Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Talent Tuesday!

Welcome back for another edition of Talent Tuesday! Today's guest is a lady from my Celtic Hearts RWA writing group, Paisley Kirkpatrick! Take it away, Paisley!

My hobby has opened a door I never anticipated. I started sewing in the ninth grade. The craft came easy for me and over the years I have sewn many items, including my own wedding dress and also my younger daughter's. But, it was after we lost our older daughter to cancer just before her 32nd birthday, that I started using my skills to overcome the terrible loss my child. One of my friends asked me to join her and a friend learning how to make quilts. She stressed that in the olden days women made quilts to help mourn a death in their family. At that time, I realized the importance of accepting we no longer had Kellie and decided I would make quilts filled with my love for her and give them away. This new aspect of my life exploded, and took off with a life of its own.
In the past ten years I have made and given away 41 quilts. Maybe keeping busy with these brightly colored squares pushed the sadness into manageable mode simply because I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself any longer. I know Kellie is smiling down on me saying, ''Way to go Mom."
The first year I made ten baby quilts, most were Kellie's friends. These crib size quilts are made of flannel in bright solid colors and appropriate prints depending on whether the quilt is for a baby boy or girl.
Since that first year I've made a lot more, including seven for Brenda Novak's Childhood Diabetes Auction. I love receiving photos of the children enjoying these quilts and just this past week I got a photo from my nephew's wife with their two little girls sitting on the baby's quilt. It's the first time I've been told the quilts wash well and the girls wrap up in them every day, especially while watching television. Along with the crib-size quilts, I have started making small pillows -- like we used to get on airplanes. I use leftover fabric and batting to make them. When a little one is hurt or sick, I shoot one of these pillows off and they give the little ones something special to help make them feel better.
I learned how to put photos onto fabric and have made quilts with book covers, photos of favorite movie stars, family photos, and am thinking of one that has photos from our vacation in Scotland someday, if I ever have spare time. One very special wedding quilt that I made for Kellie's friend who gave us so much help during her illness, turned out so beautiful that I am thinking maybe she had her hand on mine while I made it.
If I didn't tell you that my hubby helps pick out the fabrics, he'd be very disappointed. We head down the hill to our favorite fabric store and I tell him the colors and/or theme I want to use. He has a nose for finding them and comes back in a few moments with just what I had in mind. One very special quilt needed to have music notes, bright colors and some kind of peace and love on the fabric for the backside.
He was back in five minutes with everything perfect for the quilt. I'm thinking he's a keeper.
Along with the quilts and pillows, I also make and give away tote bags. Anyone who knows me knows I am addicted to Gerard Butler. He helped me with the healing as well as the quilts did so it was only natural I'd want to say thank you in a way I that I could make personal. I've made tote bags with his photos on both sides and send them to his fan club to raffle off at his birthday bash. The fan club officers send the money they raise to the Cancer Society, and a couple more of Gerry's favorite charities in his name. It's great. The first year one tote bag raised $2000 and the money went for Kids Kicking Cancer.
I was stunned at the amount they raised, but am so please to be helping with the cause. I will admit I did make one quilt with 24 photos of Gerry on it
and gave it to my daughter-of-my-heart, Carla. It's the only gift I have ever given away that has a string attached - I get visiting rights. :)

Folks, Paisley is giving you a SPECIAL treat! One commenter will win this pillow! (Prize will be mailed to North America addresses only.)
Thanks so much, Paisley!


  1. Thanks for letting me show off my sewing projects, Alexa. I love working with fabric and creating my own designs so I can give them away.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I appreciate you coming by and taking a peek at my hobby.

  3. I am so lucky to have my own Hugh Jackman quilt. Thank you so much for making it just for me. LU

    1. You are so deserving of your Hugh Jackman quilt, Judy. He was dreamy to work with. ;)

  4. Paisley, what a tremendous talent you have! I used to sew a lot, but never tried a quilt. Maybe someday. I knew you made baby quilts and I remember the Gerard Butler quilt, but didn't know about the others. You are doing so much good and I'm sure Kellie is smiling down on you. What do you do with your remaining daughter? I never hear anything about her. I hope the two of you have a strong bond.

    1. Thank you, Caroline. Making quilts is a relaxing for me except when I try to cut the tip of my index finger with the rotary blade.

      Yes, Kristen and I are very close. We've had our Chinese food lunch together at the same restaurant every Thursday for over ten years. She is the one who gives me great ideas for my stories. In fact, I am always amazed at how I can suffer for days trying to come up with an idea to progress my story and she can head me in the right direction within moments of tossing out my problem. I think she is amazing and could be a great writer if she had the inclination. She looks like her daddy, but has my nose. :)

  5. Caroline Clemmons, YOU are the winner of Paisley's pillow! Please email me at alexa AT alexabourne DOT com and we'll get that prize out to you!