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,