December is the month of making—presents, food, memories. My wish is always to make gifts that light up my dears. Last year I set about my work and ended up making myself a gift that I will treasure forever. It was the gift of a lesson learned the bleary-eyed, head-achey way.
About October, I set out to make a Disappearing Nine Patch quilt top for each of my daughters.
I cherish the family quilts I have been given through the years. One was made by my great-grandmother (the original Blossom!). Another was made for my beloved Great-aunt Ella to celebrate her marriage. My mother has given me several. I wanted to share the beauty of quilting with my daughters.
My idea was that the girls and I would spend the winter months quilting together. I set Birch to work on quilting frames, and I gathered fabric from dresses and jammies and blankets I had made for Blossom and Fern when they were babies. I cut pieces out of their crib sheets. I clipped squares from Birch's old shirts and from scraps of my wedding dress.
Night after night, I cut blocks. Then I sewed them together and began cutting them apart and rearranging them into the quilt blocks.
My hours got later and later. I enjoyed the work less. By day, I would shut myself in my cubby. I would hear the rest of the family laughing. And I would want to be with them instead of crouched over my crotchety sewing machine.
Then the girls needed the machine for their Christmas projects. I worked as their assistant, and we talked as the needle thrummed. I ripped out seams that went wrong and told the girls about my mother ripping out seams for me. "Always have someone nearby to help with mistakes," I advised them. "You don't want to be alone with a mistake. You want to be with someone who loves you." The girls beamed as their projects took shape. They would plant kisses on my temple as I deployed the seam ripper. We giggled about our foibles.
It was about then I realized that these moments were the very ones I had fantasized about when I came up with the quilting-by-the-fire gift idea. We were already having the gift—spending time together, passing along family traditions.
That's when I decided enough was enough. For Christmas, the girls would get the quilt blocks, and then the three of us would sew the blocks together. Someday we'd get to the quilting-by-the-fire part.
I down-sized my great expectations. But since I still wanted Christmas morning to have sparkle, I made the girls quilted stockings, a variation on the ones I made for Birch and me when we were newlyweds.
Those quilted stockings will be a reminder to the girls every Christmas of their lives. Their mother loves them. Those stockings will also be a reminder to me. Slow down. Enjoy what you are doing this moment. This moment is the gift.
SPRING MEANS THE BABY CHICKS ARE HERE! - *by Rosie* Here are some pictures of the new baby chicks! Their names are: Bessie, Franny, Hattie, Lottie, Midge, and Sunny. *Bessie* *Franny* *Hatti...
4 years ago