Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I'm going to love you anyway....

This semester I'm doing a paper on Advertising and Cultural Consumption and one of our assignments is to create what the lecturer called an 'anti-advertisement'. This is an advertisement for a non-for-profit organisation on a topic of our choice. I decided to do a poster for Rainbow Youth because I have been reflecting on how I communicate acceptance to our children and to those around me.

My sister and her girlfriend had been living as "roommates" for years before they finally decided to open the closet door and tell us they were gay. When Sharyn told me, it was not a surprise because obviously I had thought it was a strong possibility!! But the thing was that it didn't change how I felt about Sharyn one bit, in fact I admire her for her strength and courage, both to keep the secret for years and then to set it free.

I have four beautiful, strong, courageous, funny and strong willed kids and there is nothing in the world that will stop me from standing up for them. With the older kids, we joke around about them bringing someone home to meet us. Apparently we are so embarrassing there is no incentive to bring home a boyfriend/girlfriend. I say I don't care if its a boy or a girl, I just want you to find someone to love you as you deserve.

But what I really want to say to my kids is this... I love you no matter what. I love you when you hate me, I love you when you mock me, I love you when you do things that break my heart. I love you in the good times and in bad and there is nothing that will stop me from loving you. I'm so proud of you in all that you do, I am your greatest supporter, I'll never ever stop loving you.

I want to tell them that it doesn't matter who you love, gender is not important. What is important is that you find someone who loves you for who you are, someone who respects you and admires you, someone who will be your constant cheerleader and encourager. I want them to find someone who inspires them to be the best person they can be while still loving them when they have ugly days, when they are miserable and when things have all turned to shit. I want to communicate to this to my kids that who you love does not change how I love you. My acceptance of you is not based on anything that you do. I'm going to love you anyway.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals {Henry David Thoreau}

On Saturday morning I got up in the dark
prised the two youngest children out of bed with threats of violence;
and with Juliet, Sophie and Gill
went down to the centre of town just as the sun started to come up.

Because Saturday was the day that we photographed all the quilts
that I made from the book Beyond Neutral by John Q Adams.

Saturday was the day that we hung them all on a fence and took photos of them,
it was the day I dreamed of as I sewed up the last of the quilts.

It was amazing to have dreamed a dream
and then take the steps to make it come true.
It wasn't a change the world dream or anything like that,
just a challenge to myself,
but it felt so good to have set a challenge and (against all odds) succeeded.
I learned that I can do hard things.

I've been blogging since 2005 before it was cool.
I've been making things since I was a preschooler.
I'm not one of the cool kids, I'm a nobody at the bottom of the globe.
I read recently somewhere that even if nobody else thinks you are important,
you need to be important to yourself. 

I don't mean this in a stuck up, "I'm important" kind of way,
but that we value the things that we do and make decisions that reflect this.
It's about doing things in one's best interest,
maybe even looking after oneself.

For me, #makingallthequilts was about focussing on the good things,
making something good from a horrible situation,
being my own cheerleader and backing myself.
All of the time I was making these quilts, I was getting about on crutches,
I couldn't sleep and I was in agony all the time.
Looking back I don't know how I managed to do it.

But now when I look at these quilts I will never forget
that I can do hard things and I can back myself.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Heart was made to be Broken {Oscar Wilde}

I've been thinking recently how that in romantic novels or plays,
a broken heart is a cataclysmic event heralded by some disaster.
But back here in the real world, heartbreak is often a slow process,
where one is let down over and over
or expectations and dreams fade out unrealised.

Parenting for example, is filled with heartbreak,
in so many ways that our hearts feel pain
as we wrangle ourselves and our children through the traumatic process
that is growing up.

Relationships, also a ripe breeding ground for heartbreak.
The slow downgrading of our expectations,
hope disappearing and grace not allowed to flourish,
loving someone does not mean you won't break their heart,
or you theirs. We are all flawed human beings
and sometimes we make horrible mistakes with each other's hearts.

Luckily for us it is then,
that although our hearts are fragile,
they are strong. It is truly amazing what we can go through and still remain intact.
There have been times in my life when I thought I would break
and yet you wake up the next morning continuing to function.
It's miracle.

The thing I've noticed about heartbreak,
is not that it gets easier to deal with the more you experience it,
but you know that this too will pass and things will get better again.

Heartbreak is part of growing up,
dealing with it is part of our humanity.

This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge

The clever and talented Adrienne issued a challenge to use Marsala
(the Patone Colour of the Year).
It's a weird colour and people have been pondering how to use it.

I rummaged around in my stash and found something that approximated the Marsala
and decided to see what I could do with it.

I kind of like the challenge of incorporating something I don't like
into a whole picture. It is tricky to do it and make the whole work.
Anyway I've made this striking (and super simple) quilt
and I think that the colours are working well.

Lets face it, we all have parts of our lives that we don't like
or that challenge us in some way
and learning to make that a seamless part of our story
is a huge part of what makes us human.

I won't actually enter this in the competition
because it doesn't meet the brief,
but I'm happy with how it turned out (and that is what matters!!)
You were supposed to make the marsala stand out,
but I kinda liked making it blend in!

Also really happy with my straight line quilting here,
my Juki and I are now friends and I think between us we will achieve great things.

The back of this quilt has a nice surprise, 
because after all, it's the bits we don't see that are often most important.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's whats inside that counts...

Recently I was sorting out a cupboard and found this print I had saved
and I took it to my friend Cathy to be Framed.

I've been pondering for a while now, about the difference between how people see you
and what is inside. It's easy enough to have a pretty painted exterior
and hide away all the pain and hurt inside where no one can see it.

It's not a good plan, eventually a crack appears in our facade
and what is inside comes out.

Personally one of the things I find hardest to deal with is resentment.
I let things build up, shove them to the back of the cupboard
and don't deal with them.

Eventually some little thing will happen
and it all comes out. I hate this about myself.

I wish I could say that behind my outsides
match my insides,
that everything you see is exactly how it is, but of course that is not true.

We all are, after all, flawed human beings and we may as well acknowledge this.
We need own up to how we really feel.
We can think we are doing a great job of hiding
our pain, our resentment or whatever; but hiding it only hurts ourself and others.

It's all well and good to look good,
even to sound good,
it is far more important to actually be good. 
None of us can ever be as good as we wish,
but this is where Grace comes in, grace for ourselves and for others.

This year as I embrace imperfection, I see again
how precious a gift grace is to ourselves and to others.

It's a little thing that makes a big difference.

Friday, February 6, 2015

10 Life Lessons from some else's Unfinished Project...

1.  Sometimes you have to make a big mess before you get anywhere.

2. Sometimes you have to cut out stuff that is actually good before you make any progress.
3. It's good to have a plan, but its better to be flexible.

 4. Things that look like terrible mistakes at the time, all blend in the fullness of time.

5. Sometimes you have to give over control to someone else, to actually get the project done.

 6. It turns out that all the resources you need are right within your grasp.

7. Perfection is so overrated. Embrace imperfection.

8. Given the right setting, anyone can shine.

9. Practice does not necessarily make perfect, but each time you do something it gets easier.
10. Everything gets better with time and attention.

(UFO which I brought from the opshop. It would not lie flat and I started cutting it up
but got discouraged for some reason. I found it yesterday while clearing out a cupboard
and today used a child free day to trim, sew the blocks together, quilt and bind.)

Even a wonky quilt keeps you warm!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Not just a pile of quilts, it's a pile of love.

This pile of quilts can tell a lot of stories really.
At the bottom is an old quilt I made when Reuben was tiny and used to nap
in the afternoons. It's the second quilt I made once I had a rotary cutter
and it's worn soft and cosy with years of use.

There's a Christmas quilt, quite fresh and new
ready for the Christmases of the future.

There's the quilt I made for David's mum and quilted myself on my friend's LAQ machine.
Nana is in a rest home now and doesn't need it,
so it came back to live at our house.

There's a quilt made from scraps.
Scrap quilts are my favourite, they are like a photo album
of many different quilts I made. 

There's a quilt with embroidered tags,
also worn and faded. It's been a picnic rug, a play tent on many occasion
and been snuggled under on the sofa on countless occasions.

There's a quilt I made from using some fabric Chrissy gave me the day she left home,
and a quilt I made with hearts that I blanket stitched on
that we have had on our bed on and off for years.

There's a quilt I made for David one Christmas
and I sewed the binding on while he sat beside me
and he never noticed what I was doing!!

There's a kantha quilt that used to live in the caravan,
a quilt made from David's old shirts
and a quilt I made for David using tea towels from a client of his.

It might look like an ordinary pile of quilts.
But it's the story of our life.

Quilts made while battling the system for a special needs kid,
quilts made when our city was being shaken over and over again,
quilts made as life goes on, kids come and go.
Quilts for holidays, celebrations and hard times.

Our household is undergoing a period of change
and one thing I know is that a pile of quilts sewn with love and care,
will provide comfort and continuity wherever they end up.

It's not just a pile of quilts,
it's a pile of love and memories.