15 September 2008

Improving with age

I am a working homemaker. I am proud of that title but it took me a while to realise it. I don't know how many times I've filled in a form that required me to describe what it is I do with my time. I've called myself "nurse", "journalist", "writer", and , no doubt, various other things. I don't think I've called myself "domestic engineer", if I ever did, I regret it. Homemaker suits me well now. It is what I am. I am proud of the name and what it represents.

As I worked in my home yesterday, with another season coming to an end, I busied myself with some of the changes that seasons bring. The quilt photographed above is the one my sister, Tricia, made for our mum as she lay dying in hospital many years ago. Tricia worked on the quilt as she sat by mum's bed, and mum loved it spread out over the hospital bed, hiding hospital sheets and a sick body. The quilt was being made for mum, but when she died, Tricia asked me if I wanted to have it.

It is one of my most treasured possessions.

I took the quilt from the bed yesterday. The warmer weather is here now and I will gradually take apart our winter nest bed and make one more appropriate to warmer weather. As I looked at the quilt still on the bed, I noticed that over the years it's developed lines of mellow wrinkles along the quilting stitches. It has the look of a well used, but cared for, quilt. The straight and crisp lines of a new quilt are gone, replaced by something more gentle and comfortable. Age and use bring another dimension to this quilt, it adds to the beauty of it. Function often reveals its own glow that you see when you slow down enough for it.

Later in the week, I'll wash the quilt and hang it out to dry, then it will be stored in a cupboard until it is needed again. That might be when someone falls asleep on the sofa, when visitors stay overnight or when winter's chill again calls for a much loved and aging quilt. It seems to me that like many people, quilts improve with age.

Hanno's birthday is on Friday. He will be 68 years old.



  1. What a Beautiful quilt! An awesome sister to share it with you.

    When filling in forms etc no matter how formal/informal I always put - Kept Woman, many a time it has made a pomps person laugh!

    I am noticing age hitting Brent & i - in news today is of our beach becoming a nudist beach - I don't want drooping bodies walking along our beach naked thank you - bet the young fellas don't either, or is it just a sigh of old age for Brent & I not wanting this.

    Have a good week!

    Love Leanne

  2. What a beautiful quilt! Memories like that are priceless.

    Update from Michigan, the hurricane formerly known as Ike is sitting over top Michigan with unrelenting rain and 45+mph winds. Thank goodness it's not as bad as what they had down south. On top of today's storm, we had 2 days of straight rain before this as Ike moved north and fed right into the green radaar blob sitting over top of us.

  3. Lovely story...
    When filling in forms I usually write "mother and wife". Two full-time jobs!Sometimes forms just ask you to tick a box and you have to choose between employed and unemployed.... which means that anybody not working for money is considered unemployed!

  4. Yes, quilts are very special things indeed. My sister makes stunning quilts with embroidered sections on them. Her blog is www.littlegreencottage.blogspot.com in case you're interested and her web site that has some freebies is www.stitchingcow.com .Hand stitched quilts are a true gift from the heart. What a prescious gift it is that you have received.

  5. A lovely quilt with the associations that make it a comforting treasure for the spirit as well as a nice bed cover.........I have quilts of my mothers, my grandmothers and one of my ggrandmothers, falling to pieces because it was made from scraps of perishable silk velvet when she worked as a dressmaker in the late 1800s.

    Please give Hanno my sincere congratulations zum geburtstag. He's five years older than I am. I do think some wisdom/perspective comes with age.

  6. Well I have had more time to go through some of the older posts, and I only have bauot a zillion questions but the main one for the moment is where so you buy luffa seeds or seedlings?? I have a great spot to grow them.

    Actually I think we have been living as you describe in a half hearted way for a while. But with my new vegetable garden in (well for almost a year now) I am determined to feed us mainly from the garden if I can I am not too good at it yet but i am learning.

    I am not organised enough to start with sed s i forget about them but seedlings and I ge on great as long as they don't ask for more water because they only get one drink a week around here as we are on tank water exclusively.

    I notice you emntion working at The Centre once a week not sure what type ofcentre it is but could you use some second hand books or could anyone for tha matter they are all good quality reading books just we have way too many and I need to declutter the shelves. We use the library a lot now but have our favroutires that we read time and again and this carton is surplus to our needs. We also have a 20 year old set of Brittanica Encyclopeadias to give away our kids use the internet for research.


  7. Beautiful quilt Rhonda. Happy Birthday to Hanno on Friday. It's my birthday on Sat and I'll be 40. I'm quite excited about turning 40, I think I'm definitely improving with age.

    cheers Kate

  8. A gorgeous quilt! I think I am working harder than ever now I am at home! lol! Happy birthday to Hanno!

  9. What a very special quilt! Beautiful too!Happy Birthday to Hanno! My husband's birthday was yesterday (the big 50)!


  10. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    A Lovely quilt! And Post!
    I discovered a Homestead Blog last evening thought you or your readers might enjoy. I think its Life in Tee Harbor/Alaska ,I added it to my blog list if that isn't correct.This Lady has wisdom well beyond her age!
    Hope you have a great wk.

  11. What a gorgeous quilt, and the memories that go with it! As always, I have enjoyed my visit with you. Happy Birthday, Hanno!

  12. I love the quilt. Happy birthday to Hanno! I love being a homemaker too.

  13. That is a beautiful quilt, and a most beautiful post.

    My dh will also turn 68 on his next birthday.

    Be blessed!

  14. What a beautiful quilt, and what a beautiful history of it. Thank you for sharing this, it touches my heart.

  15. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Just a lovely post - restful, joyful, a wonderful read for this Sunday evening.

    I hope that you have a delightful week, and that Hanno's birthday will be the best yet ;) Love & hugs, Q

  16. Good morning Rhonda. Your sister Tricia is a clever lady, I am teaching myself the most basic chain stitch with a friend's help. Perhaps one day I'll be able to make a quilt.

    I had an awesome day yesterday trawling through your July 07-Dec 07 archives. You've always written well but I "heard" your "voice" developing as I progressed with my reading.


  17. Good day to you, Rhonda:

    What a gorgeous quilt - and most definitely made with love. The photo really struct me cause at the moment I am working on a quilt that looks exactly the same!!!! Makes me want to work even harder on it to get it made up. I agree, with time, these handmade treasures look even better. Did your sister, Tricia, make it with scraps? I am making mine with old clothing, kitchen curtains - anything that I can cut up, ha!
    Have a great week.

    Liane :)

  18. Beautiful post, beautiful picture..
    Love form Crafty cheery cherry

  19. How beautiful! When my Grandfather passed away no one in the family wanted my great grandmothers quilts. Theses were made for nesesity out of old woen out clothing and material so they look a tad bit crazy! i love them as the remind me of the women in my past and well I simply loved this post thanks!

  20. Hello again i just found he post on lavender and rose waer i used to by lavender water for my ironing now i can make my own it used to be a little luxury that Iowuld buyonce a year for my birthday - now it will be my brithday everyday!! Thank you


  21. I would guess that this quilt is infused with Love. Anyone who cared to listen to it would feel that. And you, dear Rhonda, care to listen.

    Happy Birthday to Hanno! He carries his years well.

  22. Happy Birthday from Michigan to Hanno.
    I cherish the quilts made by my Grandmother and Great Grandmother, and truly agree they become more beautiful with age.

  23. It's a beautiful quilt with a beautiful history, I can imagine you look at it with fond memories. Whenever someone asks me what I do, I say "family manager". I think it's funny but also true. I've had people tell me what I do is "nothing", I just let them think what they want to think.


  24. Hi Rhonda,
    I haven't been able to stop by your post for a while so I was back tracking and saw that you were having sciatica trouble. If you haven't tried Massage therapy for it, I highly recommend that you do. Especially try to find a Pfrimmer (frimmer pronunciation) therapist if possible. I worked on a lady back in February and after 3 visits she was almost totally pain free. I had to beg her to finish the recommended 6 sessions. (No charge to her so I got nothing out of it but the satisfaction that God helped a lot and also gave me the ability to be of service to her in her uncomfortable state.) Any massage should help tremendously though.
    Hope you are feeling up to snuff soon. Mammamamma in US

  25. My Grandmother started making quilts for each of the members of her family. Unfortunately, she passed away before she got to mine. BUT. I was the one family member who spent hours and hours with her every week and I got the gift of learning how to make quilts from her. (and many, many other useful things) So now I am the one making the quilts for others. To me, this is an honor, to carry on my Grandmother's giving nature.

  26. that is a lovely quilt, long may it look lovely in your home.

    Enjoying reading your blog so much, which I have dipped in and out of a little in the past month or so. I especially like the stitcheries you do and am I inspired do make some myself. I have a nice idea for something for our hallway.

  27. You're paring down on the bedding and we are piling on as winter is around the corner. The beautiful yellow wedding ring quilt I received from my grandma will make things cozy! It got down to 38 degrees here last night. Brrrr. Our winter here in NEbraska is long and brutal so I am planning and preparing accordingly. We are laying in a large stockpile of sorts to cut back on trips to the grocery store in the depths of winter. Happy birthday to Hanno!


  28. I still have a lttle teddy bear that my Nan held in her hand in hospital when she was very ill. I think that possesions are about memories. I even look at my chewed chairs and remember a loved collie dog.

  29. Beautiful, beautiful quilt. The memories associated with it make it even more meaningful. I have one of my grandmother's quilts and I often wonder what she was thinking as she sat quilting it.

  30. Is that a thousand pyramids quilt? It's beautiful! Happy early birthday to Hanno!

  31. Beautiful prose, Rhonda Jean. What wonderful sentiments!

  32. Hello Rhonda! Hope everything is going well for you today!

  33. Rhonda, your story and quilt have inspired me. My DH is just about to be deployed for six months overseas, so I think while he's gone I'll work on a quilt for our bed, for when he gets home. Something to keep me busy, yet maintaining a positive focus on "us". Thanks!

  34. What a beautiful quilt and imbued with memories. I once did an essay for my Archaeology degree course, about items - in this case grave goods which were buried with people - having special personal meaning to them. We could only guess at that meaning now, but it altered the whole conception and understanding of that article - and that person too I guess.

    I have sent my girls off to Uni with hand-made hexagon patchwork quilts which they love, and remind them of home.

    Happy birthday to Hanno.

  35. Hi Rhonda
    Hope your day has been sunny.

    I too treasure all the home-made items my family have bestowed on me. My sisters sew, quilt & applique so I have quite a few runners, cushions and wall hangings which I love. My mum, who is 78 still attends a craft group each week and I have some lovely embroidery and small items that she has made me over the years. Her eyesight is not so good now but she used to do lovely embroidery on doilies etc.

    Your quilt looks lovely and I can imagine how satisfying and comforting it is to bring it out each time for a fresh airing.

    Cheers - Julie

  36. Rhonda,
    Just wanted to check on you...hope all is well. Missing you and your sweet, kind words.

    Hugs to Alice.

  37. i love quilts! I made a quilt with the clothes, curtains, and scrap fabrics from my grandparents' house after they passed. Whenever I am ill or just feeling a little blue -- that quilt is my greatest comfort. I curl up in those sweet faded patches and feel so incredibly loved.

    What a lovely post, Rhonda Jean.



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