Inspiration is everywhere.

Dear friends,

I mentioned in my last post that I recently made a mini quilt for a swap. Crafters/artists swaps have been around for a long time, but I had never before thought of signing up for a quilt swap until recently when I stumbled across this blog.

I signed up on impulse, right before the deadline, and a week later I received an email with information about my secret swap partner. Since I was supposed to make a mini quilt (no smaller than 6″ X 6″ and no bigger than 24″ X 24″), I realized the petite format was perfect for an appliqued motif I’d been thinking about for weeks.

A few months ago, I tripped across this image of a neon sign on Pinterest:

firefly

Source: Roadhouse Relics

My first impulse was to buy this beauty. I was charmed by the design and instantly transported to childhood summer nights spent at my Gram’s house, where my younger cousin and I often caught fireflies in a Mason jar to create an improvised lantern that would extend our under-the-covers playtime long after our grandmother had put us to bed.

Unfortunately, the neon sign was both out of my price range and sold.

Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about the simple joy of a blue jar lit by fireflies, and I vowed to turn the image into a quilt.

I hope my swap partner has as many fond memories of “lightening bugs” as I do, because this is what I made for her:

miniquilt

I’ve been enjoying what I call “free form applique” ever since a Crate and Barrel catalog inspired me to make this table runner.  I’m too impatient for the kind of appliqued images where the edges are perfectly cut and neatly stitched in place. My free form variety is far more rustic and forgiving of mistakes, and my “doodle stitching” in various color threads is more akin to folk art than accomplished needlework.

firefliescu

I hope my style suits my secret swap pal. Thanks to the magic of the internet, the 160 folks participating in this swap have our own Flickr group and Instagram/Twitter hashtags for sharing our work. (Want to see more? Click here.) There are some very talented quilters among the group, which gives me a bit of “swap anxiety.”

I am a definite novice in this bunch, which all things considered, is probably a catbird seat for the Magpie.

With gratitude {for inspiration all around me and the opportunity to play with the big girls},

Joan, who finally “packed away” her quilting studio yesterday in a cleaning frenzy prompted by a much-improved back and a desire to serve an upcoming meal or two on the dining room table

Space Jam.

Dear friends,

I’m seriously in need of help.

Organizational . . . financial . . . spatial/dimensional . . . psychological. Yep, maybe all four.

fabric

This is my dining room table. My dining room table is not supposed to look this way.

It’s supposed to look this way:

prettytable

We haven’t eaten a meal at the dining room table in more than a month — ever since I permanently camped out with my sewing machine and fabric. Right now I’ve got several projects going. A gift quilt for a friend. A mini-quilt for an online swap meet. Four new quilts for Magpie Quilts.

I desperately need a studio. A light and bright studio. One with a cutting station, a sewing station, a comfortable spot to bind, a design wall, fabric storage. I swear if Kate were one year farther along in college, I would evict her things from her bedroom and set up shop. Or if I could just sell that ratcha-fratching Oklahoma house, I’d demand to build a studio out back, college funds be damned.

I’m one of those women whose tidiness is well-documented. I can walk into a room and tell instantly if a book or a vase or a candle has been moved. We make our beds every day. Our car keys are hung on a hook by the back door. My throw pillows are plumped and positioned just so. My bathroom counters are pleasingly clear and my kitchen island causes me frustration if so much as the day’s mail clutters it. Heck, even our laundry is put away on a regular basis.

I do not leave piles on the dining room table.

Until now.

All I can say is I must really love quilting to tolerate this mess.

Quilting has even usurped Gunsmoke. I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to concentrate on my nightly television/cocktail ritual with Mr. Mom. Fortunately, he’s tolerant of both the disruption and the mess. (I know because I apologized to him. Yes, I’m the kind of nut who apologizes for leaving a mess on the dining room table because if the tables were turned — no pun intended, I promise — it would really annoy me. Just ask him about his laundry room desk.)

I don’t have a solution to my problem. I guess I’m just venting, which goes against my gratitude grain AND my problem-solver grain. I suppose I’m going to have to embrace the situation or risk rubbing my Buddhist-acceptance grain the wrong way, too.

With gratitude {for grains that mostly keep me in line},

Joan, who won’t be quilting OR watching Gunsmoke this weekend because she’s meeting some Okie friends for an overnight excursion to see the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, AR, and — for once — might have something nice to say about the Walton family fortune

Creative cousins.

Dear friends,

I mentioned in my last post that I drove several hours on Saturday for an adventure. The fun involved going to the westernmost point of Missouri (Joplin to be precise) to  meet up with my cousin and enjoy the bounty of a huge crafts and vintage goods show.

Called “2 Friends and Junk,” the event features dealers from three states and travels to four cities over six dates. It was an extravaganza of repurposed, upcycled, handcrafted, vintage, and new wares. I bought everything from old advertising flour scoops to upcycled costume jewelry.

My cousin Allison (named after our grandparents’ surname) owns a design and vintage furniture business in Tulsa and was a featured vendor at the show. Here’s a photo of her display taken with my iPhone:

jopinbooth

Isn’t is awesome? She has a real eye for form and color, and she comes by her love of junking honest. (Both her mother and mine loved nothing more than a good garage sale, flea market or auction. Oh how I wished they were alive to see her thrive in this business. They would be so proud of her.)

And what was especially fun for me is that she agreed to sell my quilts. If you have a keen eye, you’ll notice two of them in the bottom left corner of the photo above.

What’s funny is that Allison wanted to approach me about carrying my items and I wanted to ask her, but neither of us wanted to impose on the other. But the more I thought about the stresses of leasing my own booth and the pressure to be the sole provider of inventory, the more I worried that Magpie Quilts would never get launched. After this post, a regular reader and friend from my hometown emailed me to say I ought to sell my quilts though a woman from our town who is opening a new store. I thanked Juanita for the idea, but reminded myself I have a family member doing the same thing. A few Facebook exchanges, texts and a phone call later, we had it all worked out.

For my Oklahoma friends and readers, you can find Farrar Design and Magpie Quilts at the River City Trading Post in Jenks. (You can also find Farrar Design on Facebook.) If you fall in love with the wares of either of the creative cousins, we’ll be delighted.

With gratitude {for great suggestions and unplanned solutions to life’s minor challenges},

Joan, who risks annoying her new retailer by showing you this photo of the cousins from a family wedding but thinks they were exceptionally cute flower girls in 1974

vickie's wedding

Practice, schmactice.

Dear friends,

runnersnapseed

I spent Sunday working on more ideas for Magpie Quilts, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. My guess is you’re thinking to yourself “Does Joan have any idea how OCD she is?”

Truth is, I do. (I’m trying to make it work for me, man!)

I’ve known for a while that to take the next step in quilting, I needed to learn how to free-motion quilt (FMQ in the biz). Without this skill, I’m either stuck in straight-stiching land or doomed to pay someone else to quilt all my tops. Neither option suits me, so I spent the weekend reading up, watching videos and diving in.

Like anything worth doing, free-motion quilting requires practice. And the online quilting forums are chock full of people who practice drawing their designs freehand first, then sew on paper (yes, paper, because it’s cheap), then scraps.  Practice, practice, practice, they say. I practiced Saturday afternoon, where practice equals trying it for the first time and getting bored with practice in about 20 minutes and moving on to making key-rings.

It occurred to me that the only reason I got good at cooking is because I am allowed to eat all the “practice” dishes. Quilting, suffers, I think, from a  lack of instant gratification, especially when most of the quilters you meet talk about how much they practice and how they spend months piecing a quilt top.

To heck with that! I’m about getting it done, for better or for worse. Which is also why I’m pretty good at devising shortcuts.

To wit: Saturday night as I read in bed, I noticed this lovely tablecloth on the cover of a favorite catalog.

catalog

And I thought how pretty that tablecloth would be as a quilted table runner. But appliqueing that many berries? No way, Jose.

Instead, I used thermal adhesive (the kind you iron-on to fabric). First I free-hand cut tree branches and berries (yay for freehand cutting “practice”) then I ironed them onto a fabric panel that would become the top of my table runner. After making a “quilt sandwich,” which consists of a top, a piece of batting, and a back, I free-motion quilted the whole thing, which killed two birds with one stone. (I both “appliqued” the cut-out elements AND quilted the runner all in one fell swoop). All that was left to do was bind it and sew on a Magpie Quilts label.

I saved so much time, I even managed to help Mr. Mom put away the groceries, prepare our Sunday Supper, and set a proper table — using the new runner, of course.

In case you’re curious, here’s a close-up view:

runnercu

It’s not without imperfections — but then neither are tree bark and branches, so Mother Nature and me are sympatico, don’t you think?

With gratitude {for having never been a perfectionist but almost always finishing},

Joan, who can’t decide whether to keep this one, because it’s clearly practice quality, or give it away, because  — you know — practice schmactice

Remember when I told you I was blessed with confidence?

Dear friends,

magpie

Well, my confidence is buoyed by an unflagging optimism. And the optimism causes me to believe I am very nearly superhuman.

Mr. Mom doesn’t subscribe to my theory that confidence creates optimism, by the way. He says there’s something about my childhood that makes me crave chaos. And so when life is calm, I create self-imposed havoc by taking on too many projects, putting too many irons in the fire, juggling too many plates until a few come crashing down.

He’s such a Daddy Downer.

Anyway, the real point is that it appears I am happiest when I’m juggling. And lately I’ve been juggling a new endeavor that has me bursting with excitement.

I’ve decided to start a quilt company.

I’m convinced I’m the next Heather Jones or Elizabeth Hartman. Or as Mr. Mom said, “I think you could do for quilting what Ree Drummond did for home-style cooking.” (Okay, so he’s not always a Daddy Downer because that was pretty sweet, albeit delusional.)

Anyway, my little company — known as Magpie Quilts — is currently located on my dining room table. And I haven’t actually sold anything yet. Oh, and did I mention I don’t aspire to go all Kelly Rae Roberts and get a merchandising deal (although I lOVE KRR and am thrilled she’s hit the big-time)?

Here’s what I want: to make as many quilts as I have time for and to send them into the world, free of charge, to surprise recipients and spread happiness. And world peace. (Okay, world peace is a tall order so I’ll settle for happiness.)

I know — that’s kind of what I’m doing now. So you might think why do I need a company? Because these darn quilts I’m making are darn expensive. ($200 in materials alone for the last queen-size one I made. Have I mentioned I have two mortgages, a child in college and another child nine months away from college?)

So my business model is this: make just enough money to off-set the cost of everything I give away. It’s kind of brilliant. I might just turn modern capitalism on its head and win the Nobel Prize in Economics. (There’s that confidence thing again.)

The first step is getting a tax ID number so I can buy wholesale. (Retail is killing me, Smalls.) I sent my application and tax bond to the Missouri Department of Commerce yesterday. The next steps are to buy some fabric, make some quilts, and sell some stuff. (I am also a master of planning simplification.)

Since I’ve got that day-job obstacle, I plan to sell my stuff in the booth of a local antique mall. (I’m a little too busy to ring folks up and collect sales tax, after all.) And even though I plan to price my quilts affordably, I realize not everyone is going to be a big-ticket spender, so I’m planning an entire line of small soft goods and packaged fabric bundles in the $5 to $50 range for the impulse buyer. (You gotta diversify your product line, after all, even if your store is a 6′ X 6′ booth!)

I scratched out a to-do list and a modest business plan while eating my salad at Panera today. I figure it will take me at least 90 days to get things organized and accumulate enough inventory to open up my booth. But then I’m off and running!

It might be a bust. But, I’m okay with that because — after all — I’ve got a day job and Magpie Quilts will thrive, even if limited by my modest budget.

If it’s a boon, well I realize that could be a problem, too. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I sell my inventory faster than I can replenish it. I guess I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.

In the mean time, I’m “pert near” bubbling over with creative energy. Bear with me, will you, if my posts are a bit one-track? Like my proposed product line, I’ll try to diversify my writing. (Just as soon as I finish stitching up my new company.)

With gratitude {for happy, creative, productive seasons in life},

Joan, who wishes to reinforce her Unaquilter pseudonym and shout her manifesto from the rooftops: Fabric Happiness for Everyone!

Stained glass showoff.

Dear friends,

I have a dear friend who makes beautiful stained glass windows. Her home is a showcase of her work and I’ve long thought I should a commission a panel for my home. The supplies are expensive and her time is valuable so I’ve just never quite pulled the trigger, but I’ve always admired her talent and wished I could do the same.

For the record, my friend, Alisa, is multi-talented. She also cooks and gardens and sews and paints (fine art) and builds (cabins) and pretty much does anything she sets her mind to. She’s been a creative inspiration to me as long as I’ve known her, which is pushing 30 years.

Anyway, I spent Saturday fabricating my own stained glass window of sorts on — you guessed it — my sewing machine.

stainedglassfront

The colored panels are a fabric called “Squared Elements” and, up close, they remind me of little windows. Take a look:

stainedglasscu

The gray strips around the panels reminds me of the soldered lines in stained glass, which might be as close as I ever get to using an electric hand tool.

I got the idea for this quilt from a photo I saw on Pinterest, which I replicated. I know there’s a whole sub-culture of Pinterest haters, but I’m not one of them. I’ve gotten several good ideas from my favorite pinners. (And not all the recipes are worthless. I know several really good food bloggers whose recipes are regularly pinned so, as always, consider the source.)

Before Saturday, I had never made a quilt with sashing (strips of fabric surrounding a block or fabric panel) so I wasn’t quite sure how to do it without instructions. But I figured it out and only had to pull out my seam ripper once. These kinds of challenges are, for me, the “puzzle” of quilting and why I keep resisting patterns and going my own way.

By the way, another one of my longtime friends received this quilt in the mail last week and called to say she was thrilled. I was so happy to hear she liked it — and even happier to hear it had arrived on her doorstop at the conclusion of a very bad day, which turned around when she opened my box. Aren’t surprise greetings and packages the best?

Speaking of surprises, I was astonished to hear my friend say that her mother saw the quilt and exclaimed “Is there anything Joan can’t do?” It’s something I’ve said about my friend Alisa many times, and a description I never expected to hear about myself . . . which just goes to show: talent is in the eye of the beholder, so looking upon yourself with kinder (outside) eyes is a gift to be relished.

With gratitude {for unexpected gifts that go both ways},

Joan, who has decided instead of Crazy Quilt Lady, she shall be known as the Unaquilter and her manifesto shall be Fabric Happiness for Everyone!

It’s all my brain’s fault!

Dear friends,

starfront

Last week I had the opportunity to take a survey based on the “whole brain” research of Ned Herrmann. The survey resulted in a detailed profile that explains my preferences for thinking and problem-solving based on the four quadrants of the brain and the types of activity central to each quadrant. At its most basic, the profile tells you if your preference is to be a “thinker” (the analytic quadrant), a “feeler” (the emotional quadrant), a “planner” (the organizing quadrant), or an “innovator” (the creative quadrant) — or, if your preferences make you “balanced” in two or more quadrants.

Before seeing the results, I would have told you I am a thinker and a planner.  I consider myself very analytical and very adept at administrative/organizational tasks (and Mr. Mom concurs, for what it’s worth).

Turns out, I was wrong. Based on the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), I’m first and foremost an innovator. A creator. An entrepreneur.

It’s true that lots of people say I’m creative. “No I’m not!” is my usual response. (Because the part of my brain that is authoritative and overly-confident says I know myself better than others, I suppose.)

After seeing my profile plotted out over the four quadrants of the brain, I learned that I’m mostly creative, with lesser but balanced strengths in analyzing and planning. I’m weakest in feeling. (Yeah, I knew that about myself. “Joan’s so warm and empathetic” said no one ever.)

The purpose of this profile was to better understand how I bring my talents to bear for my employer and colleagues. What I couldn’t stop thinking about, though, was my recent foray into quilting.

“No wonder I have yet to follow a pattern!” I thought to myself. Since I started quilting in April, I’ve started seven quilts and finished six. The one unfinished quilt in my sewing cabinet is the one for which I have a pattern. Somehow, it’s just not interesting enough to keep me going. Since I promised Kate I’d finish it in time for tennis season, I’ve got to get over my  hurdle and get going — but I keep getting distracted by other projects, like the star placemat pictured above.

Saturday night I was perusing the internet and tripped across this photo:

quiltstar

Source: V and Co

I’ve been casting about for a quilt to make for a friend and this one seemed perfect for her tastes. And it looked so simple — except I’m too inexperienced to figure out on my own how to make the blocks that form the points of the star. After a little googling, I thought I had it. So I got up Sunday morning and used scraps to make a test block, which turned into an impromptu placemat because why waste a test square?

So — off I go in search of fun fabric for my friend’s star quilt.

And it’s all my brain’s fault!

With gratitude {for a brain that’s not what I thought it was but seems to work fine anyway},

Joan, who figures quilting by pattern is a lot like painting-by-number and she never did that either

Conceding I might be obsessed.

Dear friends,

fabric

Last week I spent a week away from home on a two-city business trip, the end of which was marked by a detour through IKEA because hello?! There’s no way on God’s Green Earth I’m going all the way to Chicago, the home of the nearest IKEA, without driving an SUV and bringing home a haul.

I bought a lot. Mr. Mom said it looked like Christmas morning in our living room. If you know IKEA, you know I got Christmas morning for a song. Dishes, bedding, rugs, and furniture all made their way home with me for not much more than a typical back-to-school shopping trip to Target.

You know what I was most excited by? A bookshelf, a rolling cart and a tabletop ironing board for my sewing, er, laundry room.

With apologies to Patrick Swayze, somebody did put Baby in a corner, and she didn’t like it. If you read this post, you know I improvised a sewing space in our laundry room. Problem was, I arranged it before I started quilting and I didn’t realize you can’t really quilt in a corner. (Besides the fact the view is uninspiring, it lacks the wide open table/floor space needed to work on bed-sized projects.) So for the last several weeks, I’ve been hauling everything I need — one armful at a time — from the laundry room to the dining room table every time I wanted to sew.

Plus, if you read the above-mentioned post, you also noticed my craft storage space was crammed full. And that was BEFORE I started hoarding sewing supplies and fabric.

So last week’s trip to IKEA seemed like the perfect excuse to solve my problem by buying a storage solution. I’m content to continue sewing on the dining room table. After all, it’s huge (4′ X 10′), there’s ample floor space on all sides and plenty of nearby electrical outlets, the light is good, and the hardwood floor makes it easy to sweep up the thread and fabric debris afterwards. The only downside is I have to put my things away each time I finish, but I consider that chore a discipline that’s good for my soul.

Plus, the chore got a whole lot easier after I bought a rolling cart. Now I simply carry my sewing machine in one hand and roll the supply cart with the other and — voila — instant sewing space!

As for the storage solution, a tall bookcase with glass shelves was just the ticket. I stumbled across this blog post about how to store fabric (aren’t those crafters crafty?) and I couldn’t resist.

shelf

Can you believe there’s 100 pieces of fabric on the middle shelf? I know this because I purchased 100 comic book “boards” and wrapped every single one of them with the fabric from my “stash.” (“Stash” is a term quilters use to feel better about the fabric they buy with no particular project in mind.) I probably don’t need to point out there’s lots of room in this bookcase for my stash to grow. Kudos to me for thinking ahead.

Kudos to me for being organized.

Kudos to me for rationalizing my current obsession.

(Did I mention I’ve made seven quilts and six were gifts? So, really, my obsession is doing good in the world. Right?)

With gratitude {for the patience of Job, also granted to Mr. Mom, upon whose assembly skills my good deeds depend),

Joan, who found it tragic that Mr. Mom didn’t have the assembly buddy recommended in this IKEA booklet and, therefore, was definitely wearing a sad face last Sunday

IKEA2

The 5 stages of quilting.

Dear friends,

quiltcu2

I finished my latest quilt on Saturday. It’s my sixth since I started in April. I continue to learn a little more each time I try a new pattern and/or a new technique.

The primary lesson I’ve learned is that quilting is a lot like grieving in that it has five distinct, emotional stages common to all projects. By describing them here, I’m hoping my experiences will resonate with others and that the legions of lonely and despondent quilters around the world will find solace and acceptance here.

The first stage is Glee. This stage is marked by restless anticipation and unbridled excitement as the quilter selects her fabric and plans what she is convinced will be the BEST QUILT EVER. The quilter in stage one will appear giddy and may babble uncontrollably. This stage varies in duration, especially if the quilter is a frequent fabric shopper and, therefore, is subject to regular fabric highs. (Fabric highs are followed by inevitable fabric crashes when the thrill of a recent fabric shipment wears off. This high-low cycle is the reason many quilters horde fabric as they seek to satiate their cravings.)

The second stage is Frustration. This stage is marked by annoyance and short tempers as the quilter actually begins her project. This stage typically commences during the cutting process, particularly if the quilter is weak in math, and often extends well into the piecing process. A sign that the second stage has commenced is frequent outbursts of negative exclamations, such as “This is so stupid!”, “I suck!”, “Why did I pick this <expletive> pattern?!” and “&%$#&**#!”

The third stage is Fear. This stage is marked by extreme anxiety prompted by the quilter’s sense of impending peril. She begins to imagine she will irrevocably ruin the project, waste her money, embarrass herself in front of her family and friends, and fail to complete a recognizable quilt. It is typical for a quilter experiencing this stage to retreat to a dark room, turn inward, and question her purpose in life. Some quilters consume alcohol during this stage as a method of self-medication.

The fourth stage is Despair. This stage is marked by depression and lethargy as the quilter is certain she is an utter failure. She may lose interest in other activities, such as eating and grooming. It is extremely important that the quilter’s loved ones encourage her to keep sewing through this stage. Frequent verbal affirmations may help propel her toward completion of the project, and expressing interest in any aspect of the quilt — such as the color palette, fabric selections, or pattern details — provides an important distraction to her despair. It is rare for a quilter to successfully endure this stage of quilting without outside assistance.

The fifth stage is Acceptance. This is the final stage of quilting and is marked by the quilter’s calm concession that she has not made the BEST QUILT EVER but has completed a worthy project and is better prepared to tackle the next. Signs that this stage is fully realized are verbalizations or behavior that may indicate the quilter is planning her next project. If these behaviors are noticed by loved ones, they should continue to encourage the quilter with affirmations and expressions of admiration for the quilter’s talent and fortitude.

If you know anyone who is experiencing the five stages of quilting (which, by the way, are almost identical to the stages experienced during a DIY project), please refer them to this post. And, most importantly, be gentle with their fragile, creative souls. Hugs are always in order.

With gratitude {for self-administered self-help, including all varieties of wine and healthy doses of humor},

Joan, whose most recent quilt pictured above and below was the most challenging and despair-inducing project so far

***

In case you’re curious, here’s a photo of the front. I used 21 shades of blue fabric and created the pattern myself based on this inspiration photo.

quiltfront

And here’s a photo of the back. The backing fabric is one of the most cheerful prints I’ve ever seen. I love it!

quiltback

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