Monday, April 17, 2017

Flowering of the Cross

We have a wooden cross made with 2x4s covered with chicken wire at my church, University Baptist in Hattiesburg. On Easter Sunday everyone is encouraged to bring flowers to decorate the cross. We worried there wouldn't be enough flowers this year because our azaleas bloomed early and are gone. But people brought every other kind of flower imaginable--from tiny Lantana to volunteer sunflowers to our state flower, the magnolia with its shiny green leaves. What a glorious sight! A good place for some of my amaryllis, too.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter and Amaryllis

No Easter egg dyeing here, but a few of my rabbits moved to the dining room table.
I've been enjoying documenting the progress of my apple blossom amaryllis, which has rewarded me with two scapes this year. I've posted several pictures on Facebook, and will repeat them here.

There are five blooms on one scape and four on the other. They open gradually, and I will be enjoying them for several weeks.

My passion for scrap quilts and string quilts got a workout with the completion of this red star string quilt. It is patterned after one I saw that Joan Alliston had made with black stars and red border.

RahRah was fascinated with the computer screen when she was a tiny kitten. She has not outgrown this interest and loves to stretch up to the top of it whenever I am sitting at the computer.
3 months old
3 years old

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Blue Jean Quilts and Quilter's Dream Come True

Meanwhile, back in the studio . . .  I have finished a project that was very difficult but very rewarding. Several years ago a friend and neighbor asked me to help her learn to make quilts for her grandchildren from their blue jeans as they graduated high school. I gladly taught her what she wanted to know, introducing her to mats, rulers, rotary cutters and other innovations. She died unexpectedly in December and I asked one of her four daughters about the quilts and said I wanted to help complete the two in progress.
      Six had their quilts, and there were two seniors this year. The quilts tops were nearly complete, and the daughter helped as I added the remaining squares, layered with thin batting and flannel, and stitched red crochet thread at the intersections for tying; then I added the binding and turned them over for the family to tie all the crochet threads.
      I moved the sewing machine to the dining room table to help deal with the weight and bulk. I could not have done these without help, and we marveled at Jo having already done six quilts by herself. The youths treasure these gifts from their grandmother, each with his or her name embroidered in a corner square, and it was a real blessing to me to be able to finish a quilter's dream and carry on a family tradition. We all worry about leaving unfinished projects stored in closets, so this felt good!

Linking up with Nina-Marie's Off-the-Wall Friday

Amaryllis for April

April 6, with second scape to the right

April 6 from above

April 8
My apple blossom amaryllis is about to put on a show...five blossoms on one scape and another scape is coming up, meaning the bulb has multiplied. Isn't it marvelous what sometimes happens when we just leave things alone and let Mother Nature do her thing? The bulb was a gift about 6-7 years ago, and after it grew very tall (too tall!) with six blossoms in a pot, I planted it in the flowerbed where I can see it from the kitchen window. It has bloomed every year with three or four blossoms, but at a good height. I do feed it a few times during the year and mulch through the winters. I'm so happy to have it multiply! A beautiful Easter message.

Tarbaby is sunning himself on the window ledge inside.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Ag Museum Quilt Wins in Dallas

At the Quilters Guild of Dallas Show
Good news for the Ag Museum quilt this month! It won a blue ribbon in the Quilters Guild of Dallas show and also the Mississippi Cultural Crossroads Port Gibson show. Dallas is a 400-quilt show, with 30 entries in the Group category--stiff competition. Port Gibson ribbon winners will be displayed at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson from June-August, a definite honor.
My son and his wife live in Dallas and went to see the show (at mom's suggestion!). They have a neat little boutique--The Laughing Willow--in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas that I love to tell people about.
Mark and Melody Ginn at the Dallas show
Entries in the Group category are in one name, but I don't want to slight the other fabulous members of our Fab Five team. Here we are pictured with our sections before all were completed:
Marcus Weekley, Martha Ginn, Cathy Reininger, Julia Graber, Rita Warnock
Spring is officially here, though it has actually been here for about three months. I finally quit worrying about another frost and planted snapdragons, zinnias, vinca, and coleus. I'm not a very adventuresome gardener--old favorites are just fine. A friend shared her purple Iris last fall and I'm eager for these to bloom on the healthy growth they already have.

Linking up with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday

Sunday, March 12, 2017

MQA's 25th Anniversary

We celebrated 25 years of Mississippi Quilt Association at the February Gathering in Brandon on February 17-18. Quilts made by former presidents were hung all around the hall, and what a stunning display it was. We recognized many presidents and charter members, awarding lifetime memberships and talking over memories and joying in our accomplishments. Had it not been for Carol Vickers heading up the search committee, our documentation project and resulting book, Mississippi Quilts, would have never come to fruition. We admired the quilts on display and caught up on news of people who were no longer able to attend. We laughed about the story of Sandra Plummer and her preacher husband coming upon an overturned truckload of buttons on the highway. She had him pull over and park (in the driveway of a beer joint), and they picked up as many buttons as fast as they could before a church member saw their car. We reminisced over some of the great memories and celebrated friendships that we are thankful for today.
Ellen Hall, Linda Flanders, Martha Ginn, Cheryl Owens
Former presidents and charter members
My quilts, Mississippi Friendship Album and This Is My Story, This Is My Song,
behind a table of pictures and scrapbooks

Sunday, February 26, 2017

What Happened to Winter?

After two days of weather in the 'teens, we are enjoying spring-like temperatures and a profusion of blooming azaleas, camellias, Japanese magnolias, and quince. I made a trip to Austin, TX in January, and my brother's quince bush made me want to plant one.
We visited a Mexican meat market where there were more varieties of peppers than I'd seen in one place. And customers brought their own shopping bags because plastic bags are forbidden in Austin. This makes me want to remember to bring my own bag here in Hattiesburg.

My azaleas are nearly in full bloom at the end of February.

Speaking of growing things, my experiment of watering paperwhites with a diluted mixture of gin was a total failure--no blooms at all. However, in re-reading the information, I discovered that this was suggested for bulbs planted in water over rocks, not in soil.

Friday, February 10, 2017

SEW WHAT? Textile Exhibit

My latest news is being a participant in The Hattiesburg Arts Council's SEW WHAT? event on February 4 at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center.
USM mezzo sopranos Cymon Davis and Angelica Sewer sang two numbers to open the program.

Janice Hunter from Atlanta was the featured speaker, showing her African-inspired storyquilts. Pine Belt Quilters displayed 30 quilts and I spoke about the guild's history and activities.

USM's Apparel Construction and Design professors described the new certification program, a joint program of the Departments of Theatre and Marketing/Merchandising. Several costumes were also on display. A section of the AIDS quilt was hung, along with three locally produced panels that will be submitted to the project. Beejee Jenkins gave information about the panels.
Section of the AIDS quilt with Mayor Johnny DuPree
There was a good crowd, and this historic building offered a beautiful setting for the costumes and quilts. The building was our public library until 1996, when it became the Hattiesburg Cultural Center. It houses offices for the Arts Council and the Downtown Association and is used for many interesting civic events.

Janice Hunter with her storyquilts
Martha Ginn

Janice Hunter and Martha Ginn

View from second floor

Rise and Shine, Inner City

Oh, What a Summer by Ellen Hall

Oma's Blues by Vivian Plummer

Round Robin Pathways
Althea Jerome and Claudia Cartee with Finding My Way
The exhibit will come down for a Mardi Gras ball this weekend and a wedding next weekend, and then go back up for viewing Feb. 21-22-23. I said the building was used for many events!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Barn Quilts and Paperwhites

What we refer to as "Christmas Holidays" passed rather uneventfully here in Hattiesburg. Weather was warm and humid, reminding me of living in Corpus Christi, Texas. But we finally had a few days of teens temps and icy roads. My geranium and croton plants had to be covered, but we're back in the 60-70s.
Linda and I planned to eat Christmas Dinner at Cracker Barrel since they are always open on holidays for travelers. Not! So we warmed up homemade soup and worked on her barn quilt patterns. She has become fascinated with this idea and plans to rotate her signs seasonally. She doesn't have a barn, so the quilts are for the front of her house. The Noel/Christmas tree hung during December.
The Friendship Star is up now, with the Star of the Orient ready to follow.
She bought an 8' square of 1/4" plywood and had it cut into several pieces. The Noel/Christmas tree is 2' wide by 4' high; the two star blocks are 3' square.

Meanwhile, back in the studio, I've been having lots of fun working on my Indian Orange Peel design by Karen K Stone. Here are some of the parts laid out on the table, not sewn yet--just working with color placement. These little arcs are addictive! They create a huge mess of fabric on the floor.

I had six bulbs of paperwhites last fall that made a beautiful show of flowers. Doubting that it was worthwhile, I dug up the bulbs (which had multiplied into lots of smaller ones) and stored them in the refrigerator until around Thanksgiving. I brought them out and planted them in fresh soil and began watering. My garden center guru mentioned that gin would cause the foliage to only grow about 1/2-1/3 as high while still producing regular-sized flowers. I researched to be sure I heard him correctly, and after some growth took place I began to water them with 1 part gin to 7 parts water. Here is the pot just beginning to put up leaves in mid-December. Next picture is today, January 10.
Mid-December when I started the gin/water

I'll report back later.