Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Most Epic Post Ever

Exactly three months ago today, Hubs & I helped my dad and stepmom move my grandpa and his wife into a nursing home. 

It was a difficult day for so many reasons. It was unbearably hot, being the first week of August. They weren't really ready to go, either. Not physically, anyway. Nothing had been packed or cleaned, and there weren't any boxes to put their belongings into. The fridge and pantry were full of food, and stuff was everywhere.

Grandpa is nearly blind, and Marie has Alzheimers, so that didn't make things any easier.

But the hardest part of the day came, not when we loaded up the trucks and trailer, but as I unpacked my Grandpa's shirts, and hung them in his new closet. It just broke my heart, condensing his entire life into such a tiny little room, barely big enough for their beds and comfy chairs.

That's when the tears came for me. It was just really, really hard to face the fact that this was his last move.

But God makes all things beautiful, and out of that difficult day, Hubs and I both were extremely blessed.

We got such a sense of family and joy, knowing how much we were blessing Grandpa, and even my parents. My dad was just getting over being really sick, and there was no way my stepmom could have done all that by herself. I love knowing I was there for Grandpa on such a hard day. I got some special time with him, and loved on him, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Since he and Marie would have hospital beds provided by the nursing home, my parents asked if we would like their twin beds to give to the boys.

Funny thing is, the day before they made the offer, I had been thinking about looking for twin beds to buy for them. I went so far as to list their crib bedding sets on e-Bay that night!

So after a long, difficult day, we were blessed with twin beds for the boys, and even a new couch for the playroom!

Now I had a new challenge: outfitting the boys' new beds with matching bedding.

I really love a quilt a friend made for Cavan when he was born, and wanted to attempt something similar.

I started searching for the fabrics. Since the fabric collection was in stores more than two years ago, they were all discontinued. It took many, many late nights, looking at quilt fabrics online, but I finally found and ordered what I needed. There was only one fabric that was completely unavailable, and the pony print had been changed a bit, but other than that, I came pretty close.

My stepmom is a talented quilter, and she gave me some pointers that I never would have figured out on my own. I cut out a few pieces, and sewed my first quilt block. It wasn't perfect, but it gave me the confidence that I'd be able to make an actual quilt.

The next day, my parents came over, and my stepmom helped me cut out all the pieces for two twin quilts! She showed me how to sew them together quickly, and that day we got 36 (3/4) of the blocks sewn together. She was at the table cutting, and I was at the machine, sewing. It went so much faster than I ever dreamed it would.

I sewed all the blocks into strips, and then sewed the strips into one huge piece. That took an afternoon; again, way faster than I thought. The next week, she came back and helped me put all the sashing and pony print borders on.

I cut all the remaining fabric into strips and pieced the backs together in an afternoon.

Then I bought all the finishing supplies and went to her house to quilt them. I had NO IDEA what I was in for!

She showed me (and added CONSIDERABLE help!) how to lay out the fronts and backs and sandwich them with the batting. Then it was time to start quilting.

I did it on her fancy-schmancy machine, and I'm so glad I did! It was physically exhausting, pulling the quilts tight, and feeding them through the machine. They got very unwieldy, very quickly.

My stepmom is a very good, very patient teacher, and I would never have gotten as far as I did without her.

Before I did the quilting, she embroidered each boy's name on the back,

along with a little label (right below each name) that has the date, and who made the quilt.

The labels were the perfect finishing touch, but they make me laugh a little. I'm not going to show them to you, because they have both our last names on them, but they say I made them "with help" from Grandma.

And to that I say: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!"

I think it's actually the other way around. These quilts would still be nothing but a pile of fabric if it weren't for her.

She also finished them both for me, sewing the binding on by hand.

They look AMAZING.

I couldn't be happier with them.

The boys slept on them last night for the first time, and they were a hit! Which is shocking. Both boys are pretty set in their ways (at 2 and 4!) and I thought I would have to confiscate the blankets they've been sleeping with.

It's late, and I'm sick, so I'm going to wrap this novel up.

But I just wanted to show off my latest projects! They're something I never, ever thought I'd be able to do.

And I wouldn't have, without Pat.

Thanks, Pat. I love them, and you, too!


Kelsey said...

Love them!!! Great job, Mama. And Grandma :) I'm definitely not brave enough to attempt a quilt yet!

MaryAnne said...

Those quilts are amazing!!! Perfect for little boys! I wish your stepmom could teach me how to quilt!