Saturday, April 19, 2014

Giving a Quilt is Like Giving a Hug That Never Stops

I really have been busy working away in the studio. I've just been working on some really slow to materialize projects and top-secret gifts. I have been waiting to show this one for a while. As soon as I found out my coworker was due to bring a little one into this world I knew I wanted to use some 30s prints for a quilt. I found a photo on Pinterest of a quilt using this pattern. Sadly there was no link so I had to do some internet sleuthing to figure out where the pattern came from. Eventually I was  able to determine that the pattern name was X-Rated, which as you can imagine made the internet search far more interesting! So in the interest of helping out my fellow man, I am going to provide a direct link to Carrie Nelson's Schnibbles Times Two book where you can find the pattern--much safer that way.  I made my version of the small quilt larger than what the book called for to more of a crib-size quilt. 

I lined the back with a fun scotty dog print and my friend Michele worked her magic on the quilting. 

She always does such a fantastic job with her long arm, like in this Civil War throw I made for my son. The shape she used echoes the shape of the flower on one of the prints.

I picked this throw-size kit up at a quilt show in Tennessee a couple years ago. I kind of liked the quilt top when I finished piecing it but I didn't love it. The quilting makes all the difference in the world. 

I like the 150th anniversary fabric for the back. It helps make this a manly quilt.

A third quilt is in the process of binding. I hope by mentioning that here, it will push me to get it finished. I actually enjoy binding a quilt. It might even be my favorite part as there is such a sense of accomplishment with it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Legacy Project

One of the things we have been discussing at work is what type of legacy project our board wants to pursue. Boards before us left behind the star brick sidewalks that line the downtown streets, others the bronze plaques on the historic buildings. We are searching for that one great project--the project that will be our legacy.

I think this concept should be embraced by everyone. Not only should we be constantly scratching things off of our bucket lists, but we should all be plugging away at that one great legacy project. Since the moment I saw the tile floor in the West Baden Springs Hotel last summer, I knew that it would be my personal legacy project. I plan to copy it into a quilt.

It is an intimidating project. It will take years--maybe even a decade. And who knows, maybe I'll never finish it? The maker of the following quilt top never finished hers back in the 1840s. But I suspect that, like me, that was not necessarily ever her intention anyway.

More so, the point is to focus a concentrated effort on something great. Something that challenges you to keep looking forward while appreciating how far you have already come.

What will be YOUR legacy project?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cheddar Scrappy Stars

I was downtown last night for our First Friday downtown celebration. This month's theme was a Jimmy Buffett Beach Bash. The restaurants really went all out with their Cheeseburgers in Paradise. Believe it or not this one is a cupcake!

After dinner was a great time to burn off those calories by browsing all the fun shops we have on the square. Perhaps it was all the tropical shirts and island beach music that had me in such a bright mood that when I saw this cheddar star quilt in the antique mall I had to have it. 

It is a light-weight summer quilt with tiny hand quilted stitches that has never even been washed--the marking lines can still be seen.  

I paid so very little for it I almost feel I stole it. I couldn't even begin to buy the fabric to make one myself for that price. I'm sure the seller didn't think an orange quilt would appeal to many people, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Cheddar star quilts were popular throughout the 1800s. This is the simple style of quilt that really speaks to me and I think it is priceless.  It is just the pop of color my quilt collection needed. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Antiques Shopping on the Square

We are fortunate to have a great downtown with adorable boutiques and antique shops. They are fun to peruse on a Saturday, seems I always find something I need. Like this little end table. When I saw it in the store I thought, "Oh, that would be perfect for my son's room." 

Then after closer inspection I thought, "I don't think so. This one's mine--all mine." It is a darling Perfect Sewing Cabinet that still has some of the original yarns and thread it came with. I wish I knew what was in the tray as it is driving me crazy wondering what those pegs are for. To hold a pair of scissors in place maybe?

The cabinet was made by The Caswell-Runyan Co. in Huntington, Indiana, which was in operation between 1907 and 1956.

It has clearly been painted and the knobs changed as it would have looked more like the one below originally, but I am okay with the changes. It is a great little table. I bet they sold lots of these.

In the same shop we happened to also stumble upon a china cabinet that screamed, "I belong in your dining room." I had to agree with it so the guys dragged it home for me. It fits perfectly into its new space as if it were always here.

I am finally starting to feel like I am gaining on the no storage space issue of living in an old house. Yet I wonder, is having four pie safes and two china cabinets excessive?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympic Dreams

Some of you will remember the post below that I wrote three years ago when we lost my sister-in-law to cancer. I am sharing it again now while watching the olympic figure skaters on TV. You see, Cathy won a gold medal skating in the Special Olympics. You can surely imagine how excited she was! In honor of Cathy's memory and her gold medal, my husband--who hates the cold more than anyone I know--has decided to take a Polar Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics Indiana. I thought I would share the link to his fundraising page here in case some of you would like to help contribute. I promise to videotape his plunge and share it here for my your amusement. It will no doubt be worth every penny. 

February 9, 1969 – February 16, 2011

It would be easy to be angry. To dwell on the unfairness of it all. To morn the loss of a life so young. But Cathy never took the easy route. Instead she worked harder than anyone I know. Her forty-two years on this planet were not easy. When you are handicapped nothing ever is. She never complained. Well, almost never. If you knew Cathy you knew she wasn’t a pushover either.

She was, however, the first person in line to tell someone they did a good job. If I were scrapbooking or sewing or cooking she always told me that I was doing a good job and she was proud of me. After the kids cleaned their rooms or finished another chore she would inspect their work and tell them they did a good job. When her brother finished a project around the house, there she was, telling him how he did. Doing a good job was important to her. So much so that if she thought you didn’t do a good job, she’d tell you to do it again.

Cathy put all her energy into doing a good job at everything she tried. And tried she did. I never heard her say she couldn’t do something. She would only ask how to do something and boom the next thing you know she was going at it. There was no stopping her. Her entire life she studied to be able to read better. She set goals for herself and achieved them. One of her more recent accomplishments was to live independently for the first time in her life. She was doing a good job of it.

Cathy was always looking after everyone else. For twelve years she helped raise her niece and nephew, she also volunteered at the private school they attended. I can only imagine how many times she told all the children and teachers they were doing a good job. 

She was the most helpful person I’d ever met. If you mentioned you needed anything at all Cathy would be up and out the door to fetch whatever it was so fast it would make your head spin. If you left her unsupervised anywhere near the kitchen, even only for a minute, she would have the dishes done before you knew what she was doing. Then she would ask you if she did a good job. If only she knew how good of a job she did. You see, she was fabulous at teaching others. Not in front of a classroom, but by example. Cathy always showed you what was really important in life. To never give up. To do a good job. To help others. To live, love and laugh like you’ve never been hurt.

It would be easy to be angry, but instead I am inspired. If she can get up and out of bed every day while battling cancer to walk to school in the snow at 42 years old to try to read better… well, I can only be inspired.

Cathy has earned her wings and ascended into heaven. There is no doubt in my mind she was hand picked to be someone’s guardian angel. There is no IQ test to qualify to become an angel, one must only be pure of heart. That she was and, of course, we all know she’ll do a good job.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Truth is Marching

I bought this layer cake kit a couple years ago at a quilt show. It uses Barbara Brackman's 1862 Battle Hymn collection. I've rearranged these blocks twenty times and I'm still not sure. Had it been up to me I wouldn't have used the same fabric for the setting triangles as the center blocks. I think I'll leave it up there for another day or so before I sew them together. Feel free to offer suggestions.

The back of the quilt will have Judie Rothermel's Civil War Tribute fabric, which also commemorates 1862.

I am making this quilt for my son who works as a Civil War soldier at a living history park. He also happens to be turning 21 this year in May and even his momma has to admit he is probably due for a grown up replacement for his ratty childhood blankie.

(Disregard the annoyed look, he secretly admitted under his breath that the blankie's softness can't be beat.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dirty Little Secrets

I kinda have a thing about sewing boxes. I've always liked sewing boxes. I remember I had a pink wooden one when I was a little girl that my grandmother had painted with little white flowers. I loved that I had my very own tomato pincushion, measuring tape and other sewing notions. I later graduated to a plastic handled case that held not only those things, but my embroidery floss and hoops. I had that case for well over 25 years. Since then my stash of sewing items has grown from fitting in that small case to filling an entire room. I know I can't fit all my notions into a small box anymore, but I still can't resist a nice sewing box when I see one. 

There is something about a person's sewing box that speaks volumes about their personality. I have a particular passion for the pincushion/thread keep/box combination type. My mother gifted me with this little gem several years ago. I love it for its plain and simple lines—it says, "I am humble and down-to-earth." 

Although the same size and function, this next one leans a bit more to the artsy, free-spirit side.

It has a lazy susan top and tramp-art-style decoration that says, "I like a bit of drama."

My latest acquisition I find even more interesting. It has a lazy susan, and while it is difficult to tell in the photo, it is decorated with a gold leaf fleur de lis between each spool and on the lid. Very high-end and classy in its day, I'm sure.

The box lid even swivels dramatically to reveal a place for notions. Over all it is a lovely piece that says, "Look at me."

I have to admit I've had this for a month now, but I just noticed its dirty little secret. The top of this high-end classy piece was actually just recycled from a spoon-carved panel of some sort. 

Proof you shouldn't judge a box by its cover. How often do we make these same assumptions about each other?