Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Grandma

Last night, my Grandma Harvey passed away rather suddenly. Her body did. Who she is had been slowly passing for the last several years; eaten away by the mystery of Alzheimer's.

While I am grieving that she is truly gone, I'm also so thankful. Thankful she knows who she is now. Thankful she did not have a long battle with pain. Thankful for the life that she lead and that I got to know her, and be her only granddaughter.

It's almost as if now it is safe to remember her as herself. I'm afraid I've treated her more like a sweet stranger of late rather than upset one or the both of us trying to remember. Instead I let her think these sweet baby girls were whomever she wanted ... she enjoyed them all the same.

And I remember the way she would laugh. I remember how neatly she kept things - her home was organized to a T. I remember that her interest in homeopathy, through my dad, was passed down to me and is why I turn to things like essential oils today. I remember that she didn't think she was the cook her own mother was; but I bet she was. When we would visit her kitchen was a buzz of activity, usually centered around fresh fried shrimp. I remember that she and my Grandpa had been married for 67 years. And I say an extra prayer for him.

Several months ago, my Aunt asked me if I'd like to have her old sewing machine. With great delight it was welcomed into our home! I enjoy sewing and making things and was happy to have something she had taken care of. The table itself is old; it certainly has a mid-century-Modern look. The machine inside was one she traded the older machine in on less than a decade ago.



In its drawers are scraps of who my Grandma really was. Neat lines of practice stitching. Marked, with  notes as to what was too much or too little. My fingers trace them delicately, thinking "Her fingers played here too, when they were nimbler." While her mind was still organized and fit. While she knew the family she was making things for, I can only imagine thinking and praying over them as the needle bobbed.





Just a couple of months ago I made Shelby's "ok to wake" lantern on this same machine. I'm a storyteller, not a how to guru, but I'll share anyways - because I wish I could have shown my Grandma.

Basically, I used two embroidery hoops, yellow cloth, fusible webbing, burlap, a swag kit, and a light timer. I was inspired by toddler clocks ... neat idea, but ridiculously spendy.

My inspiration was the floating lanterns on Tangled. Yes, Tangled comes up a lot ... Disney princess movies do when you are raising two of God's princesses.

First I decided what my dimensions would be. If anyone is REALLY interested in that process let me know and I'll get into it. But I'm not going to right now. I cut my burlap, yellow fabric, and fusible webbing to size (I used this to stiffen my lantern). Then on the burlap I cut out and traced this sun symbol on printer paper, then cut that out of the burlap. I then fused the webbing to the yellow fabric and sewed them all together. Then I used a big fat stitch to go around my sun symbol. I could have done a better job but this was all done during a nap or two so I was flying.

Flat lantern in the making

Then I PAINstakingly hand-stitched the seam and around each of the embroidery hoops. It was a pain. I pierced myself with the needle multiple times. But I wasn't sure how to do it by machine, and I didn't want any frayed edges sticking out because ... it's a lantern. Lanterns can get hot. The last thing I wanted was to wake Shelby up by setting her room on fire. *shudder* Just had a "Firestarter" flashback.

There, now it is standing up, thanks to the fusible webbing inside.
Now the husband steps in ... he's the one who attached it to a swag kit from Lowe's for me. He also hung it all floating-like in her room for me.

Ok, so it doesn't look like much when it's off but ...

A warm gentle glow when its on!

We plugged it in to a good ol mechanical light timer and set it to come on for an hour at 7am and at 4pm every day.

Shelby had been getting up when she deemed it was "sun coming up" which could mean anything from brilliant sunlight to navy blue early morning sky. This is much more dependable; especially as the days lengthen with the approach of summer. And it takes the question of whether the sun is "up enough" out of her mind.

Amazingly enough, it is working. She generally doesn't get up until that lamp comes on! And it only cost about half of what the "toddler clocks" cost. I think my Grandma would have been proud. I miss her.


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