Sunday, December 1, 2013

As Time Goes By


It was back at the end of August that my grandmother found a magazine article all about patchwork quilts made out of vintage feedsack material. "Can you make one for me?" she asked over the phone as I flipped through the pages that she had sent to me so that I could see the photos. I assured her that I could make something similar out of reproduction prints, and a bundle of Storybook Classics by Windham Fabrics was quickly ordered. I had already started cutting out pieces to make a Swell quilt from Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley when I got the news that my book proposal had been accepted by Stash Books. "Never mind, darlin', there's no hurry," Grandma assured me when I fretted over getting her quilt done along with my book projects. "Just make it in time for Christmas," she added. I was able to sew together one block, and then the rest was set aside as I turned my mind and hands to other things.


Little did I know then what lay ahead. Over the past few months we have watched my grandmother spiral down into an unexpected and very serious state of dementia. After a painful and exhausting November, it's become clear that Grandma can no longer safely live alone in her home, so tomorrow we'll be moving her into a nursing home just ten minutes away from us where she can receive full time care. I wanted her to have something special for her new home, so this weekend I pulled out that bundle of Storybook Classics again and put together the simplest of patchwork quilts. Twelve inch blocks are bordered by a narrow strip of white and bound in a black and white dot print. I backed it in two different prints by Bonnie & Camille from their Vintage Modern and Marmalade collections. It may not be fancy, but the quilt is almost exactly what Grandma had originally wanted, and it will fit perfectly on her new bed. Tomorrow when we pick her up from the house she's lived in since she was a girl, I'll have the quilt waiting in the car so that she'll have something to look at during the drive to her new home.


I spent yesterday evening helping my parents fix up Grandma's new room, trimming a little Christmas tree with vintage style ornaments and decorating the walls with some of the quilts I've made for her over the past few years. As I drove home afterward listening to Christmas carols on the radio, I was suddenly overcome by tears. Even though we know that everyone grows up and gets older, you can never really prepare yourself for the reality of what that means. And even though we all talk about time getting away from us, I am stunned by how quickly life is going by each day...each year.  It seems like just yesterday my parents were making Christmas for me and my sister, and now we're making it for our own daughters. In fact as I type this sentence, my girls are eagerly pulling at my sleeve and saying, "Is it time to decorate for Christmas, Mommy? We've been waiting soooo long!" Precious little girls -- they have no idea how quickly time can fly.

This December I plan to make the most of every moment...every single one. Won't you join me?

29 comments:

  1. Hello Heidi, reading your blog brought a tear to my eye. We have just had to place my dad in a nursing home and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. My mum has been his full time carer and now, she too is ill. How fast the time goes by. The quilt you have made for your Grandma is gorgeous. I am a huge fan of the 1930's prints. I'm sure she will treasure it. Have a lovely Christmas with your family. Therese x

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  2. For sure!! We just lost my FIL on Wed. My grand daughter is still in the hospital after 3 1/2 months. One life is taken...another has come along to take his place. It is NEVER easy to see those we love so dearly getting older. Charish those little ones...

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  3. We're getting to that point with my grandma, too. Right now she is living with my mom and brother who are looking after her, but they aren't trained professionals and sometimes they just don't know what to do for her :( it's so rough watching your loved ones grow older. It doesn't help at all knowing that we'll all get there someday because someday is someday and grandma forgetting your name is now. Sorry, really perfect timing for your post I guess. I'm giving my grandma a quilt for Christmas, too.

    Yours is so lovely. Sometimes simple is best :)

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  4. So sorry to hear about your grandmother. I love the quilt you made for her. Time really does fly by too fast sometimes. My girls are grown and on their own now. But sometimes it seems like yesterday when they were little life was so busy! Our time with loved ones is so precious.

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  5. How sweet Heidi...bless you as you care for your grandma tomorrow.

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  6. It's a beautiful quilt Heidi and I'm sure your grandmother will treasure it.

    My Nan has just gone into a nursing home and there's definitely an adjustment period. Thinking of you and hope that it all goes well. xxx

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. It is a beautiful quilt and I'm sure it will be loved. Take care and have a wonderful festive season x

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  8. Reading this post really made me sad today and I'm sending big hugs to you and hope you will find comfort in this difficult time. I'm very, very sorry for your grandma, leaving the known behind and heading into a new future is always difficult, but I believe that you will help her and that this quilt will make it that little bit easier for her. Wishing you all the best! x

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  9. Eep Heidi, you got me a bit teary. My grandmother, who is fantastically old and has lived a wonderfully full and healthy life up to this point, made the move to an assisted living facility and is now facing some serious health issues this year. Just like you, I realize this is the way it's supposed to go, but it is hard. I hope that your grandmother is able to recognize your loving gift.

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  10. Agree 100%. Your grandma will love the new quilt you made her for her new bed. It is just amazing how time flies before we even realize it. I plan on trying to treasure every moment as well because you never know how long you have! Thanks for reminding me of that.

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  11. Moving my mother into assisted living is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. How loving to have sewn your grandmother a special quilt for her new home.

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  12. I just returned from a funeral of a beloved uncle, and I kept thinking I cannot believe these chapters of my life are closing so quickly. Now I am that person, grown, adult (sorta), making decisions that my parents once made as I played with my dolls. Was that really that long ago? I love your post and that you made such loving additions to her 'new' home. She is lucky to have you and your family.

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  13. I hope your grandmother settles in and enjoys your quilt and all your efforts to cheer up her room. Both my grandmothers have moved to assisted living in the last year, so I can appreciate your thoughts on watching family age and time fly by. It goes so quickly!

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  14. What a touching post. As I type this I have a huge lump in my throat. I have been following you for quite some time now and you are so kind and sweet. You have posted several times about your life not even realizing how much you give and do for others. Bless you and your family. I hope your girls had a wonderful day decorating.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen. I think you're pretty sweet too! My girls and I had a great time decorating for Christmas. This is such a special time of year, and I want to make the most of it!

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  15. beautiful quilt, Heidi. And how wonderful of you to make it for your grandma to make her transition a little bit easier. Hope you and your family have the most amazingly magical Christmas time of all :)

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  16. The thought of how quickly time goes by has been on my mind lately as well. I am very much looking forward to making the most of each day given to us. I am sure that your grandmother will love her new quilt. The colors are so happy - they will make her cheerful in her new place. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story.

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    1. Thank you so much, Karisma! It really is amazing how quickly time passes us by. I really want to make the most of the time I have with the people I love. I think Grandma is going to be very happy in her new home, and we're all so happy to have her close by!

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  17. I'm so sorry to hear the news of your grandma Heidi, it's so sad isn't it. (It was the same for my grandma. If only I had been a quilter then, and now it's too late :-( ) I am sure she will be thrilled with her quilt and you must take comfort from the fact that she is near by and being well looked after. I'm sure you've done all you can to make it home from home for her, and she's got the most important thing; a family that love and care for her. PS Fab news about the book, I shall watch developments with interest xx

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  18. Make sure your grandmother's name is on the quilt in a prominent place. Things tend to go walkabout in care facilities. Also make sure the label will stand up to heavy washing. Most facilities treat all clothing and bedding in the same manner.

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    1. Very good advice, Jean! We spent a while labeling all her things yesterday. It's like sending her off to summer camp! :)

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  19. My grandmother has been unable to live without round the clock assistance for nearly 4 years now. It is a very long road that I'm quite familiar with. There are times that it is just so hard. For her, for us, for the people around her. I've been through a zillion emotions, some of which I'm not so proud of. I'm happy to talk, share, and generally commiserate if you need to.

    Lovely gift and do make sure it is well labeled. Things tend to get lost! :)

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  20. What a meaningful quilt! I hope it brings comfort to your grandmother in her new home.

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  21. I am so glad you are able to give her this quilt as she moves in. I think it will mean a lot to her and I hope that she does well in her new home. I so miss my grandmother, I hope you will give yours lots of extra hugs and have some laughs with her and so nice she will be close for you to visit lots. It is so hard to deal with these kinds of changes, I know exactly how you feel. I try to live in the present as much as I can because the future might not be quite what we are planning.

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  22. Thinking of you and your grandmother. She is absolutely, without a doubt, going to love it!

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  23. Oh, I so empathize with you, Heidi! My family has been dealing with these same issues. Best wishes for an easy road ahead. xoxo

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  24. The quilt is lovely, Heidi. Your grandmother will love it. I'm praying for her and your family. xo Erin

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  25. Heidi, I've gotten way behind on my blog reading, and only read this post today. I just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you and your family, and I know your grandmother will love the quilt you made for her. My family went through something similar this November,. Sending you and your family all of the best wishes as you move forward.

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Aren't you the sweetest!! Thanks for making my day by leaving a comment!

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