Thursday, January 02, 2014

Getting Into the Crafty Groove

Over the last few months I've struggled to find my previous crafty self, that self that found peace and comfort and joy as long as I had a needle in my hand. That self has been decidedly missing and it was only after discovering an infinity scarf pattern on Instagram. Priscilla of www.priscillas2000.blogspot.com

(blogging from the iPad as I've lost all positive control of my computer so please bear with my archaic attempts at including links, I'll get this figured out eventually but I refuse to let it keep me from writing one more day. This may not be the prettiest blog or the fanciest and done all wrong, but hey what's new!)

Priscilla found the pattern on YouTube, do a search for Love4Nails, it's her circle scarf(think that's what she calls it).

After making one of these scarves I decided sometime around December 19th that I should make these for my SILS. I have five SILS(6 if i count my brother's fiance). Then I decided to make them for nieces. Then I decided hey, I bet a few friend's would like these too. Believe it or not all five SILS received their scarves by Christmas Eve. I mailed regular old first class mail via the USPS. The rest are late but I'm not beating myself up over it. The black and white scarves in the picture below is Love4Nails 10 row scarf. I cannot tell you what a gift this pattern has been for me. The crocheting is deliciously mindless once the first round is completed. It works up soft and scrunchy and it's just an overall satisfying project. Add to that the fact I'm making them for gifts, it's a double blessing. I think this stupid scarf kind of saved me. It gave me back my needlework. It made me think about other needlework. It woke me up, pulled me out of the shadows and I think it even made me want to write again. I'm giving this scarf a lot of credit and it's probably a silly thing, but I swear I feel more emotionally balanced than I have in ten months, heck in a year and a half. It has been like a super dose of Prozac for me. I keep wondering when I'll come down off this manic high, but I think I won't. The blogging may not continue to be every day, the needlework may not happen every day, and good Lord I know this is a First World problem but a happy life is finding joy in the little things. This is a very little thing but it's been huge for me.

The red and pink ruffle scarves shown at the bottom of this post are Potato Chip scarves and the pattern can be found at www.lionbrand.com

My theme for the year is Each Day a New Beginning. Imagine my surprise when I opened the inexpensive planner I purchased to break down and use for parts in my craft journal (it's cheaper than printing out calendar pages and buying dividers, really. Kind of a poor girl's Smash booking) the January divider is all about every year, day, hour, minute being a chance to start over! I take that as a sign that I'm on the right path, keeping every day fresh and new. Even if the problems from the day before get carried over into the new day, the way I choose to deal with them is what matters. New day, new perspective. There have been moments already in this brand spanking new year where I have been tested and so far I've been able to take a deep breath and move on. If it's something I can fix, I do, if it's something beyond my control, I accept that and let it go, or at the very least try not to fret over it or let it eat at me. It's not easy but strangely, it's not as difficult as I thought it would be.

I've joined in the #crochetmoodblanket2014 on Instagram and Facebook. The two squares in the picture below are my first two. I'm using a mood ring chart I found online as a guide and crocheting my square early in the day before my mood can turn 100% black which would not give a lot of variety in my blocks! I'm not thinking beyond the way I feel and the mood chart. This afghan will be completely based on my moods, no trying to choose a better color. I figure a good border will pull together all the chaos. I'm using a basic three round granny square and joining as I go as explained by Lucy at www.attic24.typepad.com

My creative juices are overflowing and I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can.

In other news, I'm listening to The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling.








Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Hello There 2014!

Happy New Year y'all! Have you had your turnip greens and black eyed peas? We have. After the previous year I am taking no chances, I am not taunting the God of Southern Superstition by not choking down some greens and black eyed peas, not this year.

My focus project for January is PS February, book #160. I started this in January 2012 so it's time to get this done. My goal is have it stitched and framed by February 1st.

I'm taking my crafty goals one at a time this year. Some times our dreams and goals can be overwhelming and usually as soon as I set a goal, make a public statement of my intentions, it's the last thing I want to work on so the plan this year is month by month, not more than one project and just keep things loose and easy.

I'm posting from my blogger app and have no clue how these pictures will show up or how to tweak them. I'm going to hit publish and we'll see what happens.

Go get ya some greens and black eyed peas cause can one really afford to turn down the opportunity for some good luck and good fortune?



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

It's been so long since I've written in this space that it feels a bit awkward to be here. In February this space will be ten years old. Ten years of blogging! It seems that I have taken an unexpected hiatus from blogging as my last post was December 21, 2012 but I hope to start writing more often in 2014.

To catch you up, from June 2012-April 2013, I was in Tennessee taking care of my mother. This time was the hardest of my life. I regret not blogging during that time but my wi-fi was iffy and finding time to sit and write at the Savannah, TN McD's was just impossible.

After spending ten months away from my husband and sons I came home in June and life was just unsettled. I was a stranger in my own home and life had moved on for my family while I felt as though I were frozen. My mother passed away July 30 and with that came a lot of guilt. She was in a nursing home, alone, and for a while I struggled with a lot of guilt as my last real life vision of her was her begging me not to leave her there. It hurts to write that but at this point I had taken care of her as long as I could by myself. I had no help and she made just enough money to not qualify for any kind of assistance and out of pocket home health care is ridiculously expensive. Here's a wake up call for you all, someone that retires at $20,000 a year pays the same Medicare premium as someone that retires at $80,000. Two vastly different incomes but $20,000 is viewed as equal to $80,000. Insanity!

Much of August, September and October were a fog for me. I struggled to fit in here at home, to find a bit of my life before Tennessee and finally after turning 50 in October I realized that it's time to build a new reality. To take the wisdom of my 50 years, successes and failures, and move on.

I'm happy to tell 2013 goodbye and to not let the door hit it on the way out. I'm excited to welcome 2014 and it's 365 clean slates. My new life motto is "Every day a new beginning". I want each day to be fresh and positive. The failures and struggles of the previous day, while not forgotten, I will refuse to dwell on them. Every day is a new chance. An opportunity to learn, to be better, to take what was learned the day before either by success or failure and be better.

One of my guidelines for 2014 is to always try to be the better person. To always be kind and generous and to not hold bitterness in my heart.

Another goal is to work my way through my WIP pile. It's a bit out of control. I say this every year but this year I really mean it!

I also want to improve my sewing skills and my crochet skills. I want to learn to knit socks(I say that every year too!), and work on my picture taking skills. I want to get back to blogging. I started writing in this space ten years ago just to have a place to write every day, time to bring this full circle and start writing again. I didn't know how much I had missed it or what writing here meant to me, until I started writing this post, ok, the one before it that blogger ate! Yes, these words are a do over but that's ok, keepin' it real!

And finally, I hope to make it to Paris, the one in France, not Texas or Tennessee, before December 31, 2014.

So goodbye 2013. 2014, bring it! I've got this!

Happy New Year to you all!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Is it December 21st Already?


And we're all still here? Those wacky Mayans and their unfinished calendar. Guess I can start thinking about 2013.
 
My theme for 2013 is JOY. That's all. Joy in absolutely everything that has to do with life, living and existing on this here Planet Earth.
 
The last six months of my life have been anything but joyful. They have been full of homesickness, missing my husband and sons, and the loss of my sweet lab Heidi. I wasn't there for her and  it devastated me at the time.
 
I've been in Tennessee taking care of my mother since June 7th of this year. When I came I didn't have a clue that I would be here this long. It was just supposed to be for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. But now the time has come to make long term care decisions for momma because I have a family at home in Florida and Tennessee is no longer home.
 
I have to admit that the first few months were kind of sweet. I mean people here talk like me! It's been so long since I've heard "home" in people's voices. Then another shock was seeing all the UT t-shirts. Been a very long time since I was in Big Orange country.
 
Here are a few things in my WIP pile:
 
 A friend of my mom's gave me her mother's last quilt squares to finish. Her momma would piece with whatever fabric was around and a few of the blocks had this creepy clown fabric in them. They don't really go with the other rail fence blocks so I have pulled them out and will make them into a true lap quilt. Something to keep in the car when you have a few things in your lap and don't want them tumbling into the floor board. There are a few blocks that haven't been turned into bigger blocks so I think I will make those into a mug rug because what goes better with coffee than a creepy clown?

 Here are the four completed clown sections. I think I'm going to back them in a yellow gingham but I'm not sure. It'll be a nice car quilt, especially as a lap quilt or even as an impromptu beach picnic quilt. Just the right size. If I make it to the big city this weekend I'll see what I can find for backing at JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby. I do love getting to make a quick road trip to Jackson, TN.
 I managed to complete this very long term WIP. Hester's Needle's Liberty Sampler. I started this back in 2001 I think. I can't remember exactly. It's been quite the traveled piece of needlework. I've worked on it in Rochester, NY, quite a few airports, especially when I spent the night in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport when I was flying standby on my way to Grand Rapids, MI to hook up with some stitching friends and couldn't get a seat on a plane to Michigan. The coldest place in the world remains the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport at 2a.m. It's also had a good bit of quality time at the Panera in Ft. Walton Beach where I would sit and stitch and wait on my sons to do their mall business. What ever that is for a kid these days. So it's all stitched up with many, many memories. I finished it in November I think. I pulled it out to finish on election day and had way more to stitch than I remembered.

Since being here in Tennessee, I started a hand piecing project. This here is my pile of what I'm calling my Tennessee River Log Cabin. I have been acquiring orange fabrics from where ever I can, the local Walmart seems to be my main source, a few here and there from random trips to Jackson when momma would let me run in JoAnn's for some comfort. Believe me a trip to JoAnn's can offer a bit of comfort and joy even in July when the biggest excitement is getting to run over to the Walmart in Savannah, TN. JoAnn's is like Saks Fifth Avenue for a deprived crafty chick. My blocks are all different sizes. Some so much smaller I kind of freak out when I see them, some huge. Whoops! I am ruler challenged, obviously. But I think I know how I will set them all together when I get home to Florida so I'll keep cutting and piecing and sewing until I get home and then I'll put them all together into a wonky hand pieced log cabin that I hope will be somewhat pretty! There's questionable piecing and questionable fabrics but this is all about handwork and working with what I have readily available to me. Makes it fun and stressful at the same time.
And my current focus project is Time & Tide from Long Dog. I'm stitching it on 32ct antique white linen using good old DMC.

I have missed blogging so much and found that while I wanted to, I didn't have much to contribute beyond whining and crying, now I'm jumping on my JOY theme and going with it.

May 2013 be a joyful year for all of you. Thank you so much for reading and inspiring me with all your stitching and sewing and cooking.

May every little X you make over the next year be crossed with joy and happiness. May we all see the light in our lives during 2013 and fewer shadows. It's so easy to let the shadow suck us in. It's so easy to let misery take hold and our sadness wrap around our heart like kudzu. Let's fertilize our hearts and stitching with JOY in the coming days and weeks and months.

To quote Granny Clampett:

"I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay".

Wishing you all a Blessed Holiday Season and a new year filled to overflowing with joy and happiness.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bit of Stitching

Since June 7th I've been in Tennessee staying with my momma. In the not too distant future we will have to make hard decisions but right now I'm here with her away from the spousal unit and the sons. While I feel right now I'm where I need to be, there's this fear that when I do go home, I'll be the stranger, I won't quite belong any more. I guess that is my homesickness talking. But enough of that!

My stitching time is a bit limited but I have made a good bit of progress on Long Dog's Time & Tide sampler. I'm stitching it on 32ct antique white linen using DMC as charted. I had planned to stitch it on 40ct using HDF silks but I kitted it ages ago and the 32ct is easy to see in regular light and I'm very happy with how it's stitching up. I love the bright colors and while the stitching is slow, if I'm lucky I get about an hour in the morning before momma wakes up to stitch, I do manage to complete a motif or two every morning.

The sweetest part of my day is my early morning stitching time. Needle and thread slipping through fabric, listening to my audiobook. Right now it's Gone With the Wind which I am enjoying a lot. This is a reread but a first time listen and I look forward every morning to the little bit of time I get to spend with Scarlett, Rhett and Mellie. It's a touch of normal for me while I am in this alien world that has not been home to me in 26 years.

I could go on about going back home, the demons of childhood, being an adult child taking care of a parent and the struggles that ensue. But not now. Now it's all about the sweet hour of the day. Stitching, an audiobook, and a steaming cup of coffee. BLISS!!!

I am so very grateful for these quiet moments.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Testing to See if My Blogger is Working

Why hey there y'all!

Life has thrown me some curve balls recently and I've been in Tennessee at my momma's since June 7th. I've been wanting to get back in a blogging routine but since I'm in a time warp where wi-fi is a magical, mystical thing requiring the powers of a wizard I'm left at the mercy of my iPad and wasn't quite sure how that would work. Also the first few weeks if my my stay here in the land of my childhood my bitter inner child reared her ugly head and do you all really want to read that? No of course you don't. So junk journaling, popularly referred to as Smash Book as taken the anger out of my journaling and put the smack down on my inner child. I now think I'm in a better place mentally for blogging.

If a picture pops up in this post it should be of my bear sampler. A sampler I put together with the help of my friend Pam. We used my Patternmaker software and the houses on either side were adapted from patterns provided with the software the rest were just drawn randomly from images we found. It was inspired by a sampler I saw a while back and if I can figure out the whole link think on this app I'll add a link later. The only thing I borrowed from that design are the words, "Haters Gonna Hate". The hatred for Mr. Bear around my 'hood was pretty fierce. I love the bear. Nuisance or not, a bear wandering through one's neighborhood in the year 2012 is a thing of wonder. He's beautiful and I love that I live somewhere where seeing a bear is a possibility. Much nicer than the day to day site of humans, cars, etc.

Keeping my fingers crossed when I hit publish this post actually posts!

Sure feels good to write something!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sometimes Finished is Enough

The back of the quilt. Yeah, I uploaded the pictures backwards. Just keeping it real!
There is so much wrong with this quilt that the light from right will take 10,000 light years to reach it. I decided a few weeks ago that finished would be good enough. I started this quilt when my now sixteen year old was five. Many of the novelty fabrics are very representative of his childhood and tv addiction and the once WWF which is now the WWE. I think it's kind of cool that mixed in with Bob the Builder(which he never watched but I was in need of a few more squares) and SpongeBob are The Rock's and Stone Cold Steve Austin's logos.
Every block in this quilt was hand traced and cut out with scissors, the top was has handpieced. Yeah, eleven years ago I was terrified of the sewing machine and to this day I have a love/hate relationship with the beast. I happen to be one of those rare people that enjoys handsewing. I like the slow pace, I'm never in too much of a rush when it comes to sewing. I think that's why the slowness of cross stitch has never bothered me too much. I know a lot of people find building a picture with X after little X torture, but I don't. I also don't find building a quilt top one block at a time frustrating. I enjoy it. Along with my loathing of the sewing machine I also dislike the rotary cutter. I bought my first one twenty five years ago and just recently started to feel a little comfortable with it. I like tracing and scissors, the magic and fastness of the rotary cutter is only just now starting to impress me.
The binding is a mess and I decided to tie it so that I could call it done even faster. I'm not sure I did any of the tying right, and I know the binding is wrong, I just wanted it DONE. FINIS! So this weekend I sat down, figured out how to wind a bobbin on my sewing machine and grabbed my packages of Wright's quilt binding and went to work. It took me two days to get the binding handsewed to the back.
My intention had been for this to be a sort of I Spy quilt and one that he could drag out in the yard to play on, build a fort with, read a book under a tree with surrounded by his favorite cartoon peeps. The backing fabric is a fishing lure print I found at JoAnn's many, many years ago and is a reminder of how much he used to love fishing at our pier with his dad. When I bought this fabric they were fishing almost every weekend, then we had Hurricane Ivan, lost our pier and only over the last couple of years has it been rebuilt and reopened and is now the longest pier in Florida if I have my facts right. Now he's too cool to fish with dad so it's kind of sad thinking about those days so many years ago when they'd spend hours waiting for a bite and now he just doesn't have the patience and has better things to do. But that's ok. His dad doesn't make it to the fishing pier too often any more either.

The binding is awful! I'm not showing this because I'm proud of it, I'm showing because sometimes finished is enough. Finished is good, and even when finished poorly, it gives us permission to move on to the next project. To take the mess from the finished project, the knowledge gathered and mistakes made, to the next project and know that we can do better. To know where we need the most patience, to slow it down and do it right or more right. While sloppiness or poor workmanship is nothing to be celebrated, finishing something is and knowing that the finished product is not perfect, but knowing that next time, and yes there will be a next time the maker will take the time she needs to do it right. Or at the very least to be aware of what she previously did so very wrong is also something to celebrate. Each finished object is an educational experience. I have determined that I love piecing but hate with a passion the quilt sandwich and binding it! But they are part of the process. I have another very ugly quilt top, I pieced it twenty one years ago, all by hand, and my stars, is it fugly, but I plan to pull it out and use it for sandwich/binding practice before attempting to sandwich and bind the top I made for my oldest son.
So celebrate with me my finish knowing that I absolutely know it sucks! But yes, sometimes finished is enough.