Lucky 13

#13 came together with relative ease.  Even though it doesn't have anything specific to my family (as far as pictures), it is interesting.  I still haven't decided if I'm stopping at 16 or going on to 20 blocks.  It's not that I find my interest waning, but I do feel like I'm ignoring other important things for this one obsession. 
Although several blocks have lace or embroidered fans, this is the only one with a fabric fan.   I wasn't sure I would like it, but the effect has grown on me.  I'm considering having each of the 4 corner blocks include some sort of similar idea.  If not a fan, then a star or something else quilt-ish.  This lace is another piece from Childhood Memories.  The rayon velvet ribbon is from LesBonRibbon, another great etsy shop, that I dyed.  I find dying the ribbons and lace to be very gratifying.
The cameo I embroidered with my embroidery machine a while back just because I love cameos, but didn't know what to do with it.  The heart around St Ann and the Virgin Mary and the purple flower to the right were hand dyed.  (St. Ann is the patron saint of seamstresses and one of my most favorite saints.)  The olive retro trim was a piece from Roxann that I must admit, I didn't care for.  But it has grown on me lately and it was perfect for this block.  I think I was just afraid to use it because it is quite bulky, but it worked well for this application.
See the brown thing in the corner?  It is actually a lace deer.  I found the pattern online and made it with the embroidery machine, too.  It might have looked better in white, but the tan was what I had in the machine at the time and I was too lazy to change it. 

Check back soon as I've made improvements to one of the other earlier blocks.


Golden Anniversary...Take Two

I revisited the anniversary block and came up with some additions.  I think it looks much, much better now.  This has made me want to take a harder look at a couple of the other blocks, which I will do in time. 
For starters, I added a satin stitch bow tie to my dad and white and red french knots to my mom's bouquet.  Just a touch of color, and true to what they had on their wedding day.  Then I threw in some pale pink (the color of the bridesmaid's dresses) satin ribbon to the lace framing their picture. 
I moved Laura's flower over to the center of the patch and made some buttonhole and split stitch leaves.  Then I added a length of hand dyed velvet ribbon.  I think this should all finish the block out nicely.  What do you think?


Golden Anniversary

I tried really hard to get this block finished and posted by yesterday (April 19th) in honor of my parent's Fiftieth Anniversary, but with my business trip this week, I ended up a day late.  I guess I could use the argument that the 50th should be special all year, right? 
I'm afraid I rushed this block too much because it just doesn't feel finished. If you have any suggestions of what I could add or what it needs, please drop me a comment. I might think your idea is perfect, or it might set the wheels in my rusty brain in motion and make me think of something else.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!  They were married in Houston, Texas, where my mom was born and raised.  Dad was from Tuleta.  They met as students at Southwest Texas State in San Marcos.  Their wedding silver was smuggled from the dining room at the college by their friends.  We used that stuff every day.  Among other things, my parents taught me to enjoy sewing, reading, cooking, woodworking, and saving a buck.  School projects were never plain; they usually involved something eye-catching and well executed.  Not that I was great at execution, but Dad believes if you're going to do it and turn it in, it damn well better be done right.  My first school box was a painted cigar box (thanks, Mom) and my folders were decorated with drawings by my mom.   Spelling word sentences read as a story, with an added challenge of using at least two or three spelling words per sentence.  We had three channels to watch on tv.  Those were the days. 
So, even though my brother was the favorite and I had to walk to and from school uphill both ways, in the snow, etc, etc, I would like to say thank you, Mom and Dad!

The star and leaves are from the Texas state seal.  In the real seal, the branch on the left is from an oak tree and the right is the olive, for strength and peace respectively.  My embroidery isn't good enough to actually look like oak and olive, but you get the idea.  As a side note, some historians say that my 5th great-grandfather, General James Smith, was responsible for the use of the star seal.  Follow that link to read about his fancy buttons.  So this part of the block is for Texas, my family heritage, and my husband, who proudly wears the badge of a Texas peace officer with this emblem on it. That's a lot to pack into one spot!
This actual applique is from a set of stars from a dress my granny made me when I was a baby.  She gave me the rest of the stars when my oldest was born. 
The flower on the bottom left is for my oldest friend, Laura.  We've been buddies since kindergarten.  I am not telling how long ago that was.  Although we are many miles apart and lead very different lives, we remain very important to each other. 
The green heart I bought several years ago at the first International Quilt Festival (Houston) that I went to.  It was during my battenburg faze (I know, it should be phase.  I like faze better, but my father the perfectionist read this and made sure to point it out.)


Eleven and Counting

Another block down!  This one is without family photos and such, but still filled with special stuff.  I must admit, though, I'm just not feeling the love for this block.  It doesn't feel right, but I really don't know what to add.  It's awkward, like the geeky kid in the family that no one knows just what to do with.  Hmmmm.  I think I was that child.  Oh, well.  I was loved and included, so I guess block 11 will be, too. 

The center is a scrap of satin and lace from my wedding dress.  My aunt made my dress, decorated a teddy bear for me from the scraps and gave me the rest.  I've been hanging on to them for 21 years.  Not sure what I'll do with those pieces, but I'll probably save them for something for my kid's weddings. 
The rose is for the United States and for England.  Funny story about this one.  I couldn't get a free hand made (ripped out twice), so I finally decided to trace/draw one on some water soluble stabilizer, embroider over the lines, and then soak it off.  Some idiot didn't think ahead far enough.  I used a ballpoint so I could see to embroider.  When the stabilizer was soaked off, the ink was left all over the satin and lace.  I almost cried.  But with my trusty hair spray, I was able to get it off.  Whew!  That was close. 
The ribbon embroidered bluebonnet is hand dyed silk ribbon and is for the Great State of Texas.
The last piece of interest is Jesus and St. Joseph.  I left the upper edge of the lace frame loose and will sew it down on the adjoining block when I put everything together.
On to #12!


I'm in the Double Digits!

Woo-hoo!  Block #10.  Only 2 or 6 or 10 to go.  I just can't decide how many I'm making.  I really think it will be 16.  I laid out the 10 that are finished on my bed the other night and wow!  Even I was impressed and I'm my own worst critic.  I can't stop at 12 because there are some more pictures that I want to include, along with some other pretty things.  My poor husband walked in and almost dropped his jaw.  He's seen me working on blocks (everyone has seen me working on blocks), but I don't think he realized how much work I've done.  Or maybe I just didn't want him to know how much time I've spent on this.  After all, it's not like my family has missed a meal over it. 

This is Papa and Nano.  She taught me to embroider when I was probably 6 and is the grandmother whose passing made me finally start this whole process in the first place.  I credit Papa (and my dad, too) with my attention to detail.  When we were watching the roustabouts (he worked in the oilfield), he would tell me "you watch 'em, baby, and make sure they do it right."  Like I would know.  He's been gone 23 years, but I can still hear those words.  Anyway, the picture is from right after their marriage.  She was 16 and he was 18 and had always been childhood sweethearts.

The block doesn't have as much embroidery as the other blocks.  I'm not sure why, but it just didn't seem to want much.  Maybe it was because of the brightness of the block.  There is a lot of chartreuse and bright pink, much more than the pictures capture.  This one of "before" is probably the closest to the real colors.  I hate how the pictures are so clear in their folders, but never look the same on the blog.
The yo-yo flower garden will be extended to cover the seam when this block is attached to another.  The last time my grandmother was lucid enough to watch me sew or talk to me during a visit, I was making yo-yos.  So I made some special ones for her block to remember that afternoon. 
The Easter lily is important because Easter is my favorite holiday.  And on that note, a very Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!