Trudi the collage art reindeer – a lesson in building your collage

Last week I wrote about building Trudi’s antlers and the method behind all the fun with little pieces of fused fabric.

Since then I have been Christmas shopping with my lovely daughter. Rice Village, a popular Houston shopping area, had an adorable reindeer just hanging out. I had to get a picture.

So this week let’s talk about some of the other areas on Trudi. It is instructive to see how an collage quilt comes together.

First, the Trudi’s eye gave me some issues. The eye originally chosen was a light brown fabric. It had a swirl in it that could suggest an eye. I knew Trudi’s face and ears were reserved for this beautiful medium blue/purple flower. Once the face was built, I placed the light brown eye. Unfortunately, it was totally lost in all that blue/purple. I struggled with different colors, but finally layered three fabrics. First white, then black and finally a pink center flower. Playing with the colors really paid off.

Next, I turned my attention to Trudi’s neck area. I knew the neck should be lighter in color and chose a cream with a hint of blue flower. I played with a thin red fabric to divide the neck from the body but didn’t like that at all. That red went in the trash. Once I had the neck covered with just the cream flowers, I still wasn’t happy. The flowers by themselves was too much. But by simply adding a few darker small flower motifs throughout the neck, it looked more interesting.

One of Trudi’s front legs was my biggest challenges. I interpreted the way Trudi’s two front legs are positioned on the pattern as a front and back leg. Actually, they are both FRONT legs. Note the mostly purple front leg. I kept looking at it until finally it came to me that it really was a front leg. I finally took off the purple motifs and built that leg much like the other front leg with red flowers. Instant harmony!

So I guess your takeaway from this blog post is to play around with the motifs. Experiment if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to take a whole section of motifs off and start over. Add motifs to a section that looks plain or bland. Be bold.

Next week, I will show you how to audition a background fabric for Trudi. The background can totally change your collage quilt. I will also talk briefly about gluing Trudi onto the background and color options for binding.

As always, if you are interested in purchasing my Trudi full-size pattern and step-by-step instructions check out my Etsy shop. Free domestic shipping is still available but not for long.

Life is like a symphony … and sometimes a bridge over troubled waters!

Favorite Album of all time! We went to see a performance of the Houston Symphony last weekend. First time ever and it was so fun. They performed songs of Simon and Garfunkel like “Sounds of Silence” and “I Am a Rock” and my absolute personal favorite … closed my eyes and swayed back and forth ever so slightly on this one … “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Don’t certain songs bring you back to a great moment in your life?

The symphony tickets were a Christmas present from our oldest child and her newbie husband. Did I mention that Katie and Chad made us work before we got to open the present? They are just a little mischievous in that way. Hope they never change. They had this page of blanks with a code for letters and we had to figure the whole thing out. Turned out to be titles to Simon and Garfunkel songs but I still didn’t get their point. News flash … to my knowledge S&G hadn’t gotten back together. That also meant they were not hangin’ on our front porch waiting to serenade the family or anything.

We hadn’t been to a concert in years and never to a symphony performance. Kids … all three of ours … and now a daughter-in-law and new son-in-law … have absolutely been one of the greatest things that have happened in our lives.

Did I mention hubby and I were married in 1972? It was classic Simon and Garfunkel music era. For the twenty or so minutes before I walked down the aisle we had a bunch of songs from that time period played. One was “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The title might sound kinda morbid for a wedding but it fit. Listen to the words and be sure to close your eyes. Can’t you just hear Paul sing “I’m on your side, when times get rough, and friends just can’t be found, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”

I mean who doesn’t expect to need a bridge to cross those unexpected troubled waters experienced throughout your life. Forty-one years ago in May I’ve been privileged to have someone to cross with to the other side! Thanks Simon and Garfunkel … you guys are great!

Santa reflections

Before I packed up Christmas this year I wanted to reflect a little on that jolly old fellow. Was it me, or did there seem to be more Santa sightings than usual this Christmas season? Santa made it to the day center my special needs daughter attends. Santa also visited a YMCA party a couple of days before Christmas. With a fan base greater than Justin Bieber, Santa even stayed for pictures.

A couple of days before Christmas I saw him sitting on his throne at the mall. Nothing super unusual about that … except for the thousand very patient people in line waiting their turn. Perhaps the most unusual sighting for me was the grocery store. Actually, I never “saw” him with my own eyeballs but the announcement over the loud speaker spoke for itself. It was the same grocery store that a Facebook friend commented seeing an especially handsome Santa hangin’ out in our local Kroger.

“Would Mr. Claus please return to Customer Service for a message,” the voice boomed.

Oh, and did I mention Santa made a stop on Christmas Eve at our house. Mimi has an especially large lumpy spot in her heart for the bearded fellow. Always has. Most parents have that one special photograph of their little crying child sitting on Santa’s lap. Not so with Mimi.

Our son is a different story! Ricky was probably two when we hit the mall for our annual Santa photo. The two older girls went first as a reluctant Ricky watched. Katie sat on one of Santa’s knees and Mimi on the other. There were lots of smiles and laughter! We actually have much the same photograph of Ricky. Ricky is wailing on one of Santa’s knees and my husband is on the other knee. I offered to buy Santa a six-pack of ear plugs. He just shook his head and smiled.

“It comes with the job,” he whispered.

Since 2007 Santa has been parking his sleigh out in front of our house so he can get his annual “Mimi hug.” Mimi and Santa met at a Christmas party when I was working in the back office of a hotel several years back. He’s been coming to our house on Christmas Eve ever since. The photos don’t capture the lingering embrace and the way Mimi pats Santa on the back as they hug. But you get the gist.

Its Christmas ladies sew let’s party

I have belonged to a Prayer Quilt Ministry at our church for the past five years. We make prayer quilts for the sick of our parish and have quite an operation. Around 60 prayer quilts each year are blessed by one of our parish priests and given to ill parishioners. Most every Wednesday we laugh … sometimes we cry … we always pray … and sew.

There are a couple of tables on one side of the room with a nest of ladies hand sewing bindings down and prayer pockets on the back. On the other side there is a group of tables with two or three sewing machines humming along way over the legal speed limit. They are creating quilt tops and machine stitching bindings. There is another table where the three layers of a quilt are being tied. And we’ve got this awesome station where the ironing gets done. Our fabulous Helaine custom-made this huge heat-resistant cover for one of the tables. You can have dueling irons working at the same time.

Now I know my husband “follows” my blog and there is no way he understood what I just wrote. He thinks I knit quilts together. It is okay sweetie … you are not supposed to know about that kind of stuff.

So today we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the group and had a Christmas Party. Hey … we are ladies … we like to party. It’s in our DNA. Of course there was food involved complete with festive centerpieces and tablecloths. Can’t have a party without the proper décor. Betty came prepared with a couple of Christmas games she found on-line that was a crowd pleaser. No acts of sewing were accomplished but we connected and celebrated the reason for the season … the upcoming birth of our Lord.