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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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

Gulf Coast Inspired Quilted Greeting Card / Mug Rugs

I’m starting to sell a lot of quilted greeting card / mug rugs. Tourist season is heating up here in Northwest Florida and a store on the beach wanted some greeting card/mug rugs that reflected the wildlife on the gulf coast. I brought two dozen cards to them last week. They featured pelicans, herons, seagulls, dolphins, sea turtles and flowers. Let’s hope the tourists like them. I also made some mug rugs for a few B & B’s.  Here are a few samples:

pns bch heron turtle card 2

Quilted Greeting Card Mug Rugs by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Quilted Greeting Card Mug Rugs by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Quilted Greeting Card Mug Rugs by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Quilted Greeting Card Mug Rugs by GulfCoastQuilts.com

turtle card

 

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 Tran-Quilt-ity Series

Living along the Gulf Coast provides ample opportunity for a peaceful walk along the sugar white beaches of NW Florida or a serene stroll through nature at any one of our Gulf Islands National Seashore Parks. Tranquility is easy to find here for most of us.

But then there’s my best friend.

Last week she was celebrating a birthday and I wanted to find the perfect gift for her. I thought about what she needed and concluded she simply needed more tranquility in her life.  She’s a first class worrier but I just couldn’t find a gift that would help her stop worrying. I wanted her next year to be filled with tranquility but I just couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Tranquility:  a disposition free from stress or emotion, an untroubled state, a state of peace and quiet, serenity, placidity, repose, quiet, calm, calmness, composure, peace of mind, an absence of agitation or excitement, an absence of tension or worry.

Because I couldn’t give my friend the gift of actual tranquility I opted to make a special quilt for her that might, at least, inspire more tranquility in her life. I created a new word and a new series of quilts.

Tran-Quilt-ity: the state of peaceful napping, sleeping or relaxing under a handmade quilt made by someone who cares for you, values you, and has only well wishes for you.

I rummaged through my stash for fabric that matched the earthy colors in her home and her self-described decorating style of “contemporary with an Asian influence.” It took three tries before I finally created the quilt I wanted just for her. I call these three quilts “The Tran-Quilt-ity Series.”

The first one is named, “Seeking Peace.”

The TranQuilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

The TranQuilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

tranq7

It wasn’t exactly what I wanted for my friend so I kept trying.

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by gulfcoastquilts.com

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by gulfcoastquilts.com

The second try started to look more like I wanted it to look but the message just wasn’t working. I had to be more direct with my words. Below are photos of the final version and my friend loved it. I think I’ll make a few more in this series.

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

tranq12 tranq14

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by GulfCoastQuilts.com

From the Tran-Quilt-ity Series by 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!