Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yes, we have no bananas

My paternal grandparents came to this country from a town called Kishinev in what is now Moldavia in 1906. Grandpa's father, stepmother and brother had settled earlier in Appleton, Wisconsin -- I have no idea what inspired them to land there, the home of Joe McCarthy, Edna Ferber and Harry Houdini, whose best trick was probably escaping it -- and opened a fruit store. When Grandpa came to Appleton, he was so impressed by his brother Joe's success that he, too, opened a fruit store, just down the block. Uncle Joe couldn't complain because he didn't want to be accused of sour grapes.

As my dad, his brother and his sisters grew up, they were expected to spend some time in the family business, waiting on customers, stocking the bins, and so on. My Aunt Helen also helped make window signs, including one that she carefully printed out that read, "Banananas."

She laughed when she told me that story. "I got going, and I couldn't stop," she later explained.

The song, Yes, We Have No Bananas, always comes to mind when I think of that family tale. As I was searching my stash for fabric that would appeal to the teenage residents of Freedom Place, I realized that Yes, I Have Nothing Appropriate. I have lots of juvenile prints, and you've seen my stripes and plaids and solids and batiks, but I don't have anything with a teenage flair. As luck would have it, a church friend asked if she could help contribute to the production of my Freedom Place quilts by helping to pay for fabric. Then another friend suggested I offer sponsorships -- you pay for the materials and I'll make the quilt. While that doesn't exactly whittle down my fabric stacks any faster, it does enable you to participate in this lovely venture. Together, we can make sure every girl and young woman at Freedom Place has a new quilt.

Because they are small quilts -- lap size, approximately 40 x40 -- the materials aren't terribly expensive. To keep the price low, I'll shop at JoAnn Fabric, which often has sales (and I have a coupon.) I'm thinking $30 should easily cover one quilt.

If you'd like to sponsor a quilt, you can email me at, or use that address to make a personal paypal deposit (no fees). Thanks to my friends for coming up with this great idea.

Here's what I've been working on today. I've had a lot of success making quilts from this basic pattern. I've made two quilts like it in fall colors that are appliqued with autumn leaves, two quilts in frosty winter colors that evoke the solitude of a snowy morning and are appliqued with trees and birds, and one in jewel-tones without applique that I have hanging in my hallway. This one is my interpretation of the moon setting and day dawning over a garden of cherry blossoms. It will be appliqued with pagodas, to make the idea more apparent.

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