While another half foot of snow falls, we think of spring here in the frozen tundra. I started keeping track of how many sunny versus cloudy days we've had since Thanksgiving, but honestly it was too depressing to know for sure. If one day a week was sunny we were lucky.
After Christmas and when the grey days began in earnest, the bright reds and glistening trees were packed away, it was so flat and dull in my house that I decided some bursts of color were needed. It began by my putting out some spring robin's eggs I saw in the junk drawer while looking for a screwdriver to repair my reading glasses, and I suddenly knew more blue of the eggs, more purple, magenta, and even chartreuse were needed in my house.
In my sewing room I opened a cupboard door and out fell this charming doll from a student at Asilomar (thank you Ann!). It had been put away so Oliver wouldn't eat it; the feathers were a huge attraction. It was like a burst of sunshine! I knew I was on the right path in replacing my typical neutrals with some saturated tones. The doll is bright orange with turquoise bead eyes and some green shiny mesh wings. Love it. It made me smile.
I rummaged around and found a few things, but knew it was necessary to go on a shopping trip for some big inexpensive bright objects. It was a cloudy grey damp cold dreary day, of course, but shopping was fun. My cheeks got rosy as I went from store to store. I came home with packages, bags, paper, and Oliver was thrilled helping me unpack it.
Success! I found a bright blue pottery jar for some faux tulips (wishful thinking for spring and Oliver eats real flowers), fresh fruit in a brown/blue pottery bowl, Oliver's wheat grass in a deep aubergine basket, and a new spring green trivet that I don't know how I lived without. I felt much happier already, and so did Oliver. He knows he looks great in this setting!
When I shopped I looked at items I normally would have bypassed but this time I only looked at color, didn't matter what the item was. Purple and green striped kitchen towels went into a soft green pitcher I had stored way back in a cupboard for a splash of much needed color on my kitchen counter. And....I can always grab a towel and use it if necessary.
I unpacked more exciting bags. New pillows for the khaki cotton couch, chartreuse and ivory ikat print; and the purple quilted circles one I already had, and a shimmery silk green pillow too.
My favorite find was an abstract art print for the dining room, with rich wonderful unexpected colors, detail below. I love it. I got it for a steal because of a small ding in the frame, and it's signed and numbered.
Below the framed print I placed some of my pottery, an old everyday platter my grandmother had, and a new vase from the National Quilt Museum's gift shop that I treasure. It has the most beautiful blues.
And in the family room I also included some shine and color with a reflective platter and added some smooth globes that have two tones of color on each, a dark and a light, so they can be rolled about to create new combinations. Oliver is very good at rolling them about.
The one on the left is really more vibrant chartreuse, fantastic. I added more color here and there, lit a candle on the mantle out of Oliver's reach, and walked from room to room, enjoying the color, the focal points. I still love neutrals and soft tones, but adding more color made them look better too.
And then I unwrapped and set up my wonderful new deep cobalt blue lamp.....sigh. It looks so pretty with my collection of blue/white china.
As I went through my years as a quiltmaker I discovered much the same thing. Use what you've always loved, but look for something new and wonderful to add, an unusual color, a new or different style of print, a glistening thread. I still like many of the fabrics from years ago, but need more color now, and love what is available to quilters that was not in the past. Texture, shine, saturation, contrast, cool and warm, bright and subdued. You have so much to use to create something that will delight.
My little doll says goodbye by showing you her back and her lovely wings. Think about some orange or polka dots when you make your next quilt!
Keep quilting, keep growing. Your work gets better every day.