Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finished TIMELINE quilt

It's fitting that I would finish my Timeline quilt on my birthday morning. I've spent these past two months working on this for hundreds of hours. As I have spent time "re•building joy", my fingers have been working feverishly to do my heart's work... Trying to express my story and relieve my pain in this quilt.
The other day, Mimi asked me as I was sewing this, "momma, what's the story of that quilt?" (that itself is an amazing question, considering I've never made a quilt with a story)
I laid it on the ground and began to ask her questions. "who do you think might be the red? And the gray? And the other parts, what might they be?"... And then..."this part is the struggle." ("what's a struggle?" -followed by an explanation)
She pointed to the black and white text... "momma, are these the lies and scary things that were said to you?" (yes)
I explained to her that at the one black line, we see something big had to be done, everything had to end. From there the end of the story is unknown. All that is left is hope for what we don't have any control over and our prayers for a very special little boy.
At this point, z started crying, "it's too sad! I don't want to talk about that quilt!"

Somehow my heart came through my hands enough even that my kids felt it when looking at this. There is much more to the quilt and it's telling of the story than I can write here, but I think you can get the picture.
I'm not sure what to do with it now. It's not exactly a quilt I want in my house. None of us would want to curl up under it. I've been told it's been accepted to the Glendale Quilt Show next month. That is really exciting. (two other quilts of mine will be there). After that, who knows.
But as I look at it, this big, beautiful piece of painful art, I am so glad I invested the 100+ hours I did in making it. Somehow part of me is there in the quilt. Somehow my pain was released, stitch by stitch, tear by tear, thought by thought as I made this. It is completely a piece of my heart.
And now I can share it with you.

By the way. The pic of the kids holding it up in the front yard makes my heart want to burst. It's so adorable to see their little hands. But you have to know that the two tiny people behind that quilt are the two reasons I gave up my dream of being a foster mom. When that pain came between me and them, when their lives were threatened... Well, that's when that last line was drawn. And now there is the unknown... And the faith it takes to walk it all out.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Birthday dress up

I was at the kids' new school the other day and asked z's teacher why she looked so fancy and dressed up to teach kindergarten that day. "oh!" she answered, "it's my friend's birthday and I asked her what she wanted and she told me she wanted me to dress up!"
What a great idea! So I've decided that's what I want. You know I love dressing up. I've shared with my Facebook pals and now you too if my friends want to do something for me for my birthday this Wednesday, they can dress up a little more than normal and then send me a pic and I will know they were thinking of me. ;)
Even just a fancier pair of socks counts.
I have some awesome friends and I'm sure a few of them will make me smile this way...
These shoe pics are funny. The high heels are my shoes that make me feel like Barbie. I wore them to that last formal event we did for J's work. The clogs are my reality and today this pic was taken when I had to glamorously drive myself to the ER after slipping on a green onion in a produce section. I fell bad and got a minor Concussion. I'm okay, but ain't that how life goes?

Anyhow. I'm up to a zillion o clock trying to finish a quilt for a deadline and have to try to go to sleep now (and wake up every hour, says the dr!) - see you Tuesday or Wednesday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wear it well

It's lovely to give a handmade gift and then get a thank you picture of your gift in action. Wear it well, Nicole!!!! I love you!

Southern California crafting

If only every day included sitting in a quiet park in the sunshine, laughing and talking with friends that have common passions. They don't, but this morning did. I'm grateful for days like today, new friendships and time to soak up sunshine.
Thanks, Ramona and Hollie!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How things appear

It's easy to look at how people present themselves online and to imagine they have it all together, isn't it? We see someone's blog or Facebook pics and we think, "wow, they're amazing".
I laughed when I took the quilt pics earlier this week- and I showed you only the quilt, not the urban city trash on the street and ugly car that my neighbor has. I took this bigger pic to share the reality. Then this morning as I was waiting to meet my friend for a nice workout walk, I began to play with some silly apps on my phone. Here is a horrible photo of me, sitting bored in my minivan this morning. Then I played with it in a few apps and I had these ridiculously glam shots.

Makes you wonder about what other people hide behind their glamorous online lives, doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bag #4

Bag #4 by libby dibby
Bag #4, a photo by libby dibby on Flickr.
Gifted to my neighbor who is so lovely I've decided she's a long lost sister.

Re•building joy and choosing hope

Sometimes Re•building joy can focus on the "building" parts. How quickly have these first two months of 2012 flown by? At first it was easy to schedule time in for quiet hikes and sunlit moments in a park. But then it was time to tour charter schools, since I've become passionate about their different style of learning. And then my kids got into a great one (but only if we jumped immediately) and we had to change schools suddenly last week. Wow, chaos is constantly encroaching, isn't it?
I'm still here though, still always chewing on this idea of "re•building joy". Not just "choosing joy", because I have to acknowledge that mine was there and then was depleted, stolen, crushed, lost - whatever you want to call it. And in my case, choosing just to be happy might ignore some pretty important points. So now I am focusing heavily on choosing HOPE as I re•build my "container" of JOY.
Last night I looked back at the beginning of my current journal. I started it about 2 weeks before G came to our home. And I KNEW KNEW KNEW that a baby was coming soon. I was telling people... I kept writing that I was going to "CHOOSE HOPE" (yes, in my journal it was all in caps, too)
Somehow that thought has been here this past two years... That I have to choose hope. I've been thinking... There are two options I have: 1- to not hope anymore. That leaves me hopeless, and if I even bother to pray or wish for things, then I am coming from a place where my only "hope" is that I can perhaps manipulate things to go my way by sheer force or willpower. Quite frankly, that sounds horrible and exhausting.
Option #2 - hope. It's foolish, right? To have been beaten down and kicked to the breaking point and to decide that I believe the future is better.
It's Black History month and I love to address that in my personal life. I've spent this month looking at the art of Romare Bearden and I have a half-read (much highlighted) copy of some of the most powerful speeches and writings of Martin Luther King Jr. in my pile of books... I marvel at the hope MLK had. Why would he believe things would/could change? Wasn't that foolish? How foolish was Nelson Mandela to sit in a prison for decades and to not only decide not to hate, but to hope? Foolish, right? Or beautiful and brave? How foolish was Rosa Parks to decide one day her bus ride might change things for an entire nation? Or is it NOT foolish to hope? Maybe it's brave and wise?
I think hope is scary.
I also think choosing NOT to hope is even scarier, no matter how foolish the choice may appear.

What that looks like, I don't know. But trust me, I am leaping at even the smallest opportunities I have for choosing hope. I think they will show me the way. These are the days where re•building takes work... But I'm not really the type to give up easily.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Modern sampler - a charity quilt

I have been on the hunt for a modern sampler layout. I really do not love sewing sashing through a gazillion blocks and though it works for a number of layouts, I'm tired of the traditional sampler. I've searched all over for new ideas, but not seen many options.
But at the same time, I had all these sampler blocks that I'd used for practicing my Seams Perfect Bee blocks each month. They were so bright and garish that I had to find a way to settle them down.
I finally decided on grouping them all together in a clump and calming them down with lots of old white (a paisley screenprint on white someone had given me years ago) fabric I had around here. I used it all up and needed a little more design, so I added the red stripe to even it out.
A friend (Tanya) from my guild has been urging us to make a few quilts in red, white and blue to donate to the Wounded Warriors organization - they ship quilts to war zones and welcome wounded US soldiers in hospitals with these special thank you friends from home. I love that idea, so I decided to use this for that cause. My other guild buddy, Ramona, gave me some leftover Ty Pennington Ivy fabric to back it with and I spent my LAMQG Weekend Sew time this week basting this quilt. I used my new extension table that I got for Christmas last night (thanks to my in-laws!) and practiced my stippling. I'm not winning any awards with my stippling, but I believe strongly in the proverb that says, "do not despise the day of small beginnings" - we all have to start somewhere, right?
Well, it's done now. And I feel good knowing some service person somewhere will know they are appreciated for what they have given.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

There is beauty in the broken

Having spent a lot of this year very broken and searching for visual imagery and art to help me express things, I constantly have my eyes open.
I love urban settings. I have a love for buildings and architecture, too. Maybe that goes back to my days working with architects and designers among the architectural gems of Chicago. And I've always seen beauty in ruins. Maybe that goes back to my love of Greek history and my summer of archeology in Israel. Ancient ruins are obviously beautiful. But so are modern ruins. Over and over I've found myself stopping and turning around when I see abandoned, neglected or ruined urban buildings. I run back to them with my camera and snap pics. I can't explain why.
Last week, I passed a factory that was being torn down. I probably have passed this factory a couple thousand times in my life. It was always old-school and fascinating to me - I think they made aluminum cans there... But last week, I turned the car around, parked in a local parking lot at a nearby business park and walked a block back to get these pics. I don't know why, but I needed to capture this beautiful destruction.
Maybe it's the job of an artist to see these things. Maybe it's weird to look at something being destroyed and to see beauty in it. Maybe it's just me, looking for things that are beautiful in the ashes. It's not solely related to my recent adventures. Don't we all wonder what things look like at their core?

Monday, February 13, 2012


These two gifts arrived in the mail on Saturday.
The first is a mini-quilt in my favorite color by a guild/bee friend of mine, Jennifer. The bag has a "Happy Birthday, Liberty" label on it. It feels so nice to be thought of. I treasure everything my friends make for me and I love this.
The second is a valentine made by my amazingly thoughtful friend, Anita. We used to be able to get together often for coffee back in Chicago, but now we just are penpals... I have handmade cards from Anita all over my house. I think I've posted every one she's sent. She also has the incredible knack of knowing how much glitter to use on something so that it looks sparkly and exciting, while maintaining a strong sense of design.
Mail is so fun. I love my friends.

13 years ago today

13 years ago today, this beautiful man asked me to marry him. I said yes, but I had no idea how happy he would make me back then. I chose him because of his integrity and sense of humor, but he's so much more... Jay is the kindest, most patient man I have ever met and my best friend and I have been married now for 11.5 years. I would pick a day with him over a day with anyone in the world. He's thoughtful and generous, a great dad and so tender and romantic. I've also seen a bold and brave side to him as we have had to step into tough situations recently.
We actually marvel at how the past few years have drawn us closer than ever. We have been through things so hard that I never could have imagined them as part of my future... But we have stuck together like crazyglue and this man is (in my humble opinion) the best this world has to offer.
I'm so so so happy you asked me, Jay.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Libby Dibby sighting

We went to a gorgeous wedding this weekend on the beach in Malibu. (I promise there will be more pics)
For me, it was really funny to see a woman I didn't know wearing one of my skirts. (that's never happened before! Even though I've sold over 1200 skirts, you would think I would run into someone besides close friends or family wearing one, right?)
Anyhow, I tried not to stalk her, but we ended up talking because she recognized me from the show where I'd sold it to her years ago. It's funny that I was stalking her for this pic, because the wedding photographer kept stalking me because she wanted pictures of my foot tattoo (which kind of got awkward after a while).... Still, it's a fun picture to share, because I've really been hoping for this day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Front door #3 - beach door

Yes, this is actually a front door I walked through today. J is a best man in a wedding at this house... His kindergarten buddy and college roommate, Tony. I'm sure I'll have some pics to share tomorrow.
Isn't it amazing that some people live like this? J and I both grew up overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Really close. Now we live in urban intense LA and its easy to forget that the beach even exists some days. But the ocean is always there. It's good to come back to places that can remind you to slow down and take a deep breath. Like a door that you can just walk through that says, "beach".

Front door #2

My friend's front door today. I texted her this pic and said, "Go Home!"
Sometimes friends just need a new bag dropped off on their front porch.

Front door thoughts #1

Today I am thinking a lot about front doors. I'm not at home and have to blog from my phone so this is coming in installments.
Door #1 - my door.
These pics were taken in 2010, by my friend Sonja ( We had just lost Ace a week or so before, so though you may not see it, I see the exhaustion and struggle on my face. It's a lot like where I have been recently.
Regardless, you can also see my front door, which I LOVE. It's one of the reasons we bought this house. It's beautiful. And after we were robbed and needed to secure ourselves a little better, we added in the gorgeous wrought iron - which actually makes me super happy too. I worked hard with a guy named Jose to design a set of "bars" that would add to our home rather than detract.
The reason I got to thinking about my front door though today is this: somehow there is almost never a day where I don't find someone I like or love standing on my porch knocking on my door to come in. Yes, this is L.A. It's not the Midwest. But somehow my friends know that they are welcome to drop by. Even when my house is almost never clean (it is today because it's the one day a month that we have a housekeeper come!), there's always something going on, I'm ALWAYS in the middle of something, there's always a bit of chaos... My friends seem to know that they can drop by, get a cup of coffee or a cold Coke, and I will be happy to have them.
When we first walked through this house when we were buying it, we were looking at moving out of a dreary dark condo where we had been living. I remember imagining what life would be like in this house, with all its windows and it's big welcoming porch. Back then, with 2 small babies, it seemed really big. I remember thinking, "it will be so nice and big!" and then, it was as if I suddenly knew in that moment, ...almost as if someone had whispered it to me... I knew this: "it will never be empty. You will always have people coming in and going out."
And I absorbed and accepted that thought with joy.
And somehow my friends and neighbors have, too. Whether its funny exchanges and dropoffs with my local moms club gals, or my carpool buddies staying long to chat. Sometimes my across the street neighbor (hi, Chrissy!) pops over and stays for hours. Once recently she came - needing cinnamon while baking - and her hubby had to come fetch her to remind her she was cooking at home! My pal, Nicole, has hitched a ride to my door with the mailman (barefoot) when she got locked out of her house around the corner. There was about a year of Friday nights where we had pasta night every Friday and anyone could come. We used to have lots of parties before these past few years of foster care- maybe when I'm not quite so tired and wary of big groups, we can start doing that again. Until then though, I'm here. With hot coffee and cold Cokes. And there's usually some candy or cookies I could dig up too.
It's good. I don't think I've ever officially said, "come drop by my front door unannounced", but somehow, my friends know that they know I'll be happy to see them. Maybe not wearing a Libby Dibby skirt, but happy nonetheless.

3 out of 5 - multi-tasker totes

I think I've mentioned it here before, but when I learn how to do something, it takes me about 5 times to do it before I feel like I fully understand it (and then I'm bored!). So since I loved making Anna Maria Horner's Multi-tasker tote so much, I wanted to revisit doing the pattern, to wrap my head around it better. (it's quite clever!)
I came home and cut out two more from fabric I just had laying around. Well, they're done. I love this bag.
And I'm sure the recipients will love these ones too... Two more to go. Then I'll move onto another project. :)

By the way, these take only about 2-3 hours to make. The next two will probably only take about 1-2 hours each.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A glass half full - pretty pics

It all depends on how you look at it, right? (took these at the awards show the other night)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Southern California Fast Food Healing

As you know, I live in Los Angeles. And yes, my husband does work in entertainment and yes we do regularly see friends on tv and names we know in the credits. We sit through the end of the credits at the theater to cheer for the names we know. We can see the Hollywood sign from our street and we have drive by shootings too. We go to the beach in January and complain when its below 60 degrees. All of it.
We also are a regular hard working family, surrounded by regular hard working families.
But sometimes there's another part of LA that puts the pressure on. The image of things always having happy endings and wrapping up quickly. Today, I was waiting in the driveway at in'n'out burger thinking about fast food and how I wish grief and healing were fast. They're not.
When we lost our first adoptive placement back to the foster system... Baby AJ - I was devastated. But hopeful too - that someday wrong would be made right. I gave myself 6-8 weeks to grieve and then never looked back. (meaning I actually shut the door on a lot of pain and disappointment without ever dealing with it). Then came baby Ace. I realized with him that there was a LOT of pain I hadn't dealt with, because it was hard to love him from such a wounded soul.
After he was gone too, I felt so much of a failure. Not that I had done anything wrong per se, but that I wasn't strong enough to handle and absorb the wrongs done to me. I wanted to be their champion and instead I was just a wounded foster mom - unable to make a true difference in their lives - or at least the difference I had wanted to make. I felt helpless and really could do nothing on their behalf. Such a horrible feeling to have to let go of a baby and then let them loose into a broken and prejudiced system that wasn't necessarily giving them anything good. I couldn't even fight for their rights.

When we tried this last time, we got WAY more than we bargained for. I never imagined that I would be facing someone threatening to hurt my own kids. I never thought I would really be someone who had a restraining order against a dangerous and unpredictable person. (Can we just take a moment and think about the fear you are dealing with when you get to the place where you are actually granted a restraining order?) Its almost too much.

Deep breath....
So on sunny days like today, after a fun black-tie event the night before, it's easy to wish for a fast food healing. To hope that the world will be bright and sunny tomorrow and nothing will hurt. Well, if there's one thing I am learning, it's that healing (like growing) takes time. And you can't rush it. There can be steadily brighter days. The amount of laughter may increase exponentially. But there are always smells, sounds, memories, and dreams that encroach in on an otherwise regular day. "I can't take the carpool lane because I don't have a baby with me" ...."he loved this song"... "yes, you can leave your Legos out because the baby isn't here to eat them"
All sorts of things, to remind. To remind you that he's gone - and not ever coming back.

Sometimes, even warm, sunny days in February can't bake grief out fast enough. Sometimes I feel like the mountain in front of me to healing is so high. In moving forward, I'm also having to look back. I can't see how I can heal without truly understanding where I've been. I see now that to have made it this far, I must have been brave and I must have had strength. I'm quite depleted now though. I'm jumpy. I always look over my shoulders and I'm crazy wary with my kids.

Over these past few months, we've had a specific soundtrack we play all the time. It's a mix I made right before G left. This morning I drove to have a mommy (fabric) playdate with a dear friend. In the car on the way, I listened to one song and kept skipping back to hear it again. I'll paste the lyrics below. I know I don't share my spiritual side super much here on this blog, but on days like today, when I wish I could heal faster, and I don't feel strong, it seems fair to share what I'm feeding myself to keep walking. I hope you find it as encouraging as I do.

Please Be My Strength - (By Gungor)
I've tried to stand my ground
I've tried to understand
but I can't seem to find my way

like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short

please be my strength
please be my strenth
I don't have anymore
I don't have anymore

I'm looking for a place
that I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure

I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It's Your love that's keeping me

Please be my strength...

at my final breath
I hope that I can say
I've fought the good fight of faith

I pray your glory shines
through this doubting heart of mine
so my world would know that You

You are my strength
You and You alone
You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Playtime at the Awards show

Awards shows are fun to dress up for but they are really (no, Really) long and filled with lots of anxiety about whether or not you win. (jay didn't win tonight, sadly).
At least our phones make for some fun ways to kill time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I have the coolest friends - Latifah, the Quilt Engineer

How cute is this picture of my sweet and super creative friend, Latifah? I'm super proud of her in this article. Her work is amazing, too... Want to see what you get when an artist is also an engineer and a quilter? Check out her work at
(And i can honestly say its the first time I've bought Ladies Home Journal.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sew rewarding, this hand quilting

I'm not sure why at the most stressful points in my day (week/life) - why this is so very rewarding and calming for me, but it is.
Just smoothing my hand over the back of this project, seeing the even, colorful stitches.... Wow, I can't describe how ordered and good it feels.
Everything else can be out of control, but colorful stitches in a straight row by the hundreds? That is nice. Very nice.

Hollie's post on her blog about the Speed Pieced Quilt

Read Hollie's post at her amazing blog about our Speed Pieced Charity Quilt.

She took way more pics than I did (with a real camera, too) and it's easy to see how this is going to keep the momentum when you read in her voice how excited we all were!
CLICK HERE to read it


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Day with AnnaMaria Horner and the LAMQG meeting. (on cloud nine)

Ok, so if you have ever had a conversation with me in the past 6 years about designers that I love, you will know that my short list will undoubtedly include the much beloved AnnaMaria Horner.  I learned about her and loved what she was doing before I was really sewing, even.  My pal, Tori, saw an article about Anna in a magazine and passed it on to me while I was a textile designer, dreaming of someday doing something a little less corporate, a little more wild and free. (I worked in Interiors, which can sometimes be a study of trying to make neutrals look amazing. I got to work on some unbelievably cool projects with amazing design firms and designers, but the life as a corporate designer was hard on the soul) To know my work now is to know that I love love love bright colors and pattern and really, I always have.
When I read about Anna, and saw her work, so many years ago, I remember thinking, "wait, you can be a textile designer and do awesome stuff?" My heart stopped. I think I remember writing her a gushing letter about how even though we're only a few years apart that I wanted to be her when I grew up. I'm not a big "fan" of that many people. Even when we attend Jay's Hollywood work parties, or hang out with our Entertainment Industry friends, I avoid fan-speak.  It's just awkward. (and also generally quite inappropriate in our circles in Los Angeles)
But when I learned Anna was coming to our guild for a meeting, I freaked. And then when I got the email announcing she was teaching a class at my friend's quilt shop (Sew Modern), my heart lept. Literally, I ran out of the Friday performance that my kids were doing at school (I didn't miss their parts!) and signed up as quickly as I could for the class. What was I going to make when I got there? What was the class for? I didn't care!!!! I got in.
Well,  yesterday was the class. And I completely gushed when I met her. I think it's the only time in my life I have done that. Anna was gracious and laughed and said, "so if I was teaching cookie baking, you'd be here?" my answer: YES.
The class, though, was great! And two LAMQG friends were there among the other women too, which made it more fun as we all sewed up our Multi-Tasker totes.
 (Great bag, I'm gonna make more). Plus, besides being with Anna, I got to soak up all the laughter, knowledge, and sewing. I got to know sweet Julie, and Jennifer is always good for a laugh.

Here's the thing. You all know what I have been through. You know that I need to laugh like I need air right now. At the guild meeting last night, which was basically a few hours that included listening to Anna's presentation (go on, we want to hear it all!) and a 48 hour reunion with my retreat buddies - along with all the fun that a LAMQG meeting always is... well... I was grinning ear to ear.
My pal, Latifah, said to me "Liberty, you look like a different person after this weekend. It shows on your face." And I can't help but to JOY-fully receive and nod to that comment. Jay sees it too. And I'm not the only one who had a much needed boost of happy, this weekend. Hollie is saying the same kinds of things.
Someone said it right yesterday, "this guild is special. It's like the best sorority you've ever heard of."

I just can't believe that I am a part of such an amazing group of women. And that just a few years ago, it started because two blogging friends (Alissa and Latifah) decided to make up something called The Modern Quilt Guild. Because they did, (and also because they are kind, warm and lovely women, too) I have the most diverse, encouraging, tight-knit group of friends that I have had since college. I've gotten to take classes with people I have admired from afar (Denyse, Angela, AnnaMaria), I have seen the work of fellow members (Patsy, Ramona, Jennifer, and so many more!) that have inspired me, taught me new techniques and taken my creative work to new levels.

And right now, most importantly, I'm smiling. I've filled up on hugs and tears, fabric and coffee with these women over the past few years. They've been so amazing to listen and cry with me over my last 2 years' journey - and now they are instrumental in helping me to walk out of a dark forest.
I've rambled all over in writing this post... but that's where I am at. Grateful, happy, inspired, and encouraged!
Remember this post? And the photo that started "Re-building Joy"?  Well, I am a month in. And I'm happy to announce that I'm somewhere in between the photos...
Not all the way there, but I'm on my way, guys. Thanks for walking this journey with me.



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