A StoryQuilter and A Magical Kiss Under A Moonlit Magnolia Tree

The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

I don’t know if I’m a story-teller who quilts or a quilter who tells stories. I do know that I can’t make a quilt unless it tells a story. There’s just got to be a good story involved.

My friend, Sarah, says I’m a “StoryQuilter.” I like that description. And, although I’m not a traditional quilter I think I’ve finally found my home as a fabric artist. I just discovered SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates. SAQA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications. SAQA defines an art quilt as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched.” I’m pretty sure that’s the direction my work is headed. I may be joining SAQA soon.

I’m working more on art quilts these days; quilts that are framed and hang on a wall. I completed the first in the next old window series, “Southern Magic.”  This first quilt is called “The Midnight Kiss” and it features a full moon, a magnolia tree, southern magic, and true love.  Here’s the story that goes with it:

A Magical Kiss Under a Moonlit Magnolia Tree

I’d just moved into my dream home; a lovingly restored Craftsman-styled bungalow overlooking an exquisite little park near Pensacola Bay. Exhausted from unpacking, I plopped down on the couch, cup of coffee in hand, to read the card left for me by the home’s previous owners.

“Enjoy your new home; it brought us years of joyful living. We hope it does the same for you. Leaving was not easy for us; we’ll never find another home filled with such strong southern magic. Take advantage of the short walk to the water’s edge as often as you can. A walk along Pensacola Bay will always sooth a troubled soul. And when you need a reminder that true love lasts forever be sure to stay up until midnight during the full moon.  The best view of the midnight kiss under the old magnolia tree in the center of the park is from the attic window. Oh how we will miss that magic.”

 I looked out the window and there it was; a bold golden full moon. I sipped my coffee and wondered what I’d see from the attic window at midnight.

What I saw was southern magic in its rarest form…

It began in 1942. America was still mourning the attack of Pearl Harbor. He was a sailor with orders to join the USS      Pensacola, a heavy cruiser later nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” by Tokyo Rose.  She was a nurse, selected to be one of the first women to serve as a Navy Wave.  They were young and in love, and before he left to join his ship he asked her to meet him under the old magnolia tree at midnight. It was a full moon when he got down on one knee and presented her with a ring and his intention to marry her when he returned. She said yes and they kissed, at midnight, under the full moon, under the magnolia tree.  Leaning on his southern heritage, he’d selected that precise place and time to propose because he knew southern magic promised that a kiss under a magnolia tree under a full moon would seal eternal love.

He joined the crew of the USS Pensacola where just a few months later he was counted among the 125 brave men killed in the Battle of Tassafaronga, 30 November 1942.

She never stopped loving him. She never married. She dedicated herself to nursing. She rose through the ranks retiring as an officer with a distinguished career as a Navy Wave, then building a second career caring for veterans in the VA hospital. She lived her final years alone in a cottage near the park, visiting the old magnolia tree often.

It was after her death that the neighbors began to whisper of the ghostly figures kissing under the magnolia tree. All these years later, during the full moon, they still meet at midnight under the magnolia tree for a kiss confirming their eternal love.

At midnight during every full moon I climb the stairs to peek out my attic window, and I know that a magnolia tree touched with a little southern magic really can make true love last forever.

About the Artist: Quilt-maker and storyteller, Gina Maddox, was born with sand between her toes. She resides in Gulf Breeze, FL with a water view from every window of her home. Her quilts always tell a story and reflect the beauty of the Northern Gulf Coast.

The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com 

 

 

The Story of the Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

The Story of the Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

Detail - The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

Detail – The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

Detail - The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

Detail – The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

Detail - The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

Detail – The Midnight Kiss by gulfcoastquilts.com

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Another Mermaid & The Ladies of Outnumbered

#2 of 3 in the Old Window Series; Serena & the Stars by gulfcoastquilts.com

#2 of 3 in the Old Window Series; Serena & the Stars by gulfcoastquilts.com

The Mermaids are a hit so I finished  #2 of 3 in the Old Window series. “Serena & the Starfish” went to the shop yesterday. The first in the series, “How Starfish Become Stars” sold in just two days. I was pleasantly surprised!   One more Serena the Mermaid is in the works. Each of the series are similar but distinctly different. Here is the story of Serena:

The story about the Old Window Series; Serena & the Stars by gulfcoastquilts.com

The story about the Old Window Series; Serena & the Stars by gulfcoastquilts.com

With the old windows working out so well as frames I made a girl’s only pickin’ trip to central Mississippi with my friend, Lee, and we cleaned up on old windows. I have a small stash for my next series of old window quilts. It was a productive trip and I’ll make one more stop at the end of the month to pick up a few more windows. Old windows are running $25-30 each around here but when we buy in bulk we get a great price in Mississippi.  It’s not an easy task, digging through stacks of old windows, searching for unbroken ones, sweat dripping down your face in the steamy heat of the south but a good window makes it worth it.

A truck full of old windows.

A truck full of old windows.

Pickin' for old windows in MS.

Pickin’ for old windows in MS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On another note, I was inspired by one of my favorite FNC news programs so I quilted up a little gift and mailed it off to New York for the ladies of the new show, Outnumbered. It’s a daytime FNC program and I listen to the ladies talk while I sew and quilt. I recommend the show – great discussions – you’ll enjoy it unless you’re a flaming liberal.

For the ladies of Outnumbered on FNC by gulfcoastquilts.com

For the ladies of Outnumbered on FNC by gulfcoastquilts.com

I did a little more pickin’ this week with my husband and my best friend. One find was an abandoned blue-green chair. It was solid and sturdy so I cleaned it up, gave it the shabby chic treatment and some flowers and it’s cute as can be now waiting for a new home. My husband thought I was nuts when I told him to put it in the truck but he’s a believer now. He’s threatening to create a workbench with pink tools for me in the garage. (I actually like the idea but don’t tell him.)

This blue-green abandoned chair just needs a facelift.

This blue-green abandoned chair just needs a facelift.

The blue-green abandoned chair gets a facelift.

The blue-green abandoned chair gets a facelift.

The blue-green abandoned chair gets a facelift.

The blue-green abandoned chair gets a facelift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to finish another commissioned quilt this week; a birthday gift for someone’s best friend. I’m enjoying being a part of the gift exchange between best friends. I put both of their names on the quilt so it will become an heirloom reminder of a great friendship. I also signed it with my name as the quilter so it means I get to be a part of that heirloom. That’s the fun part of commissioned quilts.

That’s the update for Gulf Coast Quilts this week. Have a great week!

Size Matters – Quilt As You Go Makes it Easier

For far too long I limited myself to quilting small quilts and mug rugs by using the excuse that anything larger would be too hard to quilt because I didn’t have a long arm quilting machine. You know, there’s that easy excuse about things being too bulky to fit a large quilt under the needle of a normal sewing machine. The excuse worked for a while until I discovered “quilt as you go” and realized there’s a way to quilt a larger quilt on a small machine.

I Googled a few YouTube videos on “quilt as you go” and then, as usual, decided to do it my own way working off their ideas and suggestions. The result of my first quilt as you go project was “Cup Size Matters” and it turned out so well that I was commissioned to create a second one. I’m designing it now.

Here is my first “quilt as you go” project, “Cup Size Matters”.

Cup Size Matters Quilt by gulfcoastquilts.com

Cup Size Matters Quilt by gulfcoastquilts.com

cup size matters flower cups panel size matters first quilt size matters flower cups

The Spring Fling

I’ve been hiding in the quilting loft for weeks. Why? I boldly signed up for a booth at an upcoming fundraising event, the Spring Fling, hosted by the Navarre Beach Garden Club.

I need to bring some things that gardeners will like so there are lots of flowers involved. We’ve had a challenging winter so colorful flowers will be appreciated. I also want to have several “price points” to offer so I made a few large quilts, some baby quilts, and some inexpensive quilted greeting card / mug rugs.

While I was at it, I decided to learn a new technique I saw on Pinterest; thread sketching. I’m addicted to it and I’m bent on learning more. Here’s the latest stuff to flow out of the quilting loft:

Spring Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Fist Step – Applique: Spring Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Final version - packaged with an envelope. Spring Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Final version – packaged with an envelope. Spring Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

First Step - applique and quilt: Spring & Easter Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

First Step – applique and quilt: Spring & Easter Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Packaged and ready to go! Spring & Easter Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Packaged and ready to go! Spring & Easter Fabric Postcards / mug rugs made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Bunny Post Cards made by gulfcoastquilts.com

Bunny Post Cards made by gulfcoastquilts.com

Made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Made by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Flower Power Quilt Top ready to put together and quilt. gulfcoastquilts.com

Flower Power Quilt Top ready to put together and quilt. gulfcoastquilts.com

Learning to thread sketch - gulfcoastquilts.com

Learning to thread sketch – gulfcoastquilts.com

Learning to thread sketch - gulfcoastquilts.com

Learning to thread sketch – gulfcoastquilts.com

The Sail Inn Welcome Sign

Welcome sign detail inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

Welcome sign detail inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

My wonderful husband surprised me with a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas. I didn’t even know I wanted one but I acted excited on Christmas morning.

The truth is…I was afraid of it.

I took it out of the box and thought, “I’m in way over my head with this thing.” It sat in my office for 6 weeks, taunting me. Finally, I got up my nerve and decided to take on the Silhouette software. The manufacturer claimed you could import and create your own images and cut just about anything. I needed a project.

Inspiration came to me while enjoying a wonderful Valentine’s Day breakfast at one of our favorite local restaurants. I found my project at the Sail Inn; they needed a welcome sign and I loved their logo. I would use the Silhouette Cameo and copy their logo.

Logo for the Sail Inn Sandwich SHop

Logo for the Sail Inn Sandwich Shop

I watched a somewhat confusing youtube tutorial about importing and customizing graphics, but I learned enough to get started. Then, I tracked down a similar perching pelican graphic through a google search of images. Importing and formatting the image took a while but I figured it out. I also learned how to import and cut fonts and purchase images directly from Silhouette. My goal, however, was to learn how to create my own graphics. Mission accomplished. From what I’ve seen, only the Silhouette Cameo offers that option. To make sure I had the process mastered I created several gulf coast inspired graphics. (See photos at the end.)

I cut the fonts, and the flying and perching pelicans, and started the applique and quilting process. Here’s the finished sign.

The Sail Inn Welcome Sign by gulfcoastquilts.com

The Sail Inn Welcome Sign by gulfcoastquilts.com

Then, I started making blocks with the other graphics I created. These are individual 12 x 14 wall hangings but I think I’m going to tackle a quilt made of these blocks in various Gulf Coast colors. I’m thinking about palm tress, blue herons, sandpipers…the image options are countless with the Cameo.

My husband knew exactly what I needed even when I didn’t. He’s amazing. I’m a lucky woman.

I purchased the dolphin and sailboat graphics from Silhouette for .99 each.  You can cut them any size up to 12 inches in width. Here are the completed blocks:

Wall-hanging quilt blocks inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

Wall-hanging quilt blocks inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

Wall-hanging quilt blocks inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

Wall-hanging quilt blocks inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

Wall-hanging quilt blocks inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

Wall-hanging quilt blocks inspired by life on the emerald coast of NW Florida. gulfcoastquilts.com

The Pink Heart Series

So, I found this great deal on some bright pink decorator fabric. I brought the rolls of fabric home and wondered what to do with it. Pink! It just screamed PINK HEARTS! So, I bring you the “Pink Heart Series” of quilts named, “Blended Hearts,” “Mended Hearts” and “Pink & Perky.” The quilt tops are done. Next step…press them, put them together and quilt them! I’ll post the final projects when I’m done! (The finished quilts are pictured below!)

Found these great leftover designer fabrics!

Found these great leftover designer fabrics!

Three Pink Heart Quilts named, "Blended Hearts," "Mended Hearts," and "Pink & Perky."

Three Pink Heart Quilts named, “Blended Hearts,” “Mended Hearts,” and “Pink & Perky.”

The first one is done! Here is “Mended Hearts.”

"Mended Hearts" is the smallest of the Pink Heart series of quilts measuring 35" wide by 47" high. This quilt is very thick with double batting. Very warm and good to throw on the floor for a baby quilt, too.

“Mended Hearts” is the smallest of the Pink Heart series of quilts measuring 35″ wide by 47″ high. This quilt is very thick with double batting. Very warm and good to throw on the floor for a baby quilt, too.

Mended Hearts - 35" x 47" with dbl batting for extra thickness.

Mended Hearts – 35″ x 47″ with dbl batting for extra thickness.

"Blended Hearts" quilt by GulfCoastQuilts.com 41" x 53" For Sale $145

“Blended Hearts” quilt by GulfCoastQuilts.com 41″ x 53″ For Sale $145

"Pink & Perky" from the Pink Hearts series by GulfCoastQuilts.com  40" x 52" For Sale: $150

“Pink & Perky” from the Pink Hearts series by GulfCoastQuilts.com
40″ x 52″ For Sale: $150

Fabulous Fabric & An Unbelievable Deal!

I found a bin of unloved fabric and fell in love with some of it. I got a great deal – two bucks a yard – on the decorator fabric if I bought the entire remains of the role. Here is what I bought:

Designer fabric for two bucks a yard!

Designer fabric for two bucks a yard!

Then, I dug through my scraps to see what matched.

Rummaged through the scraps to find a match.

Rummaged through the scraps to find a match.

Then, I started sewing circles and making quilts. I have the first of three ready to be quilted – that’s tomorrow’s project. I wonder if I can sell them? I’ve never sold a quilt before; I’ve always given them to family and friends, or donated them to charities for fund-raising events.

Appliqued blue and turquoise circles.

Appliqued blue and turquoise circles.

Quartered and rearranged.

Quartered and rearranged.

I made a few crazy abstract circles.

I made a few crazy abstract circles.

Blue circles ready for quilting.

Blue circles ready for quilting.

I have three quilt tops ready to go. Inspired by the beautiful blues and turquoises of the Gulf of Mexico they are named Coastal Curls, Surf Circles, and Ripples in the Gulf.

Finished the first of a series of three quilts - this one is named "Surf Circles."

Finished the first of a series of three quilts – this one is named “Surf Circles.”

"Surf Circles" quilt by Gulf Coast Quilts

“Surf Circles” quilt by Gulf Coast Quilts

Next to be quilted, "Ripples in the Gulf."

Next to be quilted, “Ripples in the Gulf.”

The next project will be from the other fabric I nabbed at two bucks a yard! I wonder what I’ll do with it? Here it is:

Found these great leftover designer fabrics!

Found these great leftover designer fabrics!