This Old House, Glaser Edition

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Queen of Quilts

People sometimes ask Steve why he lives across the street from his in-laws. Well, for starters, we have handyman Howard, who we have paid to do several projects on the house and who helps Tammy out with minor glitches when Steve is working. Then, there is Tammy's mother, who brews her own beer; bakes yummy bread; makes her own sauerkraut from scratch; preserves fruit as jellies, jams, and even marmalade; makes her own orange liqueur; and shares cherry tomatoes, asparagus, blueberries and raspberries, lemons, and other fresh food from her bountiful garden. And, we even forgive her for trying to sneak minced anchovies into the homemade pizza she so graciously let us sample. She is a talented artist and a trained photographer. She knits, crochets, cross-stitches, and sews. When puts her mind to a creative project, she quickly masters it.

Now, you know why we really are not crazy! After yet another satisfying meal, Tammy's Dad will quip, "Now, you know why I haven't run away from home!" Tammy is quick to add, "Yeah, now you know why I moved across the street!" and Steve will follow it up with, "And, now you know why I live near my in-laws!"

Oh, and we cannot forget the quilts. It all started in 2005 when our county celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary: 150 years of history. One of our neighbors Margaret Jackson who is on the county council figured Tammy's mom must know how to make quilts since she excels at everything. In less than three months--with the help of an experienced quilter--Tammy's mother organized a new quilt group (Heart in Hand Quilters), joined up with the guild in the neighboring county, set up classes, and sewed the official Sesquicentennial Quilt raffled off for the celebration!

Tammy's mother gave us as a housewarming and early Christmas gift: a homemade quilt made of soft blues and beige to blend perfectly with the master bedroom. She found the pattern called Garden Window in a quilting magazine. This treasure turned out so beautiful that she put it on display at a quilt show.

To ensure the meaning and history behind a quilt is not forgotten, she always includes an inscriptions in permanent marker. When this heirloom is passed down through generations, people will know who made the quilt, who received it, where it happened, etc.

2007 was a busy year for the Heart in Hand quilters. In February, they submitted some of the 200 quilts on display at Patriot Hall for the Swan Lake Quilt Guild's First Annual Quilt Extravaganza. You can see Tammy's parents busy manning the tables at this inaugural event. Steve and Tammy were delighted that her mother put their quilt on display!

By October, the Heart in Hand Quilters had stitched together a quilt to raise money for the Swamp Fox Mural Society. They wrapped up the year by donating homemade lap quilts to forty-six residents of a nearby nursing home. The week before Christmas Tammy's mother and fellow quilters went to the home and personally delivered the quilts plus lotions and perfume donated by Avon.

You would think that was plenty of quilting for one year. But, no! Tammy's mother made a lap quilt for her husband Howard, a small, starry quilt for one son, another Garden Window quilt in fresh colors for another son and his wife, and a gorgeous sky-blue quilt for one very happy daughter and her husband. Enjoy all of those joyful faces with their cozy Christmas gifts!

Tammy's mother needs to start a quilting blog! But, in case she does not, her favorite show, which she records every day, is the Carol Duvall show. Sometimes, Tammy will find used (i.e., inexpensive) quilt books for her mother. American Graphic Quilt Designs, an out-of-print book, was a hot commodity for about six months but are now going for a reasonable price. She had no problems snatching up Tradition with a Twist and Marsha McCloskey's Block Party. Tammy's favorite sites for locating reasonably priced used books are Best Web Buys and eBay (of course). And, if you are looking for a cheap way to swap used books or DVDs, try Paper Back Swap and Swap a DVD (if you sign up, please give them Tammy's email address so she can get credit for the referral . . .


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