Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We all fall down...

Lately Liam has been furniture walking. He is so excited to pull up on furniture. When he stands up on his own he looks at me with the biggest grin on his face. Look mommy... I did it by myself,  his delighted expression suggests. 

But oh this little boy - he can climb up but doesn't know how to sit back down. Often times he falls down after trying to walk a little further than his little arms and feet can safely reach. Most times I can catch him in time and soften the landing... But there are those occurrences where Mommy just isn't fast enough... and a tumble is followed by a thud. When he falls and starts to cry, I sweep him up and comfort him with hugs and kisses. Oh if I could kiss away all the pain and the fear. Lately a phrase has emerge that I murmur to him on those occasions, It's alright Little Bug. We all fall down. Mommy falls down too. You are not alone my little boy in reaching father than your abilities can carry you... in falling in a tangle of limbs. In the thud that accompanies a crash. 

Today was one of those days. Mommy fell down... in a figurative sense. Sigh. I am learning that parents make mistakes... and oh how often the thud that follows is one of the heart - instead of the head. 

I wish that I could give my own mom and dad a hug. And express to them my gratitude and understanding. To ask them to forgive me for every time I thought they weren't enough. Even when they couldn't soften the landings... Because they were enough and more. So much much more. 

Parenting is the hardest job I have ever done in my life. 

Mom and Dad... thank you. I understand now. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

So many kinds of joy

Today was such a beautiful day. There was sun and sand and water - but most especially the use of handmades! Oh how those things bring joy to my heart!

 Today we took Liam to the beach and he wore the hat I made him, along with a new to his closest, a mama made shirt from one of his daddy's old T-shirts designated for the rag pile. 

This little shirt represents two things that are becoming close to my heart. Garment sewing for children, and repurposing fabrics. 

When I started seeing how much joy quilting and making toys for Liam could bring - I so wanted to make him a few mommy made clothes to use during his play. I don't know if there could be anything more wonderful than to see an item made with love be used as he grows and explores.  

I have been a bit scared to venture into the world of garment sewing.  I don't know why. Perhaps it's the terminology that seems so foreign to me. Perhaps it is the precision required for a finished product. But as I was reading one of my favorite blogs yesterday I read the quote below and it totally changed my entire mindset. 

" Let yourself enjoy the process and don't get hung up on whether it is "right" or "perfect." Let it reflect where you are right now, and let that be enough." ~ Alicia Paulson from www. posiegetscozy.com 

Those words were extremely - liberating. I didn't have to make something perfect. I just had to make something that showed where I was in my current process. And the fruits of my labor were blessed with a garment that Liam could actually use on a family outing - made with flaws, but oh so so so much love.

Another thing that has been on my heart is repurposing used things, often unwanted or old things into something that can be useful and loved. Oh how wonderful that feeling is! That T-shirt was too small for Ross and was about to be used for a rag - but now I have a new garment for Liam and a couple of good pieces for dusting. You can't beat that! 

The T-shirt is an envelope tee from Meg McElwee's book Growing Up Sew Liberated in the 6-12 months size. I bought this book several months ago and have been dreaming of filling my boy's drawers with mommy handmades. Well, we are one garment into that dream! 

Happy Sewing Everybody! Linking up to Sew the Library at Tales of Cloth

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

To be a steward

:: the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something:: 
Merriam-Webster Dictionary on  the definition of stewardship

Today I learned a valuable lesson about what it means to be a steward. What it means to be responsible for something. Forgive me for this very long post - but an important lesson was learned today and I can not not share it here. 

This is what two months of neglect look like. The garden hasn't been touched since my dad was last here in November. He had oh so lovingly planted radishes and root vegetables - and like the naive gardener (can I even apply that term to myself?) I am, thought that the garden would be fine to be left until he returned in another two months. You heard me right. Two months!

So the two months came by and my dad was back. When he saw the garden from the window he exclaimed "You didn't harvest anything? They're blossoming already!" I looked at him a bit confused, "I thought I'd wait until you get here - they're probably really big now so we can cook them." He looked at me in disbelief. My mom shook her head in the background.

What's the big problem? Oh read on...

Whenever dad comes, he works in the garden to make it beautiful and functional. So when he was here I expected him to clean it up and make it pretty as he usually does. But low and behold - it rained so much that there wasn't an opportunity for him to go to the garden. He was able to go out a couple of times to survey the damage. His reports were actually pretty interesting.

"Did you know that one of the pineapples are coming up?"
 "I have pineapples? Wow! When were those planted?"
"Wow! Where did you get those greens from?" I asked as he put vegetables into a soup.
"The garden."
"My garden?"
 Shaking of the head (on his part).
Sheepish smile on mine.

Well after several occurrences like that - it was time for mom and dad to go. As stated above, they weren't able to work in the garden very much because of a storm that was passing over the island. Well - today... today was one of those beautiful the sun is out and a breeze is here days.  Ross was working on the yard, so I was inspired to go into the garden.

Do you know what I found? I wish I could tell you I found beautiful and healthy plants but I won't insult your intelligence. Sigh. Heartbreak. I found heartbreak in my own back yard.  My father's work - all those hours spent working outside, working the soil - planting the seeds and coaxing the seeds to grow was wasted. Did you know that radishes require more soil to cover them as they grow? For some reason, in my mind - I envisioned them growing down into the ground, burrowing deeper and deeper. I didn't realize that I was suppose to keep covering them! I also didn't realize that when flowers start to bloom on them, that means that they're old. Like as in - way too old too eat. Like almost this radish has turned into horseradish old!

Did your heart just break a little too? This sight was very sobering. All of my father's work - and I let it go to seed. I did nothing with it. I didn't harvest them and use the fruits to feed my family - which was my father's original intention for planting these vegetables. And now, after several months they lay in a sad pile.

For some reason when I imagined pulling these radishes out, I thought I was going to pull out a healthy one the size of a house. Sometimes being in the ground longer doesn't mean it's better. Sometimes it just means that. It's in the ground longer.  How long does it take for a radish to grow? Well - today I learned less than two months. Laugh.

Well - with no effort on my part, I expected these vegetables to grow into healthy vegetables for our consumption. Are you shaking your head at my naivety? You can. Go ahead. I already have. All morning I have.

Do you want to know something though? A bit of sunshine peeked through the rain of this life lesson that my garden space has taught me. Even through my neglect and abuse at this space - life keeps happening. Growth takes place. Look at how beautiful those tomatoes are! The vines were growing all over the ground. With a bamboo stake I propped it up and now it can grow hopefully without getting ground rot.

And believe it or not - there were fruits of labor to be enjoyed after this day in the garden. I harvested all of the young leaves of the lettuce, and the leaves of spinach that were coming up. As well as some beets and a few of the radishes that were salvageable.

I have to admit that they didn't look healthy and wonderful in the dirt.

But do you want to know what happens when you bring them into your home and wash them? They look like a healthy collection of greens that you can buy at the market. Even better because they're so fresh!

The garden vegetables paired with my vegetables purchased from my local Farmer's market. Look how beautiful it looks!

From the garden - to our table. I'm starting to understand more and more of what that concept looks like. Vegetables don't grow in a bag that says washed three times. There is dirt involved. And work. And sun. And bug bites. And more work. And more bug bites. But oh how satisfying that work is - when you are able to bring it into your home - and create a meal to nourish your family.

When I pray that I might be a good steward over what has been given to me - I was taught today of what that looks like. Of what it really looks like - and what is necessary to bring it about.

Monday, March 16, 2015

When a quilt speaks...

There is a feeling of unsettledness that I blame totally on my parents having gone back to San Diego.
Since Ross works at the school, when they have off - he has off. So how did we want to spend the first day of Spring Break? Well - napping of course! But would my little homesick heart allow it? Obviously not! So after kissing both of my boys and wishing them a long long sleep - I set up my sewing stuff on the kitchen table and was excited to baste and quilt this scrappy log cabin quilt top that has been waiting oh so patiently in my sewing basket. 

Baste it? Check. Change the foot to a walking foot on my machine? Check check. Begin quilting it with a quarter inch away from the quilt blocks - check. Er... not like the machine quilting and sitting hours ripping it out? Unfortunately - check. 

Yes - you heard me. I got through four lines of quilting and just was hating the look and the feel of it. So - sigh. I sit here - seam ripping the heck out of it. This quilt is angry with me. It's trying to hold onto the stitches out of pure spite. 

I knew in my head and heart that I wanted to hand quilt it. My sewing want to to do list was just yelling so loudly with other projects that I took the road most traveled by and started quilting straight lines with my trusty walking foot. So now I'm paying for it. Sigh. 

But it's alright. This quilt - this quilt is the first quilt that I am making for the house - specifically for Ross and I. This is the first quilt other than Liam's that will stay in the house for us to use. A quilt made with scraps from projects gifted to loved ones. A quilt that will carry love and memory. At the end of it - I want to love the finished product as much as I love the pieces of it. So if spending some quality time with the seam ripper for a whole evening is required - I will gladly pay the price. 

Do quilts have personalities that make demands? Today I am learning that they do. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Handmade Birthday!

Oh that bottom picture makes my heart so happy! This year all my sister wanted was placemats for her birthday. So placemats she got! Five patchwork placemats - the same layout design but with different fabrics. It was nice making these because I was able to incorporate fabric into each mat from different projects I had made for them. Noah's had some of the Japanese fabric that I used when I made his snack bag. 

My sister had posted these pictures on Facebook to share with friends and family yesterday and on one of the pictures she said something that made my heart so happy!

My niece also got some of the little red fabric that I used in her quilt and my sister got a bit of posy that I used for her quilt. It's so wonderful to be able to use a small scrap that can remind a loved one of another handmade item you had made them!

I didn't know if I was going to finish on time to send it back with my parents to San Diego but I did! And oh what a wonderful feeling that was! I am horrible when it comes to mailing things - a goal that I am making for myself this year to be better at sending cards and packages and such.

Handmades for birthdays are starting to become a tradition. A tradition that brings so much joy and love. On both ends. Along with a handmade item, another tradition that is starting to blossom is a card filled with long messages. Messages carrying reasons why that person is loved - memories from the past year that was a blessing - hope for the next year to come.

I am constantly reminded that we only have so many birthdays and anniversaries in a given lifetime. Oh how important it is to me to mark each one with love and gratitude for those that have such a hold on my heart.