Thursday, May 26, 2016

Giving to Others as a Creative Gift

To be creative means to be in love with life.
You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty,
you want to bring a little more music to it,
a little more poetry to it,
a little more dance to it.

Osho (1931-1990) was born Rajneesh Chandra Mohan in Kuchwara, a town in central India. At the end of his life, he changed his name to Osho. He was a mystic, a guru, a spiritual teacher, and a poet. And he was truly in love with life, creative, and had the music, the poetry, and the dance within him.

In love with life, indeed! No matter what my physical, mental, or emotional challenges, I truly do try my best with what I have, and with where I am at.

Today, I have three quilts in progress..not these shown above.... these are in honor of Memorial Day weekend and were donated to a patriotic quilting group. But three in progress in my sewing loft be donated to Alexia's Cozy Covers in gratitude for being given quilt batting for my charitable quilting projects from the proceeds of our fabulous fabric garage sale a few weeks ago. We all feel so truly blessed that so many came and so many bought fabric so we could then purchase batting and fleece for additional projects in progress!

Most people do not realize that I quilt for others almost nonstop but as much as possible from recycled, reused, thrifted, or donated supplies. It is the only way I can do as much as I do and still be able to give to others, in other ways. My charitable quilts are simple, they are not necessarily works of art but always works of heart.

 The wonderful quilters and blanket makers at Alexia's Cozy Covers all create from their hearts as matter what level of ability each of us has,  or how we may view creativity in our lives.

Creativity means sharing our gifts with others and learning and growing in the process. Creativity is from the heart and the passion of communion with one's gifts at whatever place we need to be in for our own growth.

To create is to manifest energies that broaden and enrich our own creative journey. These lovely ladies and gentlemen shown in this group, give and give from their hearts. And that is the essence and that is the gift.L It does not matter how complicated or how simple the gift, it is the goodness that is carried in the giving that creates the spiritual alchemy of change. Change within ourselves and change within others as they either accept or judgmentally reject the gifts we offer. To me, these are all beautiful as are even the simplest things that I, myself create. I love each and every single one. I know a quilt is a good one if I feel love making it and love giving it away..especially, if I wish I could keep it ;-) and I give it anyway!!!

And today..I am giving in other ways!!!

Today is for playing with my grandson who will arrive soon! Giving my youngest daughter a much needed break. And gifting myself with a lovely chance to play and connect with one of my two beloved grandbabies.

Tomorrow is for shopping for groceries so we can have a picnic sometime during our outing when we will have a family caravan of cars, baby carseats, flowers, and a packed picnic lunch as we all drive off on our our family day of visiting cemeteries in three areas in Oregon. Oh how I wish I could also spend time visiting the resting sites of my Alaskan family in Juneau-Douglas area of Alaska. But I carry their hearts in my heart and they are never more than a thought and a heartbeat from mine.  A time to remember our loved ones on Memorial Weekend. Some fallen during battle, some left this earthly place too soon, but most leaving when they were meant to after having long lives and much love given and received.

With Heart and Hands: Free Patriotic Quilt Patterns

Memories and memorials and the making of new memories immortalized through time. Giving and sharing's truly all that matters on our journeys..quilted or not!

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.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
by William Butler Yeats
(published in 1899 in his third volume of poetry,The Wind Among the Reeds)

Friday was for my Family
Saturday was for my Community
Sunday was for my Spirit


Now, I am sewing.
So...Monday is for Making!

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.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

To Sew is to Pray...

“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this.
They see the whole but they don't see the stitches.
They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle.

We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right.
We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets.
Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow.

Only a woman's eyes can tell.
Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making.

Only women can hear the prayer.”

Louise Erdrich
"Four Souls"

                                                           Happy Mother's Day!

I learned to sew by watching others. I learned from two grandmother' French one in Louisiana and my Finnish one in Alaska.

My Alaskan grandmother was constantly mending, repairing so many utilitarian garments for work, fishing, hunting, school. She was always darning socks and I was fascinated by the process and the little wooden egg underneath. When she sewed her own house-dresses and aprons, it was on a treadle sewing machine and that is how I learned to sew. We moved into her home after she passed away and I took her 'sewing room' downstairs ..a tiny bedroom..rather than one of the bigger bedrooms. I was pulled to it as if by magnetism. Little did I know at age 8 how much sewing would become a part of every fiber of my life. I have that treadle today. It survived my childhood home burned to the ground in 1970. It is scarred by that fire but is one of my few great treasures from my youth.

My French grandmother in Louisiana couldn't afford a sewing machine, so she sewed and quilted by hand for many decades. I have one of her quilts today and it is a true treasure. Luckily it was still in her little house and and not brought up to Alaska on one of our many trips and so did not go through the house fire in Alaska.  We visited when we could but it was 5,000 miles away and we always drove down the Alcan Highway all of us  crowded into a car and sleeping as my father drove.

I learned by watching my mother. Mother of 5 children all born about a year and a half apart.She still found time to sew us beautiful clothing for special occasions. Little dresses and pinafores for me, shirts for my four younger brothers and my father.  And always costumes...for the Fourth of July Parade through the streets of Douglas, Alaska. For Halloween as we walked the "Ghostwalk" at Mt. Jumbo School in October. For Christmas or Birthdays..something new.

I learned from watching my father teach himself to sew because my mother told him that making a canvas rainshield roof for our we could always have up as it was the rainforest part of southeast Alaska and stand up under as we zipped over the ocean waves. One with a zippered door and lots of see through plastic windows. My mother said it  was too much on top of all of us and too much for new Singer sewing machine. So, my dad got an old rough and tough machine, bought canvas and industrial zippers and plastic and made one himself. It was beautiful and perfect.I grew up believing that my father could do anything. That belief has served and blessed me all my life.

Men sew, men quilt, men design and men pray. But only if they feel the yearning for the magic of creativity with the sublime and not all can or do. Women were always able to but not all choose to. My grandmothers did. My mother and father did. My father understood the prayer in the garden, the prayer in the drawing and the painting, and the building but also the prayer in the sewing. They passed it all on to me. So I sew.

I can and I do.

So, if you can't find me, or you don't hear from me, or you wondered what happened to me....I am sewing.

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.