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Posts tagged ‘needlework’

Lost and Found

Last night, while reading my Chicken Soup story just before dropping off to sleep, I saw a rather large (in my peripheral vision it was the size of a small tarantula) spider run up my bed to my pillow. I will not tell you the stream of words that came out of my mouth.

I jumped up out of bed and stripped off my nightgown to make sure it wasn’t hiding on me somewhere and before I started stripping my bed., I put on snug fitting pajamas just so I would know for certain I had nothing on me.  I then got out the vacuum and tried to move the bed. It weighs a ton and I was shaking so much my strength was missing. I gave up and went to sleep on the sofa for all of four hours.

Camellia to take your mind off spiders.

What does this tell me? I need to do some more cleaning out. I have been continuing to purge since Alys’ visit but last night set up a more in-depth purge. I had bags of fabric (hiding) under my bookcase headboard that I’ve been wondering where it should go. After pushing the bed out and dragging all those plastic bags of “I’m gonna” fabrics out, they are now in the thrift store box. Vacuuming and searching brought no results for the spider so I’m still quite jumpy.

Bags in the going box


Going through bags to go

I will admit that going through things is a good idea and have been bragging to anyone who would listen about my Alys adventure. I was looking through a bag on it’s way to the thrift store when I found a treasure rolled up in other things. My mother had finished this needlepoint for me well before my move to Arizona in 1999. I couldn’t figure needlepoint out but mom excelled at it and I loved the design. With everything that happened during the ensuing years, this needlepoint went missing. When I showed it to my daughter, she was stunned and agreed that it had to be framed and hung. She helped me to pick the mating and frame since it will one day grace her walls.

My mother’s handwork more than 20 years old


On the wall where it belongs.

My Alys worship affected one of my sewing friends who frequently spoke about buying a new, easy to carry machine. She knew just what she wanted and was going to go shopping. But first she had to do a little closet cleaning so there would be room for her machine. At the next gathering of our sewing group, she had to do a show and tell. It was her new machine and it’s little carrying casethat she found in the back of her closet! It had been there so long, she had to refresh herself on how to use it. Of course, we had to help her get it all figured out so she could quickly enjoy her find.

I’m having a glass of wine tonight in hopes of a real night’s sleep. Cheers.

good stories start with alcohol

Have you ever lost things only to find them years later right where you put them? What does it take to get you to part with things that you “were gonna” use? Hopefully not a big spider.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself


In Search of Minimalism

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a lot of stuff. I did win, I hope, the discussion about whether I was a hoarder. I’m not one since I have comfortably let go of truckloads of “stuff” with no physical discomfort. I enjoy passing on what I will probably never find enough lifetime to use. I keep only what I love and is useful in my life. Some of what I surround myself with are memories and conversation starters.

Carried back in the suitcase from my first trip back as an adult

At the very core of my being is a teacher. I love to learn how to do things and teach that to others. I had no idea my own mother would be one of my most ardent students. When I came across a needlework company a good many years ago that offered kits and if you sold so many you got some free. I had the good fortune to give classes to lots women and do a lot of needlework. It kept my hands from feeding my face. Mom saw what I was doing and had to get in on the action. I taught mom everything I knew and she surpassed me with her talents. We had such fun. My walls are lined with her work to remind me every day to strive for excellence in all I do.

Just some of mom’s handy work.

Mine is home sweet home, Mom made the butterflies for me.

When I took painting classes, she joined me for one or two but just never got comfortable with it. I keep the one thing she was proud of painting. I also have a couple of her pots that she cooked with for over 50 years. They were a staple in her kitchen and necessary to making our favorite foods. I’m trying to figure out how to frame a pot.

A tribute vignette to the parents. Mom’s spring rabbit, pots and their coffee mugs

I have a china cabinet filled with delicate English bone china tea sets and antique dishes that once belonged to my last husband’s mother. She gave them to me because I had a deep appreciation for them that no one else would. I spent every other day with her, doing what I could to make her life more bearable. It’s a very long story but I loved that woman. I must confess though; a thought went through my mind for a few seconds of how many books I could store in my parents old china cabinet. It’s not my style and maybe this summer I will paint it. I’m more shabby chic than Danish modern.

Just waiting for company to share my love of tea.

It’s possible that I will be searching for minimalism for some time yet. I have downsized from 3000 sq.ft. to 1000. Maybe at some point, I will be ready to let go of so much more. I’ve let go of so many of the Angels I’ve collected over the last 45 years but they are still in every corner of my home. Books will always be a part of my life. My sister borrowed six or seven the last trip by. Finding ways to pay tribute to those who have been an influence in my life will always require a bit of extra room. I really don’t need the kitchen except to display more treasures. Does that make me eccentric? Hmmm?

She sits over my shoulder while I write this.

Welcome to my kitchen. Ready for some fun?

No one is allowed to gift me with anything that isn’t useful or a book. I have plenty to dust, thank you very much. I’ll take dinner out, a massage or a movie night but I have room for not one thing more. Is there something you need. Come on by. I’m sure I have plenty to share. Isn’t life grand?

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

From my heart to yours,

In Search of a Bone

I’m missing one. You know the one I’m talking about. We say it all the time. I don’t have a creative bone in my body. Well, I want it. Where is it? Why don’t I have one?

I seem to be missing a funny bone too. But for some reason I wound up with more bones to pick than most people. Why these bones aren’t more evenly distributed is a mystery to me.

I have tried my hand at all manner of creative endeavors. It started out with paint by numbers at age 12. There was more paint on my clothes than the canvas. I enjoyed it immensely but my mother was so upset she made me pay for the clothes I ruined. I earned the money by unpacking new neighbors on base.

Then I finally managed to afford my own sewing machine after years of seeing the phenomenal garments my mother turned out on hers. I was never allowed to touch her machine and she didn’t have the patience to teach me sewing. I learned a few basics at school and the rest was trial and error. Mostly error. But even with the struggle to understand the directions or get the proper fit, I enjoyed the process of making things.

Needlework seemed a wonderful option for many years. I could take it with me everywhere and it was a great conversation starter. It relaxed me during long flights till they took the scissors away. How can you do needlework and not snip your threads or ribbon? Reading a book said to my seatmates that I didn’t want to be disturbed. I did want to be disturbed and I missed having my hands too busy to put food in my mouth.

The hand needlework was much like paint by numbers. Just follow the lines and use the assigned thread colors to fill in the spaces. It seemed a natural progression to try my hand at machine embroidery when those fancy machines came out. I was too fearful to try freeform but letting the machine do the work looked like fun. It was, but nothing, just like with the sewing went according to plan. Everything I took it upon myself to try, ended up beating me up. I could sew for hours in the evening, only to spend hours in the morning taking it back apart. The books always made it look so effortless. Liars!

Next I tried my hand at quilting. Not because I wanted to cut beautiful fabric into a thousand little pieces and put it back together again but because I wanted a quilt. My husband said the 4 or 5 hundred dollars they wanted for one was just ridiculous. So I bought the fabric, spent a year cutting, sewing, ripping out, swearing and sewing again until it was adequate enough to use. By the hour that quilt was a grand or more. The fabric alone was almost the price of the finished quilt I wanted not to mention the cost of all the extra tools real quilters need. There were days I almost threw all the machines away. Instead I sold the older machines. Now I’m down to one and if I don’t get well soon, it’s going to rust up from lack of use.

Turns out I was adequate at borrowing others ideas, though very dense at coming up with my own. There is so much creativity around how could my little mind surpass what was already bountiful. Maybe I’m just destined to appreciate the creativity of others, which I do indeed.

So here is where the funny bone comes in. I think it’s THE most necessary bone in the body. If it’s not missing entirely, mine seems to be quite out-of-place and not in usable form. I love to read funny things that make me laugh. It’s a joy I would seriously love to pass on. We get funny things e-mailed daily and forwarded as quickly. My favorite authors are those that can make me laugh. But everything that comes out of my mouth or off my pen is way too serious for words.

How can a person survive in this world without a funny bone? I swear I’m looking for a surgeon who will install one in me. This darned Bells Palsy has made all attempts at creativity difficult since my eyes are not tracking together right now. So for me a sense of humor is vital to getting though the day while my eye droops enough that I see the lid all day. A sense of humor would help while I get on the bus or walk through the mall like I’ve had more than my limit at the local pub and it’s only 9 a.m.

So where the heck are my bones? I could sure use them. If anyone locates them, I can be reached at 00 2 short. Yes, there are a few brain cells missing as well. I’m certain they are long gone and are never to return.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself