Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spools of fresh fabric

The quilt store is filled with gorgeous fabric - I've done my best not to be tempted but yesterday I finally gave in. This is a Moda collection by Basicgrey aptly named "Fresh Cut."  I couldn't decide which fabrics to bring home so I purchased a layer cake of 45 fabrics. I knew instantly what I would make with these beauties - Spools by Thimble Blossoms. 

The last few weeks have been consumed with cleaning out my fabric stash. I've passed along quite a bit because either. My tastes have changed or I've realized that I'm never, ever going to complete the project for which the fabric was intended.  Then there are fabrics that I know should be tossed or donated or sold, but I just can't stand the thought of parting with it.  It's either too lovely or I'm sentimentally attached to it.

The thing is, if I'm going to take the time to sew, then I have to love the project.  Because my time is limited and precious.  And what I make should inspire me rather than make me feel blah. 

Happy stitching. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jars and Coffee

These days it's all about Ball glass jars, chalkboards, vintage fonts and rustic interiors. And artisanal coffee.

I've been using Ball jars for years for jam and refrigerator pickles. They are inexpensive and indestructable. Who cares if they are trendy!  The new selections and accessories like this and this and these are awesome.

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs and recently she reposted an entry about cold-pressed coffee so I decided to give it a go. But what container to use?  Of course, one of those wide-mouthed ball jars collecting dust in the garage.

And now I give you a picture of said jar filled to the brim with delicious coffee. 12 hours seems like forever. But as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Random rambling post about purpose...

Over the last few months my body basically said "enough."  I had near debilitating headaches for days and when I didn't, I was exhausted.  The whole experience forced me to rethink my approach to life, particularly how I managed stress, what kind of work I should do and how to be the best parent, spouse and friend. I've had lots of time to think. Think. Think.

For a while I felt like a failure. I kept fighting with my head instead of resting and allowing my body to recover. Many days spent feeling sorry for myself and pretty down in the dumps.

But over time I made peace with my physical condition and continue to do so everyday. The silver lining: I have a new appreciation for the suffering experienced by those living with chronic pain as well as the frustrations that come with navigating our complex healthcare system when you are not well.

Plus I've learned about myself.  For years I have been trying to make myself into someone else only to discover time and time again that it can't be done.

And if that's true for me, could it be true for others?  Can we really become someone other than who we are destined to be?

For example, my child.  Isn't she just who she is?  If I'm struggling to figure out life isn't she doing the same thing?  And she's doing it all for the first time while I've had 43 years to figure it out. Shouldn't I have more patience with her as she finds her way?


And if I'm doing the best I can given my own limitations, isn't eveyone else basically doing the best they can do given where they are in life?


That's not to say that I should just accept my own shortcomings and not work towards self-fulfillment and being a better human being. It's that maybe I shouldn't be too hard on myself when I stumble. And maybe I shouldn't be so hard on others when they stumble either. Because everyone is basically doing the best they can with what they've got in that moment. 

Well, at least this makes me feel a bit better about the world.

And then last night I came across this video presentation by an author who's visiting Lucy's school today and tomorrow.  And he said a lot of the things that I've been thinking about. The video is an hour long and at times silly but eventually he gets to the point.

Of course, he's a brilliant writer. And rather eccentric. Regardless, a lot of his talk resonated with me.

Yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend. I expressed that perhaps I was ready to go back to doing personal training. She paused, looked me in the eye and calmly said "Is that what you really want to do?  You need to give yourself time to heal. Really heal before you jump back in. Take this time to figure out what interests you."

Years ago I was presented with the opportunity to build a midwifery practice at a local hospital. The thought of it gave me panic because though I felt it was what I SHOULD be doing, it was not what I wanted to do. "What do you want to do here?" They asked.  "I want to teach," I eventually responded.

Not high school or middle school or grade school. But adults. And sometimes kids. And not in a traditional classroom setting. I wanted to share the knowledge I had with others. I also wanted to explore new skills and then teach what I learned others.

Teach. And mentor. And guide.

Because when I teach, it is challenging. It is rewarding when it "clicks" for a student. Because I love to write lesson plans and see them in action. Because I love to think and be excited about something and I want others to be excited too.

Which is why I loved nursing. And personal training. And giving sewing classes. 

And I enjoy people. Hearing their stories. Learning from them.

So what now. 

Rest. Rest. Rest. 

And then 

Teach. Teach. Teach.

Because isn't that what it's all about?  Learning and teaching. Sharing our wisdom. Gaining wisdom.

Well, for me that's what it's all about. Because it's what excites me and gives me purpose. It's what gets me up in the morning. And keeps me up late at night.

Thinking about thinking. And learning. And teaching.

It's just my thing. Who I am. And you know what, that's pretty awesome.

Be well.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Unraveling and stitching together again

When speaking to friends about what led up to my headaches, I've found myself increasingly using the term "unraveling."  Back in December I felt more physically broken but now as the pain has receded and I resume normal activities, I've had time to reflect on 2014.  It was a slow process of not taking care of myself that led to this unraveling.

There's no reason to detail why or what I did or didn't do but that it happened. And then one day I started getting headaches. And they just didn't stop.  My body was saying "enough."

But here's what I have realized. Unraveling isn't such a bad thing. Because when you unravel a sweater, you still have a ball of yarn.  And that yarn can become anything.  It is full of potential. It could be another sweater, a vest, a hat and mitten set, a pair of socks, part of a warm afghan.  It could be knit tightly, loosely or just right.  A ball of yarn can be anything.

And so, that's me.  An unraveled Marisa.  Ready to be stitched back together.  I'm doing swatches. Getting my supplies.  Exploring my options.  Modifying patterns.  Writing my own directions.  I'm full of potential.

I just have to remind myself, that this is about the process, not the finished product.

And yes, my ball of yarn is pink.  Hot pink.

Be well.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stitching with Lucy

A few days ago I was stitching along when Lucy scooted up next to me and said "teach me."  I was doing a fairly complex background stitch but I slowed down to show her how the stitches slanted to the right when working left to right and then to the left when working right to left. The needle skips a couple of "holes" to create longer stitches.  "I want to do that.  I want to do what you do."

Yesterday we stopped into our local store where they were having a trunk show of some lovely designs. Lucy picked out a Valentine canvas and lots of metallic thread. To my delight it was pink but I knew better than to say anything lest she change all the colors to black!

When returned home, I retrieved a practice canvas for her to review the basics of basket weave and continental stitch.  She quickly remembered the stitches.  We then settled into the day bed in the sewing room, turned on the Ott Lite, set up a pair of little scissors and a needle threader and got to work. With a needle in my hand, I directed her hands where to go.  After a few stitches, she confidently began placing the thread on her own, in her own way.  I gently guided her, reminding myself that this wasn't about the finished product, but about the process.

And it's also about continuing the legacy.  I come from a long line of stitchers: Quilting, sewing, embroidery, beading, needlepoint.  Every stitch I take, connects me with the women who came before me.  By teaching Lucy, I am connecting her with them as well, sharing our secret language of stitching. She is communing with her past as well as creating memories for her future.  

The stitch you take is in the past, but the product you make lasts into the future.  Sharing our knowledge and skills is a gift we give to ourselves and our children.

Stitch on.