My Antiquing Adventure

I love visiting my cousin Marti and relaxing at her cabin in the countryside. It’s not only fun to catch up with my favorite cousin and my sisters, but we often go antiquing! I love looking at antiques, especially vintage fabrics, quilts, and embroideries.

During a recent trip. I saw this beautiful quilt, artfully displayed. It was in very rough shape but the hand quilting on it was delightful!

I spotted this cute wooden box decorated with honeybees, and a beautiful collection of antique pincushions.

I thought this was a clever way to recycle a coverlet.

My sisters and I had a blast digging through the antique embroideries and selecting our favorites. Antiquing made for a really enjoyable afternoon.

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Tell me…do you ever go antiquing? What treasures have you found?

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today I work up feeling all Irish, which is no surprise since I am! I get my Irish heritage from my Dad who never met a stranger. He was born with a twinkle in his eye and a wonderful joke or story on his lips. Miss that man!

Inspired by the day, I have started sorting green scraps from my bins with the idea of starting an Irish Chain quilt. Always wanted one, so why not start a leader/ender project to create it?

My daughter toured Ireland in 2014 with her choir, the Indianapolis Youth Chorale and its beloved director, Cheryl West. Katerina had such a wonderful time connecting to the land of her ancestors. It’s a time she will never forget, and one I think about every St. Patrick’s Day.

Sadly, Cheryl and her wonderful sparkly self is no longer with us, having passed away with a few months of that tour. But her legacy will never die. Here is IYC singing a medly of Irish songs. I remember Jonathon, who plays the bagpipes, so well. He's gone on to study music and theater, as do a lot of the members of this choir.

And here they are again, this time singing St. Patrick’s Hymn by Dan Forest, a wonderful composer who's composed many songs especially for the Indianapolis Children's Choir and the Indianapolis Youth Chorale. Can you tell I'm a proud mama?

Finally, here’s a lovely rendition of Danny Boy by the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, under the direction of ICC’s founder, Henry Leck.

I remember each of these performances with very fond memories. My time as a choir volunteer I hold very dear. Happy St. Patrick’s everyone! Have a great, green Irish kind of day!

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Throwback Thursday: Finding Quilting Inspiration in My History

I recently visited a cousin and at the same time, I toured the cemetery where my mother’s relatives are buried. I love history, genealogy and old cemeteries, and this one was especially peaceful because of the lovely trees and the quiet that seemed to surround me.

The quilter in me couldn't help noticing and being inspired by the details of the old monuments I found there. One of them had cross hatching at the bottom that reminded me that even simple quilting can be lovely.

I found this unusual spherical monument in the middle of the cemetery, and right next to it was this lovely red marble obelisk. I was struck by how awesome they looked together--round shape and rectangular shape. I often try to do that very same thing in my quilts--using round, curly quilting on quilts filled with sharp rectangles and HSTs and long sharp quilting lines on quilts that contain soft edged shapes.

While visiting my mom's home town, I heard that her family home was slated for demolition and that made me very sad. I remember visiting the home when I was little but I hadn’t been inside for ages. After my Aunt died, the house was sold and turned into an office for a local business. The home was also added to the state historical registry, but I suppose that wasn’t enough to save it after the business closed and the house fell into ruin.

So my sister and I decided that we should stop by and at least take some photos before the home got torn down.

Again, I was struck by the home's lovely architecture. There used to be a gorgeous wrought iron fence surrounding the house, but that was taken down and sold years ago. Despite the home's poor condition, there were still some architectural features left to enjoy like the plaster medallions just below the roofline, and the window cornices.

Although the demolition is not imminent, there's nothing I can do to stop it so I’ll have to content myself with some photographs and a few memories. There's one story I’ll never forget because my mother told it often: during the flood of the Ohio river in 1937 the house was flooded up to the second floor overnight and my mother and her family escaped to a row boat through the upper story window shown here on the left. The non-brick building was added later, so it didn't exist back then but there was a sloping roof as you can see, and she climbed out on that and into the boat.

It was winter when the flood happened, so the water was bitter and conditions after the flood terrible. The beauty for me is that my mother and her family survived, and that their old home has stood for so long as a testament to their perseverance. I hope to bring that ideal to my own quiltmaking--a kind of beauty that stands the test of time.

Tell me, what inspires you and your quiltmaking?

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Throwback Thursday: One of My First Quilts

Back when I was first learning how to quilt, I learned about flannel rag quilts and how easy they are to make. I made one for my mom for Christmas back in 2003, and loved just how quick it was to make. She loved her quilt and used it daily to keep her legs warm when sitting in her favorite chair.

What makes a rag quilt easy to make is that you quilt the blocks as you go, then sew the quilted blocks together. Flannel rag quilts are perfect for beginners because once the blocks are sewn together and the seams are fringed, you’re done!

To make a rag quilt, you first cut two squares of flannel the size of your block. You can add batting between the flannel layers, but frankly that makes the quilt real heavy and after making my first rag quilt using batting I decided I would skip it for future rag quilts.

In any case, you assemble the block layers—a front square, optional batting square (cut 1 inch smaller) and a back square--then quilt each block with two straight lines that form a big X. Because you use straight lines, the quilting process is easy even for a beginner. I recommend pinning the blocks thoroughly and using a walking foot when you quilt the blocks because flannel does tend to slip. Flannel also sheds a lot, so be sure to clean your machine frequently. You won’t believe the amount of fuzz you’ll generate!

After you get the blocks quilted, you sew them together using a wide seam. You then fringe the seam by cutting it at even intervals. Although I will admit that fringing the blocks was tedious, there are special rag quilt scissors that make that part of the process a breeze. One side of a rag quilt is fringed and frayed (after washing), while the other side is smooth just like any other quilt.

By the way, you can make a rag quilt with any kind of loosely woven fabric but flannel is the favorite type of fabric to use.

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