After a long stretch I'm happy to say this quilt is completed and ready to go home.
This quilt will be making its way back to California within the next few days. I'm hoping it makes it there before some special little girl's birthday. Wouldn't it be a lovely gift?
This quilt has some beautiful little details, like these flowers. They were hair bows that meant a lot to momma, so I took them apart and created flowers for this forest. I was hesitant to add them in after I had completed the trees, as I enjoyed the stark look of the forest, but I'm happy momma decided to keep them in the design. They add a soft touch and some lovely colour to the forest. I also used some white trim at the base of a few trees. It definitely softens things up.
The forest panel is made up of different layers of trees. I used baby clothes to create the birch trees by piecing a number of small strips together. I used a lighter shade and darker shade on either side to create a bit of dimension, replicating a feeling of shadow and light.
The brown trees were made with a small amount of supplemented Joel Dewberry woodgrain in bark. I love this fabric (like love, love, love, love it) and wish I had more because my small stash is now depleted (if anyone has any they'd like to send me I would happily hoard it). Definitely worth emptying my stash to create this custom quilt.
The black trees were made with jersey from items included by momma.
The background behind the trees was made with a mixture of baby clothes and supplemental fabric. In this case, momma wanted the quilt to blend in with the current decor of little girl's room. To do this I looked at photos and matched some supplemental fabrics to the same colour scheme. I ended up using another Joel Dewberry fabric (herringbone) as a sashing around the custom panel and as the binding.
The central custom kokobaru panel is framed with a few different types of fabric. Very thin layer of herringbone, followed by Cotton and Steel XOXO in ghost, which I also used for the back of the quilt. The outer edge is made of squares created from shirts with images on them. A mixture of clothing from little girl and momma and poppa make it extra special and tells the story of their lives together.
I named this quilt "Seeing the Forest for the Trees". The saying that someone 'can't see the forest for the trees' denotes that they're missing the big picture because they're caught up in the details. I believe this momma is quite aware of the forest.
I think that sometimes (maybe even often) as parents we can fall into the trap of focusing on the 'trees'. We can get so tied up, in the day to day and the missed sleep, the shoes that you just bought last week that don't fit anymore, the meltdowns, the untouched dinner plate, and so on, that we can forget the big picture of it all. How quickly they'll be feeding themselves, walking on their own, dressing themselves and before you know it they're driving the car (eek! I'm terrified of that day and thank I have some time to prepare for it). All this to say the time is passing faster than I would like. I'm a big savourer of moments.
I likely take too many pictures and I know I've saved way too many of my kids clothes for the quilts I'll be making them. I know how precious this time is and I try to hold on to that. I'm not always successful, but it grounds me when I need grounding.
would much rather have too many memories to hold onto than too few.
I think my clients generally feel the same way. Hence 'Seeing the Forest for the Trees'.
For those who know me this won't come as a surprise. I love taking photographs. Like, when I say love I mean I have a serious love for taking a good photograph, capturing a memory, a moment in time. It is probably one of my favourite things to do. It's taken me 20 years, but I've finally seen the light. It's time to jump in to doing what I love.
This love affair dates back to high school. As soon as I graduated I bought myself an enlarger (thanks to my Great Aunt Lil). I remember driving into the Henry's in Toronto to get it and the supplies I would need to continue making my own photographs. Ya, we're talking about the days of film and chemical baths. My beloved enlarger lived back and forth between my parents laundry room and the unfinished basement until the time came to pack it away. It still lives somewhere in the recesses of my parents crawl space. Poor forgotten enlarger.
The times have changed a lot since then.
Back then I didn't know how to get started. Now I've already started a small business.
Back then it was just me. Now it's me and a partner, and 2 zany dogs and 2 beautiful babies.
Back then I was afraid of what the future would hold. Now I'm living in that future and I gotta say, I'm pretty darned happy.
Now is the time of my life.
So there will be some changes here at Kokobaru. Don't worry. I love what I do, and will continue doing custom memory quilts and toys. It's just time for me to jump into offering my photography as a service as well.
While talking with my partner the other day I finally realized what it is that I really 'do'. It hit me. I would say 'dawned on me', but it really felt more like it hit me right in the chest. I deal in memories. All the work I love to do deals with creating or curating memories in one way or another. And so Kokobaru will continue to branch out. I currently focus on handicraft work (in the form of custom memory quilts and toys), creative consulting (a little known secret is that I do educational and interpretive program development and training...if you've attended a birthday party at the Museum of Nature, that's my work) and I will be adding photography to my scope as well. I'll be putting together a portfolio, figuring out a revamped website, or possibly a new website specifically for photography. There's a lot to sort out. Either way, I'm pretty excited about the future.
Never in my wildest, nor tamest dreams did I ever picture the life I have. I gotta say it's a lovely surprise to look around and see where I've ended up. Maybe it's because I'm edging closer to 40 or maybe it's because I feel so loved by my partner and children and the good people in my life, but for whatever reason, the paralyzing fear I used to have of the future seems to have been replaced with an appreciation for the now.
Can't really ask for much more than that now can I?
So here's to jumping in.
I'd love to hear about a time you've 'jumped in', or maybe a time you didn't and wish you had.
Another special custom memory quilt is complete!
This one is a whimsical garden scene with an air balloon flying high above. 100% of the fabric came from the client via all old baby clothes, curtains, burp cloths, etc. and I'm happy I was able to incorporate almost every piece she sent in.
This quilt is pieced, with whites and blues representing the skies, green and brown representing soil/grass and trim provided across the top and bottom that ties into the backing and frames the panel. I made appliqué flowers and also used flowers that were part of her daughter's clothing. I love the additional texture this gives the quilt.
There are 3 hidden little pockets and custom appliqués made from photographs of the kitty and the small girl flying in the air balloon (my favourite highlights).
Finally, the backing. I love this beautiful fabric that was the client's daughter's bedroom curtain. Those flowers are just lovely. The red binding is made from a cute little dress. I thought it tied in nicely with the reds on both the front and back and provided a nice 'frame' for the whole quilt (front and back). For stitching the quilt together I stuck to 'stitch in the ditch', which will keep everything securely in place and adds a nice simple texture to the back.
It sure is busy in these parts.
Trust me, I'm not complaining.
With the exception of 2 days of too much humidity, this summer has been glorious. Let me say it again, GLORIOUS.
The little guy is old enough to enjoy playing on his own and it's a real pleasure to witness his imagination running wild. This newfound independence has also allowed me to continue working on a number of projects before our next little bundle of joy arrives.
The garden is thriving and all is well thus far and with the exception of some fatigue, heart burn, and all things generally related to growing a child in your uterus life is good.
There's lots of crafty goodness going around in these parts. I just finished a custom growth chart for a lovely little birthday boy. I'm working with a few lovely folks on some custom memory quilts, and did I mention I do some program development contract work as well? Add to the list my desire to wander and explore and sprinkle in a few road trips and camping excursions and it makes for a very full summer. The work is getting done happily and will continue to as long as this little baby stays put until October.
Mr. Kokobaru and I have been slowly working away at a fun stop motion project to share soon. It was a blast shooting it. Very time consuming, but so worthwhile. It whet our appetites for more creative projects, but there's just not enough time is there? Home renovations, yard work, and general work-work, hasn't stopped us, just slowed us down a little (or a lot). And that's ok.
Some folks may not agree (possibly Mr. Kokobaru), but I think I've relaxed a bit over the last few years in regards to 'getting things done'. I used to stress out about fixing up the house, the garden, creative projects, and on and on and on. I'm getting a bit older and maybe a bit wiser (big maybe). I'm learning to enjoy the process more and stress less about the 'getting it done right now' part. There's no rush. There's always going to be more to do. The basement will get finished one day, the yard is getting better every year. It's the process that's the important part. The time spent working together, planning, dreaming. The breaks to play and explore and enjoy this fleeting life we get to share together. It's very freeing to be moving into this state of mind, very freeing indeed. I don't know if it's age, or parenthood, or what, but I've got to say I'm enjoying life in a different way these days. Finding myself being more present, more content.
What about you?
How's your summer going?
Any exciting plans or goals you've set for yourself?
Little bird did pretty well with his first camping experiences. Rocking it at both Longpoint and Sandbanks. Our last night was a bit rough when he decided not to go to sleep until very late, but aside from that he enjoyed his first genuine camp fire meal, Smores, roasting marshmallows over an open fire and sleeping in a tent. Lessons were learned, patience was required, but all in all a great experience.
We've been having some big beautiful days in these parts. The weather has been gorgeous and we've been having loads of fun playing at the splash pad, picking strawberries and working on our own gardens.
Today is sure to be another stunner. You know it's going to be a good day when your little has worked on a painting and had a bath by 8am; what will the rest of the day hold?!
My little guy has been working on this painting for over a year. He pulls it out every once in awhile and adds another layer. I'm thinking we might make it a mixed media piece by adding some pictures and text during it's next round of work. Looking forward to hanging it on the wall one of these days.
I highly recommend picking up a canvas and some paints for your little one to experiment with. We've used a bunch of different types of paints and tools over the last year from brushes to apples and forks, etc. Today he stuck to using his hands and enjoyed the textures and mixing colours. I think the process of creating and experimenting feeds their little minds and hearts, just like it feed mine.
Kokobaru has also been working on some fun smaller projects as well as some larger custom quilt projects. It's going to be a mighty busy summer!
A few weeks back I held a draw on the Kokobaru Facebook page to celebrate hitting 400 likes. The prize was a custom toy made with the winner's children's clothing. Knowing the winner had 2 children and seeing the abundance of fabric she brought with her I figured it would be a nice surprise if I made her a toy for each child. She had mentioned one child liked owls, the other was indifferent and she liked the monsters. So I opted to make an owl and a monster, each with special pockets, perfect for keeping secret notes or to hold a tooth for the tooth fairy. It was lots of fun to work on them and she seemed pretty pleased when she picked them up, which made my day.
Now to get outside! Hoe the vegetable garden, add some mulch a friend generously passed on to us to help with the weeds and water retention, plant some new flowers and just enjoy the beauty of this amazing day.
What will you be doing on this gorgeous day?
Maker of things. Lover of colour and texture and contrast. Thinker & creator. Daughter, sister, partner, mother, friend. Mighty woman.