For Now

I say this quite frequently — For now, this will be fine. For now, this is good. I’m ok with it this way, for now. Two little words that carry a ton of meaning.

FOR. There is purpose wrapped up in these three letters. Intention, will, focus and offering. This is FOR you. I do this FOR others, FOR myself, FOR my children. What is all this FOR? It is FOR our community, our family, our health, our bank account, our future well-being. Hopes, wishes, goals and purposefulness are all there in this small word.

NOW. Equally small, yet holding a universe, this word brings me in sharp focus into a moment I can actually touch and rest in. NOW is a time for us to really live our lives. NOW is the present which holds all our past and future. NOW we get to fully live, but we often squander it with worry about the future or regret over the past. NOW sweeps it all clean and says, “Here…come sit a spell in this chair, with this life, just as it is.“

I got a new spinning wheel! I can’t believe I now have a beautiful Ashford Traditional Wheel! I had been wanting one for a while…the shape of it, really, is what I loved, and the idea of painting another wheel seemed to suit the lovely shape so well.

As I spin on this new-to-me wheel and get to know its excellent properties (so different from my Louet which I promptly painted when I got it four years ago:), I find myself hesitant to paint it just yet. I say to myself and to my family who asks if I’m going to paint it…Yes, probably, someday…but for now I’ll leave it as it is.

I have pulled out a ton of scrap fabrics with the idea to make a quilt. I have laundered and ironed all the oddly shaped fabrics and have begun to cut squares wondering why in the world I think I need a quilt?! To what end is all this time making a simple scrap quilt going to lead me? What will it accomplish? Catching myself getting all spun up in future-tripping concerns, I happily concede that for now, it will be good to make a quilt.

I am learning more and more the goodness of living in the present moment. An overused phrase, it is under-used in our day-to-day practice. To be content for now, with things as they are is a wonder and joy to sink into. Even if NOW is difficult or painful…living for now strips the extra baggage and burden of what if? And why did? To live for now brings a sense of resting in what has been provided, releasing the grasping of attainment and achievement, turning from past hurts and regrets to accepting where the day has landed and living full into it, feet on the ground (or the treadles) and working with the fabric of the day for its own sake.

Letting life be for now doesn’t mean I won’t paint the wheel in future. Taking a detour into fabrics for now won’t mean that I have to make this my new main artistic medium. Who knows what might come of it? That isn’t my concern today. My job is to make a space for joy, grace, and presence in all that I am given just as it is in this moment.

For Now…I am alive.

For Now…I am content.

For Now…there is grace and mercy in abundance whether the spinning wheel gets painted or a quilt gets made…or not.

**As always, I enjoy your thoughts and comments here. Feel free to dialogue about this and how it strikes you, for now. 🙂

I Wish…

I wish I could paint or stitch for you the warm light streaming in our home this morning. Coming downstairs is often an awakening experience as we receive such lovely light through the eastern side of our windowed home. It was glowing through the shades, an autumn sunlight, warm and golden and a touch muted but only in color, not in brilliance.

I wish I could paint or stitch for you the day we spent at Price Park for my birthday this July. I sat there with my family by a quietly gurgling stream and sunlight danced all around us. I just took pictures. And made a sketch or two. No color. So amazing and overwhelming the beauty dripping from the trees that I knew any attempts at painting it would fall oh so short.

I wish I could paint or stitch for you the skies we have been seeing here up on Silver Dapple Lane. Nearly each evening, the canvas in the sky captivates with frolicking clouds, swooshes of color, and serene swipes of muted tones.

I wish I could paint or stitch for you the moon as I saw it a year ago, wrapped in a gauzy shawl, glowing through deep values of purple and blue night. I see it also in the daytime, like a small patch of lightly felted wool pulled and perched in the expanse of azure overhead.

I wish I could sail on a river of crystallite, into a sea of blue…just like Winken and Blinken and Nod. I wish I could tell you stitch by stitch a story of how this image runs through my life…childhood to middle age and everywhere in-between.

As an artist, I am trying to make wishes come true. To employ the magic of paper and pastel, fabric and thread, to tell you what I want to share with you. It all catches me by the throat and I want so much to inhabit these memories again and again, stroke by stroke, stitch by stitch, layer after layer of color and fabric. I scarcely want the making of a painting to end, for in doing so, I feel I must move on. In stitching I can hang out there a bit longer and lean into the story, the wish, the magic.

I wish I could stay longer in writing, painting, stitching. But I must away…daily living calls. I know I’ll see beautiful trees dripping with the first light of September. I’ll look for the moon suspended in the sky reflecting a light that is not his own, but rather is borrowed from a grand and glorious place. And I’ll walk in the light of the golden Sun as I run errands, unload groceries, and do laundry. In so doing, wishes of another kind are coming true as well!

A Making “Retreat”

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Hold onto your hat and grab a cup of tea…this post is long. Not in words so much as in pictures! Lots of photos documenting last week, the week in-between Christmas week and back-to-school week. I decided to declare it a Making Retreat Week. Well, the retreat part was really just imaginary. I wanted to imagine that I was off on a retreat somewhere to work on several unfinished projects. Some of them began many years ago. Some I started in December. My oldest daughter joined in the fun to start an amazing quilt, her first attempt at quilting! We had such a great week together, holed up in Genevieve’s Workshop, making things. We chatted and listened to music as the sewing machine whirred, the needles clicked, and the iron hissed. Wonderful memories were made, along with so many crafty projects:

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**New Year Bunting! I had begun this crocheted star bunting back in December to try to have in time for Christmas. Good thing the colors are for anytime, as it did not get finished until this Making Retreat Week. I also added lights all around the room! This is something I have wanted for several years in my sunroom studio!! So cheery and inviting in the wee hours of morning and during the evening darkness. With the added light to the room, Catherine and I could stay up working until late hours, which is unusual for me. But during Retreat Week, we stayed up until midnight a couple of times, working away on our projects!

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**Her quilt. Oh my does she have the natural knack for quilting or what?? Crazy beautiful color combinations, attention to corners and details…wow. I loved watching these quilt blocks unfold. She now has 11 of them. She also finished knitting a scarf and making two bow ties (not pictured here)! She’s a making wonder!

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**And with the bunting idea, I also made a little star garland for our mantel. I was so sad to have Christmas decorations gone, that I think I was trying to make things look as festive, just without the red and green stuff. 🙂 [BTW…that cute stuffed cat was made by Maddie last year as a gift for me! I love it so!] {And another BTW…these little stars are another Lucy of Attic 24 pattern. I love all her tutorials!}

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MyNewBoots**I finished Snowflake Sweater. If you missed the post on that, you can read about it here.  I’ve been loving wearing it as we have had really cold temps around here! And I’ve enjoyed wearing these amazing boots my mom gave me at Christmas, with my knitted socks! Winter is a knitter’s favorite season!

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**I put finishing touches on a shawl I had worked on all fall. Though I had finished the knitting earlier, I took time this week to add the little details and weave in the ends. I’ve been calling it Cream Confection. There is no pattern for this (except in my head:). It’s just a rectangle of various knitted stitches and yarns I had accumulated in the white/cream family of colors. I love all the textures!

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**My. Twiggy. Tree. I have been dreaming of making a Twig Tree for at least two years now. Finally. I did it! Using a lovely planter a friend gave me, I shaped a block of styrofoam to fit down in it. My husband had trimmed a branch or two off of our plum tree out front, so I cut off a limb, spray painted it white, and stuck it down in the styrofoam. Then I made little ornaments for winter: snowflakes (another Lucy of Attic 24 tutorial that I tweaked a bit), a few birds (my own pattern I’ll share with you someday!), and some other little baubles. This sits in our dining room, adding a festive touch there as well!! My plans are to change out the ornaments for each season/holiday as it comes along this year! Should be fun!

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**And finally, my own bit of quilting. This lovely quilt was made by my mom many years ago from fabrics she had used to sew my dresses when I was a little girl. I absolutely LOVE the colors!! She had hand-quilted 3 of the blocks and stopped. So it needed to be bound around the edges and for the remaining blocks to be quilted.  At week’s end, I had bound the edges, quilted the long perpendicular strips of fabric, and one of the remaining squares, but it has a lot to go yet! I’m determined not to stick it back into the bag I’ve stored it in all these years!! I want it for our bed, and so I will try to finish it soon!! Or…maybe just enjoy it as is!! That’s likely what I’ll do! (Note: my friend Ellen told me that this is called the Churn Dash pattern. Very cool!)

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On the last day of our Making Retreat Week, I woke early to come downstairs and begin to work. When I got there, Catherine was already working! I wondered if we were going to need some intervention to peel us away from our cozy crafty room. But no…life is intervention enough! What an amazing week it was to devote as much time to making as we could! Even though I still had laundry, dinner making, errand running, etc, it was lovely to set aside times each day for making things. And I think Lucy loved us being in there also, especially when we sat down so she could curl up in our laps with a quilt or some yarn.

Thanks for hanging in there with me for this post! I truly should’ve made several individual posts about each thing! I’m sure it would’ve been easier on your eyes and time!!

Love, Love, Love!!!!

Be still my beating heart!!!

This past Monday was a day off from school for my kids.  Maddie and I often declare such days, “A Making Day”.  Sometimes we work on something together, sometimes we work on our own projects silently, with music going, but nevertheless together.  These are sweet memories I will always cherish.

After making lots of other things, like origami, and crocheted rosettes, she disappeared to her room in the afternoon.  Hours went by and the only time I saw her was when she came down to ask me to tie the knot at the end of her needle and thread.  I didn’t think much of it, as I too was busy making stuff.

Long after dinner, she came downstairs asking me to close my eyes, hold out my hands.  And this is what she gave me.  Oh my heart.  Bursting.  Hugging. Exclaiming. Praising. Wonder.  Amazement.  A plushie gift made from beginning to end…FOR ME.  Oh my.

I thought at first it was an elephant.  But it is a Koala Bear.  Then I remembered her question to me that very morning, “Mom, tell me one of your favorite animals.”  I named my pink gingham Koala Bear Kaylee.  Kaylee the Koala Bear.  I. Love. It. So. Heart-to-bursting. Much.

It wasn’t until I was tucking her in, that I saw her little pattern she had hand-drawn.  Oh. My. Heart.  I think it might just fly apart with wings of sheer joy at the artist-maker in her…conceiving an idea on paper, drawing it out, choosing fabric she thinks I might like, hand stitching it together, stuffing it lovingly, sewing all the parts together, drawing the super cute eyes and ears on because, as she says, she forgot to SEW the eyes and ears on.  I much prefer the drawn ones!

I asked her to sign the back of it for me and date it.  She said, “Why?”

Because it is a lovely piece of art that needs your name on it.  And because i always want to remember this day. <sigh>