We're home again, albeit without any fun crafting and things to share (the photo below is one my sister Christy took). Not much crafting of any sort happened while we were away, and I didn't even have time to visit fabric or yarn stores. But not for lack of trying: I spent the week helping my mother and uncle empty out my grandmother's condo, since she's recently gone to a nursing home. Somehow I deluded myself into thinking we could do it in a few days, and then I would have time to visit other relatives (and a few shops as well) with my spare time. I should have known better.
Grandma is 90 (I think), and she grew up during the depression, when absolutely everything had value. Nothing was thrown out. I can't begin to express what that meant in her condo. Every closet packed with things that might be useful to someone, someday. My uncle and father made numerous trips to the garbage, the recycling, and the thrift shops; I found dozens of emery boards, multiple crochet hooks in the same sizes, drawers filled with spools of thread, boxes of old credit card bills, and stacks of old towels in the linen closet. You get the picture. If all felt a little like digging through piles of stuff at a thrift shop, except that I had to decide what to do with each thing, rather than just looking for the buried treasure.
And I did find a few little treasures: those aforementioned spools of thread (wooden, and some of the thread is silk), and lots of pretty linens which I hope will wash up nicely. Anyone have some tips for removing stains from tablecloths and napkins? They aren't white, so I can't simply bleach them. But the embroidery is lovely and I don't want to cut them up.
And more importantly, Grandma saved all the cards and letters we sent her, so now we each have a little record of our lives as we wrote to her. I can't think of a nicer way to remember my Grandma; I think it's better than receiving a keepsake heirloom. I only wish I had saved her letters to me in return.
Mom and I also started to sort Grandma's photos, which gave me a chance to learn more about my mother's family history. The more I learn about her childhood, the more I appreciate and understand my mother who, by the way, is an amazing woman. Yesterday the kiddo fell asleep in the car, so we spent a pleasant naptime driving through the neighborhood where she grew up. She talked about some of her experiences, and it fascinates me to learn about her life as a little girl.
Anyway, Grandma is nicely situated in her new room, with a select few pieces of furniture and favorite art on the walls. Sometimes she seems almost like herself again, and other times she just doesn't seem to be in the room at all (she sleeps most of the time now, and she's lost interest in almost everything). Bebe got to spend some time with all of her grandparents, and Todd's parents took care of her for three days while we worked. I'm glad we've finished; it's nice to be home again, and Grandma was grateful and relieved that we took care of the apartment without her.
I had to say goodbye yesterday; I don't know if I'll see Grandma again.
Now I need a good night's sleep, and the sewing machine has been calling to me. Maybe I'll write Grandma a letter tomorrow as well.