Showing posts with label Mid-Valley Quilt Guild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mid-Valley Quilt Guild. Show all posts

Sunday, April 26, 2015

MVQG Challenge: Parade of Homes


 
 "I Want to Go Home"
Michele Savikko Bilyeu
Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon



My mother sat in our childhood home on Douglas Island, Alaska. A house she had lived in with my father and raised 5 children for 60 years.

Yet for the last years of her life, for as long as she could still talk, every single day, over and over and over, she would tell us “I Want to Go Home.”

Our lives, like all of her memories, were now devastated by the horrors of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Topsy-turvy, inside out, blown like the hurricane force of our Taku Winds, we would work endlessly caring for her from early in the morning to late at night.

Those endless words floated and sank, sometime hidden, sometimes taking over, like flotsam and jetsam in the waves of our Gastineau Channel.

I would travel from Oregon to Alaska as many as 4 times in a year and stay and help my father care for my mother until neither of us could lift or carry her any longer. Then my brothers would come in and they too, had to take over.

In time we all learned that her world was now our world, both in memory and in our DNA
And it only got worse before it all came to end after the end of 8 very, very, long and challenging years.

I still want to go home. But my mother and father are both gone now. And a brother and his family live in our home. Nothing was ever the same then, and it still isn’t.

But the words are there “I Want To Go Home.”

 


Note:
 I cared for my mother in my married home in Salem, Oregon for 9 months while she battled Stage 3b of Inflammatory Breast Cancer and underwent chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation. 

She survived the disease and all of its treatments, only to return to Alaska and face the challenges of Alzheimer's Disease. I traveled back and forth from Salem to Douglas Island,Alaska multiple times a year for the next 8 years of her life, caring for her, and loving her, and now..missing her still.

 

This is my 2015 challenge quilt entry for my Mid-Valley Quilt Guild Quilt Show Challenge. The challenge quilts were on display at the Polk County Fairgrounds during our biennial quilt show and are now heading for the Salem Public Library and then Greenbaum's Quilted Forest after that.



Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Spreading Peace and Prayer Flag Love!


http://www.with-heart-and-hands.com/2014/06/spreading-peace-and-prayer-flag-love.html


I have been having so much fun with my love of creating my peace and prayer flags. But even more fun with all of my volunteer efforts to inspire others to make their own and pay if forward by sharing with others!

This week I was invited by Anne Gilbert Walton  to share the history of Prayer Flags with a wonderful group of women from our Mid-Valley Quilt Guild where Anne hosts art quilting get togethers at her  Zena Learning Center

Inspired by the beautiful Zena Springs Farm located in West Salem in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Anne has created a learning center for young and old, alike, as she shares her teaching gifts and her beautiful 160 acre family farm with others. From home schoolers, and creative art projects to Willamette University students studying her farm and forest eco-system, it is a beehive of creative learning and fun.

We were greeted by a flock of chickens, two wonderful dogs, and owner/instructor Anne Gilbert Walton  and her co-teaching/artist-in-residence, Marnie Jeffers.

While most of the art quilting group had been together for several years, we were joined by several brand new visitors so it was wonderful to greet some of the ladies that I had previously met at the  Mid-Valley Quilt Guild and meet others who were invited by friends to join in. 

Zena Learning Center co-teacher, Marnie is a talented artist who spent several decades with some high powered greeting card and other art distribution groups, but she hadn't sewn in a while.  And this is exactly where this kind of project can be so much fun in jump starting not only sewing but the beginning elements of art quilting, as well.

Making peaceful prayer flags was just perfect for her  and as she created a prayer flag for her son, currently serving our country as a logistics coordinator in Afgh*anist*n using her own creative talent and her grandmother's sewing machine, her sewing joined the hum of a dozen plus others in our group.  

We had other wonderful quilters and art quilters and we filled the classroom to the brim, and still had spaces if we'd needed them, for more!  I talked (those who read here already can imagine just how much I love to share!) and shared my history and how it all tied in with my own focus on the making of art quilts transforming into my passion for creating prayer flags.

The melodic humming of sewists and artists at work was joined in by the inquisitive cackling of three chickens as they climbed up the steps and came in to check out the hen party inside! I was instantly reminded of my own experience with my three adult chickens in my post

Seriously?

 on chicken dinner not meaning chickens in the dining room. I think Anne's girls just knew that I'm a chicken lover. After all, right  now, I have.....

Edith, Dorothy, and Little Nell

in my dining room as deliberately invited house guests awaiting their growth into outside chickens instead of inside pampered pets!

Cats and quilts go together, dogs and quilts go together. But you should have seen me auditioning 4 quilts just for a bin warmer for my little chicks! And now, I know...Prayer Flags and Chickens go together (apparently!) as well!!!

Art Quilters and new friends! Thank you all for being so warm and welcoming, providing such a fabulous lunch,and great, great fun! I enjoyed teaching my Peace and Prayer Flags class and sharing with all of you! Thank You, Anne Walton for creating this beautiful and creative space in the rolling hills of family farms and vineyards.  

We all had such great, great fun!



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Join Us in Visual Prayer 
Visit me @ The Prayer Flag Project:

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!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Zion Mennonite Quilt Show and a Cougar Sighting!

http://www.with-heart-and-hands.com/2014/02/zion-mennonite-quilt-show-and-cougar_1146.html


Friendship time with a dear quilting friend.... and a trip to Whiskey Hill, in Hubbard, Oregon.... and the Zion Mennonite Quilt Workshop.


The Zion Mennonite Quilt Workshop is really a lovely little quilt show, combined with lots of hand quilters and wonderful advice if you need, or ask for it. You have the chance to see some lovely vintage quilts with great charm, as well as more modern ones. And the ladies of the church cook up and serve a wonderful home cooked meal for the cost of a simple donation.



There are wonderful vintage quilts mixed in with new and often even quite modern ones.





And there is the absolute charm of seeing some of the older Mennonite quilters still hand quilting and teaching others their special techniques after all of their years of making quilts and quilting.



And I really love knowing that this was the original group of Mennonite women quilters who first worked with Gwen Marston, decades ago, and taught her to quilt. She has written about them in one of her books and described their skill and their patience.

Back then it was all with simply drawn pencil on cardboard templates and they have boxes and boxes of them, still. We are welcomed to trace as many as we want, but it is, of course, the fun of just seeing these vintage pieces that is the most fun.

The same is true of the quilts. One from 1917 with a later dated of 1957 added. I wondered out loud..."I wonder if it took the quilter that long to hand quilt and finish it?' and a stranger next to me answers..'it would have taken me a heck of a lot longer than that!"


 Shown above:  a collage I made from a previous visit to the Zion Mennonite Quilt Workshop and more quilts and fun from a previous post.


My friend, Pat, and I wandered the rows looking at the older quilts mixed in with the newer ones, with old sock monkeys, and simple yo you dolls, sitting in vintage strollers and high chairs while modern lamb toys and a teddy bear cozy up to other pieces.

The merging of the old and the new is reflected in all of our faces. In a visit from 2007, there was a beautiful Mennonite woman hand quilting in her traditional sheer bonnet, while the middle aged in quilted jackets and vests, merged with the new young quilters and the tiny tots played with scrap fabrics on the long tables.


This visit there were some of  the earlier quilters combined with newer ones just learning to hand quilt.



And there is always a 'Beginner's Table' where you feel comfortable sitting down and giving it a try with advice, if you want it! A place for everybody and every kind of quilt.  But Pat and I saw enough quilts with utility stitching to make me feel at home with my more clumsy and larger stitches, and gave her the courage to try her own hand at it on a beginner's table. She not only stayed on the line but I thought her stitches looked pretty good!

And there are always quilters hand quilting, drawing templates, or making hand sewn blocks. And this visit, I actually visited with a quilter using a modern plastic template as she graciously showed me how she used different colored pencils to trace her lines..changing colors as needed in order for them to show up.

The wonderful church ladies always proved a home made lunch...soup, bread, a dessert, and drinks, and we found several ladies from our Mid-Valley Quilt Guild group from Salem, to enjoy a great lunch and nice conversation.


Then off to more adventures!With her GPS, and printed off Google Map directions, we set out to find a little quilt shop that moved out into the outskirts of Mollala, Oregon. As we went up into the beautifully forested hills with many twists and turns, a large 'cat' ran across the road in front of us.

We were driving on 'Wildcat' Road outside of the city of Mollala, so  I knew it wasn't a house cat..quite large, tawny colored, and with that beautiful rolling up and down gait you see on wild life shows.

The beautiful creature went into the forested meadow and posed and looked deep into my eyes. And just like my many deer sightings in our back yard under my prayer arch, it was magical!
 
I was too mesmerized to think to grab my phone/camera! But it was a rare event and they are seldom seen in Oregon. I quickly texted my husband and son, suspecting that they had probably never seen one in the wild in Oregon.

Off to the Canby Quilts and Fabric...in the outskirts of Mollala along our Wildcat Road and a lovely time, there as well. Sandy, the guilt shop owner, said that in all the years of living out there, they'd only seen one and that only a few times, so I was truly blessed to see one. It's hard knowing that the existence of one creatures requires the demise of others for survival, but such is life!

I bought an O'lipfa ruler that are so hard to find now, while Pat looked for backing fabric for a charitable donation she is working on. And before we left, Sandy told us to select something from her free goody basket!

A quilt show, a country drive with a cougar sighting, and a new ruler plus a free gift! And yes, I actually loved seeing the cougar the best..that's just how I am growing up as a wild woman who loves nature and wildcrafting and wild sightings of all kinds on my little island in Alaska.

(And later, my husband said that sightings were so rare, that frankly he doubted I'd even seen one. But after describing it to him, he knew that I had!) So great fun!

We were just glad to have seen a fun quilt show, had a nice lunch with new friends, and then visit this little quilt shop and one more closer into the town, itself. A good day and a bit of a miracle of nature combined!


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!