Between The Layers

The quilting retreat is going along great! We are all sewing, cutting, designing, starting, finishing, binding, learning, teaching, sharing and generally having the best time ever. It’s amazing what 15 motivated women can accomplish in 4 days! Please have a look at some of the beautiful projects this fantastic group has been working on.

This quilt is all hand applique – stunning! And the colors are fantastic!

This is a bed size quilt. I love the color palette. It’s like an optical illusion.

This one I helped to lay out. What fun it was to play with all those colors and try to keep it balanced!

Even though this one isn’t quite done, you can see how magnificent it is going to be. Love the contrast between light and dark!

This one is so bright and colorful! Very fun and youthful! And those perfect points!

This is an old pattern with reproduction fabrics. Very charming!

Black, white and pink cows – does it get any cuter?!

What a grand mix of styles and color palettes. Love!

This magnificent work in progress is a tribute to the quilter’s mother, grandmother and aunt. She copied her dish patterns and used family heirloom hankies and jewelry. Tons of hand embroidery and crazy patches. There are no words! Just feast your eyes!

Are these spectacular or what? I believe spectacular is an inadequate word! But I can’t find the word that IS adequate for the magnificent results I’ve seen from these last days. It’s hard to believe all this comes from humming machines, clipping scissors, quiet hands with needles and low-key consultations. You would think sparks and fireworks would be going off to produce such unbelievable products!

Everyone sits in their own little space with their own sewing machine and all their fabric. We all laugh and talk almost constantly but work is going on almost unseen. Before long, quilt squares start appearing on design walls all over the room. In a day or two some quilt tops are completed and some small quilts are even finished with binding. Astounding, really! New projects are started and large projects are continued throughout the retreat.

If a new notion is found to be helpful, it is shared with everyone. If a source for fabric or trim is discovered, it is public knowledge within hours. If someone needs red thread, they will find numerous spools at their spot in minutes. If you can’t remember how to miter a corner, every neighbor will give you a refresher course. And when your squares go up on the wall and start forming a quilt, you will receive more appreciation and applause than you know what to do with. Doesn’t this sound like heaven? AND we don’t have to cook or do laundry! For real!

It somehow feels like a mini lifetime experienced in 4 days, between the other parts of my real life. Every retreat has been a true mountaintop experience for me. The combination of people has made each one unique but all truly special.

It mirrors the feelings I have for the quilts themselves. They are all unique, special, magnificent and include their own story. Each one, new or old, requires creative thought, deliberate planning, careful measuring, precise cutting, skillful sewing and lots and lots of love. Each needs specific colors, hues, tones, patterns and motifs. Each has a story stitched into it, between the top and bottom layers. We may not always know it but it is there.

The story of who made it, where, with what, for whom and when stays with the quilt. Even after many years, dozens of washings, being hugged, dragged on the floor or becoming frayed and raggedy, the story is always there. It can always be felt in the softness, warmth and cozy comfort each quilt provides through touch. Just sleep under a quilt or wrap yourself in one and you will understand what I mean. You can actually feel the history! I know I can!

I hope every quilt I make oozes with all the love, hope and care I sew into it. I want my kids to hold pieces of their childhood in their hands and remember the splendid times of our family. I pray my grandkids smile when they see their quilts and want to sit on them, play on them and sleep on them until they need repair. Which I will gladly do and sew on patches to add to the story.

I plan for these quilts to be handed down, generation by generation. Not that they’re so perfect but they tell my story. Long after I am gone, my quilt stories will go on. And that makes me so very happy!

Welcome To Granny’s House

Well, it’s almost here . . . that magical day, Christmas! We sure are having a great time getting ready at our house. Hope you are too, my Sweeties.

This year I was motivated (by having a choir party at our house) to decorate as I have never decorated before. I mean I love holidays. You know I do! But I have used every bit of glitz and glitter in all the boxes to doll up my abode for this Christmas. Gramps and I have been enjoying the atmosphere and I thought you might enjoy seeing it too. So welcome to Granny’s house!

Santa welcomes everyone in! This is the first year I added lights to the front door. I don’t know why it took me so long. They look wonderful!

The front hall. This creche is so old . . . let’s see . . . about 40 years . . . can that be right? . . . yes, 40 years old! I made it during my ceramic period. I love nativity scenes and have them all over the house.

The tree. (The big tree. There is another.) We had to get a skinny tree to fit the space, but I love how elegant it looks.

The tree is full of old, new and handmade ornaments. I love the eclectic, gathered look. There are many Thomas Kinkade house ornaments that have lights shining from them. They all look so cozy and warm in their own little nooks. And tinsel . . . lots of tinsel!

Our children used to take a handful, toss it up and blow it on the tree. Gramps and I have never been able to master that skill very well, but we try.

My sweet Santa collection! It has taken me many years to finally get this mantel to look like this. I had a vision in my head and this is it! I even made a couple of these little guys! And they are so nicely reflected in Aunt Gladys’ antique mirror. I love it.

Welcome to Snowflake Village . . . the miniature town that appears every year. Most of the pieces are replicas of the buildings from Norman Rockwell’s hometown . . . which somehow seems sweeter to me. As if people actually lived in them at one time . . . I know, Granny’s getting old! Anyway, the grandkids love this village and always look for every detail, i.e. mailboxes, horses, street lamps and the one skater that has fallen on the frozen pond. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Snowflake Village at Granny’s house!

Here is another creche that I love because a dear friend of mine made it for me and because it depicts children. This always reminds me of the many Christmas plays we sat through when the kids were little. So sweet, it made your teeth ache!

Shelf decoration in the living room. These votives look spectacular with candles in them at night! The lace pattern is beautiful! I didn’t realize how beautiful when I bought them. What a nice surprise!

On to the dark pink dining room. Once I painted this room this yummy color, I loved it so much, I began to tell everyone that every house needed a “red” room. And many people have come to see the truth of that statement without any arm-twisting needed!

The mache Mary and Joseph are probably 45 years old. I made them for my mother when I was in college. They have adapted to the new decors around them nicely.

I just realized as I was looking at the previous photo that the candles that were burned down during the party have not been replaced. Please imagine tall green tapers in the brass candlesticks on the buffet. Alas, dear Sweeties, Granny is not perfect!

More photos of the dining room and another small creche under a dome. This one was also made by my dear friend who passed on several years ago. I miss her still.

The kitchen is bright and festive with greenery stuffed here and there. The striped stockings on the dish rack were purchased in different places and at different times. It amazes me how alike they all are.

This is the shelf above the stove which houses the candy jars with edible candy . . . see half-empty jar. Also the pitcher for milk and the plate for cookies for Santa, both of which are as old as my children. (Don’t worry kids, I’m not telling!)


The powder room off the kitchen is small but I love putting a touch of holiday cheer in there. Don’t mind the painted bedpan!

Even the laundry room gets a little bling! I told you I was on a roll!

Into the den, where you will see “Candy Corner.” I love the candy theme and so do the children, although none of it is edible! So sad! There are now 9 of us with my son getting married in june, so “all the stockings” means a mantel-full.

The card holder is made from a set of shutters. I’ll have a tutorial on that at some future date.

This is my “sewing tree.” The ornaments are all miniature and most are thimble-themed. This year I made a button garland, which really adds an extra spark. I’ll give you a tutorial on that too . . . later! The little wooden train is a favorite of my “boys.” They expect it to always be there on the trunk in front of the “sewing tree,” where they can get to it and play with it. I wouldn’t think of having it anywhere else!

Can’t forget the bathroom with its snowman theme. Aren’t they cute reflected in the mirror?

One last creche. One of my favorites. Too-too cute.

Well, that’s it . . . Granny’s Christmas house. You have to imagine the warmth of a fire, the aroma of banana bread baking and apple cider simmering on the stove. Now conjure up a loving hug from Gramps and me, and a hearty “sit a spell and chat with us” to get the full effect of the holiday here. We’d love to share it all with you, my Sweeties!