Laverne’s Baby Love

Laverne and Me and Baby Makes Three

Hello Everybody,

Before I begin, I want to apologize for my lack of posting. It has been an extremely busy January and I just couldn’t pull off all the things on my agenda and blog at the same time.

Again, I sincerely apologize for letting you down. I’m being a sucky BFF. Please forgive me.

Thank goodness we didn’t get those matching BFF tattoos last summer. You would have been really regretting it about now.

Things are still busy for me, but the most demanding projects on my Wanna Do List are out-of-the-way. From here on out, I’m gonna work harder at posting more consistently.

I am thrilled to say that one very important item on my Wanna Do List is complete. I completed this project a week or so ago, but didn’t want to post about it until I could adequately celebrate this milestone.

You see, this project was so important that I thought it needed its own song, so I contacted my friends Salt N Pepa and asked them if they would be willing to do a remix of their multi-platinum selling song Push It, in honor of my latest achievement.

Being the amazingly generous ladies that they are, they said “Sure”  and even offered to help me rework the song to fit the moment. I was so flattered and touched by their offer to help, that I immediately took them up on it.

Over the past few days we have spent many coffee-filled hours in the studio, crafting the right lyrics and adjusting the melody to fit the moment. We spent even more hours in dance rehearsals, in case they choose to add this song to their concert tour.

(Imagine a flashback sequence.)
Oh . . . the fun we had making this remix happen.
These memories will surely last a lifetime. Maybe one day this story will be a part of VH1’s Behind the Music. Ah yeah . . .  good times . . . .

Now that each lyric and note adequately convey my emotions, I am overjoyed to report that we have taken Push It to a whole new quilty level.

So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Salt N Pepa to the blog stage where they will perform our lastest collaboration . . . Quilt It!

(Imagine Push It soundtrack playing in the background.)

Ah, quilt it
Ah, quilt it
Quilt it!

Oooh, baby, baby
Baby, baby
Oooh, baby, baby
B-baby, baby

Spit up on this!
Ah, quilt it

Hey!
Crawl up on this!
Ah, quilt it
Spit up on this!

Ah
Ow! Baby!
Salt and Pepa’s here!

Sal sal salt and Pepa’s here!
Salt sal sal sal salt and Pepa’s here!
Salt and Pep, Salt and Pep, Salt and pepa’s here!
Salt and Pepa’s here!

[Now wait a minute, y’all
This quilting ain’t for everybody
Only the sexy people
So all you fly mothers, get on out there and quilt
Quilt, I said!]

Salt and Pepa’s here, and we’re in effect
Want you to quilt it, babe

Coolin’ by day then at night working up a sweat
C’mon girls, let’s go show the guys that we know
How to become number one in a national quilt show
Now quilt it

Ah, quilt it – quilt it good
Ah, quilt it – quilt it real good
Ah, quilt it – quilt it good
Ah, quilt it – quilt it real good

Hey!
Ow!
Quilt it good!

Oooh, baby, baby
Baby, baby
Oooh, baby, baby
B-baby, baby

Yo, yo, yo, yo, baby-pop
Yeah, you come here, gimme a kiss
Better make it fast or else I’m gonna get pissed
Can’t you hear the music’s pumpin’ hard like I wish you would?
Now quilt it

Quilt it good
Quilt it real good

Ah, quilt it
Ah
Ah, ah, ah
Spit up on this!

Boy, you really got me going
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doing
Ah, quilt it
Ah, quilt it
Quilt it

Boy you really got me going
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doing
Ah, quilt it
Quilt it
Ah, quilt it
Quilt it
Quilt it, ah
Quilt it,ah
Ah, quilt it
Quilt it
Quilt it

Thank you, Salt N Pepa for that breathtaking and tear-inducing performance. It is forever burned into my memory. You are amazingly talented performers and your vocal gymnastics coupled with these touchingly poignant lyrics have changed me forever. I feel blessed that you have honored my blog (and my readers) with such an enthusiastic and moving performance.

I actually think it rivaled Madonna’s Superbowl halftime show—don’t you? Yo, Yo, Yo . . . You ROCK, Salt N Pepa!!!

Laverne's Baby Quilt: Detail 1

Over the past couple of months I have completed quilt tops made by Laverne Hubbard, because it felt like the right thing to do and it is easier for me to work on other people’s projects than it is to work on my own.

Laverne is my step-father Bill’s mother. She passed away in 1993, leaving a large stash of fabric and embellishments, along with three unfinished quilt tops.

I know it’s shocking—only three UFOs. I think she may have been an alien.

Okay . . . who got the UFO, alien reference didn’t you?
Ha! I kill me sometimes.
🙂

Bill asked if I would complete Laverne’s quilts so that they could be passed on to members of his family. I agreed and presented two of these quilts to my mom and Bill on Christmas Eve. You can read more about that event and see the completed quilts here.

Laverne's Baby Quilt: Detail 2

As silly as it may seem, the two quilts I finished first were the largest of the three. The last of Laverne’s tops to complete was a baby quilt. The feature blocks used in this quilt were meant to be embroidered, but I think eyesight, arthritis and time got in the way of Laverne executing them in the way she initially intended.

Laverne being the independent and enthusiastic quilter that she was decided to use fabric paint on the panels instead of embroidery floss. Laverne felt that getting things done was sometimes more important than making a plan, following a plan or even having a plan. She was very funny and I couldn’t agree with her more.

Laverne's Baby Quilt: Detail 3

You can see the original quilt top here, along with one of the others. Besides the quilt tops, I was given a treasure trove of embellishments—and as luck would have it—a bit of coordinating fabric from Laverne’s stash. You can see all of my sparkly treasures and the fabric here.

As I looked at the original quilt top, I had no idea what Laverne’s plans were for completing it. From what I know of Laverne, she may not have had a plan at all. She would probably made it up as she went along. Laverne was a bit of a renegade. I like that in a quilter.

Because this is a memory quilt of sorts and a legacy for Laverne, I thought it only fitting to use as much of the coordinating fabric as I could in the quilt.

I’m glad that I made this decision because it forced me to approach designing the quilt in a different way. I could have taken the easy route just to finish it, but challenging myself to use what Laverne provided pushed me in a totally different direction. Thanks Laverne . . . you’re a peach!

Full View of Laverne's Baby Quilt

Full view of Laverne's baby quilt.

Throughout this process I have learned a lot about Laverne and myself. Although I never met her, I know we would have been friends.

She was passionate, energetic and enthusiastic about whatever she did. I could see it in each piece I worked on. We wouldn’t have agreed on construction methods (I would have driven her crazy), but our love of fabric and creating would have made us life-long friends.

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to complete Laverne’s legacy and to share my journey with you. Now that this adventure has come to an end, I am ready to start another one.

My own projects have started their siren’s call and I am finally ready to answer them. My grieving process is a long way from being over. I seriously doubt that it ever will be over, but I am now at the point where I can feel and express my joy again.

You, my dear BFFs are one of the reasons why I am able to create again. The sincere joy, support and kindness you have given me over the past few months has been priceless. You have been my anchor in a very rough sea of emotions. I am forever grateful and in your debt.

Before I go I would like to give a special thank you to Salt N Pepa for their provocative and emotionally stirring performance. A long overdue thank you to Kathy Colvin for the amazing computerized quilting on Laverne’s quilts and last—but by no means least—I want to thank you, my BFFs, for patiently waiting for me to return to the blogging universe. You are the best friends a quilter could ask for.

Sharing my quilting life with you has been a gift that I didn’t realize I wanted or needed. You are special and I appreciate each and every one of you. You have brought a whole new dimension to my world and I am SO grateful. You’re just like Salt N PepaYOU ROCK!!!

Okay, I guess I’ve rambled on enough for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the story, the show and the song. I have a lot more stories to tell and many many more things to share with you, so I hope you’ll come back again soon.

Laverne, Salt N Pepa and I would love to hear what you think the baby quilt.

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42 Responses to “Laverne’s Baby Love”

  1. Marilyn Kinsey Says:

    Tom, I missed not seeing your Blog the past few weeks. Happy you are back on your blog, which I truly enjoy. I met you at 4H Center in Arkansas a few times. The last time we visited your mom was in the hospital and on the way to a welcomed recovery. I especially enjoyed your Christmas Eve story about Laverne’s quilts you finished for Bill and his family. You are a great son to put so much into a project for your mom’s husband and your step-father. Best wishes for continued healing and the long path to happiness. Marilyn Kinsey

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Marilyn, It’s so sweet of you to drop by. I have fond memories of our visits in Arkansas. Although our conversations were brief, I clearly remember you wearing the most amazing accessories, that beautiful smile, accented by the twinkle in your eye.

      Oh yes, I remember you.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my Laverne stories. It has been fun to share with and my family.

      Thank you for the kind wishes. They mean a lot to me and I cherish each one. You are such a dear person. It is a pleasure to have you in my life.

      I will be looking forward to seeing you and your smile again.

  2. Marilyn Kinsey Says:

    P. S. I LOVED the lyrics and music by Salt n Pepa. It was good to hear you say you enjoyed working with them. Happiness to you soon. Marilyn Kinsey (Lampasas, TX) friend of Debbie Chance.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there, I’m glad you enjoyed our little song. It was a lot of fun to create. Hopefully we’ll be able to hear it on the radio one day! Wouldn’t that be a blast?

      Have a wonderful day and if you feel like it, dance a little along the way.

  3. jayardi Says:

    • • • I am sure Laverne is happy you finished it for her, because now her family can enjoy another memory because of you. Great job Tom! I bet Bill will be just as emotional about this one too.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well, hey there! I think Laverne is happy too. The quilt is a bit different than what she planned, but I’m sure she’s okay with it. As long as it gets to be loved by a baby, she’s fine with whatever I did.

      Bill and mom haven’t seen the quilt yet. I told them it was done and I would send it after I finished my blog post. After what I did to the last quilt tops, they are anxious to see this one.

      I wish I could be there to see mom and Bill’s and faces when they open the package. I think it will be another emotional and memorable moment.

      Life is good.

  4. Carol Anderson Says:

    Absolutely adorable, and I know it will be cherished by the family of the baby who receives it.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you. I thought it turned out pretty cute too. I have been both surprised and delighted with each quilt I finished.

      Laverne put a lot of love into her quilts, so I’m sure the family will feel it and treasure it. If they don’t, I’m gonna have a serious talk with someone.

      The baby will get daily hugs and kisses from a grandmother they never knew. It’s one of the magical things that quilts can give that other things can’t.

      The baby that gets this quilt is a very lucky baby.

  5. Mandy Stokes Says:

    So is that available on i-tunes yet? 🙂

  6. Sharon Kisel Says:

    Wow!! This was like opening an exciting book and once I followed all the links (to the wonderful Christmas joy of the two quilts and the sparkling jewels and fabrics surprise) then finally saw the completed baby quilt, it was a wonderful uplifting “read”. You frequently uplift me with your posts and your love of simple and beautiful things and experiences. Congratulations on a job well done with love and care for those who mean so much to you.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Sharon, What sweet things to read as I wake up this morning.

      I have been blessed with many wonderful stories surrounding these quilts and Laverne. I’m glad you went through the links to read all of them.

      Seeing and finding joy in the simple things makes life exciting, entertaining—and never boring.

      I am blessed to be able to see the wonders around me and extremely fortunate to be able to share my experiences with people—like you—who enjoy these things as much as I do.

      I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for making my day!

  7. Mona K Says:

    What a great baby quilt! In the original blog, I wasn’t sure how it would look when finished, but you added the life and the love. Wherever Laverne is, she’s smiling because that quilt is beautiful, and probably more than she ever dreamed it would be. Great work!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Mona, Thanks for the compliment. I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do with the quilt when I first got it either.

      Laverne worked hard to make it special. I only added a little bit to complete her vision.

      I have no doubts where Laverne is. You only go one place, when you love the way she did.

      Yes, I think she is smiling about the quilt. She will smile even more when it’s in a baby’s hands.

  8. Jackie Says:

    You’re back, yipee yahooo. You have been missed and I see busy. Once again you have done Laverne proud and I have to agree I think you would have been great friends who approach things differently, but ultimately end up with a great quilt. You are never alone in your travels.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there, Thanks for the enthusiastic welcome. It’s good to hear that I’ve been missed. I’ve missed you too.

      I try to do as much as I can every day, but sometime my desire to do exceeds the time available. One day I will figure out a way to type faster or tell shorter stories. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through. I’m just happy that you haven’t given up on me.

      I couldn’t agree more. Great quilts and friendships can be brought together in many different ways.

      Thanks for sharing my journey with me.

  9. Dot Collins Says:

    What a precious quilt!! the family who gets it will love it! I love the embroidered blocks and your arrangement. Your (and Salt N Pepa) lyrics could have been my anthem the last few weeks. I have been quilting like mad for our show this weekend. Only one more binding to go and they are all done. See you then. Dot

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Good morning, Dot! I’m glad you like the quilt. The blocks were a bit of a challenge to work with in the beginning, but once I embraced the challenge, they became the best part of the quilt.

      I know you have been busy getting ready for the show because I’ve not seen you post on any message board in ages. I bet the show is going to be wonderful.

      For those of you interested in going to a great quilt show this weekend, check out the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild Show in Beaumont, TX. http://www.goldentrianglequiltguild.com/

      From what I understand, there will be around 300 quilts on display. I’ve been to this guild and it is overflowing with talented quilters. If you are in the area, you should make the trip.

      You can thank me later.

  10. Ami Simms Says:

    Love it; love it; love it! (And I’m responsible for taking up at least 3 hours of Tom’s time! ~~ sorry guys…)

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Ami, Glad you enjoyed the show. Helping you succeed was SO worth the time. There’s is no need to apologize. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  11. Denise Stewart Says:

    What an amazing transformation from the before. The needle work is breathtaking.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you for the nice compliment. I agree, from where this quilt started to where it ended is a pretty major transformation.

      Kathy did an amazing job quilting this little piece. The gentle swirls in the quilting provide a wonderful contrast to all the straight lines in the piece. The swirls add a nice texture, without taking away from the quilt or overwhelming the focus blocks.

      Kathy really knows what she’s doing when it comes to this type of work. I was lucky to have someone with her skill around to help me on Laverne’s quilts. The tops were nice, but the quilting makes the quilt.

      Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation.

  12. Nikki Says:

    This baby quilt is beautiful – as are all your quilts! You’re such a good person Tom – I know you’re mother is extremely proud of you.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Ah . . . you are gonna make me blush.

      Thank you for the compliment. It is very kind.

      Yea, my mom is proud of what I’ve done for Bill and Laverne. She loves him deeply, so it’s very easy for me to do what I did to help all three of them.

      I would say that creating a quilt is an easy task when you balance it against the love you receive from creating it.

      When people use the term “stitched with love” they are talking about moments like these. Laverne’s love started these projects and my love finished them. I feel that this love will continue to be passed on for many generations to come.

      No store bought quilt will ever be loved or talked about as much.

  13. Carla Says:

    You crack me up. I have been missing your blogs but I would never regret the BFF tatoo.
    Love the quilt. You did good like there was ever any doubt.
    Quilt it good……..

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well, hey there! Sorry I’ve been MIA, but I’m back and will be working even harder to stay on track.

      I’ve missed you too. All the sharing and the laughter that comes my way because of this blog are hard to live without. I’m working to find a balance and that’s the best that I can hope for.

      Now you crack me up. I know YOU would be in the chair beside me at the tattoo parlor, laughing the whole time I’m crying.

      I agree. Quilt it good, because that’s the way we roll.

  14. Linda Says:

    Great job, Tommy. I know Bill and his family will cherish the quilt and will be so appreciative for you finishing it so it can be passed on and keep LaVerne’s memory alive. Your cousin, Linda.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there, Thanks. I think they are going to treasure this quilt like they have the last two.

      Bill was so amazed overjoyed with how they came out, he’s not sure what to do with them. They were precious before, but they are practically priceless now.

      I’m sure many generations of his family will be keeping Laverne’s memory alive because of these quilts. I’m just glad that I could do my part in making that happen.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  15. Cyn Strang Says:

    You made Laverne proud!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey you! It’s good to see you here. I’m glad you think so. Laverne was a pretty amazing woman and wasn’t easily impressed, but I think she would have approved of how I helped her out.

      Laverne made quilts to be used, not for showing off. She loved her family and quilts were a manifestation of that love.

      Finishing these quilts gave me great pleasure because each one provided Laverne with one more opportunity to tell her family how much she loved them.

  16. kathydrew Says:

    You are so funny my dear friend. I love reading your posts. Love you.

  17. Jim Gatling Says:

    Oh, how wonderful!!! Such a happy quilt! I know Laverne is smiling up there! Ya dun good!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well, hey there! I am glad you enjoyed the quilt and the story. Yep, Laverne and I make a great team.

      She will be smiling even bigger when the quilt reaches its final destination.

      Thank ya, very much!

  18. jessica Says:

    How special, how very-very special. It is a unique feeling to help/finish up one’s project such as this… I celebrate the quilts along with your family! Beautiful quilts!!

    You know, I love the idea of fabric painting! I had this crazy idea of doing a quilt, a sampler, all in embroidery… I know, CrAzy. Laverne did a wonderful job with her blocks… very cheer-y!

    You’ve made me smile (and laugh, and tear-up) with your post… I am so happy that you are baaaack with us. I hope you know that you are thought of often and are always in our prayers. Now the song, Angels, is playing in my head… okaaay!… let me “give” you that song as I close… Hugs!

    Angels (sung by John Farnham)

    The touch of His hand will let me know
    He takes me in and lets me go
    If not for love, who would believe
    Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in you and me.

    We’re lifted up by angels
    Higher than the world
    Strong enough to leave it.

    Bound to learn the secrets
    Angels never heard
    Close enough to heaven
    Far above the rain
    Darkness cannot reach us.

    Let the angels teach us
    Only love remains.

    We’re lifted up by angels
    To understand, yet never say
    How every plan would fade away
    If not for love, where would we be
    Ashes to dust, water to rust, eternally.

    We’re lifted up by angels
    Higher than the world
    Strong enough to leave it.

    Bound to learn the secrets
    Angels never heard
    Close enough to heaven
    Far above the rain
    Darkness cannot reach us.

    Let the angels teach us
    Only love remains.

    We’re lifted up by angels
    Given wings to fly
    Leave the night behind us
    Trust the light to find us
    Even as we rise.

    We’re lifted up by angels
    Higher than the world
    Strong enough to leave it.

    Bound to learn the secrets
    Angels never heard
    Close enough to heaven
    Far above the rain
    Darkness cannot reach us.

    Let the angels teach us
    Only love remains.

    We’re lifted up by angels…

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jessica, Thank you for posting the lyrics to this lovely song and your generous and heartfelt sentiment. I am touched beyond words.

      Fabric painting is fun and much quicker to do than embroidery. I haven’t played around with this technique much, but I can definitely see using it in the future.

      The only down side to it is that you can’t unsew it, but it you plan well, you can accomplish a lot quickly.

      Again, thank you for the song and the continued prayers.

  19. Linda M Poole Says:

    You are such a rock star Tom!!!! 🙂
    Linda

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there Linda M. Poole!!! It’s so cool that you dropped by to say hi. I’m not sure about being a rock star, but I’m having a great time doing what I’m doing.

      I hope you visit again soon!

  20. Eddie Landreth Says:

    Tom, you are one of the most fun and entertaining people that I know, I always look forward to your blog posts. And this quilt is excellent, as we all knew anything from you would be. I’m sure Laverne would be doing cartwheels if she could see this right now. Great job!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Eddie, Thanks for the compliments. I try to make the most out of every occasion and every day, so finishing this quilt was definitely cause for celebration.

      Salt N Pepa and I are glad you enjoyed the remix. We had a lot of fun working on it and hoped it would be well received. Your note is confirmation that we met and exceeded our goals.

      I think you are correct. Laverne is doing cartwheels for sure. If all my UFOs were finished I would be joining her.

      Thanks for your many kind words of support and enthusiasm.

  21. Virginia Says:

    Welcome back, BFF. It was worth the wait!

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