September Morning

Lake September new

September morning on the lake brings calm water with reflections of the surrounding hills shimmering across the lake. I like to walk along the lake in the morning after breakfast, sometimes walking for a mile, sometimes walking two miles. Alone with my thoughts and the barely perceptible sound of my steady footsteps, I work things out on these walks. Solutions to challenges form in my mind during contemplation and immersing myself in my surroundings, often  before I get back home. I treasure my walks and greet the occasional person who passes by on their own walk or run.

Christmas cactus repotted

My Christmas Cactus had been pot-bound since last summer and needed a new home. I went to Paul’s and Sandy’s Too Garden Center this month and found a lovely new pot and a small package of potting soil. Sometimes things need tending and in our hurried, busy, and distracted lives we neglect them… a house or garden plant, a noise in the car, a broken cup, a friendship, our heart, our feelings. It is too easy to say “I will get to that tomorrow” and before you know it, a small thing becomes something larger.

Condo August

This is the path to my front door and it feels like home whenever I come back from being out somewhere. It is a little magical for me to live here and I don’t know why. My condo is nestled in a complex that seems like a little village. When I walk down to the lake it feels special to be here, almost as if there is magic in the trees and in the air. It is hard to explain. It is almost as if I expect to cross paths with Harry Potter or Hermione. And of course it is magical for me to step inside my front door and see all my special handmade things everywhere.

Book Barn

The Book Barn in Niantic is a truly magical place and I went there Labor Day weekend. I am not sure how many buildings filled with books are there, but it is an amazing place for book lovers. There is a whole building dedicated to poetry. There are paths between the buildings with gardens and little waterfalls and there are plenty of places to sit and read or contemplate. I found From May Sarton’s Well, a wonderful selection of writings by May Sarton paired with photographs by Edith Royce Schade. What a treasure! And I found a lovely illustrated edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a Persian classic.

Collage strips study

I want to get back into art journaling again and have made some small beginnings along this path. This is a simple collage piece made from strips cut from a photograph in a magazine. I have a painted art journal spread in process down in the art studio and I am thinking about what to do next. For years I had a thriving art journaling practice and that has fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years. I am not sure what happened but I think it is because art journaling brings out your inner feelings and I was going through some difficult times and could not express myself. Everything is changing for me now and my world is opening up.

Improv quilt

I got the Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters for my birthday in July and went right to the advanced section near the end of the book as I was fascinated with the curves and arcs. I did not follow the rules and rotary cut with a ruler instead of freehand, as that suited my hands better. I don’t need any more stitches in my hand. I had so much fun with this, moving arcs around, adding to them, and I did some unsewing as the first arc I made looked too planned and not random. I got it all safety pinned down to white muslin and now I am hand appliqueing the arcs and inserting color bands in the gaps. This is a great book!

Scarf tiles purple

I have been quilting a lot this summer and I also like to knit. This tiling scarf will keep me warm this winter and it coordinates with the hat I made last winter.  I am not a great knitter and I make mistakes when I knit, but that’s OK. The enjoyment is in the doing. It’s not the end of the world if there’s a mistake in a handmade piece and it actually gives the piece character. If you don’t point out the mistake, chances are that no one will notice it. Life is like that too. We learn from our mistakes and we grow with them. A mistake can pave the way to great discoveries and lead us down a better path that we might not have otherwise taken.

The Pause Between Breaths

Collage rooted

I decided to pause between breaths and create some collage pages in one of my art journals last week. Sorting through some magazine pages I found these images that expressed exactly what I was feeling, so I cut them out and glued them down with a glue stick, pressing them down firmly with a brayer.  I  have some Art Bin flat storage boxes filled with a collection of assorted papers and ephemera, and magazines are stacked on top of the Art Bin boxes. I always pause to check the sharing bins at the library entrance for magazines with interesting photos to add to my collection of collage materials.  Today I found five gardening magazines filled with beautiful flower and garden photos so I brought them home with me.

Mercy by the Sea

At the beginning of August, I went to Mercy by the Sea to reconnect with myself and to sit quietly in reverence and contemplation. July had been a very busy month. I tried to do too much and I found myself feeling like I was being pulled in too many different directions. I felt very scattered. I had either already joined or contemplated joining eleven different groups in my local area. I had a renewed appetite for group activity after a long absence due to my previous work life, and thought I could do everything. But I was not enjoying myself and needed to hear the still, small voice inside of me and explore things on my own. So I took a hiatus from most of the group activity and I am a lot happier now. My day is now inner directed rather than outer directed and my life seems to flow with ease. Last month (see July blog post) I was meandering and now I am finding my way.

Hammonasset Beach

Last Sunday morning I went to Hammonasset Beach with my wonderful son, his lovely wife, and my baby grandson. There is something very calming about sitting on a blanket stretched out on the sand, feeling the sand beneath your toes, gazing out across the water to see the clouds and the distant sailboats, and listening to the waves as they touch the shore. For me the sea is a magical place and time stands still here. I always come away from a visit to the ocean with a feeling of inner peace and calm.

Chandelier quilt

I have decided to focus on quilting and this is bringing me to center. I still do other creative things, but quilting has become my primary activity. Of course, this was not part of my original plan two months ago, but quilting is calling me and I need to follow that inner voice. I love the way geometric patterns come together. I love fabric, the colors, the textures, the patterns, the shapes, and I love playing with graph paper to develop my own designs and then bring them into Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape on the PC. The quilt above is the Chandelier Quilt found in the book Charm School by Vanessa Goertzen. I saw this quilt on Flickr and fell in love with it so I had to make one of my own.

Tula Pink Quilt Blocks

I have not made a sampler quilt in many years, but I got the book Tula Pink’s City Sampler – 100 Modern Quilt Blocks for my birthday and these little 6 inch blocks are so much fun to make! I am using fabric from my stash (collection) and it is exciting to revisit fabrics that I had forgotten about (fabric has memory) and use them in new combinations. In this quilt I am going with a rainbow of colors and anything goes as far as what colors pair up with others. So far I have completed 30 blocks and I hope to make all 100 blocks and most likely will set them with white sashing and border. It will be exciting to have a fresh modern quilt for my bed!

Growing through Life

August and summer are gently but quietly coming to a close. I have been going through a lot of changes and realized I am growing through my life experiences, essentially growing through life.

A lot of people in my online creative communities talk about setting up an altar in their home, a touchstone place where you can connect with self and find your center. I was curious about the idea but not really interested in finding a place to set up an altar in my home. When I looked around, I was surprised to find that I already had an altar in the deep window in my living room. It is filled with books, art journals, family photos, my yarn bowl, a Christmas cactus, a few amigurumi, and other special items.

window-altar

I have taken a hiatus from painting this summer and have not been creating a lot of art, but I took two online collage classes. It is refreshing to do something different as it is easy to get into a rut doing the same thing for a long while. Life is like that. It is always good to get a new perspective on things and see things in a different way. I have been very introspective and questioning this summer, doing a lot of private written journaling to find discernment and work through some issues, and growing into the person I am becoming. Change, although difficult, brings growth and renewal of life. I sometimes wish I could share easily like others do, but I am not like that. Fortunately, I have a few people in my life who understand.

The first class I took was the Vision Journal Workshop with Kathryn Costa. I have known Kathryn almost 10 years, although we have never met in person, and I enjoy following her creative adventures. Catherine mails out a physical envelope with goodies inside to class participants. The workshop can be found here. This butterfly and saying cut out of a magazine expresses how I was feeling at the time.

vision-journal-butterfly

Tell It Collage with Liz Lamoreaux was inspirational for me. Her class gently encourages you to glue in scraps of saved papers, photos that are meaningful to you, and anything that you might have on hand. It was very freeing and I had a blast playing with my journal. The workshop can be found here. The tree and wonderful saying were cut out of an old calendar. I have several art bins filled with found papers and things like this.

collage-tell-it

This spread is also from Tell It Collage. We were encouraged to free write about ourselves and I just let the words flow out from my hand through my uniball signo pen. I love pens and have a wide variety of them on hand, having collected them over time.

collage-about-me

This is another spread from Tell It Collage. The paper on the right was painted from my Gelli plate. I have a stack of these papers saved in one of my art bins and they add a lot of dimension to a piece. The photo of my hand holding the shells and the snippet of my artwork are from a trip to Hammonasset Park on Long Island Sound, see post here. It is a touchstone place where I go to recenter and find balance.

collage-hand-shells