Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Quilting a Family Tradition.

Quilting has been a part of our family for many years.
My grandmother kept every scrap of fabric, no matter how small.

Nana's thimble and darning needle are
precious things I found in her sewing machine.

When she gave me her antique sewing machine I found all kinds of things that most people would have thrown away.   I think living through the Depression era taught her to cherish everything and reuse it.   Each piece told a story and had special meaning, especially to the person who
was fortunate enough to receive one of her masterpieces.
So I've made it a habit to keep old fabrics that are precious to me.

I still remember the day Grandma and I picked this embroidered denim dress from a catalog.
She wore this dress so much. It has faded from years of wear.
 Some day I'll use it to make a quilt of my own.

My mother found pieces of an unfinished quilt that Grandma left behind. Mom decided to finish what Grandma started. So a part of my Grandmother will live on through the work of my mother's hands. Mom added her own touches, like buttons over a yo yo and prairie points.

The bed cover I have on my bed is faded and worn so I asked mom if
I bought the fabric, would she make me a quilt to match our master bedroom. My daughter lives in Lancaster County where Amish Quilt Shops abound.
We planned a day to go shopping and picked out fabrics from
The Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Bird-in-Hand, Pa.

Mom told me I needed to chose a dark color a medium color and a light
color. I chose dark blue, a lighter blue print and yellow paisley print.
Mom measured and tore the fabric into strips.
Tearing is better than cutting because it keeps the fabric evenly spaced.

This quilt frame was built by my Grandfather.

This is my mother putting some stitches into the quilt.
She made a pattern and added a design to the edges.

The frame is made so that the sides roll and the quilt can be easily
moved to the area Mom wants to work on.

The back of the quilt is a yellow sheet that I purchased.
She is using blue thread so the stitches show.

So little did I know that my daughter has started a new craft. 
She made a rag rug to match the colors of the quilt.

I can't wait to see how they look together!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Saga Continues

A while ago I did a post titled "Generations of Love".  I talked about
the importance of sharing family traditions that are passed down from
generation to generation. 

"The Crochet Lesson"

 I recently posted an update with a sketch
that I did from this photo, which was taken over 20 years ago. 
The little girl pictured in this drawing is my daughter.

"The Crochet Lesson"
Approximately 5"x7"
A Preliminary Pencil Sketch

Today was a very special day for me.
That same little girl spent the day in my studio
creating with me.

She still enjoys working on arts and crafts.
Her latest discovery is a website called Pinterest.
She found a pattern there to make a fabric bracelet.

She followed the instructions and measured strips of fabric
for what must have seemed like a long time
because after a long period of concentration
she said, "this is taking more time than I thought it would".
I said, "I know what you mean Jenessa. Alot of people
wonder why I do so much preliminary work before I
start a painting".

 You have to plot your course before
you set out on your journey or you'll end up lost and confused.
I spend many hours developing an underpainting in black and white before I put color over top of it.  The reason is because
it's important for me to establish how light or dark something is
before I add the next element to the painting, which is color.

My husband had a quote that he used to encourage me
while we were raising our daughter.

"Always teaching and always learning".

How true it is. My daughter told me that she has learned
more by watching me than by anything I ever
told her.  She's a visual learner. A chip off the old block.

What my daughter doesn't know is that she has taught me
as much as I have taught her.  Today her presence energized me.
Her personality has that affect on me.  It reminds me of a
song titled
You Raise Me Up. 
That is what my daughter does for me
Her presence motivates me to do and be all that I can be.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

No Winter Blues

Our driveway

The old saying, opposites attract must be true because
my best friend can't understand why I enjoy being alone.
She needs constant interaction with people,
while I need times of solitude.
Creating art produces a different kind of tired.
 After viewing something up close for 8 hrs,
I need a place to rest my eyes.

I need to focus my eyes on something far away.
God knew my sensitive spirit and artistic eye would need
a place like this to call home.

I love coming home after a long day at work, to a my quiet living room.
 Now don't get me wrong.
I like being around people.
Our home is always filled with family and laughter on Christmas Day.

Christmas 2007

My mother playing the piano after she set the table
in our dinning room.  Christmas 2007

Nana's last Christmas at the homestead.

You might be wondering why I'm posting photos of Christmas's of the past.
This was the last Christmas my Grandmother spent in the house she raised her family in.
Going out doors in the winter at almost 100 years of age was hard on Nana,
but she always endured it to be with her family.
Looking at these old photos made me think of how it was on
the very first Christmas night.  It was anything but cozy for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The only expectation she had was to give birth to a baby that would save the world. There was no lavish feast, no decorations and no gifts.

 When I sat and pondered this,  I realized how many times in years past, I had set myself up for the after Christmas blues.  Could it be that the after Christmas blues come to us because we don't have our mind on Jesus.  We're so busy trying to get our house in order, putting up the lights, shopping
for the all the gifts. Spending late nights wrapping and baking and preparing for the big day.
Is it any wonder why we are just tuckered out after it's all over.


2012 is going to be different.  I'm going to spend more time worshipping God on my treadmill.
Yes, on my treadmill.  I play praise and worship music while I walk away the stress
of an over-active mind.

My New Years resolution is to simplify my life as much as possible.
To be happy with less and grateful for the things I already have.
To nurture a feeling of peace in my home and in my mind.

We weren't created to be rushing here and there,
filling our lives with more and more things that need to be charged,
plugged in and ultimately repaired or replaced.
Most of us long for the simplicity of an uncluttered life.
Simply stated, my New Years resolution will be...
"Less is More".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harvest Home

A few weeks ago I took a walk down the road from our house. The corn was beginning to turn brown and there was a familiar smell in the air. You know, that earthy smell when the leaves are turning from green to brilliant colors of red, orange and gold. 

It won't be long until the harvest. I pondered how many times
this field was plowed, planted and harvested. 

Green Foxtails holding on to summer.
A hint of yellow coming from behind reveals their destiny.
The soybeans look almost ready for harvest.

A painterly sky catches my eye. God sure has a big paint  brush today.

I like to walk down Lubold Lane when the late afternoon sun
casts long shadows across the gravel road.

It's never been this green in Pennsylvania as long as I can remember.
The summer rains brought us lush green pastures for the cattle to graze.

One would almost mistake these rolling hills for Ireland.

But the cornfields give it away. This is definately PA.

A few days later the harvest has begun. I watched while my cousin and
brother rode the combine through the fields that border our yard.

Look at the truck filled with corn.
They call her Dolly cause she's top heavy.

I just finished painting our welcome sign.

Inspired by all the colors, I went to my studio and
did a painting called "Reflections".

The back porch is a favorite spot for me.

Looks like it's Stella's favorite spot too.
We always make time for porch sitting.
It's a family tradition at our house.

I'll try to remember these bright colors when the cold winter winds begin to blow.  The sounds of summer will echo in my mind. Crickets and peeper frogs will soon be replaced by the sound of geese and crows.

My brother looks to see how full the truck is
while my cousin Keith rides the combine.

It's time to come inside and take a break.
Watching the harvest is something I look forward to each year.
My family looks forward to my apple pie.
Make mine a la mode please.