Gratitude for All Things Creative

Lake grasses November

I feel gratitude for many things and especially for all the creative things in my life. There is gratitude for family and friends, being able to share time with them in special moments, in ordinary moments, in everyday moments. My grandson is such a joy and I treasure the big smile he always has for me. My family lights up my life. That is the most important thing in life, the people you love who love you back, and not just with words but with actions.

Gratitude for all things creative means that I have come full circle and am able to be spontaneous again and express my creativity in all the different ways that I seek to express myself. My art spirit is healed. I still have some fatigue, and some health problems, but things are getting better. Partly because I am learning to adjust to and accept my limitations, and to take better care of myself. Going full-tilt, nonstop like I used to do was never healthy and that took its toll. It is better to take time, to work mindfully, to go for walks, to take tea breaks, to eat healthy.

Sunrise anniversary quilt

I finished beading the Sunrise anniversary quilt for my son Joe and his wife Aurora. On Thanksgiving Day, I gave the wall hanging to them because I was so excited it was finished and couldn’t wait. The quilt was meant for their first anniversary, but I decided to add beads to the quilt, and beading takes a long time.  I found an assortment of beads that went well with the design at the bead shop at Nature’s Art Village in Montville, Connecticut. Although I have a very nice bead stash, I didn’t have quite the right beads for this project, so I brought a strip of muslin with small swatches of all of the fabrics attached and used that as a guide to choose beads. Beading is a meditational process for me and brings me great peace. I love beading and can spend many happy hours beading a small quilt.

Art journal spread emerging

Art journaling is very important to me. I have been watching some of my class videos (lifetime access online classes with Effy Wild are great) and I am following and participating in my art journaling online communities again. Art journaling is worldwide, but it is not like quilting, where there are quilters everywhere. The only place you can find a group of art journalers is online. Although I have not been art journaling weekly as I did before, I am enjoying the few pieces created recently and accept that I am creating space to bring art journaling back into my life. And it will come back, just like everything else has, and more. I just need to trust the process, and believe.

Hats crazy quilt

The November challenge for the Library Art Quilters was hats. I was not sure what I wanted to do and my first idea was to make a hat box with a hat to go inside of it. But that remained just an idea and didn’t make it to the drawing board. About two days before the meeting, I got a new idea. I did a google search for vintage hats and came up with some copyright free images to download. I chose the best four images, printed them out on one sheet of Printed Treasures Inkjet Printable Fabric, and cut them apart. Then I pulled out my bin of crazy quilt fabric and pieced four blocks on a muslin base. I used a Teflon pressing sheet so that the delicate fabrics wouldn’t scorch under the iron. I managed to get the blocks pieced and sewn together in time for the meeting. I plan on embellishing the small quilt  with crazy quilt embroidery stitches.

Wonky trees quilt

These wonky trees have been popping up all over the quilting internet and I just had to make some. There is a great tutorial on Diary of a Quilter’s blog  here. I am going to add some wonky stars and houses and I need to design some sort of layout to pull everything together. For now, I am enjoying the happiness that these trees bring. These are so much fun to make! No measuring, a few diagonal cuts, some sewing, and you have a little pine forest. I worked on these at a Wednesday sew-in at Lisa’s Clover Hill Quilt Shop. There are old friends and new friends at the weekly sew-ins and we always have a great time!

Book sale finds November

I am a member of the Friends of the Library and helped sort books into categories for the November book sale. There were some great treasures donated for the sale and I came home with a stack of books for about ten dollars. I have read the top two books in the stack and they were both really wonderful. The bottom half of the stack are children’s books for my grandson. He loves books, as I do. Books transport you to other worlds and enhance your life. It is so nice to have the time to read. Libraries are a treasure and I have been to five this month: Westport, Wallingford, Wethersfield, Portland, and East Hampton.

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.