Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Magician's Quest

All around the town it's starting to feel a bit like Christmas.  Here and there people have put up their Christmas lights.   Finally, the lights I leave on my porch all year start to fit in and I can proudly stand on my porch and say, Oh yes, I'm ready for Christmas too. 

For my business, it's a busy time working on getting out all the orders for Christmas.  Each one so eagerly awaited.  Each planned for a special loved one.  Each hoping that it's the perfect gift.  I am so humbled to be a small part of each of my client’s holidays and I feel the importance of remembering this as I work on each quilt. 

I become the magician weaving and stitching my magic spell into each quilt.   May blessings fall upon the giver as they unfolded it for the first time to look upon their gift.  May the receiver have sweet dreams that carry them into the stars.  May a memory be created so dear, that it lingers with them through out the years to come.   May a tear of happiness  be caught and hidden within the folds or a bit of comfort for a night when life seems overwhelming.   May children play and laugh upon it and may love be made under it. 

As the magician, it's important to weave the perfect magic for each so I must be ever mindful as I create each quilt.  To be fully "present" as I create so the quilt becomes the perfect present for someone else.  In the creation time slips away quietly as I am unaware of the ever-changing day.  One moment I look up and the day is bright and shinning and the next it's dark and the evening has drifted in and I stop to appreciate the magic of this moment.  I see the quilt that once was just a bit of fabric here and there and now, it's a creation longing for completion...longing for it's new home.

The magician’s work is nearly finished.  Christmas magic fills the studio and I can just make out the   faint sounds of bells, and children laughing.... as the twinkling lights of Christmas shine in the window.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Afternoon Memories

Today, while working on a small baby quilt featuring a lovely tree fairy and maiden, I burst out laughing.  Now, for some of you that know me well, you might not think this was in any way odd.  For those of you who haven’t gotten to know me yet, you’ll come to know this might not be such an oddity at all. 
I had just stopped to listen to the song that happened to be playing as I was focused on creating the intricate lines of the tree fairy, “When You Wish Upon a Star”, Jiminy Crickets song from the Disney movie, “Pinocchio”.
 In fact, as I was putting the final touches on this sweet little baby quilt, all of the music I was playing were lovely Disney songs.  Song I had grown up loving and singing and songs my children had loved to sing as well.  Songs sung at the top of their lungs in total abandonment. “Colors of the Wind” as we drove through the forest on our way back from visiting Granny and Papa and they were Pocahontas .  Or a “Whole New World” as they soared in the heavens on an old throw carpet in the family room. Who could forget, “Somewhere Out There” as they stood at the window and sang to the moon.  I smiled, closed my eyes, and allowed the memories to wash over me as the songs gently played in the background. 
I thought of the parents this quilt was for and all the memories they were dreaming of as they awaited the birth of their first baby.  The memories they would build as they watched their little one dance and sing to their own favorite Disney songs.  A smile formed as gentle tears fell upon the quilt.  With each I sent a small blessing for the sweet little one and for the loving parents.  As my machine starting humming again and the music and machine became one again, I knew that I was fulfilling one of my greatest dreams for Mama Jean’s, making sure that a wee bit of magic finds it’s way into each quilt.  “One happy thought at a time." 
image Disney

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's Beginnig to Feel Like Christmas Round Here

Believe it or not, Christmas is right around the corner.  The sound of carols are starting to pop up in my brain as I look at the order sheet, and then at the piles of fabrics stacked on my worktable. How many days before Christmas orders have to be out the door?  41.  The last possible date to ship and hope it will get there before Christmas is the 20th of December for me.  I began to think; oh my it’s beginning, the holiday hustle.  Much like a dance with specific steps every minute seems to count and I wonder, if only for a moment, will I get it all done?  Is there any way to push Christmas back a month?  I sort of secretly wish this each year… and then I just burst out laughing. 

You see, one thing that I’ve discovered is like most artists, or at least a large percentage, I seem to work best with looming deadlines.  I plan and scheme in my head, how this year will be different.  This year I will be organized, I will do my bookkeeping each week and

I will not lose any receipts.  I won’t misplace and find the same special order block I need for the quilt I am starting next and will always have the right color thread I need in the middle of the night when all the stores are closed.  I will buy extra needles to make sure I’ve “got it covered” and never and I do mean never, run out of coffee.  I laugh again as I see my empty coffee pot and think, oh yes, there’s that wonderful 24 hour store just down the road and maybe I can pick up milk too.  Oh, I wonder if they have thread? 

How incredible is it, that I’ve been able to create and sew for Christmas dreams and wishes for the past four years?  Each year I get so excited about finishing up a quilt and getting it out in the mail.  I imagine it all wrapped up and waiting under someone’s Christmas tree.  Even though they don’t know me personally, I am part of Christmas’s all around the world and I am touched.  I feel a bit like Mrs. Claus.  I even have an elf this year for the first time.  I must have been really good this year. 
So, I may not be rocking around the Christmas tree yet, but I am starting to feel the magic and hear the reindeer stopping on the roof.   I wonder if when I’m at the store I should pick up carrots for the reindeer…. Do reindeer eat carrots or should I think more winter greens? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Love Is All Around

Today as I was working on a quilt for a couple celebrating an anniversary I am struck by the memories of love.  How amazing love is between two people, how we all hunger for finding the one and how sacred the bond is.  Each wedding quilt and anniversary quilt I work on blesses me.  New love with all its possibilities.  Everything is waiting for them on the journey of love.  Building a life together, buying a home, creating a family. Celebrated love, the years of dedication and work, the family they’ve built, the bridges they have learned to build and trust between each other.  I try when building their quilts to think of their journeys and weave and stitch blessings and well wishes into each one.  May the always find ways to feel love in a new and exciting way, way they find comfort in each others arms when the world seems to be tumbling all around them, may their children and families be blessed by their love.  May they know a love as deep and real as my parents shared.
My father loved my mother deeply until the day he took his last breath. When my mother passed before him I didn’t honestly believe he could survive without her, but I humbly asked him to stick around a little longer for me, and he did.  I will be eternally grateful for the time I had with him in his last year.  They were a love destined by the stars to find each other.  The first time my father saw my mother he knew she would be his wife and he would love no other.  They were married less then six weeks later.  They had over 50 years together.  They traveled the road all lovers’ travel, with highs and lows but through it all they were joined together in a bond no one could deny.  My parents loved to dance and often people would stand back and give them the floor when they were dancing because they were so beautiful to watch together, flowing and in perfect rhythm with each other, never a missed step. 
My father had a love of poetry and would leave my mother little love notes hidden through out the house where someday she might find them.  In a book she might open or at the bottom of the flour canister because she loved to bake.  Each one dated and each expressing his love.  When he passed away and I was cleaning out their trailer, I found just such a note hidden away in her tea tin.  It was dated several years back but I know the words he wrote to be as true then as they were the day I found them.  I placed those words in a pair of shoes on a desert mountainside the night I spread their ashes on a trail they loved to hike.  As I watched the ashes drift to the top in swirling wisps I could see them dancing together into the heavens.  My mother and father together again and for always, watching out over the family they had created. 
So to each client I have the honor of building a quilt for, to celebrate their love, I place a seed of the love my parents shared in hopes that one day in the far distant future they find themselves dancing into the heavens together as well.  


Friday, November 1, 2013

Never Be Afraid of the Road

        Some years back, I attended Marylhurst University and received my degree in Human Studies.  Many of the classes I had the honor of taking, awoke an inner dialog that was rich and full.  As the years past, even though the voices were never quiet they began to fade into more whispers.  Over this past year, as I have concentrated on building Mama Jean’s into a viable working model, one that can support me full time, I have also been longing to reawaken the voices and continue the work I feel calling me.  Recently I’ve had the opportunity to attend a Shamanic Journeying Class focusing on Writing our own creation myth.  My mind and heart feel as if they have exploded into an awakening.  But as with any awakening, comes the awareness of dawning of all the shadows we have.  The lingering work we still need to touch and work through. 
Sewing endless hours in a day allows for the mind to wonder to and fro or linger in places that allow for creating a new way of honoring the voices that call out to be heard.  I find the act of sewing and especially the act of quilting the quilt becomes a very Zen time.  A time to release, breathe and contemplate life in all its wonder. 
Yesterday I saw a car hit a small squirrel and as I started to drive by realized it was still alive.  So I stopped to remove it from the road. Earlier in the month I had the exact same situation happen.  I also stopped and placed the dying squirrel back into the park he was from under a lovely tree.  I lifted up his wee spirit and said a prayer over him as gentle tears streamed down my face.  This time, the level of emotional outpouring was almost overwhelming.  I was at first confused and distressed.  Why was this coming into my life, not once but twice? Why was I here a second time? What message was I not hearing or giving enough attention to? What have I done wrong? In reality I hadn’t done anything wrong.  Things happen in and around us everyday that we may or may not be aware of but when or attention is caught I believe it’s important to try and understand.  I contacted a friend who helped me just allow the feelings to flow and to help me process it in the moment but later I spent some time meditating on the whole experience and all the experiences that had been bubbling all month.  In refection, these are the words I shared with the friend who had helped me in the moment.
I lit a small candle for the wee one and made a cup of tea and sat in the sun for a time allowing the emotions to wash over me and through me.  I forgot the intensity of spirit. As I feel the need to once again walk in the ways of the intuitive seer and I feel her presence more and more each day I am reminded that big work requires heart.  My heart is pouring out opening up and allowing for new to grow in a way that I would have never foreseen.  I am not asking for this cup to pass from me.  This wee little spirit with a heart of gold allowed me the opportunity to reflect on it's beauty and wonder and joy it experienced each day of it's little life.  How it lived fully each day, not hiding from the road or the dangers but boldly living and in living with pure intent no hidden agendas, no shadows of things long past, no worries of what may come.  I too want to live freely experience all that life has for me.  Does it mean my heart will feel deeply, I pray so, does it mean that I will love deeper than I've ever love, may this too be so, will I know pain, only in knowing can I appreciate the life that I have to experience it in the first place, May spirit always be near to remind me of the worlds that are all connected and traveling here and there is just a part of life that will forever be richer for the knowing. May I be open to seeing all those in my life and how I can honor them each day in thought and deed.  Tender is my world and I always want it to be so.
As I reflect upon these words again I am reminded that I not only want this in my personal life, I want to reflect this in Mama Jean’s.  I want to live with open heart and mind, and embrace the every day moments that occur and how privileged I am to be experiencing them each day.  The days when I feel like for every seam I put in I tear out two, the days when it hums like a fine tuned car, or the times when the sound of my sewing machine reminds me of a song and I find myself singing and laughing as I sew.  Or, how amazing and incredible it still is that each day I wake, I get to choose to do something I love and hopefully in the doing, share the magic I feel when creating a quilt for someone.  So like my sweet little squirrel friends, I want to never be afraid of the road or the dangers but boldly living and in living with pure intent no hidden agendas, no shadows of things long past, no worries of what may come.  I too want to live freely experience all that life has for me.