Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gotta Go

On the farm near Lincoln, Illinois c. 1953
I am a real sucker for old photographs. My cousin sent me this recently because that is my Dad, posing with a family member. Well, that is nice but what I really enjoy are several other details in this photo.

1. The little girl was captured in the classic "gotta go" pose. You know the one, you notice kids doing that when they are playing and don't want to stop but they clearly need to stop and go to the bathroom ...

2. Notice the dog in the background with the leash extending up into space. Aha! I know from experience that leash is attached to a clothes line. Dad used to do that with a wild little pup we had when I was little.

Enjoy this week of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Who's Holding Up Those Quilts?

Welcome to the Blog Party for Optical Illusions, a newly released KC Star Quilts Modern book.

We shot the location photos for this book in the downtown alleys of my beloved hometown, Lawrence, Kansas. My husband and I scouted the scenes one summer evening, took photos of possible shot sites and ran them by our book team. They liked what they saw.

Look carefully just above the ladder - notice the feet? Surprise!
Larry Billings, the antique mall owner, opened the door as this shot happened.

Sara Kirpes 
The day of the photo shoot, we had some lovely surprises. Some locals came upon the shoot on their way to a nearby coffee shop, The Bourgeois Pig. They loved the quilts. We invited them to be in some shots - you'll find them on pages 28, 36, and 72. If you happen by the Pig, you might find Ryan and Alicia behind the counter ...

Old editors don't like to call too much attention to themselves but that is me holding up the quilt in the photo above (that shot is on page 22). I'm also holding up the quilt on page 66. How fun is that.

The other model - dare we call him the cover guy? - also lives in Lawrence now. Abe Dick is now a freshman at KU. He also holds up quilts on pages 16  and 50.

I'd just like to mention what total fun it was to work with this talented group of designers. Their energy and excitement are contagious. We are really enjoying putting together these collaboration books for modern audiences. When a book this fun happens, all you can think is LET'S DO IT AGAIN.

Because this is on a blog tour, you can get a free book. Comment about Optical Illusions and I'll pick a winner. Runnerup wins a Moda Layer Cake of Union Blues, classic reproduction fabrics by Barbara Brackman (aka, the neighbor).
Comment away!

and be sure to follow all the fun of this blog tour, check out these posts in upcoming days (or peek now if you can't wait ...):

Nov. 3
My Stars – Kick Off www.mystarsblog.com (book)
Deb Rowden www.debrowden.blogspot.com (BB FQ bundle)

Nov. 4
Angela Walters www.quiltingismytherapy.com (Athena bundle)

Nov. 5
Penny Layman www.sewtakeahike.typepad.com (book)

Nov. 6
My Stars www.mystarsblog.com  (book)
Melissa Corry www.happyquiltingmelissa.com (Oakshott FQ Bundle)
Lily’s Quilts www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com (3 - 5" Oakshott charm pack)
Fat Quarter Shop www.fatquartershop.blogspot.com (Naptime Bella FQ bundle)

Nov. 7
My Stars on behalf of Mary Kay Fosnacht/Karen Hansen www.mystarsblog.com (book AND Kona color card)

Nov. 10
My Stars www.mystarsblog.com (book)
Jamie David www.patchworkarchitect.blogspot.com (3 packs of charm squares from RK)

Nov. 11
Elizabeth Timmons www.andpins.wordpress.com (3 packs of skinny rolls from Robert Kaufman)
Tammie Schaffer www.craftytammie.com (book)

Nov. 12
Katie Larson www.thecraftingshell.blogspot.com (book)

Nov. 13
Jenifer Dick www.42quilts.com (book)
Trisch Price www.hadleystreetquilts.com (Kona color card)

Nov. 14
Jacquie Gering www.tallgrassprairiestudio.blogspot.com (Kona color card)
Shea Henderson www.emptybobbinsewing.com  (A large and small Kaleido-Ruler set by Marti Michell)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hunting for Witch Windows

It all started on Facebook ... when my friend Marti, who lives in Maine, asked if anyone knew about this: Particularly around the state of Vermont, many 19th century farmhouses were built with slanted "witch windows," due to the commonly-held belief that witches could not fly their brooms into a tilted opening.

Oh boy! We had something to hunt for on our last day in Vermont. We hiked in a national park near Woodstock and as we neared the Visitor's Center, I saw THIS:

Notice the slanted window - this is a coachman's cottage, built in 1870. I asked two park rangers about it. One lives in New Hampshire and he said he sees windows like this in both states. The other agreed. He thought they were added so the rooms would be more light-filled.

Google witch windows for more information about this. Wikipedia says the name "appears to come from a superstition that witches cannot fly their broomsticks through the tilted windows." They are also known as coffin windows, Vermont windows, sideways or lazy windows.

I liked what writer Kathryn Eddy wrote about them in the Montplier/BarreTimes Argus a while back:

Primarily found in Vermont — and generally in the central and northern areas — as well as some of our neighboring states, the Vermont window is a full-sized, often double-hung window placed at 45 degrees on the gable end of a house, squeezed between two rooflines.

The sideways window was generally the window that had to be sacrificed from the old wall and simply reused. Add it to the extensive list of reasons why Vermonters deserve their practical reputation and were going “green” — recycling and repurposing — long before it was the trend to do so.

Just more proof that Vermont is NOT like Kansas ...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shelburne Museum Report

I've been to lots of museums to see quilts but I was totally caught off guard by my reaction to the quilt exhibit Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War at the Shelburne Museum. I cried! I was overwhelmed by the very first quilt I saw: it was SO beautiful, so exquisite, it had provenance, it was in perfect condition - things you rarely see all in one quilt together.

The tears continued as I continued through the exhibit. Quilt after quilt just overwhelmed me - they were so fantastic and so, so heart-wrenching, such personal testimony of the horrible sorrow of the war.

I felt a bit justified at my reaction when I read about the exhibit online: Each object represents a deeply moving and insightful personal story, from the noose reportedly used to hang abolitionist John Brown, to a quilt made by a wounded soldier from hospital blankets, as well as Confederate gray and Union blue uniform fabrics.

Photography wasn't allowed so these photos are courtesy of the Shelburne - but there is a book for sale here. There's a facebook page about it too with more info. These quilts will be on display at the Shelburne until January 4. good news for us - it will be in Lincoln, NE next February.

The Shelburne also had recent work by Nancy Crow on display. She's making monoprints, her artist statement read in part: Loosening up. Feeling the thrill ... Seeking beauty. Believing. Self portraits of who I am. 

I loved it. The Shelburne has so much to see but that was all I could take in one afternoon ...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Go, Sujata!

Many of you are aware of the wonderful creative work of Sujata Shah. We "met" though our respective blogs and have admired each other's work for years.

TODAY Sujata is presenting her first schoolhouse at market in Houston for her first book, Cultural Fusion. I am often at quilt market but sadly, I will not be there today to cheer her on. IF you are there, you need to check the schoolhouse schedule and stop by her talk. You will not be disappointed.

I did have the pleasure of editing her book and it's a GREAT book! Hurry, Hurry to get your copy! You can savor the creative ways that Sujata works, her incredible quilts, and the wonderful cultural fusion that is involved - from her native India, to Gee's Bend and beyond.

Best of luck today, Sujata - enjoy the experience!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We are NOT in Kansas anymore

Photo by Ray Rowden

Windsor, Vermont is far from my home in Kansas - about 1,400 miles, to be exact. I have never been in this state before so it's a treat to be here. You see things like this that remind you you are NOT in Kansas anymore.

We visited the longest wooden bridge in America (it's also the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge was built in 1866 (this is the fourth bridge at the site).

For years, it was a toll bridge, as evidenced by the sign that remains at one end of the bridge.

The state of New Hampshire bought it in 1936 and made it toll-free in 1943.

You can drive across - on one side you are in Vermont and on the other you are in New Hampshire.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Grandpa was Right

This may be the only picture there is of my grandpa, Homer Ivan Poore, playing baseball.

He played when he was young. On minor league teams. During the roaring '20s. Out west somewhere. I've always thought the teams must have been like the one in the movie Field of Dreams ...

Grandpa and other ghosts of baseball are surely beaming down on Kansas City today. The home team, the Kansas City Royals, is in the World Series.

Grandpa had a lifelong love of the game. Year after year, we went to the games with him, first cheering the Athletics in municipal stadium, later the Royals at Kaufman Stadium. He listened to every game, often on the radio, sitting on the back porch. My little brother would ride his bike over and listen with him (but he had to be home by dark, he reminded me recently). Grandpa taught all of us to love the game.

Grandpa didn't talk much, but every year when we lost, the refrain was the same as he shook his head: "Pitchers. We need a good pitcher."

Grandpa, we got one. Tonight, Big Game James Shields is our starting pitcher. He's supported by a stellar bullpen. We're in the World Series.

We'll watch Buck O'Neill sing the song. We'll get teary-eyed. Go Royals!