22" x 26"Flour/Flower. I have a funny picture from the beginning of the pandemic that I thought I might make into a quilt. The store shelves were totally empty of flour because everyone started baking, but someone who helped us get a laugh had put some pots of Flowers on those shelves.
I just didn’t get that one going, but I have been working hard to collage a rabbit. It turns out the year of the rabbit just might be my year of a series of rabbit collages. This is one of 3 that I have been working on. When I completed it, I realized that it fit the theme perfectly. It’s spring, it’s floral, and it’s a rabbit which covers this year and this season.
The background fabric is an ombre so it goes from light to dark and there are more dots in the dark area. I used the middle of the fabric, which is the lightest part, as the backing. The fabric is Moda “Ombre confetti metallic” by Vanessa Christenson of V and Co. On the selvage it says, “Spread Kindness Like Confetti”. I believe that wholeheartedly.
I tried to use just one flower, but it looked lonely blowing in the wind. I ended up adding a second flower and 5 leaves floating by. The quilt is fused with scraps of Kaffe Collective fabrics that I have used in previous quilts, as is the binding. I tried a wavy stitch for the polka dot background. In my mind, it imitates swirls of wind. We just had a super windstorm full of West Texas sand, so wind was on my radar.
I am recuperating from 3 + months of health issues, so this was my first time "back in the saddle". It feels good!!!
On the first day of a marriage retreat the instructor talked about the importance of knowing what matters to each other. For example he said, pointing to my husband David, "do you know your wife's favorite flower?" David grinned and answered with confidence, "Pillsbury, All Purpose".
Here is my sixties homage to the Pillsbury dough boy and some of the goodies enjoyed by a lover of this kind of flour!!! The flour bag, plate, bread, cookies, and dough boy are hand sketched. I made a stencil for the word pillsbury and painted the circle and dots with fabric paint. The red banner and wheat are fused. The bread, cookies (painted separately and fused onto plate) and plate are colored in with Inktense pencils. The dough boy is made with two layers of very thin batting fused and stitched on and then shaded with Inktense pencils. The chocolate chips and crumbs are embellished with a few beads. Lovin' From the Oven is written with pencil and filled in with Inktense pencils. The piece is machined quilted. To complete the look I used a bias stripe and tiny ricrac in complementary colors. I had sooooo much fun working on this challenge!!
I used raw edge appliqué, free motion stitching and French knots. I loved Merrill’s class. It helped me to free up my use of fabric.
What a challenge this was!! Socially unconventional person, especially one involved in the arts, is the definition of a bohemian. There were so many possibilities to consider; only a limited amount of time for execution!!!
I went on a trip this spring to the California coast and drove to Big Sur. The destination was Nepenthe, the restaurant owned by Bill and Lolly Fassett. The restaurant has been known for its Bohemian look and feel, belly dancing, and poetry readings and was a favorite of many from the LA scene. Hmm, their son Kaffe grew up there and is my favorite fabric and quilt designer whose signature is bright, bold, unconventional prints and his first artistic endeavors were in painting.
An idea started to form. My first thought was to recreate the gorgeous view from Nepenthe using his fabrics. While I worked on a drawing and started fabric placement, I quickly realized I would be trying once again to recreate a realistic picture using fused fabrics. Uhhhh, that's been my MO for many reveals!!! Instead, I challenged myself to use his fabrics to create a Bohemian inspired but traditionally pieced wall hanging.
Yikes - I have so many Kaffe fabrics to choose from I was overwhelmed!!! I was eventually drawn to a gorgeous black floral print. In my "discovery" process I came across a quilt made using log cabin blocks constructed with irregular sized strips. There was a focus fabric in a bright print surrounded with strips in contrasting colors. The blocks were cut in fourths and reassembled to create a very random design. My plan was to use that method and create blocks with the black print and bright and contrasting colors that would achieve an eclectic vibe. I created a nine patch piece but it was very busy and had no real focus. After much thought, rearrangement and auditioning of ideas and designs, I decided to add the elephant in complementary colors. (the elephant is fused -- I can't stop myself!!) Why an elephant you may ask??? When I googled Bohemian images for ideas, a colorful, jeweled elephant was often in the design of a wall hanging, painting or other image. And it seemed to fit with my own vision of something bohemian. It was the focus the piece needed!!(the focus fabric for the block centers is used as the entire right hand border. In the upper left hand border is a complementary fabric of Brandon Mably's, Kaffe's partner).
The piece is 17" X 22' and is machine quilted with variegated rayon thread and embellished with beads, crystals and hand dyed yarns and threads. Gaja is the Sanskrit word for elephant.
Childhood: Parallel Parking
Most of my little quilts have something to do with my childhood and I didn’t want to repeat them. This quilt represents learning to parallel park which takes you from childhood into the big world where adults let you go out on your own sometimes.
Childhood in the country means that you are miles away from town. So, when you turn 15 you get a driving permit and at 16 you are free to drive to town or school on your own. Not riding the school bus is a big deal!
To teach me how to parallel park my brave sister, Susan took me to the small town of Vandalia, Missouri where I wouldn’t know anyone and they had a lot of parallel parking. I don’t know how long she had me drive around the block and try it again and again, but possibly 2 hours. I had to do it between real cars so that I could get the process down.
The treat was being able to go into the fabulous candy store afterwards. As you stepped into the store you were greeted by the old fashion glass counter where they would scoop out the candy you wanted and place it in the white paper bag. Oh my gosh! The coconut bonbons, bridge mix, and so many others to choose from. Childhood at it’s best!
Now I take quilting friends on retreats or outings and sometimes I have to parallel park in McKinney, Texas. I have discovered that I really do a great job parking on the left side of the street.
The funny thing about parallel parking is that when I did it for my drivers license test I was horrible! They only had poles set up to park between (for obvious reasons), but I couldn’t line up with the tires, gauge the distance I would be beside the other car, and visualize how to match up with the other car as I turned into the space. As I park downtown in Waco, Texas those things are always running through my mind so that I can just slide into the parallel space. Thank you, Susan!
I enjoyed seeing the pictures of Andrea's 30 day Sketchbook challenge she shared on Instagram and our blog. Never considering myself able to draw either, I decided to challenge myself to sketch all of these fond memories. I used a plain cotton lawn and a micron pen to sketch the images. A combination of micron pens and inktense pencils were used to add color and detail. All of the images were carefully cut out and then fused to another background piece of cotton lawn. I was too scared to sketch all of the items onto one piece of fabric as I was soooo afraid one bad drawing could ruin the whole piece and I would have to start anew. This process worked well and I continued to add to my sketchbook page. When I was satisfied with the collection of images, I started to add descriptive words and other details to fill in the page. Next, I cut the fabric to look like a page from a sketchbook and fused it onto the black fabric.
I then did some machine quilting to accentuate the open book page. The dates of '55 to '67 include the 10 years of my young life. Nedra's Childhood Sketchbook is quilted in the black background but is hard to see.
This was a fun piece to work on and brought back many wonderful memories!! Here is a picture of one of them that I included. My tricycle with a personalized vanity license plate which I adored!!!!!
My family moved to Austin and to Spring Lane when I was three years old. I lived there until I got married. It was an idyllic place for children! The bottom photo shows all of us from toddlers to teens who lived on Spring Lane. Right across the street from our house were two girls, Kitty and Judy, who became, along with Betsy who lived down the street, my earliest friends.
An earlier photo of me, my older sister Kathy, and younger brother Joe is the top photo. (Our little sister Martha hadn't yet been born.) Growing up on Spring Lane in the '40s and '50s really was idyllic. These were the days before air conditioning, and the hot Texas afternoons were often spent with Kitty and me, with sometimes our brothers (hers was also named Joe), playing cards and board games on a quilt under the trees in our front yard. At times Kitty and I made paper dolls or doll clothes for our Story Book Dolls. (My earliest sewing projects!)
The long summer evenings held exciting, block-long games of Hide and Seek. In the mornings before it got too hot, we rode bikes, venturing far from home and no one's mother worried about where we were, and we always made it home in time for lunch. One memorable summer we played a summer-long game of War. The bigger boys dug trenches in a vacant lot behind Kitty's and Judy's two houses and our weapons were mud balls. We younger kids were assigned the task of making the mud balls, a boring but a less scary occupation than actually taking part in the battles!
For my quilt I chose black and white fabrics to coordinate with my black and white images. The checkerboard fabric reminded me of the endless games of checkers we played on that quilt! I decided since I was featuring "vintage" photos, I'd make a vintage, traditional block for the background, one called Double Four Patch. I machine quilted simple diagonal straight stitches and then used a serpentine stitch for the borders. I've zoomed in on the two photos and posted them below, in order for others to see them better!
|Kitty stands beside me in the photo. I’m the little girl with shoulder length hair, the fifth child from the right. On my other side is my brother Joe. And I have my hands on the shoulders of little sister Martha right in front of me. Our big sister Kathy is the next to tallest girl on the far left.|
|I'm sitting on the arm of the chair beside big sister Kathy, |
and Joe is sitting on the ground. As I said above,
little sister Martha had not yet been born.
With books being banned in this day and age I’m stunned. I can’t imagine growing up being told you can’t read a book because it was bad. When I was in high school I helped the librarian by typing up cards of the new books for the card catalog. The bonus is that I was able to read the ones I wanted before anyone else did. There were several I chose and was shocked with what was in there, but I got to decide if I wanted to finish reading it or not. If I wanted to learn more I was able to go out there to see what someone else’s point of view was.
I love my libraries and bookstores. They are places that hold so many treasures. When I walk in I just relax and savor my time there. Growing up the little town library had beautiful picture books. As I got older, my favorite books were the little orange books about people like Clara Barton and George Washington Carver. A couple years ago I spent time again in that little library using their internet for researching Missouri counties. From that research I was able to make a quilt block that was chosen to be included in the quilt for the state bicentennial. That quilt was going to be unveiled in a special celebration at the Missouri governors mansion on March 26, 2020. I was going to be there for that but when Covid hit I never got to see it. That year they also made an ornament of my block for the Governors Christmas tree. The sweet thing is that all of my sisters and my Mom were able to see the quilt as it traveled around the state.
The big town 15 miles away had a grand library with a winding marble staircase up to the children’s department. Summers were the best because there was always a summer reading program and you got a sticker for each book you read.
When my husband and I moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho I walked into their beautiful library to find a Christmas tree that was positioned so that it went all the way up to the second floor. Imagine a 2 story tall tree in the center of the library!
I always took my sons and then grandson to story hour here in Waco and Hewitt. It was hard to see the libraries close here because of Covid, but I was so thankful they did curbside pick ups. The libraries did a great job getting story hour online when we couldn’t go. Now story hours are coming back! There is just something special hearing someone read to you.
The background fabric is some leftover from the millennium. I love that it has it written in so many languages. I was just going to put the lightbulb above the pages, but the Hoffman fabric was so bright and vibrant that I could see the joy flowing out of the book.
Enjoy a book of your choice today!!!!!