Friday, August 17, 2012

Yoyos (and Yayas)

The adventure continues ...

Mima went for a walk today with our dog Miley. I was busy doing paperwork and it took me a while to realize she was gone for a little longer than usual. She normally just walks around our house.

I went out to look for her and she was waaaay up the road, heading back. She told me she got a little lost. Thank goodness we live in a very small gated community (only about 40 homes, there's only one way in/out).  I'll have to be more alert next time. She was only gone 20 minutes, but it was still scary.

On a happier note ...

Doug and I had a lovely time in Florida the last two weeks. We spent the first four days at a church conference on Evangelism and Church Growth. The conference just happened to be on St. Petersburg Beach ...

Not bad, huh? We also had the next week to spend with family and friends. A great way to end the trip, and we skipped out on a couple of 100-degree plus weeks in Texas.

The Yayas:

Anyway, while we were gone my sister Lydia and her daugher Livie took care of Mima. They are a little wild and crazy (and I wouldn't have it any other way!). Since neither one could take the whole two weeks off, they had to do a kind of relay thing, with one leaving just after the other arrived. I am so thankful for them! If my family were not willing to share in the caretaking, there's no way we could keep Mima at home for as long as we have.

The Yoyos:

All through these comings and goings, Mima kept on making her yoyos. It's what she knows.

Lydia with Mima, working on more yoyos:

And here's the (sort of) finished product, soon to be a throw for Lydia's couch:

There are so many things you can make with yoyos - and it all starts with a little scrap of fabric. When I was growing up (hey - it was NOT that long ago!), we had to cut a template out of cardboard or a cereal box. Then, we traced the circle onto bits of fabric and cut them out. Then, we basted all along the edge of the circle, leaving a little thread at the beginning and end ... when you pulled both ends of the thread tight and tied them together, they made the cute little ruffly circle yoyos.

Now you can buy a nifty gadget by Clover that makes the process so much easier. I got one for Mima about three years ago, and she's still able to use it. No tracing or cutting out circles - just pop a square of fabric in the plastic guide, trim, sew around the edges, and tada - a yoyo! Pretty cool. The hardest part is threading the needle.

Next time around (and I don't make any promises on how soon that will be) I will show you my version of a hand-work project that involves small bits of fabric.

Until then, may God bless you and keep you.

Friday, June 29, 2012


My baby girl turned 21 last week. I thought it would be a difficult milestone for me - that it would make me feel old, or long for the days of the pitter patter of little feet. It turned out to be a day of joyful gratitude, for having three kids who have grown to be incredibly intelligent, talented and quite diverse in their approaches to life.

I was my mother's baby. An "oopsie" child, coming six years after my closest sibling. Mima had her first child at sixteen, and three more in the next three years (life in rural Cuba in the early 1950's offered little opportunity for education, so marriage and kids came early). I came along when Mima was the ripe old age of 25.
Here's Mima with our pastor's
little boy. Isn't he a cutie?
In my last post I listed some personality traits that Mima and I have in common. Thinking about my baby, and about being my mom's baby, made me remember one more: we like babies. Not that I WANT a baby, but I love to hold them, play with them ... and then give them back to their mommies.

I love baby quilts too. They're made with bright, colorful fabrics, go together pretty quickly, and are made to be used (and abused!).

When Mima first moved in more than a year and a half ago, she was still a dynamo with the scissors and sewing machine.  She was my personal assistant, cutting apart t-shirts for my T-shirt quilt business. Mima took all the leftover pieces of t-shirts and went at them - she was quite imaginative in cutting out squares and rectangles and pieceing them together into lap-size quilts.

One of Mima's t-shirt creations.

Eventually the lure of pretty fabrics took over. We bought fat quarters and packets of precuts. One project involved charm squares (for those of you who are non-quilters, those are pre-cut 5" squares of fabric that come packaged in coordinated sets). Mima pieced them together into rows.

The rows turned out ... not exactly straight.
I cut them into strips, and had Mima sew the strips end-to-end (like the Jelly Roll Race quilts)

I finished up piecing the rows together and added a border. Looks pretty good!

Lately Mima has not wanted to do much machine sewing. Instead, she's been busy making fabric yo-yos. I'll show those on my next post along with photos of more baby quilts.

Mima does not remember any of the quilts she's made ... but as long as she continues to enjoy fabrics and sewing, we'll keep making them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just Like Mima

I swore when I was a teenager that I would never be like my mom. I was much too cool to be a homemaker, gardener, seamstress  - I had so many more important things I wanted to accomplish.

Many years later, I am a lot like Mima.

Although I worked part-time while my kids were growing up, I considered my role as homemaker to be the most important. My husband and I were blessed to be able to choose this lifestyle; we sacrificed some "goodies" in the early years but it was well worth it to be home for my kids.

And guess what - I love working in the garden. The hours go by and I barely notice them. I love getting my hands dirty, the refreshing spray of water from the hose, watching tiny plants grow and flourish.

Yes, I am a lot like Mima. Most recently, that has been reflected in my love of quilting.

Most of Mima's sewing was anything but fun or creative - she did piecework, first in a factory and later out of the our home. She spent long hours on boring, repetitive tasks. Her true talents and creative flair were saved for when she made something for one of us girls. If she saw a dress in a magazine or a store window, she could recreate it, usually with no pattern needed.

About four years ago I went to a quilting retreat. I had a bunch of "quilt of the month" blocks still in their unopened packages. I figured being in a house full of experienced quilters would be handy and I'd finally get the darn things done. The quilting bug bit, hard. Just like with gardening, I can get lost in the process and the hours slip by. I now have a home-based business making custom memory quilts. I also enjoy quilting for fun, and am experimenting with traditional pieced blocks, English paper piecing,  and the bold colors of modern quilting - and learning something new each day.

Mima did not have much time to teach me how to sew, but apparently enough of it sunk in!

So, I am a lot like her ... but I do NOT want to be "just like Mima." Because Mima has Alzheimer's.

Mima moved into our "empty nest" in October of 2010. I get to see the daily deterioration that her mind and body are undergoing. She is in the later stages of the disease, and has forgotten much of her past. She is also forgetting many of her family members, including her grandchildren.

One of the things Mima has not forgotten is how to sew. Her seams are not straight, and she's terrible at coordinating fabrics, but hey, she can still piece two bits of fabric together. I consider that a blessing.

This blog is my attempt to find the blessings in each day. I know they are there - but some days I am too impatient, tired, or scared to see/feel them.

It helps to have friends around, because friends can help me spot those moments of blessing. So, I invite you to come on in and visit with us as we continue this journey. As Mima taught me to say, "Mi Casa Es Su Casa!"