Posts Tagged With: sewing

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

DSC07068 (Copy)I needed a sewing machine needle threader and stopped by Country Cloth in Angels Camp. Christmas kits for avid quilters are quick and easy. Ginger puts them together, her own ideas, and it makes for a quick satisfying project. But, not for me. I already have too many projects on hold. I enjoyed looking, even so.

DSC07070 (Copy)I liked this kit, too. Maybe in my old age. I keep saying that.

DSC07131 (Copy)I LOVE this. Three wise women would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stalls, made a casserole, brought practical gifts and then there would be PEACE ON EARTH. My daughter-in-law keeps this on her table during the season.

DSC07132 (Copy)Her tree is one she and Ken bought from a cut your own tree farm. It is beautiful. I’ve been locked out of my small storage building where I keep my Christmas, Halloween, Easter, decorating stuff. Yesterday, I removed the door. I have little mini plastic trees, but I haven’t gotten them up yet. I’m still doing cards. And, I practically faint at the price of Christmas trees these days. Memory can do a number on you.

DSC07240 (Copy)But, Christmastime is to fun to stay home. I met my friend Marilyn for lunch at Firewood. She came up from Discovery Bay and had a hankering for Fish Tacos. We met a fascinating woman RVer, 77 years old, who travels on her own or with friends, or grandchildren, all over the country on her own. Her name is Kathy Walsh and I got her phone number. Can’t wait to hear more tales of her travels. Anyway, I think Marilyn was a bit embarrassed because I wore this funky hat, and wanted my foot in the picture. I wore the hat because my hair was wet and it wouldn’t behave.  My foot? Just being silly. Marilyn is a great writer and has a published book, but she is not interested in writing another.

Make good the season. Its okay to be silly. Ciao, my friends.

 

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ANNIVERSARIES OF THE HEART

I love this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It really suits my feelings at the end of a year. I miss those family members gone, and as I go through the rituals of Christmas and the new year, I think of them, little memories tickle in, mostly sweet, some regrets. And, I appreciate the sentiment of “anniversaries of the heart.” Here then, the poem. And, a ritual my mother and I shared for more years than I can remember.

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

img178Orella Elizabeth Moore around 1970 (Copy)

My mother was a hard-working person, who tried to make everyone’s dreams come true at Christmas. She cooked enough on Christmas to practically keep all of us full until the New Year. An early riser, she would get up before everyone and savor those early morning moments with her first cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle from the morning paper. Other than that, she rarely took time off for herself, but the week between Christmas and New Years was hers. She’d set up the card table and begin a jigsaw puzzle. Anyone and everyone could take part. If someone dropped in, she would engage them in the puzzle. Time floats away as you concentrate on working a puzzle and she chose them to be challenging. Then on New Year’s day, the puzzle finished, we took down the tree and put the ornaments away. I kept that ritual going in my home after she died but then, somewhere, I stopped working puzzles. And this year, for the first time, I missed putting my ornaments away yesterday.

A couple of days after Christmas, I got into my stuffed full quilting closet and there, the “anniversaries of the heart”, lay hidden. Memories came pouring out. Lacey doilies she had crocheted. Patches she had made for a bedspread. Her handwriting on wisps of paper pinned to fabric describing its future use. Her button collection.

I kept scraps from clothing she wore or made for my daughters. The closet had so many unfinished dreams, I’ve yet to finish the job.

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With most of the material and stuff I’d put into the closet gone, it is looking much neater on this side. My sewing machine is giving me trouble and out of the closet. I gotta find something better.

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On this side of the closet, those nicely closed drawers were so stuffed full, the bottoms were warped and the drawers couldn’t close.

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My office is practically unnavigable for the stuff I unloaded from that closet. Yes, it was full of unfinished projects, but marvelous memories it contained have inspired me anew to finish them. Thanks Mom. Thanks Henry.

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ENJOYING A COLD WEATHER DAY

 

Being snowed in is an opportunity to pick up a quiet project and enjoy the day. I had several tasks that I could complete unhurried. I got news that a service is being held today for my friend Anne Williams which put me in a contemplative mood.

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Years ago, she and I would quilt together, before the rotary cutters and modern quilting innovations. We would have lunch and spend and afternoon chatting and cutting quilt blocks, simple diamond squares or nine squares. We always made rescue quilts, meaning using up salvageable material from old clothing. We didn’t buy new material unless we needed muslin to applique on. Backing material for me was almost always an old sheet. Then I’d make a quilt or she would make a quilt from the blocks. I designed this one for my oldest daughter who was young and single and a runner at the time. The blocks we made were divided into earth and sky. The quilting reads run,run,run on the background pieces.

It isn’t an expert quilt like quilt guilds specialize in today where they nearly mass produce perfect quilts. I think they miss a lot of what I liked about quilting. Maybe not. I shouldn’t judge. But when I examine my quilts and take a few minutes to really look at them, memories of a certain dress I loved, now preserved in a tiny square, delight me. I’m looking at a square dance dress Anne and I made when we served on the design committee one year; a piece of my son’s shirt, a square from my daughter’s blouse. I must have spent a half hour enjoying this quilt.  My friends Pam and Russ own a store called Stories In Stones. Quilts are stories too, each one unique.

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QUILTING SURPRISE

Opening the mail these days, I find more advertising than personal news. But, then, surprise! My adopted daughter, Karen, was published in Quilters Newsletter, a magazine I wrote a beginning writers piece for in 1976.  It didn’t pay much, in fact, it may have paid nothing, but the thrill was indescribable.

Here is Karen’s story that she sent me:

My husband retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2001 after serving for 20 years. To show my appreciation, I decided I would make him a quilted wavy U.S. flag wall hanging. I decided to use curved piecing to make it. He was thrilled with this idea. We went to my fabric stash to pick out the fabric. I cut out all the curved pieces using one template shape. Then the challenge began.

I tried to sew them together on the sewing machine and got so frustrated I gave up. I told him I was sorry; I tried but it was way too difficult for me. Years went by and as I made other quilts he would ask, “What about my flag quilt?” I’ve never been one to give up easily, so I thought, let me try one more time.

Guess what? I did it! I was so proud to have challenged myself, I decided to enter the quilt in the local county fair without him knowing. I talked him into going to the fair to see how my other quilts did. When he saw a red, white and blue quilt, he asked, “Isn’t that like the quilt you’re supposed to make for me?” When he saw the name and quilt label, he turned to me and gave me the happiest smile and biggest hug. I told him it didn’t win a ribbon. He said, “It won Best of Show to me!”  I’ll never forget the look of excitement on his face.Please challenge yourself and be patient. Just think, eight years later, you too can have a finished quilt for someone you love.

Karen is a great quilt artist. She’s a multitasker with, home and family, work, pets and many challenging projects.  She is proud of her quilt, but I’m proudest of all to be surprised by her accomplishments via a prestigious National Magazine. What a thrill!   Smooch!

 

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