Dream On, Dream Big! – a finished quilt

Two years ago I returned to Gig Harbor, Washington to honor my dear friend Wes at his memorial service.  I came home needing to do something to honor his memory, something I could have in my home that would help me smile and think of him when I saw it.  This quilt is it, and it’s finally finished.

You see, Wes LOVED the color orange.  His house was orange, his truck was orange.  His son described his love for the color as taking on almost a sacred allegiance – righteous orange.  I’ll never forget how hard we worked to get him to attend church, and yet every Sunday came and went with him failing to appear.  Then one Sunday I awoke with a start early in the morning, suddenly knowing what to do to get him to come.  I woke my companion and told her to get dressed while I scavenged our apartment for an orange piece of paper.  On that paper, in my best handwriting (I actually have really nice handwriting, so I could pull it off) I designed an invitation to church that resembled a very formal wedding invitation.  Except, of course, that I have yet to receive a wedding invitation that’s solid orange!  We jumped in the car and tiptoed up the steps to his door, the paper and tape in hand.  As quickly as possible I taped the paper to his window, so he could read it from inside the home as soon as he entered the room.  We turned and raced down the stairs, and were pulling out of his driveway when he appeared at the window.

He came to church!  When we walked in he was sitting there as if he did it every week.  I said hello to him and he said to me, “I only came because it was orange.”  I laughed and replied, “I know.  That’s why it was orange.”  It was definitely the strangest way I ever got someone to church, but what matters is that he never stopped coming.  He stayed for all the right reasons and impacted so many lives.

As I sat on the stand at his memorial, tears sprang to my eyes as I watched people file into the room.  So many of them wearing orange!   It was a happy way to remember one of the funny things that made him who he was.

The Kona mango fabric is a perfect reminder of Wes.  Combining it with my Dream On charm squares also felt fitting, as Wes had high expectations for me.  You see, he thought I was awesome (typical for someone to feel that way about their missionary), and although I’m pretty firmly grounded in how regular I am, it’s nice to remember that people believe in you.  Wes believed I was capable of great things.

These feelings come flooding back when I look at this quilt.

Perhaps even more than that, I felt a distinct feeling of a reciprocation of gifts taking place the  weekend of his funeral.  Twenty years ago he wrote a letter about me that resulted in unique experiences.  Now it was my turn to go back to honor him and to tell a story that really, no one else could tell the same way.  I’d known in my heart for about 10 years that I would need to do it.  But in the timing of his passing, he also gave me the gift of going back, of reconnecting with people I love, and in doing so, being a little more prepared for things just around the bend in my own life.  I’m just beginning to understand the eternal significance of what took place way back in 1995 and how pivotal it was in my life.

Going back re-activated my name.  It re-activated some dreams I’d sort of left behind in the gritty mess of motherhood.  It re-awakened things in me.  Mostly it filled me with love and light.

This quilt has become my dreaming quilt.  The soft vintage sheet on the back makes it perfect to wrap up in, and I often choose it in the mornings when I’m reviewing goals, pondering dreams, and making plans.  It’s a link to a precious time in my past and a reminder to look with optimism toward the future – both things I sometimes forget in the daily mess of family life.

It doesn’t hurt that the quilt itself makes me smile.  The mango color, the vintage florals, the beautiful quilting… I love it.  That it inspires me to remember and to dream big dreams is icing on the cake.

Life is good.  Really, really good.
Jennifer

 

Ham & Bell Pepper Sandwich

It’s the time of year when it feels like I’ve packed a million school lunches and we’re all sick of sandwiches.  I have a few things I do to add variety, but I hadn’t made these bagel sandwiches in a long time.  When I sent them to school with my kids last week, they all came home raving about them.

Ham and Bell Pepper Sandwiches

Ingredients:
whole grain bagel
cream cheese
3-4 slices Black Forest ham
thinly sliced green bell peppers

Soften cream cheese and spread on both sides of a bagel.  Layer ham on one half of bagel, and cover with thinly sliced green peppers.  Place other half of bagel on top and enjoy!

My 16 year old son loved his so much that he texted, begging me to bring three more identical sandwiches to him at school, and reported after school that everyone wanted him to share.  My ten year old who declares any green food as gross actually ate his and has requested them ever since.  The girls loved them too.  They are simple, pack well, and taste great.  With only four ingredients, they’re easy to plan and shop for, and for kids to prepare themselves.

Have a great day!

Bontanics Quilt Top

 

Surprise, surprise!  I’ve completed a quilt top with another Carolyn Friedlander pattern.

This is her Botanics pattern, and it was the first pattern of hers that I saw.  I loved it and ordered it and opened it…. and was totally intimidated by it.  I’d never tried needle turn applique before and all the pinning and basting seemed like so much time and work… so I never started.

As I was reviewing 2016 and setting goals for 2017, I came across this quote by Walt Disney:

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

I realized that there are a number of areas in my life that I’d like to change, and I was talking about doing it but hadn’t actually started.  As I considered my creative goals, I also realized that there are some patterns I’ve talked about making for a while.

So I’m trying to quit talking and begin doing.

I got the pattern out, started cutting, ironing, pinning and basting.  And finally, stitching.  The pinning and basting weren’t quick, but they did get done.  The stitching wasn’t quick either, but lots of time in January reading books aloud as a family made it easy to stitch for a few minutes every night.

When the basting stitches are all pulled out it’s really fun to stand back and smile.  Adding the borders was a quick and rewarding last step.  Now it’s a finished quilt top!

This is the fourth Carolyn Friedlander pattern I’ve worked with this year.  I finished the Aerial Grove quilt top, used her Facing East pattern to start a traveling quilt, and am currently working on the Catenary pattern.  I have a few more CF patterns I really want to make.  Carolyn’s style is so unique and I enjoy learning from her as I make these quilts.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney

What will you do today?  Let’s go make something awesome happen!
Jennifer

 

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