Meandering and Finding my Way

lake wooden bridge

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?

impatiens raindrops morning walk

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.

half moon circles quilt

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!

small tiling quilt basted

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

 

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.

52 words - spread layout

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.

Quilting, Knitting, and Art Journaling

The month of March has brought us four Nor’Easters in a row, the first one bringing major rainfall, and the remaining three bringing significant snowfall. It has been cold outside and there is comfort in wearing leggings with a sweatshirt and snuggling under a quilt on the couch. It is also a time for quilting, knitting, and art journaling.

sunrise-quilt

I am making a quilted wall hanging for my son and daughter-in-law as a wedding gift. Aurora likes the color yellow so I decided to design a sunrise over the ocean quilt using an assortment of yellow and blue medleys that I ordered from Keepsake Quilting in New Hampshire. At the quilt retreat the beginning of March, I hand appliqued gentle curves to a muslin base and then machine quilted the top at home. The quilt is about 18” by 24” which is a nice size.

beads-for-sunrise-quilt

I decided that it would be fun to add some beads to the quilt to give it some sparkle. I went through the beads that I had on hand and picked some out. There were not enough beads in the right colors to express my vision, so I decided that I needed to make a road trip to a bead store. On Saturday I went to Nature’s Art Place in Montville, Connecticut. I lost myself for a while wandering around the vast array of beautiful beads on display. I can’t wait to get started on beading!

knitting-socks

I joined a group of knitters this month and am enjoying the camaraderie of the group. They are called the Knifty Knitters and they meet at the Portland Library on Saturday mornings. There is something very soothing about knitting and the act of knitting seems to carry your worries away and make them disappear. I am enjoying a renewed interest in knitting, crocheting, and all things yarn after a long hiatus. Inspired by this talented group, I am knitting socks for myself with fingering yarn and very small circular needles (size 2mm). With the help of YouTube, I learned how to do the Turkish cast on. I don’t know why I am knitting socks – after all I could buy them in the store or on Amazon – but it is something I want to experience and feel the connection with women who have gone before me.

art-at-coffee-table

I thought I would show you how I set up my coffee table with my drawing board for art journaling. I have an art/quilting studio downstairs but It is nice to be able to work on my art in this space – it makes me feel more spontaneous and free somehow. The windows are larger and I can hear the birds singing and people coming and going. The studio is more isolated, but it has its advantages. I can leave a mess out downstairs whereas upstairs I have to clean up when I am done. I like having different options.

Journal52-transform

Transform is from my art journaling class Journal52. Transform can mean different things but in this instance it is about the transformation that happens when spring arrives each year. After the long winter in the northern climates, everything slowly comes to life and finally bursts forth into spring.

Journal52-dream

Dream, also from Journal52, is about daydreaming and I chose to highlight the things that are important to me. This girl is dreaming about the simple things in life that make her happy. What is success? Waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror, and liking the person who you are.