Jun 30, 2019

Healing Hearts Textile Arts

My personal path has always centered around the simplest acts of service.
 Of being there for and with others as a lifetime of ever transmuting fears or anger or pain into creative work that has been part of my heart and my healing arts journey since I was a very young child.

How do we find our center in this incred-ibly unbalanced  world with false idols of ego,success,and power creating a lack of balance in our values and priorities that often fracture our childhood dreams and set us astray from our true soul's journey?

It's truly the simple things from my heart and with my hands that connect me to my soul's purpose and that is the spiritual catalyst for the alchemical manifestation of love in action.

For only love crosses all dimensions of time and space.

Only love will survive when ego, money, power, and success are lost or stripped away. Only love is left when all else is gone. when we transition from this life, this dimension and from our individual perception of whatever reality we have created and energized into manifestation.

Love is all there truly is and all that we are truly meant to learn about and to experience as we navigate what is often very intensely painful or emotionally challenging  lives.

It is simply who I am and what I was meant to be and to do as I combined it bit by bit in all aspects of my life

I learned early on that my gifts with "healing with heart and hands" work.

True healing comes from above, from within, and from all around.

It is simply pure and sacred healing heart's love in whatever form one needs when anger, pain, loss or grief is too over-whelming for our mere mortal forms to bear.

Its work and its need in this world is greater than the sum of its parts.

I wanted to work in a transpersonsal way with all who came into my world. So, on October 26, 2006 I created a very, very simple blog and I started blogging.

I could barely figure out how to even use that early blogspot format, had no training and no help whatsoever and created this huge, huge complicated thing that turned into my own domain and in all senses of the word.

For me, blogging was about letting go of my private little space in the world and walk among humanity, often with my heart completely exposed, into the whole world.

It was about letting go of control, of the mastery of anything and everything,  and learning to just enter the spaces between the real world of pain and suffering and sadness and finding a deeper solace in what we do have, can do and can share, instead of all that we do not.

No matter what anyone says or writes, when you give from your heart over and over if you do not replenish your spirit, it exhausts you. And because I believed that this form of universal ministering (keeping in mind it is non-denominational in all ways) was my life's purpose.

I learned to open to gratitude and compliments on my then very simple blog posts and make friends in a world I wasnt really a part of until I reached out and joined in.

When I realized that I needed a different way to work physically, spiritually, and energetically with my gifts, I used my scraps or donated or repurposed fabrics to sew and share really, really simple little quilts.

And then when they were done, I loved even the simplest of them so very much that I just knew they were filled up with love. And then, loving them so much, I gave them away to others.

The only ones I've kept are examples to teach or to share or to encourage others others to do the same. My nicest, hardest ones that took an eternity to make;  I gave away as gifts.

My own 3 grown kids only have simple scrap quilts but all 3 grandkids got special artsy ones just for them.


 Making an Alaskan Kuspuk


With my passion for sewing and quilting, I realized that I could reach more people and infuse more goodness into my work by the creation of quilts, pillows, kuspuks, prayer pocket pillows, and prayer flags, than I could by helping people one-on-one

And this became my own healing journey. True healing is not just of the body and all of the aches and pains and all of the ills that beset it. True healing is finding your way, your path, your journey that goes out beyond the ego's desires for acceptance, approval, applause or accolades.

It is about doing what you were meant to do, beginning with understanding why you are where you are, right now in this time in this place wherever that is in your life.

Once I understood that for me the path was about creativity combined with family, heart, voicing my inner truth and sharing that truth with others I could see a pattern that begin as a child and moved and grew as I did and as I learned to create in the all of the ways that I have.

Initially, back in the 70's and early 80's, I made the simplest of quilts and patchwork pillows. Beginning with one of every design in the "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts" book.(when it finally came out).  Those pillows ended up on the reading couches of elementary and middle schools in the Salem, Oregon area.

Later, I began to make and then give away my quilts, first simply made, and then with more detail and creative patchwork. I've given to survivors of natural disasters -  hurricanes, fires, floods, and tornadoes.

When Hurricane Katrina, and then Rita,  hit the Gulf states in 2005, I sent 6 quilts within a month, and 25 of my own quilts within a year's time. After those initial delivery trucks winded down, I made them for the Salem Interfaith Ministry - a group of many religious and spiritual denominations who jointly banded together, and help others as needed.

I knew then that I could sew quilts, pillows, bags, clothing, and prayer flags, and give them to others in need and that the wonderful feeling that the giving gave back to me, was far greater than winning awards, or writing a book, or receiving personal recognition in any way!  It was just deeply moving and made me truly happy inside!

I've made quilts for a number of hospitals in a number of states, for several organizations that help abused children, for mission trips to Africa and other countries, for programs to help mothers and children leaving abusive situations, children in foster care, and those in need of all ages from neo-natal preemies, to the elderly in hospitals or in need of a passage quilt in hospice care.

 It is by far the most meaningful giving I have done after a lifetime of volunteer work in schools and social service organizations from Alaska to Oregon. While being in the education field taught me about community -both families and individuals. 

It is my own personal non-denominational healing ministry that has, by far, taught me and given back to me, the very most of all.

Whether we give a quilt to comfort, or to wrap up and warm, or help buffer the pain of a hurting and loss filled heart, all such quilts given with love and made with both our hands and our hearts are 'healing hearts' quilts.  But my quilts are made with the infusion of my own natural healing touch/non-touch/non-local healing energies.

A huge blessing, a gift that I was born with, but that I later learned was inherited from my paternal grand-mother from Finland  

 Later, many of my tiny art quilts were given to charitable organizations to raise funds for research, but even then, those tiny art quilts still go to someone who has found a heartstring connection and meaning from that quilt to their own heart, for we have all shared in love and loving, loss and losing of those loved ones that truly are the very deepest and most meaning filled parts of our selves.

As long as it was in operation, I made and donated small format art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative for research funding to major studies all over the United States and then to to even greater sharing. 

It brought my own hurting heart great peace and comfort. 16 members of my own family have faced the dreadful disease of Alzheimer's (12 with my immediate DNA) and now almost all of those beloved family members have passed.

I ended up creating and donating 75 tiny 8"x 11" or smaller quilts to this group, even as I traveled back and forth to Alaska to care for my parents for as much as 6 months a year and up to 4 trips a year. I still somehow made and donated quilts. If there is a will, there IS a way! When I broke and wrist by slipping on black ice in Alaska,, i still cared for my parents with 1 hand. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and giving medications and insulin shots to my mom..

And in the process, I not only learned just how much more I was personally capable of, but i personally earned $5,000 as my mailed and donated  quilts were sold, along with a kazillion others from all over the world in the online AAQI monthly auctions.

What a blessing in every way you can imagine for all of us as it kept our hearts wide open and our minds focused and our hands creatively very busy!

Even breaking and dislocating my wrist and requiring immediate surgery didn't stop me.  Within two weeks I was sewing with one hand, and three months, creating adult bibs for my mom and designing quilts for AAQI, and  helping Alaskan school children design and sew their own kuspuks!

Faith and growth and strength of character grows by believing and being and just doing!

So, if you think you don't have the time, or have other challenges, if I can do it, so can you! Here's just some of my donations to a variety of causes and projects:

Make a simple fabric postcard, a pillowcase, a journal cover, a little heart shaped pillow, an adult bib for a nursing home patient, or any other gift from your heart.    

Burrito or Magic Pillowcase Tutorial


Free Babie's and Children's Quilt Patterns


Making Fidget Quilts, Aprons, Pillows, Bags for Alzheimer's Patients:Ideas


Free Patriotic Quilt Patterns


Making Adult Bibs  

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



*String Pieced Prayer Pocket Pillow




How To Make A Fabric Postcard




I sew a lot at home. I've had a lot of help...


 And then, I joined groups.

And we sew and we quilt, and we tie blankets together. And that energy when combined with all of often very different but strong and wonderful beliefs,   heals our hearts and the work of those hearts when through the art and manifestation of healing hands handiwork can create such wonderful and giving love..

My links to free patterns and my own tutorials


Free Breast Cancer (and other cancers) Awareness Quilt Patterns

Free Heart Themed Quilt ...and many other small items...Patterns

Making a Heart Shaped Pillow for cardiac patients, mastectomy patients and others

String Pieced Prayer Pocket Pillow for any one in need of comfort

Making an Adult Bib

How To Make A Fabric Postcard

Make a Magic 'Burrito' Pillowcase

How To Make A Quillow

Free Patriotic Quilt Patterns for veterans and their families

Blue or Gold Star Banner for Military Families

2,500 Free Quilt Patterns...patterns for quilts to make and give...anytime to anyone

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.


O'Quilts said...

U R the best, my fellow traveler....just the best oxoxo Diane

Michele Bilyeu said...

Back at you!