Tina Perez




Tina Perez




Tina Perez


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

The Nat'l Quilting Assn


Boonville, California


Kim Greene


Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I am doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Tina Perez. It is March 7, 2007 and I am in Boonville, California and it is 11:35 in the morning. So Tina, thank you for doing this interview with me. Can you tell me about the quilt that you brought today?

Tina Perez (TP): I made it about my little girl. She is nine and she really like Curious George, so my sister [Yolanda Ibarra.] said, 'You better go to the quilters to make a quilt for her.' So that is why I make that quilt for her.

KM: It is about Curious George?

TP: Yeah. She watches the movie. I don't know how many times. She just loves it. So there it is.

KM: Tell me about the quilt.

TP: It is Curious George flying in the balloons, landing on the beach with her. I don't know the name of the character, you know that guy. Man in the yellow hat. [laughs.] Landing in the beach. Happy like Curious George. Getting the bananas on the beach.

KM: Getting bananas on the beach. How many quilts have you made?

TP: This is the first one. My very first one.

KM: Share the story behind the quilt. What did you do to this quilt?

TP: What do you mean?

KM: You washed this quilt.

TP: Oh yes I did. It was kind of dirty that I thought it was dirty, because I put a few white in there. So I said, 'I'm going to wash this quilt.' I throw it in the washer and it was not very nice when I check it, it was all long in here like this material was longer than the other, like a sweater.

KM: So the back of the quilt--

TP: Hanging, like when you wash your sweater I thought it how it look. 'This is your quilt baby.' And she said, 'Mom, what are you trying to wash here?' [fake cries.] So then I put it on top of the washer I fix it like a sweater and I did that for days. When I went to look I say, 'Let's check to see if everything come together.' The only thing that the mouth come out, the eyes.

KM: So details came out.

TP: Details, but it is nothing that I cannot fix.

KM: So you fixed it.

TP: Everything comes together. Not bad.

KM: What do you do with this quilt? Is it hanging in your daughter's room?

TP: It is going to be hanging in my daughter's room. It is for her.

KM: Did you draw the face on?

TP: Yes I did.

KM: You did a good job. So you did the face.

TP: I did the face. I did the thing the mouth, the open mouth and the eyes.

KM: On the monkey, on Curious George.

TP: I did some flowers.

KM: So this is embroidery?

TP: Yeah.

KM: Do you like to embroider?

TP: Yes I do. But I'm terrible sewing on the machine though. I don't know. My skills are not that good so I have to do it by hand. Besides that I cannot see the needle thread anymore.

KM: Do you plan to make more quilts?

TP: I am making one right now. I am working one that is my garden, because my mom loves garden. It is turning pretty good though. I haven't done it, but almost.

KM: Are you doing it by hand or machine?

TP: I'm doing it by hand.

KM: You like that?

TP: It is better for me, because I don't have a sewing machine and I have to tell my sister, Yolanda, I cannot see the hole to try in the machine any more. So hand I can use a bigger needle and I do it myself my time because I work and I don't have very much time so I do it by hand.

KM: This was your very first quilt and you didn't know how to sew?

TP: No. I haven't sewed for maybe thirty years. When I was in high school I make a dress but that is it. No more machine for me. [laughs.] My mom teach us how to do. [points to the embroidery on the quilt.]

KM: Embroidery.

TP: Embroidery, stitch, everything, so at least I can do that.

KM: You had hand work in your background?

TP: Yes.

KM: You are going to make a quilt of your garden. What do you like about making quilts?

TP: It is fun. When I can--the first day I came you pick up your material. About a month ago I came.

KM: When did you make this quilt?

TP: About a month. I started coming to school.

KM: Just a month. This is very good.

TP: I look at this material. I just look at pieces of material there and I don't see anything like, come on. [laughs.]. So after I thought of putting things together, it look like Curious George. There he is. The colors, the blues, the sun of the ocean, whatever.

KM: Your trees.

TP: The trees.

KM: And your houses. Mountains.

TP: Mountains. Here is the jungle.

KM: The jungle.

TP: Like you come to the ocean, you can come to. He is happy to see all, happy to see that guy in the hat.

KM: The yellow hat.

TP: The yellow hat and you know.

KM: You did piping too, which is very interesting. What made you decide to do this?

TP: There is a girl here who came and she said that she did a quilt like that. Since I'm not very good at sewing this is easier because I can sew this and then put the.

KM: The binding.

TP: The binding and that is easier for me.

KM: I also think it looks very nice.

TP: So she gave me the idea.

KM: Is it one of the teachers?

TP: No, one of the other girls.

KM: Wow, very good.

TP: They give me some tips.

KM: You have been coming to the group for about a month.

TP: Yeah.

KM: So you know about the group?

TP: I know maybe Yolanda, Carmella, another Carmella. Since I work in the store, I know a few people but they don't come here. Everybody try to help to give you ideas.

KM: Which is good?

TP: Oh, look there is this pretty material, you want some, and we just share.

KM: That is very nice.

TP: If you find something, oh I need a little green, oh you like this green, we just cut it in pieces and we share.

KM: You like the group?

TP: Yeah, they are nice.

KM: Are you part of the book?

TP: Nope.

KM: I'm sorry.

TP: I just started.

KM: There is new people coming in all the time, right?

TP: Yes. But I think I'm the newest.

KM: You are the newest. You are the baby.

TP: I am the baby in the group. [laughs.]

KM: Do you plan to keep coming?

TP: I think so. If I have time to do it. Summer I work more, but because I only have one day to come to the class on Wednesdays. So if I have my day off. It is very interesting. It is fun. Even my little girl, she started doing one.

KM: She is quilting too?

TP: Quilting. She did a postcard for donation. What ever they wanted then she did. I told the teacher turn her a little piece because she is so interested in doing details.

KM: How old?

TP: She is nine. But she always like to, you know, so she did it a postcard of a bird. She says that maybe it will not sell so I can keep it in my room. She decided to put on hanger so she can hang it. When I got home, she asked if they sold my postcard, and I said, 'Yes, it was one of the first one to sell', and she said, 'Mom did I do really good, but I really want it.' She was hoping not to sell it, but she love it. So she is working on one, she make a little doll sitting in the garden. He is really cute. I have it right here. Just the back of the quilt. She has everything cut over there of the house, because she doesn't know how to sew, still she don't know how to sew.

KM: How wonderful.

TP: She start with this and she want me to sew it today for her so she can put the detail. She have her little.

KM: Her trees and her.

TP: Little dolls and all the little flowers cut out. With tape she is going to do everything.

KM: That is wonderful.

TP: She is interested in this thing, after she finish homework and do her stuff, she just got this stuff.

KM: That is good, so you are sharing, supporting the joy.

TP: She is really interested. She is the one that sent me over here, because Yolanda ask me for months and months and she is the one who, 'Mom, my aunt is doing this for Daisy her new daughter, you can do one for me,' so that is why I'm here.

KM: Because of your daughter.

TP: Because of my daughter and for fun now. [laughs.]

KM: Now it is for fun.

TP: Now I know I can do it. I have some ideas.

KM: You have more ideas. You want to make more quilts. And to improve your skills?

TP: I think so. I see my little thing that I'm doing. The little details that I can see they are looking nice after I put it in there, it is really nice.

KM: Good.

TP: I wish I could bring it so you could see it.

KM: That would have been good. Why do you think quilting is important to you?

TP: I don't know. You put your thoughts into your quilt, like the garden I'm making because my mom love garden and she plant everything so that is something I remember.

KM: A memory. Are you going to hang it in your house?

TP: Maybe.

KM: Do you think you will ever sell your quilts?

TP: It so depends. It depends. If people like it I want to people to see it. It is not just me, but if people see the details you put it, the work that you put in there, that is even, okay I do something.

KM: You plan to join an exhibit?

TP: Yes.

KM: That is good. I think it is wonderful how many exhibitions this group has had.

TP: I see those ideas that the girls have and I say that is good. People can see your work and because there is the only exposure that we have. Memories. In the quilt. I really want to learn because I want to make a family tree for my little girl. If you put it on paper it is gone. I make one for my son and it is gone. I don't know where it is. So, I want to make a family tree in a quilt so they can hang it or they can give it to generations and generations but first I want to get better in sewing and everything.

KM: What kind of tree are you going to use?

TP: I was thinking like an apple tree or maybe flowers and put the pictures in there, the date you were born, the grandpas where they come from. All the details.

KM: I think that will be fascinating.

TP: But first I want to get, practice sewing.

KM: How many are you going to make?

TP: [laughs.] I don't know. I'm working in the garden, maybe two more so I can give more.

KM: And then the tree?

TP: Then I am going to start my tree. See how it will turn out.

KM: Besides the garden, do you have any other ideas for quilts?

TP: I have one. I want to call it "The Mask" because some people, you know how people are in our culture they, the house are one way and the public is another way.

KM: I don't think it is just true of your culture.

TP: You know how they are, in the public they are so sweet and everything and their house is different. Just like they put their mask on it.

KM: Very good.

TP: That is.

KM: You are very thoughtful.

TP: I don't know if I can do it.

KM: Yes you can.

TP: That is my idea. [laughs.]

KM: I believe you can. I do.

TP: That is something. They say you can. There is a lot of people in our culture that is like that, even in here, you say not just in our culture but in more. They are really nice in public so people can, but in the house they are worse and still are in this type. Not just in the past, but here.

KM: That is a good idea. So there will be two faces?

TP: Yes. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but that is something.

KM: That could be very interesting.

TP: The details are hard.

KM: I am really impressed.

TP: Really.

KM: By what you are doing. So your family likes you making quilts?

TP: My husband, no. I make a mess in the living room.

KM: He doesn't like that?

TP: He said, 'What are you making?' And I said, 'A quilt and I have others making it too.'

KM: Two messes.

TP: Two messes. The house is not that big and after work I get off at seven and we eat dinner and then we sit. Sometimes we sit and everything is on the carpet. Here is pin.

KM: Isn't amazing on men can find the pins?

TP: Here is another one I say. But it is fine. He says, 'Okay I'm going to read in my room.' So he can go and read and we cut pieces.

KM: What about your son?

TP: He is not home. He is in college.

KM: What is he studying?

TP: He is going to be a parole officer. He is in Arizona.

KM: He hasn't seen your work?

TP: No he hasn't, but I said that I do a lot of things. I go to business [class.] and then the quilting. Finally you decide to old, but finally you decide to do something. [laughs.] But he is really sweet.

KM: What do you think he will think of it?

TP: He will like it. He will laugh. We always say what we think. If you don't like it he say okay mom and Heather is the same, if we don't like it we tell each other.

KM: But she likes this quilt?

TP: Yes she like it, especially I make it, of course. But all the kisses she gave me, 'Oh thank you Mom.' That is worth a lot of Curious Georges. [laughs.]

KM: It is fun that she likes Curious George. So you work in your living room.

TP: Yes, making messes.

KM: What kind of advice would you give somebody starting out?

TP: I think they start out having ideas in your head, you just put it in clothe.

KM: Did you draw this out ahead of time? Or did you kind of play with it?

TP: I had just Curious George and the balloons and then Heather love water, oceans.

KM: So you knew you had to put the ocean in there because of that.

TP: Yes. This just come to my mind. After I put this, I say okay this would look like a jungle and then I go with this. You put this first and then you go from there and see how they look. This is out of the book that I have. The idea that he is flying over.

KM: I remember the balloons in Curious George. It has been a while.

TP: Heather has a DVDs and you look at it. I got her for Christmas a little monkey. She is just into it right now.

KM: Very interesting, great. This is wonderful.

TP: She said, 'Mom can you do', what is her not, not "Cinderella," "Snow White" and "Beauty and the Beast" with the beast dancing with a yellow dress. I say, 'Heather you can do that yourself.'

KM: That is good. She is going to have a room full of quilts of her favorite things.

TP: She does. She hang everything in the room. Right now there are posters. But she say that she is going to take this out. She like to make faces, and I say she can do it in the thing. She like faces, big faces with the eyes. [laughs.] You can put one in your little thing and you can hang it in there. Now we know we can wash this. [laughs.]

KM: You don't want to throw quilts in washing machines.

TP: No?

KM: You can do them in the bathtub.

TP: It didn't go that bad.

KM: That is good. It could have been a disaster.

TP: You should see when I did it.

KM: Panic. That is a lot of work to have it. What you are really fortunate that none of the fabrics that you used bleed.

TP: No.

KM: That has happened in the past and that has been a disaster for me, where red will all of a sudden.

TP: No. Tell me about it. I put red with white and I got pink. I ruin my son's. I don't want this anymore.

KM: Nothing worse than pink underwear for a boy.

TP: I know. There is no way I am going to where those any more. But you are right.

KM: So you sister got you involved.

TP: Yes she did, she is the one.

KM: What do you think of her work?

TP: She always love sewing. She has been sewing, she makes dresses and she has her sewing machine. So she is always the one that like to sew stuff. If I want something to sew, 'Hey you, fix this for me.' [laughs.]

KM: That is good. Well thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your time with me. Is there anything else you want to say?

TP: Nope. [laughs.]

KM: That is fine. So this is wonder.

TP: I think I talk more than I should maybe.

KM: No, no. You didn't talk more than you should at all. Thank you very much for sharing your quilt.

TP: Thank you.

KM: I am sure your daughter will be happy to have it back. I am going to conclude our interview.


“Tina Perez,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed April 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1527.