Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I was touched beyond words by your sweet comments and emails on my last blog post. I know that our family is not the only one dealing with the emotionally and physically draining process of caring for elderly loved ones. It's another one of those personal details that we deal with offline that has a huge impact on daily life even if it doesn't normally get a mention on our blogs. Bless you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for my family, and blessings on those of you who are walking this difficult road alongside us. There are days when it seems that we're not going to be able to take another step, and then somehow we find a way to go on.
It was a very long, tiring day, but we were able to get my grandmother safely moved into a beautiful nursing facility that's only ten minutes away from our home.Though she had been dead set against leaving her house, she came willingly with us when it was finally time to go. Upon our arrival, the caregivers immediately lavished Grandma with love and attention, and it was a joy to see her blooming in response. She loved the quilts on the walls, the new quilt and matching pillow that I had made for her bed, and her new "plush" apartment, as she kept calling it. We were even able to all come back for a visit in the evening with my girls who hadn't seen their great grandma in months. It was such a relief to leave knowing that she was safe and surrounded by people who would take good care of her until we returned for our next visit.
"It's a good thing you did," she told my mother before we left last night.
Amen to that.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
It was back at the end of August that my grandmother found a magazine article all about patchwork quilts made out of vintage feedsack material. "Can you make one for me?" she asked over the phone as I flipped through the pages that she had sent to me so that I could see the photos. I assured her that I could make something similar out of reproduction prints, and a bundle of Storybook Classics by Windham Fabrics was quickly ordered. I had already started cutting out pieces to make a Swell quilt from Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley when I got the news that my book proposal had been accepted by Stash Books. "Never mind, darlin', there's no hurry," Grandma assured me when I fretted over getting her quilt done along with my book projects. "Just make it in time for Christmas," she added. I was able to sew together one block, and then the rest was set aside as I turned my mind and hands to other things.
Little did I know then what lay ahead. Over the past few months we have watched my grandmother spiral down into an unexpected and very serious state of dementia. After a painful and exhausting November, it's become clear that Grandma can no longer safely live alone in her home, so tomorrow we'll be moving her into a nursing home just ten minutes away from us where she can receive full time care. I wanted her to have something special for her new home, so this weekend I pulled out that bundle of Storybook Classics again and put together the simplest of patchwork quilts. Twelve inch blocks are bordered by a narrow strip of white and bound in a black and white dot print. I backed it in two different prints by Bonnie & Camille from their Vintage Modern and Marmalade collections. It may not be fancy, but the quilt is almost exactly what Grandma had originally wanted, and it will fit perfectly on her new bed. Tomorrow when we pick her up from the house she's lived in since she was a girl, I'll have the quilt waiting in the car so that she'll have something to look at during the drive to her new home.
I spent yesterday evening helping my parents fix up Grandma's new room, trimming a little Christmas tree with vintage style ornaments and decorating the walls with some of the quilts I've made for her over the past few years. As I drove home afterward listening to Christmas carols on the radio, I was suddenly overcome by tears. Even though we know that everyone grows up and gets older, you can never really prepare yourself for the reality of what that means. And even though we all talk about time getting away from us, I am stunned by how quickly life is going by each day...each year. It seems like just yesterday my parents were making Christmas for me and my sister, and now we're making it for our own daughters. In fact as I type this sentence, my girls are eagerly pulling at my sleeve and saying, "Is it time to decorate for Christmas, Mommy? We've been waiting soooo long!" Precious little girls -- they have no idea how quickly time can fly.
This December I plan to make the most of every moment...every single one. Won't you join me?
Saturday, November 23, 2013
There are some fabric lines that have your heart from the moment you meet. Both of Carolyn Friedlander's collections -- Architextures and now Botanics -- have affected me that way.
These prints are so incredibly elegant in their simplicity. The sketched illustrations, the uniquely modern designs, the carefully curated colors all grab my attention and simply will not let go. A charm pack of Botanics arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon, and I couldn't wait. As soon as I finished dinner, I pulled out my Architexture scraps and some Kona solids, opened up the Botanics stack, and made myself a new desk mat using the simplest of patchwork layouts. The mat is backed in a Lily Belle print by Bari J, and I quilted it in a dark gold Aurifil thread which I absolutely love. It's a nice compliment to the little touches of gold that show up in a few of the prints.
There's nothing fancy about this little mat, but I just can't stop looking at it. These fabrics mesmerize me, and I'm so looking forward to sewing with them again. Did I mention that I have another bundle of Botanics arriving in the mail on Monday? I can hardly wait...
Monday, November 18, 2013
I can sew, bake, sing, play the guitar, even draw a little. Sports, however, have never been one of my strong points. This should have occurred to me on Saturday night when I saw the dog's ball sitting on the kitchen floor and traipsed over to kick it back to her. Two seconds later my feet were flying up in the air, and my back and head hit the floor -- hard. A few hours in the emergency room and some personal time with an IV and a head scan yielded the diagnosis of a mild concussion, and I firmed up my new resolution to leave any dreams of athleticism behind me for good. So many thanks to all of you who left such sweet comments on Instagram over the weekend. I haven't felt so achingly sore since my last c-section, but I'm getting a little better each day. It's hard to say, though, if I'll ever be able to wear socks on laminate flooring again without fear and trembling...
With that comedy of errors behind us, let's talk about sewing. I don't think I've ever gotten so much out of a fat quarter bundle as I did out of my stack of Fort Firefly: a baby quilt, an organizer, and now a set of activity pouches which I made for our church. Our Director of Christian Education plans to stuff these with all kinds of goodies that little ones can play with during the service.
Again, I love that this fabric is pretty gender neutral. Though there are definitely a few girly prints, most of the colors and designs work well for both boys and girls. Cotton webbing has become my new best friend. It cuts down on sewing time since I don't have to make my own straps, and it makes a project look just a little more finished at the same time. Believe it or not, I still have some Fort Firefly scraps left, but I'm setting them aside for some quiet hand sewing over the next few days while my body recuperates.
Of course, the real lesson here is to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at my sewing machine...right?
Friday, November 8, 2013
So here's the thing...I've been walking the most painful of lines lately with some big news that I wasn't able to share with you yet. However, after a little conversation and some great clarification from my editor, I am thrilled to tell you that I'm in the process of writing a book for Stash Books! I debated long and hard over when to share this news with you. Writing and publishing a book is a really long process (we're looking at a publication date of spring 2015 for my title), and not only am I not allowed to share any of the juicy details with you for quite a while but I also don't want you to be sick to death of the whole thing by the time the book actually hits the shelves. On the other hand, it kills me that I've been writing and sewing like mad from morning till night each day and yet can share almost none of it with you here at Fabric Mutt. I didn't want you to think that I'd lost interest in sewing or was letting the blog slowly waste away to nothing. So please know that though I won't be posting more often than once or twice a week and though I can't spend nearly as much time as I'd like reading all of your blogs and leaving comments as I go, it isn't because I don't want to. I'll be back to my regular routine in a few months, promise!
Can I also just take a moment to say that the people at C&T Publishing and Stash Books are fabulous? They have a fantastic introductory pack for new authors which is so helpful, and just look at the incredible box of goodies they sent me above. For someone who's walking into the great unknown here, it's so wonderful to be surrounded by encouraging people who know exactly what they're doing.
|Bunny raced off to her desk and wrote this note for me on the day I found out that my book proposal was accepted.|
And my dear sweet family...no one is giving up more than these people to make this project happen. They are so proud of my amazing opportunity and so patient with me as I constantly swing between excited and absentminded and completely overwhelmed. I absolutely could not do this without them.
So that's the scoop, my friends. I can hardly wait to share this book with you when it's done, but for now I promise not to bore you to pieces with constant chatter about it. Just know that I'm still here and still honored to have the chance to be a tiny part of your lives.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
It's been an exhausting week here at our home. My daughters have been fighting a nasty bug that comes with endless high fevers, and it's been a constant battle to keep their temperatures below 101 degrees. Blogging and blog reading naturally fell by the wayside for the past few days, so I missed the posting of my latest piece for The Glamorous Housewife blog. I promised you all a tutorial for that organizer I showed you last week. Here it is: the Constance Organizer.
This version is slightly different from last week's. It has an extra pocket on the left side of the interior, a flap closure, and a much simpler exterior. The basic pattern is no problem to customize, though, so you can easily change this to make it whatever you want. That's the beauty of patterns for me -- I love to play with the details and make something new.
These make great last minute gifts for those of you who are already casting an eye toward Christmas presents. If you make one of these, please do send me pictures or mark a photo with #fabricmutt on instagram. I'd love to see what you're making!
And now I'd better head back to the couch to sit with my sick little Bear as we watch the never ending Handy Manny marathon that's been parading through my living room all week. Remember this old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon? Once in a while I share the same feeling for those who write children's programming. Not that I'm bitter or anything...
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I'm sticking to my goal of sewing at least one project each month with my three girls. This month we made little stuffed dachshunds, a fun project that came together pretty quickly. The only part of this project that's actually stuffed is the body -- everything else is nice and floppy. As always, I let the girls pick out their own fabric. Rather than letting them dive into my cupboards, it's easier for me to ask them what color they want their project to be and then give them a matching selection of fabrics to look through until they come up with what they like best. We tried three different methods for attaching the ears, and the third time was definitely the charm as you can see on the far right. I figure it doesn't hurt for the girls to experience the joys of problem solving at a young age.
From right to left we have Fix-It (Bear is a big Handy Manny fan), Puppy, and Snuffy. These doxies are long and skinny, perfect for small hands to hold and cuddle. And let me tell you, there's been a lot of cuddling going on in this house since these little guys showed up...