Thursday, December 31, 2015


Sometimes fabric just jumps off the shelf and says PICK ME! PICK ME! So it was with the wing on this bird. The breast and beak fabric chimed right in.

I think I'll let somebody else figure out this bird's story. You, perhaps?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Friends

After I sent Julie a photo of the bird I made of Megan, she texted back, "... what does a quiltdiva julie bird look like?"

 "Purple," I texted back.
A few minutes later I sent her this photo. "Your wing cometh from here. LOL"
"Do I get purple legs? And do I get a turquoise beak?

My reply: "You don't get to choose." After selecting some fabrics, I wrote back, "Yours will have green in it because your bird wants it."

Julie: "I love green."

Here's Julie's bird. The beak is red-violet and the legs are purple. The beak is really long and ends in a point, but  I chopped it off when I took a photo.  Oops.

"Are you gonna make one for Chris?" 

"This is Chris. Easier than you."

So this is Chris.

Julie wrote back, "LOVE THE LEGS!!"

Yeah. Me too!

There are now about 23 birds. I'm nowhere near done making them, and I'm still having a ball.

You can click the photos then click again to enlarge so you can scroll around and see more details.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Writer

If you have been following my birds for the last couple of weeks, and if you have been reading the comments, you have read the amazing stories that Megan, from Sydney Australia, has written about some of them. Megan has been following this blog, and Millie's for many years and we have been friends for many years.

Many of you have commented that Megan ought to be a writer. Actually, Megan IS a writer. This bird is my idea of Megan. She is blond and blue eyed and has a pair of glasses as blue as this bird's breast. As you can see the wing is script and that is a nod to Megan's writing abilities. Her colorful beak also represents her imagination and way with words. I can't describe Megan as well as she has described Mr Blue, Aloysius, Albie, Perdita and Simon, but I'm proud to honor her as a good friend.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Office "Expert"

Every office has one. The person who thinks she knows everything, and isn't shy about saying so. She's brash and loud and may not be the most meticulous worker there is. She snaps her chewing gum, paints her fingernails, and always has her own music playing in one ear.

Do you know one?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Clemson FanBird

At my office, one of the bigwigs is a Clemson graduate and hence, a huge Clemson fan. Clemson's color is orange, and so we have a Clemson orange bird.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mr Business Bird

This is the kind of bird that makes the world go round, but you'll never read about him in the papers. His family loves him and he dotes on them. He takes the chicks to their sporting events, and cheers from the sidelines. He's the one who drives them to the ER when they crash themselves into various objects and need x-rays or stitches. He's the one who teaches his chicks how to navigate by the stars, and how to tell the difference between friend and foe. He keeps his obligations to his family and his community and those who work for him. He's never going to be famous, but he's a great role model to those who know and love him. The original artwork in his nest are the dozens of drawings his little chicks have done for him that say "Best Dad Bird," and he couldn't be happier about that. His other collection is the tools he needs to keep the family nest in good repair, but he isn't above a good snowball fight when the weather is right, and he loves to chase his chicks through the sprinkler on hot days. All in all, a terrific bird, and I'm pretty sure we all know somebody just like him.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Bird

I don't think anybody needs to be told what THIS guy's story is...

Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Artist Bird

You all know who this bird is. She's an artist, a truly creative soul. She's a little bit blue right now, though. Her little chick has all grown up and now lives a continent away, and she can't see him as often as she'd like. She tries to do what makes herself happy. She's feathered her nest in holiday decorations, and made sure she's got a spiffy gift in her tree. She's got a nice meal planned with the other birds in her flock, and she surrounds herself with happy holiday music. She's trying to make the best of it and she knows how lucky she is. She's very grateful.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Crooner

The other day I was listening to the radio and I heard Frank Sinatra sing "Fly Me to the Moon," and I knew I had to make a bird that was a crooner in the older, classic way.

So this guy has some classic elements, like the tweedy breast, but he has a showman's wing and a largish purple beak.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ballerina Bird

This bird is a ballerina. In fact, she's a Prima Ballerina!  She's damn good, and not only does SHE know it, but we do too. She's a real beauty. She lives in The Big City, as pertains to her profession, she keeps herself in great shape.

I am sure Megan knows a lot more about her than I do.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Inspiration & Bird

You know I always go on and on about finding inspiration right under your nose?  Well I found inspiration for my next bird right on my refrigerator.

It's a photo of my son on his 7th birthday. He had lost all four of his front teeth so he wouldn't smile with his mouth open.  I thought it was the cutest photo, so I've had it on my fridge ever since it was taken (almost 29 years ago. EEEK!). Here's the bird he inspired:

I know all about this bird. He's curious, and loves Math and numbers. He's a 3rd degree black belt in Karate, loves music and can write programming code in 11 languages. He loves helping people, and he's very sociable. He loves to dance and sing. He has a heart of solid gold and he has lots of Attitude.

Can you tell?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jay, the Budgerigar from Oz

This bird is based on a real budgerigar named Jay who lives with his people in Australia. Jay is very tame, very interactive with his people and has learned to speak. He wants a golf ball for Christmas.


You can read more about "budgies" here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Flock

Here are all the birds so far.  I did errands and bookkeeping tasks yesterday, so I didn't sew. I'll probably have more days like that leading up to the Holiday as I will be hosting the dinner.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday's Birds

This bird is larger than the others, although it's hard to tell when he's by himself. I needed to make him bigger to accommodate the print on the wing. Choosing the coordinating fabrics was tough. The fabric I eventually selected for the breast was hardly my first choice, but I am glad I persisted.

This guy has a REALLY big beak. He's a talker. A professional talker. I think he might be an investigative journalist. At any rate, he's got a way with words and he's very classy but determined. Intelligent, yet approachable.

I don't know what I'm having more fun with, the birds or their stories. Did you see Megan's comment on Mr Blue yesterday? Truly a keeper.

Check out the beak on this bird. Where did it come from??

You have to really look at your fabrics to see what's there. This fabric was the backing of the White Rules quilt, and I've had scraps of it for years.

I'm not sure about the story for this bird. I think perhaps she's a musician. Possibly a flute player. She's very sophisticated, elegant and restrained.

I like the way this bird came out. The wing fabric was left over from the Spools quilt.

I can't figure out a story for this bird. Maybe you can?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

More Bird Fun

Every time I make a bird, I think it's better than the last one, but I really think this is my favorite bird so far.  It wasn't until he was finished that I noticed the "Laurel Burch" signature on the fabric. So this guy has a tattoo!! And notice the lower right corner. The fabric there had an element that was a different color (it was a little sun, bright yellow) and it detracted from the "tail" so I patched it up with another part of the print.  You can do that, you know.

I like my birds to have big beaks. Dunno why. (I talk too much, maybe?) And the legs don't always have to be the same length either. Sometimes the birds just need to be taller.

I also like making up stories about the birds when I make them. I think Mr Blue, above, is a Marine Biologist.

This is Azure. She's a singer. Maybe R&B. Maybe she's a torch singer. I think she might be a bit of a Diva.

I have no idea where these are all going.

And now Millie has a calendar. I don't think I'm ever going to buy a commercial calendar ever again. LOL!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Diane says THANKS!

Diane sent a text with the following photo my son and DIL last night. She had finally received, and opened the package with her quilt. (She had been back to Johns Hopkins in MD for consults with her physicians.)

"Just WOW!!!!! I can't even put into words how much love I feel right now!!! DUDE!!! I am so in love with this very very special blanket and awesome book**. You [DIL] are very special to me.  I am so grateful for you and [DS] and [DS]'s Momma - unbelievably talented! My family and I are just in absolute awe with the kindness and support you've shown us!!! (heart) (heart) (heart) (heart) (heart) (heart). I WILL FOR SURE SNUGGLE WITH IT EVERY NIGHT!!!"

**my son & DIL put together a book of pictures of the quilt. They took it out for beauty shots.

like this one.

and this one of me, and included it when they sent her the quilt.

I'm glad Diane loves her quilt and will enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday Two Birds

Here are the birds from last night.

This green guy is pretty cool. I really like him.

This guy must be a performer of some kind, he's so flashy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Birds, Birds, Birds

My pal Julie has been making birds and just finished a darling quilt using them.

I use these birds in a lot of my quilts. You can see some here, and here.  I love making them, and I never know where they'll end up.

I've got a tutorial for these birds over on my Tutorials page.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Both my pal Julie and I made calendars of our quilts from Vistaprint.

We sent each other one of ours.

It's so cool that you can add birthdays and anniversaries and special days to these.

 Julie added Millie's Gotcha Day to her calendar! Which is funny, because I did to!

 I enjoyed matching the photo of the quilt to the dates in the month.  My son's birthday is in April so I used his Sunshine quilt. This photo, while not of the finished quilt, is one of my favorite photos of the quilt.

I'm so glad Julie got me into taking beauty shots of my quilts. They really look great on the calendars. The Blue Deco quilt is so perfect for June!

You can change the fonts and arrangements of the pictures on the calendars. I used one photo per month, but Julie used more than one photo in many of her pages. Both options look terrific.

I always learn things from Julie. In this photo she's cropped the quilt and shown a small portion of it. It's a simple thing, but it really works.

I still can't get over how amazing this crazy modern quilt looks out in the woods.

This calendar was such a great idea and I will definitely make more in the future. I am sure Millie will be angling for a calendar full of pictures of HER. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Pages Added

I've added pages showing some of my other quilts, quilts that aren't made from letters or what I would consider "Art" quilts, the quilts I made for the Doll Quilt Swap, which turned out to be a great way to explore an idea in a small, safe way, and the Gizzy quilts, the quilts I made for two years before I discovered Tonya's free pieced letters and started this blog.

Violette's Quilt. The quilt that changed the way I made and thought about quilts.
The links are across the top, and I've tried to tell a brief story about each quilt. It's a way to see all my work without having to search over the years. I've been writing this blog since July 2008, and while I tell everybody that EVERYTHING is on the blog, it's getting to the point where it's really hard to find. Hopefully the pages will help with that.

It's a work in progress.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunburst Rainbow Beauty Shots

I finished the Sunburst Rainbow quilt two years ago, and never got to take any formal photos of it.

I was able to borrow it and take it out for a photo shoot. This one was OK, but I really didn't want the quilt to look like it had spouted from the planter.

This photo didn't really show the design off very well. The skinny lines looked they were falling off the quilt and down the steps.

This photo is a good one!

 This is a gigantic tree, but I don't think the photo is particularly successful.

This isn't bad.

 This could have been THE ONE if I had not chopped off the bottom corner of the quilt. DAMN! Why do I think it was so good? I particularly like the contrast lines - the vertical lines of the siding of the stairway, the horizontal lines of the siding on the house, the vertical lines of the stair rail, all contrasting with the bright colored diagonal lines in the quilt itself. I think for this shot to work, I'd need to have included that lower corner (duh) but also backed up a bit to include more of the horizontal siding of the house above the quilt, like in the photo below.

Just like designing the quilt, you have to keep trying different things to see when something clicks. In this photo, I realized that maybe showing the quilt as flat as possible was the thing it needed.

I took this photo and then thought, oh darn, the quilt is flopping over on the left, and that big plastic bin on the left has to move...

So I straightened out the quilt and moved the plastic bin. While I think this one is damn good, now that I have had a chance to compare them, I like the one above this better, and think it's a more successful shot in many ways.

However, I'm happy with each of the last two shots. They'll work, and I'm learning. What's interesting is except for the giant tree and the white fence, all of these shots were taken on my property, which just goes to show you don't have to go far to get inspired.