Friday, February 29, 2008

"Sound" Advice

Spring is only three weeks away! The light has changed and it's no longer dark when I close up the studio in the evening, even though it's still cold and snowy. Another harbinger of spring has arrived, as well, the lovely little pots of primroses at the grocery store. I can never resist them. They make a happy contrast to the snowy landscape beyond the kitchen window. Love those colors!

For this weeks blog, we will transform one of the ugliest pieces of furniture in everyone's home-AUDIO SPEAKERS! Of course, they add the richness of music to our lives and make our husbands happy, so they must be incorporated into the decor, but they are so painful to look at. My husband, for example, prefers vintage speakers for their sound quality, but visually they are little more than big brown boxes.

Our solution has turned into a colorful compromise. Greg pops out the protective fabric panels and recovers them with Sassaman fabrics. This way they become chromatic sculptures, almost like children's building blocks!

 Since our house is painted in bright Mexican colors, any of the fabrics will work. We also have throw pillows in the same patterns which sprinkles hits of color throughout the room. Our young male guests often go home with a personally picked favorite fabric to jazz up their batchelor pads sound system.

Here are two more speakers from Greg's office which is in a real "Philip Marlowe/Guy Noir" type building. He has painted the rooms in rich colors and, of course, has Sassaman fabrics for curtains and accents, too. He promises to refinish the wooden speaker cabinets...  some day. Well, I guess this blog has accomplished something!

Friday, February 15, 2008

February RED

"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches."
                                                       E. E. Cummings

This is the deepest part of winter. For many midwesterners the holiday celebrations are a distant memory and the once charming snow has become an annoying inconvenience. Some folks are just tired of being cold.

Just when everything seems gray, St. Valentine's Day comes to save the day with a radical splash of RED! It is a brilliantly timed holiday to remind us that spring will, indeed, come again! So this week we celebrate the symbols of the life force and the glorious color red.

Red is one of my favorite colors! It is a color that I could not do without. It is the color of energy; the pulse of life. The heart, too, is a symbol of life, love and regeneration, plus a wonderful graphic reminder of our mortality.

I have used the stylized heart in several fabric and quilt designs. Here are two beds made up for Valentines. The one on the left has appliqued flaming hearts made with Jane's Hothouse Garden fabric. It is an homage to Mexican folk art, which I love.

The other bed has a more flirty feminine feeling. This quilt is made from the Jane's Paradise Garden line, which may be in your fabric stash. Both quilt patterns are available for free down loading:

And now for your enlightenment, the Smiling Red Buddha! He is a symbol of happiness, prosperity and contentment and his statues are used to attract these positive attributes. Love that smile! I also have a glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary protecting my computer... just covering all my bases.

We found these inexpensive red frames at Ikea. Right away, I thought of putting fabric in them. By joining three frames together they become a small screen or triptych. The perfect background to keep Buddha happy. The fabric is Hothouse, again.

Please note there are three new free patterns available this week:
Glowing Crosses, Meditation and Zen Garden. Links are noted below the quilts in the right hand column.

Afternoon in February

The day is ending,
The night descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wonderful Winter Wearables

Welcome to my Idea Book. This is the place to find the freshest recipes for using my latest FreeSpirit fabrics and your classic Sassaman stash. With the help of some friends, we will be going beyond quilting to explore wearables, home decorating and whatever comes to mind.

This week was "all about weather" in northern Illinois. It started with a snowstorm followed by two days of rain and slush up to your knees. Gradually the rain became sleet before it evolved into a 24 hour blizzard with howling winds whipping at 12" of snow. It was glorious!!!!!
So this week we are celebrating our wonderful windfall with some warm winter gear. Like they say, "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes." You must be dressed right to appreciate this dramatic gift and it is a bonus if you can make a fashion statement at the same time.

First, Fair Claire models our snappy little "thinking cap"; like a dollop of raspberry sherbet and lively mint. It was made from Vogue V7981. Just the thing for shopping and short dashes outside.

Next we have a classic 1950's model update for practical modern girls. We call it "The Full Fudd" because Elmer would have loved these! The first Fudd is made with quilted cotton (Jane's Exotic Garden) and lined with Faux fur. Flaps up or flaps down, it's a fully functional Fudd.

Fudd #2 uses the Turquoise Water Lily fabric from the current group, Jane's Hot House Garden and is lined with polar fleece. Note that the fabric has been fussy cut so the design is symmetrical around the head and creates a nice color rhythm. A very fashionable Fudd! They were also made from Vogue V7981.

Finally, Fair Claire wears a headpiece for serious snow shoveling. This is an original pattern inspired by historic costume. The outer layer is quilted and filled with wool batting and lined with coordinating fabric from the Hot House line. The side gussets create a flair to follow the shape of the shoulders and keep the snow from falling down your neck. Yuk!

Cold weather is no excuse to be boring! Turn your winter "blahs" into "Ahhhhs" by putting some bright colors to practical use. You can find a list of stores that carry Jane's Hot House Garden at . Keep cozy and creative! See you next week!