Sunday, October 28, 2007


In the blue moon-glow of midnight
Specters dance across the lawn
But masquerade as birch trees
In the growing light of dawn.

The stars fall from the heavens
Disguised as fireflies
That flicker in the twilight
With a spark that mystifies.

As angels sing in chorus
Mistaken for the breeze
Their whispering voices harmonize
With the rustling of the leaves.

Spirits cloaked in cobwebs
Cavort with revelry
But, hidden in dark corners
They’re invisible to me.

What wonders lurk around us
That we never recognize
Because we fail to see beyond
What’s right before our eyes!

© Diane Burdin, 2006

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Liberated Jack
© DJB, 1997

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out

What would you think if you got this unusual piece of fabric in the mail? My friend Kathy sent it to me as a souvenir of her trip to Australia.

It’s an aboriginal print, featuring witchety grubs, honey ants, snakes, lizards, and symbols representing family and Earth Mother.

I went from thinking, “Yikes, I can’t use that!” to “Maybe if I cut it up it won’t be so ghastly.” to “If I cut it up, all the integrity of the print will be lost.” This peculiar fabric certainly presented a design challenge!

After a while, those little grubs grew on me (What an image that conjures up, eh?) and I couldn’t bear to cut the fabric into pieces. Instead, I framed it with a liberated sawtooth border.

I tried adding some pieced blocks but they made the quilt look way too busy. So, I pieced together the Broken Dishes blocks I had made and put them on the back of the quilt.

The machine quilting was a lot of fun to do. I stitched random wavy lines with a variety of threads. It not only added great texture but contributed to the freeform style.

16” x 23”
© DJB, 2003

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hormone Replacement Therapy

As many of you noted in response to my last post, I am blessed with the best of friends. So when my husband left town for 5 days to visit our son at college, I lined up visits with girlfriends. In this estrogen deprived home, it was like hormone replacement therapy.

I sometimes forget just how restorative “girl talk” can be. We laughed and cried, we bitched and moaned (mostly me), we shared secrets and made promises. We ate wonderful meals that my friends prepared, including homemade apple pie and the best pumpkin cookies I have ever tasted. Barb gave me a bunch of dried Bittersweet (my very favorite color) and some autumn plates and napkins. Linda shared a huge box of novels that will keep me busy reading for months. Mary brought a hefty pile of quilts to show, including the sweet log cabin pictured above. Sherry came over at a moment’s notice to snap a few pictures for the blog.

My girlfriends not only know just what I need, they also have the thoughtfulness, compassion and generosity to provide it when asked. As each of them left, we shared a hug and a big “I love you!” Why not call a girlfriend and tell her what she means to you?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It Takes a Village

Please help me celebrate the completion of a needlework project I started 15 years ago! It didn’t actually take me that long to stitch this reproduction cross stitch sampler. But it did take years to bring it to fruition.

The sampler spent more time wadded up in a basket than it did in my hands. And when my hands could no longer manage the tiny stitches worked over a single linen thread, it sat untouched until I found friends who could finish it for me.

My cousin, Lynn, skillfully stitched the few remaining inches and returned the sampler to me last Christmas. Back to its basket it went, waiting to be laundered. Over the summer, my friend, Sheila, washed, blocked and pressed the piece; then took it to the framer. This fall, my dad picked it up from the framer and delivered it to me. It sat propped up against the wall for weeks until I called my neighbor, Barb, who hung the needlework while another friend, Linda, snapped photos for my blog.

You’ll think, upon reading this, that I can’t do anything for myself and you’ll be close to right. It “takes a village” to care for me and my needlework. I’m so grateful for dear friends who shared my enthusiasm for this piece and joy in finally getting it up on the wall.

The original sampler (shown here) was stitched in 1839 by Ann Rayner of West Yorkshire County, England. It was reproduced by Nancy Sturgeon, from Naperville, Illinois, who charted and kitted the sampler for her needlework business, Threads Through Time.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Autumn Has Its Charms

As the weather cools, my husband likes to visit local gardens and arboretums for a little hiking. Like a kid, he gathers souvenir "sticks and stones" along the way. and brings home pockets full of leaves, acorns and buckeyes--lots and lots of buckeyes.

We first heard buckeye folklore from our college professor, Dr. Kenneth Bidle, who always carried a buckeye in his pocket as a "lucky charm." The prevalent belief is that a buckeye increases pocket money. But because of its distinctive (ahem) "nutlike" appearance, some people think it also increases sexual potency. There are even claims that buckeyes prevent rheumatism, arthritis, and headache. Heck, if the buckeye possesses any of those properties, I'll gladly stuff my pockets full!

The red oak leaves and buckeyes from Jim's latest nature hike reminded me of the colors in this Pinwheel doll quilt. I bought it from my friend and former quilt shop colleague, Shari Tischhauser. Don't you love the old buttons Shari stitched to the center of each pinwheel?

Pinwheel doll quilt
 16" x 22"
 made by Shari Tischhauser

Friday, October 5, 2007

Gee, Thanks!

Thank you for the kind comments about my Folk Art Button Quilt. It has gotten a lot of interest over the years, and I'm always happy to share its story.

The quilt started as a block exchange between friends. We each chose a motif and then looked to antique quilts, hooked rugs, and folk art for inspiration and patterns. By stitching the same motif for each member of the group, we ended up with identical sets of blocks.

After the exchange, we were free to embellish the blocks and set them together any way we wanted. I added buttonhole stitching and old brown buttons to mine. The idea to offset the appliques with Nine Patches was inspired by this Calico Garden Quilt from the Shelberne Museum’s collection. (A pattern to reproduce that quilt is available from Hoopla Antique Quilt Patterns)

I pulled out all my autumn colored fabrics as well as woven plaids, cutting a 2” strip from each. Rather than sewing strips together as we tend to do in making Nine Patches, I cut the strips into 2” squares. This allowed me more flexibility with color placement. No two blocks are alike. I had enough brown buttons to add one to the center of each Nine Patch.