spring fling!

So, here’s the thing: I had this grand ambition of starting off 2011 as a Blogger, which is clearly insane, as I am not a consistent writer in any venue other than my online journal on a private forum. I can’t even seem to write for my JOB on a daily basis, so why I thought starting a blog would be the Best Idea for 2011 Ever is completely beyond me.

However, I am happy that I have a nice place where I can post the projects I’m working on, so as to easily share them on other blogs.

I spent much of last fall sewing on a quilt top, which I have finally finished, and which I’ll photograph soon. Today, however, I started work on a spring table runner as part of the Stumbles & Stitches sew-along. I’m very happy to participate in this particular sewing project as Jenny and Angel have been my biggest inspirations for sewing in the last year or so. They have been incredible reminders that I shouldn’t wait for perfection, but should just take up needle and fabric and try something. To that end, I’ve made a LOT of things in the last year and I have big plans for 2011: sundress for me, dress for Birdie, pants for Eliot, and on and on. The runner project was a nice spot to pause in April from clothes or quilts and try something just because! Table runners I suppose can be functional, but I think of them as just pretty, and it’s fun to make something just to be pretty!

Today was a pretty day to do something pretty, so I opened the window in my beautiful work space to let spring air flow through the room and over me. I’m a bit of a tv junkie, so I streamed last week’s NCIS while I worked.

This doesn’t even begin to show how perfect the day was or the sunlight or to give a sense of the breeze, but this is my space:

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(like my ironing board cover? I used the tutorial from Sewing in No Time, Sunkissed by Moda fabric, which I bought at The Quilting Squares shop, here in Franklin.)

My fabric for the runner:
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I bought the linen at Textile Fabrics on Saturday, when the children were their very best fabric-store selves, I was so surprised & delighted. I’m using Sunkissed scraps from my ironing board cover, Nicey Jane stripe, some fussy cut Anna Maria Horner Little Folks “Village Path” that was in my scrap basket, two colors of Jackie Shapiro’s sweet daisy fabric from several years ago, and a beautiful piece of a vintage sheet, which was the inspiration for all of my other choices. Lavender, green, and a golden yellow together? Pure spring and heaven!

I couldn’t quite get my head around the idea of a zig-zag pattern like the runner that Jenny & Angel featured from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s book, so I went hunting for another pattern that suited my skill level (pure beginner) and interest and ended up with this sweet one from Moda Bake Shop. By the time the children woke from naps, I had finished one NCIS, one Dr. Who, and most of my 2.5″ squares:

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Once nap was over, I found myself irresistibly drawn outside, where I spent two hours debating play structure placement, fixing snacks, and finding habitats for inchworms:
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Perhaps tomorrow, between running, working, and mothering, I’ll finish cutting the triangles.


so this is the new year….

and I am full of thoughts & plans & resolutions.

I know that for many people, the first of the year represents nothing more than another day, but I work very well with arbitrary deadlines & dates for doing new things. Also, for me, the first of 2011 represented the end of one job and the beginning of a new job: one that permits me a significant, almost unbearable, amount of freedom in terms of the whens/wheres/hows of doing the work (which is, like the former job, fundraising and grantwriting).  With the freedom comes responsibility, isn’t that what is said?  For me, the responsibilities lie in:

1. accomplishing the actual work

2. taking advantage of freedom to write more: for myself, in my journal, and here.

3. exercising consistently & to the greatest ability of my body

4. investing time and energy in activities that the children will enjoy: story time, library trips, play dates, art projects, etc.

We have already been to the library story time at the Downtown Public Library (where we wanted to be married, but they, alas, don’t do weddings); Eliot got a bit fidgety after a while, and then he enjoyed roaming the stacks, playing with the puppets, etc.  I’m glad we get some time together, just like Bird & I did back when she was small.  Soon, we’ll register both for swim lessons, a nice prep for the summer I know is coming, even as we shiver through these winter days.

For me, also, the new year gives me a nice start to an activity that also helps prepare me for the year to come: the New Year Grand Plan Cleaning Challenge, wherein I will go room by room, pretty much exhaustively cleaning each space and, simultaneously, purging extra and unneeded items.  Every time I feel overwhelmed by drawer clutter or what feels like heaps of toys, I remind myself that in just a few weeks that annoyance will have been cleared away and remedied.  My best friend comes to visit in February & we’ll sit down and purge the purged things!  I can’t wait to have someone help me separate myself from the toys to which I am emotionally attached even when the children could not care less!

So, here we are, 9 days in to the new year, and I have been diligent, thus far, at my new intentions, while the new job so far seems like a good fit.  To record them for posterity, my 2011 starts with the phrase Be Kind, Be Patient, Be Creative.

It also includes striving to do the following:

  1. observe daily devotionals
  2. write daily, whether creative, blogging, journal, or letter writing
  3. perform monthly breast self-exams.  Early detection saves lives & as the daughter & granddaughter of cancer survivors, I should be more diligent
  4. plan and prepare three meals a week: these will probably be one chicken/turkey, one vegetarian, and one vegan.
  5. do one weekly activity with the children that involves their interests: art project or a trip to the library or an excursion somewhere fun
  6. maintain exercise routines in the fall.  I do fine in winter, spring, and summer, but fall.  Oh, fall.

So, that’s our new year.  What’s yours?

in the darkroom

I remember the days when being in the darkroom meant spending lunch break in the art class darkroom with Stacey L (who was a fun friend then & is now a great friend and a fun babysitter). She’d process nudey photos of some friend of hers and I’d turn negatives into pictures of things like doorways & piles of rock. I was, see, an artiste.

Then, of course, in college, I spent all of this time in the animation studio with cutouts from magazines & hand-scrawled Elliott Smith lyrics. Me, the animation stand, and collages. Those were my favorite darkroom days: walkman, midnight in the studio, and my heartbreak being reenacted on a small space for small film. Days later, after the film returned, I’d sit in the editing room with Sammy D and we’d cut and splice and tape. Then, of course, I was an auteur.

These days, darkroom time means dragging the laptop into Eliot’s room while he goes to sleep. I browse the internet, update our online banking, and dawdle while he whispers to himself, flops, adjusts his bears, demands additional trips to the bathroom (n.b., according to E, he will “DIE if I don’t PEE.” Uh-huh), and insists on water. I hear him whispering even now. Shortly, I will relinquish the laptop to B so he can do what it is that he does (this week, I think it’s “read end-of-year best-of record lists”), but for now, I am enjoying my quiet darkroom time browsing all of the giveaways posted on Sew Mama Sew, and even entering a few.

My creative time is no longer so much aligned with a dark room, but I do work in a dimly lit space, usually pretty late in the evening, and I’m quite excited by all of the crafty giveaways: some handmade goods, some crafting supplies. After making seven small tote bags this week and starting one of two messenger bags, I’m ready to start thinking to new and different projects, perhaps even one just for me.

Until I wrap up these bags, though, I’ll just sit in this dark room, think back to old days (winter makes me so nostalgic), and look forward to more nights in a quiet space.

coming soon! No! Really!

I just have to get through the rush of Christmas: sewing teacher gifts, sewing other gifts, finishing up the old job, preparing for the new, finding a school for Eliot, traveling to the ILs, and doing some freelance projects.  It’s a blur!  But I’ve been thinking about this for a while & I guess I am as ready as I’ll ever be.


Besides if I treat this like I treat my sewing, I don’t have to be perfect, right?  Just present.  Present with wobbly seam allowances and frequent adjustments.