Nowadays, though, the baby quilts are spread a little thin, and more likely to be donated to charity than crafted for a dear friend or cousin.
But turning 40 myself this summer means that, naturally, I have lots of friends reaching that same milestone. I've found myself making a few memory quilts in honor of a special birthday, and learned a few tricks along the way.
These quilts have always been a favorite of mine, ever since I first stumbled through the one for my father-in-law's 60th birthday. My inspiration was Ami Simms' book Creating Scrapbook Quilts; I return to it for ideas and possibilities every time. For his quilt, I used a very scrappy palette and lots of embellishment. I also added a border of muslin so that the attendees at his surprise party could all sign their best wishes.
I have to say that this muslin border is probably my favorite way of collecting signatures; asking loved ones to send you their well wishes ahead of time is fraught with danger, including mail being misdirected and performance anxiety preventing a timely return. Signing the border while at the actual event is more like passing a group card, so reduces the stress of finding the perfect words and virtually guarantees that all in attendance will participate. The only downside, of course, is that anyone who can't make the party isn't included. This is easily remedied by bringing the quilt or having it out when visiting with those who couldn't be there and providing a pen so they can add their signature.
But back to turning 40...I have made three special birthday quilts in the last month or so since I went AWOL from blogging. (Again I have to apologize for the photos. I have been promised a new camera for Christmas...suggestions anyone?)
The most recent is a 40th birthday quilt involving a small group. Twelve of us went on a getaway spa weekend to celebrate my walking buddy. I asked each woman to send me a photo of herself with the birthday girl, and a message. Since I was dragging it out of them right up until the trip, it wasn't done in time for the party; luckily the actual birth date wasn't for another few weeks. The beauty of this was in being able to include photos from the party in the quilt. For this one I used a controlled scrappy theme - I found perfect pink and brown butterfly fabric to suit her "theme song." Then I pulled all of the pink fabrics out of my stash and went to town. (I couldn't help thinking of the scene in Steel Magnolias where Shelby talks about her wedding colors of "blush and bashful," while her mother mutters that the whole sanctuary "looks like it was hosed down with Pepto Bismol.") I love how it turned out, and even added a bit of her song with a recording device stuck behind the label.
Oh, this post is getting so long and it's getting late! I will have to finish memory quilts another day. Have a wonderful week!