Posts Tagged ‘Celebration’

Writing Down The Dates

May 14, 2018

I was a history major in college, as were most of my roommates. We threw dinner parties to commemorate important dates. The Chicago Fire, the invasion of Poland, Pearl Harbor Day, Armistice Day – anything that came close enough to a free weekend so we had time to cook.

Dates and food are still important to me. I once made Cheesehenge Fondue for a summer solstice. As a writer, however, I want to do more. My friend and fellow writer Marlene Dotterer published her wonderful alternate history The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking. I started writing a story that is set in World War I. While the 100th anniversary of the end of that war is fast approaching, the end of that story is not.

I decided part of my trouble was pulling myself out of the “what-does-this-date-mean-to-me?” role. Separating my ego from my words is job number one for getting a story written. One of these days, the right story for the right date will reveal itself. Until then, bring on the cookbooks. There’s always another anniversary to celebrate.

Heat: A Whine

September 6, 2017

We had ourselves a doozy of a heat wave last weekend. We were hosting visitors, and we knew that the forecast high at our house was 114 degrees. We decided to go into San Francisco, where the high was supposed to be 88. The forecasters were wrong. The all-time city record was broken as temperatures downtown reached 106.

We melted along with the city, then melted a little more when we arrived home and discovered the forecasters were all too accurate in their estimation of the heat in our area. Unfortunately, they were also accurate in the forecast for the rest of the weekend. Oh, yes, the heat abated degree by degree. On the day our company left it was a relatively mild 97.

I made us all badges to celebrate surviving the Great Heat Wave of 2017.

The sun’s flames felt a little too close

Luck and wisdom!

Celebration Quilting

August 20, 2010

When a friend asked me to make a birthday quilt for her adult daughter using her baby clothes and tee-shirts, I was nervous. Combining clashing colors, scales, and styles doesn’t bother me at all, but showcasing clothes that had been saved for years for their sentimental value? Still, when someone offers you a chance to learn something new and isn’t illegal or immoral, say yes.

I like to think of myself as an art quilter, letting the fabric lead me where it will, but in this case I went back to tradition and found a pattern first. Showcasing fabric is a lot easier when you have a wide frame, so a block with two borders and corner blocks is ideal. It also happens to be a variation of a block I’ve taught many times before in The Guilt Quilt workshop with Ann Anastasio.

The next step was sorting the clothes. Luckily, my friend agreed that not everything needed to be on the front, so I kept the brightest tee shirts for the back and combined the softer colors with the baby clothes.

Waiting for the scissors

I’ve never made a tee shirt quilt, but since I have a pile of old tees that I intend to put together, I knew about stabilizing the motif, protecting thicker paints and fragile silk screened images, and giving yourself some wiggle room with shredding edges. I whacked those shirts into lovely blocks, stabilized them into submission and dared the images to flake or flatten. They behaved wonderfully.

Then I started on the baby dresses.

We always hear about memory quilts, and how the recipient dreamily traces each block, murmuring “I remember when Great-aunt Helga made me this dress from potato sacks and chicken wire.” No one talks about the reality of baby clothes, however, which is smocking and lace and fussy little appliques. It’s one thing to showcase a fancy sun dress, or multi-colored tee, but when the dress is pretty much a quarter of a yard of solid pink and 4″ of smocking, what’s a quilter to do?

Beginning the blocks

What I decided to do was take a page from computer programmers everywhere and turn a bug into a feature. If the smocking made the dress, don’t chop it into bits – applique the whole front of the dress on a background square. For one of the smallest dresses, I even let a section of the hem float freely, and appliqued the girl’s silk booties peaking out from underneath.

Half the blocks with half their borders

You could use a variety of patterns to showcase clothing – Attic Windows, to mimic a shadow box, would be very quick and could take advantage of the smaller scraps children’s clothes offer. As for me, I’m looking to move my tee shirt quilt up a little higher on the to-do list, now that I know how much fun it can be to indulge in celebration quilting.

Look for the booties