Feb 14, 2015

For My Valentines: Fabric + Paper Love

I love sharing the Fabric + Paper Valentines that I have made for my friends and family! I have made them for Valentines, birthdays and other special occasions as well. 

I've mailed or given away all of my sweet little cards, except for these shown above. These are on display on my childhood treadle sewing machine. The same sewing machine that I learned to sew on as a young girl growing up in Alaska.

My beloved treadle belonged to my paternal grand-mother to Alaska when she and several female cousins  immigrated from Finland and traveling to New York and its immigration center on Ellis Island then by railroad that brought her across America on a steamship to Juneau, Alaska. 

Here, she found my grandfather, another Finnish immigrant who was from her own small town in Finland, who was living across from Juneau on Douglas Island. 

In the early 70's their house which we moved into in the 1950s our house was  destroyed by fire that took all but the foundations of our home and a few belongings. This treadle survived though singed and its beautiful old wood was smoke and fire damaged but it still survived amidst the burning, collapsing rubble that was once our home. 

Oh, how I loved that old treadle. I played with it when I was very young, and figured out how to use it at age 8 when I taught myself to sew simple pieces of clothing whether for me or my dolls.

I had it shipped to Oregon when we could and it is one of my most prized possessions. On it, I place some of my quilts or vintage doilies with seasonal displays. It's a fun seasonal display area and one my little grandchildren often stop half way up the stairs to check it out.

It represents my heritage, my ancestry, and the past events that have shaped who I am, what I love, and all that I do. I treasure old things as much as I welcome in the new.

Because it has been damaged i no longer use it for my everyday sewing. I use my 1964 pale green (reads as off white) Singer Featherweight for my special art projects and my Husqvarna Quilt + for clothing and quilting as well as home decor items like window coverings. table and counter cloths, hotpads etc.

But to be honest its my artsy projects 
that bring me a lovely break and make my heart sing and fingers dance.

I made the decorated heart items as well as these Valentines and each year I change up a bit what this vintage train case displays.


Here, the antique train case that I received as a gift from my youngest daughter is holding the remaining Valentines that I have kept for this purpose as well as other laces, hearts and sweet momentos.

And below, are some of the most recent ones that I have created from more of my bits and bobs of fabric, laces and trims. This one for my oldest daughter and her partner. Made with great love and wild abandon as I sat and sewed on a vintage sewing machine blending the old with the new.



I call what I do 'graffiti' quilting. I sew as quickly and as wildly as I can with utter free motion abandon and all ends left flying in the breeze.  The wind, if you remember, carries our loving wishes across the miles whether the messages are our thoughts or in my case, my artistic creations of prayer flags or Fabric + Paper Art Cards.


This one for my youngest and her partner. Again, adding whatever bits and pieces I love and ones that I hope they will, as well..front and back.


And repeated photos of ones made this past week. I use cardstock, a variety of fabrics, laces and trims as you can see. All of their sewing is done on my Singer Featherweight. 





If I do an extra fun job, when I look at the photos, I can't tell which is a front and which is a back as they are all decorative in different ways.

So, I look for my wild zig zag seam in the middle and if its on the left it's a front, and on the right, it's a back.  :-






And to you reading here, all of my very best wishes for a wonderful day and a lovely Valentines Day and month of February.


Joyce Carter said...

Happy Valentines Day, Michele!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Joyce, and all of the lovelies on facbook with your likes and comments, too!

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

What a rich story you shared....it filled my heart and I felt for a few moments like I was reading a wonderful book and was lost in the richness of the story. The main character I admire very much!


Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh, Kelly! You are just the very best! Thank you!

quiltmom anna said...

Let me try this again.. I was signed out of google and my first comment went up into the cyber space ether.. VBS..
What a wonderful post Michele.. I love hearts and you have inspired me to make something heart shaped today.. perhaps a hand made Valentine for my spouse or valentine pot holders..
I really enjoyed your family story.. I can see that your family traits include resilience and creative energy to make good from whatever happens. Resilience to deal with life's challenges and gifts is something that is difficult to teach others. In my professional life, I am awestruck how some children are able to deal with some very challenging things while others are knocked down by things that seem less problematic.. There is no predicting where that inner core resilience comes from but some of my little ones amaze me.
Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with others. May you know how much you are loved by others. With warmest wishes and a big cyber hug, Anna

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh, Anna! You are absolutely just the very best! Thank you and I hope you sew and share your heart today as I know you do every day you are able to sew!

Marilyn McLeod @ Pink Paper Cottage said...

This was a very special post... I love all of your posts about your family history and this one was, as Anna said, especially inspiring... hearing about your grandmother's sewing machine really touched my heart! Our ancestors definitely DID have resilience to face the disasters that befell them..... our generation of today, I think, has lost alot of that resilience. I'm so happy that you have your grandmother's sewing machine to remind you of your history. I have one piece of furniture that I absolutely CHERISH that my parents had since before I was born. I was so fascinated with it and would sit at it for hours, drawing and putting things in the little cubbyholes... I have moved it with me wherever I go, and it is the one thing I would NEVER ever get rid of. It too reminds me of my mother and family and my childhood. Am trying to figure out how to add a picture of my beloved desk, but so far, no go. Will do another comment if I figure it out!!! Also... your wild and free cards are amazing! I want to sit down and do that! Doing that free style sewing would make wonderful prayer flags, so that sweet loving prayers could fly in the wind to those who need an extra special blessing. Warm "heart" wishes to you! Marilyn

Michele Bilyeu said...

Beautiful comment, Marilyn! You share my heart and know of what I speak, truly! Unfortunately comments don't allow photos as far as I know. Phooey! Send it to me in a letter, I would love to see it!!! Warm heart wishes to you, as well!!

Scrappy quilter said...

They are absolutely wonderful. And your sewing machine...what a beautiful story. I use to have one, however when we downsized and moved I sold mine.