Today, I want to share some goodness. Two women who have blessed my lives with their generosity.
First of all, I’ve mentioned my sweet neighbor Lee Xiong before. She is a Hmong woman who escaped Laos with her young family with literal bullets flying over their heads in the 1970’s and emigrated to America as a refugees. When she went to get her American citizenship, it was held up because she had no fingerprints they could document because she’d worn them off working so hard with her hands for so many years. She had to get special permission and clearance through her US Senator’s office to be approved for citizenship.
She is in her 80’s now and lives with her daughter’s family nearby, is in my church congregation, and we have become good friends. She recently brought me a birthday gift that she had made and it blew me away. Look carefully at this applique – all of the white applique design is one piece of fabric!! She cut it and appliqued it down to make this maze motif. I should have put something in for size-reference, but the whole thing is only 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ and the width of the applique itself is only 1/8th of an inch.
I’ve since researched and read a little more about the tradition of Hmong Needlework. It’s just mind-blowing to me. This reverse applique work is called “Pa nDau”. Lee Xiong’s English is still limited, but she explained that she uses very small scissors and needles to do it.
So Friday I went to thank her and visit her. I told her that I am a sew-er as well and how impressed I was with her gift. While there I asked if I could see some of her other sewing. She was so pleased to show me some of her creations. I was blown away by her work. So amazing and beautiful and requiring so much skill!
I fell in love with this piece and asked if I could buy it from her. This one is mostly hand-embroidered. The curly-motif’s are chain-stitched and called ‘snails’. And then there are the little tiny appliqued blocks.
Here’s a more detailed shot. I also love the appliqued triangles in the border.
I hung this on my wall so that it can inspire me every day. Not just the amazing skill involved, but the story of this amazing, brave woman who has sacrificed so much in her life for her family. Her two daughters who are my neighbors learned a lot of hard work as teenagers as they had to help support their family (their Father died not long after they arrived in America) and Lee Xiong’s grandchildren are some of the best teenagers I know. Just good, respectful, funny, and kind kids. What a legacy.
Now one other story to give you some warm fuzzies for the week. This is Marsha. She owns the Corn Wagon Quilt Shop in Springville, Utah. (If you’re local, a bunch of my quilts from Fabulously Fast Quilts and others are currently displayed at the Corn Wagon.)
Marsha was at the retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago. Seeing her there and getting re-acquainted, jogged a memory I hadn’t thought about for a few years.
About 12-13 years ago, I was really getting into quilting. As you know, quilting is not a cheap hobby. Money was not a luxury and we were so careful with our budget at that time. My fun-spending money was $14 a month (I kid you not) and every few months or so, I would visit the Corn Wagon, which was the nearest quilt shop to me at the time, and carefully peruse their remnants bin or buy a couple fat quarters.
One day, I gathered up a little stash of discount remnant bundles to buy with my meager funds and went to pay for them. Marsha saw what I had, smiled and said, “Oh, you can just take them.” For a moment I wasn’t sure I heard her right, and then left SO excited with my pretty treasures. I’m sure it wasn’t a big thing to Marsha, but it was HUGE to me at the time.
Seeing her again last week, I told her that story. She had no recollection of it at all – which tells me she probably did that kind of thing more than once – but it was a good reminder to me that you never know what people’s circumstances are and small acts of generosity can mean a lot.
Kindness is a good thing. Pass it on.
And one more picture for the road. Just because I like it. Blossoms are out everywhere here and I can’t get enough of them. Happy Easter week.