A Crafter's Life, Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

A Fish Tale

Making a Fish

Around 2010 or 2011 my friend Judy (my original “quilting sister” who taught me how to quilt, see post Quilting Sisters, Part I) visited me in Central Oregon for the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS).

Each year the week before the actual SOQS, which is always the second Saturday in July, the Stitchin’ Post and other local Central Oregon quilt shops have a week of classes by nationally known instructors called Quilters Affair“.

Officially “Quilters Affair” is managed by the Stitchin’s Post and the SOQS but many other local quilt shops have their unofficial version by offering classes to out of town quilters during this time.

While Judy was visiting, one of those quilt shops offering classes the week before SOQS was BJ’s Quilt Basket. They offered a class by Donna Cherry, an extremely talented young appliqué quilt designer and quilter. Judy and I decided to take the class to make the her wallhanging – “Mountain Trout“.

Here is her original version from her website Donna Cherry Designs:

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Image credit: donnacherrydesigns.com

Judy and I both had husbands who were into fishing, my Terry was a fly fisherman. We thought these wallhanging would be a wonderful gift for them.

Here is the version I made in class:

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Releasing a Fish

Well as most of you know, I lost my beloved husband suddenly in December 2018. Over the past could of months I’ve been donating and downsizing my life in preparation to move from Central Oregon to Colorado in the late Spring (see posts Colorado Bound (Part I)  and Colorado Bound (Part II)). Downsizing is especially important as I am moving from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment.

I’ve made a lot of quilts over the years and many I’ve given away; however many I’ve kept. I know I needed to thin out my collection of quilts a little bit prior to the move.

My husband Terry (who I used to refer to as “Terry the Quilting Husband”/”TTQH” on my blog) was a quilter. I tried to make sure that many of his quilts were given to his family members, but I kept a couple special ones for myself.

I’ve made him many quilts over the years, including the Mountain Trout wallhanging quilt but my heart was telling me that it needed a new home – to go to another fly fisherman.

Fish Giving

I’ve been with my employer for 14 years and I’ve met some pretty awesome people at my job. I am fortunate enough to be a telecommuter (though I did work a year in the office when I lived in Seattle, WA when I first started my job) and will be taking my job with me to Colorado.

I’ve met a couple people at work that are so special I kind of consider them “work family members”. One of them is my friend Nancy who I refer to as my “Work Sister” and I made her a little quilted wallhanging for her cubicle of her beloved Cannon Beach Oregon (see post A Case for Buying Things You Have No Plans for at the time) in 2017.

Another work family member is my friend Cody who I consider my “Work Brother”. He is actually around the same age as my biological little brother and similarly as awesome. Although I was a fan of his work from afar, I met him in person for the first time at a national conference we attended in May 2018 (see post A Presidential Artistic Journey) and knew he was “my people” – especially when I discovered he is a crafter!

He is an avid fly fisherman and while we were at the conference he was busy in the evenings, with the supplies he brought from home, making/tying his own flies in his hotel room. I was kind of envious as I wished I had brought a quilting project to work on in the evening after each conference session in my hotel room!

A couple months ago I got to meet his beautiful and brilliant fiancée Cici and was totally smitten with her (does that make her my “work sister-in-law” when they marry?).

So I knew Cody was the perfect person to send this special Mountain Trout quilt and here is a photo taken by Cici of him with his new quilt (even if he did not iron the crease out in the middle from shipping before taking a photo – ha!):

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He was very happy with his new quilt and I received a wonderful phone call from him and Cici that made me smile.

It was a good “release” of a fish I once held.


Feature Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life, My Minimalism Journey, Quality of Life

If it brings me joy, I will keep it in view

This is an addendum to my 12/30/15 post Quilts for the Quilter (and Crafts for the Crafter), recently I came across a very special homemade gift…

As part of my ongoing journey towards living with less and keeping only those things that are useful and bring me joy, I am working on dealing with mementos and keepsakes. I had three boxes of keepsakes – old postcards, cards from old friends and co-workers, newspaper clippings, holiday photo cards, etc. I now have one small box. I have let go of that which does not bring me a deep sense of joy.

During the process of working through my keepsakes, I re-discovered a quilt that my staff had made me when I was a manager at a health plan in Seattle in the late 1990s to early 2000s. I do not remember if I was a quilter yet, so it likely was not a “Quilt for the Quilter” but it is something very special that was just sitting around in a box put away.

My friend Judy, who originally got me into quilting and was a member of my work team in the late 1990s, organized a team quilt project as a holiday gift for me. Each team member made a block and Judy assembled the blocks into a wallhanging quilt. I was deeply touched and surprised with the gift, which I believe was given to me around 1998 or 1999.

This wonderful gift is no longer tucked away, I have placed it on the wall to remind me that I was that loved (because QUILT ARE LOVE, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise!) so much as a leader that a team took the time to make me a quilt!

Below is a photo of the quilt.  The center of the quilt features a photo of the entire team, so I have taken a low resolution photo at a bad angle to respect the privacy of former team members who I have lost touch with and may not want their photo published on the web. (And you likely thought it was just another one of my bad photos!)

I have included a couple close ups of some of the blocks. The “Chocolate Chip Cookies” block, by one of my former team members, was made to honor the fact that I brought the team homemade chocolate chip cookies when I interviewed with them! After I was hired I continued to make the team homemade cookies.

It is wonderful to have such a  special memory visible to enjoy everyday, rather tucked away, only to look at every couple of years (or longer, when you remember it is there).

As far as the other keepsakes, as I mentioned earlier I took them down from 3 boxes to 1 small box. I love what Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2014), states in her wonderful book:

“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”

I realize many memories can be held inside my heart rather than my hand. I do not need to hold onto all those physical items to honor those memories (like all postcards I ever received – I have downsized them only a small stack of very special postcards).

And as far as the person I am becoming, I hope it is someone who is filled with gratitude for all the special moments in her life. This quilt reminds me to continue my feelings of gratitude each day.

 

A Crafter's Life

Quilts for the Quilter (and Crafts for the Crafter)

If you are a quilter (or any type of crafter), likely you make handmade gifts for others. How often does someone make a handmade gift for you?

I know many quilters who make quilts for others but have not had a quilt made for them. A couple of years ago my annual quilt retreat buddies decided we would remedy this, and I decided we would draw names and make a quilt for a secret quilt sister to be unveiled at the next annual retreat.

It was so exciting to receive a quilt from another quilter as a gift. Here is the quilt I received from my secret quilt sister, Kathy. I keep this quilt (you can tell it has been laundered a couple times) on my reading chair:

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This is not the first quilt made for me by another quilter, I was lucky enough years ago to have a quilt made for me by my friend Judy (who originally got me into quilting). I keep this quilt up in my studio and the colors make me feel happy and inspire my creativity:

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Another sweet item that my quilter friend Judy made me, that I keep in my studio, is a little quilted wallhanging meant to represent us hanging out together shopping for fabric (not that we would ever engage in such costly activities!):

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When our beloved miniature schnauzer Fritz passed away, my friend Betty Anne made this lovely recycled silk wallhanging in honor of Fritz’s memory called Zebra Moon, which is now part of our joint The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.zebra_moon-e1399179353531.jpgIn addition to quilter friends who have made me quilts, I am fortunate to have a crafter friend (paper crafts), Michele, who made me this lovely wall art many years before I ever received a handmade quilt! It has been on display in my home for many, many, years:

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I love to give handmade gifts and I also love to receive them. I appreciate the time, love, and workmanship goes into making something by hand!