There are two types of people in life – the ones that see a scrap of fabric, a vintage scarf, or some old tattered rag and walk past it on the street or in the flea market, and then there are those that stop whatever they are doing (no matter what that may be) to buy it, pick it up, or hoard it for some BIG project that they swear they’ll finish. Over here at the EDH Studio, we are the latter. It is not news that we get all hot and bothered by a good textile. From a floral granny print to a big bold graphic, we just can’t seem to get enough. For years we’ve hoarded pieces that we’ve found at flea markets with the notion that one day we’ll repurpose them all into something special. Maybe I’ll sew together all of those vintage blue scarfs into a beautiful tapestry to hang on my wall, or maybe I’ll quilt together all those scraps of indigo fabric that I picked up while overseas in Laos. The unfinished projects are quickly piling up in my brain as the unused fabric piles up in our studio, but yet we cannot seem to stop.
When we started the family shelter project we saw lots of big wall spaces crying out for either a gallery wall or an oversized piece of art, but we knew that we were on a budget and were not sure if we’d be able to afford enough art to cover those spaces. We were fortunate enough that we had quite a lot of wonderful art donated, but even with that there were still so many bare walls that were screaming out for something special, something different, and something that would really make the place feel more like that “big hug” we always intended the shelter to feel like.
We threw out an idea of holding a community art day, where the shelter families, neighbors and donors could contribute to making a piece of art that would be displayed in the shelter. A great idea, but it did seem slightly overwhelming to organize in the short space of time we had. And yet, with our concept focusing on cosy country cottage, we kept coming back to the same idea – a homemade patchwork quilt. Nothing says ‘country cottage’ better than that. That is where our dear friends at Crafting Community came in. They took our idea and ran with it. They not only assured us that it could be realized but that we could have something original, beautiful, and personal that we could hang in the shelter for all of these families to enjoy for years to come.
If you are new to Crafting Community they are a group of creative, talented and awesome women who’s mission is to create immersive design experiences where families can play, grow and be together. That’s Karen Kimmel on the left, the founder and creative director of Crafting Community, with her daughter, Jersey, who blew my quilting skills out of the water by sewing the quilt together (more to come on that later). Stacy Bernstein is in the middle with her two adorable children, Stella and Oliver. Stacy is Karen’s business partner and the Chief of Operations over at Crafting Community.
When Ginny and I first met with them we knew that we wanted to do a quilt, but we weren’t quite sure how to bring our idea to life. Leave it to these lovely ladies to come up with something brilliant using only colored markers, cotton fabric and rubbing alcohol. To make the quilt come together we wanted to include not only the families of the shelter but also as many of the donors as possible that helped to fund all the work that we were doing. With the help of Pacific Crossroads Church (who provided all the delicious food) we held an afternoon BBQ a few days before the ribbon cutting ceremony and it became the perfect time to let everyone get creative and leave with full tummies and full hearts.
These lovely ladies above, Marissa Textor, Mary Dodge and Erin Bagley work for Crafting Community and kindly volunteered their time to set up the crafting stations at the shelter and help to get everyone involved. Kristen Stegemoeller was also huge help on the back end for this project so thank you ladies for offering your time and generally just being wonderful with the kid’s and families that all participated.
Not only do Crafting Community design, curate and tailor every project to each event but they put together these really helpful step-by-step guides of how to make the art/craft, so it makes it easier for everyone.
The genius idea behind this project is that it is completely fool proof (our kind of project). It is as simple as drawing onto the fabric squares and then adding drops of rubbing alcohol on top of it and watching it bleed into the fabric. It kept us entertained for hours and we could not have had more fun. We did provide Crafting Community with a color palate to stick to which we pulled from the rest of the shelter: blues, greens, oranges and yellows. Other than that, there were no rules for anyone that participated.
What we loved about this project is that both kids and adults could do it without feeling pressured that they had to make it perfect. Once again, a fool proof project is our kind of project.
We all had so much fun getting creative and really just enjoying the process. Let me tell you friends, an hour with these quilting squares and and a few markers is much cheaper than an hour of therapy, and at the end of the process you can stand back and appreciate your own little piece of art.
The girls fashioned this drying line so the fabric could hang out to dry, which also served as an impromptu Instagram backdrop. Let’s just pretend that Charlie was carefully hanging up that quilting square rather than pulling the pegs off one by one and throwing them to the ground.
We had so much fun seeing each of the kids create their own masterpiece. They took so much pride in their work and loved the process of watching it come to life as they added the alcohol to their drawings.
Even Ginny and Brady joined in on the fun although we still aren’t quite sure if Brady was just having the time of his life in this picture or had spent a bit too long with the rubbing alcohol and his markers. But, let’s just take a moment and notice how they always seem to color coordinate with the project, it’s quite adorable if I do say so myself.
As if a BBQ and a crafting party weren’t enough there was also a balloon sculptor who joined in on the fun. We didn’t even know such a thing existed, but man is she talented. She’ll make pretty much anything you ask her whether that be a life size balloon bottle of Fireball she made for someone’s 21st Birthday, or a beautiful landscape. Pretty genius if you ask us. McConnells donated their delicious ice cream, which I have been stock piling in my freezer ever since I got pregnant. Their salted caramel chip is pretty much what I assume heaven would taste like if it had a flavor.
I’m not the only Henderson that loves their ice cream and the look on poor Charlie’s face when he dropped his spoonful was one of the saddest/cutest things I’ve ever seen. It was like his whole world crashed apart right there in front of him.
10 seconds later he was totally fine and had forgotten about the ice cream when we brought out one of the balloon sculptures. Then all he wanted to do was put that in his mouth instead.
That’s me and Ginny with Wade the shelter director who has been such a wonderful client to work with. He is one of the kindest, most sincere, and hardest working people we have ever met. Just a real salt of the earth kind of guy who was so grateful for everything being done for the shelter, which has made this project feel so rewarding.
After all the squares had dried, Crafting Community took all the pieces and organized them into 4 separate quilts and added blocks of color in the same color palette, so that it gave your eyes a break from all of the pattern. Alicia Bergman from Sew LA and Jersey Bond, Karen’s daughter volunteered their time and sewed all the pieces together. A huge undertaking and the end results really speak for themselves. You ladies are amazing and we cannot thank you enough!
All in all we ended up with 4 beautiful handmade quilts for the shelter. The largest will go in the living room and the 3 smaller ones will go side by side in the dining room so that everyone can enjoy them in the shelter. We just love how the blocks of color really highlight and bring everyones artwork to life.
A HUGE thanks to Crafting Community for everything that you did to make this day possible. To Pacific Crossroads Church for providing all the food and drinks that I stuffed my face with, and to McConnells for the mouthwatering ice cream we all feasted on. Thank you also to all the ladies that helped out, Ja’Net from Pop Balloons, Alicia and Jersey and to everyone else that we didn’t specifically mention that made this such a wonderful and fun afternoon.
***photo credit: Jessica Isaac for EHD
Thanks again to everyone that helped. We have written a few other posts about all the generosity which I’d love for you to check out here, here and here, as well as the Shelter introduction, and update.