Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘quilting’

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

Who’s sleeping with who?

Patti shot through the door of the sewing room and that was her first question for our group that had arrived two days prior. She was only staying for the day but we were happy to have our resident pot stirrer in our midst.

Patti's pumpkins have binding now.

Patti’s pumpkins have binding now.

There were only six of us at this retreat for the week. Another that had planned to come had been overcome by food poisoning at a church function and was in need of Urgent Care We kept hoping for a quick recovery but it just didn’t happen.

I fell in love with the framed crochet

I fell in love with the framed crochet

There were two new women brought to the retreat by another member of our group. The three of them shared a room. I shared a room with the other two members of our quilt group. With five beds to a room and more than four bedrooms, we had a whole room to spare and then some. There were even beds in the sewing room office if we were in need of a nap. We ended up sleeping three to a room.

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

It turned out to be a very amicable mix of women. You never know how a group is going to blend. This group worked well together like old friends. Each willing to teach and to learn from one another. We were all there primarily for rest (not so much) and relaxation. Wine helped that a lot. We each brought some to share but somehow, it was still done in moderation. After all, we still had sewing to do and some nights it was well past eleven when we gave up and headed back to the house.

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

 

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

 

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Once again, Nancy’s Sew N Go delivered well beyond
expectations. If she ever decides to give up the quilting gig, she can cook anywhere and I know we will follow. There was coffee ready first thing in the morning for those of us that rise early and a separate brewing station in the sewing room with anything you wanted including an electric tea kettle. Of course there were snacks, fabric if we needed something and every quilting tool necessary should we fail to remember something.

Once again I wondered if I would ever try a different retreat. Those more experienced at this sort of thing swear this one exceeds every one they have ever been to and who am I to argue with experience? Most of the ladies were cranking out quilts faster than I could count. It took me all three days to get one top put mostly together. I came home quite relaxed and ready to sleep. My top is complete now and pinned for quilting. I’ll show it completed next time. Every quilt they made inspired me even more.

Sam's quilt with a good start on it.

Sam’s quilt with a good start on it.

 

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

 

I love the free-form Art quilt

I love the free form Art quilt

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

No one complained or heard my C-pap machine. I wasn’t bothered by any snoring and we all had the best time ever. One of our new friends wanted to stay longer so she locked her keys in the car. I wasn’t driving so I had to go home with my driver but left with leftovers to feed Tech Support. He’s offered to help edit color on Sew N Go’s new calendar when Nancy has all her photos ready. He’s been officially bribed and ready to work.

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

I’m not sure when I’ll do this again but would love to take a few classes that Nancy offers and she even does craft classes. Tech Support offered to drive me the 45 mile distance.

We are very serious about our meals.

We are very serious about our meals.

There was a time I could do that myself. It ended six years ago today when Bells palsy stopped me in my tracks for many of those early years.  Don’t wait for the right time to do things. Do them now. Who knew that at 61 my driving and sewing days would be pretty much over? I can at least once again get to the grocery and do a little sewing and quilting so I’m counting my blessings and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

Have you been sleeping with someone new? Maybe pushed your boundaries and had some extra fun?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Life Lesson #1

I’m an old woman by some standards and very grateful to have reached old age. Not all are as fortunate. I hear a lot of comments about “old age isn’t for sissies” or “getting old is a bitch”. While both might be true, I’m always delighted that I get to wake up again and start another day full of the ordinary and extraordinary.

Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I have nothing left to learn. Some of my lessons have been a long time coming. Having trudged through life as a nomad, I’ve always had the feeling that I did not fit anywhere. I’ve talked about this before and such an ingrained feeling is a hard one to shake. But shake it I have. The lesson came when I was invited back to the same retreat I went to almost a year ago in April. I had a great time. I worked hard to keep going back to my quilt groups with that kind of feeling. I’ve finally come to the realization that the feeling isn’t a fact. I know this intellectually but to feel it deep in my heart was a big step.

I'm obviously not the only one struggling with this.

I’m obviously not the only one struggling with this.

My presence was requested at this slightly different group of women at the same retreat place! It finally at that moment settled into my cells that my feelings were just that, feelings.

It will be a different experience because you can’t step into the same river twice. Every experience is unique. I’ve decided that I will have a good time and learn as much as possible while there. It’s always my choice to either relax and enjoy or live with the fear of fitting in.

river

Only three nights with two half days is long enough for me. I’m hoping to finish a project that has been waiting a very long while to be started. As a beginner, I need all the help I can get and welcome it. I’ve almost completed two other projects I’ve been working on for quite a while. Photos to follow shortly.

In the meantime, here are photos of a gift I sent off before the holidays but didn’t get time to post. It’s a cheaters quilt panel but the colors were to fun to pass up. I put a couple of borders on and the backing and binding along with minimal quilting. There is also a sleeve in back for hanging. My first ever.


We also did a second little Christmas for my friend’s son. This way he wasn’t so overwhelmed with gifts at Christmas. I’m hoping to see more of him as the weather gets better and I feel more rested. I’m still waiting for that to happen.

I've open all the presents, read the books, played with the toys, now what?

I’ve open all the presents, read the books, played with the toys, now what?

Do you ever have feelings that should be questioned?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Thanksgiving

This is my only post this month. I’ve been needing down time. Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S. and for many, it’s just another day off. For me it’s extra special in many ways. First, it’s my son’s birthday week. His birthday always falls somewhere around Thanksgiving and sometimes on it.

There are a few more candles now and he doesn't need the chair

There are a few more candles now and he doesn’t need the chair

Second is Thanksgiving itself. I have a hard day on this holiday keeping tears in check. My gratitude overflows. Last year was spent at my son’s home that was all in boxes so there was no cooking and just the two of us. He had several invitations but chose to accept the one so he could be with his three God-children and their parents. It was an odd day for me to be a guest, not the host.

These will be added to a charity quilt for a little boy. Don't look too closely, You'll see my mistake.

These will be added to a charity quilt for a little boy. Don’t look too closely, You’ll see my mistake.

This year I thought it would be just myself and my adult children. I decided to invite my niece and her family that live and hour plus away. They graciously accepted and asked if their newly married daughter and son-in-law could be included. Of course. It turned out they had plans. Those plans fell through this week and with a few texts, they are coming after all.

My sister was going to the home of her daughter and her daughter’s other parent. Then I got an e-mail that her daughter wants to be with family. So three more will be at our multiple tables and odd assortment of chairs. I decided the sofa could be turned to face the dining room so sofa sitters could face the rest of the group. There is always a way to make things work.
This is my kind of Thanksgiving. The most I’ve ever had for a holiday dinner was 17. I always cook BIG so it’s easy for me. I’m sure there will be plenty of help.

A crowd for Thanksgiving is for what I am most grateful. Family, friends that are family and lots of happy chatter, playfulness, thoughtfulness, with lots of warm memories being made.

I was originally prepared for eight so I made that many placemats, trying to be festive. Who knew I’d need 13. I also made myself the first ever autumn apron deciding to not only line the pre-printed panel, but make it reversible with pockets on both sides. I’m grateful that I can sew. I am grateful for my home that has the room for so many in it. This will be my first Thanksgiving in this house. I am thankful every moment of every day but this one day is collect those around you to celebrate those moments. To top it off, I am deeply grateful for all of you who stop by to visit and share your hearts with me. It makes every day Thanksgiving.

How are you spending your Thanksgiving and for what are you most grateful?

Happy Thanksgiving
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Five

Happy Halloween. It’s here again. We have the perfect Halloween weather, though not for the kids. It’s windy, raining and spooky. The wind is knocking down decorations right and left whipping them down the street to be recovered later.

Tombstones went flying.

Tombstones went flying.

My daughter, son and I have combined our meager collection of decor and put out everything we had here at my place. This is where we will be tonight eating the candy that was intended for the neighbor kids. I don’t think any will brave the rain. Most go to city sponsored functions anyway. We have candy just in case.

I’ve been trying to race the weather to get my outside work done before the rains came. Guess who won? I had to pay someone to paint the front of my house. My son is not good with ladders and paint buckets. My sister spilled half a bucket of paint trying to do just the trim so I call in help. I did manage to get the porch area painted with 2 coats. It’s hard to see the difference but it feels so much happier to me. The soft yellow is so much better than the dull beige. Got it finished and cleaned up in time for decorating. I know the bugs schedule now and I’ll do the rest of the painting first thing next spring.

 

the differemce 2

I put up the metal quilt square to show that this is a quilt friendly home.

I put up the metal quilt square to show that this is a quilt friendly home.

Halloween marks my blogging anniversary. I’ve been doing this four years now and wondering about the merits of a fifth. I know I want to reevaluate where I’m going with this. This last year and a half has been challenging in many ways. What am I saying? They are all somewhat challenging. So the weather has brought us inside and that’s where I need to go. Inside for some deep soul-searching. There is that word again. Searching. Do I still have anything of value to offer? Your time is precious. I never have enough time. So I’m going to take a moment to ponder the number five.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I hope you have a festive Halloween with more treats than tricks.

Are you ready to come inside?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of a Verdict

It’s been a whole month for goodness sake! I have not had the great news I wanted to pass on so I said nothing. I’m still waiting .

The eye surgery was technically quite straight forward and easy. Though I didn’t feel anything once the eyelid had been numbed, the surgeon scrubbed the eyelid…hard. After the second week, the sutures came out. Easy. I drove myself home so my daughter didn’t need to take another day off work. More antibiotic was required as soon as I got home and for that entire 2 weeks, no driving allowed. The antibiotic would leak into my eye and while it caused no discomfort, it did blur my vision.

Before the surgery. Where we started from.

Before the surgery. Where we started from.

The thing now is there are still spots of blur and I’m not sure why. So when I took my sister to the same eye clinic to get her cataracts checked out, the nice young man at the desk overheard our conversation and insisted I let the charge nurse know about it.  She called when time permitted and another appointment has been set. I’m trying not to be concerned. Maybe more healing time will be necessary given my age. There was almost no discomfort. I cut the pain pills they gave me in half and only took two so I could sleep through without rubbing my eyes in my sleep. I tend to rub way too much.  So the verdict is still out on this endeavor.

Right after before bruising sets in

Right after before bruising sets in

Looks worse than it was.

Looks worse than it was.

They look more equally baggy but no longer in my field of vision

They look more equally baggy but no longer in my field of vision

I watched more television in those first two weeks than I have in the entire year. I found some BBC mysteries on my son’s Netflix and did a marathon listen while trying to enlarge blog print so I could try to catch up. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. The background noise was pleasant and when vision permitted, I did a bit of hand embroidery and worked on a few projects that have due dates. A few squares for the October meeting of our quilt group and a first birthday gift for a friend’s son. The work outside had come to a grinding halt. Tech Support is back home after the month away for free lance work and now we will get busy again.

 

Added to a dozen more for a raffle quilt this Christmas

Added to a dozen more for a raffle quilt this Christmas

Our fall colors for Safe House quilt. Each of us make 2 squares.

Our fall colors for Safe House quilt. Each of us make 2 squares.

I also got the final verdict on my car last Tuesday. My engine went to death row. Parts broke off and sent metal into the engine. It’s final days are over and a new one will have to be put in its place. That sentence was so harsh, my poor son had to take me to lunch so I wouldn’t sob loudly in public. By the time I’d finished, I was ready to face music and pay the piper. I really thought my heart would stop after getting this news. I know it missed several beats.

We have autumn nights and summer days along with an invasion of thousands of stink bugs that are flying everywhere and come out when it gets a little bit warm. Makes it hard to do anything outside, especially paint. They seem to be worse on this street though everyone has some degree of infestation. It feels like a Hitchcock movie around here right now and only safe to go out after dark.

bugs

Any question as to why nothing is getting done outdoors? So this doesn’t stick in your mind, here’s the quilt I made for my friends little boy.

Is there anything you are waiting for a  final verdict on? Something you know for sure or is life still filled with so much mystery?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of that Grinder

You have my apologies. “What for, you ask?” I can’t seem to find the grinder that has ground my work here to a halt. What does it look like and where is it hiding?

Is the grinder in this load of laundry waiting to be finished?

Is the grinder in this load of laundry waiting to be finished?

In trying to keep up with blogs I follow, I am sadly ground down as well. I’m outnumbered and you have so many wonderful posts I want to read. Nothing else is getting done. My energy has waned and the cogs in my brain are slipping.

Is it in the pile of laundry waiting?

Is it in the pile of laundry waiting?

You’ll usually find me spinning in circles trying to figure out what needs to be done next. There are four quilt tops on my machine in different states of readiness for me to sandwich and quilt. No small task in there. Yesterday, I tried to seal the wood on a plant pot holder I had out front last summer to gray the wood. I dumped an entire can of sealer on the porch when I lost my balance trying to move it. Fortunately, I managed to contain the spill enough to finish the job.

Room is smaller than the work to do in it. Could the grinder be in there?

Room is smaller than the work to do in it. Could the grinder be in there?

My daughter needed my help with her move and that has taken more chunks of time. Friendships need nurturing and groups for handwork and quilting are vital to my mental health. It all takes time and energy.

Helping my daughter with the move. Several days of packing here.

Helping my daughter with the move. Several days of packing here.

There are things I want to write about, but don’t, so I write nothing. There is a battle waging internally about what should be done about this.

Could the grinder be in this box of photos to be gone through?

Could the grinder be in this box of photos to be gone through?

Of the 250 people who follow my blog, the most that read it are less than 30. I follow less than 50 because I want to read the blogs I follow. They have become very dear to me and it would be like losing friends. I cannot bear to part with friends.

Could all these books waiting to be read be hiding the grinder?

Could all these books waiting to be read be hiding the grinder?

Maybe the grinder is hiding here in all the yard work waiting for me to do.

Maybe the grinder is hiding here in all the yard work waiting for me to do.

Where do I need to go to find that grinder? How do you manage not to come to a grinding halt?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself