Two Crows on a Log Cabin

I love ravens and crows.

They are incredibly intelligent birds, forming close relationships within their flock (or “murder” as a flock of crows is called.) I made this quilt in 2004-2005 while living in Illinois. There was a West Nile Virus epidemic at the time in that region. I remember coming across a dying crow while out for a walk in my neighborhood. Although I got close to it it was too ill to try to fly away. (I knew better than to try to save it and didn’t try to touch it. West Nile also makes people ill.) Even though I was right there his buddy stayed close by. Crow populations were decimated during that epidemic because when one crow would become ill it’s family members would bring it food and try to feed it thus becoming infected themselves. Sad, but touching as well.

As I made this quilt I did a lot of reading about these often maligned birds. I found their sense of humor and the lengths they will go for a good practical joke amazing. I read a story of a rescued bird that was living with people amusing itself by mimicking the sound of the ice cream truck, causing all of the neighborhood children to come rushing out to the street. Or another that about ran some chickens to death by exhaustion by mimicking the sound of the farmer’s wife calling them to come get their feed over and over again. There were many more stories but these are the two I remember.

When we moved to California I was stunned by the numbers of crows here. Every evening  during certain seasons they stream by in huge masses that fill the sky in each direction as far as you can see. This continues on and off though out the evening until sunset. We’ve joked that there are multiple  murders in our neighborhood every evening!

Many crows in a dark tree at New Orleans Squar...

Image via Wikipedia

The silhouettes of crows and branches in this quilt were my first experiment with felted wool. I bought a long wool dress coat at the thrift store and shrunk it in the laundry. I embroidered some wing details and the feet clutching the branches, but in black on black it is a bit hard to see.

This was also my initiation into the world of the log cabin block. I spent hours experimenting with different layouts… so versatile. When I hit upon this arrangement it reminded me of a sunset and led me to the idea of the appliques of crows and branches.

This quilt has a permanent home on the wall above our bed. I think it is one of my all time favorite creations.

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Lovebirds Wreath

I had so much fun making this wreath for my Etsy shop. I can’t wait to share the process with you. All of my materials were things I had on hand other than the wreath form.

I was going to use an old bed sheet for the fabric, but I found a piece of muslin left over from a long ago project and I liked the off white semi-speckled color better. Tear your fabric into strips a couple of inches wide.

Attach the end of a strip of fabric to the wreath form with a glue gun. Wrap it around the form and tack down the end with another drop of glue. Attach the next strip and continue until the entire wreath is wrapped.


To make the nest take a few pages out of an old book and cut into thin strips. Scrunch up the strips to form a loose ball.

Cut a small circle of fabric to use as a base. Spread hot glue over it and press the paper ball onto the glue.


Find a couple of sticks that appeal to you. I glued one to form the branch for the nest to rest on and placed the other in the position that seemed best to me.

Glue the nest onto the wreath.

Now it is time to make the birds. I like to draw the pattern for each bird freehand so that they are a little bit different from each other. Here is what a simple bird pattern looks like. (Note, this notepaper is 4″ x 6″.)

I did see a bird pattern here from Spool Sewing that can be printed out. I didn’t print it out myself so I’m not certain about the size. You could reduce it on a photocopier if need be.

Sew your birds and stuff them. This fabric came from one of my favorite shirts that is no longer wearable. I used buttons for the eyes of one bird and beads from a broken hair clip for the other.


Glue the bird into the nest.

Glue the other bird wherever it looks best to you.

Now it’s time to add a bit more texture and decoration. I wound some twine around part of the wreath, and added a few beads attached with glue.


Attach some method of hanging to the back. I used a bit of leather cord knotted at the ends and glued.

Update: I found that gluing the branches and hanger wasn’t enough. I went back in and sewed them onto the muslin with invisible thread for added strength.

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