Happy Anniversary Girlfriends! MUSICA
Today is the day we’re going to begin our June celebration for two wonderful events ~ It was June 11, 2009 that we started connecting with our wonderful Friends on Facebook. Two years later, on June 9, 2011, the Blog went live (still quiver when I think about it) and our connection to our Girlfriends began! That’s pretty good! But it makes me wonder, why June? I didn’t plan it that way, in fact I was kind of surprised to see how close the dates were. Maybe we were inspired because it’s such a pretty month. I’ll tell you one thing, it smells like heaven here on the island. The Beauty Bush and the Mock Orange are in bloom (to name just two), I picked my first four strawberries today and look at the foxgloves!
Magic.♥ One more reason to celebrate.
Three years ago, when I first started blogging I had NO idea how it would go ~ “going live” was so scary! I wondered how people would find me, and if they would even come. I knew how I wished it would go and tried my best to make it something everyone would like, hoping everyone liked dishtowels, dishes, and old movies as much as me! Any of you with a blog knows exactly what I’m talking about. Saying to yourself as you are writing a post or putting something up on Facebook, “I hope they like this!” then letting the chips fall where they may! Scary! And first time you’re “liked!” Or, then, to be “shared!” How wonderful it is to get your first comment! How amazing to have your first give-away! And that excitement and amazement really hasn’t gone away. Traveling to England together put the frosting on the cake. I loved it so much, we’ll definitely do it again (yes we will!). I just wish there were more hours in the day for blogging. Such a creative way to connect with kindred spirits. So how do we celebrate? Easy: By saying “Thank You” to everyone who helps to make this dream come true. Which would be YOU, thank you very much.♥
As many of you know, it has been my dream for years, way before there was any such thing as a blog or even the Internet, that the people who’ve written me such wonderful personal letters (since 1987 when my first book came out and I started getting mail), could meet each other. The letters were so nice, so full of love, I always thought it would cheer people up to know that despite what we see and hear on the news, the world is filled with wonderful home-loving, creative, family-adoring people, in all countries, all parts of the world, and even in countries where we might think our “enemies” live.
Even there, the cities and towns are filled with regular tea-drinking, flower-growing, music-loving, tender-hearted, soup-making, peace-loving kinds of people just like you and me. You just don’t hear that much from them because the other kind are so obnoxious and loud. But there are many more of our kind of person in this world than of the obnoxious ones. Truly. No matter how different we may look from each other on the outside. And we need to band together in our appreciation for beauty and a gentle way of life. It must be scary to live in a land where the maniacs have the keys to the castle. You would probably feel trapped and worried about your children all the time. Let’s pray for them, and then give them this place, and each other, to meet and celebrate the little things that make life sweet ~ and especially, all the ways we are so very much alike. They like apples, we like apples. They like gorgeous blue tablecloths ~ we like gorgeous blue tablecloths. They like picnics and the sounds of nature and going barefoot, and we do too! They like starry nights and big moons and us too! It’s an amazingly wonderful beautiful world.
Imagine all the people, living life in peace ~ You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one . . .
So, to celebrate all of this and all of us, we are having not One, not even Two, but Three Give-aways in this blog post, and this contest is open to everyone everywhere on the planet! If someone in a faraway land is chosen in this drawing, we will mail their package to wherever they would like it to go. Because it is true, we are the world. What the Internet has brought has surpassed my wildest dreams . . . I thought it would be good, but I didn’t know it would be this good! So here we go, let’s start off with some inspiration! Mas Musica? Frank? Oui!♥
You should probably get a cup of tea or something cold to drink . . . this could be a long one! The inspiration for this giveaway came from a request in a Girlfriend’s comment a couple of months back ~ she asked, “Could we see more of your quilt collection.” Oh boy, yes, you can! Here we go!
From the very first quilt I got, which happens to be the one my Great Grandma made for my Grandma who then gave it to me, it’s always been the colors. I love the old-fashioned fabrics, the soft pastels and simple patterns and I love that they used lots of white. These are the colors that inspired my watercolors.
A little worn, a little faded, and never signed. Just so lovely and artistic, and humble and oh, if they could talk. You know they were made by creative women, and often in groups. Could we please listen in on one of those conversations, oh dearest back-in-time genie?
All those tiny little hand-made stitches. I have so much appreciation for this art.
It’s easy to relate to the hearts that made them.
I made a few quilts when I was young, never as beautiful as this one, but then I learned to paint, so I painted quilts instead, and I learned to go to antique stores and there I found old quilts . . . which I’ve collected for years . . . now I drape them over sofas . . .
It’s not a huge collection, and I don’t have all the scientific information on them, I just like to drape them on bedroom chairs . . .
at the ends of the beds . . . so I can look at them and be charmed and feel happy.
I like them in the kitchen in the winter, folded over the back of a chair, even though it really doesn’t make any sense, I just like to look at them . . .
At one time I had a “Heart of the Home” store on the Central Coast of California where I sold a few vintage quilts whenever I could find them (or part with them). These were in a pile in a corner of the store, they weren’t for sale, only for inspiration, so my shopper Girlfriends could see how pretty a stack of quilts can be and begin the search to get a stack for themselves.
From the beginning, my watercolors were influenced by the beauty and the colors of these quilts. I painted what I loved. I don’t make stitches so much anymore, I paint them.
You can kind of see quilt-influence in the things I’ve made in the past . . . everything feels a little like a 1930’s quilt.
The other big influence on my watercolors was the dish variation of the quilt. To me quilts and dishes have everything in common: home, practicality, love, beauty, history, delicacy and most of all, that color again. They also reach out when I walk by at a flea market, take my hand and say right out loud, I’m going home with you. And I say, thank you, I could not agree more.
I love painting my own rendition of pattern ~
Almost as much as I love finding and collecting old dishes…
You see? Dishes ↑ and Quilt fabric ↓ ~ See the resemblance? Kissing cousins.
Especially when it’s me choosing the colors.
This is fabric from my long extinct “Tea Party” Collection of fabric.
And lots more than quilts was made from those designs. These were made at the wonderful embroidery studio at Crabapple Hill. They sell the great old-fashioned embroidery patterns you see here and in the photo before this one and lots more.♥
Even this Tea Tin is a “sub-unit” (made that up, like it) from the design of quilt fabric.
And because of the fact that all of this fabric is now gone from the market place, and there’s no more available anywhere . . . except right here in my hot little hands, the First Give-away turns out to be everything you see here . . . except of course Jack. He is not included. He is a sub-unit of me.
I hope everyone likes yellow, because the words “everything is included” means this bolt of several yards of “Honeybee Yellow” fabric.
In addition, I found a yard (or maybe a little more) of each of these three fabrics, from my “Sweet Baby” collection, the dot, the check and the lambs with the hearts. In they go!
And yes, “everything” includes a complete set of the “Tea Party” Collection in “Little Fat Quarters.”
Little Fat quarters and the bolt of bees (and the little lambs), and also a gift card from me to the winner of the drawing with love.
You can see better some of the fabrics in the pile of Fat Quarters. I hope someone out there can put them to good use! OK, so that is Giveaway # 1! This officially puts us on . . .
. . .’cause here comes the rest of the Give-aways!
Next? OK, this is Give-away number #2. Again, the cat is not included (but try taking a picture without him in it!). What these are are the unbound proofs for our brand new 2015 Wall and Mini Calendars ~ you can’t hang them, but they’re just too nice to throw away. The color is beautiful, they’re on heavy paper so I thought possibly, someone would like these, maybe to do some scrapbooking with?
Here is Jack with the Mini Calendar, you can see, the pages aren’t hooked together . . . every time I try to take a picture, he jumps into the middle of it, he makes me laugh. Kissing occurs.
But here’s more of the inside of the Mini Calendar — lots of bookmark-making or card-making possibilities here too! Knowing you, there are a 1000 possibilities!
And here’s some of the art from the Wall Calendar. Both calendars have been approved and the finished products should be arriving at the Studio any day now. So this is Give-Away #2, both of these brand new calendars, and both signed.
(Oh, don’t worry, in case you were, the big Blotter Calendar is still on schedule for shipping in late August.)
And Now, Number Three Give-away to celebrate our FOSB Girls and our Blog Girlfriends, this 53″ x 74″ quilt made with my “Martha’s Vineyard” Collection of fabrics, also quite extinct and no longer available (except for today, here).
The pattern is called “Hearts and Flowers” ~ I designed it and it was made and presented to me by the fabric manufacturer.
And I signed it with the year it was made . . . this little quilt is behind door #3 of our Drawing. I hope one of these doors suits your fancy!
And FYI, we still do have a few bits and pieces of some of the fabric collections, still have a few patterns for aprons, pillowcases, and appliqued dishtowels, many of which are free (especially our really cute gored apron). Just go HERE.
Girl Kitty thinks it’s all just lovely. She likes quilts too.
One more rather exciting thing! My AUTUMN book went to the printer yesterday! I’m so very proud to announce that the Tenth Anniversary Edition of AUTUMN from the Heart of the Home will be in stores by October first! Autumn will be published in the USA by Spring Street Publishing, and just so you know, this new edition is exactly like the first edition in every way except this one comes complete with a ribbon bookmark and will have a different publisher. (We weren’t completely in charge of the ribbon the last time, this time we are, so voila, we get one!)
All my most favorite recipes and most inspiring ideas for Autumn fun, both indoors and out, are there. Pumpkin Cheesecake! Corn Pudding!
Including crafts and sewing, because Autumn is the most creative time of the year, all that good Back-to-School energy never goes away! First whiff of September and I want to make something! And Yes, we are having a Pre-sale for the book, beginning TODAY. We have ordered an early shipment of books to be sent to the studio just for our Girlfriends. We always seem to run out of everything (no matter how carefully we plan), it seems to be our M.O. but if you have ordered a book in our web store, you are guaranteed to get it the minute they come in, before we begin shipping to the bookstores and Amazon. Although the publication date is October first, we will start shipping your books by the middle of August and maybe even sooner if we get lucky! Perfect timing, because by then, we are going to be yearning for those fall breezes. (But not yet.)
And one more thing, if you are the kind of person who likes to do their Christmas Shopping early, here is a combination that will give you something to give away and something to keep, a win-win. To celebrate our Anniversaries, we’ve bundled the two books for a very special, limited-offer, thank-you-for-being-here price.♥
You all know how to enter the drawing ~ it’s easy, just leave a short comment below and in a few days we’ll draw names. (For those to whom the blog is mailed, you should click here www.susanbranch.com, scroll to the bottom of the post, look for the tiny letters that say, “comment” ~ click there and leave your comment. I don’t know why, but the senders of the email blogs do not include a way to leave a comment.)
I will warn Vanna to exercise a bit more this week, clear her head, get that arm pumped ~ she has a big job choosing three winners! The first name chosen will win prize number one (fabric bundles) the second name chosen will get the calendars, and the third will have the signed quilt. And I’ll email the winners and let them know the minute I know.
I’m going back to the garden. I’m reading Gladys Taber in preparation for next week! Very exciting! Makes for a very nice life, reading this book, and smelling the flowers. Hope the same for you. Love you, Girlfriends. Happy Anniversary! XOXO