Friday, January 29, 2021

Quilts and Classics: Under the Big Top/1950 Studebaker

Today while Mark and I were cleaning the house, I had an idea. 

But before I go into that, here is a little backstory. When Mark retired a little over four years ago, we decided that between the two of us, we could clean the house every other week rather than paying someone else. We had been having someone do it for us every other week while both of us worked. No problem. We would divide the duties and do it ourselves. Also...we would actually pay ourselves to clean the house. Although we didn't "charge" quite as much as our previous house cleaner, we figured we would save the money and when we had enough, it would be our hotel fund for a trip to the coast every once in awhile. 

Seemed like a great plan. However...

As housecleaners, although thorough when we show up, we are completely unreliable. Oh, the house gets spot cleaned on a regular basis. But an every-other-week deep clean? Rarely happens every other week. But do we still get paid? You bet! I would not recommend us to anyone.  As I said, we are completely unreliable. I'm surprised that the "homeowners" haven't let us go yet...or at least stopped paying us. Ha!

So back to my idea (and maybe I should clean more often--who knows what kind of ideas I would come up with??)

When I first began this blog, and for many years, it was primarily a blog about quilting. I followed a lot of other blogs and participated in block exchanges, bee groups, quilt-alongs, and works-in-progress updates. Somehow along the way, I wrote less about quilting and more about what was happening in my life on a weekly basis. You may have noticed that if you have been around for any length of time. 

In 2020, I feel like I hardly sewed anything. Truth be told, I did complete at least five quilts. I'll have to double check but I don't think I've done an in-depth blog post about any of them. 

If for no other reason than to document it for myself, I will be posting pictures and information about those quilts in the near future. I'd also like to post weekly or so about the projects I'm working on. I used to love showing WIPs and it motivated me to keep working on them. So maybe that can happen again.

And also (and this was the idea I had while cleaning), I'm going begin each month with the background story on each of the vehicles and quilts that have been highlighted in my calendar, Quilts and Classics. Quilts and Classics was a dream come true, and thank you to those who have purchased one of the calendars or note card sets. I actually had to do a small second printing. There are a few left and here is the link if you are interested.

When I laid out the calendar, I had to choose one, just one, picture for each month. Wow, was that ever hard. For the front cover, I added a little detail shot. At first, I had considered using more than one shot for each month, but I ended up really liking the clean look of one photo with a lot of white space around it.  I learned a lot, things I wish I had done differently, mostly when it was too late to do anything about it. The biggest thing I would have changed was to try to get the best shot of each vehicle in landscape mode, without cutting off any part of it.  But I did not consistently get the best shots in landscape mode, mostly because I just was not thinking about it at the time. Lesson learned. Just in case there is another time...

The first time I took photos of a quilt with a classic vehicle was over five years ago, and the thought of making a calendar was not even a dream.

So let's begin with the 1950 lemon yellow Studebaker pickup, the one that started it all, owned by Mike Simpson.

I used to do medical transcription for a local neurologist. Every morning I would drive to her office, pick up the tape (yes, microcassette, because she never even upgraded to a handheld digital recorder), chat a little bit with my friends who worked in the office, and head home to do the transcription, five days a week. 

One morning, I noticed this absolutely pristine yellow pickup in the parking lot. I had just finished a sampler quilt using a Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern, and the yellow fabric in it matched this pickup perfectly. That's when the lightbulb went on and I knew I had to wait for the owner to show up and ask if I could photograph my quilt with his truck.  I went to the office and grabbed my work; at the same time, a man was at the front desk checking out, and I just had the feeling he was the owner.  He didn't seem to notice me, and because of HIPAA laws I didn't want to talk to him in the office. So I went back to the parking lot and waited. It took him awhile, and I was just in the midst of writing a note and sticking it in the door when he walked up. I'm pretty sure I startled him, but I handed him my Live a Colorful Life business card and told him about my idea. It turns out he was a retired baker in town, well known. We agreed to set up a time so I could take some pictures. 

When that happened, he told me had found the perfect spot in a local park. Now ordinarily I would have said, "You want to meet me in the park? I don't know you!"  But given that he was fairly well known, and by then he knew I worked for his doctor, and given the fact that he was in his 70s, I felt pretty safe. 
Sadly, he was the only owner I was unable to get in contact with after the calendar was completed.

I think Mike enjoyed the photo shoot, and even helped with the staging.

Here is the complete quilt, Under the Big Top. That lower left block is the one that is the perfect match. 

So this is where my journey began. I've attended car shows, talking to classic car owners about this project, jotting down car information and phone numbers, and each time the owners have been willing and eager to participate in my project. I've gotten recommendations from friends who knew of my project and also knew someone with a great vehicle, and did a little match making. My biggest roadblock has always been making that phone call to set up a time to meet. For one thing, most of them were strangers. Second, I was always afraid of taking up their time, and that delayed this project more than anything else. But each and every time, they seemed happy to give up a little bit of time and were even curious about quilting. 

I'll be back in a couple of days with February's photos, a serendipitous encounter that happened right across the street!


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lkhomework said... #

I’m laughing at your house cleaning situation! Totally makes sense to me. Blame it on COVID-19, and being home bound.
I love the development stories of your calendar project. This is going to be fun!

quiltingbydawn said... #

I have to say that I’ve been around reading your blog for a long time. I really enjoyed reading about your colorful quilts. I’m looking forward to reading about your quilts and cars calendar project! What a beautiful car and lovely quilt for January!

Paulette said... #

I LOVE this post! I just ordered a full set of the note cards. Looking forward to hear the stories behind them all.

Robby said... #

I think we have the same housecleaning service! I 100% understand your hesitation at those phone calls. But looking in, I think they were honored that someone else cared so much about the results of their own passion and work, even if yours was in a different form. I mean, I would never want to personally be photographed, but if someone saw something I had invested so much time into and wanted to photograph it... cool! As always, this is an interesting post about things in your life. But I would never be disappointed to see more of your quilts, either. Now, what are we doing about the housekeeper?!

Debbie said... #

Fun to share your quilts and classics series in more detail!
Sorry about the housecleaners. I feel your pain. ;-)

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

Housecleaning . . . what's that? And there are even people you can hire to do it. No one's ever paid me so maybe that's why I retired years ago. I'm glad you're going to share the quilts and cars of the calendar. It will be fun to learn the back story. I keep thinking I'll get back to blogging but so far can't seem to make it a priority. ugg.

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said... #

Great back story about the truck and the quilt photograph. Hindsight is always 20/20 but I'm enjoying my calendar. I look forward to more stories each month. I laughed about the house cleaning. Same problem in my many other distractions that are more fun than cleaning! What's a little dust, dirt etc. in the bigger scheme of thimgs.

Jacqui's Quilts said... #

What a fun blog post! My Dad had a Studebaker dealership in the 1960's here in Canada! So, I always have a soft spot for Studebakers. We went to Shipshewana, Indiana a number of years ago and visited the Museum in Fort Wayne. Such a trip down memory lane. My brother is busy restoring a Studebaker pick up in his garage. I'm going to send him your blog post :-).

Anonymous said... #

Cool! My husband has a customized 1957 Ford Fairlane convertible. I should think about throwing a quilt on it and taking a picture. If I ever finish one!
Kathleen -- kakingsbury at verizon dot net

Andee Neff said... #

My blog too started out about quilting but includes my life. I figure people can skim if they are not interested, lol! I love the story of the yellow truck! Such a cool idea and the quilt looks amazing on a restored vehicle!

OPQuilt said... #

Great story--and I love how he helped with the photo shoot. I think those vintage car owners are as proud of their vehicles as we are of our quilts, so it's a match made in heaven! I'm glad you will be writing more on your blog. The world deserves more of Cindy!!

OPQuilt said... #

P.S. Such a funny story about your housekeepers!