that was indeed a longer absence than I anticipated. I have been well, and a lot has happened since I was last here in Blogland.
I have retired from work, well semi retired, maybe, maybe not.
One of my children has flown the nest. maybe, maybe not...it has been almost a year....and my husband took a generous redundancy and has definitely retired!! And that was only a month ago.
I was so exhausted after leaving my job that I could not even think about sitting at the computer, I didn't want to do anything that felt work related, I was burnt out. It took me three months to stop thinking about my previous responsibilities. When you run a one woman office and you have been fully responsible for everything for 12 years or so, it takes a while to feel that you finally can take the burden off your shoulders and breath.
I never knew that life could be so free.
I have been reading blogs and following Instagram, I have been soaking in the creativity that is out there but letting it wash over me, taking instead of giving, allowing others to speak and just listening and nodding. Now I feel that I have a little to say again.
This is a very special gift that I made for my "boss".
For the last 12 years of my working life my "boss" happened to be a priest, a lovely scholarly man who had been a wise and caring person in my life.
Being Catholic I referred to him as "Father" (the correct formal title) he wasn't fussed about this formality and often said I could just call him by his christian name. He never wore a priest's collar and if you passed him in the street you would not see him as a man of religion, however his gentle calm nature and well chosen wise words did mark him as someone who deserved the title of Father.
I had not been bought up in a religious household, my parents being very anti religion, but I married into a family that was, and being closer to my married family I chose to open my mind and learn.
I can now see and say how lucky I was to learn so much from my previous job and my "boss". I learnt how judgements rebound and land back on your shoulders. I learnt that we are all just trying to make sense of this life and we all suffer as humans. I learnt that all faiths stem from the same desire to learn and relate. I learnt that mankind has and will continue to twist and corrupt anything in order to gain power over others. I learnt not to blame religion for the wrongs but use faith to overcome, I met so many wonderful genuine old and wise people through my work. They were human too, some loved a bit of gossip, some were strict rule followers, protocol being very important, some were mean, so many more generous but they all tried in their human way to come together in the church and celebrate life.
And that was the short version of what I am trying to convey in this quilt. I was madly trying to think of what design would be suitable for such a person. I was at one of the many Quilt Fairs that I attend and was flicking through Material Obsession's latest book by Kathy Doughty "Adding Layers"......and laaaaaaaa.(cue heavenly choir music) there IT WAS. The most PERFECT design for what I could make.
I tweaked it a little...as I thought red velvet would make the most perfect heart centre. I tracked down the Madonna fabric online, and I went into quilt shops asking for "shepherdy" fabric....you know like the robes we put together for Christmas pageants. I was so vague in my description, I knew what I wanted just could not describe it well. However some quilt shops know their stock very well and I found the fabric for the spokes that spoke to me of "shepherds".
I then thought that like sun rays through clouds..( we refer to them as Jesus rays) the spokes should be varied in length. The background in the original design was patterned and I was going to go down that path but then on the design wall the solid red just spoke to me of regal majestic tones, so I went with that.
Appliqueing the heart was tricky and I hand quilted with perle cotton, and machine quilted rays coming out from the heart centre to accentuate the spokes.
I was very pleased to have found what I thought was the perfect quilt for a priest. He was extremely impressed and I had to explain that it really was not as intricate as he thought.....but I did let him know it does take some time to throw together such a thing.
The pictures were hastily taken on a very sunny day as I had a short time to finish and present the quilt before I left. So quality of photos are not the best.
Its been lovely to get back on the blog.