Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Heart Full

Apologies for the silence on Pearl the Squirrel. I took a trip to California to visit my folks and attend a "significant" high school reunion (the first I'd been to in decades). Then home for a week of writing four stories, quick visits with friends, and away again.

Squeezed in amongst the comings and goings and writings was a wedding. Maret and Ian are two of my daughter's friends from college and I've known Maret for more than 10 years—she and Maggie would share rides from Iowa to school and ultimately became college and post-college roommates. She and Ian were wed last night in a church near her small hometown and the ceremony was attended not only by myriad Iowa friends but also a vast contingent of San Francisco buddies, both family friends from Ian's childhood and Maret and Ian's contemporaries (they live in San Francisco now).

As we were pulling up to the wedding I saw Beth, one of my editors at Meredith and the first person to say "yes" when I queried her about freelancing nearly seven years ago. When I told Paul who she was and reminded him of the connection to Maret and Janet (Maret's best friend from childhood and her maid of honor and also Beth's sister—it's complicated) he said "They changed your life." And he was so right. From that first "yes"—an offer to write a profile of Amy Butler for Quilts and More—my writing opportunities have expanded to a full time job, and one I feel so fortunate to have. And the second profile she offered me, and the ones that followed, gave me the confidence to pursue that career. What a reminder that saying "yes," that taking a chance on someone, can change their life. Thank you for that Beth, and thank you Janet for connecting me with your sister, and thank you Maret for connecting me to Janet, and thank you Maggie for connecting me to Maret. These interwoven relationships have given me so much!

On top of that epiphany, I was a little overwhelmed at getting to watch my stunningly beautiful daughter, one of Maret's bridesmaids, walk down the aisle. And it was wonderful to see a number of her college friends, too. Several have babies or are about to, and watching them move into this next phase of life fills my heart—they are such a smart, lovely bunch of folks who will make (or are making) wonderful parents.

Finally, I think I loved being with people who know both Iowa and California. It's not often in my life that that geographic distance is bridged so tidily and there was something so comforting about being on a hilltop above stands of walnut and locust trees and rolling fields of corn, among people from the Bay Area. I am a very lucky woman.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And the winner is...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments and the memories you shared. The winner is BBB, chosen by random number selected by my husband.

BBB, send me your address and I'll whisk that book into the mail. Kind of hate to give it up!

(The image above is from the site of Oilcloth by the Yard, an another great oilcloth purveyor. I met owner Anna Marino at Quilt Market a few years ago and loved the stock she carried—fantastic selection. And her daughter, Sage, has a YouTube video on how to make a splat mat with oilcloth—pretty cute.)

If you're a new reader, I  hope you'll come back to Pearl the Squirrel on occasion. And thanks again for taking the time to write. Sorry I couldn't give you all a prize!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sewing with Oilcloth: A Giveaway!

While researching my story on oilcloth for issue #14 of UPPERCASE, I had help from Anna Marino of Oilcloth by the Yard, Cardie Molina of Oilcloth International, and Kelly McCants of Modern June.  Each of them is very passionate about coated cloth.

Kelly has gone so far as to write a book Sewing with Oilcloth. She graciously sent me a copy to use in my research and I'd like to share it with you. It's full of wonderful projects and tips of the trade. Her website also has a super-useful guide to the differences between and best uses of oilcloth, laminate, and chalk cloth, which was reproduced in the UPPERCASE article.

Leave a comment below for an opportunity to win this book. Tell me something, anything, about oilcloth—an oilcloth memory from childhood, a project you created with oilcloth or laminate, or simply what about it appeals to you. I'll keep comments open until August 7, and announce the winner on August 8.

I look forward to hearing from you!