Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yummy Christmas!

Another great vintage Christmas card from the 1950s, although I'm not sure if that's a very pale gingerbread boy or a marshmallow man.


Time "Fur" Christmas

I love a good vintage Christmas card and this one is a doozy. Dating to the 1950s, this one isn't even remotely politically correct for 2010. The pattern of the little girl's fur coat matches her dog just a little too perfectly to not creep me out.


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Orange Lizard Gun

Ally asked Santa for an orange lizard gun. She even drew a picture of an orange lizard on her letter to Santa. At the time we really didn't know what an orange lizard gun was, but over the past week Ally has told us more about it.

Apparently the orange lizard gun will shoot marshmallows far, far away over the tree tops. I'm not sure what the benefit of this might be, but Ally is enthralled by the idea. This morning she also asked if she could get a "net toy." When I asked her what a net toy did, she launched into a long and highly detailed explanation.

"The net toy will scoop up the bumblebees and stink bugs and shoot them far, far away over the tree tops where they land in the mud, the sticky mud, and the snakes lick them there. The snakes lick them clean and then shoot them back to the house but we shut the door and they can't get inside anymore."

I'm not sure we can get that at Walmart, honey.

In the Pink Quilt

I finally finished the pink quilt.


Oh yes, it's pink. Pink like strawberry ice cream, pink lemonade, and Canada mints. Sweetheart roses. Carnations. Little girl pink. The nose of a white bunny. Cotton candy. Guavas. The inside of a conch shell. Peppermint salt water taffy. Maybe, just maybe a splash of rhubarb and prickly pear margarita to tone it down a little.



The back is pieced with extra blocks and some solid pink fabric.



If you've known me for any length of time, you're probably scratching your head and asking, "Pink, Tree? Really?" I'm not a pink person. Oh sure, there was a time when I was very young that I liked the color pink. I remember thinking that the 1950s bathroom in our old house with the Pepto-Bismol colored pink tub, sink, and toilet was the height of fashion and couldn't understand why my parents were so eager to replace them with plebeian white fixtures. And my great-grandmother, Granny Riddle, let me pick out one of her quilts and I wanted the one with the pink sashing, no matter how much my mother tried to get me to pick one that wasn't so pink. But no, I don't typically choose the color pink now. Blues and greens are more my style.

So how did I wind up making a pink quilt? Well, much of my fabric comes from used clothing and the fashion industry does use a lot of pink. One pink and yellow striped cotton shirt caught my eye and then suddenly I realized how easy it would be to match the fabric with other shirts, skirts, and dresses with the color pink in them. I bought some solid pink Kona cotton (I think the color is called carnation, appropriately enough) to use for backing and the binding, but the rest of the fabric is from clothing I picked up at garage sales and thrift stores. One piece of fabric with pink daisies on a white background is from an outfit Ally wore when she was about a year old. The fabric with the vaguely Asian cherry blossom motif with chocolate brown accents is from a hideous cotton muumuu, but the fabric itself was pretty.

The 4.5 inch blocks are a mix of solid squares and squares with a triangle of a different fabric on one of the corners. The triangles are a mix of sizes, some small and others fairly large. I deliberately mixed the floral patterns with graphic stripes and plaids for variety. I also chose to stick with a pink, red, yellow, orange, white and brown color scheme, rejecting some potential fabric choices based on the amount and tone of blues and greens mixed in with the pink. I didn't realize it at the time, but now that the quilt is done I can see how my fabric choices give the quilt a softer, more faded look. Instant cottage charm.

I must mention that after I cut out the fabric for this quilt, I had to take a break from all the pink. I cut and finished my Calaveras de azúcar quilt before I could return to this one. And while I was tempted to give this one a name based on candy or a flower, I think it just wants to be known as "In the Pink."

Finally, my all time favorite quotes about the color pink are from the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias.

Truvy: What are your colors, Shelby?
Shelby: My colors are "blush" and "bashful."
M’Lynn: Her colors are "pink" and pink."

Shelby: Pink is my signature color.
M’Lynn: That sanctuary looks like it’s been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.

Vintage Felt Ornaments, Mouse and Cheese


I've had this ornament of a felt mouse on a slice of Swiss cheese for many, many years. I remember getting it, and a wooden George Washington on a white horse, at The Christmas Mouse on the Outer Banks of NC somewhere around 1976. I'm surprised the styrofoam cheese has held up all these years. It's a little battered, but Ally seems to like it as much as I did all those years ago.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Radford Christmas Parade, 2010

We went to the Radford Christmas parade the first weekend in December.



Radford has a nice little Christmas parade through the downtown beside the river and train tracks. It's a small parade, with high school bands, the boy and girl scouts, old cars, and fire trucks.


The dogs wear costumes.




The floats are by local businesses and churches.



Farmers drive their tractors.





Lots and lots of tractors. If my dad ever moves over to this part of the state I'm going to make him drive his John Deere in the Christmas parade.

There was a monster truck from the nearby Volvo plant in Dublin.



There were horses and riders.



And finally there was Santa.


Santa always seems to arrive on a fire truck around here.

And everyone passed out candy canes and suckers, which of course made Ally very happy.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seeing Santa, December 2010

Ally met Santa at her daycare center last Friday.


All the kids in her class room sat on the floor and waited for Santa to call their names.


Ally had written Santa a letter that inexplicably had a picture of a black and white spotted dog and an orange lizard on it.


When Santa called her name, Ally wasn't too sure about the whole thing at first.


She showed Santa her letter to him and told him that she wanted a lollipop for Christmas. A big purple one.


She got to ring Santa's bell.


But by the end of the meeting Ally seemed less than thrilled.


Can you believe she didn't give Santa a high five and left the Big Guy just hanging there? That doesn't bode too well for what she might find in her stocking come Christmas morning.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Calaveras de azúcar

Calaveras de azúcar is the name of my latest quilt. It's Spanish for "sugar skulls" and refers to the molded sugar confections made for the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Some people mistake the Day of the Dead as the Mexican version of Halloween, but they're not the same holiday. Day of the Dead is more about honoring the memories of our ancestors and celebrating their lives. The souls of the dead are invited to return and visit the living, to share favorite foods and drink together. It's a communion between the departed and the living and an acknowledgement that the departed are still with us in one way or another. I particularly like the concept that death is not something to be feared, but rather just another stage of life than we all go through.


The backing of this quilt has a Dia de los Muertos motif on it. I've always liked Mexican folk art so I was thrilled to find this fabric in the clearance section of my local fabric store earlier this fall.


Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) was a Mexican illustrator who drew both humorous and satirical images of skeletons dressed in clothes and going about ordinary lives. His art has become part of the iconic images of Mexican artwork and is the inspiration for the fabric I used as the backing on this quilt.



I used a disappearing nine patch pattern for the front of the quilt. This is a neat method to quickly make a more complicated pattern from an easy to assemble nine patch block. Rachel Griffith of "p.s. i quilt" has a nice tutorial that shows you how to make this pattern. I included bright blues, greens, oranges, purples and pinks, along with some black and white patterns, to match the backing fabric. I couldn't find any yellows that were bright enough to include in this quilt, although they would have fit nicely.


I quilted this piece using bright orange thread in meandering, wavy lines. The batting is another flannel sheet and the binding is made of the same black and white dotted fabric seen here.


This isn't a large quilt. It measures about four foot square, a good size for covering a lap or displaying on the back of a chair for some folk art.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

Jeeze it's cold.

Today I'm going to share a series of pictures I took in early November when the first couple of heavy frosts hit us. Back when frost and ice crystals seemed novel and pretty. Back when there were still some leaves on the trees. When I could easily spend a half hour outside before breakfast because the wind chill wasn't -5 and the sun came up before 7:30 am.

Sigh. I'm going to go take a hot shower and then climb into several layers of fleece now.