Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Beach Babies

Summer has descended upon us with full force. July 4th was a beautiful day for our holiday, but on July 5th, Mother Nature succumbed to one of nasty hot flashes. Temperature and humidity have combined to give us heat indexes of well over 100 degrees for the next few days. 

It's perfect timing for the Beach Babies. They are two sweet, little children playing on a sunny, beach in summertime. Starfish crawl across their shadows and sailboats drift by on ocean waves. Some folks would like a little girl best, and some prefer a boy. That's why I've made them as two separate mini-quilts.

Creating these little quilts has helped me to hang onto my sanity over the past few weeks. Too much is happening in my life right now. The babies have been my escape from the real world and from all of the house repairs and the family health issues that I'm dealing with at the moment.

I have a son and a daughter plus a grandson and a granddaughter. Sometimes I really miss the days when little ones crawled onto my lap for hugs and stories. Soft arms, sweet kisses, smiles that touched my heart. As I've sketched and sewn the beach babies I've been able to revisit those wonderful years with my own little ones. I recognize all four of my babies in these two made of fabric and thread. The toddlers on the beach have truly been a work of love. The timing of this idea was perfect. Nothing could have been a better stress reliever.

These are answers to a few of the questions I've had about the Beach Babies.

Q. Where do you get the fabric for their skin?
A. There are so many wonderful colors of skin, and sometimes the perfect fabric is available.  I couldn't find anything in my local quilt shops that came close to matching my own children's skin, so I had to create the color.
I started with a peach colored fabric in a Kona cotton solid, then used tea to darken it to the color I wanted. A complete explanation can be found on my Christmas Elf post. http://klee2strings.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-christmas-elf-and-trick-or-two.html

Q. What fabric did you use for the sea?
A. The fabric was Radiant Gradient Ombre Denim by Hoffman Fabrics. I bought it online from Hancock's of Paducah. There's quite a bit left over and I'm sure you'll be seeing it again in future projects.

This is a very strange angle, but a strip of the whole width of the fabric is visible.

Q. How did you make the free motion quilting for the sea and sand look realistic. 
A. This was most definitely free motion quilting with free form. The sea is nothing but row after row of horizontal, wavy lines. The sand is made with a wide, short meander. I continued the meander right over the children's shadows to differentiate them from piles of sand. I'm really not terribly skilled with FMQ, so nothing is perfect close up. The effect is nice, anyway - especially from a distance.

This project is over, and now I need to figure out what comes next. If you have a request, please let me know.