Our Whole Life

Mom and Dad were married on August 2, 1952, on a very hot day, in an un-air-conditioned church in St. Charles, MO. Legend has it that Mom’s veil caught fire from a candle during the photography or reception (I don’t remember; I wasn’t there!)

Marvin and Gloria 8-2-52

For their 50th wedding anniversary, in 2002, I made them a photo-transfer memory quilt.

anniversary quilt

I used ideas from the book The Collectibles Quilt by Wendy Etzel, 1995, RCW. The book got me started with the idea of a photo transfer bookcase quilt, and I took off from there. (Wendy still has copies of her book available; you can contact her at wendyetzel@verizon.net . The exact pattern for this quilt is not in the book.)

This was the second real quilt I ever made. The first was My Texas Star, half a year earlier. I think this was also the second time I tried free-motion quilting!

I managed to get photos of 5 generations of family, and made enough photo transfers to create 52 “framed” photos on the bookshelves, including my parent’s wedding picture and their wedding invitation.

Our Whole Life detail 3

The titles of some of the “books” are the names of my grandparents, my parents, my sister and me, and our children. Other “books” are titled with significant events or interests in our lives.

Our Whole Life detail 2Our Whole Life detail 1

I added a machine-embroidered a Peace rose (I don’t have a close-up of that) which was my maternal grandmother’s favorite flower, and created a basket made from woven strips of fabric, with a piece of crocheted work spilling out of it. This was made by my father’s aunt, who was born deaf, but crocheted exquisitely.

Our whole Life detail 4

(I didn’t cut up a good piece of crochet work; this was damaged, and I used the un-damaged part in the quilt.)

When they saw the quilt, Mom and Dad were both speechless and teary-eyed, and my father said, “This is my whole life!”

The quilt was hung next to some real bookcases, and causes visitors to do a double-take! It has been the backdrop for many family photos.

Sean 21bday and Annie 018 Sean 21bday and Annie 016Bird family

Yes, that’s a papier-mâché-and-feather bird head, but that’s another story…

The quilt was displayed at Dad’s memorial service. I think it’s just about the best gift I ever gave!

Photo Transfer Quilts

During the past week, I participated in the 5-day artist challenge that has been making its way around Facebook.  It involved posting three projects for five days, and nominating one person each day to continue the challenge.  Well, thinking of projects for that challenge, plus the ideas I have for this blog, have brought home to me the large and varied body of work I have created.  It’s kind of fun to look back at all – well, at least some – of the things I have made with fabric and thread!

In the challenge, I posted photos of Shark’s Teeth garments, elaborate Christening gowns, some of my favorite quilts, and a prom dress!  So here’s yet another type of work I’ve done.  This is a group of small wall quilts I made in 2010.  I like to take close-up photos of the flowers in my back yard.  I don’t have a fancy camera, or any particular knowledge of photography.  Some of these photos were printed on photo transfer fabric, and I incorporated them into little quilts.



This photo transfer was framed with a pinkish fabric to pick up the pink of the lily, and a green batik to blend with the leaves.  This was appliqued onto a subtle light ivory/cream/pink fabric, which was machine embroidered with OESD swirls that again picked up the colors in the flower.  The yellow and gold FSL flowers are from Zundt.



This is a photo of a phlox with a big, fat bee!  Again, a narrow inner border picks up the colors in the flowers, and tiny FSL Zundt flowers were added after the quilting was done.



In a previous post, I wrote about the silver-centered FSL daisy pins my daughter made me for Mother’s Day.  I placed these pins in a patch of black-eyed Susans and took one of my favorite back-yard photos.  So I took another photo without the pins, transferred the photo to fabric, quilted it, and added a similar pin!  As in the quilts above, I used borders to pick up the colors in the photographs.


I love this tiny (8.25″ x 9.25″) quilt!  Look closely, there’s a honeybee tasting some nectar!  I had some scraps of ombre fabric; I spliced the picture and border with 1/4″ strips of fabric.

There was a beautiful pinky-peach rose quilt, as well, but I don’t know where it is, and I don’t have a photo of it.

I don’t remember what brand of photo transfer fabric I used.  My first quilt made with photo transfers was my parents’ 50th anniversary quilt, which I will post about in the future.  I had printed those images on my home printer.  But for these little quilts, I e-mailed the images to my local print shop, then took in the freezer paper-backed transfer fabric, and had them print it.  For the cost of a few color copies, I had images that were brighter and more crisp than I was able to print at home.  Then I heat-set the ink, trimmed the photos to the size I wanted, added borders, and quilted.  Try it!  It was fun!

Sterling Silver and Machine Embroidery – Unusual Partners!

My daughter is a jewelry artist.  About five years ago, trying to find a way to make a little money during grad school, she made these pretty little brooches.  She made the hand-crafted sterling silver centers, and I contributed the free-standing lace machine-embroidered petals.  These were really cute, I thought, and very versatile, as the centers could be removed and used with a variety of flowers.


So, of course, I made a quilt with a silver-centered flower!  This little quilt was donated to the silent auction at the Houston Quilt Festival in 2010.


The upper flower is machine embroidery directly on fabric.  The middle flower is a photo transfer from a photograph I took in our back yard.  And the lower flower is a double layer of free-standing lace petals with one of the silver flower centers.  This flower can be removed from the quilt and worn!  The light green border fabric is silk dupionni, free-motion quilted.  And all the machine embroidery designs in this post are Zundt, of course.

Then Annie tricked me!  She said she had a commission for three black-eyed Susan pins, and could I please embroider the flowers.  Some time later, I received a package in the mail.  Three lovely pins for me!   So of course I photographed them in their natural setting.  Look closely to find the silver-centered blossoms!


I’ve worn these a lot.  I’m not a “bling-y” kind of person, but these are casual and fun, a mix of silver and thread, and a wonderful reminder of my wonderful daughter!