This is also an I like/love post because it is filled with people and things and events for which I am most grateful. I am linking up with LeeAnna at Not Afriaid of Color, where you will find other like-minded grateful peeps. I haven't mused much in recent posts, so this is one of those posts. For newer readers, my blog was originally just called Musings of a Menopausal Melon because I started it when I was in the full throes of menopause and wanted to write down my thoughts at this new stage of my life along with my quilting adventures. Then, when I wanted the blog to be known as mainly a quilting blog, I came up with a more à propos name, but with a nod to the original with the acronym and double entendre (love them) of 'mmm', having the extra meaning of, 'yum!' or 'so good!'
So...friends, both imaginary and real....
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but I had no idea, none, that writing this blog would take me where it has. Yes, I've recorded the quilts I've made, both during the blog life and pre-blog life (see the Throwback Thursday tab; maybe join us on November 7 for the next one). However, I also now have a journal, albeit public, of my life over the past six years, which is not new, as I've kept a journal for a huge chunk of my life. I love to write.
What is new is the richness and new experiences this blog has added to my life. I've had the opportunity to sew for Henry Glass Fabrics, for Benartex, and for Island Batik. I started designing my own quilts, and have had them published in ezines and magazines; I opened up an Etsy shop, and I've got several patterns for sale there as well as quilts. I've learned so much, and as a lifelong learner, this is important to me. And, one of the most unexpected things that has happened is the friends I have made through this blog.
Which brings me to the term 'imaginary friends'.
Lots of people will argue that friends you 'meet' online are not real, as in those you would encounter in the course of your real life, perhaps in a coffee shop, in a course you are in, at work, and so on. However, much of our 'real life' does take place online through various forms of social media, of which blogging is one. Things started happening when I joined in to linky parties, and got more comments on my blog. I have always responded to comments, and what I found was that a conversation would quite often start up. One of the first online friends I made was Judy of Quilt Paradigm. We've now been friends for about five years. We've talked on the phone and on Skype, texted, and emailed. Have I met her in person yet? Nope, but I know it will happen one day. We've talked about waaaay more than quilting, though that was the bridge that first connected us, well, that and a deep love of dogs, big ones especially. She no longer blogs due to real life demands, but I know she will be back to it one day, and please do check out her blog; her quilting is amazing. Here is the last one she blogged:
Tish and I go back nearly as far as Judy and I, and yes, we've met up a few times, even though she is 7 hours' drive south of me in West Virginia. Again, we talk about waaaay more than quilting, and like Judy, the bridge between us was at first quilting, but strengthened as well by our love of dogs, especially pit bulls, aka pibbles, which we each own, or maybe it's more they own us!
Others I've met IRL (in real life) are Cindy, Preeti, Beth and Julie, and now Sue, all of whom started out as online friendships but all of whom I have met, some more than once, as is the case with Cindy. We've shared good food and conversations, and quilting-related activities!
Sue lives not too far from my mum's hometown of Bolton, England, so that was another connection or common thread, to use the obvious pun. We, too share a deep love of dogs, big ones especially; we are both owned by big ones, and we share a love of knitting, though she does a lot more than I do these days. So when I was going to be in Bolton this past August, we arranged to meet up. We had a wonderful lunch at Smithills Hall, "one of the oldest and best-preserved manor houses in the Northwest of England."
|Behind the hall in the gardens|
|I remember as a 12-year-old, being struck by the low doorways, but people were much shorter then. I am 5'2", so this certainly is a low doorway!|
Sue brought me a gift from Helen of Midget Gem Quilts. I believe we three are within a year in age of each other, really interesting. Each of us is from a different country but we connect on so many levels, it's uncanny. Helen had hoped to meet us too, but it was just not meant to be. This time. Helen had mailed Sue and I each a little gift, so she was with us in spirit! Funny, but not so funny, as we are all three so very much on the same wavelength on many levels, love of blue probably the least of them, but she had also made us each a bag! She used a vintage Ulster tablecloth, vintage ribbon, precious Liberty of London fabric...
There are many 'imaginary' friends like Helen, who I haven't yet met in person, but hope to one day. As you may know, Helen has a son in Pennsylvania which is literally on the other side of the Lake Erie from me. So our get-together is imminent, I know it.
I fully believe that things happen for a reason; that there is a purpose to everything, and that once you open yourself to possiblitieies and take time to notice how The Universe or whatever you may call the omniscient force of pure love, lines things up for you, then many many things start to fall into place, and your life takes off onto another level of amazingness.
There will be more installments/musings on imaginary friends, but for now, I will close here. I wish for all of you to find these gems of friends, and to be able to meet up IRL one day. I know a ton of us quilter/bloggers do this, and I think it only strengthens our worldwide community. I will say it again: politicians NEED this kind of open heart feeling, as it brings understanding, I feel. I know that's a bit rose-coloured glasses simplified way of looking at things, but it's a step towards trust and acceptance, and just love, in the end.
Here is one of the wood panels in Smithills' Hall. I see a quilt idea... I loved all the wood work and intricate detail in this beautiful old manor.
I hope your Christmas was merry, and I wish you a Happy Boxing Day, which, like Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and other Commonwealth countries, we celebrate here in Canada.