Monday, May 02, 2016

Fabulous Fabric Fun Plus Some!

Alexia's Cozy Covers Fabric Sale..two days of great, great fun! Beginning on Friday and finishing up on Saturday, we set up our tables,


Pat learned to use the mobile cash register app called "Square"..and the line began to form before we even had time to put on the Daisy Kingdom aprons that Marsha created!


What fun! We'd all unloaded our boxes of fabric onto tables that filled the entire lawn, driveway, and grassy strips and our shoppers had a ball and so did we!

Our chance of showers forecast turned into a bit of a downpour! 

But Hey! We're Oregonians!

Initially,  we covered things up ..but our fabulous shoppers peeked underneath and kept we obliged by peeling back the covers and helping them out!

With hoods pulled up or a "who cares it's raining attitude",  almost everyone kept shopping!

                A few umbrellas popped into view and the lines at the registers grew!

So much fabric, so much fun! And so many wonderful people! 

"There's my cousin from Albany!" said one surprised shopper. 

"What are you doing away from work? asked one woman. He replied.."the same thing you!"

It was actually a school holiday..and we had young shoppers and young helpers.

And even some fabulous blog readers that I had the opportunity to meet! I'm always a tad bit embarrassed and most people never mention that they know who I am, where I live and almost every thing I'm up to during any given week for the past almost 10 ten years. But it's really very nice to know someone reads all of this!!

 Hi Olga! Great fun meeting you! It was fun visiting with you and thanks so much for stopping by, buying some of our fabric and letting me know that you read my blog!!

By Saturday, we were ready for anything from short sleeve shirts, to jackets, to winter coats, to pieces of fleece off of our tables that we literally wrapped around ourselves. Another day of volunteering, laughing, being fabric pushers wonderful greeters and helpers...

 We had some sunshine ...

We had some rain...

We had more shoppers and made new friends....

But mostly we laughed with each other, at ourselves, at each others and with our fabulous friendly shoppers and their families!

Here's our fearless first founding families, the Anderson-Krafts as we all donned our warm coasts and draped fleece here and there to fend off the wind and the chill that would hit us one moment and having us warm and sunny the next!

But oh, how we laughed through it all!

A fun, fun two days, lots of helpers, lots of shoppers and lots of great, great fun!

Previous post with ideas of how to use any of those Daisy Kingdom panels and pieces you might have purchased at our sale!
Click on blue link below!
Woo Hoo!!!

Public Disclaimer: This post composed on a cell phone from 1:45 to 3:00 a.m for the Friday Segment
and with 1 hour and 45 minutes of sleep before 5 hours of volunteering and posting of the Saturday Segment. I don't dress in fleece yogas just for the fun of it!...oh, wait,...yes, I do.


Don't ask why I got less than my usual 4 hours of sleep,  but it had to do with dogs trying to get into the coop after my chickens, me barefoot in pajamas yelling and clanging pot lids at 1 a.m. The dogs crashing through our garden woofing, setting off dogs for at least 3 acres over.

My life is one long story after another ;-) And most of my family would rather not know what I've been up to.

Please send good thoughts to my dear long suffering husband, a long line of semi tolerant cats...
and then of chickens!

You're welcome and I'm so sorry, neighbors! But someone has to chase off the 1 coyote and 6 stray dogs that have been creating my night terrors as I defend my beloved chickens!!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning a purpose for being or "a reason to get up in the morning."

Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding this deep meaning, this purpose in life can vary for all of us and it can change as we journey through life. But it usually requires a deep and often lengthy search into one's self. And like all journeys, in the very end, it is often that journey that is more significant than anything, or everything one may do, or accomplish, or even achieve in their lives.

For the journey can often be the purpose. It can be the meaning and the reason for getting up every single day and allowing the spirit of wonder and expectation to enter. To focus the energy of being, the spirit of wanting to learn, to know, and to grow to enter. And then to access that deep inner energy, that drive, that creative impulse to center and to ground to become one with that purpose.

                                                                "Uh key gay I"

For me, my 'Ikigai' has always been about using my gifts..physically, mentally, spiritually, and service to the greater self. And the greater self for me, is expressed in helping others. Sometimes, it has been someone I already know and care about. And sometimes it has not. Sometimes, people are directed into my path or found along my journey. Sometimes our meeting is for a reason, or a season, or a lifetime. I never know which until the path unfolds.

This journey has always been a challenging one for me. I always know what I had to offer and it can vary from day to day. I always know what I want to give, to do, and to be in a greater sense.  But that has so very often conflicted with what I had to do, or to give, or to be in order to fulfill this purpose, this meaning, this greater destiny of spirit catalyzed into action here on earth.

The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It is this combination that creates the spiritual impetus for doing good for doing that deeper spiritual impulse's purpose in this life, through love and not ego.
The term "ikigai" is composed of two Chinese characters : iki and kai. Iki refers to life and kai is a suffix meaning roughly "the realization of what one expects and hopes for."

As we mature, as we realize our own courage, our own deep need and our abilities to survive beyond all that which we think we are capable of, all that we think we can achieve, and are often surprised to discover that it might not have been what we originally thought we were meant to do, to give, and to be in this lifetime.

And so today, I share my doing, my passion, my being, in one tiny little form..creating from fabric and bringing forth the manifestation of a greater gift..the gift of love, of giving, of doing and creating. Not just for myself, but through myself for others. My reason to get up in the morning.

So, today on "Earth Day" , I ground myself, my purpose, and my spirit with ikigai. I finish this little embellished art quilt begun a very long time ago when my mother was still alive. My mother who loved all things Japanese, all things with deeper meaning, never knowing that one day, her own family, my own family with have members of Japanese descent that we love dearly marry into our family and begin the process and finalization of the healing of many wounds from World War II. A war that cost one of the five members of my Alaskan family his life by the hands of one once seen as the enemy but now seen as part of ourselves, our family, our earth, our humankind.

I honor that journey, this earth, and the grounding that I find along the way... that balances the darker shadows of life and its challenges as I always do...with the brilliance of the light within...the desire to do more, be more, and give more.


shown above:
Linking up

Showing one of my many small embellished art quilts along with my 1962 Singer Featherweight. One of those things in life that never fails to give me joy..creating.  This little quilt was begun during my work with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and my caring for my parents in my childhood home on Douglas Island, Alaska. And while I have created many similar little quilts, I have never shared a photo of this one. I treasure that journey of its purpose and its creation and I bring those energies into my new day. Quilting with grace.

A journey and a process and a joy created with love with my heart and with my hands.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Tide Will Turn

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn."

~Harriet Beecher Stowe

This has already been a year that has taught me that I live in a tight place. 
I live on the edge. 
I live filled with hope, optimism, and understanding.

I live in faith with the knowledge that while I feel like I cannot hold on a minute longer, that my life has too much pain, too much heartbreak, too much loss,

I know that all it takes is one loving thought, 
one happy moment of pure joy, 
one act of creation ...

and for then, for that one moment..for that moment

I am happy 

and I can go on 

and the tide will turn.

...for it just had.

It is time to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, the tide to come in or go out, it is time, to grab each moment and live it, truly it..feel it, delight in it, find joy and pure love in it.

And 'sew' I will.

I grieve and I miss and mourn. But I go on for life goes on.

In Memory of Kathryn:

Kathryn, my friend for a reason and a season. Kathryn recently died at the age of 104. She died living independently, in her own home, after an amazing long life. She worked as a hairdresser and supported herself all of her life, living in the one same home she grew up in and doing everything for herself even when she developed glaucoma and became almost completely blind. Walking with a cane, she climbed steep steps to her upstairs bedroom every night and cooked and cleaned the best she could for herself.
Kathryn had married young and was betrayed by a not very good man after all. She divorced him and never remarried. She never had children, but she trusted in a nephew and his wife who further hurt and betrayed her.

I only knew Kathryn for a very short while. We had simply parked in front of her house She opened her door and in a tiny voice that had been calling for help for 3 days called out "help me, help me please." She had been left alone by the nephew, had run out of heating oil in the dead of winter, was freezing and had run out of groceries. Later, she had to dial 911 and place a restraining order on that nephew (who I had instantly disliked when meeting him weeks later)

We did everything we could, including getting oil in immediately, making sure she had food and called in neighbors to take over after we left. I wrapped her up in my arms and held her for hours. I barely knew her, but I loved her and I miss her. But I am grateful she was in my life for a reason and a season. And that for that period in time, I could be in hers.

 For Blanche in Love and Memory:

Blanche recently died of respiratory illness her breed was prone to. I held brought her out of the same illness, shown above, one month earlier and she had lived. But it reoccurred and I was out of town for the day and came home to find her deathly ill. I brought her into the sunshine and held her until she passed.

For Maxine in Transition:

Maxine is struggling now and in transition between one state of being and another. I do not yet know for sure how her story will end but I always do whatever I can to help whoever I can...even a chicken.

I brought inside and into my little chicken infirmary. I hold and pet and love on he each day, trying with all I have and know how to do to boost her immune system for this battle with a fatal disease. I've only had her since February 4 when we brought her and the others home at 1 day old but I love her still, as I do all of my little ones . I will miss her if she passes as I am told she will, but I will rejoice in having loved her none the less. That my hint of red shirt lower right as we sit in my easy chair, in my living room, for pet chicken loving time.

~my photo, shown at top, taken on a walk after the death of my mother~

This is the old Treadwell Mine pump house. It survived an explosion in the 30's that destroyed what was once the largest gold mine in the world. A gold mine that my Alaskan grandfather worked in after emigrating from Finland to see his fortune in a new land. An explosion that my intuitive grandmother was deathly afraid might happen and had forbidden my grandfather to even go to work that day it happened. No woman told a strong Finnish man what to do, of course, so she refused to pack his lunch. No strong Finnish man packed his own lunch. So, he stayed home that day as the Gastineau channel waters rushed in and flooded the entire mine causing it to eventually cave in.

 Across to Juneau, the capital city of Alaska and one many of you have visited while seeing Alaska, especially on a cruise ship as seen in my photo above.

And here is the City of Douglas and my beloved Sandy Beach, part of the Savikko Recreation Area. Named after my Uncle Bobby, then mayor of the city of Douglas, on Douglas Island, where I grew up. Across from Juneau it was a magical life but one filled with many losses. Even my beloved Uncle Robert Savikko, then the mayor of Douglas, died on a moose hunting trip with my father. He left behind a loving wife and three teen aged children whose lives, like ours, was forever changed. I walk that beach almost everyday when I return 'home' to touch base and reconnect with family and my roots. It grounds me and gives me strength. 

All text and photos by Michele Savikko Bilyeu

To anyone with a dear heart who might be worried about me due to my posting about so many losses and grief and grieving, please know that I am fine!I spend a LOT of time helping others and feeling loss..theirs or mine. But thanks for your sweet emails. I am fine. hugs hugs hugs.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.