Tag Archives: second sanctuary

Proud to be a BIG DOG!

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Paul Pierce’s wife describes him a “bigger than life.” This man, who passed away at age 57 in 2012, was adored immensely. And, he adored so many things immensely in return: the Air Force, the Phillies, his motorcycle, his children and grandchildren, Hawaii, and, of course, his beloved wife, Diane.

Paul and his motorcyle.

Paul and his motorcyle.

I say all of this to explain why making a quilt out of Paul’s clothing is a huge undertaking. Usually, I can process a shirt for a T-shirt quilt in a bout an hour. For this project, each shirt is  taking me 1.5 hours! But I am enjoying every minute of the process. As I spread out the shirts and determine which parts will be used in the quilt and the wall hangings, I think about Paul and his interests.

Each shirt needs to be cut along the neck, armholes and sides.

Each shirt needs to be cut along the neck, armholes and sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because Paul was so large, he often wore Big Dog clothing, a line of shirts tailored to the very big and very tall. It makes sense, then, that I include a the size label from the neck of one of the shirts in the finished product.

The size label from a Big Dog shirt.

The size label from a Big Dog shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love including the front buttons of a shirt in a quilt. Every time someone looks at the squares made from this part of the shirt, they will think about the person who buttoned and unbuttoned this garment again and again.

I don't toss away the buttons...I use them in the squares of the quilt!

I don’t toss away the buttons…I use them in the squares of the quilt!

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What a BIG Surprise!

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When a recent customer asked me to make a Queen-size quilt plus FIVE wall hangings from her deceased husband’s clothing, I thought, “Well, I hope she has many articles of his clothing because there will be a lot of fabric required for all of those quilt.”

Turns out, I didn’t need to worry. Denise’s husband was 6’4″ and 280 lbs. His clothing, especially his US Air Force flight suits, are so large that I will be able to cut many 5″ squares and have plenty of fabric for the quilts.

Here’s a look at the box that recently arrived in the mail.

First look at the new arrival of clothing for some quilts.

First look at the new arrival of clothing for some quilts.

It may not be obvious, but these items are HUGE. Denise's husband was 6'4" and 280 lbs.

It may not be obvious, but these items are HUGE. Denise’s husband was 6’4″ and 280 lbs.

Sign-up stations for Wedding Signature Quilts

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Here are a couple great shots of signing stations for signature quilts.

Love the way this station has a "sample" square indicating the need to keep the message inside the 1/4" space around the edge of the square.

Love the way this station has a “sample” square indicating the need to keep the message inside the 1/4″ space around the edge of the square.

So cheery and inviting!

So cheery and inviting!

Look closely--the sign reminds people to write in the middle! (any writing that goes to the edge will not show up on the quilt.)

Look closely–the sign reminds people to write in the middle! (any writing that goes to the edge will not show up on the quilt.)

Prayers for Juliette

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Members of the Clifton Quilt guild holding nine-patches for Juliette's Hope Quilt. From left: Kim Verthelsen, Evelyn Post, Michele Kopack, Agnes Dembia, Dale Rice, Rosemary McGuire, and Jo Ann Tropiano.

Members of the Clifton Quilt guild holding nine-patches for Juliette’s Hope Quilt. From left: Kim Verthelsen, Evelyn Post, Michele Kopack, Agnes Dembia, Dale Rice, Rosemary McGuire, and Jo Ann Tropiano.

This evening I did a talk for the women of the Clifton Quilt Guild, in Clifton, NJ. They wanted me to talk about the ways that quilting connects me with lives of other people. I had many stories to share, but the one I focused on was the story of little, 11-month-old Juliette who has been suffering from a seizure disorder since she was about a month old.

Julilette will be undergoing surgery on Friday, July 5 to remove a part of her brain on the left side. I have been making a quilt for her. Her mother calls it “Juliette’s Hope Quilt,” which is a great title because Juliette’s middle name is Hope. (Who could have guessed that she’d need such a profound name?)

Nine-patch blocks for Juliette's Hope Quilt.

Nine-patch blocks for Juliette’s Hope Quilt.

While I was doing my talk, I took out all of the nine-patches I made recently and passed them around the room. The women of the guild laid hands on the patches. Some even prayed for Juliette.

I want to do everything I can to bring people together through quilting. Tonight was a lovely chance to do just that. I hope Juliette can feel the love that was expressed for her tonight in a town a continent away.

Juliette’s Hope Quilt

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The box of fabrics arrived!

The box of fabrics arrived!

Various fabrics to be used in Juliette's quilt.
Various fabrics to be used in Juliette’s quilt.

I’m sure these photos seem hum-drum to anyone at first glance. Why shouldn’t they? There’s just a box with some fabric and then a display of the fabric on my front sidewalk.

To me, these photos are the beginning of a story, told here and in fabric, of a little baby named Juliette.

In July 2012, a customer who had previously ordered a custom-made quilt from me through my Etsy shop, http://www.secondsanctuary.etsy.com, told me she was 5 weeks away from delivering her 5th child. LeLan, the mother, was planning to have the baby, wait a month or so, and then get back to me on a second custom-ordered quilt she was thinking about.

In the third week of August, baby Juliette arrived.

By October, LeLan was asking for more time on the project, which was fine with me. She said the baby was fussy and wanted only her so it was hard for LeLan to go through her supply of fabrics to choose the ones to send to me for the second quilt. I remember making a comment that the baby was just going through her “fourth trimester.”

On November 28, LeLan sent me a message saying that the bay was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. LeLan was shell-shocked and on her knees praying. She also said that she needed to pull out of the plans for the custom quilt.

My response was to let her know that whenever she’s ready to go forward with this special quilt to just let me know. And, I told her not to worry about the cost. This one was on me. Making this quilt was one of the only ways I could be of any help to her and her family.

The other way I could help was to pray, and to get others to pray, along with her.

So, this blog post, and those that follow it, will be dedicated to little baby Juliette. As I show you pictures of the progress of the quilt, I will also share glimpses of this profound story.

It is my hope that you are moved by this experience at least half as much as I am. If you are, your life will be sweeter for it.

BFF collection is HOT!

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Had to run down to the wholesaler in Paterson today and while I was there I learned that the Elizabeth’s Studio BFF collection is selling really well. One of the owners told me that they are almost out of their second printing. This sweet collection, designed by illustrator Tracy Lizotte, is just perfect for all things “little girl.”

BFF vignettes.

BBF dress up panel.

BFF rock stars panel.

My favorite–the rainy day panel.

More Fabrics I LOVE!

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I went to my favorite wholesaler yesterday and picked up some more prints from Elizabeth’s Studios. I like the soft feel of the cotton on these fabrics. I love the rich, bright colors. And, I like the fun, funky subjects that are featured in the collections. I think I’ll make some napkins with the blue plates fabric. All of these prints are on sale in my Etsy shop: http://www.secondsanctuary.etsy.com.

Not bad for a basement corner!

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It snowed this past Saturday and to stave off any  “stuck-in-the-house” blues, I decided to do some cleaning and sorting and reorganizing work in my sewing studio. Two of my stepsons made some racks for my fabric bolts over Christmas and I finally had a chance to get them in place. Here are are some photos.

The Caring Quilt

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My mother-in-law was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2007. I knew that chemotherapy and radiation would be hard on her tiny frame. I wanted to help her be comfortable, and even cheered up, during the treatment process. So, I found a whole bunch of novelty fabrics that related to parts of her life. Fabrics about bowling and cards and painting and music and teaching..and so much more. I stitched them all together in an arrangement much like the one in the photo here and called it her “Caring Quilt.”

I have since created a listing of this kind of quilt in my Etsy shop, http://www.secondsanctuary.etsy.com. Each year, at the holidays, there is at least one person who orders one of these quilts from me. What an incredible experience it is for me to learn about some beloved family member for whom a Caring Quilt is ordered and what a privilege it is for me to labor in the process of bringing this gift to life.

Here are some other photos  of Caring Quilts.