We have a beautiful hummingbird that the kids have named 'Humphrey' and we see him flit here and there throughout our trees. Unfortunately, every time I get ready to take a pic of him, he seems to disappear. Only to reappear in our crabapple tree blossoms or sipping his sweet nectar from our hummingbird feeder. So I decided to get a lasting impression of him by doing an applique quilt block.
By doing a sketch on theme paper of the hummingbird & flowers, I then hand-appliqued it by following her wonderful technique.
I have visions of this becoming a fabulous family quilt with different blocks showing the different loves of our family. Each block would depict something we all like: music, piano, violin, purses, baseball, dirtbikes, snowmobiles, purses, flowers, golden retrievers, purses, kitties, pine trees, peonies, purses, etc.....

But sometimes what I picture in my head is far different from what I can actually accomplish. High hopes don't necessarily = reality in Dawn's world.

So for now, I'll finish the curlique embroidery on these pretend flowers and start picturing what the next block might look like.


no more hoopla

Phewwwww. Here is my first attempt at hand-quilting. And. it. is. finished. Key words for me.

I was using a 14 inch hoop and found it quite difficult to maneuver/transport/carry. Well, lo and behold, I saw this beautiful book, written by Suzanne Marshall and she does not use a hoop when hand-quilting her quilts. I couldn't believe it--she has this huge quilt on her lap and she manipulates the quilt and needle w/o a bulky hoop.

(Here is one of her gorgeous books)

Could this be possible?

Well... I decided to drop the hoop and set this small quilt on my lap and found the stitching to be so much easier. My stitches were even smaller and more consistent. And Suzanne is right--you rock the fabric up and down to meet the needle and it is quicker and not so strenuous on the hands.

Previously I planned to add a busy, flowered border but it seemed to take away from the simplicity of this small quilt. So I just added a plain matching fabric binding.

Now, granted--there are a few puffy places, but this is such a huge accomplishment for me because I could not believe that I could attempt something like this---but more remarkable...I actually finished it. Small steps, but now I can not wait to do something a bit more challenging.


busy, busy, busy

Not only are we busy, busy, busy with spring violin recitals, band concerts, youth baseball, marching in city parades & school field trips--our kids are winding down another school year. Yippee. They are gleeful and counting down the days to a blissful 3 month summer vacation which begins soon.
And that means mom busily trying to get this quilt completed & out of the way so our 8 year old does not spy it before his birthday rolls around.

The borders are sewn on and as I step back I am hit with the thought that this quilt is also quite busy, busy, busy! Okay. It's really busy, busy, busy! I will add a dark gray-almost-black binding to frame the busy-ness of this quilt. Keep everything intact. Otherwise it looks like these planes will take off and never return.

Definitely a Bold & Busy Boy quilt!


pretty ladies and their parasols

' I always think of an assortment of fabrics as a flower garden. As you see them in the store, they are buds with the promise of beauty. Each one expresses texture and color; but its full beauty flowers only when it is made up into the kind of garment for which it was designed, in a pattern keyed to that particular fabric.'---Constance Talbot, The Complete Book of Sewing 1943
I just recently purchased this quilt and already found it being used as the bedspread on our daughter's bed. Hmmm. She, too loves the beauty of these ladies and their parasols.
I love the patience and effort that went into dressing these ladies with the carefully chosen fabrics. A whole wardrobe of vintage garments adorning these ladies.....
And then using the black thread to embroider around each flower, parasol, bonnet, and dress...I have to wonder about the woman that made this quilt and what she thought as she carefully chose each fabric to dress each lady and how much time went into the sewing of each block. *Sigh*

So, so yummy. I think my heart smiles when I see each of these individual ladies~and now I know my daughter shares that same appreciation.


building blocks & baseball diamonds

It was back to the 'drawing board' to get these blocks to fit together without that wonky 3 1/2 in. block & 3 7/8 in. block getting in the way and c.o.n.f.u.s.i.n.g. me. Actually, I don't have a drawing board or design wall & have to lay them out on our bed. For some reason our cats think it is their business to rest their furry little bottoms on each block that I lay out and then scatter them every which way.

So I auditioned the blocks in a billion different positions and *surprise!* when putting them together they formed little baseball diamonds. I did not even try to do that and when I expressed my glee to my husband he replied:
'Ah.......yes dear....it's called geometry.'

'But honey, just look at how these form an actual baseball diamond when sewn together.'

'Uh-huh......it's just simple geometry'

And a stare that he could not believe I did not already know this.

Okay, so I never imagined that math figured into the creative process of quilting. In fact, if I had known that I don't think I would have ever attempted this wonderful endeavor. It would have scared me silly.

But now that I have, I am enjoying this ride. It's exciting. And it's forcing me to finally use the left side of my brain.


out of the ordinary

I am doing something out of the ordinary. Usually I am the one working on fabrics that my grandmother would have worn in her flower garden. Or embroidering those vintage transfers. Or hand-quilting some sort of fabric that could hang in 1950's kitchen........

But something is coming up next month and it involves making a quilt. Our son will be celebrating his 9th birthday. And he has 2 loves. 1) planes and 2) baseball.
That's why I couldn't believe when I found this wonderful piece of fabric. I could not have designed a better piece for him.

So I cut vintage airplane blocks.

And funky baseball blocks.

And will put it all together for one fun quilt. I did find a pattern in a quilting magazine, but *ugh* it involves a tremendous amount of geometry in piecing these blocks. Confusing, confusing geometry. I think I seem to black out, or maybe it's more of a chronic white noise that I hear in my head when faced with piecing a 3 7/8 in. block with a 6 1/2 in. block and adding a 3 1/2 in. border........
So, I am left asking my husband (who happens to be a whiz at math--phewwww!) to help with the rudimentary procedures of trying to get this thing pieced properly.
And yup, he is soooooooo looking forward to that!


simple process

I read somewhere that embroidery is 'painting with thread.' So I went to our dictionary and this is the entry:
Embroidery. Pronunciation: \im-ˈbrȯi-d(ə-)rē\ Date: 14th century
1 a: the art or process of forming decorative designs with hand or machine needlework.

So I am slowly 'forming decorative stitches' on these embroidered blocks for this reminds-me-of-1950's-curtains wall-hanging. And of course, I can't believe how just a simple process can bring such beautiful results. I swear, the yellow flowers seemed to pop up in bloom right before my eyes. The smattering of those yellow flowers were so much fun to stitch and so much fun to look at. And as someone who used to only paint, this is by far a better medium to be working with.