ginny: on arts and crafts

Cute little jar like thing, isn’t it?  I made it for my daughter a couple of years ago and it makes me smile to look at it.  I actually stole it back from her not too long ago and now it sits on my dresser with an odd earring or two tossed inside.  Also a necklace that says “Sing like no one can hear you”, which is how I wish I would approach art – as if no one but me were ever going to see it.  I get self conscious about … wait, here it comes … not being good enough at artsy things, or crafty things, and so I don’t.  But that’s a perfectly lovely little jar like thing and it is shows a wee bit of artistic talent.  At the very least I am rocking those bold colors.

My sister is an amazing quilter and I am always astounded by how she can choose fabrics and designs that end up looking beautiful together.  How does she see that before she makes it?  This was supposed to be a blog about me and arts and crafts, but then I thought about my sister and how talented she is so I thought I’d show you one of her quilts.  I have now spent fifteen minutes looking at all of the photos of her quilts and I can’t choose just one.  This has now become a Jeanne Quilt Showcase.  Let’s start here …

This is one of the first quilts that Jeanne sent me.  It is the world’s second most comfortable nap blanket – the most comfortable will be up in a minute.  I love the kaleidoscope nature of it.  I’ve tried to picture what the original fabrics must have looked like for them to have turned out like this but I can’t quite do it.

The photo doesn’t do this one justice because so much of its appeal is in the details of the stitching.  It is actually a beach scene.  The top right is the sun, and there she used a zigzag streaks of sunshine stitch.  Bottom right is the ocean, with wavy wave stitches.  Top left you can see the flowers, and she outline each of them to bring them to life.  Bottom left is the shore … and she included a surprise for me …

Our mother loved frogs 🙂  You’ll find them in other pieces of Jeanne’s work.  For instance …

She doesn’t just do quilts or wall hangings – she quilts things like this reversible bowl!  I had to dump out the Dove chocolates that are usually in here so that I could take the picture.  I told you she is crafty!  Here is another other non-quilt quilted item she has sent us – and by “us” I really mean she sent it to my daughter.

Yes, that’s my lovely daughter hiding behind the pillow!  This pillow is also reversible – each of the squares folds back to reveal other fabric and patterns.  It can change moods as often as, you know, the girl behind the pillow.

Pretty cool, huh?  I love how the blocks pop out.  This next one she made for my daughter, who has had it on her bed for many many years now.  It is definitely well loved.

One of the things that I love most about this quilt is that those colors – black, white, and red – were the primary colors in my apartment when I was pregnant with my daughter.  Every time I see it on her bed it brings me back to that time of my life.  Jeanne made me a baby quilt all those years ago and I went looking for it earlier.  I thought I knew where it was, but I can’t find it.  I would be very sad if I don’t have it any more but fortunately I do have this next one … at least for a little while because once again it belongs to you-know-who …

As promised, The World’s Best Nap Blanket!  Seriously, those of  you who know me know that *I* am the flip flop girl, so how not-the-flip-flop-girl got this quilt I’ll never know.  But it is the perfect weight and size for napping, and as long as it stays in this house it will get used by me.

Sometimes Jeanne will quilt pictures of things.  What sort of things, you ask?  A fish, I respond.

Dude, totally one of my favorite things.  I love the pointy things around the edges – are they shark’s teeth?  Are we looking at the fish out of the mouth of a shark that is about to eat it?  I love all the patterns that went into making the fish.  Again, how did she know that the brown fabric would be great fins?  And look at his eyes!  Is this the end of a long day of swimming around?  Is he exhausted?  And what about that butterfly stitching on his tail?  How sweet and random is that?  I love this guy ❤

Other picture quilts are more involved than my finny friend here.  Take this one.

This is Jeanne’s dog George, who regularly gets tormented by a Blue Jay in their yard.  The background of this one tickles me.

I don’t remember what Jeanne calls this one, but to me it is Paradise.  Do you see how the picture is a take-off of the border print with the tree and umbrella and hammock?  How sweet is that?

This next one is sweet in a different way.  This is a quilted representation of a pencil drawing that her son did.  Amazing and beautiful.

Okay, we’re down to my two favorite Jeanne quilts.  This first one was years in the making.  Jeanne has had a print of Andrew Wythe’s “Christina’s World” for a very long time.  For those of you who have never seen it, here it is:

I may be getting the story wrong, and I hope she corrects me if I do, but once Jeanne started quilting she began to get an idea of doing a quilt of this.  She worked on it for years, but was never satisfied.  Then she came up with the idea of Christina’s Spring.

I love the tree.  I love the flowers spilling out.  I love the green of the field.  The whole thing makes me happy.

It makes me almost as happy as this last quilt makes me.  One Christmas I sent Jeanne a card that I absolutely loved, and on the inside, as a P.S. I wrote “This would make a beautiful quilt!”.  The next November a box showed up on my doorstep.  Inside, underneath the card sent back to me, was this:

Even without knowing the story, how can you look at this guy and not smile?

Ever time I look at him I think of my sister sitting in her room on the other side of the country, selecting just the right fabric, cutting out the pieces, and putting them just so.  I think of her stitching everything together and smiling as the snowman comes to life.  What an absolute gift, the instant connection I feel with Jeanne every time I look at this quilt.  When I spend any time thinking about it, like I just have, I tear up.

And so back to my original thought, which is that I should just forget about being good enough and “just do it”.  I look at her quilts and think I could never be as creative as she is.  Ah, but I suppose my little jar like thing shows that maybe there is hope for me yet.  I have always wanted to try my hand at pottery.  Now, where could I put a potter’s wheel …?

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