The Past Builds the Future

My younger stepson, Z, formerly Hockey Boy, graduated from college this past weekend.  His entire family is devoutly proud of him.  He studied civil engineering with an emphasis in construction management and a minor in structures, played college level hockey for the first two years, and worked as a cook in a campus bar for the last two.

We watched Z grow from a teenager obsessed with hockey (he was the State Championship goalie his senior year in high school) into a man who is committed to his girlfriend, his future career, and his family.  He works at all the important things and he works hard.

Z grew in college, stepping away from hockey.  When younger, the thought of not playing was devastating, however, midway through school, he informed us he was not going to continue with hockey in order to focus on classes and work.  We asked if he was certain; his response conveyed a practicality and maturity not often seen in college juniors.  He went on to finish his last two years with a full class load, two jobs, and visits to his girlfriend at her university, maintaining a GPA above 3.0 throughout it all.  He also included lots of fun in his schedule – that is part of what college is for after all. 🙂

Earlier this year, he accepted an offer with a local design/build construction firm where he will be a project manager, overseeing design and construction on the projects to which he is assigned.  He starts later this summer.

From playing hockey, Z learned time management.  He learned dedication.  He learned commitment.  And he learned loyalty.  These skills will help him to succeed in the construction industry.  His past will build his future.

Z’s future is infinite.  We can’t wait to see what he does with it.

Made with so much love, pride, and joy…

The Past Builds the Future

The Past Builds the Future - Full

The Past Builds the Future - Detail 01

The Past Builds the Future - Detail 02

The Past Builds the Future - Label

Next up: The second in my work to create feelings in fiber…



Lead with Love

In February, Yvonne Porcella, a pioneer in the art quilt world, passed away after a long battle against cancer.  Throughout that fight, she maintained a zest and energy and positive attitude that was inspiring to all who knew her.  I’m sure she had bad days and down days and days when she just wanted to give up, but from all accounts, she got up each morning, put a smile on her face, and conquered the day.

Yvonne had lots of friends in the art world and beyond.  One of those friends, Pokey Bolton, is hosting an art quilt tribute show in September and put out a call for entry this past Spring.  The call for entry to “Living Your Brightest Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella” encouraged those who wanted to participate to share what it means to live a bright life, conveyed in fabric and thread.

This art quilt represents what living a bright life means to me.  The piece may not be accepted to the tribute show, but I certainly enjoyed making it.

As always, constructive critiques are welcome.

Lead with Love (link to poem)

Lead with Love - Detail
Simple quilting as rays of sunlight and around the hearts
Lead with Love - Full
If one leads with love, it bursts from the heart with the brightness of the sun and spills out into the universe
Lead with Love - Poetry Label
Every quilt needs a poem

Next up: An experiment in layering

Jeep on the Grill

My oldest stepson, formerly Lacrosse Boy, newly nicknamed Off-Road Man, just graduated from college.  His father and I, his mother and stepfather, all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and brother are ridiculously proud of him.  He studied mechanical engineering, nailed his senior project, interned for the same company for three years (an offer of employment is expected soon), maintained a GPA above 3.0 all four years, and had a blast through it all.

We watched Off-Road Man grow from a teenager who loved to sleep to a man who is happiest when he is busy.  Throughout it all, his extracurricular interests did not change much.  In fact, he had the opportunity, through new friends at school and the internship, to explore interests while in college that he had dreamed of for his future.

Off-Road Man drives a 1995 Jeep Wrangler.  His love for this vehicle inspired his desire to get a degree in mechanical engineering.  In fact, one of the ways Off-Road Man keeps busy is working on that Jeep – he is always updating, replacing, or repairing something, and then he loads it up to go hunting, fishing, to lacrosse games, and off-roading.

To commemorate the occasion – it is momentous, after all – I knew I wanted to make an art piece for him.  Something Jeep-related seemed the obvious choice and so Jeep on the Grill was created.

I traced the outline of a Jeep and the grill from photos, then cut the fabric to the pattern.  Fusible web was used to build the piece.  The pistols, fishing poles, and lacrosse stick in the back of the Jeep are scrapbook stickers, sticky stuff removed.  The gears symbolize Off-Road Man’s college degree and future work path.  The whole art piece is gifted to him with love, pride, and joy.

We know his future will be bright and are excited to watch that future unfold.

Please let me know what you think.  All input and constructive criticism is appreciated.

Jeep on the Grill (no poem – not his style)

Jeep on the Grill

Jeep on the Grill

Jeep on the Grill

Jeep on the Grill

Next up: An attempt at abstract art, created for submission to a Call for Entry put together by my SAQA region.

Light for Yvonne

In late January, SAQA sent out a request for 4″ x 6″ postcard quilts depicting candles for light in support of and encouragement for Yvonne Porcella. She is the founder of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  She is also family.

I made this one on a Friday night and shipped it off for inclusion in the collection to be forwarded on to her. This wasn’t on my list of “planned” art. I’m such a planner type person that means something. However, the request — a physical prayer for Yvonne’s health — provided appropriate inspiration. The experience of designing on the fly in my head one afternoon, then making a quick stop at the fabric store for the black and white check (her signature fabric), then getting home and spending the next three hours putting this together was exhilarating. I didn’t know I had it in me to make art that way.

I have always considered Yvonne and her sister, Marilou, to be “aunts” more than the cousins they are.  I believe this is because they are “double cousins” to my mother — their fathers were brothers and their mothers were sisters.  My mom is an only child, so if I was going to have aunts on her side, those two seemed the most logical choice.  A child’s brain often creates connections that click and never break, regardless of the vast number of years that pass.

My mom taught me to sew and to embrace color, to revel in color.  I owe her for my interest in quilting and I am grateful for that.

From Yvonne, I learned that quilts could be art, that they didn’t need to be traditional, that rules are made to be broken, that the only rules necessary are those that allow the imagination to soar free.  I am grateful for that as well.


On Friday, February 12, 2016, Yvonne passed away after a 6-year battle with cancer. Her fight was valiant and seemingly fearless.  Her zest and her spirit were never diminished.  She was, and is, loved.  As long as her family, her friends, remember her, as long as the art quilt survives, her light will not go out.

Light for Yvonne
Light for Yvonne

She was laid to rest today, Friday, February 19, 2016.  As her youngest son, Don, an artist in his own right, so beautifully stated, she has gone to her “studio in the sky”.

Rest in peace, Yvonne.  ❤

Hulk Smash

As I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t often get to visit my niece and nephew, Big G and Lil’ G.  Lil’ G is always a little shy around me the first day of a visit.  He’s all boy and loves his Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, and his Grandpas the best.  Aunt Hil and the Grandmas get hugs but then he’s off to talk to the men.  I don’t blame him.  How else is the little dude supposed to learn all that guy stuff that guys know?

This little guy also has a huge heart.  When my brother asked him what he was most excited about for Christmas: the love all his grandparents would shower on him over the holiday or the presents, this kid chose the love.  He’s the smartest of all of us.  Either that, or he knew his answer would get him more presents.  Again, Lil’ G is a sharp kid.

After he warms up, he is happy to take my hand to cross the street.  We visit and he tells me about Lego’s and his favorite shows and his favorite characters.  We play with his toys and read books together.  He’s into Ant Man and the Hulk.  I’m not too familiar with Ant Man, although the movie is in the Netflix queue, but I do know the Hulk.  I’ve always liked the Hulk.  Bright green color, doesn’t take anything from anybody, independent, and can smash stuff with his bare hands when he’s mad.  My kind of superhero.

I drew Lil’ G a picture of the Hulk and mailed it to him earlier last year.  He hung it on the wall in his room and I saw it first thing when I went in to play pirates.  For his Christmas gift, I made him something a little more durable than a piece of paper…a piece of art.

Hulk Smash (link to poem)

Hulk - Finished
Hulk Smash!
Hulk - Closeup
What’s not to love about this guy?
Hulk - Poem
A poem for Lil’ G

Next up: I’m planning a series of crosses.  Stay tuned.

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