Tag Archives: family

What Do We Value?

27 Feb

Yakima River Valley

I was standing in my kitchen tonight baking brownies for my kids and I found myself wondering how many more times I would bake brownies here. Usually that would be an odd thing to think, but we are at a defining moment in our lives, and suddenly I’m feeling nostalgic about my blue laminate counter tops and stark white appliances.

Lizze recently wrote about making changes in her life, starting over with a “New Beginning”. I am making some big changes as well, but rather than a new beginning, it is more like a flashback.

I grew up in Yakima, a small-ish town in eastern Washington state. For the last 13 years I have lived in the Seattle area where we have one season – overcast. Yakima has super hot summers where the cool breeze at night is just right. The winters are bitter cold with lots of snow. Spring is green and smells of flowers and fall is orange and red with a refreshing crispness in the air. I miss living in a town that has all 4 seasons, a place where you don’t need a calendar to know what month it is.

Decision time has come for us and we were given a difficult choice. The choice was, essentially, to pick what is most important to us. We could stay here in this cloudy and overcrowded place. The place where our kids have grown up, a long way from our families. If we stayed my husband was looking at a dramatic increase in pay, but also much less time with the children. Or, we pack up a moving truck and head back over the mountains and go home. Home to sunshine, family, and friends, but no increase in pay.

So what do we value most? Is it money? Having nice things? Yes. We need money to live and I do want nice things for us. But ultimately we chose experiences and family over the extra income. I want these kids to grow up having family around. When I was a kid we all  had dinner at my grandma’s house every Sunday. I haven’t had dinner at my grandma’s table in many years and I miss it dearly. I want family to come to my kid’s school performances, sporting events, and birthday parties. I want to get together and have picnics in the summer. I want to spend Christmas with them again.

We are scared of changing. Selling our home in this economy is a daunting task. Saying goodbye to our neighbors and friends will be hard. But it will all be worth it. I have dreams of big old farmhouses and 4th of July BBQ’s dancing in my head.

For Lizze and I, 2011 is shaping up to be quite a year full of new and exciting things. We are both afraid of some sort of disaster; of making a wrong choice. However, we have both made choices that are putting our families and our children before anything else. How can that ever be wrong?

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want at the moment” – Robert G. Allen



Quilts Are Amazing

3 Sep

I haven’t spoken to my father in 10 years. We’ve had a pretty rocky relationship, to say the least. I have gone through many bipolar moments of the “I love him, I hate him” variety.
He has recently found me on facebook. (Oh the wonders of the Internet. You can’t hide from anyone!) At first, I was very wary of accepting a friend request from this man who had hurt me so badly. But it was many years ago and I decided to give him a chance.
He has done things with his life and made some changes. Not big changes, but I’m sure he realizes I won’t be putting up with any shit, so I’m not likely to get the “old” him again I don’t think.
I have been talking with him back and forth for several months now via email or facebook. We did speak on the phone once. He had a stroke recently, and as much as I wanted to say that I didn’t care, in reality, I did.
My father is a man who doesn’t have many people in his life. He has pushed everyone away by being a jerk. I’m assuming that his assholish-ness is a result of something done wrong to him in the past. If you read my last post, you’ll know how I feel about things happening to us making us into who and how we are, but I digress. Having an awful childhood does not give you a free pass to treat other people that way. I do not condone his behavior, but at the same time, I understand it.
I saw a quilt kit that was in red, black, and white. Red and black had always been his favorite colors so something in me (I have no idea what) told me I had to make this for him. I was unsure if he would like it. I hadn’t had much success with him in the gift-giving department even as a child. He was always very critical of the things he received.
The day he got the package, he sent me an email and told me that he took it out of the box, and broke down and cried. He went on and on about how beautiful it was and how much he has missed me. He has never opened up like that, and I had certainly never seen him cry.
I think what made me feel the need to make this quilt was that if he were to pass away before I have the guts to meet him in person again, I don’t want him to die thinking that he’s alone. I want him to know that even if no one else in the world cares about him, I do. Regardless of what has been done in the past, people can change. I’m glad I gave him another chance. And I’m glad I got the opportunity to show him that, despite our tumultuous past, I still love him.

The influence of your baby quilt

8 Aug

Have you ever thought about the influence your most cherished baby blanket has carried in your life?  Maybe it’s just me.

This is my baby blanket.  My aunt Eileen is quite an artist and created this piece.  She painted the fabric and quilted this some thirty years ago now.  (This old quilt!!)  I was looking at my children’s baby quilts when it struck me how much my baby quilt has influenced not just my quilting, but my taste in fabric.  Little did my aunt know at the time that choosing a simple blue and white gingham backing fabric would become such a focus for me.

I made my first quilt when I was 16, purely on a whim.  No real reason, I just felt compelled to make something.  It was for a boy, and it was hideous!  At the time, I was quite proud of my work.  It was a simple nine patch made from scraps around the house and a few pieces I’d picked up at Joann.  All novelty prints, and no rhyme or reason whatsoever. I also tied it.  Anyhow, the one unifying fabric was the blue and white gingham I’d used to sash and back it with.  I later married that boy.  (And yes, I still have that quilt in a locked closet.  Do not ask to see it.)  When we married, we registered for household necessities, and I chose gingham lampshades.   I later chose blue gingham sofas for our second home.  *Protip* If you think you will ever have children or indoor pets, do not get gingham sofas.  Just sayin’.

Gingham sort of became a theme in my fabric choices.  The quilt that really sucked me into quilting, my first daughter’s baby quilt, is also backed in gingham, but pink this time.  Even my second daughter’s quilt has gingham.  These weren’t conscious choices, but one of those things that when you look at as a whole, you finally see the trend.

It’s not just my aunt’s choice in fabric that I admire now.  She has always been a fiber artist in every respect and really does not adhere to anyone’s “rules” on how to create.   It’s nice to be reminded that you don’t always have to do things the “right” way.  That’s where innovation takes over and you can create something truly unique and spectacular.

Anyway, this quilt I drug around with me everywhere was loved to bits.  My mother was kind enough to restore it for me last year and it now is regarded as an “untouchable quilt.”  It’s simply too special to me to be dragged around by another generation.  It is now treated as the work of art it truly is.