Tuesday, August 21, 2007

3 Cheers For Diversions

Thank you to friends who have been reaching out to us and passing along condolences to our friends. Your words and thoughts are dear to me.

So, life can move us in unexpected directions, and as we try to figure out how to cope with the ebb and flow of grief, with the sudden onset of tears, it helps to connect with friends and it helps to become absorbed in diversions. I found a way to do both. Yesterday I managed to accomplish a few responsible and practical matters, and naturally there is more to do. I also became completely immersed in sewing. I finished a third square of the Scrap-X quilt I am learning from Happy Things. Then I cut out circles for yo-yo's. Maria was playing with the squares I am preparing for some kind of a Christmas quilt... I am talking about sewing bliss, denial, distraction and losing track of time and heartbreaking emotions.

It was perfect, almost. Max asked if he could make a quilt too. I had to wake-up from my reverie and address the work and patience it would take to lead a 9 year old through his first major sewing project, and, truthfully, any other time I likely would have found some excuse to stall, to redirect, because I am a mom. Moms always have more going on than they can realistically accomplish, moms need their own activities to help them retain some fraction of their sanity, and moms need to balance guidance and intervention with letting go and trusting. This mom, anyway. Fortunately, not only have I been reminded that life is precious, I found the resolve to embrace a moment that might have gone unattended...

"OKay. Sure. I can help you make a quilt." I was calculating how much time it would take and trying to decide how much he would do and how much I should do.

He was already pulling out fat quarters of my precious stash. Be still my greedy heart. Seeing the colors and nature theme he was after I was happy to remember a collection of insect prints my Mom gave me years ago. I never could figure out what to do with them, but held on to them because they are cute and maybe some day... you know... some day I'd do something with them. Max, frog and dragonfly fan that he is, fell in love with them. I thought they were a bit bright and clashy. He thought, "What's next?"

He ironed the 1/4 and 1/2 yard fabrics.
He measured the smallest piece and we decided 5.5" squares would work best.
We cut as many squares as we could and came up with a total of 49, then I cut some solids to add to the collection.
Max asked, "What's next?" He hadn't lost any steam.

I told him he had to lay the squares out and make a design. I was daunted by the randomness of the colors and the varying amounts we had of each print, but he jumped right in and began creating a 7 by 7 square quilt. It wasn't like he was designing or planning or figuring out. He simply saw what he wanted and set it all out in a few minutes, then he made a switch of colors, because he liked the greens to be dominant...

and voila! He turned all those little squares and bold colors into a pleasing and fun pattern! Fast, easy, confident... he is masterful. I am so proud, and I have so much to learn! We finished the quilt top and he wants to add a green sash and then a blue one. It will be done in no time and he will be sleeping under it...

Thank God I stopped stalling and worrying and made time to be part of something so beautiful. Max and I had a great time working and learning together.

We connected. We enjoyed our diversion. It was perfect.
Alex wants to play next. He's thinking of a "complicated" applique quilt and I think that's perfect too. I can't wait.

I wish there were little Mending Kits for all of life's problems.


  1. OMG, how beautiful. I'm glad I have to go get my veggie box so I can be diverted from my craft impulse. Must. Not. Start. New. Project.

  2. Max's quilt is wonderful!! Great color use...And now he's on to applique--wonder kid! Can't wait to see what he makes next! Such great photos, as always...Glad a little diversion helped your hearts a little bit...Been thinking of you all and sending lots of ((HUGS)) :o)

  3. Hi Natalie...

    I am in the middle of a much needed break taking in the last few moments of summer. But I had to stop and say hello. Natalie what a beautiful quilt for Max, and wow what a helper he is! There is nothing like a beautiful project to help us get through a not so easy time... I will be back shortly, and I have lots to talk about...



  4. Natalie, what a lovely lovely entry. And you are right about Max's talent. Before I read your post, I thought how beautiful and harmonious the colors of your quilt were.

  5. It's so nice to see children showing interest in what their silly mothers are doing, isn't it?
    And with boys it's even more special, I think. My son loved it, when I made his quilt.

  6. I have to share with all of you that Max is beaming, because he is a Chickenblog *star.* He was so proud when I showed him his quilt on the blog and he asked, "All of your blog friends are going to see it, aren't they?" He knows I hold you all in high esteem and I thank you for taking time to leave comments.

  7. I am so Proud of Max that I might just Blog about him! Talk about Quilting in the blood!!!! Wow! I absolutely love that quilt! The colors the bugs!!!! Yee Haww!!!! Now I have some big frogs that would be great appliquéd to that! Want me to send him some? I am so happy that he wants to learn- my son would always just laugh at me! He did take Home Economics and learned to make some things using a pattern and a machine, though.

  8. The pattern/design of Max's quilt is nice. :o) His talent is amazing. I'm still sending my love and hugs to you guys!

  9. Wow, what a beautiful post, in every way. This day with Max, you both will remember it always I'm sure.

  10. This comment is very late, I'm afraid, but I still wanted to post in the hopes that Max might see it:

    Dude - your quilt is awesome!

    I also thought to myself before I read it, "wow, Natalie's starting a really pretty quilt". I'm a big fan of square patchwork. He's definitely got talent! What a precious day together.

    I also would like to mention how impressed I was when you said he'd be sleeping under it soon - amazed that you have the ability to finish a project, so lickety split!

  11. wow what a team, you and Max make...can I borrow your son?.I'm working on a quilt for my dad..needing some inspiration..How wonderful that you both so enjyed the process.

  12. So many kind comments! Thank you friends!
    Laney, have we met? I couldn't find my way to your blog. I hope you find inspiration, then share the quilt with us.
    Kim, you are so generous and you have a good memory... Max loves frogs!


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