Thursday, November 28, 2013

i had a friend when i was in my 20's who really taught me about being a solid grown-up.  she was 13 years older than me.  for several years i had a tight knit group of friends in toronto and we often saw her and her husband.  when i first met them, she had just had a heart-breaking and horrible miscarriage.  it was my introduction to her positive and clear perspective.  she welcomed me into her family, so that when i was in toronto, i always would stop in and see them, eat with them, play with her children.  their home was that sort of home.  there was always good food.  fresh coffee.  a ready laugh.  
it was through her example that i learned to not get involved with the drama that circles around one, quick to entangle and difficult to tame.  i watched her and learned how to make people feel welcome and comfortable in one's home.  i learned how to smile through pain.  i learned how to let difficult times pass and welcome the good times.  and so i spent a good portion of my 20s with her as a role model. 
sadly, i can't remember the last time i was with her.  but i'm sure it was more than 15 years ago.  i got married and settled into a life that no longer included frequent trips to toronto.  and we fell out of touch.  but i would think of her often.  her smile.  her quiet kind demeanor.  her grace.  
i learned a couple of weeks ago that she was in palliative care and that immediate family were her only visitors.  a few years ago i learned from friends that she had been diagnosed with liver cancer in an advanced stage.  but she had beaten the odds, beaten the cancer.  or that was what i thought.  but tragically, the cancer had continued to ravage her and today was her funeral.  it seems unreal.  so very sad, but unreal.  for i haven't seen her in so many years.  but her spirit remains so strong and kind and alive.  i hope that i can pass on the gifts she gave me.  gifts that make lives better, stronger, happier and fuller.  those are good gifts.  i love you, olgica.     

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

night has softened around us.  there is a storm predicted to roar in overnight.  but for now the sky is quiet.  ezra is asleep beside me.  the fire is on.  stella is wrapped around the back of the stove.  i've brought home pieces to iron and cut,  while i watch the bbc's middlemarch.  i've been preparing quilt tops for the last couple of days.  lovely, long 15 hour work days. 
but today i had to head to a doctor's appt.  a mole was on my neck that my parents have been urging me to have removed.  and today was the day.  a lovely large gash with 6 stitches is now creeping out of my hairline at the back of my neck. i quite like it.  although i think i'll miss the mole for a while. 
if you have been thinking of my quilts for gift-giving this season, you can find me at the mulberry school's winter fair this weekend.  friday evening 6-9 and saturday from 10-4. it's a lovely event!
i am also opening my studio on the 3 sundays before christmas.  on the 8th, the 15th and the 22nd the studio will be open and tidy and ready for visitors from noon to 4.  so feel free to drop by then as well.  
if you have an inkling for a custom piece in time for christmas, please  get in touch as soon as possible.
i think the winter season will be in full swing soon, especially if this storm actually happens.  a time when an extra quilt or two always makes sense :)   

Thursday, November 21, 2013

morning is whipping around in the wind.  i'm trying to get the motivation to head over to the studio.  it's early, although it feels earlier than it is because of the darkness.  this time of year is a continual string of production.  and i love it.  i'm making things i haven't made since last year at this time.  little paper tags.  napkins.  cards and handmade envelopes.  as well as the quilts.  always the quilts. 
my quilting machine has been giving me a bit of a rough ride this week.  my friend megan, who is both an extraordinary quilter and a mechanic of sorts with these monster machines, is coming to help me today.  hopefully we'll get it humming again.  and this afternoon i'm driving out to liv's goat farm.  
every year liv turns her huge farm kitchen into a shopper's paradise.  handmade treasures tucked into every nook.  her soap and her goats are the main attraction.  but she has a collection of goodies that compares to an evening on etsy. 
the doors open tomorrow, friday november 22 at 10 am.  and she's there all weekend until sunday at 5.  it's a lovely drive in the country.  the address is: liv simple farms, 431 cowdy rd, enterprise ontario. if you need it, here's a map  


Saturday, November 16, 2013

the fire is on and ezra is curled in a tight little circle, snoring loudly.  tom has gone to bed although it's early on a saturday night.  i finished a quilt for my sister-in-law today.  ehe's having serious major surgery on monday and i want her to have a little something from us while she's recovering.  i quilted it with her children's names and healing words. and i hope when she wraps it around her she gets a little strength from it.  
i wish i could talk to my grandfather right now.  he lived for so long, that it's strange not to have him around to ask questions.  i keep wanting to ask him what 1913 was like for our family.  was there trouble in the fields?  were there any family tragedies? or was it a happy year full of birth and joy.  this year we have been confronted with alot of heart ache.  and i'm ready to let go of the consistent strain of bad news.  we are eager to move forward.
so tonight, i'll sit by the fire and read a little.  an alice munro short story.  until i fall asleep.  and i'll move happily into tomorrow, quilting quilts and starting the week with positive and bright energy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

in the past months, since i began to swirl my sewing machine into words as i quilt, i have met some lovely people and made some wonderful quilts.  for now i've become a scribe of sorts.  my customers trust me with the words that sing with meaning for them.  they give me the words that they danced their first married dance to, or the words they sung to their babies, or the words of their mother's favorite poem.  they give me lists of words that empower, or poems that have been written for them.  and all of these words become part of me.  all the words wade through me. as i sew them, it is quite a little dance.  i have written them by hand on paper, studied them, let them be familiar and sure within me.  and then as i start sewing the words there is a little chant in my mind as i repeat the words over and over, ensuring that my mind and my eye and my hands are all linked in and working together.  the words stay with me after.  i feel so fortunate to be filled with the words that others find meaningful.  for it opens me a little and gifts me with a little of their truth.  a great sharing.  one line keeps running through my mind lately.....'you whispered me back to my feet'.  a poem of love.  a poem of commitment.  and i am trusted with it.  
i love these quilts and their dreamy whispers.  it seems the line 'you whispered me back to my feet' could have been written for the quilts as well. for they wrap you with warmth and whisper their words as they warm you.   

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

we buried our beautiful Floyd on Friday.  beside telulah.  his death was so difficult.  he was young and strong.  and rippling with energy. but in the last few days his big mischievous eyes had grown soft and sad.  he couldn't breathe.  he had sustained some sort of an injury to his trachea.  a fight?  a fall?  a blunt force trauma?  it was a couple of weeks ago we knew something was amiss.  he jumped on me and his skin was puffed with air and crackling.  sub-cutaneous emphysema.  the air he breathed leaking under his skin.  puffing him up.  our vets scoped him and found a small stricture deep at the base of his trachea.  they implanted a little spout on his back.  I would knead the air out in big gulps. he sat for hours on my lap.  warm and sleepy and sweet.  after a few days it appeared the air in his skin was less dramatic.  but his air hungry seize of a cough was still there.  still convulsing him whenever he made too much movement.  and when he began to struggle to breathe, we rushed him to the vet's oxygen crate.  he was comfortable in the oxygen, or he appeared to be.  but when we brought him out, his sides heaved, his mouth opened, working so hard to get air.  his eyes followed us around the room.  he was locked on us.  he trusted us.  he didn't seem afraid.  just tired.  and once again, our wonderful vets did all they could for us.  even coming in from his day off to do another scope.  where he discovered the stricture they had originally seen had tripled in size, cutting off his windpipe almost completely.  leaving just a tiny pinhole for him to breathe through.  the original injury, over healing and building scar tissue that was cutting off his oxygen, his life.  oh Floyd.....we couldn't let him go on choking with every breath.  so while he was under the anaesthetic, they euthanized him.  he just didn't wake up.  they wrapped him in his quilt and he sat on my lap as we drove home.  I couldn't quite believe he was dead.  so warm and soft on my lap. he was still warm, when I wrapped the quilt around him the last time and laid him in the ground.  he looked so comfortable and cozy.  it's all I could do. 
only 4 years old and such a spirited part of our family.  our house is more than a little dull now.