Finishing up in San Diego

{ This post was written on August 9, 2016 but is just now being published. }

We have a lot of last minute things to do before we leave. Like make sure both cars are good for the long drive up. 

Hanging out waiting for the Subaru to be finished.

Hanging out waiting for the Subaru to be finished.

Running errands like this with the family makes me think of our days cruising. We did so much together as a whole unit. Sometimes that was really stressful, but mostly it was wonderful.

C had her last piano class. We will miss Alexis, her teacher, and my friend, who you may remember from the previous post about the baby quilt I made for her.

We got a chance to have dinner at our friends, Ryan and Alex's new home, a house that is only a 10 minute walk from our San Diego home. We're so happy for them, but this dinner was bittersweet. We've been friends with Ryan & Alex for years and years. They sailed across the Pacific several years before us and had their daughter, Stella, in New Zealand. She was born just six weeks after Lyra. Our friendship has been long distance for a long time. It would have been a dream to finally have them as neighbors, yet as they were unpacking from their boat to this new lovely home, we were in the middle of packing to leave for Mammoth.   

:sigh:   C'est la vie, or something. Maybe one day we can live close together again. One day!

We also had to say goodbye to our dear friends, AliReza and Halime. I met them when I started volunteering with San Diego's Jewish Family Services Refugee & Immigration Services. I was assigned as a 'Friendly Match' to Halime and Reza's family and we have become close friends over the past nine months. There were tears as we hugged each other goodbye but I know I'll see their family again and I can't wait until they can come visit us in the mountains.

Just a few weeks before the real flurry of moving began, Jewish Family Services asked me to meet a newly arrived refugee family from the Congo. The mother spoke Swahili and the father spoke French. They connected me with them because I speak French.  I sent a call out in my personal and online community for donations for the family of four (they had two young children) and was overwhelmed by the immediate response.

People really do want to help. This was exactly the kind of response I received last December when I told my network about Halime and Reza's family as well. I put the girls to work cleaning some of the baskets and bins that donations were sent in and helping me organize everything as well. It's very important that they understand why we try to help others and cleaning like this was a way they could really help.

My car (and thus the girls' car seats) was in the shop when we were ready to bring over the first round of donations. Eric brought them over personally himself in his car. Good man. He doesn't speak French at all. Here's the thing, you don't need to speak the same language to pull up to someone's home, smile, wave, and show them what their community has brought for them. He even brought them San Diego beer to really welcome them in style (and yes, we checked first to see if they drank alcohol.)

We delivered one more load of donations to them before we left for San Diego. This load included packages mailed from afar (answering the call for help I had sent out via Facebook), cash donations from generous community members, and toys. Glorious toys. LOOK AT THAT FIRE TRUCK. You should have seen the look on the children's faces when we pulled up to gift these things to them. The gratitude from the mother and father is something that motivates me to continue to work with incoming refugees. They need our help and welcoming them to our country is one way we can truly do that.

(The blurred text in the photo below is to mask the family member's names. Without their express written consent and understanding, I cannot share pictures of them or their names, and that is totally fine; I have their faces and names written in my heart.)

Even during the last week and a half before we left, when the house was a total jumble of boxes, I was still sewing. I had a project to finish for the Bumfuzzles and I had some special gifts I wanted to give the girls for the drive up to Mammoth and for their new home. I'll show you what I sewed for them in the next post.

I hit up the laundrymat for what might be the last time in a long time. Our new home has a WASHER AND DRYER. Oh, the luxury. We are now just days away from leaving. More soon.

A Mod Circles Baby Quilt for Alexis

Part of the fun of quilting is getting to work and create things with beautiful fabric. Another part I love is making handmade, high-quality gifts for friends and family. Quilts last a long time; they're a bespoke craft that can be passed down for generations, or at the very least, are generally hardy enough to last through a baby's entire childhood.

Now when friends tell me they're pregnant, I cheer. I cheer because I'm not pregnant anymore and I cheer because I get to make them something delightful. And so it was that I approached my friend, Alexis, about what kind of quilt she may like as a gift for the birth of her second child. After some discussion, she told me she really liked this quilt. It's called Mod Circles Appliqued Baby Quilt by Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched. Alexis said she loved the pattern and that I had free rein to pick the fabrics & colors. 

I started working on this quilt after recovering from my surgery in the beginning of May. C helped me place the petals on the circles once they were all cut. The kid has an eye for this.

Note to anyone who decides to follow this pattern: pay attention when placing your circles and/or use water soluble ink. I was off by an inch on one of the rows, but I caught it, and my trusty erasable pen solved the problem.

In the four months I took to complete this quilt (hey, life was busy), my woven tags finally arrived. Victoria Leone of Red Wave Creative, designed these for me. She's also the designer for my blog logo. I used Dutch Label Shop for the production and couldn't be happier.

Alexis is a big fan of DIY and really lives the ethos of reduce, reuse, recycle. When she said that I could choose the fabric and colors, I decided to make the petals out of my stash of designer fabric scraps. The back of the quilt is composed of two large pieces of fabric, one that I've had in my stash for years just waiting for the right the project, and one that was extra fabric from another baby quilt I recently finished (post on that one coming soon.) The only part of this fabric that was purchased explicitly for the quilt was the background fabric for the front, Bella Solids in Ruby Ice, and a yellow batik for the quilt binding.

Some women send their husbands sexy selfies while they're at work. I send him pics of me binding quilts by hand...

Some women send their husbands sexy selfies while they're at work. I send him pics of me binding quilts by hand...

A thing of beauty, no?

I got the chance to hand deliver this (a lot of my friends live on distant shores.) My girlfriends and I planned a surprise baby shower/going away party for Alexis. She was moving to Tacoma a few weeks before our move to Mammoth. This was our way to say bon voyage. Huge thanks to our friend, Christina, for hosting. Her home and her hosting are amazing.

We waited for Alexis to arrive. Her husband, Melvin, was in on the surprise and unbelievably, we actually managed to surprise her (after weeks of planning.)

I love the look on her face in this gif. She was blown away that Melvin had been able to keep the party a secret.

It was a good night, with good friends. I'll miss these people.

And Alexis and Melvin loved the quilt. Win!