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...