Life, House, Home, Family, Thriftiness, and other stuff...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Quilt for Uncle Steve

Uncle Steve is my dad's brother.
That's my dad on the left.
They're the only two children so I and my brothers and sisters are his only nieces and nephews.
Only Nine, haha. 

Way before Steve knew there would be NINE of us, he began a neat tradition for each of us kids.
He chose one animal for each kid (pretty much as soon as they had a first birthday...) and spent the next years of Christmases and Birthdays (and every other holiday practically) giving us gifts that related to the particular animal he chose for us, building up our collections.

I'm a Duck! 

I have received:
duck statues, duck slippers, rubber duckies, duck napkins, tissues, stickers, postcards, stationary, cards, toys, books, stamps, rubber stamps, jewelry, clothing, clothing for my own kids, cookie jars, 
a hat....
Well, just about anything you can think of that features a duck! 

It was so much fun. The packages were always neatly wrapped with colorful papers, tissue and ribbons. He'd wrap each gift individually and pack them into boxes. 

Our collections became a PART of us. Other people would catch on and give me ducks. 
I would buy myself ducky things.
In fact....! When I got married, Daniel and I had little mallard ducks on top of our wedding cake!!!
It was 1993! Mallard ducks were IN!

So when I drew Uncle Steve's name in the Christmas gift drawing, I knew I'd make him a quilt.
And because there's nine of us, it was perfect to give each of us a square.
I embroidered very simple pictures of each animal to represent each niece and nephew.
(Just a simple back stitch. I don't really know how to embroider anything else.)

Erin's the Pegasus. Back in 1970 when she was born I'm sure these were pretty cool. And there was no shortage of them in the 80's either! We were probably all jealous of that Pegasus at one time or another.
Amy was a BEAR. She had a LOT of teddy bears. Jealous? Me too.

And there's me, The DUCK! You should see all my rubber duckies now!                     
 And Cady had a PIG. 
She sometimes got teased for being a Pig (not sure why Steve didn't see that one coming, haha!), 
but I have to admit, some of her Pig paraphernalia was the cutest!!! 

 Adam, the first and only boy for much of his childhood was given the TIGER! Roar!
And Cammy the Rabbit. It's funny how much we associated each animal with each child. I can't think of a better animal to fit Cammy as a child.
 (Except that rabbits are very quiet. Cammy wasn't always quiet...)

Ally was the MOUSE and he couldn't have chosen a more fitting animal for our little
 Ally with the sweetly high, squeaky voice.
 "Talk like a MONSTER, Ally," we'd say sometimes when that voice got to be just a little too much! 

 And Leah, the ELEPHANT. She still loves to decorate occasionally with exotic elephants.

And then Ethan, FINALLY another boy on the end. The baby of the family was our little MONKEY.

I also wanted to add some UNCLE STEVE touches to really represent him. 
Uncle Steve has had a Handlebar Mustache ever since I can remember! 
(And for a long time before.)
He had that 'stache way before they were so cool, WHILE they were cool, while they were not seen much and then still when they've suddenly come back into style. 
It's a steady signature for Uncle Steve. 
(Hense the little embroidered handlebar 'stache's around the border.) 

And if you look really closely, you can see little books on the fabric. 
Uncle Steve and Books!!! He worked in a book store, volunteers at the Library. 
We never saw Steve without being given a bag of books. New, old, popular, obscure... 
If we mentioned any new interest, we could be sure we'd receive books about it! 
All smelling wonderfully of Books and Polo (his cologne). 
Wow, that's a vivid memory. 

In fact, I just got a package in the mail yesterday with books about Puppets, 
our newest obsession.

 I'm told he liked it. I'm told he cried when he opened it. 
I've always wanted to make him cry. 

Thanksgiving Quilt for Mom and Dad

Thanksgiving is my mom's favorite holiday. She loves all the food, all the 'guilt free' eating, because it's THANKSGIVING! Diets don't exist on that day. Cooking is not the favorite part. That can get pretty hectic when the number of people seems to grow each year. It IS getting better now that some of the kids are old enough to help bring some of the essential dishes.
But most of all she love having her big family around. Not all of us kids get to go home for Thanksgiving, but she's had so many of us, there are always plenty to fill up her too small kitchen. 

I think her love of her family and the Thanksgiving holiday are pretty well illustrated in this amazing quilt she made so long ago.  Back in November of 1978, my family consisted of my mom and dad and five of us kids. (Eventually we'd have a total of NINE kids!)
 Erin would have been about 8, Amy 6, and I'd just turned 4. 
Adam had just turned 3 and Cammy was 1. 

Mom had us each draw on fabric squares and then sewed them together to create the top of this quilt. 

I'm sure this yellow and brown were popular colors in 1978. She bordered the whole thing with a wide yellow border, which really solidified that late 70's vibe. And then the quilt top sat untouched for years. 
34 years to be exact. 

Here's my 4 year old contribution.
That's a turkey, I'm pretty sure.
 I really want to know what that thing is next to it with the colorful cross/stripes.

And here's a beautiful girl (obviously a bit jaundiced) 
with another beautiful girl with very large, sumptuous lips.
I'm not sure who drew this next one, but the eyelashes suggest it might be mine.
Maybe Amy? And that looks like another turkey... perhaps.

Amy's turkey is much better!
And her people are more like people.

Erin of course was the most advanced artist at the time being the oldest and wisest.
Also a bit of a brown-noser as you can see above...?

Adam, who was barely 3 at the time, drew this: 
It's no surprise he grew up to be an actual ARTIST.  (Colter Jacobsen)
I wonder what this is worth now? Or will be worth after he dies and gets SUPER famous...

Even baby Cammy got her square.

Of course she included Uncles Steve, Grandma and Grandpa and Grandmommy, Granddaddy and Uncle Howard. 

In 2012, Mom and Dad were in Montana on their mission so it would be
 Mom's first Thanksgiving without her big family. Sad day. 

Amy unearthed this gem in the attic and thought it would be a great way to show mom we were thinking about her on this favorite holiday. 
Only a couple of problems. 
First, it wasn't finished. It was still just a quilt top.
And second, it was pretty hideous. The colors were really dated. 

But Amy asked if I thought I could finish it off anyway and send it to mom and dad. And maybe try to make it a little nicer looking. She knew they'd love it. 

Well, stupid me, I forgot to take the picture of the BEFORE.
Originally it had a wide mustard yellow border all the way around. This made it a really dark quilt and the yellow and brown overpowered the cute little pictures.
It was pretty obvious the border would have to go.
I cut the yellow border off, added a wide white border and a blue binding. 
Then I did some mild quilting to finish it off. 

The results were really quite cute. The white brightened up the previously very dark quilt. It also helped the little white squares with our pictures show up  more.
The blue binding also added a fresh color that pulled the bright blue of the little flowers out of the dark brown calico. 

Emily is my string cutter. 

Well, she loved it. It kept them warm through the COLD Montana winter that year. 
 (Good thinking, Ame.)