Tomorrow my little brother turns the big 37. (You are getting ever so closer to the Fab 40’s, Lil Bro’!)
For years, he’s been asking me for a quilt, and it’s my bad that I haven’t made one for him yet, so I’m sending him a promissory note tomorrow letting him know I’m on it. We both have fond memories as kids watching TV, huddled under one of the numerous quilts my great grandmother lovingly hand stitched.
Challenge is, he’s of the rugged, hunt/fish, Bass Pro Shop variety. Owning and running a farm and cattle ranch in Washington state, he spends his days wrestling rattlesnakes and irrigation woes, harvesting fruit, and herding cattle. (One time while talking with him over the phone, he put his cell down to tell some guy, “Dude! Watch out! That bull isn’t castrated!”)
In his free time he fly fishes, camps, sails, hunts, and actually broke a horse in (that he delivered) and now gallops on all over his property. Get the picture?
So it’s time I make him a quilt, but it needs to be something more macho than say, maybe grandmother’s flower garden (although it would be a fun challenge to make that in taupes, greens, grays, and blues). I have been looking at a few patterns, and think something with a more modern quilt aesthetic would most likely work for him.
What do you think of the following?
Bachelor Quilt #1
Bachelor Quilt #2
Bachelor Quilt #3
I am leaning towards Varsity but would love to hear what you think. And have you made quilts for the men in your life? Share in the comments area and if you have pictures on blogs or websites, please link!
Oh. And Happy Birthday, Davy…
Last week just as I was leaving my last work meeting and embarking on my long holiday weekend, a song came on Sirius’ 90’s on 9 station that I hadn’t heard…well…since the 90’s: Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U,” a song about gratitude.
Listening to the lyrics, I remembered a friend of mine’s daily practice of stating a gratitude–one simple thing she was thankful for. Every day. If she was having a particularly bad day or hard time, she might have just stated she was thankful for running water or electricity. For years I thought this daily gratitude business was, well…corny. I didn’t quite get it, and I realize now how silly I was, and how there have been instances where I could have given myself a lift had I just remembered to be thankful for something big or very little, or remembering that out of every negative or seemingly despairing situation, existed a small seed of positivity that just needed to be discovered and nourished.
I was very grateful for a long weekend, a weekend where I engaged in a few social events, but was peppered with stretches of welcomed solitude.
It got off to a very patriotic start:
I set up my machine in my backyard and I “bikini quilted” (my tongue-in-cheek term for quilting outside).
I was invited to a 4th of July BBQ and I did something I rarely ever do: I ate meat (…but just a little).
And I didn’t go to the BBQ without bringing a red-white-and-blue dessert:
And after eating, I raced to catch some fireworks (which for the most part I caught by my dashboard light…’cuz I got lost):
And when home that night, I realized how thankful I am for these two little ones.
I hope you all had a nice 4th,
James Gandolfini died today–age 51 on vacation in Rome from an apparent heart attack/stroke. I am truly heartbroken. I think it’s fair to say Jim Gandolfini was my favorite actor, and The Sopranos was (and still is) a nightly sight on my TV set in my studio.
I can hands-down say with every fiber of my being, no television series/ story has meant as much to me (nor will any series be able to match) The Sopranos. It’s brilliantly conceived, brilliantly written, brilliantly acted. And when I am feeling lonely, nothing lifts my spirits more than puttering around my studio listening to the banter between Tony and Carmela, or Tony cursing and shouting at his crew– dialogue that I have probably heard a hundred times already because I’ve re-watched every episode, over and over. And over. I know the musical selections from each and every episode, and if you said a random quote to me, I could probably tell you the scene and the episode title.
And if someone asked me who is the character who you related to the most, I would say Tony Soprano, mostly because of how James Gandolfini portrayed him.
He was an insightful actor, able to depict a character struggling with huge familial responsibility, with a humor-loving heart, coping with base desires, managing mood swings, inflicting hurt and violence (mostly reluctantly), yet such a caretaker, and in the end, somebody we could all relate to. James Gandolfini…he made every Sopranos fan realize there is a little of Tony Soprano in all of us. I know no other actor who could have portrayed the character of Tony Soprano as James Gandolfini did.
On my 40th birthday, I didn’t want any kind of party, rather opting for a solo trek on a train from Boston to New York, to go on The Sopranos bus tour in New Jersey to see all of the sights where the series was filmed. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, and when I got to New York and boarded the tour bus in the Fashion District and they rolled the tape of the opening Sopranos song as we submerged under the Hudson, traversing through the Lincoln tunnel to New Jersey, there was no happier person on that tour bus than me. I smiled a toothy, goofy grin, giggling at the hilarity of what I decided to do on my 40th, reveling in the lyrics of “Woke Up This Morning,” so, so happy to explore the locales of this series, and just laughing that this was a slightly insane, off-kilter thing for me to do. (For all you James Joyce fans out there, The Sopranos tours is the American version of the Ulysses tour in Dublin, which I’ve done. Not to be missed!)
I had always hoped to meet James Gandolfini in person, and tell him what a fine individual and actor he was, and not just for The Sopranos, I had seen him in a number of other productions. He was a top notch actor and person. And he died way too young. Selfishly, I am very sorry I will never meet him–something I had on my bucket list.
He inspired the cover of a company Christmas card I made a few years ago:
He inspired a woman’s 40th birthday solo trek:
He kept me company in my office (and still does):
And he inspired a quilt I made:
I feel cliche´even closing with this but I have to.
Don’t stop believin’…focus on the good times.
The other morning while running on the treadmill at my new gym, a gentleman who looked to be a trainer approached me and extended his hand out for a high five. Not knowing him, I thought maybe he confused me for a friend or a client. Since I was running at a pretty good clip (and exhausted), I clasped the handle bar with my left hand and high-fived him with my right. He broke out in a huge grin, gave me a thumbs up, and with a limp in his gait, walked away. It was then I realized he is living with some disabilities, and besides replenishing headsets on cardio machines, his favorite task is to go around and offer encouragement to those sweating away on ellipticals, stationary bikes, and the like.
To all of the men out there–whether fathers or not–for your high-fives, protection, encouragement, and support, I hope you have a very Happy Father’s Day!
This picture doesn’t have much to do with Mother’s Day. Except it’s spring-like and pretty, and if my mom were here in Houston on Mother’s Day, I would want to take her bike riding.
Earlier, I had ordered flowers for all the mothers in my life and saw my grandmother’s name in my online address book. It made me wistful and thankful for all the women through the years who have been there for me and who have mentored me–whether a mother, a mother-in-law, a teacher…a friend. Thank you.
Ironically, I am listening to this particular song as I write this:
To all the women out there–mothers and mentors–Happy Mother’s Day,
Libby has been transferred to an acute care facility and you can sign her guest book and learn about her daily progress on this webpage at Caring Bridge.
I hate sharing this kind of thing, but if you have not heard the sad news, Libby Lehman has suffered from a brain aneurysm and is in intensive care in a hospital here in Houston. She remains in critical but stable condition. Having also suffered a stroke, she is in a sedated state, but according to Ricky Tims (who has been in close contact with her husband and subsequently posting timely updates on his Facebook page), the doctors are gradually stopping the sedatives in the hopes she will begin to slowly wake up in the next few days. No one knows exactly what possible damage there may be until Libby wakes up.
The next few days are extremely critical, and Libby could use all of our thoughts, prayers, and positive energy.
Libby made such an impression on me the first time I met her. About a decade ago I was invited to be a part of the Bernina Artisan program and that year there was a weekend retreat at the OESD headquarters in Oklahoma. That crew was comprised of so many famous and talented quilters, I was totally intimidated…but she was very kind to me, and made sure I felt a part of the group. And when I moved to Houston last year, she was the first one to call my office and leave a welcoming message, asking me to lunch.
All in the quilting world know she is extremely talented, but her kindness and generous spirit have had an equal–if not greater impact–on the quilting community.
According to Ricky, the family asks that no one sends flowers but rather cards–or better yet quilted cards–to:
Houston, TX 77002
Wouldn’t it be fun for her to wake up and get heaps and heaps of cards?
Let’s do this.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Adele-loving Kathy Schermerhorn! You won the fabrics, and I will email you for your shipping address!
I hope everyone had a great weekend! I sure did…starting Friday night when the Boston police caught Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, MA. Alive. What happened in Boston is just surreal to me, I know this area very, very well, and to think of terror like this happening so close to home, I had that same awful pit in my stomach I had during 9/11 when there were two planes out of Logan. I don’t think I was alone in crying tears of joy and relief that it was over this past Friday night, and hopefully we can get some answers out of this guy for why he and his brother would intentionally cause such incredible hurt and angst on what was to be a celebratory day.
At any rate…it was a gorgeous, sunny weekend in Houston, and on Saturday afternoon I unpacked my supplies from the Cincinnati show and washed my monoprinted fabrics I had created in Open Studios.
They don’t look like much now, but I have some ideas for cutting them up into 4″ squares for hand stitching, much like Linda McLaughlin’s work that you can see here.
As it is Monday and the start of a new week that I know will be so much better than last week, I thought it was time to give some fabric away!
How about this little stack:
Just answer the following question and I will randomly select a winner in the next day or two.
Question: I am always on the hunt for new tunes to listen to while in my studio. What are you listening to now?
Me? I added a new tune to my playlist this weekend that I heard on satellite radio, and it feels pretty appropriate as we triumph over such a senseless act and take back the spirit of Boston and the marathon…
Love you, Boston!
I’m home from Cincinnati–a really great show! I do have a blog post with lots of pictures, but first things first: I, like many, am just sick and heartbroken over what happened in Boston yesterday, including the death of a precious eight-year-old boy.
I was out to lunch in Houston when the bombs went off, and thankfully, Rhianna Griffin, one of my coworkers texted me to let me know. I immediately called John to find out if all of the Boltons were ok, and it turns out my brother-in-law and nephew were downtown, catching the Red Sox game and the finish of the marathon. They heard the blast but were quickly escorted to Copley Plaza, which was secured and put into a state of lock down.
Patriot’s Day in Boston is incredibly special. As it is a state holiday in Massachusetts, it is a joyful day signifying the beginning of spring as the last of the snow has finally melted and the temps, at long last, rise. From Hopkinton and Heartbreak Hill to downtown…the streets are lined with thousands of people…with families, college students, and well-wishers, cheering the runners on with shouts of encouragement, live bands, water, orange wedges and high-fives. Simply put, it is a feel good day.
Coincidentally, I had planned a blog post later this week celebrating something that happened exactly 20 years ago: the first time I ran it.
In this above shot, I just finished the hardest leg (Heartbreak Hill), and I’m hearing the shouts of college friends as I pass my alma mater, Boston College. One of my roommates (on my right in this picture), Ann Boyle Nagel, spotted me at mile 19, and as the captain of the B.C. women’s crew team and an ROTC recruit (and hence in incredible shape), she ran the last seven miles by my side, encouraging me to keep going.
Five years later, John and I ran the Boston Marathon again, on behalf of Children’s Hospital to raise money. I was also a special needs teacher in Newton Public Schools, and this time when I ran up Heartbreak Hill (which is in Newton) many of my students were lined up on the side of the road, some in wheelchairs. My students had significant physical and mental disabilities, and as I passed them and their “Go Miss Pokey!” signs, I thought about the daily, lifelong struggles they face, and how running a mere 26.2 mile race wasn’t nearly as arduous a challenge. Thinking about that got me to the finish line. It kept me going.
My marathon days are long over, but I am eager to participate in the Boston Marathon again, next time as a spectator, encouraging others along.
I am simply sick about what happened yesterday…and to the numbskulls who did this, know this: you’ll never tamp the spirit of this incredible day. We, as runners and spectators, will keep cheering each other on. And we will keep going,
Well, maybe that header is a tad misleading…but I got you to read this far, right?
I owe the final entry on the QA TV taping that took place last week, and a little known show on PBS called Downton Abbey made it’s way on set, thanks to Cheryl Sleboda…
A fellow die-hard Downton Abbey fan, Cheryl demonstrated how she made small portraits of Downton Abbey characters based on her cartooning and sketching techniques. In the picture below (if you squint), you can get a glimpse of the steps she took to make portraits of Sybil, Edith, Cora, and even the Dowager Countess!
I also taped a segment on International Quilt Festival’s Pet Project to raise funds for Friends for Life, Houston’s premiere no-kill animal shelter. I am hoping thousands of PBS viewers take my request to heart, and send in pet postcards for this next fall’s show (or better yet, come in person)!
I was so happy to get Sue Bliewiess to tape with us finally. A fellow Boston girl, she is very, very talented and makes the most adorable pet postcards. She did a lengthy segment, explaining her techniques for creating them.
My friend Judy Coates Perez came back this season to tape two segments on dying and fabric painting, and she looked fantastic with her new Farah Fawcett hairdo!
Linda McLaughlin taped a couple of segments, one on a variation of deconstructed screen printing (which was so cool and I will be trying this weekend), and a segment on “365 Days of 65” where she hand-stitched small quilt squares every single day during the year of her 65th birthday.
Her newly adopted discipline of daily hand stitching inspired other finished works, including this black and white quilt that I was rather tempted to steal off the set…
The very colorful Dianne Springer was a newbie to QATV, but she was a total pro on camera as she demonstrated how she takes scraps of fabrics to create a vibrant mailbox that will definitely set one apart from the neighbors!
Fellow thermofax screen passionista, Lynn Krawczyk was back this season, too, to demonstrate how to turn one’s love of surface design techniques into wearable art and home dec. projects.
Silk dyer Marlene Glickman was back, too, to demonstrate a unique way of creating fabric collage using elusive bits of dyed sheers.
Modern Quilter Debbie Grifka demonstrated five small modern quilt projects that were so clever and that all can be completed in an afternoon. (By the look of my bangs in the shot below, it seems Judy Perez wasn’t the only one channeling Farah Fawcett!)
And lastly, Heather Jones was back this season to demonstrate other modern quilting techniques…some of which she will be demonstrating at Open Studios at International Quilt Festival/ Cincinnati next week! The guy between us is Mike Murphy, our Director. (He loves to ham it up.)
And speaking of behind-the scenes folks…here are another couple of guys that I stare at all day:
Have a great weekend, everybody!
Welcome. I’m Pokey Bolton, founder of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, and Founding Host of Quilting Arts TV on PBS. With my experience in publishing, media, events, and craft adventures (by land and sea), I fairly recently founded Crafting a Life, LLC...
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