I pulled the fabric from the dryer in a big bundle and brought it to my studio. There I untangled the thinner pieces which were tied up in the loose threads from the frayed edges of the material. I smoothed them out with my hands and folded them.
Then I placed them neatly in piles making order out of chaos.
The fabric sat in two boxes in the laundry room for a while. I’d go through it to look for fabric that I might be able to use as I worked on a quilt or potholders. When I did I’d come across the notes that Sharon put in with each bundle of material wrapped in paper. Some were written right on the wrapping others tucked between the folds.
“This is left from one of my kids weddings-lots of table linens we still enjoy using” or “I love this winterberry fabric, but I’ve had it for years and never made what I was going to…so I hope you can use it”
I used the dahlia shower curtain for the backing of my “Who I Are” quilt. Sharon wrote about it…”I was going to face the hem so we could use it, but haven’t done so….Makes me think of your garden.”
In between writing letters to my representatives and washing and folding Sharon’s fabric, I got my “Who I Are” quilt ready to be mailed to its new home.
I knew I wouldn’t have been able to start working on something new today. But there was something soothing about folding the fabric and finding a place for it in my studio. Something in its predictability and repetition. Something I could depend on.
I have to admit, I’d become numb to the shootings that go on across the country. I had begun to think that this is just the way it is.
But yesterday’s murders made me think differently. Made me want to try to do something even though I have no idea what that would be.
So this morning I took some time to write letters to my Representatives. A part of me feels it is useless, that my letters won’t change the way they feel or what they are able to accomplish.
But I know there are people out there working hard to change gun laws and trying to figure out the reasons these massacres happen and what they can do to stop them. So if I can write a letter to support their efforts, then that’s a small something I can do.
It’s easy to lose hope, and many people have every reason to. But right now, I feel like I can hold the hope for those who don’t have it.
My studio door is open and the dogs come and go. Mostly Fate keeps me company inside and Zinnia and Bud spend their time outside.
I’m halfway done tacking my latest quilt.
I’m calling the quilt “Who I Are.” The words come from poet Veronica Hallissey. In an email, she wrote to me regarding this quilt and her own sense of balance when it comes to quilting. She also wrote…
“It has taken, as I tell my sons, almost a hundred years? For me to realize who I ARE? And I really say that. . . ARE! Everyone is much more than they appear.”
This quilt, made of so many scraps that come together to present as a whole, yet like an acre of land is so much more that the surface measurement.
When Veronica speaks of using the word “Are” I believe she’s in some part referring to the lifetimes that go into making the one she is living now. Although all that goes into even one lifetime seems enough to use the word Are.
Veronica Hallissey has two poetry books and a blog,From An Upper Floor, that she writes on faithfully. Click hereto see Veronica’s blog and books.
We canceled our trip to Bishop Maginn today. It’s a confusing time for them since the year is coming to an end and school is closing for good.
We’ll go back on June 10th when they’re setting up for the Prom. Then we’ll be there the next day for the prom. They’ve asked Zinnia to lead the Red Carpet Walk. We were going to bring the box of jewelry that Helen sent for the girls to wear with their new dresses, but I put it in the mail to Sue instead.
Now I’ll get to work on my quilt and will have time on Thursday to do an art class at The Mansion.
I like to spread my volunteer work out not doing more than once a week so it doesn’t take away from my work. Since Covid, I’ve become more spontaneous. I think that’s one of the good things to come from it. Change doesn’t rattle me as much and my plan-making is more fluid. I have less expectations and live more day to day.
Living around animals should have taught me that a long time ago. They seem to know how to live in the moment. Perhaps being around them and aware of their perception of time helped me grasp this lesson from Covid quicker than I might have.
She went into the swamp as Zinnia and came out The Swamp Creature. At one point I thought she was stuck in the mud, but then she circled out and ran back in romping around like it was the most fun she could possibly have.
When she finally did come out of the swamp, she did a little grazing, as Swamp Creatures do, then returned to the path.
By the time we got back home, Zinnia was herself again. Most of the mud had dried or been washed off in the other small less mucky bodies of water along the way. I did hose her down before letting her in the house.
I was determined to at least get the backing for my quilt sewn together today. Tomorrow we’re going to Bishop Maginn and I know I won’t have a lot of time, if any, to work on it.
I found the perfect piece of fabric for the back in a box of fabric that Sharon sent me. It was about ten inches shy of being just the right size. So I found another strip of fabric in my stash that spoke to both the front and back of the quilt and sewed it on the bottom.
Then I threw the whole piece in the wash and hung it on the line to dry. It was a great day for drying, sunny, cool, and windy.
While it dried, I let the sheep and donkeys out to graze, fed the cats and dogs, and went for a walk with Fate and Zinnia.
When we got back the backing was dry and I was able to sew it and the batting together with the front of the quilt before dinner.
I got to the Dollar Store at 9am and took the last four packs of manilla envelopes off the shelf. They were just what I needed to mail out the twenty-three copies (two copies were donated to The Mansion) of The Odd Duck Finds Love, the book written and illustrated by some of the people who live at The Mansion.
“The gods are smiling on us,” I told Jon when I got back to the car. First, they had the exact amount of envelopes I needed, then with a discount,( for some reason I’m still not sure of), they only cost $1.69.
It was already a good morning.
When I got back to my office/guestroom there was the thick yellow paper that one of my Bellydanicing sisters had given away a couple of weeks ago. I split it with Emily who said she could make a lot of beaks for her collage birds with it.
I folded the yellow paper around the little books, put in a Thank You postcard with a picture of Zinnia as a puppy on it, and slid them into the manilla envelopes.
The last thing I did was write “Please do not bend” on them.
The books sold out quickly, thanks to everyone who bought one and those of you who wanted to buy one. The sale of half the books (The other 25 went to the people who wrote and illustrated the book and their families) was enough to cover the cost of making them.
It’s been a long time coming, about two years, but I finally got the book that we’ve been working on at The Mansion done. Jon and I picked it up at Staples yesterday and brought it to The Mansion today.
Julie, the former activities director at The Mansion, helped a few of the people who live there to write the story. That was before Covid hit. When the shutdown ended and I was back with my art class, Julie saw the chickens we were drawing and suggested we illustrate the story about the Duck they had written.
With many Covid interruptions, we finally got all the illustrations done a year later.
Then Sara Kelly, who helped me design many of my postcards and posters, designed the book so it could be printed.
Some of the people who helped create the book have moved on in one way or another. But everyone who is still at The Mansion will get a copy of the book for themselves and their family.
I had 50 copies made and sold 25 of them in my Etsy Shop for $10 each. The proceeds will be donated to the Army Of Good and will be used to benefit the people who live at The Mansion.