Inspiration from My Father

Posted August 17th, 2017 by Ellen and filed in Uncategorized

Peach 1

Today as I froze peaches, my mind wandered to days on the farm. We four girls were lucky to have parents who could, in our minds, do ANYTHING. Mother and Daddy worked side-by-side, hand in hand all the years of their marriage. Mother could do almost everything Daddy did, but she was not nearly as strong. No one was. And Daddy in turn loved tinkering, could fix anything, could sew and weave, did amazing leather work and loved being in the kitchen where he would come up with his own recipes, especially at canning time.  His jams, jellies and pickles were renowned, as were his fudge and divinity.

As I looked at the mound of peach peelings this afternoon I thought, “I’ll bet Daddy would have made something with those.” Instead of going into our compost pile, the scraps were tossed into a pan along with apple juice, an inch of vanilla bean, nutmeg and cinnamon. After the mixture came to a boil, I let it simmer for 30 minutes. The pits and vanilla bean were removed before the peelings were put bit by bit into the blender. I then let the peaches simmer on low for another 15 minutes.

We think this concoction is delicious.  It’s not as thick as I’d like, but the flavor is wonderful.  We’re going to try it on vanilla ice cream, but think it would make a nice spread for pancakes or biscuits.

Here’s to you, Daddy.  Thanks for teaching me to break the rules!

Peach 3

On Memorial Day

Posted May 29th, 2017 by Ellen and filed in Holidays, Personal

Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember and honor those who lost their lives in service to this country.  When I was a little kid, my father came home wearing a paper poppy pin, a symbol of remembrance being sold to honor the war dead on the street of my small home town.  I loved the poppy and asked to have it.  It’s with me still, flattened in an old scrap book around here somewhere.    On Memorial Day, I remember the war dead, the paper poppies and this poignant poem:

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Written by Major John McCrae,  May, 1915

BACK IN THE DAY

Posted March 20th, 2017 by Ellen and filed in Family, My Work, Quilt Events, Vintage

Star, Civil WarStar Block, Civil War Reproduction Fabrics

Star, CW Det

Detail

When I began my quilting journey, I was a “dyed-in-the-wool” traditionalist. I grew up in an era where my mother and aunts traded the paper wrappings from Mountain Mist batting, of which I still have many. Inside each was a pattern for a different quilt!  My first quilting lessons were learning how to make traditional blocks, and I loved them.

After a week-long class at QSDS with the incredible David Walker, things changed. David taught me how to sit quietly in my studio, looking intently at my work and letting it speak to me.   My work began to come from my heart. It was OK to let the work stay on the design wall for days or weeks until I intuitively knew what it needed. My quilts began to tell a story, to become intensely personal. My quilts became my voice.

I was reminded of my early days a couple of weeks ago when a customer in my booth (40th Anniversary Charlotte Quilt Show) said she was in search of Civil War reproductions. Initially, I thought she meant military, as I once vended near a fellow who specialized in only military items. But when she began leafing through my fabrics, it hit me. Of course she was looking for Civil War reproduction fabrics!  Is it no longer available?

When it was all the rage I bought fat-quarters of a dozen or so designs. I made one star block and then sent the remainder to my baby sister in California. She had a project underway and needed a bigger fabric selection.

I knew I would not be using the fabrics, as my “style” had evolved to abstract and intuitive. I still dearly love traditional patterns, and have a small treasured collection of pieces created by relatives. But this Civil War fabric star is probably the last thing I’ll create from a traditional pattern. Strange that I haven’t been able to part with it. Maybe I love tradition more than I realized.

PATTERNS

Posted March 7th, 2017 by Ellen and filed in Exhibitions, For Sale, My Work, Quilt Events, Uncategorized

I will have several patterns for my quilt designs at the upcoming Charlotte Quilters’ Guild Show this weekend. Tartan Town, below, is currently my most popular.  Copyright Ellen Guerrant.

Tartan Town

The house image is one of my favorites, and I’ve made several quilts using this motif. Below, is Happy Houses.  This pattern will also be available at the show.  Copyright Ellen Guerrant.

Happy Houses 2

QUILT SHOW!!!

Make plans to attend the 40th anniversary, “Down Memory Lane” quilt show of the Charlotte Quilters’ Guild March 10 and 11, 9-4. Union County Agricultural and Cultural Center, 3230 Presson Drive, Monroe NC 28112. Show sponsors: Creative Sew and Vacuum; Elaine’s Attic; Featherweight Poppy; Martelli Enterprises; Sew Much Fun! and The Long Arm Network. I’ll be vending (Occasional Threads – look for my balloon!) along with Bear Hug Quiltworks; Deb Karasik; Dragonfly Quilt Shop; Loving Stitches; Pineapple Fabrics; Quilt Patch Fabrics; Shakerwood Woolens; Susan Edmonson Designs; The Quilter’s Gallery; Threads Run Through It; Threadsketched; Wood Quilt Blocks and Working Hands. Hope to see you there!

My booth will feature vintage quilt tops, table cloths, feed sacks and linens, my quilt patterns, hand-dyed fabrics, vintage buttons, hand-made items, vintage aprons, some class samples and hopefully kits (if they get back from the printer in time).   Please stop by to see me and the other great vendors, as well as over 180 amazing quilts.  There is a judged show as well as several “best of” quilts from years past.   Look for my balloon!