It’s only a couple hours a month, and I arrive haphazardly, but I must say I am restored to sanity afterwards. I attend the Quilter’s Trunk Sew In on the fourth Thursday of every month. The chocolate covered licorice and pretzels is always a winner with us. We do show and tell of the textiles we’ve made. And the stereo speakers play the soothing sounds of Nora Roberts and other musicians we all enjoy. The CD Come Away With Me reminds me of when I was working full time as an LPN, attending RN school and studying for RN boards. I was trying to make it here, this night, literally 15 years ago, knowing my day job was a vehicle to the life I have right now, wanting a more creative life, but not sure of where I was going or what I was going to do next. I recognize that this is the moment I was working towards and I am glad about it. I always leave the Sew In satiated in spirit and trying to figure out how I am going to survive another month without this.
Both my maternal grandmother and my maternal great grandmother used to sew together. When they learned that my mother was pregnant, they made a single Irish chain baby quilt for me. I still have it. When I became an adult, I took formal quilting classes. While I was doing a mystery quilt, some familiarity came to me about the piecing. Soon, it was like I was not actually making the quilt. It felt like I had help from another source that I could not see. There was literally a light, rush of energy within the room. The pattern looked familiar. When I compared the quilt to the baby quilt my family made, I realized the design was a single Irish chain! I’ve gotten lots of requests to make this quilt. Some people who are actually Irish have said they have never heard of the design and become excited about it. The Quilt in a Day Irish Chain in a Day-Single and Double by Eleanor Burns’s book and DVD are a favorite of mine for obvious reasons! The Irish chain is one of my absolute favorite designs for sentimental reasons. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
If you haven’t done so already, please read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert! I find it amazing that she and I both came to the same conclusions about creativity. For me, I came to the same realizations she writes about. My realizations did not come in a straight line, but still, I found myself howling with laughter and nodding my head in shared recognition through much of the book. This book is really about how to make your life fuller and more expansive and having the courage to do that. It needs to be required reading for every child starting in grade school. If you haven’t already done so, go and read it now!
I had no idea of what to expect on Saturday February 27th for the Gena Chiodo fundraising event. And normally, when I have an extensive work run, I usually go to work, come straight home and go to bed. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it, but I did.
I was still wearing my nursing scrubs and uniform. People actually walked up to me and said, “Thank you for all you do.” I will admit I’ve never had that happen before and it was very nice.
Gena Chiodo was a 44 year old hair dresser. Her family had moved to Florida. She stayed behind in Illinois. She and her friends were a very close knit community. She met and lived with a man named Donald Clark. After they became involved, she became more increasingly isolated. Eventually, her friends were unable to reach her for nearly two weeks during October 2011. The police were notified. Her body was found in the woods in Indiana. One of Donald Clark’s friends agreed to wear a wire to help the police. Donald Clark confessed to the murder. He is now in Cook County Jail.
I met Gena Chiodo’s friends through my volunteer work at South Suburban Family Shelter. I was touched by their tireless commitment to raise awareness and funding for domestic violence, so I tried to make the time.
There were large posters with pictures of Gena Chiodo when she was alive near the entrance. Local businesses put together raffle baskets for auction. A photo booth was set up and the proceeds went to South Suburban Family Shelter. Both women and men wore purple t shirts that said “Stop Domestic Violence.” Those same t shirts were sold for charity.
The food was made with homemade love and delicious: fried chicken, pasta with marinara sauce, green beans, rolls, salad, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cup cakes.
Some people were teary, which is to be expected, but for the most part, it was a very festive atmosphere. There was a 60’s cover band named The Relics playing “Hey Baby, Won’t You Be My Girl” by Bruce Channel. I adore 1960’s music. That song was one of my very favorite songs from that era.
There were women walking around in princess crowns and brightly colored feathered boas. It seemed like the message was, “It only matters what you think of yourself. Never mind people who may not recognize your brilliance. Know your own worth.”