Thursday, July 8, 2010
June Journal Quilt
Below are the major activities of the month and how they are symbolized in the quilt:
My Birthday: I turned 44 years old on June 29th. This is represented by the 4 pieces of purple fabric in the background (4 decades) and 4 flowers (4 years). There are 22 hand-stitched “V”s to represent the grass…or 44 stitches total. Since my birthdate is the 29th, I sewed 29 clear beads onto the purple fabric. My favorite colors are purple and green, so the background fabric is purple, and the grass, stems, and leaves are green.
Visit from a Previous Resident of the Home: On Monday, June 21st, an 82 year old gentleman who lived in this farm home came by for an unexpected visit.
Room by room, he went through the home recalling wonderful memories of a boy living with his aunt and uncle during the summer. (His parents were both working and when he was out of school during the summer, they didn’t want to leave him alone by himself. So, his aunt and uncle took care of him for many years during the Depression and early- to mid-1930s.)
There are 15 wavy lines on the quilt on the purple section. These represent the 15 years we’ve lived in this home.
A New Bike: As a child and teenager, I use to ride my bike quite a bit. I’m not sure what happened to that bike, but as an adult I have never had one. The last time I remember riding a bike was when I was in Beijing, China, adopting Sophia. There was a bike rental place near the hotel, and it looked like a fun thing to do. It was…and probably was one of the most comfortable and memorable bike rides I’ve ever had.
The wavy lines represent my hair blowing in the wind as we coast down hills while bike riding (the lines also represent the 15 years we lived in the house…as noted above).
Father’s Day: Father’s Day was June 20th. My dad has Alzheimer’s Disease, and it is definitely progressing each month. Last Father’s Day, he had just been diagnosed with middle-stage A.D. As a family, we didn’t know what this year would be like. I am incredibly thankful that my dad still knows who I am. In fact, a couple of days ago when I called him, he picked up the phone. “Hello?” “Hi, Dad. It’s Ann.” “ANN MARIE!” he exclaimed. “Dorothy, It’s Ann Marie!” I almost cried. Just to hear my name said with such enthusiasm. It’s a gift. A simple gift. But one that I am incredibly thankful for each time I hear it.
There are several elements that represent Father’s Day in this quilt: on each of the stems I’ve hand-written the following advice that our fathers gave us (I got my dad’s words from a book he wrote many years ago about his memories growing up as well as thoughts as an adult):
-“Be thrifty – save money and prepare for the future.” (This was advice my dad received from his dad.)
-“Do a job that you’ll enjoy, will be challenging, and give you the opportunity to make a difference.” (This was advice my dad gave me when I was offered my first “real” job out of college. The pay was very low, but I was given an opportunity to raise money for a multi-disciplinary arts organization that had a strong educational and performing focus.)
On the other two stems are favorite memories that we have of our fathers:
-“Times we’d relax, rest, and simply enjoy as a family time together. I remember times on a blanket in the yard at Springdale Farm.” (This was a memory my dad had of his family when he was a boy.)
-“Seeing how happy and moved he was when he watched the video ‘All I want is your love.’” (This was a video my sister and I made for him one Christmas while we were still in college. She and I drove to Illinois where he was born and lived during his childhood/teen years; videotaped relatives talking about memories they had as well as different homes that my dad lived in or visited. We then edited/created a video with the help of some of my friends at college. For years, all my dad would say when we asked him what he wanted for Christmas was, “All I want is your love.” So, that’s what we named the video. Needless to say, when we presented the gift and he watched it, it was a tremendously moving experience for everyone. My dad wrote about that gift many years ago and said, “…it was and will be a treasured gift. Despite college and a very busy schedule, you and Mary really did a super job of production, interviewing, and giving a very memorable gift.”)
Dad’s Eye Surgery: My dad had eye surgery in early June. I accompanied him to surgery since my aunt was being buried that day at Fort Snelling and my brother was taking her there.
During this time, he told me how proud he was of me and appreciated everything I have done for him. “Did you ever imagine that you would have to take care of your father like this?” he asked me. “No, but it has and will always be my pleasure to help you, Dad.”
Getting Ready for the County Fair: This month my daughters and I have spent a lot of time getting ready for the county fair. We enjoy making projects and entering them into the open class competition. We’ve been working quite a bit on handiwork projects this month – embroidery and sashiko (Japanese embroidery) mostly. After two months of working on doing the sashiko fabric (and over 13,600 stitches later), I’ve finally finished.
I represented the sashiko embroidery by the tiny straight stitches in the grass (the grass also represents my age as noted above).
Flowers are Blooming: The lupines, roses, yarrow, tiger-lilies, peonies, and bee balm are all in bloom now. There are purples, reds, pinks, whites, oranges, and magentas…so many rich, beautiful colors around the yard. The flowers on the quilt represent the bright colors and beauty that I see when I see the flowers in the front- and backyards.