Enter: Heather Ross's latest fabric line, "Briar Rose." It is the perfect way for my oldest daughter, Elyse, to have toads to her heart's delight and to keep them "alive!" (Not to mention crickets and honey bees, too.)
I purchased a layer cake at a deal, then let it taunt me. For weeks and weeks, there it sat, and I just could not figure out what to do with it. This fabric is just too perfect, and nothing seemed good enough. Meanwhile, a little lady's sixth birthday was creeping closer and closer!
So, back to my default: patchwork. I left half of the pieces in the 10 by 10 inch size, then quartered the other half of the pieces. I stitched in some half-inch sashing all around, added a border or two, and I was done. I like to let good fabric speak for itself.
First up: the aforementioned toads. This photograph really does not do the illustration justice. Of course. That said, I just LOVE the little daddy toad helping his baby wade into the water. The baby toad left his romper on the picnic blanket, see? It's these little details that make the illustration so wonderful. And the other little toad learning to dive? Too cute. Not to mention the toad that is swimming with his child on his back. And the details of the picnic? Oh, I could go on.
I think one reason I love this illustration so much is because it reminds me of a happy time our (then little) family had when we lived in Arizona. We had recently been reunited after 5 1/2 months apart for my husband to do his Army training. We decided to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and its environs. One day, we were driving through Oak Creek Canyon on our way to see the red rocks of Sedona. We stopped to picnic at a place called the Banjo Bill picnic area.
Henry was only 1 1/2 and Elyse only 2 1/2 and we hadn't planned for water, but they wanted to wade. So I just undressed Elyse down to her underwear and let her go in! (Henry was a bit more timid and was content to keep dry.) Well, we just lingered there and lingered some more, enjoying the water, the delight of the children in splashing, the light blazing through the trees and striking the water and the rocks.
|My favorite picture from that day... see the glee on Henry's face?|
What I remember most of all, is how we enjoyed just being together. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
This toad print reminds me of that day, and I really wanted Elyse to have plenty of those little guys, so I did the backing in it.
Elyse also loves crickets. Again, when we lived in Arizona, she would chase those around the backyard. Catching and releasing, all evening long. Such lovely weather, such lovely memories.
|See my mistake in the quilting? I tried to greet Anne's husband and daughter... while still quilting! Clearly a no-no.|
Next up: honeybees! Look, this one is carrying pollen in her apron. In her apron ! So clever and so cute! I love it.
And this one is knitting with a baby in a basket beside her. Oh my. Homemaking bliss.
Despite all these adorable creatures, I think that the strawberries on green are my absolute favorite. I could look at these sweet illustrations all day long.
Did I actually just say, "I like to let good fabric speak for itself," and then ramble on and on? Typical me.
Well... shall I tell you about the quilting? It's my first time "longarming" it! I really enjoyed it! I chose these figure eights, sometimes called the Denyse Schmidt Scroll. It was so much easier than wrangling this baby through the very small throat space of my home machine.
I think the middle of the quilt looks great, but I had a hard time doing just half the loop to finish the last row. You can see messed up loops and the bubbles below.
Then Anne saved the day by offering to stitch Elyse's name into the quilt. How wonderful!
Then I got back to my specialty: ruining the final touches. Oops.
All that to say: despite my quilting mistakes, I love this quilt. Better yet, the birthday girl loves it, too; I'm so glad that this one is staying in the family!
(Linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts and Needle and Thread Thursday.)