Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
Webster's dictionary defines an heirloom as: something of special value handed down from one generation to another. To me an heirloom is something that keeps your loved ones present through their stories.
This is my first "Bearloom" and it whispers memories each time I see it:
From start to finish, my experience with Diane was remarkable. What a kind and caring person. We emailed back and forth and eventually talked on the phone about creating lap quilts out of her father's flannel shirts. Also being the daughter of a perfectionist woodworker, I could relate to Diane and instantly loved her father, as did anyone who met him.
Image from an eBay site.
Everyone knew him as Jeep. When his military buddies learned his middle name was Eugene, they dubbed him Jeep after the character from Popeye, and it stuck.
As a contractor, he spent his days fixing people's homes in his Kakhi pants and a flannel shirt. Even some of his dress shirts were "flannelesk". Diane and I choose to use khaki fabric for the background and flannel and plaid shirts for the design work of the quilts. The goal was for all four quilts to look pretty much the same.
The center of the quilts has a toolbox. The design Diane liked was a downloadable from Joy Kate Designs for machine applique'. It was fun to do this for the first time, and I loved the results!
Making the Blocks
To make each square I:
Cut each into a 6" square
The squares were grouped in patches of 4 and bordered with khaki fabric to mimic Jeep's "uniform."
Getting to the Point
Diane shared with me that her father always had two of the "sharpest pencils in the world" sticking out of his pocket. It was not uncommon for them to stab you when he hugged you. To get to this "point" I HAD to embroider the pencils into the pocket on the back. The pocket from one of his shirts holds the quilt's Story Starter.
Of course I made an ornament for each of Jeep's grandchildren to keep him present each Christmas.
May these quilts and ornaments provide years of comfort and memories of this remarkable man. If you have a special project in mind, Contact me and we can discuss it.
Two Sundays before Easter, Mom and I were witnesses to part of Amy Holland’s spiritual journey. Her church selected her to be the artist to create the visual tiles for the outdoor Stations of the Cross at Saint James Church in Lititz. She researched, designed, carved, prayed, and cried over each piece, creating a masterpiece that will serve countless people for generations. Each piece evokes emotion because of the images she portrayed, the simple medium she used, but mostly because she put her heart and soul in each piece. You can experience it for yourself anytime.
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Here is why:
Five blue bird eggs in our box! (I bought this picture so as not to disturb the birds, there really are five!)
PJM Rhododendron is in bloom and drawing bees!
Hoping for Orioles thanks to my nephew Jed's feeder!
Birds are plentiful, varied and entertaining!
The lawn is in bloom - beautiful (and edible)!
I have space to grow a meadow garden!
Nature is resilient (or so I hope)!
Jake is coming to visit! Woo Hoo!
Keiki (pronounced Kee-Lee) is Hawaiian for "the little one." This is my first orchid to produced a baby! It seems the way of things as the mother blossoms (see the small bud on bottom right) while putting her offspring's needs first (in full bloom). It will not be long before the little one is out in the world in its own pot.
Flowers bring me joy. I stopped buying cut flowers and started buying Moth/Phalaenopsis orchids years ago. They bloom for months, are easy to grow, and Murry, my cat, does not eat them. When they are not blooming, I buy a new one from the grocery store or let rebloomer shine. Non-blooming orchids live outside in the shade in the summer and bathroom in the winter. Watching this Keiki grow has been so much fun.
When I discovered two of these pods while cleaning up the hedgerow, I asked, friend or foe? Frances, at Lancaster Penn State extension, says friend, a Cecropia moth. One of the largest moths in North America, endangered and beautiful. Friend, it is! Oh, and it is a silk moth! "Sew" exciting! (hee, hee) I will keep you posted.
When Kara contacted me to ask if I could make a stool for her mom, I was thrilled and a bit apprehensive. A stool like this is in my inspiration file and although I was sure I could make it, I was not sure how.
One More Thing
Tuffets can be made from jeans, shirts - almost anything. Interested in having a tuffet made? Contact me and we can talk about it.
All stages of life have their challenges and blessings. Kara and I immediately bonded because we both helped our fathers through cancer and the end of their lives. So I completely understood her attachment to his "comfy sweaters." For my dad it was a blue Oxford shirt that he always wore when his arms enveloped me in a big hug. So it made perfect sense that she wanted a comforter out of her father's comfy sweaters to wrap herself in each night.
Comfy Comforter Construction
Kara wanted it to be only one layer. This meant overlapping the fabric and zig zagging to catch both edges. This was a technique I had never tried but it worked well.
It was an honor to work with such special fabrics and bring Kara's vision to life.
Have keepsakes you would like made into an heirloom? Contact me and we can talk about it.
Ginny's husband Tom must have kept every tie he ever owned because she gave me a 10 gallon tub full after giving many away! As I talked to Ginny, I understood why. This is what we wrote for his grandchildren to go in the Story Starter for each of their pillows:
"Each night, before bed, Granddad would lay out what he would wear the next day. There was always a white shirt and dark pants, but then came the tie. The tie is where he showed his style, sense of humor, or even celebrate the season! He wore one from his vast collection every day as he worked to support his family."
Ginny chose a design, and then we worked together to find 5 or 6 ties for each pillow. We designed a pillow for each of the 5 granddaughters and one for Ginny.
Ties built out from a center monogram and a tie border for the zipper on the back.
We used his nature ties as much as possible to represent what a sportsman he was.
One More Thing
I was able to make ornaments for all of his descendants out of some of his fantastic collection!
Have a tub of ties you would like made into heirlooms? Contact me and we can talk about it.
One of the things I love about what I do is hearing about the lives of remarkable people from their loved one. By the time an heirloom is finished, I have a connection with this person that, in most cases, I have never met. This connection has a positive impact on the finished heirloom.
I heard Anna's story from her daughter, Liz. Anna was
Comforting - as a mother, grandmother, & nurse, she spent her life meeting the needs of others.
Warm - she was always ready to lend a hand and was loved by all who met her.
Joyful - she had a wonderful sense of humor, making her fun to be around.
Loved nature - as a farm wife, she had great respect and love for the earth with a special place in her heart for birds and flowers.
Anna's clothing told me she was traditional and stylish while valuing comfort.
My first task was to find coordinating fabrics to support the designs from her clothing. Liz and I both like this choice.
Liz came up with attributes of her mother to help create the center piece of the quilted wall hanging.
Have keepsakes you would like to have converted to an heirloom? Contact me and we can talk about it.
Designer Note: I struggled to get a good layout for the design, afraid to make a mistake cutting the fabric. Solution: I photographed each design, which allowed me to use the Pages program on my Mac to layout the quilt before ever cutting fabric. That also provides an excellent way for me to share my vision with a client.
Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.