Friday, June 4, 2010

Crazy Quilt Pillow for Sherron

Several weeks ago, I took an all-day class from quilt teacher and artist Alice Kolb.  I've gotten to know Alice in her role as co-administrator of the wonderful Quilting Adventures workshops that are held each spring in New Braunfels--workshops which I have now attended for three years.  Alice came to Waco to teach a class in crazy quilting, her specialty, a class sponsored by our local Homespun Quilters' Guild.  In the class I assembled a pillow top, using all green fabrics, chiefly batiks but a few others as well.  I knew at the time that I would turn this piece into a pillowtop for beloved friends Sherron and Charles.  I am leaving tomorrow for Arkansas, where I'll spend parts of two days and one night with them.  Earlier this week I did the decorative stitching on the pillow top; this morning I have put the pillow together and inserted a form.  Here is a close-up of the crazy blocks and the decorative stitching:

I am saving this as a draft and plan to publish it once I get to Sherron and Charles's house.  I want this to be a surprise, so I don't want to give Sherron a sneak peek at it before my arrival!

June, 4:  Now I am at Sherron's house and the pillow has been presented.  Both she and Charles seem to like it a lot.  Here are some pictures of the pillow with its new owners!  At Sherron's suggestion, I added my initials to the bottom right of the pillow.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An UNFINISHED Journal Quilt: Oil Spill--Vale/Veil of Tears

On Friday, May 7, on the front page of the New York Times this photograph of the oil spill caught my eye.  I cut the picture out and pinned it to my bulletin board.  Every day since I've looked at it, amazed at its beauty, horrified by what it depicts.  I knew that eventually I'd base a journal quilt on that photo. 

I've assembled the quilt, but it is unfinished.  I've not sewn down the appliques.  It's not been "sandwiched" with the batting and backing.  It's not been quilted.  But since I am leaving day after tomorrow for Arkansas, I wanted to get it posted and will eventually post an update.  Unable to sleep last night, I worked on it then.  Earlier in the day, thinking about how I was going to construct the quilt, I made up a poem based on it.  So, first the quilt; then the poem.

Here is my poem:

Oil Spill:  Vale/Veil of Tears

She weeps, Mother Earth—
She weeps for the birds of the air
And the fish of the sea.
Mother Earth cries for the
Men who can no longer go down to the sea in ships
To cast their nets.
She weeps for the white sands, now dark with sludge.
From afar this spill of oil is beautiful—
Its colors, the colors of a sunset.
But the beauty is deceptive.
Close up, noxious fumes sicken men,
Kill innocent wild things.
So in this vale of tears,
We, too, like Mother Earth,
See through a veil of tears.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Journal Quilt: Memories of a California Easter

Easter 2010 was in early April.  And here it is, the last day of May, and I am only now posting my journal quilt inspired by our Easter visit to California.  The most dramatic event during that visit was the earthquake which we felt Easter Sunday afternoon as only a very slight, seconds' long, tremor.  Of course, those further South, at the epicenter, had an entirely different experience.  I attempted in my journal quilt to depict the splitting of the Earth of an earthquake, but to me, it looks more like a brown river!  Superimposed on the earthquake scene are, what else, Easter eggs, and also a vase of flowers.  Both eggs and flowers played a huge part in our Easter visit, naturally.  Southern California is a feast for the eyes with all of its flowers!  Too, Kathy and her family gave a pot of hydrangeas to be used in the church sanctuary,  in honor of Roman's father, who died last October.  The church was ablaze with scores of lovely potted plants of many varieties. 

We brought the pot of hydrangeas home, and we also purchased a mixed bunch of flowers at the farmers' market on Saturday.  The vase of flowers in the quilt picture above is rather surreal, since the pansies (of course a small flower) are huge compared to the roses and the daisies!  But I adore pansies, which remind me of both my father and my grandmother, so I wanted them to be prominenent.  I used a shiny voile fused to some white fabric to try to give the effect of a shiny pottery vase; this doesn't show up so well in the photo.  One photo from the Easter visit that I particularly love depicts Locke beside the pot of hydrangeas that Kathy and Roman brought home from the church.  As always, click to enlarge the photos, particularly the one below of our six year old Locke on Easter Sunday!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our Youngest Grandson--Growing Up!

Dawson, our youngest grandson (six in March), seems suddenly to be so much older!  I used to consider him shy, but not so now.  One afternoon when he got home from kindergarten, we decided to make oatmeal cookies.  We didn't have the baking soda called for in the recipe.  "I'll go borrow some from a neighbor!" he announced. So he marched off with a plastic cup and a measuring spoon and came back with the soda.  This might not seem unusual, but it surprised me.  Not too long ago, he'd not have suggested such a solo errand. 

At Malcolm's baseball game, two little girls, younger sisters of Malcolm's closest friend, tagged around after Dawson as if he were the Pied Piper.  Is Dawson going to turn out to be quite the lady's man?
Most surprising of all, though, happened at the soccer game. No officials had shown up to referee his brother's game. "I'll go to the office and find out if any are coming," announced Dawson. His parents didn't think this was necessary, but again, I was surprised at his volunteering.
I also used to think of him as being dependent on Malcolm for amusement, not often content to entertain himself.  Not so now!  We went to Wal-Mart and used a gift card we'd given him for his birthday for a new Wii game.  He disappeared upstairs, loaded the game, learned its rules, and then proceeded to play it alone for several hours.  We could hardly drag him away from it to go out to dinner!

Red Poppies

This Memorial Day weekend we had an after church, indoor picnic. I'm on the fellowship committee in charge of such occasions.  We decided to center the tables with some red, white and blue placemats I use on the 4th of July.  One member suggested we also include red poppies, if she could locate some.  She did, at a local VFW post.  In our childhood, committee members remembered that veterans used to hand out red paper poppies on the street corners of our towns, as they collected donations for the families of their fallen comrades.  We pinned the poppies to our clothes in honor of these veterans.

The Memorial Day poppies tradition started with a poem written by a Canadian Army colonel during WWI.  Colonel John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" was first published in December, 1915, in the British magazine Punch.  Two women from Georgia , impressed by the poem, began selling paper poppies in order to help orphans or others impoverished at the end of the war.  Eventually the Veterans of Foreign Wars made the Memorial Day poppy official.  Below is the McCrae's poem.

In Flander's fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie
In Flander's fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flander's fields.