When life kicks you … get moving!

Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. 

Wendy Wasserstein

Another post about Dean. and me. and a big move.

You know, sometimes a big move is the best thing to do, but when where you are is comfortable,  it takes a big kick in the pants to get started. This is what happened last week. I’ll skip the details, but we have to find a new place for Dean to live. Well, he can always live at home, but we hope to find a place where he can live and socialize and work. He needs some supervision, but not a lot. We have a big household, and a big house, but like any young man Dean likes being out on his own. He lived in an apartment with his brother for a year when he got out of high school. That went really well, but we got him into a supervised living/work facility for a couple of years.

The synchronicity of the last few weeks is not lost on me. We began the process of getting state funding for supports for Dean in some kind of supervised living situation. The agency personnel have been really impressed with his intelligence and I have hopes they’ll find a new place that suits him. I raised Dean to think for himself and I tried to say “Do this instead” rather than just “Don’t do that”—a concept unfamiliar to his current supervisors.

In addition, I have luckily become acquainted with Doreen Fulton who has a rather new business “An IEP for Me!” supporting moms like me whose children with special needs are transitioning into adulthood and the safety net of the public school system is gone. Prior to my needing to find a new place for Dean I’d been invited by Doreen to contribute to her work as we share a passion. Of course I was delighted to make this connection, and now I see another important reason to have this new-found resource!

Dean has never lived down to expectations, and neither will I. I won’t waste time feeling bad about having to make this move (well, ok, I felt bad for 1 day). I hope we have the opportunity to pioneer something new, and successful, and remarkable.

Have you had an experience where you were forced to move on….to something better? I’d love to hear about it!

Family History Preserved in Many Ways

I have a family history of family history. We have letters from the Civil War. We had a wool cape from the Revolutionary War (it’s in a museum in Vermont now). We had a drummer boy’s uniform from the War of 1812. And furniture—I have furniture made by and owned by my ancestors. My dad became a genealogist extraordinaire, researching his and my mother’s ancestry four or five centuries and writing books about these farmers, politicians and pioneers.

Growing up with all this personal history around me made me value many things that my friends didn’t. For me, history isn’t just dates in books and on tests. History is my family’s stories. It’s the homesteads that were built, the births, the weddings, the funerals and the lives that continued through the events recorded in the family bibles. These were real people, not just names in books. I feel a connection to them—through the bed they slept in, the letter they wrote, the desk they built and the christening gown they wore.


One of my absolute favorite treasures is a crazy quilt made by my ancestors who were sisters, seamstresses in Vermont. It’s got to be the most extraordinary crazy quilt I’ve ever seen! And guess who has that fabric-love running through her blood? Oh, yes!!!



This valuing of history has, I’m sure, influenced me to create memory quilts and story quilts to help preserve  other people’s stories.  Modern technology has done away with records of a great deal of our written personal correspondence and piles of pictures. I think making something that captures snippets of cloth, pictures and memories will help today’s families give their ancestors something to remember them by.

For those interested in this amazing quilt, I’ll be posting more photos and further descriptions of its history and the techniques used to make it. And yes, crazy quilting is one of my specialties, too!

My New Biz

Sew Many Memories….Because your story matters

Now I am planning to focus on my favorite work–the type of creating that doesn’t feel like work–that makes my heart sing: art quilts and memory quilts.Since the end of 2011 I have been evaluating my business, in all its guises.

I have run several sewing machines into the ground, designed, created, done shows and markets, and sold online. And I’ve loved every (well, ALMOST every) minute of it.

This new “official” name for my business incorporates all types of memory quilts from clothing AND what I call “story quilts”, which are pictorial, sometimes collages, sometimes including symbolism. All start with fabric and then my huge repertoire of techniques comes into play, to create beautiful, unique quilts that are truly cherished.

What’s connecting internally for me is that the vast majority of art quilts that I make are about a story. Those are the only ones that mean anything to me, and continue to be the ones that call to me.I don’t seem to be inspired to just “make pictures,” like still lifes….I need the richness of the story inspiring it, and that the picture continues to tell. I truly love sharing the wall hangings in the front hall of my home because they are family stories….and I have to believe that you would feel good about investing in something that is beautiful AND has deep, personal meaning to you. I can provide that bridge between “art” and the stories you hold dear.

Please take a look through my new website and contact me for more information.

Email me at Admin@AmyCavanessDesigns.com

Like my Facebook Page

My Artfire shop has lots of examples of my other love–my original one-of-a-kind clothing & accessories featuring vintage textiles