, more like a big afgan.

We’re keeping the details on the down low, but it’s going to be a very warm covering, and hopefully when the installation is taken down we can use the pieces to finish blankets to donate to local shelters.

IMG_0933 I’ve also been playing with a new medium – ink, alcohol ink to be specific.  I have found more of my creative time with that than fabric or glass.  It’s like the best of both worlds – tons of texture, and lots of gloss and “melting”.  IMG_0935

I’m currently working on pieces for two themed shows, Ancestral Connections, which is with the Omaha Artists Inc and will be at the Hot Shops in November.  The other is Architexture, with the Nebraska SAQA, and will travel to various galleries in Nebraska throughout 2015 and 2016.

Soon, I’ll have several pieces going to Columbus for a show with fellow artists, Shea Wilkinson and Jane Marie.  Opening Reception will be Sunday Sept 28th from 2-4 at the Columbus Art Gallery.  I hope some of you can make it to the reception!  If not,  the show will run until November 15th.


Waterfall I

Waterfall I

Waterfall I

It’s been about 2 weeks since I started on the Waterfall. I wish I had taken a photo before I painted so you could see what it looked like with just the fabric pieced in place. Pretty boring and abstract. In fact, it was a little hard to tackle until I decided to paint.

I’m very proud of this piece. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in working on it. First, it’s very realistic. Being close to the work, I don’t know that I would have said that, except that I’ve received some very strong feedback from people who have seen it in person. One even commented she could hear the water!

Secondly, I worked very hard to finish this in a highly professional manner, barring a frame. Well the frame is a story in “you get what you pay for”. I was so excited to find a frame for $8 (the plexiglass was broken). Low and behold, when I attempted to take out the plexi, which was factory glued in, ugh, the frame snapped in two corners and pieces went flying.

The upside, I determined the frame would have looked horrible and moved on. With encouragement that my gut was right, I finished the piece with rock edges rather than straightlines, and used a lot of interfacing to stabilize the material so it could float on a canvas.

The “canvas” is hidden under the piece, making it an odd size. 20×32. Do you know that they don’t make 20×32″ canvas? Nor do they make 32″ stretcher bars (they do, but they are special order). So I picked up 20 and 30 stretcherbars and made my own canvas for the piece to float on.

The full size of Waterfall I is 24″ x 36″. It is wired for hanging, and ready to go to the Omaha Artists Inc selection show tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

I’m going to take a break from 2 dimensional work and begin purses this week.  I have loads of great custom dyed and painted fabric begging to accessorize!  Until next time,

It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things.”
~ Nicholas Sparks

Waterfall Magic

“If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in Water.” – Loren Eiseley

Waterfall at Lauritzen Gardens

Waterfall at Lauritzen Gardens

I started last week looking through my photos from a trip to Lauritzen Gardens a couple years ago. I came across this photo of a quiet, meditative spot along the main path.

I decided that I’d try my hand at creating a textile piece based on this photo.  Last week I laid out and pieced in the fabric, and then added some Inktense paints to highlight and give it more depth.

Today I started on the stitching, that which gives my textile paintings texture and brings them to life.  I worked primarily with darker threads today, and did a lot of heavy embroidery work. I am probably 2 more days away from being completed, depending on what comes up this week. This piece will be mounted into a 24×36 frame when it’s finished.

Waterfall after Painting

Waterfall after Painting

Waterfall after 1st day of stitching

Waterfall after 1st day of stitching