Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘creativity’

What’s in my bed?

Do you sense a theme here? Sleeping isn’t something I do much but the sleep I do get seems to be better. In spite of my discomfort with that horrid C-pap machine, I’m waking more “rested”.

Up until a few years ago, I had my little dog, Schatzie sleeping on my bed. She was quiet all night and never seemed to mind my tossing and turning or the occasional snore fest.

Lucille is my sister's new rescue. She is a year and a half and came to visit this week.

Lucille is my sister’s new rescue. She is a year and a half and came to visit this week.

Now I sleep with just books and notebooks in my bed. My headboard is littered with them and so is the bookcase beside my bed as well as the nightstand next to it. Everything in my life is designed to accommodate my books and notebooks. That includes e-readers.

The other side of the headboard looks just like this.

The other side of the headboard looks just like this.

I don’t read like a normal person. I can read four separate books in one night. Once or two chapters each. I may read a bit from a magazine, a short story book, a non-fiction and a fiction. That’s after I’ve done my journal writing and gratitude list.

 

My sister is reading and loving it now that I'm done. I'll have to order dinner next.

My sister is reading and loving it now that I’m done. I’ll have to order dinner next.

Recommending books is not something I usually do. The book a person is supposed to read will appear at the right time and place for them. I can be excited about one and tell you about it but you may not be ready for that book now…or ever.  These are just a few that I have read lately.

 

Some of the journals and books that sleep in my bed.

Some of the journals and books that sleep in my bed.

I’ve had books fall off the bookstore shelves at me, slide forward on my own shelves or just jump into my Amazon cart from nowhere. I have books on crafting, painting, sewing, quilting, writing, quantum physics, spirituality, children’s books, novels, short stories, and the list goes on. Who has time to sleep?

 

I'm not fond of white t-shirts but I loved this one so much it turned purple.

I’m not fond of white t-shirts but I loved this one so much it turned purple.

My e-reader is filled with self-help books of every manner. Many are filled with wonderful quotes that keep me in a positive frame of mind. I don’t naturally lean that way and must stay cautious. I want to learn something new each day by any means possible. Happiness to me is a bookstore or a fabric store and best viewed with a creative friend.

I couldn't put this one down.

I couldn’t put this one down.

 

There are novels on my e-reader written by fellow bloggers that only write e-books. I wouldn’t want to miss any of those. Some have to wait a bit to be read but I’m making shorter work of them as the winter projects draw to a close. I’ve read several by Maddie Cochere and Jackie Phillips. They are entertaining and light as well as have a bit of humor which sends me off to sleep with a smile. The only reading done early in the day are all the blogs I follow. That’s done over morning coffee.

This is the fourth book of Maddie's I am reading.

This is the fourth book of Maddie’s I am reading.

Jackie has this writing thing down pat

Jackie has this writing thing down pat

Another of Jackie's with more to come.

Another of Jackie’s with more to come.

As I take off for my trip to Phoenix to see a friend, there will be no hard copies of books going along. Just my journals and a notebook as writing sometimes requires pencil and paper to let the thoughts flow.

I loved this book on creativity!! Most helpful and I finished it quickly

I loved this book on creativity!! Most helpful and I finished it quickly

I will probably find a bookstore while I’m there. Hopefully my favorite in the Mesa area called Changing Hands It’s an independent book store; my favorite kind. I would probably sell my soul to own one. Right now the bookstores own me. If Heaven doesn’t have books, I’m not going.

What are you reading these days? Do you keep books by your bed or in it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

That sense of Accomplishment

Procrastination is an art form born of fear. I tend to put things off knowing that somehow everything will be harder than it appears in the directions. Every report card I had in grade school had a small notation at the side saying “Marlene does not follow directions well.” I just never read them through properly resulting in my own unique version of the completed assignment. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does. Most of us are not direction junkies or follow written directions as a last resort. And I can tell you from a great deal of experience, most directions are not well written to start with so why bother with them only to be totally confused.

christmas braid done 2016

Christmas braid bought 7 years ago. Finally, finally finished. Not perfect but done.

christmas braid back

Happened to have the perfect match to back it and bind it. Lucky me.

Sewing is about following directions. It never goes well for me. Especially if the directions “ASSUME” I understand what they want me to do. I had a friend bring a “pattern for dummies” to me on making a shopping cart cover for her grandchild. We read the directions a dozen times each and I finally just said, “screw the directions” and showed her how to put it together. I think I’ve spent more time taking apart things than putting them together or had one square going one way and the next one a different direction.

MG done

After a year and a half, it’s completed with borders, binding and quilting

MG done Back

I even learned how to put a sleeve at the top for hanging. Had to do it twice to get it right.

But in the end, something winds up completed. There is always a learning curve for me as most things I tackle are brand new to my scope of experience. I’ve made many shirts. Every pattern puts them together in a different way. Quilts are like that too. Getting one to completion is a big deal. Machine embroidery is probably easier for me. I enjoy it because there are fewer directions to follow. I have a very simple brain and pleads with me not to keep pushing so hard but I’m relentless in my pursuit of knowledge. Who needs a crossword or box puzzle when I have quilts and sewing patterns? There is also a deep seated desire to be creative and make pretty things. It drives me beyond my limits daily.

MG tshirt

My quilt group is called Material Girls so I made this to wear to the retreat and to meetings.

MG shirt center

Some thread color choices worked better than others. It’s a learning process

The very best part is that I have something tangible when I’m done. I can see it, touch it, wear it, cover up under it or gift it which is my favorite part. Even putting up a post on my  blog gives me that sense of accomplishment. I can see where my hours and hours went. I can listen to a book while I do some of these creative activities or even with handwork, watch something on television and not feel like I’ve totally wasted my hours.

The quilt I started on retreat is going to be ready to go in the mail before I leave to visit the friend in Phoenix who started me on the long road of quilting. I have not hugged this sweet lady in almost 6 years. I think the art of quilting has saved the sanity of us both.

 

almost done sams

Just finishing the binding then mail for Sam’s 75th birthday. Son’s former father-in-law and good friend

back of sams

Fleece backing for the man who loves wolves.

With the built in friendships we make of any quilter either real or virtual, we can get through anything life hands us. Many bloggers fall into this same category. They reach out a hand to one another across the internet and lift each other with encouraging words, even sometimes a bit more as is the case here. I received this book yesterday from my friend, at Living in Denim.

farmers wife book big

There is a CD inside to help create new and interesting quilts. A thoughtful gift from Lois whose friendship I cherish.

 

The perfect ending to a perfect day spent with blogging friend Sabine who lives close by. It just doesn’t get any better. Life is just all good.

What gives you that sense of accomplishment or is it even important to you?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Sleep, sweet sleep

Do you wake up in the morning ready to take on the day with gusto? Has your sleep been restorative, filled with wonderful dreams? You can count yourself lucky indeed.

 

I haven’t counted myself lucky for a very long time. Going to sleep isn’t the problem. In 5 minutes, I’m gone. But if something were to wake me in the first few minutes to the first few hours, it’s all over. I don’t just drop back off to sleep. Most mornings I woke more tired than when I went to bed.

That could be me exactly.

That could be me exactly.

I sent myself to the doctor for a sleep study. Turns out that I stopped breathing every couple of minutes. Not good. Brain cells die every time that happens. No wonder I can’t remember anything. Makes it hard to put coherent sentences together and it’s a contributing factor to weight gain, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, and even depression. Did that scare me? Oh yeah! I wasn’t looking forward to what came next. The dreaded C-pap machine. Everyone said I’d feel so much better after using it. I’m still waiting for that.

It's not very big and has a small container for water inside.

It’s not very big and has a small container for water inside.

The night before I got my machine, I was awakened at 1:00 a.m. I didn’t go back to sleep. I read blogs and left comments in the middle of the night. After the machine was all hooked up and attached to yours truly, I wrestle with it for hours trying hard not to feel like I was suffocating. Up again for the rest of the night but still not catching up on my blogs. You all write some very wonderful posts and I have to read all the comments. By day three, I was starting to feel a psychotic break coming on. I changed the size of the nose piece to the extra small and finally, finally slept a whole 6 hours. That’s about how long I last so far but I’m finally starting to feel better. Of course, I have been working hard to get any extra weight off as that is a contributing factor. It’s one of those catch 22 things. Weight exacerbates the obstruction and lack of sleep can cause more weight gain. I will win this war!

That's not me either. He looks more restful than I do.

That’s not me either. He looks more restful than I do.

I can tell you, it’s a good thing I sleep alone. The wind coming off the hose on that thing is enough to freeze anyone out of the room. One morning I woke up because my nose was frozen and hurt. I’m wearing long sleeve night shirts to keep my arms warm and a stocking hat to cover my head. Pretty picture, isn’t it? It’s not entirely quiet either.

Looks like I'm going into outer space with all that hose.

Looks like I’m going into outer space with all that hose.

There are an awful lot of people out there that need one of those delightful machines. A few I saw were quite heavy but most were like me with just a bit extra weight to some that were quite fit but still had problems with obstruction or brain induced sleep apnea. We all just want sleep, sweet sleep. It helps us be more productive and creative.

Are you a good sleeper or do you walk around in a brain fog too?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

The Winds of Change

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~ Author Unknown

2016 will bring a lot of change. We had high winds this week just to make sure I’m fully aware that it’s coming in full force. It’s going to start with my blog titles. In Search of: has been quite limiting. I’m not good with limits. It feels like a child being told to sit still and be quiet. You can only do it so long and then the squirming starts. I’m basically a searcher of knowledge. I’m still searching with the title being implied. It’s a spiritual search for understanding.

 

Does anyone understand why a teenager must wear pajamas all day Christmas day when visiting family?

Does anyone understand why a teenager must wear pajamas all day Christmas day when visiting family?

Last year was an uncomfortable year. I was glad to see it end. I’ve been one (well, maybe many) step behind. My “to do” lists were always moving to my “didn’t get done list.” I had big plans for 2015: Get organized, financial solvency, finish a lot of projects that have been waiting a decade to be finished, lose the excess weight and find a way to restore my health. I have stacks of books to read and I just keep adding more to the list. I think I should unsubscribe from Bookbub. It takes me to Amazon and then I’m sunk. There are too many good books out there and I don’t want to miss one.

There will be other changes this year. Since I have been struggling with chronic fatigue I decided to have a visit to my doctor. Yes, I needed to shed a few pounds, (isn’t that always the case) but a sleep study was ordered. Turns out I have severe sleep apnea. Even when I was asleep, I wasn’t. So the C-pap machine will be picked up in two weeks. Medicare and managed care do not move quickly. Next on the list has been my failing vision. I can see the big things, not the details so after several trips to the eye care center, it was determined the removal of the cataract might help. It can take up to three months to schedule. In the meantime, the words dance across the page and I have to trust spell check to tell me if I’ve mistyped. Bear with me please.

 

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

I have been off sugar since September with the pounds reluctantly wandering just a short distance away from the scale. I’m sure they are waiting to see if I’m serious.
Sometimes I am. It is apparent sugar and I will fight to the finish line as I love to bake and I don’t move enough to burn it off. That will have to find a resolution as well. I read everything I can find on how to heal the body. Sugar isn’t on the list in any of the books. Darn it all. It’s the one area that moderation doesn’t work well for me. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl when it comes to sweets.

 

Our quilt groups after Christmas, Christmas party. It was a hard day for me.

Our quilt groups after Christmas, Christmas party. It was a hard day for me.

I’m looking forward to finishing many, many projects this year. My house painting in the spring, sewing and quilting projects this winter and maybe even getting to furniture refinishing projects that look at me and snicker at my inability to do it all. Let them snicker. I’m ready to relax and have some fun with friends this year.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

My sewing and quilting groups are feeding my social and creative needs. Writing had taken a back seat the last year. Maybe this year, it will move up the line of priorities. My house took all my time last year. It’s still a priority though more like number two on the list. At least for now or until the HOA comes by with a notice to get busy.

 

Made for my sewing group. Some of the snowmen have purple, not yellow scarves.

Made for my sewing group. Some of the snowmen have purple, not yellow scarves.

What are you expecting from this year? Do you have resolutions or just hopeful goals?

Happy New Year
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Retreat

I was invited to join some quilters I know to a retreat. What is a retreat? I had no clue. Never having been to one, I was a bit nervous (TERRIFIED actually). I’ve never been to a girl’s slumber party or anything of that nature. I’ve heard of them but the opportunity never presented itself. The only people I’ve ever shared a room with was my sister, daughter and mother.

Abby, who runs the place and everyone in it.

Abby, who runs the place and everyone in it.

I was told they would sew all day long except to eat and sleep. How was I going to fit in with my vision limited to a few hours of good sewing time at best? I almost backed out.

In the dining room the wall hanging welcomes you to your meal.

In the dining room the wall hanging welcomes you to your meal.

My friend, Emily, picked me up at 9 a.m. and drove another woman I had never met and myself the 45 minutes to Vancouver, Washington. I met Emily a few months ago and she and all the rest of the ladies going are quite well experienced quilters. I am not. We shall leave it at that.

More tools and inspiration.

More tools and inspiration.

The retreat began with an introduction to the quilting room. There were only eight of us which gave each of us an entire table to ourselves. We could really spread out and we did. Machines were up in a flash and suitcases set aside for later. The room was simple but filled with everything necessary.

Any size, shape or style was available and most were needed.

Any size, shape or style was available and most were needed.

Fabric by the fat-quarter or the bolt and even scraps should we need them were in every corner. Books, magazines for ideas and inspiration, and quilts hung in any spare spot that didn’t have a design flannel board. There were cutting tables, tools and ironing boards already set up for us.

Just a small sample of what was there.

Just a small sample of what was there.

We won’t mention the copious amount of snack foods, coffee machines, (drip and Keurig) tea and the list goes on. So will my words in this post, so bear with me please.

a scrumptious concoction created by our hostess

a scrumptious concoction created by our hostess


home made banana bread

home made banana bread

This place was the home of Nancy Fosburgh. She had stopped by to rent the barn for more space to manufacture her traveling ironing boards for quilters as the business had outgrown her garage. Nancy is a master quilter and instructor. She ended up leasing the whole house and the barn set on 10 acres. Nancy takes care of it with a little help from family and kind friends, many of whom are avid quilters as well.

Nancy fixed our toilet herself

Nancy fixed our toilet herself

Nancy is one of those women that make the energizer bunny look like a slacker. A strong, single mother of three now adult children, and an entrepreneur, her avocations have become a dream come true vocation.

Where the work and fun happen.

Where the work and fun happen.


A lovely walk to the house for dinner and rest

A lovely walk to the house for dinner and rest

The food Nancy prepared for us was phenomenal to say the very least. I must admit here that I’m a fussy eater. Childish, I know, but too true. I turn my nose up at so many things, though I am more open now than ever before. I will tell you I ate asparagus this week for the second time in my life. It’s the first time I liked the taste. Nancy was experimenting on us and can continue to do so forever on me.

Nancy's simple quilt we can pattern some charity quilts after.

Nancy’s simple quilt we can pattern some charity quilts after.

I went to bed one night aching from the amount I could not let pass me by. Scones and Devonshire cream, German pear pancakes or egg casserole with fresh fruit for breakfast, lunches had everything from sandwiches all homemade to soup. I was still groaning when we came in from sewing for dinner but I turned nothing away. Everything was homemade and scrumptious. If this quilting thing doesn’t pan out for her, the cooking thing surely will. I’d like to volunteer to help write her cookbook.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also learned a new craft from one of her volunteers, Linda. Round boxes made of paper. We all worked hard on those too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My fellow quilters were so patient with my learning curve and even took a square that I could no longer look at and finished it for me. I found a walking friend to keep working the kinks out and enjoy the beautiful scenery. No one complained that I was first each night to retire to bed with my journal.

Emily's selvedge quilt. Made of strips from the edges of fabric

Emily’s selvedge quilt. Made of strips from the edges of fabric


They come together in such a fun way.

They come together in such a fun way.


Emily finished 36 of these to be appliqued and then joined and quilted

Emily finished 36 of these to be appliqued and then joined and quilted

You really get to know people when you share a room. Half of us liked the window open so we shared a room, those that did not, shared another. There was no rowdiness at bedtime. We’d had our wine at our machines as we worked and bedtime was for rest.

4 of us with the window open for a great nights sleep

4 of us with the window open for a great nights sleep


Another of the bedrooms. Too cute.

Another of the bedrooms. Too cute.

Our favorite pot stirrer, (picture an imp) managed to keep us on our toes and giggling. Patti would point out near invisible threads left on the ironing board so someone (the culprit who left them behind) would make a big show of getting out the blue tape to make sure it was properly cleaned.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I don’t know about other retreats but this one brought some real bonding.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I know there are writing retreats, spiritual retreats, spa retreats but I don’t know that any would have all the elements that this one had. I witnessed a vast amount of comradery, creativity, generosity, and fun.

Arlene on Bottom Left made these for granddaughters musical. We thought it would be fun to pray for more wine.

Arlene on Bottom Left made these for granddaughters musical. We thought it would be fun to pray for more wine.

Would I do it again? In half a heartbeat. What is your idea of a retreat?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Lost Arts

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not writing as much these days. I’ve been busy reading all the blogging 101 posts everyone else has been doing. It’s a tough job but someone must take on the task. I can’t seem to catch up no matter how many I read in a day. I’m also trying to finish projects that are stacked up in every corner of the house.

The teacup quilt is finished, the Christmas quilt from my quilt group has the top complete with names embroidered on each square the person made. My memory is starting to fade so putting it in writing is essential. I’ve made progress on another quilt I’ve started and of course starting something entirely new.

This is what happens when we each make 2 squares.

This is what happens when we each make 2 squares.

What's hanging over the other side. Can you find my blocks? This one will go to safe house when quilted by someone else.

What’s hanging over the other side. Can you find my blocks? This one will go to safe house when quilted by someone else.

Last weekend was filled with surprises. A quilting friend invited me to the local quilt show at the senior center. Sure, no problem. In and out in an hour. The surprise was that Bill Volckening, a longtime collector of antique and vintage American quilts, specializing in the identification, documentation, valuation, calling himself a quilt magnet. was giving an hour long talk. He owns quilts that are exhibited all over the country and the world. What an education I received that day. We have come a long way in fiber arts but the original art form was quite fascinating. I’m hoping it’s an art form we can keep growing through the generations.

The quilt magnet himself

The quilt magnet himself

Very colorful with history. Mr. V is a local

Very colorful with history. Mr. V is a local

Vintage Red/white/Blue with hand embroidery

Vintage Red/white/Blue with hand embroidery

Free form from the best

Free form from the best

There were so many wonderful quilts done by local quilters that I just have to pare them down to a few of the more unusual.

A mini quilt with pearls and buttons.

A mini quilt with pearls and butons.

This one is for Alys. Cat and Mouse. Only the cat is called Mouse.

This one is for Alys. Cat and Mouse. Only the cat is called Mouse.

Can you see the screening it's done on?

Can you see the the screening it’s done on?

Corsets of course and 3 dimensional just for some fun.

Corsets of course and 3 dimensional just for some fun.

I rarely go out at night but my daughter found an event at the New Renaissance bookstore in downtown Portland she wanted to attend and wondered if I’d be interested. We’d have a quick bite to eat first. New Ren is a metaphysical bookstore and our favorite hands down. It’s dangerous in there for both of us.

We spend hours in there. It smells good too.

We spend hours in there. It smells good too.

We watched her documentary on DVD and listened to the film maker explain her need to make it and a little about the book. There are a lot of healing arts that are struggling for survival against big pharma and modern medicine. Like her, I seriously hope we can save the healing plants that are being bulldozed under and look at augmenting ancient healing practices with current modalities. I promise you, if I’m in an accident, I want someone who can patch me together again. But I’m very much into self-healing naturally as much as possible. I found the author-film maker delightful and honest. We had our book autographed to both my daughter and myself. Now to get it read.

Talking Story book.

Talking Story book.

Marie-Rose Phan-Le' Talking her story

Marie-Rose Phan-Le’ Talking her story

This coming weekend will be filled as well with a WordPress event, again in downtown Portland OR. An all-day series of mini seminars. I don’t think there will be much picture-taking there. More like a lot of note taking. I’ll let you know. So now I have to get back to my reading.

Do you have any interest in the lost arts? Creative or healing arts?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Handbasket

The week has been quite busy for me doing not very creative things. Just more of the same old stuff like cooking, laundry, holding boards, and packing. The buyers are having some difficulty but we aren’t giving up yet. Either way, the work still needed to be done. My feet are giving up though. They announced their retirement at 5:30 yesterday and said enough. If I had a nickel for every time we have gone up and down those stairs, I could take us out to dinner. I never want to see stairs again.

The tiny shrubs I planted 2 years ago are big but gangly.

The tiny shrubs I planted 2 years ago are big but gangly.

We have no TV channels here at my son’s house and don’t have the time to watch anyway. At the end of the day, the computer takes care of business and I don’t want to look at bad news anyway. You’ve heard many people say over and over in different ways for many generations that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Well, I’m wondering what their handbasket looks like. From where I sit here in front of my laptop, I see substantial evidence of a different world and a different handbasket.

One handbasket coming up.

One handbasket coming up.

I was reading The Contented Crafter latest post on her blog and once again am totally enthralled by her ability to take little bits of this, that and nothing much GIFTED to her by fellow bloggers from all over the world and turn it into an amazing work of art. Even if you are not a blogger, you should pop by and see some of the wonders of her mind. Her stories of Siddy and Orlando (fuzzy family) leave me giggling for hours.

If this is what a world going to hell in a handbasket looks like, sign me up for one of my own. I see things I could not have ever imagined before I started reading blogs. Who knew what wonders lurked out there? Sweet, kind and caring Gardening Nirvana introduced me to the world of Fairy Gardens that are just delightful. I want one of those baskets too. Add that to her introduction to Little Free Libraries and I was all in.

I shared with you already the delights I received from the hysterically funny and creative Boomdeeadda. When you drop by you will see her magical creations from little else other than paper!

The handbasket I’m carrying these days is filled with a collection of blogging friends who fill my day with mirth, entertainment and motivation when my spirits are lagging.

Lavender is huge but refreshes the soul. Grabbing a handful for my basket

Lavender is huge but refreshes the soul. Grabbing a handful for my basket

My friend at To Breathe is to Write writes stories that make me laugh or get my mystery fix satisfied. She can spin a yarn or tell it like it is. When I find someone’s blog I like, I check out the people who leave comments or follow her or him. That leads to a lot of great blogs and enlarges my community. This list could go on and on, so maybe I need a larger handbasket?

It's still not big enough for all the kindness I've seen lately

It’s still not big enough for all the kindness I’ve seen lately

Bells Palsy normally only lasts a few weeks or months for most, just like Shingles. Same virus, different expression. I’m heading into the 5th year with this.  I was under extreme stress when I got it and it expressed itself very much like a stroke. Balance is a continuing issue as well as the visual disturbance it caused. Huh, what did you say? I don’t hear as well either. No one knows why it won’t go away or how to fix it. It really doesn’t matter anymore. I now have a life full of friends in town and online that are constantly motivating me. When I see their creativity and thoughtfulness, there is no time to wallow. I just roll up my sleeves and get busy.

Roses, like good friends are treasures.

Roses, like good friends are treasures.

 

You can’t tell me the world is all bad. It’s like picking flowers to put in your basket from the yard. Which flowers do you want in that basket? I’ve found the flowers with the kindest energy out there. My basket is filled with beautiful blooms.

What are you putting in your handbasket? It’s always your choice.

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the States.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of My Favorite

There aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week or weeks in a year. I don’t think there is enough lifetime to pick my favorite. I could be talking about a lot of things here. In my mind I am but for this moment, I’m talking about quilts.

quilt of valor for our servicemen. This is why I quilt. Generous hearts in these quilters

quilt of valor for our servicemen. This is why I quilt. Generous hearts in these quilters

3 Native ladies

3 Native ladies

If you are not a quilter, please don’t despair and think this post is not for you. If you are an artist or an appreciator of art, as I am, than you will surely find something here to delight you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like some art more than others but the creativity in others never ceases to astound me. Please don’t let me open a Pinterest page. I’m gone for hours.

A soft colored landscape made completely from fabric, but how?

A soft colored landscape made completely from fabric, but how?

Even letters and postcards can be made into fabric art

Even letters and postcards can be made into fabric art

I couldn't begin to sew on this since I'm already dizzy.

I couldn’t begin to sew on this since I’m already dizzy.

Modern look for a traditional pattern

Modern look for a traditional pattern

There was every form of fabric art imaginable at the NW Quilters Show. It’s a small show and I pared my photos down to a few of those that came out in spite of bad light. I wish I had room to show them all and if I knew how to do a slide show, I would. Maybe I’ll learn that this winter.

I see these ladies at every quilt show in their skirts made from  ties.  I have lots of ties to create with, just not enough hours...yet.

I see these ladies at every quilt show in their skirts made from ties. I have lots of ties to create with, just not enough hours…yet.

Something simple.

Something simple.

This has taken a while to post as I’ve been quite busy on my own projects. More on that later. I’m almost ready to catch my breath. The quilt show inspired me to keep trying to quilt and try new techniques. A day of appreciation is always inspiring.

What inspires you and which was your favorite.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Garden

I’ve had my glass of wine to celebrate. Only one tiny glass but enough to say “Yay!” I’ve been looking for a home in my area for almost two years now. I have a very tiny budget since I’m no longer married and have only Social Security and 1/12 of my ex’s pension. After 24 years of marriage that was quite a step back. We sold our house a year ago for what we paid for it 12 years prior and I got half the equity to invest. I promise, it wasn’t a lot but better than nothing at all.

Geraniums I planted at my son's 2 years ago. Fencing was to keep housemates dog from sleeping on them.

Geraniums I planted at my son’s 2 years ago. Fencing was to keep housemates dog from sleeping on them.

You know the thing about money sitting in the bank doing nothing? It seems to wander away like a child unattended. I have a tendency to want to be of help to those struggling and enjoy going out and seeing life from other perspectives. It was starting to dwindle as I was searching high and low for a home to purchase. With my meager budget, even a foreclosure was more than I could afford. By the time I purchased the home, I would have nothing left to bring one up to loveable standards. My standards are no longer all that high.

In my son's yard. Weeds have their place in nature. I'm looking forward to my own...ladybugs.

In my son’s yard. Weeds have their place in nature. I’m looking forward to my own…ladybugs.

All I wanted was a place to house myself and guests comfortably, a porch to invite neighbors to sit a spell and converse, and a garden area. The kitchen was inconsequential. Room for books and creativity were more important than food. I’d like to grow some of that food and composting is big on my list.

When I finally made peace with what I could afford and manage on my own as a senior citizen, the place popped up. It’s a manufactured home in a well-established and permanent park. I did my homework here. So many have been sold out from under residence that I had no desire to be caught in that fiasco. There are lots of rules about keeping homes up and cared for. It’s three miles from where I am now and the neighbors seem to keep an eye out for each other without getting in each others business. Yes, I checked that out too. No barking dogs at night and I’m at the back of the park backing up to forest with no one behind me.

Not my furniture yet. The front doors almost all face sideways. Not good Feng Shui but we will deal.

Not my furniture yet. The front doors almost all face sideways. Not good Feng Shui but we will deal.

The garden space is minimal but I’m in my later 60’s so that will be perfect. Just enough to do a little gardening and enjoy the nice covered porches. There is some work to do and I’m looking forward to making it my own. I looked at the photos of the Contented Crafter’s redo on her place and am very inspired by the fresh, clean, cheerful look of her place. I can only hope to achieve similarly cheerful results when all is said and done.

This is all the grassy area. The rest is terrace to the woods May lose the grass to planting.

This is all the grassy area. The rest is terrace to the woods May lose the grass to planting.

I’ve made my offer, and now waiting for all the paperwork to be finalized. Of course, I’ve seen sales fall apart at the last-minute, but I’m optimistic that all will go well. So it looks like I will be more than busy for the next month or so as I pack, unpack, paint, clean and clear out. It has always been my dream to own my own home that I had some say about. This is nothing fancy, but I’m looking forward to the peacefulness in this place that feels ever so healing.

I planted the mint but my son wasn't sure about the plant in the middle. Yes, it's a weed.

I planted the mint but my son wasn’t sure about the plant in the middle. Yes, it’s a weed.

My apartment was as good as they get. It was a wonderful apartment. The layout was perfect and location ideal. It’s served its purpose. I’ll miss the ducks wandering about most of all.

Do you dream of gardens in your sleep or hope for things that seem to have eluded your for oh, so long?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Great Mother’s Day

Another Mother’s Day come and gone. I’m hoping everyone had a wonderful day. This includes those that have mothered pets or even a creative idea into fruition. You can mother lots of things or people. I have had many surrogate moms in my life. I would not be who I am without them so never underestimate your value to mother a middle aged woman or a lonely child. Mothers of every kind are valuable beyond belief.

I had an extra special day. My daughter took me for High Tea in downtown Portland at the Heathman Hotel. We took the MAX (intercity train) downtown and then a streetcar to our favorite metaphysical bookstore before tea. We had other reasons to celebrate but that will be another post very soon. Tea was wonderful and my daughter was so happy to finally be able to afford to do something special for me. She has struggled for the last few years with unemployment or underemployment. There was some discomfort on my part with her spending so much for the lovely tea, but the look on her face erased that.

It tasted even better than it looked. Yum.

It tasted even better than it looked. Yum.

My son sent me a special digital card that I will share at a later date and some kindle books I had on my wish list as well as all the love he could squeeze through the phone lines. He reminds me daily that I’m a good mom and valued. What more could a mom ask for. I guess it would be to have them both close by. One can only hope.

Hats are necessary at tea.

Hats are necessary at tea.

What makes a good mother? I’ve worried myself over that question for over 40 years. Yes, I’m that old. I’ve learned from my children some of what they appreciated about their mother. They seem most happy when I stood up for myself or for them. I’ve been a bear when it came to their care. They appreciate that I’m willing to push out of my comfort zone regularly and be fearlessly independent but ask for and accept help when needed. In essence, I want my children to be as proud of me as I am of them. They both have huge hearts and are fearlessly honest. If I can measure up even a little to who they think I am, I’ll be happy. Being a mom has been my greatest desire, delight and accomplishment.

My favorite color roses from my favorite daughter.

My favorite color roses from my favorite daughter.

There has been a lot of help along the way. I thank everyone who helped me be the best mother I could be with what I had to work with and I thank the two wonderful adult children that made it so easy. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

What do you think makes a good mother?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself