Saturday, December 4, 2010

'Tis the season for great expectations

by June

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.


Melynda@Scratch Made Food! said...

What a perfect photo,it has everything needed, warmth, family and love. Thanks!

Laura at By the Bushel said...

love the photos, I'm inspired to quilt right now, have my stuff down, we'll see what I get done. Love your colors, rug, stockings... :)

Linda said...

A lovely reminder for this time of ear. And just look at that cat!

Magnolia Handspun said...

Your home looks so cosy June- with the beautiful stockings, the stove and kitty on the floor.
...did you have your rug in mind when you made the stockings...the colors go so beautifully together.
I think you are so smart "enjoy what you are doing this moment" I couldn't agree more!

J.G. said...

What great memories you have made to go with the quilts! (The cat looks happy, too!)

Wren said...

Lovely post. I think we all have wonderful memories of our Christmas stockings! How special for your girls. Adore the rug too.. Have to say we have a similar situation with the cats melted to the floor in front of the stove. Isn't it fun to watch them turn into taffy? Have a wonderful holiday season. Love to you all ~

Anonymous said...

Oh June. What a fantastic post and a wonderful reminder. I love that you had all these items from your girls to pull from. I have been itching to do quilts again too. One my grandmother made me still sits in my room today.

I do know though about what you are talking about, as much as I love sewing it can be so frustrating sometimes. Great advice you gave about having someone nearby.

Your stockings are gorgeous. Looks like you will have a very, merry Christmas.

Kelli said...

The quilted stockings are lovely; wonderful fabric colours. The last photo with the stockings, cat at the fire and gigerbread houses in the background is 'postcard perfect'.

jean said...

Soooo pretty! Love the colors!! Love the cat, too. How cute.

Garden Girl said...

Lovin' that CAT! I so want to snuggle down on the floor and bury my fingers in his (her?) tummy...

Nan said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I loved this. I especially love the part about having someone who loves you around when you make mistakes. Profound words for life. Thanks, June for just the best posting.

Tom @ Tall Clover Farm said...

Homemade stockings certainly contain magic and memories for life. I still feel warm and fuzzy when I see my forty-year old felt stocking, one made by sweet Aunt.

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful! What a beautiful reminder to slow down and just enjoy those blessed moments.

Thank you for sharing...

Be blessed!


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