Joan was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved with her family to the Denver area where she met her high school sweetheart. Moving again to Hawaii and then California, she married her Marine sweetheart in 1977 and then REALLY started moving around the United States and to Okinawa. She moved back to the Pikes Peak region in 1985 when roots began to grow.
She has been a quilter since 1980 and that is important to her children's books because they are illustrated with her quilted pictures. She continues to write her unique two-sided storybooks and illustrate them with quilts, as well as creating patterns for quilters. She lectures and teaches throughout the region