Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Kimonos in Texas–memories of Mother

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Tomorrow, two new exhibits open at the Texas Quilt Museum:  a solo show of work by Judith Content and a companion exhibit Kimono Quilts and Kimonos.  Judith’s artwork often takes the stylized form of a kimono on display–I so wish a trip all the way to Texas was affordable.   I am honored that a quilt I made as an 80th birthday gift to my mother is on display in the companion exhibit.  It is especially rewarding since I made this quilt long before I became a quilting professional, so I am thrilled my work meets the high standards of the museum.

Happy 80th Birthday, Mama. Exhibited in the first year of the "I Remember Mama" exhibit at International Quilt Festival Houston, in honor of her mother, who had recently passed. Published in Karey Bresenhan's  book of the same name which featured quilts from the three years of this special exhibit.

Happy 80th Birthday, Mama. Exhibited in the first year of the “I Remember Mama” exhibit at International Quilt Festival Houston, in honor of her mother, who had recently passed. Published in Karey Bresenhan’s book of the same name which featured quilts from the three years of this special exhibit.  PS:  my photo editing skills weren’t so great when I processed this photo–the black binding really is even in real life!

To read about the exhibit, which runs from July 2 through September 27, 2015, please visit this page.  I am honored to be included with such famous artists and quilters, and know Mother would be so pleased and proud!

Detail of my kimono shaped quilt.

Detail of my kimono shaped quilt.

I chose the kimono shape and Japanese-inspired fabric because Japan was so important to Mother.  She grew up during the Depression and World War II, and always wanted to travel.  I expect *her* mother was terrified when my mom went to serve in Japan with the Occupation Army in 1946 and -47.  Those two years were formative in her life; she developed and abiding love the the people and nation of Japan and, lucky me!, she took me on a trip there in 1996.  The quilt features photos-on-fabric of three generations:  mother and her parents/siblings, my parents and me, then at the bottom me, Paul and our boys (with a photo of Eli on his way home from the hospital–he was still a baby when this was made!).

Today marks the fourth anniversary of her passing.  As Maya Angelou said, no matter what your relationship with your mother, you will miss her after she is gone.  Some years mother was my best friend; other years were more difficult.  But in the end she finally allowed herself to show that she was proud of me and cared for me.

The last photo of us together, on Mother's Day 2011.

The last photo of us together, on Mother’s Day 2011.

My last photo of mother, taken a week before she died, and the last time I saw her sitting up.  Mama, I hope you are with Daddy, Charlie and Tom J., comfortable, memory intact and happy.   I'll see you all one of these years (but I hope not TOO soon--I still have my sons and husband).

My last photo of mother, taken a week before she died, and the last time I saw her sitting up. Mama, I hope you are with Daddy, Charlie and Tom J., comfortable, memory intact and happy. I’ll see you all one of these years (but I hope not TOO soon–I still have my sons and husband).

If anyone actually gets to the Texas Quilt Museum and can take pictures of the gallery space with my quilt and those around it shown, I’d love to see it!

 

Insalata, a Food for Thought Quilt

Friday, April 17th, 2015

A short while ago I shared with you a first peek at my new quilt, Insalata:

Insalata, (c) 2014  Sarah Ann Smith.  Premieres April 10, 2015, at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

Insalata, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith. Premiered April 10, 2015, at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.  Size:  40 x 42.5 inches.  For sale.

When I made the tomato quilts that were the featured project in my workshop DVD for Quilting Arts, From Photo to Threadwork, including fabric collage and machine quilting (see here for the DVD or here for download), I knew I had one more tomato quilt in me.

I grew up in a town called San Anselmo, California, and mom lived there until she moved to Maine in 2008.  She and two friends would go out for lunch once a month, and often went to a restaurant called Insalata.   So she took me there, too, when I visited.  I LOVED the Chicken Fattoush salad, inspired by Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean cuisine!  I also loved the artwork.  The restaurant is in a building that, when I was a kid, was the Crocker National Bank.  If you were alive in the 60s you remember those banks with the really high (like 2-story) ceilings!  What to do to decorate the place?  She painted the ceiling a dark brown, used something warm colored on the walls (don’t remember what) and had some over-sized paintings made including some of persimmons that were each larger than a beachball.  The canvas wasn’t stretched, but hung from gromments/hooks on the wall; these pieces were easily 4-5 feet tall and over 12 feet wide.

Detail of raffia "roots" on the shallots. Insalata by Sarah Ann Smith. (c) 2014

Detail of raffia “roots” on the shallots. Insalata by Sarah Ann Smith. (c) 2014  Click for larger view.

Detail photo 2, Insalata, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.  Click for larger image.

Detail photo 2, Insalata, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014. Click for larger image.

Each of the tomatoes is about the diameter of a beach ball!   So now I think I’ve finished with tomatoes.  For the time being.  Hope you enjoy!  And if you like this one, please be sure to visit the slideshow on the SAQA website of the entire Food for Thought exhibit, here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates.  Available to order here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates. Available to order here.

My pages in the catalog.  Great layout and design on the pages--love the enormous detail photo on the left.  The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

My pages in the catalog. Great layout and design on the pages–love the enormous detail photo on the left. The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

Whooosh! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

And to those of you don’t celebrate Christmas, Merry Mistletoe!  We can all do with a hug and a smooch, including pug smooches.   Just checking in briefly to say hullo, thank you and whatnot.  Can’t believe it has been a week and a half since my last post.  Can you say BUSY?  First and foremost, though, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who read this blog.  I am still astounded that there are people who read my blog and  know who I am!   I’m just plain old me, I putter in my sewing room, and blather on here and there, so thank you from the bottom of my seriously-thread-linty heart!

Christmas Tableaux, made for my alma mater, San Domenico School in San Anselmo, California

Christmas Tableaux, made for my alma mater, San Domenico School in San Anselmo, California.  Right click to view larger.

Widgeon sends smooches to the universe.  Makes me realize that perhaps, if the world were as friendly as a pug, it would be a better place.

Smooches and adorable eyes from the pug to the universe

Smooches and adorable eyes from the pug to the universe.

I made a few ornaments again this year, once again using the beautiful ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons as my inspiration.  I bought the wool felt up at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, Maine, and stitched the mistletoe in either two or six strands of floss, then used perle cotton for the big-stitching on the edge.

This year's ornament with ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons.

This year’s ornament with ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons.

 

 

 

 

 

And to close, of course the Christmas tree.   Thumper decided to grace us with her presence.   I expect there is at least one other cat asleep under the tree.  So far, none IN the tree.

 

 

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Our tree, 2014.

Our tree, 2014.

England beckons yet again: more in York

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

York was filled with inspiration wherever we went. Sunday was no exception:  fine needlework, illuminated artwork, inspiring architecture, Thomas the Tank, Harry Potter and best of all a day spent Anna W, a internet friend from a small group.  The day began with a visit to the York Minster, which is good because there was a good wind blowing–felt like early autumn not late summer.   Even though some parts of the Minster were off limits due to an issue with the security cameras not working we still had ample inspiration.

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster.  While in England, I learned that a "city" is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town.  Makes total sense to me!

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster. While in England, I learned that a “city” is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town. Makes total sense to me!

Since there are so many photos in this post, I think I’ll just comment below each photo:

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain,

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain, celebrated (according to Wikipedia) on November 5, where “his effigy is traditionally burned in a bonfire. ” You might also wonder where you’ve heard that name (if your not English that is):  That was the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix in the Harry Potter books.  Get it, the phoenix is reborn by going up in flames?

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I'm taking yet another  photo of him.  That's what moms do, kiddo!

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I’m taking yet another photo of him. That’s what moms do, kiddo!  Plus, those strap hinges are great inspiration for quilting designs.

Illuminated map and lettering--Val Webb, thought of you!

Illuminated map and lettering–Val Webb, thought of you and your fabulous Watercolor Lettering class.  This looks like gouache and gold leaf.

A close up

A close up–just STUNNING!  Love the artwork.  Notice on the left where it shows the chapel dedicated to the women of Britain who served during the wars.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth.  England has an incredible tradition of embroidery.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth. England has an incredible tradition of embroidery. Yes, that’s stitching, not paint!

And I "do" dragons, and loved this one.

And I “do” dragons, and loved this one. More design inspiration.

Just tilt your head sideways....

Just tilt your head sideways….an angel for Marie.  Have no idea why this flipped sideways!

Tapestry

Needlepoint kneeler and seat cushions in a chapel

Madonna and child

Madonna and child in cloth.  Art quilts eveywhere!

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling.  When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections.  Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included.  Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling. Glad my camera has a superzoom! When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections. Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included. Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop's vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges.   The capes/cloaks (don't know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop’s vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges. The capes/cloaks (don’t know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Design inspiration in  a floor grate even!

Design inspiration in a floor grate even!

And I "do" bats as well.  Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also).  Loved this boss!  More design inspiration!

And I “do” bats as well. Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also). Loved this boss! More design inspiration!

asdf

The massive stained glass window that faces east is being restored.  Bit by bit as the work is done, the actual panels are being displayed at floor level.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it.  The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it. The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York.  Anna led the way.  I was petrified.  I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul's in London at the end of the trip).  This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left.  In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York. Anna led the way. I was petrified. I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul’s in London at the end of the trip). This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left. In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).  We didn’t do the whole thing due to time and, frankly, my nerves!

And lovely rooftops on the walk--would make a great quilt!

And lovely rooftops on the walk–would make a great quilt!

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna.   The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB.  As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna. The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB. As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!)

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!).  Next to the station is the Railway Museum, so had to take a selfie with Thomas the Tank since Joshua and I read those books and watched the videos.   Saving the books for some future decade and grandkids!

We were lucky--the "Hogwarts Express" engine was on the sidings at the museum--it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

We were lucky–the “Hogwarts Express” engine was on the sidings at the museum–it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King's Cross Station, so I'm pretending to push my cart.  Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King’s Cross Station, so I’m pretending to push my cart. Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.  I think it came fro a station somewhere, but can’t read my photo of the signage.

And some of the engines.  That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books.  Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities--he always tries, and does so cheerfully.   Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

And some of the engines. That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books. Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities–he always tries, and does so cheerfully. Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

So that’s Sunday in York.  Monday will take us to–DREAM–the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.   Think Thomas the Tank steam engines, Hogsmeade (Harry Potter), and the moors from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.   Stay tuned!

Re-Entry!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

As usual, re-entry to home life after Houston is a whirlwind, as you might gather by the absence of posts here!  Joshua’s birthday is always just a few days after my return, so usually the suitcases aren’t emptied and put away before I’m shopping for birthday dinner and so on.  Life was complicated by the snowstorm which cancelled my flight from Boston, causing me to drive home in the snow in the dark in a rental car.   At least they cancelled flights early, so I got home not much later than I would have had I waited in  Boston for my connecting flight.  In the next few posts I’ll share International Quilt Market and Festival, but first, a little bit of home.  Since US Thanksgiving is in two days, and since there is nothing I am more thankful for than my family and home, let’s start here.

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining.  Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow.  I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house.  But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining. Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow. I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house. But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

asdf

Aren’t those colors fantastic?

Guess we should have taken the settee and rockers in a bit earlier.  They are now stashed in the garage!

The snowy front porch.

The snowy front porch.

Then, pumpkin pie.  The shopping list for Joshua’s birthday always begins with fixings for his birthday pie, which is what he has wanted since he was about 10.  We’ve kept the “year” / age candles as the boys grew, and keep re-using them.  Joshua is now starting his third decade—how can he be 21????????

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot--mama delivers the pie.  Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot–mama delivers the pie. Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.  Notice he’s wearing the sweater Eli and I bought him in England?

Then I was sneak-attack with the camera.  None of them were thrilled, but what the heck.  I’m Mama, and I want pictures!

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Eli, muttering because he knows I'm taking a picture, but I love this one!

Eli, muttering because he knows I’m taking a picture, but I love this one!

And the next day, three fourths of the feline contingent:

L to R:  Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

L to R: Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

I’ll have a new post tomorrow starting with International Quilt Market.