So, it’s day 6 of the 31 day blogging challenge and it’s been quite a week here. I think this is my third post of six. Sigh. At school, it’s been grading and making new courses for second trimester. At the second job, it’s the Christmas rush at the candy store. At home, it was my husband’s 70th birthday on Thursday. Instead of the large celebration we’d have had if he was still here, we had a quiet family dinner. It was still nice and comforting. This is the picture of Phil that came up in my Facebook feed on his birthday.
And even today, which was set aside for getting the tree in the morning and sewing and cleaning the rest of the day has taken a sudden turn with a text from job 2 that two people called out and they desperately need help. So I’ll be putting in an 8-hour shift instead. But what else can you do when your team needs you? My coworkers at both jobs were amazing about covering for me when Phil was in the hospital and when my mom died. I’m so grateful for all of them! If you have to go through such awful times, it’s an amazing comfort to have such wonderful family, friends, neighbors and coworkers supporting you.
So, Oregon is doing what Oregon does best (raining) and we’re getting our tree anyway. My girls and I have odd schedules and you have to take opportunities where you find them. I’m off to find my hiking boots because it’s likely to be muddy and to put some towels in the truck.
And, if I’m lucky, I can still sneak in some quilting time… although the cleaning may have to wait. Priorities, you know.
Yep, I missed a day. And normally I’d probably stress about that but, really, where’s the point of that? This blogging thing is about fun, right?
So, why’d I miss? Well, I spent most of yesterday creating courses for the master schedule for school and my evening working at the candy shop. Cyber Monday was strangely quiet at the mall… I’m sure tomorrow night will be ramped back up. I’m more grateful than ever for the second job (and the first, of course) because between that and my daughter, I’m able to pay my mortgage. And I really v like having somewhere to live and my fabric REALLY likes having somewhere to live!
So, today’s prompt was machine and yesterday’s was sewing room so here’s a little of each. I have a wonderful room at the top of the house, and, well, a few machines.
I’m a sucker for vintage machines… and I’m not going to admit how many I have! But I will tell you that a lovely friend gave me a vintage machine as a gift after my husband and mom passed. I’m lucky to have so many friends who understand me!
That’s all from me tonight. I work again tomorrow night so hopefully I can post at lunch.
So, I decided to participate in the 31-day blogging challenge hosted by Cheryl Slebota. Prompts start with introductions so, if we haven’t met, I’m Beth. I’ve been quilting since I was 19 which means I’ve been quilting for 37 years (and I have the UFO collection to prove it!) I’m mostly a piecer and quilter…I quilt my own quilts on my domestic machine(s.) I have a bit of a love affair with fabric, vintage machines and can’t turn away an orphan UFO.
My life took an unexpected sorrowful turn this fall when my husband died unexpectedly and my mother died suddenly on the morning of his funeral. There is a whole lot of sad right now but quilting and quilters are comforting.
I’m looking forward to writing a little each day and sharing my time with you.
When Phil died, the girls decided we should have bright colors at his memorial. They wanted something that wouldn’t be sad and gloomy. He loved bright colors, Hawaiian shirts, and, while he cut a handsome figure in a suit, he loved his bright shirts.
Over the years, I’ve made several signature quilts. Generally these are quilts with lots of white space. I like to think of them as condolence cards or get well cards that you can wrap yourself in. So, I made a quilt for Phil. There will be quilts I make in his memory, quilts I make that remind me of happier times, quilts I make with fabric we bought together…but this was a quilt that would hold a special place in my heart because it would hold the words of people who also loved him.
I made a simple Sawtooth Star with white centers and Hawaiian prints from a pack a dear friend had brought me.
I quilted it with loops and hearts… immersing myself in memories.
Then, I gave the quilt and fabric markers to my very talented step-daughter and step-son-in-law who are both artists.
They added their beautiful drawings first and then we asked friends at the memorial to sign it.
I added an embroidered label to the back.
All those kind words and loving wishes give this quilt a special place in my heart. It reminds me of the many lives Phil touched and how many people loved him.
I miss my guy more than I can say. It’s been eight weeks and it feels like forever. I can’t look very far down the future because it’s too hard to think about right now…but I can take the next stitch, and then the next one after that as I patch together a new pattern from the pieces left of my old life.
Each stitch counts.
Carla over at Creatin’ in the Sticks put together this fun Stitch It and Gift It Blog Hop. Now, I have been wanting to make some more environmentally friendly gift bags for Christmas for a while. I happen to have a few older “pillow panel” sets in Christmas prints and thought I’d just see what I could do. I wanted my bag to be substantial with quilted sides so that the present within wouldn’t be too obvious.
To make my bag, I simply added red borders to the top and bottom of the pillow panel. I quilted each panel to a backing fabric (great use for what I call the “old uglies” as they’ll never be seen again.) I sewed around three sides leaving a 1.5″ break in the stitching on one side.
Then I boxed my corners and added my lining (leaving a hole in the bottom of the lining stitching to turn it through.
After I pressed and top-stitched the opening, I created a casing by stitching two lines of stitching at the top and bottom of the side opening. A 3.5″ pair of strips made a quick and easy tie by just sewing them wrong sides together.
Now, I honestly have no idea what gift will go in this bag but it’s likely to be the best-dressed one under our tree!
Be sure to check out all the other bloggers and their great ideas…there’s plenty of stitching time left!
Monday, November 11th
Tuesday, November 12th
Wednesday, November 13th
Thursday, November 14th
Friday, November 15th
I’ve decided that if what my girls are doing is “adulting” then what I’m doing is “widowing.” Widowing is a bit different than adulting….
1. You didn’t choose it (well, if you did then I refer you to Orange is the New Black for advice because that’s not in my wheelhouse…)
2. It’s lonelier than adulting because it can feel like all the good parts of adulting are behind you.
3. It’s an opportunity to be profoundly grateful for all you still have or bitter for all you’ve lost. Or both, at once, or in turns…. whatever.
4. It’s a journey… maybe not the one you thought you were taking… but you still have a choice to enjoy the view.
5. Quilting helps. Quilting with friends helps. Quilting alone helps. Not that it changes anything but the act of creating is life affirming. (Also, having a good stash of fabric when your finances are suddenly very different is a blessing. )
So what have I been working on? My class is back to full swing and we’re charging ahead with wonky stars. Wonky stars are a great beginner tool for teaching angles and joining blocks.
Look at these beauties! (And the stars are pretty, too!)
Me, I haven’t made much headway on anything in particular but did start some vortex scrapping.
I’m also starting think of what try to sew for Christmas.
I’ll be honest, widowing is tough. I’m exhausted at the end of each day. The other morning, I rolled over half asleep and threw my arm over where Phil should have been. I woke with a start when my arm dropped to the mattress. I want to call my mom and tell her things and then remember I can’t. But friends help, the kind you see in person and the kind you have online.
Thank you, my friends.
Hello,You know, I have a confession to make…I don’t really decorate for Halloween but with the projects I’ve been making for this hop (and the Halloween stash I’ve accumulated) I’m going to have to start!This year, I made quick work of a panel I bought while traveling to Phil’s high school reunion. He was always so great about hitting some quilt shops when we traveled. I decided, with lots of input from my youngest, to add a border treatment and some wonky stars.
I’ll be showing more wonky stars soon as my sew talented class is working on them.I need to thank Carol at Just Let Me Quilt for both hosting this hop and for changing the schedule so I’d have a little more time. Be sure to visit the other hoppers!
October 11 – TODAY
I’ve not been able to share this yet and I’ve been struggling with what to say. So I thought I’d do what I always do and tell my mom about it. Feel free to listen in.
We made it to Oakland and I have some time between flights so I thought I’d write to you. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I keep telling people that if I was reading a novel and a character came out of her room to find her mom collapsed and passed away in the stairway…. well, I’d say the author was laying it on pretty thick. But there you were.
I’m grateful it was quick for you. And I’m grateful that you got to have your last evening with all four of your kids together. I imagine you stepped into Heaven and had a few words with God about timing… and it makes me smile to think of you in your five-foot nothing self giving the Almighty an earful. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that losing you so soon after losing Phil was a crushing blow.
You were widowed so young, Mom, just 38 when dad died. I realized later that you died in the same month 50 years later. I was planning on learning how to do this widow life from an expert. I guess you’ll just have to guide from above.
You were my only parent for 50 of my 56 years and you taught me so much. You taught me to look for joy and find it in little things. You taught me, in the words of Aunt June, “You just do what you have to do. ” And I’ll keep doing it, Mom. You loved us, worried about us, encouraged us, and listened to us. (Especially me since I probably talk more than the other three combined. )
People tell me I’m holding up amazingly well. That’s only because I’m a good actress… and because you taught me to be strong. And to appreciate what you still have. And one of the things I have is precious memories of you… the long talks, the travel, the shared love of books and art and the example always in front of me of how to keep going.
I love you, Mom. I’m sure I’ll write more soon.
So today is show and tell day and there’s been a lot going on that I’m not going to talk about in this post so I’m going to do more showing than telling.
I decided to figure out what to do with the sample red, white and blue version I made of my block. I didn’t really want to finish it as a small quilt but I didn’t want a fussy set of borders, either. My solution…more star points! Really big ones! My little 30″ block has ballooned to a 60″ top with the addition of one more set of star points.
I’d like to say that I used the different backgrounds for balance but it turns out I just didn’t have a lot of tan prints in big pieces! I started with 16″ squares cut on the diagonal for the star points. Then I trimmed them to 15.5. Now, I’m thinking of adding a narrow blue border, or maybe more tan to float it? And perhaps a piano key (oops, I did say not fussy, didn’t I?)
There are more prizes up for grabs today and you can enter here. (Be sure to follow the sideways arrow to enter all the giveaways!) I’d like to thank Marian at Seams to be Sew and all our lovely sponsors for this hop.
I’d also like to thank each of you who commented on the loss of my husband. It was three weeks ago yesterday and we’ve been hit with another loss which will wait for its own post. (I’ve been trying for a week to write a post that won’t be written…denial, perhaps?) But I will tell you that every kind word was a help to my spirit.
In the meantime, please visit all the other talented people in today’s line up. You’ll be glad you did!
Show and Tell’s Featured Projects
Just Let Me Quilt
Words & Stitches
Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Ursula Prandtstetter at Tuning My Heart Quilts
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Linda B Creative
Charlie???s Daughter at Bobbin In Quilts
Seams To Be Sew – Layout Tutorial
I love participating in the Row Along every year and I’m especially excited to play around with the fun, whimiscal fabric from Northcott! Unfortunately, my Northcott version is incomplete. As you will know if you read my last post, my husband, Phil, passed away on September 15th. It was sudden and unexpected and devastating. Needless to say, my life is more than a little disorienting right now.
For my block, I choose Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I love, love, love Sawtooth stars and use them frequently. Here’s my block in it’s entirety in my practice colors
And here’s the beginning of my block featuring this pretty pink with grey accents fabric!
My instructions for the block are right here Twinkle, Twinkle by Beth Strand
The wonderful folks at Northcott are supporting our row along with prizes including this lovely bundle
I love a good ocean theme, don’t you?
All you need to do is enter here.
Many, many thanks to all the wonderful sponsors and to Marian at Seams to Be Sew for coordinating all of this. I think she’s earned the title of Chief Cat Herder!
Be sure to check out all of today’s designs and there are lots of prizes, too!
From My Carolina Home | Words & Stitches | Tuning My Heart Quilts
May your quilting be a balm to your soul as it is to mine.
Twinkle, Twinkle by Beth Strand