Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were sitting at the kitchen table New Years Eve morning drinking ice tea and eating the last of the coffee cake left over from Christmas. "What a year it has been Gertie." sighed Martha, " I am not sorry that this one is over and we can start fresh tomorrow."

Great Aunt Claudette

Aunt Gertie sighed as well, "This has been a crazy one. It was a constant state of change. Dad is gone, Great Aunt Claudette is gone. We have changed in response to all of surrounding change. We've managed through it all. Tomorrow does bring a fresh start and while I am not a fan of New Years Resolutions, I do like goals."

The girls started a list even as they discussed how they hated lists. Make the goals reasonable and don't feel guilty. These are not resolutions, they are goals. The main difference is that a goal is something you are working toward, not an absolute change

1. Sew a little bit every day, even if it is only a 2" seam.
2. Hug the puppies. They always make you feel better.
3. Bring lunch more often than not. You feel better and eat better.
4. Don't let friends slip away. You need them and they need you.
5. Try something new every month, a new technique or activity.
6. Check out new topics that have interested you.
7. Don't be afraid to take the risk.

"I think that's enough for a lifetime Martha. You could put everything you wanted to change about yourself on this list and then you wouldn't do any of them."

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great Aunt Claudette's Quilt

Aunt Gertie got the call from Great Aunt Claudette in Washington state. Great Aunt Claudette was Gertie's aunt on her mother's side. She had some upcoming medical procedures and wanted to make sure the family was kept up to speed on what was happening. The procedures were likely to take 4-6 weeks to complete. Gertie's immediate thought was to make a quilt to remind Claudette of all the people that love and support her as she recovered. Great Aunt Claudette was a Great Aunt as in family relations and a GREAT Aunt as in a favored Aunt.

Aunt Gertie called her mother (Rainey) and Great Aunt Earlene to discuss the project. Rainey was the oldest of the three, then Claudette, followed by Earlene. The sisters thought Claudette would love the quilt, what better way to feel the love of your widespread family that a picture quilt?

Great Aunt Earlene and Mother Rainey (That makes her sound like a nun, which Rainey was definitely not) made a few phone calls, sent a few e-mails and the pictures started to come in. Aunt Cora and Uncle Fred combed through the mountains of family pictures looking for the perfect shots and making sure no one was excluded. It was amazing how many people contributed to the picture pool.

Gertie and Martha sketched out a Storm at Sea pattern to create the three hearts. Cousin Martha suggested they place photos of Claudette's closest family in the hearts. Her husband DOC, her boys, and her sisters. The hearts would be surrounded by the photos of other family and friends. "I want the background to look like a party." Aunt Gertie commented. "A sea of photos of people that love her."

Gertie and Martha were off to Matilde's Quilt Shop to get the photo fabric. They were thinking they would use about 40 photos and would need about 20 sheets. They discussed the merits of black/white and sepia toned photos. They had all agreed that color photos would get lost in the quilt. Aunt Myrtle was collecting the photos and formatting them, but Gertie and Martha were picking the fabrics. Black/white seemed to be the way to go considering all the color in the quilt. They wanted the quilt to be happy.

Cousin Martha suggested they add a mat to the photos to make the photo blocks the size they needed. The mats would all be the same fabric for consistency. Aunt Gertie thought they could also add a frame to each picture to add color, Like pictures hanging together on the wall. Each an individual shot, but somehow related to all the others.

Aunt Gertie printed the pictures onto the special paper as Cousin Martha pressed the images, rinsed them and pressed them again. They sorted through the stack to determine which pictures needed to be square, vertical or horizontal. The two sorted and stacked then resorted and stacked. They worked through the night to put the quilt together quickly. Cousin Martha chose a fleece backing to ensure the quilt was warm enough for the chilly nights in WA.

Not a word was said to Great Aunt Claudette, but they wanted to ship the quilt so that Claudette would receive it the first week of her treatments. They hurried to send the finished product off to WA. It arrived just in time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Treats for the Little Ones

Sweetie Petey

Some would say Aunt Gertie's house had a tendency to sound like a kennel at times. She had four little puppies at her feet or in her lap at all times now. "Rotten, rotten, rotten!" Gertie would say, "Spoiled rotten!"

Today, Aunt Gertie had decided she needed to make the little ones treats. In general Gertie and Cousin Martha had been eliminating processed foods from their diets. They both liked to cook and had large freezers to store the bounty. It seemed only natural to extend that idea to the puppies, although not to the point of making their regular food.

Aunt Gertie scanned page after page on the Internet trying to determine which recipe her little brood would like the best. There were so many choices, peanut butter, bacon, cheddar... In the end she chose a bacon recipe. What dog would turn down a bacon treat? What person would turn down a bacon treat for that matter? Cousin Martha uncovered the mixer and gathered the ingredients. She fried up the bacon with a few extra pieces for quality control. They would taste the bacon but let the little ones test the finished biscuits. Both Gertie and Martha preferred their treats to be a little sweeter, more like chocolate.

As usual, the kitchen was soon a mess of flour. "Why is it I can't cook with flour without a fine dusting settling all over my kitchen?" Gertie asked. Flour, eggs, bacon bits, bacon fat, and a little salt all went into the mixer, was rolled into balls and into the oven. They looked like those little candies on paper Gertie had as a child, only all the little bits were biscuit brown. They baked for 30 minutes and were crispy when they came out with the aroma of bacon. The little puppies all knew goodness was in store.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August? ...Already?

Aunt Gertie was in her Florida backyard, tending her dying tomato plants. The heat this year had just been too much for them. The few pieces of fruit they produced had been eaten by the stray animals. As she surveyed the garden wreckage, she started to think about the variety of greens, yellows and browns before her. A feeling of Autumn came over her as she stood in the 100+ degree heat. It was hot now, but the weather was going to change soon and bring visions of pumpkins and multi-colored leaves. Maybe this year she would make that scarecrow quilt...or the pumpkin with the witches hat...or that pattern of the witch she accidentally purchased twice.

Cousin Martha could see Aunt Gertie's puzzled look as she stood by the remains of the tomatoes. "We can replant tomatoes in September Gertie. No need to be so sad." " I know." Gertie replied. "I was contemplating some of those quilt ideas that need working out and the unfinished tops waiting for me. It's time to review my journal and look through the unfinished pile. If I start working on one of those fall quilts now, I may be able to use it in season."

Cousin Martha gazed off over the dead plants and remarked, "What about that picture of Aunt Myrtle's front know, with the pumpkins on it? Or maybe just one of the faces."

"I know." Gertie replied, "So many ideas and not enough time."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Aunt Gertie's Tomatoes

Once upon a time, Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hap lived in Florida. They had followed a job that payed substantially better and moved all of their worldly belongings to Jacksonville. While they don't live there any longer, they have kept the house and visit it often. Cousin Martha was not surprised when Gertie wanted to head south for the weekend. "Time to check on those tomatoes" Gertie explained.

Aunt Gertie had spent most of her tomato growing years in the northern part of the country. She would prepare the ground in late April and early May, waiting for the danger of frost to pass.  She would have starter plants in the house waiting anxiously for the opportunity to plant them. The plants would usually go into the ground around Memorial Day. They would require the occasional watering and Gertie would pray for thunderstorms. Something about the lightning always provided a growth spurt.

The move to Florida had provided a new tomato challenge. The soil and climate were dramatically different that Aunt Gertie was used to. The benefit to understanding would be a much longer season. Some say you can grow tomatoes year round in Florida.

The house Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hap had purchased had a "Dominican Dance Floor" so named by the air conditioner repair guy. It was an old front porch that had been left standing when the house was built and the mobile home was moved out. Uncle Hap had taken it down before it fell down.

Aunt Gertie asked to have a box made for a raised bed for her tomatoes. The soil around the house was very sandy. The raised bed would provide a little more control over what the tomatoes would grow in. They put the box where the old "Dance Floor" had been.

Aunt Gertie researched the growing seasons. She could start the plants indoors in February. There was still a danger of frost in Jacksonville, but that ended in early March. The little tomato plants went outside in pots, just in case they still needed to spend a nigh indoors. Later in March Aunt Gertie added the basil plants. "You can't have tomatoes without basil." she would say.

The plants grew slowly in March and April. The temperatures had started to climb. Most days were above 90 during the day and then down into the 50's at night. Acting on a tip from a neighbor, Gertie moved the plants into partial sun. The strong Florida sun was too much for them and as the summer arrived, would burn up the plants. The other major change was the amount of water the plants needed. The sun was so strong, Gertie had to water the plants every morning. She didn't want to water at night and have all that moisture cause mold. If she watered during the heat of the day it would evaporate and not help the plants at all. Morning waterings allowed the moisture to permeate the soil before the heat of the day started to evaporate it.

The tomatoes responded beautifully. Aunt Gertie had fresh tomatoes from the backyard in May.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The New Little Girl

All the preparations were made. Aunt Gertie had finished the little blanket for the new baby. Cousin Martha had finished the little bed for The Boys to share. Aunt Gertie had borrowed a larger cage from Aunt Myrtle. Aunt Myrtle has a German Shepherd, Anka, that no longer used her box. Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hap had gone through their dog supplies to make sure they had collars, bowls, leashes etc for a larger dog. They felt they were ready. They had checked with the vet to determine what puppy shots etc. would be required.

Aunt Gertie had been researching online and found a puppy at the local shelter that was a German Shepherd Mix, 6 weeks old. Perfect. Hap and Gertie wanted a rescue dog. They understood they would not know what the Shepherd was mixed with. Off to the shelter they went and as you already know, most people cannot go to the shelter without coming home with a new pet.

Dolly was adorable, although small. She was 6 weeks old and only 3 pounds. Dolly was the smallest in a litter of 6 and the only girl. Her brothers had apparently been 4-5 pounds and had all been adopted already. Poor Dolly was the only one left. After a call to the Vet, Uncle Hap and Aunt Gertie were the proud parents of a new little puppy. They immediately went to the pet supply store to get a new pink harness for Dolly and some puppy food.

Dolly come home and immediately fit in with the boys and was bossing them around by day 2. She gained 1 pound the first week. Things were looking good.

A couple weeks later Aunt Gertie made a vet appointment for Dolly's next puppy shots. They weighed her at the vet and she was only 4.5 pounds. Aunt Gertie had been getting suspicious anyway. Dolly's bone structure looked too small to be that of a Shepherd. She asked the vet what he thought and almost couldn't believe what he said.

"Definately part chihauhau, maybe beagle, maybe miniature pinscher. Definately no part shepherd. Small feet, small head, small ears means small dog."
"Well, How big do you think she will be?" Aunt Gertie asked. "She will not reach 15 pounds." the vet answered very matter of factly.

"I supposed I can buy her little dresses then and maybe a little pink bag to ride around in." Aunt Gertie told Cousin Martha. So the truth was out Aunt Gertie had set out to get a German Shepherd and come home with a Chihuahua. Look out world, we have a guard Chihauhau now, dressed in pink.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting Ready...

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha arrive home from Daytona in the late at night. Cousin Martha thought they would sleep in the next day, but Aunt Gertie had other idea's. The phone rang at 7:00. "Martha, Be ready to go to the quilt shop today. I need a few things to round out our purchases from Daytona. We have work to do.

On their way to Matilda's Quilt Shop, Aunt Gertie explained her hurry. She had spoken with Uncle Hap and they had decided to get a German Shepherd mix puppy from the Animal Shelter. Aunt Gertie wanted to buy some puppy themed fabric to go into a puppy blanket and made a little dog bed for The Boys.

Aunt Gertie currently had three little puppies, Sweetie Petey was an 8 year old Shih Tzu.

BooBoo was a 7 year old Pek-e-poo.

Smarty Pants Bailey Boy was Uncle Hap's traveling 3 year old Shih Tzu.

They had lost Charlie (Charlemagne, as in King of the Franks) last year (11 yr old Great Pyrenees) and Aunt Gertie was missing having a large dog around.

They had been discussing the possibility for some time and Uncle Hap had finally agreed a larger dog would be good protection.

Aunt Gertie had thought long and hard about what she wanted in a puppy. She wanted a female. With three little boys, she felt she already had too much testosterone in the house. The Boys would play Who is King of the Mountain a little too often. Aunt Gertie did not need another king. She wanted a puppy so that she could make sure it learned proper manners and so that it would learn to play well with the little boys.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Home Again..Home Again..

By the end of the week in Daytona, Florida, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were getting tired of the sun. They had been to the beach, up and down the craziness of Main Street during Bike Week, and to all the local quilt shops they could find. They were both sun burnt and had sunglass lines around their eyes. It was time to go home. They loaded everything into the car, all the new fabric they had purchased, the new summer riding jacket for Aunt Gertie, a new helmet for Cousin Martha, motorcycle brochures to show Uncle Hap and all the miscellaneous trinkets that you would buy on vacation. Cousin Martha checked the weather as Aunt Gertie pulled out of the parking lot. "It looks like the weather will be clear all the way home, Auntie. At least we're not going home to a blizzard."

"Martha, You keep an eye out for the electric indians." instructed Aunt Gertie. Uncle Hap had warned them about those signs that shoot electric arrows. "Make sure you change lanes when you see one." He had said. 

The trip home was uneventful as they had hoped. The roads were clear. The weather grew colder, although Aunt Gertie could still feel that spring was in the air. "After Daytona, you know it is almost Spring regardless the weather you see looking out of your window." She said.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Long Arm Hunting

After a full day of walking around looking at bikes, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were ready for another quilt shop. Today they were headed for Bunnell and the Gammill dealership. Aunt Gertie had been lusting after a long arm machine for about 6 months.

It was all Aunt Myrtle’s fault. Aunt Myrtle was a Psychology professor at the local university. She had been quilting for a year or two when she decided Aunt Gertie needed to buy a long arm machine. Aunt Myrtle had made a several quilts for auction at the day care center and a t-shirt quilt or two. She understood the challenges of quilting a larger quilt on her home sewing machine and the expense of having someone else quilt it. One of the reasons Aunt Myrtle enjoyed quilting so much was that it didn’t have to be expensive. You could walk out of a quilt shop having only spent $5.00 or $10.00. Of course, she rarely did that, but it was possible. Aunt Myrtle had planned her strategy very carefully. She had casually mentioned to Aunt Gertie how great it would be to have a long arm machine. Of course, Aunt Myrtle did not make very many quilts so it made more sense for Gertie to buy the machine and then Aunt Myrtle could use it. Wouldn’t that be much better than paying to have the quilting done? “The long arm machine would also help save your shoulders Aunt Gertie!” added Cousin Martha. Aunt Gertie was not committing to anything yet. Buying long arm sewing machine was as much money as buying a new motorcycle. Yesterday they had spent the day looking at bikes, today they would investigate the world of the long arm sewing machine.

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were much more careful this day. They made sure they had the shop address and the GPS with them as they left the hotel. They drove right to the shop without a hitch. Aunt Gertie even had her tape measure and a list of questions.

Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hap did not have a large house. They did not have a room large enough to hold the long arm. There was no chance of an addition for a long arm machine. It was logistically impossible to add a room of that size on their lot. Aunt Gertie’s only hope was that they could put it in the basement. She needed dimensions for the machine and how it came apart for shipping to  determine if they could even get the machine into the house. Aunt Gertie had heard stories of machines going in through the basement window and the not being able to get the machine out again. 

So...with tape measure in hand and a notebook with questions, Aunt Gertie and Martha started investigating long arm sewing machines.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is There a Perfect Bike?

“This trip is a personal Shop Hop isn’t it Auntie?” asked Cousin Martha over breakfast the next morning. “Every trip is a personal Shop Hop Dear.” Aunt Gertie replied. Today they were having Stuffed French Toast. The girls felt no need to diet when they were on vacation. Surely they would walk it off with the day’s activities. They were headed to the track today to see all the new motorcycle models.

The girls could see the demo trucks as they pulled into Daytona Speedway. All of the tents and trucks looked like the circus had come to town. Aunt Gertie commented, “I’m sure that’s how the resident’s feel about this week. There certainly are sights to see and people to watch. You can see things this week that you may not see anywhere else.” The girls were not focused on the people today, however. They had new motorcycles to check out.

Uncle Happy had been talking about a new bike and Aunt Gertie was going to scope them out for him and report back. She was hoping to find a bike they could share, one that Uncle Hap could ride around town but that she could ride when they were traveling. Uncle Hap rode a couch, an older model Goldwing that was comfort all day long. Aunt Gertie had a sport-touring bike that was more sport and less touring. Her bike looked fast and she looked fast riding it, but it was starting to be a little tiring on their longer trips. Spotting Aunt Gertie when she stretches her legs out sideways as she rode down the highway is a very strange site. She was not looking fast then! The other drawback to her bike was that it did not have saddlebags. Uncle Hap had to carry some of her luggage and would always tease her about it. “It’s a good thing I pack lightly so there is more room for your stuff!” he would say.  “How can a girl travel without the appropriate shoes and fabric?” Aunt Gertie would ask and Uncle Hap would just smile and shake his head. All of that aside, what was the major dilemma with sharing a bike? Uncle Hap wanted a radio and Aunt Gertie was not very fond of the fairing/windshield on those bikes that had radios. They would have to compromise.

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha strolled from tent to tent, manufacturer to manufacturer in search of the perfect compromise. They sat on all the bikes as they discussed the pros and cons of each: the seat was too low or not comfortable, the foot pegs were too far forward, the fairing was too overwhelming. They admired the shape of the lights and the sexy curves of the tailpipes. They took pictures of the custom paint to use as design motivation for their quilts. Would they ever find the perfect bike? Probably not, as the fun is looking for one. It’s like finding the perfect sewing machine. There is always a newer model that has more stitches or more features. At some point you have to make the commitment and buy. Today was not the day for committments for Aunt Gertie. Today was about the dream of the perfect ride.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quilt Shop!

A great quilt shop has a mix of fabrics and patterns that appeal to a wide group of quilter's. It must have some basic fabrics that will intermingle with a quilter's existing stash or coordinate with the new fabric they are picking out. Aunt Gertie spent quite a while picking out fat quarters for a table runner. She was feeling like spring so the fabric was pink and green stripes, flowers, and geometric prints. She'd have to work on the pattern when she got home.

Cousin Martha also had a touch of spring fever. She opted for flowers and a new pattern book. She was going to put together a garden quilt when they got back (after she finished one or two of the other projects she had going).

They looked through all the fabrics. Laughed and joked with all the other customers. They discussed how much fabric they had and ow they didn't really need any more as they piled the bolts up on the cutting table. They all agreed they were buying dreams... dreams of the next stunning project.

As they left the shop, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha decided it was time to get something to eat. It had been a very busy day. Aunt Gertie knew exactly what she wanted. That alligator in the pet shop had Aunt Gertie thinking. They were in Florida and they could get one of her favorite specialties here, Fried Gator Tail. "It tastes like chicken!" Gertie told Martha. Martha was not so sure. She had heard quite a few things taste like chicken. "They say that about frogs legs and stewed rabbit." Martha replied, "If I want something that tastes like chicken, I'll just get chicken!" Aunt Gertie found a little place on the way back to Daytona that served gator tail and Cousin Martha had chicken.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daytona Day 1

After a wonderful breakfast of waffles and eggs, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were ready to start their day. They were headed to the quilt shop in Deland. It was a little bit of  a drive but the girls were ready to enjoy some Florida weather. The sky was blue and the temperature was quite a bit warmer than they were used to.

This shop was a new shop for them. As they drove out of town Cousin Martha reached for the GPS to plug in the address. Unfortunately, they had been so excited about their day, they had left the hotel without the GPS. “Not a problem!” exclaimed Aunt Gertie. “Deland can’t be that large a town.” With that, they were off to explore.

As they approached town, it became clear that they were not going to be able to drive through town. It seems there was a Bike Week event going on in Deland. The roads downtown were all barricaded and bust with pedestrian traffic. Up for an adventure and some motorcycle excitement, they parked the car and walked towards the festivities. The streets were lined with vendor tents; motorcycle insurance, skimpy clothing, jewelry, riding jackets, helmets, t-shirts, all things motorcycle were available. There was a band playing loudly somewhere close by. The girls walked the streets talking, laughing shopping and watching the people walk by.

After a while they were ready to find the quilt shop. They had walked up and down the cross street but had not seen anything looking like a quilt shop. When Cousin Martha reached into her packet for the address, she came up empty. It seems the address was sitting on the dresser in the hotel room right next to the GPS. Nothing to do at this point but ask. All of the vendors in the tents were from out of town. They had no idea what a quilt shop even looked like. Finally they stopped in a pet shop to ask.

As they walked through the pet shop door, Gertie and Martha were greeted by a giant alligator. It was in a tank thankfully, but even a baby alligator can be a little startling when you get close. “That is a certain reminder that we are not in Kansas anymore Dorothy!” Aunt Gertie whispered. Alligators were not a common pet shop attraction at home. Gertie had spent a fair amount of time in the pet shops at home buying treats and toys to spoil her three little babies. She had expected dogs, cats, fish and maybe a ferret, not a reptile of this size. The gator was not for sale, thank goodness. Aunt Gertie stepped closer to take a look. As she gazed on the creature she thought, “The texture of his skin would sure make a nice fabric print. I can understand the lure of belts, bags and boots from the hides.”

Cousin Martha ignored the reptile and walked right up to the counter to ask for directions. “Quilt shop? What is a quilt shop?” they were asked. “There is a store that sells knick knacks and stuff on the other side of town…across Main Street. Maybe that’s the one you mean.”

“We have to walk that way anyway to get back to the car Auntie.” Martha commented. Out the door they went and down the street through the crowds of bikers. They walked past all the tents, down past the taverns and across Main Street. Just as it looked like they were running out of town…just as they were about to turn around…Aunt Gertie spotted a bright quilt is a small picture window. “That must be it! Over there Martha!” Gertie commented.

There are few things to match the thrill of a finding a new quilt shop. The promise of new fabrics, patterns and embellishments is sure to give every quilter goose bumps. Every quilt shop takes on some of the personality of the owner and employees. They choose the fabrics and patterns to make up a very individual offering. While quilter’s buy fabric and patterns, thread and embellishments to create marvelous quilts, table runners and throws, they also buy dreams. Most quilters have a closet full of fabric that holds dreams of quilts. Regardless of what the fabric closet at home contains, new fabric beckons with the promise of something even more beautiful than anything imagined before.

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha hurried across the street. They heard the angels singing as they opened the door.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Road Trip!

Aunt Gertie was feeling like Spring would never come. The winter had been colder than usual with more snow than even she ever remembered. She gazed at the calendar, wishing February would turn to March, when it occurred to her. Daytona Bike Week was right around the corner! That was the perfect excuse for a road trip! “Cousin Martha!” Aunt Gertie called across the way. “Pack your bags. We’re going for a drive!”

Now as you can imagine, this was no ordinary road trip. Normally Aunt Gertie and Uncle Happy would load up their motorcycles, hop on and head south, but it was still snowing! And Uncle Happy was on the road working. This would be a girl’s only trip in the car. Cousin Martha hurried next door to help pour over the maps and discuss all the stops they would make along the way. The route to Daytona had been traveled many times. There were many favorite quilt shops along the way. In the end they decided to get to the warmer weather as quickly as they could. Maybe all the snow would melt before they returned.

With the car packed and the Dytona hotel address loaded into the GPS, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were off on another adventure. Cousin Martha had loaded their MP3 player with Jimmy Buffet and other summer songs. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds as they pulled out of the driveway early the next morning. It was going to be a great trip!

They had decided to drive straight through. The weather definitely showed signs of improvement as they motored south. It was in the 60’s by the time they reached Georgia. Aunt Gertie put away her boots and put on sandals at the rest stop. She had had enough of the cold. Shorts and a sweatshirt was the perfect attire.

Cousin Martha had been contemplating a new quilt design to reflect the theme of their trip. She had made an applique quilt with flames in the past. The quilting had also been flames. Cousin Martha was looking for a design with more impact this time. She playing with the idea of piecing the flames as the weather grew warmer and the number of motorcycles on the highway grew. This quilt was much more complicated that most of the quilts Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha worked on. Cousin Martha drew out the flames on paper to use as a pattern. She carefully numbered the pieces and placed hash marks that would allow the pieces to be to properly aligned as they were sewn together. They would transfer the drawings to freezer paper and cut out each piece. These freezer paper patterns could then be ironed onto the back of the red, orange and yellow flame fabrics.

It was late when they arrived in Daytona, but they had arranged for that. Off to bed they went. It would be a busy week They had a long list of quilt shops to visit and of course all the excitement of Bike Week: new motorcycle models to see, new vendors to shop, and of course old friends to visit. Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha had visions of new quilts as they drifted off to sleep.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Baby Quilt

Aunt Gertie was sitting on her front porch swing when Cousin Martha arrived. "What is the plan for today, Auntie?" Martha asked. “We are starting a quilt today Dear. Cousin Kat is having a baby and we need to make that little wonder something to keep her warm.” "Oh! That means a trip to Matilda's Quilt Shop!" Martha exclaimed. Off they went to look for inspiration.

Gertie and Martha were inseparable. They lived next door to each other and what ever one planned, the other was along for the adventure. They each had a sewing room and chosen rooms across the driveway from each other so they could open the window and talk to each other as they worked. They would laugh about using one of those soup can telephones the children play with. They would string it across the driveway so they could talk without the whole neighborhood hearing.

Matilda’s Quilt Shop was always a happening place. Aunt Gertie loved to stop in for the latest news and to caress the fabric. “There is nothing quite like the feel of a piece of cotton that has dreams of becoming a quilt. You can feel the aspirations when you touch the bolt.” Auntie would always say. “Feel this! Can’t you just see the quilt it will make?” Cousin Martha would always agree and some of that fabric would find it’s way home with them.

Today they
were hunting fabric for the baby quilt. They walked right past the baby section. The pastel pinks and blues would never do for this quilt. Cousin Kat would appreciate something a little brighter, maybe a beautiful red. Fabrics were chosen and yardage was cut. Aunt Gertie chose a new embroidery design. Cousin Martha chose ribbons to add to the binding. The quilt was a two block design Aunt Gertie had worked out. They would not have any trouble finishing it in time for the new arrival.

Home again, home again... jiggedy jig. They needed to cut this baby quilt out and get sewing. After the cut out the pieces and divided the work, Martha set up her machine on Aunt Gertie’s cutting table so they could work together. They ordered dinner out and worked until evening. When Cousin Martha was ready to go home, they cleaned up the work space so they could start again early the next morning.

Cousin Martha went home and got ready for bed. It was about midnight when she looked out the window to say goodnight to Aunt Gertie. She opened her window and yelled, “Go to bed Auntie! You won’t finish that quilt tonight. You’re going to fall asleep with your foot on the "go" pedal again, sew through your finger and ruin the block. Then I’ll have to come over, take you to the emergency room. We’ll be up all night. We don’t want to go through that again right?” Aunt Gertie agreed it was time to call it a night.
Off to bed they went to dream of new fabric and new quilt designs. Tomorrow would bring new ideas, new quilt designs, maybe new fabric and always an adventure.