For many of us, the south of France would be on our “dream vacation” bucket list. But APQS France dealer Suzan Pons has the good fortune to call it “home!” As an American quilter living in France, her Vermont upbringing still influences her creativity.
Suzan’s love of flowers shines through in this charming pattern she has shared. A large dimensional sunflower jumps to life from the attractive pieced background, and the appliqued sentiment reflects Suzan’s sunny outlook on life.
“The words to me are strong, and SMILE is me. Keep smiling and STAND TALL. Life sends you lots of little surprises and they are not always what we are willing to accept, but if you Smile and Stand Tall, it is easier to forget the bad things and continue on,” said Susan.
Suzan first constructed the quilt background from assorted batik fabrics. Then she quilted it using a coordinating overall quilting design using the APQS Quilt Path computerized quilting system. Then she cleverly created the sunflower blossom from individual petals that are double-sided and pieced together using a paper foundation.
She then attached the sunflower to the quilt and added dimensional leaves along stems to make the flower come to life. The letters and flower stems are appliqued using a buttonhole stitch, but you could use a satin stitch if you prefer.
Suzan has been sewing since the age of eight, when her Dad would sneak out the sewing machine when they were alone and she would play with it making clothes for her dolls or other little goodies. Her love of sewing and needlecrafts comes naturally; her grandmother made quilts and blankets and enjoyed weaving. Her mom knitted, crocheted, and sewed, so Suzan strived to find a way to express herself without creeping into someone else’s passion. She became an avid patch worker, making quilts for her friends while in college.
After moving to France, she joined a women’s group and made handmade Christmas decorations to sell to raise money for the needy. When the group decided to make a quilt and hold a lottery to help even more, Suzan’s quilting life in France began.
She has since been teaching quilting for many years, and it helped her flow into the French way of life and make many friends.
“I don’t always agree with their ways, but we all come out smiling and having a great time. My American ways will make them smile and their French ways will make me smile, so in all it is an equal sharing of our heritage and life styles,” she said.