Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sew South

Oh boy - how to capture what happened last weekend??  A group of 50 women coming together from all over to sew and create - exactly what this girl was needing.  Sew South was the perfect combination of retreat and making - beautiful things and beautiful friendships.  What a visionary Jennifer is - her hard work to bring this kind of event to life was incredible!  What a joy it was to walk into the reception Thursday night and be hugged by friends I haven't seen in a while, as well as make new friends, matching faces with blogs.  The whole weekend was all about the people and connecting- the belly laughing that went on long into the night as we huddled around our machines.  So it's weird that I don't have pictures of my friends to share with you today - I know!  I didn't take that many and the few I have are not downloaded yet.  I was so in the moment!  A nice place to be, for sure.
I'll have to share more later, but I just wanted to pop in and share a few things.  Here is what we made:
 This clutch pattern was created by Diane  (and available for free on Craftsy!), who also taught the class.  I love how they turned out!  It was so easy to do and looks so polished - I see lots of these in my future.  Great gift idea!

 Oh, The Duffle.  This deserves it's own post!  Lindsey was a calm, encouraging, fearless leader in helping us all make this.  50 duffle bags!!  This thing was a beast that I never would have tried to tackle on my own.  But together, as each person finished, a wild, LOUD cheer would erupt from the room.  Oh, the community!  And yes, that's a pleated zippered pocket you see there.  Major props to all the people who helped me - you know who you are!  I'm in your debt.  I don't know what the official tally was, but many of us broke many needles on this one.
 Jennifer taught our paper pieced star pattern. Never mind my points don't match up!  I still love it, and have plans to put it in a special quilt.
 And there was the pajama pants - in the first picture, it's the turquoise print with the pink circle cuffs.  I've been wearing them every night to bed, feeling a small beam of pride that I made something I can actually. wear.  I didn't think I had it in me.

Not to rub it in, but there was some serious swag.  A giant thank you to the super generous Sew South sponsors!
 And this is a shot of everything I came home with that I did not have before the retreat.  Some was swag, some were gifts, some I made, some I bought, and some were swaps.  All is appreciated!
And lastly, this was on the design wall when I came home.  Don't you know my hubby was just waiting for me to clear out of here so he could have his time with the design wall?!  
I am blessed indeed.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I have to be honest.  It's been difficult to return to this blog stuff after Michael's death.  It's been difficult to return to anything "normal."  How can we just pick back up and go after such an unspeakable loss??  There is a giant, massive hole - always present.  There is a blanket of grief on everything.  I happened to be at Quilt Con when he passed.  Talk about going from high to low.  I really struggled with whether or not to go to TX with everything going on with Michael.  The truth is, they were told at the end of November that he likely had  very little time left.  The family scrambled to celebrate one last Christmas together in early December.  We passed December minute by minute in constant fear.  Every morning I would try to check in with my friend, not sure what the night before had brought.  In answer to the prayers of many, he survived through Christmas - and actually seemed to get better.  Then things went downhill again.  Hard.  Fast.  Then up again.  Oh, my dear friends.  How they endured those horrible moments.  What was to be days of enduring turned to months.  Highs and lows.  It was like seeing a tsunami hovering above you and not being able to move - just knowing it was coming and was going to bring unavoidable life altering destruction.  Sweet Michael seemed to have all the medical professionals baffled.  Hospice said their longest case for care had been a few weeks - what was happening with Michael was unprecedented - 3 months!  We had no idea what to expect next!  After much processing, we decided I should keep my trip to TX as scheduled.  I had a great time at Quilt Con, truly, I enjoyed every single minute.  Until my phone rang.  And I knew before I answered.  Oh, my heart!  My heart.  My dear friends.  Surreal moments.
Side note:  If you are ever going to do the ugly cry (you know the one I'm talking about - heaving, wracking sobs, snotty, red puffy face - the whole thing) in a really public place...well, the best place for that to happen is probably around a bunch of quilters.
I got on the next plane home I could.  I was in PA with my friend and her family for five days, honored to stand by them in the darkest of hours.  What courage they have.  What strength.  We cried rivers of tears, but I'll admit that I was surprised at how much we laughed too.  Really, what else is there to do??  Life is the strangest of things.  The tenacity of the human spirit is remarkable.  I find such strength and hope in being able to be honest about the depths of the darkness, and then find joy in the little moments that are like gifts.  To think there is joy left to be had after this loss is a relief -so encouraging, and I thank God for it.  I know we are just at the beginning of the many waves of grief, and I just hope and pray I am the friend my friends need in all this.
Another side note:  My sweet hubby has been raising money for St. Baldricks for the past few years (since Michael was diagnosed) and this year we were so thankful for everyone who contributed to make his total over $8000 for research for childhood cancers!  Here he is sporting his new look:  (although, the initials are no longer on the side of his head!)  
Whew.  Lots of words here tonight.  Now, even though the grief remains, I will resume my sporadic blog posts about "normal" stuff - because time has a way of marching on whether we want it to or not.  My heart is, and will always be, with my friends.
To read more about Michael's journey, you can visit his Caring Bridge page here.