Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Kind of Knitting

Mo Rocca was on CBS this morning learning all about knitting after he had claimed that hand knitted sweaters were itchy.  I am wondering if my love with knitting is a bit off because I'm thinking I took something different from the interview than the rest of Ravely

I focused on when Stitch 'n Bitch author, Debbie Stoller, sat down to talk with Mo Rocca and she told him that knitting was a great inexpensive way to spend an evening with friends.  Of course Mo Rocca asked about drinking.  She said, "Friends don't let friends knit drunk."  That made me think about my knitting group and all the fun times we've had...

Well...drinking and knitting are always involved. Sometimes crying too but we do it together and yes, we always have fun.  Knitting is addictive and I'm glad I have my friends to knit with.  I can't imagine knitting alone.  Honestly, I hate knitting at home but you get me with the Zombie Prom Date Knitters and the yarn is flying.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Donor Quilts, Give So Others Can Live

Hello, my name is Andrea Morrison and I am the daughter of a lung transplant recipient.  This is how I introduce myself when I speak on behalf of the Gift of Life Michigan.  It's a label I am honored to wear.  There are many people who will never get to say that because their loved one wasn't able to get an organ donation but seven years ago, today, my father received the Gift of Life.
 2009 Southwest Michigan Kidney Walk Fundraiser
me, Holly Bishop and Sarah Boven

I am proud to be a volunteer for the Gift of Life Michigan and anytime and every time I can speak about organ donation I do.  Now I bet you are wondering what the Gift of Life has to do with Fiber Arts Friday and the answer is simple...but I am going to take my time explaining.  Today is March 26 and seven years ago today my family was blessed with the greatest gift we could ever receive.  My father received a bilateral double lung transplant because some amazing person had registered to be an organ donor.

Seven years ago, today, our lives changed.  You see, my dad didn't have much time left here with us.  The disease that had infected his lungs 25 years prior was finally taking a toll on his body.  He was wearing oxygen 24/7 at 6-8 liters (that's a lot) even at rest.  With the oxygen on, he could barely walk across a room without stopping to rest.  Once I had admitted my father to the emergency room and his oxygen had ran out before I could get him to the E.R.  He was in such bad shape that they admitted him before a man who was having a heart attack...he was in that much distress.
 My Dad, always promoting the Gift of Life Michigan...and my farm
Seven years ago, I gave my father a hug and kiss and said, "See you later" and sure enough then next morning there he was lying in bed with his brand new lungs and the most beautiful blue eyes that I had ever seen.  I had never really seen my Dad's eyes before.  They had been deprived of oxygen.  They were small and beady prior to the transplant.  His eyes were blue and beautiful and he was breathing with lungs that weren't full of scar tissue and disease.

Every day, even now, I am thankful for the donor and the donor's family for giving our family the Gift of Life.  Every day I want to tell that family what it meant to have 6 1/2 years extra years with my father.  For my children to have lasting memories of their Papa which included walks, swimming, piggy back rides along with bike rides and activities that only a healthy grandparent could do.  My children got to see a part of my father that I wasn't able to because his health had already been deteriorating by the time I was their age.  My childhood memories of him always included the hospital.

It wasn't rejection that ended my Dad's life, it was the infection that had been attacking his old lungs.  From what I understand, some of that disease remained in his blood and in his windpipe so when they attached the new lungs...a ticking bomb was waiting to erupt. Those lungs that were given to him were strong and made him strong.  He lived a life during those few years that was an impossible dream before he met Henry Ford Hospital's Transplant Team.  Every day...every day I say a prayer thanking the organ donor for the Gift of Life my father was given.
 2006 Transplant Games - Louisville, KY
My Dad and me
As a recipient daughter, I honor the memory of the person who's lungs saved my father's life by volunteering for the Gift of Life Michigan and promoting organ donation and being a registered organ donor.  There's another way that we honor the organ donors too.  It's the Donor Quilts which travel Michigan and the whole country.  Each square is made by the Donor's family.
The first time I ever saw a Donor Quilt...well it wasn't just one quilt, it was a room full of Donor Quilts and I was at the 2006 Transplant Games in Louisville, Kentucky.  I had went there as a Father's Day Gift for my Dad because he was an athlete on Team Michigan.  When I walked into that room the goose bumps on my arms went wild.  The love and honor along with cherished memories overwhelmed me as I walked from quilt to quilt looking at square after square.  Each square in memory of a donor.  Each square representing a person who had to leave this earth too early but had registered to be an organ donor.  A person who continues to live through the lives of the people he/she saved by being an organ donor.

If you ever happen upon one of these quilts, please take a moment and think about the impact of making a decision to be an organ donor has.  Organ and Tissue Donation saves so many lives and improves the quality of life for so many.  Each quilt square is a tribute to a loved one...

One of my father's last requests was that I contact the Gift of Life Michigan when he died.  Since he was in hospice, the protocol in different than in a hospital.  With his organs wasting away and the poison in his system there was no way his organs would be viable for donations but I made the call because he asked me to.  He wanted to help others.

He/we understood more than anyone the importance of Organ Donation and the Gift of Life.  It doesn't take but a moment to register to be an organ donor.  When you visit the Gift of Life Michigan website, they have a section specifically about the Donor Quilts.  Please visit.  April is Organ Donor Awareness Month.  These quilts will be displayed throughout the country.  If you happen upon one, say a thank you to the hero each square represents.

Well, as you can see my mind has been on more than just fiber arts today.  I have been busy knitting and spinning this week but today...well, today was about honoring my father and the Gift of Life.

Now I want to hear about all of your fiber arts adventures this week.
Please share you adventures in Fiber Arts!
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article to the next edition of fiber arts friday using our carnival submission form. Remember to submit your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit  
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring, Sweet Spring

Don't you hate it when the weather outside is gorgeous and you are inside feeling under the weather?  Well, that's been me the last couple of weeks. I've been battling a virus that has left me weak with no energy.
Sister Bear found the evil camera while I "napped"
Grumpy and the Bears have been helping me with the barn chores and halter training.  My Wonder Intern, Holly, who is such an awesome friend has come over to help me scoop poo and a Winter's worth of hay out of the barn along with other fiber fun stuff I need to do here at the farm.
 I supposed I should have used a more flattering picture but...she did pose
I love that I have an amazing family and a friend to help when I am totally under the weather.  I would prefer to be off the couch and out in the pasture but I can't rush the healing either.  Argh!
 Kaboom found a nice sandy spot to sunbathe on a nice 55 degree afternoon
It's a never ending job taking care of the barn.  The beautifully cleaned up pens were full of poo this morning.
 Yes, they are in mid-poo stance
Look at those guilty faces!  Yes, they know I have cleaning up to do now.
I think I actually saw the alpacas smiling as they made the new piles.  Oh, it's that frisky Spring spirit in them letting me know that the pasture is turning green and soon they will be out running and pronking and finding new places for me to clean.

Look!  I see some's Spring!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sleep eludes me...again

I am notorious for not sleeping through the night. I don't know why...although I do have theories.  My brain never wants to stop...heck I don't want to stop either.  I'm constantly working on one project or another so...if I can get 5 hours sleep, I'm golden.  Of course, my body does have it's ways of shutting me down.  I've been sick all week and I am finally on my way to recovery but for this whole week I had to pretty much do nothing.  Everything hurt...even sleep.  I was forced to relax and oh, that has driven me crazy.

This week I wasn't able to sort any fiber, halter train (thankfully Grumpy did that for me) or take care of barn chores (again, Grumpy and the Bears to the rescue).  I stayed on the couch and watched movies...too tired to even knit or spin.  I guess that's why I'm not sleeping tonight...I'm well rested.

I have also been thinking a lot about my Dad.  This week would have been his 7th Birthday.  Seven years ago this Friday March 26 my father received a bilateral double lung transplant which changed the course of our lives.  For seven years, I have celebrated this birthday/anniversary more than his real birthday.

I miss him so much!  I know I've been married a long time and I have my own children to take care of but being sick...I still wanted my Dad to take care of me.  He always had a way to cheer me up. I remember him driving all the way to Kalamazoo when I was in college just to make me some Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup.  It wasn't the soup that made me feel better, it was knowing that my dad was there. 

It's only been four months since he passed away and the pain is still strong.  I try to hide it from the kids and the rest of the world but it's so hard.  He wasn't just my father, he was my best friend.  I used to talk to him every single day.  Even when he was in ICU, I was communicating with him via the nurses.

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month and I've been asked to speak to a group.  My dad was supposed to speak at this's going to be hard, especially this first time. 

I thought maybe once I got some of these thoughts out of my head I would be ready to sleep again but I'm still not tired.  3am has quickly turned to 4am.  I guess I could get the coffee going but since I cut back to one cup a day that's not as fun...I hate to turn on the lights to knit or spin because Sister Bear decided to leave her bedroom and sleep on the couch...she's part rooster so she'll be up in an hour anyway. is going to be a long day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

All in the Family

Brother Bear wanted to learn how to spin.  He's been asking me for a week or so if he could learn so this afternoon I took the yarn off my oak spindle so he could learn. 

Now he's had quite a bit of time watching me and Sister Bear spin so...he went at it like a natural.
 So watch out Fiber Arts World...the WonderWhyGal and both her Bears are now spinning.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday- National Quilting Day

Did you know that the third Saturday of March is National Quilting Day?
I didn't either, but it is.  The National Quilting Association created this day back in 1991.

Well, I can't sew worth beans so I am going to celebrate it by showing off some amazing quilts that my aunt, Linda Shaffer, has made during the last few years.  If I only could have an ounce of her sewing talent, I would be a unbelievable rock star.  For now I will settle for being just a...believable rock star.

So in conjunction with Fiber Arts Friday and National Quilting Day, I proudly show off these wonderful quilts.
This first quilt is the one she made for me.  She made my sister and me each one and sealed them each in a box before mailing because she didn't know which one to give to each of us girls.  Low and behold I opened the one that totally matched my bedroom and so did my sister. If you look at the pattern you will notice how perfectly she matched the fabric up in the center of the star.  Now that it talent.
This is the quilt she made my dad. I didn't know what to do with it after he passed away then Sister Bear requested that it go in her bedroom. Since she is going to be 10 this year, we will change from a little girl room to a beautiful big girl room with the quilt as the focus. This will also be a wonderful keepsake that she can have as a reminder of her Papa and her Great Aunt Linda.
My Aunt Linda's quilting group also makes awesome pillow cases using the quilting technique.  This one was made for my dad with the attached note:
The Florida Woman's quilting group wants to thank you, as you serve the nation with exceptional courage and for all the personal sacrifices you make.  This pillowcase was hand sewn and offers you the quit strength, untold support and the comforting knowledge that you are in our thoughts and prayers.  We truly thank you for all your efforts which ensure we are afforded the opportunity to live in freedom.

I'm not sure what I should do with the pillow.  Dad never got to use it.  My husband is also an Air Force Veteran (he served during the end of the Persian Gulf War as an Aviation Tech) so my aunt said we should keep it.  I guess it's hard for me because everything I look at that belonged to my dad still brings tears to my eyes.
Finally, my Aunt Linda also has made some amazing purses for my sister, me and her sister, my Aunt Janet. Personally, I love these bags better than the Vera Bradley bags I've seem.  Of course, these where made with love and the recipient in mind.  These are just samples of her quilting...another blog will feature the dresses she makes so Happy Quilting Day tomorrow.

If you don't quilt then at least appreciate the person who puts all the hours into making those beautiful quilted items.  I proudly carry the purse she made me and sleep with the gorgeous quilt she made me on my bed each night.

Now what have you been up to this week?  I want to hear all about your adventures in Fiber Arts.

Please share you adventures in Fiber Arts!
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article to the next edition of fiber arts friday using our carnival submission form. Remember to submit your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit  
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs: