Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year - The Big Reveal

Here's the wider view of the last bonus block of the Anniversaries of the Heart series.















Since I put myself on the month of January, it seemed redundant for me to put my information on the whole thing again.  I came up with a little phrase that summed up what the project was all about for me    >>>>

And it was the women of my heart that took center stage on this final bonus block.  Last time I talked about Miss Willie Fairfax - a story that came out sadder than I really wanted it to.  Miss Willie is a wonderful memory for me and I think her story is one of overcoming tragedy.

But this entry is about the other woman of my heart that I've highlighted on this block.

Dorothy Mae Kendrick.  Dot.  She is the most special person on this whole piece.  Dot is my guardian angel.  She is the lynch pin in my life; responsible for where I am today.  Not kidding.  Oh, she also taught me my first swear word.

This is a great story!  Dot was my mother's best friend.  She lived on Glendale Avenue and we lived on Luray Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.  Back then they were called row houses, what we lived in.  Nowadays they have the high falutin' call sign "town homes".  The houses on Luray and Glendale backed one another and were divided by an alley.  It's where the garbage was collected, the laundry was hung, the cars were parked.  And it was where the housewives hung out and (as my mother called it) "yacked" over the fence.

One day, Dot watched me for my mother.  Dot had a chihuahua called Peppy.  And that particular day that Dot was watching me, Peppy got ahold of Dot's family bible.  Dot was just beside herself with greif at the destruction of the bible and had quite alot to say to Peppy about it.  When my mother arrived to fetch me, Dot was still in a state.  Concerned for her friend, my mom asked her what was wrong.  And before Dot could reply, I said "Damn dog got Dot's book" whilst glaring at Peppy.  Dot was absolutely horrified and could not apologize enough to my mother for swearing in front of me. 

This transgression is made worse when you consider the following (that I did not learn for many years).  Dot's husband, Wes, didn't swear.  Ever.  I was in my thirties when I learned this.  We were visiting Dot and Wes and somehow got into a conversation about swearing.  Probably because I said a word (as my salty, uncontrolled tongue is wont to do) and Wes probably looked at me and asked why I'd want to go and say that.  Then he told me that in his whole life, he'd never sworn.  Never.  I still remember being surprised into stillness.  He told me that he'd just decided that it was nothing to be proud of and that he would not do it.  And he never did.  How many people can say that do you suppose?  Anyway, the story was always a source of great humor in our families.

I was always crafty and artistic and there were two people in my life who encouraged that.  One was Ray Wilkins, my art teacher for several years in high school.  And the other one was Dot.  If I was using crayons in a coloring book when I was little, painting rocks as a tween, drawing as a teenager, or stitching as an adult, Dot would always encourage me.  And sometimes, gently critique.  And it was always appreciated.  I painted her a ladybug rock long, long ago and she always makes a point of telling me that she has it still in her hope chest and when she looks at it, she always thinks of me.  I have a lifetime of happy and funny memories of Dot.

And thankfully I have a handful of memories of when Dot was there for me like no one else.  I had reached one of the lowest points in my life and had no one to go to for help or advice.  So I called Dot.  It was hard to tell her what my problem was, but there was never any condemnation from Dot and I always knew she loved me.  She said she'd need to think on it and she'd get back to me.  I think it was the next day when she set me on the coarse for the rest of my life.

Following her advice got me a job.  Then I met a really nice man and had a long relationship with him and his family that lead me to another job that lead me to my husband who I've been with now for nearly 21 years.  None of those things could have happened without Dot.

Dot and Wes (seated) and my mother at our wedding in 1991
Dot & Wes about 1993
For years we'd go and visit Dot and Wes.  Then Wes passed away in 1995.  Still we continued to visit Dot; a more or less annual pilgrimage where we would play catch up and laugh about old times.  Then, to be nearer to her own children, Dot moved to Richmond and I would write to her.  And responses ended up not coming anymore.  This year I looked up her son and wrote him a note telling him that since it had been so long since I'd heard from his mother, I could only conclude that she had passed away.  I told him how sorry I was about that and that I had loved his mother dearly.  It had probably been a month or six weeks after I'd written to him when I got a little note in the mail - and it had Dot's return address on it.  It was a Saturday and my husband and I had just come home from running errands.  I got  the mail out of the box and was flipping through envelopes as I walked back to the car.  I got to Dot's note and realized what her return address meant.  As I got into the car, I was laughing and crying at the same time and could barely speak.  Husband was concerned and was asking what was wrong and all I could do was hand him the envelope and say "She's Alive!"

I immediately wrote her a response and apologized if I'd distressed her or her son.  The only mention of it in her note was that she'd said she loved me too!  That was such a wonderful day knowing that Dot is still somewhere - loving me.  And then it struck me that I wanted to put Dot somewhere on the Anniversaries of the Heart blocks.  So, I wrote her again, told her a little bit about the project and asked if she'd tell me her whole name and when she was born so I could make her a part of it.  I was thinking of adding her to the block of her birth month.  When I received her response, I just could not believe it.  Her whole name - Dorothy Mae Page Kendrick.  MAE.  I absolutely never, ever knew that!  Unfortunately I'd already done her birth month block, but I knew about the final bonus and was determined that's where she would be honored.

Dot's side of the block (at left).  You can see that I had to fudge some of the petals on the flower so I could get her name to fit. 

Since my phrase at center top was not as big as the original design, a lot of shifting took place.  The central flower was moved up; that gave more room to add Miss Willie's name below.  I also added a bunch of those diamond outlines all over the whole piece and another star in the lower left corner to reflect the one over the roof of the house.

Take note, I also changed the color of the house.  It was supposed to be stitched in GA Aged Pewter, but my Aged Pewter was clearly gray, not gray blue like the picture on the chart.  I wanted to use gray blue as that related to Miss Willie, so switched to GA Banker's Gray instead.  I am going to go through all my notes and do a future post that will hopefully have all the color substitutions and/or changes that I made.

Here are the two halves of the blocks out in the back yard the other day when we had temperatures near sixty.


And yesterday, I united the two halves.  However, our temperatures have taken a plunge (snow showers this AM) so I took the photo in my workroom instead.

It's been pressed and starched and awaits its outer borders.  Hope you enjoyed!

13 comments:

  1. It was a wonderful story, and your finished sampler is beyond gorgeous. Congrats!

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  2. Just Beautiful !! I so enjoyed your story of Dot! AOTH is something you will alwasy treasure!! I am just on the February square in my progress! Thanks for sharing yours!

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  3. What a wonderful story and such a beautiful finished project!

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  4. It's been such fun following this project and reading the stories that go with each block. Congratulations on a beautiful finish!

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  5. Stunningly gorgeous! Congratulations on your finish and thank you for sharing your stories with us.

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  6. Great story.
    And Congrats on your finish. I LOVE it how you were using all different fabrics. And I might copy that idea shamelessly when I start mine. So very beautiful.

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  7. Your stitching is beautiful and the story behind your personalizaton is wonderful! My version of this has languished for months, and you have motivated me to get it out and get on with it!

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  8. The final block is gorgeous and Dot sounds like an amazing lady.

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  9. Love YOUR story...and all the women represented! Lovely project! Perfect!!

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  10. I enjoyed the story of Dot and your finished piece is just beautiful. Definitely a treasure!

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  11. Oh my gosh!! MAE!! I cried when I read that--how neat. Talk about serendipity! I loved reading Dot's story. Your AotH is FABULOUS!! Make sure you send a pic to Alma--she will love it.

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  12. What a wonderful story and a very precious heirloom you have created. Congratulations on this amazing finish!

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  13. Everyone needs a "Dot" in their lives--so glad you have such a special relationship. Your finish is amazing, Katherine!! Congratulations :)

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