Thursday, May 08, 2014

So, It's May?

It's May, which according to a song is a "lusty month." I'm not sure why. But man alive am I happy it's May! The sun! It exists! The windows! They open! The noses! They sneeze! We are just starting to get little buds on trees. Spring is green and brown around Pittsburgh. Early summer is very colorful. It makes me want to skip with joy.

April was a rough one around here. I won't dwell on it much. Suffice it to say that sometimes life throws you curveballs. You gotta roll with the punches. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. I was angry and upset for a good long while, but woke up to realize that's just not me. So I let it go. I'm not angry now, but I am worried from time to time. I have immense faith that God will provide.

On to happy things -- one week from today is International Quilt Market. Here. In Pittsburgh. I am so excited I may not sleep all week. (Just kidding -- I love to sleep.) Two besties are coming into town and we'll hit the ground running. If you happen to read this blog and are coming, I would l-o-v-e to see you. I will be in The Quilted Fish booth. Find me, please!!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Grandpa

The first memory I have of my Grandpa Zundel was when my younger brother was born. Grandpa, who we actually called Church, picked up me and my older brother and took us home to Richmond with him. That sounds really boring, when actually it was the most exciting thing that had happened in my short, 3 year life. He took us home in a private plane. I had blonde pigtails and wore the sweater he had brought me from a trip to Germany. A man in a brown suit on the plane tried to talk to me, but I don't think I answered. It was so terribly exciting. I'm also pretty sure that on that trip I slept in his closet. Did his closet have a couch? Or did they have a sitting room attached to their bedroom?

He had a green leather chair. He always sat in that chair to watch TV. We loved sitting in that chair. The one he had for the longest time had a huge indentation in the seat. It was like sitting in a bucket. Grandpa did not like it when we sat there, but it was just so comfortable.

Once when we were staying with them one summer, my Grandpa came home from work. He took the train into Chicago. He had been pick-pocketed. I remember in detail how he reenacted someone crawling over to him on the platform and pulling on his pant leg, creating the diversion for someone else to take his wallet. I was horrified. He enjoyed telling a good story, and could tell them well. Then, after cancelling credit cards, he took us out to dinner. I think we went to Carsons for ribs.

He had phrases that were uniquely his: cockeyed. Sam Hill. Hotter than a June bride in a feather bed.

He was a collegiate athlete who, as a catcher for Princeton, knocked out George Bush as he was rounding for home. It's a story that is oft repeated in our family, and we've even heard President Bush tell his version. Grandpa Zundel always makes an impression.

He gave me my Patriarchal Blessing. In fact, I was the first one he gave. He sealed Curly and me in the DC Temple. And when Curly and I were having some problems a few years ago, he called me on the phone to tell me how much he loved me. He lived in a different time zone by the time I was 8, but while we were in school, still came out every season to see my brothers, sister, and I play a game or act in a play. He visited me on my mission. He and Grandma followed me around Temple Square as I gave a tour and took pictures. Then they took me and my companion out to dinner at the very fancy Roof Restaurant.

One summer he bought all the girl cousins pretty gold necklaces. When asked where he got them, he vaguely said, "From a guy I know." To this day I have pictured a deal in a back alley where the guy opens a tan trench coat and has necklaces hanging inside.

The last time I saw him, I was pregnant with Ginger. We went to church with Church and Grandma Jeanne, and out to lunch the next day at The Cheesecake Factory. I am pretty sure he did not call me by name that entire time. Alzheimer's was setting in. Truth be told, I think he thought I was my mom. He sang the Princeton Fight Song the entire time to my kids. They thought he was hilarious.

He was a giant of a man who left a huge impression on my life. Yesterday, at the age of 90, he passed away. My heart aches for my Grandma. And, my heart aches for me. He called me Janaboo and he made me feel so special. I was his favorite. I know his reunion in heaven has been sweet. I am so thankful for eternal families. I will see him again. That knowledge is sweet.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Whoops

My last post was nearly two months ago. Two months! What the flagnog? I wish I could say super exciting things were going on, but that would be a giant lie. Nope. We've been dealing with winter. A paralyzingly cold, polar vortex induced, snowy winter. And then two days ago it was 65 and I opened the windows and we went to the park. And today it is 20 but feels like 7. The end.

I have logged a shockingly low amount of hours in my sewing room over the winter. For one, when the wind is howling and the fire is crackling, it is just too hard to resist the couch with an already-sewn comfy quilt. Also, my baby wakes me up every night, sometimes twice, like it's her job. That makes for a tired Mommy and only a couple of hours post kid bedtime to sit on said couch with said quilt in front of said fireplace.

And then today, when I had a list in my head of super fun things today, I rolled my ankle as I was coming down the stairs. So I have alternated between sitting with my leg up and hobbling after kids. It has not been super fun.

Instead I am dreaming of warmer weather and fun projects to finish. And here is a fun photo from the summer of a trip we took up to Palmyra, NY. Look how sunny it was. Notice the lack of coats. Instead of a White Christmas, I'm dreaming of a sunny springtime.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Special Quilt

Last week, Curly and I were invited to NC to see our dear friend be baptized. It's a huge deal. We have watched her grow spiritually for the past year and a half. The baptism itself was just the icing on the cake.
She asked Curly to baptize her. It was such an honor to be there. Let me tell you -- this is a strong woman. She is not easily swayed. She knows what she wants in life and goes after it. There have been some hiccups in her journey, but she has persevered. And while not everyone in her life agrees with her decision, they know she has come to it truthfully and honestly because they know the kind of woman she is, and they respect her decision. I just love her to pieces.

So I made her a quilt.
I wanted her to not only have something to remember this weekend by, but I wanted her to have a tangible reminder of the Comforter. When times get tough, and they will because that's just life, I want her to have something she can see and feel and be reminded of the promises she has made, and that God has made with her.

Her favorite color is red, so I used this fantastic Riley Blake chevron fabric for the back. I love it so hard. The best part about it is that it's 108" wide, so I didn't have to piece the back.
 So I went a little overboard with the size of this thing. The pattern calls this a "lap" size. Ha. Hahahhahhaha. That's a gigantic lap. It fits on her bed.

Quilt stats:

Pattern -- 3 in a Box by Jaybird Quilts'
Fabric -- Songbird by Carina Gardner for Riley Blake
Size -- Ginormous. 83" square.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Resolving, not Dissolving

I think I was in the minority this past December 31, because I did not want 2013 to end. It was a good year. We finally closed on our house in Maryland, we also bought our house here in Pittsburgh, and we had a baby. A very cute, happy, silly, baby who still likes to wake up for a little snuggle once or twice a night. And she has teeth. Three of them so far. They all broke through within a week. That was super fun.

I'm not one to wallow in the passage of time. I love that my kids grow and learn and become their own people. But, oh, if I could freeze things as they are right now, that would be fantastic. Freeze Mini-me when she is still young enough to play with My Little Ponies, but old enough to have her own sewing machine. Freeze Patch as he has giant teeth growing in and is constantly discovering new talents. Freeze Ginger as she daily discovers cool things, and sometimes it's the same discovery two or three times in a row. And freeze Baby as she lights up with Curly comes in the room, or as she waves and claps and tries to blow kisses. I wish I had frozen Flower before she got into high school and became so busy.

But I can't freeze time. So we'll march on. And while I march, I will "try a little harder to be a little better." This year I am resolving to be a better steward of my time. I am resolving to be kinder towards myself. And I am resolving to keep up with the laundry.

2013 was good to me. I can't wait to see the great things that will happen to me in 2014.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Best Day of the Year

It's almost time for the best day of the year. I'm talking about Thanksgiving. I love it with all my heart. I love the food. I love the togetherness. I love the purpose. And I love how there are absolutely no presents involved.

Growing up, we would load up the mini van (or later, hop on a plane), and head west to Chicago. There we would stay at my Grandparents house, and my aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived there would come over. And like the Whos down in Whoville, we would feast, feast, feast, feast! The men would take over the den and TV, the women would be in the living room, usually stitching, and the kids would be camped out in my grandparent's bedroom, watching Charlie Brown, White Christmas, and any other movie we could find in their Beta Disc collection. It was the best day ever.

While I am sure it was stressful to have all those people over, I never felt it from my Grandparents. In fact, they seemed in their element. They loved all the family and noise.

Every year around this time I love to sit and reminisce. Those memories of Thanksgivings past certainly have a honey glow to them. I hope my kids have the same feeling about the holidays I am trying to create for them. Although, I have married into a family that approaches Thanksgiving quite differently than I do. For example, their stuffing is made from rice. Rice! And they don't like sweet potatoes. Not even my mom's sweet potato casserole with the brown sugar crumble topping.

I know!

But that's okay. If there is one thing my grandparents showed me, Thanksgiving is about who you spend it with, and being grateful for the people who are missing from around the table. I know I am profoundly grateful for my Zundel grandparents. They are my heroes. This year, I will raise a turkey leg and a prayer of thanksgiving to them.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Have a Stupid Problem

Remember in school how the only thing worse than not having the right thing was getting the right thing and promptly being accused of copying? Apparently it is something that has stuck with me. And it's stupid. Really stupid. It has kept me from doing something I really really want to do. And that, for an adult woman, is stupid.

I'm talking about The Farmer's Wife quilt.


I bought the book several years ago. I was in the process of choosing fabrics when all of a sudden the internets exploded with all these different quilters making this pretty pretty quilt. And then I got stupid and didn't want to do it because they would think I "copied" them.

So my first quilt of 2014 will be my version of the Farmer's Wife quilt. I am pretty excited about it. I am fairly certain I am going to make it lap sized, so I will be omitting some of the 111 blocks. I have an unhealthy obsession with sampler quilts. I love everything about them. So I may even make two versions. We'll see. Lately I can't even finish a chair cushion. I'm anticipating my baby will magically sleep through the night in 2014. Ha.

So here is my vow to not be stupid anymore. I am in control of my own life and quilting destiny. And if I want to make the same thing everyone else is making, or wear a shirt that someone I know has, or even cut my hair like someone else, I will. So there.