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Happy Birthday, Grandma!

If, some day, I can look back on my life and see the reflection of my grandmother throughout my journey, I believe it will have been a life well lived.  Today, that mother of seven, grandmother of twenty-three and great grandmother of six, turned eighty years old.  Beyond the number of people who call her mother, grandma and great-grandma, it was the sentiments expressed at her party yesterday that truly reveal the amazing woman she is.

Yesterday as most of the aforementioned clan gathered at her party (unfortunately we were not able to attend though Iris and I are visiting soon) many people shared stories and gave speeches.  One of my cousins spoke of how my grandmother's home was always a place of peace and acceptance, amidst the inevitable chaos of such a large family.  That sentiment resonated with me so deeply.  As I raise my own family, I hope our home is a place of warmth and peace, of unconditional love and acceptance.  A place where we look for the beauty in one another, where encouraging words are spoken often and criticisms sparsely.   These are all of the reasons why being around my grandma feels like home, no matter where we are.

As the oldest grandchild, I always felt a special connection with my grandma.  I consider her to be another mother to me.  I was sewing some oven mitts for her and thinking of how inadequate a gift it was for her 80th birthday.  I wondered how else could I honor a woman who's meant so much to me.   Then I realized I already had the perfect piece for her:  my love letters quilt.

This quilt was pieced during my first trimester with Iris, hand quilted during my second, and the binding was hand sewn on during my third.  It was held through our chaos, our warmth, our noise, our peace, our acceptance of one another.  Hours of love and attention were poured into this quilt and it became one I cherished.  I knew it was meant for her all along.  I packed it in a box with those oven mitts and a letter, wishing her a very happy birthday.

Indigo was quick to point out we were in need of a new family quilt.  I really wasn't up to thinking of such an undertaking.  But, as it turns out, we are making a quilt top in my handstitched class.  The timing was wonderfully perfect.  Passing along one cherished quilt only to discover I'd be starting another heirloom project.

These sentimental sewing thoughts aside, I mostly want to say happy birthday, Grandma.  You mean so much to me and I can't wait to see you!


  1. Oh Rachel, what a sweet post! And I LOVE the pictures!

  2. My grandmother sewed and crocheted and I attribute all my creativity in those areas to her! I lost her 2 years ago at 95, but she had a long life and was a great lady!

  3. Lily,
    I wonder how many of us who have taken to sewing/knitting/crocheting had some influence from our families? I didn't start sewing until after having kids but I often wonder if I picked up the passion through osmosis through my extended family. :)

    I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. That's so hard! It sounds like hers was a life well lived!


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