Tag Archives: Antique Crazy Quilts

From the Heart

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The Oregon Street Antique Mall in Redding, CA – where you can “Seek the Unique!”

One of my favorite sites in Redding, California sits on the corner of Shasta and Oregon Streets. A spacious, historic building that inhabits nearly a block. The Oregon Street Antique Mall. That store sends my antique-anticipating-heart racing when I step through the doorway. My last treasure hunt there, a lovely Roseville vase talked me into taking it home. Ridiculous, since none of my art pottery is even displayed now. They are all carefully packed in boxes. So what’s the obvious end for this piece of Apple Blossom patterned art-pottery? Easy answer. Still, I do enjoy it so much, decorating a small table, waiting for placement.

The Antique Mall’s two floors hold diverse riches. But for me, the prime attraction is Kate Barker, the winsome owner. Her welcoming style is genuine and folks flock to her store’s events & because they are great fun. And, because she supports other businesses with a passion. Historic Downtown Redding and Kate Barker have a close relationship.

Kate & Phil Barker (2)

Kate & Phil Barker. Photo UBP from Kate’s Facebook @Writer Kate Barker.

A couple years back, the Oregon Street Antique Mall had been run by Kate & her husband, Phil Barker. But as they neared their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, Phil passed away. I watched Kate as she made the brave decision to continue running the Mall by herself. It was tough, of course. All the challenges that arose from operating a business were hers to resolve alone. Before, Phil had taken care of many hard things. Now Kate took it all on her shoulders, pressing on to a path she’d never wished to walk. But Kate wanted to make Phil proud. So she dug in, orchestrating new events to draw folks to Downtown Redding, learning to advertise on Instagram, and create memes for the Antique Mall’s Facebook page.

As the one-year anniversary of Phil’s departure appeared on the calendar, I longed to do something to comfort Kate. Something special to mark the day. Since she had recently admired the antique, crazy quilt hearts crafted my friend Geo, I contacted her.

Kate's Owl Heart.Geo.3a

Victorian Crazy Quilt heart cut from antique quilt & crafted by Georgina Diehl (Geo).

Geo (Georgina Diehl) is a master at needlework and recycles antique crazy quilts by cutting up old quilt tops, forming small stuffed hearts or cats or Christmas stockings. The results are stunning and popular eBay items. I knew I’d called on the right person when Geo, touched by Kate’s story, cut into a new, antique crazy quilt to make a small heart featuring a pair of embroidered owls. It was a sacrifice of sorts. Geo may have had other plans for those owls, but she generously offered them to make something exquisite for Kate.

Kate's Owl Heart.Geo.BACK2

Geo’s creation backed with velvet from an antique opera cloak. And a special message for Kate.

Backing the heart with a piece of velvet from an ancient opera cloak, Geo completed it quickly so I wouldn’t miss the looming deadline. The day I gave Kate the package, Geo had referenced her eBay dealer name – lavendergatherings – in the presentation, tying fragile lavender ribbon around the outside and attaching a lavender-filled sachet. Charmed, Kate turned it over in her hands, wondering aloud, “Whatever is IN there?” She opened it with ooos and ahhs. When she read the writing on the small paper heart attached to the back – “Forever Phil + Kate” – the tears came.

Kate Holding Owl Heart

Kate Barker and her owl heart.

Because of Geo’s artistry and kindness, I was able to give Kate a unique gift to mark the day. The two owls – one larger, one daintier – represented the perfect pair, Phil & Kate. Love remembered and love remaining.

Kate's Sign & Heart

Photo courtesy of Kate Barker.

In Victorian times, when Geo’s crazy quilt top was first created, an owl symbolized wisdom, intelligence, protection, and vigilance. I realized these were all attributes and gifts I would wish for my friend Kate every day going forward. Only doubled.

 

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Feeling Blue…Red, White & Blue!

On a quick trip to the store to buy some graduation cards, I noticed an early display of July 4th holiday-ware. How could I not? Colorful clothing, picnic items, streamers, banners & bunting, all featuring the Stars & Stripes. A cornucopia of creative whatnots reaching out to rev up my patriotic heart.

Of course, I began to plan. Now where was that recipe for Barbara Bush’s Red, White and Blue Cobbler? The one I – shhhh – shortcutted & made with canned cherry & blueberry pie filling? But the dish had scored at every potluck, served up warm with vanilla-bean ice cream. Made one’s taste buds stand at attention & salute. For the next bake, perhaps I’d tap my inner chef’s shoulder & use fresh ingredients. A longer process, but the effort ought to result in a higher-ranking of deliciousness. Right?

BERRY COBBLER

I remembered our town’s tradition to set off our own fireworks. The night before the big 4th celebration in a nearby city, locals pack the stands at the fairgrounds in anticipation. The light show never fails to fill the sky with glory & uplift our spirits. As a bonus, the spectacle is easily seen from my own back yard. Just one requirement – a lawn chair.

Fireworks Many

A Navy brat, my heart has always swelled at anything that highlights our nation’s history & fight for freedom here & abroad. Knowing of my military connection & pride in my dad’s service, my friend Georgina (Geo) & I had swapped stories of our father’s military service records. Her father – an Army veteran of WWII, Korea, & Vietnam & a Bronze Star recipient. My dad also served in WWII (a Pearl Harbor survivor) & the Korean War, & as a career Naval officer for twenty-seven years.

Geo, a master seamstress & crafter, had already created an exquisite heart with a simple anchor embroidered on one side, cut from an antique crazy-quilt. After the heart was sewn, she set it aside for a while. But once we’d chatted about our personal heroes, Geo finished it up & sent it my way. A surprise gift.

Geo's Anchor Heart2

When I unwrapped the beautiful heart, tied with wide, lavender ribbon, I didn’t think of the Navy link first. Instead, I thought of Jesus as the Anchor of our hearts. Touched, I did a little research of its meaning during Victorian times – when the quilt was made – and learned the anchor symbolized hope. According to the scripture referenced:

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…,” Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

Not until I received an email from Geo, “When I saw it (the heart) again the other day, it just spoke to me of your father being in the Navy…,” did I see the rest of the significance.

On this 4th of July, I shall not only celebrate Independence Day, but also honor my dad by hanging the anchor heart in a prominent place as a tribute to those who have gone before. And as reminder to never give up hope.

Thanks, Geo. Let freedom ring!

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