A Great Horned Owl Inspires Fall Mug Rugs & Wreaths

Last night a Great Horned Owl perched on the top of our three story high house. It’s the highest spot in the neighborhood; a perfect place for these silent hunters to sit until they swoop down onto unsuspecting prey on one of the nearby vacant lots. We heard the hooting just before bedtime and it brought a smile to my face. I always enjoy the return of the Great Horned Owls as it signals the beginning of Fall in Northwest Florida. The nights have been just a tad bit cooler and the mornings perfect for coffee on the dock. It’s still Florida warm in the daytime but the promise of fall is in the air. I was inspired to make some fall-themed mug rugs for the store and a few wreaths.

Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com - pumpkins

Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com – pumpkins

 

Mug Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com - fall leaves

Mug Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com – fall leaves

Mug Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com

Mug Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com

 

Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com - owls

Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com – owls

Owl wreath by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Owl wreath by GulfCoastQuilts.com

Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com - For my Saints-loving NOLA friends.

Rug by gulfcoastquilts.com – For my Saints-loving NOLA friends.

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

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

 

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

 

Last Year’s Vacation Crazy Quilt – What next?

Last Summer our grand-daughters came to visit us in Florida. I let them rummage through my fabric stash. Then, we traced everyone’s hands onto some fabric and picked out some shapes that would remind them of the visit – chasing lizards, morning coffee with Gi Gi, PaPa’s plumeria and palm trees, the Florida sunshine…

We turned it into a crazy quilt and the girls loved it! When they went back to school our youngest granddaughter brought the quilt to school as part of her “What I did this Summer” project. She said the boys were jealous because she caught lizards in Florida and had a lizard on her quilt. (Extra points for PaPa for lizard hunting and extra points to GiGi for the lizard quilt block!)

What are we going to make THIS summer? I wonder if it might be time to begin teaching them to sew? My grandmother started teaching me when I was about twelve years old and I’ll be thankful for the rest of my life that Grandma King shared her time and talent with me. I know I had to be an exasperating student and I wore her patience thin. Sewing is my connection to my wonderful Grandmother and I sometimes wonder if she is looking down from heaven, shaking her head, when I do sloppy work or have to rip something out because I didn’t think ahead.

The grand-daughters came to visit us this summer.

The grand-daughters came to visit us this summer.

The girls selected fabric from my stash.

The girls selected fabric from my stash.

The Florida block.

The Florida block.

Crazy Vacation Quilt

Crazy Vacation Quilt

Crazy Vacation Quilt DONE!

Crazy Vacation Quilt DONE!

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