Monday, December 27, 2010

Mysterious Stars

I do not have any children of my own, by choice, but not because I do not like children! So I enjoy the fact that I have gotten to know my best friend Michelle's two daughters, Joey and Sim, quite well over the years. So well, in fact, that I have become their honorary auntie and they my honorary nieces. This is a special treat since my flesh and blood nieces and nephews live thousands of miles away in Denmark and I don't get to see them nearly enough.

Therefore, when Joey turned 13 in December, I thought it only fitting to give her a quilt, just as I had given my nephew Jens a quilt for his 13th birthday the previous year.
Fortunately, the quilt I had been working on as a result of a "mystery block of the month" project in my local guild, seemed to be a good choice. I had been pretty frustrated with the "mystery block" project; we had not been given enough information - I thought - to make good choices about how to pick fabrics, and as a result a couple of the early blocks turned out very strange. So I started cheating and not cutting my fabrics until I actually saw what the blocks looked like :). I just could not see making all those blocks and having them turn out useless.

With the help of Tori at Wilderness, who picked out the yellow fabric, which I didn't originally have as part of this quilt, I think the project turned out pretty nicely at the end. It was a mystery to me, because I generally have a pretty good idea of what my quilt will look like when I start working on it.
I usually like to piece my back out of what remains from making the top, and/or use big pieces of fabric I already have. But I fell in love with the piece which is at the center of the back here, one day at the shop, and knew it would look pretty good in this quilt so I got it for the back and I am very happy I did. Even though I still had to piece some strips to make the back wide enough.

Isn't that just like a teenager! A very mysterious way of saying Thanks Auntie! I love it. Of course, it was Joey's wonderful mother, Michelle, who insisted on taking the picture, but at least Joey didn't run away screaming or completely hide behind the quilt.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


My friends Jan and Mou had been waiting to adopt a baby for a while. Last year, they lost a baby when the birth mother changed her mind after the baby was born. They had waited on this particular baby for many months, the birth mother had chosen them to adopt her baby and they traveled to be with her at the time of delivery, but once the baby was born she changed her mind, as, of course, she had every right to do. Nevertheless, it was as close to a miscarriage for them as you can get when you are not actually pregnant yourself.

So we were all overjoyed when they were suddenly notified that another baby was available, less than a week before Baby Jaden was born! Unfortunately, because of the short notice, I didn't have a quilt ready. I had started this, way back, but never finished it, so I had to hustle when I suddenly heard they had left to pick up a baby boy! Several weeks after they returned to Danville, I was able to go visit them, meet the little wonder, and hand over the quilt.

I put some random African prints on the back.
I hand quilted the Madagascar panel, and since Jaden is African American, I thought the African theme, ended up being a good fit! By the way, Jaden seems to be an amazing fit with Jan and Mou also and is growing into a big, strong and very happy baby boy, who will soon be much taller than at least one of his moms.

Dog Bed 10

I always get a lot of stuffing for dog beds when I visit Atlanta, and especially when I also attend a quilt retreat. My dear friend Michelle, has been a particularly generous contributor of scrap materials lately because she has made a lot of absolutely stunning T-shirt quilts. (When you make a T-shirt quilt, you use only a small part of the shirt, the part with the logo or image, and the rest becomes trash or dog bed stuffing!).

So, last time I went, instead of carrying all the scraps back home, I brought with me a dog bed cover and made the bed while in Atlanta. And I left the bed there with Michelle to give to somebody in need of same. As it turned out, Michelle donated the bed to a silent auction held for the benefit of VOX, an Atlanta based non-profit organization dedicated to giving teenagers the opportunity to express themselves and tell their stories through publication of a news paper by the teens themselves.
Before she gave the bed away, Michelle made and attached this beautiful label. I love the label, and wish I had thought of the idea and a way of making some kind of labels for the dog beds. I may still come up with something for the future - feeling sure that Michelle will not mind if I do copy her good idea. However, as Michelle and I discussed, such labels will have to be attached by machine and not as this is by hand, as a curious dog can too easily tear this off.
Dog Bed 10 sold at the auction for in the neighborhood of $50, and I am so happy that our scraps have helped make that donation to VOX possible. Since I have no idea who bought the dog bed, however, I obviously do not have a photo of the lucky dog on the bed :)

Imagine that! No sooner do I say that I will never get a picture of the dog on the bed, than Michelle emails me this picture! The person who purchased the dog bed at the auction, emailed it to her. So here is the dog, a rescued, retired grey hound - name and gender unknown - on Dog Bed 10. I don't know a lot about grey hounds, other than they can run incredibly fast, and that when not forced to race they can be very lazy and love to lay around the house. I hope this retired dog will get lots of time to lie on this bed.