Sunday, October 3, 2010

September Journal Quilt

This was made for the monthly Journal Quilt project I've been doing since January. For the swap on Swap-Bot, I send a color copy and a description of the meaning behind the quilt to two partners.

The quilt size is 9" x 12" and includes hand-embroidery, machine sewing, and machine quilting.

Here's a brief summary of what the quilt symbolizes and how it relates to the month:

- Doing a major de-cluttering and organization of the house – From the end of August through September 6th, we all worked on eliminating items we no longer needed/wanted; that were broken or damaged; or did not enhance our lives. We all worked together – and it took many hours and many hands to do the job. Thus, there is an image of a hand on the quilt.

In cleaning the closet in Olivia’s room, I found some fabric that I made in Charlotte (NC) when I lived there between 1989-91. The arts organization that I worked for had a wonderful array of classes; and I took a batik class from an artist. I learned how to do batik and made the green fabric that serves as the background for this quilt.

Also found a shirt I no longer wear that had the hand and person with bird picture appliquéd onto it (both of these images are on the quilt). I purchased the shirt many years ago when my sister and I took a short vacation to Carmel (CA). We found a great little shop that had funky clothes and accessories. When I was going through my clothes in the de-cluttering process, I came across this one that I hadn’t worn in ages. It had a stain on it, so I stopped wearing it, but didn’t want to get rid of it because it reminded me of the trip I took with my sister. Figured it was time to get rid of the stained shirt, but keep the appliquéd parts – in that way, remembering my sister and the fun we had on that trip.

- Going on a trip to Grand Marais with my Mom, Dad, Sophia, and Olivia – From September 7th-10th, I drove my mom, dad, Sophia, and Olivia up to Grand Marais.

The hand on the quilt also represents the girls feeding “Mr. Chippy” – a very friendly chipmunk who we spotted on the steps of Bearskin Lodge. Mr. Chippy was quite bold in that he came within 6 inches of the girls as they fed him Pik-Nik Stix (crunchy potato sticks). With stuffed cheeks, he was all-too-eager to befriend them. I’m thankful I didn’t have a cage or small leash in the back of the van, otherwise the girls would have tried to persuade me to take Mr. Chippy home with us. That would have made for an exciting and memorable experience.

The bottom square of fabric on the quilt (with the image of rocks) represents the fun time that Sophia and Olivia had playing on the shores of Lake Superior at Illahee. They enjoyed “Puzzle Cove” which they named because the rocks seemed to fit together like a puzzle. It represents the stone sculptures they made alongside the hundreds that were made by other people at Artist’s Point. It reminds me of looking for heart-shaped rocks to add to my collection. And, it reminds me of the nice walk that my dad and I took along the stone pathway at Illahee that led to the beach, and us two just sitting on the rocks enjoying the breeze and the calming beauty of the waves.

- Taking the girls to Special Kids Day at Crystal Ball Dairy Farm which included a train ride – An organic farm about 15 minutes from here does an event each year for children with special needs. Both Olivia and Sophia have special needs, and were excited about going to this event. They got to ride horses; see/pet farm animals (barn cats, chickens, ducks, goats, foals, and pigs); play in a soybean pit (an area filled with soybeans that they could sit in, fill buckets of soybeans with, bury one another in, or slide into); tour the calf barn and see a one-week old calf; go on a hayride; have lunch; play on a huge swing set; listen to live music; bounce in a “bouncy house”; and go on a train ride (there’s an historic train that’s nearby that offers 45-minute rides).

We had such a wonderful time – with such a variety of activities. I think we laughed more that afternoon than we had in a long time.

The crazy-looking person on the quilt to me represents fun and someone who is carefree and happy. Behind the photo is the person’s body which is in the shape of a heart. I think of how crazy some days can get with caregiving/parenting plus homeschooling both girls. But the core of who I am and why I enjoy what I do – is love. I can’t imagine my life without my daughters…and feel incredibly blessed that both are in my life.

Even with the craziness of day-to-day life, I think it is so important to remember to have fun, to laugh, and to love.

There are two quotes that I like about laughter and love:

“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”
(Author Unknown)

“All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs.
To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.”
(August Wilson)

- Going to the UU church – Living in a rural area, there aren’t a lot of options available for spiritual growth or churches. Consequently, when I moved here 15 years ago, I picked a church that was about 10 minutes from here. At the time, it was an okay fit. Not perfect…but I enjoyed the adult education classes, special annual services, and the people.

For my own spiritual growth, I needed to find someplace more aligned with my beliefs. About 30 miles away, there’s a UU church which I went to on September 19th. It was an inspiring service with thought-provoking readings, prayers, and sermon. The music was performed by a jazz quartet of well-trained youth musicians who played trombone, saxophone, piano, and drums. Between the songs they played and the songs that the congregation sang, it was such an uplifting experience.

In the quilt, I represented this experience and my faith with the random quilting throughout the background. It overlaps and intersects itself…but it is one constant line. A web, so to speak. (This reflects what Unitarian Universalism is - a liberal religious faith which values a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.)

- Becoming an aunt to Austin who was born on September 2nd – My brother (Jim) and Melissa had their fourth child, Austin. After he was born, he spit up blood within the first day. After testing the blood, it was determined that it was his (not his mom’s blood), and that he had an issue with his stomach. He ended up being in the hospital 4 days, and has since been released and is doing much better. It was definitely a rocky start, and one that upset my brother. He said he was grateful that Austin’s condition wasn’t worse after seeing other newborns in the neo-natal unit at the hospital. Austin’s difficult start (a rocky start) is represented by the square on the quilt that has rocks on it.

- Attending the girls’ first 4-H meeting of the year – The new 4-H year began on September 20th. Green is the color of 4-H, so the background fabric and the backing are both done in green.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
Albert Einstein

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