Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I changed jobs in April 2005. It was a really tough choice. It was one of those decisions you make because it was the right thing to do--- not because it was something you wanted to do. I was sad. I was lonely. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why I couldn't shake it. May was the longest month in history. But June rolled around and things got a little better. I started fitting in, getting a routine down. July 4th came and I realized I hadn't even decorated for the season. I had just been out of it. Well, I decided no one would know the difference,so on July 6th, I pulled out this quilt above, I got out my red,white and blue dishes, and filled the house with other patriotic treasures and never looked back.

I promised I wasn't going to waste time feeling sorry for myself ever again. The job change was the right thing to do. Everytime I look at this quilt, this is what I remember.

My favorite coffee cup. Don gave it to me one Christmas. Everyone in the house knows not to mess with Mom's 'Quilt cup'. Every once in a while my daughter takes it to use. She says she does it to mess with me, but deep down, I think it's she likes it too.

Until tomorrow---

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Mom's proud moment...

The kid has graduated, the company has left, life is returning to normal, quilting tonight...
More Later---

Monday, May 22, 2006

The house is just about ready for the relatives coming for my son's graduation. The freeze warning will be lifted tomorrow, I'm still going to wait until Wednesday to plant the annuals in the flowerbeds. I'm really tired, but have enjoyed taking care of the house. I love working, too, it's just combining both is pretty tough.

I wanted to put pictures in today's note, so I'm putting my daughter, son, and Ransom, Our black sorta lab dog. We got him at the humane society when he was seven weeks old. While he has an incredible weakness for table food.. he's incredibly special and definitely the smartest dog in the world(with the exception of your own). I'd truly be lost without of him.

My husband accuses me of loving the dog more than him, my response,"Well, if you'd wag your tail the way Ransom does the story might be different..."

You're laughing, my work is done.
Until tomorrow...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

No time for quilting today. We had church services this morning. I had 12 4-year olds in Sunday school. I this is once again part of bringing something you love into everything you do. Today we made sewing cards. Yes, my teenagers laughed too. They believe I try to make everyone quilt.

But take a second and remember. Remember those sewing cards you had when you were a little girl. I can remember them like yesterday. I remember the colored shoe string laces and the cardboard sheets. And I kept them all together in their boxes. I even remember joining two or three together by interlocking the laces.

It’s so important for girls to learn their calculus and advanced chemistry to survive in today’s world that sometimes I’m afraid that quilting will be tossed aside. Will we become a society that all fabric/linen products are made overseas?

Then I exhale and relax, because the quilts will speak for themselves. I remember I was always enchanted by my grandmother’s quilts. I had a good friend that married the only son of a quilter. Consequently she had beautiful quilts for every room in the house. I was not married to an only son, and my mother-in-law didn’t quilt a stitch. My grandmother was gone. So… if I was ever going to have even one quilt I had to learn on my own… enter stage left a baby quilt for my daughter. I’ve been quilting ever since.

It’s the quilts that speak for themselves… that draw people in…that keep loved ones warm….

Until tomorrow…

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It’s Saturday evening. My daughter set up a surprise 18th birthday get together for my son. She’s going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. I’m up here typing on the lap top. They’re all downstairs. It’s a good feeling listening to them laugh and talk. It’s going to be different when he’s away this fall.

Back to quilting.

The picture here is of a tulip-star quilt. Don took me to a quilt shop in Carmel Indiana. I’m not a daring person when it comes to color, but I saw a quilt like this on display and could leave without the fabric. It’s even backed in black fabric and hand-quilted in dark gray thread. I think the green just kind of jumps out at you.

I like taking the pictures outside. Maybe it’s because we’ve only had leaves on the tress for about 3 weeks. Everything is still new. The quilt is on what Don (my Husband) calls my fancy lawn ornament. It’s a 1905 Sears and Roebuck buggy. I found it in a used car lot thirteen years ago. Don makes fun of it but it has become the marker for finding our home--- the house with the horse buggy. It’s sort become a member of the family, or so it seems, because it’s in all the family pictures… the 4th of July pictures with flags, the pumpkin/scarecrow pictures in the fall, and the snow covered ones at Christmas.

It’s going to need new wheels pretty quick, Don thinks maybe the entire buggy should be replaced, but there’s just something about that Sears and Roebuck tag on the back…

Until tomorrow….

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It’s the day before Friday --- I can make it through anything…I’m taking next week off to get ready for Eric’s graduation. The weather is SUPPOSED to be gorgeous. I’ll get my garden planted, closets and cabinets cleaned out (you know the ones that only get tended to when your Mother is about to visit!) and quilt.

I’m posting a picture of my keys. I hold these keys as something valuable. Valuable - having great material or monetary value especially for use or exchange – No, I don’t have a single lock that these keys belong to, and some show signs of rust, there value remains. In the age of Fob’s (car door openers), Credit card passkeys, and Push-button coded entries- think about it- these aren’t being made any more. For every key there’s a story, what did it open? A chest, a gate, a room--- and what was it protecting? I’m addicted. These hang on a peg next to my kitchen sink and these are the questions I ask every time I see them. Every time I go to a second hand store, the first thing I ask is ‘Do you have old keys?’ I’ve always kept an old skeleton key with my set of car keys ‘for luck’.

When Chelsey, my daughter, went to take her driving test, I said, “Here. Take this. Put it on your key ring.. Not that you need it.. But you might…” I took off the old skeleton key from my key chain and handed it to her. I figured she’d role her eyes thinking it one of those quirky ‘Mom’ things that I do, but she took it. The key was about an inch longer than the car keys and clearly not the kind of thing that would fit on an ‘Abercrombie’ kind of key ring. But she still has it. She’s never given it back. Every once in a while I look at the cup hook rack where everyone in our house has his or her keys. There’s my husband’s key chain with his locker keys for work, my son’s set of car keys with a leather band from some girl, my key ring holding house and car keys, and that grocery store ‘saver’ tag, and then my daughter’s set - and among the car keys, the house keys, a small jewelry box key, there’s still that old skeleton key--- for luck.

I better get busy---

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I’m a little sleepy. I get up at 4:30 am every morning for work. I have to be there for 6:00 am. Well, I don’t have to be… but I leave usually around 3:00 pm and do the “Mommy” thing. And I guess that excuse is wearing a little thin. I used to do that, but with my kids being 16 and 18, they pretty much do their ‘own’ thing. I still hang onto to that thought because I think you can still have a life after 3:00 pm. I run errands, a little housework, catch up on the mail, cook supper. In the U.P., the hours of daylight really make the days seem longer. It’s still ‘dusky’ at 8:45 pm. In contrast, in the winter it’s dark at 4:30 pm. The long days of light are what my Dad always said is God’s way of giving us some sort of a growing season. You just don’t get so tired with the daylight.

I took a picture of my tulip table runner. There’s always a quilt on the kitchen table at our house. Even the kids realize it. My daughter will ask where one is if it’s missing. She says the table is naked without it. See--- I have them hooked and they don’t even know it. This quilt was done with my 2nd and last attempt at paper piecing. I’m going to say it’s a primitive design just to justify what I think was really bad sewing. No two tulips were alike. It was made several years ago, juggling a life that was too busy. I would try to do too much, too fast, just to check things off the list. Consequently, I was never really good at anything.

I woke up one day, told myself to focus on what mattered. They say ‘You always have time for the things you put first’. I got my priorities straight and found that I may not get EVERYTHING I want done, but the things I do get done leave me feeling way more accomplished.

And it’s not about “cranking out” quilts. It’s about enjoying the fabric, the challenge of putting the puzzle together, it’s about bringing the piece to life with the quilting, and looking back on the finished product and feeling good—not stressed over the labor involved.

At this point in my life--- quilting is definitely an exercise in learning patience…..

Until tomorrow---

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mothers Day was the best. I had 10 kids in Sunday school planting marigolds in terracotta pots covered with butterfly and turtle stickers. I missed a great photo opt with the kids. There’s nothing like the moment when the kids tote the flowers that are almost as big as them and give them to their Mom. We had the story of Dorcas and I brought in quilts that we covered up with while I told the bible story. It’s funny how when you truly have a passion in your life, you bring it into every facet of your life.

I’m still kicking myself for not having a couple of blue and yellow quilts. My son is graduating this weekend and we have his open house. It would have been great to have a couple of quilts “coincidently” the school colors thrown over the swing. We’ll be better prepared for Chelsey’s graduation.

I went to Green Bay Saturday to finish up the shopping for Eric’s open house. It’s amazing what you can get done alone. I was tired when it came to the rode trip home, wishing I had someone to drive me, but it was productive. I’ve got a countdown list of 24 things that need to be completed (not counting the French quilt) by the 26th of this month. I’m not stressing. I think I’m taking a week of vacation next week and I’ll do the wrap up. I’m looking forward to next week, I don’t think I’m stressing (who am I trying to convince—you or me???) I’m just ready to get those things done. Work gets in the way. But it pays for everything else.

Eric’s Scholarship banquet is tonight. It should be nice.

My son and daughter.
The snow being gone.
My new jump drive to transport files from place to place.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Another snowman quilt… why? It seemed fair. We had rain, hail, sleet, and snow yesterday. We had everything but sunshine. Everyone should have been at home in PJ’s watching old movies. It was one of those marvelous 34 degree days in May you come to love when you live in the U.P..

Today is my son’s last day of school. He’ll have finals and graduation, but this is it. I’m not going to mourn the passing of time. I remember his first day of first grade, his first day of high school and now his last. I’ve valued every event at every stage so far. To mourn this time would be to miss out on a celebration and the chance to look forward to the next event – college. He’s so ready. My daughter always talks about the perfect qualities in a guy to date. We laugh and tell her she can’t marry her brother. He just rolls his eyes. I’m very blessed.

After work, I’ve got a quick run to the store and then home to get ready for 13 teenagers to come over for movies and board games. Sometimes I think about a quiet Friday night and I take two steps back and say, “ At least I know where my kids are at and what they’re doing and who they’re with”. I would be so disappointed if they never hung out at home.

Other than housework, the major project is the French quilt. The goal is every thing but the border hand quilted by Monday morning. The weather is supposed to be bad, so that will keep me out of the garden, so we’ll keep you posted.

Better get to work – until tomorrow--

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yesterday after work, Don and I were on the porch enjoying the weather. Don said, “Look in that old birch tree,” Below is what we saw. Keep in mind—the top half of the tree broke off in a winter storm, the bark is peeling, the tree has definitely seen better days. But to this robin – it’s a mansion.

I never said why I’ve started this web log. In our small town, there was a small quilt shop. It has traveled through a couple of owners, but it was quaint and charming. I always thought I loved it because of the ease of purchasing thread and fabric. It wasn’t until the shop closed (the owners needed more time with children at home) that I truly realized what I loved about the shop.

It was a place to go for inspiration. When I was having a bad day, it was the conversation with Artie (the owner) and a $2.00 fat quarter that changed the day from bad to good. Walmart just can’t do that. She knew you never loved your kids any less just because you were stressing for the moment. And she never held it against you when you failed as ‘Wonder-Mom’.

I show a completed project to my husband or my kids I get a ‘Nice, Dear’, or a ‘ Cool, Mom’. But when I would bring it to the quilt shop, I would get a chain of memories that the quilt sparked from others there.

Living so far from my own Mom (a.k.a. – the World’s greatest Seamstress), it was the girls at the shop who, many times, saved quilts from sewing disasters when I would get stumped.

So the shop closed and life went on. I was surfing the web looking for Rocking chairs for my porch when I stumbled across Joanne’s site ‘Rockin’ on the Porch’. It was then that I realized what I was missing. It’s the friendship, and inspiration from other quilters. I work forty-five hours a week. I’m a wife and Mom, and teach 15 4 year olds Sunday school. I have very little time for the investment of girlfriends, much less quilting at this point in my life. Free time varies around 5:00 am – 5:30 am, after 8:00 pm and a little on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining. If I am, it’s only because there are not 36 hours in a day, instead of 24. I wouldn’t change anything except to do more in my day.

But life will slow down – change is the only thing you can count on – it would just be nice to chat with others going through the same thing. So I’ll keep this up and hopefully I’ll join the girls group and get back a piece of what is missing.

Let me get to work—

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It’s Wednesday, May 10th. In 1990, we had a snowstorm with 13 inches of snow. We definitely live way up North. In the town I live in they have recorded snow every month of the year but August. I’ve lived here for 21 years, so, consequently, I’ve found, that all of my quilts have a “Northwoods”, cabin look about them. Yeah, I’m a victim of my environment. My husband had a possibility of moving us back to Louisiana- the deep South- earlier in the year. All I kept thinking was, ”What will I do with all of my snowman quilts?” Honestly, I drive home from work everyday on a winding country road and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I can’t fathom not seeing the birch and spruce trees every day. It’s a far cry from where I grew up.

I better get busy---
1. Warmer Weather.
2. Getting stronger everyday.
3. My son graduating high school in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

We drove to Green Bay today, I quilted the entire trip. There are merits to quilting and traveling:

1. The quilt keeps you warm while you work.
2. It makes the time pass really fast.
3. I’m one of these people that have to have something to show for every minute of their day, time is going to pass, miles will go by, and at the end of the day you have your quilting to show for it.

I received good reports from the doctor…there are way too many quilts to make, too many sunday school lessons to teach, and I'm going to be a great grandma one day (because I've had to be a hard-line parent) .... time can't be cut short.

Supper to cook, laundry to do. I better close.