Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Sewist Sews...

 Evidently the word "sewist" was coined to include the many men who are sewing now.

Good morning Grandma's girl!!

In the mail today came a delightful package from my creative daughter.:
For her mother, she made a tea advent calendar 
It is adorable.  Perfect to keep me going.  It will start on New Years Eve.
And I will sip one cup a day...probably share it with Lynsey.
The basket of joy!!! (much better than laundry)
Two grumpy friends sat on the porch...6 feet apart wearing masks
They were so cheered by fondling fabric that soon, they laughed and talked.
.  I took a wide sweep of my messy sewing tables, 
dumping it all in the basket.
 We organized a bit of my mess into labeled bags.
A person always thinks that they have seen all the fabric in the world...
.Until one goes through another quilter's stash!!!!

The Crabby Mc Nasties...all gone with fabric therapy.
Grumpy turns to glee all thanks to a fabric friend.
Well this little four patch experiment needs quite a bit of tweaking.
That, of course is the fun of it.!!
To get the balance I want, probably means two corners snowballed, rather than just one.

Never lonely in the sewing room.
Tonight, Stitch is hanging in the solids....
Two days until 2021.
I will monitor my hope.......!!!!!

I really should go to bed...But, I stay in bed till about noon, and stay up till 2 am.
My routine has been screwy for years...about 5, at least..

Thanks to Peter for for the reminder here:

Good Stuff

Aoife's hat arranged by her daddy. It curiously looks like a bowl cozy??? 

Lynsey made an apron for her mother for Christmas. She was sooo proud.
She took one of my old aprons and traced it.

Yesterday was so relaxing.  I sat in my messy messy sewing room and read a novel by Katherine Center.
There are only two left to read.
I did most of my exercises outside in 35 degrees with sun.
I felt like I just might have a few more good years left and that most people do not die of degenerative arthritis.

Today, not so good.  I heard that out of our 4 big hospitals in Charlotte, the one closest to me has zero ICU beds....Not that I am planning on a car accident or heart attack...Evidently, my neurosis is exploding. Our lives are so upside down.

Cutting 10 inch squares from plaids....relaxing...
Funnest of all fun...is working with scraps..
I thought I might do some one cornered snowballing to put in character.
I used scraps from Lynsey's apron sewing.
Yesterday, I was so Covid Crazy...OMG...
.My son went to store for milk, bringing home both milk and flowers to cheer his mother.....love..
Aoife goes hiking...Oregon is great for that.!!

Life didn't turn out the way it's supposed to.
That is true for everybody.

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness"

--Desmond Tutu

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merrrry Chrisssstmas and Yesterday's News

Aoife says, "Merry Christmas"  from Portland. xo
We say Merry Christmas from Charlotte!

 The other day, I posted a picture of my darlings 7 years ago when they first came to live with me.This is their picture today.  Added is their 2 year old sister Ava...3 days after her 4th brain surgery.

That girl is a fighter..

 When I think of my own grandmother making Christmas cookies..
I will never measure up.  She made 10 kinds of cookies and hid them all in her bedroom closet
When she went off to Bingo, we would all sneak in there and help ourselves...
I made one kind and am exhausted...sigh.

The Swedish ginger cookies from World Market are exactly the same as what Grandma made.
However...World Market is absolutely packed with folks who, evidently do not think Covid is real.
I am speechless. (Then!!!!  Then!! Here came Margaret with a tin for my porch.  Such an angel that Margaret is!!!!)

Christmas Eve..There was my sister, all masked up at the door with a surprise lasagna.
I did not realize that I had missed her so much, till I felt tears in my eyes.
Lasagna is heating up now..The children are spending a week with their mother.
Lynsey received a phone for Christmas.  I just got a text from her.."Grandma, What is for dinner???"
Dear me...She was upset that we were going to eat her aunt's lasagna without her...Ha ha...
My favorite Christmas present 2020, makes it all worthwhile.
A big surprise that had been under the tree for a month.
Lynsey was coming out of her skin with excitement as I  opened it.
She had done exactly what she had watched her granddaddy do.
She wrapped the potholder she had made in one fabric, then another, then another..all
fabric she liked from my stash.  By the time I found the present we were all laughing with joy and Christmas fun.  She showed me how she chose the potholder fabric...TV for when I watch the news, cupcakes for my voracious sweet tooth, striped fabric for my eccentricity, and there is even a fabric that is suppose to represent, common sense.  It wins the 2020 present prize.
Memories from my own childhood, last minute sewing on Christmas Eve.
I remember a college prom, where the boy was at the house and I was still in my bedroom finishing my dress.
Dylan made his dad a jar opener with chip fabric and drawer liner.
A Covid Christmas cheer with Sugar Plum juice from Trader Joe's
It came with a warning, "May cause sugar plum fairies to dance in your head"!!

Sew Merry Christmas.  Christmas is still Christmas even if we are confused.
Our dimpled 2020 baby....5 months..xox
Peace and Goodwill to All

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Teacher With a Big Heart

Sharing the large piece of hand- dye I got a few years ago from Andy.
I think it is perfect for the back of my Delectable Mountains quilt.

This year has been so hard.  Remote learning has been hard...Well, I do not need to tell all of you.
Then this from Dylan's teacher to the parents of her class.
Shared with us, her view and her love for what she does.
Our family loves this teacher.  She gave me permission to share it with all of you.

Dear Parents
Well, we made it!!  We survived the first semester of Remote/Hybrid Learning!!
I have decided to focus on the positive aspects of our semester together...so here goes:

1.  Your child is a gift.  There is no other gift that can top your child-truly a priceless gift for you and for me.

 2.  Your child learned so much more than academics...how to use technology as a tool for meeting, how to create an atmosphere of learning from home, how to join a virtual community. 

3.  Your child perseveres...showing up daily for Zoom and sticking with it, turning in work through a computer (not easy), staying engaged through lessons and work times.

4.  Your child shows grace...patient with me as I navigate the tech world, patience with a classmate who is not on a meeting right away, patience in waiting for feedback and grades.

5.  Your child shows compassion...helping others (including the teacher) figure out how to use technology with a gentle voice.

6.  Your child still laughs, still smiles and still brings joy to me every morning at 8:15

So here's what we can take away from all this...your child has grown in ways that test scores cannot measure.  These kids are ahead...they have learned to make the best of a difficult situation and that is the best learning of all.  This group has learned so much more that any of us can even imagine...

Please enjoy this time off with your child.  Enjoy all they have to offer.

Thank you so much foe your tremendous support this year and all of the wonderful gifts I have received in the past few weeks!!!

Have a great break and see you in 2021.

Kristin Reich, Fifth Grade Teacher, Olde Providence Elementary School


 Because of this, I go to bed tonight with a smile on my face.

Lynsey making 3 kinds of cookies with her Dad.  I can hear her bossing him around from my sewing room.  Dylan making jar openers on my sewing machine.




The Constant in Uncertainty

 June 1, 1980


Rain on the roof is different now.
Sunset lacks its rosy hue.
Evening stars flicker and fade
Yet the wind still wails for you.

from the book, Daydreams, by Alice Franzen Clemons Burt

Monday, December 21, 2020

Winter Solstice Shines Some Light

Another place in my home decorated.  My man's handicap bathroom downstairs.
For some reason, this bathroom brings me joy as it was a gift from friends.
It is huge and spacious and happy...(as happy as a bathroom can get).
BTW, This cat quilt is white too...how many shades of white in a spectrum???
From a chilly Portland with love, Emily, Aoife and Rosie, on a walk today..

My grands went to stay with their mother for a few days. They insisted that there was no school today.  A new week...a vacation week.  I looked it up, but there were triangles and circles, etc..
Alas, tonight I received 3 robo calls...from a high school, a middle school and an elementary school proclaiming unexcused absences for all.  Confusing.  There should have been a direct email:
Grandma O'Quilts...There IS school on Monday... With the Ava operation, etc..it was easy to become confused.  AND, if you had seen the darling, sincere eyes insisting today as the start of winter break, you too may have believed them!!!!
Tonight watching sappy movies, I finally finished this top.
A finish.  I do hate to do the quilting, but...I am glad this is done.
I think I will do straight line quilting.....someday ...

Tonight's story is thanks to Paula.  Her man died of ALS just like mine did.  But the first Christmas after, her kids bought her a tattoo copied from a card her husband had sent her.  Love.
Of course, my kids must have thought that I was way too old and wrinkly for this nice thing. because it was never offered up to me!!
I can enjoy Paula's...Way to go girl.

Tonight I am calm.  My son and I cannot find the Christmas star, here in the woods, but we found Orion. And, it was lovely outside in the dark.

Everyone needs time alone. It offers a calm, crack, open for a sliver of hope.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Novel Year

 Everything...just everything, is different this year. Flexibility has to be one of the most popular words of this year...although we do fight it so.  This year, Santa is now planning to wrap presents in plastic grocery bags tied with fabric scraps...2020, a year to remember!!!

From Portland came this picture of our Aoife admiring the snowman rug made by  her Granddaddy.

When I first met my husband in graduate school, he was into rug hooking.  He  made this for us for our first Christmas married in 1980.  Forty years ago??  Is this vintage  yet..??  Well to Aoife, it is for sure.
Mr. O'Quilts would be thrilled to see her loving it so.

The above shows us how slow Grandma is now-a-days. Every week or so, I am able to sew on one border and I have to blog about it...cuz  it is a big deal for me.
Slow, unfocused...Four days until Christmas Eve.
No sugar cookies  made.  Nothing wrapped. House a mess.
But... life gave me permission..cuz it is 2020!!!!

In the next room, the children are watching Zombies with their father.
Old lady asks, "Is it appropriate".??  Well, they all find this hilarious...Zombies???
With blood coming out of their noses...All three of them, 35, 11 and 12 love it!!

I am detaching myself to my sewing room for survival.  I turned on a Netflix movie, only to read on the credits that it was based on some Harlequin novel...It has come to this!!  OMG  I am stooping low for peace.
My sister said that I am not the only one under stress this December...
Here we are 7 years ago at my birthday. My man was paralyzed in the bed with ALS and I took guardianship of my darlings.  My man died a year later.  My mother fell out of her wheelchair and broke her neck 5 months later.... We carried on.
They were three, four and seven.  Now they are 11, 12 and 15 and I am way over 100.

Just seeing this picture tonight helped me see that the O'Quilt family is a survivor!!!!
We will carry on!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Grandma Under Pressure...Santa is Coming, You Know

One thing decorated!!
I have succumbed to red wine and red and green M&Ms.
My DIL in the hospital exhausted--- Ava recuperating..
Leaves little time for her to help the other children
get presents for each other...I mean really, Christmas is about giving....lessons to learn. 

Too late now for Amazon and old grandma too nervous to go to a store.
And when I asked them...Let's sew...they did not want to leave the computer games..
We will just take a breath knowing tomorrow is a new day.

Golden Christmas lights finally arrived from Amazon.
Covid brain here...ordered by mistake, two packages of Halloween lights.

Ten pm.  Grandma needs respite.  Please let Grandma have the quiet privacy of her own sewing room.
OK  !!
It is bedtime for the children, so I made myself guacamole from the avocados that were ripe.
Into my sewing room, I crept...only to find two children with plates already joining me.
AND, they were eating among my fabric...OMG

I am eating so much junk food, due to holiday stress and Covid stress, that I will never, ever fit down the chimney in 5 days.  What to do??? What to do??

There were many years that I was up sewing past midnight, the night before Christmas.
In a wink of an eye, those days for me are over..
Another lesson, I guess.

Life Has a Mind of It's Own


 Attaching the border to my Delectable Mtns...quilt top.

I love it.. I hope I have enough.
Dylan is sewing closed the rip in his Tiger.  It would have been so much easier
for me to do it, rather than teach him how..
It was worth the time.  I did offer to wash it...
but NO..Dylan likes Tiger just the way he is.!
Birthday present on the wall in my sewing room.
Heather's adorable folded star, now sparkling on my wall.

My weekend R and R was cut short today, with the arrival back of my two youngest grand darlings.
Lynsey and Dylan had been with their mother when their little sister became sick.  Emergency!!!
Ava needed her 4th brain surgery.  The shunt failed again.  The tissue grew over the shunt so it could not be removed and a new one was inserted. It seems to me...woefully uninitiated, that 4 times a failed shunt is a bit too much for a 2.5 year old.  I hope this does not have to happen every six months. As we speak, the operation is over and Ava is eating cookies and chocolate milk, in the hospital.
Spending the night or so for observation. .with her exhausted mother.
We are grateful

I think I remember a carefree youth where my family took care of me  In  high school, I remember staying up late eating pretzels and Dr. Pepper.  I felt well taken care of...
I do not feel so carefree lately!!!!

A dear friend of my son sent this yummy Guatemalan fabric to me.
When I tell my son how do I say "Thank You"?
My son says, it was a gift from God...so thank God.
And, so I did.!!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Birthday Love

Thank you dearest Aoife!!!

Today was the day I turned 73. 
 Lynsey made the chocolate cake...modified with a package of chocolate morsels and a few extra tablespoons of water...She said it was so yummy, we did not need frosting.
My sister sent peppermint ice cream...Oh, my...
A little warm mulled wine for the season...which of course, starts today!!

Heather drove all the way from Waxhaw to give me her homemade trivet and my arthritis kept me from even answering the door!!  Isn't the trivet wonderful!!!!

Three visitors today...Unbelievable and tons of good wishes.
I have not had visitors like that in forever.
Bev and Ginny all the way from Mint Hill with this treat.
And honestly...the treat was the outside visit with masks...in this lonely time!!

Linda made me Five dishcloths...OMG  I want to hang them on the wall!!
Plenty of homemade chocolate cookies.
How all my friends and family knew chocolate is my thing....is just amazing.

My girl called in Chinese food from Portland to Charlotte...My son picked it up.
Such a treat!!
My son cleaned all the floors..He wrote a lovely note of gratitude as did our Lynsey.
Soo many texts, emails, phone calls...Amazing.....I am so lucky.
Lynsey wrapped my present in fabric to save the trees!

Thank you friends and family and God and world.
Like my mother used to say....I am glad I lived this long!!
Thank you Aoife!!!!!!


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Wormy Kind of Day


Have to start off with a smile from our dear dimpled Aoife!!
Lynsey made 4 one pan cakes like this.  She mixed the two cakes to make it swirl and pretty
She and her dad had bought canned frosting...Disgusting. Fair enough, they told me to make my own frosting.
I made it in haste so it was much less than spectacular.
This morning for breakfast, I had a slice.
Next thing I hear Lynsey fighting with her brother.
And, telling her father that her brother had taken a piece of my cake.
When I confessed, she was stunned...It is NOT your birthday yet???
I thought it was my cake.  I did not know it was a birthday cake.
Hilarious....this was hilarious.  Poor Dylan, blamed for everything.

Old tired grandma is trying to feel younger...Thus:  Size 6 for bicep curls and size 2 for something else.
I tried the 3's but they made my shoulder hurt.  So far, not one part of me feels 42 again...!!! And, I have been doing this for six months!!!!

My son took 12 and a half year old Zoe to the vet for a check up
Her fur is falling out in chunks.  She is deaf, her eyes are clouded.
However, if Linda visits or she sees a squirrel, she takes off with youthful spirit..
The vet said that her blood pressure and heart beat were both very low.
She did blood work.  On the way home, Eamon decided to stop at Home Depot with two animals in the car.  He loaded pine needles.  When he checked on Stitch, our cat...she had pooped worms...Jeeze Louize...  The vet has now set aside for us tapeworm medication.

Took dear Lynsey to the pediatrician.  She had had itching on her bottom, too.
Pinworms.  OMG...God, Grandma O'Quilts is exhausted.  I know the worm thing is too much information, however............
We went for a peppermint milk shake to celebrate her bravery at the doc and
it started to feel a bit like Christmas!!!
All is well when I start messing around with scraps for a hospital donation quilt.
Maybe a few more red hearts in the blocks for a kid's Valentine quilt.