Looking for answers to life's questions

After Alys

It’s hard to explain but the best I can say about Alys’ visit is that a switch was flipped and I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Clearing so much out of my line of sight seemed to lift a weight off of my shoulders. After a short rest, I walked into my organized sewing room and got to work.

All my projects were listed in order of priority. I started with making the kitchen curtains from fabric given to me by my sewing friends. They were coming to my house for sewing that week. It had been laying across the curtain rod since I decided that’s what I wanted to do with the fabric.

Butterflies and flowers

close up view of fabric

Then came a machine embroidery, quilted for a friend who I felt could use a little lift. I had planned to mail it as soon as I finished it but as I finished the binding at my sewing group, my friend Patti said she needed it for the Senior Center’s quilt show because they didn’t have enough to show. It was a fund raiser for the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels. How could I say no?

Next came the shirt Patti asked me to make for her almost 10 months ago. She gave me the fabric and I had to decide how to piece this puzzle together. It’s the first one I’ve made in at least 10 years. Patti seemed happy with it. It’s called a Big Shirt to be worn over another like a light jacket and this one is made of flannel.

I made a cover for the pillow I need in my car. The old one had long gone to the trash and I had a new form in my closet and even had the cover cut out. That’s as far as it got until the shirt was finished.The serger was out and ready for the shirt so pillow cover was next in line. I’m a little taller in the seat again now.

Since they were all sorted and sitting in a reusable zip lock I started on bowl cozies that had been waiting not nearly so long. Batting was already cut so I just cut fabric and marked it for stitching. They go quickly but not quickly enough for me to make for sale. I sew to make gifts. It’s not an easy way to make a living especially if you don’t see well and sew like I walk, wobbly.

There were fun to do but take a bit of time.

So now there is only one project that I’ve procrastinated on for well over a year, as the pattern is one I’ve never used and directions are sketchy. I’ll tackle that next week when the rain starts again. I expect a few uninterrupted days together to get started now that my courage is up there.

I’ve spent time working in my yard pulling weeds which always makes me feel calmer. That’s the plan as long as the rain holds off. bumble bees are working hard out there already so I have to time my work carefully. I’ll keep you posted but it’s already looking much better.

My Bunny Basket for spring. Painted back in the late 1980’s

Does organization make you more productive?

Happy Easter to everyone or happy spring.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "After Alys" (81)

  1. Oh, Marlene! It makes my heart so happy to know that you have been so busy, happily stitching away in your newly organized sewing room! Alys’ inspiration is everywhere! I wonder if she realizes just how special she is to so many people?

    I love all of your creations, Marlene! Your cheery, new kitchen curtains highlight the lovely view through your window. Patti’s new Big Shirt is a work of art, right from your heart. I love the colors and patterns. I have often read that just ‘getting started’ is the hardest, scariest part of creativity. I feel that way most of the time before jumping in and starting on a cardmaking project. Now your creativity and confidence have joined hands and I know that you will surprise yourself with all that you stitch and create! So happy that you are enjoying Springtime in your garden, too. Wishing you sunny, creative days, both inside and outside! Happy Easter, Marlene! ♡

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the kind comments and visit, Dawn. I’m finally almost caught up and hopefully will get to blogs soon. I do not think Alys knows how many lives she’s touched either. She is a real treasure. Getting started is the hardest part when you are afraid you can’t do the job justice. The room was so well organized that it was easy to slip in there and just do the work. My sister is coming back on Saturday to continue today’s job of week pulling and clearing out winter’s debris. It’s nice to spend time with her. Very meditative. Hope you have wonderful Easter plans.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alys is a wonder – truly!! Her visit may have been brief but obviously a real boon to you. She sorted the packing of the cars in no time when we were going to Wanaka. If not for her I think we’d all still be there trying to force an elephant through a keyhole 😀 It’s a real talent isn’t it – she walks into a space and says if we move this here and that there and get the sofa from the other room – and voila, we have a room that fits everyone ❤

    I cannot work in a messy or disorganised space. I think most all kinds of crafting is necessarily mess making. After every project I clean everything away and sometimes that is all I get done in the day – but then my desk is clear and the space is tidy and I can start on my next project. I'm working two crochet projects right now as you are aware and there is yarn everywhere – I need to corral them into their separate areas and keep them there. So I took the laundry basket from the laundry and coerced that into being a yarn basket for now and am going to have to hit the Easter sales for another container or basket for the second project. 🙂

    I do rather love that shirt you made from so many fabrics. That is extraordinarily clever piecing work. I can really appreciate there would have been a big pause before setting to work on that one! The trouble with pauses of course is that they can go on for too long – as we know all too well! 🙂 I'm sure your friend must be absolutely delighted with it. I know someone who recycles old clothes that way – she takes shirts and suchlike and cuts bits off one to attach to the other and vice versa and you end up with something fun and unique and jolly handy! Maybe that's a way for you to earn some extra cash…… If your eyes can stand it that is. Or your beautiful machine embroidery pieces……

    Love your kitchen curtain of course – who doesn't love blue flowers and butterflies? 🙂 That's such a cute basket for spring. Did you paint it yourself? I don't know what bowl cosies are, they sound intriguing. Something to keep your bowl cosy in obviously……….. Please excuse the hokie from down-under 🙂

    I'm so glad to hear you have had a productive time in your sewing room Marlene – it does the soul good doesn't it. I hope you have just as lovely a time in your garden. The bees won't mind you bumbling along beside them – they seem to quite like a bit of amenable company.
    Have a lovely Easter and enjoy the first days of spring! xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Where to start here? The bumble bees don’t mind. The yellow jackets last year swarmed and stung me so I’ve been quite hesitant to venture out. Seems as if the insect population is reclaiming the world.
      I did paint the basket. Didn’t show the back side. It was done probably 30 years ago.
      Bowl cozies are like a fitted potholder for bowls that you put in the microwave to heat up. Makes it easier to get hot soup out without burning your hands. Men love them! They also work when you put something like ice cream in a dish to keep it cold and your hands not cold. 😉 I found that after sewing a few hours or so, I can no longer see clearly. That was the problem all along after the Bells happened. At least now I’m no longer getting dizzy from it. I should not drive if I’ve been sewing long so I’m just glad I can do it more than before. It saves me spending money on gifts at holidays and birthdays. I had planned to try to make a living from my sewing before I couldn’t do it much anymore. I’ve made many of those shirts and the hardest part is calculating the extra seam allowance when you add sections. And then deciding what looks nice. I had a larger variety of fabrics for those I made for myself. I only gifted one other.
      Your comment “trying to force an elephant through a keyhole” made me laugh. 🙂
      I can pack a car quite well too. My last husband said I could pack 40 pounds of stuff in a 2 pound bag when we were traveling. But the inside of the house is different. You want it packed nicely but like you, I require order to work. I had become lost in it with too much going on since before Christmas. Things are better now in my mind at least. I’m ready to take on the next project and hope I can figure out the directions. 😦 Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know what ‘yellow jackets’ are but they must have been nasty beasties to sting you! Bumbles don’t ordinarily sting, they are actually quite placid and benign bees. Or at least the ones here are. Thanks for explaining the bowl cosies – I can certainly appreciate the icecream side of things 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bumbles don’t bother here either. Yellow Jackets are like a wasp but they were in a tree stump that still sits in my yard. As soon as it dries out a bit, I’ll rent a stump grinder like I did when I bought this place and grind the stump down so no more yellow jacket house. I didn’t think you used a microwave but even picking up a bowl of hot cooked soup off the counter can be tricky. Have a wonderfilled weekend. Hugs

        Like

    • Pauline, you’ve made me smile once again. I especially like the expression “forcing an elephant through a keyhole”. That’s a keeper. I hope you’ve found a suitable basket for your crochet projects. Easter does seem to be a time when baskets of varying shapes and sizes are available.

      Happy Easter

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the curtains! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Marlene! You’re on a roll. Well done. Happy Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m pretty organized in general, but it does help to know where things are, have a plan and move forward. Those curtains are so bright and cheery, I love that blue!
    We had sun up here today so I added a few new plants to my little front beds. The birds have been busy searching for worms and singing in the trees. I’m so glad spring is here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Deb. I would expect you were pretty organized with the kind of work you do. I thought I was organized as well but someone with fresh eyes and ideas made things so much better. I guess I’m getting old and don’t think as fast as I once did. ;( Have fun with the planting.

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  6. You are a soulful and talented person.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good grief, Marlene, you’ve been going like the Energizer Bunny! It’s as if Alys’ visit has uncorked your spring of energy and motivation. What a wonderful boon; I can tell it makes you very happy to be creative again. Happy Easter!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love how industrious you have been, and the kitchen curtains are divine!!!!!!! Well done, you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! you’ve been so busy and productive, Marlene! Love your new kitchen curtains, that lovely cup of coffee with the beautiful butterfly and your Easter basket! Your brimming with energy and I feel elated just watching how many things you get done! My month has been equally busy – I painted so many water colors like never beforeost of which still need to get posted – lol! Here’s to energy and spring! Happy Easter! 😊🐇🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. I had such a long dry spell and Alys helped to break it, The cup is part of a set my daughter bought for me from Lenox Butterfly Meadow. I have a whole set of the dishes and tea set. Obviously I have a thing for butterflies. 🙂 The bunny basket was part of painting class many, many years ago. It’s just a fun piece. Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. When you get going you really go, Marlene! SO productive and the things you’ve made are so varied and nifty. I know from personal experience how good it feels to hang a curtain you made yourself–and how fun it is to look out that window afterwards. I do feel that a well-organized space helps me focus–there’s just a sense of calm that comes with the space being tidy. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is wonderful, Marlene! You’ve been a busy little beaver. Everything looks wonder and those curtains are fantastic. What a view outside of the window! Yes, I’m definitely more productive when my space is organized. Have a wonderful Easter, sweet friend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jill. It’s been a long time coming to get busy. Yes, I have a terrific view out of that window. Who would have thought it could be so beautiful in a manufactured home park. I’m one lucky lady.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You are so very talented! Love all your projects! Happy Spring! Happy Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. wow wow wow – what productivity… I need an Alys to give me some motivation to get organised!
    I love those curtains and the big shirt – what talents you have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Jan. Everyone could use a bit of Alys’ many talents. With a heart of gold and a great eye for potential. That fabric was so pretty, I wanted to see it every day so now I can never miss it. The big shirts are fun when I’m making them for myself. A little scary when for someone else. 🙂 Have a wonderfilled weekend.

      Like

  14. The only way I can be productive is if I’m organized. 🙂 Your projects came out amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree but it turned out to be even more than organizing. Some of my organized stuff was visually disturbing when I walked by it. Alys changed all of that so it’s organized and visually pleasing. I got lost down a well for awhile and couldn’t see the possibilities she came up with and not needing to spend a cent. You know the well I’m talking about. Thanks for stopping by Erin.

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  15. I’m a bit behind here but trying to catch up. 🙂 I love all your projects! The curtains are so pretty and all your other projects were beautiful! So talented you are.

    I too need an organized space to work. Maybe that’s one of my problems with not writing….this place is a mess! All my fault of course as I don’t keep up as I should. Maybe I should just clean my ‘office’ out and straighten it up and I’ll get in the mood to write again. Hmmm….. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have 851 blogs to read so I hear you. I am very talented at copying other’s ideas and patterns. No original thoughts here what so ever. I found that spending just a few minutes a day helps staying organized and as a Virgo, it’s vital. But Alys brought it to a new level. I was where you are before she showed up. She sees things that I miss in my darkness. When you are overwhelmed, you don’t see a way to make things better. I’m so grateful for this blogging buddy with a heart. It made all the difference in the world. I’m keeping good thoughts for you and sending as much encouragement as possible. My friends saw the fabric at a wholesale house that you have to have a resale # for and thought it was meant for me. I’m a butterfly lover. They are so kind and I’m so grateful. Giant hugs to you, Jackie.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You got a lot done, Marlene. The curtains are lovely and I like the fabrics you used on the bowl cozies. I had a couple but they were in the storage units and were lost along with everything else, including my sewing machine, fabrics and patterns, craft supplies, furniture and all my household goods. Makes it hard to do some of the things necessary to keep a few dollars coming in. Have a lovely Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Aquila. I’m a very fortunate human being, I know. These were all gifts as I take too much time sewing to make any money at it. I’m grateful to be able to do it again. It’s been a long time coming. Hang in there. It can get better. Easter will be quiet here.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I absolutely LOVE the butterfly fabric. It’s gorgeous. You are quite talented. I think I need to find a bowl cozy pattern, since I usually use a pot holder (and with limited luck). I’m impressed with your ability to tackle each project with a sense of order. Am I interpreting this correctly? Either way, good for you that you have completed some of them and can show us your work. Enjoy our sunshine! Happy Easter, too! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Karenlee. My sister was using one yesterday for her soup and it was spilling as she ate sitting in the recliner but the bowl cozy caught the mess. She’s kind of that way so I was glad to only have to wash the cozy. Here is a link to a free pattern.
      https://happyhourstitches.com/2016/12/19/soup-bowl-cozy-pattern/
      Hope this works for you.
      I do have to have some order of completion to my projects. I guess I tend to work best when I’m under a timeline. Procrastination is always a problem.

      Like

  18. This was just such a wonderful post to read Marlene.. And its amazing what a little organisation can do to get one motivated and prioritise projects in order that they get finished..
    You made a wonderful job of the shirt. And I loved how you paired the fabric.. Such wonderful projects and in between doing the garden too.. 🙂

    I know what you mean about the rain.. Another day of it here today.
    I am delighted that Alys was able to inspire you with her visit ..

    I too have had the cleaning bug.. de-cluttering is good for the mind.. LOL..
    And I have another painting project already started.. This time a portrait of my daughter.. She doesn’t know of it.. Its harder than I thought.. but its keeping me occupied and therapeutic.

    Have a wonderful Easter Marlene.
    much love dear friend, I so appreciate your visits and wisdom my friend

    Love and HUGS ❤ Sue xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Sue. Those shirts are like a giant puzzle and can be so much fun to make. I was a bit nervous about sewing for a friend as I have never sewn for anyone but family before.
      Alys helped me come out of a dark place and back into the light.

      Rain is tapering off here and then we see no more till next winter. I will miss the rain during the summer months when we need it most.

      I’m anxious to see you portrait of your daughter though I’m sure it will take some time. Decluttering always makes one feel lighter. More of that to go.

      Easter will be very quiet here. Just me, myself and I.
      Love and giant squishy hugs back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I love this, Marlene. Decluttering is uplifting. That’s my job today! I love the quilt and the big shirt. You are busy. Happy Easter! 🐣

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jennie. The wall hanging is only at most 12 X 15 inches. My friend is a huge coffee lover and writer. Meant to let her know someone cares. The big shirts are fun when you are making them for yourself. 😉 Happy Easter, Jennie and thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow, my productive friend! I feel like a sloth. Glad you’ve been able to tackle all these projects, thanks to Alys’ organizing help.

    Being organized and having a plan definitely makes me more productive. There’s something terribly satisfying about checking things off a list. Happy Easter to you, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a really long list and just stopped in my tracks one day last fall. Alys, my blogging friend came up and unplugged the cork. I thought I was organized but she brings it to a different level. Thanks for stopping by, Missy. Hope your Easter is happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Happy Easter Marlene! You’ve really been whizzing through a lot of projects. That’s awesome. I always feel engergized after organizing the craft room too. Which seems to never end, but I really enjoy doing it too. I think it’s a good way to realize how much you have too. Which in my case is ‘OMGosh’….. a lot 😀 I can’t seem to walk by pretty paper and I’m sure you have the same eye for fabrics. Happy to hear you’re enjoying your sewing machine again! I’m very envious that you’re in the garden. We’re currently suffering through another Polar Vortex. Forecast is back to more seasonal next Thursday. Spring is no where’s in site yet for us……more crafting time for me! xo K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always looking on the bright side too, my sweet friend. We had a few dry days. Tomorrow the rain comes back so it’s more sewing time for me. 🙂 I thought I was organized. I knew where everything was, mostly. Alys seems to have a vision all her own that supersedes organization. Call it what you will, I’m unstuck now. 🙂 Hope you have a lovely Easter. Stay warm and crafty. 🙂 Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sending you the world’s biggest hug, Marlene. I appreciate all your wonderful accolades. I’m so glad that our work together brought you out of a dark place. Clearly your creativity has been unleashed once again. That makes me so happy. Happy sewing and happy Easter, too. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Wow! Now THAT’s productivity, I’m so impressed. Those curtains are lovely! I love the fabric, and they’re light and airy.

    I need to borrow some of that drive 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Marlene, I love how the curtains turned out! You’ve been unbelievably busy working on all these wondrous creations! It must feel good to have a freshly organized home. Keep up the good work! 💖

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  25. Hi Marlene! Wow, you’ve been a busy bunny! All that organization certainly made you productive. I love all your projects. I want to make some new curtains, and yours turned out so pretty I may just get inspired and do it. The machine embroidery is so cute. What kind of machine do you have? I don’t have a machine that embroiders…yet! There’s so many to choose from, though, so I like to ask folks what they use. I’m about ready to get organized myself, I’m starting to trip over fabric on my way to the sewing machine. Have a great day! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Stacey, I have an OLD Viking SE. I also have a new Viking Diamond Royal that is a very expensive door stop. The old one out sews the new one hands down. There are design flaws on many new machines of all manufactures. Most are coming out of the same factory with different company labels. It’s a crap shoot anymore. Viking was made in Sweden, Pfaff in Germany and Bernina in Switzerland. Not so much now. All coming out of China. 😦 I will hang on to my old Viking until I can’t sew anymore, I’ll be doing more research on this and let you know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Marlene. It surprises me how much new machines cost, but they don’t last! Or they discontinue the model and expect you to buy a new one. 🙁 If yours still works great, better hold on to it!

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Misty Hopkins said:

    Wow! So awesome and beautiful. I loved all the pieces.

    Misty

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Marlene, your window is perfectly framed with that lovely fabric! I’m glad to see you are finally settling into your home it’s been a long road for you to go through, with getting the house move in ready to sorting all the things you had and wanted to keep and even the house guests that filled space. I hope you are finally enjoying your home to its fullest now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lois. Ironic isn’t it, that I get it all settled now. Oh well. But I am enjoying it immensely. Now I’m working on projects that have been waiting that I want to do for myself. Now the fun starts. 🙂 Still going to purge more that isn’t on my fun list of to do. Hope you are doing well now too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m good. I always bounce back no matter what gets tossed in my path. I’m so happy for you to be able to enjoy your home now.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Ah! Yes!! I love the energy you just shared…I wish I could say I know it well 😉 I did just come back from a little holiday. When I unpack my suitcase I always find it is a good time to straighten my drawers/closet…and to lighten the load a little by donating things I KNOW I won’t wear. That always feels good too!
    I am amazed at what you have accomplished…Bravo!! I am certain it feels GOOD!! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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