My One Hundredth Post: A Tribute and a Gift....

There is an old quilt that hangs on a quilt rack in my bedroom. It is tattered and faded and stained. I am afraid to wash it because it just might disintigrate on me. It was made by my grandmother during the depression. It is made from pieces of dresses that my mother and her sisters wore, as well as shirts that my grandfather and my mother's brothers wore. I'm sure that it was made with a very utilitarian purpose in mind, but to me it is much more than that. It is a link to the past and inspiration for the future.

For my one hundredth post I though it only fitting to post a tribute to all of those women in my life who have been an inspiration to me.
My grandmother's name was Tennie Starks and she was a wonderful lady. She was the daughter of first generation Americans. Her father's family came from Prague, and her mother's family was Irish. She endured much hardship in her life. She was the mother of seven children and raised them on a cotton farm in the hills of western Tennessee. I know that often money was tight, and that she created things originally out of necessity. Things like the quilt that I cherish so much. In her later years after my grandfather passed away and she left the farming life, her creativity continued. I remember crocheted bead necklaces similar to these that she made for me when I was a child. I had a solid green one, a solid blue one, a red and white one and a pink pearly one. She croched dresses and doilies and afghans and shawls and just about anything else that could be made from a crochet pattern. She could crochet faster than any person I ever saw. Her fingers flew so fast you couldn't even see them! In her later years her eyesight went bad and she continued to crochet just by feel, rarely missing a stitch. This sweet lady is the one who taught me to crochet when I was in about the 5th grade. I made a yellow pot holder:). My grandmother passed away in November of 1987 at the age of 89, during my freshman year of college, just a week before Thanksgiving. I still miss her a lot.

Another lady who comes to mind is a lady named Adeline Smith. "Mrs. Smith" was a member of the church that I grew up in. She was an elderly lady that we often picked up and gave a ride to events and services at church. She was one of the sweetest ladies I ever met. She had an incredible story and I loved to hear her tell it. She was orphaned at a young age and lived in an orphanage for several years where she assisted with the younger children. She was eventually adopted by a family when she was in her early elementary school years. They allowed her to choose a new name if she wanted to and she chose the name "Adeline" because that was her favorite name. Mrs. Smith was a crocheter, too. The beautiful white doily seen here was made by her as a wedding gift to Jason and I. She made one large one and 4 small ones to match. It has been displayed somewhere in our home ever since we first moved into our little apartment after we first got married. Mrs. Smith passed away about six months ago, well into her nineties.

And where would I be without my Mom? Mom taught me to sew when I was in Junior High. I didn't really even want to learn at first, but I gave in to her persuasion and learned that I enjoyed it. Now I can't imagine NOT sewing! When my husband and I became engaged I told him that I didn't know if I could remain sane without a sewing machine. His gift to me for our wedding was my little "Brother" machine that I used up until two years ago. (Mine to him, was a Nintendo 64, LOL. I think about that now and think, "yep, seems about right...") The first thing I made with that machine? Bridesmaid dresses. (He gave me the machine early, so that I could do this.) Mom made the Matron of Honor dress for my sister and the flowergirl dresses for my nieces, and I made the two other bridesmaid dresses. My mother also crochets and occasionaly arranges flowers and has done some hand embroidery. I remember when I was a kid, there was a time where she was working on a stamped embroidery project of some sort and we had a cat. I remember her sitting at the end of the couch under the lamp working on the project and the cat sitting on the arm of the couch next to her and he would bat at the needle every time the end would poke up through the fabric. I often think about that when my own kitties curl up in my lap when I am stitching. Thanks, Mom, for the inspiration that you have been and all that you have taught me!

My sister is an inspiration to me as well. She is not as much of an inspiration in the creative realm (although she has done a bit of sewing and creating in her day) as much as in the realm of courage. My sister's daughter, Allison, has a genetic, degenerative neuro-muscular disease. My sister has valiantly faced many frightening realities about her daughter, and is determined to make the best of things. Even before Allison was born or we knew anything of her illness, my sister decided to go to school. My sister finished her RN degree while both of her children were preschoolers and did so at the top of her class. I couldn't be prouder of her for the wonderful nurse that she has come to be. Love you, Janet!

My mother-in-law, Burdette has inspired me to try new things and learn to enjoy the "now". When I first met her she was taking a class in stained glass craft, after that she took a pottery class, and a jewelry class. For my birthday one year she gave me pottery tools and paid for a pottery class for me. It was something that I had always wanted to try. Burdette is never afraid to try something new and creative. She has a real love for anything that is unique and creative. Whether it is a cookbook for which her friend did the photography, or an abstract hand painted floor cloth that refuses stay put on the floor (lol), or a whimsical mixed media framed piece of clothes on a clothes line, or even a lopsided drawing by one of the little girls, she loves them all the same and sees the creative value in each one. I really appreciate all that I have learned from her. Thanks, B!

Finally to the wonderful women that I have befriended, whether in person, or online. People like Amanda and all my other new blogging friends, Tricia from ARF, and all my "pod" buddies. Thanks for the encouragement and new ideas for projects. I love you all!

If you have waded through this far, then I commend you! LOL. So now, the gift portion of my 100th post. I have here a little watering can holding 6 coordinating fat quarters in blues, greens and yellows, and just a touch of pink that I will give away. To be entered in the drawing just reply to this post and leave a comment and I will draw a name next Sunday (the 24th) in the afternoon sometime. Thanks for reading, I am truly grateful to you all.


amandajean said...

congratulations on 100 posts, Linda.

Love that quilt! It's beautiful....and how wonderful that you have it, no matter how fragile it is.

Holly said...

Wow, what a treasure you have in your grandmother's quilt. That must be very precious to you. I love the doily, too. One of my favorite wedding gifts was a doily crocheted by a lovely woman from my husband's church, a friend of my husband's grandmother. She passed away shortly after our wedding, and I cherish her gift.

Congratulations on your 100th post!

nancy said...

Love the way you so eloquently shared with us the Ladies of Inspiration! You are an inspiration to us as well, Linda.

Love ya!

Katherine said...

I love hearing the story behind a quilt - your quilt is beautiful and obviously treasured.
Isn't it wonderful to have the inspiration of others? Thanks to you for sharing and inspiring, even though we've never met.