Legit.

Dear friends,

I came home today to the best stack of mail, ever!

First, there was a sweet and thoughtful handwritten letter from my CupKate . . . the kind that makes a mother’s heart melt and that somebody will no doubt find after I die amongst my most treasured keepsakes.

Then, there was a typed form letter from the Missouri Department of Revenue. Magpie Quilts is legit! I have a tax ID number and am finally authorized to do bidness in the Show Me State.

<Picture me here doing a spot-on Steve Martin/Navin Johnson impression after the phone book arrives in The Jerk. “I”m somebody now! Things are going to start happening to me now!”>

As I have a habit of reading the mail over dinner, I very nearly did the happy dance over my plate of Mr. Mom’s homemade spaghetti. For a day of the week that normally produces little to cheer over, this Monday kicked boo-tay.

So here’s the deal: I finished a new quilt last week. And because it doesn’t make sense to mail my quilts one at a time to my cousin in Oklahoma, I’m going to post it for sale here. If none of my 47 faithful and 13 random readers are interested, I’ll ship it off to my bidness partner after I finish two or three more and the shipping cost is worth it. (Yes, I’m going to keep saying bidness through this entire post. I’m sorry. Chalk it up to Government-Stamp-of-Approval giddiness.)

By the way, I’m still thinking about opening an Etsy Shop for Magpie Quilts, as a friend suggested I might develop a Missouri following who will be disappointed that my creations are only available in Oklahoma. (I realize she was probably just being nice, but I’m willing to run with it.) Anyway, it’s going to be a while before I can make that happen for a variety of reasons mostly related to not enough time in the day.

So here it is folks . . . Listen hard and you can hear the drum roll reverberating in my head.

Sunday in the Park (Strawberry Jam, #2 in a series) — $125.

cherrystripe

A picnic basket. A shady spot under an oak tree. And a soft and colorful quilt on which to stretch out and spend a lazy afternoon with your sweetheart. These are the elements of a relaxing Sunday in the park, and Magpie Quilts’ latest design creates the perfect landing spot for your next outdoor excursion.

Strawberry Jam is the second in a series of Sunday in the Park quilts. It is made from 100% cotton fabric and features cheery and modern prints, with a touch of old-fashioned gingham. The front is an expanse of whole cloth featuring pink “berries,” punctuated by a column of multi-colored geometric and floral patterns.  The back features four large panels of pink gingham with window-frame sashing made from the primary print. The quilt is entirely hand-made — pieced, quilted and bound by a single artisan in her Missouri studio — and measures 58″ X 60″, making it suitable for covering your lap as well as your picnic spot.

All Magpie Quilts are safe for the washing machine if laundered in cold water with a gentle detergent and dried on a low-to-medium setting. The batting is an 80/20 cotton-polyester blend, which gives the quilt an exceptional drape and a light weight. The quilt was made in a smoke-free environment and has been pre-washed to give it the vintage appearance of well-loved linens.

If you’re interested in Strawberry Jam or have questions about Magpie Quilts, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or email me at magpiequiltsbyjoan@gmail.com.

With gratitude {for a creative passion that is definitely lighting my fire},

Joan, who wishes to say one more time that Magpie Quilts is the brainchild of a woman who grew up in a heartland town she calls Mayberry, where catching fireflies on summer nights, sleeping under quilts hand-stitched by the local quilting bee, and sharing the bounty of a backyard vegetable patch never went out of vogue. Her quilt designs combine both vintage-inspired and contemporary fabrics in unfussy patterns that evoke a simpler time, a slower pace, and a love for the creature comforts of home.

Homemade.

Dear friends,

Homemade.

Today, the word evokes many positive connotations. Bespoke. Custom. Handcrafted. Artisanal.

But depending when and where you grew up, homemade could easily mean inferior. Makeshift. Unrefined.

When I was 10 years old, my mother made me a fabric-covered bulletin board for my room. One day, a very popular girl a year older than me visited my house and when she saw my bulletin board, she asked where I got it.

“My mom made it for me,” I said.

“Hmmmm,” she said, giving it a long look. “It looks cruddy enough to be homemade.”

Please don’t rush to judgement because I’m not trying to embarrass my friend. I’m guessing she has no memory of her words or that day and I don’t believe I’ve ever reminded her. And lord only knows what came out of my mouth at that age. I’m just grateful that nature’s greatest coping mechanism is failed memory so that I’ve forgotten the worst of my embarrassing or careless moments.

And, yes, the words stung a little, but the girl was otherwise so sweet and so adorable — and I so wanted to be her friend — that I didn’t hold it against her. To the contrary, her words became my own private joke that I’ve quoted innumerable times in my lifetime, especially lately as I’ve tackled quilting.

To wit:

heartquilt

My latest quilt presented no shortage of frustrations.  The design is my own and even though I’m pleased, I was mightily challenged. I tried several new products and techniques this go-around (including a higher loft wool batting that was tricky to work with), and the result was a bit “rustic.” As I eyed my many mistakes while hand-stitching the binding, I chuckled and thought to myself “Yep, this one definitely looks cruddy enough to be homemade.”

So it’s rather fitting that the quilt is going to the woman who coined those words decades ago, don’t you think?

She found new love a couple of years ago and, last month, she gave birth to beautiful twins, a girl and a boy.  I haven’t seen her in several years but I couldn’t be happier for her. As soon as I saw photos of her twins on Facebook, I just knew I had to make those babies a quilt.

Here’s the full view:

quiltfullview

And here’s a close up of the backing fabric, which I love because it’s peppered with soft colors, sweet sentiments, a rustic alphabet and, of course, my favorite . . . owls.

quiltback2

Bonnie Bea — I wish you and your hubby all the love in the world.  (And Batt and Jennie all the warmth and comfort a homemade quilt can provide.)

With gratitude {for the patience to stick with this homemade thing in the face of sometimes laughable results},

Joan-Marie, who idolized Bonnie Bea for a million reasons as a young girl including her lyrical and memorable name