Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #9: The Kitchen Window

It's Wednesday, which means that I'm working on Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen. I'm nearly caught up from our trip. Block #8, Grandma's Apron has been put on hold while I wait for a special delivery.

Block 9 is called The Kitchen Window.

I don't think anything could be more appropriate for this block than an attic window. 

When I first started brainstorming theme I would incorporate into Gramma Ann's memory quilt, I knew I had to have something about Arizona. She and my grampa started splitting their time between Arizona and Minnesota in the 80s and then moved down permanently in the 90s. Gramma lived in her own house down the street from my mom in a retirement community until she was 90, when she moved up to Wisconsin to be closer to some of her daughters.

I've been collecting fabric for this quilt for the last few years since Gramma died. This mystery quilt has been the perfect opportunity to remember grandma and use the fabrics in my big "Gramma tote."

I bought this cactus fabric a few months ago. When I first read about the new block, I thought, "This will be a quick block!" Gramma loved sitting on her porch and admiring the Arizona scenery.

But then, I thought, "Why make things easy?" It's the Arizona sunsets that everyone raves about.  I dug through my scraps to make up the sunset.

I used the white I've been using as a background on the other blocks for the sun.

I cut the cactus from the print in my original Kitchen Window block, and used Heat N Bond Lite to secure it to the sun, and then used a teeny tiny zig zag applique.

While I was working on this block, I got thinking about windows. This is the kitchen window in Gramma's last house.

She didn't spend much time looking out this window, because she would rather sit on the big porch with friends and family.

She loved company and she loved family. This is my son the last time we visited her in Arizona. He was 3 at the time, but knew the way from Gramma Chi's house to Gramma Ann's house. He didn't even want to unpack!

I also thought of the windows in her Arizona room, where so many mementos of her life were stored.

I took this photo the last time I visited her in Arizona. My mom had taken her to the hospital because it was the beginning of her decline. My husband and son were playing at a park. I had a premonition that I'd never have the opportunity to soak in the lives of my grandparents after that day, so I spent about two hours walking through the house, looking through photo albums, and remembering.

Windows make me think of memories. A window is a view to another perspective. Listening to someone's memories are the way we learn to understand another's life from their point of view.

The last time I saw Gramma was about a year later, when she was settled into her assisted living apartment in Wisconsin.

I brought my iPad and showed her the photos I took at her home and she told me stories. How I wish I would have recorded our conversation!

I will always feel bad that I didn't get to say goodbye when the end was close, but I am grateful that on our last visit, she was having a good day and was able to tell me more about her life.

My quilt so far. Missing #8 for the moment. My new block is a bit dark. I used the brown from block #2 (to the left) as well as the same background white. I'm very curious about the final layout, but I have an idea percolating on how I can pull everything together. 

Edited: As much as I liked this block, it was too dark, so I changed it. 

Previous blocks:

If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

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  1. I really enjoyed your memories of your grandma. I miss my grandma something fierce. Her house always smelled of cinnamon and graham crackers. You did a beautiful job on the windows block. Happy sewing! Andrea

  2. Such sweet memories! Your quilt will be a wonderful tribute to a lovely lady. Thank you for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss!

  3. What a perfect way to use that cactus print! Love the sunset too!

  4. When I saw the cactus, I had to come look at this block, too. I also love Arizona, and lived more than half of my life there. I miss it terribly. It was a joy to read through your post about her, and really it does fit the term bitter-sweet. Thanks for sharing.


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