Monday, January 29, 2018

Elephant Parade

In the last post I mentioned my friend who was becoming a Great-grandma... Well, she is not only waiting for one little one to arrive... but TWO!

Eeyore is for the little girl... 

But there is a little boy that will soon be arriving as well!

When my friend and her husband were able to stop for a visit we discussed the design and layout of Eeyore & Pooh.  Once that was settled, we moved onto ideas for the little boy quilt...

We searched the baby registry - not much help there - and considered options... Dinosaurs?  Cars?  No... but blue was a must.  My friend mentioned that she had purchased a stuffed momma elephant that was hugging a baby elephant...

Okay!  I have used the PatchPals Elephant quilts I made last year...

She liked it, but it was too much of an adult elephant... 

I recalled that my friend Karen had been working on a family of elephants last year... I was on the hunt for it... I found the original pattern over at Sew Fresh Quilts by Lorna.  She did a sew-along in 2015...


Because, as I have mentioned before, I have a hard time following a pattern exactly, I modified my just a bit... I left out the frog and made a second  turtle since "Mimi" mentioned that she loved the turtle.  

And the red bird is perfect... 

See the source image

You see, the Grandma of this little guy passed away a few years ago.  Tracy had Multiple Sclerosis and in 2011 lost her battle with the disease and left behind four daughters.  I donated a few blocks in 2014 to Quiltblocks for MS.  They assembled the donated blocks into tops and then auctioned them. Never Forget tells more of Tracy's story...  

But what joy and giggles I can already hear when the Momma-to-be sees Elephant Parade!

I made it scrappy... go figure! But by doing so, each elephant developed it own personality.  A few of my favorites...

This news print baby is just the sweetest!

And this Paris print elephant with the love birds is so...  lovely!

And, of course, one of the turtles...

And because I had an extra baby elephant, I used it as the label...

So Mimi has the quilts and is ready to snuggle the great grand babies in quilts designed and stitched with love and prayer.

What is your preference?  
Scrappy or not scrappy?  
Leave a comment!  I love to hear from my readers.

Sew Happy,


Linked up with The Inquiring Quilter and My Quilt Infatuation

Have you visited Quilter Blogs to see what other quilters are talking about?

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Elusive Eeyore

It was several months ago when a good friend sent a message that said "I'm going to be a great-grandma!  And I need some Eeyore fabric... where do I look?"

After the congratulatory excitement, the hunt began.  It took two of us nearly 3 months to finally locate the fabric she wanted. Who would have thought that it would  be so difficult to find a panel with Eeyore on it to be used as the center of a baby quilt???  Never in the world would I have imagined it!!!

<< None the less, after a few attempts at ordering from overseas - with no luck - 

we located what we thought was the perfect buy.  It was the scene we wanted... >>

but in the end they were only 7 inch blocks, not a large 18 by 20 panels.  Disappointment all around.  But lesson learned, read the product description!

When we finally located an actual panel the planning began.  My friend currently lives in Maryland and I am in Colorado, but we had the opportunity for a short visit and designing session when she and her husband passed through the area while visiting family.

The pink bow was not on Eeyore's tail in the large panel, but it was in the small blocks that we had on hand.  Bow tie blocks were envisioned.  Somehow I needed to incorporate both of these into the quilt, as well a Winnie the pooh panel...  

Here we go...

It was time for a border... the plan was to use the Pooh & Friends fabric for the border and backing.  Seemed reasonable, but when I put it on the wall my eyes went bonkers!!!  

It was all too busy and my eyes had no place to land and rest.  

I needed a solid border to calm it down...

**deep breath**  All better.

Now it is time for a label...  I had an extra pink bow left over from the test bows for the quilt top, and I thought "what better use for this bow?"  

Eeyore is just waiting for the arrival of a sweet little baby girl that will soon be wrapped in love from Mimi!

What sort of fabric have you been on the hunt for?  
What have you done in similar situations?

I would love to hear your creative solutions... let me know in the comments. :)

Happy Quilting!

See what other quilters are talking about over at QuilterBlogs

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Color Challenge - Red

As I set up my blogging goals for 2018 I thought I would join in on some sort of monthly link up or blog hop...

I stumbled upon this color challenge over at Patterns by Jen and thought it would be great fun to participate in as well as an excellent exercise for color values as well as meeting my goal.

So, here we are!

Red has never been one of my favorite colors - too bold, too bright for my personality... I even did a blog post about why I don't care for it back in 2014 - Seeing Red - in a new way.

Here is an excerpt of that post...

Red is hot. It's a strong color that conjures up a range of seemingly conflicting emotions from passionate love to violence and warfare. Red is Cupid and the Devil.
A stimulant, red is the hottest of the warm colors. Studies show that red can have a physical effect, increasing the rate of respiration and raising blood pressure.
The expression seeing red indicates anger and may stem not only from the stimulus of the color but from the natural flush (redness) of the cheeks, a physical reaction to anger, increased blood pressure, or physical exertion.
It represents power, hence the red power tie for business people and the red carpet for celebrities and VIPs (very important people).
Flashing red lights denote danger or emergency. Stop signs and stop lights are red to get the drivers' attention and alert them to the dangers of the intersection.
In some cultures, red denotes purity, joy, and celebration. Red is the color of happiness and prosperity in China and may be used to attract good luck.
It is often the color worn by brides in the East while it is the color of mourning in South Africa. In Russia the Bolsheviks used a red flag when they overthrew the Tsar, thus red became associated with communism. Many national flags use red. The red Ruby is the traditional Fortieth Wedding Anniversary gift. 

There are many things that are red that I do love...  

My wool mittens, 

Homemade cranberry sauce, 

mixed berry jam, 

strawberry cheesecake...

These are a few of my favorite things... (I think there is a song about this???) 😏

I mean I am certainly not afraid to use it.  After all, my first published block pattern used it!  Pieces of My Heart from volume 8 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.

So what was I worried about???  I fearlessly approached my stash and found several reds that I thought might work together and chose two from the 5...

Using what I call the "Black & White trick" I picked two that had good contrast in grey-scale, yet were similar tones of red.

It took some extra special attention to the direction of stripes for the block, but am very pleased with the finished result... 

And like I stated before... these will be excellent exercises of color value!  Did your see the Wayward Transparency quilt - my first finish on my Babylock Jazz?

Is there a particular color that you are "afraid" of or avoid using because you just don't like it?  

Let me know in the comments... I love to hear from all of you!

This block is 12 inches finished... Which means, by the end of the year I will have another work-in-progress project that will need to be finished.  I think I need another "sampler" quilt.  

Want to see what the February block is?  Be sure to follow me here by subscribing and receiving an e-mail when I post a new story, or on Bloglovin', Instagram or facebook.  I don't do all facets of social media for every post so you may want to pick more than one. 

Happy Quilting, 


I am linking up with Patterns By Jen and The Inquiring Quilter

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Quilters Through The Generations - Dorothy Spriester

Today I introduce to you Dorothea (Dorothy) Spriester.  She happens to be the Mother-in-law of one of my Sisters-in-law (though really, more like a sister)...

Dorothy Spreister was born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois and was a lover of the arts… all facets of art. 

Music was always a large part of Dorthea's life. She was a music teacher in the public schools and continued to teach French Horn students privately. Dorothy was a member of several bands and orchestras including Lake Forest Symphony, Northshore Concert Band and Deerfield Community Band. She was most proud of instilling the joy of music to her six children, who played musical instruments throughout their school years, and was able to experience the joy of music.
Her hobbies included music, painting, gardening, genealogy, travel, quilting and grandchildren.

Here you can see how several of her “loves” came together with an antique French horn, turned fountain in her garden…

Her daughter, Pam shared with me, 

“My mother sewed all the time but mainly made clothes for her daughters and herself. She also loved to make craft items and at one time sold her handmade items.”

Above is an example of her paintings...

She had been working on a top for a quilt but never had the opportunity to finish it when she unexpectedly passed away following a surgery in 2009.

I had the honor of finishing Dorothy’s quilt… 

“You were so nice to complete the quilt and my father, Al, had it on his bed after my mother died.” stated Pam Spriester Bell

After receiving the unfinished quilt top, along with the assorted fabrics she had used in the blocks, I spent a great deal of time studying the blocks she had pieced and appliqued.  It needed borders, and the intended finished size was to be a queen, but I wanted the borders to reflect Dorothy's style of quilting, not mine.  I chose a piano key border as the final border.  

I tried to get an understanding of the significance of the blocks and her reasoning for including them.

House block… 

I asked Sharon (married to ron, one of Dorothy’s son’s) about the number embroidered on the block - 1708, aware of her passion for genealogy, I thought it was a year – perhaps the year someone came to the US.  She told me that it was their home's address in Deerfield where they raised their family.

Tree block… 

When my own children were small Sharon and I often planned outings and play dates together.  One of the “annual” outings included apple picking.  Dorothy had kindly invited us to her house to pick apples from their apple trees in the garden.  One of the blocks has four trees on it… no doubt a representation of her trees in the four seasons.  And I just love that she picked fabric with red in it as the apples!

There are several blocks with flowers and hearts… her love for gardening and her family represented here. 

Below are pictures from a trip to Europe with her grand-daughter, Janna,  and with her youngest son and his family in Belguim, in 2008

And the stars??? Well maybe they are representative of her love for travel, a bit of wanderlust... 


These thoughts are all simply my speculation, but I don’t think I am too far off...

When the quilt was completed I was able to deliver it to Sharon & Ron in person.

Pam recalls,
"my mother's grandmother, Dora Miller, quilted. Dora was a sewer like most women growing up in the late 1800s.  This is who taught Mom to sew.

"This Sunbonnet Sue quilt is one of Dora's.  I don't know if she quilted one for each of her granddaughters or if the quilt was handed down thru my grandmother, Dorothy Miller, one of Dora's daughters. I'm not sure of the dating - 1940s or perhaps 1950s?" 

If that is the case, based on the style of fabric, the Sunbonnet Sue quilt may have been a wedding gift for Dorothy and Al, as they were married in 1951.

"My grandmother Dorothy was born in 1907 and although she learned how to sew, I don't remember her ever sewing,  but I know she had a sewing machine. I don't think she found it relaxing and preferred to put her attention to volunteer activities." 

"The only time we collaborated on a project was for my niece, Tracie. We, her grandmother and aunts,  each sewed a block of the quilt for her confirmation. My mother Dorothy came up with the idea, and we each contributed to it. That was the only time we all sat together and sewed.

"It was her idea to make a quilt for Tracie when she was confirmed and got us all involved with the project. I'm not sure why she thought it was so important to make a confirmation quilt, but she was very religious and I guess felt this would mean a lot to her especially when she was older."  

"Let me add...For my mother sewing was her nirvana. At the end of the day she would go down to the basement where for most of her married life the sewing machine was in the basement's 'utility room'. Her machine was opposite the ironing board and dryer, secluded from the tv recreation room. She liked to go down there and have some alone time to be creative and I believe it was one of her best parts of the day. 

After taking care of five children, (six shown at left - Bart was a "late arrival") giving french horn lessons, and taking care of everyone in the family, sewing offered a way to refresh and get in touch with her spirit. 

If time allowed, she would also go downstairs with her 'adult beverage' and sew a little before supper. 

"My sister Laurie has made a quilt. She is very talented with her hands and has crocheted, knitted and quilted. She made this quilt in the 1980s after she was married and it is totally hand sewn. 

I'm so glad my niece, Laurie's daughter, Bev has taken up sewing and has proved to have a natural ability!  The girl is a phenomenal sewer! But no quilt from her so far. 

And no one else in the family has attempted such big sewing projects but I'm hoping to begin one in 2018 if my courage lasts!"

You can see that Pam comes from a family that is full of great talent and skill…

My SIL, Sharon has recently "caught the crafting bug" and enjoys crochet, but is also interested in starting a quilt - She has started collecting fabric scraps using this video as a guide for her pattern...  "every piece is 2" x 3-1/2"...I have lots of smaller scraps I would like to use, and quite a bit of Ron's mom's fabric."

Why not offer some encouragement to Pam & Sharon to take the steps necessary to start a quilt this year?