Remembering Simple

I didn't have the opportunity to go to kindergarten, so all the things that I should have learned there, I am still trying to figure out.  Living a in rural community in the 1950's, I began my education in a two room school.  It was an old two story brick building with wide steps on both sides of the front, with huge double doors.  They opened into a spacious hallway that had hooks on the wall for coat hangers.  My classroom was on the first floor directly opposite one of the entry doors.  I shared that room with perhaps 25 or 30 other first through fourth grade students. First graders were in the first row next to the tall, triple hung windows.  If I remember correctly, there were about 6 or 8 of us.  How did the teacher manage to educate 4 separate grade levels in that one room, I often wonder?  Perhaps we all sat in our seats, did as we were instructed and had respect for the teacher as well as the other classmates.  I remember at times, having completed my assignments, I would try to do what the older kids were doing.  I remember that I was able to learn cursive writing by the end of first grade.  And my teacher allowed me to continue writing in that manner rather than printing, as was the custom to do until you were well into your third grade year.  I remember often being the one selected to lead the class in a song at the end of the day.  Favorites such as "Davy Crockett", "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain", "Shoo-Fly", were at the top of my repertoire,  along with "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "The Bear Went Over the Mountain".  I guess I've always enjoyed writing and singing.  After school, I would usually walk home with my older brother and cousin, about a mile of dusty, graveled road.  I never minded doing so, it was just a part of life. Plus it was always fun to pick the berries or wild flowers along the roadside.

 Probably never met more than one or two cars on the walk home.  Sometimes we would make a short stop at the country store and visit with other folks, or share a 5 cent RC Cola, if my brother was feeling generous.  Simple, quiet times.  Never thought about being too hot or too cold, whether I had the latest in clothing or home decor, or even what was happening in the rest of the world.  Life was good.  Guess that's what I learned in first grade.  Enjoy life's quiet, simple times. Continue to enjoy writing and singing.  Take every opportunity that presents itself to learn as much as you can.  Just remembering those times makes me feel quiet inside.  

Picture this

When catching up with my very talented designer daughter the other day, after returning from taking classes with Carol Taylor at NQA in Columbus, OH, I was trying to describe what I had done in the class.  We all know that I have a bit of trouble expressing myself verbally, so I finally just said, I'll have to show you some pictures.  Normally I tend to be overwhelmed in class/workshop situations.  Too much going on, getting distracted/intimidated by all the other participant's projects, and in this case, a pretty fast pace and very little workspace, I was happy to return home.  I quickly settled down in my studio with the partially completed projects and happily stitched away.  So without further ado, here are some photos of the progress.  This one is from the "Arc-I-Textures" class.  It is 16" x 16" inches and I still am trying to decide if I should make it into a pillow or a wall hanging.  Or is it ready for that?

This is from the Sensuous Lines and Curves class.  Wasn't too crazy about the sample design (sorry Carol), so I'm making changes with mine. Still in progress, still making changes.  Absolutely love doing the very, thin curvy lines, as well as the little rectangles and square shapes.  I am using some of my hand dyes for the little squiggles.

Speaking of  hand dyes, after making dozens of solids and slightly mottled fat quarters, following step by step the color recipes, I had a grand time playing it fast and loose.  These are a few pieces that pleased me as a result of not following any given instructions.

Note the strip cut from the top of the piece on the right, below.  I used it as a stripe in the sensuous line/curve piece.  Makes for sensationally sensuously striped strips - say that 3 times fast. 

By the way, "Thistles" was not awarded a ribbon, but did receive very complimentary judges comments.  Of course she was hanging right next to a big ribbon winner who made her recede into the background.  However, she kept her thorns to herself and returned home with me, to be shipped off immediately to be judged for the AQS Knoxville show.  Much to my delight I did find  that she was awarded a very nice "Losers" recognition in a blog that I enjoy following.  Thanks Barb and Mary.  I still say we are all winners!
So there! 

Girls just wanna have fun

Before I forget (yeah, like I could forget) - two of my pretty girls have been enjoying some unexpected yet extremely welcome accolades.  So, without further ado, the big Orange Hibiscus has been published in August-September issue of  Quilt magazine, which is on the news stands now.  I won't be boring with all the details, but suffice it to just say that Debra Hearn, editor in chief of Quilt, saw her hanging in a quilt show, liked her and tracked me down to ask permission to publish her photo.  Each issue of the magazine has a feature on the inside back cover called "The Last Stitch" which showcases a specific quilt artist.  Needless to say, after I recovered from the initial shock, I was thrilled beyond words when Deb asked permission to publish a picture of Orange.  Just goes to show, you never know who may be watching you. 

Thistles also received  treasured honors.  The wonderful folks who attended the Smoky Moutain Quilters Show choose her to receive the Viewer's Choice show award and the show judge awarded her a 2nd place ribbon in her category.  She's now on her way to hang in the  NQA show in Columbus, OH, June 16 through 19.  Then rush home, only to ship out to for judging in the AQS show  in Knoxville, TN July 14 -17.  Yup, my girls have been mighty busy lately.  It is such an honor to have them accepted to be shown in prestigious shows and appreciated by others. 

Changing tunes here, a new Ramsey will be arriving soon, so he'll be receiving a quilt from his great-auntie M.  With input from his Dad and Mom, using a few bits of fabric from window treatment in his nursery, I came up with this design for the top of the quilt.  The nursery theme is blue, cocoa, chocolate stripes and dots.

And for the back of the quilt, here's a partial shot - another modern twist for the young parents and sweet babe.  I forgot to snap a shot of the finished quilt before I gave it to the parents.  As soon as I get a picture of the completed quilt, I'll post it up. 

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho it's off to work I go . . . . . 

I dyed today

I haven't had this much fun in a long time.  I dyed today.  Fabric that is.  It is something that I've always thought about doing but, just didn't want to open another can of worms, so to speak. Having finally cleaned up my house, and my studio, gotten everything organized so I could bear to enter the room, I thought why not.  Things have been rather hectic once again on the home front, I haven't expressed my angst through my blog, and what better way to add a bit of cheer?  My friend, Laura, has long been expressing a desire to dye as well, so she brought all her supplies to my garage and we went at it, full  throttle.  As we began to mix the colors, we were also challenged to find new adjectives to describe each variation and shade.  "Oh, how pretty", just was not adequate.  And as we mixed and stirred, mushed and dabbed, spritzed and dribbled, we became more and more excited.  Although we did want to experiment, one of my goals was to have 12 basic solid colors.  Thank goodness Laura was here to remind me to wash my rubber gloves as we changed from color to color, or there would be no solids. 

Having a touch of OCD, to say that I was anxious about jumping into this new endeavor, would be an understatement.  A horrible nightmare woke me at 5AM, the whole dyeing experience was a complete disaster, there were ghostly, skeletal people constantly cropping up to ruin the results, I had dye all over the garage, and my hair was a unflattering shade of orange.  Maybe it's the word dye that had my subconscious in such a turmoil.   But now that we've gotten yards of fabric gloriously colored, I think that I will sleep very soundly tonight.  Dreaming of all the tints and shades and brilliantly colored fabric. And thanks to some wonderful books and blogs for reference, I think this might become another obsession, as I'm already itchin' to do some batiking a la'  rOssie and Malka.