Sunday, July 21, 2013

View out My Window

"Art VS craft - eye candy VS hand and eye candy with purpose.
Wayne McKensie

I have been thinking of my mother-in-law often lately which is a positive experience for me, luckily. She was a unique individual and one I miss having in my life. She could do anything she set her mind to and those actions were not always well received by her husband, family and friends! One famous story she told was when her newly-wed husband complained about the way she prepared his eggs in the morning.  She calmly walked over and cracked an egg on his head. As the raw egg oozed down through his hair, she told him that he could prepare his own eggs if he didn't like hers. (circa 1942)  Intrigued?

Last week my 40-something daughter and her family spent the night here and, after we had all gone to bed, she showed up at our bedroom door. "Mom, can I have Nana's pink quilt to sleep with tonight?" My family feels that Nana sewed all her love into this particular quilt and we request it when we are cold, sad or ill. Guess my 40-something was cold that night but I got the quilt off the rack and handed it over to a smiling child.

Quilting has been revived in the past few decades which is a positive statement about our ancestors. Life was so different years ago and quilts not only used up fabric worn thin from wear but gave the mother and daughters in the house something productive to do at night when the time after sunset did not allow for outdoor activities. Thousands of tiny stitches were worked in intricate designs and then added to the bed in a time before shams, comforters and silk pillows were the trend.

The above quilt was made by my mother-in-law for my husband and me and I think it is a work of art. The colors, the configuration of a double wedding ring pattern must have been such arduous work and yet I know she created it out of love-love for us, love for family and love of creativity. Will many of us leave behind such a testament to our existence?
Although they are smaller versions, I also have my grandmother's quilt; she was a woman whom I never had the privilege of knowing and yet her handiwork has kept my granddaughters warm many nights. Although worn and somewhat ragged, it will not be tossed aside by me but will be the little piece of my family history that I have of her, a woman born almost a century ago.
My Aunt Jenn was also a maker of quilts, my paternal grandmother's sister. She also collected cats, hundreds in her lifetime. Needless to say, her quilts were delivered with a sheen of cat hairs attached. I recall my mother wrinkling up her nose when she contemplated cleaning this bright, hand-made blanket over and over to remove that feline shine! It has held up remarkably well and makes me smile every time I smooth out the wrinkles when making the bed. Eccentric old maids are part of my history, too!
Hope you have enjoyed seeing my familial "eye candy with a purpose." It was created with love!