Sunday, September 27, 2009

I worked on doodling some FMQ designs that I saw on Leah Day's blog. I really need to practice to get my lines smoother and less tense. Otherwise I've been doing the Sept Fabshophop and finding some really cool shops. Looking at fabrics and patterns always gives me new ideas of projects to do. I saw a cute log cabin quilt on the cover of F&P's Easy quilts that I want to make.

We went to The Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival in Huntington, IN, today. I saw a cute knapsack made of rabbit fur, hand sewn of course, that I would like to help my son make for a school project. I would really like to find him a piece of garment leather to make a bag with. I'm going to check out the web and see what I find. I need a gloving needle to sew the pelt by hand, whatever that is. My favorite part of the fest is usually the spinning and weaving demos. I watched a woman hand shear a 250 lb. sheep--quite impressive the way she handled him. I wish I had time to do half the projects I like. Oh, yeah, and twice the money I need to do them, too! Might as well wish big as long as I'm wishin'.

This entry is boring. Some days are just like that. I want to try the Whoopie Pie recipe I saw on another blog tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Apologies

Last night my husband made an apple crisp for me to take to the viewing for my friend's mother. He is in search of the perfect apple crisp recipe and tried one from our tried and true Betty Crocker cookbook. It was fantastic, but he thought he might have done something wrong while following the recipe.

Julia Child had something to say about being unsure about trying something new. In "My Life in France", she relates an occasion where she made lunch for a friend. The menu was simple and something she was familiar with, but she had to make some substitutions because she couldn't get the right ingredients. She said that she knew right away that the combination she chose was a mistake. So did her friend. But Julia does not believe in apologizing for her food, even for the mistakes. And she did not publicize it when she was unfamiliar with a recipe. So they ate lunch and visited, and both knew that the food was not that good. Julia learned from her mistake, but she did not embarass herself or her friend with apologies and explanations. Julia felt that it created uneasiness in a guest to share your feeling of failure because something didn't work out in the kitchen. She would serve her food as best as she could and move on.

So, we learn. Don't point out your mistakes, your unmatched points, your missed attempts. Live with the imperfection and continue to try to improve your craft.

Live with the apple crisp the way it turns out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Invisible Heroines

Tonight I dedicate my post to all the invisible hero(ine)s around us. My friend's mother died on Friday. Her list of accomplishments is not so unusual, because we all know the moms who bake for the bake sale, lead the cub scout den, organize the fundraisers for the band boosters and make so many activites happen. These activites don't seem like much indivually, but added up they make such a difference in the lives of the people around them. Many of these people don't even see or appreciate the things these magnificent women do. And many might think that "magnificent" is too strong of a word for what they do. Lots of people just take them for granted.

But I love them and all they do. It's "no big deal" to come up with all these ideas that make the lives of kids richer and more interesting.

Georgia, my friend's mother, along with her husband, Tom, touched the lives of hundreds of kids. She was Mrs. Claus at the cottage down by the courthouse every winter and passed out the candy to the kids at her daughter's house every Halloween. She got right down and talked to all these kids face to face and made them feel interesting and the center of attention. It's such an important thing to do for a child.

I am inspired by her life and the way that she passed on these qualities to her daughter who does so much for her family, her church and her community. I am proud to know them and I learn things from them all the time.

Today is to honor the life of Georgia Clark, one of the millions of invisible heroines, an amazing and magnificent woman.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Calm Among the Chaos

I've been thinking about how my stitching helps me have control in the otherwise hectic, chaotic life I lead. I have a stressful job with someone always wanting something from me. My kids need so much and I don't know how to keep up with them. But when I plan a project or sit down with a few pieces of handwork, I come into focus. I can literally have it all in my own hands, as long as I have what I need to do my project, of course. But when you don't have what you need, you are forced to be creative and come up with a solution.

In going through my stash, I came across a couple of small tops that would be great to finish and maybe embellish with some applique to add something special. I'm energized and excited. I know these projects are just the right size to try out some FMQ techniques that I've been studying. Yea!

I also love piecing scraps into new fabric. The other day I was just noodling around and found a bag of scraps and end pieces I bought at my LQS (they look like pieces left over from cutting kits) and just started piecing atrips from the bag along with some other scraps I had on my sewing table. Before I know it, I have a sizeable piece of new fabric. Originally, I just wanted to practice FMQ on the piece and leave it at that. But...I have a backpack pattern that takes a piece just about the size of my created fabric, and well, the wheels are really turning now.

I buy all kinds of fabric in big chunks to make a fantastic large quilt that starts to blossom in my brain, but what I really use is all the small chunks that fall into my lap. Sometimes it's hard to cut into that beautiful piece of fabric if you're not sure what you want to do. I feel very free when I am working with something I don't have to worry about, like a pile of scrappy strips.

So, let's see. Current project list:
"new fabric" backpack with FMQ
completed snowman table runner top that needs a cool quilted filler design
design a casserole carrier for a 9X13 stoneware dish for a Xmas gift
hexagon rosettes for Australian challenge

That's all I can think of. Now, who's cooking dinner?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Taking Things Into My Own Hands

I started this yesterday and it covers stuff I talked about today, but I like what I wrote, so I'm going to post it anyway:

I've been thinking about how my sewing activities give me this little island of control in the chaos of my life. I have strict rules about people not getting into my "stuff" and my sewing room is the only sacred room in the house for me.

I think that another reason I'm drawn to hand work--hexagons, quilting, embroidery, applique--is the immediateness of the work. It is in my hands and I make it successful. I love the feel of the fabric and the repetition is soothing.

I haven't worked on any hexagons for a few days. My best friend's mother passed away on Friday. My stepmother is terminally ill as well. The kids still have their activities that keep us so busy. I'm thinking of some tiny hexagon rosettes to applique on a baby quilt for a friend's first granddaughter.

I can feel my mood sinking a little with the approach of autumn. The low angle of the sun affects me almost immediately.

I have 2 Christmas projects to lift my spirits and a whole slew of blogs to follow and inspire me. I love seeing the clever things people do--how do they find the time! Not that anyone will read this, but Thanks for the positive vibes you all send out! Leah Day makes my day everyday with her new FMQ patterns. She is my inspiration.

Well, that should do for today. I've got to keep the momentum going.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I don't know what people use their blog for, but for me a blog is a place for me to keep track of what was happening in my creative space that day. Finding time to actually do the creative things I want to do is very, very difficult for me, and then when I get there, I'm too tired to think about what I want to do.

Primarily, I am a quilter, though I don't have that many finished quilts to show for it. But I compose quilts and quilt projects in my head all the time. I am inspired by passion in others. I was drawn to this blog space because of Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting blog. I want to do FMQ to finish all those tops I have laying around. Her site is inspirational and makes it all look so accessible. It is genius.

In my musing about genius, I have been thinking about Julia Child. I read the book "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell about her quest to cook all the recipes from Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," then I saw the movie made from the book. Julie Powell was disappointed that Julia Child was not a fan, but it's no surprise. Because of the huge scope of her project, Julie never set out to cook the recipes well, she just had to do each of them once. I am now reading Julia's autobiographical (with Alex Prud'homme) "My Life in France." Julie's attitude toward cooking would never evoke a positive response from Julia. Julia had such a joyful, ebullient view of the world and she was driven not only to do something, but to do it until she had mastered it. This is one reason Julia was so well liked by the French people she came to know in France. She loved the way that the French did not put the emphasis on productivity in terms of numbers, but preferred the approach of the artisan, whether it be in the making of cheese or wine, or a simple and elegant meal.

I love Julia's joy for life. I love how it showed in her cooking, her art. And it was never just about doing it, but doing it well.