“Oh, my child, can you not see? You must let go of yourself. For if a seed wishes to live, it must sacrifice itself and grow outward, not inward.”
― Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern
During the Spring of 2015, I drove to our local hardware store and purchased a pack of wildflower seeds. Pack in hand, I walked to a barren spot in our yard, opened the colorful package and scattered the tiny seeds over the ground. "Just toss them around, they'll grow," a friend had encouraged.
Willing myself to rise from the depressed state I'd laid claim to, I was desperate for something to grow. If not a child, then what?
In only a few years at that home, I'd managed to kill two rose bushes (who actually kills a rose bush, anyway?). Following suit, the pink azaleas a friend gifted as a memorial barely bloomed that year. And we won't speak of the graveyard of plants on my work desk. I'll chalk those failures up to fluorescent lighting and a tense atmosphere.
You've likely already guessed, but I did not enjoy any wildflowers that Summer. Not even one.
Seven years later, my garden is abundant. But how could that be? The only logical explanation for my previous failures is this: the plants mirrored what I felt like on the inside.
Their caretaker had stopped growing so how could they? A black thumb... indeed.
Alexandra Bordallo's Grow & Harvest collection combines two of my favorite pastimes: gardening and sewing. I was instantly drawn to Flowery Meadows Pale and then my eyes caught a glimpse of Dahlia's Garden. The gardener looked like me -- a redhead happily tending and mending away. The entire collection is precious and I adore it for obvious reasons.
As a [now] successful gardener and quilter, I am content to share the quilt I made for the collection Lookbook. Admittedly, I took a risk in choosing Pen + Paper Patterns Marigold Quilt as I'd never machine appliquéd anything in my life but the fabrics and the quilt design were too perfect not to pair. I also had high hopes on my side.
Once the fabrics arrived, Penny and I immediately began cutting and sewing the blocks (note: for any new readers, Penny is my sewing machine). When the time came to appliqué, I took big, deep breaths and cut into a fresh package of Heat n Bond Lite.
Channeling my late Grandmother and her plethora of heat n bond sewing projects, I carefully pressed the fabric to the bonding strip and cut the templates, taking care that I didn't produce any upside down chickens.
Lindsey's pattern directions were very clear regarding piece placement, so I saved all of my nervousness for the actual sewing. True to fashion, Penny did her thing with the sweetest blanket stitch while I sank into the rhythm of the machine and raw edge appliquéd until I'd forgotten the world around me.
Ironically, but maybe not, gardening allows me to forget too. I get lost weeding the flower beds, planting, and harvesting. I don't usually say much, but my mind is wild with ideas and wild with hope.
It's strange now to think there was a time that I couldn't sew. And hard to remember the time nothing would grow.
Where would I be had I not looked up and asked to grow outward? Would I know the love of a child? Would I experience the pride in serving my family fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables? Would I sit behind a sewing machine again?
The year that we sold the home where I'd scattered the wildflower seeds, a lone, pink flower emerged. It'd only taken two years.
Three years after that, a new baby girl would grow inside me.
The following year, I'd begin sewing my first quilt.
This year, I'm expecting my biggest vegetable yield yet.
All in due time, we grow.
The plants know this.