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Links to Joy: Handmade Quilts

Here’s what’s making me smile today:  warm, cozy quilts! Right now I am curled under a couple of them which were made by my wonderful grandmothers.  Looking at the patterns on these quilts, running my hand over the different fabrics, I can remember the fun times I spent as a child with my grandparents.

The quilt I’m looking at while I type this post was a surprise gift from my father’s mother. She had given it to my mother years before I was married, saying, “Save this and give this to her when she gets married because I know I won’t be around by then.” She was right.

My grandmother gave me this red, white, and blue quilt as a wedding present.

It was a bittersweet moment when my mother presented this quilt to me, but it is dear to me and is treated with special care.  When I look at this quilt in particular, I remember spending the night with my grandparents at their house in the “holler.” (Let me translate that for all the “city folks”:  They basically lived in a small, deep valley.  Driving a car down their driveway felt like trying to follow a mountain goat trail without falling off the cliff!)

Their home was a wondrous playland to me as a child, since I am so fond of nature and the outdoors.  A frigidly-cold spring flowed out of the rocky hill on one side of their yard, which formed a small pool and then cascaded across their yard like a tiny, gurgling stream.  My cousins and I would grab an old plastic margarine tub with a lid and walk down the road to the creek to catch crawdads (a.k.a. crayfish, crawfish, mudbugs, freshwater lobsters).  Triumphantly, we would bring back the bowlful of critters and deposit them into the tiny spring pool to watch them grow and multiply in their new home.  The babies were hardly bigger than large grains of sand when they hatched!

Special memories with my grandmother include using homemade cane poles to fish for perch and catfish in their pond and watching her spread piles of flour and milk right onto the kitchen counter–never measuring any ingredients–as she made some of the best biscuits in the world.  (Thankfully, my father picked up her biscuit-making skills and helped me create a recipe that closely-approximates her huge, fluffy treats.  Hooray!)

three fresh, delicious strawberries

My all-time favorite thing to do at their house was to hop the mini spring “creek” and walk to the sandy strawberry patch in their garden.  Grandpa was a hard-working man who would faithfully stand in the blazing sun to hoe and pull every weed in that strawberry patch, not even bothering to stop and wipe the sweat that dripped from his forehead.  Grandma and I would pick buckets of berries, some of which actually made it back to the kitchen, rather than into my stomach.  The berry patch was nearly three feet wide and, from my child’s-eye point of view, about a quarter mile long!  (My parents say it was actually about 250 feet in length.)

I don’t have time to elaborate upon all the other adventures I enjoyed at my grandparents’ house (nor would you wish to read through it all, I’m sure.  I’m impressed that you made it this far without falling asleep!  Lol).  Today this warm, cozy quilt stirred up warm, fuzzy memories, and I just wanted to share a few with you.

Do you have special memories of family and friends that warm your heart and moisten your eyes?  Cherish those precious memories whenever you have the chance!

Feel free to share some memories in the comments below, if you’d like.  I’d love you hear your stories!

If you don’t wish to share a memory, but you would be willing to share something you are thankful for or something that just makes you smile, please encourage others by adding your comments on the page called “Reasons to Smile.”  Thanks!

~~~~~UPDATE: 3/20/15~~~~~

Oh, wow!  Look what I found while working on an assignment for the WordPress Photography 101 class:  a photo of my grandparents’ garden!

my grandparents' large garden, photographed from an old 35 mm slideshow

Does anyone remember the old 35 mm slide projectors like this one?

35 mm slide projector and slides

photo from Legal

My parents had many photos on these old slides.  In 2008, *CLICK-CLACK* my family gathered around in my parents’ living room *CLICK-CLACK* with a screen on a tripod and the old slide projector on the kitchen table *CLICK-CLACK* and walked down memory lane together *CLICK-CLACK* as I took photos with a camera to try to preserve some of the old images *CLICK-CLACK* because the slides were beginning to degrade. (Remember the constant clicking noises?  the flash of light and dark?  the occasional voice saying “Oh, wait, I’ve got that one in upside-down!”)

Aaahhh…memories…

my grandparents' large garden, with areas labeled

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4 thoughts on “Links to Joy: Handmade Quilts

  1. That is a beautiful quilt and reminds me of the stitched kitchen towels that my grandma, who passed away last year (she was my last living grandparent), gave me as a wedding gift. I love those towels. I remember when I was a young girl, I would sometimes stop by my grandma’s house on my way home from school. She had a cookie jar and would pour me a glass of milk to go with a plate of cookies. (During her last days all she would eat was cookies and milk!) She always added cream to her milk and she made the fluffiest, syrup-soaking pancakes (I have her recipe). When I moved away from her, she would often write me and later, email back and forth with me. She always gave me sound advice and instead of judging others because of their poor choices, she chose to compliment their good qualities.

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