It is Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

It IS a special day and I find it interesting how the thoughts about it evolve over the years. I have shared a post before about my mom, who passed away in 1999…here.

Of course, I think of her today and wish she was here, but I am especially thinking of my children and their children, my wonderful “grands”! This includes my daughter and my daughters-in-law.

There really is nothing like having children. The next phase, having grand-children, is almost better. You know, spoil them and send them home and all those cliches.

The truth is, in spite of all the ups and downs of life, seeing how my children parent is, indeed, a blessing for me. Hopefully, they do so well because of the way they were parented, but also in spite of that!

I am blessed with 5 grands ages 20 to 5 (and some very great nieces and nephews too)! We are all spread over the country, which can be sad, but I woke up to a text sending MD love and a request for a FaceTime chat today, so all is well in the world.

My husband commented that some of the hoopla is lost in the rush these days. I had to disagree…I don’t know a mother who would not be so happy to spend some quality time with her offspring and was reminded of that by a post by my DIL on FB this morning…

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Looks like they had a bit of all mom’s favorites!

So, again, to all the moms out there…love your kids and grands and remember how blessed you are today! And THANK YOU to the mom’s in my life!

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Love and hugs!

 

Starry Nights Quilt Story

Every quilt has a story. This is the story of the first real quilt I made.

In the spring of 2015, Jennifer, Jessica or JJ…whatever name she goes by in any given group, asked me to make a quilt for her, as she had just purchased a new home. She is my daughter. I was thrilled. I had only done one quilt project, a small meditation mat in chakra colors, quilted with infinity patterns.

I asked what she had in mind and she mentioned the picture in her bedroom, Starry Nights by Vincent Van Gogh. Ok, now I had some guidelines for her queen-sized quilt. I began the search for fabrics and was excited to create something with that famous painting as a model.

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I didn’t ask her, but I never thought she would want a quilt that looked just like the picture. I thought of using the colors and the painting as inspiration. I began to try laying the prints out in a design that followed the trees, village, stars, moon, etc. That was not working!

I must give credit here to my friend, muse and sew mate, Jude Brown (www.judemadeit.com). She kept me on track and from getting discouraged with this big project I had taken on. I had decided on a random, traditional, almost scrappy pattern with what turned out to be very small squares for this large quilt. Oh well, this is part of who I am…I don’t usually take an easy path!

Finally getting my groove on, I had the squares on the design wall and was ready to sew the strips together. Next step…decide on the backing. Again, never taking the easy way out, I decided to use the same color story and create a modern quilt style back so the quilt would be more or less quilt backreversible. I think somewhere inside me I was afraid JJ would not like the top, so maybe she would like the back.

 

All this took several months! I did not actually start until her birthday, July 16! So it is a birthday and house warming gift at that point. I got the top and the back finished by late August. I was really happy with the outcome of both sides. Then another delay…we had planned a month trip to Italy. I had hopes of getting the quilt done before then, but nope!

Upon our return home, my next job was to sandwich the top and bottom and then the whole thing needed quilting. My hope was to do the quilting, but I soon realized there was no way I could work this large quilt on my small Bernina (the same old machine that had made so many of JJ’s childhood clothes)…20151213_162151_HDR~2

I took the “sandwich” to Kim McCray at Windswept Quilting and am so happy I did. I can’t say how happy I am with the outcome of her quilting on this project. I simply told her I wanted something swirly to go with the theme of the painting. She took it from there with her beautiful freeform work and this makes the whole thing so beautiful! Thank you, Kim!

So, the quilt is finished except for the binding. I am ecstatic and can’t wait to finish to see the completed project. The binding process was a time when I could reflect on so many things and I appreciate having this time mostly alone. Everything about this quilt evokes my love for my daughter. I have remembered, prayed, been frustrated, lifted her up, and more during the process, but during the binding I was particularly aware of how a quilt is like life, how it takes shape with trial and error (especially if it is your first one). The way you can take all these little miscellaneous pieces of fabric and create a masterpiece is kind of amazing. You see, that is what JJ is to me…a masterpiece. I know she, like all of us, is still a work in progress, but I am so proud of the woman she has become. Bumps and bruises, both self-inflicted and mom-inflicted (others too, but this is about us) have been taken in stride and she glows with talent, wisdom and beauty!

As I am writing this I think of a picture that was taken of us long ago…about 22 years…that reflects a bit of a starry theme…20151213_162047_HDR~2

 

 

JJ, may you continue to dream and reach for the stars. May you sleep under this quilt and dream of all your hopes and desires, knowing that I love you and that I am thankful for you and the opportunity to make this quilt, which has now become Merry Christmas too! How could I have known it would mean so much to me!

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Holiday Countdown

As a way to add to my holiday cheer…and maybe yours too…I am going to try to post something holiday related daily until Christmas. (Maybe it will do double-duty to get me back on the blogging track.) My last post  started this all out with my feelings about the holiday this year. Let’s see where this goes. 1953 SantaThis jolly old St. Nick was “born” the same year as I was. My mom bought him that year…1953. He has weathered many moves by her and me and now stands in the entryway of our new home…our first Christmas here. He has yellowed a bit, but I have grayed, so no problem! Right?

Ho Ho Ho…Merry Christmas to you! And remember, Santa is watching!

It is Christmas Time!

Silver Bells

Not everyone thinks of the verses, just the chorus, but the song Silver Bells starts with the words…

“Christmas makes you feel emotional. It may bring parties or thoughts devotional…”

Many people have trouble with the season. I know because I have been one of these and in talking to people, I feel I am not alone. It has become so overly commercialized. It is all about the gifts. We over-everything… over-eat, over-spend, over-indulge, over-stress. There are many who miss the memories of what the holiday used to be like, miss their loved ones who are far away or have passed away or those who are alone.

Then there is the time in which we are living…trouble in the news, crime, terrorism, hate, political jabbing and more. Yes, I am one of those who would rather see good news! But, I digress…sorry! This post is not about that.

I grew up with Christmas that was full. It was full of family, gifts, trees, decorations, food and frankly, a lot of the things I don’t like so much about the holiday now. My mom was a Christmas fanatic. We could find some of her decorations still tucked into some corner of any room in mid-summer. It was impossible to find them all when it came time to put them away!

She was determined to carry on the tradition of family Christmas after her mom passed away, even when most of her siblings had fallen off that wagon. Anyone who wanted to participate was welcome. She worked full time, so this meant one big shopping day on a Saturday during the holidays, because EVERYONE was getting a gift, plus a few gifts for those we might not know were going to show up. Honestly, I don’t recall thinking this was much more than drudgery to go out all day and fight the crowds, but it is what we did. As a child the group of people gathered was large, happy (I think), noisy and again, EVERYONE got a gift. Oh, and did I mention that they were opened one person at a time, starting with the smallest person there. Poor Grandma and Grandpa…by the time it was their turn, all the kids were running around like banshees and not paying a bit of attention to what presents were being opened.

Another thing we always had was music. My mom’s family was all musical. We had a piano in almost every house and others played mandolins, guitars and whatever else they could bring along. So, Christmas carols were shared as part of the festivities too. (I wish I could find some of these pictures to post but unfortunately, most all of them were slides and movies that were somehow lost.)

Families have since clustered around their own growing nucleus, divorced or moved on in other ways. But I think it is important to have those memories and I share here in hopes that you might think of your own memories…old or newer ones. And also that you are remembering to share the joy and love that the season includes, whatever your beliefs may be. If, by some chance, you don’t have fond Christmas memories, what better time to make some? At the same time, you could be creating some good memories for someone else.

I hope you are happy if someone wishes you the best during the holiday season, whatever words they might use, because that is what they are doing…sharing the good wishes of the season with you.

I hope that you are not focusing on all the negatives in the news, but that you are finding and bringing peace to your part of the world. I believe this is the best way to have peace in our world…creating it in the part we can influence or touch, as we can’t really do much outside our own environs.

All of this is the foundation for my feelings this holiday season. Some years I don’t put up a tree or do much to celebrate the season. A mixture of things has made me withdraw from it all. Well, I put up a tree this year…it is unusual and I like it.

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I decided not to do my old standard gorgeous tree with all matching ornaments and perfection. I have used this outdoor spiral tree and decorated it with as many mismatched ornaments as I could find in my stash. Maybe you can see an ornament that you made or gave me…

An ornament made by our grand-daughter about 13 years ago, a whole set of crocheted ornaments from someone who used to work for me and became a friend, a snowman that I hate to admit I don’t know where it came from…maybe someone reading this will claim it, but I had to put it up!

I have many angels on the tree because I definitely believe in angels!

Angels from my sister, more crocheted gifts, an angel from the same grand-daughter, given in 2000.

At the foot of the there are two stockings, one from my sister who asked my hubby to promise to fill it every year and one for my hubby. (If we are blessed with guests on Christmas morning, they will get stockings too!)

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Oh, and there are mice…a custom my sister started for the country and city mice in us!

With all the talk of my mom here, I must mention that there are also ornaments made by her hands…a set of rocking horses…

2015-12-07-19.34.48.jpg.jpeg …there are 6 different styles and I should be ashamed that they have never before graced my tree.

I like this tree a lot. It makes me smile and remember; it makes me think of those far away and/or passed away who have been part of my life and holidays and still light my heart like this tree lights the room.

I have a bit more holiday cheer than I have had for several years. I am grateful and I hope you are finding ways to feel good about the season too.

Oh, and one more thing…if you are thinking of getting me a gift, how about a gift for our world. Create a little peace in your neck of the woods (or you could always get an ornament for my tree so I can think of you when I look at it next year!)

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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Seasons’ Greetings or whatever you like. It is all a way of sharing good wishes.

If you look upon the season from a religious perspective, you know that it is about a great gift of love. If faith is not part of your holiday, you still know that it is about a sense of love, caring and sharing. May God bless each and every one this holiday season and may love be in our hearts.

 

A True Little Story

I just want to share a little true story today. It is NOT a shameless plug for my Etsy shop, but a heartwarming note about love.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10, here in the United States. That means that kids and families will be celebrating the love of moms. Well, this week, too late to ship at a reasonable rate to New York from Oregon, there was an order for a “just a thought” pillow placed in my shop….

mom love This is it…a tiny little love note, if you will.

The man who ordered it had requested delivery in time for Mother’s Day, but it was going to cost $18 to ship it. The pillow sells for $8.

I began a “convo” with the man about the cost to ship vs. the value of the pillow. I am copying his reply below…

“Yes the shipping does seem very silly. $18 shipping for an eight dollar item.  But this is the gift my daughter wants to give my wife for Mother’s Day so it is what it is. Thank you.”

I was touched by several things here. One, the time it took this daughter to search the millions of listings on Etsy to find this one little $8 item that she wanted for her mother. Two, the patience the father exhibited to place the order and communicate with me several times, when he could have taken the girl to a neighborhood store so easily. Three, the willingness to pay this “very silly” price to make his daughter and his wife happy. My reply to him when I posted the bill for the freight difference…

“Happy Mother’s Day to one loved mom!”

It really isn’t about the gift or the cost…it is all about the love!

It is not too late – SPECIAL OFFERS

If you live in the US or Canada…and not sure where else, it is not too late to order a handmade gift for your mother, as May 10th is Mother’s Day.

My Etsy shop offers small tokens or love that say mom, or don’t. I especially like the little “Just a Thought” pillows that are a message she can see all the time and add a sweet little reminder and touch anywhere she might want to place them.

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If you are interested, just until May 3 (through the upcoming weekend) I am offering two discount codes you may use at checkout:

3GETSFREESHIP – free shipping for US orders on purchase of three items

FANDFAM – 40% off your purchase…you are all my friends and family!!!!

There are plenty of other items to choose too…bags, bowls, home décor, jewelry, purses…

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feel free to take a look!