Home is where you are

… if you make up your mind to it.

Sixteen years ago, I emigrated to Australia by myself, leaving behind friends, family, job and everything I knew. It wasn’t that I wanted a fresh start so much, more that I felt that in Australia, I’d actually come home. I brought very few things with me (5 cubic metres, 20% of a shipping container), but what I brought was the core of what made where I lived home. And home has come to be… just where I am, rather than linked to heritage, memory, family, nation or geography.

The Husband’s lovely niece is leaving home very soon, to go to University. She’s looking forward to it, and many of her friends are going too, but still, it’ll be different, not her home town, the home she shares with her family. I wanted to give her something from home, of home, so she can begin to form a core of things to surround herself with, the germ of ‘home is where I am‘ that I brought with me. It’s a quilt, of course.

She loves purple. And I had all my F²F³ blocks, the Amethyst & Slate colour scheme that I hadn’t done anything with yet. So at dinner on Christmas Day, I asked if she’d like a quilt for her new home, and I showed her photos of the blocks. She’s keen 🙂 I was short by three blocks, so I’ve made one and have two more to put together, and then I can make her quilt. It’ll need a wide border; the blocks only make up to 60×72 inches, and it won’t make up to full queen size, but it’ll be a nice bed topper and a generous snuggle quilt. I’ll put it together the usual way; I’d like her to have it sooner rather than later, so hand quilting is not on the cards here.

The layout may change. I’m not in a rush, it can fit in around other things. But I’d like to give her a gift to start her own personal core of stability. It’s a good way to start her independent life.

It’s going to be called Heaven for Beginners because of this quote:

“Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.”
Charles Henry Parkhurst

52 thoughts on “Home is where you are

  1. knitnkwilt says:

    Sounds like a great project. And I agree that “home” is a very flexible concept.

    • katechiconi says:

      I haven’t had a family home since I was 22 years old, so I’ve had to adopt the principle of making my home independent of location by default. It works for me, and I hope it will for her too.

  2. magpiesue says:

    That’s got to be one of the best ways to get a young person started on their independent journey. 🙂

  3. cedar51 says:

    what a wonderful and thoughtful present …

  4. The quilt is going to be beautiful, Kate because it’s made with a great deal of love from you. I have a framed sign that says “Home is not a place, it’s a feeling. After 35 moves that I can count, I know that to be true. I lived in plenty of places that did not make me feel at home. My sweet little trailer does. It’s where I put “me” on display through my art, decor, and collections. I like the title for your quilt. I’m sure the niece will too. Love and hugs to you. M

    • katechiconi says:

      I have only 13 moves under my belt, but one of those was 18,000kms! You can’t take all your clobber with you on a distance like that, so I had a severe editing job to do, whittling down everything I owned until what was left epitomised the feeling of home, comfort and security, irrespective of actual location. Top of the list? Books, of course!

      • I didn’t even get to take books or toys from country to country. I’m thinking all this stuff is a result of so much sparse living for so many years. Of course, I’ve had several family members move in and out of my home so I’m left with some of their things too. It will get interesting very soon. 🙂

      • katechiconi says:

        Sounds like you’ve hit the nail on the head. Other people’s stuff added to yours simply exaggerates the issue; I’m sure if that was all extracted you’d find you actually had more breathing space and could see your own things more clearly. There’s sparseness, and there’s clarity…

      • I do agree. Just gave away a recliner to a dog. 😉

  5. Beautiful 🥰 and every time she looks at it or wraps herself with it … it will envelop her with all the love and warmth from her family. Your heart is very beautiful my friend and your gift of quilts epitomizes that in every stitch ♥️

  6. “It’s a quilt of course”
    Home is Family and she’ll be taking both with her in that quilt. Very Sweet.
    ps-purple is my fav color, too!

  7. It’s those meaningful core possessions that make such a difference… in each place the acts of unpacking and positioning, the security of packing and taking them… knowing they are a constant.

  8. This is a wonderful idea, and I think your niece will appreciate it all her life (I don’t just mean the quilt). You’ve got me thinking now about the concept of “home” and it’s meaning for each of us. It’s different, probably, when one doesn’t have family, or when the family members have drifted apart. Maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing – one can build a new family, and pick and choose those who will make the grade!

    • katechiconi says:

      Emigrating was a very interesting experience, compelling me to choose those things that made me happy and could not be replicated easily. It was very helpful to have this positive reinforcement when I was feeling particularly isolated and cut off from everything familiar. You *can* build a home from scratch and from small things, so long as the components have meaning for you.

  9. tialys says:

    Hoorah! Another finished quilt for the gallery on the horizon. It’s looking good – what colour sashing are you going to go for?
    I’m facing a possible house move next year and I don’t feel good about it at all – just the logistics of it all make me feel weak, let alone the leaving behind of friends. Life moves on I suppose and I should think of it as ‘a new stage’ or ‘an adventure’ or ‘an opportunity’ or something. Luckily, I have plenty of quilts to take with me 😉

  10. nanacathy2 says:

    Home is the best place on earth. What a truly wonderful gift and a lovely post.

  11. I know it’s not exactly the point of your post, but I needed it – I’m visiting my parents for Christmas, and really struggling with wanting to go home. I actually cried yesterday because of it! But this WAS my home for most of my life so far, and I can feel much more at home here if I just set my mind to it. And it’s only a few days after all.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think this illustrates my point rather well. Home for many people is where they were brought up, where their parents are and all the familiar sights and sounds of childhood. But if you have created your own home, there’s a conflict because you’re so emotionally invested in the reassuring, comforting space you’ve made for yourself. There’s also the fact that going back can feel like reverting to your childhood role, never very enjoyable!

  12. I wonderful gift full of thoughtfulness and love.
    You got me thinking what I would take with me if I moved to Australia (a place I really wanted to stay in when I was there in 1994). My house is stuffed full of Things. Art things, family things, books, diaries, photo albums, but thinking about it right now I feel like if I had my crochet hooks, knitting needles, sewing case, doodle pens, sketch book, a few bits of yarn to start me off and one small pocket photo album, enough clothes to stuff in a back pack and I could leave the rest behind.
    In reality I probably couldn’t but I am enjoying the fantasy! 🙂

  13. kymlucas says:

    Great quote. And the quilt looks like it will be beautiful. Of course, all yours are! I’ve never moved very far though that was always my plan. Life intervened. Or maybe I just wasn’t strong enough to make the break. Still, I’ve never understood people who insist their house has to be a certain size or designed or decorated in a particular way to be a home. Home is wherever you make it indeed!

    • katechiconi says:

      The only thing I insist on in a house I inhabit is that there should be many, many bookshelves. All else is open to variation, and there have been many variations over the years 🙂

  14. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    How brave of you to leave “home” and go all alone to a totally different country !! And what a wonderful gift for your niece !

  15. Cath says:

    Thank you Kate … Caitie loves it and we’re both looking forward to seeing the finished quilt … it will be nice knowing she has a little touch of ‘home’ with her always and I won’t feel so bad kicking her out of bed and onto the blow up mattress when I go to visit 🤣 … the world is her oyster and this is but the first step into the next adventure of life.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s called ‘payback’, for all those mornings when you were at work at sparrowfart and she was still lying in bed 😉 It’s so exciting to see her getting ready to launch. I can well remember the excitement and just a teeny bit of sadness at leaving behind the people who mean so much. I can’t promise an exact completion date, but it’ll be as soon as I can manage 🙂

  16. Dayphoto says:

    I’ve been thinking about the bravery of you and your move. It turned out just like you thought…home.

  17. I find the concept of home fascinating and like you it is not, for me, a fixed geographical location. If I had to move a long distance or down-size there are a few things I would have to take but an awful lot of stuff could be left behind. Over the years I have made presents for my grandchildren and to my surprise and delight they still keep them and treasure them – your niece will snuggle into her quilt when she is feeling homesick or struggling with work and be reminded that she is loved – what a priceless gift.

  18. What a brave thing you did, a mythic journey indeed. In some parallel universe you never left, and still daydream about what life might have been like if you’d only been brave enough to leave for Australia…

    • katechiconi says:

      … and kicking myself amidst the Brexit chaos, the ugly left-wing anti-Semitism and right-wing rigidity, the floods, the lack of lebensraum. The bad stuff is everywhere, it’s whether the beauty and happiness outweighs it. And here, it does.

  19. Joanne S says:

    A lovely and thoughtful gift that will be cherished for years, I’m sure. Tried…trite…cliche’ – but “home really is where the heart is.”

  20. rutigt says:

    It´s looking so good! Isn´t it nice to make quilts for someone who really wants them!? I´ve done a lot for my sisters children and grandchildren. I don´t know if they want them, but they had have the chance to chose colors and everyone did. I guess it means they wanted a quilt 🙂

  21. […] *For the background to this name, see my earlier post. […]

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