Friday, October 29, 2010

My Life: Crazy Strings A Minute


I've been a crazy stripper, stringing along at a mile a minute all week long. In my universe, when life gets busy, it gets super, duper, crazy busy. In my universe, when life becomes challenging, it becomes so challenging I have to remember to breathe.

I'm entering the speedtrack now. My motor is revving, my gas tank is filled, I'm wearing my seat belt and full speed is right up ahead. I'm now working on not one, but two more string quilts..and both of them at once and due to be finished by the end of this year!

When I made this quilt in August of 2009, I had a MIL who needed a lot of care, and chauffeuring to doctor appointments since she'd fallen and lain on her bedroom floor for 12 straight hours 'til someone checked on her in the morning. I had a daughter, who had just broken her foot and lived in a cabin in the woods 2 hours away that I was driving down to help and take to doctor appointments, as well.

I had my then, 92 year old father and then,84 year old mother in Alaska who needed me to come up to help for as many as 5 1/2 months out of each year. I had a brother-in-law who had just been admitted to the ER that week, for stitches on his forehead,and ended up needing open heart surgery for 5 blocked heart valves. And of course, being completely crazy...I not only made my injured daughter a quilt for little home in the woods, but him a quilt and a cardiac heart pillow, as well!

And while my mind was racing, my body was crawling and I thought life was really challenging, I made this quilt and a couple of others because I had been SO inspired by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston at the 2009 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and thought "I need some bright colors in my life!"

I never dreamed that in a few short months, I would slip on black ice in Alaska, break my wrist in 3 places, need immediate surgery as my bones had all been shoved into all of the wrong places, or that my father would have two heart attacks that month, and I would be caring for him, one handed with a metal plate, 10 titanium screws and a sling, or that my mother's Alzheimer's would move into the final advanced stage and I would be one handedly making her senior bibs.

Once your rhythmn gets going, it's hard to stop, so you take the big energy surges you've been blessed with, and you just keep them going...at least that's how my rationale works, crazy or not. So, home for a few months, I make a crazy graduation quilt, a bentoed out of my box, wedding quilt, and lots and lots of pillowcases and so forth for charities and foster care agencies.

I thought that there were so many more people who needed quilt blessings or cheering up and that being busy kept my mind from anxiety or depression/worry. What it did, was keep me very, very busy, and when you're busy you don't have as much time to even think! And sometimes, that's where you just need to be.

I never dreamed that even harder and more painful challenges lay just ahead when my beloved father died in August of 2010 and even then, I was driven to make Alzheimer's Art Quilts in not only her, but now his, honor. So far, I have sent AAQI 8 of those, this year alone, and I have 3 more now in progress.

But I did, really and truly, realize that I had gone over the deep end (and no I can't tread water) when I signed up for Finn's New Year's Eve Challenge and pledged to finish 10 UFOs between now and the end of this year. Then, I realized...then I knew...Crazy is as crazy does...

I was truly certifiable...now I ask you....what can I do about that, except quilting therapy?????

So, when asked to come up with my favorite quilt for this past year, for this years 'Blogger's Quilt Festival that Amy runs every year, I picked the quilt shown above 'Crazy Strings A Minute" and not one of my newest ones...because THIS is my life, now...all crazy strings-a-mile-a-minute

....and I've just learned how to relax better into that crazy flow, accept life's challenges with faith and and as much strength as I can muster, and make the best of each and every day...day by day, little string by string, each quilt by quilt...that I can.

And you want to know what's really funny, I spend lots and lots of time relaxing, I watch tv, I read, I do other crafts, and I work in my yard. I hear people say 'where does all the time go?' and I wonder 'where does all my time come from?'...Oh yes, did I mention that I hardly sleep?

Crazy Strings A Minute: My entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival, Fall 2010

Ok...back to work on those other two string quilts ;)


20 comments:

  1. Your string quilt is lovely, and your spirit is inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. That's a beautiful quilt, and an amazing story. Thanks for sharing them both with us. :)

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  3. Lady, you deserve a medal!! Your quilt is a glorious riot of color and I *love* it!

    Hazle

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  4. All I can say is, whoa! You're not crazy; you're an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your story and this fun quilt.

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  5. This is a gorgeous quilt, and quilting has certainly provided therapy for you. I'm glad you have that to hold you up when times get tough.

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  6. Elaine, this quilt is gorgeous! I love the colors and everything else about it.

    How well I remember how last year was for you! You had more than enough on your plate and you handled it with such grace and got it done.

    Quilting certainly is a great healer....I use it (quilt therapy) to help me through a lot of life's challenges!

    Take care!

    Hugs, Karen

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  7. lovely quilt. I call quilting my mental health...it works!

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  8. Quilting has gotten me through so much already in my life. It heals the worst wounds. Your post was impeccably timed. Thanks for reminding me that all I need is another hour piecing and I'll find my peace again.

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  9. Dear Friend, I'm exhaused just reading about your past yeqr. And altho I knew most of it as it was happening, it still boggles my mind that so much could happen in such a short span of time! I absolutely LOVE your quilt entry. I that one is my favorite of all your quilts. I worry about you through most of my waking hours, but I suspect that like a unknown planet in a distant galaxy, you spin on your own time table, and I can only dream of what the outcome may be. You are defintely a Hailey's Comet quilter and very much one of a kind! Sending hugs and lots of good energy, Finn

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  10. String quilts always and I mean always make me happy to see them. I love the crumb blocks that you've used for the borders on your highlighted quilt. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I just had to chuckle at Finn's description of you. In a galaxy far far away... Crazy? Maybe but I find myself referring back to your e-mail of last week often. Such comfort from someone I have never met just feels like a soft place to land. Thanks for the loving energy you send out to me. I can't express how much it has meant.
    You have a great gift and you share it generously. Hugs from the eastern shore.

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  12. Your string quilt is beautiful, and I adore all the bright cheerfulness it evokes. I don't know where my time goes, but you certainly have beautiful records of your time!

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  13. Michele, I am exhausted reading your post ;-) You are truly amazing! I really love this particular string quilt!!! Great job using such bright colors. Thanks for sharing! Keep well.

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  14. Goodness, just reading all this wears me out. You do all this and quilt too?? I am astounded.

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  15. Good grief what a whirl and I've followed along on some of your earlier posts as you've gone through the different experiences :)
    Good luck with the other string quilts. I'm sure they will turn out well.

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  16. what a talented "stripper" you are!!! Lovely!!

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  17. Annie4:34 PM

    I love your bright and cheerful quilt, but I'm exhausted from reading about your top-speed life! Please sit down and have a cup of tea (or something stronger, if you wish)!

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  18. Michele,
    It is a gorgeous string quilt - just like you. You have continued to give even when your well could have run dry. Your family has benefited from your energy and your gift of managing your time...
    Thanks for sharing your story of love and giving- It is inspiring.
    Warmest regards,
    Anna

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  19. That was a very touching post, and a wonderful quilt. Bless you for all you do for others.

    Leslie S. in MN
    esclante at comcast dot net

    P.S. My verification word is "fiesting!"

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  20. your quilt is wonderful and your story is unbelievably poignant! wow is all i can say. thanks for sharing and have a great day

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.