There are times in life when everything seems to be changing. The world ebbs and flows bringing new perspectives, challenges and ideas as the ground beneath our feet figuratively moves. We go with the flow regardless of what it brings. The recent months have been jammed with just that sort of motion. Each day is a combination of the same things...the same but different. The people are the same but changing before my eyes....for example...my husband. He is a modest man. The other day as we prepared for the 18th birthday party he picked up a mirror to hang in the bathroom. As anyone would do, he caught himself in the mirror. The difference between him and most people was what he then said which was, "I haven't looked in the mirror for 18 months...I look old." I laughed out loud because who doesn't look in the mirror every day? But then I thought about it. What if we didn't see ourselves for a long time? How would we look? Are we the same or are we different?
Sometimes the answer is obvious.
Moving the shop was like looking in the mirror after a long absence and finding huge change. Same features but different space. Some people have asked me why we moved. The answer is that facing uncertain times for patchwork shops in Australia, we felt it a need to bunker down. We found a beautiful space filled with the comforts of home. The wood and sandstone appeal to me like a deep, relaxing breath. The feeling that many have walked these floors over the last 150 years sparked my imagination. I like the feeling of being a part of something that has spanned many decades and gathered the influences of life & times. Like any time you look in the mirror there were things we liked and things we knew we needed to fix. Now that we have sorted through the mayhem and cleared spaces in the rooms I love seeing our COLOUR on the walls in the rooms. The contrast of new fabrics and old surroundings enhances our style so perfectly. Having a full service kitchen means not only do we smell the coffee and baking muffins on a number of days of the week but also, for the all day classes we have plenty of nibbles and food offerings for lunch so our quilters can quite easily enjoy the time and feel at home as well.
People regularly ask me if I live in the shop which cracks me up. Some days I feel like I do, some days I feel like I could but no, I don't live there literally. However, when I walk in each day I I feel the home of it and I like that. It is a nice place to work and share with our quilting friends. I have always felt that when a "customer" walks in they are automatically a friend...a friend that I know shares my passion and now our quilting home.
Another big event was number two son turning 18. That is a big opportunity to stop and assess. There was my boy, a boy no more. He had his first night "OUT". Normally when they go out I can handle it but I was full of questions that night. Would he know what to do and what to watch out for? Did we do our job well enough to relax as he stepped out of our reach? I watched as his friends gathered on Saturday night as young adults. Yikes the skirts are short these days and the heels higher than high! However it was a happy fun watching them laugh and carry on, dance, eat and generally have what looked like a great time. I kept wondering how such a party could take place in our home without me being actually invited but I managed to make some new friends over the night and to see my boys in action.
We had readied the house for the party. Is there anything more futile than washing floors and cleaning bathrooms before 65 young uns gather for a party? Everyone had a role. My SIL/friend Gai and my two neices made lots of food for the party. Big hit were the nachos in noodle boxes! and pretty handmade decorated cupcakes...
You know who your friends are when you are having a party like this. As they gathered around to help I felt surrounded by supporters. Gai, Grace and Clare really made a big effort and helped me to stay on top of the event while they managed the oven. Grace did a bit of "scouting" around which was also fun for the dagging mom relinquished to hiding in dark rooms and peering longingly out to the fun of the night!
We enlisted Oscar and a few of his friends to mind the door....again...there was a sense of futility but in actual fact, as the evening progressed, having them at the door was very helpful. They kept their eyes open for potential crashers. They checked the list as they checked out the chics which was pretty funny.
This group gathered to keep Sam occupied but hid behind the scenes most of the night sketching and doing a painting on the wall. Their time will come all too soon.
Now, there is a long and hilarious story behind this photo! Suffice to say, Oscar had to go to the rescue of these young ladies who were inadvertenly locked in the new (not quite finished) bathroom. This is a much more flattering shot than the one I could have gotten as he slid into the room head first toward the toilet via one very small window loosing his pants along the way...oh deary me. Fortunately, he has an ego of steel and survived the event by importantly opening the door with ease before resuming his position on the door!
The only time they stood still was when the speeches were made and the crowd went wild! It made my heart pound to see his friends gather in support of his friendship. The speeches were about the foolish things he had done but the oldest friend talked of a loyal mate...tears slipped out.
We all survived the night which was good news. I was pleased to hear that it was a good party from the one whose opinion mattered the most! They all stayed as late as they could then they all disappeared!
Another shift was seeing Sarah Fielke's new book Quilting. Congratulations to Sarah for making a pretty quilting book from which I am sure big things will grow. It was interesting to leaf through the pages looking to see where the last two and a half years have taken her since she left Material Obsession. It was always interesting in the partnership to see how our different approaches were reflected in our quilts and I still do. It is a well thought out book of ideas. As I leafed through I found comfort in things we had discovered together as we opened the shop doors to the quilting world. It is fascinating to see where those initial concepts have taken us as individuals on different paths. What stayed the same, what evolved. It reminded me of my dad and his twin brother. They grew up together but my uncle was in the Navy and then worked over seas most of my childhood. Now when they are together and we look with a critical eye and see that there are interesting similiarities...things they do the same but they are completely different people. How does that happen? Nature vs nurture?
On another level altogether I have discoverd Skype!!!! WOW! The last two weeks I have reconnected with my family on a new and very comfortable level. I can talk to my mom and dad for the first time in 21 years in the comfort of my home without a ticking $ sign. There they are, living in my computer. My brothers have both joined in the fun as well and finally I feel they are a part of my life in a visual way. I have walked them around my house and shop, showed them my big boys and shared my projects as we talked. How WONDERFUL has it been sit and quilt with my oldest bestest friend!! She in Amherst and me in Syndey...my my my. Last night we shared a conversation that shed light on our respective lives. The distance gives us objectivity. The 43 year friendship gives us understanding. The computer gives us a medium to communicate and share. I feel as though I will never be alone again. Its nice to be mentally surrounded by the team again.
So no matter where you get your support on a rainy weekend as the world shifts and changes I guess we just have to hang onto our footings because falling down in front of the mirror is just not an option.
Embrace the change and be thankful for those in our lives that help us to cope with it all...k