Monday, March 16, 2009

Dancing the Zig

dancing.a.zig

Rounding out her new skills, Isabela helped me with some layer pinning on the "Folk Dance" quilt. Eleni helped too, but quickly became more interested in the case of T-pins.

On my hands and knees, I was reminded of being 19 and preg with Juliana (who affectionately refers to me as "Preg" these days so I have a hard time ever finishing the word anymore). I was attending the Ringling School of Art & Design and had taken on a painting to earn some extra money. I was commissioned by my former HS drama teacher (who swore on my acting potential) back home and it was for a 3x5' watercolor of orchids. Thats big. Anyway, if you've ever stretched watercolor paper, you know that its ideal to staple it to a wooden board after its been soaked, er that's one method anyway. After securing a roll of heavy duty watercolor paper in the appropriate size, I embarked on figuring out what to staple the paper to and where I would find the space for this in my tiny little dorm room. Now mind you, as a pregnant art student, in addition to constantly being asked to model for figure drawings, I also had bestowed upon me a certain amount of mmmm sympathy(?) er- respect(?) er something- was never really quite sure. Maybe just attention. Mostly good. Nonetheless, I summoned my floor's room advisor for help and she let me in on a little secret. An unoccupied dorm room on my hall where I could work on the painting. At Ringling, our dorms, old as they were, formally acted as a swank hotel from the 20's era complete with stucco outer walls and hardwood floors and other charms inside. I had found my wood to staple my painting to.

Simple and ideal as that sounds, spending every night for a month on your 7 mos pregnant hands and knees on a hard wood floor working on a painting, was not so ideal. I don't care how young you are. But the important thing to me now, and then, was that I had a purpose. I wanted to make enough money to buy Jeff an acoustic guitar (have I bragged of his talent?) for Christmas which was coming only weeks away. So there was no question as to whether I was going to do it, the question was just how. And I found a way. Bruised knees, aching back, tired and all.

I went home for Christmas break, barely able to contain my excitement after spending weeks away from him (900 miles away, before we were married). He was meekly in awe of his guitar and he gave me a lovely dress. It was this really cool multi-paneled dress in all different prints that he somehow knew I would like, and I did, so much. Only I was 8 months pregnant and a maternity dress it was not. As soon as he left, I tried it on anyway, and cried. I cried at not being able to button all the buttons, and tried to stand certain ways in front of the mirror to imagine what the dress might look like once the belly was gone, and convince myself and the dress that it would work and would be just beautiful and just like a 19 year old.

After getting up from a much softer floor this morning(quilts are nicer to crawl on than watercolor paper and staples) I shared this story with Juliana who was hanging around in the studio before going to work. She couldn't believe that I had cried when I tried on the dress and I couldn't believe that my crying surprised her. Of course I cried. We then scoured the closets looking for the dress, 'cause she wanted to wear it today. Haven't come across it yet, but I know its around here somewhere. She did manage to find another that I had bought right after I had her, and wore that one instead. She looks beautiful in it.

And of course I cried!!!

"Folk Dance" quilt pattern coming tomorrow!
xo,Anna Maria

76 comments:

  1. This looks absolutely beautiful! I just want you to know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE your new fabric line. I'm getting ready to make a quilt with the Byzantine Sun color scheme and I can't wait to start buying the fabric for it.

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  2. I can't pretend to have any idea what it would be like to be a pregnant 19-year-old in art school. But this, today, reading your post and your story about the dress is, I think, as close as I can come. What a scary thing it must've been, but oh, what an accomplishment, too. And what a strong bond you share with Juliana!

    Anyway, thanks.

    Kristina
    Sweetfern Handmade

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  3. Awww- that made me just cry. I soooo know.
    Beautiful quilt! If ever you need to make room and are getting rid of one of your quilts...I would buy one ;) I love them but can't seem to make a decent one and I think they are one of the most special things in life.
    x Emily x

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  4. What a touching story.It's fun and exciting and sad sometimes to watch your children grow.It seems like it goes so fast.Too fast.I'll bet that moment felt 'just like yesterday' to you.
    Take care.
    Andrea

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  5. Your story today just struck at my heart. I hope you find the dress and when you do, please please please post pics of juliana in it ( and/or you too)!!! I am just begining to sew at 40 and I really haven't threaded my bobbin yet but someday I hope to use your beautious fabrics in a project.
    Julie

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  6. I love the quilt and fabrics, I ordered my first batch of your fabric and am excited to try my hand at sewing again after a 6 (or so) year break. That is a sweet story too, thanks for sharing.

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  7. What a sweet story!

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  8. That's such a great story to share with her, and I think it's one that will stay with her.
    I was 19 when I had my first child, too, so I feel really connected to this story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  9. Amazzzzing quilt Anna Maria. One for 'the list'.
    Truly touching little snippet too, thank you for sharing.

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  10. Anonymous6:18 PM

    What a wonderful story ... thanks for sharing it. Looking forward to seeing some pictures.

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  11. Such a sweet and touching story..I love it that you can tell us about the great relationship with your daughter.

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  12. What a beautiful story - I would have cried too :-)
    Can't wait to see the pattern...the new line is just fabulous - I'm having so much fun with it!

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  13. Ah, yes, the memories of the devotion your "young love", and the joy of knowing that it continues to this day!
    Mom

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  14. Oh! Such a wonderful, touching story. I would love to see Juliana in that dress when you do find it. I bet she will be as beautiful in it as you were even though you couldn't get all the buttons buttoned.
    I love that quilt! You have given me an idea for a quilt that I am going to make as a wedding gift for family friends.

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  15. What a wonderful story. I just loved it.

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  16. What a beautiful story.

    I LOVE your quilt too. :)

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  17. I still have the 80's cowboy boots that my new boyfriend/future husband bought for me. I just can't seem to get rid of them.

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  18. The quilt is amazing, and your sweet helpers make it that much more meaningful. Thank you for sharing your work and your family, both are very inspirational. God Bless

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  19. Sweet sweet story! :)

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  20. I love the fact that you had Julianna at 19 and didn't let it stop you from graduating. I was pregnant with my first daughter in my last year of college(I to was an art student). I gave birth to her about two weeks after I got my diploma! I bet you got a lot of looks at the dorm! I had a good friend that lived in the dorm,and I loved visiting her there when I was pregnant. The looks I got were shear horror!! I thought it was kinda funny:)
    I love reading about your growing beautiful family. Look forward into seeing the new baby in pictures soon.
    It goes without saying how gorgeous your quilt is!!

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  21. I loved your story. I met you the other day at the quilt store in Goodlettsville....and I have been looking at your fabric, projects,blogs...I even watched the Martha Stewart clip. I was an art student years ago...I had my sons when I was 32 and 34. The only two things we seem to share in common..is when you mentioned you did not make your bed in that clip and the fact that one of your daughters likes to wear two different colored socks....My younger son used to insist on wearing one blue and one red sock. My dad used to say ...its okay he has another pair just like them at home. I am so glad I met you ...you are so inspiring...

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  22. what a sweet story, with a hint of gift of the magi, so touching and full of love--and i had no idea you went to ringling! right in my own backyard! as always, a huge fan of your work.

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  23. Oh, God, now I'm crying, too. What a great story. That quilt is something else, too. Love it, love it, love it (but I'm too scared to try it!)

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  24. What a beautiful story to share with your family (and us!!)
    You must be so excited to see your children's enthusiasm to participate in your work.
    Can't wait till mine are a little older and can join in too.
    Andi :-)

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  25. That's a sweet story. I was pregnant my 2nd year of grad school in NYC. By the 7th month I loathed walking anywhere much less sitting in class for endless hours!

    I love LOVE the quilt.....would it be possible to sell some kits in your shop? Pretty please?!

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  26. What a great story...Thank you for sharing with us. And please do post pics if you find the dress. I could relate with being preg at 19.

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  27. Such a touching story! Can't wait to see the pattern for your latest quilt too.

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  28. what a beautiful story. wow, is life amazing, huh? God seems to have this way of creating art out of the craziest of things, huh? :)

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  29. Your story just took me to a totally different place for a while. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. I hope you find the dress. So inspiring. Love your fabrics. Thanks for it all....

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  30. Great story...thanks for sharing! Good luck finding the dress!

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  31. I had my first child at 19 too, we lived 2000mi away from any family. I rented a sewing machine to make my baby a quilt. It was the first time I sewed anything without my Mom nearby to help me figure it out. After Sean was born my grandfather bought me a sewing machine as MY baby present. I still have that machine 40 yrs later although I have added a couple of newer ones along the way. And there is still a shred of that quilt tucked away in the hope chest.
    Can't wait to see Julianna in the dress.

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  32. What a lovely story. And what a blessing that you could share it with your daughter.

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  33. What a great post! Really sweet! Thank you!

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  34. That was sweet of you to share. And I can't believe you actually stapled watercolor paper to the floor!!!! Ha ha ha....oh my.

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  35. It is really wonderful!!

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  36. That's a lovely story. It's a precious thing isn't it as your children grow older being able to talk to them as friends.

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  37. That is such a sweet story, and I bet that your daughter really did love it. I am sure that she is still in the stage-well hopefully not a stage, maybe it will last forever like it did for me-alas, still in the "stage" where she wants to be you, and feels that you are almost a superwoman. Probably why she couldn't imagine you crying. Well, whether a superwoman or not (and well i would argue that you are!) that really was a sweet story! thanks for sharing with the world!

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  38. beautiful! The quilt, the story.. the whole thing!!!

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  39. Libby9:24 AM

    What a sweet story! Thanks for sharing! When you find the dress, please post a pix! I cant wait to make that quilt! I hope that you or some other great shop offers a kit! My girl is headed off to college and it would be a perfect quilt! I enjoy your blog and fabrics soooo much! Libby

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  40. A beautiful story for a beautiful sunny morning. I love the quilt.

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  41. That's so sweet! I would love to see pictures of both dresses!

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  42. What a moving story. I hope you find that dress and can share photos with us.

    Love your zig zag quilt. Your fabrics are so gorgeous.

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  43. What a sweet story. Thank you so much for sharing it. The quilt is lovely!

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  44. Love it!!!!!!!!!! Sooooooooo sweet!!!
    I am having a give away here
    http://learniendo.blogspot.com/2009/03/thuesday-give-away.html
    Happy St. Patrick Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  45. What a darling story! I have such a cool vision in my head about your dorm room! CAN'T WAIT for the quilt pattern.

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  46. Thank-You for sharing this lovely story. Of course you cried! I'm nearly crying and it's not even my story!

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  47. i've been waiting forever for this zigzag pattern ever since i saw the promotional pics for the new fabric. soo soo excited!!

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  48. Love the zig zag pattern. Beautiful fabric combinations too and an adorable helper to boot.

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  49. you are awesome. i love this story.

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  50. ...and now I'm crying :-) What a beautiful family history to share with your children.

    The quilt is beautiful!

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  51. Thanks so much for sharing this pattern. I've tried to make zigzag quilts and always knew there was a better way than the half-square triangle and now I know! Only problem is now I will certainly need more of your fabric.:)

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  52. I love, love, love your story! And even better that you two are still in love today:)
    Oh, and I have a pic of Juliana I think you'll get a kick out of:

    http://sarahshearer.blogspot.com/2009/03/cloning-was-sucessful.html

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  53. What amazing transparency...hard to do these days...you are brave and real and I appreciate that! Beautiful quilt. I wish I could see the dress you did find. sandi

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  54. I have tears in my eyes just from reading your story. How touching, and what nice strong memories to share with your children. Smiles :)

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  55. Anonymous7:06 AM

    So when do we get to see a picture of Juliana in her mother's dress? It would be the perfect ending to a sweet story.

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  56. Your story brought a tiny tear droplet into my eyes too. I completely understand why you cried both then and now. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life from way back when things weren't perhaps glamorous and swell, things which shaped you into the individual you are today.

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  57. Anonymous10:59 AM

    I just Love how open and honest you are...I bet you are a really neat mom!

    I can only imagine how great it is sharing this pregancy with your oldest daughter.

    Did you ever try on the dress after you had your daughter? It would be great if you had picture of you wearing it and....then a picture of your daughter wearing it:)

    You are truly Blessed!!

    ~Renee

    gardendesk.com

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  58. That quilt and your little girl on top of it is amazingly beatiful.

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  59. Anonymous8:33 AM

    What an amazing story. An even more amazing journey. Thank you for sharing both!
    Sarah Chapman(Julie's friend)

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  60. your story is so sweet

    i have been reading your blog for a while now but have never commented- i am in awe of you and what you do with almost 6 kids- i manage to do very little of the creative stuff that my heart desires and i only have 3 kids!

    i spent the end of my last 2 pregnancies on my hands and knees to avoid a posterior labour (my first was posterior and ended in a c-section- the second 2 were amazing VBACS- because of the hands and knees maybe?) so not only are you getting a lot done, but you are preparing for labour!

    thanks for sharing that story.

    sarah

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  61. Beautiful quilt. :)

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  62. Thanks for the patterns! Anna Maria, that photo of your daughter pinning on the floor...I just cannot bear to do that, so have been trying the method Sharon Schamber details in her two part video (it's on YouTube). You can then baste or pin at a table, using two boards on which you have rolled your top and backing. Seems to work like a charm!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA

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  63. ...and so did I, after reading such a beautiful story! Truly I'll have to visit your gorgeous blog in future with a tissue box within reach, and I don't even have pregnancy hormones to blame it on.

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  64. Can we see a photo of her in the dress, please? I LOVE seeing your kids in pics.a

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  65. I love this quilt pattern! I knew the minute I saw it that I had to make it.... and so I did, the next day. :) If you'd like to check it out, take a look at my blog, knitavorocity.blogspot.com. Thanks so much for the pattern, it's wonderful!

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  66. I hope if you're not keeping this one, that you get a LOT of money for it. You deserve it! Your new son is beautiful and so are you.

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