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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Quilty Happiness



Being a scavenger definitely has its benefits.
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At least ten years ago, I found all the squares of this butterfly quilt at my favourite Brandon thrift shop. (was it called "New to You"?; or "Nearly New?") I gleefully stacked them up with my other fabric treasures and intended for the day when I would stitch them to form a duvet cover.
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Of course they sat there until the year that we had to pack up our house and move back to the Bible Belt. Moving is always a great oppurtunity to see how many good intentions you have had, and what you haven't quite gotten to just yet. So, determined to put those butterflies to good use in our new old house, I set those pieces aside along with a set of wildly printed curtains to repurpose into strips, and a floral calico for the backing.
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When I headed back west towards Brandon to take my daughter to camp with her friends, I packed those pieces along with me. I had so much restless energy from the stress of moving that I needed a project. I needed to see something completed.
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My ex-next-door neighbour was away and gave me liscence to use her house. Which was surreal because of course it was next door to the very house that we had just moved out of. A house that I loved wildly, unabashedly, and sincerely. I sat upstairs in her house one afternoon, in her pink room with the pretty vintage dresses in it, and sewed the strips onto the butterfly pieces, and the calico to back it all up.
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I felt my heart squeeze as I looked over the fence and knew it wasn't mine any more. The stuff I really cared about was somewhere else now. My kids. My favourite beat up old furniture. My bits and baubles.
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But not my pals.

Arianna and I have been taking turns sleeping beneath these pretties for almost seven years now. The butterflies are fraying. The pink fabric has some rips in it. It has been completely and utterly loved and enjoyed.
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On the mornings when I have the time to smooth out the spread, I wonder to myself- do I keep enjoying this wonderful work of someone else's fingers plus mine until nothing is there besides shreds? Or do I put it away so that it keeps? (for what?)
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Keeping it on my bed reminds me of all the great treasures in my life. Another woman who took great care to hand stitch those pieces. Somebody else who donated it to charity instead of driving it to the dump. Those curtains. Those neighbours. That city. Those friends. That house.
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oh yeah. It's a pretty good happy.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh you tell a heart warming tale...
but I think I am the neighbor you are referring to. Unless you loved another house as well?
I don't remember this at all - but I guess I wasn't there!
Ginny

Janice said...

I LOVE that quilt - I think I have some buried treasure in my closets and basement. I better go on a dig.

Chelsea said...

you rock...is it okay to live vicariously through you?

Candy said...

To love wildly, unabashedly, and sincerely, is something I aspire to do today.

Love ya Joyce!

joyce said...

Ginny- You are that neighbour! We had just moved out here, but I had to come back to Brandon to get Arianna to camp, I think. You and your fam were away. (camping? family wedding?). You said I could use your house. I did use your sewing machine, but landed up sleeping at Rose's house. Yours was so quiet without you people in it...

Janice- it has been said before. Take pictures, and begin a blog so we can see it!!

Chelsea- i would be so flattered. It would justify the blogs that I drool on. and covet.

Candy- I've the idea you're already on your way, well on your way.

Roo said...

love love love this quilt. soooo great.