Thursday, May 2, 2013


memories of names forever entwined

my three brothers and i.... when we were children, we were a unit

we played together, laughed, experimented, fought, protected and were fiercely loyal
we kept our mother hopping with our crazy, hare-brained ideas

and oh, we did we have fun

we were: michael, robert, jillayne and scott

when i was thirteen, our family came undone and we four never lived together under one roof after that

 over the years, time and distance and circumstance have kept us very separate still

i often think of us as only children, born of the same mother....

and even though we rarely see each other, nor write or phone, they, and the mostly happy memories of those early years, are still held tightly in my heart

so many special memories, especially the christmas ones

when i showed this heart-shape pocket for my dreams a few posts back,

 someone suggested it could also hold special memories - as i read those words i knew instantly that i would store those memories in a different way, in this way

 four christmas stockings, one for each of us

when i was very little my mom made us each a brown felt stocking, each with our own name, and felt cut-outs of different shapes to decorate them, the edges sewn and pinked

i still have mine, and put it out every year...

when we were children, we always laid them out in order: michael, robert, jillayne and scott...

at one time she had ordered beautiful gold seals, a tiny holly wreath encircling the outer edge, and printed inside:

merry christmas, from michael, robert, jillayne and scott

she used them to seal the backs of the christmas cards sent each year to family and friends

always the four of us, and always in that order

it was the rhythm of my childhood

these, along with many others, are the memories i will keep safe in these stocking-pockets

one for each of us, with our names stitched inside:


tiny squares of linen and lace tacked down with a simple cross-stitch


woven strips of linen and lace with tiny stitched stars


hand stitched honey-comb smocking
& scott

crazy quilted with bits of lace and linen
 lots of stitching detail

 too pretty for the boys, i suppose, but perfect for my memories of them~

i didn't add the little knots at the heel of the stocking below - just carefully placed the scrap of a doily

below is the panel i am working on, where they will each be stitched, all in a row

 keeping it fairly simple, so as to be the perfect backdrop; not competing, just enhancing

playing with positioning... and who gets which one.... i never usually got first choice of anything, (although they would vehemently disagree!); 

it's kind of fun to finally be the boss of them

the final arrangement....

the smocked one is for me (i like it the best!)

so here we'll be, all together again

memories of each and all, the laughter, and the joy of those childhood christmases

so tell me, do you have brothers and/or sisters?

who were you?


BumbleVee said...

This makes tears come to my eyes Jillayne..... I am one of four as well...we were 3 girls and a little brother... me, the eldest... we were our own little gang and pretty inseparable as kids.

Our family was always 'undone' in so many ways..totally dysfunctional... I now only have one sister I am in contact with... another in the U.S. that I never see (she chose a totally different life than us) and a brother I rarely see or speak to...not that we are not's just that time and distance make it difficult..
As soon as I saw these little stockings on the other site..I just thought of Christmas stockings right away ...and did wonder ..but, didn't think you had 4 I know ..... and I think it's a great idea.

Dorthe said...

Dear Jillayne,
A happy story turned into a sad story ,- separated lives ,only staying together close in your memory, I wish for you it could have been -or could be different!
Your beautiful stockings will forever keep those childhood years close to your mind and heart.-and whom knows if life will make you and your brothers get closer again!
Your stitchery is so beautiful.
Hugs from me.

Bead and Needle said...

PERFECT - in every do such beautiful work! XOXOXOXO

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Beautiful work with beautiful sentiments locked with love into every stitch.


oldgreymare said...

Scott and Suzan. 1 year and 1 day apart. My Mom was married barely 3 months when she got pregnant with him, he was 3 months when she was pregnant with me. When I got older, I asked... didn't you know what caused that?

Shirley said...

Hi Jillayne, I am catching up with my friends this evening after embroidering most of the day. It was a day to stay home with it being cold, rainy,snow and mixed at times. I have 6 brothers and three sisters. We get to see part of us once a year for a family reunion along with our extended families. It is set for the first Sunday of August. We don't see one and another that often. I have a brother and sister that I seldom see because of issues. Last year we had 7 out of 10 together not to bad. I feel sad for you and your brothers. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't talk or see them if I want. I love your project you are working on and how it is coming along. You do beautiful work. Have a wonderful day. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend.

Laura said...

Probably the most meaningful thing I've ever seen you make... STUNNING!!

One of my favorite things in the world is to see you and Rob together... him calling you Sis and teasing you and you skipping along behind him whether it's through his house or walking to the grocery store. You both seem so happy! XO

Lori Ann Corelis said...

Oh Jillayne,
How beautiful . . .
I'm sure each and every stitch holds it's own memory.
Perfect in every way.

Lori Ann

lynn said...

Ohh Jillayne
this piece you are working on is so gorgeous. each and every stitch telling a story. and you talking about your family, its something i too struggle with.. i am six out of seven... i have four brothers (sadly i lost one to cancer two years ago )
but those tiny stockings made me cry today... just thinking of your memories and all of us as we age, remembering the excitement of the holidays, the Baby Jesus and just the nostalgia of it all... i thank you so much for sharing and love that you talk to us like family.. as when i come upon special people online.. i grow an attatchment to them as tho they are MY family also and look forward to seeing your blog and knowing what is going on in your corner of the world.
this tree skirt is going to be such a treasure and passed down for many years to come..
sending big hugs your way..
know that even tho you dont talk often, and family is spread across the country (as mine is ) seperated by miles or anger :(
we are still connected..
lynn l

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Jillayne,
What a beautiful creation to honor the life once lived and the memories of your sibblings. Life changes and hearts drift apart. So sad really. I hope maybe one day, you and your 3 brothers can once again be that unit you once were.

Love the stitch work here. You can see your heart coming through in your work and you put it all into words in this post.

I had no brothers or sisters, but did grow up with 5 boy cousins who acted like they were my brothers. Happy times it was when we were little. I moved away, they moved away and now we only see each other when I go to Michigan or we talk on the phone. I am happy for at least that much.

I married into a big family as my hubby has 3 more married brothers. So I was blessed with 3 brothers and sisters. It makes up a bit for being an only child.

Lovely post my friend. Wouldn't it be nice if the boys could read this?
Have a nice weekend.
Hugs, CM

Mosaic Magpie said...

2 brothers and I am the eldest. I have had the honor of bossing them around for years. We live close enough to get to see each other several times throughout the year and give each other a hug and a "I Love You".
The smocked stocking you picked reminds me of that lovely red smocked dress we saw in one of the Stampington magazines...remember it?
I love the technique you used on the squares of linen attached with the cross stitch...nice texture.
I can still hear your sweet heart singing!

KW said...

Love, love ,love this post. I think each of us can relate in some way or another........and your creativity is breath taking. xo

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Well, well, well....I am still in tears... what a beautiful tribute to your brothers. I don't know which is more beautiful, your story or the stockings. I am so glad you got to have them with you for at least a little bit....some might think it is sad you went separate your ways, but actually, in some ways, it can be a blessing that they (and you) will always remain "innocent" in your mind's eye because of the young age you were when you went your separate ways...lots of young, fun, memories to remember and to cherish.

We were Mark, Andrew, Louisa, Bit (me), and Bill. Mark was almost 15 years older than me, and even though so much older, "Marky" as I called him when I was very little, held a special place for me. Maybe because he was in Vietnam, and I only sort of understood what that meant. He passed away in 1998. Bill and I are barely a year apart, and were brought up almost like twins. My sister and I are two years apart (she is older) and couldn't be more different than night and day. And Andrew is four years older and was so TALL for his age, he was stuck pouring the milk for us, getting down the plates for us, helping us up into the chair...basically a built-in "ladder, grabber, and step stool" if you will.

Your work is just beautiful and just makes me want to sew, sew an sew again.

Thank you for the lovely comment, made my evening come to a nice close.

You mean so much to me,
Big hugs

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

What a poignant post Jillayne and what a beautiful remembrance of you and your brothers. Our families are such fragile entities; the realities of life often conspire to break them apart but in our hearts, in our memories, our family is still whole and always beloved. I have one brother who I am now going to call right away and tell him how much I love him and am thankful that he is in my life. Thank you for reminding me how ephemeral that relationship can be. {{hugs}} Deb

Diane Kelsey said...

Such beautiful stitching and a wonderful way to keep memories alive. A sad story of how lives change, it is so lovely that you still have your happy memories to remember special times.

Suztats said...

Such a beautiful post, Jillayne, filled with memories, sadness, and hope. Hope, because you have placed your childhood memories and love inside each stocking, and perhaps there, they might grow again, and distances made smaller. Though wrapped separately, they are yet together.
The cloth you've created to hold the stockings is beautiful.
My siblings? Two younger sisters and 1 older brother.I have divorced one sister due to issues, and am in regular contact only with my youngest sister. Birthday and Christmas cards to brother and his wife only.
We grow and change and grow apart. Sometimes the parents are the only glue that hold families together.....

Sylvia said...

Love this post ... for a million reasons... While I was reading, I was also thinking what if your brothers somehow someday find and read this post... Is it going to change something... ?
I have a seven years younger than me sister who I love. We live in different continents, I am in North America, she and her family - in Europe. This fact doesn't change a bit our close relationships.
Thank you for the emotions this piece evokes in me and thank you for your loyalty to my blog and always kind words!

Createology said...

I am speechless at the wisdom you possess and the beauty you create. May your memories be with you forever and bring happiness to your heart and soul my friend...

karen said...

very, very moving....precious memories shared.

Deb said...

Very touching story and so easy to identify with my family broke apart at age 13 as well, my brothers going to live with our father and my sister and I staying with our mother, ever after nothing was the same but those Christmases together as children will always be unforgettable, I love the way you honor your Happy memories and your work is simply stunning, you inspire such creativity. I hope your siblings have the chance to stumble on your site and see how you are keeping them in your heart.

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Dag girlfriend...what a way to make me cry! This is beautiful. I'm so happy you shared. Have I told you how great you are? Yep, fabulous, great, wonderful and yes, I'm soooooo happy to call you my friend.

Heather said...

Beautiful Jillayne... sadly, many families become separated over the years, and as we age that's when our past holds so much more meaning for us, not only what we've gained over the years, but what we've lost... I am the "baby" in a family of four siblings! Cheers~

Wendy said...

how sad that your family separated, but a lovely way to preserve childhood memories.

I have an older brother, we were thick as thieves as kids. I used to hang out with him and his friends playing football and climbing trees. I suppose we drifted a little when we became teenagers, but it didn't last and we're still close. I suppose I'm very lucky and should hang onto that.

Petite Michelle Louise said...

what a beautiful, beautiful post jillayne. truly. it brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. the xmas stockings you created in memory of your bothers and your happy childhood memories are just lovely! i have 1 brother and 3 sisters. i am "the middle child." i have MANY fond memories of our childhood growing up in maine and am blessed to be very close to all my siblings . this Post made me realize how very lucky i am that we have remained "close" and keep in touch. "merci" for that.