Tag Archives: grandmotherhood

Onto the next project….

Fabrics for a Christmas quilt….

My family and I enjoyed a wonderful holiday together, and we’re still waiting on Lil’ Sis’ arrival.  In the meantime, I’ve slapped another quilt top on the wall, and will attempt to sew it into a cohesive whole over the next few days.  These fabrics have been waiting for me, good thing inanimate objects are patient, lol.

I like the darker shades too; while I’m not overly keen on red, these are balanced by blues and browns.

Over the last several days I’ve had time to consider blessings, of which there are many.  I’ve pondered how being a grandmother is truly the main focus of my present existence, yet other passions remain; I managed to read through three chapters of The Hawk Part 12 this morning, with the intent to possibly release that section before the end of the year.  Writing might not be doable, but I will always be an author, hehehe.

Snowflakes run diagonally from left to right, while trees go right to left.

Then there is the sewing….  Leftover squares from the current cotton WIP will turn into placemats for my husband and I to admire and use as Advent approaches.  I need to fashion a binding for a baby quilt, then attach said binding and get that comforter and burp cloths into the post.  I’d like to make a Christmas placemat for Lil’ Sis, not that she’ll be using it anytime soon, but extras of the same prints employed for the rest of her family are sitting behind my monitor, and I should do something constructive with them before they are buried under other projects.  I had to do some serious clearing of my computer table when The Burrito visited, this room where he slept at night.  The holidays seem to be a good time for housecleaning, all sorts of tangible treasures discovered.

Yet a few intangible treats were unearthed, peace for my crafty soul to lie low while beloveds require my attentions.  Yes, I have plenty to run under my sewing machine, chapters awaiting revisions, but these elements are no longer where I place the emphasis, especially at this time of year, even if the fabric WIP is a Christmas gift.  Thanksgiving leads to Advent, a time of waiting and exercising patience, a most necessary lesson for yours truly.  And maybe I’ve finally found some equilibrium in all the recent changes, many of them invisible to others, but rushing forcefully inside me.  Perhaps the next project isn’t a quilt or novel, but merely another layer of myself emerging.  Yes, my family is waiting for another to join us, but this abuela has also been reborn.

Over halfway done, but a shot of the complete design will be in the next post….

What a concept, my goodness!  But I suppose with toddlers on the verge of becoming three-year-olds, grandmotherhood is truly upon me.  Yet, as motherhood took on various forms, so will this role evolve, and I’m grateful for how I am being stretched.  As Advent approaches, I will embrace the waiting, quietly going about those tasks placed in my hands.  For as great is my imagination, in practical matters I work best when given clear direction.  As the dust settles, I’m happy to follow where I am being led, cotton fibres and stray sentences in my wake.

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Always a mom….

With every bit of writing that occurs, what becomes more clear to me is how this decade of my life isn’t about writing.  That’s been quite a fact to acclimate myself to, but it’s not merely due to the grandkids.  Once again I’m reminded that once a mother, always a mother.

When I began exploring prose, my youngest was still in high school, the elder two off to college.  Maybe my husband and I still had a child at home, but honestly, how much parenting happens when kids are teens, not as much as one desires.  As drafts emerged, that daughter graduated, then joined her siblings, and I had all the time I could wish for, time I used well in crafting a multitude of tales, then beginning my foray into independent publishing.  Even when my dad’s battle with cancer heated up, writing was a mainstay, keeping my mind focused.

The Burrito was a fireman this year for Halloween; I spent many moments with him during our last visit fighting pretend fires all over the yard.

But eventually Dad’s fight waned, and my daughters were expecting their own bambinos.  I was in the early stages of The Hawk by then, learning to quilt as well.  The Burrito arrived, Dad passed, Little Miss entered the fray, and writing dwindled, although not the spark.  Plots continued to emerge as babies don’t require more than a solid grip, ears accustomed to tears, and a burp cloth over one’s shoulder.

Little Miss and her grandpa attend to weeds this past weekend. She used a toy screwdriver The Burrito left on a previous visit.

However as infants turn to toddlers, a grandmother’s assistance becomes more vital, and I find myself going between the roles of mum and abuela.  Little Miss calls me Ma-ma-ma, a shortened version of Momma’s Mama (Grandpa is Momma’s Dada, funny what she decided for our names), and with Lil’ Sis due in less than a month, I’m truly feeling like someone’s mother in helping out my very pregnant daughter.  Youngest daughter often tells her son that I was her mother first, ha ha ha!  It’s great being needed by others, old and young.  I just wish I had time to….

From yesterday; Grandmaster Z making his own stained glass window with clear contact paper and tissue paper. He loved it!

I know, I know, these days won’t last forever.  Before I know it all those nietos will be clamoring for their own phones, Grandmaster Z included.  He’s almost three, talks in full sentences, yet wasn’t he just a wee one, weren’t all of them babies, and what about my own kids?  Didn’t my eldest just twist my arm to do NaNoWriMo when she was a senior in high school?  She’s pushing thirty now, good grief!  Where has the time gone?

What I have to remember is how fluid is time, and only becoming more brief.  It’s November, for instance, and while I wanted to complete The Hawk by the end of this year, more important tasks have muscled that novel out of the way.  Yet, I am writing, it’s not gone completely.  It’s simply a different method now, as how life is always evolving.  But the constant is the husband I adore, our children, and their children too.  Motherhood came long before the word count, and will probably outlast it; for as much as I love creating new existences, the ones I made with my beloved matter most.  This seems to be a rather difficult element for me to learn, but sometimes the best lessons require a fair bit of angst, or at least substantial rumination.  Goodness knows I put my characters through the wringer, guess now it’s my turn.

Today’s word count: 1,752

So Much Patchwork

While this blog is entitled Indie Novelist and Improv Quilter, the improvisational nature of my sewing has fallen off mightily in the last year.  I realized this months ago, but there simply isn’t time for me to dive headlong into improv quilting at this juncture of my life.  I’m just trying to maintain a semblance of my crafty self as a second generation of my descendants rules.

My grandson became impatient when we told him the tractor wasn’t actually going anywhere.

My husband and I spent this past weekend with The Burrito and his folks; I played firemen with my grandson, employing two outside chairs as our firetruck, then following him around the yard as we put out fires with his toy firehose.  We trekked about a local pumpkin farm where he climbed hay bales, ran through a cornfield maze, admired goats and chickens, chose pumpkins, and provided this abuela a photo op on an old John Deere tractor.  He’s two and a half, speaking in full sentences, potty trained, and rarely still, making me so happy to be his ‘Bama’.

But as grandmotherly joys increase, moments to mull over any sewing other than patchwork no longer exist.  That’s fine, reminding me I really shouldn’t plan for more than this day.  In light of the recent wildfires, perhaps it’s truly best to live each day as the blessing it is.  I took the opportunity to make some little kennel quilts for an animal shelter in Oakland, using spare squares, then extending them another two inches.  It took a couple of days, and while it’s a drop in the bucket, I enjoyed making these little comforters.

These are 12.5 by 18.5 inches, fitting inside small kennels.

Right now a baby blanket awaits time under my machine, my youngest daughter has requested an insert for her sleeping bag, and Christmas fabric is stacked and waiting for space on the quilt walls to open up.  After my father died, I made two patchwork baby quilts for Little Miss, then was ready to say adios to that manner of quilting.  But that doesn’t seem to have been in the plan….

Most of these fabrics were leftover from a quilt I made my goddaughter. The long strips are from a quilt back recently completed.

As the writing has waned, maybe improv quilting will again emerge when nietos are school-age.  I have as many quilt notions as novel plots, but there are only so many hours in one day, and clinging to methods that require more time than I can muster is futile.  I spent this morning reading over the last three chapters of The Hawk, and if I get around to adding more tomorrow, fantastic.  If not….  Herein lies the crux of happiness that I’ve been embracing; what will be will most certainly be.  And what doesn’t happen….  Either it will come back to me later, or was never mine in the first place.  I waited until I was forty to start writing, never believing I would complete a single book.  Hah!  Soon I’ll expound upon that miracle, but today I’m content to honor patchwork.  It’s not flashy, but full of love, and for now the best usage of my talents.  It’s where I started this quilting journey, which hopefully has other avenues yet to explore.

Pondering the slippage of time….

Little Miss shows me the finer points of digging in the dirt.

It’s been a busy time, but then perhaps that’s just how my life currently is; between grandkids, words, fabrics, etc, blogging has fallen to the wayside.  I’ve considered writing a post, then my attention is focused elsewhere.  Not that I’m complaining, merely noting that August is around the corner, 2017 halfway over.

There’s much on my mind, and truthfully nothing takes precedence over another topic.  When writing, I’m fully immersed in The Hawk.  While sewing I’m pondering the next project.  When entertaining grandchildren, I’m reminded at how fleeting are these days; The Burrito and Little Miss are quite a pair of two-year-olds, but weren’t they just babies?  Yes and no, which is basically how life actually is.  We think a particular moment will last forever, but suddenly another presents itself, and what felt so permanent is merely a memory.  I wonder if in ages past, did people feel time slip so quickly, or did the lack of manners of documentation free those folks to revel right where they were, permitting them to fully grasp all that was within their scope.  Granted, much of that was hard work, physical labor that many nowadays partake of as a hobby, which is a huge luxury.  Still, I’m curious, able to free up my time with appliances I probably take for granted that my great-grandmothers and their grandmothers would have killed for.

In the old days, who had time to blog?  Sewing wasn’t for personal pleasure, but to make sure no one went indecent or froze to death.  Looking after wee ones was part of raising a family, as families weren’t spread out as they are now.  And writing fiction?  Only for dreamers or those with wealth, or a patron or two.  But time does pass with speed, blurring the lines of what was and what is and 1950 is now nearly seventy years ago, what?  Recently my husband acquired some CDs of Hank Snow and the Louvin Brothers, those recordings all from the fifties.  Yes, the tunes do sound dated, but when my hubby and I were little, that decade had merely just come and gone.  But we’re not young anymore, ahem, and neither are those songs, the men who sung them all now dead.  Would they have blogged about their careers, could they have imagined social media even?

When I have a minute, like I do now, these queries cause me to, well, take a moment to write up an entry.  A little introspection is a good thing, putting into perspective all the blessings of my life and how that life is shaped by what happens today, memories accumulating at a rate that at times makes me tremble.  The brevity of my corporeal existence, even if I live to be one hundred, is staggering, and no amount of novels written, quilts pieced, or even grandkids loved will lengthen my days.  Well, being happy will probably tack on precious months or years, however what occurs during those days is what lasts in kindnesses shown, other lives benefiting.  Perhaps these musings are the results of my own aging process, but I’m thankful for the awareness of how precious is my life and what I’m able to accomplish within it.  This day is a gift; make yours just as beautiful and significant in your own way.

Getting closer all the time….

The top half, keeping the spare bed warm….

I’m going away for a few days, and while I wanted to get the fabric WIP put together, it didn’t happen.  I did get my shower cleaned, so I’m not entirely displeased about the unfinished quilt top.  More I’m aware that all things occur at their proper time.  That quilt isn’t going anywhere, and by the end of May, I’ll have that project basted, maybe even under my hand-quilting needle.

The Hawk languishes in a similar sort of space; I won’t say that by the month’s end I’ll be writing, but maybe I’ll have returned to revising; my goodness I miss working on that book.  I miss expressing myself via prose, I miss being deeply involved in a completely different sort of existence.  I miss who I used to be a couple of years ago, but that woman has moved on.

Becoming an abuela has been a process somewhat like turning into a quilter or taking on novels.  Baby steps, ha ha, come first, then suddenly Little Miss is nearly two and not having toddlers in my life seems strange.  But then, not writing is weird; separate spheres are trying to slot themselves into proper positions and as the toddlers show their turbulent sides, I’m having to wrestle the desire to create alongside nurturing my beautiful family.

The bottom sections, which will hang out on the quilt wall a little longer…..

My life can be noted by decades; in my twenties I became a mother.  My thirties were spent raising kids, teaching them too.  By my forties they were teens, and I was learning how to write fiction.  Now they are all in their twenties, dude!  My fifties seems to be the Grandma decade, and I’m grateful to be close to my daughters emotionally and geographically.  Yet this alteration isn’t without some growing pains, more for the wee ones than myself, and even when I’m feeling a little wonky, I can view more than what tomorrow might bring.  And that too is a fantastic blessing; perhaps my sixties will be another wordy jumble of years, stories that percolate in my brain finally landing on virtual documents.  In ten years, The Burrito and Little Miss will be preteens, jeez!  A grandmother’s presence won’t be as necessary for them or their folks; I’ll probably be the one needing a daily nap, hehehe.

As I absorb this latest life lesson, I’m mindful of how brief these days are, this interruption in writing and sewing really no more than a hiccup.  I’m also trying to impart these notions to my daughters; as they want to make their children’s lives smooth, I do too.  Becoming a grandmother isn’t as earth-shattering as turning into someone’s mom, but it has required moments for reflection.  And it’s nice to know new discoveries wait on the horizon.  Toddlers aren’t the only ones learning, but thankfully my curve isn’t as steep as theirs.  I’d fall right off the edge, let me tell you.  Plenty of quilts will soften all our landings, or maybe we’ll just snuggle under them, letting love be the best teacher.

His and Hers Quilt Walls

A toddler’s handiwork. These are scraps from bindings, which initially were kept with a quilt in mind.

My two-year-old grandson is visiting, and a new activity seems to be slapping triangles on Grandma’s small quilt wall.  My sewing/writing grotto turns into The Burrito’s room when he’s here, and this time he experimented with fabrics and how they stick to batting.

One little boy, however, found a different purpose for them….

Toddlers learn at a stunning rate; I can never anticipate what might be the theme from one visit to the next.  He loves reading books, making roads with blocks for Hot Wheels, and improvising.

Also good in learning one’s colours; he knows purple, orange, and blue.

Letters on the fridge also adhere to the fireplace border.  And an X can easily turn into a wrench when necessary.

The Burrito loves using tools, his imagination far outstripping mine.

I won’t get any editing, or sewing for that matter, accomplished while he’s here.  But that’s not meant to occur during this moment in time.  The agenda is love, learning, and expanding many horizons.  Spring is in the air, time for growth even for a grandmother.

Maybe it will work better from this angle….

Altering Rhythms

Near Fort Bragg. California, from our mini-holiday a couple of weeks ago.  Within a few miles, the fog dissipated and sunshine ruled.

Near Fort Bragg. California, from our mini-holiday a couple of weeks ago. Within a few miles, the fog dissipated and sunshine ruled.

Amid summer visitors, I’ve been battling a pinched nerve.  The writing has come to a temporary halt, but I love sharing my home with those I adore.  The Burrito and his mum were two of our guests, and they’ll be back again this coming weekend.  They we are all off for our summer hols, and I can’t wait for some Midwestern hospitality with my hubby’s family, and probably some frozen custard as well.  I’ll share generously with my grandson, and by the time we return, August will be nearly over.  I had hoped to finish up this part of The Hawk, but I have managed a goodly chunk of words.  Part 11 is going to be significantly longer than previous entries in this story, which will be completed sometime in the not too distant future….

Watching the sunset from the Northern California coast.

Watching the sunset from the Northern California coast.

Ha ha, boy, for how long has that been my mantra?  Yet I have added impetus to wrap up this saga; a new idea is itching to be written!  I haven’t had a new novelistic notion for a while, and it has been a salve to roll characters and motivations through my mind as my right leg aches and the Giants lose.  They have been dismal since the All-Star break, about the same time my leg got niggly.  But life is a series of ups and downs.  Books take their sweet time, vacations linger in the distance until suddenly ours is ten days away and I’m almost done with the second to last part of a tale three years in the writing.

Redwoods on our way home.

Redwoods on our way home.

Hunter Pence is back for San Francisco and maybe my team will start to win some games.  Just in time, methinks, as the dog days of summer approach.

Still working on this baby....

Still working on this baby….

I haven’t done much sewing lately other than some hand-quilting on the Big Bright Quilt.  I’ve moved to the bottom half of that behemoth, and it’s fun finding different backing fabric when I end a thread.  That process reminds me I won’t always be exploring the mid-1960s.  The new idea takes place starting in 1995, quite a change from where I’ve been stuck.  Or maybe that’s a little harsh; one of these days I’ll write the concluding sentences of The Hawk and that chapter of my life, as well as those characters, will be through.  Writing a first draft is its own animal, and will never happen for that particular set of plot-lines again.  When routine is shaken, even by the best of events, I long to return to a fictional realm as real to me as the Giants’ recent slump.  Summer can be wonky for writing, but autumn isn’t far away.  I’ve meant to blog, wanting to share pics from our little getaway, some of the quilt, even of my grandsons; Grandmaster Z visited while The Burrito was here, and those chaps are getting so big!  I’m blessed to have hands so full as if I blink, something will fall away.

Grandmaster Z on the left, The Burrito on the right; buddies forever.

Yet, I’m fully cognizant that all which needs to be attended will receive my proper attention.  Many deep breaths have been taken lately, appreciating all these blessings and maintaining perspective.  A pinched nerve is a drag, but grandkids are a hoot.  Bad baseball bites, but ticking off quilted blocks makes me smile.  Time with family and good friends balances the fictional world I often inhabit; life is a matter of seasons duly acknowledged.  When I take the opportunity to pray, the center of my existence remains at peace.  And maybe that’s the biggest lesson of all.

From our trip a few weeks ago.  My goodness I love the ocean.

My goodness I love the ocean.

Well, I know it is, just sometimes I forget.  I want to accomplish so much, but there is only one of me.  Again, it comes down to filtering the treasures from the noise.  But it’s not easy, a daily adventure.  Forgive me if this is a redundant post; maybe this blog is merely to keep myself on track.  Books and quilts will reach their ends and aims.  Reveling in love comes first.

Love and the ocean, both...