Quilts for Sale

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Disappearing DSL

Dear Readers -

I've not been able to post for days! All is well here but the internet to my computer is not working. The provider says service is coming to the house, but it is not getting to my computer. Looks like a technician will have to make a house call. Yipes! Does this mean I'll have to clean???

My wonderful friend Martha Lee gave up much of her afternoon so we (my dh) could photograph the wedding quilt on a wall of her studio. The shots are great, but won't be posted until the kids have possession of their gift. Thank you, Martha Lee!

Although work continues on the hand-dyed piece shown March 18 and 20, I've been distracted by The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, a fabulous and first novel by David Wroblewski. Also next to my blue chair are The Zookeepers Wife and Water for Elephants.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watchful Eye

Under the Watchful Eye of Queen Charlotte II

The very talented Deborah Langsam has done it again. Using photographs of historic Charlotte printed on fabric, she creates stunning quilts which, from a distance, appear to be photos themselves.

In describing her amazing piece Deborah writes: People and places that have shaped Charlotte come under the photo mosaic "eye" of Queen Charlotte, the city's namesake. Debbie's art was part of the Charlotte Quilters' Guild show last weekend.

Each tiny square is a mere one-half inch.

If you're a native Charlottean like my dh, you'll be able to identify many of the photos. The image is clickable.

Last fall I purchased one of Deborah's smaller pieces depicting The Penguin, my son and daughter-in-law's favorite restaurant. It was framed and presented to them at Christmas. They were thrilled.

I Thought It Was Spring!

Matthew and my dh Bill in our front yard. Note the
beautiful cherry tree across the street.

I'm wearing sweaters again after having nearly used the car's AC last week! March is always a month of surprises. We've had temps in the 70s, snow, a tiny bit of ice, warm days once more and now rain and chill. I'm hoping we'll reach April without a freeze.

Our son Matthew was down Monday for an echocardiogram. No results yet, but I'm expecting only good news.

Matthew visited a favorite Charlotte train haunt before coming by the house. It's always wonderful to see him, if only for a while. We had brunch at the Original Pancake House and then visited in the sunshine on our deck until his appointment.

This cherry tree is next door.

It's grown so much it now shades part of our front yard.

I'm happy to have this pretty view from my studio.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Sister

Ellen and Patty
This was the last time we were together, two years ago in Columbus OH.

Today is my baby sister's birthday, and it's one of the "big" ones. I'll never forget the day of her birth. I was in kindergarten and remember my father coming to the door of our little two room schoolhouse to convey the news. My teacher rushed to me and said, "You have a baby sister! Isn't that wonderful?"

My two sisters and I had not known to expect a baby. Back in the day, such things were not discussed openly in front of children. We learned years later that Mother almost did not make it to the hospital, as she refused to leave the house until her girls had gotten on the school bus. She'd worried we would be frightened.

Patty is coming from California to visit in less than a month. I cannot wait, as we haven't seen each other in two years. I've warned my dh who knows to expect lots of laughter and mischief making.

Patty has always been my biggest fan, pushing me to reach ever higher while providing inspiration and enthusiasm with her "You go girl" attitude.

There have been great challenges for my baby sister over the years. But each has been met with courage, grit and determination. She has used her superior people skills, brains and tremendous gifts to make quite a life for herself. I am very proud of her and know that she will always be there for me - no matter what.

Happy, happy birthday, baby sister of mine. We will see you soon!

Patty casts a line while fishing along the Jacks Fork River
near Willow Springs MO.
She was always the jock of the family.

Here she heads home with her catch.

Black and white photo credit: Sharon vonOhlen Taylor

Friday, March 20, 2009

Making Progress

Stitching detail.

The embroidery/quilting on my latest project is going quickly. I've already finished almost a quarter of its center section. Making color choices for the floss has been fun. Working this way is becoming my signature style, as this is the sixth quilt I've quilted with embroidery stitches. It is such a calming process.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hidden Treasures

Today's thrifted treasures!

I'd planned a trip to Lowe's this afternoon, but instead found myself at my favorite thrift store. I need dresses or at least dressier clothes. Now that thrifting is all the rage, nothing was to be found. I then checked the fabric and sewing notions area and could not believe my eyes! There I spied two Bernina feet (the 1/4" foot and a gathering foot) AND a walking foot in their original packaging. I excitedly shot to the appliance section looking for the sewing machine, but alas, it was not to be found. In all my years of thrifting, I've never found anything Bernina, ever! Both feet work with my 1530 and were not ones I had. I did have the walking foot so plan to put this one on ebay.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Art Once More

Log Cabin variation using fabrics I hand-dyed.
20" x 23"

I've just begun the hand embroidery/quilting.

I'm finally getting back to my art! From a stack of small pieces waiting to be finished, I decided to work on this log cabin variation made at least four years ago. The hand-dyed fabric logs will be quilted/embroidered with two strands of DMC embroidery floss. I like to use a crewel needle. It is very sharp yet has a large, easy-to-thread eye. In previous quilts I always matched the floss to the fabric color. This time, I will use funky combinations.

I've always loved hand-work, especially embroidery. From the time I was a young girl, embroidering hope chest pillowcases from Woolworth's Aunt Martha's patterns, I've found this type of stitching to be very soothing. My preferred method is rather mindless, but extremely satisfying. I can sit and stitch and dream of quilts yet to be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's Day

An Old Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.

This post is in memory of Brian Quinlivan. Rest well, laddie.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Prioritize! Focus!

When I was in high school, a recurring report card comment from my teachers was, "Ellen has too many irons in the fire." I'm still that way. But now I realize too many choices are not good for me, as I want to do them all and I want to do them all right now. In order to accomplish anything, I have to prioritize.

Completing two large quilts was number one over the last three years. Once those were finished, I dove into a studio revamp which included purging and painting. I have several small pieces which need quilting, but my focus has been diverted.

Ever notice how shabby everything else looks if you paint just one room? Ours is a very old house with some rooms which haven't been painted in years. I've painted or wallpapered every single room in our house - by myself - two or three times. I just can't do it again. Besides, I have no desire or business getting on a stepladder in order to reach 9 1/2' ceilings - ever again.

My dh helped me paint one room and we've agreed "we do not work well with others." It was not fun, took five months peppered with comments such as "I AM holding my brush right." We never got to the woodwork and now I'm not so sure I even like the color! Having the studio painted by a professional was such a joy. It is beautifully and spotlessly done. Why did it take me so long to realize it's possible to hire people to do almost anything?

We're getting to the age where, although we can still do things ourselves, it makes better sense not to. My dh threw his back out for weeks last spring hurling pitchfork after pitchfork full of compost on the garden and then roto-tilling it in. This year the hard work will be done by young, strong and fast Roberto and Eduardo.

I was raised by very self-sufficient parents who did everything themselves and taught me and my three sisters to do the same. I used to feel very guilty about spending money for someone else's labor. My husband was raised in a very frugal Moravian family and graduated from a Quaker college. It goes without saying that he holds tightly to a dime.

Life is very short. Neither of us needs to risk injury. In order to have time to do the work most important to us, we're hiring workers who really need jobs. It will help them and help stimulate the economy at the same time. Delegating is a great tool in prioritizing!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dear Sister

Ellen (age 5) and Sue (age 2) on a hot summer day in Illinois
along the Fox River.

Ellen and Sue, ages 8 and 5, in matching dresses. We had just returned from church where our entire family was baptized together.

Sue and Ellen, ages 7 and 10.
Waiting for the school bus.

Today is my younger sister Sue's birthday. Happy Birthday, Sue. Wish I were there to help you celebrate! I can almost smell the confetti angel food cake now. Yummmmm.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nearly Spring

Our dogwood trees are just about to bloom.

This tiny white wildflower blossom will soon be joined by others - just barely visible under the dry leaves.

Unusually warm temperatures have lured me to the garden the past four days. But the 70s and 80s won't last; Friday is forecast to be 46 and rainy. I'll be back at work in the studio by then.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Waiting for Spring

Even though we just had snow followed by temperatures in the teens, our weather is forecast to be very warm - 73 degrees - this weekend! It's time to start thumbing through the gardening catalogs! I'd love to have a lilac like the one we had on the farm in Illinois. Maybe I can find one which can do well in the south.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Southern Snow!

We had just over 3" of snow in Charlotte last night. Above are a few images captured this morning.