As I sit at the sewing machine preparing another block for a quilt, my eyes wander to a stack of fabrics I set aside to make a doll. There are shades of blue, some red prints along with wool scraps. Next to that is another stack which is for the Civil war reproduction quilt I want to make. Those fabrics I set aside to work on when its cooler outside. I see them as great comfort fabrics for when the snow is blowing. I know that is not a good thought, snow, but yet it still happens.
I participate in a few quilt sit and stitches where we are always swapping fabrics and scraps, this is like giving away your first born or the all time favorite sweater perhaps. Because I do a variety of sewing projects I don’t know what I need six months from now. I keep lots of little scraps for my dolls dresses, quilt blocks, or scrap quilting. So therefore, I have lots of fabric in many colors, and its great eye candy. If I’m stumped for how to dress a doll or a witch, I can look through numerous fabric bins for inspiration.
It is also a blast, to go on shop hops, all the fabric stores always have great selections to choose from, we get a chance to see whats new and buy more fabric. One might say more fabric, are you kidding. Of course, some collect shoes or purses, others enjoy sports memorabilia. Me, its fabric. My mother had this theory with clothes or shoes, if you haven’t worn it in six months it needs to go. Well, I will always remember that. I cleaned out my closet of things I haven’t worn in more than a year and donated them to a very worthy cause to help the homeless. But as for my fabric, I have to ponder that a bit longer before I separate myself. After all, if a rag doll needs a scrappy dress or I have a need for 30’s fabric, it can most likely be found in my stash. So thanks Mom for the advice, but I can’t apply it to my fabric, and don’t get me started on the buttons or the embellishments, or the crazy quilting. Until next time, I’m adding the finishing touches to my Crazy Winter sampler, it is so pretty.
Time passes by, days turn into weeks, the next thing you know five whole years have gone by. I still miss your face, your smile like it was yesterday and I was saying good bye after the holiday weekend. I still recall sitting by your bed at the hospital praying you would soon be well. I would be stitching on my quilt or doing some embroidery and you would watch me, commenting on how much you loved my work.
I’m still quilting Mom, I enjoy it very much, I’m still making dolls, and as you would expect, life goes on. But I look at life differently now. We can never get back what we had with you, but I can share memories of you with my grandchildren. I can remind those I love, “Mom did it this way,” or if Mom were here we would do it like this. Your memories will go on forever, I see your face when I look at Olivia, our granddaughter. She has your spark, I see you in my sister Kathy, who is a very strong young woman.
A lot has changed in five years, some for the better. We work harder to stay in touch, although it isn’t always easy. But you would be proud to know that we try. As I take another stitch in this quilt I think of you, there will always be another quilt, but only one you. I am blessed to have had you in my life and to be your daughter. With all my love.
Last year I was a speaker at our DWW writers conference, it was a great day. My topic was building your character, fleshing it out. Those in attendance seemed to enjoy the workshop, I know I did. Writing is hard work, especially when you balance it with work, life and other interests.
Writers are good people, we are like all of you, some of us just have many facets to our thought processes, you know two or three, sometimes ten characters in our heads. Don’t get me wrong, that is the life of a writer. For me, I’m not complaining, its another day just hoping I can get them all down on the paper. There might be three children talking at once, the cat whispers and I’m creating a dialogue between two women.
It is real.
But oh so entertaining, my only thing is not enough hours in the day. Some days those characters just have to wait their turn. Meanwhile I go to work, walk the dogs and cater to those who need me. I must say that the conference was a foot in the door to just one of many doors to open for me in the months to come.
Some say “oh you’re a writer.” I want to be a writer, oh that must be easy.” You’ve got it all wrong, I say. One must have the dedication, the passion to be a writer. It takes drive, it takes devotion, and knowing when to miss the party because you have to write. If you have a day job, I find it much more difficult to get it done after being at work all day, I’ve got the tired mind syndrome.
So this is where you buckle down, stick your self in the chair turn out the noise and get it done. Writing is hard work, but it to me is so rewarding. Building stories, characters from out of your head on to the paper is good stuff. For me there are a million little characters in my head that all want my attention at the same time, its like pick me….. no pick me.
I love my writing, its just when someone says oh I want to be a writer, they are usually clueless. Once the story idea begins to build, then you can go anywhere you want with it, I often take it with me to work on in my spare time, but that too can be distracting. I’ve done many jobs over the years, some were great, but I love this one, because I did it myself from nothing and it is so rewarding that it doesn’t feel like work. Love what you do and you’ll always be happy.
The quilt that I’ve put many long hours in to is all done but the binding. This quilt is for a competition, I have entered them in the past. They are very challenging, who doesn’t love a challenge. This one though was not easy. It takes lots of creative effort, dedication helps too.
The fabrics used were mostly batiks, with lots of embellishments, charms, threads and so on. At the time I started it, I was also working on two others, can’t waste time you know.
So now it has to be registered and then I wait. It was at this time last year I was in New York to see my beautiful Grand Central quilt hanging in Grand Central station. That was quite an honor, a once in a lifetime event that I won’t soon forget.
It was a thrill, I waited and waited for that letter or phone call to say that I had won. It was a long wait, trust me. I received the news by letter, that I was a finalist. My world started spinning, what exciting news.
I went to NY with my daughter in law, there she was in all her glory. I had the chance for photos, and to meet the other quilters. Grand Central station is a beautiful treasure, we even had a tour. What fun.
Its ironic that I’m now getting ready to send off another little part of me to share with the world. Now I just have to be patient and wait and see. No since just waiting idly though, I’m off to my sewing room to finish another quilt.
Well a little bit of Spring is in the air. This usually makes me want to jump up and start cleaning, but I won’t. It’s Friday and I’m visiting with Mama kitty. She needs me more than I need a clean house. Pets are often are best friends, I just returned from walking my dog who loves that he can finally get out for a much needed stroll. Some of my pet friends are like me getting up their in age and we need to look out for each other. That same person who likes to go overboard on the feedings is back at it again, only this time its the fish.
Now I ask you, how do you make a fish fat, well you don’t. But by adding to much food you muddy the water, to much food that the fish can’t consume it all ends up as waste, which causes problems in the tank. Now its that new parent syndrome again, I feel inadequate. Standing in line at the counter in the fish store, I’m told everything that is wrong in the tank. Don’t point your finger at me, I say. This is the culprit, the same one who made my dog to fat to move, and Tiny Tillie is no longer tiny. There is no point in writing it down, he won’t read it. He already knows it all.
If he wants to go overboard, he could leave a few extra dollars in my wallet to go shopping, he could offer to clean the kitchen more than once a week, I mean really clean the kitchen.
Then he could offer to vacuum, but only when I’m not home. He’s to thorough, I mean he takes to long, and the vacuum is noisy. But thinking of Spring, I’m glad its almost here so I can enjoy walking my dogs, and have windows open again.
Spring is like a new beginning after a long cold winter, I don’t have to fight with all the heavy sweaters and boots. Now I will continue with my latest quilt project, its for a competition that I’m excited about. Lots of good things happening, just bring on the sunshine. The birds are chirping, it must be time to get to work.
We all have friends, girl friends, boy friends, church friends. I even have quilting friends, lots of them. They are my go to friends, we share fabric, buttons, scraps and stories. We share stories about love and loss and a broken heart or two. I don’t know what I would do without my friends from near and far. But one of my bestest, did I say that right is Mama Kitty. I tell her everything, she listens patiently, I know she understands and she stays by my side faithfully every day when I come home from work.
Mama Kitty has been getting weekly iv treatments because like me she is a senior kitty. She takes it all in stride, she never complains and she knows she is loved. Mama has been my best friend for some fourteen years now, she came to me about to give birth, she had five kittens. Her tiny little frame had five babies, who knew. To this day Mama still has a tiny body, but a heart as big as the moon. She has the sweetest personality, when she is not at my side she is laying in the sun, the
warm rays streaming across her face.
I referred to Mama and I as seniors, we are growing old together, except there are days when I feel that I to have lived nine lives, my achy, creaky bones not wanting to move an inch. But together we carry on. She even helps me with my quilting, offering to lay on it while I stitch. She is quite a treasure, one I hope will be with me for a long time.
Of course we all know that Spring is still a few weeks away, but we can at least think of warmer weather. Is that to much to ask? We have been in the single digits for so long now, my achy bones are becoming resentful. That walk down the stairs to my sewing room is getting more difficult as each day passes. I need heat, this body is one day going to refuse to come out from under the covers.
My birds need me, my cats need me, but more importantly my fabric, help. My sewing room is cold, when I pick up my scissors to cut, they are cold. C’mon Spring, I need you. I have moved half my stuff to another room to sew, but that is when my bones talk back to me, “oh no, not another trip downstairs to that cold room again,” voice. I no sooner get warm and then I must hurry off to work. It is starting to affect my creative juices, its to cold to think some days.
There are better days ahead, at least we have sunshine and smiles, albeit frozen, but there is so much to be done for the quilt show, the writers conference and I have new challenges to work on. I’m finishing up a Downton Abbey mini quilt, but also doing a quilt for the Quilt Alliance with a dog theme. I’m also working on a quilt for cancer on behalf of my sister. Some of you know I lost my sister Deb to ovarian cancer recently. I’m doing this quilt to honor her, can’t wait to see it finished. I miss you Deb, some where on that quilt will be purses for you. Because you loved your purses, like no one else ever could. And I’m almost certain heaven is a little brighter with you there, and it’s already Spring, and a ray of sunshine.