Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Favorites

I am not a quilter…and sadly, I can't even use a sewing machine. 
Oh jeez, I just said that first sentence out loud and it sounds like I'm confessing to some horrible sin. But in a way, I guess I am. Being able to sew is a dream of mine. I would absolutely love to sew my own clothes, and it's a shame that I cannot. 
Now here's part two of my confession, and I kinda feel crappy admitting this: 
I own a sewing machine. It was a fabulous gift from fabulous friends of mine, given to me over a decade ago. And this is the bad part…I took that sewing machine out of it's box a total of two times. Ugh.
 I'm not exactly sure what my hangup is. I'd probably be at least semi-adequate. When I took Home Ec in high school, part of the curriculum was sewing, and I actually did really well. I sewed a hat, a tote bag, and started a skirt…key word "started". But still, at least I gave it a whirl back then. I think having a teacher hovering, and being there to answer questions helped. And now that I'm a teacher of art…at least a few times per year at art events…I can definitely relate to what the students are feeling. Most of them possess the abilities, but they just want to have a helping hand there in the room "just in case". 
So yeah…silly me. Here I am at these fantastic mixed media art events a few times a year…and often there are classrooms buzzing with sewing machines. When me and Aaron walk around an event, and pop in to visit other classes, I'm always enthralled by the classes that are all abuzz with the magical sound of sewing machines, fun conversations, and laughter. I would love to be one of those students. Maybe I'll do it the next time I get the chance.  

So yes…the reason why all this talk of sewing came up is simply because I laid eyes on this amazing quilt up above. It is such a work of art. It's pretty much the fabric version of an abstract painting. Just so incredibly beautiful! It is by Amelia Bennett, and it's title is Blocks and Strips, from c. 1965, Cotton, measuring 84 x 79 inches.

So, I did a little research, and the maker of that quilt was part of a southern group of women called the Gee's Bend Quiltmakers. Above and below are a few more examples of their work. Make sure to click the link and read the story of the Gee's Bend quilters. There are so many fascinating details about each featured quilt.  

This one caught my eye. Check out the zoomed in shot of those strips of fabric. From a distance it looked like floral fabric…but when you see it up close…those are actually candy colored puppies! Is that a white chihuahua in the center of the right strip? 

Aren't they all so fantastic?! 

This is such a beautiful dress. And yes, I would indeed pair it with black. Lots of black. And possibly some leopard print. It's sorta on the purply pink side, but every once in a while I go a bit more lavender when mixing my pink hair dye.  

I think it would go great with this hair color that I had a little while ago…purply pink fading down into a rose pink. 

I love these pieces by artist Do-Ho Suh. They're lightweight sculptures of everyday fixtures found in his Manhattan apartment. Out of translucent polyester fabric he constructed his oven, toilet, bathtub doorknobs, etc... 

I love the colors, and I love how they sorta look like digital 3D renderings.  

This sweatshirt seriously says it all! 

When our friend Heidi Swapp posted pics of her new Marquee Love collection on Instagram a few weeks ago I just about died. I've been a longtime fan of Marquee signage, and I'm always posting pics of fave vintage pieces, and I've also blogged a handful of tutorials as to how to make your own.    Marquee signage is super trendy right now but at the same time so old timey and classic. 

 We have a Marquee style heart that hangs in our studio, which was a gift from our sweet friend Becky. And to remind us of our sweet friend we hung it near our Christmas tree this year!

So, like I said…Heidi's new stuff looks amazing! I am so incredibly excited about this collection and the endless possibilities! 

It's as easy as tracing, cutting, and taping! 

There are fabulous washi tapes and glitters too!

I seriously cannot wait to get over to Michaels to see this collection in person! Now I just have to narrow it down to one idea to get started. 

Thanks bunches for popping in on this first Friday Favorites of the new year! Me and Aaron are still very hard at work on orders that were coming in right up until Christmas day. We've got lots of new artwork on the drawing board that we'll be finishing just as soon as we can. Plus, we plan on blogging more…namely, tutorials…art projects…fave supplies…stuff like that. 2015 will be a very creative year...I promise.

Have a great weekend!
xo Jenny... Aaron says hi!


  1. Jenny - I know you are so busy, but try to find a sewing class in your area. You might even find one at a local community college, but probably better to find maybe a quilt shop that sells machines that has classes.

    I took a class and LOVED it! I've also taken beginner quilt classes and loved those too! Good luck, and have fun!

  2. Aw Jenny.....that warms my heart that y'all even had time to think about me around your sweet tree. It looks so pretty there! And the quilts....LOVE! My 1st mother-in-law was a quilter and I sat in awe of her work. To this day, my boys have one of Grandma's quilts on their bed. And my Janmama (so named because my big brother couldn't say Grand),quilted too and I have 2 of her quilts. Quilts are heirlooms and I wish I could sew too so I could make them. Maybe I should set that as a goal! Never thought I would say those words but looking to goal 2015 out! Love y'all bunches!

  3. I'm totally in love with Gee's Bend quilters. I discovered them a few years ago, but I'd never seen that first one- so, so amazing and inspiring! You should totally take a sewing class- once you know the basics, it isn't that difficult to "wing it" on just about everything else- that's what I do!

  4. Jenny, you are soooo freaking gorgeous! <3

    <3 Kelsea | Kels Shark

  5. I actually saw an exhibit of Gee's Bend quilts back in 2004, I think, at the Corcoran here in DC. It was amazing! I still remember vividly so many of the patterns and colors...just so inspiring to me as maker. It also was pretty awesome to see these quilts embraced as modern works of art and rather than relegated or pigeonholed as simple "country crafts" or something. I'm always excited when craft is championed right along side "fine art." Anyway, I also have a sewing machine I've barely used. It was a gift from my mother (it was hers when she was young, and possibly belonged to my grandmother before that) so it's really old and doesn't have any of the fancy bells and whistles of newer machines. But I'd still love to learn to use it to make things. Home Ec wasn't taught at my school, and I always meant to take a sewing class later in life but it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe this year!

    Also I need that sweatshirt. :)

  6. Several years ago my mom, my daughter, my sister and I (we call ourselves the "Wild Waller Wimmin") went to see the Gees Bend Quilt Exhibit at the art museum in Milwaukee. It brought my mother to tears to read about one woman who made a quilt out of her deceased husband's old clothing so she could "wrap his love around her." It was a trip that we still talk about because of the impact of those beautiful quilts. Thank you for the reminder!

  7. My sewing machine sits in the studio. I don't use it very often. I'm a seamstress who never sews. I will go and sew the pile of clothing that needs fixing now. I've been ignoring it for weeks. This post also inspired me to make a besdide lamp for my boyfriend for V day, I'll just have to find that tutorial you are talking about. Ok. I'm of to the sewing machine.


Thanks so much for reading! We absolutely love to hear from you please leave a comment if the mood strikes you, or if you have any questions for us about a recipe, project, art supply , paint color, etc. Don't panic if your comment doesn't appear right away...we moderate all comments to avoid getting tons of spam. Thanks again!!
xo Jenny & Aaron