Wordplay 2: Bloom

When I opened the envelope from Jen six weeks ago, I was thrilled to see the word bloom.  The first thing that came to mind was the saying, "Bloom where you are planted."  And I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed even though I wasn't sure how it would all come together.


Although wordplay is a collaboration with Tracy and Emily, I wanted this project to go further.  I imagined a wider collaboration, something that I could make with bits and pieces given to me from different people.  I was thinking about flowers and gardens and how so often people dig plants up and divide them between neighbors and friends.  That's what I wanted:  a community garden of fabric.  And so, I asked for vintage sheet scraps and boy, oh boy, did you guys come through for me!  Seventeen of you to be exact.  There are just so many good floral prints in a wonderful color palette in those old linens.  I wanted a large variety and small bits.  You all had the best stash of scraps a girl could wish for.  And you were willing to share - for that, I thank you.


I found this aqua linen on clearance and thought it would be a perfect background for the various colors in the sheet scraps.  I began by cutting out concentric circles from different prints - just eyeing them and cutting, no tracing was done here.  Once I had a decent stack of "blooms", I started laying them out on the fabric to see what I had.  I cut some more flowers until I had a random scattering around the perimeter.  I had planned on embroidering the saying by hand in the middle somehow, but felt I needed something to signify myself to anchor it so I cut the one large bloom for that space.


I appliqued the individual flowers to the quilt top by stitching three straight lines across each one.  My original plan was to tie the center of the flowers using embroidery floss, but once I had the quilt sandwiched, I realized that I would need more quilting to hold it nicely together.   I improvised by quilting three circles around one flower.  Initially, I wasn't looking for the wavy lines that I got, but when I stood back to look at it, it was perfect.  It reminded me of my favorite flowers and I smiled.


I had so many scraps to choose from that I ended up using some for a strip of patchwork on the back.  I sewed a label on there, too.  It got quilted over and I really like how it made it blend in a bit more.  The quilting on the back is my favorite part.  Even if the words read backwards, I like it.


I think "bloom" and "Bloom where you are planted" are about finding your hidden potential no matter what your circumstances are at the moment.  I know that if you had asked me nine years ago where I would be in 2008, I would have never imagined that my life as I know it.  I would not be living in this town.  I would have more children.  I would not be sewing as much as I do and certainly not quilting.  I might be knitting.  I would not be writing and designing.  And I most certainly would not have this group of peers, people that I have never met in person, that support, encourage and inspire me.  But I do!  What a great surprise!  And I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing talent.  I have planted myself in this blogging community and in turn, you have planted seeds of inspiration in me.  With a little of my own creativity and time, I am growing in directions I had never imagined.


I had fun making this quilt.  I haven't made anything for myself in a long time and I plan on keeping this one.  It measures 45" x 51" - a perfect summer-nap-in-the-chair size.  Thanks, Jen, for a great word to get me started and thanks, too, Emily and Tracy for playing along.

Life is about the now, not the past or the future.  And if you are successful in living in the moment, I think that you have no choice but to bloom.

My buried treasure

The closet in our mudroom is under a staircase and while it isn't huge, part of it is just hard to get at.  While rooting around in there searching for soccer shin guards, I came across a big plastic garbage bag way in the back.  I could not remember what was in it.  I opened it and gasped.


About this time last year, I found this love seat slipcover and matching scraps at a local antique mall.  I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it - about $20, I'd guess.  I didn't buy it for a specific purpose - I just loved the fabric.  I love everything about it - the color, the pattern, the images, the scale.  I don't think I went through the bag thoroughly, either.  I brought it home and threw it on the mudroom floor.  It sat there for a few weeks and then I must have shoved it in the closet. 

Fast forward eleven or so months and I am falling in love all over again.  The slipcover itself is in bad shape - stained and really worn.  I think I might try Retro Clean.  What do you think Carrie?  Anyone have any other ideas?  The scraps are pristine.  Some of them are large enough to make pillows.  Yes, pillows!  Some are much smaller - good for little items and maybe some patchwork.  The possibilities are making me giddy.

Back on Monday with a completed project using this fabric.  Yes, I already cut into it.

One thrift store and five minutes

Yesterday, the girls and I stopped at the thrift store to make a huge donation of toys.  Of course, it is physically impossible to donate with out purchasing.


See all that yummy Pyrex?  New to me.  All in the same store, donated on two different days and so ready to be taken home.

That should be enough, but, no I found some little things too.  The girls each bought a book and I scooped up a few vintage pillowcases and a little lap desk.


This photo is for Meg and her thrifty color scheme flickr group.  I doubt I will post many photos over there only because I do not have good luck thrifting.  Really, I don't.  But yesterday I did!

New To Me

I haven't posted any goodies found thrifting because I am generally unlucky when it comes to finding the one and two dollar items that make your heart stop.  Until now that is.  Last week I drove by a new to me thrift store and walked out with some great vintage sheets.  Of course, when I drove by yesterday, I had to stop.


I found this great patchwork quilt - all vintage florals.  It's got a few small stains on the back, but otherwise it is perfect.  It's on the smaller side - crib sized, I'd guess.  But I love it. Love it.


I immediately thought of my favorite tree and how perfect this quilt would be for reading in the shade.  So I took it for a test drive.  Oh yeah.  Lovely, indeed.

My new hat is a sun hat so it won't be hanging out in the shade with me and the quilt.  Thanks to all of you I decided it stays.  I may make another one, but the pink one is a keeper.  You all are so kind and encouraging.  All those compliments made me blush - thank you so much.

Have a great Tuesday!