Friday, May 31, 2013

Whoop -ti-do

Last night while I was getting ready for bed, I was thinking about friendship. My very best friend is moving. I'm going to miss her terribly. She is moving two states away and I'm happy for her because she is going back to the place she loves and has lived in before. Just the same, I'm feeling very disconsolate. Which is why friendship was on my mind last night.

In our lives here on earth, we have a tremendous blessing. We have friends. Do you know the saying, "You can't choose your relatives but you can choose your friends"? We can choose wonderful, delightful, unimaginable friends.

My thoughts were lead to the many glorious friends I have had. Which then lead to friends who have had an immeasurable affect on my life. To the things that were said or done when I needed them most.

My friend, Marian, who is moving, is a good place to start. She is a friend to many people. She makes more baby and child quilts than anyone I know. When a couple she knows lost their home to a fire, Marian organized a group of women in the church to make a quilt for their new home. She made the quilt herself, then asked these women to help tying it. Not many did. None stayed to make sure it got finished, but Marian stayed the course. This lovely offering of friendship was the way she showed how much she cared. She has been a boon in my life. Offering amazing amounts of help when I needed it. She gave sound advice. Asked the right questions. And, without exception, listened to my boundless narratives of what was going on in my life. I fervently hope that the phone line will keep that spark alive.

Then there was...

...Lana, a friend when I three young children, who listened to my worry about my house being kept
neat and clean. She then asked, "I didn't think people with three children were able to have clean houses."

...the woman who was an assistant in a summer school class I taught. We talked about tough times that inevitably show up in our lives. She shared with me a quote that gave her hope in turbulent times. "Adversity is a dragon with a gift in its mouth."

...when I was struggling to find an elementary school teaching job in a glutted market, there was a woman in an interview panel, who looking that I had a bachelors  in teaching of visually impaired children, but without a credential in that state, children asked, "Why don't you get your credential to teach VI?" It changed my destiny. Two years later I had the my credential for teaching the visually impaired and 25 years later still am enjoying teaching these children.

...Hillary, a true-hearted friend, helped me through the final two years of my mother's long battle
with breast cancer. She started urging me to see a geneticist who would determine my chances of getting breast cancer. I was paralyzed and didn't want to go. You see, my mom's oncologist had told my mom that I had a 75% chance of getting breast cancer. After watching her 12 years of slow decline from her first surgery to the end, I was overwhelmed with the fear that I would repeat that heart-wrenching scenario. Hillary continued to kindly urge me to see that geneticist. In the end, I acquiesced. Hillary went with me to San Francisco for the appointments, over an hour drive away. Thank goodness she did. I found my chances of getting cancer were just a little above that of the general population. My life had been given back to me because of my loving friend.

...the night I found a truly lovely yellow flower on my doorstep, wrapped in a wet paper towel. Just a glance at it brightened my day. I was thrilled with this tiny flower that made a surprising and beautiful end of my day. It was my neighbor Victoria.

...the women who showed up to help me move. The moving van had already taken most things to the new house, but my husband, by no design, left quite a bit of things that I would have to bring in my tiny card. On that morning, five women showed up ready to use elbow grease to clean my house. I had planned to help them clean, but found myself running around trying to get the remainder of items together to
fit into my small car. I became more agitated as time went by. I took my daughter aside and tearfully told her how awful I felt about leaving the women to clean. A very little bit of time layer in came one more lady to help. She came bustling in her arms full of a bag of bagels and cream cheese and orange juice. "I brought some bagels for breakfast," she announced. She then proceeded to take the cleaning task under her organizational hand. With her kind supervision, she took over and organized the tasks and made sure the house got clean without me having to split the time between packing and keeping the cleaning going. She lifted my burden, brightened and restored my day. I was, and am exceedingly grateful. In my book, she's an angel.

...the last one I will tell about. It was the first Christmas I would go through without my mom. My husband was away for business. I was achingly lonely and forlorn. A ring of the bell and on my doorstep stood five women from my church. They had stopped by to give me back some items I had donated to a party. They asked me what Christmas carol was my favorite. I chose Silent Night. Then they sang Silent Night for me. A cold winter night. Five women lovingly sing a sacred Christmas song on my doorstep to a teary-eyed young mom who was hurting terribly for her mother. They lifted my burden and lightened my tender heart. They changed my life from then on. I lay in bed thinking long after they left. I pondered for at least an hour before sleep overcame me. I saw the direction my life was taking and realized there were some parts that had to be changed. I had lost my faith through the dismal decline and death of my mother. By their love, I realized that it came from women who were demonstrating God's love for every individual. That night they had answered a prompting to come and visit me. In turn I realized that I needed to go join in the fellowship of my church and get my spiritual life on track. It transformed my life. Five charitable women, who loved me, singing on my doorstep.

It is my hope that each of you have enjoyed many friendships as I have. Who is it you are thinking of right now? Share with me, in the comments, the sweet friendship that enriched your life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

Gather around, ye gentle quilters, and heed my cautionary tale. I have great hopes that none shall ever experience this nefarious deed by giving ear to me now.

I spent a year of my quilting life working on the Farmer's Wife Quilt with a group of women. We were making two blocks a week. Not only that there are 111 blocks. It was a formidable, arduous, Herculean one-year project.  These very difficult six-inch blocks, some having 50-74 pieces, took every bit of the two weeks for me to make. But wait, I also paper-pieced them. All those itty-bitty pieces. (If you've made a Dear Jane quilt, I apologize for whining. But, I mean, who would ever be crazy brave enough to make a gazillion four-inch blocks?)

When I had made sweated over half a gazillion blocks, okay--somewhere around 35--I put them up on my design wall to gaze at their glory. And to provide me incentive to soldier on.

Here is where the tale takes a mournful turn. I left the blocks on the design wall. Every day I would pass by the design wall and bask in the glory of six-months work.

One afternoon, as I walked into my house from a grueling day at work, I spied something horrific on the floor.
Horror of horrors, hubby's horrid cat had chewed off the corners of two of my blocks! In fairness I should attest that we had two cats in the house. One was mine, Newt, who never, ever chew on his beloved mistress' quilt blocks. It could only be the evil Cleo, my hubby's cat.

You can see the evil in her eyes.

I should have seen it coming.
 Avert your eyes if you are of the sensitive nature. Behold the destruction!

I think I'm going to extract every tooth out of her mouth.

After that, I'm not giving her any dentures either!

She'll just have to gum her food for the rest of her life!
I immediately called hubby at work and told him that he was lucky his cat was still alive!

I then concocted a suitable welcome home for my hubby. I found two cat stuffies and hung 'em high on the front porch. Then I made some crosses and little graves and put them in the backyard.

Then I drug that horrid little feline out and showed her the fate of those who eat my quilt blocks. She pretended to be cool, you know how cats are. But she's never touched another block of mine again!

I put on the funeral dirge and waited for hubby to come home.

And here's how focused my hubby is...he walked right in and didn't even see the cats! But I made sure he did. Oh yes, I made sure he did! Those atrocious (stuffed) cats suffered a fitting death!

Design Wall & Memorial Day

Memorial Day is upon us again. I have been reflecting on the many, many soldiers who have given their lives to keep us a free nation. What selfless sacrifices were made. What untold suffering. I've been pondering on the Revolutionary War and the heroism displayed in a small, ragtag assortment of freedom-seeking people. Against all odds and countless sacrifices and death, these stalwart men achieved an unimaginable victory against the strongest nation in the world.

The Civil War was a fierce battle to obtain the rights for every person, regardless of color, to have the basic right: the right to be free to think for themselves, to direct their lives according to their choices and not be "owned" by anyone but themselves.

In both World Wars, the United States again fought valiantly against foreign foes to secure our freedom. My uncle was one of them. My son serves and daughter served in the Army during the current war. I count them as heroes.

I hope we can all remember and revere the heroes that have fought and are fighting to keep America the proud nation of freedom for all. I don't know your feelings about war but whatever they may be we can all honor the men and women who have been in the Military to do their duty and are filled with honor.

There is no conceivable way I can segue into the next subject: my design wall.

Here it is!

Just a portion of the blocks for the log cabin

Having a three-day weekend is always signal to me for lots of quilting! Thrilling!

Saturday I valiantly started squaring my blocks for the Log Cabin. I was going to add more strips that day. Yee haw. I couldn't wait to see the next light added on.

And from here it went downhill....

businesses,businessmen,cliffs,dangers,men,metaphors,over the edge,persons,risks

Some of the blocks were coming out perfect--yeah!!!!

A little less than half of them though...

cartoons,emotions,females,metaphors,persons,rain clouds,sad,sadness,unhappy,weather,women

wouldn't square up. Grief.  Agony. Woe. Agony.  Add your own adjective here: ____________

I was laying them out with my square ruler and drawing where the seam line needed to be to make it square. Nice idea, if it worked. I was drawing seamlines that were sometimes 1/8 of an inch. I cast around for solutions. I could tear them apart and start over. 31 blocks. I could sew a small piece of material to each edge to extend the block. I went with this plan. Separated all the naughty ones out to be in my quilt. Suddenly, I remember Ricky Tims, in a workshop, saying to a women who had the same problem as I. "Well, darlin', you just wet it down and iron it to death!"

I gave it a try worked!!! So the picture you see is of some of the 31 blocks pinned to my ironing/cutting surface. I made a template where the 5" was cut out of the center. I wet down the blocks thoroughly and stretched and pinned them to the right size.

The funny thing is that just by wetting them down and smoothing them out they pretty much stretched out to the right size.

Now I'm off to unpin them and sew my little heart out. I can't wait to see the next light side put on. Hmmm.....didn't I say the same thing Saturday?

iCLIPART,luminous,modern designs,neon,red hearts,textures,Valentine's Day

I'm hooking up with:
Patchwork Times.
I have to say
freshly pieced
sew much ado
A Creative Princess

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