Monday, September 24, 2018

Snippets and Threadtales: Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay
Forever young

Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
Forever young

-Bob Dylan-

Saturday,  we had our darling granddaughter over. I played with her for 3 1/2 hours....dolls, monkeys and other stuffed animals, My Little Ponys,  dancing, singing, washing toy dishes in the sink, listening to a cassette story book.Yes, I still have cassettes saved plus a player that still works...on and on, we had great fun.

 I have free printed off coloring pages and blank paper to draw in but magic paint with water paint dots printed on  are a big favorite, as are paper collages.

I saved old magazines for this fun. Seasonal photos....pumpkins, turkeys but anytime we find  flowers, cats, dogs, chickens, horses etc...great fun. We cut,  or rip (out for a free spirited effect) and glue stick them on, one by one.

I helped with some cutting to beat the drying glue stick once in awhile, but most of this especially all hers. We both have such fun with our conversations  in the process. 

We saw her cousins, our other two other grandchildren on Sunday and both of us were building couch pillow forts and climbing in and out of them,  singing, wild dancing, playing with blocks, stuffed animals, digging in the dirt outside and feeding their chickens,  and yes..magic painting with both of them, as well.

We love all 3 of these little toddler sized munchkins, they are so so cute and dear. Everything they say about how special being a grandparent is,  so so true. 

We are determined to stay young enough to lift, carry, dance, and keep up with as needed. Then they go home, or we do.

It gets harder at the end of a day, we're much closer to 70 than 65 now,  but our hearts want to be there for them is strong and even if they're too young now for their memories, we treasure ours.

And we take photos. Lots of photos. Thanks be to the inventors of digital everythings.

And then at the end of our play,  we plop into an easy chair ( when you've been up since midnight with my almost no sleep life) we have energy to spare for clicking the t.v. remote controls.

My secret to virtual youth? Photo frame ap with its own built in soft focus filter as in no I did not draw the lead photo. Ha!

68 1/2 years young is when the aging sped up on my surface layer. But! The experts are now saying those running, weight lifting, gym workouts may be no better than 15 minutes of vigorous activity. Playing with toddlers and crawling down the hall to bed has to count!

Right ?

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, September 17, 2018

It's the Rain

"It's In The Rain" by Enya

Every time
The rain comes down,
Close my eyes and listen.
I can hear the lonesome sound
Of the sky as it cries.

Listen to the rain
Here it comes again
Hear it in the rain

Feel the touch
Of tears that fall
...They won't fall forever
In the way the day will flow
All things come,
All things go.

Listen to the rain
...The rain...
Here it comes again...
Hear it in the rain
...The rain...

Late at night
I drift away -
I can hear you calling,
And my name
Is in the rain,
Leaves on trees whispering,
Deep blue sea's mysteries.

Even when
This moment ends,

Can't let go this feeling

💜  Prayers for Those in Hurricane Florence's Path. 💜

Continuing to keep Hurricane Florence updates on my phone and tv news as I pray for all of you in her path. So grateful to get a post from ....Diane of O' Quilts ...  in Charlotte N.C. And others who have not been in the path in North Carolina and nearby states. May you all be well and blessed by love and light as angels and grace surround you.

This news post broke my heart.

"The death toll from the storm has risen to at least 23, including 17 in North Carolina. Rescue workers near Charlotte recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who had slipped out of his mother’s hands after their car got stuck in floodwater on Sunday evening."

Prayers and blessings to all of you and sincere sympathy for your precious losses.

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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Peace and Healing

As I think back to the horrible roots of this day...September 11, 2001...I think back to the horrors, the loss, the grief and the mourning of a nation.

But I also remember, the goodness of those lives we lost, the heroes from that incredible day of tragedy.....those amazing and courageous people who rose above and beyond themselves to help others..... the patriotism, and the amazing sense of unity that manifested so much caring, and so much good in the world. Goodness in direction of helping and giving.

It was this coming together with love and patriotism that spread a healing balm for such deep pain. The pain of loss, of separation, of the polarization of so much ill will and so much fear and hatred contrasted by so much intense emotions of love over hate, helping others over fear and anger.

So, I look at myself, as we all need to do, and take note of how and why quilting is a healing art in my own life. And all of these days of record and note, I do what I usually do...I quilt for a cause. 9-11 has become a day of remembrance of community, and patriotism in the deepest unifying sense of the word.

So, while I might not always be working on a patriotic quilt for donation to wounded soldiers, I am working on community quilting..whether by myself, or in a group...and whatever I am making gets donated within that community of purpose.

When I first began blogging in the fall of 2006, my quilting life centered around community quilting. I sewed with a local band of quilters that was formed after a two day marathon of sewing quilts for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

200 quilts banded together with donated fabrics, patterns, threads and the most patriotic sense of community support that I have ever experienced. We made 200 quilts in those two days and we sewed on our bindings and labels and boxed them off for shipment in donated shipping trucks for transport to Louisiana, Georgia, and other hurricane ravaged states.

It was so uplifting, so inspirational, that we found a local church that gave us the use of a huge quilting space and began to meet every Monday for 12 hours. I would stay there from 9 am until 7 pm and literally sewed every minute making a quilt a week for continued donation.

When Hurricane Rita quickly followed Katrina, we just kept sewing. And when the weather calmed down,we sewed for Inter-faith charities, for babies in hospitals, for families in need, for Habitat for Humanity etc. etc.

By the following year, I was also sewing for 5 or 6 hours on Tuesdays, too. And I did that for another 6 months until we decided Mondays were enough and we could just sew at home for the other 6 days of the week.

9-11 hit all of us with a blast that changed a lot of us forever. I began my Patriotic sewing period where I literally made dozens and dozens of quilts and bags to give away to various causes.

My community spirit grew with all of this nurturing and feeding and so, I also joined my local quilt guild. There we have leftover and donated fabrics also available and between all of us, we donate probably 50-100 quilts a month to various groups, as well as hundreds of pillowcases for children in foster care, and lots and lots and lots of potholders to raise funds for our charitable causes.

So, what arose from that terrible day for me?


Community pride, community giving, community quilting.

It brings all of the layers of ourselves and our lives together, softens our spirits with caring and reaching out to others, and it binds us all together as one. And that goodness of humanity, can only grow and grow and grow....until it almost seems to sprout goodness out of nowhere and everywhere!

shown above;
my beloved little Keira and the 'morsbags' (part of a big international  group started in the UK) I used to make to give away. I spontaneously would make a dozen and hand tnem out to friends, and to people I've never met who just seem to need an environmentally friendly cloth bag. I made dozens and dozens and dozens.

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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In the Heart of Summer

There is a moment when time and space stand still and we are transfixed by beauty, by an event, even by some exceptional moment in time.

Sometimes the moments are magical. Sometimes they are tragically sad.  But we know in our hearts that that magic, even the sad and the tragic times are a marker or a turning point that can impact us forever.

A truly unique, even magical moment or event like the solar eclipse of 2017, or the horrifying moment when the Twin Towers came tumbling down, or the assassination of JFK.

Moments of the heart that stay with us.

Today/yesterday/tomorrow  on the anniversary of the 2017 eclipse I watched and listened to Bonnie Tyler's epic 1983 song of her Total Eclipse of the Heart video on YouTube. I wanted to remember how an eclipse feels, how a gathering of so many doing the same thing all over the world at once feels.

Suddenly, time stood still. Sure I noticed her hairdo,  the 80s shoulder pads, the heavy eye makeup we wore then.

But i wasn't just transported to the 80s. The song, the music transcended time. Moved through space. I was in the magical in between that is a plane and place between and beyond time.

A time when our dearest family friends and neighbors were still alive. When the 12 year old daughter, not yet born, still had 14 years ahead of her. 14 years before my second daughter and 3rd child...her future lifelong best friend and neighbor forever was born.

A time when I still had my parents, my aunts and uncles, all of my sister in laws and friends alive and in my life.  I could see them,hear them, feel them and remember them in the strangest tiny of details.

Now, back in my present time in 2018, when today marks the 33rd birthday of my not yet born youngest child of that yesteryear,  I think of yesterday, today,  and tomorrow.

Yesterday which was once today and before that was even tomorrow...backwards and forwards in the fluidity of time. 

We went outside into the searing heat of summer, the sky once again filled with the dull haze of skies filled with the pervasive smoke of more wildfires again this year in Oregon to take a photo with our sunflowers.

Once more looking next door at the house our dear friends from college days had built just as we built ours right next door in 1978. The 1st houses either of us had ever designed or built, both families eventually going into new home construction during our journeys in time. All so different now.

Deep breathing in spite of the fires everywhere. Deep knowing that the sad is balanced by the beauty of all that's good in the world, in our lives.

I know that inspite of the seeming barriers I can still find our garden behind the wall of self seeding sunflowers. Finding my way between the thorny weeds, the tangled roots, the hidden tornadoes of giant cucumbers and Godzillian zucchini ready to trip me in the overgrowth.

There are more weeds than berries, more weeds than fruits, or even vegetables. But the good nourishes and even the weeds mean growth and survival of the strongest and most stubborn!

I am reminded that we too are strong. The amazing and often unbelievable challenges of my life have shown me this, just as yours have for you. Challenges and obstacles prepare us, teach us, harden us through grace and faith.

In the heart and the heat of summer, I think of my journeys from there to here. Even now, typing on a cellphone , no more desktop computer, no wifi. Old, not working, limited signal strength in my energy filled house of healing. I too am older, have less energy.

 No matter your age, so are you. But we are strong, capable women warriors. And we can sew, we can quilt, we run with scissors and brandish rotary cutters.  When we take to the mat in full fighting form it's a rotary cutting mat or paper crafting mat,  or a kitchen cutting board or maybe even a business boardroom.

Whoever we are, whatever we do, we are women warriors and a force to be reckoned with. We dance to our own music, we use walls to climb over, walk through as well as around. So what if we walked with a cane or cry through our pain. We are here and we make our presence known.

I think, i write and I remember it all. The past,  the present and why I am here and what I  am meant to be and to do.

Now, where did I leave my coffee cup and who moved my car keys??

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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Intersecting Art, Science, and the Mystical

I loved discovering that my art quilts header from my blog "With Heart and Hands" was featured on a site where its photo and an astronomy photo "Earthrise" taken by NASA Astronaut Bill Anders from Apollo 8 became a dual photo slide show of contrasted meaning and beauty.

Both photos were used to interchangably illustrate a Sunday Sermon that first appeared in a worldwide ministerial site that creates Sunday Sermons online. 

Discovering that my work was not only being featured on multiple websites online but discussed in Sunday Sermons all over America and even in other countries was a huge honor.

Especially when combined with a message about looking beyond the surface layer to see the double meaning where there is both physical and inward illumination.

They are the perfect photos for today's post on July 27's Blood Moon Eclipse, the longest Lunar Ecipse we will have this century and therefore the longest any of us will ever see.

Out of all the lunar activity we will ever feel or experience, July 27th's Blood Moon Eclipse is going to be one of the most intense.

Falling in the air sign of Aquarius, this total lunar eclipse is so strong that it’s going to pierce into the heart of our soul, in order to shift and transform our very beings.

Now,  more than ever before we are being asked to see and to feel the dual meaning of an inward and outward event with the potential for deep spiritual illumination.

Now more than ever spiritual warriors are needed to feel the light and love within them and radiate that love to the darkest corners of hearts and souls everywhere.

Still your hearts from anger, fear, or hatred. Fill them up with love and peace.  Our spirits know who we are, why we chose to be here during these incredibly challenging times.

Allow the power of both the seen and the unseen
to open your hearts to manifestating pure potentiality.

Become the change we need to be to manifest that illumination to pierce through the shadows of our own inner darkness to transform a very dark world with love and light.

 Lift up your hearts and souls to create a new and better world, one we all believe is possible and this world desperately needs to be.

Today, with my own full heart....

I will strive to see the peace

that is everywhere.

I will call in the abundance of

beauty and joy that lie in every moment.

I will strive to set aside everything I have learned

and presumed to know, in order to allow new

experiences to flood my being.

I will do everything in my power to clear my mind of

the negative energies that have confused my view

and distorted my words and actions.

I will create a new paradigm that helps me

to recognize only the good qualities in every

person, place, and thing that creates my environment

and the world I live in.

I will raise my energy and my light to the highest frequencies of

love, generosity, charity, compassion, forgiveness, and truth.

I will fill my head with constructive thoughts and images that will help me to grow inside and out.

I will fill my body with the nourishment it needs.

I will fill my heart with the beauty of all that is and ever will be.

I will fill my spirit with the divine energies that reach out and surround me.

I will love because I can

 give because I can

be gracious because I can

be humble because I have every reason to be

and speak from a place of love, joy, and gratitude.

I will practice random acts of kindness.

I will write a poem.

I will make art.

I will fill up my life with my heart's song.

I will volunteer to help loved ones, family, and friends.

I will reach out to my greater community, my nation, and the world.

I will recite my own personal affirmations or mantras.

I will laugh and forgive myself when I forget

that I made these promises at the beginning of my day.

And at the end of my day I will celebrate and congratulate
myself for what I have accomplished.

For as Helen Keller said "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart."

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.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Happy 4th of July, Juneau-Douglas 50th Reunion & More from Alaska!

Alaska is my true north, my compass, my heart, my childhood and forever home.


Eighteen members of my family getting together for feasts, fun, and catching up.

All of us knowing it's time to see more of one another and not less!  So, I made it to my very 1st class reunion!!

  Seeing Juneau-Douglas High School classmates from 50 years ago was added into the fun!

Didn't make it to 10th, 20th, 30th, or 40th, but here I  am 50 years older hoping to recognize others I once knew, now 50 years older, as well.

I was Co-editor with Linda Nielson Thibodeau of our1968 Juneau-Douglas High School yearbook, the "Totem."  My yearbook had burned up in our 1970 house fire.  I'd missed it so much over the years as it was a big part of my high school life. Linda loaned me her copy for next 50 years and it was great fun looking, laughing and bringing up so many memories from so long ago.

Flying at 17 over our junior summer to Seattle and the University of Washington School of Journalism for yearbook training in graphic design, typography...meaning typewriters... and styling layouts, photo editing and page layouts, thematic design etc.etc.

Amazing experiences for an incredibly shy student from Alaska in 1967 long before computers and digital layouts and editing! Oh how we loved it.

Linda reminded me we were both so shy we had to take turns "being brave" and asking for help and directions with buses and routes among everything else.

Some I did and some I didn't.  Most did not recognize me after 50 years and no other sightings!

So much fun! Here, a cousin's cabin by's lovely that everyone's retired and a lifetime of hard work has come to fruition with lovely homes, getaway cabins and are needed for transportation in southeast Alaska as many of us grew up on, or still live on islands.

Even Juneau, the capitol is landlocked and transportation out is by air or water as lovely mountains and miles of ocean surround us!

Our big Savikko family has been potlucking, hiking, boating to nearby Horse Island for a picnic.

And on the 4th, parades in both Juneau and Douglas and watching the yearly constructing, (and eventual celebratory torching) of a huge bonfire on the beach looking across to Juneau for my family's tradition scraps and pallets wood sculpture that is as close to Burning Man as I'll ever get!!

This year the "Burning Whale" in honor of Juneau's newest art sculpture park where Larry and I had our photo synchronistically taken and made the news!

I learned to work with clay and am in the process of the magical alchemy of the manifestation of earth by the catalyst of fire into the creation of art!

My little magical little Alaskan fish ! Here, not yet fired into bique to be fired by my SIL's 2000 degree kiln into finished form.

Hiking and trying to keep up with my Alaskan Family. my impressive blister with a little quilted hug healing.

This trip taught me that while it was great fun being 20...

And 22.....

And 25..... and 30...and 60...and 65..

But being what I am now and into the great unknown is an awful lot of fun right now!

We create our own magic wherever we are...inside and out!

And because I did my own magical alchemical energy on this precious little...

Bikko of Savikko
(A "Cotton de Tulear" puppy cousin once removed)
Bikko boats, kayaks and hikes everywhere with my cousin and his wife!

I was able to be and do and create here, there, and everywhere and always will.

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.