Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Snack Pack

The English Boy sizes up my purse before making his selections.  He stuffs his choices into it as we head to the window to purchase tickets.  Once inside the venue, he picks a seat and then rifles through my purse for his treats.  The movie begins and the English Boy happily consumes his contraband food items.
Sometimes he brings his own candy, but there have been other occasions where nothing would suffice except a taco or hamburger or even a massive piece of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.  Striving to be neat, he even tucks in cutlery and napkins.
The most recent outing involved a pre-movie stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken.  After watching the English Boy devour a large chicken sandwich and mashed potatoes with gravy, he asks if I have room in my purse for potatoes.  I think he means fries and tell him they will fit.  He brings back a to-go bag containing a large tub of mashed potatoes and gravy.  Unbeknownst to him, my “purse” is actually an insulated lunch bag that will keep his items hot.  I pull out all of my belongings and shove his bag within, adding a biscuit, “spork” and handful of napkins.  It was show time and we head to the discount movie theater for “The Lone Ranger”.  I hand him his steaming mashed potatoes and he proceeds to mix in the gravy.  The English Boy promptly burns his mouth.  The potatoes have remained lethally hot inside my bag.  He runs for the water fountain, leaving the potatoes behind in the cup holder.  The distinct smell of KFC potatoes permeates the small theater so I am positive everyone knows we have secreted in illegal foodstuffs.  The English Boy returns and continued with his snack which has now adequately cooled. 

As the theater dims for the main show, I am positive he is using his cell phone as a flashlight to aid in his fine dining efforts.  I am thankful that the show has a minimal amount of patrons on this late evening.  The English Boy finishes his snack, places it back in the paper bag and loudly crumples the brown paper during a particularly quiet moment.  I make a note to feed him more before our next movie adventure.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Perspective from the Back of a Pickup Truck

Summers spent in Maine also meant seemingly endless visits with family.  As a child I dreaded the trips away from the lake cottage.  If the trip was to be an overnight one to Boston, it was even worse.  I didn't like to be separated from my little wooden rowboat.  I loved running as fast as I could down the packed dirt road, the soles of my feet toughened from all of the barefoot days.  I built tents using the clothesline, wet towels and wooden clothespins and stayed outside until the night sounds scared me into retreating to the safety of my lower bunk bed.  On rainy days, I climbed up to the attic to read a book and listened to the sounds of the raindrops dancing on the rooftop while I hunkered down on one of three ancient mattresses with their mismatched chenille coverlets.

Uncle John would arrive with my cousin, Christine for a visit at some point during the summer.  They lived less than an hour away in New Hampshire, but as a child, it seemed like such a far away place.  Christine would stay with us for several days and then my younger sister and I would head to their farm in New Hampshire for a few days.  The best part of the trip was my uncle's old pickup truck.  He would wait until nightfall and line the bed of the truck with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and favorite stuffed animals.  The three of us would lie side by side and stare up at the stars in the inky sky as he drove on the highways to their farmhouse.  There was a large iron bridge along the route and I would try to count the cross bars overhead.  Chilly New England air rushing by, traffic zipping along and three little girls snuggled in the back chattering about life's most important things.

This was the one trip that I always looked forward to each summer...the one visit I didn't dread.  To this day, I still believe that the best conversations happen in the back of an old pickup truck.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Every quilt has a story.  For my quilt, the story began last year when I fell in love with a beautiful selection of vintage prints at a favorite craft store.  One, with its pretty pink roses reminded me of my comforter set from my first college apartment in Augusta, Georgia.  I think it still may be tucked away in a closet at my parent’s house.  A second fabric brought back memories of a dress I made with my mother’s help and I quickly picked up the bolt of creamy calico with tiny purple flowers.  I had no pattern in mind so I asked for a half yard of each, which I felt would be sufficient to create a lap quilt of my choosing.

Ten years ago, I judged a book by its cover.  More Quilts From The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Joanne Larsen Line is a beautifully illustrated instructional book that celebrates the giving nature of the quilting tradition.  Each pattern in the book is a testament to planning and requires a lot of time, effort and attention to detail.  At the time, my focus was on scrap quilting and appliqué and I didn’t have the interest in some of the more intricate patterns offered in the book.  The book was shelved and every few years, I would rediscover it, wistfully gazing at the glossy pages.

It was within these pages that I found the pattern that would perfectly showcase my vintage blends of creams, pinks, lavenders and greens.  “Spool” is a pattern comprised of simple squares and triangles while balancing the shades of lights and darks.  I had found my roadmap and was ready to embark on the journey.
I never create a quilt from all new fabrics.  My first stop was an archeological dig through my fabric stash and my mom’s.  I pulled numerous fabrics left over from long ago creations that blended well with the newly purchased ones.  Several favorites were part of a quilt that my Mom and I made when a friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer.  The pale lavender dotted with cream colored roses and tiny green leaves and a lemony yellow laced with a subtle hint of white reminded me of her strength. 

I also discovered a green and pink striped fabric on a shelf in my mother’s sewing room which had been long forgotten.  It didn’t fit in with the neighboring jewel tones so I borrowed it for my outer borders.  It took a day to cut all of the pieces and two weekends to sew the quilt top together.

I then needed to choose my fabrics for the back of the quilt.  After deciding on flannel, I found a paisley in green and purple at the local store.  I bought what was left on the bolt, knowing it wouldn’t be enough.  I added a white and blue polar bear flannel to lengthen each end.  In 2000, my mother visited a small company in Thomson, Georgia that manufactured sheets.  They sold fabric remnants by the pound and Mom bought so much of the polar bear flannel, we still use it to line the backs of quilts.  My “911 Quilt” that I started within days after the Twin Towers fell has the soft, familiar flannel on its reverse.

Every quilt has a story and this one is no exception.  It has the strength of others that have come first and one day, pieces of this of this quilt’s story will be sewn into the next, full of promises and endless possibilities. 

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed Something Blue”.  For Chantel, 2013