Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The heart expands when it is broken [four years]

Four years ago the city where I live was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
I remember leaping out of bed to stand in the doorway,
kicking open the door to my sons room
and screaming at him to get out of bed.

I remember that David held our baby, Annie in his arms
as the wine bottles from the rack shot across the floor;
and I remember the incredible noise of the whole house being shaken.

I have never been so frightened, before or since.
I thought we were going to die.
I thought the house was going to fall on us.

In the last four years I have learned that everybody has a breaking point,
it is just that some people get there sooner.

I have learned to respect this and to make allowances for someone
who is not coping, instead of judging them as I may have in the past.

Our son Reuben met his breaking point in the June of 2011,
and he suffers to this day as a result of this.
He lives his life courageously despite of his fears.

I have learned that when faced with death,
some find amazing courage within themselves,
and take control of their lives in ways they didn't before.

It is almost like facing death, gives them the courage to live.

My daughter Chrissy is one of those.
As she walked home on 22 February 2011 through the ruins of the city,
she made decisions about her future life, 
about what she wanted to achieve and made plans for how she was going to do that.

I could not be more proud.

There's a lot of sky in the centre of our city.
There's a lot of empty spaces where buildings should be,
acres and acres of empty space.

There's a lot of buildings still coming down,
like these two in this picture. The wrap on the building on the left
is to contain asbestos.

There's still more buildings with decisions being argued over their fate.
Like this building, with windows boarded up which may or may not be saved.

There are great plans for Christchurch,
and there are definitely signs that the rebuild has begun.
There are some funky new buildings going up.

But it's four years people!

Four years.

That's a long long time to be waiting.

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,
but I found these words today and I love them.
"Your heart expands when it is broken"
so true. So very true. Something to hang onto as we remember. Four years.

Time heals.
Mountain winds sound exactly like ocean waves.
You are worth everything now.
Walls can be destroyed.
The sun always rises (and is always beautiful).
Children know the answers.
There is music in everything.
Logic doesn't produce magic.Somewhere, somebody loves you.
You don't need to choose mediocre when fire exists.
The moon orchestrates our nights and tides.
Trees can grow through rock.
Your heart expands when it's broken.
You should do it now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another quilt all finished...

I started this quilt months ago when I wanted to make a quilt
using only two fabrics and one simple block.

This is a pale grey sketch and a vibrant Kaffe floral
and an easy half square triangle.

My friend Kate and I sat one afternoon and worked out nine
separate layouts for the blocks.

The thing was that half way through this project I got bored with it,
and then when I had pieced the nine blocks I really didn't like it.
It almost disappeared to the bottom of the pile.

However you know how I think even ugly quilts keep you warm,
so I decided to add a border. I found the blue Prints Charming fabric
at Spotlight and it is matched perfectly.

And then of course I loved it again!
I'm actually stoked how this one turned out.
It's fresh and modern looking and quite different to what I usually do.

I really really wish I hadn't promised to give it away now!

The moral of the story is, sometimes you have to get to the end of the process
to see how it all fits together!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Paper pieced butterfly....

I tried paper piecing a few years ago and it was a traumatic experience
which put me off for a long time.
But my good friend Juliet is a paper piecing genius
and so I finally caved and asked Juliet to give me a lesson!

Luckily for me, Juliet is very patient and had a good technique
and in one morning I had pieced this 24" cushion top
for Annie's bed. And there were no tears and no need to resort to the 
dreaded unpicker!

I actually enjoyed seeing it all come together
and last night I quilted it onto a scrap of cotton batting.
This morning before school Annie and I put clean sheets on her bed
and made it nicely. Then I sewed an envelop backing onto the front
and hey presto! a lovely cushion for her bed.

I really like how all the oranges play so nicely together
and I like the low volume plaid I used for the background.

I actually had an incentive to do this,
because Juliet has just released a beautiful 30" bear pattern
that I really really want to do,
but of course I had to get over my fears of paper piecing first!

I love how Annie's bed looks with it's thrifted sheets and pillowslip
and it hand made bedding. It's so satisfying to make practical items
which say "I love you" for others!

It's also awesome to have tried again to do something which scares me
and it turned out to be not so scary after all!

Bring on the giant bear I say!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Election time

It's nearly election time here in New Zealand
and it's difficult to decide who to vote for.
Really there just doesn't seem to be a compelling reason
to choose one side above another.
Maybe I'm missing something.
It's really hard for me to not want to vote for John Key though.
Let me tell you why.

On the 22 February 2011 after the earthquake,
after I had sat on the grass for hours and comforted hysterical children,
after I had dug my car out of liquification
and carried my mother in law down her drive to my car.
After I had found a route home
that didn't include cracks that I thought the car would fall down,
and after I found out that my children were actually still alive.

After I found a spot on the neighbour's lawn for the kiddies
and put nana in a comfy chair.
After all that, I walked down the street and into my house.
I opened the door to utter chaos.
The contents of the cupboards were on the floor,
furniture was upended,
the walls were cracked and dust and mess was everywhere.

I stood in the disaster and I finally started crying and swearing.
And at that point I thought, we are going to loose everything,
there is no way we can pull our business through this.
It's over. We won't make it.

However within the first two weeks,
John Key authorised for payments to be made to businesses,
it was a simple uncomplicated process
and we were able to pay our staff.
We received three payments and our business was saved from certain doom.

I understand that the Government has made a lot of decisions 
that are unpopular. I understand that a lot of people are hurting.
But I can't help but remember what they did for us and many like us,
making a quick decision that would protect the infrastructure of Christchurch,
without that, we would have lost a lot more businesses like ours,
and a lot more people would have been hurting.

It's hard to forget that.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A quilt for Katrina

When our nephew and nieces turn 18 we give them a quilt for their birthdays
and this year it is Katrina's turn.

I wanted to make her a bright, happy quilt to suit her personality.

I've made quite a few windmill quilts now
because I love them so much.
I love the process of making them
and I love the contrast.

It's been amazing watching these kids grow up into beautiful young people.
Being an aunt is great - all care, no responsibility!

Actually I think this quilt is one that looks better in real life!!
We were taking these pictures as the sun was kinda disappearing.

It's been a week for finishing and giving away quilts,
such a nice feeling!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#bestbookever [and the winners of the Beyond Neutral Giveaway]

Now that I have made a couple of quilts from the Beyond Neutrals book
and have two more underway,
I realised that I have a couple of other books with patterns by QuiltDad.

Now that I know the way he writes patterns,
I'm definitely going to be taking another look at them for the next quilts I plan.

I really love the cutting instructions and the clear diagrams.
I've made a few quilts over the years,
but not many by following patterns.
But John's patterns work well for me and I'm going to be making All The Quilts!!

I may have done a teeny bit of cyber stalking of John to see what else he has done,
and I found this youtube clip of him talking about the book,
which is super cool. It's nice to hear him talk about the design process and such like.

 Anyway I am so excited to have three copies of the book two give away,
one from me, and QuiltDad himself offered two signed copies (jealous much)
Thanks so much for all of you who took the time to enter.

So without further ado....
the winners of a copy of Beyond Neutrals are....

Gill from Mudbird Ceramics
Leonie from Sunshine x3

I just know you ladies are going to enjoy this book.

and then because my sweet friend Talia was so desperate to win a copy,
I'm going to send one to her too!

If you missed out, I'm sorry.
But you can pop over here and buy a copy for yourself!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A fairy tale [and a sugar skull quilt]

Once upon a time there were two beautiful girls.
One of these girls went searching for love,
and by the time she was 16 her arms and her heart were full of love,
in the form of a beautiful daughter.

Not everybody recognised that this was indeed love,
and they made harsh comments to the girl.

But as the girl grew along side her daughter,
she learned that love is a two-edged sword with pain.
Even so she kept on loving.

The other girl longed for acceptance.
She lived with a thousand rules, and she tried to keep them all.
She did everything she could to earn that acceptance,
but it was never enough.

The girl was broken, but alive
and gradually as she got older, she learned that to accept oneself
is the greatest thing she could do for herself and her children.

In the way of these things, the girls became women,
and their paths crossed.

They recognised in each other the scars that their pasts had given them,
and the hope that they could make a difference.

One day they met at McDonalds for lunch with a bunch of small children,
and they talked about this hope for the future.

They decided to study and learn how to help others,
they decided to support each other in the journey.

They laughed together at the possibility that the high-school drop out
and the person with the arranged marriage who grew up in a cult
could possibly be audacious enough to think they could get a degree.

The two girls are still on that journey.
Half way through their degrees. It turns out that they are smart.
The words thrown at them at the past are slowly falling off,
like rain drops on a window.

This quilt is for my dear friend Meg,
the one who searched for love.

She is brave and courageous and super smart.
I love you Meg.

Next year when we graduate together, we will laugh and cry together,
super thankful that the scars in our hearts have not kept us in the past.