“I Spy Gumballs” new art collage quilt pattern!

I’ve been working on this new collage art quilt pattern for a while now and it is finally ready to release! But first … the reason why I chose a gumball machine! In the past, I’ve enjoyed making “I Spy” quilts for the grandkids, and charity, from a pattern that utilizes lots of little mason jars. Each “jar” is a different novelty fabric. So adorable! But then I thought … what about an old-fashioned gumball machine with each gumball being a novelty fabric? How much fun would that be? The prototype “I Spy Gumballs” quilt is in line to be longarmed at A Needle and Thread. My friend, Sally, made the adorable quilt label! She is so talented and enjoys surprising me with a new embroidery design. Since the quilt top is complete, I am releasing the pattern.

This quilt would look amazing hanging in a child’s room, playroom, or classroom. The finished quilt size is 34 inches wide by 50 inches long. There are approximately 50 novelty “gumballs” in the quilt. Lots of opportunities for a child to learn language! Each gumball is 3-1/4″ in diameter. The PDF pattern can be purchased in my Etsy shop and, as always, a portion of the proceeds goes to charity! This quilt is so much fun to make and I can’t wait to teach it!

I’m currently making the quilt again. This time with a Halloween-theme in mind. Stay tuned!

Quilted, Bound, and Labeled … “Peace Crane” Collage Art Quilt

There is something quite satisfying about putting all the finishing touches on a quilt! This art quilt was no exception. It will always be my COVID quilt. The one I struggled with during a difficult time. The long arming is complete (thanks to the lovely Eric at A Needle and Thread), the quilt’s binding and hanger is hand sewn on, and lastly, the quilt label (Sally keeps surprising me) seals the deal. In an instant, the quilt project goes from being a UFO (quilting acronym for “Un-Finished Objects”) to a finished quilt!

Origami “Peace Crane” art quilt

Traditionally, an paper origami crane is a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times. An idea came to me during the first few months of the pandemic. I spent lots of time at my daughter’s house hanging with the grandkids. One of our activities was origami. I believe it is just as difficult to fold a crane as it is to turn it into an art quilt.

Using a play on words I call it “Peace Crane” in honor of Cat Stevens’ song Peace Train. Recorded in 1971, fifty years ago, it is one of my favorite in a long list of oldies. I remember attending a Cat Stevens’ concert when I was a high school senior in Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum. Obviously, his song is relevant today.

I started “Peace Crane” in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. I call it my COVID quilt mostly because, like wearing a sweaty mask and the imposition of quarantine, I struggled. The concept of an origami crane appealed to me. But for some reason, it was difficult to execute. I tell myself people will either love it or hate it. I did it anyway. I worked on an area of the collage and would leave it be for a few weeks. Then I would take off all the flower motifs and start over. When the crane was finally covered in motifs after several months, I struggled with the background. I told myself this time I would piece the background instead of using a colorful solid batik. After auditioning that concept, I hated it. I’m finally happy with the black and white patterned background. I can’t wait to get it back from being quilted by the lovely Erica at A Needle and Thread. I guess that must mean things are getting back to normal in the world. I have tossed the mask aside and hugged a bunch of people recently. It feels so good. Hop on the “Peace Crane” with me.

The art quilt is 42″ W by 43″ H. The “Peace Crane” PDF pattern is available for purchase at my Etsy shop!

Saying goodbye to a charity quilt

The other day I hopped on the HOV lane toward Houston. I carefully weaved my way through downtown as I had for so many years toward the medical center. This time I was alone. For four years my husband was treated at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital (MDA) for a stage 4 cancer. Sadly, Rick passed away at home last year from a brain tumor. I am so grateful to MDA for the four extra years he was with our family. The day he died was also when Texas was shut down due to COVID-19.

The purpose of this trip was to drop off a quilt made for MDA’s Ovarian Quilt Project. Every two years their online auction raises funds for research and education. In 2021, the auction will be held October 20 through November 3. The collage art quilt is in memory of my sister, Mary, who passed away several years ago from ovarian cancer. It is called Mary’s Heart Garden. She loved gardening and had a huge heart. I hope it makes a lot of money.

I purchased lots of the fabric at myfavoritequiltstore.com, where I work part-time cutting fabric orders. Most fun job on the planet. Just saying! The art collage quilt was custom quilted by Erica at http://aneedlenthread.com. My friend, Sally, is the embroidery wizard and does all my quilt labels. Erica and Sally always make my quilts shine a little brighter!

2020 … a year in review

I feel like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland taking out his pocket watch from his vest. Yes, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date! I should have written this post two weeks ago about my “year in review.” I have written one every year for a very long time. For most of us, 2020 was painful with a capital “P.” Yep … me too. My husband of nearly 48 years passed away after four months on hospice. He died the day Houston’s Rodeo was shut down due to COVID on March 11, 2020. Rick was Texas born and bred. So it must have seemed to God to be a noteworthy day. At least the Willie Nelson concert during the rodeo happened. Since then I’ve been pretty much locked down like everyone else trying to figure how to dig myself out of the deep rabbit hole of grief. I am haulin’ myself up … a little at a time.

So is it any wonder I have been sitting at the sewing machine … a lot. I’ve finished 7 quilts (2 of which were pieced and machine quilted Christmas tree skirts), 4 pillow cases with French seams, a cute table topper for my sister, and a mini sleeping bag for a Ken doll. Not quite Twelve Days of Christmas song-worthy … but almost. This many quilts in one year is a new world’s record for me.

Oh, and I’ve poured myself into writing something special. I finished a manuscript for a memoir about my sweet Mimi who left us in late 2018. The title is An Angel Lived Among Us. I started writing it in early 2019 a few months after Mimi died. Shortly after that my husband’s brain tumor popped up. Yesterday, I sent off the book proposal which was more painful to write than the book. You wouldn’t believe the stuff publishers want to read about instead of the actual book. However, this is such an interesting learning experience for me. If the memoir is not picked up by a publisher, I will self-publish. Stay tuned on the book’s publishing progress!

Until next time … stay safe out there!