Tag Archives: blessings

A rebooting of sorts….

We’re home from holiday; my youngest daughter married her partner whilst on vacation, so I have a new son-in-law.  The wedding was small, a larger affair scheduled for next spring.  This alteration isn’t due to Mom’s death, but better news; The Burrito will get a little brother before the end of this year and his folks decided to adjust their nuptials accordingly.  Which means a wedding quilt is now in the works, which I officially started this morning.

Not exactly hexies, but definitely paper piecing….

Well, I began glue-basting honeycombs a couple of days ago, but now a block’s worth of paper pieces are waiting to be sewn together.  Not sure if that will commence today, but at least I managed to arrange these shapes into something eye-pleasing.

Our vacation was fraught with airline mishaps, but those were set aside amid the wonder of Miss Em learning to pull herself to standing, as well as three-year-olds having a fabulous time on boat rides.  In the flurry of wedding prep I was able to forget what happened in June, enjoying a brief window of life as it ever was.  Coming home, I immediately went north to help pack up Mom’s house.  However my siblings did a bang-up job, so instead I assisted in a new bride going through her closets and The Burrito’s wardrobe.  Not only did I bring home mementos of my mother, but bags of 2 and 3T sized clothes waiting for another little one in which to romp and roam.

Cousins awaiting the big event; my sister-in-law turned these into gorgeous bouquets and boutonnieres with blooms to spare.

Some items left for me didn’t make it to Silicon Valley; I gave my father’s quilt to my youngest, as when I made it she lamented the aged fleece blanket used for the back.  Upon inspection, my hand-sewing has stood the test of the last four and a half years, making me long to again hand-sew a quilt top.  Right now more comforters than I can count await my machine, one of which is for an impending grandson.  Fortunately that blanket won’t be more than some whole cloth quilting that I will probably do on my machine to save time.

I designed this today, adding some hastily cut up batiks to round out the necessary large squares. I’m happy with it, and we’ll see when I get around to sewing it together.

Saving time…. That’s a funny concept as August is already half gone, this summer still feeling like I’m dwelling in an alternate universe.  Glue-basting honeycombs and 1″ squares was also a part of it; what has happened to all my lovely routines?  Everything’s different, and yes I know that’s a part of life but, but, but….  In checking out Dad’s quilt, I was sent back to when both of my parents were alive, no grandkids were present, The Hawk just a shell of itself.  Dad’s quilt remains, my novel turned behemoth is done, a fourth nieto is on the way, and now I paper piece.  My, my, my; that’s a lot of changes.

Up close with my dad’s quilt; no obvious weak seams, yay!

Right after Mom died, I thought about what I was grateful for, because even during a storm taking stock of the blessings matters.  Goodness knows I have heaps of treasures, and I am cognizant of them.  But recently I shared with some of Mom’s sisters that I feel like everything, little and large, looks as though a veil has been removed.  I then expounded upon that with my youngest sister that the accompanying glare is pretty damn bright and boy I’m tired of squinting.  I’m weary of all this newness, wondering for how long will the sensation last, or is this just how the rest of my life will be, constantly staring out finding yet another long-held tenet is askew.  I don’t know, nor will I find that answer immediately.  I suppose if I live to be an old lady, squinting won’t seem odd mostly because my eyesight will be shot.  And if I do live a long time, with most of my wits about me, will I still miss my parents or might this enormous sense of loss remain?

My first quilt, now in a new home. What tales could this comforter tell….

Plenty of queries, maybe as many as the quilts waiting to be fashioned.  I can’t fathom when I might write again, but it’s not like I’m aching for distractions; I’m most grateful for fabrics and thread and my ironing board.  And exceedingly thankful for my family, their patience overflowing.  One more is on the way, due the day before Mom’s birthday, and I’m very appreciative of that too.  Maybe that’s the biggest lesson of all, saying Thank You while I still can.

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Hexies, a nieta, and superheroes

The Hulk vs scrap triangles….

Little Miss spent the weekend with her abuelo and me, days full of new discoveries.  At nearly three years old, my eldest grandgirl loves to play with stuffed animals, listen to stories, dig in the garden, and design with triangle scraps on the big quilt wall.  A trip to the park elicited plenty of discussion about squirrels that make Buttercup bark, plus we checked out fabric that will become a cover for her big girl blanket.

And the superheroes win….

Thankfully I remembered to prewash those prints, and will attempt to complete that project before her birthday at the end of the month.  And since she’s gone, so are the triangles that she happily laid over the wall.  She loves The Hulk, calls him the Big Green Guy.  Her duvet cover will be a mix of Marvel fabrics, with some princesses thrown in for good measure.

For good measure was sort of the theme of the weekend, as our usually quiet household became the domicile of a little girl.  She’s not a toddler anymore, inquisitive and imaginative with her own preferences, like for superheroes.  She even appreciates basketball, cheering when a bucket is made.  I’m looking forward to surprising her with this t-shirt on her birthday; it’s way too big, but could double as a nightgown until she grows into it.

Hexies are still popular in her little girl world.  Only this morning did I wonder how might unwashed fabric shrink on a prewashed t-shirt.  I’ll know soon enough, ahem.

Easier to affix than I thought, more in getting it centered correctly.

Not that I foresee myself doing much garment sewing; I don’t like patterns very well, or rather I’m bad at interpreting them.  I prefer winging it, lol, even if it means occasionally forgetting to wash fabrics until right before beginning a project.  I would have kicked myself had I constructed the cover, only then realizing what might have been a big mistake.

She liked sliding at the park.

Fortunately the only loss was a little time spent on ironing those fabrics, small potatoes in the long run.  Little Miss loved examining them after I took them from the dryer, then questioning me as I trimmed the frayed edges.  “Why that look like that Grandma?”  Hard to explain the difference between a selvage and where the fabric is cut, but I think I answered her sufficiently.

If you had asked me five years ago to predict what I’d be doing now, there’s no way I could have dreamed up this past weekend, but then isn’t that the beauty of life?  When I think to all that has occurred in the last half decade, these little slices are just as vital as the major events.  This past weekend is a huge portion of my granddaughter’s life, not that she’ll remember it, but the essence will remain; hexies and The Hulk, fabric and basketball and so many books enjoyed.  I told her that my grandparents had a huge vegetable garden, and at her age I sat amid rows of strawberries, eating to my heart’s content.  She’ll outgrow her pink hexie shirt, but I bet another will have been added to her wardrobe.  Maybe quilts aren’t the only reason I took up sewing.

An abuelo and his nieta keeping each other balanced.

I can list all the blankets I hope to make, or endlessly ponder various novel plots, but surprises proffer a necessary thrill.  I never dreamed The Hawk would be so encompassing, nor did I assume my dad’s quilt would lead to English paper piecing.  And even if I forget to prewash fabrics, the world won’t fall apart.  All part and parcel of the whole, which is far too awesome to shoehorn into my clothes dryer.

For the love of baby quilts (and hexies too)….

First I want to say that having basted hexagon paper pieces with glue and thread, but not on the same hexie, I find thread basting just as expedient as glue, and so much easier to sew together!  There’s more give in a thread-basted paper piece, so I’m not constantly nicking the edges of the paper.  And I can sit on the sofa to thread baste, unlike standing at my sewing table to use glue.  However, those glue-basted hexies won’t get lost in the shuffle; Little Miss, Miss Em, and their folks came to dinner tonight, and my nearly three-year-old grandgirl fell in LOVE with the glued hexies!  Oh my goodness, she was totally head over heels for them, which made this abuela very happy.  We made more hexies for her to take home, solid colours that her parents like; green and purple for dad and mum, and yellow for the nieta herself.  I think she chose red for her little sis, I was just trying to glue fabric onto paper hexagons as fast as possible.  I will see them on Wednesday, when a trip to the craft store will be in order for more paper pieces, and perhaps a wee bit of fabric too.

The initial laying-out of the fabric. Nothing I tried felt at all pleasing, just meh all round.

But this entry isn’t so much about paper piecing as it is traditional machine sewing, although this quilt for a chap due next month came together in a rather odd manner.  I thought I wasn’t going to have time for it, but I did, yet it was a little tricky to design, but then suddenly I’m ready to start quilting it.

Then voila, here’s the end result. I didn’t snap pics in between, just trying to stay in the moment, allowing Grace to do the heavy lifting.

Funny how surprises enter the equation, and even when things seems ultra-tricky, a treasure emerges.

So on Friday morning, I woke with the notion that yes, I was going to make a baby quilt for a fellow I’ll call Tibby.  Actually, his middle name is going to be Tiberius, and if you know your sci-fi, there’s only one Captain James T. Kirk which springs to mind, ahem.  I’m actually not a  Shatner fan, but as soon as I heard about Tiberius’ moniker, I knew the fabrics I wanted to employ for Tibby’s quilt.  That was if I could find the time to make it.

Late on Friday afternoon, the blowy wind made photography difficult.

As I said, Friday morning the time was NOW, um, okay….  This is what I inwardly call Quilting by the Spirit.  There’s no sense in attempting any other work, just let my actions be guided by Hands far more aware than mine.  And that’s what I did, gathering fabrics, then putting them on the quilt wall.  I didn’t want to chop that galaxy into pieces, in fact the more I played around with it, I wondered if I could pull it off.  The saving grace, and I mean literal grace, was that I KNEW it was going to work out.  I had no idea HOW, other than to just keep faffing with those cottons.  Eventually something was going to stick.

While basting today, I did want to capture the moment.

Maybe that’s why I had to start basting hexies with glue, just so Little Miss could nearly lose her ever-loving little mind over them, lol.  Grace permeates the most innocuous part of life, even quilting.  Or maybe especially quilting.

There’s something very relaxing about basting, what I also find with thread and hexagons.

Certainly grace was in force this past weekend, as Tibby’s quilt came into being.  By Friday night the top was done, flannel scraps chosen for the back.  I did some writing Saturday morning, then in the afternoon sewed up the back, also cutting strips for the binding.  That night I sewed together two large batting scraps, then watched the San Francisco Giants beat the Dodgers in like fourteen innings, oh my goodness.  I went to bed, plans for basting in my head.

Luckily the wind wasn’t as strong today, or maybe a basted quilt withstands a breeze better.

But not with glue or thread, just old fashioned safety pins; I started before we left for church, wrapping up this afternoon.  Those binding strips are attached, but in need of pressing.  However, a quilt sandwich now awaits my attention, when just days ago I wasn’t sure if this baby blanket would see the light of day.  But for the Tibster, well, let’s just say I wanted to explore strange new worlds, boldly going where I’ve never gone before.

It was nice to have a wide strip of yellow for the back, complimenting the one on the front. No new fabrics were purchased in the making of this comforter, keeping in tune with my year of using what I have.

That’s part of Grace, trusting in the certainty as well as the goodness.  It’s not easy, trust or faffing around while fabrics land correctly on the wall.  But it’s such a feeling of comfort, knowing I can rely on grace, like snuggling under a quilt, or watching as my eldest granddaughter falls in love with simple hexagons.  Hearing her say hexie was music to my ears, and how this will play into her life is just another thrill awaiting my attention.  This is why, despite many inexplicable events that cast dark shadows, life is a precious blessing.  Family and friends, paper hexagons, simple quilts, and walk-off home runs are meant to be celebrated as Grace winds its gorgeous loving way through it all.  Then a post late on a Sunday night wraps it all together, my thankful heart in awe of such goodness.  May this be a hexie-wonderful week for you too.

It’s a wonderful life….

I had a lovely week with my youngest and her boy, and a dog named Zelda.  Between The Burrito and a hound, I had no trouble earning my steps and sleeping well.  Now back at home I’m wrapping up the basics; laundry, a quilt binding, a novel to finish….  Well, a chapter of The Hawk was completed yesterday afternoon, and next week I plan to hit that book hard.  Another idea is brewing and I’m feeling motivated.  Spring is truly in the air.

My grandson hangs out with Zelda on a nice day.

It’s Easter week, which prompts reflection; rebirth and gratitude come together, providing me a poignantly upbeat outlook.  Recent heavy rains seem a precursor to what occurs starting today, Maundy Thursday.  I’m hoping to get to a Good Friday service tomorrow, and we’ll spend the weekend with family up north.  Easter adopts a different tenor around youngsters, and in my heart emotions are mixed, our world in such turmoil, yet balanced by Love unfathomable. That Love is also wholly accessible, part of the mystery.  How to live out that compassion is yet another project within my sphere.

Big blue quilt bound and patched. I’ll give it back to my eldest this weekend.

I pondered that yesterday, driving along a road well known for causing strife; folks cut into my lane constantly, but as I made my way down the street, mercy pounded my brain and heart.  Amid beloveds, books, and fabrics, that’s why I am here, to show compassion and to love, even to those whose skills behind a steering wheel drive me nuts, ahem.  Mulling that over made me feel small, also blessed, as well as forgiven.  And determined to share that notion with my grandchildren in all aspects.

Sisters help their mum measure a duvet for which this abuela will make a cover.

This is truly the purpose for our existences, regardless of what social media, Madison Avenue or political pundits say.  Unfettered mercy is Easter’s message, and the only judgment is what we cast upon ourselves.  How beautiful is Love given without expectation, merely hoping that such Love will be passed along to another like a quilt, a novel, a hug.  I received copious snuggles from my nieto and hija, we’re a pretty tight bunch.  This Sunday, as eggs are hunted and sweets enjoyed, I’ll embrace more of my family, especially my mom, for it was this season three years ago when Dad died.  Corporeal life is so short; Love is essential, for not only does it conquer hate, but it is the underlying reason of our beings.  We’re a forgetful species, yet Love manifests in us hope, which leads to awesome characteristics.  May your Easter week be filled with Love’s peace and Grace’s liberty, and hugs from all you hold dear.

So little relative time….

While I know all things happen in their own time, occasionally I feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day, weeks in a year, decades in….  I’m heading to see my youngest daughter tomorrow, spending a week with her and The Burrito.  Yet, I’ve been adding to The Hawk as if a veil has been lifted, bottled-up prose liberated.  Plus there’s a big blue quilt binding to complete as well as placemats to sew, coasters to finish….

My grandson, wrapped in a scarf I made his mum years ago….

What I have to remind myself is that these tasks will be waiting for my return, along with vacuuming and mopping, ahem.  Sometimes I have the patience of Job, but not always.

I do have some fun machine quilting to share, coasters for my eldest girl.  I will blend these differing methods of sewing in a table runner that will eventually accompany the Southwest mats, waves as the horizon, straight lines as skyscrapers.

Of course, I need to design that table runner, lol.  Right now I feel like I have as many sewing projects as novel plots, which brings me back to this entry’s title.  But instead of getting my knickers in a twist, I will embrace the plethora of crafty ideas, both in cotton fabrics and fictional mischief.

My grandgirls; what blessings are all these nietos!

There truly is time for all these treasures.  And if the hoovering occurs, double bonus, hehehe!

200,000 plus….

Returning home from a week with my grandson, 200K popped up on my car’s odometer, sort of a parallel to my current life.  I certainly felt like I had over two hundred thousand miles on me, considering all that had happened in the previous six days.  My nieto is an active chap from as soon as he says good morning right up until it’s time for bed.  This abuela needs not only some physical down time, but mental recharging.  I’m just not as young as I used to be.

But beautiful memories lessen the distance that helped to accrue those 200K miles on my vehicle; The Burrito and I traveled into space, courtesy of his imagination and my (limited) knowledge of the solar system.  We fought fires, had puppet shows, drew snowmen, and battled the Fan Monster, which consisted of a box fan behind my bedroom door.  We called for Superman’s help, colored various Christmas-themed pictures, put away decorations, and read mountains of books.  Puddles were conquered, stained glass art created, mac and cheese cooked, and the sting was taken from nap and bed times, instead becoming an opportunity for him to ‘grow’.  When he woke, I asked if he’d grown, and he happily said oh yes, showing off his strong muscles.

Exploring puddles in the neighborhood, which includes a handy stick.

Of course, his nap on my last day was preceded by tears; saying goodbye isn’t easy.  Driving home, I considered our visit, also watching the miles tick away on the odometer.  Suddenly  200,000 appeared, my goodness!  I’ve had this car since we moved back, nearly eleven years, jeez….  It had just a little over 18K when we purchased it, and other than a failed cruise control, still runs very well.  It’s taken me on countless road trips, and God willing has another 100K left in the engine.  Goodness knows I hope many miles remain for me to traverse.

Many configurations of train tracks were laid, sparking more adventures…..

Coming home, I also pondered how much I like driving, the California girl in me, I suppose.  It’s strange to think we’ve been back in my home state nearly as long as we lived in England, good grief!  I’ll turn around one day and my eldest grandkids will be preteens, lol.  Time shifts so swiftly now, it’s as if eleven years is maybe one, 200,000 miles like a trek to visit my grandson.  It’s the middle of January already, Miss Em a month old!  The Burrito will be three in February, another consideration as I sped along freeways.  I traveled the same roads in 2015, right before his arrival, when my father was still living.  Dad’s been gone now going on those three years, but those of us remaining keep right on trucking.

Suffice to say, last week was full of deep truths as well as jovial play times.  Upon my return home, I was definitely knackered, also exceedingly grateful to have been a part of The Burrito’s life for several days.  Now at home, I can mull over those life lessons, made sweeter by memories that aren’t merely mine, but my grandson’s too.  What he’ll recall of these days is unknown, but maybe he’ll remember the feeling of love shared.  To me, that’s the best recollection of all….

Wondering where this year will take me….

Hello 2018!  Yesterday we received rain after the driest December in thirty years, so January is starting off well.  I’ll be heading north at the end of the week, spending time with my grandson and his pop.  Tomorrow I’ll visit Little Miss and her sister, my eldest daughter and son-in-law too.  Oh and Buttercup, who is adjusting to life with another person in her household.  Familial ties will most likely be the theme of the next twelve months, although there’s no keeping a writer’s imagination stilled.

Off for a walk before raindrops intruded….  Little Miss makes sure that Miss Em has a pacifier handy at all times, ha ha ha….

Nor a quilter’s hands idle, although my right thumb has been achy as of late, making me wonder how much hand-quilting I’ll accomplish in 2018.  Then there’s an orphan binding which I uncovered a few days ago, with no clue for what it was meant to complete.  I sort of recall making it, I think….  Not often do I employ brown in my sewing, but here’s an espresso binding, waiting for a quilt to encase.  Is this a harbinger of other unfinished projects, dangling in the wind….

What in the world am I going to do with this?

Ahem, I certainly hope not, but honestly, The Hawk flits in and out of my mind, as has another tale with a complimentary playlist from ages ago.  I’ve been listening to those tunes while I hand-quilt, pondering a plot that while I won’t say seems destined to be written, definitely takes up space in my gray matter.  I’m not overly concerned; 2017 taught me to embrace the NOW, leaving LATER to sort itself out at a more appropriate time.

Yet, achy hands remind me that time is a precarious notion; I’m not getting younger, you know.  As my grandchildren age, so do I, ha ha, um, yeah.  Forgetting about a chocolate coloured binding doesn’t worry me, although now I feel slightly compelled to fashion a complimentary quilt top, or a set of placemats/mug rugs to give that binding a home.  Knowing that I’m leaving in a matter of days keeps me from embarking upon more than updating new calendars, sending off New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards because we didn’t order them in time to arrive before the end of December, as well as adding to my packing list for a week away from home.  To put it bluntly, I’m in limbo right now, both mentally as well as projectarily, and it’s a funny state of mind to inhabit.

Yet, it’s also a beautiful place to be, sort of like where my youngest daughter is in the SoCal desert.  She might never be in that location again, but for the next ten days it’s home, living out of a tent, barely getting phone reception (but we’re very grateful that she does!), hiking around examining rocks.  This is part of her graduation requirement, plus she loves this kind of exploration.  I joke that I love not camping, but this girl adores it, plus rocks to study?  Dude, that’s her kind of heaven.  She’ll return full of stories and details, then prepare for another term of school.  Maybe January starts off the year, but perhaps it takes until February until 2018 truly dawns.

And speaking of daybreak, my youngest sent the above photo yesterday during the brief window while she had access to data.  Maybe I don’t want to live out of a tent, but this kind of morning is a priceless sort, and I’m putting it here for others to enjoy.  Also as a reminder that pleasure and purpose can be as exhilarating, also fleeting, as a sunrise.  I’m not going to squander time wondering if this book or that idea will come to fruition, nor why I crafted a dark brown quilt binding.  Instead I’ll complete this post, then make my next move, probably toward the kitchen for some breakfast, more coffee, then updating wall calendars.  After that, it’s anyone’s guess.  But uncertainty doesn’t need to be scary, it’s actually liberating.  I have enough tasks in my future already set in stone.  Today’s agenda is merely to inhale the peace, then share it however I’m able.  May that calm be yours too.