The Velveteen Owl Collection

With hopes of cooler weather and golden harvest moons arriving soon I’m waiting impatiently for fall to arrive. To pass the days until pumpkins, witches, ghosts and skeletons take over I’m cranking out velveteen owls. They make adorable early fall decorations, especially for school teachers. Here are the first four owls: Augustus Theodore, Bentley Jeremiah, Cornelius Horatio, and Donatello Marcus.

Augustus Theodore Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Augustus Theodore Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

 

Bentley Jeremiah Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Bentley Jeremiah Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

From the Velveteen Owl Collection by GulfCoastQuilts.com: Cornelius Horatio Owl

From the Velveteen Owl Collection by GulfCoastQuilts.com: Cornelius Horatio Owl

From the Velveteen Owl Collection by GulfCoastQuilts.com: Donatello Marcus Owl

From the Velveteen Owl Collection by GulfCoastQuilts.com: Donatello Marcus Owl

Autumn is in the Air: The Velveteen Owl Collection

Augustus Theodore Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Augustus Theodore Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Whoooo knows what’s going to fly out of my quilting loft next?

Autumn is in the air. The promise of everything pumpkin, crisp red, orange and gold falling leaves, cooler weather, and holidays focused on family time brings me to my favorite time of the year.

My first autumn challenge was to FINALLY get on the owl bandwagon. I know owls have been popular for quite some time but I wasn’t motivated to make any until a few school teacher friends mentioned it. After all, fall is about to bust out and back-to-school time is upon us.  I found a cute little owl poem and decided to give in to the owl craze. I made a few owls for my teacher friends, and a few more for Pottery & Garden Alley to sell.

I started out, experimenting, by designing small, simple owls made from my bargain $2.00 a yard pillow ticking. They were cute so I decided to enlarge them a bit and try some more elaborate fabrics. Much to my delight, just before I dove in to the fabric selection process a cherish friend called and offered me all of the discontinued fabric samples they were pulling off the shelf in one of the nicest interior design stores in town. You can imagine my delight when I rummaged through a huge bag and found beautiful velvet and brocade samples.

The Velveteen Owl Collection was born. Below are photos of the pillow-ticking owls and the first two Velveteen owls named Augustus and Bentley. I’ve also included the owl poem in case you want to make an owl for a teacher.  Whoooo knows? You may enjoy making your own owls!

Augustus & Bentley Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Augustus & Bentley Owl by GulfCoastQuilts.com

 

Designing the owls: I used pillow-ticking for my first owl attempt.  GulfCoastQuilts.com

Designing the owls: I used pillow-ticking for my first owl attempt. GulfCoastQuilts.com

A wise old owl lived in an oak

The more he saw the less he spoke

The less he spoke the more he heard

We should be more

Like that wise old bird!

Fall decorating - Velveteen Owls by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Fall decorating – pillow-ticking owls by GulfCoastQuilts.com

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

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!

Skulls, Old Windows, and Blocks of Wood

It’s been nearly a month since my last post but I have a very good excuse…I’ve been busy in the quilting loft.  My new adventure, a space at Pottery & Garden Alley, has turned out to be a perfect fit for my quilts. Just a few weeks ago, store owner, Lee, talked me into stepping outside my comfort zone to quilt some “Sugar Skull” placemats. (Here’s the story behind that adventure.) I was hesitant…until…the whole set sold on the second day it was in the store. I have learned that Lee knows her customers and I need to listen to her advice.

With the first set of Mexican Folk Art Sugar Skulls sold, I got busy creating more in several colors. The excitement grew as I got commissioned orders for appliquéd Sugar Skulls to be framed! One set to California and another to Norway! You never know what people will like. It’s been fun. More photos of the new Sugar Skull sets are below.

Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

 

Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

 

 

When I was asked to make a quilt that could be framed it got me thinking about an old cabinet door that had been sitting in my laundry room for some time. It was a “mistake” door that was sent to us when we built our home.  The cabinet company quickly sent us a correct door and told us to simply dispose of the old one. I knew it had potential so I held onto that silly door for years. I was cursing about it being in the way the other day while I was vacuuming and decided once and for all to DO SOMETHING with it. I made a quilt, mounted it to the door and hurried down to the store with it. It hasn’t sold yet, but I’m confident it will. Here’s a photo:

Quilted Heron & Dolphins by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Quilted Heron & Dolphins by GulfCoastQuilts.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During a long drive to Memphis last week I stopped at a flea market in Mississippi and found three old wooden windows to use as frames. Below is a photo of the first in a series of three window-framed-quilts that will reflect folk lore of the Northern Gulf Coast. The first one is called, “How Starfish Become Stars” and the story of the Mermaid, Serena, is listed on the back of the frame. I’m now able to combine my need to tell stories with my love of quilting. Does that make me a Quilter who writes? Or a writer who quilts? Also below is the story of Serena and how starfish become stars in the sky.

Framed in an old window, "How Starfish Become Stars" by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Framed in an old window, “How Starfish Become Stars” by GulfCoastQuilts.com

 

 

 

The story behind the quilt: "How Starfish Become Stars" by GulfCoastQuilts.com

The story behind the quilt: “How Starfish Become Stars” by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Last but not least, I found some old redwood in my husband’s wood stash. He cut it up for me and I found a way to use up some of my scrap fabric left over from my commissioned quilts. These little blocks are going on the store shelf tomorrow.  There’s no end to what you can do with old wood and fabric. Just have fun! I’ll write again in a week or two after my “Girl’s Only Pickin’ Adventure Road Trip” next week. THAT will be an adventure. I’m looking for more old windows at a few flea markets in central Mississippi.

Old Wood Blocks by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Old Wood Blocks by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Old Wood Blocks by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Old Wood Blocks by GulfCoastQuilts.com

purple flowers

 

 

 

pink flowers

Something New: The Day of the Dead

Mexican Folk Art - gulfcoastquilts.com

Mexican Folk Art – gulfcoastquilts.com

I never believed I’d be so excited about skulls. Yes, skulls.

One of my longtime favorite shopping haunts is Pottery and Garden Alley where you never know what you’ll find. Owner, Lee, makes multiple trips a year deep into Mexico rummaging through old warehouses and throughout the countryside to find treasures overlooked by others. Lee has an amazing eye for finding precious gems under a seeming pile of junk. She hauls her finds back to the store where her flair for displays delights countless loyal customers. I’ve spent a fair share of my decorating dollars in her store.

Here’s the exciting part. I’ve joined the team as Pottery & Garden Alley‘s lone quilt artist. The first challenge Lee issued to me was, “Make something for our Day of the Dead display.  Make something with skulls; Sugar Skulls are popular.” I realized this wasn’t going to be easy.

Macabre at first glance, the Day of the Dead is actually a charming celebration in Mexico and in other cultures around the world. The holiday focuses on honoring loved ones who have died. Family gatherings, special foods, and cleaning up cemeteries are all part of the festivities. In Mexico, candy treats, extravagantly decorated Sugar Skulls, are offered to the living and the dead. The skull is a common symbol of the holiday. 

There are many collectors of Sugar Skull themed items and Mexican Folk Art. Many shop in Pottery & Garden Alley. My challenge was to study the styles of Mexican Folk Art, add my own touch, and create some tabletop items for the Day of the Dead display. It was a fun challenge and I’m excited to learn more. Below are photos of place mats and a table runner made using applique and thread sketching and featuring Sugar Skulls and the Day of the Dead. Stop by and visit Pottery & Garden Alley if you’re in the Pensacola area!

Mexican Folk Art  - Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Mexican Folk Art – Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

 

 

Mexican Folk Art - Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Mexican Folk Art – Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Mexican Folk Art - Day of the Dead and Tree of Life by gulfcoastquilts.com

Mexican Folk Art – Day of the Dead and Tree of Life by gulfcoastquilts.com

 

 

Mexican Folk Art - Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Mexican Folk Art – Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls by gulfcoastquilts.com

Wine Oh’s – Wine Rugs for a Birthday Gift

I have a friend known for her ability to dish up delectable southern style meals and desserts to die for. She’s also known to be a lover of fine wines; a classy “wine oh.” It just made sense that for a quick birthday gift I’d make her some wine glass rugs. It’s always fun to use up scraps and create a great gift. I forgot to photograph it, but one of the wine rugs had her name on it. She loved her gift! Here are some photos.

Wine Rugs by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Wine Rugs by GulfCoastQuilts.com

wine mug rugs for celeste