300 Quilts · Quilt Finish

Quilt Finishes, Kitchen Re-do, Watching a Plant Bloom

These strange looking almost-flowering buds belong to the Mother of Pearl plant. It’s also known as the Ghost plant, or Graptopetalum paraguayense.

This is the mother ship of that spindly, tentative arm that is reaching out to flower. This part is sturdy, well-rooted, thick and healthy. The flowering branch looks delicate, pale, and like you want to set up a succulent hospital to take care of it. I think the base plant could climb mountains, leap tall buildings in a single bound. I would think that the flowering branch is one of those caricatures of a fainting Victorian woman.

Both of these are us. Are you. Are me.

It’s on the sturdy plant days that we reply to every email, answer every comment on Instagram, hand-write overdue notes to far away friends, cook homemade meals, weed the garden, quilt for hours — our minds clear and powerful, our physical bodies cooperating and healthy. We eschew sugary snacks. We sleep well. We read interesting books. Each minute has a purpose.

Sadly, frail flowering stem days can sometimes prevail. On those days, while we might look well to the world, inside we can hardly step over doorway thresholds. We doom-scroll social media, but don’t have energy for even a “like.” Thinking of what to say to comments is herculean, and dinner consists of whatever is in the fridge, or at the closest fast-food place. Creativity is still treasured, but we can’t find our sew-jo, our mo-jo, our motivation or energy. Sleep is interrupted, and we worry/ruminate way too much. Our physical bodies are busy plotting against us and it’s generally Not Good (think something along the order of January 6th).

You get the picture.

And then two holy men step into the fray (thinking of their names: Angel and Ezequiel). We are in the midst of a kitchen re-do, as some of you have seen on other social media. Maybe to continue the metaphor from the Mother of Pearl plant, we are being re-potted? This week Angel and Ezequiel, and then Leo (on the right with all the cans, etc) came to paint the kitchen three different colors. (In case you don’t feel old enough, Ezequiel — a sturdy, jovial man — is 72 and has been a painter for nearly a half-century.) It has been nice to have many thoughtful, kind and cheerful people help us.

On another day this week as we ate lunch, I looked at my Dave and said, “Today we don’t have to pick a paint color. We don’t have to go to five tile stores to choose backsplash. We don’t have to go to four stores to evaluate countertops, or talk about drawer handles or garbage disposals. We don’t have to buy sinks, or microwaves or a refrigerator.”
“I know,” he said. “Would you like to take a nap?”

It was a spindly flowering branch day.

And then this happened. It was the arc scraps from Primula Ballerina’s Drunkard’s Path blocks, filled in with low-volume fabrics. I blocked all out that was happening below me in the kitchen and kept going because I was listening to this:

Baby Hurren’s Quilt #275 in the Quilt Index

Each Drunkard’s Path block is 5″ finished, so I guess the quilt is 40″ x 35″, about right for a friend’s baby who hasn’t yet arrived.

And that Target Special round mirror is for the half-bath downstairs, because ohgoshwhynot, we decided to replace the vanity/sink while we were at it and the old square mirror won’t fit when the new vanity comes in. The painters painted it “White Flour” today (our white for the kitchen). What a gift.

And then when the construction drapes were cleared from the family room for a weekend, we took the chance to binge-watch the last season of Sanditon. The ending(s) reminded me of Lord of the Rings, when we had wrap-up ending, after wrap-up ending, after wrap-up ending. Which allowed me to do a wrap-up ending on this EPP quilt (North Country Quilt) which was started in April 2019. (Free pattern for the pieces at the link.)

I decided to sew on a border as the edges were as unstable as my current state; on the right is my mock-up of the quilting for Jen, my long armer.

At this point, I just want this quilt to be done, even if I’m not so sure about it now. I am also hoping that soon the kitchen will be done, that we’ll move back out of the dining room, unpack the stacks of boxes in the garage and family room, and find our sturdy plant lives once more.

Lilacs in bloom remind me of my mother

16 thoughts on “Quilt Finishes, Kitchen Re-do, Watching a Plant Bloom

  1. Always love your quilts. Baby Hurran’s quilt is beautiful – like the way you used color to make a unique pattern.

  2. Another outstanding post!! And yes, I recognize spindly flowering branch days – can usually detect their presence within an hour of awakening. Then my goal becomes moving it aside, plowing through; mostly I succeed, but if you find me asleep on the sofa under a quilt, I failed. You’ve taken on a ton of stressors in this renovation and when they fall away, you will be left with sweet memories of Angel, Ezequiel, Leo and Manny and the joy they brought you and Dave and the project. And sturdiness will return in it’s usual inconsistent fashion. Love the baby quilt!!

  3. I love everything about your baby quilt, love the pattern, the colors, the quilting, thank you for sharing!

  4. Yes, spindly flowering branch days have prevailed. I need to embrace the love of new kittens we will adopt tomorrow, FIV, stay inside, away from others, they will be much loved. My heart will be growing again 🥰😻. I love your quilt and new kitchen, you are blessed dear friend! 🤗

  5. Anyone who has been through a remodel can empathize with you. The mind is taxed beyond all expectations even when you think you know what you want. I’m glad you were able to escape with some fun and pretty quilting.

  6. Hopefully the kitchen renovation is coming to an end. I have puzzled long and hard about how you do things differently over there when it comes to cupboard doors. Here in Australia we have laminex doors which come in a limited range of colours. …..less choice, less stress? I’m wondering how you are enjoying Exiles. I personally didn’t care for it much, not Harper’s strongest offering in my humble opinion. Thankfully I have found another Australia author I am listening to. It certainly makes for satisfying quilting time. Stay strong Elizabeth…this too will pass.

  7. Bougainvillea blooms remind me of my mother.
    Life is challenging. Love your quilts. So thankful to quilt and maintain my sanity. Wishing your kitchen comes to closure soon. Blessings, Dawn

  8. By the end of our basement remodel, the workers coming in at 7:30 a.m. would be used to seeing me in my bathrobe with a towel wrapped around my head. They seemed nonplussed, and I eliminated my stress by getting dressed for the day after they arrived. After completion, dust, painting, noise and too many people in my home, became a faint memory. The basement became my haven. It was worth the disarray in my life. You’ll get there too. Hang on. Keep making quilts in the meantime. It’s your solace.

  9. Your post reminds me of bones or no bones days; did you ever happen to come across those TikTok videos where a man would check in with his dog every morning to see what kind of day it was going to be? I hope you took the nap! And what a delight that you have had such lovely and kind help. The bonus quilt from the drunkard’s path extras looks beautiful, and congratulations on getting the EPP ready to send off for longarming.

  10. I so enjoyed reading your post with my first cup of coffee this morning! Will my day today fall into the “spindly branch” or the “sturdy base” category? For decades, day after day, month after month, year after year, I was always a super sturdy base, but aging is bringing me more days of the “spindly branch” variety, often just because the energy isn’t there sometimes. It’s taking some getting used to. Resting is OK! 😊 Meanwhile, what a great little baby quilt made with your leftovers!!! And the kitchen is close to completion!!!

  11. I rather like the idea of being a Mother of Pearl plant, sturdy and fragile ( dare I say pretty) at the same time. It’s a lot better than being plonked into the “age-related problems” category. What with kid’s divorces, an aging father and the various other unavoidable medical problems life deals out !! Your post had me going through my stash to see if I even had any mother of pearl fabric.
    No 😦
    I’ll just have to go and buy some 😉
    Anne ( not really lost in France as I said once before , but living here. I’m British and married one of the natives about 48 years ago. Did I just say 48 ? I think I can feel a mother-of-pearl moment coming on 😀 )

  12. Elizabeth I always enjoy the way you seem to read my mind and put in to words the thoughts and feelings I am also experiencing. It’s nice to get a peek at the kitchen progress. Love the baby quilt and your other finish is lovely and will be better once long armed. 😉

  13. What a wonderful baby quilt, you do such a great job of using up your leftovers!
    Those spindly plant days of life seem to come and go but have lately been sticking around for no real reason I can put my finger on. The sun is finally starting to shine here and will hopefully bring some strong plant days.
    I hope you love your kitchen so very much!

  14. I sure hope your sturdy days are on the increase. Once the kitchen is done and all boxes unpacked you’ll look back and all the stress and inconvenience will dissipate. The baby quilt is a wonderful use of leftovers.

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