As my friends know all too well, I am
slightly obsessed with HBO's The Sopranos, and inspired by a recent call for entries for an upcoming show in Long Beach, I came darn close to formally entering an art quilt dedicated to my Jersey boys.
But there was only one event on this planet that could ever eclipse the need to finish this quilt on time: This past weekend Richard and Dorothy Bolton (my in-laws affectionately known to me as “Dot and ***”) celebrated their golden anniversary.
Months ago they proposed that we simply meet up for some grub at a local restaurant, but their five children and spouses, and 12 grandchildren knew that to simply go to dinner at the local steakhouse would never, ever do.
So we came up with a plan.
We schemed, we deceived, we laughed wickedly as we coordinated an evening of events that would knock their socks off and bring back feelings and memories for them of newlywed bliss. And what surprised their five children (and us in-law kids) was how our diverse talents and abilities could artfully come together to see this momentous event to its fruition. Case in point:
• The manipulative, persuasive minds of my sisters- and brothers-in-law who coerced the older grandchildren to baby-sit the younger grandchildren and all sleep under one roof so that us elderly folks could enjoy a night out in Boston. Thankfully, us elderly folks came home to houses that were not TP’d nor burned down, and to the best of our knowledge, nothing has been posted to the local police blotter. Yet.
• The stealth abilities of my brethren-in-law who successfully broke into my in-laws’ basement to steal photographs with my in-laws none the wiser. The end result was a hardbound, limited edition, 50-year record of family memories. A hush descended upon the dining room suite at the Copley Fairmont Hotel as my in-laws opened the album when dessert was served. This picture says it all…
• The ability of everyone to laugh at ourselves and create our very own, homemade and family-relevant version of a popular trivia game. We devised our own categories, and each family was responsible for coming up with more than 100 questions and answers total for all six categories. My favorite category was Boltons Behaving Badly. Here’s a sampling of the questions:
-Who kicked a nun in the shins then ran away? (Diana)
-Who is the most accident-prone Bolton? (John)
-Who, while MCing the annual student musical event at her Jesuit university, had a wardrobe malfunction of the worst kind on stage in front of her professors, the university president (a Jesuit), her boyfriend, and future in-laws? (I’m not telling.)
Yours Truly was responsible for designing and creating the trivia game board and accessories, and I made it entirely out of fabric. I silk screened the categories onto the wedges, cut and fused coordinating fabrics to the base, and then thread sketched with black thread. Many thanks to managing editor Helen Gregory for binding! Here’s what it looked like:
In order to pull this off, I consulted heavily with my Quilting Arts co-workers and extended network of arty friends from Make It University!™. We thought the felted eggs from ArtGirlz would make hilarious game pieces for each of the families. (Get it? Eggs for offspring? I’m so deep.)
We hot glued toothpicks on the felt eggs for feet, and I altered photos of each family to place on top. For game play, when someone correctly answers a question, another felt shape is added to the egg, so I needed to make sure I had enough felted pieces for all six categories.
Two days before the big event I realized I was short on felted supplies and left a rather panicked voicemail for the Art Girlz. Tracy called back and said, “Never fear, Pokey! The Art Girlz Rescue Squad is here for you!” They kindly over-nighted other felted bits to complete the game board, and thanks to the haunting yet up-tempo tunes of Radiohead's “In Rainbows,” I finished everything a little before 2:00 AM Saturday morning.
The evening went off without a hitch and it was a night none of us will soon forget. Mission accomplished. All of us at Quilting Arts are indebted to them. (Quilting Arts would never have happened if they didn’t give me space to launch a magazine.) And on a more personal note, I thank them for welcoming a kooky girl from California into the clan.
Here’s to you, Dot and ***...
*A special thanks to our neighbors at Make It University!, Expressly
Yours Embellishments for getting the personalized mugs together so