I am here! I am here!


I AM here! Right about where that red “x” is in the photo. Just kidding, although I sort of feel like I’ve been wading through the cornfield.

Does that title remind you of “Horton Hears a Who?” It’s something we’ve said around my house for just about ever. Anytime one of us comes in looking for another and calls out, the other responds, “I am here! I am here!” If my guys go out to get a pizza, I get a text as they’re pulling in the driveway, “We are here! We are here!” Goofy? Yeah, maybe. We are a pretty nerdy crew. But I think every family has some little quirky things they say or do that the rest of the world just might not get.

We have languages we speak to each other. I thought about this on Sunday afternoon when I talked to my dad on the phone. I called to wish him a happy Father’s Day, and we slipped into our usual conversations. I realized that all of us have ways we speak to each other that we may not use with others, just patterns of speech or colloquialisms that we’ve settled into. Sometimes, like with my family’s Horton bit, they are based on shared memories. I do this with my husband and son, too, and they do with each other. I’ll bet you do it with your family and loved ones too, don’t you?

Anyway, I am here. If you are a regular reader, you’ve probably thought I fell off the face of the Earth. But, as you might also have guessed, life has just been insane here for the last couple of months. I thought the madness would stop with The Boy’s 18th birthday in May and his graduation two weeks later. But I was wrong. I thought that since my role had so drastically changed (I’m no longer a homeschool mama!), life would be less hectic. I was wrong. Somehow I thought life would quit throwing new things at me, things that had to be addressed right then. I was wrong there too.

But I’m trying, starting to carve out a little more time to do the things I love, things that have nothing to do with making sure somebody gets their schoolwork done, or has clean clothes, or food fixed for them, or even whether or not the floor is clean. My guys are usually pretty adaptable and, as usual, they are adjusting to me being less available to them. I think it’s harder for me, though. After eighteen years of being Mom, twelve years of which I was both Mom-and-teacher, it feels a little weird to not be trying to take care of everything for everyone, not to be teaching something. I feel sort of like a slacker. I’ll adjust, I’m sure.

Saturday, for the first time in, oh…ever, I managed to spend all day in my workroom (minus a little design time at my computer for a completely different project). It was just amazing. Truly, for the first time in such a long time I was working without a plan, just doing the next thing, building my little quilt the way I wanted to, or maybe the way it wanted me to. Either way, it was like giving a parched plant a drink of water. I looked up, midafternoon, to realize just how long I had been in my own little world, inside my head, cutting this, painting that, finding just the right piece for that spot there. I had thought of nothing beyond the next step in the piece I’m working on. And nobody here had needed me for anything. It was sheer bliss.

I was chatting with my friend Teddy the same evening about what I was working on because I knew she would understand better than anyone in the whole world how giddy I felt at the joy of doing my own thing. I also knew she wouldn’t laugh at my photos when I didn’t quite have things the way I wanted them. She’s awesome like that. Teddy and I have been friends a long time and she gets the way I like to work. In fact, she was working that way long before I ever even fell into it. (If you want to see some amazing quilts, take a look at her website. They are fantastic, to say the least.) Teddy remarked that it was like “…dope to a junkie.” And how.

This is the napkin I’m working with

So, what is that piece I’m working on? Well. You should ask. It’s my challenge quilt for my pal Kelly’s Quilting Vintage group. Kelly sent a few of us a vintage table linen to turn into a quilt. I mentioned it before, and am just now getting around to working on, or playing with it. Yes, it’s been six months since she issued the challenge. Don’t judge. In my world, I am way ahead of the game. It’s not due to her for eleven days. I might not even have to Express Mail it to her! Yeah, just kidding there too. Of course I’ll have to Express Mail it. Is there another way? It wouldn’t matter if she suddenly extended the deadline for another six months. I’d probably still be at the post office the day before it was due.

Raw materials

I’m not quite ready to show you the quilt, but will before I mail it off (if I can remember to take a photo!). I can pretty comfortably say that since everybody else who’s in the challenge is an over-the-top longarmer and, well, I’m not, my quilt will be just a bit different than all the others. Just a bit. This photo at left shows what I started with…it was like opening up a treasure chest!

My quilt won’t have show-worthy quilting on it. You may not recognize the original linen we were given to work with when I get done. You may well wonder what the heck I was thinking. But that’s okay. Since we had almost no rules for our quilts except that they be no larger than 30″ square, I took it as a chance to play. And play I shall. I think it’s how I work best, no plan, no rules, all fun. And in right-down-to-the-deadline attack mode. I’m liking the way it feels.

What about you? Are you a play-by-the-rules quilter? Do you make time to play?

  • Wendy Tuma

    Boy, can I relate to your thoughts on transitioning from mom/teacher to not (I was there a few years ago) and yes, you’ll adjust. Enjoy slacking and just play. You’re on the right track! Looking forward to seeing your challenge quilt!

    • Lori East

      It’s a transition I never really thought about, you know? I just kept doing what I was doing and BAM! It all changed. I know I will adjust, but I am not sure anybody can prepare you for it. I mean, in all of life, it’s a small thing, there are certainly much bigger challenges, but it’s still new.

      The challenge quilt…I am thinking about all those little pieces that have to be sewn down…whose idea were they? 😉

      • Wendy Tuma

        BAM! is right. I just didn’t realize how much I had put in to it. Kinda rocked my world for a bit. It does settle in time.

        Oh those great design ideas, eh? It always seems so easy in my mind, until I start with the piecing or stitching, then comes the what was I thinking!?! Have fun! Enjoy the process!

        • Lori East

          heh, yep, I’ve had lots of those “what was I thinking” moments. The process is fun, though, and that is what I want to focus on!

  • Well, Sugar, I can’t wait to see your finished quilt. I have . . . well, let’s say I have an ample supply of vintage linens and tablecloths and so on (I am bad to rescue), and I know that One Day I’m gonna’ know just what I want to do with them.

    I live on County Road 571 in Fantasyland.

    I know good and well that I’ll never know Just What To Do With any of these goodies. I just have to clear the decks, pull them out, and start fiddling and what if’ing. I need a day like that. I really, really do. For now, though, I’ll live vicariously. Post when you can. And have FUN. xo

    • Lori East

      Hey, Sugar!

      I will post more soon. I am absolutely having a blast working on it and am learning that starting with no plan at all might just be what is best for me. I am trying to let the pieces tell me what they want to be and it is magical. I told my hubs tonight that if I could work Just.Like.This for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy camper. For the first time ever, he actually came and watched me work, and I think he MIGHT have gotten some idea why I keep hauling all this junk home. I have told him for years that they are raw materials, but I don’t think he really understood before now.

      Yes, fiddle, what-if, and PIDDLE. I need a lifetime of it, and might just decide to grab it.