Okay, so maybe it sounds like a made up name for someone who has a thing for pulling together a whole bunch of fabrics that all somehow work together in a quilt, but I feel like if I’m anything lately, it’s that – a Fabric Curator.
Early this summer, as explained in my previous post, I assembled another 72- piece bundle of fabrics and cut them all into 5″ squares.
Okay, remember a few weeks ago when I shared my rather soul-baring story about how Halloween is historically my least favorite holiday? In the event you need a refresher (or you just plain didn’t read it because maybe creepy, scary, gory Halloween is your chosen bag of chips), you can catch up HERE for Part I of this post.
The update is – I did it! I found something really joyful about Halloween. In short, it started with seeking. You might remember in my last post that I shared about a really treasured childhood story I loved when I was a kid:
I have to mention here that the above book is not actually my copy from childhood. I didn’t ever have one, just read it whenever I stumbled upon a Weekly Reader copy in a doctor’s office of some kind. This book came from a library book sale I went to in my twenties. Regardless of the fact that it was a crummy copy with a loose binding (a result of all those perforated pages in the beginning which had obviously been torn out for kids to send in for their ‘copy of this book FREE’), I still bought it. It was Gus. I loved Gus and wanted my kids to have a chance to love Gus too. Even though it was a lousy copy, we read it often.
As also mentioned in my first post – a few years ago, in my quest to find something Halloween happy with which to decorate, I picked up a few more copies of various Gus books. For the last several years, That small stack of books has been my only Halloween decor:
Then…I opened a fabric shop last June. Everybody knows you have to sell seasonal stuff, right? Hence, the seeking…
After a while I stopped figuratively blubbering, and kept seeking until finally – I was able to assemble this:
which somehow felt joyful, in part, because it gave me the same warm feeling as this:
And what I really wanted to tell you in this Part II post is that as a result, I made this:
…which was triumphant enough in itself, until I stopped to realize that much to the tradition of quilters past and present, I have never – in all the quilts I’ve made – labeled the back of one single quilt I’ve ever made. G’head – gasp, all you wonderfully judicious, never-made-a-quilt-I-didn’t-label quilters out there. I envy the fact that everyone will always know which quilts are yours and which quilts were made by that one gal who never labeled her quilts (thumbs swinging right back this way).
I can’t say there is really a solid reason I haven’t ever labeled any of my quilts, except I guess I’ve just never taken the time; or maybe more that I can’t say that I’ve ever made a quilt for which I wanted to yell from the rooftops – I made this! Even if you see a flaw or a mistake, I don’t care – I made this, it makes me happy, and I’m really proud of it!
Until this quilt. So I made a label, which began with a sacrifice:
And then, go ahead – tell me I’m infringing upon copyright laws – but I think Jane Thayer wouldn’t mind if she knew I’d copied my favorite page (which I know by heart), onto printable fabric for this important something I would never, ever sell…
…especially because I made sure that her name was there too, along with Seymour’s, above mine…
So there it is, friends. My first labeled quilt, and some of the most unbelievable Halloween Joy I have ever felt.
Even if you see a flaw or a mistake, I don’t care – I made this, it makes me happy, and I’m really proud of it:)
P.S. My ‘new’ copy of Gus should arrive within a few days, thanks to the Peach Street Bridge Shop at Etsy, who had a really lovely, gently used copy. In case you didn’t know – I’m a pretty big fan of used books and the shops that so lovingly seek to find new homes for them. I’ll share more about that another time 🙂
Folks, I’ve spent my whole life wrestling with a serious personal dichotomy. Somewhat like a person whose ancestors have spent centuries in Africa trying to live comfortably in Alaska, I’m an October baby who vehemently dislikes all things creepy. What’s more, not only was I born in October, my birthday is three days before Halloween.
Every year at this time, I find myself analyzing just why it is that Halloween has long been my least favorite holiday. Most certainly it has something to do with the one year my mother (a busy single parent at the time) picked up costumes late for my sister and me; actually the day of Halloween. I must have been 5 or 6. All my mom could find was an Angel costume and a Devil costume.
*Let me just interject one thing here, in case you didn’t know:
Idealistic people do not become idealistic over time; they’re born that way.
This is me as a child; maybe 2 1/2. Despite a fair bit of unpleasantness going on around me when this photo was taken, I have always been a relentless seeker of happy. As kids growing up in America, I think most of us can remember preparing for Halloween. Much of the preparing involved Imagining ourselves in various costumes, and especially when we were small, we cared a whole awful lot about coming up with the best costume ever; at least I did. Mine were never scary or creepy, nor did they ever involve dressing up as a villian of any kind (not even a witch, folks). I imagined only happy costumes. I can’t say why, except that I’ve always thought it completely nonsensical that Halloween, chiefly a child’s holiday, should ever involve attempts to scare people.
So when my mom brought home the Angel costume and the Devil costume, I think my spirit for Halloween took a significant (and perhaps somewhat unrecoverable) blow. You see, I was the youngest of two girls in my family at that time. I knew full well who was getting stuck with the Devil costume, and it sure as heck wasn’t my sister.
At any rate, I have no actual photos of that Halloween (probably a good thing); but I do remember crying through most of it, trudging along sidewalks in my greatest-villian-of-all costume, carrying candy that may as well have been rocks for all I cared. All that said, I think even though I really did struggle with that particular Halloween, what evolved as years went by became less about one hated costume I myself would never have chosen, and more about achieving my idealistic viewpoints of what Halloween should be. Maybe in part because I was an October baby born so close to Halloween, I began to seek out joyful aspects of the holiday which, you may have noticed, are sometimes hard to find whilst sifting through all the hockey masked, chainsaw wielding, blood spattered, fright-night images that seem so relentlessly present. Oh, and skeletons. Who can forget about them?
Anyone remember Gus? My copy of Gus was a Friendly Ghost is pretty tattered, but remains one of my most favorite childhood treasures. Some of you may remember finding one of the very prolific Weekly Reader Book Club copies of this Jane Thayer book in every dentist and doctor’s office in America in the 1960s and 70s. Clearly, my copy was somehow acquired through such a club, but I can’t remember just how! Regardless, I loved Gus, Mrs. Scott (whom Gus loved especially – ‘she was so pretty’), and the image of Gus’ scraggly friend Mouse, perched atop a stack of pillows by the fire, eating toasted cheese sandwiches. The gist of the rest of the story (in case you’re unfamiliar), is that Mouse arrived in the Scott’s summer house one day (clearly Gus’ full-time home), aimed at being a nuisance. In not-so-typical ghost behavior, Gus taught him otherwise. You see: HAPPY Halloweenish Imagery.
My point as it relates to all of the aforementioned Halloween Decorations – until some kind-hearted manufacturer is gracious enough to come out with some fab Gus the Ghost fabric, I’m always going to find myself having to seek extra hard to find Halloweeny fabric for our shop that doesn’t feel creepy or scary, or otherwise ‘canned.’
Well, I’m happy to report – I think I’ve done just that. Introducing our 2015 Happy Little Halloween Bundle.
Happy Quilting, my friends (can you feel my Joy-Accomplished Halloween soul beaming through your screen? I hope so). I invite you to slip on a sweater, whip up a toasted cheese sandwich, and embark upon a little fall sewing by the fire.