Stitched with Love

More than 2 years ago the thoughts of how to honor the high-school graduation of Honorable Son #1 began to stir in my mind. At that time the idea of piecing together a quilt for him came to life. I knew that if that was the direction my gift would take, I needed to begin that process sooner rather than later. But many questions had to be answered;

  • What quilt pattern would be the right design?
  • What colors, patterns?
  • When would the I find time to accomplish another large project?

Those questions weighed heavy on my mind for many weeks until I finally had to put the idea aside and began to consider other ideas…but what?

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The opportunity to give a gift is something that I take very seriously. Often, many hours of mental power and time are spent in contemplation over the “perfect” gift. And, most often, a gift given with my name printed in the “from” space on the tag needs to be handmade in some way. I have this personality trait >aka-flaw/ disorder< that consumes me until I conjure up the “perfect, personal, handmade gift,” lots of prayer, time and thought are involved. The process while rewarding can be exhausting too.

So, when 2017 rolled around and I still hadn’t decided on a graduation gift, the idea of giving a handmade gift seemed unattainable. But during the month of January(my month of rest after all that gift giving), the idea of a quilt stirred once more.

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This time a pattern idea came to life, and within a week of rekindling this idea I was able to draw out the pattern design and had begun to gather the fabric. Now I just needed the window of time to start the stitching.

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That window of time came during my annual scrapbook vacation with friends. This year instead of working on the scrap pages I took along, the entire 3+ days was used to piece together Honorable Son #1’s graduation quilt.

My pattern design was made up of 2″, 4″, 6″, and 8″ squares, beginning in one corner with white 2″ squares, leading into the addition of shades of blue, then other colors and themes that have some relevance to #1 Son’s childhood and adolescence, finally reaching the other end of the quilt with 8″ squares representing things/colors of his present person.

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Honorable Son #1’s quilt in progress

The entire 3 days of sewing was a roller coaster of emotion with the pouring out of my heart and a trip down memory lane, traveling a road of not only his development, but also the journey I experienced as his mother.
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Finished quilt

After finishing the piecing of the top, I decided to have someone else do the quilting. I would have loved to hand quilt this project, but wanted Honorable Son #1 to have this quilt before he needed a cane…:-)

Through a little Google searching and a couple phone calls, I was led to a women that did quilting with a long-arm machine for hire and, as a bonus, she lived in my area.  Pam Mildren Quilting

Pam did a great job, helping me to chose a quilting pattern, offering many thread color options, and finishing my quilt within 2 weeks of dropping it off. photo DSC02836_zps9wcdfp9h.jpg

“Where’s the ladybug?” Ladybugs from a favorite toddler book.

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Thomas the Train and Dinosaurs,

two very important things in #1 Son’s pre-school/elementary years

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Orange and Green represent the many Allis Chalmers and John Deere Tractors that filled many hours of play

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And now the color grey for that beloved first car-Subaru WRX

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The joy of a made bed!(obviously, just a Mom thing!)

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This quilt wouldn’t win any awards among the wide array of intricate pattern designs or artful color variations that fill the quilt world. No, this quilt’s beauty lies in the eyes, and heart, of a mother; this mother on a journey stitched with love.

All my love, Mom.

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“I Come to the Garden Alone”

In August Dear Husband and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe how quickly that time has passed and how much has changed.

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But throughout the bendy road we have traveled together, several things have remained constant, with one of those being the place we call home.

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From the time we decided to make a life together, Dear Husband and I knew we wanted our home to be as much land as we could afford with a water source, a few trees, and a place to plant stuff. And beginning with our first Spring season as newly weds in 1989, we planted. That 2500 square foot patch of yard near our house was among the first soil we tilled and continues today to be our main garden spot.

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For many of the early years, Dear Husband and I worked together in the Spring to get the soil prepared for planting. He would plow and rototiller, then I would pick rocks and rake the fresh dirt into rows, lay an irrigation line and cover each row with black plastic, finishing with newspaper and straw laid between each row. The preparation was labor intensive at planting time, but eliminated a lot of weeding throughout the growing season.
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Now, after 28 years of working this same soil and tilling each year’s straw and newspaper back into the soil, I am able to prepare for the new season’s planting with just my garden fork and rake. There is no longer a need for intensive plowing to loosen the soil. Dear Husband does haul in some compost and/or manure to feed nutrients into our garden plot, but for the most part, “I come to the garden alone.”
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I had many lofty goals over the years of being a gardener;

  • grow and can or freeze all our vegetables for the year
  • grow vegetables that other people weren’t growing
  • have a picturesque, magazine quality garden
  • grow the biggest/best vegetables
  • have a weed-free garden
  • use everything/have none of the harvest go to waste
  • have a disease-free garden

the list goes on and on, with no growing year ever completely accomplishing the season’s goals, leaving this gardener always a little disappointed in my growing skills.

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This year, though, I have experienced a change in my gardening attitude. On the planning paper, this year’s garden would have had me very disappointed already.

  • Everything got planted late
  • pesky voles are still calling my space home and eating the things they and I like
  • many weeds still remain with the Bearded Iris bed lost in the mess

Again, my list could go on, but this year my discouraged attitude has been replaced by an overwhelming sense of peace and eyes of promise to see the bounty of blessings flourishing from this well fed soil.

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This year’s garden lesson seems to be a little like the lesson that the Grinch learns about Christmas:

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My garden doesn’t have to be about filling the freezer with the biggest, straightest pest-free, weed-free vegetables. My garden, “…perhaps, means a little bit more!”

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There is a favorite old hymn that floats through my head these days when I spend time working in the garden;

I Come to the Garden Alone

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

(Chorus)And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

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He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

(Chorus)And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

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I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Tho’ the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go, thro’ the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

(Chorus)And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

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“The joy I share as I tarry there”-in my garden-I pray, you will know.