Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A quilt for Ryker

A friend approached me to commission a quilt for her friend, who I haven't met.  She is pregnant with their second child, a boy they have already named Ryker.   However, they were recently given the devastating news that the fetus has a condition making it incompatible with life.  Instead of terminating the pregnancy, the couple has decided to carry the baby to term, hoping to maybe have a few hours to hold their son before he passes.

They call Ryker their little sunshine, so I decided to base the quilt top on sun and sunbeams.  The top is one big paper pieced block.  I had never paper pieced before, but I did a few practice blocks, then sketched this out on freezer paper, roughly using this free tutorial on Craftsy as a guide.  I gotta say, I see more paper piecing in my future!

The top piecing is really quilte simple, and my plan was to do some fancy free motion quilting along the beams to make it meaningful.  I used a nylon "invisible thread" for the first time, this one by Connecting Threads, and was really pleased with the result.  It blended well with all the bold colors here, letting the texture steal the show.

In the sunshine, I tried my hand at some curve-on-curve quilting.

In the orange, I did some "ribbon candy."

In the lighter blue beams, I quilted radiating waves, and put words in them.  I stitched in "Ryker", "you are my sunshine,"  "love lasts forever," and a simple heart.  The alternate navy beams are each a different pattern: a quilted plaid, a stipple, pebbles,  radiating circles and clamshells.  The result is a quilt filled with lots of lovely texture.

I used a DS plaid for the back and Joel Dewberry herringbone in navy for the binding, which was machine stitched in place (getting better at that).

I am hoping this quilt provides some comfort to Ryker's parents; something to hold when he is gone.

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

This is 39.

I read Amber and Jennifer's posts today, and having recently watched the movie This is 40 with the Hubs, I have been thinking about "age" a bit more, and what it means in my life.  Or doesn't mean.  So, I thought I would use this space of mine to record Me, today, in time :)

This is Me.  39.

I gotta say, it's not so scary.  Jump in, the water's fine!  39 is true mid-life territory.  The Hubs and I made the realization the other day that "Freedom 55" is just 16 years away.  When did I get so old?  Why do I still feel like a kid?  Will I ever stop feeling that way?  Somehow, I doubt it.

39 is talking like girlfriends about Twilight with the teenage babysitter. Then my husband rolling his eyes at me afterward and reminding me that I am old enough to be her mother.

39 is creaky knees during my morning workout.  Which I often skip, because really, are those extra 15 pounds such a big deal anyways?

39 is security: personal, emotional, financial.  Knowing there will be few surprises left in life. Decisions made in my twenties and thirties are now set in stone, more or less.  I know "what I am going to be when I grow up", who I married, have finished having my family, know where I am going to work and live.  I can see it all stretched out ahead of me like a highway, and I like what I see.  39 is also having shared the slow dance with Loss, and being fiercely protective of my life, sadly knowing its path can only be changed by tragedy.

39 is not bothering to read the newspaper or watch the news anymore.  Who has time, we have hockey practice!!  Anyways, it is usually just about the bad things that people do to other people, and it is too hard not to take those things to heart- what if that happened to my child?  My family?  My neighbour? It is realizing that I may not be able to change the world, but hoping I can make it a better, safer place in my immediate proximity by striving to be a good person myself.

39 is being married 13 years to a man who is perfectly imperfect, and just for me.  It is remembering the accumulated memories that 20 years together brings, and knowing we have moulded each other into who we are.  And that we are now too weird for anyone else to understand or put up with.  It is knowing that he is more likely to make me laugh because he farted in bed than swoon by bringing me flowers, but really, who cares?  I will take a laugh any day.

39 is three kids that we made together that make us swell with pride and pull our hair out in frustration in equal measure.  It is being overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility of guiding them to adulthood, and at the same time knowing they with make it there in spite of our parental screw ups.  It is watching them become individuals and following their own paths.  It is hoping that they can realize the potential that we see in each of them.  39 is not worrying that our 6 year old continually crawls in bed with me at night but actually enjoying it; after all, 16 is just around the corner.  It is hoping they are getting enough vegetables and not too much internet.  Wanting them, above all else, to be happy (whatever that means).  It is feeling protective to the point of violence to anyone who harms them. It is our 8 year old dropping the F-bomb in front of me for the first time, and me doing the same in front of them.  Oops.  Because, after all, I was a much better parent when I was 20 (and had no kids).  It is a whole new appreciation for my own parents- how did they do it?  And hoping that I do it half as well.

39 is the wonderful friends that I have accumulated in this lifetime... the childhood friends, the university friends, the work and the "Mom" friends.  And my crafty friends like you!  And loving what they all bring to my life.  It is never going to the grocery store without seeing a familiar face.  It is about cutting the crap and being real, inviting those into my life who like what they see and not worrying about those who don't.

39 is realizing Dad was right (again) when he said there are only 2 rules in life:
1. Don't sweat the small stuff.
2. It's all small stuff!

39 is having our youngest child enter first grade...maybe I will have some time now to have my eyebrows waxed regularly?

Bring on the 40s!  It just keeps getting better :)