Wandering Camera

Wandering Camera: February Quilting Inspirations

I’m participating in the Wandering Camera linky over at Whims & Fancies, and I’m hoping to use it feature the photos I take while I’m out and about. Frequent visitors here to my blog have already heard about my Valentine’s Day that wasn’t, but what I haven’t blogged about was the following weekend—the weekend of Scott’s birthday and our actual Valentine’s.

That weekend we did a lot of romantic things, including eating a scrumptious dinner prepared by my one and only! Saturday was so beautiful and spring-like that we decided to take a walk in the Village, an artsy area of town filled with cute boho shops, restaurants and bars. The Village is also the home of the Monon trail, a walking/riding trail that follows the path of the old Monon railroad track. The trail has been expanded all over town, so you can literally ride a bike to work from our farthest northern suburbs to downtown using the trail.

Thinking ahead to Wandering Camera, I took my camera with me on our walk and captured images that inspired me artistically. When looking for quilting or design ideas, I often pull these photos back out for inspiration. As you can see, I was fascinated by the shadows that day.

The Village sits near both the White River and the White River Canal, so there’s lots of prettiness.

The Village and the trail is dotted with artwork that also inspires.

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time! I hope you're inspired too.

I share my blog posts with these awesome linky parties, including Wandering Camera.

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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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I share my blog posts with these awesome linky parties, including the monthly linky Wandering Camera.

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The Gift of Music and Quilts and a Quilt Finish!

It’s fun to finish a quilt, but it’s even more fun when you get to gift a finished quilt to someone you know will appreciate it. I had that privilege Sunday when I visited a rehearsal of the Indianapolis Youth Chorale (IYC)-- the high school mixed choir that’s a part of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC).

Henry Leck, the Artistic Director of the ICC, announced his retirement last year. I decided right then to make him something that I thought was worthy of the gift he has given our city—the gift of children singing. Naturally, I decided to make him a quilt.

My daughter Katerina was in ICC for ten years, and it has impacted her life in so many positive ways. She is now a freshman in college and is performing with the college choir and minoring in Music.

Katerina has sung since she was very little, often making up her own songs and musical melodies.

Her first musical composition was “Birds fly in the air…and ducks knock on the door…and ho, ho, ho, who that is? I don’t know, I fix chairs.” She was two years old as I recall, and she was playing in a little room in a quilt store with my husband while I shopped for quilting fabric. In the room was a wooden duck, a door to the outside that was closed off (not used) and a broken antique rocking chair. Inspired by what she saw she made up a song. Here is my daughter in all her glory, singing her famous duck song along with some others she composed.

The Indianapolis Children’s Choir showed Katerina how to take that natural talent and perfect it—they taught her how to read music, how to fine-tune her voice, and how to work as a team to perform the most difficult, breath-taking, lovely music.

She has toured with the choir to many places, including Ireland. Her best friends are mostly from the choir—friends that she would never have made otherwise because the Indianapolis Children's Choir is comprised of children from all over the city and state. At college, her best friends are also choir buddies and I know that music will always be an important part of her life. That’s the gift ICC gave my daughter.

Back to the quilt.

After the director of IYC died suddenly last year, Henry stepped in to help co-direct. It was a difficult year for the children, but one that ended up being very fulfilling when they performed at Carnegie as a featured choir (a dream of their original director, Cheryl).

Along the way there were tears, but also the choir that year formed a strong bond forged with music. I was inspired by one of the songs IYC performed last year to create this quilt, which I call “Stars for Cheryl’.

I used a photograph of Henry conducting IYC to create the applique at the bottom. When I quilted the quilt, I added the opening measures of the song. "Stars," in gold, just above the applique. It's hard to see in the photo, but here's a close up.

On the back, I added a photo label made up of photos I’d taken throughout the year. I also included a special care label I put on all my gift quilts so my friends will know how to take care of their quilts properly.

Not surprisingly, Henry loved his quilt. He told the choir that he plans to hang it in his music room in the home he’s building for his retirement. What a complement—to think he built a new house just for my quilt! <grin>

So tell me, do you have any gift quilts in progress?

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