Pinwheels for a Baby

Dear Vi,

We’ve all been very excited over the news that Mr. C’s cousin Frank is going to be a grandpa! Well, the baby was due on Valentine’s Day, but she decided to put in her appearance a few days early.

I haven’t gone anywhere near mama or baby yet because I’m still fighting off the after shocks of the flu (sinus infection followed by bronchitis). Some things you just don’t want to share, am I right?

…but I’ve been quietly stitching away in the background in anticipation of the special delivery.

I had so much fun shopping for the fabric. I decided not to use my stash…I wanted something brand new. Don’t you just love these sweet vintage-inspired prints? They go so nicely with the pinwheels, which are themselves a vintage quilt block. In fact, according to one quilt historian, the pieced pinwheel block pattern hails back to 1795, following the invention of the cotton gin!

I put prairie points between the inside & outside borders because babies just love little tags of cloth to explore and fiddle with..

At 35 x 42 inches, it’s perfect for tummy time.

Hand quilted with love for our wee Logan ♥

 

 

Mount Lorne, a Hockey Hero…and Marichi’s Posse for the Letter M

For several years we lived in the Yukon bush, in an area between Carcross and Whitehorse, near what is now the Hamlet of Mount Lorne.

That’s where M played hockey on the outdoor rink. Yes, outdoor hockey in the Yukon. Of course!

But it was cold, I’m not going to kid you. Someone always had to get their early to light a fire in the big old wood stove beside the benches at the hockey rink on game days. The kids used to take their skates off between shifts on the ice and hold their frozen feet up in front of the fire. Parents were recruited to lace & unlace, whipping those skates on and off to speed things up. Sometimes we’d hold up spare socks in front of the fire so when the kids got off the ice we could warm those toes, bright red from the cold up even faster for a quick turn-around. When it was really cold (-25 or so) they could only stay on the ice for about 10 minutes at a time before their feet would start to sting.

The year we moved in, the community association built a proper community hall, complete with kitchen and bathrooms. The year after that, an enclosed warming shack beside the rink, with a second wood stove inside. What luxury! The warm-up shack had two rooms: one for our team and one for visitors. The wood stove was on the home team’s side, but we’d leave the connecting door open for heat during particularly cold weather.  During my hockey-mom years, I volunteered many hours in the concession stand, selling hot dogs and hot chocolate, bags of chips and hundreds of cups of coffee. I drove many miles taking my turn in the carpool, cracking the windows against the overwhelming odour of boys and unwashed hockey gear. Eau de Hockey Bag. Those were the days.

Hockey has its downside, though. Your parents must be moderately wealthy in order to hold your head up amongst your peers. Pity the 12-year old boy who has to shop for his gear at the second-hand sports store and depend on hand-me-downs from wealthy friends.

Thank goodness, most of the families on our team shopped at Canadian Tire – as we did, for the most part. However, there was always one boy who was being fitted for the top-of-the-line brand at Hougen’s Sport Store while another was making do with duct tape and extra socks.

We were not wealthy. We made do. M wore more than his share of second hand gear.

One time, the boys went on a road trip to play a tournament in BC. M was wearing an old pair of oft-mended skates. Wouldn’t you know it; they had to break on the road trip. Rather than poor M having to sit out the tournament, the team’s two coaches took him to town and bought him a new pair. These were not the Canadian Tire, mid-priced ones we would have been able to afford. Oh no – these were Top of the Line skates. Best-skates-money-could-buy skates. Every boy’s dream skates. M was over the moon with pride and joy.  When he innocently presented me with the receipt for reimbursement, I burst into tears. There was no way I could pay it. I was angry, hurt and mortified beyond belief. Did the coaches think that we sent our son out in cheap skates because we were… cheapskates?

They were kind men. Good fathers. Great coaches. They just didn’t think –they probably had a limited selection to choose from and very little time to shop. Really, they probably just bought the first pair that fit, in a rush with a bus-load of boys waiting in the parking lot. They were heroes, really. M’s heroes.

They were kind to buy M skates and not make him sit out the game. They were kind to create a scholarship fund (which hadn’t existed before this trip) to help us out. Because what can you say when the mom is standing in the parking lot crying over a bill she can’t pay?

The very next year, the new scholarship fund bought skates for another little boy whose family couldn’t afford them. We haven’t lived in the Mount Lorne area in decades, but I know that that hastily created scholarship fund has probably helped a lot of families out when they needed it.

And now for the A-Z challenge:

MMarichi’s Pose (marichiasana)

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Marichi,  literally meaning a ray of moon- or sunlight is a wonderful stretch. I always feel good after doing this one. Hockey players like it, too. ♥

Hands2Help: a Because You Matter bonanza!

I asked friends to collect our mail for us when we left to spend two months in the Yukon because I was going to be gone right in the middle of the time that quilts might be arriving from the Hands2Help charity quilt drive. I told my friends that I was expecting two or maybe three parcels. Imagine my surprise when I opened my door and walked in to this great stack of boxes!

boxes

I have no idea why this picture is showing upside-down. Sorry!

This is so exciting! To date, 14 quilts, 3 tops and enough extra 9-patch squares to make a baby quilt have arrived from towns all across Canada and the United States:

  • Mt. Juliet, Tennessee;
  • Saint Paul, Minnesota;
  • Katy, Texas;
  • Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire;
  • Southampton, Ontario;
  • Simi Valley, California;
  • Rochester, Washington;
  • Strathroy, Ontario;
  • Dansville, Michigan;
  • The Villages, Florida; and
  • Kingsville, Ontario.
quilts

I have no idea why this picture is showing upside-down. Sorry!

I’m unpacking them right now and have to say that I’m feeling completely overwhelmed with the care and attention that went into the making of every one of these quilts. It’s obvious that their makers were thinking of the children who will find comfort and joy when they wrap up with a picture book, make a  fort, snuggle up. I can feel love oozing out of every single one of these beautiful quilts.

I’m completely blown away at your generosity, dearest readers.  Oh my goodness! Because You Matter has taken on a whole new meaning. It isn’t just the children and teens that matter and deserve a quilt, it’s YOU generous people who make the quilts that matter, too – that give these beautiful gifts to deserving folks in need of them. Because we all matter!

One more parcel is still waiting at the post office, so if you sent something and don’t see your town listed, that’s probably it. I’ll pick it up next time I go to town.

Stay tuned for part two…the photos!