Every day before I go to work on any particular project, I gingerly open the door (partly out of anticipation, and partly out of a need to protect myself from a lot of the stuff that is stored in there that could fall on my head) and invite my Muse to sit on the couch with me.
I might just pick one or I might pick a whole stack. I might go upstairs and pick a Muse from the baskets and shelves in my sewing room. But, sooner or later I will settle in to soak up some inspiration and rev up the juices. "Be Creative. Be Yourself", my Muse whispers in my ear. (If you blow up the picture below, she will whisper it in your ear, too.)
The problem is this: Sometimes I soak so long, I get downright . . . pruney. Sometimes I muse for so long, there is no longer time to . . . create anything. Am I alone here, people? Does anyone else have the problem of looking at books or magazines for a long, long time before the thought enters the mind, "Hmmmm, perhaps I should quit reading about sewing and actually . . . sew." Ya think?
I am not necessarily looking for answers. The answer is relatively simple: Get out of The Stacks and into The Stash. I just want to know that I am not alone in my dilemma. I just want to have someone validate that it's okay if I loaf around on the couch from time to time.
I just want to be covered in fairy dust.
No . . . I'm not talking about qualifying my grand mothering skills, I am talking about the fact that my oldest grandchild . . . the ever-lovely Miss Dub (shown above) has become the sole caretaker, feeder . . . and hurler of a new "baby" . . . aptly named . . . "Baby."
It is true that Miss Dub has only recently turned that milestone age of 10 months, but to quote her mother's exact words, "she is ready for the responsibility." We have been fortunate to see video of the young mom in action. She makes every attempt to feed Baby her bottle. It is true that this involves rapid, sharp, jabbing movements, but there is no doubt that she means well. And, you can see here that as soon as she finishes her portion of Baby's meal, she will . . . hopefully. . . give some to Baby.
So . . . of course I did what every self-respecting great-grandmother would do. I made the new baby a quilt. As you can tell, it's not completely done what with the lack of an outer border and backing, quilting and binding, but I spent a most glorious afternoon yesterday, cutting and sewing the squares, dreaming of the day when I can give it to Miss Dub at her Baby Shower which . . . oddly enough . . . I have not received an invitation to.
So . . . a hearty congratulations to all the Dubs . . . may this exercise in responsibility translate as it should when it comes to potty-training and room-cleaning. And may our Baby be all snuggly warm under her quilt during the upcoming, teeth-chattering, Midwestern winter.
I really, really hope this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me . . . but I like to smell nice. I don't like an overwhelming smell, I just like a fresh smell. The problem is that I somehow have a body chemistry that keeps any scent that I apply to myself from lasting more than 7.65 minutes. And that just drives me crazy.
I once posed this quandry to the girl behind the perfume counter at the mall and she suggested that I "layer" my scents. Lotion + Perfume + Powder + something-more-I'm-sure. It didn't take me long to figure out that she was working on commission and that this daily routine was going to cost me my first born.
And then I discovered Bath and Body Works. Several years later and cupboards-worth of every scent they have sold during that duration and I have finally fallen in serious-scented-love. (Keep in mind that I have had the chance to sample every single scent they sell because they have this really tricky system of getting you to buy more than you intended to with 3/$10 and "buy 4 get 1 free" and a myriad of other potions that I fall for every . . . single . . . dang . . . time.)
So, in case you are interested, that scent is Dancing Waters. It's fresh and oceany -- with none of the seaweed. It's new so it only comes in Body Lotion and Body Splash and Eau De Toilette (ooh la la), but I will patiently await the hand soaps and body butters and room-plug-in-thingies. Problem is that sometimes they discontinue scents that aren't selling as well, so I am counting on you, my loyal readers (and mostly relatives) to buy some Dancing Waters so they don't discontinue it.
But, before you leave, what are your favorite B&BW scents? If you are not yet under their spell, what are some of your other favorite scents? I am very fond of garlic . . . and chocolate . . . but not together and not on my person.
Hmmmm . . . chocolate. Gotta go.
We have been out for hummus, cheered on the D'backs to a spectacular win, wrapped the PV Ward around our little finger and gone swimming and shopping.
But most of all, we have sat around in a circle while L'il Mr. Gee lays on a blanket in the middle and entertains us. Seriously, for hours and hours we have done this. Hours. Sonny Boy and the Mrs. have been particularly adept at trying to teach (by example, I might add) the little guy to master the art of crawling. He did sport his first tooth while he was with us so who knows what else he might suprise us with before the end of the day. Teeth or no teeth, that kids grins like there's no tomorrow and that's all that counts.
In the middle of it all we found out that our l'il Miss Dub was under the weather with four (count 'em 4!) new teeth coming through, and, because we were all "baby soft" our hearts broke all the more.
In a month we'll have the babies together at the beach. Don't expect any coherency out of any of us then.
in a land called Cyberspace.
There lived a Blogger Boogie-Man
commanding every place.
Some days he can be docile,
'til he has a scratch to itch.
Then he says, "What unsuspecting Blog
can I curse with a Glitch?"
"Oh, there's a blogger Rookie,
all naive and by-the-book.
I'll make her blog all slow and weird,
so no one wants to look.
He rubbed his hands, said "heh-heh",
and let go a little drool.
In the meantime, Miss "I'm-new-at-this"
was feeling like a fool.
She turned off her computer,
'twas too sad to even "blink".
She left it off for hours,
cleared her head so she could think.
In the meantime, unbeknownst to her,
The Blogger Boogie-Man,
moved on to other victims.
He has NO attention span!
So Bloggin's back and Blinkin' too,
it's simplehappy Bliss.
The Rookie faced the Boogie-Man,
and lived to tell all this.
And this is as far as I have gotten with my project.
An actual conversation held in our home yesterday:
PDaddy: Don't be upset if the answer is "two years ago", but how long have we had pictures of canaries over the bathtub?
Me: You're in luck, only about 3 weeks.
PDaddy: Phew . . .
As you may have gathered by PDaddy's hesitation, this is a conversation that is held in our home on a weekly basis. I buy something new, I display something new, something new is something old before PDaddy has a clue it ever existed.
Don't get me wrong, this usually works to my advantage. The "buy something new" part . . . probably . . . happens more than it should, especially as it applies to non-functional home decor items. I worry that the knick-knacks . . . knock him for a loop. I get concerned that he feels swallowed up in too much . . . pretty.
So, if he doesn't even know it was there in the first place, how bad can it be? It clearly isn't overwhelming, it is obviously at the height of good taste. Right PDaddy?
And the canaries were to die for. Eight bucks for two pictures at an antique store! There's only one word that can be used to describe that. "Cheap."
So, does this ever happen at your house?
So . . . Mary . . . what projects have you actually been working on, you know, . . . as we speak?
Why thanks for asking. I spent most of last week (when I wasn't figuring out how to post, checking my blog, reading other people's blogs and just "blinking" my brains out in general) working on these two little numbers.
They are actually samples to be displayed at this store and will be taught by me in October at that same store in Grandma's R Us Club. They are a pattern from a book called Winsome Baby by Nancy Halvorsen at Art To Heart. Other than using my own fabrics from my own Store (see disertation on The Stash) I followed the instructions to the letter (the letters "e" and "T" specifically). Which brings us to True Confession #1:
I have a really, really, hard time just following someone else's design and not veering off into La La Land when the slightest whim catches my eye. I have never understood how people can enjoy making something straight from a pattern. Except that . . . I really, really enjoyed making these. And frankly, that scared me just a little. (That would be True Confession #1A.)
So TC #2 would be this: I sew really, really slow. Seriously, it took me way longer than it should have to make these, especially considering the fact that I wasn't having to make creative decisions along the way. What is the deal? Could it be because I have never been one to put the "pedal to the metal" in my car or on my Bernina? Could it be because I stop all too frequently to admire my work? ("Now that is one mighty fine seam.") Or could it be because I only sew for 2 to 3 hours at a time?
Let's face it I have got to speed things up, if I don't want The Stash entirely willed to my children. In the meantime I need your help with two questions:
Q#1: Any tips on the speed issue? (My children would be grateful if you could also apply those tips to my driving.)
Q#2: Do you think Miss Dub and L'il Gee will like their new toys?
So . . . where does Baseball fit into the concept of home -- and sewing? Because it fits into my home . . . every single summer . . . and I wouldn't have it any other way. And besides, it's all about color.
You see, when I first met PDaddy, he informed me of one very important fact. He bled Dodger Blue. He was from Southern Cal and he rooted for the Dodgers and that meant they were an integral part of his very makeup. When we moved to the DC area, he was able to assuage his homesickness by rooting for the Orioles, (but . . . not to the point that he bled Oriole Orange.)
Only when the Diamondbacks came to Arizona was he able to switch his alligience . . . but not without some angst. We have had season tickets since the Opening Game, and when I witnessed him screaming and dancing around the family room the night they won the World Series, I knew some purple, teal and black were floating in there among the capillaries.
(The fact that they now sport Sedona Red really . . . stymies . . . me, but I'm hardly the girl to talk if you look at my history of hair and pillows-on-the-couch color.)
Moral of the story: We all bleed baseball. Even the grandkids have some red stitching in their veins. For instance, here is our darling granddaughter Miss Dub at a Cubs game this summer.
Ditto for L'il Gee with his dad (Mr. Gee) at an Angels game. All the Gees will be with us at a D'backs game next weekend. Hooray!
So, this is The Stash. Or -- more accurately -- a very small portion of it. Or -- to be honest -- this picture doesn't even cut the surface. But for the purposes of this post, it will do.
Every quilter has a Stash and she (I will always say "she" when referencing quilters, but that is only out of convenience and no offense should be taken if one does not fall into this category) displays it proudly to others quilters and sewers and friends. Oftentimes, portions of The Stash may be hidden from other "family members" who do not appreciate it's . . . grandeur. I am lucky enough that a) I keep my Stash in a closet where a simple closing of the door does the trick and b) my "family" (e.g. PDaddy) has no issues with The Stash and it's ever growing and blossoming nature.
And he shouldn't. Because I have rules where The Stash is concerned and I stick to them religiously. (And, let's face it, I am a religious person and don't throw that term around lightly either.) There are basically two rules:
Rule #1: Add to The Stash often* &
Rule #2: Always, always sew from The Stash.**
Perhaps a bit of explanation will help. *I prefer variety to quantity. I make smallish, scrappy quilts. As a result I see no need to buy 4 yards of any one fabric at a time. I buy half yards, third yards and fat quarters up the ying yang. Sometimes I'll buy 1 yard. Do I ever run out of a fabric I desperately need more of? All the time. That's why they call 'em "scrappy."
As to Rule #2** That closet is my own personal Store. When I am starting something new . . . I go to The Store. The choices are (somewhat) more limited than the actual fabric store, and that just makes life easier. I can stand there for hours at a time pulling out options and cutting off pieces of them as I make decisions. (Try doing that at the fabric store -- they really, really, frown on it.) Without exception, I always find what I need.
So, there you have it. The Stash. The Rules.
Most of the time I practice what I preach, but it's not always easy. Last night was one of those less than easy times. Our backyard has what one might call some . . . issues. Drainage issues to be exact. If it rains more than a drizzle for more than a few minutes, the water collects in a lake in the backyard and if it gets really bad it spills onto the patio and infringes on the back door. Last night it poured steadily for over half an hour. My attitude was bordering on the cranky side, and just like the rain, it was infringing on the house.
On only a few occasions have we had to take the most drastic measure which is to take brooms and push the excess water into the swimming pool. For any of you who own a swimming pool or have had to clean one -- pushing dirty water into it is not the brightest idea in the world. In fact the folks at your local pool supply store would downright frown upon it.
But as luck would have it, the minute we sat down to dinner a decision had to be made. "We" included myself, my son and his sweet new bride. (I had already called PDaddy to warn him not to drive home in the deluge.) I got up from the table and went outside to start the process, grumbling ever so slightly under my breath. (Missing a meal is not my idea of a good-time-had-by-all.) The next thing I knew, Sonny-Boy was pushing along side of me and his wife was begging to take my broom. Turns out, she thought this was the most fun thing EVER! We stayed out there together in the much lowered temperatures, under the patio (where getting struck by lightening chances were . . . minimal) and sloshing around the water in our bare feet like kids.
So I guess I was right about attitude all along. I'm just hoping PDaddy felt the same way at 6 o'clock this morning when he had to clean the pool.
(I am well aware that the picture . . . has issues, but she was just moving so dang fast, it was the best I could do.)