What inspires me is a mystery!

Notes from Alexis: She is writing her genealogical books and quilting in her spare time.

 August 8, 1990

Dearest Lex,

I was flabbergasted and enormously flattered by your offer to buy one of my quilts. There are just two problems. First, I never build a quilt to a color scheme. What inspires me is a mystery. I just recently designed, and cut out one, that is red, white and blue.

I also designed and cut out a state bird and state flower quilt, which came about in an odd way. Dad was watching a program “Creative Living” (I’ll tell you more about that later) when I wandered by and caught part of it.

This gal was showing how to decorate clothes by ironing on flowers and then painting around the edge with gold. All my clothes have stains on them—food, ink, paint, you name it. I am just careless. I wished for a gorgeous wardrobe, and this was the answer. I went right to town and got the supplies.

Mom got interested and started helping. We fixed a blouse and a sweatshirt. Then she came in and said she had seen another episode of the program, and it told how to paint pictures with just acrylic paint. So I gave her another blouse with an ink blot on the sleeve and she painted a butterfly on it.

We got to talking about it, and she said she had known a lady who painted a guilt with flowers and things. I dug through my patterns an found I had iron-on patterns for state birds and flowers from 25 years ago. Good thing too, because they are no longer available (at least not in KF).

She said she would love to try some, but she would need pictures because she had no idea how the birds and the flowers looked. I found the state birds at Waldenbooks, and the state flower book at the library, and then ordered it, as it is still in print. Lovely books even if you weren’t painting a quilt.

So there you are. Granny is happily painting away. She finished New Jersey, and I ironed it to set the paint, then threw it in the washer and dryer to see how it would hold up, and it looks great.

The second reason I am doubtful about selling a quilt, is that while I take meticulous pains with the design and cutting out of the quilts, I am sloppy with the sewing, so the quilts come out less than perfect (to put it mildly). The fronts look great, but the backs won’t bear inspection.

What I would suggest is that you rummage through the quilts someday and if something grabs you and won’t let go, then we’ll talk.

Now back to Dad and why he was watching Creative Living. This month has been pure hell for him. A couple of days before he went camping with you, he helped G.B. load same bales of hay. The man had cut his hay, and along the ditch bank were weeds, nettles and who knows what all. When Dad hefted them up, he balanced the bales on his right upper thigh.

He developed a horrible rash there and he has been doctoring it ever since. The rash is now mostly healed, but when he lies down at night it itches like blazes, and nothing much helps.

As if this weren’t enough, he hurt his back. Just a few days your campout, he went to help unload some freight at work, and one of the boxes was full of brake shoes – very heavy! He went to his knees. He could only sleep out in the front room with his feet up on the couch. He couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment until the last of August, so he went to Dr.S., our chiropractor, (who still remembers you, and asks about you). Dad had pulled a groin muscle or tendon, or whatever, and thrown his back out. The groin just needs time, and is gradually healing. His back took five treatments, but now is OK. Fortunately, nothing was broken, chipped or crushed, and workers comp paid for it.

I started printing the Tuttle books, and Vol I is finished, (not bound). Will start Vol II today. Am still working on III & IV and it will be another month or two, at least, on them. I feel sure there is another volume or two out there, the “Tuthills” and “Shipwreck John.”

It has been hot here, and poor ole Dad has to suffer in it at work, because they have no coolers, but I live like a queen in my cool house. Actually, just a tad cooler than I would wish, but I can’t stand Dad stomping around bitching about the heat, so I just put on a sweater, and long pants, and warm house shoes, or just go outside. We got the electric bill after one month of running the heat pump every day, and it was $5.00 less than last month? It was higher than last year, but considering all the ironing, baking, and with Mom running two fans in her house, I’m not surprised. We relaxed then, and really revel in the luxury of cool, or warm air, as we want it.

The garden has gone completely ape. I keep getting these messages from the head honcho: “Cook zucchini, cook rhubarb, cook beets. etc.” I try to tell him there is only so much room in our bellies, but he won’t listen. The only thing he refused to plant was potatoes, which are now 39 cents a pound and not as good as home grown. The “gopher chaser” has run all the gophers out of the garden, which really thrills him. Mom is going to get him another one for Xmas.

Well, must quit, as I have another letter to write, and then to work for the Solo Press. My boss won’t let me play around too much.