Jul 18, 2016

tote bags ... some recent finishes

Some recent finishes of my custom quilted tote bags for the needlepoint industry. I sell these types of bags through Chandail Needlework.

Jul 14, 2016

any quilters in Mauritius?

The Internet is a weird thing.

Every now and then, I check the 'stats' on my blog to see what's up. There's a ton of information there and its interesting to see how many people visit and what part of the world they're from. Usually, its pretty routine. But this week, I have more visitors from Mauritius than I do from the United States. Mauritius, seriously?

Wonder how many quilters are out there in Mauritius... in the middle of the Indian Ocean, next to well, nothing. Look it up... its a tiny speck of a place. Beautiful, but tiny.

What do they want with me and my little blog? Maybe there's a cruise ship near by and on it are a bunch of quilters, and all at once, the quilters and all their friends visited my blog? Hmmmm....

Or maybe I'll get one of those letters from Africa... only, this one will say...

"The Honorable Princess from Mauritius has been studying your blog. She is very impressed and she went to your site many times. Now, just for you, she has a special investment opportunity. No money is requried... just send fabric...The Honorable Princess wants to learn to sew!" Fun, huh?

That would be a great story, wouldn't it? A more likely story is trolls. But, given that the "page views" are coming from such a weird place, I can't help but picture trolls like these guys.

I am sure I had several of these same trolls in the '60s.

Well, Internet, after Mauritius is done with me, what's next?

Jul 4, 2016

new quilted purse with fabric from Japan

Just finished this cute little purse! Its about 8 inches high, 10 inches wide. Made from Yoko Saito fabric printed in Japan.

I made one lined pocket for the inside and also added a clip to hold keys. The yellow zipper matches this beautiful interior fabric, and it also adds an unexpected pop to the taupe colors on the outside top. The zipper pull is a button.
The handles are wood. I added the little hanging bird for just a touch of something special.

The size is perfect I think. Small enough to be modern, and big enough to hold my stuff!

I'm thinking of making more purses similar to this one and re-opening my Etsy shop (which I shuttered a while back.). I would love to know your thoughts on whether you think this would sell... and any other suggestions or comments about this purse.

Jul 1, 2016

book review: a Japanese history that reads like a thrilling novel

Every now and then, a book comes along that is truly unforgettable. 

"Midnight in Broad Daylight" by Pamela Rotner Sakamoto is one of those books.

This story has nothing to with quilts, of course, but I wanted to share this review because this story is so incredible, so beautifully written and so insightful into Japan's days before and after WWII. Once I started reading this, I simply could not put it down. And its all the more incredible because its a true story.

This is the story of one family who lived in two countries - Japan and the U.S. The story begins is a peaceful Hiroshima, and ends in a Hiroshima torn apart by years of war and finally the horror of the atomic bomb.

Two brothers end up fighting against each other during the War. After Pearl Harbor, the American brother had even been sent to the U.S. internment camps with his sister and her young child - taken from their homes and livelihoods. Joining the Army was actually a way out of the interment camp... which must have been an incredible emotional struggle.

The author spent 10 years researching and writing this book. Can you imagine dedicating 10 years of your life to one subject? Her dedication and meticulous research brought this story to life in a unforgettable way. 

I don't read fiction anymore. I'm an avid reader and I used to love fiction. These days I want to read something real and something that will teach me something I did not know. Most often that takes me to history, memoir or current events books.

But I am just as picky with my non-fiction choices as I was with choosing novels. I won't waste my time on boring or bad writing. If it puts me to sleep, then I move on to something else. Reading takes me away from making quilts! So it has to be worthwhile. This one is definitely worthwhile!

This is a story about struggle. It is the struggle of keeping a family living on two continents together. It is the very real struggle of the blurred lines between who is an enemy... and who is a friend. And most of all what it means to be an individual with ties to two countries --- when those two countries are at war.

Jun 28, 2016

BIG NEWS: new manuscript shipped to the publisher!

My 2nd book is on its way to the publisher! Its a story Made in Japan. A fascinating history of two epic plants - cotton and indigo - and how they changed Japan's textile traditions... and the story of the brand new quilting cotton being made in Japan today and the artists who are designing that fabric, the esteemed printers who are manufacturing it, and the quilters who are creating with it.
Fabric Sampler - with 2015 fabrics made in Japan.
Patience is not one of my virtues. That said, I seem to summon enormous patience when it comes to writing and publishing books and the years that it takes to do this work.

This is my second book. I have a third book already in the works. 

It takes years to publish a book! Years!!! The process is so intense... there are millions of tiny details. Add to that the challenges of writing about the history and contemporary scene in another country and culture, language and logistical difficulties... and pretty soon a couple years have flown by. 

My books are non-fiction, art history narrative. They are photo driven, "coffee table" books. So, in addition to writing these books, I'm also the photographer for 80% of the photos. Photography is one of my loves... and a couple dozen years ago, I worked as a professional photographer. So its fun to come back to this love. 
Author Photographer Teresa Duryea Wong photographing a natural indigo dyer in Ohara, Japan.
So, finally, you get the manuscript prepared in its final format. You organize the 300+ photos and put them in the required formats. You prepare a myriad of other details. Then, you've got the beginnings of a book. You send it off to the publisher - thrilled and exhausted at the same time. And you wait. And wait. And wait. 
At the post office. Shipping book #2 to Schiffer Publishing. Looking exhausted and elated.
Another year will pass as the publisher does its thing! The waiting is excruciating. But it is what it is.

Sometime, in late 2017, my second book will be published. 

I love writing. I love telling stories. I love Japan. And I can't wait to share this amazing history of Japan's cotton and indigo - and the beautiful quilts being made with very old and very new Japanese textiles.  

Jun 17, 2016

I'm in Quiltmania! I'm in Quiltmania!

My new book is in Quiltmania
Quiltmania reviewed my book for the Reader's Corner. Issue No. 113! Page 96. 
Chosen "Our Favorite!"

Thank you Quiltmania. I'm very grateful for the recognition.
I'm a long-time subscriber and you're my favorite too!


Jun 9, 2016

caring for my antique quilts

Caring for antique quilts takes some effort. I've been putting off doing it properly, but now I'm totally organized and feel good about how and where my quilts are stored. This one is the star of my collection (so far)! It was made in 1890 by a distant relative! It has some deterioration, but overall its held up very well.
 Here's what I've done. First, I made a simple cotton label using archival ink. Nothing fancy. I loosely attached a label to each quilt and included all the information I know about it. Some of these quilts came to me with index cards that carefully recorded what was known about the quilt, but over time those cards could be lost. I felt it was important to have an actual label sewn to the quilt.
Next I purchased 36 inch boxes so the quilt could lay as flat as possible. These are not archival - I could not afford the $20 - 40 per box price. I lined the box and wrapped the quilts in acid-free archival tissue. I also tied the box on the top (and added grommets for support) so I could easily open it again. And lastly, I labeled the outside of each box.

Most of my antique quilts were given to me by my Aunt Polly. She lives here - in this historic home in Nebraska. The home is a work of art itself! She's been collecting these quilts since the 1950s. This home seems a perfect setting for antique quilts... but a few of them have made the drive home to Texas with the husband and me in the back of that car.
Here's one of my favorites. A brilliant red and white Nine Patch. It needs to be washed - there are many spots that have turned yellow and brown. Do you have experience washing antique quilts? If so, please send me advice!

And this one is a Lone Star made in the 1940s. All hand quilted, of course. And stunning condition.

Lucky me to be surrounded by so many gorgeous quilts. I feel like some of my own quilts are old enough that pretty soon they'll be going in these boxes too! HaHa.

And if I'm really lucky... some day my quilt collection will be stored just like this one!
International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.