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June 2013

Memories & Seascapes


"Marina" by Coach House Designs. The applique on this quilt is larger than more intricate applique which makes this quilt enjoyable to make. 


If you who have never been to Oregon before, the Pacific Ocean is just an hour or two away from Portland depending on the coastal city you'd like to visit. This is ideal for those of us needing that quick get-away as it doesn't require an entire days travel and great expense.

In between working on our "Secret Project" and our Summer Sale preparations, we've been catching a few breaks amidst the sandy beaches at the "Mothership's" cottage. June also brings the birthdays of both of my grandparents - June 8 & June 30. In fact, in what looks to be our last weekend get away until the "reveal," my mom invited me back to her cottage for a little "R&R." Actually, it wasn't as much of an invite as it was an "order." "Get out here and enjoy your life before you do one more thing.

Seeew I did. 




Alongside the warm and inviting quilts inside her quaint beachside cottage are mementos of my grandparents. My grandma's corner hutch sits in a corner and inside the "carriage house" out back are some of my grandfather's ocean inspired things. My grandpa loved airplanes, the ocean, boats and sailing. When they would visit he loved to go to Depoe Bay to just sit and watch the boats come in while the "Mothership" shopped with my grandma. He was very intelligent ...very "mathematical" and worked for Boeing which had them moving around the country every couple of years. I remember a particular summer when my brother and I stayed with them in Tennessee. He was trying to show me how to build model airplanes. I think I was intimidated because my focus wasn't there. He was encouraging of course, but I seemed to be more interested in catching turtles and fireflies while sitting on the porch with my grandma. 

My grandma was the complete opposite of my grandpa. He was serious in conversation and she was comical. In the evenings my grandma would bring out her dishes of Jell-O and we'd watch shows like Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote and Sale of the Century. In her older age she had features similar to Angela Lansbury and Betty White while my grandpa could be mistaken for Walter Matthau. Not kidding. As my brother and I got older, my grandparents were there for all of the milestones and every theater performance we were involved with. It was my grandma who would write me letters once a week when I moved to Florida, always including her favorite recipe. Whenever I'd start to get a little homesick - one of her letters would arrive in the mail. She loved that I was working with "Disney" - always wanting to know the latest. 


I saved every letter she ever sent. I told her I would. 

The letters keep the memories alive. Fortunately for me my memory is long. And detailed. Maybe a bit too much. 

After my grandpa retired they moved one last time to Oregon. They had decided that out of all of their children, they wanted to be closest to their daughter. I think they knew she would be the one who would take care of them when the time came. And she did. That's just who my mom is. 

That's my grandpa on the far left. The tall one. Steve Bertalan. 


There is definitely a special kind of magic with old photographs. Much like a quilt they can contain the stories of our past. There is joy in discovering memories of yesterday tucked away within the walls of our families. My grandpa was serving in the United States Coast Guard in the 1940's when he met my grandma - his beloved "Lori" - Lorraine G. Kelly. When they met at a dance in Duluth, Minnesota she wasn't entirely smitten with him. In fact, she didn't like him at all. She said she thought he was a "stuck-up." My grandma was a bit stubborn and liked to play hard-to-get. She was also a bit of a "diva" and had certain expectations. My grandpa, however, remained persistent and upon learning where she lived, went to her house to ask her out on their first date. 

Clearly...she accepted. 


And as they say...the rest is history.

Many of you might remember my grandma died before Christmas in 2011. I remember not knowing how to feel. I don't think my mom did either. For nearly 40 years I had never experienced loss. I had talked to her only a few days before and the last thing she said to me was, "Come see me when you get a chance Brian. You work too hard."


I never got over there.

My grandpa joined her just a few weeks later. I remember my mom telling my grandpa to, "Go be with Mom...Dad." 

They were the best grandparents anyone could ever ask for. I'm sure somewhere they are sitting on a bench watching the ships roll in. 


On a lighter note - I did bring along quilts from the Seascapes collection by Deb Strain on this particular coastal journey. This collection has been very popular and coordinates with the beach themed gifts and dishware we have in the Shoppe. I know that my grandparents would have loved the quilts from this collection - especially the "Marina" quilt since it features a sailboat, anchor and ships wheel. This is a great quilt for applique as the pieces are bigger which can make it a bit easier than some of the more intricate applique.

 (UPDATE: Our "Marina" Quilt Kit is now sold out 6/22/13). 


I decided to summon the ships to port by hanging the quilt out on this hillside. It's seeew bright you could see it for miles when I walked down to the beach. 


Of course it works as a beach blanket too...right? Calm yourselves. It didn't get dirty. I use a few tricks. Kits have sold out as of 6/22/13.

I then started thinking about how nice it would be if the ugly stairwells each had a quilt. 


Seeew much better...don't you think? Maybe I should just start walking through towns decorating with quilts. "I'm sorry but your storefront needs an you go." Ba ha ha ha ha ha. 

We also made Waves which looks like a mosaic or an Octopus. Even the way I tossed it onto the rock seems to be shaped like how an Octopus would slide across the ocean floor. Ya'll remember Ursula from the Little Mermaid don't ya? 



I've said before that there is something magical about a quilt. Just looking at one can invoke the memories of the past (much like the memory for me of my grandparents) yet the new one you are making creates memories for the future. We all want to know that we matter and none of us know when our last day will be. Time has proven it marches on and for some of us our memories will fade... but a quilt, the memories contained withstand the test of time.  I hope that you treasure the many quilts you will make throughout your journey. 

Imagine your possibilities ~ Brian