Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good Intentions and Optimistic Stories

 I spent the first morning of my weather-mandated two days off digging around in and trying to organize my fabric stash. I found some treasures, including a year's worth of "block of the month kits" and the hand stitched quilt squares from my first quilting class, both patiently waiting to be complete. I found cross stitch fabric. I found fabric cut with the pattern pinned on for a dress for me (which I might just finish, for the sake of my own curiosity!) I found a couple of pieces of fabric that were meant to become a dress and a suit for me. I found the tiny blue and white dress I'd lovingly smocked for my first born. And had never completed. I found this piece of smocking that was going to be a cute little sundress. If only it had been completed. 

I thought of the saying "The one who dies with the most toys wins" and the quilting related saying, "She who dies with the most fabrics wins." I don't have that much fabric. My stash is relatively small. I abandoned it all years ago. Maybe partly because I got busy with the business of raising children. I did not think I'd ever circle back around to sewing or quilting. I am a little bit surprised at my desire to come back to cutting out bits of fabric and piecing them back together in new ways. 

I spent the morning thinking to myself that I must somehow whittle down my interests and focus on taking a few of them seriously, rather than flitting around like a butterfly in a field of varying bright flowers. I was thinking this morning about how I can not do everything that seems to call to me. And I was thinking about exactly what all might be to me. Through the years I've seen myself as reader, seamstress, quilter, poet, writer, collage artist, photographer, mixed media artist, life-long student of life, purveyor of light, and quirky creative. 

I am all those things--"Jack of all trades, master of none?" I won't go there. That would cause me to compare myself to others, which often leads me to feel "less than." What I can do, what I must do is learn what I am and be such (see previous post for the artwork!), as Pindar so aptly puts it. 

I will be doing this for the rest of my life, I know. Occasionally the idea that I will be learning for the rest of my life what I am makes me feel like I am a remedial student of life. But for me, not learning what I am would be the greater tragedy. 

I had good intentions on completing all my projects. But we all know where the road that good intentions pave leads! And I know there are a lot whose road has been far rougher than mine, but this morning I sort of feel like I've been to hell and back. And maybe now I'm ready to pick up some of these long abandoned projects and to make something new out of the bits and pieces I've found. I do not say this with any great self-pity, only with great self-awareness, but that is one of my life stories, crafting my life out of bits and pieces. It was never my intention to screw myself up, but sometimes those bits and pieces descend from my own crappy decisions (note to self: forgive yourself, let it go, get up and try again). 

Part of what has fueled this bit of self-revelation was a quote I saw on Facebook about Pete Seeger, who died this morning at the age of 94: "Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. 'The key to the future of the world,' he said in 1994, 'is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.'"

I know he was speaking more globally than I am this morning, but this is my optimistic story: the hope that I will find myself not only completing some of these unfinished fabric projects, but also the hope that I will continue to work on the biggest incomplete project of my life: MYSELF. 

I too remain determinedly optimistic.

RIP, Pete Seeger. And thanks.

May we all stay forever young.

(I'm convinced continuing learning and self-growth is one of the secrets.)

Monday, January 20, 2014


This week's word was "thing" or "things," however we want to interpret it. This is a thing I did over the weekend, inspired by an article on hand lettering I read. I thought I would try my hand at doing it. It isn't perfect but it's okay.

Things to try are always in my head. Today I tried a thing that has been in my head for at least ten years. I've joked over the years that I wanted to buy a machine quilting machine and quilt quilts. It's kind of been a joke because a) those things are expensive, b) I used to sew and quilt and have not done so for years, d) this would be starting a small business and I'm scared, c) well, I don't know. But today I did realize that when thinking about this thing, I have trouble differentiating between good sense and fear, so I don't know what I might actually do over a period of time about this particular endeavor. Maybe nothing.

Anyway, my aunt told me about a quilt shop that would give lessons on how to use the (in this case, $15,000) machine and would rent it to you to quilt your quilts. I went by for a visit a couple of weeks ago and I scheduled a lesson for today. So now today, part of my itch has been scratched. I sort of know how to use the machine. I did not tear it up. I did not stitch a finger (in spite of me having to adapt a tiny bit for being left handed). I did not do it perfectly. She did not say I was a genius quilter, but she did say I did well and listened carefully (but of course!).

I can't say I exactly loved it. But I can see where one could get into a flow and enjoy doing the work. And I am going to go back again and rent some more time on the machine for practice and play. I have at least three quilts top that I could finish. I have a couple of sets of blocks I could work on to make more tops. I have no lack of things to finish if I decided I wanted to do this.

See my photos below. It is not stellar work but I'm quite proud of it nonetheless (it is done on "practice" fabric with muslin for a backing, not a quilt top!).

 I did this flower at the end of the day when I was practicing and getting more of a feel for the machine (my biggest problem was that I needed to relax and let the machine do the work).
 And she showed me how to do a little heart, then move on to circles. It's hard to think about where you need to go on the quilt top and not to let yourself get boxed in. I must practice that more.
 This was done with some sort of thing called a work station. You traced around the pattern with a stylus from the back of the machine.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fluffy Light Love

My little tribe of fellow bloggers have been trying to encourage (coerce) ourselves into writing more regularly. Last week's prompt was "love." I had a good idea for what I wanted to write about love but I did not write the idea down and it has left my head and has not come back. So, I'll write about love in a loose sense of the word.

I love how much better I feel now that I am watching what I eat more carefully and moving more. I love the way I went to walk a labyrinth a couple of months ago and got the impression that I needed to allow more fun into my life. I love the way, the very next day, one of my coworkers mentioned seeing news of the ColorVibe run on Facebook and asked if maybe several of us could do it. Of course I said yes! That sounded like fun and I'd just gotten a vague message about allowing more fun in my life! This was the first time I've done anything like this. I made noises about training so I could actually run in the race but I ended up not doing very much training so we all walked the route. I love that my my very good runner friend opted to walk with me rather than run that day. We all had a very good time!

Here's another little thing I saw on the web about love, that I loved. I have long struggled with this concept, and I have made considerable progress in this area. This too, is an important reminder about love. In so many ways, I am a late bloomer. . . She Lied to Herself Every Night

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Waiting For a Room of My Own

A few things:

Growing up, I always shared a bedroom with my sister. It could have been worse, I was friends with a girl who shared a bedroom with her brother up until high school, I believe.

I worked a couple of summers at a church camp and we bunked with five or six of us to the cabin both summers.

I went away for one semester to a private college and roomed with a girl I knew from high school. I came back to my parents home for Christmas and lived there until I got married a year out of high school.

I've generally always had an extra bedroom in our homes for my sewing.

But I've never lived on my own, or had a room of my own.

When we got things fixed back up at our little house in the country, we joked about me having a studio up there and we looked at small cabins to move onto the property. We didn't have that kind of extra money though so I was never really serious about having a room.

My grandparents' old house is not far from us and it is falling down from not being lived in. A tree had fallen on the porch during hurricane Rita and had pretty much ruined the porch. There was a room on the end of the house that my uncle built back in the 60s. He started talking about taking that room apart and rebuilding it up near our house on the property. I started dreaming again.

He'd asked my cousin to come up with the tractor and clear out some space for him to work. My cousin suggested they load the room up on the trailer and move the room intact. To make a long story short, that is exactly what they did. The room is now sitting near our little house. It is a 14X16 room and we are going to add 10 feet to the 16 foot end.

He started laying the floor decking this weekend and will likely have walls up when we get there next weekend. I never really dreamed this would happen, particularly not this quickly. I have no idea what all I am going to do with my space! Well, actually, I do have several ideas. I want to have space for someone to be able to sleep overnight in the room, which will necessitate a bathroom of some sort. And I want to be able to make coffee in the room. And space to spread out and do artsy-fartsy projects and such.

We are scavenging as much of the materials as possible. Be forewarned, when you look at the photos below, you will see, this is a rustic room. My grandparents' house was a rustic house. Eventually I will have a porch all the way across the front of the room, as it did when the room was attached to the old house.

That's what I'm waiting on right now, a room of my own.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

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