Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dolly Days

Quite a few of you have e-mailed me with questions concerning the pattern used by the Delightful Quilters for their Doll Dress Exchange (see post 4/29/11)

These reminded me of playing paper dolls and dress ups as a child, only now we can play with fabric.

The DQ's took their patterns from Dolly Days by Brandywine Designs.

These would be perfect for a little girl's room, or a grand daughter.

One reader even suggested using fabrics from outgrown dresses as part of a remembrance quilt.

Great idea!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

We who are left how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly and spent
Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?

~Wilfred Wilson Gibson

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Red Work Quilts

The Art of Quilting Show hosted by the Gilbert Historical Museum featured two vintage red work quilts.
The use of red work embroidered blocks for bed coverings became popular around 1900.

Pre stamped squares could be purchased for about a penny each.
Originals could be drawn, traced or shared among friends.
The top would then be finished by being quilted or tied, with or without batting.

Shown by Laura Hardon, this top was the first vintage quilt she had ever purchased.

Hand quilted by Laura.

You can still see many of the original pencil marks around the Red Work.
Many of the blocks are quite traditional, featuring birds, plants and flowers.

Although I thought showing the birds in a floating wooden shoe was quite fun.

Family Heirloom shown by Judy Shahenian

This red work was not quilted, and hung over a long rack, with only half of the blocks visible.

Notice in the setting that the blocks face different directions.

Made for Judy's grandfather by his grandmother in 1900.

Many of the blocks had a baby theme.

Several blocks were very original in style.

Such a motherly gesture as the woman appears to be combing down her son's hair.

The use of a red herringbone stitch to outline each block is quite striking.

Wouldn't it be interesting to talk to the original designer, and ask her what she was trying to represent as she combined a spider web, dragon fly, Calla Lily's and initials into one section?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Art of Quilting Show

The main reason I went to the Gilbert Historical Museum the other day was to view The Art of Quilting show, featuring "Domestic Art from the Thrifty 30's"
This is the 6th year the museum has sponsored this show, which runs every year from March through May.
A call is put out to the community to bring in quilts, and anyone may participate. I was impressed with the response, with a large showing through out most of the buildings of the museum.

The Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt is the first quilt I made, and they have always caught my eye.
So many varieties and settings.
The above quilt (C1950) was one of the raffle quilts. The hand pieced top was generously donated by an anonymous doner. The hand quilting was then completed by the Quilters of the Gilbert Historical Museum.

The drawing is May 31st, so if you are interested in this raffle you may call the museum at 480-926-1577

Another GFG was so old and delicate that it was placed in a glass case.

I'm not sure of the story behind this quilt, but you can see how fragile the fabrics and stitching appears.

I thought this was a rather unique GFG. You can see that the hexagons have not been place together to look like the traditional flowers.

Shown by Phyllis Rocha, the hexagons were given to her sister in the 1970's. Phyllis inherited the pieces, and was taught by the Hand Quilters of the museum how to put them into a quilt.

Putting yellows and grays together are popular color combinations in today's fabrics. Another example of what is old becomes new again.

You can see that the random "flowers" were laid upon the green backing and appliqued down. Again, another unique setting for a GFG.

I really loved the vintage nature of so many of the quilts in the show.

I took quite a few pictures, and will continue to share in the next few days.

Friday, May 27, 2011

There Really Are Quilt Police

Oh my.
Who would have known.
All these years I have been told there are No Quilt Police, when in reality they really do exist.

I saw this while visiting the Gilbert Historical Museum.
Taken from a picture, the poster shows a volunteer working on a quilt to be donated to the Gilbert Arizona Police Department.

The officer took great interest in the work and talent provided by the volunteer quilters.
I'm sure his cross examination came more from curiosity than interrogation.
Still, it has left me a little unsettled.
Now I find myself looking back, pondering deep introspective questions concerning Santa, The Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, The Tooth Fairy, Big Foot....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gilbert Historical Museum

Remember the days when quilting bees were part of most communities?
An almost forgotten era where women would sit down together with needle in hand, often donating their time on a quilt to gifted away.
I experienced a day that felt like going back in time, with a visit to the Gilbert Historical Museum, located in the Heritage District of Old Downtown Gilbert, Arizona.

Here a group of ladies have worked for 10 years intermittently donating their time Tuesday through Saturday, hand quilting quilts for the public.

Anyone may bring in a quilt to be completed, although be prepared that there is a waiting list of 2 years.

The group charges approximately $5 a square foot (plus supplies), with all proceeds going directly back to the museum.

And anyone may join them! The group is always looking for more volunteers.

The Gilbert Museum is house to the original Gilbert Elementary School built in 1913. Now preserved as a historical landmark, the adobe structure very much resembles it's common nickname The Alamo.

The interior is well preserved, with artifacts and displays showcasing the rich history of what was once an agricultural town just South of Phoenix.

It was delightful to sit with the ladies for a while, to watch them stitch, and to hear their volunteerism.

Delores Jenisch explained to me how they work year round, with two quilts on the frames at a time.

More than half of the quilts they work on are 50-100 years old. People often bring in a vintage top that is a family heirloom or found at an estate sale, and desire to have the quilt finished properly.

Darlene Reid spoke of the fulfillment in the work their provide. "Every time we finish a quilt there is a quilter dancing up in Heaven because she knows her quilt is finished."

She also added "A lot of good woman talk goes on around the quilting frame."

Isn't that true? We become the dearest of friends with those we quilt with.

Whirling Fans (C1930?) was purchased by Museum board member at a craft sale for $35.
I always stand in awe of people who manage to find vintage quilts at such amazing prices.

I've never been very good at hand quilting, and have always had the desire to improve. The ladies suggested I come back and spend some time with them, where they will teach me their techniques.

I will be taking them up on their offer, because looking at the perfection in their work I can see I will be learning from the best.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I've just finished Picnic, a great way to use up little leftover scraps of fabrics.
As we are heading into summer, this fun little quilt makes me want to pack a picnic lunch and find a grassy spot under a big shade tree.

The original pattern size was 48 1/2" X 60 1/2".
I wanted mine a little larger, so I added a 4" border.
On my design wall the border looks a little too white, but once it's quilted I plan on adding a darker binding which will frame it nicely.

Picnic comes from the wonderful book Scrap Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett.
I found it for a good price on Amazon.com

The entire quilt is made from 2 1/2" strips.

Looking at 4 blocks together, I also see flowers.

"If ants are such busy workers, how come they find time to go to all the picnics?"
(Marie Dressler)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sew Cherry Give Away

Yes, I said Run! Right now over to Rae Ann's blog Cutie Pinwheel.
She's having a GIVE AWAY and it includes Sew Cherry with new apron patterns by Lori Holt (Bee In My Bonnet)

I'll give you a little sneak peek.

Oh, be still my heart.
Some involve Covered Buttons.

And some have these cute little crocheted cherries.
That Lori has outdone herself again.
I'd share some more, but I'm heading back to Rae Ann's blog to have another look.
Meet you there!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Our daughter Amy is a wonderful cook. Whenever we share a meal at her home, I always ask for her recipes and come back my kitchen to see if I can duplicate the dish.
Our latest favorite is Quinoa and Black Bean Salad.
Light and fresh with just a little kick, this is a great addition to a summer meal.
Mr. Cactus kept complimenting the salad and ate several helpings in one sitting, so this recipe is a keeper.

I always thought Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) was a grain. But with a little investigation, I've discovered that it is actually a member of the grass family and considered a psuedocereal.
Loaded with nutrition, Quinoa contains many essential Amino acids, and is rich in calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Quinoa is also a good source of fiber, and known for it's high protein content (12-18%).

Originally from South America, Quinoa is harvested in seeds.
An important first step is to rinse the seeds in a fine strainer with cold water, which will remove the bitter taste.

Quinoa is cooked the same way as rice, and becomes light and fluffy.
It's gluten free and easy to digest.

This is great time of the year to bring in fresh veggies for salads.

I love the tastes of combining black beans, corn, red peppers, cilantro, and scallions along with spices.

The salad is mixed with a light dressing whisked with fresh lime juice, salt, cumin and olive oil.


1 1/2 C. quinoa

1 1/2 C. canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 1/2 C. cooked corn (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 scallions, chopped

1 tsp. garlic, minced fine

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 C. fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine (cilantro)

1/3 C. fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/3 C. oil
Rinse the quinoa in a fine sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear. Put quinoa in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.

While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Add beans, corn, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, cayenne and coriander to the quinoa. Toss well.

In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, cumin and add oil in a stream while whisking. Drizzle over salad and toss well with salt and pepper. Salad may be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

(*although we think it's good straight from the fridge too!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Pardon Me I Didn't Knit That For You"

I already can't get this song out of my head.
Come on ladies, lets sing along!
Pardon Me, I Didn't Knit That For You
(or quilt, crochet or embroider)

Mr. Cactus has a saying:
Do you know what happens when you play a Country Music song BACKWARDS?
You get your dog back, your truck back, your wife back...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Congratulations Lori!

The other day I was talking to my friend Lori (Bee In My Bonnet) on the phone, asking her how Market went.
She was exhausted (of course), but so pleased to announce that her first fabric line Sew Cherry that was just released two weeks ago has already sold out and has been sent to 2nd printing with Riley Blake!
Whoooo Hoooo!
Applause! Applause!
Big Shouts of Hurrah!

I know Lori worked unbelievably hard getting patterns ready for their Market appearance.
There were many nights with very little sleep as she designed and sewed into the twilight hours.
Lori mentioned she presented 9 patterns made with Sew Cherry and at least 3 more will be ready soon.
I absolutely love Vintage Dishes. Sherri (A Quilting Life) did the piecing.
So fun for me to see my friends working together to make good things happen.

Another new pattern from Lori is Cake Walk.
I want to make them all.
If you are interested in seeing more patterns and how to get your hands on some Sew Cherry, make sure to run over to Lori's blog.
Congratulations my dear friend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Union Jack

In following quilt trends, Union Jack quilts have become the latest attraction.
Maybe it has something to do with the recent Royal Wedding, or maybe it has everything to do with our fascination with England.

There are a lot of wonderful patterns on the market, but one that really caught my eye is DOUBLE FAT JACK by Lily Quilts.
Lynne lives in England, so it's natural she would like to represent her country in the quilts that she designs. But, what really drew me in was her use of bright fun fabrics, rather than the traditional blues and reds.
And I love the big size of her block, completing at 22" X 29".
Lynne offers a well written FREE TUTORIAL to make DOUBLE FAT JACK.
Requiring only two fat quarters and a few strips of a solid, this block has gone to the top of my To-Do List.