My Bleeding Hearts

I remember it well, the wondering if I would ever feel happy again.  Ever smile a genuine smile.  Wondering if the heartbreak that threatened to pull me apart would ever quiet to a distant ache.

It was May.  So busy and so awful.  I carried a pain that made me pace circles around my house unless there was something needing immediate attention.  My only coherent thoughts came in prayer.  I bought a number 7 to put on my kitchen counter, a reminder of the people who needed me to hold it together somehow.

On a walk to visit a neighbor, I noticed bleeding hearts in bloom.  I’ve always loved them, but this was different.  It felt like the only thing in the world that might understand me. This achingly beautiful, heart shaped flower with a teardrop falling from it.  It was everything I couldn’t say aloud.  So I drove to the local nursery, found one, bought it… and nurtured it carefully all summer in it’s pot.

At the end of the season, too overwhelmed to find a proper spot for it but too attached to get rid of it, I dug a hole in the first spot I thought of in my yard.  A spot where I’d tried  other perennials over the years.  A spot where NOTHING had ever grown back before.  That’s why it was bare.  Not a good spot of dirt, apparently.  But I planted it anyway because it was all I could manage that day and I couldn’t bear to throw it away.

Imagine my surprise the following spring when it came back.

And every year since.

It stops me in my tracks every time:  it’s so much more than bleeding hearts.  It’s my heartbreak, growing in the worst soil, and thriving.

Today, years later, I sit near them just to be there, to look and admire, and remember.  I remember those days, days made harder by knowing we were only at the beginning of a road I desperately wanted to avoid.  And it has been long and hard, sometimes excruciatingly so.  I don’t know where the road ends, or if it ever will during my life.  I know so much more, and so much less, than I did then.  What a journey!

Today, here is what I know:  God knows us and is aware of us.  He gives us bad soil sometimes, and it’s up to us to plant what we’ve got and press forward.  To show up and keep moving and do our best to love.  Even if we’re doing it with broken, bleeding hearts.  And somehow, He will find a way to let us know He’s still there.  Somehow the sharp pain settles to a dull ache, and the day eventually comes that we smile and laugh for real.

And the bleeding hearts come back again:  stronger, more beautiful.  A witness.

I’ll never take it for granted.  Truly, all things testify of Him.

Sherbet Heart Quilt

I finished my Sherbet Heart Quilt in time for Valentine’s Day snuggling, and we thoroughly enjoyed using it.  My favorite part of this quilt is the color.  It feels like being in a candy store!

I made this quilt using my Scrappy Heart Quilt Pattern (you can find the free tutorial and pattern here ) but this time I used all solids, including a peachy pink as the background.  I added pinks, purples, oranges and reds to make the hearts.  Many of these colors come from the Tula Pink solids collection, with additions from my stash.

I decided to quilt this myself in an allover pattern, and settled on a clam shell design.  This is my first effort at using an acrylic ruler while quilting on my Juki.  I made a lot of mistakes, and there are a lot of wonky clam shells in this quilt, but I also learned a lot and improved as I went on.  No doubt I’ll try this again in the future.

I pulled from my stash for the backing, and this Amy Butler print above won out.  I supplemented with an orange dot print along one side.  The colors of the backing complement the front perfectly.  I used more of the background print for the binding.

This quilt is fun to observe as the light changes through the day.  The subtle changes in color are beautiful.  It’s fun to revisit a design and see how it changes with different design decisions.  I’m enjoying sewing more with solids, and this quilt was a great way to do it!

Lone Star Tree Skirt Sew Along: Piece Diamonds

Welcome to Week Two of the Lone Star Tree Skirt Sew Along!  If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late.  The pattern is available here and you can jump in anytime.  We’re going to finish our tree skirts well before Christmas!

Last week’s video
covered sewing the fabrics into strips and then cutting them into strips of diamonds.  This week we will sew the strips into eight large diamonds to make a star so BE CAREFUL  in handling your fabric.

You have a lot of bias edges and don’t want to stretch them!

Once again, the video is in two parts.  In them you will find all my tips for marking, pinning, and sewing.  I love this step because the beauty of the lone star begins to emerge.  Here we go!

The first video covers marking and pinning your strips together. The second video covers sewing the strips together into large diamonds. There you have it, eight large diamonds!

When the diamonds are sewn together, play with them to see how they look if you flip them around.  I’m planning to put the red diamonds in the center of my star, which will look like this:

But if I wanted to flip it around, it would look like this:

You can see that the star looks very different when I switch them!  Last week I shared photos of an unfinished mod lone star as I deliberated on which way to sew it together.  I’d like to focus more on value in the future; I’m sure I will learn a lot!

We will meet back here next Monday for week three of the sew along.  Please share your progress with the hashtags #lonestartreeskirt and #hopefulhomemaker.  I’ll be watching for them!

Remember that all posts for this project can be found on the Lone Star Tree Skirt Sew Along page.

Have a great week, and happy sewing!

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