On Tuesday, I took only a few things out to the Women's Shelter, for Quilt Time With the Kids. The Quilt has helped me gather with children at the Shelter for over 15 years, now.
I told the kids the animals were looking for homes, if anyone cared to adopt. These were not gifts... gifts are usually new.
We went clockwise around the circle and each child picked. Then we went the opposite direction and the kids picked another. There were extras for latecomers. Then I put out bells and metal stars and gold cord. The kids decorated their pets. Older kids helped the younger ones. Some of the older kids wanted my help... just because it's fun to get help. Then we picked up the Jingle Babies and I blasted "Jingle Bells" from the portable speaker. We sang and jumped and jingled around the room a while.
Like I said, it's sometimes hard for me, to be totally calm.
20+ years Ago
The kids at the Shelter had wanted to know about my kids. As I drove home I thought about 1996, when my kids were young and Beanie Babies were a big deal. Christmas was simple and life was good. My kids and their friends knew the names of every Beanie Baby that was sold...
My kids didn't know much about shelters and abuse. But a few years later, they began volunteering at the Women's Shelter. I remember the conversations, driving home in the car, after spending time at the Shelter. They learned a lot from those visits.
I gave Wrinkles a bell and a place of honor downstairs. We won't have kids in the house for Christmas this year, but we have lots of fun reminders!
Trees in December
For my December theme with the Seniors, I chose trees.
We talked about the obvious... favorite trees and what's good about trees.
We don't have much fall in Texas and many of my Quilt Seniors haven't ever left the state.
People in Trees
We talked about climbing trees.
Some remembered climbing as kids. No one remembered climbing a tree as an adult... except me.
We talked about the tallest trees.
Redwoods and tall palms... that need adults to climb them, to clip their fronds.
We talked about how beautiful trees can be, even when they're not alive anymore.
We decided the best non-living tree is a decorated Christmas tree! But it's also the most aggravating tree, when it falls over!
We talked about the best shapes for trees. You have to love a gumdrop tree!
We decided branches can be the most beautiful part of a tree, even without lights.
Besides dead trees, there are other trees that aren't alive.
Fake Christmas trees... and tree sculptures!
Since it was December, we talked a lot about Christmas trees and lights.
We wondered if the shoes hanging from this tree, were considered decorations.
We were quite sure the Mardi Gras beads were considered a decoration. They were hanging from a palm tree in New Orleans.
Live Things in Trees
I shared my favorite tree photo.
I took the photo years ago at Brazos Bend State Park at dawn. The birds in this tree were incredibly loud!
Hanging from Trees
We talked about all the things that hang from trees... like children and birdhouses.
Stained glass windows hanging from a tree, can look pretty fun. But not as much fun as a swing.
Holes and Words
We talked about mysterious holes in trees. Sometimes there are hidden treasures.
We talked about damage to trees, by beavers or nails or pocket knives...
Trees in Art
And we talked about trees in art.
Many remembered drawing trees as children. Stick people, houses, suns and trees. Pretty much everyone mastered drawing those few things, as a child.
I had a few branches scattered on the table. We propped them up and created some trees, while we talked.
We added some leaves and pinecones and some candy canes, since it was December. It was sort of simple and silly and just about right.
What Did I Learn?
I love simple themes.
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.