Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Art from the Heart: Quilting Arts Magazine



I wait with great anticipation for each issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine" to arrive in the mail. It is such a treat, and such a treasure, that even though I was in a shop buying fabric yesterday, and saw all the new magazines out, I only looked at this beautiful cover and did not thumb through it..wanting to wait for my own subscription issue to arrive and savor it at my leisure. Well, it arrived today and....

lo and behold..I had a project in this newest issue under the title "Art from the Heart: The Breast Pocket Project."  And, I must say that I am just so proud to be part of Melanie Testa's wonderful project!

I had previously blogged about Melanie Testa and her amazing and courageous battle with breast cancer, her decision to forgo reconstructive surgery and to live the valiant life of a warrior.....battle scars and all.

We had moved my own mother down from Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington, and then down to live with me for the next nine months in Salem, Oregon after her own diagnosis of Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2001. This became a journey shared with the loved ones that surrounded her, my father, and myself.

Melanie Testa was surrounded by a gigantic circle of powerful women every step of the way as well as by her own loving husband and family. So, her story felt in many ways like our story.  When she wrote on her blog about her experience and her "Breast Pocket Project for Flatties", I knew that I not only wanted, but needed to make some in my own mother's honor.

My mother only lost one breast, not two, but the loss of it, even at almost 80, was huge for her and for my father, and we had to use a lot of healing love to get her through her own 9 months in the battlefields of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and then finally, radiation.

They gave her the strongest forms of each of those that they had, her chances of survival were already so low.  But she not only survived, she made it to her 5 year survivor's milestone and didn't die until 2013 and then after an 8 years battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

We have fought many healing battles she and I, as women do with their supports groups all over the world with these diseases. And those diseases, and their scars, and the judgments from those scars live on and become a battle of their own.

For every stare, for every rude comment, for every curious glance at a flat breast, lies a warrior woman (and yes, even some men who have had breast cancer)  and in that warrior woman... or man, lies the true and valiant heart of the strongest of warriors.

A breast pocket is a symbol for all that lies within, all that heart and that breast that sacred place carries, all that it has nurtured, all that it has healed, and all of the proud scars of that journey to get to that ultimate and courageous place of survival.

Melanie is sounding a louder call to action. A call for all of us to make many, many more breast pockets and to submit them for publication in a future issue..either print or online..of Quilting Arts Magazine.

Pick up an issue and check out pages 10-14. And while you're there take a look at my little be-ribboned heart pocket...right under the title word 'Heart' made with muslin and velvet and satin ribbons...it has a secret pocket in the back, where no one can see what it holds, or what it has gone through.... yet every stitch, every bit of all that covers, or adorns, fills it with all of that love that still lies within.

Feel this powerful place, this pocket of power and healing and love, and make and donate a pocket of your own.

Links:


  1. Reader Challenges - Quilting Daily

    www.quiltingdaily.com/content/ReaderChallenges.aspx
    Read more on page 10 of the October/November issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. ... Create a Breast Pocket using your own design, the template on page 14 of ...
  2. Quilting Arts Magazine, October/November 2014 - Quilting ...

    www.quiltingdaily.com/.../quiltingarts/.../quilting-arts-magazine-october-...
    View more artwork by Amy Cavaness, Karen Anne Glick, and Susan Purney Mark plus additional Breast Pockets and submissions from the Opposites Attract ...
  3. Art from the Heart: Quilting Arts Magazine - With Heart and ...

    www.with-heart-and-hands.com/.../art-from-heart-quilting-arts-magazine...
    17 mins ago - I wait with great anticipation for my issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine" to ... A breast pocket is a symbol for all that lies within, all that heart and that ...

'Breast Pockets' for Melanie Testa'...original project on Melanie's blog

Melanie Testa: Meadowlark

Snippets and Threadtales:Yes, I'm Certifiable!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

School Days


Every time the new school year rolls around, I am filled with anticipation. I love all of the back to school sales, the excited children (and their exhausted parents!) shopping for school clothes and supplies. I even love buying a little box of crayons and a few notebooks, a little white bottle of glue and whatever ...for me! I can't resist the memories or the fun!

So, with so many teachers in my own family, and so many friends who teach... I also love to give little gifts when I can! And this year I had the perfect fabric purchased from a charming littlequilt shop in Independence, Oregon.

With little stick figures of children and ABC's, pencils and such as a border logo, it was relatively easy to design and whip up a bag.


I had seen a bag that stood up on its own..one of the new modern styles as they are known, but didn't have access to the pattern as it wasn't online and I couldn't drive many hours to where it seemed to originate...so I just made my own inventing my own theory of how one could be made.

It ended up very generous in size..the perfect catchall for a busy teacher to toss her lessons plans, notebooks, lunch bag, even a purse into as she got ready for school in the morning. A bag that might also be used at home. I made it in a day and photographed it quickly and the photos do not do it justice. But there are pockets on both sides..inside and out. The 'School Days' logo for a nod to pencil bags ..one pocket on the front and one on the inside, and another set of pockets made with the ABC fabric.

And then, because I had a big piece of co-coordinating fleece and could, I made a great big fleece blanket to roll up inside.  The kind we all love to make in a hurry and best of all, cuddle up under..for no matter how much we love to quilt and all of our quilts, when we're sick or hurting, or cold..fleece is so nice and quite delicious to wrap up with, as well!




Fabric as long as it is wide, double layered and fringe cut and knotted all around. And because I love deep fringe, cutting 4" deep all along the edges, removing that corner square at each corner and tying simple double knots with every double strand of fringe. Remember to be careful knot to pull or stretch the fringe too tightly as you tie... or you end up with a gigantic fleece bowl instead of a blankie, Ask me how I know and then remember once again ? ;-)



 If you've ever been a teacher or even just know one, they come home exhausted.....especially from the primary grades....when all the little ones are going through so many transitions of their own. So pack up the self standing but still soft bag with your things and go off to work, and then unpack it at home and cuddle up for some R and R under the extra gift of the big, ultra soft fleece napper..for some time of your own!


Hope your back to school week was a good one whether you still have little ones, or know someone who does and whether or not you had as much 'back to school fun' as I did!!


Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Larry and Kelcie's Journey of True Love





This wonderful and amazing young couple, this never giving up young man, Larry was my college best friend's son, Kelly's, roommate at a neurological specialty care home here in Philomath, Oregon.

Both young men were critically injured in two separate car accidents by others and did not know each other before their accidents. Our Kelly by a elderly man driving through a flashing light crosswalk in Corvallis Oregon.

This amazing young man, Larry by a drunk driver just three days after his high school girlfriend, Kelcie's, mother was killed in a car accident that they discovered at the side of the road.

At that accident scene, Larry promised Kelcie that he would be by her side for the rest of their lives, no matter what.

When Larry then, was also hit by a drunk driver in his accident, just three days after her mother, Kelcie knew that she could and would, do no less. She loved him and she stayed by his side for all of these years.
Larry has  had wonderful improvement and was released into the care of his ever loving and completely dedicated, fiance' Kelcie and is doing so very well. And now they are happily married.

Our young friend, Kelly is in a wheelchair and on a feeding tube for life. The elderly man who hit our Kelly, got community service which he served by watching a Sunday school class and never, ever lost his driver's license. 

I am so happy that this young man's and his beautiful and loving bride and their story and that it all ended up so much better and he has so much love and support and a real chance for great happiness and a really good life in spite of his own terrible injuries.

Please watch Larry and Kelcies two amazing clips featured on GMA ..the one with band, Train's invitation to join them on a cruise just this morning. But please hold a thought or a prayer for my dear friend's son, Kelly Ball, who will never, ever have any of this but would..if he could..be so grateful that his neurological care home friend Larry, can and will.

Clip 1)The band, Train, invites Larry and his fiance' Kelcie, on a cruise with them on GMA this morning, and then

Clip 2) their amazing, amazing story of this young track phenom's story from a drunk driver hitting him car accident, his h.s. girlfriend, Kelcie, staying by his side and as I know from my friend, Patti, helping at the care home each and every day ..not just for Larry, but anything she could do to help anyone there.

They took what they were given, they pieced it all together into a new and wonderful partnership of never ending love .Now, they are married and going on their dream wedding/honeymoon thanks to Internet funding, the band Train, and national and international recognition of their amazing story and their deep love for one another..no matter what.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/high-school-sweethearts-surprise-wedding-25126849
and

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/larry-kelcie-wedding-train-sends-special-wedding-message-25263412

It is so good to remember that really good things can and do happen to really wonderful and amazing people, but at the same time to hope and pray that things could only be better for our young friend, Kelly.

note:
the pieced heart is from the Heart Pillow I made when I first heard about my dear friend's son and I filled it with prayers, both inside and out for all of these years. Tutorials for heart shaped prayer pocket pillows can be found at:

Making a Heart Pillow: Breast Cancer, Cardiac or Recovery of Any Kind

String Pieced Prayer Pocket Pillow 
 Making a Heart Shaped Pillow

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!