Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Photographs and Memories. . .

I wrapped up a project this past weekend.  It started last year as signing up for a quilting bee on an internet forum I frequent.  I was assigned the month of November; I could choose anything I wanted in terms of fabric and block design.  My task was to mail the fabrics and instructions for 'my' month to the 11 other participants, who would each make a block with what I sent and then mail their block back to me.  I decided, seeing as I had a 'scrap bin'--an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tote--that was overflowing with years worth of extra fabric from various sewing projects, that I wanted everyone to make a 'kaleidoscope' style block (see my post Something New from June '11), using my scrap fabrics rather than going out and purchasing anything new--frugal quilting!   

While emptying my scrap bin for this, I got lost in reverie, remembering where each piece of fabric had originated.  My oldest pieces, a solid red, were from when DS1 was not quite 3 years old and requested I make him a "red wizard" costume for Halloween.  That was 1992!  I didn't even own a sewing machine back then, the entire costume was sewn by hand.  Other scraps were from nightgowns and dresses I had made my daughters through the years, various school play costumes I made (DS2 was a monkey in 1st grade, DD1 a pig in kindergarten. . .), aprons I made the kids long ago when they still had to stand on a stool to help cut out sugar cookies (which was a very long time ago, seeing as they are all taller than I am now), dresses and jumpers and nightgowns I made for myself, and many many scraps of fabrics from about five years of another internet forum quilt block swap I have participated in three to four times a year.  Lots of memories in that box of 'extras'.

I decided, about two months after sending out my fabrics to the quilting bee participants, that I would take the resulting blocks and make a wall hanging for my mudroom with them.  Of course, twelve blocks alone wouldn't make quite the size I had in mind, so I took yet more of my scrap fabrics (some from newer projects in the last 9 months: a quilt and a bib for my niece, a wall hanging for friends of ours who had their first baby last October, the redneck baby quilt for my granddaughter) and made additional blocks to bring the finished project to the size I wanted.

My goal was to have this project finished in time for DD1's graduation open house, which will be held the second Saturday of June.

With DH's help (because I can't hang anything straight to save my  life), this past Saturday I hung what I have come to call the Memory Quilt.  It now graces the formerly empty long wall of our mudroom.  Everyone who enters the house through that room (most people) can see it.  My girls have all ready, in just two days, delighted in finding the fabrics they remember as 'theirs' and pointing them out to friends.  I imagine when my sons arrive at the end of this week, they will do the same.

The next trip down memory lane will begin in a few days (I have some major cleaning to do first!), when I go through the two bins (also 18 gallon Rubbermaid totes) of school days mementos and awards from all four kids to find those pertaining to DD1 so we can display some of them at the open house.  There are also nearly eighteen years of photos to go through in order to construct DD1's life as told through the lens of a camera: baby pictures, cute toddler days, school photos and events, sports--softball since Kindergarten!, confirmation, high school formals and prom, and of course graduation day pictures with her significant other of nearly a year . . .

I am awash in nostalgia!

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