People say the darn-dest things

Okay folks,  here is  "Shirts" in it's current state.  I discovered some lovely Kaffe Fassett shot cotton, which has an almost irridescent sheen.  It is woven with orange and teal threads but the fabric reads as a grey.  When the sunlight hits it just right you see just a bit of shimmering. Thought it was a nice contrast to the plaids and strips.  Now to the next step.  Should I add more to him, perhaps a border of another color; or plaid; or just leave him be and quilt on?  Think I'll let him hang around for a few more days and see what he has to say for himself.   Hm-m, I also had another thought.  Since I've done "Shirts and Blouses" and "Shirts", I should  try and come up with an idea for "Skins".  Hey I might have a real series thing going on here. Not. . . . . .  .

Moving on, why is it that I remember inane statements made by strangers? Case in point, when buying fabric at a quilt shop sale, the sales lady cutting my fabric asked what I was planning to do with these gorgeous batiks. I replied that I was going to incorporate them into a portrait of my grand puppy. She turned sharply to the sales lady next to her and pointing to me, made the statement that I really need some grandchildren in my life. What? Huh? I had to laugh. Certainly she did not mean to imply that I was wasting my time designing and making a quilt portrait of a dog. This happened a couple of years ago and I have yet to make this quilt. I didn't think that I was subconsciously affected by this lady's comment at that time. 

I had long ago promised my son, proud "pappa" of a lovely chocolate lab, that I would be delighted to immortilize his best friend in fabrics. I have finally gotten into the right frame of mind to jump into it, get the design and the pattern drawn and get it done. Having gotten that part completed, I began choosing the fabrics. When I came across the fabrics that I bought that day, that comment crossed my mind. This unimportant, totally insignificant, off hand comment popped into my thought process. I, again, began thinking "where did that come from?" Why did I remember this comment when I picked up these certain pieces of fabric.  And are we not complete because our children have not produced any children? Did this lady not like dogs?  Just why did she feel compelled to say that?  All sorts of questions followed me around that day.  My son is not married, nor does he need children at this point in his life. He is quite content with his dog, his cat and his fish. So why should she, a total stranger, think that I need grandchildren?  People can say the darnest things. And perhaps even more ridiculously enough, I remember the darn dest things.  Can't remember to turn off the iron, but sure did remember that comment.  Perhaps I relate certains fabrics to where and when I purchased them and what was going on all around me at that time. Sorta like relating a certain favorite song to a time and place. Am I warped or what?

In the meantime, I am having so much fun working on my grand puppy's portrait.  She makes me smile. I will keep you posted on her progress. Here is one of the reference photos that I am using for the design.  Isn't she beautiful.

Sibling Rivalry

Growing up I was always so jealous of my little sister. You see, I was my parents' one and only precious, little girl, born 5 years after my brother. Evidently brother was quite a challenge to my mother, and perhaps I was the baby doll that she didn't have as a child growing up in the Depression years. She always dressed and groomed me meticulously, much to my dismay. I was determined to spit on and wrinkle up all those perfectly starched lace collars and continuously tugged and scratched the crinolines. Hey, all those frills were itchy in the hot and humid south. I was just trying to soften them up a bit. Looking back, perhaps I was not the little girlie girl that my Mother thought I should be.

Remember in those days when pregnancy was not a word anyone said out loud. I can remember Mother answering my questions regarding her growing mid section by shushing me and saying that it was a secret. HUH? What's the big deal? Not letting it cause me any concern, I tore off my pretty little dress and pulling on a pair of shorts (no shirt because it was HOT in August), off I would run to tag along after my older brother and cousin, riding on the back of the hay wagons coming in from the fields.

Fast forward, Christmas 1954, Mother was in the hospital and came home the day after Christmas with the ultimate gift. A sweet little baby sister. Now just what was she thinking? I didn't want that thing. Sibling rivalry at it's best had reared it's ugly head. For six and a half years I had been the queen bee. On the other hand, Mother was too busy to starch all that lace and crinoline petticoats anymore, thank goodness, and I had to learn to be more independent. I had to make my own doll clothes. That opened a door that has led me to one of the greatest of life's pleasures. Mother even let me use her Singer on occasion. I can remember being SO proud of my accomplishments. Although Mother never seemed to notice how beautiful they were, I thought I was hot stuff. I found some of those doll clothes a few years ago, YIKES what was I thinking. I guess they were probably not too bad for a 7 year old girl. Today, the thrill continues. I love to play with fabric, to design with fabric, to sew pieces of fabric together, not even for a specific purpose, but just to enjoy the process and the thrill of the colors.

Fast forward, November 1977, and I have this perfect little baby girl of my own. And so the mother and daughter saga begins the seasonal repeats. Jumping right on, I must tell you that she is now a beautiful, talented, and intelligent young, married woman. No matter that the momma in me shall never forget that precious, sweet babe. This quilt is based on a snapshot from a 1978 July Fourth family picnic. She was struggling to stay awake til the last hurrah. A very serious toddler, strong and independent, always seeming to be so old for her age. I always treasured that picture that her Daddy took. So I was compelled to use it as my first attempt at a quilted portrait of a child.
Oh yes, I cannot end without telling you this. I named my daughter after my sister. Yup, the sister that brought out that green-eyed monster in me. I love her with all my heart, just as I love my daughter. My sister died a few years ago, far too young, of ovarian cancer. She, too, was a strong, independent, beautiful woman, loved by all who ever met her. I encourage all women to be strong and independent and take charge of their lives. Always remember this, "Ovarian cancer whispers, so listen." If you have the slightest feeling that there is something not quite right with your health, demand attention. If you have questions, go to this website and read. Take care of yourself.

Simple or Complicated?

Now that things are a bit settled around here, I am back to business as usual. Once I've done all the "shirts and blouses" blocks (refer to my blog back on March 4) that I can bear to do, I realized that I was in a pretty dark spot. Do you think that your life is reflected in what you might be trying to create at the time? As I look back on my home decor, my clothing and my quilts, I can definitely see a trend there. I spent most of my life trying to follow the rules. Be a good daughter, wife, mother and do what is expected of a proper, southern lady. I tried that through out my high school and college years, on into adulthood and beyond. A few years ago, I heard a life altering phrase, "out of the box". I realized that I was never a muted person on the inside. Not that I am a radical rebel, but all those rules just wear me out. A friend of mine has this quote following her signature on her e-mails.
"I can't understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I'm frightened by old ones" ...John Cage
That is saying something. It has also been said that there is nothing original in the world, or something to that effect. I am far from original in my ideas, but it is so liberating to stop listening to some of those rules and structures that I thought I must always follow. Now I am learning to just say HA to the quilt police. Doesn't it feel good to give yourself permission to be just yourself?

Back to the muted plaids and stripes blocks - I just knew it needed help, but it wouldn't do to overpower all those busy blocks with my favorite bright colors and prints. So I had to compromise: a few wonky blocks here and there with a greyed/brownish linen that I found buried in my stash. And lots of Kaffe fat quarters strung together for the backing. It is looking better already. Here is the top in it's current form. Now to get it sandwiched and quilted.

Before I end for the day, I might as well admit right now that I didn't stop with the shirts and blouses, but went on to delve into just the "shirts". Here's the idea. Not sure what will happen with these blocks, but I am just about tired of making them, so we'll see what happens next. Oh but wait! Here's another thought, make just a few more of these blocks and cut them into rounds or ovals. . . . I just have to get back to those things that my right brain really enjoys, as in "why make it simple when you make it complicated."


My world seems to have skidded to a stop after just viewing the movie, Precious. "Lausie mercy", as we used to say. (That was as close to cursing as a young southern girl ever got). Here I am, the waspy whimp, whining about my privileged life, forgetting to stop and consider what many of the world's population must be forced to deal with. Especially the female population. The very next time anyone reads about my pitiful woes, just remind me with a slight smack up side of my head. I highly recommend to everyone who has the opportunity, do not miss seeing this film. Beware to some who might be offended by the adult language, however that ain't nuthin compared to the story. A story that children, who may be living just around the corner from you, may be living. Don't let me discourage you because, on the other hand, it is an uplifting story, inspiring and hopeful in oh, so many ways. It is a Can Do tale, that leaves you exhausted but ready to take on the world.

I had just began writing a draft the other day about my creative ideas being validated. It began with these words, "why is it that I seem to need my creative thoughts validated? I have these "brilliant" ideas, begin the process, then decide that it is not worth pursuing. Months later, I buy a quilting book with the same brilliant idea that I had. Suddenly my thought was worth pursuing after all. Has this ever happened to you? Or am I the only one with such a lack of self confidence? After all, there seems to be nothing new under this sun". Why should I attempt this new project. I'll never get it finished anyway. I have just been reminded of a valuable lesson from a fictional 16 year old, African American girl. And yes, I realize that it was a film, based on a novel. All the same, it is a lesson for all of us. Get yourself up, stop the wondering and searching for approval. Appreciate that you have so much more and have so many advantages and opportunities. Don't just sit there and think about it, go after them. Just like Precious. Just like Gabourey Sidibe, the young unknown actress who portrayed the lead character, nominated for an academy award for acting. It starts with one small step, a bit of effort, and deep breath and a new sun is shining.


I have just learned that my big Orange Hibiscus was juried into the AQS show at Paducah, Kentucky. What an honor. It is always a thrill to be one of many selected to hang with some of the most talented quilt artists in the world. I never expect to win a ribbon, since my technical skills are somewhat lacking. Or more aptly said perhaps, woefully lacking. Still, the honor lifts my spirits and inspires me to continue to practice, practice, practice. Hibiscus has just returned from a stint at the Road to California show as well as the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XXI in Virgina, where she was in competition with some tremendously talented quilt artists' pieces. She was quite humbled to be there and bask in the back lights of the others, though not receiving award recognition.

As I noted earlier, Thistles has won an award at the upcoming Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild show, opening March 19 - 21. 2010. For more information on this fabulous little show and all the incredible talents in this group, go to their website at Again, an incredible honor to be selected.

This will be Thistles first outing. When she has completed her time at the show in Maryville, Tennessee, she will have to ship out to the NQA show in Columbus, Ohio. in June. She was a very long time in the making and endured several crisis' with me before she was able to hang in full view. So she is very eager to get out of the house for a while and see what everyone else is up to. I am very proud of her success thus far and hope she will continue to be able to hang out with the beautiful ones. I'll tell you more about her birth and growth at another time. Just sorta enjoying the moment right now.


Let me introduce you to Little Orphan Annie, aka Princess Anne. She came into my life at a family reunion several years ago. During a lovely Labor Day picnic, right before I left my lawn chair, plate in hand, to go to the table, still overflowing with delightful southern comfort foods, she appeared from the fields. My great-niece initially discovered her, a pitiful sight, covered with burrs and mud. She was very skinny, with a couple of chipped teeth, no doubt incurred during her homeless ordeal and encounters with curious dogs. However, much to the dismay of my great-niece and I, it seems that this creature decided that I was to be her chosen one. AAAARRRRRGGGGGGGG. I am so very allergic to cats. I already have one stray cat, who thinks he is a dog, but that's another story.

So now, here is this poor thing who likes me, she really likes me. She's camped out under my feet. What's a woman to do???? I have to take her home, pick out the burrs, get rid of the cooties, and take her to the vet for all the appropriate treatments. And now, Princess Anne rules the homestead. The best thing about Annie, she not only loves to cuddle, but she absolutely loves quilts. All I have to do is put a piece of fabric near her and she is on it like a duck on a Junebug. She continually lavished her attentions on the piles of fabric that I had strewn about my studio while I was creating my latest quilt, "Fractured Honeysuckles". I have almost gotten my Honey quilted, but here's a sneak peak. I will post honey in all her glory, once she is completed. You know, I think that just maybe Annie felt a kinship with this piece, considering her unknown origins, perhaps hiding from the unfriendly dogs in the late summer tangled honeysuckle vines of southeast Tennessee.

Art Imitating Life

Ah, to be young and living a carefree lifestyle. I sure didn't have all the luxuries that this younger generation seem to have when I was that age. Life's a Beach!. huh? Real life can come along and hit ya up side the face sometimes. I am still trying to get a grip. Today has been tumultuous, it's only 6:30PM and I'm ready for bed. Oh well, "tomorrow is another day", as Miz Scarlet said. And I say, it surely can't get any worse.
I've been perusing some of the lovely blogs and websites out there. That has helped to lighten my spirits. Life can still be beautiful, if you only open your eyes. There is so much that a person could submerse themselves into. (sorry, dangling participle?) So instead of drowning my sorrows, let's go work with some fabric. Back to those 4 patch squares. I have slashed bits of shirting plaids and sewn them, semi log cabin style around the 4 patches. I think I'll call the finished quilt Shirts & Blouses. It can make a nice lap quilt for someone. All those muted plaids with bright bits of color. Whacha think?

Just so you know, this is not the type of quilt that I currently enjoy making. It is far too simplistic albeit more user friendly. But it is something that is getting me through this time in my life. And to add to the upbeat trend, I just learned that my latest piece has received an award in it's catagory in a regional quilt show. SO NICE. Thanks folks. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, "You just made my day". Here's a closeup of a small portion of thistles.

So to sum up my past few days, when life leaves you with dirty dishes, as Tony Soprano might say "forget about it!" And I say, "Go play with fabric!"