BCQuilter's Weblog

Inspiration from amazing things…

Posted on: 29 July 2008

What inspires you? Do you think about what inspires you? Or does it just sort of happen.

I was in the grocery store the other day picking up a few things, when of course I had to walk by the magazine rack. I looked, and saw one I was interested in, then saw a “bundle”. The Australian Quilting magazine back-issues are often bundled together for a savings on the magazines. You never know what they will be. This time I found a bundle which included Australian Patchwork Quilting Vol 14 No 11 and Australian Country Threads Annual Vol 7 No 6. I was thumbing through the Country Threads, and didn’t get past page 14.

Inspiration leads from one thing to another.

Australian Country Threads Annual Vol 7 No 6

This photograph invoked a childhood memory. Of something I made when I was 9 or 10 years old.
I stare at this image for quite sometime, wondering if I could do it? No…. I don’t want to make this quilt, although it is very cute, it is not something I would do, but… what if…
A quick dash into the house… oh, I forgot, I was perusing the magazine on my porch enjoying the late afternoon sun. I find the item… sorry, can’t tell you what it is yet, don’t you just love suspense? *grin* Where was I… oh yeah, okay dash into the house… after a quick search find the item. Hmm… I am thinking a quick sketch would be required… who knows how much longer this item will hold together, it is over 30 years old… *gasp* IT IS OVER 30 YEARS OLD! I grab some paper out of the printer… why is it when you need something you can’t find it… hmm… while searching for my pencil crayons, I found my Crayola Box of Crayons the 96 pack! Oh yeah… I have the big box! Oh… the pencil crayons (another big box), are not here, they are up in storage, that’s okay… I have my Crayolas *grin*. I noticed my sketchbook. I had asked DH a few weeks back to pick me one up, while he was in town. I found a greeting card that was mouth or foot painted, and I thought it would make a nice wall-hanging… some day, but I didn’t have a place for the card, and I didn’t want to lose it. So the sketchbook came in handy to sketch the design from the item.
Sorry… you will have to wait a little longer. After I took a photo of the quilt above, Tazzie jumped up onto the ironing board. Well, I had to take a photo of her too, as I hadn’t moved the magazine yet. Those of you who were wondering… yes, she is still very much a fixture in my quilt’n room.
Do you remember Artex? These were metal tubes which held paint that you could paint fabric and other surfaces with. When I was a child, my Mom was very big into Artex. Once in awhile, my sister and I were permitted to paint things. Even back then, I wasn’t always happy following some one else’s pattern *grin*. I created my own. I still have an item I made. My grandmother had embroidered/cross-stitched my name onto a pillow case. Without further ado, here is the item.
It is a picture of a house, with the light shining from the window. As a 10 year old (approximate), I didn’t know anything about perspective, so the end of the house and the side are full view. I think this was my “perfect” home when I was a child… the home I wanted as an adult. I just realized… I’m almost there… no my house isn’t a bright blue, and I don’t have a pond… but I do have a creek, and I can see mountains in the distance. We have conifer evergreens, as opposed to the trees depicted on the pillow case. *grin*
I have decided I would like to recreate this image using fabric, and I was inspired by that project in the magazine. It’s on my to do list. *grin*.
Yesterday I made some blackberry jam. I haven’t made jam in over 10 years, so this was quite the undertaking. My friend and I were out yesterday and picked a full ice cream bucket of blackberries. Roughly a gallon or four litres. I was able to make seven 500 ml (one pint) jars. I was so energized by the process… I told DH, last night I wanted to make more… not that night… but again soon. After getting the jam done, I started supper. While waiting for the barbecue to heat up, I noticed a visitor in the back yard. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos. As long as she stays in the backyard, I’m okay with her… but she better not head into the front and eat my roses… again.
Some of the other happenings in the last week or so… My youngest daughter wanted to finish up the quilt we started at our Guilds Wimpy-All-Nighter Mystery Quilt. We finished the top. Now to wait until Mom has some batting and a backing for it.
A friend gave my daughter the black with the neon colours and the green animal print. The remainder black and white fabrics and the border fabrics are from my stash.
Before we added the borders… all I could see was the black print. She chose well for the border colours. The design is much more obvious. She is following in her Mom’s footsteps, making changes to suit her. Instead of the typical small, medium, large border, she went with a medium small large. I think it works for this quilt.
At this guild workshop, I surprised my daughter with a little surprise birthday party. A number of the guild members put a basket together for her, of charm squares, fat quarters and a few other bits and pieces.
About a week after we completed the quilt top, she wanted to use her charm squares and fat quarters to make something. We had picked up a book for children at our Guild’s silent auction, and she found a project she wanted to make. A pencil case. She didn’t want to try her hand at hand-sewing, so we adapted the pattern to machine piece it. She used a piece of her fabric for the outside, and raided Mom’s stash for the inside. The next day, she was so pumped… another project had to be done.
Again, she’s following in her Mom’s footsteps. She looked at the book bag pattern, and wanted to use her 4½” charm squares. She read the pattern and realized she didn’t have any fabric that met the size requirements. With a little help from Mom… she designed her book bag.

We took a black & white to see the values.
We decided to add a gusset to the sides and bottom, to give the bag more flexibility in use. She stitched all the squares together. Mom did the cutting, pressing and quilting.
Here is the photo we took of the pencil case, book bag and the book which inspired the designs.
Have you considered what inspires you? Do you document it? Do you write down ideas to try and/or do at a later time. I was reading a photography magazine waiting in an office the other day, and one of the things it said, was you don’t have to travel to exotic locales to take great photos… just venture into your back yard, and take a different look at how you see things. The rain drops on a leaf, instead of the leaf. I would like to challenge you to look at things around your home, yard, neighbourhood, and see if it inspires you. Be sure to take a camera and a sketchbook. Write down everything that comes to mind. You’ll be surprised at where it leads you!
Good inspirations to you!

4 Responses to "Inspiration from amazing things…"

I can almost feel your enthusiasm, it’s quite infectious and something I need at this time of year (cold cold and cold!).

I was madly into into Hobbytex when I was young – virtually the same as Artex, I noticed the tubes are still in my parents garage – probably dried up by now!

Your childhood picture is perfect, in that it is everything a child’s picture should be. I’m looking forward to seeing what your interpretation is!

And Shauna, what can I say? She’s a young quilting star. So does this mean you’ll both be fighting over the sewing machine or will you bring one of your vintage machines out of retirement for her to use?!


Hey Jen! I did a search on the Internet for Artex and there is a company that has something similar… starts with a C… Charisma or something like that. Wouldn’t that be a neat embellishment… using those products with quilting! The blending of colours… oooh the possibilities. I have two sewing machines… ha! One that I use, and the other that Shauna uses (and I use when I want to piece something, and my “big” one is quilting. All the vintage ones do not work yet… ah… something else I have to do. LOL. Thanks for the encouragement… I’ll keep the enthusiasm going for you! -Alice

Wow! What a blog! So many things to take on board. You creative types overwhelm non-creative types like me. LOL!

I think it’s great that the picture in the magazine reminded you of your project from all those years ago – and better still, that you still have it. Given that I couldn’t draw a stick figure then (and still can’t by the way) I have nothing but admiration for those you who can.

Shauna’s work is terrific. I started my sewing career making clothes but the process is still the same. There is a wonderful sense of achievement that comes with making something. I hope Shauna feels that.

I too make jam – have done for years. I started because you couldn’t get much variety in the shops. Oh my, the hours spent boiling it away on the stove. Nowadays I make it all in the microwave. I also have a breadmaker and have made jam in that too. The microwave is much easier and less messy. Unfortunately I can’t go out and pick wild berries (lucky you!). My lastest batch was rhubarb and ginger. I have a cumquat and mandarin tree and make jam/marmalades from them. Mmm…yum!

Now what inspires me?….You know I haven’t really thought about that. A fabric, a pattern, a colour combination…

I’m looking forward to everyone else’s comments on this one.

Cheers, Ann.

Ann, your jams make my mouth water! The microwave, and bread machine? I have both, but can only imagine how you achieved that! Believe it or not, I have just started exploring my creative side… and it started with quilting. And I have recently realized, that I should be using EQ6 more, as it will give me an outlet for some of the creative ideas I have for colour (I’m working on that blog… although it could become a page… we’ll see). Shauna definitely feels that achievement. She was hinting today at wanting to make something else… will have to explore that tomorrrow. -Alice

Isn’t it great when vintage machines are actually used. Are you still on the lookout for a Featherweight? I saw on Flickr that someone found one at a garage sale for $20 – how amazing is that! So I feel there’s hope for you yet.

And you thought you’d be at a loss this summer!! 😉

Jen :o)

The featherweight is going to have to wait, until the pocketbook is a little fatter. To find one at a garage sale would be sublime… I’ve been finding others, less known. *grin* -Alice

I love the fact you and your daughter are quilting to together. You will have so many memories. I love what you created.
Alice, I love your yard and of course all the animals.
I am finally catching up and this is short.
But I’ll be back!
Take care,

Hi Debra. Thanks a bunch! We’re having fun together, that is for sure. Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you soon. -Alice

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