100 Years!!

My mother, Lois Frances Langston was born on July 25, 1923!!….

She grew up during the Great Depression, and lived thru World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.

She passed away in 2017, at the age of 94.

I have been thinking a lot about her this week because it would have been her 100th birthday!!

Photo by Brooke Lark

She was a worker. She seldom sat unless it was to work on some handwork!!

SHE is the reason that I am a creator!!!

She made her first quilt at age 11…..

…. a basic 9-patch using fabrics from her baby brother’s “layette”.

She continued making quilts but ran out of time when she started working full-time (or when she had me…..the jury is still out on what the actual cause was).

Early in my life, she did Crewel Embroidery, sewed clothes, and upholstered furniture.

Then in 1972, she got re-interested in quilting (thru the Bicentennial) and she never looked back.

She made quilts for many of my female cousins, made countless baby quilts, and left me with a plethora of gorgeous quilts when she closed up her house!!

We had the joy of working on three quilts together after I jumped into the art.

On these first two, she did the applique and I did the piecing and quilting…..

….and for this Christmas Collaboration, she also did the hand quilting…..

These are special memories for me!

So today I celebrate my Mom…..

…and the creative legacy that she left for me!!!

In this blog, I post DAILY stories about creativity, techniques, tools of the trade, and lots more about the wonderful art of quilting. If you are enjoying these posts, please subscribe to be notified of each new blog as it becomes available.

Scrap Quilt of Memories

As I have mentioned before in this blog, my Mom, like her mother and grandmother before her, was a quilter!! On one of my trips to visit her I decided that it was time to do a photo documentation of all of her quilts. We set up a makeshift display area on the back porch and she started bringing out quilts…..and more quilts……and more quilts!!!

Then we came to this signature quilt…..

Now this quilt had lived on her bed for as long as I could remember, but when she started looking at it, she became very nostalgic for the memories of the people who had signed it……

She had made the individual blocks herself and then passed them to her friends and relatives and asked them to embroider their names.

It was a time when EVERY woman knew how to perform this simple task!!

She carefully fingered the various names, remembering some with joy and others that she simply had no memory of.

She was never one to get her photo taken and most of her photos were not particularly good but I do this one……

I think that the joy that she found in her quilts and in the memories of her relatives and friends shows in her face.

She taught me the love of creating with my hands and, for that, I will always be thankful!!

A few hours in the studio…..

This weekend I was able to spend a few hours in my studio and enjoyed every minute of it!!  

On Saturday, I put together two more blocks to send to my Mother so that she can do the applique…..

photo 2

Here are the two that she has already done and sent back to me…..

photo 1

As I have looked at these, I  realized that they are all over the place as far as placement goes on the background fabric,  so I am thinking that I will add a common fabric as the “ground” in each piece, but that can come later.

Back in the studio…..


On Saturday, I felt good enough to spend some time upstairs in my studio.  There were two projects that were ready for me to work on, but instead I did what any good quilter would do…..I started something new!!

This new project stemmed from a conversation with my 90 year old Mother where she was bemoaning the fact that she didn’t have any handwork to be doing, so I decided to start another one of our collaborative projects.

I picked a pattern that I had on hand…..one by Piece O’Cake Designs…..

I first found this fabric and think that I will work my colors around it…..


But, I wanted to change things around a bit, so decided to use dark backgrounds and pastel flowers……


I will probably need to buy a few more dark blues and purples before I am thru, but have enough to get started.

I had a lot of fun plowing thru my fabrics and coming up with pastels that would work…..


A few years back I realized that much of my stash was made of darks and medium fabrics, especially bright ones, so I have been trying to make a conscious effort to add some lighter colors.   From the looks of this table full of fabric, I think that I have accomplished my goal!!!

I had a fun few hours of picking fabrics and getting them fused on and ready to send to Mom.   Here are the first two….


When I get the next two done, I will send them to Mom who will perform her magical Buttonhole Stitch around the shapes.  As always, my biggest task will be to keep up with her!!!


Oh yeah, I have had few more “mini pep talks” from my throat lozenges….

  –  Buckle down and push forth!

  –  You’ve survived tougher

  –  Don’t waist a precious minute

  –  Don’t wait to get started

  –  Fire up those engines

  –  Dust off and get up

  –  Conquer today

……….Such fun!!!

Back to the Flower Pots

I had a bit of  Studio time this past week and decided to pull out the Flower Pot blocks that my Mom had appliqued……


I had worked on them some before we left for our Turkey trip but just couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I guess that I just needed some time away from it, because as soon as I looked at it this past week I KNEW what I was going to do…..at least the first step.

I first needed to cut the blocks down to 15-1/2 inches so pulled out my large square ruler (16-1/2 inches) and started making the cuts.  After the first block I decided that I needed some guidelines so used masking tape to mark the center of the block and also just outside of the 15-1/2 inch cutting line…..

DSC04965Now here is my masking  tape trick…..you know how it will often stick to the surface and leave icky goo when you pull it of?  Well, if you will first stick the tape to fabric, it will lose enough of the stickiness that there will not be any problem with removing it.   I normally just stick it to my skirt or pants and then peel it off and stick it onto the ruler.

I decided to put a small (1/2 inch) border around each of the blocks and immediately sought out the fabric that the pots were made from……

DSC04971 I was very pleased with this move because it helps to unify all of the blocks!!

Next, I selected an arrangement for the blocks and hung them up on the design wall…..DSC04973 But where do I go now!!!!

DSC04980 After trying out tons of pieces of fabric, I was ready to pull out my hair.  Then I noticed that I really liked the dark fabrics surrounding the blocks and also that the orange piece on the right seemed to work well with the other fabrics.

Then I got the idea to use a small strip of the orange as another break between the sashes…..

DSC04981 So I started adding borders and sashes and before long the center looked like this…..

DSC04985 But what now????

I tried adding white borders but they looked TOO white so I purchased two fabrics that were similar in colors to the pot fabric.  I cut out wide borders and added them to two of the sides, planning to then add more flower appliques on top…..


So, I went back to the white borders but started thinking about making them narrower and also thinking about how to make them fit with the rest of the quilt.


….add border pieces onto the edges of the applique border so that it matches the rest of the quilt.


Fortunately, I have plenty of orange but not nearly enough of the “pot fabric” so have used one of the original border fabrics instead.  DSC04994

Mom only wants the borders for the applique and does not really want to have to wrestle with the entire quilt top so I have basted the white border on and will now lay out my new appliques.   Then I will take the border off and send it to her for the hand work to be done.

It is such fun when the quilt “tells” you what needs to happen next!!!