Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More Small Quilts

As I have been quilting since 1991 I have made a lot of small quilts.

One year my husband and son bought me some Keepsake Quilt catalog quilt kits, including this fusible applique, machine quilted Blue Heron.
When I was preparing to make my Barbie Quilt I did this prototype to try the computer printing and the dressing the image.
 I loved the image from a 1920s valentine card and turned it into an embroidery pattern. The applique patterns are from Mountain Mist. Hand appliqued, hand embroidered, and hand quilted. Donated to a library fund raiser.
 "Brain Fog" was my donation to Ami Simm's Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative in it's early days. There is a sheer organza overlay with the dotted pattern. Machine quilter.

A favorite quilt which always hangs on my bedroom wall is this collage of printed textile, handkerchiefs, lace and trims, vintage buttons and pins.
 I had not yet learned embroidery. Didn't matter, I embroidered anyway! The crayon tinted image is from a 1920s Flower Fairy book. I used silk morning glory flowers, beads, and a sheer overlay.
 I was able to take a surface design course many years ago and created this textile which I hand quilted and beaded. Donated. Can't even remember where it went!
Early in my quilting life I was broke. Somehow the local quilt store thought I was up to teaching classes and this was a class sample I made. Hand quilted.
 My son was a dinosaur freak. What kid wasn't in the Jurassic Park days? This was from a pattern book which I can't recall the name of. Hand quilted.
My husband saw this quilt in a shop and wanted it. It is made of small squares of fabric fused together. Yikes. It hung in his office at Christmas.
 This sampler has a theme: Bachelor's Puzzle, Wedding Ring, Steps to the Altar, and a heart!Hand quilted.
Sometimes I just want to try a pattern and see if I like it, so I made this Trip Around the World. Loved the colors. Hated sewing the squares. Hand quilted. Donated.
I had to keep giving these small quilts away so I could make MORE!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Portrait Of The President As A Young Man

Education: Any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. From Wikipedia

I have studied John Quincy Adams backwards: from reading books about his parents, to his wife's biography, to his later career as a senator, to this book of his early life and career. It is not logical, but I am so glad it happened this way.

The Remarkable Life of John Quincy Adams by Phyllis Lee Levin was made available to me through NetGalley; the book will be published in January 2015. I was familiar with the events and people. This book fleshed out the details but more importantly offered another view of John Quincy: a youth who suffered home sickness and depression while enduring long separations from his family; a teenager in the throes of first love; a young adult conflicted over career expectations; a man of passionate love but tied to parental expectations; a sentimental father whose wife miscarried five times and was devastated by the loss of an only daughter and suicide of a son. This is not the John Quincy that too many consider him to be: a dour, ram-rod straight, cold fish of a man.

The photographs of John Quincy as a state elder embattled with Congress show a bald man with piercing unflinching eyes that are quite unsettling, communicating all the battles and disappointments of a lifetime. He looks straight at you, hands clenched, his beloved books beside him.
John Quincy Adams - copy of 1843 Philip Haas DaguerreotypePublic Domain
Southworth & Hawes - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
But in his youth he was a different sort, tending to fatness and in personality like his father, but with his mother's dark eyes and good looks. Around the time of his marriage to Louisa Catherine Johnson he was enough of a heart throb that she was sincerely attached. in Copley's portrait he is looking straight at us, but a smile plays at the corner of his mouth. He is a man ready to start life in earnest, in love and about to become the minister to St. Petersburgh, Russia.
John Quincy in 1796 by Copley
John Quincy is rated among the most intelligent of our presidents. As a child he accompanied his father to Europe where he was exposed to other cultures and hobnobbed with the movers and shakers of his time. He enjoyed opera and theater. Formal education consisted of tutors, various universities, and self-education through reading and study. At age fourteen he became a translator for the minister to St. Petersburg. Later in life his hobby horse was the study of weights and measures and the need for standardization, and he wrote a definitive paper on the subject. He wrote poetry and enjoyed playing the flute. He was a little weak in Latin. But we will forgive him that lapse.

Abigail wrote that her son was passionate and emotional. Years in the diplomatic core required complete control and repression of personal feelings. He asked his wife Louisa to use faith and philosophy to conquer the depressions and sorrows that afflicted her. It worked for him. But the extroverted, sensitive and romantic Louisa's frail physical health and tentative self-esteem buckled again and again. Her memoirs written late in life make John Quincy out as cold and dismissive. His own letters and diary speak volumes about his inner emotional life, and he was anything but cold. The lovers often misunderstood each other, but their love never faltered.

I already had an admiration for John Quincy's resolute and independent mind that kept The Constitution as it's lodestar and his parent's example as his role mode. Levin's book opened up John Quincy's humanity.

How many public servants today are willing to give up financial security, family, health, and even the good opinion of our colleagues to"duty" and our country? Our Founding Fathers like George Washington, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams had that kind of commitment.

Phyllis Lee Levin
St, Martin's Press
Publication: January 6, 2015
ISBN: 9781137279620

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Quilts May Be Small, the Love is Big

I enjoy making small quilts, especially for presents or to donate to fundraisers.

This quilt was based on a couple's wedding invitation art. I used hand applique and embroidery, hand quilting, beading, and applied daisy trim.
A Christmas gift for a church secretary, machine applique, hand embroidery.
 Dad took a photo that I turned into an art quilt. It was donated to a fundraiser. Hand appliqued, machine quilted.
 I found the cat, dog and heart patterns free online. The Love Your Neighbor was all mine and cut without a template. Donated to a fundraiser.
 I bought this pattern from Heartstring Treasures and made several versions of this cute quilt. Machine applique, hand quilted, sequins. Donated to a fundraiser.
Two hand appliqued and quilter blocks, both original designs, donated to a fund raiser. I think I want that daisy one back!
Sometimes I just get an idea and try it. Hand appliqued and machine quilted. Kept it!
When my brother-in-law married his high school sweetheart I designed this quilt. I researched Japanese symbols to bless their marriage.
A collection of vintage embroidery transfers inspired Country Gardens. Given to a relative.
A Baltimore Album design by Jeanna Kimball, hand appliqued, was given to a church organist. Made early on, I still had a LOT to learn abour fabric.

A hand printed greeting card inspired this hand appliqued and hand quilted pansy. I used permanent fine line marker to add dots for shadowing.
Another small quilt with Jeanna Kimball patterns, this time using feedsacks for the borders. Hand appliqued and quilted. Donated to a fund raiser.

I made our Game Master son this dragon quilt, inspired by the great fabric in the border. I found an image and turned it into a fusible applique and used thread for details. Turns out a Dragon was the symbol of the college gamer's club!
A cute yo-yo flowers with button centers was from a magazine pattern. Donated.
Next time I will share some MORE small quilts!

Michigan 101: The Cider Mill

We have been having wonderful weather and so we took a ride to the cider mill where my family went when I was a girl. At least 52 years ago I visited Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills, MI. It was established in 1863 and in 1876 began pressing cider for the local apple farmers. They still make cider on the premises.

When I was a girl you could buy cider and donuts. Across the street was parking and train tracks were we'd poke around for interesting looking rocks.

Today there are pony rides and train rides and fudge and apple pies and apple butter and donuts and a lot more. It was teeming with families. Most of the folk there had been born way after my first visit 52 years ago! The traffic congestion rivaled rush hour in a major city. And the line for a glimpse of the press and to buy the goodies was long.

 The cider press.
 The goodies.
It is located on the Clinton River.

On the way home we found a huge thrift store and what do you think I found? A biography on John Quincy Adams--that I have not read yet.

I have my artists statement, and the John Quincy Adams quilt is complete, but I need a photograph of myself. The President Quilts will be included in a book on patriotic and political quilts written by Sue Reich. So I need a photo that 1) was taken in the last decade 2) does not make me look dorky and 3) is not a selfie in bad lighting. I sure don't want my quilt to be straddled with an awful artist's portrait.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Food Focus in 1962

Food ads predominate the color ads in the May 1962 Family Circle.This one with Daddy pouring Catsup for his daughter is adorable. I notice the celery and carrots on the plate. Better choice than the chips we would add today.

Margarine, or oleo, had become necessary during the war. How do you keep consumers buying it after butter is more available?

  What's for lunch? Soup and sandwich of course.

Dairy was prompted for all meals, including desert.

 Breakfast might use Prem or Treet if you don't buy Spam.

For those cooking from scratch the recipes included:

Golden Rice Bowl
Cook 1 cup rice, following directions. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice over; toss lightly with a fork; cool to room temperature. Fold in 1 cup sliced celery; 1 can mandarin-orange segments, drained; 1 green onion, sliced; and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Serve as is--no need to heat or chill. 6 Servings.

Sweet-Potato Packs
Scrub and dry 6 medium size sweet potatoes. Rub with shortening or salad oil; wrap tightly in squares of foil. Cook on grill, turning often, 1 hour, or until soft when pressed between fingers. (Protect fingers with a pot holder.) Make a criss-cross in top through foil, then squeeze potato firmly at both ends; fold foil back to form a serving dish. Top each potato wit a thick pat of butter or margarine.

Double Pear Salad
1 small head of lettuce broken into bite-size pieces, about 3 cups
1 sliced banana
1 small avocado pared and diced
1 can, about 1 pound, pear halves drained and diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Combine lettuce, bananas, avocados, and pears in salad bowl. Blend mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar until smooth. Pour over lettuce and fruits, toss; sprinkle blue cheese over.

A pretty poodle enjoys a lovely dinner setting.
Coloring gray hair, losing weight, and clean toilets were sources of anxiety.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A New Tree Comes To The Yard

My brother gave my husband a gift card to the local garden center as a retirement gift. We bought a tree for the front yard. It will flower in the spring and we will plant bulbs around it as well.

My dad had planted a birch, a pine, and two arbor vitae in the front back in the early 1970s. The birch died, the pine was growing on the roof and into the neighbor's driveway, and the bushes covered the front windows. We had them all removed. Now we can finally landscape again.

I have the 'new' vintage china cabinet in my sewing area all filled with vintage fabrics, quilt tops and blocks, and linens and such.

You can see feedsacks and mid-century sheets in the photo above. I also have a nice collection of 50s/60s dress and cotton fabrics, some 70s/80s calicos, and some barkcloth and upholstery weight fabrics. I have smaller pieces of feedsack and vintage prints which I use for repairing vintage quilts.

Every week is a step further along, but so much is left to do! I really need the electric upgrade in the basement sewing area and a kitchen remodel. And new flooring in the family room. And...

The joys and challenges of home ownership. Now mine.