Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘embroidery’

The Next Chapter

Are you like me and always curious about the next chapter in the book? Or maybe what you’ve read so far has been a bit too intense or too mundane to make you want to read further?

Right now, I wish I could open the book and read the last page of the last chapter so I would know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been written yet. That’s my job and I’m winging it. ­

My first typewriter. 13th Christmas.

I never expected that after just over seven years I would be putting my beloved trailer up for sale. After exhaustive research and contemplation, I find I no longer have the physical or financial capacity to care for this place that has given me so much, the care it needs. ­­It was an agonizing decision and I have no firm answer to what the next chapter in my life holds. I’ve long exceeded my sell by date and that gave me time to get all my business affairs in order so my family doesn’t have to deal with it later. This will be the last detail.

I’m thinking it’s time to have a little fun, see some new places, taste new foods and let my gypsy loose again. Maybe this will turn into a travel blog for a bit.

Destined to be a gypsy reader and writer. Germany 3rd grade again.

I’ve looked at independent living facilities. Cost prohibitive for most of us especially in more metropolitan areas. My needs are simple. Somewhere to house my books and do a bit of needlework and sewing. My main requirement is living on my own with provisions within walking distance. Much more research will be required.

The time to sell is ideal. I put the house on the market 2 weeks ago and have a full price offer even after making sure the buyer was aware a new roof would be necessary. The inspection would obviously disclose that but I prefer to be up front. The time to travel is not ideal.

I don’t think anyone can see the sign in the window

I keep remembering my last husband asking me to wait a year to travel back to Germany with my mother hoping funds would be more available. I went with minimal funds. Mom was gone by the next year. I’ve learned some things shouldn’t wait.

Not allowed to put a sign in the yard.

There are no guarantees in life or in the offer on my home. It could go any direction but I’m staying optimistic. We’ve spent the summer getting everything sorted, cleaned, painted and patched. Work a little, rest a lot. It’s been a grueling summer that has hopefully paid off so I can start a new adventurous chapter. I’m looking forward to more time to visit friends here virtually and in the world.

Once the house was show worthy, I took a little time to start working on unfinished projects. I machine quilted a top that my friend Emily made as a donation quilt. Not sure who will end up with it but for now, I’m relaxing while binding it.

I also FINALLY got the hand embroidered aprons I’ve been working on ‘forever’ sashed and waiting for me to decide how to finish it up. It needs something.

A couple years in the making

I had a few dozen bowl cozies cut and ready to sew and I’m about halfway through. I waste a lot of time watching Hallmark movies so I try to do handwork then. Helps ease the anxiety.

The start. 2 layers of fabric, 2 layers of batting.

bowl cozy production

There is a lot more work to do here. Packing, dispersing and letting go. Then let’s see what the next page brings.

Are you writing any new chapters into your life?

The next best thing after finishing writing a chapter is starting a new one.Author: Chris Almeida

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

ISO Intelligent Conversation

I’m letting it all hang out here today. I’m normally an optimistic person but this Covid crap has been pushing my optimism to its last edge. Thank goodness for my monthly therapy appointment. This wonderful woman gets paid a little bit to help me live a full life as I face my mortality. I can’t afford to slide into the well of hopelessness.

It starts out with white blooms and by summers end they are purple.

The first thing I did was bring her a present to make her laugh. It worked. She has the best laugh I’ve ever heard and it makes me so happy to make someone laugh. She got the joke and her laugh filled the near empty building. I ordered this after the TP crisis.

I brought her one roll of this.

After that I unloaded my bag of frustrations.

I’ve been locked away far too long for this extroverted introvert. I love people and there have been so few around during this sheltering in place isolation. I struggled to make myself write, sew, garden or much of anything. Turns out it’s not the best time to be on a rigid diet either.

Book one of this series. I’ve read through book four. I can’t put them down.

I did finish four cozy mysteries in two weeks time.  Doc said many of her clients were feeling the same. I explained that one of my friends had become so lonely she was talking to Alexa on a daily basis. She would ask Alexa questions and wait for answers. Quite the learning experience. I don’t have an Alexa so we came up with other ideas to help me snap out of my funk.

Can anyone tell me what I’m growing here?

First, she had me mask and glove up and head for the bookstore. My daughter freaked out at the idea. I took all possible precautions.  The mall and bookstore echoed hollow. So few were there. Walking it helped anyway. Then it was suggested I write a post about it as so many others were struggling with this as well. Another block overcome.  Though my daughter is living with me, she’s a hermit so I’m still mostly alone.

I have been In Search Of so many things on my blog. Finding people that I can talk to about the bigger picture in life is at the top of my list. Without outside relationships, we can lose inspiration and feedback. I have acquaintances I can talk about some things but not have those deeper more serious conversations.

My daughter finished this. Her philosophy.

Good conversations were hard to find before we were in lockdown, now they are even more difficult. How many people are excited to talk about quantum physics or secular spirituality?

Love in the mist playing with the oregano and thyme.

I have a new 25 year old neighbor renting the place next door from her uncle. She’s still in college to become a practicing behavioral therapist for autistic children. I’ve warned her she will be asked a zillion questions and she’s willing to answer in exchange for gardening tips. It’s a start and I am willing to learn from others while I share over the fence what I’ve learned in life. I keep walking the neighborhood and talking to anyone in hopes of expanding my bubble about life.

My wonky Dogwood bloomed later than all the rest in the neighborhood.

Are you finding intelligent, inspiring conversations while still isolating in place?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

Seeing

It’s been too long but I see the light! Winter is a favorite time of year…usually. This year was long, dark and exceedingly wet. I’ve plodded along trying to summon up the energy to do things. My friend and fellow blogger at incahootswithmuddyboots.com came by to cheer me with signs of spring from her yard.

First signs of spring from my friend

The struggle with my vision has really slowed things down. I finally wised up and went back to the optometrist. My glasses that are eight months old were not working and I was scared. “Well no wonder” he says. “You’ve lost a whole diopter of vision since this last prescription.” Now I have no idea what a diopter really is even after my son explained it to me. “What caused it” I asked? He seemed to think it was because of excessive dry eye. That eye doesn’t blink as well as the other and leaks tears since the onset of Bells Palsy 7 years ago. Why am I losing so much vision now?

I bought 5 of these for my sewing group as a Christmas gift. This is mine finally finished.

The back is pink, not my favorite color but it’s cheerful.

It’s possible the C-pap machine that blows wind in my face all night might be drying out the eye if I’m not keeping it well closed in my sleep. I didn’t think that could be the answer so I made another appointment with an ophthalmologist and she verified that the eye was indeed quite healthy and quite dry.

So onto finding solutions. I put in a gel at night for better lubrication and have an eye mask to cover the eyes. My son’s ex-wife saw something online that she thought would help and I checked it out. This morning on my trip to town for lunch with friends, I stopped at the sleep study center and asked if they had it or could they get it for me. In 15 minutes, they saved me the more than $100 and handed one over after a fitting. I practically danced out of the office. No more wind in my face all night. Granted, it’s not terribly attractive but I’m hoping it fills the bill.

The wind is at the top of the head with this one.

So the second pair of glasses that were made a few weeks ago works quite well for distances but I can’t read the computer with them. Back to the old pair when I’m on the laptop. The optometrist will try to come up with another prescription that works better for both. It’s frustrating but there’s still so much I want to do, read and write. Vision seems essential to those desires.

I’ve been working on this forever it seems. Now comes the quilt around it.

In the meantime, the clutter has continued to be cleared. All of the industrial shelving from my son’s storage unit were sold and are gone from the yard. I am continuing to pare down but have found it’s a good idea to go through the boxes carefully before donation. I found a whole bundle of embroidery patterns that I bought almost 10 years ago for over $60. Everything else in the box went, the patterns are now being lined up to work.

I’ve managed to get a few other things done.

SSave

Save

Save

So how are you seeing this time of year? Signs of spring or signs of autumn becoming more clear? Are you starting to perk up or wind down?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Save

Save

Save

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 My Round To It

Have I mentioned before how many projects I have stacked up waiting for me to feel well enough to get back at them? Would the visual be more clear if I told you almost half of a small one car garage is required to contain those projects? I promise you, I gave away at least as much each time I got the chance. What is left is what I really want to do.

The question is, how does the finishing get accomplished? Well, spring is right around the corner and the warmer weather with bits of sunshine peeking through occasionally, has brought back a bit of motivation. To help get the work done, I found this much-needed item in a box of fabric. Doesn’t everyone have one?

Everyone needs one of these

Everyone needs one of these

My round-tuit is now hanging carefully on the sewing room wall. It’s about time I get around to it and I did. This last week I finished stitching out this design for St. Patrick’s Day. I bought this design back on March 18, 2009. Too late for that years St. Pat’s day and by the next March I could no longer sew, at all. Complete recovery is still somewhat elusive but progress is slowly being made and finally, things are getting made.

This little wall hanging is far from perfect, but done supersedes perfect any day. I found the glittery fabric after a long hunt. My dog’s groomer had used a bit of it as a kerchief after her March bath and I fell in love with it. So now I’m on a roll. I have washed and ironed lots of flannels and some other cottons to make several Big Shirts. They are next on my list. Or maybe I need to put a spring hanging together first.

When Irish eyes are smiling.

When Irish eyes are smiling.

Must I wear this kerchief? It feels silly.

Must I wear this kerchief? It feels silly.

Easter is too close to get another one done. The hound and saying had 85,509 stitches with 63 color changes. Good thing the machine does all the stitching. I just have to keep changing the threads. Placement can get tricky too, but I love the outcome. That was a good day’s work. Anyone who does this kind of embroidery can tell you it’s addictive. There are so many wonderful designs out there and I want to make them all. I’m 3 years behind but the round-tuit will help me catch up. Sunshine helps too. There is limited light in my sewing area since the good light I had was broken in the last move. I’m hunting a replacement. Good lighting is expensive! So, do you have a round-tuit to help you get your projects finished? Is anyone out there as far behind as I am? I sure hope not.

Looks a little Irish to me. Dad when he still had an Irish smile.

Looks a little Irish to me. Dad when he still had an Irish smile.

On St. Patrick’s Day, it’s said everyone is a little bit Irish. My mother was full German and when I asked my dad about his heritage, he said his family was Dutch, Irish and the devil. Hmmm. He said it was rumored that his family settled in West Virginia and were a band of outlaws. Sounds like an Irish tale to me.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

When Irish eyes are smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing,
When Irish hearts are happy all the world seems bright and gay,
And when Irish eyes are smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.

~Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr. (lyrics), Ernest R. Ball (music)

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself