Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yes, I Can!

A couple of months ago, I agreed to make a nursery wall-hanging for my cousin's great good friend, whose first baby is due later this month.  My cousin didn't want anything that screamed "BABY GIRL!" Instead, she envisioned elephants or giraffes, but nothing too cutesy.

I said, "Of course.  No problem."  I always say that, right before wondering what exactly I was thinking. In this case, I had never done a quilt with animals on it.  I made fish once, but that's it. I remembered that only after loving the concept.

Then came the combined thinking and panic phase.  How to arrange these animals?  Would they be playing with each other?  Would they be young animals?  How would the viewer know that these were young ones? Just because the average first-grader can draw an elephant doesn't mean I can make one out of fabric.  Where would the baby's name go? Trees? Flowers?

This went on for a few weeks while I finished some other orders, but once those were done, I was out of excuses.  Nothing to do but do it.

I turned on some music (thank you, Sergio Mendes!) and started auditioning fabrics, making quick judgments about what would work together and what would not.  This is what I ended up with:

Fabric auditions

Can you see the elephants and the giraffes?  Not yet?  Ok.

Some people sketch first, but I usually don't.  Working quickly, I started cutting and soon had this:

Initial layout

Which, when finished was this:

Playdate, 2013, by Jacqueline Bryant Campbell

There is always something in each quilt that is my favorite part but in this one, the baby giraffe was tied with the little birds on the mother elephant.  All done!

I just linked up with Nina-Marie at Off the Wall Fridays!  Please stop by and be inspired by some wonderful artists.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valentine's Day

Remember handing out Scooby-Doo valentines in elementary school?  Or cutting up doilies and using clumpy paste to make valentines for your parents?

That's when Valentine's Day was simple.  We all got older and it became flowers, and fancy cards, and dinner reservations, and premium candy, all of which had been marked up outrageously for the holiday.

After a couple of years of marriage, I told my husband "Enough."  Cards are nice, but let's skip the overpriced roses and the crowded restaurants.  Maybe we would go out to dinner the weekend after the holiday, or I would pick up some lovely tulips from a street vendor.

Then, a couple of years ago, my husband suggested that we just have a really nice meal at home.  He would cook.  I would get the wine.  A simple plan, but I was skeptical. We have two kids.  What would we do with them?  Or would we have this really nice dinner with them, too?  That didn't sound like much fun.

As it happened, it was quite possibly the best Valentine's Day we had ever had.  The kids ate early and then went up to their rooms.  My husband and I enjoyed a lovely candlelit dinner and finished off that bottle of wine before falling asleep watching TV.  Our son came down to tell us that he was going to bed, and discovered his usually sober parents sprawled on the couch, totally inebriated.  It was great.

Last year, I made a valentine for my husband.  (Of course you did, you may mutter.  You're an artist.) It wasn't because I was overwhelmed with creativity; it was because I forgot to buy a card.  I had bought the wine, and the candy for the kids, but I totally forgot about the card.  So I made this:

He loved it! I'll probably do it again this year.  Perhaps you'll consider making a valentine, too, and see what happens.  But don't forget the wine.