A patchwork of things

Hi Everyone!

I hope all is well in your world.  We have a little touch of Fall in the air today but are in great need of rain as you can tell by this photo of my car.  We live on a dirt road. Washing my poor car will not help right now.  dirty car

It has been another non-stop week and my brain is tired, but I will try to share what I can.

I finally finished my dress last week.  Pictures will come later, but the pattern is called the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts and I absolutely loved how it turned out.  If I had realized how simple the pattern was I would have finished it during one of my insomnia nights. There will be more made. Next one will be in a plaid flannel I think for winter.

Knitting has been my sanity saver the past few months since I do not have the time or space to drag out my paints.  Here is my next luscious skein of yarn for my next pair of socks.  yarnThis hand dyed yarn is from On The Round in Maine.

Next week should be slower and I plan to possibly finish my daughter’s logo for her blog, Body By Nutrition, then start on a drawing commission.

In the never-ending process of cleaning out three, sometimes four, generations of stuff from my husband’s family I have discovered what talented ladies his Mother and Grandmother were.  Both were excellent seamstresses who made most of their own clothes as well as their family’s.

I think there is a future post on all those unfinished projects we crafty/artsy folk have laying around and tucked into corners of closets.  Here are a couple that I found.  I think the finished star was made by D’s Grandmother and the partially pieced one made by his Mother.  I found the lovely old needle case in with some of these.  It contains all sizes of needles including old, tiny beading needles.  patchwork

Hopefully in the not so far future, I can finish the quilt squares.  There are not enough for a quilt (unless I unearth some more), but probably some pillow tops for the family.

In other news, those of you who know Miss L. will notice her sporting new glasses soon.  She had mentioned she lost some glasses this past winter.  I don’t know what made me schedule her an eye appointment before other doctor appointments that she needs since she never complained about headaches or difficulty seeing, but I did.  Boy, am I glad.  She has 20/300 vision!  The doctor made her pinky swear that she will wear her glasses all the time in an attempt to correct her vision at least to a better point than where she is.  Seems there is a limited age range where this particular problem can be corrected and she is right at that limit.  So if you see her without them on…remind her! Those pinky swears are serious stuff!

I gotta go get some more work done.  I have no affiliate advertising on this blog.  Any businesses mentioned here I share in case you want to check them out.

Have an awesome week!  I will be MIA next week.  We are escaping for some much needed R&R to a secret location.  All I can tell you is that there is an ocean nearby. YEAH!

 

Photos by Christel Huttar

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Enough already

Ever get tired of listening to yourself? I have been spending hours driving around lately and if I can’t find a distraction on the radio, I’m stuck listening to myself talk inside my head. I’m kinda sick of my own mental ramblings so this week I will spare you as much as I can as well.

Originally I started this blog to document my artistic endeavors, progress and failures. I have more paperwork and supplies piled up to bury me in my studio so this seemed a good way to journal without needing more supplies. If readers happened to join in, the more the merrier and bless those of you who subject yourself to whatever shows up here each week.

Since 2016 has been full of major life changes, the artwork has been, uh, sparse. As in, little of it has been happening here, thus all the ramblings that have been posted.  Accomplishing anything in life seems to be about 90 percent just showing up consistently. So, that is what I have been trying to do. Consistently show up here each week and write something. Good, bad, whatever. I enjoy the writing process even if that is not my main goal. It seems to clear my brain and make room for more and fresh stuff in there.

I am starting to get back to making and creating again. This week I will give you a glimpse into the mess in my studio instead of the mess in my head.

First, I am drowning in fabric. About a year ago I wound up with stacks and stacks of upholstery fabric samples. I am still working on ways to use those. I also HATE to waste things, especially useable fabric that MIGHT be part of an unusable old garment. Picture, boxes of old soccer t-shirts, holey jeans, torn flannel shirts, etc.  If it is still good enough for someone else to use then I happily donate it, but all the others get cut up and either go into my fabric stash or rag bag. So, here is a glimpse of some products soon to be in my Etsy shop as I make new things from old. Not a full disclosure yet because I still need to wash and press them before their debut, but I’m liking the way they are turning out. img_3378

The beginnings of a mixed media series is taking form. I have never had the time to really delve into a series and focus on one subject. This one has been sitting in my head for a very long time patiently waiting for me to get to it.  All I can tell you at the moment is it is exploring learning differences. It comes from watching my kids struggle with dyslexia and the research I did for years trying to find ways to help them.

img_3377Last is my current struggle with painting. I don’t know what happened, but in high school I could make acrylic paint do pretty much whatever I wanted it to do. Here is a sample of a painting I did way back then.

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Now, I am all over the place and I am really not liking any of them very much.  I think I should be honest and show the good, bad and the ugly here.  Hopefully this is just growing pains, but it has been painful enough that I have considered chucking all the paints! It is an ongoing struggle between hating the process yet being compelled to paint for some reason. Why do we want what we don’t have? I can draw all day long with ease, but I get bored with drawing and discount its importance because it comes fairly easy to me.

So there you have the current situation. The hubs and I will be escaping to the mountains next week for a trip that our kids gave us as a wedding present. If all goes well I will have a post scheduled for you ahead of time. If one doesn’t show up in your feed then life got crazy. We have more big stuff (big to us anyway) on the horizon that I will fill you in on in the next week or two. Hopefully it will improve my creative output. Hint: my current workspace is just not working for me and hopefully a remedy is in the works.

Have a great week!

What I did on my summer vacation

Hi Everyone!

I am back from vacation and have almost recovered.  Hopefully by the time this post shows up in your inbox I will have unpacked.

Let me tell you a little about how I spend my time for a week each June.  For the past nine years I have packed up my WORST clothes, a bag of tools, and an air mattress to head into the Appalachian mountains with one or both of my kids and van loads of other adults and teenagers from my church youth group.  This year there were 62 of us that divided into eight groups that worked to repair eight homes for people in that area who, for various reasons, have not been able to keep their homes either warm, safe or dry.

We go as volunteers for the Appalachia Service Project. Normally we reside in an unused high school, sleeping in either the gym or old classrooms, eating in the cafeteria and if we are lucky, showering in the old gym showers.  Hot water is often a luxury.

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I wish I could clearly explain why I do this, but there are so many layers of reasons that it is hard to separate them out.  All I know is that each year this trip resets my heart/soul dials back where they are supposed to be.

The richest country on earth is not immune to serious poverty.  Each year we have teenagers who suddenly see for the first time what poverty looks like.  Each year, as adults, we remember how close we all walk to the thin line of disease and unemployment that can devastate a family. Each year, we are all reminded of what is truly important in life.

Sometimes we are on the roof.
Sometimes we are on the roof.

The last evening of our trip is spent in a “share circle” where everyone is welcome to share special moments of the week.  This year the overriding message seemed to be “you are where you are supposed to be”.  Many of the stories relayed events that in the midst of being busy, frustrated, delayed, something happened that made the individual(s) realize that if they had not been there at that moment, a bad thing could have been much worse.  Several of the teenagers were on the verge of losing faith or dealing with difficult life/family situations and the events of the week renewed their faith/strength/determination. The adults are not immune to the power of these trips either.  While we go there to help complete strangers and hope that we make a positive difference in their lives, as volunteers, we may be the ones who come away with the most change in our lives.

Sometimes we are working on the ground.
Sometimes we are working on the ground.

It’s not all work and seriousness by any means.  I may not laugh all year as much as I do on this trip. I also don’t eat as much junk food and ice cream as I do on this trip! Not only do we get to know the people we help, we get to know each other.  My crazy vacation reminds me that the next generation includes some amazing young people who will still bring goodness and humor into the future.

Sometimes we are in dark, damp, scary places.
Sometimes we are in dark, damp, scary places.

My advice to anyone who is finding life to be hard, busy, routine, boring or empty is to go and volunteer somewhere that takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you in service of others.  It is the best anti-depressant on this beautiful earth.

While I’m gone

You are reading this while I am somewhere in the hills of Kentucky. This is my annual “vacation” week. I haven’t had a traditional, rest-by-the-beach vacation in almost 10 years. I keep thinking I need to do that soon.

Anyway, each year I go with our high school youth group from church and repair homes with the Appalachia Service Project (asphome.org). We give up hot showers (usually), sleep in gym floors on air mattresses, work in hot or rain and live out of duffle bags. It’s a love it or hate it sort of thing. Those of us who love it just keep doing it. Maybe I will try and explain why I love it when I get back. It’s hard to explain because there are layers and layers of reasons. The layers switch in importance from year to year also. What I loved one year will be something different the next.

This year will be different because my newly married daughter will not be going. She was on my team the first year I went and we are going to the same place we were at that year. The family we helped then still holds a special place in our hearts and I wish they could see my daughter four years later as much as I wish she could see them.

I have to go finish packing and wrapping up all my work for the week. I will try to post some photos from Kentucky. Until I’m back I will leave you with a picture of my faithful assistant doing what he does best.
Have a wonderful week!

My wireless shredder!
My wireless shredder!