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The Perfect Christmas Gift…


I wanted my first 2013 blog post to be a very special and personal one, because 2013 is going to be an exciting year.  I can already tell (more on that to come)!

For Christmas this year, I received possibly my most favorite gift to date.  After Grandpa passed away, I had mentioned to Mom that I thought it would be nice to have a quilt out of some of his old shirts.  How special would that be! I consulted a local Lawrence Kansas quilting expert and friend, Deb, who had done an absolutely wonderful job re-binding a VERY old family heirloom quilt for me a few months back.  After trucking a container full of Grandpa’s shirts to her house we talked about the possibilities in front of us, carefully laid out on her dining room table.  On my way to visit with her, I had imagined she would take a look at the shirts, talk about what we wanted it to look like and quote me a price on what it would cost for her to pull it off.  Well, she did that…sort of…and then told me she thought the quilt would mean even more if my Mom and I worked on making the quilt together.  I told her I couldn’t even remember the last time I sewed a damn button back onto anything  Lack of experience didn’t sway her one bit.  She continued on, patiently walking me through the steps Mom and I would need to take. She had faith in us, which was more than I had, I can honestly say.  🙂

The next time I visited Salina, Mom and I joined forces to think through a theme and pattern for the quilt.  I’ve mentioned Grandpa, as a veterinarian, had a special love of wildlife.  He had this great, loud flannel shirt with large sketches of animals on it (bears, moose, rabbits, etc).  I knew that’s what I wanted the quilt to feature the most.  Then, we could work in squares of shirts that I had the best memories of him wearing.  Mom and I started cutting  right away!

I loved spending time with my mom but working on this project was bittersweet.  Several times while shuffling the shirts around Mom and I both had tears in our eyes realizing they still smelled like him (ok, ok..we cried).  After a few pep talks and tissue breaks, we finished and laid out what was shaping up to be an awesome quilt.  Mom said she would work on sewing the pieces together over the next couple of months and then we would regroup and talk about how it looked and what our next steps would be.

Well, life happened.  I felt bad pressing my mom about it because she was swamped with school and activities.  I do think I asked her about it once, and she told me she was shooting to have it sewed together by Christmas.

And then, guess what “Santa” left under the tree this Christmas?!  Yup.  In its finished form!  It is absolutely perfect.  Mom used an “elf” at her school to help, but it just adds to the charm of a quilt full of memories that provide warmth both inside and out!


  • mb - January 15, 2013 - 12:57 pm

    Wow!!! how cool is this. Grandpa would be so proud! I’m so glad that his special shirts get to hug you whenever you want! I can hardly wait to see it! Love you, Ashley!!ReplyCancel

  • deb rowden - January 16, 2013 - 4:12 pm

    Ashley! Congratulations! What a happy story this is, you got the ball rolling on this project and your dear mom finished it. i love it! Thanks for sharing it. Would you mind if I used the story on my blog?ReplyCancel

  • Jolene "MoJo" Grabill - January 17, 2013 - 5:04 am


    For obvious reasons this post made me cry! I’m thankful for so many things involving you, but at this moment I am most thankful for our excellent timing on that fateful day when I was pulled Great Grandma Christina’s quilt out of the dryer right before you walked in the door. It really does have good “MoJo”, just look what it has inspired now! LOVE it, love your mom, and LOVE YOU!ReplyCancel

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