Archive for the ‘General Thoughts’ Category

The Slow Quilting Movement

May 11, 2016
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Enjoy and Appreciate Your Surroundings

January 28, 2016

What happens when your blog post is long overdue? Quite simply, life!

Everyone agrees, without question, the joys of family and friends always takes precedence over all else. The family birthdays, anniversaries, visits from relatives living far away, visits from friends old and new and picnics on a beautiful day.

Our grandson; the joys of watching him grow: baseball and soccer games, school programs and spending time together fishing, picking wild blueberries, walking the beach, a walk in the woods and priceless time together, not wanting to miss a minute as he grows up all too quickly.

And then there is the world around us. If you follow my Facebook posts, you know my love of nature. I am delighted to spend a few minutes watching a sunrise or sunset as the colors evolve from ho-hum to spectacular and then disappear so quickly. What a way to start the day when treated to so many brilliant colors in a sunrise.

At first glance, the trees are green, a flower may be red, the lake blue, the clouds white or dark. Take another look. There are so many shades of green tree buds in the spring, the colors of the flowers, the changing colors of Lake Superior, big puffy clouds, dark storm clouds, drips of rain in the puddles, the sparkling of the leaves as they blow in the wind and catch the light and, of course, the fall colors.

While the desire to write a regular blog calls, everyday life seems to have a stronger tug on my time and I easily get lost in the moment.

“Take time to smell the roses” says so much more!

I delight in the iridescence of the blue morning glories and the glowing yellow of the Ozark sun drop; each of these blossoms only lasting a day. The scent of the phlox blossoms is so sweet and yet subtle.

Have you ever watched a bird having the time of his life taking a bath in a fresh rain puddle? How about the way the seagulls can catch the winds to either soar or nearly stand still like a helicopter. And those hummingbirds zooming about with pinpoint accuracy!
I’ve been privileged to watch a chipmunk enjoying a feast of wild blueberries, sitting quietly at the edge of the highway watching and listening as a mother bear and cub rejoin after being separated while crossing the road, families of ducks and geese swimming along the shore, baby loons hitching a ride on mom’s back, pileated woodpeckers creating giant holes in dead trees looking for food, listening to the songs of the birds as they call to each other, watching how a spider builds and then mends its web on the outside of the window, flocking birds in the fall taking a rest on a wire and the comedy resulting when one more tries to squeeze in.

I like to explore the patterns of frost and rain on the windows and watch giant snowflakes as they float gently to the ground and look for the rainbows when the sun pops out during a rain shower.

My life experiences are a big influence on my needle arts in my choices of colors, selection of patterns, reflecting on experiences as I stitch and even taking my stitching outside to listen to the birds sing, the wind blow thru the trees and feeling the warmth of the sunshine on an early spring or a late fall day. My stitching and my experiences with nature do not conflict, but rather complement each other.

While you haven’t heard from me in a while, I have been very busy. I hope this inspires you to enjoy and appreciate your surroundings. As for me, I may be out chasing butterflies or snowflakes, depending on the season! My next project will include the colors I see or be a butterfly or snowflake quilted project!

What a wondrous world! Be sure to take the time to “smell the roses”!

Don’t Let Procrastination Rob You

April 21, 2015

I have been spring cleaning.I was in the mood and seized the moment! Sometimes no matter what needs to be done, you need to act on the urge to tidy things up. The urge to clean doesn’t happen often!

Like many of you, I have some things that I promised myself I would get to “someday”. I just couldn’t part with these things; up until now! I realized my tastes have changed. I have some things that just don’t excite me like they once did.

We all pass up the new and exciting because we feel guilty about the things not done.You know what happens, you have some time to stitch, go to your collection of supplies and those “ghosts” haunt you.You procrastinate because you don’t want to stitch on something that your heart is just not really into anymore, but you feel you shouldn’t start something new.Undecided, you pass up on the opportunity to stitch and find something else to do and the “ghosts” accumulate and continue to haunt.I decided to stop letting the “ghosts” hold me back.This procrastination robs us of valuable and enjoyable stitching time!

I gave away the things that no longer interest me.There is nothing wrong with our valued treasures; that’s what makes it so hard!We all have different tastes and there is no doubt that these items will be a treasure to someone else.Give them away!Have a swap!There are groups and individuals who make quilts, knit or crochet hats, prayer shawls and baby items.Take those items off your shelves and give them to those who will use them to benefit and comfort others.Give supplies to someone who wants to learn a needle art and help them learn.We all know how much joy we get from stitching.Share to make anothers’ life more relaxed and enjoyable.

Now that I’ve cleaned things up, I feel free to explore the new and exciting and am motivated again.It has given me a totally new outlook. I love going to my “playroom” and having the freedom to choose something really special.

Sort, give away; make others happy.Now you have the time to enjoy the things that really excite you!

What’s new?

May 23, 2014

It is a question that adults ask daily if not several times in a day. It is proof that we as humans are always in search of a challenge even if we don’t know what it is.

When the “what’s new” question is answered, it is interesting what we do with our new information. We determine what is trivial and really doesn’t merit more investigation. Other topics peak our curiosity and we investigate further. Other times, we are interested, but for a variety of reasons we abandon further pursuit. It could be we are busy; time is limited and unfortunately we have to make choices.

Trying something new in the needle arts world can require some perseverance, some patience and practice. It is easy to fall into a rut and decide it is just not worth the effort to try something new. I hate to admit that I have been guilty of being in that rut a time or two.  It seems the easier route to take, but the shortfall is that it gets boring and cheats us of the wonderful sense of accomplishment and self confidence.

Over the past few months, I have been trying to conquer the challenges that my computers seem to delight in throwing at me. At times, I just  wasn’t sure I was up to it. There is no give and take with a computer; you can’t ask it questions and it won’t negotiate. You must conform to its ways.

At the same time, I really wanted to make the most of my new embroidery machine. It is capable of so many terrific things if I take the time to explore and learn what it can do for me. I began to realize that what I was learning from the embroidery machine was helping with the computer and vice versa. A glimmer of hope!

It didn’t happen overnight, but with the help of patient friends, business colleagues and lots of practice, I can now take advantage of the benefits of what technology can do for me. It has been a long time since I have found myself in such a challenging position and I was determined not to let it get the best of me. I did it, I wanted to learn more and now, am more confident that I can!

It reminds me of something I hadn’t thought of in quite some time. When  I was young and following the space program, there was an experiment on the spacecraft that really struck me. One scientific test was to see what ants would do in the weightlessness of space. They found that when the ants had nothing to do; no tunnels to build because gravity wasn’t working against them, they died. When you look at all of life on earth, humans are the only ones who have evolved into really not having to work beyond money to survive. All other living things have to hunt daily for food, find shelter and run from predators. Life just isn’t supposed to be that easy!

These two observations lead me to believe that we need challenges to make us happy and thrive. That is why it is in our nature to ask “what’s new” and why we need to take action. I think it is why we ask “what’s new” more as we get older; we are searching for that next challenge.

The next time you ask “what’s new”, pick a challenge and get started at learning something entirely new that will take some effort. You don’t have to go it alone! Take classes, get some help and follow through. It is self perpetuating because it makes you feel good, builds your confidence and encourages you to learn more.

Why Needle Arts?

March 1, 2014

Why do you knit, sew, quilt, crochet, embroider, needlepoint? In the past these skills were performed out of necessity to keep warm and to commemorate special events such as weddings and births. Quilting bees and guilds provided companionship and the opportunity to share the skills and pass them on to future generations.

Needle arts would not be where they are today without the immense knowledge that has been passed from generation to generation. How lucky we are that our mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, acquaintances and even strangers have taken the time to share and teach each other to keep the skills alive and thriving.

Why? It brings us such great joy in so many ways and we want to share that joy!

We open our hearts and make things for new babies, weddings, birthdays, Christmas, “just because” and to aid and comfort those who need a little help in today’s world. We enjoy the process, the creativity, the sense of accomplishment, the learning and the giving. While methods, tools, fabrics, yarns, threads, guilds and clubs have all evolved, the heart of the needle artist remains the same.  We continue to share with each other and to teach each other.

We need to be sure to include the children so that future generations will not be denied all the joys that the needle arts bring to our lives.  It connects our pasts and our futures. If you are fortunate enough to have stitched with someone special when your were a child, think of the wonderful memories you have of those experiences and your treasured hand stitched heirlooms items that were created by someone you love. While you are stitching, how many times do these memories surface and bring a smile? Create those kind of treasured memories for the children in your lives. Create the heirloom items that they will treasure forever.

Continue to learn, take classes, refresh your skills and pass them on!