Friday, November 29, 2013

The Tenacity of Quilts

In the early 80's, God provided for this Young Mama, a neighbor, a confidant, a helper, a friend in the shape of an older mama, (just two years older than I am now), to come along side me to help me adjust to being away from my family for the first time.  Due to a job change, my young family packed up and moved three hours north from my home town.  I had a three year old and a nine month old in tow and felt lost, discombobulated and overwhelmed.  At the exact same time, my neighbor had just retired and was wondering how to fill her days.

My, my.  Did we ever cover that nagging question!

This needy young mom clenched onto her loving, caring ways with a firm grip.
This Wonderful Woman babysat my children, taught me how to paint on china, shared her vast life learned wisdom and encouraged my creativity.  I was known to ask her over for supper and have her bring the main course.  And she did with a great deal of entertainment and enjoyment. 


 Wonderful Woman had a plethora of friends that she introduced us to as we entangled ourselves into her life.
We were embraced readily as her buds could see what a blessing our rag tag group was to her.

 One friend in particular was an excellent crafter.  She could fashion huge wool rugs out of strips of old coats.  She could quilt like no other.  And she promised to share these crafts with me.  A stroke robbed her of much of her capabilities and as dementia took over her life, my opportunity to learn from a master evaporated.
Before she met her devastating fate, she handed off to me, a legacy of her talent.
As a young woman in the 1930's, she pieced a quilt top and like most of us quilters, she packed it away, 'for another time'.
Why she deemed me worthy to complete this quilt, I have no idea but I am ever so glad she did.

 My skills were undeveloped at that time so I folded it carefully and refolded it on occasion, plotting and planning for the day that I would complete it.  Pregnant with my fourth child in 1987, I decided to attempt the quilt.  I began adding appliqued hearts to the white spaces because my fourth child was destined to be a Valentine's baby.
I probably got through two rows of hearts when my Baby Girl arrived and the reality of caring for four children prompted me to, once again, fold up the quilt and store it for another time.

 Fast forward to 2012 and my Baby Girl announced the arrival of her second child, a daughter.  With her first child, she had a clear plan of a quilt  that she wanted her firstborn to possess from her Mimi.  But the second one came before the second birthday of the first and quilt planning was less important to a very busy young mama.
Then I remembered the very vintage quilt tucked away in my stash and my memory.
I showed Baby Girl the unfinished attempt at the heart applique that I attempted for her and she liked it.  She acquired fabric scraps from her mother in law's fabric stash from her grandmother and added some checked flannel from BG's grandfather's pajamas, and we were set to begin. 

Last fall, as we awaited Baby Girl #2, I cut and sewed (enlisting the help of Most Loving Friend during a weekend visit) and prepared this long ago quilt.  Kindred Spirit friend donated fabric to me while on a visit last summer, that would work perfectly as the backing.  I added some free form black stitched embroidery to the borders, to make it more me.  I embroidered flowers, pumpkins, swirls and leaves and her lovely name, Della James, as we traveled this past October to Kansas City to visit their new location.  The heavy weight of the near completed quilt provided close quarters in the front seat of the car as we journeyed the many miles to their new home.
There was just enough fabric from the stash to complete the bindings on this quilt.
I pieced what I could salvage, determine to use the memorable fabric to it's fullest.
Then, this week, this holiday week, I worked on hand stitching all the bindings to finalize this long awaited project.
Last night, Thanksgiving Evening, seated amongst my dear ones, in front of the fire, I completed this quilt, started over 80 years ago by a woman who entrusted me to the task.

Quilters, keep an eye to legacy when creating a quilt.  Quilters, understand that your talent has merit and the memories created with a quilt is worthy.  Remember to entrust others to projects that will be seen to fruition....someday... and that your story will be told years from when you started your project and that is okay.

Quilts are stories in fabric and quilters weave the story.
See to it that you find or create your story for yourself and your family.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Most Serendipitous Birthday

If you have been patiently following this blog, you might notice that I am quite enthralled with the kismetian aspect of life.  I enjoy those 'chance occurences', those 'coincidental oddities', those 'only we could have this happen to' moments.
And this past birthday has proven, once again, that my little family certainly flies close together while we are miles apart.
Many years ago, my sisters and I would laugh, long distance, about how we managed to send our parents the same or very similar card for some important occasion.  We often sent each other the same cards for holidays.  Fun, family stuff.

But my little gang really did it this time.

 This past summer, during one of our rare visits as a group, Eldest/Administrator and Baby Girl and I, stumbled upon a most delightful booth at our local Farmer's Market.  Pam Voorhies has put together a 'little' business of making signs with all sorts of heartfelt, whimsical sayings on them, expertly combining colors and fonts to please the eye and to decorate your abode.   Needless to say, E/A, BG and I were smitten.  E/A found a sign perfect for her Hazel Jane's bedroom and I. Found. Mine.

Those that know me, know my love for my porch.  ALL of my porches from each stage of my married life.
  I plan each winter as to the layout of each year's porch, that important summer room. I have utilized the tiniest of screened in porches, rejoiced in a windowed in porch in my first married apartment and now glory in my broad eaved veranda that has been our seasonal perch for fifteen summers now.

Life slows down on the porch. 
 You are out there for only one reason: to relax.  There are no dishes to do on the porch.  There are no bathrooms to clean on the porch.  There are only cooling breezes, books and magazines to read and people to draw into this lovely.

 The conversations that have taken place on my porch, go deeper than most.  Secrets are shared, hearts are exposed and burdens are lifted.  Magical.  Spiritual.

At the time of the discovery of  Little Red Porch and it's goodness, I could not justify the expense for such a treat that I really didn't know where it would even go in my already overladen walls.  And E/A so wanted a sign as well.  I sighed, put my little covetousness on the shelf and went on my way.

But I kept thinking about the porch sign.

  Every week at Farmer's Market, I visited 'my' sign.  One week, I saw where she had come up with another one that stated, 'Life is Better on the Farm'.  PERFECT for BG's in laws.  I quickly messaged BG and her MIL and let them know that they had to get that sign toot sweet.  And they did.  And I was just the teensiest bit jealous at their good fortune.

Several times, I visited LRP's etsy and several times I was tempted.  But Hubby and I are on limited income these days since Retirement visited our home.  So I would acquiesce.

Then one day, I had a brilliant idea.  As you know, my family has a Code Word that is just for us.  LYSMICETY will show up on our notes, cards and banners. ( ) Love You So Much I Can't Even Tell You is our slogan, our motto, our family solidarity.  I thought it was highly appropriate, for Christmas, to tell each of them and their families in solid, colorful, wood.  Something that will survive the years and remind them each of their importance in this family.  I could envision cousins being comforted in knowing that they belonged to each other as they visited each other's homes...

Quick as a bunny, I sent LRP and the lovely Pam a message and the process began.  I told her I was in no hurry as Christmas was many weeks away.

 in lands far away, some Birthday Gift Planning was taking place, unbeknownst to me.

The time came when the signs were dry and ready to be picked up at Pam's Little Red Porch in a little town nearby.  I looked at my burgeoning schedule and tried to figure out how to pick up all of the signs in a timely manner.  (I do not drive and thus the arrangements.)

LRP contacted me that she was going to be headed my way and would I prefer to just meet her at the local MickyD's to make the exchange of goods and services.  I was gleeful at the ease of it and the prospect of viewing the ordered signs.

Halloween Night came with a chill, so Hubby and I decided to kindle the fireplace so that we could roast hot dogs for supper as we answered the door to the ghoulies and ghosties of Halloween.  We informed Youngest Son that this was commencing in the Big House and he could not resist a good inside weinie roast with the prospect of viewing costumed little ones at our door.

In the course of our fireside chat, I mentioned that I had an early morning meeting at McDonalds.  YS was very intrigued as to the reason: 1 Why  I would have an early morning meeting.  2.  That it would be at McDonalds.  I noticed that for a fireside chat, he was awfully interested in his cell phone, but in this day and age, it's not terribly unexpected.  I also couldn't help but notice that he asked me Three Times why I was going to McDonalds at 9am.

Being the kind of mother that I am, I replied to his queries, 'None of your business.'

When I refused to tell his nosy self, he responded to me (after much consulting to his cell screen, communicating with E/A, that I really needed to tell him since HE had a 9am meeting at McDonalds as well......

The roar of laughter that emitted from me was epic.
I could not believe the coincidence regarding the whole situation.
I could not believe that two orders headed to the same house without any pre planning, landed at the same early morning drop off by the same innocent artist who HAD NO IDEA THE TWO ORDERS WERE IN THE LEAST CONNECTED! 

What fun it was to pick up the orders and have a good giggle with Pam as to her unsuspecting complicity!
What fun to see my children ban together to get their poor mama the sign that she kept referring to and whining over!
What fun to see what the whole scenario means to us!
What fun to see O'Henry sacrificial giving in action!
What fun to now have my beloved sign on my wall and all the fun filled meaning that it has to me!

Thank you Pam at Little Red Porch for your talent and time!

Thank you, dear children, for making your mama's 60th memorable and sweet - you all are the best....

(ps.  Baby Girl's birthday card came in the mail today - compare it to E/A's...Similiar?  I think so....Love. It.)

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