Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fly Away Butterfly

Fly Away Butterfly....

It all began 2-3 weeks ago when some very tiny (about 1/4 in. long) caterpillars arrived in our classroom. They are the larva of "Painted Lady" butterflies. They arrive in a cup filled with their food and the children watch them eat and grow. Here they are a few days before they actually began building their cocoons at the top of the cup. They attach themselves to the piece of paper at the top. When everyone has developed into a cocoon (and are sound asleep ;) I remove the lid, take the paper and place it inside their lovely butterfly house where they will awaken.

After about 10 days to 2 weeks, they "magically" emerge as a beautiful painted lady butterfly. I used to put a container of sugar water with a paper towel "straw" for them to drink from but there were not a lot of opportunities for the children to see them feeding. Then I read that they liked oranges and wow, what a difference. First of all, oranges are so easy to manage and second, there is almost always a butterfly sitting on the oranges with their tongue going in and out enjoying the feast!

Because we have been having some fantastic weather, we took them outside on Thursday for the release. It is always exciting and sad at the same time. The lid is opened and....

they are ready to take flight! Sometimes they fly right away, occasionally they need a bit of coaxing. At times, they land on the students. This year, three flew away but this one landed on the finger of one of the girls. They gathered some flowers and enjoyed a few moments with the butterfly feeding from the flowers.

It was finally time to encourage it on so that it could take its place in the circle of life. What a wonderful way to learn about a tiny part of the world of insects!

I hope you all have a great week enjoying your place in this wonderful circle of life!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More of Grandma's Vintage Charm

I have had these unfinished quilt blocks tucked away for quite a long time. I recently pulled them out of a project basket to look them over. I had remembered them as butterflies --that's what I told Sherri! I am so silly. Imagine my surprise when instead of butterflies I found lily pads. I was a bit disappointed at first but their charm overtook disappointment with delight. Take a look at the sweet colors and all of the handwork. Just like with my grandma's vintage quilt I wondered why something so lovely was never finished. Again--I am so silly. All it takes is a look at my sewing room nearly overflowing with projects and I need question grandma no more. I have 12 blocks. I am sharing a photo of the whole block and then a close-up so you can see the prints and colors. After you check out the blocks, I have a question for you!




This is a fun color combo that reminds me of something we might do today!








That's only 10--I must have left two out of the "photo shoot!" I will try and put them on later for their day in the spotlight! They are just as charming in blues and one is sweet...the thread is hanging and a couple of the petals need to have the handwork completed.

Here is my question for you who have taken a few moments to look: I want to put these blocks together into a quilt, that I know for sure. I will get some reproduction fabrics when I go to our Western Washington Shop Hop in June, that part I know for sure. Where I have a question is how should I put the blocks together? The only idea that I have at the moment is having sashing rows in between, and borders, of course. The sashing and borders could be pieced..... I would like to make it so that it is keeping with what my grandma had in mind. I don't know what the pattern was that she was trying to create. I did recently order Joanna's book of fresh vintage quilts thinking that I might get an idea from something in there--it should be here tomorrow. I would love any suggestions and comments!

We are all so incredibly creative when we put our heads together so I am looking forward to your ideas and input! Thank you so much for welcoming me so warmly into this wonderful world of blogging! You are all amazing!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Beauty of a Finish

This has been quilted since just before the baby quilt but I have been procrastinating finishing the binding--always so much to do. But now I am happy to say it is done! I am so excited. It is now on the quilt rack showing off its beauty. For some reason, I just really enjoy red, yellow and green together. It's a little different than a lot of my work, but I absolutely love it! This is a beautiful flannel that just makes me smile!
Doesn't it make you just want to snuggle up in it? Well, for those of you with warm weather, I guess the answer would be no, but for those of us who live where it is cold and rainy like it is here tonight, snuggling up in flannel sounds really good!

Wasn't sure I would have enough for the back so I added this fun patchwork in the middle--looks good, doesn't it? The lady who did the longarm quilting for me calls it a reversible quilt! She is very cute!

A close up of the back!

All folded and looking pretty! My mom asked me who I was going to give this quilt to as I always seem to be giving them away. I said, "for now, it's staying with me." I guess I like the happy way that it makes me feel! Thanks for looking and have a fun week creating beauty that will make you smile, too!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baby Joshua's Quilt is Finished

It took me a little longer than I expected but I finally finished Baby Joshua's Quilt. He is due to enter the world any day now! This goes in tomorrow's mail across the country to the awaiting parents! I am so excited to see their expression and to see little Joshua on or in the quilt! This is a picture that I took of it after I finished hand-stitching the binding. It wasn't as fluffy as I wanted.....

but as Kristina held it up it still was so very sweet that it made me smile! I decided to do what I've seen others do--wash it before giving it. So.....

I did! This is how it looked on the floor after being washed and dryed! It definitely fluffed up!

A corner close-up!

Another close-up!

And two more final shots (I can't resist) highlighting how delightful it is!

What do you think?

Thanks for taking time to look at Joshua's finished quilt. It is one of those that I made without a pattern and I questioned myself as I was making it so many times. I really had to let go and accept it as it turned out. The little one who will enjoy it will not know of my questioning but only of my love in putting it together for him! We are happily waiting for you, Joshua!

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grandma's (and my) Vintage Quilt Top

My grandma, Ruth June Parker, was born in 1899. She is about 6 years old in this very sweet picture! When she was only 10 or 12 years old her mother passed away and she took on the responsibility of helping to raise her younger siblings. Life was hard for her in many ways after that point.This photo shows grandma with her only daughter (my mom) in about 1935. My mom remembers that she pieced and tied many quilts during these years. She had to make do with very little as so many did during that time.I couldn't resist including this fun picture of my mom and I when I was about 8 years old. As I have been working on family pictures, I have wanted to make some type of special collage, frame or something with these two mother daughter pictures.

As I said earlier, my grandma was always one to make do with what she had. I want to give you an example of that before I show the quilt top I am showcasing today. This took place during the years that I was a teenager so my grandma was in her early 70's. She found a warehouse/factory in Seattle where nylon quilted jackets were made. Someone there would save average size scraps in large cardboard barrels and then give them to her. There were many bright colors. She would make small kid size jackets or snow pants for the little ones in the family or other families in need. She would then cut the scraps too small for making clothes and put them together in quilts. Not cotton, but quilted nylon. They were actually quite colorful and fun. One of my daughters was the recipient of one that had solid sage green color squares with squares of various flowers. The backing was a lovely floral flannel. It was very pretty and so warm! As I look back now, I think the best thing about all of it was that these were all made from scraps that would have been thrown away. I'll try to find a picture of one of those quilts.
Now on to the vintage quilt...sorry it took so long! After my grandmother became very sick and was not able to do her sewing we came across this unfinished quilt top. It was without the borders. About 3 years ago, I decided to add borders--it is still not quilted. I contemplated taking off these borders and re-doing it with some better vintage reproductions but I am thinking that I am going to just go with what I have done!
I love the reds, yellows and blues together. In this next shot you can see the borders up a bit closer. Any feedback, my quilting blog friends? ....should I change them out?

I remember Nanette discussing vintage quilts and telling how when quilters in years past ran out of a fabric they were using, they would go to their stash and find something close that would work and then make do. That is evidenced in this quilt top made by my grandma with many shades of yellow.
Another close-up!

And one more....

I think this quilt top looks so beautiful all laid out and photographed. Makes me motivated to get it quilted right away! Thanks for letting me share my beautiful treasure! Another day I will tell you how my grandma was actually the first one to teach me to sew! That is a very special memory to me!

Have a wonderful weekend and may you have some bright, fun, and creative moments!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Fun Way to use your Quilt Scraps

About 2-3 years ago, I saw a small fabric basket on the cutting counter of one of my local quilt shops. I fell in love with how cute it was and thought it was a wonderful way to use some of my scraps. I'm one of those people whose brain starts racing with ideas and uses for fun things like this. The quilt shop owner invited me to come back with my supplies and she would show me how to make it. I'm not sure where that original is...maybe in my sewing room....but I was so excited at how easy it was. I have made several of these baskets for gifts.

This one I made for my bathroom with colors to match the shower curtain that I made. I love the way the colors blend and I use it for hairbrushes and combs. It is the perfect size!

This shows the detail when it is laid on its side.

I made this next basket for my bedroom to match a quilt that I made from Paris Flea Market fabric--I love that line--I use it on my bedside table. It is the perfect size to put in a bottle of nail polish, an emery board, clippers, or anything miscellaneous that ends up laying there looking out of place.

I love this size of basket. I made these as a gift for some of my teacher friends at school. It's the perfect size to put on your desk. I found out their favorite colors and made them in those colors. Even though I made them for their desks, many of them took them home because they liked them so much! LOL

Now, for the third and final one for tonight. I told you how my brain starts racing...well, this is a product of that. I made this one for my mom to use as a place to put her tv remotes. I think it works really well and is made to match the colors in her living room.

As you can see, they fit with room to spare!

Nedra posted about making baskets with this technique on her blog. Check out the fun things that they are working on. I think you will agree with me that the uses of these can go on and on and on........and so much fun!

Hope you have time to make some fun today!