Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Elegant Geometry at IQSC

Today I had the great good fortune to visit the International Quilt Study Center & Museum's (IQSC) newest exhibit:  Elegant Geoemetry.  It features American and British mosaic patchwork from the late 1700's and 1800's.  The exhibit is guest curated by Bridget Long, British quilt historian.  The hexagon quilt pictured above was made by Anna Ruggles of the United Kingdon.  She finished it about 1840.  This woman was definitely into fussy cutting! 
The IQSC is located right here in Lincoln, Nebraska.   I have a family membership, and I believe I've seen all the exhibits.  I used to volunteer there 2005-2007, when the collection was housed in the home ec building on UNL's East Campus, before moving into the architectural climate-controlled marvel which is its home today. 
Mosaic patchwork is generally known as English paper piecing because it involves basting fabric to a paper template, and then whipstitching the pieces together at the edges using teeny tiny stitches.    Many Americans have quilts made from feed sack fabrics dating from the 1930s in a hexagon paper-pieced design that has come to be known as Grandmother's Flower Garden.  If you'd like to take your own virtual tour of the IQSC, go to www.QuiltStudy.org.  You can search the 3,000+ quilts in their collection and find other examples of English paper piecing, including Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts.  Enjoy!
I am working on a major English paper piecing project of my own -- read more about that on next Saturday's post.  It is not a traditional hexagon design.  It is jokingly referred to in my family as "the ugliest quilt in the world."  I, however, am rather fond of it, and my 23--year-old daughter loves it, so it will be hers when it is finished, probably many, many months from now.
I've displayed some of the template shapes I've collected for future English paper piecing projects.   The pie-shaped wedge is from my ugliest quilt in the world project.   Several shapes of precut templates are available from Paper Pieces of Sycamore, Illinois.  Check out their website at www.paperpieces.com.  Although handwork is very time-consuming, I find it a wonderful way to relax and destress --- focusing on those tiny stitches is somewhat meditative.  I even enjoy sewing on binding, a task most of my quilting friends find tedious. 
LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Monday, May 30, 2011


I love peonies, and in the past 24 hours our two bushes have BURST into bloom!  I love those big bodacious blasts of color.  I had to take photos this year, because with blustery winds and hail in the forecast, they may not last long.
They also remind me of my Grandma Larson, who was a strict observer of Memorial Day, taking hand-picked bouquets to all the cemeteries where a friend or relative was buried.  She loved peonies as much as I do. 
As I was looking in my Etsy inventory closet yesterday, I realized that I have two little girl dresses that feature fabrics with stylized peonies!  Here they are!
This weekend, I'll be working on more 100% cotton, fully lined patriotic children's sun hats with a 4th of July theme, and getting ready to launch a Little Boy Clothing section in my shop
http://www.etsy.com/shop/pasqueflower.  Stop by and visit if you like!  I also do custom orders.
Enjoy what's left of your long weekend!
LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time Marches On

This 12" x 12" cotton fabric swatch is a "great find" I recently purchased from Etsy shopkeeper maili from Helsinki, Finland: http://www.etsy.com/shop/maili.  My husband is 31/32 Finnish, and I'm half Dane, so this was just too good to pass up!  This unique fabric was created for the Finnish Clockmakers´ school museum and features a vintage watch face. It says "Patent Str√∂mgren og Olsen No 524" on the face – which appears to be a Danish brand.  I'm planning to stretch it over canvas to create a unique little piece of wall art.   (Thanks to Ellen Medlock for a recent tutorial on her blog!)  http://www.ellenmedlocksblog.com/project-pages/diy-fabric-art

The cheery print reminds me that time marches on.  The background is the color of a CAUTION sign!


If my life is an hourglass, there are now more grains of sand in the bottom than in the top!  Time is a precious commodity...too precious to waste or squander on worry, mindless TV-watching, or unproductive or unfulfilling pursuits.   I'll try to spend my remaining time wisely – with family and friends, enjoying nature, creating, doing meaningful work, giving back, staying active and learning new things.  But I will also leave some time to reflect and pray and ponder, to recharge my batteries – or, in the case if this lovely old Danish watch, to keep it wound and ticking! 



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Niche or Rut?

I'm an eclectic.  I don't have a single "look" or aesthetic.  I like brights and neutrals, florals and geometrics, prints and solids.  I like traditional quilts and art quilts, folk art and fine art, pottery and fine china.  I like oldies and chamber music.  I like fiction and nonfiction.  I like Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter (well… maybe Winter not so much).    I don't have a niche.  Miscellaneous is my specialty.


Years ago, as I was being interviewed by the SD Judicial Qualifications Commission for a judgeship (I made the top three final cut, but I did not get the appointment), one of my inquisitors said to me, "You've held several different jobs.  It looks to me like you haven't found your niche."   I had legal experience in both the public and private sectors, civil and criminal, and considerably more appellate experience than most attorneys my age.  I had also been the first woman appointed to the SD Board of Pardons & Paroles.   I naively thought my broad range of experience would be a plus, not a minus.   My response was, "I prefer to think I haven't fallen into a rut."


I continue to struggle with that niche vs. rut dichotomy sometimes.  I still haven't found a comfortable niche. But I'm rarely bored, often challenged, and I remain open to new opportunities and ideas.  I'm content to be without a niche, open to creative options.  And I'm grateful that I'm not mired in some rut, spinning my wheels in overdrive.


Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower




Photo Credits: Pine trees and grass surround wagon ruts that have been carved into stone by emigrants who traveled the Oregon Trail, Guernsey, Wyoming (42.255° N 104.749° W).

Public domain. Photo courtesy of Talbot Hauffe, WYDOT


Goddess Leonie's Zen Habits

Need positive energy, inspiration, and a little ray of sunshine in your Inbox?  Then follow Goddess Leonie!  http://www.goddessguidebook.com
She "uncopyrights" her work in the hope that it will be shared. 
Today's gem is a colorful, whimsical, downloadable poster (reduce size to 75% if printing on 8.5 x 11 paper) I just had to pass along. 
LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

The print pictured above was purchased from http://www.etsy.com/shop/KeepCalmPosters.  It  is one of the inspiring pieces of art I display prominently in my Girl Cave.   On those days when I'm feeling overwhelmed, it reminds me to stay focused.

According to Wikipedia, "The original design was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion. It was little known and never used. The poster was rediscovered in 2000…" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Calm_and_Carry_On


I confess to having difficulty sometimes with the "Keep Calm" admonition.   I tend to stuff anger, so when I explode, it can be like Mt. Vesuvius!  And sometimes it's hard not to fret and stew—just a little.  Don't worry, be happy, is easier sung than done. Thank you, Bobby McFerrin!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv-Fk1PwVeU&feature=related


I do fairly well in the "Carry On" department.  I learned to carry on early in life, when my father died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 43.  I was 14. My dad was kind-hearted, generous, hardworking and honest.  He also had an incredible baritone voice and loved to sing.  He always maintained his sense of humor and sense of perspective, and never lost faith or abandoned hope.  After his death  I carried on,  and I've kept on keepin' on ever  since.  He would have expected no less. 


I've sometimes (deservedly so) been described as stubborn.  My late mother would have attributed that character trait to my Danish heritage.  Both my grandfathers were the sons of Danish immigrants, and my mom used to mutter "stubborn Dane" when I was being particularly headstrong.  Although stubbornness  tends to have a negative connotation, it can be a virtue.  I consider stubbornness to be one of my strengths, actually, rather than a character flaw.  The positive twin  (I'm a Gemini) of stubbornness is determination.


Stubbornness, faith, courage, and reason can overcome many obstacles.  Keeping a sense of humor and a sense of perspective can lighten any load.  Keep calm and carry on!


TTFN (Ta Ta for Now)

LeAnn aka  pasqueflower


Monday, May 23, 2011

Shameless Commerce: What's New in My Etsy Shop

On most Tuesdays I will post a little infomercial for my etsy shop:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/pasqueflower, Pasque Flower Creations:  Boutique Children's Clothing & More.  I'll be sharing some of my items with you.  This week I'm featuring three items from the Little Girl Clothing section of my shop.   Feel free to drop in and browse any time, or send your friends.  Enjoy!
LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Girl Cave

Near the end of tax season (what was I thinking??), I decided to organize the fabrics I've acquired over the years, affectionately known to most quilters as "stash."   You see, I LOVE fabric in an obsessive sort of way, and I've accumulated many, many yards of it, along with hundreds of fat quarters (18" x 22" pieces of fabric sold in quilt shops) and a bazillion scraps.  I love the colors, the textures, the designs, the endless possibilities!!  And so I converted my 36-year-old stepson's long-abandoned tiny bedroom that we still called "Jon's room" (he's happily married with three smart, handsome and adorable boys)  into a creative and nurturing space.


But what shall I call this space, now that it is no longer Jon's room?  My husband refers to it as the "stash room."  But it's more than a fabric storage facility—much more!  I initially referred to it as simply the "sewing room."  But that didn't quite capture its essence, either;  in additional to fabrics, a sewing machine, serger, quilting tools, and notebooks and file cabinets bursting with ideas,  I have photos, mementos, and artwork I love.  I jokingly told my husband that when I'm feeling uppity, I'll refer to it as my "studio."  But that's a bit too pretentious.  I do not consider myself a fiber artist.  I am merely a fairly skilled craftswoman who, over several decades, has acquired some level of proficiency with needle, thread and fabrics, and an eye for color. 


Today I decided on a name for my space – it's my "Girl Cave."  We've all heard of man caves, right? Wikipedia defines a man cave as a male sanctuary, and goes on to state that a man cave  is not a cave but rather a metaphor describing a room inside the house where "guys can do as they please."  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_cave.


My little space is also a sanctuary---a word whose root denotes something sacred or spiritual.  When I am in that sunny little space, surrounded by a rainbow of fabric-filled shelves, treasured photos, trinkets and inspiring artwork, it truly nourishes my spirit.    When I am creating with fabric, I often find myself in "the zone"—completely absorbed in my task, losing all track of time.   As I enter my "girl cave," I give my inner child permission to come out and play. 


Flowers in Vase Watercolor by my friend and local artist, Glenda Dietrich Moore:  www.glendadietrich.com.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Venturing into the Blogosphere

If a tree falls in the wilderness....
If a blogger writes, but nobody reads her musings, has communication occurred?
Today I venture, somewhat hesitantly, into the blogosphere, to capture my musings and to share them with what I hope will be, someday, a friendly community of like-minded, creative, and curious types, who will add to the conversation.  I worry a bit that I may become just another voice in something akin to a 21st Century virtual tower of babel.  Will I be able to connect with others on the same wavelength, or will my voice be drowned out by others in cyberspace? 
For now, I will set aside those fears as I venture bravely into cyberspace....
That's one small step for LeAnn.