Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On....


Someone (sorry not sure of original source) posted this on Facebook and it seemed to sum up what I was thinking today...


Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Journey

Another Mary Oliver poem has popped into my life several times in the last weeks ...

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Rain...


It has been raining softly here for the last few days, a little in the morning, more vigorously at night... today, Sunday, there has been a gentle rain all morning.  And man oh man my sinuses are happy for it! You see, I have those sinuses that clog up when there is a hint of low pressure and until it actually is released (rains), I have headaches and what I call "Charlie Brown head" (swollen and feels too large for my body). Today I am fine, no more headache and I can breathe! I love the rain!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Back from Oregon...



August zoomed by as did September. Then at the end of September into October I went back to Oregon. Lots of quilt shows, quilt shops, and bits of nature later... I am now home, sorting through hundreds of photos and wondering what I want to do with this blog... again!

And practicing yoga, and putting fabrics away, planning clothes and quilt projects, catching up with the cats...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ice Dyeing...

Recently I have become a fan of the mottled look of ice dyed cloth so I wanted to try it. Dharma Trading Co (where I got my procion dyes) has a tutorial HERE.

So last weekend when I was visiting my friend Leslie we did some ice dyeing.

It amazed me that even when it was 103 degrees outside the ice lingered.

A very bright t-shirt (still electric after washing).
Interesting note: the white you see are the threads which obviously were not cotton. Procion dyes do not dye synthetics.



 A piece of fabric also very bright. Perfect for a burst of color on a quilt piece! Thanks Leslie for holding it up!

And the blue-greenish ones I took out early and rinsed out to get some more or less pastels. Will be great as blendables on a quilt piece!



All in all the ice dyeing was so much fun I want to do it again! I think I will do it in a smaller scale though, maybe a small tub at a time since I do not have a lot of work room outside. I could use some blues into turquoise ranges next.

All of this was on plain old cheap muslin. I like the more coarseness of the fabric and the occasional bits of brown or other nubs in it. Plus it is so much cheaper than something like a Kona white PFD (prepared for dyeing). But I also have some of that so I will be trying it in the coming weeks as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Recent projects and plans to visit quilt shows...

I haven't made anything yet with the indigo fabrics although I did wear the tshirt to yoga the other day! I need to alter it a little though. It is a women's XL but the neckband is a little tight and it is not very well fitted. I think I will cut around the neck band and then maybe change the sleeves or even cut them off.  But for now, it was fun wearing the indigo tie-dye shirt to class!

So in the Modern Block Party class at Country Sew we did the Uneven Coins Block from the Modern Quilting Bee Block Party book we have been going through. I decided to turn mine on it's side and ended up with a small hanging. I still have the sides to finish.


I am also still working on a piece from the Out of the Box class at Country Sew. I still have a lot of stitching to do!



I decided a while back to try to make travel plans with some sort of event (quilting mostly) in mind. So in late September I am going to go to the NW Quilt Expo in Portland and then when I visit my sister the next week, to the Emerald Valley Quilt Show in Eugene.

My big decision now though is.... do I want to spend the money and go to the big big Tokyo International Quilt Show in January next year? I haven't been back to Japan since 1983 so I am sure it has changed a lot. Part of me wants to keep my old Japanese memories and part of me wants to just go and see what's new and the quilt show. Still thinking about this one!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Indigo...

Well I guess there isn't a better way to get back to my blog than showing some of the results from an indigo vat I made this morning!

I have dyed with indigo many times in the past but this is the first time in many many years. The vat making process is much easier these days if you do a kit, and although it isn't the same as the long slow involved process of days past (which some die-hards, still do -- get it? hehe ).  It is still indigo in my book.

So I started the other day by making up some bundles.

The Indigo Kit and a variety of cottons, tshirt, muslin squares, etc.

More folded, twisted, and otherwise scrunched muslin.

Then put off making the vat until today since this was supposed to be a cooler day (well, ok 89 compared to 90s or 100s).

There are a gazillion instructions for and information on indigo vats so I will not go into it here. I will list a couple of my favorites below or you can just Google it.

The indigo vat before use.

Things look green when they come out before they have oxidized into blue.

 Some of my shibori folds and ties.

 More designs. The white rectangles were made with blocks clamped tightly on the fabric.

A few more results.


I got the indigo dye kit from Dharma Trading Co. HERE is their shibori (Japanese tie dye) info page.

HERE is one of the many Internet references you might enjoy to learn more about shibori.

These colors will be a bit lighter after I wash them which is fine. I was mainly testing out the vat making and how easy (or not) it would be to work in my backyard.  Well and I wanted a few shibori pieces so I could make something. Been sewing a bit lately (more to follow on that).

So once again I have come full circle (hence blog title)... enjoying again some of the crafts I started out with in my 20s. Who knows, maybe now that I am no longer allergic to wool like I was for 40+ years I can get another spinning wheel and loom and really start over!

For now I have just found another thing that gives me joy to do in my retirement years. When did I ever have time to work?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A discovery about myself and yoga...

The other day I went to a vinyasa flow yoga class at another studio that opened near my house, and even though it was geared more for a beginner to vinyasa, I still found it as difficult as I always have. I keep thinking I will get into doing the faster flow yoga but it keeps not happening. A lot of it is the up and down movements, too fast for me now.


Then I went folk dancing again over at the Temple and had whatever a Jewish epiphany might be called: I like my yoga slow and my movement to be dancing. I think I always have and it somehow took a new awakening for me to see it again. I love to dance but do not go do it often enough. I am going to start going to Contra dance and English country dance again too. Since there isn't a NIA teacher in Sacramento these days (which was my dance exercise of choice for a long while) I will get back to folk type dancing.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Post Cards...

Another thing I finally did was get to the post office and found some new mail art in my box. So last weekend I visited my arty friend Leslie and while she did numerous amazing arty things, I got these mail art cards done and ready to go.








The backgrounds were already done and in my pile of "do something with these!" so I added dots and more dots and lines and a couple of quotes from this large print book Leslie had. I need to get over to my library sale book room and find a large print novel like this for cutting out totally random phrases!

I still have a large pile of finished backgrounds to play with. Maybe now that this 6 week long cold and cough is GONE I will be able to find that arty mojo that seems to have taken a hike and get more done!

Hamentaschen and some sewing...

I did these last week but am finally catching up on the blogging side of things... 


Ok they are pretty lopsided but they were still yummy. I love this time of year because the spring makes me think of hamentaschen, the 3 cornered treats that come out around Purim. I haven't made them for a few years because for a while Solo apricot filling had high fructose corn syrup and I don't want to eat that. Now they don't but the formula is changed. It is no longer that thick rich with apricots filling, but more of a gelatinous pie filling. Still it was what I had so I made them. I morphed a couple of recipes from online but mostly went from THIS one but they needed a little more flour and some baking powder.

And not only cooking... I did some sewing!

I took this WASHI dress class at Country Sew and here is the tunic version I made:



I took the class because there were some dressmaking skills in it I wanted to learn/relearn:  shirring, including hand rolling the bobbin with elastic thread, fitting darts (which I hate), and finishing the inside for a more professional look. I used her online sleeve addition too because I didn't like the little sleeve that came with it. I serged most of the seams and understitched the neckline as well as topstitched it. I forgot to serge the sleeves and when I look at it I can see the difference between nicely finished seams and those seams. Learning curve!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring is coming...

From a rainy winter we are coming into a lovely Spring...

Apricot blossoms...


Narcissus and daffodils...





Freesias...



 Tulips...



And a view of some of the front yard.


Looks like I have some weeding to do in the coming weeks!



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Back from Oregon...


I have been in Oregon... and Blogger did not function well on my tablet so I just didn't worry about it. Back now and going through my photos. I spent a few lovely days on the coast in windy and rainy weather. I loved it! And yes, I bought fabric! More info soon...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Back to quilting and the blog...

It has been a slow start but I am gathering old projects to finish and moving my sewing area into my art room and generally making a mess of things around here! I have started the process of changing where I sew. I was tired of using the eating table for my sewing because a) it is a small table and b) we never could eat at the table unless I cleared it off every night which I didn't...

So my other "art studio" room is undergoing a transformation into more of a sewing room and crap is everywhere! And now I am leaving for 10 days in Oregon and you know what? It will just stay a mess til I get back! Not going to worry about it!

But I did get the table runner I was making for my sister done and I will be giving it to her in a couple of days when I see her. She saw it mid-blocks but hasn't seen it done. And she doesn't get the cat! (That is Phoebe, dutifully watching what I was doing on the bed since I didn't have a long enough table to set it out!).



The back is just the purple fabric.  The surprise is that I got variegated green and purple thread and serged the edges instead of traditionally binding them like a quilt. I thought it was a cool more casual look and I love how it turned out!


A close up of the serging around the edges:


And now I am really jazzed to start some of my other quilting projects when I get back. I found a really cool lap quilt on Pinterest which I want to use as inspiration for my own modern scrappy quilt and then I have a lot of other unfinished projects (UFOs) to get done. My intention is one UFO a month or at least work on one as well as any other newer project. We shall see!

So now I am heading to Oregon, land of incredible fabric stores -- NOT that I need a single morsel of new fabric, but any of my quilting or sewing readers that has never stopped any of us in the past! Hah!

But I am also going to the coast and some other fun stuff so I will post some pix here and blog from my tablet along the way.  Aside from fabric hunting, my sister is having a big birthday bash, I will get to see another cousin later in the trip and who knows, yoga on the beach anyone?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wild Geese...

Today in yoga class Denice read Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.  This poem has flitted in and out of my life over the years. I first heard it when Jan Haag read it in our creative writing class at Sac City College many years ago. I had taken that class just as an easy way to get some units for my continuing credit for my teaching credential and it turned out to be a key turning point in bringing me back to writing.  Then I heard the poem a other times and most lately a few times in yoga classes at It's All Yoga. Seems a lot of yoga teachers like Mary Oliver poetry.  And again this morning, my first yoga class of the New Year and Denice read it to the class. I figured it was time I posted it so I would have it at my fingertips:
Wild Geese   by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

And HERE is Mary Oliver reading the poem.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Word for the Year... 2016






I had been thinking a lot about my Word for the Year lately... and even chosen one I thought might be good for it (play) and then in yoga class the last day of 2015 another word came to me that has taken a stronger hold in me.... BE.








The more I thought about it the stronger the word became. So many things have been pulling on me lately (who am I now that I am retired, what do I want to do with my life now, how can I make new habits that would make my life more of what I want it to be, etc)... and though all of it a simple breath and the one word just comes though... just BE. The rest will take care of itself.

So along with this came thoughts of what this new year's CDF's (core desired feelings a la Danielle LaPorte) would be. Last year my words were unencumbered, aligned, vibrant, connected, and mindful. I decided to rework a couple of last  year's words and add a couple of new ones. So for this year my core desired feelings are:

UNCLUTTERED: Still working on the unencumbered, decluttering thing and hoping to muster more energy towards it this coming year.
MINDFUL: I liked this one from last year and want to continue feeling it.
PLAYFUL: Incorporating the idea of play, I want this year to be full of movement (yoga, dance) and just more fun play!
COLORFUL: Feeling the pull to get back to art and sewing, wanting to incorporate more color into my life.
GRATEFUL: An extension of working on this in December (thanks mostly to the Facebook Gratitude group) I do feel grateful for so many things in my life. It seems like a good thing to continue recognizing what they are.

So with that I wish anyone who happens to stop by a joyous and wonderful 2016! Thank you for being a part of this chapter in my life.

Happy New Year!

I know I post this poem often but it is still my favorite for starting a New Year...

For a New Beginning
by John O'Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Potatoes...

I love potatoes. It thrills me to think that I can go out into my yard and pick my own. In my fantasy yard I would have rows and rows or barrels and barrels of little yummy taters. Considering that organic yukon gold or red potatoes are anywhere from $1.50 up to $3.00 or more a pound, it makes sense. 

In my real world however, my harvests are pretty tiny. But this was just an experiment. In September I took a few old yukon golds that had sprouted and were destined to be thrown away and chucked them into an empty planter barrel. Tossed some soil on them and as they grew, kept adding more soil and straw. Then I forgot about them. And yesterday morning when I went out to check the lemon tree I found the barrel. All the plants had died down so I figured I should check for potatoes. And I found these... not much but it did tell me they do grow in fall and into winter here. Like I said, an experiment. And I am sure they will be delicious steamed with some butter and dill.

I will try again in the Spring... 




Friday, December 25, 2015

Sunny Christmas morning...

After a few days of much needed rain, Christmas opens with a sunny sky and a lot of birds! I heard some hummingbirds fighting outside my window so went out to investigate. Apparently they all wanted to feed at the feeders, which of course was an impossible thing to photograph but I did manage to get one hiding in the shadows.


This is the orange tree they like to hang out in as it is right near 2 feeders. I am glad to see they are still around. I was wondering where they had gone when I didn't see them for a couple of weeks. Guess they hide out from the rain just like we do! This year the oranges actually taste good too! Goes to show what enough water and nutrients will do!


So out in the back my lemon tree is starting to show ripe lemons. Glad there are still a lot of them. A lot of the branches had to come down earlier so Andy could get the roofing materials in place for the carport roof that he re-roofed right before the rains came. Yay Andy!


And I am trying again for a small winter garden of greens. Hoping the rats stay away this time... some kale and lettuces are starting up again.



And I noticed my potatoes container had all died back so later today I will empty it out and see if I got any late potatoes.  Time to put some energy back into the garden!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cold...

As in, "Brrrrr it's cold outside!"  (for us anyway. Wasn't it just a month or so ago I was moaning about how hot it still was?)


I live near the top entry and was so very grateful for our new electric blanket this morning! On the good side... it is now cold enough to plant my tulip bulbs so I have been starting to work on the spot in the front yard for that. This is the area I started working on yesterday:


I got all the plants cleared out of the 4x4 planter and pulled up some of the other dead stuff. I will go back out later this afternoon when it has warmed up just a tad to tend to the soil and maybe get the bulbs planted. I got my usual favs (reds) as well as a bunch of purples and oranges to plant together in a clump. I love both of those colorways (ohhh can you tell I use fabrics? haha) so I am just planting them all, even if it sounds weird. More photos as I get working out there...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Reviewing...

The other day Tami was giving a workshop in our yoga teacher training session and through what she said reminded me of my Word of the year and the CDF's (core desired feelings based on the Danielle LaPorte book, The Desire Map). I realized it had been MONTHS since I had thought of those and decided to review them and see just where I stood with them...

My Word for the year in 2015 was OPEN. HERE is where I wrote about that.
My CDF's for 2015 were unencumbered, aligned, vibrant, connected, and mindful. HERE is where I list them but I see now I never really wrote more about them.


Now it is the week of Thanksgiving and many people are doing Gratitude challenges and such on Facebook and other social media. Or maybe preparing what they will say on Thanksgiving, the one day it seems we all have approval to feel gratitude. This has always been a hard thing for me. Not being grateful but expressing it. Lately there are a lot more articles online about how developing a gratitude practice is helpful in our lives and after so many years of cynicism I decided to tone my negative voice down and actually give it a try. So I joined the 40 day Gratitude challenge on Facebook and decided to take a look at thoughts and ideas I had set forth for my life and how this year played out.

Ok ok I am so grateful it is satsuma season (photo above)!! But seriously...

Starting with the Word for the year. OPEN. I think I have been more open to things happening this year. Where I think I have fallen down is being more open to accepting people as they are. Still needs work.

For the CDFs, I think I have had only bits and pieces of advancements with them:
Unencumbered: may need to use this one again next year. My house is still messy and I still have way too much stuff.
Aligned: I did better with this one and have a very positive feeling about bringing more yoga into my life. I am feeling more aligned physically but also mentally/spiritually. I have never been a religious person but I still feel there is some spiritual awareness that runs through my core. The yoga teacher training also helped me reawaken some of this curiosity.
Vibrant: I had hoped to do more art this year. Perhaps that is something again for next year. I have been feeling the loss of artistic mojo extremely powerfully these last few months.
Connected: Both good and bad on this one. I have been in touch with some people and relatives I had not been for a while, and some of that has brought sadness as well. Two of my cousins (one on my dad's side and one on my mom's) both passed away within a couple of weeks of each other last month. It makes me sad that I did not make more of an effort to stay connected. But also I have noticed the last few months I have been more introverted and have not gotten together much with people or made efforts to be more connected.
Mindful:  This one sort of laid dormant for a while then lately I am being much more mindful in several ways. Part of this is from an expanded awareness of mindfulness through the yoga training program and some of it is taking hold of my food issues and being more mindful of what and how much I am eating again.

So now I am thinking forward to next year and wondering if maybe I just need to give my words and ideas another year to percolate or is it time to choose a new word and cdfs? No hurry, no worries... just a thought that is taking hold this morning. This morning where I was grateful to wake up in a nice warm bed in a paid-for house.

What are you grateful for? Do you keep a gratitude journal? I am curious what other people are doing to align things/actions/thoughts in their lives... feel free to leave a reply.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Time to get going on this...

Been wasting time with computer games and avoiding all the projects I have in front of me for the last few weeks... just wanted to get some reminders down for myself here so I would have to make more of a commitment to myself to do them!

But here is what is going on -- 
1. The purple and green lilacs fabrics will now be a table runner per my sister's request rather than a lap quilt. 
2. I have decided to move my sewing area back into my art/crafts room. I have not been doing a lot of paper arts lately and I am tired of not having a table to eat dinner on (it is covered with sewing stuff). So I will start this project this weekend  -- step one is to clear off the messy table in my art room!


3. I want to make some lavender eye pillows for yoga class. I have one but to me it is too heavy, so I wanted to make a lighter one. 
4. I bought a new sewing machine! It's a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q. But I don't have it yet! I got it right before a big Viking trade show and the order just went in last Friday so maybe another week or so. Photos when I get it! It is a top of the line machine (for me) and has twice as large of a neck/throat than my little Baby Lock Grace. This should help a lot when free-motion quilting. Which leads me to my next item...
5. I am going to start on what I have been calling my Japanese taupe quilt. I am not sure it really follows the ideas of that style, but it is various shades of taupe and has some Japanese fabrics so, good enough for me! I may even try a few of the more complicated blocks from my Japanese taupe quilt designs books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One finished and a new one started!

I am pleased with myself for FINISHING a project I started! I am notorious for starting a gazillion projects (from taking classes or just on my own) and then never finishing them. Various reasons excuses, but mostly I lose interest and get started on something else that is more fun. This time I was determined to finish the little table runner we started in LisAnn's class at Country Sew (starting photos last entry -- learning how to machine quilt and add applique). I jsut needed to review a little how to do the binding and then how to finish the binding (thanks You Tube for those videos!)...


Had to remember how to add the binding strips together. THIS is a great Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial video about binding that I use!

 Here is the finished table runner laid out on my bed because at the moment I don't have a cleared off table to put it on!


And this shows the back -- some bright green with sort of yellowish-tan dots fabric I happened to have that went well with all the front colors. I think next time I would make a skinnier binding. I used 2.5 inch strips for the binding but since it is so thin, I think just a 2" binding strip (or at most 2.25 strip) would do so the binding isn't so large in the back. But since I don't really plan on using the back I suppose in the end it doesn't really matter!

So now that one project is done I can start on another one:  making something with a lovely 10" squares "layer cake" (all fabrics from a particular line) that I loved: Fresh Lilacs. I got the layer cake when I was in Oregon last year and never used it. I love greens and purples together so got it for "whenever"... and apparently whenever is now!  I am going to make a small quilt throw -- smallish for a quilt, something to just toss over when it is a little chilly. I think the finished quilt will be around 45" x 73". 


Here are the squares sorted into the lighter colorways.


And then the darker ones...


And now I have but and sewn them together (forgot to take a photo of this step) and now on to mixing and matching them up...


It is the same basic idea that I used when I made the Ajay's quilt a few years ago and was featured on another of the Missouri Star Quilt tutorial videos called the Double Slice quilt.


Then all the blocks will be mixed and matched to make the quilt, like I did for Ajay's quilt before. HERE is that one all spread out while I wonder what to do next!

Where I am now with this lilacs quilt:  sewing the blocks together (2 sets of slices) then will start rearranging and placing. More photos to follow!