Perfect Gift – The Ugly Quilt!

Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.  ~Lenore Hershey


The Ugly Quilt, made from Nicole’s old quilt & my old childhood quilts originally made in 1976. Perfect Christmas idea! 12-24-13

Like many others, we go through the same list of questions every year for Christmas, ‘What do we want to get Nicole?” and “What should we get dad?”  Naturally, if we had unlimited resources, it wouldn’t be so difficult but let’s come back to reality, most people have budgets, at least I do.  Every year, generally speaking, some great idea takes shape to give the perfect gift.  Me, mom and Kyle were blessed with two great ideas.

Giving is great, I truly mean that!  However, I don’t like to give because I have to, or it’s the thing to do.  Nope, if I’m giving someone something, it’s because I mean it and I’m excited to surprise them with usually an unconventional gift.  That’s my favorite, the perfect gifts or practical ones.  I am very much a practical and simple type of gal.  Yes, I love receiving socks (the Under Armor running socks or good wool hiking socks etc) and blenders and books and running shoes and so on and so forth.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love frivolous too!  Such as jewelery or collectables, but I’m also equally happy with practical presents.

Last year, we got mom framed pictures.  Not just any pictures, but an old photo of all the cousins (close ones) and a recent shot of the same picture taken at the same location as the original, Twin Lakes Family In A Photo – Looking Back showing us all grown up.  Boy was she surprised!   Perfect!


Close up of Nicole’s quilt courtesy of Quilts by Reese. Perfect Christmas gift! Nicole never suspected it! 12/24/13

Who got the perfect gift this year?  There was a tie.  Dad and Nicole owned it!

First, lets start with Nicole.  What to get a gal who gets herself basically what she wants, when she wants it?  That was easy, something she wants and forgot she had.  This past summer while cleaning out mom and dad’s house, we came across Nicole’s old quilt.  Nicole and I both had matching quilts of different color schemes, given to us for Christmas in 1976.  They were nice twin sized quilts that kept us warm and cozy throughout our childhood and even into our twenties.  Nicole however, LOVED her quilt and drug, literally drug it around with her EVERYWHERE!  As a kid, she would drag it to the living-room to watch TV, through the kitchen, out on the porch and into the yard.  She would eat with it, sleep with it, and I bet she even drug it into the shower a time or two.  That quilt was like her giant “blanky”.  She even took it to college with her!  That is until it really fell apart.  I mean about half of it was MIA.  Over the years pieces of it would rip off, but she kept dragging it along.


Front & back of the Ugly quilt… combination of mine & Nicole’s old quilts from 1976. Nicole loved her quilt & now she kind of has it back! Perfect Christmas gift. Thanks Quilts by Reese! 12/24/13

What to do?  Call upon my friend Holly who makes quilts on the side Quilts by Reese to aide me in this perfect Christmas gift idea of course.  No, her thing is not to revitalize old torn up and extremely used quilts, but she agreed to help me out as a favor for a long time running friend.

Where to begin?  No clue, I delivered the pile of scrap fabric, which is what it basically was once it was washed one last time.  Holly took it from there.  Since finding fabric to match, texture and color wise, proved to be problematic, I gave Holly my old quilt, which was almost in perfect condition (you could tell I didn’t have such an affinity for my quilt like Nicole did hers) to tear up and use as needed.

Eventually, about a third of the quilt was Nicole’s original and the rest was mine.  It worked out perfectly since both quilts had the exact same fabric and patterns, just different color schemes.  The backing needed to be completely replaced as well as the trim, but it turned out nicely!  Better than expected actually!  Holly did an amazing job on such a difficult mission!  And she had it done well before Christmas!

With everything I do, it’s always an adventure.  As the quilt was being torn apart and assembled again, Holly would give me updates on the “ugly” quilt.  From what I gathered, it was a bit of a bugger with the thick seams and old seventy’s stretchy fabric.  Personally, I loved the name, ugly quilt and so it stuck!  Holly hated the quilt, that is until the end.  She said, “It’s so ugly it’s starting to look cute and wear on me.”  Yep that’s what happens when you put your heart and soul into something.  The fondness grows.  Now granted, Holly wasn’t so attached to it that she couldn’t give it back, but I could tell she sewed herself into the Piper quilt.


Combination of my old quilt & Nicole’s originally made in 1976. Perfect Christmas gift – Quilts by Reese 12-24-13

On a side note, one text message I received from Holly include a very close-up shot of the quilt fabric.  The text message asked me if Nicole had a bird?  Why yes she did!  How did Holly know?  Apparently, there was bird seed embedded in some of the fabric.  Only my sister!  That sounds about right.  Not to mentioned all the food stains all over her fabric.

It’s funny when I look at the quilt, I don’t see an ugly old seventy’s patchwork quilt.  Nope, I see our childhood!  And I know Nicole feels the same way.

Now the most important questions.  Was Nicole surprised?  And did she like the quilt?  Yes and yes.  She had no idea, none, not an ounce with respect to her Christmas gift.  Of course, it’s easy to keep things a secret from her when she lives two hundred miles away.  Kyle couldn’t wait to give her the blanket, although I could tell he didn’t see the importance and feel the true excitement like me, mom and dad, (well maybe me and mom) but it was still fun.

Quilts by Reese Facebook Post Ugly Quilt Aunt Heather PiperHolly wanted to see tears in Nicole’s eyes and urine on the floor from the surprise and happiness.  Well, neither happened and I’m personally more grateful for the later not occurring, but Nicole was presently surprised.  (Avery peed on the floor and that counts!)  I would love to show a picture of the original quilt, however I couldn’t find any pictures.  Actually, that’s not entirely true, I did find one, but since then I misplaced it.  I’ll look for the darn thing.

Now dad’s perfect gift.  Mom came up with the idea and me, Nicole and Kyle were totally on board.  Great idea!  So what was this perfect gift?  Easy it was …to be continued.

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Family Time Through an iPod Touch

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.  ~ Jane D. Hull

You know, more than not, Kyle manages to pleasantly surprise me.  The other day I was watching TV and I received a couple text messages from Kyle from his new iPod Touch I got him for Christmas.  First I’d like to say, when Kyle is not with my family he is missed terribly and we are always wondering what he’s up to.  So, needless to say, receiving an unprompted text message from Kyle made my night.  On a side note, like most 10 year old kids, Kyle doesn’t like to talk to family members more than needed, especially when a game awaits his attention.  But what really threw me off guard, earlier that day, was when dad and I Facetimed Kyle right after school (not his choice).  I wanted to make sure he was still alright from when we were Playing Chicken With a Drunk Driver.  Anyway, he was texting to see if he could take his new iPod Touch to school and daycare.  Can you believe it?  How sweet and responsible!  I naturally replied, “Surely, it’s yours.”  Then I texted him, “Did you practice your piano and guitar?”  The response I got was, “I took a shower and I’m ready for bed”, followed by “I got an A on my spelling test.”  After congratulating him, I asked him to go practice his instruments before bed.  He then texted me back asking to Facetime.

Kyle Piper ipod Touch Aunt Heather Piper

What a pleasant surprise!  He wanted me to hear him practice his piano, guitar, and trumpet.  Not to mention, if I know Kyle, he doesn’t like doing anything by himself and he lives for attention and compliments.  So this was an easy win-win for him.  We made a little chit chat before he laid down the iPod Touch while he went through the notes on his guitar.  Sometimes the signal would break up a bit but, for the most part, it was pretty clear.  While I was listening, I had to watch the his ceiling fan spin.  It kind of made me a little motion sick, so I couldn’t look the entire time.  Then, every once in a while, Kyle would peek the top of his head into view.  He looked like a groundhog popping its head up and down.  Usually, all I saw was the top of his head down to his nose.  It was actually kind of funny.

Next, Kyle had to move to another room where his keyboard was set up.  Instead of a ceiling fan, I got to watch the ceiling and the corner of the wall.  I kept waiting for the head popping into view and I got my wish several times.  He also kept checking to make sure I was paying attention, which I certainly was trying to be the best audience via Facetime.  Then came the trumpet.  He played a song two or three times before he wanted to move onto a more important item… his Lego Star Wars Death Star!

When he said he was done and I finished complimenting him and letting him know how happy I was that he finished his work before bed, Kyle decided he wanted a new picture for his wallpaper of his iPod Touch.  He asked me if I would go to the kitchen and take a picture of the Lego Star Wars Death Star. I did and then he wanted me to instruct him on how to add the picture.  It was getting late, so I told him I would help him out the next day.

Kyle up close on ibooth Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle taking a pic of himself on iBooth

Well the next day came, and Kyle didn’t forget.  He texted me right after school while I was at work.  I was busy with email and told him to hold the thought.  In the meantime, he figured out how to add the picture.  Apple products are so easy a kid can pick it up and understand how to use it. (That was actually in the Steve Jobs book.)  We continued to text back and forth until I received an invite to Facetime.  What?  He didn’t know how to Facetime the day prior, but now he’s all over it.  You see, it was last Wednesday and I leave work a little early to pick him up for swimming lessons.  I was texting him, asking that he practice his instruments before I get there.  Well, evidently he wanted an audience again.  So I leaned my phone beside me so he could see me when the phone wasn’t facing the ceiling and I explained that I was going to address emails while he played.  He seemed fine with that and continued through his lessons.  It was kind of neat, communicating with Kyle, even though it was via phones.

Kyle made my days more enjoyable!  He even graced the office with his music, which bellowed from the tiny phone speakers.  Yep, unconventional gifts rock!  Giving Kyle the gift of music, games, communication, and handheld fun, in turn, gave me the gift of family communication and involvement!  Win-Win!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments
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