I am vintage.

I've been throwing around the term vintage for a long time now. Since the early 2000's the term started to mean something, imbibe a feeling - a nostalgia: a style. Vintage to me evokes a picture in my mind of a white farm house kitchen in pale aqua and whites with feed-sack cloth for curtains that looks out onto the expanding prairie. Just search 'vintage kitchen' on google images or pinterest and you'll see what I mean.

Cross Back Apron: Pattern from acraftyfox.net

But then I wonder is vintage something I have been taught or do I really know it? How do I know it? Is it that you'll know it when you see it kind of a thing or is it more concrete than that? Can it be defined by a number? Oh yes it can: 1940-1980. Bam. Vintage.

I was born in 1979 right on the edge of vintage. Lookey there; by the very definition I am a vintage person. I grew up around things that are now considered vintage. The knick knacks in my parents house, the hand-me-down clothes I wore, the television I watched, the fabrics my mom sewed with; all of it was produced in the vintage window.

Going back another generation to my Grandparents and the things they were surrounded with firmly placed the range of 1940 to 1980 in my early childhood memory. Their house, their aesthetic became the creative language of my youth. The patterns in the fabric, the style of clothes we wore, the music we listened too. My dad always had the oldies station and the top 40 station programmed on the push button radio in the beat up vintage car he drove. Pushing between his youth and my older sister's pre-teen demands.

So when I say I am drawn to vintage fabrics, vintage patterns, vintage everything; it's because I am vintage. And I like it that way; I want to be true to that part of me. I am not modern, I am not a great big expanse of white with a square strategically placed here and there. I am a big 'ol cornucopia of color, shape and repetition. I am making due with what I have. I am re-purposing the old in a usable way. I am aqua, red, yellow, blue and green.

So when I bring to you this newest form of Blue Bird Sews please know it is not for kitsch. It is not to jump on a bandwagon of vintage. I am in the vintage camp and always have been. It's just not until now that I have found my best form of expression to it and I can't wait to share it! But it's not ready yet; I am still cutting, ripping, formulating, measuring, asking and percolating on it. Believe me, you'll know when it's ready.

It's gonna be so fun! Yee-haw!


Hello, I make quilts.

2014 was the last quilt I completed for myself; the last blog post I wrote too. I had made a few other commissions between then and now but really what I had poured my energy into was growing a baby; birthing said baby and now caring for that baby who is due to turn 1 at the end of the month.
Whew, that was a lot of energy I used in that whole process. Like can't hold two thoughts together at the same time kind of expending. I never shared this here but I had a hell of a time getting that baby in my womb. My creativity suffered because of it. My worth was tied to that struggle and now that I am well on the other side of it all I can say that right now I am right where I should be. I am tapping into my river beneath the river I knew was there my whole life; I just didn't know it's name.

Until now.

I jumped in this space again not knowing what I wanted to say or how it was going to come out, but trusting that what needs to be written will be written. I needed to tell you these things, to clear the air and crack open my truth and reveal myself anew. Because I make quilts. I make fucking awesome quilts that feed my need for creation and connection.

Last night was Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting under an almost full moon, under the guidance of Melissa Averinos who gave a presentation on her artistic journey. It was deep ya'll. It was another piece in the puzzle of this journey I am on. The room was on fire. The women were holding that space last night and it was lit.

So here comes the pretty pictures part and if you're still reading after you get the story of this quilt. Which is the story of me.

Vintage Dresden Improv began in March of 2015 from a bag of scraps my Aunt found for me at an estate sale. With no design intentions behind it I just stared making dreseden plates. I made full sized dresdens and then I found a pattern for mini-dresdens (gotten by signing up for Westwood Acres newsletter)  and made some of those. I cut the wedges based on the size of scraps I had. Then I made quite a few and had to figure out the center circle. As I was chatting with Cris Pera from PMQG she offered to teach me how to sew inset circles, so I did that. Then they were made and I was wondering what are these for? That's when the gingham started to creep in, a big burnt sienna piece was calling to me but I didn't pick up the phone. I went for my blue gingham stash, in all colors and scale. I sewed them together in a puzzle to create a large background for my dresdens. That's when the magic happened. Those little dresdens had a spot to fill, the bigger ones had their own space. Each dresden had a special spot. I machine appliqued them onto the background and quilted the top myself at Nancy Stovall's quilting studio - with a baby on my back in the Ergo. When I pulled it off the longarm and brought it home I knew it needed curved corners and a red gingham binding (thanks Nancy ;). The crowning touch was a block printed label set on the vintage red gingham.

This quilt really embodies me as a quilter, as a maker, an artist. The process, the materials, the colors, the design, the re-purposed fabrics and the time I took on those final touches. I am proud of this quilt and the community which helped make it and the space they gave me last night to share it in. I am holding onto this quilt, it's a part of my river now.

I'm gonna do me so hard from now on. I have found the goddess in me and she is not afraid.
press publish.