I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Spring : Dancing Tulips

Hi! I wish you could see the grey clouds today, flying by overhead---tone on tone, grey on grey. Black gnarled branches  of the ugly locust tree in silhouette. It's a dark day as the spring equinox approaches. Often spring is more desolate than winter here at the beach.

I wrote the above Saturday as the last days of winter crept quietly by. I love winter and am sad that this winter has gone by so fast. I love winter, so energetic, so hopeful, so crisp and clear. But today [Sunday] dawned brilliantly blue and warmer, the true last day of winter. White foam churning on the big waves, and wetsuited surfers lining up for a ride.

I've been saving these wonderful 1950-60 Windblown Tulips or Dancing Tulips blocks, to show you when spring finally came.

The hand appliqued blocks are a gift from my friend Lisa [Alfonsina, to some of you]. Her grandmother was an accomplished quilter and Lisa's family has many wonderful quilts made y "Neena" as she was called. In fact there is a finished Dancing Tulips quilt in the family collection, under the Dogwood quilt,

but recently Lisa found these extra blocks and passed them on to me.

I tried to insist the blocks stay with the quilt but she said no.

Even the long border strips were still with the extra blocks. Very mid-century green.

I love the tiny calico.

This would actually make a darling crib quilt for a spring baby whose parents enjoy retro style and sweet baby colors.

 Neena did very fine work. The backs are so pretty! Tiny stitches, with an oh so tidy reverse.

Neena used a very small whipstitch as did my aunts and grandmas who excelled at applique. The hidden stitch we use today was not used. The whipstitch is, I think , sturdier, and makes it easier to get nice inner curves and points.

Lisa even sent me a pair of Neena's trademark earrings. Clip-ons of course, nice ladies didn't have pierced ears back then.

Neena was a nickname, like Nana or Granny: her real name was Sarah Birdena, known as Birdena. [an unusual name!]. She grew up and lived in Indiana, in the early to mid-20th century and was both a school teacher and a librarian. Birdena lived into her nineties, her life spanned the entire 20th century and in her ninety three years she made many beautiful quilts and other needlework.
She is the little girl on the left, in the old front porch photo on my side bar.

 One of my all time favorite photos and one I treasure, that Lisa has allowed me to use it on my blog all these years.
Lisa has shared a more detailed bio with me, and maybe, someday, she and I will write a longer article about the quilts, handwork, and life of  of Birdena. I feel honored to own a few of her quilt
 blocks and to have read her story.

For now I will enjoy the Dancing Tulips and wait for spring.

Sunday was Mo's 3rd birthday! We took him to the park for a treat.

As usual he liked the car ride more than he liked the big open dog park.

And he got a fancy doggy cooky, a bag of hypoallergenic chews, and a new raincoat.

Happy birthday, little man!

I hope your first days of spring are warm and delightful!



gone to the beach...


  1. What a beautiful legacy Birdena left for your friend, and now you. Her quilt blocks are beautiful. Happy Birthday to your little buddy!

  2. delicate tulip blocks!! I love that you have the history of them as well. Imagine the life of Birdena and all she saw and went through. That photo is so precious! Happy Spring!

  3. The blocks are beautiful. It sounds like Birdena and my mom were about the same age. She did have stories and she could tell you how much she spent for a refrigerator in 1920. lol.

    Happy birthday to Dear Mo.


  4. What a lovely story about Neena and the wonderful gifts shared by your friend. Priceless! I love to think of what people and fabric, even, have witnessed throughout those many years. Ah, history. Happy BD little Mo. May you have many more healthy ones ahead with your Mom and best friend.

  5. I like the tulip blocks. The picture of the finished quilt didn't come through for me, not sure why. I always wondered about that 'tea party' picture! I guessed it was your mom or grandmother.

    That last picture of Mo tells me he had a good birthday and enjoyed it all!

    Happy Spring! And thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh my, surfers? What do think the water temperature is?

    Hard to believe little Mo is THREE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MO! What a fun day for him.

    Wonderful story that you shared. The tulips are so cute. I couldn't see the quilt either? Yes! Those greens...so familiar for some reason.

    Cooler and a little rainy here again after a few hot days. No complaints from me :)


    1. Local surf report today: note the 14* feels-like temp, brrrr. ''Water temperature (41 °F) at Long Beach is really very cold. Despite the weak sunshine, the air will feel like 14 °F, so that even wearing a thick winter wetsuit, neoprene hood, gloves and boots it will be difficult to stay warm in the sea today.''

    2. Mo says Thanks! LOL, some days it feels like he s been around forever!
      The green..maybe you had an Easter dress, yellow with green ribbons that color?
      I sent you the missing photo separately and I m also going to try now to reload it differently.



    3. My stars, yeah, nothing is going to keep someone warm in those water temps! Hoping you have a nice candle and a hot cuppa going ;)

      Photo now viewable on the post.

      As for the green...maybe something in my Mom's wardrobe.

  7. Thanks for letting me know the photo is now working. It was a png not jpg , had to reformat it w my ophone.[nevrmind...]

    I thought of your mom, could just see her in a big skirt sundress with the green piping and fabric covered belt, maybe.

    Yep, it's been Earl Grey days all week, very cold.

  8. A very happy belated birthday to Mo! Has it really been 3 years???? Wow! :) Kit

    1. Sometimes it seems Mo has been here for eons.....

  9. Hard to believe Mo has had custody of you for 3 years! The time does fly, and so does dog fur (at my house).

    The quilt blocks couldn't have found a better home. I'm sure Neena would be beyond pleased they are with you and they are no longer living in a drawer unseen and unused.

    I keep promising myself I will learn to quilt. Then again, I keep promising myself lots of things.



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