Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Special Christmas Gift

My youngest daughter, who retired in December, 2009 after serving 30 years in the United States Air Force, is keeping herself busy learning how to act like a civilian, and is quite enjoying it.  She has turned into "Susie Homemaker," cooking and decorating, and gardening, etc.

Daughter is highly proficient at cross-stitch, having produced some very lovely and intricate works of art over the past twenty years or so.  However, one of the crafts/skills that she has not practiced for thirty years is any sort of general sewing.  She raised two boys and found it easier to buy their shirts and trousers ready made, rather than attempt to make them at home -- besides which, sewing well takes time and effort, and her responsibilities in the Air Force left little time for that sort of thing.   A seamstress she was not, although she owned a small sewing machine which she used to patch her boys' jeans and mend tears, etc.

One of the delights she discovered in her new home town in Nebraska was a fabric shop (which I visited with her during my trip in July - she was trying to make "vintage aprons" at the time) replete with hundreds, if not thousands, of bolts of lovely fabrics, wonderful patterns and other "sewing stuff," and staffed by friendly and helpful people who also teach classes in quilting, from beginner through advanced techniques.  Even though Daughter didn't really know much about even basic sewing, she signed herself up for Quilting 101, the classes for which began in mid-October.

Around the middle of November (last month), she told me that she was making a quilt for my Christmas present, and hoped to have it finished by that date.  I was pleased that she would make this effort for me, but had no idea what to expect from a fledgling seamstress.  My gift arrived on Monday before Christmas, with instructions to open immediately, which I did and -- what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:

About all I could utter was "amazing!"  This beautiful quilt was made by a daughter that had called me only a few months ago to ask me how to find 3/8" on a ruler!!

I think she did a wonderful job on her first large quilt (it measures 50" x 70").  It has thirty blocks, she told me, each containing 14 different Christmas-themed fabrics, with a total of 30 different fabrics in the quilt. The pattern is named "Tree's Up! Lights On!" and was designed by Sandy Gervais (anyone who quilts is probably familiar with her fabric designs and patterns.)

The back side looks like this:

so it's beautiful from either side.

To make it even more special, she has embroidered "secret messages" for me into some of the quilt blocks, and signed it at the bottom --

How special is that?!

At this writing, I'm trying to decide how and where I can display this very, very special gift so that I can see it all year long.  It probably will go into my bedroom for most of the year and come out into the living room at Christmas time.

In the meantime, it's chilly in my house, so the quilt is a cuddle-cover, me beneath, cats on top, as I watch TV from my recliner.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the Angel is stilled,
When the Star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and princes are home,
When the Shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To Find the lost - To Heal the Broken - To Feed the hungry -
To Release the prisoner - To Rebuild the nations -
To bring Peace among brothers and sisters -
To make music in the Heart.

- Howard Thurman

My Christmas wish: May all the blessings of this day be with you and those you love.