Monday, September 27, 2010

Hip Hop

Even though I have already made two complete frog quilts, I still have lots of frog fabrics left. It is quite amazing how much frog fabric I managed to buy when I was collecting them to make a quilt for my nephew several years ago. I obviously didn't at all try to buy only as much as I would need for that quilt! Oh well, since when have I ever done that? If I did, I wouldn't have any kind of a stash. Nevertheless, I am a bit amazed at how this frog fabric collection is still quite substantial.

So, here comes a froggy baby quilt, which I made for my good friends Mike and Amy in Atlanta when they became parents for the first time in June.
Their adorable daughter, Elena Lucille, was born the day before my birthday, and though I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting her, I am sure that with parents like Mike and Amy, she will grow up to be quite an amazing person. She is bound to turn out to like not only frogs, but also to honor and appreciate all other living creatures.

I was quite happy with this, my second adventure into using clip-art to spice up the label.

Dog Beds 6 and 7

I try to remember always to take a picture of every project I complete before I give it away, and in the few instances I have forgotten, it has generally been possible to visit the recipient to make up for my mistake.

Unfortunately, with regard to Dog Bed 6, that appears not to be the case. It was the biggest dog bed I have made so far, and it was pretty cool too, if I do say so myself, with a Marimekko fabric covering. I gave it to Linda, a fellow Happy Paws Spay Neuter Clinic volunteer. Linda needed it for Buster, a big German Shepherd/Chow mix who'd recently wandered into her life desperately in need of a home. It seemed like just what Buster needed in his dog house in the fall of 2009, as it was turning cold outside.

I always ask people to whom I give a dog bed, for a picture of the dog on the bed, saying that is the "price" I ask for the bed, and Linda said she would take a picture of Buster on the bed. At the time, I didn't realize I had forgotten to take a picture myself of the bed so the one Linda promised me would be the only one I would ever have. However, not only has Linda not produced a picture so far, but she has also told me that it only took Buster three days to shred the bed and scatter all its insides all over her yard! Not exactly what I was looking forward to hearing :) Linda was the one who had to collect A LOT of fabric and batting scraps from her yard and I will gladly continue to make dog beds. I was just sorry that the pretty Marimekko fabric had to go to waste so quickly. Fortunately, most of the dog beds last a lot longer than that and are well worth making.
Dog Bed 7 above, went to my friend Jean Ann, who is a quilter and quilt teacher, who I met when she taught at the retreat I have been attending at the Episcopal retreat center, Kanuga, in Hillsboro, NC, in January for several years.

When I took the bed to Jean Ann, who lives in Marietta, GA, in April 2010, she promised me a picture of her dog, Chloe, on the bed, which I have yet to receive. But at least in this case, I did remember to photograph the empty bed myself, before handing it over. Chloe is a small dog and I feel quite certain she has not destroyed the bed, it is much more likely that her human just has not gotten around to taking a picture for me yet.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Barn Quilt Block

As soon as I moved to the country two years ago, I started wanting a Barn quilt block of my own. I had probably seen some of them before I moved here, but once I was here, I started paying particular attention to them and noticed how many there were. They are quite prolific in this part of the country as well as in rural Tennessee and Ohio - and in other parts of the country as well, I am sure. And they really brighten up the landscape as well as pay tribute to our art and the tradition of quilting.

In many places, the visitors' bureaus, chambers of commerce, or other organizations keep lists of the barn quilt blocks, and will provide brochures and driving routes for persons interested in viewing them. I found out that where I live, the Extension Service will actually, for a fee, make a Barn Quilt block and put it on the barn for an interested citizen of Boyle County. But, after consulting our farm manager and getting his assurance that he would mount the block for me if I made it, I decided to do one myself. Steve and I don't actually own a barn, we just have a house on one acre, but there are plenty of beautiful barns on the family farm, and the quilt block would, at any rate, have to be on a barn where it could be seen from the road, which would not be the case where we live or on the barns which are back here around our house. So the block was always destined for a barn on the part of the farm where Steve grew up and where most of the family live.

It took almost two years, and it was definitely a group effort, I cannot take credit for much more than the idea, but it is finally done and up on our barn:
For those who are local, it is on a barn facing Lexington Road, just east of 3248 Lexington Road - which is on the south side of Lexington Road. It is easiest to see if you are coming towards Danville, in which case it will be on your left and immediately before the 3248 Lexington Road address. In other words, after you pass Sallie and Jim's house and just before you get to the tenant house where Gerald lives.

It looks tiny to me now on that huge barn, but it actually measures 8 by 8 feet, which is the standard measurement for the blocks errected by the Boyle County Extension Service. I designed the block and chose the colors. I wanted a star to commemorate Benjamin, and I have always liked the friendship star. Friendship is very important and it is nice to be friendly. I would have liked to include the color green for the farm, but thought it would be too dark against the black barn and its obvious contrast - red - would make the star look too Christmassy. So yellow and blue it became. Since the friendship star is such a simple pattern, I added the black and white border for some interest.
Participants in Farm Camp 2009, primed the plywood to ready it for painting. Above, Michelle Hiskey is starting out, and below, Joey, Sim, and Grace are putting on the finishing touches.
But after Farm Camp left, I didn't continue and as I wasn't getting anything done, I finally asked my niece, Trish Bredar, an art student and artist, if she could help out and did she ever. She did all the measuring to transfer the pattern to the plywood and all of the painting of the actual quilt block.
But even after Trish finished the painting, the block still sat in my garage for almost a year while I was busy procrastinating application of the finishing layers of sealer. Finally this past summer, my sister-in-law, Sallie Bright and her husband Jim Bredar - Trish's parents - came over on several hot summer evenings and did the work applying sealer to the quilt block.

And, while I was in Denmark in August our super farm manager and jack-of-all-trades, Kenneth Thomas, and his right hand man Gerald fought wind and gravity and put the quilt block up on the barn.

I love having it up there and am so thankful to everybody who has helped make it happen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Place mats

I made these six place mats for my sister and hand delivered them when I visited in August. They are all six identical; in the picture three of them show one side and three the other side. Since there is so much beautiful fabric available, I thought I might as well feature at least two different prints. I used the heavier home dec type fabric and put a layer of canvas "batting" inside for some stability.