Now that I no longer have to leave the house at 7:00 in the morning for the long commute to work, I am enjoying taking a two mile walk by the lake some mornings. I am meandering at my own pace, noticing the small things along the way, pausing to reflect or take photos, and greeting other walkers, runners, dog walkers and bikers in this active lake community. During these walks I am finding my way in defining my new life and thinking about what I want to do with my creativity and my time. I am asking myself many questions… where do I want to go, what do I want to do, what are my goals, what do I want to learn, who do I want to spend time with, who do I want to connect with, what do I want to let go of, and what do I want to embrace?
If I hadn’t gone out walking right after the rain stopped, and if I hadn’t been paying attention to my surroundings, I wouldn’t have seen the raindrops that had formed on this impatiens flower and had not yet dissipated in the emerging sunlight. It is important to let your thoughts meander and come full circle unfettered to gain clarity, but it is equally important to let go of your thought stream and immerse yourself in the present moment, the reality of what is physically present to you. Too often your thoughts can take over instead of coexisting peacefully with your surroundings, and then you miss the moment. I try to practice my own form of side by side awareness of what is inside me and what surrounds me, creating a flow back and forth between my inside and outside states of being. My thoughts become more mindful in this way and mindfulness becomes a part of my thoughts.
Last weekend we had a 3 day heat wave in Connecticut and much of the northeast. With a heat index of around 110F, I needed to stay indoors with the air conditioner running for the duration. It was kind of like a reverse blizzard except I didn’t have to shovel my car out afterwards. Fortunately, I had wanted to do something with curved shapes and had recently purchased the 4 inch Drunkard’s Path templates from John Flynn. This is an old traditional quilt block pattern that I was never interested in making, but when I realized the templates could be used to make half moons and circles, I was in. I had been to a presentation by Auntie’s Two at Colchester Mill Fabrics the week before and had purchased some light blue batik fabric for the background, so I was all set. I had so much fun putting this quilt top together and would like to teach this method at my quilt guild next year!
This is a small tiling quilt (12 inches x 13.5 inches and 275 pieces) that has been sitting in the UFO (UnFinished Object) pile for a long while. I had quite a few UFOs at the old house, but I gave most of them away when I downsized to move here. This is a new UFO project that I discovered when I cleaned out the IKEA cube bookshelf in the sewing studio. I started free motion machine quilting it yesterday and I am kicking it up a notch with free motion quilting patterns from Angela Walter’s books. She does awesome longarm quilting but most of the ideas apply to a standard sewing machine as well. By the way, I went for longarm quilting training at the Wallingford Library Collaboratory, made a sample quilt with 10 inch squares to practice on, and now I need to book time for a longarm quilting session.
Little Raggedy Ann waited a long while for me to finish her, 2 years to be exact. I made the body, complete with “I Love You” embroidered on her heart, and then she sat there for a year, when I made her dress. A couple of weeks ago, I made her pantaloons and pinafore apron. I really don’ t enjoy the process of making dolls and have only made six or seven. I do love dolls when they are finished. This doll has a story behind her. They all do.
When I was downsizing to move into this smaller space with no walkup attic, I gave away quite a few of my possessions and only kept what really meant something to me. There are only 2 things I regret giving away. There was a little log cabin doll quilt and I have since made another one that is in the UFO pile and needs finishing. And there was a little Raggedy Ann doll that I had found at the Barn, a vintage shop in Hebron, while shopping with my friend Kate. I found the vintage pattern on Etsy and my friend Leonora gave me some vintage 70’s fabric. The trim on the apron and rick rack on the dress are from my mom’s sewing room. I am very fortunate to have my mom’s buttons and decorative trim and a lot of her fabric. My mom was an excellent seamstress and I learned to sew on her cabinet model Singer sewing machine when I was eleven years old.
I am meandering a bit here and I hope you can see how one thing leads to another, and then another. There are many things that I want to do. It has only been one month. I have accomplished a lot. I have been hesitant to get into my writing practice and it will come in time. 52 Words is an e-book that I started 2 months ago and I have not worked on it since, so this is also in the UFO pile. I have an altered card deck that I made with 52 different one words, and I want to do a page of writing for each word. I love to write, I love to journal, and I am so grateful that I no longer have to do technical writing for an architecture/ engineering firm, as that was extremely boring and frustrating.