Flag Quilt Made From Scraps Reflect My View Of Americans

A funny thing happened on the way to The Guggenheim Museum. I decided to make a flag quilt instead.

Flag Quilt www.debhathaway.com


Living in New Jersey, it’s a quick train ride into New York City. For years I have thought it would be awesome to spend a weekend or more in the city and really get to know my way around. With decent hotel rates costing more per night than my monthly car payment, that trip was always a pipe dream… until now.

I had the amazing opportunity to ‘house and dog sit’ for 10 days in (be still my heart) the Garment District of New York City. As if having every fabric, thread, zipper, and bead store right out side my door wasn’t enough, the homeowner is a quilter!!!

Museums were my number one destination while in the city. MoMA, The Met, Whitney, Neue and so many more were calling my name. On the morning I planned to visit The Guggenheim I first visited a friend for a chat. On my way out the door she mentioned that in the house I was ‘sitting’ was a large bag of fabric scraps, and to feel free to rummage through and use what I wanted.

If you know me at all… then you know I didn’t make it to the museum that day. Instead of turning left towards The Guggenheim, I turned right and went right back up the elevator, and headed to the big bag of fabric scraps. Without a second thought, I dumped the entire bag out on to the huge white table and began sorting through all the colorful confetti. I was in heaven!! And that’s how my flag quilt began.

Flag Quilt scraps www.debhathawy.com

Truth be told, I already had the idea of the flag quilt and had a nice pile of red, white, and blue scraps sitting on my dining room table back home. As luck would have it, I needed to return to NJ for a day, so I grabbed my pile and added it to the NY pile.

Where to begin? The blue pile was the smallest, so I started with that. I loved the way it turned out so much I could barely sleep that night. My mind would not shut down. I dreamt of how to piece the red stripes. After walking the dog I hit the red scraps next.

I made my own red fabric yardage by haphazardly sewing a bunch of scraps together… and adding more, and more scraps until I had a large enough piece to slice into 2 ½” strips.

This is when I really THOUGHT about what I was doing, and what this flag quilt represented to me. Here I was, mixing all different colors, patterns, and fabric weights… and the result was beautiful. Even though a lot of scraps weren’t red at all, some were orange, others were pink, and even a purple thrown in, it all looked harmonious. It made me think of us as a nation. We are all different colors and come from varied backgrounds, but when put together, we are awesome! We blend. We belong together. I was filled with excitement as I continued grabbing another scrap and adding it to the patchwork.

If you take a closer look at the flag quilt, you will notice the white stripes aren’t plain white. Some are a white-on-white design, while others have a colorful print, and one is a pale, pale grey. Another reminder of different colors blending so well they fool the eye into thinking they are something that they’re not.

There are 3 different styles of quilting on my flag quilt. The white stripes were ‘free motion’ quilted by machine in a wave design, reminding me of the freedoms we have in this country. The red stripes were hand quilted in a running stitch of red thread… binding us all together. Finally the ‘field of blue’ was studded with 50 white shirt buttons and hand tied with white thread, just as quilters many years ago tied their quilts.

Flag Quilt sewing www.debhathaway.com flag quilt sewing www.debhathaway.com

I am proud to hang my flag quilt over my mantle. I am proud to be an American.

The Guggenheim visit will have to wait for another day.

Finished Flag Quilt www.debhathaway.com

What’s my next BIG project? A Star Storm Quilt!

It’s time to kick my quilting UP a notch… and make a quilt for myself!

My usual way to design and sew a quilt is to look at a pretty picture and say, “I can make that.” After a few hours of sketching, calculating, scrabbling through my stash, and making a run to my local quilt shop… I’m ready to sew. Scissors snip, fabric flies, the sewing machine hums. It’s a beautiful thing.

That’s when I’m in my happy place, barely coming up for air. My insulated TERVIS glass is filled with Lipton’s Berry Tea and ice, and placed AWAY from the machine and fabric! The thought of food is secondary, as I only stop sewing when I feel faint with just enough energy left to pop something in the microwave.

Now that I seem to have more time to sew these days, I don’t feel I have to do everything all in one sitting. Soooooo… I”ve decided to make my very first quilt just for ME, and to plot, plan, and take my time making it.

My next quilt project! Victoria Findlay Wolfe http://www.vfwquilts.com

I fell in love with Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s quilt STAR STORM. I actually GASPED when I first saw it. I just KNEW I had to make that quilt to hang over my bed, but in different colors. So while in NYC yesterday I stopped by her shop and purchased the pattern… and some fabric 🙂

Although I am considered an Intermediate to Advanced quilter, I am a total beginner at using patterns. I’ll admit, a bit of panic set in as I read through the 5 pages of instructions. Then I unfolded the oversized paper templates… all four of them. EEK! There is even a sheet of paper ‘tags’ to label each strip of fabric so as not to get confused. Here I was, staring down into a design that came from someone else… not me. What an eye-opening revelation!!

“OK… I can do this,” I say to myself. The first thing to do is to change the color palette. Although I LOVE the bright colors of Victoria’s quilt, and her fabric line… my home is more ‘beachy’. I have decided to replace the bold black and white stripe in the design with the same fabric, but in tan and white. I kind of wish her pattern came with a black and while line drawing so I could audition specific colors of my own. I guess that’s where I’ll begin my project… drawing and sketching, just like I do with my own design.

I plan on posting my progress as it moves along at it’s own pace. If you care to follow how it’s going, feel free to check back here about every other week or so. You can also follow me on Instagram… @uniqueandnovel. Use hashtag… #debsstarstorm to see my posts.

Change Your Stars!

2015 is a New Year with a clean slate. It’s time to Change Your Stars… make new choices.

“Our lives are made up of choices. If you are not happy with your life… marriage… job… car… dinner… what you are wearing… fill in the blank… then make another choice. “ I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how many times I’ve said those words this past year to friends and family.

Then one magical day, I looked in the mirror and said those EXACT words to myself! Huh! It was amazing how ‘freeing’ those words made me feel.

Right… if I don’t like something… simply make a different choice, follow another path. It really is THAT simple!

Last year I made the choice to journal once a day. Sometimes I had nothing to say… and other days I not only filled the entire day with my scribbles, but continued to write in the margins circling around the page… writing smaller and smaller just to fit it all in.

I found I really enjoyed journaling, but wanted something more fun and exciting to write my thoughts and feelings in… and so a hunt for something to fit the bill commenced.

I found nothing. The journals on the market were too plain, too small, too large, didn’t lay flat, too bulky… you name it. I felt like Goldilocks trying out the beds and porridge in the bear’s cottage. So…. What does one do when they can’t find what they want? They make it themselves! And THAT’s the choice I made.

Documented Life Project week 2 www.debhathaway.com

Documented Life Project week 2 www.debhathaway.com

The worse part about designing something, is staring at the blank page. I’m already enrolled in a year-long project titled The Documented Life Project, in which members are given a prompt and suggestion once a week… then we ‘have at it’. The end result is a creative bulging book of mixed media art reflecting my goals and thoughts for the year.

Documented Life Project week 1 www.debhathaway.com

Documented Life Project week 1 www.debhathaway.com

But that’s not what I wanted for my journaling experience. I wanted something I could WRITE in. Not a diary per se, not a planner, not an art project… maybe a combination of those things??? Grabbing my trusty laptop, I began my Internet search in earnest, hoping some obscure image would light a fire under my frozen creative juices and get them flowing. It worked!!!

A site popped up called… Change Your Stars. Apparently the month of January is ‘Change Your Stars’ Month… who knew? This site tells the story of the movie A Knight’s Tale… how a poor thatcher’s son changes his stars and becomes a Knight. If you haven’t seen it then you haven’t made the right choice. Watch it now!! The site’s home page pairs an inspirational word for each day of the month. Viola! My creative juices are flowing like lava! My blank page has a direction. I am off and running on my new path.

Would you like to join me??? I am looking for a few people to be ‘beta testers’ of my journal. My goal is to design this book throughout the year in order to have a product to sell for the next calendar year. For this to happen I need ‘testers’ who are willing to receive my pages, use them, critique them, and BE HONEST. It costs nothing… zero… nada… zip… zilch… except your time, perhaps one hour a month or less.

If you are interested, and would like to be in at the beginning of a new and exciting venture, please send me a private email: deb(at)debhathaway(dot)com.

Woo! Hoo!! I love this choice I made… and hope you are happy with all of yours!

Draw Your AWESOME Life!! – DP#117

Draw Awesome Life


Hello… My name is Debbie and I’m addicted to PINTEREST. It’s been  24 hours since I last logged on.

Seriously though… as I scroll and pin through the Internet I am in total AWE at some of the clever and talented people out there in the Universe. No matter what idea I seem to have, it pales in comparison to what others have already done. PINTEREST is a fabulous source for Do-It-Yourselfers. As a matter of fact… one day I saw a PIN about using furniture legs as a bed frame. Since my mattress and box spring has been flat on the floor for the past 3 years I was THRILLED to find this inspiration!!! AND… I have an old door to hang horizontally as a headboard. Ta-Dah!!! Instant bed… for mere pennies! I’m so excited.

I find myself drooling at pages, and pages, and pages of art journals. As a general rule I’m not one to write or draw on a daily basis, and I don’t get the whole ‘fill up your page with all kinds of found objects’ things. However… carefree, unstructured paintings always catch my interest. Perhaps because my drawing and painting is all so ‘technical’.

I used to draw and paint buildings for an architect. All very linear… using perspective and scale… very ‘Mechanical Drawing’ type stuff. Although I can’t draw a straight line without the help of a ruler, I still draw pretty much the same. My work doesn’t seem to have ‘movement’ or ‘life’.

So…….. I threw caution to the wind, parted with some unused funds sitting in my PayPal account, and signed up for an online art journal course. DRAW YOUR AWESOME LIFE is taught by Joanne Sharpe. I am hoping to ‘loosen up’ a bit, have fun, and learn a few new tricks.

My photo today is of my very first assignment… the cover page to my first ever ART JOURNAL.

Of course we are our own worse critics. Over all I like the final result. I followed the instructions and added a few touches that make it ‘mine’. The Dunkin Donuts cup, the sun and stars, and the supplies pretty much sum up who I am. The blue represents the sky and water, the pink for sunsets, and green for terra firma. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the lack of BOLDNESS. There’s a lot going on in this little picture… yet the instructor has a way of being more LOOSE and VIBRANT. I guess in time I’ll figure that all out.

I’m off to my next assignment!!