Saturday, May 14, 2016


I've been living in Fort McMurray this past week and a half -- figuratively, anyway.  The wildfire there -- the largest of 8 or 9 up there right now -- has captured my attention for a variety of reasons.

First, when I was a Registered Financial Planner working with CWM in Calgary (long gone, but the memories linger), I was part of the team that worked with Executives at Syncrude, the consortium that is a major player in oil sands development.  I've been up there several times -- albeit years ago now -- and knew many of the people.  I toured the site, saw the land reclaimed after the oil was extracted, saw the bison returned to the land...

Second, one of the people I worked with at CWM currently works up there for a different company, on a rotational basis -- so many weeks up, so many back down in Calgary.  She's been up in the area since before the fires started, evacuated to different camps more than once, caring most recently for the firefighters and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) working up there -- and she's only now been permitted to go home for a break.

Third...a very long time ago (January 1968) I lost several school-mates when they and their father died one wintry night after the furnace in their rural Quebec home exploded.  The mother, babe in arms and one son who'd been staying over with a friend, survived. Gone were the father -- who went back in for the other four children -- and the family dog.  I'll never forget the impact of that on my 15-year-old self...the realities brought home, the horror of it....

I've had a very cautious relationship with fire ever since.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I've paused in my artwork to do something else -- to assemble some quilt tops and to make some kennel quilts that will eventually find homes with those who need them.

BOM "Zen"
from Freckles Quilt Shoppe, 2005

BOM "Cinnamon"
from Freckles Quilt Shoppe, 2006

BOM "Four by Four"
from Freckles Quilt Shoppe, 2003

I'm taking these to Edmonton with me this weekend -- plus two (much) larger Bonnie Hunter mystery tops (Orca Bay and Easy Street) finished a few years ago and not yet quilted -- and will deliver them to Tara at Trinity Quilts on my way home Monday.  I'm throwing in some fabric for the backing for each of the large ones.  She's donating some batting and her time and will quilt them for me. Then she'll get them bound and they'll be delivered where and when they need to be.

Meanwhile...Klassic Kennels in Red Deer has been a haven for pets rescued from the fires, as many people didn't have an opportunity to return to their homes to get them.  WestJet airlines transported loads of pets to safety, and Klassic Kennels was one of the places that took them in.  They needed 'kennel quilts'.  I found a pattern online  and put a good dent in my 'charm' squares, making 10 of these.  My friend G, a Knit Night regular at The Shop, works in Red Deer, so she delivered them for me.

Placemats? Nope.  Kennel quilts.
Pattern: "Instant Charm" - Barbara Chojnacki

Years ago, a parish church I attended in Calgary had a banner on one wall that read, "Bloom where you're planted."  And then there is the Nike motto.  These phrases go together well:

Bloom where you're planted.
Just DO it.

It's what I'm trying to do.

Linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and wishing you a wonderful rest of the weekend!


Kathie Briggs said...

Margaret, what a loving gesture, The quilts will be treasured by the recipients not just for their beauty but for the prayers that went into the making. And so sweet to remember the rescued pets.

And while all this was going on you've secured a venue to debut Mark on the Body! I know how much this project means to you and how important the message is. I am thrilled for you.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely way to help with the recovery.