Quilts for Sale

Friday, August 31, 2007


A mama duck keeps watch as her babies play near a small waterfall. My son shot this scene at the Bog Garden in Greensboro this summer.

Photo Credit: Matthew Guerrant


These little nasturtiums have managed to bloom despite our long drought and heatwave. Today marked day 32 of temperatures over 90 degrees.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Little House Quilt

As a collector/hoarder/junk-tiques dealer I love scrounging around in thrift stores. And I always think the messier the shop, the greater the chance of finding hidden treasure. A couple of years ago I found a beautiful Singer 99 - in its blonde cabinet - for the incredible price of $30.30! After a good cleaning and oiling, it ran like a charm. And it has the most beautiful straight stitch! I gave it to my wonderful daughter-in-law who wanted to learn to sew.

I did keep the little seed packet found in the cabinet, as it spoke to my heart. I loved the image of the happy couple admiring their cheery yellow house with its well-manicured lawn. The couple appear to not have a care in the world. Oh, if life were just that simple.

I printed the seed packet on pre-treated canvas and then used it as the basis for a whimsical little house quilt. The scene looks midwestern to me, but I added a palm tree which could also be interpreted as a windmill. The askew roof adds interest. I quilted it in my favorite way - with a wavy grid which just runs right off the edge - and then added a new back using the pillowcase method.

This quilt is 8 1/2 x 11". It was going to be one of my Journal Quilts. But because it was so unlike the other quilts in the series, it did not go to Houston. Instead, it stayed home with me and made me smile.

I chose to represent grass/flowers/foreground very abstractly with little squares of fabric I cut free-hand.

This detail of the seed packet shows the ideal home of the 1950's.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nature's Bounty

The Ball Blue Book, the Guide to Home Canning and Freezing has been a staple in kitchens since 1907. I grew up with this book, as I love to "put up" food for the winter. This is probably my third copy, as I wore the first two out!

The Illinois four-square farmhouses I remember from my childhood, whether the homes of aunts or neighbors, had huge basements. Lining the walls were wooden shelves filled with neat, tidy rows of preserved food. My sisters and I helped can peaches, green beans, beets and tomatoes. We made jams and jellies, all kinds of pickles and also froze sweet corn and strawberries. Because my father was German, he made and put up sauerkraut too.

Canning and freezing are very labor intensive. Whenever we girls would fuss and complain, our father would say, "these will taste good when the snow flies."

Those of us whose parents lived through the Great Depression watched them "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." I like to think my parents' frugality was passed on to my sisters and me. In the midst of conspicuous consumption, it is a gift and a noble thing.

Our garden is smaller this year, with just grape, Roma and good old-fashioned red tomato varieties. We're enjoying the bounty while we can, as summer ebbs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Texture in the Garden

To look and to really see is a learned skill for some of us. This morning I spent time looking at the smaller things in our garden in a bigger way, studying the textures and colors. What inspiration! A good exercise would be to replicate each image in paper, paint and fabric. What colors and textures inspire you?

Click on any image for a closer view.

Oh to be able to replicate the amazing colors of lichen!

A landscape timber near the perennial garden has taken on a wonderful crackly texture.

The colors of the 80-year old brick wall in our garden are an inspiration.

What a wonderful silver patina on the wood near our compost pile.

My favorite coleus I call freckles brightens a shady corner.

Lastly, the morning glories are always their loveliest in the early light of day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sights in Our Summer Garden

Following 27 straight days of over 90 degrees, it was wonderful to step outside this morning to cooler temperatures. I became distracted from my mission to photograph texture in the garden, by the rare buzz of honeybees. They seem to like the nectar from our garlic chive blossoms - as do the butterflies.

A beautiful summer rose.

I'm totally into yard art, especially the kind that makes people smile. This tin frog watches over our herb garden. He was rescued from a lonely life at our local Big Lots!

There is much concern about colony collapse and the disappearance of honeybees. I was greatly encouraged to see this threatened insect on our garlic chive blossoms this morning. Yesterday, the plants were visited by a beautiful swallowtail butterfly, but I wasn't fast enough to get a photo.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So Dear To My Heart

When I was growing up, my three sisters and our parents drove to my maternal grandparents' home every Sunday. These visits with our many cousins, aunts and uncles (my mother was one of nine) were not just visits - they were events! Following a huge potluck meal (we'd pack the trunk of our old Hudson with fried chicken, potato salad, Jell-O and usually a devil's food cake or Mother's famous Frosted Creams) the adults gathered around a table in grandma's big kitchen where they played pinochle, told stories and laughed for hours. Oh my did they laugh. Of course we kids would draw our chairs near to listen. We all had our favorite stories we'd request over and over. "Daddy, tell the one about............Please?" We didn't realize it at the time, but these stories were an oral history of our family.

We lived out in the country on 200 acres where my father and mother not only grew corn, alfalfa and soybeans, but also raised horses and Shetland ponies. So going to the huge metropolis (probably 600 people back then) of Marengo IL on a Sunday afternoon was a thrill. Even more exciting tho was the fact that directly in back of grandma's house was a MOVIE THEATRE!!! And it cost a dime to get in!

In the winter when we couldn't play outside for long in the brutal cold, we cousins, dimes in hand, would troop through the snow to see the latest show. "Take your coat off when you get there so you won't be cold when you come back outside," Daddy would always warn. Somehow there was always enough money for popcorn and candy - Milk Duds and Jujubes being favorites.

The gentle, wise and heartwarming film So Dear To My Heart (Walt Disney 1949) was an absolute favorite of mine. The movie begins as the pages of a scrapbook open (I saved my allowance and as soon as I could, bought a scrapbook of my own at the dime store) and proceeds to tell the story of small-town America and a county fair in 1903. The movie stars Beulah Bondi as Granny, Harry Carey as the county fair judge, and Bobby Driscol and Luanna Patten as the two children.

I loved this film when I first saw it back in the fifties and I love it now. If you've never seen it, do add it to your list. It's a classic!

An Apron Like My Grandmas Wore

I bought this cheerful 1940's apron, with its wonderful blue and yellow daisies, because it is so similar to those worn by my grandmothers. Their aprons were always bib aprons and had large pockets for holding items we grandchildren had found on our scavenger hunts. And of course their tummies and noses were always covered in flour!

So dear to my heart are the days of my childhood.

Famous Sugar Cookies

I have my Mother's scalloped round aluminum cookie cutter - just like the one her mother and grandmother used when making sugar cookies. I do not remember a time when visiting either grandmother that they were not in the process of baking cookies, or had just finished a huge batch. Grandma Darnell, who topped each cookie with a bit of candied cherry, kept them in a large round tin while Grandma Erb, who added a bit of lemon zest to the batter, stored hers in a huge jar. To say these treats were legendary in our family is an understatement.

The recipe from my Great Grandma Darnell, typed just as she had written it, is now being used by the fifth generation.
Grandma Darnell’s Perfect Sugar Cookies

Cream together:
½ C. oleo
½ C. Crisco
1 ½ C. sugar

Add 2 eggs and beat well.

Add to above:
3 T. sour cream
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
3 C. flour

Beat all together. Cover and refrigerate overnight until ready to roll and bake. Sprinkle with sugar when taken from oven. Keep in tight can. These keep well.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Retro Clothing

I fell in love with the patchwork styling and embroidery of this outfit - another super find from my favorite thrift store. The two piece skirt and jacket remind me of the clothes we wore in the 1960's. Too cool.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fabulous Forties!

From the movies to the fashions to those amazing appliances, I am a true fan of the 1940's. In a recent thread on the quiltart internet list, many wrote of the joy of buying thrift store clothing to use in quilts - something I've been doing for more than 25 years. Most of my quilts contain recycled textiles of one type or another - from a shirt, a hanky or a humble apron. In my view, these fabrics are a big part of what give a quilt soul.

I also collect vintage neckties. Pictured below are a few silk ones from my favorite decade. Check the label pix to get a "feel" for what the old ones look like.

Vintage labels are a real clue to the age of a tie.

This tie predates the gold-chained "Mr. T" by many years.

A tie from the 1960's - for the fashion impaired.........

Monday, August 6, 2007

My Latest Postcards

I'm nearly half way through the fiber postcard exchange, an international internet group set up through Art2Mail (art2mail.com). Postcards have arrived from all over the US as well as the UK and Canada.

Below are my three latest cards. I broke my rule of "one of a kind" by creating two PCs from a small piece of felted wool, as I loved the texture. I don't work in pastels, but found myself in that vein for my latest works.

As always, click on any image for a closer view.

Photo credit: Bill Guerrant

When painting or dyeing fabric, I always use a piece of cotton fabric as a "sop up" rag. The serendipitous quality in the resulting design is always wonderful, and far more interesting than something I might have planned.

My latest postcard began with just such a piece of fabric. The design was enhanced with chalk pastels and a piece of hand-dyed cheesecloth.

I'm a member of a small surface design group which meets monthly. At one session, my friend and talented artist Phyllis Tarrant showed us how to felt wool. I added various fibers to the wool roving before it was machine felted. What fun!

I divided my first experiment in two, adding threads and beads to the paler piece. There was a bit of a technical challenge in turning the wool into fiber postcards due to the thickness. Satin cording was a perfect edging solution.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A study in simple abstraction, this card includes my Shibori, hand dyed and painted fabrics. I love the sheen of the rayon threads used in the quilting. The Japanese design I had in my head is not at all what resulted.