Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quiltin' Craze

Sewing fever has taken over this month and I'm loving it! For the first time I don't want winter to end and I've been quite content to stay at home, snug in my crafty corner in the basement. I've spent the past few weeks challenging myself with the art of quilting, choosing colors, oohing over patterns, cutting blocks, triangles and strips and feeling a sense of accomplishment as it begins to come together. The best part of it is that my sisters are in on it too. My mom relented and let us invade her fabric stash and there is A LOT to work with. So my oldest sis and I found a simple pattern and a few coordinating fabrics to begin a family made quilt.  This led to a few 'quilting bee' days in my basement and the fun began. My other sis lept into the world of quilting by buying gorgeous new fabric and challenging herself to a so-pretty lap quilt. So on quilting bee day she kind of ditched the family quilting for her own project (haha, had to throw that in, Trud) I hope she posts a pic of it on facebook because the quilt top she made is truly beautiful. I'm so proud of her since she didn't think quilting and working with tiny pieces was something she was capable of.

So quilting bee day becomes sort of a reminiscent Mennonite sort of day for us. Of course the usual is the ladies coming with goodies to eat and soup and buns for lunch. It's certainly is not Mennonite if there isn't food there. I love sitting back and listening to my sisters reminisce about their childhood days, days that I never was a part of. Someone gets the idea that we are going to speak in German for the day and the laughter begins as we mix German and English phrases together sounding like kids learning to talk (that would be me, as I'm the most rusty with my Plautdeutsch) Storytelling is at it's finest in low German, and I've come to realize that my oldest Sister is a natural story teller. She surprised us with a tape recorder and recorded our entire day of quilting and conversation. Not only that we listened to her self recorded quilting time she had in her outdoor kitchen, sewing by the wood stove. While she was pressing her pieces she told stories of how it used to be. She also recorded about a previous day at my house and the antics we have (all in German) I was laughing and almost in tears at the same time.  I know I will want to listen to those tapes again. (Tapes, that's almost an antique word).  So together we sew strips and make memories, excited as our quilt top comes together. I finished the top last night, the quilt with the purple border and we are now ready for the real job of the actual quilting. My mom plans to make a frame where we can hand stitch our quilt. That will be a learning curve for me. We are all learning through these projects so flaws are there, points don't match up but I say it adds character to the quilt.

The colorful quilt top below is the 'DickandJane' quilt I'm making for my kids. I bought the material quite some time ago and posted about it. Well I never finished it for my goal date of a year ago, so this week I finally finished the top and is also ready to be quilted. Crazy things is I can hardly finish one project and I'm already thinking up the next one. The other night I kept dreaming about fabric and patterns. I'm sure there is such a thing as quilting addiction. It sooths, relaxes, challenges the brain, frustrating when you sew the wrong sides together, and overall a wonderful experience. Isn't there something timeless about a quilt. Passed on through generations and cherished by those who find comfort in wrapping themselves in a cozy quilt.  I've herd of a group that make quilts for cancer patients and the testimonies of comfort that are found in those quilts that brighten a hospital room. I have dreams of doing something like that myself, maybe starting a quilting guild or charity project. Using my hands to create is a very rewarding task. It's also a time when I can pray, the world turns a little slower when your quilting, allowing for self reflection; a therapy session with God. I often need that and am thankful for the opportunity and desires He gives me to take up a past time like this.

Dick and Jane quilt

Family made quilt

It works fairly well with the kiddos too, mostly during nap time. We are all in the basement, an open area of crafting, toys and TV. Of course, Jake is right there when I spread a top on the floor. He get right in there and spins circles on top. He's a climber now and look out cause he's into everything. I'm kind of glad he's not walking yet because it keeps some of the busyness down to ground level. Every now and then Hanna sits on the bench beside me while I'm sewing. She keeps talking about getting a little sewing machine and I just say 'someday'. I love our days in the basement and could quite easily forget about the kitchen, like the quote "I'd rather be stitchin, than be in the kitchen". But I'm trying to balance it all and find my days quite filled up with no time to be bored. Old man winter can stay for a while!

 he's thinking, "what can I get into next?"

Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.

- Christina

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jake Turns One

Happy Birthday to Jake!

Yesterday he turned one and my mind drifted back over his first year of life. Hard to believe that a year ago I gave birth to him, a tiny bundle of sleepiness and a constant hunger. We were elated to have a baby boy join our family, wondering what a world with him would be like. My elation gave way to many tiring, teary eyed nights as Jake tested me for seven months with waking every two hours, it felt like it would never end at the time. I tried so many different things with him and Googled every baby sleeping issue possible.  Great days of cuddles, rocking and cooing gave way to too many crazy nights until desperately one night I put him in his play pen in the basement.  He slept through the entire night and life with him took a way better turn. Hallelujah! we have slept through the night since then other than some teething interuptions. That made a world of a difference for my attitude, energy and role as a mom. And, yes, he is still sleeping by himself in the basement. I've received many surpised, questionable looks from people but I just laugh it off, because it's working for us! 
The stages following those months have been so fun and fullfilling to watch.
 He's turned into such a fun loving boy who's also the biggest sucky baby ever.

His big, dimpled smile and mischevious eyes turn into a fit of body slamming onto the floor with big crocodile tears falling.

He loves following Hanna around and giggling at her antics. He does not aprreciate her mothering techniques.

He loves his soother and it's in use way too much. Something to work on in the new year.

He crawls like a race car and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to start walking. Hanna walked a week after her first birthday but I don't think that will be the case with him.

Loves to hold anything that is not a toy and he shouldn't be having.

Thinks he can go down the stairs with hands and head first just like going up, so I'm always on stair alert.

Still a pretty good shopper but that's bound to change soon.

Makes a game of throwing all food off his tray and acts totally proud about it by thrusting his chin in the air like a horse. He's totally a male. :)

Said his first word last week when he watched the cats, it's not a perfect word but sounds like 'kitty'

I have to wrangle him when I change his diaper and have learned to attach the tabs while he's standing. Poops often end up with me tossing him in the tub so the mess stays contained.

So many more things I could say, he drives me crazy, makes me laugh, my heart warms, keeps me running, whines at the most inopportune times,  and sends his charming smile my way to make the best of times.
I love watching his daddy and sister interact with him
I love seeing his grand parents and family members light up when they see him.
I wish my dad was here to give Jake 'horsey rides'
I'm thankful that God has gifted me with the role of being his mommy and pray that I will better mom to both of my children this year.

 I love this kid. sigh.