Category Archives: Holidays

5 Ways to Celebrate National Quilting Day

The third Saturday in March is National Quilting Day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the tradition of quilting, its significance, and the ways it connects people. The Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society’s 1989 Quilter’s Day Out was the inspiration for this annual event, which the National Quilting Association approved as a national event in 1991.

You can participate by hanging a quilt outside your house and sharing a photo with the tag #nationalquiltingday.

Here are 5 more ways to celebrate:

  1. Download a free quilt pattern. Click here and scroll down the page.
  2. Contribute a quilt to a special cause such as Happy Birth Day, Baby!
  3. Share your skill by teaching a class or mentoring a new quilter.
  4. Start a new quilting project. The holidays are only nine months away.
  5. Patronize your local quilt shop.

Giving Thanks for Family Traditions

Webster defines traditions as events that are passed on from generation to generation. The tradition may be a story, a belief, a custom, or a talisman of some sort.

I find traditions comforting, especially those that have passed through more than one generation. Give me the history behind a special one-of-a-kind spoon that Grandma used to prepare a favorite family dish, or a cameo that great-grandmother Erla wore on her wedding dress. I can listen for hours to these stories.

Wisconsin in November brings out a tradition that dates back to early settlers in the region, that of the harvesting of meat to sustain the family through the long winter ahead. Nowadays it is common to see fluorescent orange clothing (or pink for the ladies) hanging on clotheslines or porches as the hunting season nears. Some claim the crisp weather removes human or household odors from the clothes enabling the hunter to be more concealed from the wildlife. I wonder if that is true or if this a tradition that has become part of the adventure.

This year with the raging pandemic there will be smaller family groups gathering as well as fewer spontaneous drop-in visitors. One fallout is that smaller turkeys are being bought for the traditional meal. What if there isn’t any turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce left over for sandwiches on Friday? I, for one, say we can’t let this tradition be lost. Buy a big bird, mom.

Let us also think of new traditions that can be started this year. Maybe we bring out the cloth napkins grandma used that have been kept in a box in the attic, or instead of rushing through the meal to watch the next football game all electronics are turned off during the meal and conversation becomes meaningful.

We can be grateful, happy, and hopeful in this month of Thanksgiving. Maybe that should become a tradition of its own.

Believing in Tomorrow,
Gini Athey

The Beauty of Change

Most people don’t like change, and with good reason. Change brings uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and a sense of loss. When change is forced upon people, there is also a loss of control and a degree of fear.

The one change many people seem to embrace is autumn. The beautiful period of transition from summer to winter when temperatures cool and festivities begin. There are so many pleasures to enjoy that this change of season is the high point of the year for some people.

One of the things I enjoy most is the colorful fall foliage. What do you enjoy most about autumn?

Believing in Tomorrow,

Gini

March ~ the Month of Transition

In Wisconsin, we talk mostly about the weather during March. The adage, “In like a lamb, out like a lion,” or vice versa, is mentioned often from day one. I’m afraid that if this is true, with the beautiful days we are having now, we will pay big time before the end of the month. So, when conversations lag, weather is an easy subject.

Nationally, we transition into Daylight Savings Time in March. How wonderful to have an extra few minutes of daylight in the evening and more time as the months pass. I love those warm evenings when it is light after supper.

Wisconsin – the beer capital of the U.S., maybe the world – transitions to “green” beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if you don’t claim Irish heritage, the meal that day is corned beef and cabbage served with a mug of green beer. One meal each year is enough for me, thank you.

My favorite transition in March is the changing of the closets. I am not a person who embraces winter, so when warmer temperatures arrive this month, I am happy to put away the heavy coats, hats, and mittens for another year. It’s like the weight of the cold weather is also being packed away.

This month I transitioned to include sewing and knitting along with quilting. Our local help organization needed baby items, so I opened totes of yarn, cabinets of flannel fabric, found patterns, and got busy. Boy, did I have fun. Look at my assortment of booties, beanies, bears, and blankets.

By the time you read this, all the items will have been given to local families in need. I’m so grateful to be able to help.

Before I sign off, I want to tell you Miss Opal, the recipient of the quilt from the January blog, arrived on schedule. She and Mom are doing fine. Dad is sporting a huge smile and offering a helping hand.

Keep well this month and enjoy a touch of the Irish.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much, and reach for that Pot o’ Gold.

Believing in Tomorrow,

Gini  

FEBRUARY – The month of love and romance and Valentine’s Day

Did you ever wonder how it all began?

Historians aren’t 100% in agreement as to the beginnings of this holiday. Many believe it started as a Pagan ritual known as Lupercalia when goats and dogs were sacrificed and their skins, soaked in the animal’s blood, were used to slap the women of the village. The women welcomed the treatment, believing it helped to make them more fertile in the coming year.

Around the 3rd century A.D., the Catholic Church banished the Pagan ritual and recognized three different saints named Valentine, but, here again, there is no consensus among the researchers.

It is known that Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, a woman began selling the first mass-produced valentines she made with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. In 1913, Hallmark Cards offered premade valentines, and in 1916, began mass producing them. It is estimated that 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

We have friends who save their money all year so they can celebrate Valentine’s Day in grand style. They buy special gifts for each other, spend the evening with dinner and dancing, and playfully renew their wedding vows. Hubby and I are lower key in the celebrating—maybe a card, maybe a dinner out, or not. It all depends on the activities surrounding the day.

My quilt project for February was done as a challenge from the aforementioned husband. He said, “Do something that you haven’t done in a long time.” I immediately thought of a miniature project. And what better subject than a heart?

Each of the squares of red fabric in the heart finish as one inch squares. To keep the challenge going, I hand-sewed all of the red squares together, then added the background fabric using the machine. The fabric heart is in a 7 x 9 inch frame.

With the leftover fabric, I made two-sided hearts and put them on florist wire. I put the hearts into a red and white artificial flower arrangement I put out in February.

I hope you enjoy the month of love and romance and make every day a Valentine’s Day.

Gini