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The Story of The Squares: Clayton’s Quilt

A couple of years ago, when we first started making full size quilts from children’s clothes, we received a particular email that touched our hearts and left our eyes full of tears.  It was written by a mother who had held onto a bin of personal belongings of her son, whom had passed away four years prior from leukemia.  She knew she wanted something special done with his clothing, but it wasn’t until she found Vintage Giggles, that she felt ready to release her items.

When the box of personal items arrived to us, it was not without tears that we read the notes attached to each piece of clothing.  Among other things, the box contained the last clothes that this mother dressed her son in, the shirts her son and husband wore in the last family portrait and the clothes that she wore when she last held her precious boy.  We held these clothes up to our hearts and felt the pain of a life lost, while at the same time, gathered inspiration to make the most beautiful celebration of Clayton’s life that a quilt could possibly represent.

Just as the quilt was nearing completion, Theresa (Clayton’s mom) decided that she would like to pick up the quilt in person.  So, on a specially arranged day, she flew from her home in Indiana to a warm and sunny beach in Naples, Florida, with three of her close friends, to receive her son’s items presented to her as a quilt.

After a few hours of tears and laughter as we listened to Theresa tell stories of Clayton, this day, and the story of her squares can be told best through her own words.  And so, it is with honor that we bring you this guest post, written with love by Theresa Shuck.

“For I know my place is home
where the ocean meets the sky
I’ll be sailing”
-Rod Stewart

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We finally made it to the ocean.

The boy
A sweet, articulate, sturdy, resilient, and persistent as the ocean waves farm boy, our boy, Clayton, was diagnosed with a horribly aggressive leukemia when he was 2 and half years old. We fought it with the best doctors, nurses, medicine, poison, prayer, and love. But he could not be cured on this side of heaven.

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The end
When his time was short on this Earth following his second relapse, I wanted to take him from landlocked Indiana to see the ocean. No one should die without seeing the ocean. Fortunately, I have a practical, reasonable, responsible, sister who thinks of everything, and only missed 2 questions on the SAT. I was lucky enough to follow her through life, and she gave me some sound advice. She asked if I thought he wanted to see the ocean, or if I wanted to see the ocean. Honestly, I wanted to see the ocean because the sunlight reflecting off the sea is the exact opposite of the florescent hospital light that we had basked in for the last 20 months. Wisely, we chose not to travel hundreds of miles with our dying 4 year old. Instead we did what he wanted. He wanted to drink Coke out of a sippy cup, to throw away his toothbrush, and never sleep in his bed again. He wanted to camp out on the couch with his dad. And he did.

“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.” “Well” said the tree….”Come, Boy, Sit down. Sit down and rest.”  -Shel Silverstein in The Giving Tree

Our sweet Clayton took his last breath snuggled down on the chest of his daddy. The same arms that held him after he took his first breath, held him when he took his last on December 29th, 2010 at the age of 4. He went straight from his daddy’s arms to his heavenly Father’s arms.

Heaven
We never did take him to see the ocean, but now he sees the ocean from his front row seat above the ocean. I wish I could have been with him when he saw the ocean for the first time, but in a way I did.

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The gift
On the sunniest Halloween day I have seen in years, ok probably ever. (People here in Indiana don’t usually play beach volleyball on the last day in October, or wear bikinis and Halloween headbands with bat ears) A lovely group of people met him where the ocean meets the land. They had a priceless gift to give our family, and I represented our family to accept it.

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Just shy of what was his 9th birthday, and 5 years since we last kissed his sweet face, Brooke and Rebecca of Vintage Giggles presented me with his heritage quilt. They carefully, thoughtfully, and beautifully pieced together some of his most beloved things. Favorite (and stained) clothes, fever blanket, swim trunks, tag blankie, wild custom pillow cases, his preschool bag, the clothes we wore to his funeral, the first clothes we snapped on his wiggly self, and the pj’s he wore when I rocked him one last time.

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The chair
I rocked him in the same chair that we bought when we found out we were going to be parents. It had seen us through countless sleepless nights, baby coos, first smiles, new teeth, 5 brands of baby bottles, ear infections, colic, projectile baby puke, and IV infusions. This is the chair where I rocked and rocked him even after he was gone. The place where I kissed his almost completely bald head one more time before he left our house for the last time on a freezing cold December night, a cold he never felt.

Now that same chair will have his quilt draped over it. Many of his cherished things out of a plastic tote and woven with love, and pieced together in just his style. It is not a quilt of our deceased child’s things. It is a love story, a love story that will be told and retold, and held up in every sweet detail from the buttons on his knit cardigan that he wore to his baptism to the snaps of his sheep onesie.

Thankfulness
Grateful seems small for this gift to our whole family. I am grateful for a husband and daddy to my children with the strength to hold his first born child engulfed in love to his very last breath. I am grateful for friends and family that show up to eat bad news sandwiches with me, dress me for my child’s funeral, and get pedicures while the snow flies. I am grateful for nurses whose tears soaked his pillow, and doctors who stand beside parents at cemeteries and show up for work the next day. For those that wash post-partum laundry and return it the hospital with mints on top, and those that answer 1.3 million text messages from a broken-hearted friend, sister, and daughter. I am grateful for the small people that call me mom, and demand that I not die long before I am dead. I am grateful that someday our whole family will be together again. And I am grateful for the kind of authentic people that give the kind of hugs that leach some of the pain out of your bones. The ones unafraid of putting their once broken heart near yours in the warm sand. They all made up the fabric of his life, and it is now held together with the sweet stitches of love. His love story, our love story, draped over the back of a chair that beckons “Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”

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Vintage Giggles: If they took Selfies in the 50’s….

We imagine it would involve a thick coat of bold lipstick, a hair ribbon, a wooden spoon and little bit of technical difficulty, confirmed with a look of confusion. Not pictured would be the ruffled apron worn over the wide circle skirt, with a perfectly symmetrical bow tied in the back.

Ready to go spiff up yet? After having a glance at this website, we are certain you’ll soon be digging for your kitten heel shoes.

Meanwhile, sounds from the small speakers of the Transistor Radio would fill the room with songs like Elvis’s “I’m All Shook Up” as it sits atop the chrome rimmed kitchen table.

Other top Billboard Hits of 1957 included Pat Boone’s “Love Letters in the Sand,” “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”   Grab your dancin’ shoes and get your jig on with this playlist.

While you’re shaking it up, stir it up with a little cake batter in your Pyrex bowl.   The candy colored porcelain and chrome oven is already preheating. Whip up some of these classic cake recipes in a jiffy for yourself with the recipes we found here.

The sights and sounds of the times are what we aspire to capture when we pull prints and colors together to form our collections.   The music, the moments, the colors and the culture are what you’ll find in our threads.

Check out our Pinterest board, Moments that Shape Us for more classic memories.

As one of our nine collections, Tealed With a Kiss is the epitome of a 1950’s kitchen. It’s feminine, it’s floral and it’s covered with sugar. Available in a hooded towel, burp cloth and two styles of baby quilts, it’s perfect for the little sweetie pie in your life.

“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for people; it does for me.”     -Audrey Hepburn

xo,

Rebecca

 

 

Story of the Squares: The Small Things Quilt, a guest post by Kelle Hampton

(but first, a brief introduction….)

By far, the hardest part of making a Heritage Quilt is to send it off when it’s finished. We unapologetically fall in love with every single quilt that we make. Every step of the way is savored, beginning with the conversations over email that we have with you while you’re deciding to have a Heritage Quilt made, what size is right for you and questions that  you have as you begin to gather your special items. Some conversations begin to feel as if we are sitting over coffee with a long lost friend. There is a story behind every quilt request, and we love hearing your words.

Then, momentum continues the day we receive your clothes and read your notes about the specific and most significant pieces. The process gets down to business as we make the first and most difficult cut. Then, creativity takes over as we rearrange the pieces that hold your treasured moments into a collage of stitched memories. So, needless to say, it’s a treat for us to receive your feedback through words and pictures of the quilts as they settle into their new home and become an object of affection to you.

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photo by Kelle Hampton

And now, it is our great privilege to bring you our very first guest blogger, Kelle Hampton. Below, she shares her thoughts about her finished Vintage Giggles Heritage Quilt.

What was the hardest thing to let go of for the quilt?

The nightgown I wore the night I became a mom. I’m super sentimental about it. I remember wearing it, sitting in a rocking chair in a dark hospital room after everyone had left, holding my baby and making note that my peace and happiness at that moment was so deep, so like nothing I’d ever felt before. I’ve been wearing the nightgown ever since, and it’s worn and thin now. I almost didn’t include it, thinking I’d pass it down to my girls someday, but it was so worn out, I figured it belonged in the quilt. Vintage Giggles not only preserved the fabric beautifully in the quilt, but they saved the pleated lace—my favorite part about the nightgown—to embellish a new nightgown when I find the right one.

What are your top three favorite squares?

I love stories and the invitations to tell them, so my favorite squares are based on fabrics that hold really good stories.

1)      The red plaid gingham from the Big Boy pants Dash wore at his first birthday party. I had the pants specially made for the party and two weeks before the event, I found Nella and Dash with a permanent marker—and the pants. I was so disappointed (the stains didn’t come out!), but now I’m glad it happened. I asked Vintage Giggles to make sure they used the black scribbles in the quilt so that I can retell the story to my kids. They think it’s so funny!

2)      The embroidered “Blessed” square. The fabric is from a small pillow that someone (I don’t even remember who!) brought up to the hospital to tuck in Lainey’s bed during an extended hospital stay after she was born. It stayed there the whole time—through all the worries and fear during that stay. It wasn’t the last time we needed that “Blessed” pillow near our kids during tough times. There’s something about the juxtaposition of the “Blessed” phrase when you’re worried for your kids. And now it’s tucked in the quilt for a constant reminder.

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photo by Kelle Hampton

3)      The brown tweed romper from Lainey’s First Day of Kindergarten. Talk about a story. It was such an awful (but needful and important) experience for both of us. She didn’t want to go to school and after she sobbed as I left her, I went and had my own cry in the car. But I remember picking her up that day. She was smiling–looking so grown-up and yet still very much a little girl wearing a little girl romper. I love all the details in that romper—the pockets, the over-the-shoulder straps, the buttons and leather trim. All of it got transferred to the quilt in the most unique and detailed squares.

I have to add one more—the cherry apron square. Both of my girls wore that apron on many occasions–baking chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins or my mom’s cherry pie with me. The pocket of the apron is sewn on to the quilt, and a little surprise was found in it during the cutting process. Vintage Giggles sent me a picture of a pile of flour they found preserved at the bottom. This, of course, proves that laundry isn’t my forte. Perhaps I could have washed it before sending it on to be made into a quilt.

What was your first reaction to the finished quilt?

Well, of course I cried. So many little things I loved watching my babies wear were now beautifully stitched together to hold so many stories. When it comes to baby stuff, I’ve always had a hard time with getting rid of things. It felt really good to get the attic cleaned out, simplify (a lot went to friends and Goodwill) and preserve only the very best things in such a memorable way—a visual that’s constantly present in our home, and one that encourages far more stories being passed on to my kids than if clothes were folded up and hidden in attic crates. Plus, it’s visually stunning and pulls together the eclectic look of the girls’ room.

What do your kids say when they look at the quilt?  

We play games of picking out which squares are our favorite. Nella says “pretty.” And Lainey likes to brag, stopping me before I tell her where the fabric came from with, “Don’t tell me, I already know. That was my Christmas dress.” This, of course, makes me insanely happy.

What is a tip you’d tell someone who is undecided about having a heritage quilt made.

These quilts are investments, and you can’t put a dollar amount on the time and design that goes into them. That said, when it came time for us to upgrade bedrooms and get a new bed for our girls, I thought a lot about how we wanted to spend our money. I ended up finding a discount bed frame rather than the bed I had my heart set on because I knew the quilt was more important (I ended up loving our discount bed frame too, so win/win!). Kids grow out of styles and bedding and color schemes and expensive bed frames, but this? This will last forever and be passed down for generations. I also envisioned the many stories that would come from it, and it’s already happening. We cuddle up for bed, and I find a square, point it out and start telling the story again.

 

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photo by Kelle Hampton

(And finally, she added a question of her own)… Do you have plans for more quilts?

I want each of the kids to eventually have their own quilt, so I continue to save fabrics. Over the years, we’ll build more fabric stashes and invest in more quilts so that each child will have something to take with them when they’re on their own—something full of stories that binds them to each other, to home and reminds them…CALL YOUR MOTHER.

Kelle Hampton

 

 

The Story of the Squares: Citrus Sorbet

One of the best parts of what we do here at Vintage Giggles, is having the opportunity to use pieces of history to create items that can be used for many years into the future.  Of course, each piece we make has a touch of history in it’s threads, but when we have the privilege of preserving someone’s treasured personal items, well that just makes it all the more delightful.

Today we bring you the story of the squares that created this quilt. Meet Citrus Sorbet.

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This quilt was requested to be made as a gift between two friends.  The giver, Lilly, handed us the maid of honor dress that she wore in her friend Vicky’s wedding.  She wanted a quilt made, using that dress, to be a baby gift for the bride’s first daughter.  The rest, she left up to us.

Their friendship includes years spent together in the citrus groves owned by Vicky and her husband, as well as late night theological conversations over delicate cups of tea and french pastries.  With all this in mind, I began cutting the dress and pairing it with a delectable pallet of colors that would best resemble these two friends.  I chose soft yellow to represent the warm sunshine that kisses the citrus fruit on the tree limbs. Then I added sleepy hues of the tangerines, oranges and grapefruits in their grove. Of course, the french lavender color of the bridesmaid dress made for the perfect accent for this quilt.  In addition to using the dress for some of the squares, the feminine fullness of the skirt was captured by using the dress material to make the ruffle around the complete edge of the quilt.  As a finishing touch, the bow from the waist of the dress was added to the top of the quilt.   This finished quilt represents a story of a friendship, the legacy of a family business and the vow of love between this precious baby’s parents….all three of which are some of the greatest gifts in life.

And that’s the story of the squares that created Citrus Sorbet.

Threads of Love,

Rebecca xo

 

 

 

 

 

Hello There!

IMG_1875 copyIt’s GRAND OPENING day for vintagegiggles.com!!

 

We are thrilled to finally share our big announcement with you!!  Beginning today, vintagegiggles.com offers you direct access to purchase our products for the first time ever!!!

After months of brainstorming, picture taking, web lingo learning, and collection designing, we present our first nine official collections to you, ready for purchase!

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with many talented people who have helped us along the way.  The whole process has been so endearing to us as we expanded our horizons and stepped out of comfort zones.  And of course, when giggle is your name, giggle is your game….so, you can bet there were many moments of joy and laughter as we made our way through to bringing this website to you today!

IMG_8061For example, take our personal photo shoot with Amanda Hillary Photography.  Neither Brooke or I am comfortable in front of a camera- add to that, the muggy rains of late afternoon Florida summer days and a freshly hatched batch of mosquitoes, and you could have spelled misery.  However, when your photographer calls and squeals in your ear as she says that she has found the perfect truck, no amount of raindrops or bug bites could have dampened our excitement.  Amanda, you nailed it!  And for the record, if the owner of this truck EVER decides to sell.  Yes, please!  We drool.

And then there are days when the stars align and missed naps lend themselves to shy smiles and sparkly eyes.  That is what happened the day of our product shoot with Kelle Hampton and Heidi Darwish.  Recipe:  Begin with two of the most adorable babies in town, add a gorgeous classic clawfoot bathtub on a black and white tile floor, mixed generously with a stream of golden afternoon sunlight, and topped with two of the most talented and dearest photographers around, and voila…the tone of our website is born.

Here are some behind the scene snapshots of this amazing session and the gorgeous mini models in action.

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Thank you for visiting our site today.  Please enjoy free shipping on all orders placed within the first 24 hours of our launch!  Hurry and order your giggle today!

 

Threads of love,

Rebecca xo