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A Sentimental Fool?

Thats me – self confessed!  The need and wish to hold on to the memories the children have given us is immeasurable, so, what do I do?  I cut up their past and stitch it back together!  Of course…..What else would I do?

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The girls each have one quilt, made from  clothes they wore from 3 years onwards.  Mixed in with their clothes are scraps from Murray and me, a piece of Murrays suit from our wedding day (20 years ago this year!!!) clothes I have worn and made.  Christmas PJ’s, vital to have a special Christmas pair each year, plus odds and ends like their T-towels made at school and nursery with their drawings on.

The pieces are edged with their old bed sheets and backed with our old quilt covers.  Its like a diary of our lives post children, also a glimpse into old Boden, Gap and Laura Ashley catalogues!

They love them and we’re not precious about them, they are in the sitting room and they snuggle under them watching TV.  I am in the process of making up a small photo album showing them wearing all the clothes so they can remember what the item was and see how big they were when it fitted etc.

Why do we need to do such things?  I try to live in the moment but its so tricky, life’s almost too busy to notice ‘the now’ – so much easier to live in the past and remember the days gone with rose tinted specs.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t see these pieces of clothes and remember that life with small ones was  always fun, the sleep deprivation and the fact that at times I missed the old me!  At times Angela seemed to have gone and was replaced by two little people’s Mum.

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Twelve years on from our first child and nine from our last I do remember the tough times but no where near as much as I remember the good ones.  I was not cut out for the baby stage (never got that maternal feeling and still I’m not drawn to other people’s babies) but I loved it once they got to 3 and upwards.  Perhaps thats why the quilts only incorporate their clothes from this age up.  I have a couple of pieces from their early years but did not want to cut them up.  The snow-suit they came home from the hospital in (far too big on both occasions) their first baby grow and some tiny socks.  These I keep more to marvel at how small they were than how much I loved this stage. The rest I sold at NCT sales, almost rejoicing the fact that the baby stage was over for me after Megan was born!

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The girls loved the small pockets from their old uniforms etc to stash ‘stuff’ and the remnants made great presents to Grandparents when incorporated into Cushions etc.

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These quilts are not difficult to make, the hardest part is taking the scissors to the special pieces and making that first cut. By the third or fourth item you have a fairly carefree approach!  Stitch them together in lots of long lines, ensuring the main feature on each piece remains central to the overall line.  Don’t trim each line yet, just sew line to line and then trim.  I didn’t worry about mixing fabrics with different thicknesses or textures and it worked out great.  Use a material such as an old duvet cover for the backing so that it also has memories and secure the wadding between with buttons from the clothes you have used or specially selected buttons that enhance the image in the garment.   Examples below show how you can do this easily.  The girls helped choose these with me.

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Have fun with it, I know some people would tut tut at what a waste of good clothes but frankly as a seasoned ebayer a potential 99p per item is not worth the loss of a fabric memory – Agree?

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Midsomer Quilting 12X12 Exhibition

This Blog is unbelievably overdue as I try to get my ‘Crafting Cap’ back on and get back out in the workshop.

The third Midsomer Quilting 12 X12 Exhibition certainly impressed us again.  The sheer creativity of Midsomer Q customers and friends continues to be very inspiring.  The Exhibition ran in December and had over 200 entries.  This years theme was ‘Films/Movies’ and Chris hoped it would be the biggest yet!  This years theme followed the two previous categories of ‘Fruit’ and ‘Books’.  The 2011 and 2012 entries can be seen on their website alongside the description by the artist creating them.IMG_0976

Entrants could then let their creations be placed in an auction to raise money for Dorothy House hospice.

We visited the exhibition as a family and had the opportunity to vote on our top 3 entries – it was fascinating to see how different our choices were and the reasons they touched us.  Some of our favourites are below, some we picked because they were technically amazing, others approached the title with a funny interpretation whilst others were just beautiful and inspiring.

Below are some of our favourites.

ET IMG_0966Technically amazing and to top it all if you dimmed the studio lights the finger glowed.

Alfred Hitchcock

IMG_0973Series of nine 12 X 12’s, so imaginative and technically intricate.

Silence of the Lambs!

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Charlottes Web

IMG_0970 Beautifully painted and quilted.  This picture doesn’t do it justice as the wooden surround of the barn is raised and between the wooden beams Charlottes spider web spells out WILBUR!  We feel in love with this one and were lucky enough to be the successful bidders.  It is now hanging in my daughters room and we are part way through the book…..

‘UP’IMG_0969

The Black SwanIMG_0967

The Italian Job IMG_0986

The Long Road to Freedom IMG_0978

The Red Shoes IMG_0977

The World’s Fastest Indian IMG_0968

The Shawshank Redemption.IMG_0980 IMG_0981

This year I choose to do two 12 x 12’s.  The first was ‘Pulp Fiction’ and the second ‘Schindlers List’.

‘Pulp Fiction’

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American dark comedic crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino

The films title refers to the pulp magazines and crime novels of the mid 20th century, known for their graphic violence and punchy dialogue.

The film is described as having a ‘trippy fantasy landscape’. It emphasizes the banal or kitschy elements of culture, most often through the use of irony.

The blender ‘pulps the fiction’ in a Pop Art style.

‘Schindlers List’

(1993)

‘Into the Abyss’

Oskar Schindler (1908 –1974) was a German industrialist, credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

He showed extraordinary initiative, tenacity, and dedication in order to save the lives of these Jewish employees.

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I knew as soon as the 2013 title was announced that I wanted to attempt to depict this film.  Since my  teenage years I have been interested in WW2 and particularly the Holocaust.  I vividly remember reading a book from the library about Auschwitz and being really affected by the ability of people to follow a cause/leader to this level. Loosing all sense of human kindness and performing such acts of depravity.  My father was very interested in the War and we visited Northern France on a number of occasions to see some of the Normandy beaches and museum.  Even as a teenager I remember being shocked by the scale of the beautifully kept War cemetaries.

I wanted to make the iconic railtrack into Aushwitz out of the human remains and artifacts of those whose lives ended there.  It needed to be dark so I started finding black and white images of the piles of shoes, suitcases, bags of human hair, glasses and prayer shawls that were collected after the camps were liberated.  The image is surrounded by the names of the 6 (known of) extermination camps and the number of estimated deaths that took place there.  Finally the quilt is framed with a bright yellow edge, this is the only real colour in the quilt and I wanted it to depict the bright yellow star the Jews had to wear to distinguish them from the rest of the population.

I was pleased with the concept of the quilt but building it was no easy task.  The printer paper I bought to transfer the image onto the fabric was a disaster, it refused to pass through my printer.  Finally Chris at MQ came to my rescue and printed all the images onto a special fabric for me – a new printer is definitely required!

The quilt, in the end was very rushed as time was against me with the closing date.  Technically its far from my best piece but it did capture something of the horror of the story behind the film.

The 2014 title will be Music, so better get my thinking cap on early to avoid the last minute rush of last year!