Over the last few months Tall & Handsome and I have been making some changes to the quilt room. The other day I was inspired by a post on organizing your space, so I thought I’d share our latest adventures in organization.
The room is long (18+’) and has two doorways. This is the view from one door.
View from the other door. You can see in front of the Hoosier cabinet T & H’s new pride and joy. That’s an “ironing table” not an ironing board. He wanted it for his birthday, and I have to admit, it’s nice. There’s so much surface!
Our cutting table. We like this because it’s portable and we can move it out of the way when we set up the basting frames. The legs are also adjustable.
Sewing machine row – well, one sewing machine and one serger. And, a better look at T & H’s ironing table. The bed to rest the iron in when not in use is a great idea and T & H added the cord manager – another fantastic idea. No more cord dragging over the fabric and getting in the way when we iron. It really is awesome when you share the same hobby with your gadget loving husband.
The other sewing machine, design wall, and Sweet 16. Baby Girl wanted to make her debut in the quilt room, but, she didn’t have time to pose, thus the gray blur in the bottom center of the picture. T & H loves the Sweet 16 and is getting pretty good at it. I’m not surprised because he started college as an art major and has a lot of sketching under his belt. That comes in handy with free motion quilting.
The Sweet 16, T & H’s pride and joy. He also loves the purple fabric grippers you can see on the table. They help maneuver the quilt as you free motion quilt. Also, please, get a good comfortable chair when you sit down to free motion quilt or sew. We plan on eventually getting another chair for the sewing machine station.
I’m sure over time the room will change again. I’ve learned that organizing can be an ever changing process. It’s usually spurred by a better idea or imagination.
For now, we’re happy and enjoying it…
© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.
It has been way too long since I have posted anything here at Around the Block. I do sincerely apologize. Life just sometimes has a way of inserting itself with rather nasty and inconvenient events that seem to engulf you at times.
But, regardless, even during those times – maybe I should say in spite of those times, I always try to find time to devote to quilting. It is during those times when quilting seems to soothe, comfort and normalize my life. It has now been over a year since a treasure family member passed away, and many times when I’m working I sit and think of the goods time we had.
Let’s talk about today’s project!
First the name. It’s a clue as to the theme of the quilt. Once again I’m working in the color palette southwest. Land of Enchantment is the state logo of New Mexico, the home state of my Tall & Handsome, so yet another quilt influence by him. He certainly is my muse many times.
The emblem on the state flag of New Mexico is called a zia and I have wanted to make a quilt with a zia for some time. The block I will show you today will translate nicely into a zia.
The colors: The gold represents the southwestern sun and the blue represents the ever present turquoise found so predominately in southwestern jewelry. The small bit of black found in the border fabric represents the small bit of black found marbled in turquoise.
The border design is yet to come and I’ll share that in a later post.
Individual Block for Land of Enchantment
Cutting and Piecing directions for Land of Enchantment block
1. Cut 2 A’s 10 1/2 ins. x 2 1/2 ins. – one blue and one gold
2. Cut 1 B 12 1/2 ins. x 2 1/2 ins. – one gold
3. Cut 2 C’s 8 1/2 ins. by 2 1/2 ins. – one blue and one gold
4. Cut 2 D’s 6 1/2 ins x 2 1/2 ins. – one blue and one gold
5. Cut 1 E 4 1/2 ins. x 2 1/2 ins. – one blue
6. Cut 8 squares 2 7/8 ins. x 2 7/8 ins. – 4 white and 4 gold and cut in half to form triangles to make pinwheels.
Building a zia
© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.
Last week I had the pleasure of going on an outing with my mom and one of our dearest friends, Betty Wittmeier. Mom has been really sick lately, so the chance for her to get out for a pleasure excursion was really great. Betty and I like to sneak off whenever we can and get into what ever trouble we can
A few weeks ago Betty alerted me to the fact there was a special quilt exhibit at the Arlington House here in the Birmingham area. The quilt exhibit is running at Arlington until the end of August and if you go on Thursday like we did you can make a reservation for the luncheon served at 12 noon and at 1:00 PM.
The yummy menu for our luncheon was a marinated vegetable salad, seared beef tenderloin over hoe cakes, braised cabbage and choice of Oreo cheesecake or vanilla ice cream with praline sauce. Can you guess which one I picked? A hint? Well, I’m Southern and it was hot as Hades outside! Yes, nice cold yummy vanilla ice cream and that heavenly praline sauce. Chef Jason was gracious and came out and visited each table as the luncheon was winding down.
Arlington House is the only Antebellum house in the Birmingham area and is now part of the Birmingham Museum system. The house was built before the Civil War (1845 – 1850) by Judge William S. Mudd one of the founding fathers of the Birmingham area. At the time of its building the area was called Elyton. Arlington House is all that is left of that area now because Birmingham grew up around Elyton and absorbed it as part of Birmingham.
Arlington itself has a colorful history including a period of occupation by Union troops who used it as a headquarters as they made plans to burn the University of Alabama (oh, no they didn’t, but oh, yes they did!). Union General James Wilson entered the Elyton area and met Judge Mudd at his home in the Mudd Sitting Room. Since they were both Masons, Gen. Wilson spared Arlington, but using it for quarters, his troops did destroy Confederate barracks at the University in Tuscaloosa and in nearby Irondale, Tannehill and the Selma furnaces.
After the war Judge Mudd sold the house in 1884 to Henry F. DeBardeleben for $10,000, but the new owner never lived in the house choosing instead to live near the iron furnace he owned in West Birmingham. He sold the house two years later to Franklin H Whitney for $36,000. Whitney, a former Union soldier who never lived in the house used it as a boarding house. Whitney then sold the house in 1902 for about $12,ooo to Continental Gin president Robert S Munger who took the run down home and repaired and updated it.
The home is furnished with wonderful, beautiful period furniture and antiques. It’s two stories with four large bedrooms upstairs. The day we visited it was stifling hot with a heat index close to 100 degrees. It was a reminder that back in the “good old days” there was no such thing as air conditioning! There were lovely Birmingham Belles serving as hostesses and I couldn’t help but feel for them in their beautiful hoop skirted dresses. I was dressed in jeans, lightweight summer top and fashionable sandals…and I was drenched to the bone. I can only imagine had I lived in the era of Scarlett, I might have been a rebel of a different kind…
Even with the heat, the house was packed with visitors and our luncheon was sold out. Everyone really seemed to be enjoying themselves…that is except for some visitors from up North who went from room to room and very loudly and pointedly in Northern accent made sure everyone else knew…”this is all just fiction…it never happened…” I’m sure Judge Mudd would be quite relieved to know those Yankee soldiers never commandeered his home and wrecked havoc on the area. It was kind of like that dream Pam Ewing had, don’t you know? Oh, yeah and the house those “informed” visitors from up North was standing in…it was just a figment of your imagination…
Well, one thing is for certain…the quilts are very real, so lets take a look at some of them…I made a really big boo boo and forgot to load up my SD card in my camera so I wasn’t able to get as many pictures as I would have liked…
This is a traditional log cabin quilt set in the Barn Raising design. It is seen in the Mudd Sitting Room where Union General Wilson
didn’t took over the Arlington House.
Here we see another type of log cabin quilt. This setting is call the Pineapple Log Cabin. This piece is made with silk, velvet and embellished with embroidery feather stitching. The quilt doesn’t have batting. It would almost qualify as a “crazy quilt”. It’s also on display in the Mudd Sitting Room.
You may be unable to see the date on these quilts, but they date from the 1930s…about 1936. The pattern is called “Spokes” and it’s a type of album block/quilt. Album quilts are usually made up of blocks that are signed and dated by the makers. These types of quilts were used for fundraisers and people would pay a nickel or dime for their block and their spot in the quilt. Album quilts were also used for commemorative occasions. The quilts see here are displayed in the dining room.
This was probably my favorite quilt. A large Lone Star with exquisite workmanship. With a closer look you can see the narrow stripe border, something you don’t normally associated from this time period. The stripe border fabric was imported from India and was a rarity for it’s time. The colors, the piecing, the hand quilting, the unexpected corner checked blocks…everything about this quilt is pure delight. It is truly a work of art.
And, we’ll end our tour with a delightful discovery! Can you guess what this is? Yes, it is an early sewing machine! Look closely at the very bottom and you can see the pedals. There are two shaped like the bottom of shoes. There has long been a misconception our ancestors hand pieced and sewed everything. Wrong!!
Several years ago I did research on that very topic and was surprised myself to learn that just like us, our ancestors were glad to find tools of efficiency and economy. Just because they lived generations ago, doesn’t mean our ancestors were stupid! They weren’t that different from us in many ways.Our grandmothers had a lot on their list of “household chores” to do and if they could find anything that gave them a few more minutes of time, or a better way of doing something, they were open to it. It was the evolution of life from the pre-industrial era to the modern era where people began to have what is known as leisure time. Without that evolution many of us today would be minus many of our hobbies and would be chained to tedious tasks.
The other surprise was the discovery of machine piecing on antique Amish quilts that were on exhibit in a museum. Of course the machines used by Amish were human peddle powered since the Amish avoid use of electricity.
Another factor that played into our ancestors use of sewing machines to makes their quilts was the “status” factor. You see if you could afford to own a sewing machine there was a certain cache in that and you wanted to be able to show that off. Hence the growing use of sewing machines in quilting. (Look at sewing machines as the iPhones, iPads or tablets of their day and then asked yourself: “Would I deny myself the use of these tools and just use a rotary dial phone because that’s what my grandmother used?”)
Somewhere down the line the fable that all good worthy quilts are totally hand made came into being. Many times I found it was held more by uneducated non-quilters than by quilters. But, when I started quilting in 1986 I will admit there were still many quilters who hand pieced and they tended to look down on quilters who machine pieced. That gradually began to change and I personally saw the change accelerate after a machine pieced and machine quilted quilt won Best of Show at the AQS show in Paducah, KY. Now, that conversion seems upside down and the majority seems to be everything is done mostly by machine. Myself? Well, I am almost a dinosaur because I machine piece, hand applique and hand quilt although I will say there is a growing interest in my house towards machine quilting…especially since Tall & Handsome has taken up quilting.
So, if you use a machine for any part of your quilting, you really do have great-granny and her new fangled contraption like the one above to thank!
© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved
Today’s blog is to share an inspiration that has been rekindled by a recent trip Tall & Handsome and I took a few days ago…
I love nautical flags. For years I have sworn I would make a quilt using the designs from nautical flags. They’re so bright and cheerful and happy. I think it’s the primary colors that give them away…
As a matter of fact, if you are a quilter as well as a traveler and photographer, here is a website of the Alphabet in Nautical Flags. Most quilters will be able to pretty easily convert the flags into quilt blocks. I would recommend the rotary cutting method and maybe use EQ7 to design them.
The link to the website above gives you 26 flags each corresponding to a letter in the alphabet. I’m sure with EQ7 you could draft them to any size you desired and then get either rotary cutting directions or print out paper foundation piecing directions. I’m a rotary gal myself…
When my son was young, I planned on making a wall hanging using nautical flags that spelled his name out. I just never got around to doing it, although I did make him a sailboat quilt. Now that he’s grown and gone, I’ll have to find new inspiration to use these wonderful colorful flags…
Jared’s Boat Race – taken before def digital photography – but you get the idea…
These flags lined the pier beneath or in front of the Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, SC. It was a glorious sunny day and wonderful colors abound…
A dream for a photographer and textile artist…
If you do become inspired by these wonderful little flags and dream up a quilt, I’d love to see the results. Let’s us see what you’ve created! Feel free to come back and post your results!
© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.
When I first started hand quilting I hated it. It was laborious and I felt it took forever. I also, didn’t believe I was very good at it. So, I made a lot of tops. No, really a whole lot of tops…drawers full…
But, the inevitable had to come. To call my self a quilter, I had to quilt. Take into consideration I started quilting in 1986 before the current machine quilting firestorm took hold in the quilting world. As a matter of fact, when I first started quilting, machine quilting was frowned upon and considered “inferior”…something “real quilters” turned their noses up at. (More on that later.)
Also, I am a tenacious creature.Tall & Handsome says I have a knack for minutia. For example, I am a genealogist and when he watches me go through census records, he says he’d gnaw his arm off if he had to do that. I, on the other hand love the search…and discovery!
It would stand to reason at some point I would discover I truly love quilting. It began to develop when I realized the more I did it the better I became at it and the better I became, the more I liked it…it was kind of like a dog chasing its tail.
Then the cincher for me was when I entered my first local quilt show. This was a highly respected, well known and well attended show. I would have been thrilled with an honorable mention on one quilt. My chin had to be tied up like old Joseph Marley’s to keep it from dragging the floor when I went to the show the last day and I discovered every quilt I entered had won a ribbon, including several first place ribbons and a Best of Show.
A quilting lover (and maybe an addict) was born that day…
After founding and serving as President of the Heart of Dixie Quilt Guild, I developed an inclusive attitude about hand and machine quilting. This developed over time from attending regional and national quilt shows. When the first machine quilted quilt won Best of Show at the AQS show in Paducah, I knew we were in for some radical changes.
My feeling is this: Both quilts…hand quilted and machine quilted should be entered into quilt shows and appreciated, but should not compete against each other. They should be in separate categories and judged in their respective categories.
But, I digress…
Another thing I have discovered over time is…how quickly I am able to hand quilt a quilt!
With that said…C’est fini! Oui, Looking Through Grandmother’s Garden Window is finished…and hung. (Block designs are from Piece O’Cake Designs.) It took me way less than six months…way less…to hand quilt, add a rod pocket and apply binding to the top. A note here: Once I finish a quilt, I run it through the extra delicate cycle in the wash just to make sure any impurities and oils from the hands are removed. I then dry it. The end result is usually a quilt that looks antique.
I have been pleased with the results. I quilted in the ditch around the sashing to create and imply the panes of windows. Each block is quilted basically the same: the design is outline quilted to emphasize the design and the the background is quilted in diagonal lines spaced 1” apart. The diagonal lines represent sun rays coming in the windows.
Since 1986 I have developed chronic health issues…I had a second bout of non-smoking lung cancer in 1995 and lost 60% of my left lung. I’ve developed autoimmune disorders including but not limited to Sjogren’s Syndrome, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Last year I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in my heart. Why do I tell you this? Two reasons…
First, I was always compliments on my very small stitches. People would ask if I had done them on a machine…they were that small. Now, because of the arthritis and other illness, my stitches may not be that small, but they’re not too shabby!
Second, if you too deal with chronic health issues…don’t give up!! Yes, it does hurt to quilt! Some days I just cannot do it and I confess to having to take pain medication…something I never had to do…not even 5 or 10 years ago. But, they say if you don’t use, you loose. So, for as long as I can, I’m going to keep using…
Besides…I still have those drawers full of tops that need quilting and I keep making more…
Looking Through Grandmother’s Garden Window
Looking Through Grandmother’s Garden Window – block detail
Quilting Detail – my stitches now…
The quilted backing
© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved
The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 6–“Till Death Do Us Part…Well, Maybe” or The Wedding Ring Block, by Beverly Hicks Burch
The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 6 – “Till Death Do Us Part…Well, Maybe” or The Wedding Ring Block
And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Mark 10:8 NASB
Wedding Ring block
I started this chapter in February some time ago and it seemed a fitting month to start writing the latest chapter of The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries. The block for this chapter is called Wedding Ring. It is a single wedding ring and not the double wedding ring we know so well. The block is a simple 6 inch pieced block and it represents the fact that I don’t know many in life who have not been affected by a marriage in some way or another…including me.
Being a genealogist I can see how all the “begats” or unions/marriages in our ancestry make us who we are. When you stop and think about the numbers in the equation of “you” it becomes pretty staggering.
For instance, for each generation you go back the number doubles to how many sets of ancestors, or marriages if you will, it took to trickle down to create the final individual you. Look at it this way…you are the starting point on the road backwards into time and your ancestry. Take those sets and multiply them by two and you have how many people it took to create the one special individual called you.
It works this way; you had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents and 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents and so on. As mind boggling as 128 may seem, your heritage and ancestry doesn’t stop there and it continues to double for each generation back. There are so many life lessons just in the formula of who you are and how you were made, but that is for another story. One missing link in that chain and you would not have been you…as a matter of fact you probably wouldn’t have been, well, here on Earth at all.
I would ask you to reflect on the marriages in your life, including your own that have affected you and what they mean to you. I’m sure everyone has different recollections and feelings and experiences.
The most immediate marriage that has affected me all of my life and is actually responsible for me even being here is of course the marriage of my parents. My parents have something that is rare to find in this day and age. That’s a long lasting marriage. For you see, on Feb. 28, 2012 they celebrated 59 years of marriage.
Daddy and Momma early 1950s
Momma and Daddy were high school sweethearts. They were 15 and 16 when they met at a church function being conducted by my Momma’s daddy. Yes, Mom was a PK…a Preacher’s Kid. She was the shy quite one with big brown “doe eyes” as Daddy calls them. Momma and Daddy were a couple all through high school, for four years, so for all practical purposes you could say they’ve been together for 63 years and that is the biggest portion of their life. When they laid eyes on each other, there was no one else as far as they were concerned…that was it.
Daddy started the University of Tennessee with intentions on becoming a mechanical engineer. But, Momma and Daddy also had secret plans…yes, in their own quiet non-conforming conforming way they were rebels with a cause. They had plans to get married and I don’t mean a big church wedding with the wedding party, flowers, music and weeping mother of the bride (and in this case weeping mother of the groom, too). Nope, no way, no how. Momma and Daddy were going to make Hicks history…or at least stuff that would go down in family history. For you see, the shy lovely quite preacher’s daughter and the tall good looking guy from the foothills of the Smokies eloped…all the way to Ringgold, GA!
Now, the plan was to get hitched and drive back home. Mom would go back and keep quiet and live at home and Daddy would go back home and live with his parents and continue going to college. The slight hiccup in their little plan happened when Mom told her next oldest sister, Korinne, what she had done and swore her to secrecy…which of course was the very last thing that actually happened. Before you knew it the cat was out of the bag, the cow was out of the barn and the camel’s nose was under the tent or in other words, it was like telling Western Union and everyone found out. As Ricky use to say to Lucy, “There was some `splaining to do.”
Well, of course everyone knows you can’t keep true love apart very long anyway and by the time the parents (my grandparents) had time to wrap their heads around the events Momma let it be known in no uncertain terms she was living where Daddy was. And that was that.
Everything went along pretty good in newlywed life until about three months later. At that time Mom came down with a raging case of flu. Made her sick as a dog. She just could not get well. That was the “Beverly” flu. Yep, eleven months after they married I was born…and Mom’s flu was cured.
Daddy, Momma and Bev – Coming home day
I was an only child for about three and a half years. During that time we moved for a brief time to Texas where Daddy worked as an engineer in the aircraft industry for Chance-Vought Aircraft. I celebrated my second birthday in Fort Worth, Texas which has always left me with a soft spot for Texas and branded me Daddy’s “little Texas girl”. And, as I have always said, some of the most famous and infamous Texans were Tennesseans.
“Oh, really?!” I know you Texans are saying… yep. For instance: remember Davy Crockett…♪born on a mountain top in Tennessee…♪ and also famous for the Alamo. Then there’s Benjamin and Henry McCulloch who both fought in the Texas Revolution and became Texas Rangers; Mack Brown head coach at the University of Texas and oh, yeah some fellow named Sam Houston. I think you might have heard of him, too. Sam’s time in Tennessee included time as a governor of that great state and time spent teaching in the town of my birth…a long time before I was born or course
Being the true East Tennessee mountain boy that Daddy is, the Plains of Texas didn’t do much to lift the Tennessee boy’s spirits and heart. In other words, he got sorely and mightily homesick, especially when those Nor’easters barreled into the Plains faster than a New York minute without any warning. It wasn’t too long before we were packed up and headed back to the lush green climes of Tennessee.
Over the next eight or nine years Momma had two more cases of “flu”. And, two more baby girls followed those cases of “flu”. Pamella was next in line, followed by Yvonne. For a little Hicks trivia here: Mom named her girls Faith, Hope and Charity…in that order. I always teased her and said if we had been born boys we would have been named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…
Momma and Daddy’s marriage has mirrored life in general…a road with ups and downs and bumps in the road. Almost every young couple starts out with the bare necessities and grows from there. Daddy was smart and savvy and his engineer career grew. We also moved several times following that career. We landed in Birmingham, AL (for the second and final time I might add) when I was 12 years old and the rest of that is history. That is why I proudly say, ♪…my home is in Alabama…♪ and one of my ringtones on my cell is Sweet Home Alabama…
My baby sister Yvonne, really Charity Yvonne, was born in Greeneville, TN when I was in the third grade. Mom’s delivery with her was fast. Like greased lightening…about 20 minutes. She barely had time to step off the elevator at the hospital before Yvon was born. When Momma & Daddy brought the baby home, they brought home another beautiful baby girl (Momma and Daddy had the reputation of popping out beautiful baby girls with long dark eyelashes and heads of thick dark hair. The nurses in the baby nurseries used us as baby dolls and hated to send us home. Back in those days they had about seven days to get attached to a baby before it went home.)
It seems like from the recollection of my child’s mind that it wasn’t too long after she was born that Yvon seemed to get sick and stay sick. So sick in fact that Mom had to take her all the way to Chattanooga for medical care and stay with family that lived down there. Papaw and Mamaw came to Greeneville to help Daddy take care of Pam and me.
I remember it as a tumultuous time. Yvonnie was sick. We didn’t quite know what was wrong and in the world at large, the Cuban missile was going on.
Over time Yvonne was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and for the last 50 years has lived at home. Do you know what the statistics are for marriages surviving for couples who have disabled children? They’re not very good. The divorce rate is very high and it’s usually the husband who takes his walking papers and goes on to create another worry-free life for himself.
It is a testament to my Daddy’s character that he is right where is started out 59 years ago, disabled child and all, and that is with my Momma and our family. As a matter of fact Daddy is pretty much the rock of the family and the three of us girls are Daddy’s girls. It is also like having a Jewish momma having him around, which is our way of saying he worries over us like a Jewish mom would…he just never learned to cook that chicken soup. Daddy’s remedy is to always take it to prayer…
I heard some place one time that marriage is a marathon not a sprint. My parents’ marriage would certainly qualify for the marathon…
Unfortunately, the first time around, I married a sprinter…
There is a lot I could write about my first marriage. My child is the issue of that marriage. And, sometimes I feel really badly because I feel I provided a poor example…a sprinter if you will as a role model for my child. I do not adhere to the current feel-good philosophy that divorce does not affect children. It does…no matter what their age. I think our society today reflects the side effects and ravages of decades of divorce. On the other hand I also believe that some parents can be toxic and I do not adhere to the theory that having a toxic parent around is better than having no parent around.
But, with that said, there are just times when divorce is unavoidable. Marrying that “marriage sprinter” is certainly one instance. Infidelity usually ends a marriage fairly fast or ends the chance for that marriage marathon partner. Another unavoidable instance is when you marry the type of person who ends up creating the “tragic love” scenario or as I wrote about a few years ago, the type of guy (or gal) that causes love to hurt.
If that is the case, I would beseech you to go back and read a blog I wrote a few years ago that addresses just that subject. Called When Love Hurts I address the rash of tragic stories in which women have chosen to stay and in the end unfortunately paid dearly for that relationship…sometimes with their lives.
The most recent example would be Susan Powell and her precious boys. Susan disappeared one cold December day in 2009 while her husband supposedly had taken their two very young sons camping in a blizzard. On Feb. 5th of this year her husband blew up himself and those two precious boys as the police drew closer to lowering the hammer on him and his pedophile father. The coward and those poor children died in a burning inferno that should have never happened.
My love hurt story wasn’t like that, but it was traumatic just the same. Had I just opened my eyes and looked at the warning signs early on I could have saved myself sorrow and devastation years later. After 27 years of marriage my ex walked out because he was unfaithful. The summer he left I read my diary from the summer we started dating and as I did it was a real eye opener…he was the same back then…had cheated then and had not changed in 27 years. Leopards as they say do not change their spots. I just could not love him enough for him to change.
Bev & Mom – me as a young bride not paying attention to warning signs
And, unfortunately staying in a bad relationship hoping to make it functional only teaches children dysfunction. What did Susan Powell’s children learn in the end by her hanging on to a bad marriage? It cost her kids their lives. What a tragic shame… There is a saying…”The sins of a father (parent) are visited upon the children…” In other word the kids will learn from the father…from the parents. And, if you close your eyes to alcoholism, addiction, incest, abuse, violence and plunge ahead into that and choose that as a family center for your children…it will trickle down to them and affect them in one way or the other
For me realizing I could not love the ex enough to change who the core of him was, it was, well, the beginning of a new future, hope and moving forward…
So, even though I was scared to death when Gomez the Underwhelming abandoned me I began to have hope. Yes, I was disabled. Yes, he had wiped out the bank accounts. Yes, I had not worked outside the home full time in over 21 year. Yes, at one point he left me without health insurance. Yes, he assaulted me before he left and injured my back. Yes, I had hoped with everything in me that that he would have a change of heart and come home and things would go back to normal.
But, to have normal and a marriage that’s going in the same direction, you have to have two people who want the same thing. Without that, it’s just not going to happen and the only resulting by-product is going to be pain, sorrow, poor health, a bad example for the kids and low self esteem.
In the end the veil was lifted from my eyes and I was able to see there just might be someone out there who not only would help heal my broken heart, but became my marathon runner.
As the Rascal Flats song goes…God blessed the broken road that lead me straight to you…and that you is my Tall & Handsome…my southwestern cowboy.
Our story is unconventional at best. A sign of the times and a sign of what happens when a geek (me) comes into her geekdom and starts to revel in her life and gain self esteem once again. And a lonely, broken hearted southwestern cowboy who had given up on the hope of a loving nurturing relationship begins to hope again. You see we met playing an online MMORPG game. We emailed, talked and instant messaged for almost a year before we met face to face.
When I first laid eyes on my Tall & Handsome he was walking out of the Birmingham Airport. He had on tight blue jeans, a Western cut jacket and a Stetson. I got out of the Lead Sled (what I “affectionately” called my Park Avenue) and walked towards him. He walked toward me, smiled and said, “Hello, darling” and then kissed me under that cowboy hat in front of the Birmingham airport.
I felt 18 again! Wow! It was like living in a movie…a real chick flick. He really had me at “Hello, darling” and that kiss.
The Kiss – my favorite of our wedding pictures
I have also learned words are cheap, but actions speak volumes and they do so loudly! Some of Gomez’ parting words were (referring to my illnesses and disabilities), “I didn’t want to take care of you, I hated taking care of you, but I did. So, there!”God help him when his karma comes rolling around.
I have never wanted to be a burden…to anyone. So, I was very up front from the beginning with T & H about the status of my health. The man did not tuck tail and run. He called me his wounded dove…
He knew I saw in him a heart that was larger than large…and he appreciated that.
I never felt secured and truly loved with a man I was married to for 27 years. I never felt “good enough”. I poured myself into him, body and soul. But my self confidence and self esteem was non-existent. There were episodes of suspect cheating from the beginning. He had developed hepatitis before we were married five years and I was so naïve back then I didn’t realize how hepatitis is contracted. Deep down inside though I knew something wasn’t right…
By the time T & H and I married, I felt loved, appreciated, confident and secure. I had found my muse. I wanted to create again. That is a huge gift any man can give to the woman he loves. My T & H does it effortlessly…
It has been the little things that some people would never notice. The time I lay dying in the back of an ambulance in Knoxville, TN my feet were bare. T & H dashed quickly into the house and grabbed a pair of sock and gently put them on my feet before the ambulance doors were closed. At the hospital ER, he refused to be separated from me and was by my side until I stabilized and was released.
When we moved from Alabama to Tennessee I was so sick I had to go through the ER first. When we got to Knoxville I was exhausted and slept quite a bit. I woke up one weekend afternoon to discover T & H had set up the deck furniture like a side walk café, bought flowers and grilled a luscious dinner. All I had to do was eat and enjoy him and the outdoors.
Another time when I was deathly sick and my stomach would hold absolutely nothing down, he cut up corn tortillas and made home-made lime-pepper tortillas chips and they were the only thing I could eat and not get sick.
Life may try to batter us, but we fight back together as a team.
We’ve taken care of a couple of bucket list items together. But, our greatest strength is being there for each other, understanding each other and appreciating each other. I love to see life through my T & H’s eyes. It is seeing life anew sometimes.
In the end, my greatest regret…our greatest regret? That we won’t have more years together and didn’t meet years earlier. If only fate had intervened when we were young…how many times have we had that conversation?
But, in the end, it is what it is…as much as we both hate that saying. We are thankful for what we have and for finding each other. It would have been awful to have never found each other. Neither of us can imagine a life without the other. I cannot imagine a day without his voice and his blue eyes and his sense of humor.
My Tall & Handsome and me at the Survivors Dinner in Savannah, GA (2011) celebrating 29 years cancer free non-smoking lung cancer (right lung) and 16 years cancer free non-smoking lung cancer (left lung)
And, in the end we resolve…`til death do us part…with the wedding ring block…
© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.
*The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries is a writing and textile art project I started a few years ago. It’s based on a concept started by Mimi Dietrich and a book she wrote about diary quilts. I was so inspired by the book I started my own and decided to accompany each block with a chapter. Everyone has always said, “Bev, you need to write a book!” Well, here it is…at least part of it!”
If you’re interested in catching up, here are the beginning installments:
I finally have my quilt room/studio put together. I’m sure over time I’ll be tweaking it as Tall & Handsome and I use it more and more.
The walk in closet has shelf space for storage and T & H constructed a peg board for me to hang templates and tools. This has been on my “want” list for some time. Another “want” has been a design wall…which I finally have! I also found a neat little folding table with adjustable legs I can use in the center of the room as a cutting table. No more bending over and breaking my back while I cut fabric! I’m using stainless racks to store my stash. You can find these at Sam’s or Lowe’s.
I know I still have some quilt books that are packed up somewhere because I was looking for a specific one the other day and it’s nowhere to be found. Augghh! I hate moving!
I’m already thinking of way to fit in a quilting machine some day . *cross my fingers* And, like I said, there will be plenty of tweaking as time goes by to make the space as efficient as possible.
I’m just glad to finally have my space again. There’s plenty of lightening and room for inspiration. It has revitalized T & H and me and we can’t wait to be productive and get busy on the projects in our head.
Cutting table, stash rack, and sewing areas
Thread, sewing station and design wall (along with a few of my survivor beads)
Sewing station 1
Sewing station 2, cutting table, stash rack, hoosier cabinet that holds even MORE stash, buttons, beads, needles, etc. and the first joint project T & H and I worked on hanging on the wall on the right – South by Southwest
Sewing station 2 and close up of South by Southwest; on the far left you can see a glimpse of an antique sewing stand I have. I love these old gems!
The design wall – a Fons and Porter tool, hung with grommets and the help of my T & H
© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved