Saturday, September 11, 2021

Remembering 9/11/2001

I remember it all as if it was yesterday.

It was such an intensely sad yet overwhelmingly patriotic time. We were glued to the news day after day and all we could and do was pray and send love and light to the first responders,  pray for miracles and survivors, their family and friends. New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington  DC were in our hearts and on our minds. 

I remember all the flags. Everyone found their flags and the US flag flew at every house and on every car--all of us all over the world. We just could not believe our eyes orvour ears. Disbelief was greater than fear. We were absolutely  stunned watching the World Trade Center and the twin towers fall with immense horror as total disbelief enfolded minute by minute over the news. It took days, weeks, even months to piece events together and then when some explanations came in, years and years to attempt to understand any of it in any way. 

We became one with one thought, one purpose, and one unified emotion.

If we could only regain all of the good that poured out between unified families, communities, states, and our nation today that we felt then. If we could feel all of that outpouring of love in thoughts, words, and deeds as we all sought to put thoughts into patriotic action. Our news every year if a replay of that fateful day. A day of memory to always remember and never forget. 

Quilters patriotically quilted  in legions united even more after 9-11 somehow. For every patriotic holiday or day of remembrance. I can remembe making and donating a lap quilt a week after Hurricane Katrina, after Rita, after the Oklahoma bombing of the Federal Building. Suddenly after September  11, 2001 we were truly The United States  og America. 

We sent them to Veterans hospitals and offices,, to care homes and individuals to people we knew and to total strangers.. Making flags and table runners and hotpads and mug wraps as a way of unifying hearts with hands and cities,  States, and countries. 

Oh my heart. Those were such deeply American deeply patriotic and deeply one Nation together under one God for All times. If only we all truly remembered,  truly held on to that unity and unification of minds, bodies and spirits. 

The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States of America on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Date: September 11, 2001, 5:46 AM PDT
Perpetrators: Osama bin LadenAyman al-ZawahiriAl-Qaeda; (see also: responsibility and hijackers)
Number of deaths: 2,996

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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, September 01, 2021

The Sun

"Have you ever seen

in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–

and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?'

– Mary Oliver

The sun draws me. He often speaks to me and pulls my eyes into gazing deeply inside my soul.  

The memories of childhood, the missing of those who have gone before and beyond leaving us here all left behind. 

We cry out for our long gone mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers

All of the countless dear friends of our hearts now gone far too soon.  I sit in a soft lawn chair in the shade of large tree and I remember you all.

Happy September 1st Birthday to my beloved Mother in the highest energies of heaven within my heart. Love you abd and miss you my sweet little mama 💜🕊💜

Father Sun, Mother Moon and All the Stars in the Sky

A part of our Mother Earth and all of our Earthly Divine. 

The earthly sun and moon and astrological star energies are changing this month and things will begin to ease a bit from the emotional turbulence many experienced in August.

I am enjoying our days of sunshine and all the beauties of our hearts and hands before the fall rains begin once more. Our sunflowers re-seeded once again after last year's February 14th ice storm and then our record breaking Pacific Northwest heat wave where we hit 118° at our home in Salem Oregon.  Usually they are taller and more widely abundant than this. But this is more impressive than even what most grow spontaneously without deliberate care or seed.

The sunflower is a gift from the heavens above to remind me always of the gifts that flow freely in my life and I am grateful. To have this land and a comfortable house with the luxury of air conditioning when needed and abundant logs after our big storm to feed our wood stove for heat when needed in the late fall and winter.

We are blessed.

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, August 22, 2021

Quilting Mojo: Letting in the Light

"Love is the essence of the universe. Love in action is service."

 Sri Ravi Shankar

The very best part of quilting for me, is the love that a quilt can carry and in the giving of that quilt, how that love is passed on to someone else. I called it the "Letting in the Light" with my heart and my hands into another person's life.

Sometimes, I know and have met the person to whom I am giving the quilt, and sometimes I have not. But the love remains the same, and the passing along of that love and the deep happiness it brings to me is so much more important than any ribbon or award or recognition I could ever get for anything I make or do.

And whenever I can, I hang the quilt either outside in the air and in the light as a sort of spiritual cleansing and bringing of the light and if it is raining, then indoors where the light of our clearstory windows can shine through the quilt and with intent, bring in goodness and grace.

I keep prayer flags, of one kind or another, upon my railings year round and they, too, pass onto so many good thoughts, prayers, and positive intentions into my home, into our lives, and into whatever I am making or doing or giving from the heart.

I've learned of the impending birth of several little ones in need of quilty love and nothing better in the world than the making of wee quilts for wee little ones!

Whenever my mojo is lagging, my go to favorites are baby quilts, potholders, and cleaning the sewing room for fabric and bits of inspiration! Variety provides options and choices and while mine may seem diverse, they never fail to work.

This little quilt is one of my fidget, fiddle or tag quilts. Names for the fun the bits and pieces of ribbon around the edges create for the owner, whether a little one or an elder with fidgety hands as in the making of my own Tag or Baby Fidget Quilts.

Incredibly easy, quick, and SO much fun! And you needn't buy expensive ribbons, anything will work..from bits and bobs of ribbon, to rickrack, to seamed shut bias tape, to even the bits of woven ribbons that tie up fabric purchases and I've used the woven fabric of free items like logo lanyards..anything works as long as it is cute, clean, and washable!

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  Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon.

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Friday, August 13, 2021


13 Quilts 

For those that suffer from "triskaidekaphobia", the fear of the number 13, or friggatriskaidekaphobia which is a morbid and irrational fear of Friday the 13th, you'd best beware of all of the other ill omens and myths surrounding this day of great portent of impending doom.

Friday is Frigga's Day (Frigg, or Frigga) was an ancient Scandinavian fertility and love goddess (equivalent to the Roman Venus) who had been worshiped on the sixth day of the week. 

Early Christians believed that Frigga was a witch and any Friday was the witches' Sabbath. For them, Friday the 13th was neither silly nor a joke. For them, it was a day that caused anxiety, if not outright terror. 

The origin of the association of this day as being a day of bad luck , like most mythological symbology, has altered with time. But common Biblical beliefs link it to a variety of symbols.

Biblical referencing most commonly link it to Friday, the day of Jesus the Christ's crucifixion, the beginning of the Great Flood, Eves' offering of the apple to Adam, the day that Noah faced the Great Flood, or the Last Supper, at which Judas Iscariot was said to have been the 13th guest to sit down at the table. Judas later betrayed Jesus, leading to Jesus' crucifixion. Everything was connected in their belief systems and took the form of fears and continuing superstitions.

This led to the fear of having 13 guests at a dinner table as superstition foretold that one of them would die within the year. This also led to the belief that the first person to rise from the table, or the last one to be seated, was an ill omen and created the concept of all waiting to be seated at the same time, standing up at the same time, or breaking groups into smaller tables to avoid the seating of 13. 

Eventually, by the late 19th century, people went out of their way to avoid anything associated with the number 13--whether it was hotel rooms, desks, cars, floors of a building, rungs of a ladder, or steps on the stairs. These 'ill omens' led to the avoidance of even using these numbers in many places, and led to the renumbering (without the number 12) of hotel rooms, floors and so forth. 

Other fear of Friday or Friday the 13th beliefs include:

  • Needleworking: "I knew an old lady who, if she had nearly completed a piece of needlework on a Thursday, would put it aside unfinished, and set a few stitches in her next undertaking that she might not be obliged either to begin the new task on Friday or that she should remain idle on that date (1883).
  • Giving Birth: "A child born on Friday is doomed to misfortune." (1846)
  • Getting Married: "As to Friday, a couple married on that day are doomed to a cat-and-dog life." (1879)

  • Recovering from Illness: "If you have been ill, don't get up for the first time on Friday." (1923)

  • Moving: "Don't move on a Friday, or you won't stay there very long." (1982)

  • Starting a New Job: "Servants who go into their situations on Friday, never go to stay."(1923) And my favorite: 

  • Hearing News: "If you hear anything on a Friday, it gives you another wrinkle on your face, and adds a year to your age." (1883)

Michele Bilyeu posted this on Friday the 13th and had to redone more than 7 times to get it to connect...I'm just saying. 🤔🤐😒🤯 But at least it wasn't 13!!!!

  Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon.

Monday, July 26, 2021

When Great Trees Fall

"When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety. 

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed."

"When Great Trees Fall"

by Maya Angelou

Photo of stranded bear cub in Bootleg Fire in Oregon

Wildfires: Oregon limits state park campfires east of I-5 as thousands battle Northwest blazes - OPB


Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: Oregon Fires and Hope for Better Times Ahead

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares her creative and healing  journey from Alaska to Oregon. Wildcrafting and the textiles arts of sewing, quilting, and crafting with fabric, paper, needles. and thread.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Happy Birthday, America!

With Gratitude to All of the Quilts of Valor Quilters Everywhere for their Beautiful Quilts and Google Photos!

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Members from the SC Quilts of Valor Foundation covered the State House in their patriotic masterpieces on Sunday. 
A Quilt of Valor is a lifetime achievement award and a 'thank you' for military service from the foundation. 
According to the group, veterans often consider a Quilt of Valor one of the highest honor they can receive."

As we celebrate our beautiful holiday weekend with family and friends, I am so grateful for being able to live in this beautiful land.

Whether I am in my childhood home in Alaska, or my married with children family home in Oregon, I am so blessed to be in beautiful places with people that I love.

This weekend we all gather together once again, to celebrate the joys that abound, in spite of any ,and all challenges.  And no other occasion brings out the red, white, and blue, like this one!

Free Patriotic Quilt Patterns

 There is no doubt in my mind that she searched out the stair steps of the the red, white, and blue rays as she crossed. I could never keep her off of any of my patriotic quilts :-)

And as I once again, offer my big collection of patriotic quilting and sewing patterns. Please remember that these links are my own. And my writings and wording and my stories are my own!!!

I've shared my patriotic sewing in the past, but a few fun photos once again. My singles are never quite as much fun as my multiples. You can see just how carried away I get ;-)

Happy 4th of July to everyone, everywhere!!!

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: My Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Tutorial Link Lists: By Themes

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!

PS to all administrators of other sites:
Those sites that have copied my wording, my comments and all of my patterns onto their own Quilts of Valor sites in Southern California and other places, please link to my blog instead of copying all of my words straight off of my blog. 

When you use my words, and my first person narrative, it's as if you are pretending to be me, in order to get search engines to go to your website instead of mine... and that's not ok and actually a reportable offense. Sorry, I have left comments and nothing has changed in many months now!! Please link instead of copying straight onto your blogs! These are my words, my stories.

And if you see any of these sites or others, please leave a comment that they should not be cutting and pasting, but only linking.. ... nicely, of course. ;-)  Happy 4th of July, thank you for your good deeds and service to Veterans, but please read my emails and comments and play nicely!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Land, Sea and Sky: There is Love

June 17, 1972

49 years ago, my husband and I were married at the "Shrine of St. Therese". A tiny forested little island, in Auke Bay, Alaska. 25 miles north of Juneau, it was originally build by visiting Jesuit priests who came to the Diocese of Juneau to serve in territorial Alaska and found such beauty and so much need for their services that several stayed and with the help of volunteers completely built the tiny shrine of local stones on a tiny bit of an island now known as Shrine Island.

And today a beautiful labyrinth has been added and is walked by thousands of people a year who come out to view the beauty and feel the incredible energies of spirit that fill land, sea, and sky as animals gather without fail as blessings for all.

When the tide is in, the entire island is surrounded by beautiful blue water, except for the narrow  'walking-only' causeway.We walked out from our wedding ceremony to the sight of eagles soaring above, whales spouting, and sea lions barking their congratulations. It was incredibly beautiful. 

Now, there is this labyrinth walk etched in the sand where we once walked to the log cabin rectory on the mainland to sign our marriage certificate. And yes, we've been back and it's still lovely and weddings are still held there. 

During our ceremony "The Wedding Song" by Peter, Paul, and Mary was sung and played on a folk guitar by a high school friend and at our reception a lot of Simon and Garfield and similar songs from that era. Somehow those beautiful songs filled hearts and souls as they were after all, new to most back then!  

And yes, I made my own wedding dress! And each of my bridesmaids made theirs from fabric I bought and sent each of them in three different states as I gathered best friends from High School and College and included my youngest cousin who was so happy to be a bridesmaid! Our dresses were all in different colors and were beautiful laces over satin, I even made my veil, covered my Bible with the same fabrics and carried a hand carved rose wood rosary. Handmaid wedding in so many ways! 

Ah, the memories of a time, a place, the sounds, and the people. So many have passed on now, most of our guests, many of my own family even several who are younger than I am now. You never know what paths and cause ways you may walk in your life time. Who you will love and who you will remember. I have since lost both of my parents, a sister in law who was there, and uncle who died a few months after he attended our wedding and his young 11 year old daughter was my Junior Bridesmaid. Love and pride filled his face and his heart that day. His one and only chance to see her all grown up in a long bridesmaid dress.  

I rejoice in the wonderful memories of so many from that day, just as I grieve the loss of those who passed on.

For sadly, our dearest and best friends in the world passed away ..on this day..25 years ago. While it changed the memories of June 17th forever from our 25th anniversary on, it didn't change the love we felt for all who have been parts of our lives for whatever time we had with them.

But in the end, the lovely and positive sounds, sights, and memories remain above all else and I am filled with gratitude for the good times and the lessons and treasures from even the sadder ones!

Click to hear this lovely song as it was performed on their own 25th anniversary!

49 years ago from June 17, 1972 

The song is just as meaningful and beautiful as ever. 

The songs of that era are etched in my heart. Oh the power of music to touch the soul.

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: My Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Tutorial Link Lists: By Themes

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