Out with the old, in with the new

We all know it’s been a crazy year and it will soon be over. That’s great because I have plans, lots of them. I have spent the last two weeks cleaning and purging my house of things I don’t need or that have just simply been around too long. I’m ready to start fresh, dive into the next chapter of my quilting book, and make new quilts. Yes, quilts.

I have on my work table a crazy quilt in progress, and an applique project that is long overdue.But first let me say Happy New Year to all. Let’s make 2021 the best ever.

New book, new adventure

I’m ready for this next adventure with another new book, and new character. His name is Noble, he’s smart and he loves Science. What he doesn’t like is girls, except for his mom. But everywhere Noble looks he sees girls, down the street, in the store. He sees them in the library, he didn’t even know that girls like to read, except for his mom, of course.

Noble likes to tinker around in his room with things his dad throws away like old wires and light bulbs. But Noble saves everything, he likes to study them and because he likes Science, he will find a use for them.

So while we are all keeping a social distance from one another and staying warm by the fire or curled up on the couch with a your favorite quilt and the dog I will be busy writing and revising “Noble.”

Perhaps you will follow Noble on his next big adventure and find out if ever there is a special girl along the way.

Crazy quilting memories

Wow! How time flies when you’re having fun? Crazy quilting is just one of those things that I enjoy doing. It was in 2011, that I did an interview with Jocelyn Brown from the “Detroit News,” Homestyle section. It was my take on a crazy quilt using Christmas fabrics. At the time she interviewed me over the phone and sent out a photographer to take pictures. The anniversary of that interview just came up. I still find it hard to believe it was that many years ago. I’m still quilting and I’m still fascinated by crazy quilts.

After that article ran in the paper I got a call from a lady who had a crazy quilt she wasn’t interested in keeping. She wanted to give it to me, I thought, “Why not?” It is truly beautiful and once I got a chance to really give it a good look, I saw that it had several places that needed repair. The quilt is done with crazy quilt blocks but not stitched down with decorative threads, but it is lovely just the same. The crazy quilt wall art that was the focus of the interview is done in very simple details, but oh my. I’ve learned so much since 2011. Now I add buttons, ribbons and lace medallions, There is also many little trinkets, flowers and charms that I add to my quilting. And yesterday, I was gifted a mug rug from a member of my Cameo Quilters group. I can’t tell you how surprised I was that it came from my friend Cindy and she did it in crazy quilting. It’s a work of art, she loves crazy quilting too.

I’ve been working on a new piece lately, it’s a small one. Sometimes the smaller ones are easier, but so much fun to stitch and embellish just the same. When I’m stitching a new piece or one that I’ve had for awhile I’m always in the company of my dogs and cats, after all how can I sew without them?

New book, new adventure

I’ve started on a new book adventure today, it is early December and its the perfect time to write. My day started early, I walked my dogs, because with no walk for them there is no happiness. They just know, “Time to go.”

So yes, when it rains or the weather is just bad, then they watch me while I get my walk in my trust treadmill, and we hope the weather changes for the better. That doesn’t always happen, so it just means more trips to run around the backyard and keep the towel to wipe their feet handy.

Back to the book, while the little 5 and a half pound dog, who thinks he’s a baby is curled up in my lap, I write. And I write some more. On days when I don’t work outside the house, I get lots of writing done. It is so freeing to have the time and the ideas are there. I’m up to ten chapters on the first book, which is all about my quilting, it’s going well. The other book is in revisions and I’m so ready for you all to meet Noble.

Noble is a very bright boy for his age, he loves school but especially Science. He just can’t get enough, his mother often reminds him to go out and play like the other kids, but Noble has too many things to do. Did I mention girls, no not yet. Noble doesn’t like girls, well except for his mom. He is known to cross the street if he sees a girl coming his way, but wait. There are girls in his school, he has to find a way to avoid them. Will he, you ask?

I’ll keep working on Noble and the quilts, stay warm and safe. And stay tuned.

A crazy quilt that was gifted to me after the article in the “Detroit News” back in 2011.

Quilting for the love of it.

I’ve been sewing and quilting for many years, after I walk the dogs and feed the animals sewing is my normal. Oh sure, I never forget about my coffee. I must have my coffee. When I go to bed, I say goodnight to the husband and the dogs. but just know, I’ll sleep more restful if I’ve got my sewing time in.

As a quilter I love to share my quilting with others, that could be trying to teach someone how to sew or making a quilt for a loved one. There is a greater joy that exists for me in quilting and that is giving back to others. I grew up in a large family and that meant we shared with others always. I’ve made and shared my quilts with a group out of Ohio, “Quilts of Compassion.”

This group takes in quilts from other quilters all over and delivers them to victims of tornadoes and disaster situations. I love knowing my quilts are out there making a difference in the lives of those in need. I will never know or perhaps meet any of these people who receive one of my quilts but I feel like some how I’ve wrapped them in love from a distance.

Giving back means the world to me. My husband is a veteran, and of course a wonderful man too. I think about all of our veterans everyday, and more importantly, their lives matter too. They matter a lot. I’m proud to say I make quilts for veterans too. It puts a smile on their face and they know they matter to someone. Our veterans gave a lot for us to be free, for our freedom is sometimes taken for granted. My goal is to wrap as many veterans in comfort with a quilt as I can. My dogs who are always by my side keep me company as another quilt is completed, whether it be a kid quilt, or a veteran it’s for sure going to bring lots of smiles, theirs and mine.

Idle hands

I feel sort of in between projects right now. There are several almost done, that just need a bit of tweaking, and many more that will be done soon. A bit of wool here and there, a few flowers and I’m good to go.

But then there are the writing projects, those are really taking up a lot of time. Who ever said writing is easy is so wrong. I’m currently sticking with two projects which are both novels.  One is my YA novel, I’m half way through, which is farther than I have got in a first draft in quite some time.

The other is adult fiction which I’m happy to say is also half done. These characters are in my head, they speak to me. Writers write, I write daily. I take advantage of snippets of time some days. Other days when there are no interruptions I can write for longer  periods and knock off two or more chapters.

My birds are chirping in the background, so happy and the words just fly one after another. Today however, the words didn’t come. I said a final good bye to someone very special. That is all for now. God bless and enjoy the sunshine.

Freeing the mind

If you have ever had a serious injury or surgery you can probably relate to how I feel. The pain had been ongoing for many months, getting worse as time went on. I was at my wits end, I was not only in horrible pain but my writer brain was frozen. Oh, I had plenty of thoughts, they just wouldn’t pan out. When ever I got one of those thoughts I sat down to write, a sentence or two, but then it was gone. Gone like the wind, and whatever I had written down made no sense. 

I was in trouble, I turned to my quilting. At least I had that. I wanted to get as much done, pain permitting as I could before the surgery. I was told it would be a few weeks before I would be able to do much of anything. The thought of just sitting around all day didn’t sit well with me. What to do?

Meanwhile the creative block was still there, I had words scribbled in note pads everywhere, again none of it made sense. I took up my stitching, it was all I could do. It was easy enough to take some small stitches in an embroidery project I had started weeks earlier. The pain meds were really doing a number on me. Then the day of the surgery came, I went under. Afterwards I was pain free for about 24 hours, it was amazing. When the pain block wore off, I was miserable.

It has now been four weeks and I’m doing well, I have gotten back into quilting, the creativity has come back almost full swing and I have started a new book. I’m so excited about this one I don’t know what comes first, walk the dogs, write or drink coffee.But actually they all go together, walk the dogs and think about the characters, drink coffee and write and then quilt. The thoughts about character and plot come to me while I’m quilting and or drinking coffee. And I can’t help but think about the next scene while walking my dogs. They keep me on my toes always.

This book and quilting will keep me very busy for many months to come.

Moving forward to the new year

Here I sit with my puppy at my side. He is tucked in as if we were together in a big cocoon in a winter storm. He loves to cuddle, his tiny wet nose against my cheek when I hold him close.

He doesn’t know it yet, but most of the time I will be rooted in the chair crafting my next story, will it be the fish story where he swam to far and couldn’t find his way home. Or perhaps the one about the two birds trying to fly. Who knows at this point.

What I know is that there will be writing, lots of it. Some will say I’m being anti-social due to the fact I need to write. I live to write. Being a part of Story storm helps me to stay focused and get the word count in for the day.

Write on I say. Write on.

A Quilters hands getting dirty

Recently while getting ready for another craft show, I was putting the finishing touches on a small quilt that I would be adding to the inventory. I had a long list of things to do that Friday before the show, one of them was to water my plants. One of my african violets was displaying for me the prettiest pink bloom. I had not seen a bloom on any of them in several weeks. One of the older violets seemed to be struggling a bit. 

       When I examined its roots, I knew why. It was in a pot too large, I had read somewhere they like to be in close quarters, sort of like me and my sisters growing up. I decided it was a good time to examine all of the violets because the others weren’t blooming either. I rolled up my sleeves, gathered some pots from a friend, and made room to get to work. Well in order to accomplish this task without to many interruptions I took my dogs for a walk first. The fresh air was a welcome break in the day, the birds were chirping, there were plenty of leaves down. The fact that it is November gave me a gentle reminder that at this time last year, the leaves were covered in snow.

When I got back home I refilled my coffee cup and set out to give my violets a new and better home. I know….its a dirty job but so necessary for the life of the plant. Two and a half hours later, all the violets in the bay window in my kitchen look much healthier and happy. I ventured into the diningroom and took a look at some violets there, these were much newer plants but they needed a slightly larger pot to grow in. African violets don’t have a large root base, even though they may look like a bigger pot is the better choice. I have learned, smaller is better.

           I must have been too long away from my dog, he was jumping at me. He wanted his mama and it was time for me to take a break.  I picked him up, gave him some love and turned to stare at my work. My bay window looked rather spacious, what with all the plants in the proper pots. I intend to do more transplanting over the holiday. But for now my dog and I have discovered an empty chair where he will sleep and I will take a few stitches in my quilt project. Is it any wonder that the design in the quilt is flowers. I like to think of it as a thing of beauty.

Bailey, I miss you

What a lovely fall day this is. I was out early walking my dogs, the fresh air in my face. Anticipating my first cup of coffee and the blank page.  With too many years behind me, I had dreams of one day writing a book about my birds. I actually did start the writing process, I have several chapters of the first draft written. Then work got in the way, my mom and sister were both sick, there just didn’t seem like a right time to spend working on it. So I put it aside.

Then came another writing workshop and I brought out the half done pages of the book. I loved what I had completed but once again I let life and work get in the way. But why did I have so many regrets about not finishing the book. Maybe because my love of quilting took over. I was sewing and quilting non-stop. I’m programmed to quilt, and ideas are everywhere.

I’ve always been a writer, the ideas are everywhere and I go to workshops. I admit to having many interests and passions that carry me away. One of those passions is my pets, let me just put this out there, get it off my chest. Bailey, my baby, the love of my life, my African gray. He made every day wonderful, such a sweet bird who thought he was human. When he took his last breath, it was gut wrenching. The pain of losing him is still there, like losing my mom and my sister.  Bailey was family. Not only did I lose Bailey but my other birds lost a good friend. My Harvey, my Amazon parrot felt the loss as much as I did. Grief and loss are a big part of living with pets because they are your family. I know now that is why I stop working on the novel, that chapter hasn’t been written.

Time has passed and I think, no I know I can get it done. It won’t be easy but I will get it done. My non-fiction novel is back on my radar and I will see it finished. One day soon I will be able to type, The End. I’m excited. Bailey wherever you are my love, I miss you every day.