This summer, I know I mentioned before, I drove to California. Originally the goal was to get there to see my sister-in-law, Cindy, who was dying of cancer. Unfortunately she passed in May before I could get out there. I went anyway to see my brother and his family, and to deliver my granddaughter Jordyn to her Nana & Papa for her annual summer visit. I also had the 1960s hand died, hand braided rugs that had been in my folks' home loaded into my car to make the trek back to California (I'd brought them with me to Kansas last year). Originally there was the huge one (seen rolled & folded up) that filled our living room for over 50 years, three smaller ones for the entry hall and corner rugs, a long runner for the hallway, and three in blues & greens that were in their bedroom. Between the three of us kids, we split them up when we emptied the house after Dad died in early 2012. As it turns out, my choosing the big one and two small matching ones wasn't so smart--I live in rentals that are typically wall-to-wall carpeted, not to mention there aren't any rooms big enough to accommodate that monster! So, back to California it goes where it will fit nicely (with room to spare) in Wayne's new living room.
We arrived in Fresno the day before Father's Day at my brother's new home--his first "stick built" house ever. Wayne & Cindy had lived in rentals early on, and then a double-wide mobile home for nearly 30 years, always thinking of it as temporary, but life happened and they never got out. With Cindy rapidly failing and desperately to get out of their "tin can" and into a "stick built" house, they and their daughter, Shelly, pooled together and put an offer on a house that was accepted! Cindy only got to drive by and see pictures, but she was happy knowing that Wayne would no longer be tied to the trailer they so desperately wanted out of.
While there, Shelly and I went through Cindy's sewing stuff. I think I can safely say that Cindy was a fabric hoarder! She had boxes, bags, bolts, sometimes full bolts straight from the store! With their move still in process and piles and piles of boxes filling at least half of their huge backyard (the house is on an acre!), we hunted, sometimes by flashlight, to find projects that would need finishing. Shelly is a wiz at the embroidery machine and creats incredible children's fashions and party accessories, but she's not a quilter--yet! Cindy was a meticulous quilter who loved Irish chains and miniatures. After a long day of sorting and organizing, we filled four cartons with UFOs and a carton with books & magazines. Yikes! I thought after dropping off the rugs and Jordyn and her bags that I'd have a fairly empty car for the drive back! Wrong! LOL!
|The blue line got us there, the green line zig-zagged me back.|
I then took a very circuitous drive back to Kansas and enjoyed the freedom to sight-see and plan my days the way I wanted. You see, we had left Kansas on June 11 and I didn't have any plans until July 4 to be at a friend's house in central Kansas to celebrate the 4th of July. So, what took us only five days getting there, took me 18 days to get back. The only day I worried a little was when I wanted to drive over Boulder Dam. There were check points and when the guard asked me what was in all those boxes and I told him fabric and quilting projects. He definitely looked a little skeptical. I was willing to open them and prove it, but he waved me through. Funny trip memory. :-)
With lots to do to finish settling into my own new home myself upon my return (I had moved about 80 miles northeast into a townhome nearer all three of my kids in April-May), I merely moved the boxes from my car into the garage with everything else piled in there. I swear I'll be able to park in my garage before the snow flies this year! Really, I will! I've been back nearly two months and have only looked through those boxes once. I guess it's time to pull them out and take a look at what's ahead of me.
I'll be continuing Cindy's legacy by finishing her projects over time. There are several in red, white and blue that will be donated to the Quilts of Valor program. A couple were for specific people and will be completed and gifted as planned. Slowly, they will all find homes where they will be loved as Cindy was loved.
Come to think of it, somewhere in my house there are two adorable mini's that Cindy made and sent to me last year--one with ladybugs (my favorite!) and a St. Patrick's Day Irish Chain with clovers on the green patches. I know I had them hung in my other place, now to figure out what box they're in.
So, while these aren't technically my UFO's, they are New-to-me-UFO's! With all the projects I already have in my own stash and sewing room, who knows when some of these will be done, but whenever that happens, Cindy's name will go on each label as she started every single one of them. Today my family is celebrating Cindy's life with an open house, serving Cindy's favorite meal. I so wish I could be there with them, but they know I'm there in spirit. Cindy, we'll never forget you and the legacy of quilting you've left behind will bless many lives for years to come. Love you Sis!
|Me & Cindy in better days|