Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What's One More Box?

After a week with both a new baby and a new job, I was pretty sure that my son-in-law needed some move slow and be quiet time and - of course - the family needed some bonding time SO...

... I magnanimously went fabric shopping with Mary. I know! Wasn't that just amazing of me? This is Mary and I's third or fourth time shopping together - plus - lunch and we always have fun. We went to two Fabriclands as well as Out Of Hand and came home with some goodies.

At left is a grey and black striped tube knit. I'm debating turning part of it into yarn to co-ordinate but we'll see what actually happens. In the middle is a mere meter of a wonderful floral. I have no idea what the fabric content is as the bolt was missing and this was all that was left. The fabric at right is a purple-ish taupe denim. I bought five meters as a contender for the coat challenge I'm sewing with my friend Claire.

Here I have five meters of a heavier weight, textured cotton and five meters of a black striped, wool suiting - also contenders for the coat challenge.

Out Of Hand had a fabulous collection of buttons. I could have bought LOTS and LOTS but settled on these two with seven of each. There were some black rectangular and circular buttons that would have been perfect for a coat but it seemed a good idea to know which fabric I'm working with first. Mary said that she'd be perfectly happy to go back and get them if/when I decide. VBG - I may need to help her, just to be sure I get the right ones.

On Saturday, I put these two fabrics back and on Sunday, I went and bought them. The turquoise cotton was tickling in my brain and it was sitting exactly where I'd left it on the floor beside the cutting table... with the black/grey/white floral... which I've bought before... and sewed something I didn't like... and so... sigh... it came home too. What's one more box of fabric to move? My daughter asked if I'd bought "the pink" and when I said no, she said I HAD TO go back and get it. Hmm... my very own enabler.

Here's Grandma and her grand-boys. We're having such fun together. It's hard to believe that Keith is only a week old. It'll be tough to leave on the weekend although - LOL - my car may not make it as loaded down as it's become with visits to fabric stores and Ikea. I've picked up just a "few" things for the new house and I may need to make one more trip for a storage unit AND perhaps  a pair of grey linen curtains that keep calling to me, and are priced really reasonable, with more than enough fabric for something... perhaps a coat. I'm attempting to resist. I could lose this battle.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - friends, family, fabric

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Adorable Times Two

Two Saturdays ago I drove back home and last Saturday I turned around and returned to Calgary since my daughter was going to be induced on Sunday and Grandma was needed to look after grandson one.

I've known for a while that the baby was a boy but I didn't know his name although Daimon - his big brother - did. Whenever I suggested he tell Grandma the name, he'd say "NO" with all the force and enthusiasm a two year old is able to say no with. Hmm....

Keith Daniel was born weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces in the very early hours of Monday morning just missing sharing a birth date with his Uncle Aryck. He is - of course - adorable which makes my grandsons adorable times two.

I feel quite honored to share these first weeks with my daughter and her family. I'm making sure to give them family time just the four of them especially for that first moment when Keith got to meet his big brother. He had a gift for him - a drill and a hammer and other tools - and now Daimon is totally thrilled with this exceptional baby who knew exactly what he wanted although...

... there has been a bit of adjusting to the new reality of having a baby brother. Baby in theory is definitely different than baby in reality. My daughter and son-in-law are doing a great job of giving both boys the attention they need and I am - LOL- totally happy to hold the baby when help is needed.

Today, my son-in-law is at work, Daimon is at day home playing with his friends, my daughter and Keith are home having quiet bonding time, and I'm at Starbucks writing this post and journal writing.

The sun is a beautiful red ball in the sky because of all the smoke in the air that's blowing this way from the fires in Washington. Howard said that at home in Kamloops he can barely see across the road with all the smoke that has settled in the valley. He's flying to Calgary on the 5th for some meet the new grandson snuggly moments and then driving home with me on the 6th.

By then, my help will no longer be needed and the family of four will be functioning quite well on their own. Good thing because I'll definitely need those few days to get it all together before we get possession of our new house the next weekend. This has certainly been a busy year, full of delightful events, and even so I'm looking forward to a quiet fall and winter. YES YES.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a healthy baby

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Synonyms For Studio

If you're only posting once a week and you miss a week, that's two weeks between postings... which feels like forever since we've talked last... only there's not all that much new to say. I'm still doing a lot of knitting - triangle scarves that start with one stitch and increase to 350 stitches - and it's repetitiously soothing but not nearly as satisfying as sewing. This morning, if I've arranged things as well as I hope I've arranged them, I should have a couple hours to sew before my appointment. LOL - it's about time!

I spent the 6th of August with my friend Caroline who lives 2100 miles north of me. We met when we were sixteen and she's my oldest friend. Both of us love to sew so we spent time going through my closet looking at what I'd sewn since the last time she visited. As soon as she tried on the magic dress, it was into the studio to trace my alterations for the bodice. She said it fit just perfect. She's the third person to trace my alterations so I guess my perfect fit is fairly standard - VBG.

On Friday the 7th, I was in Salmon Arm for the afternoon knitting group. These women are my newest friends and they've been incredibly welcoming and supportive of my move. Before knitting, I dropped off the deposit cheque and signed the subject removal form and when I drove by the house a couple hours later, the sold sign was up. It's official. I am moving.

On Saturday the 8th, I went to Calgary to help take care of my grandson. My daughter is 37 weeks pregnant and more than ready to be done. She'll be induced at 39 weeks so I'm expecting to hear the delivery date any time now and then I'll be going back for a week or two. There was no posting last week because I was playing with my grandson. If there's no posting next week, I'm playing with my grandson... and the new baby... whose picture I'll want to post as soon as I'm allowed.

Yesterday I packed 30 white boxes, one wardrobe box, and one large mirror pack. These boxes are in addition to the ones stacked upstairs. I'm almost done but not quite. There will be at least six more white boxes, possibly more. I was starting to feel a little sheepish writing studio on all of them so I started using synonyms like knitting, jewelry, dye supplies, s-books, and computer. It all goes to the same room so it all means the same thing. For a minimalist in the rest of my house, I have a lot of stuff in the studio BUT...

... it's all potential. I packed away a whole bunch of projects that I'm really excited to get to work on. One of my goals is to work in series and that doesn't necessarily mean a garment series. I packed six identical small boxes with lids, eight spiral bound covers from journals with their pages torn out, a huge bag of "bracelets" that were made from the core that yarn was wrapped around, five large balls of yarn made from ribbing, some necklaces that I want to explore in fabric, the bag of grey beads I started a couple months ago, and more... much more.

Series work is VERY stretching. With my textile art, it was a common way for me to work. With fashion sewing, I've sewn quite a few of one t-shirt pattern but I haven't focused on really pushing the series idea and - why not - because I certainly have the supplies to stretch with. In fact, I may re-live a challenge I set ten years ago which was to spend a year using only what's in my studio. I grew tremendously in many ways.

Your tools can become dull and your senses numb when you consistently apply the same old methods. The creative act is inherently risky because it requires you to step out into uncertainty.

When you schedule time for Unnecessary Creation, you create a safe space to experiment with new ways of working. You get to try and fail without dire consequences. You can create what's in your head rather than adapt what's in your head to someone else's expectations. 

In my creative study - Manage Your Day-to-Day - the last chapter focused on Unnecessary Creation referring to work with no strings attached. The two sections quoted above resonated. While I'm looking forward to living in and being part of a creative community, I won't be socializing all the time. I want to do some serious unnecessary creating and really play with ideas, see what develops, and share my discoveries in person and on the blog. Once I'm settled, I plan to spend three full days a week in the studio exploring ideas. YES YES - I can hardly wait.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a mostly packed studio and some sewing time this morning

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two Sticks And Some String

July is the first month in years and years - beyond memory - without a stitch of sewing although thankfully I had knitting. Without any making at all, I'd be a very crabby woman and I am absolutely positive that my family is grateful for two sticks and some string to keep me sane.

The purchase of the house in Salmon Arm was subject to an inspection which was scheduled for this past Monday. After searching every nook and cranny, we decided it was a solid house with great potential and have gone ahead with the purchase. Possession is mid September.

While my husband and sons were away last week on their annual holiday, I cleaned every box, basket, drawer, cupboard, and closet in the house pulling out what I could to take with me. It's amazing how you can remove almost an entire household of stuff and still leave behind an entire household of stuff without visible holes. Who knew we had that much especially since I'm not a keeper... except in my studio.

It's the space with the most. I've started packing and already there are a lot of "studio" boxes stacked in the front room and I've barely made a dent. I do like seeing everything I have, touching it, and thinking about what it could become. I have a LOT of potential and that's good... however... I haven't been exploring that potential the way I'd like to - digging in, discovering, and doing - which is probably why the quote below really resonated.

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention
. - Herbert Simon

Several of the significant growth periods in my artistic life have revolved around using what I already have in the studio. There something about making do with what's there that prompts new answers. Growth has also come through new learning which is only valuable when implemented. Since 2012 when I started to attend the Design Outside the Lines retreats, I've gathered a lot of information and inspiration and now what I really want is to sit down, work with it, and see where it leads me creatively. I'm looking forward to getting back into routine once I move. I've decided not to attend another retreat this fall or to go to Sew Expo next year. I'm looking forward to some extended time to play, make mistakes, experiment, learn, and grow.

For now, my studio will be in the basement but eventually it'll move outside. When we looked at the ad for the house, it showed the picture above left and called the building a garage. I thought it was ugly and rather useless and intended to pull it down until I saw the front. Now I love it.

The previous owner was a woodworker and he created this studio with the garage door to get projects and supplies in and out. It's 12' x 16' with electricity. When we have the time... and the money... to insulate it, finish the walls, bump out a closet, add water, and covert the door to a window, it'll become my studio.

I've never had a separate building for a studio but I've certainly dreamed about one. One of the things that is both scary and exciting about this move is how closely it matches "my perfect day". If you've done any kind of self help type studying, you've most likely been asked to write down your perfect day. And I have. Time and again. And it seemed to go nowhere so a few months ago when I came across that question again, I got mad and had a little chat with God about the question and the lack of answers and what was the point. Perhaps getting mad was part of the point because then things started to shift starting with a shift in my thinking.

One aspect I've always talked about in "my perfect day" is a calm setting. In Kamloops, we have a view of the valley and the city lights that is gorgeous but we also live on a main road with a lot of traffic. The new house backs on a pond and a series of walking trails that are maintained by the city. This is the view from the kitchen, dining room, back patio, and the eventual studio. On Monday, we saw turtles and ducks and some children rode by on their bikes laughing. It's very peaceful.

My primary residence will be in Salmon Arm and Howard's will be in Kamloops. We'll spend four days a week apart and three days -weekends - together. This is not a typical set-up for most married couples which is causing comment and while I know other people's opinions don't matter compared to what we think, the questions are still being asked although I must say that I find it interesting the lack of comments when I was here alone for weeks and months with three kids and Howard was on the road travelling. The details may have been different but the outcome was the same.

I've been answering - No, we are not separating. No, we are not getting a divorce. Yes, we do intend to spend time together. Yes, we do love one another. Yes, he does support this move and yes, we both feel positive about it. As I said before, things started to shift and it's as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said now... go... and a series of events clicked together BUT... they couldn't have clicked if I wasn't willing to make the steps. We have to take action for God to work through it.

Last week, in my spiritual study, the author talked about how when we are seizing a divine opportunity the giants start to seem so big and we feel so small but we have to keep going because we are doing what we are meant to be doing. Even when I'm terrified, I'm convinced that this is the right move. While packing, I had particular empathy for friends who have left their husbands. It's hard enough when you have support and you're only shaking up the way things are done. But... sometimes... shaking up is a good thing.

In my opinion a piece of paper, a ring, and a shared address do not a marriage make. I've met many couples who have that in common and that's all. They do not have a relationship that supports the best in each other. I want the best for Howard and he wants the best for me. This move is part of me being my best and about creating a path for change in Howard's life - change that he's already initiating and that will mean less is more for both of us. This is good. The last time we talked about less is more, change, and retirement, he said he was in too much pain to even think about it but if I made a move, he could follow me. VBG - I'm making a move.

The other question is yes, he is ill and no, I am not uncaring. If you have an ill partner, you understand how your life can become all about their illness. It's as if you too have disease X and it becomes critical to maintain your own interests and individuality. The care of the caregiver is vitally important and drastically undermined. For caregivers, it's nice when someone asks how we are before they ask how our partner is. It's nice when they care about whether you're holding it together and what kind of support you need before asking what your partner needs. And it's nice when they don't think you can actually be all things to your partner with no support of your own - as if one person had the energy to be two people - and when they understand that pursuing your own interests does not mean not supporting your spouse.

I find that women in particular are expected to rotate their lives around their ill male partner's life and there's a different perspective toward men with an ill female partner that is as inconsistent as me moving being a "bad thing" versus him travelling being a "good thing". It's as if when the woman is ill and the man is the caregiver that things are different - not always - but often - and much of the negativity comes from a surprising direction that has me concluding that one of the big problems with equality between the sexes is women who don't value themselves enough.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a solid house, a cute studio

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Brown Cuddle Scarf

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. - William Hutchison Murray

For the longest time - years - I've been in stop mode. In an earlier posting, I talked about the land between and how if you're there that it's most likely to rest, to heal, or to prepare. I was there for all three and then a few months ago I started to feel as if that time was coming to an end. It was. Things started to shift.

When I was in Oregon at the end of May, Diane made a comment about me being prepared enough and Gwen said she felt I needed to be more visible. Those comments resonated. I knew it was time for a significant change and that I needed to do something in order for something to happen. I needed to risk, to take a leap of faith. It's almost as if the minute that thought popped into my head, God tapped me on the shoulder and said what about moving to Salmon Arm?... a town I love... and have talked about moving to more than once.

I came home and told Howard I was moving and although I am at times both excited and terrified I've never wavered in that rock solid confidence that this is the right thing to do and my confidence has allowed him to make some changes that will allow this to work for both of us. Last Friday morning - before we looked at houses - I was journal writing and praying that I would have that same confidence about recognizing the right home for us. I already knew which one I thought had the most potential; every time I looked at the on-line posting, it felt like "my" house.

When we got there, our real estate agent said that an offer was being presented on that house that afternoon but that we were able to look at it in the morning and that no one else would be able to view it until we decided if we wanted to make an offer. If we did, our offer would be presented with the other one. We did. We offered and it was accepted with no negotiating and no bidding war even though there were four other parties lined up to look at the house.

The amount we offered was 20% less than the amount we'd been pre-approved for by the bank so we knew that financing was not going to be an issue but it still had to be formalized. Yesterday, we had a bank appointment at 11:00 and by 2:30 everything was approved AND... they were having a sale. All registration fees, appraisals, and in-house lawyer fees are being paid by the bank. Providence is certainly moving to enable. It's exciting. We have a home inspection on the 3rd and the subjects need to be off by the 10th. Once that's all done and it truly is ours, I'll show pictures.

On Saturday, I finished the creative study I was working through and started researching books on creativity to find a new one. I found two lists of about forty books and the first book on each list that I hadn't already read was Manage Your Day-To-Day. Our local book store had one copy. It's about developing a rock solid routine, taming your tools, learning to focus, and sharpening your creative mind - all areas I'd like to improve.

I've been thinking about my routine when I move and how to blend it with Howard's schedule. He'll be here four days a week and in Salmon Arm three either Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Saturday, Sunday, Monday. My plan is to work three days a week - Tuesday to Thursday - and clean and shop on the Monday or Friday that he's at work and spend the weekends with him. YES YES. A couple of days into the new study I'm impressed enough that I ordered book two and three in the series.

I'm not sewing but I have been knitting - just knitting. These four scarves need the ends tucked in, the edges finished, and blocking. I'm not doing that. I'm sitting on the couch churning out scarves while rotating between feelings of excitement and terror and thinking about all that I need to organize and do to get moved. We get possession the second weekend in September and the first order of business will be to get the suite painted and rented since it'll pay most of our mortgage and give me the freedom to work on my creativity. Another YES YES.

These two scarves are still tucked in the ziplock they came home from the cruise in. One needs to be measured to determine if it needs to be longer and the other needs to be cast off with a large needle and the edges finished. Both need blocking. The second one is a gift for Claire and hopefully she'll get it before winter but... don't hold your breath Claire. This week I'm home and next week I'm helping my daughter look after my grandson because she's at the end of her pregnancy and quite tired. Then I'm home again for a week and then back to look after the four of them when the new grandbaby is born. I'm getting my snuggles in and then I'm moving.

Churning includes the brown cuddle scarf. I don't like brown but if a yarn has to be brown, this is a nice enough shade. I'm not sure why I bought it except that I do like the yarn and it was on sale. Churning means I prefer to knit at a reduced rate. It's a triangle started with one stitch and increased at each end of each row. It'll be as big as using up all the yarn will make it which will in turn be big enough to cuddle on the front porch or while reading OR... it may go in the guest room as a throw for my friends when they want to read in bed. They like brown.

I've started shopping. I have all the furniture I need except for two twin bed frames and mattresses but I need some sheets, duvets, bath towels, and a few pots and dishes. Not much though. Fabricland carries really nice duvets and pillows and this week they were marked down 60% so I bought one king and two twin duvets and four queen size pillow for a ridiculously inexpensive amount. They were out of queen duvets and that's okay. I can cut the king down if I need to.

Howard and the boys are leaving on their annual holiday this morning. They'll be back on Sunday night. I'm going to clean house, start refinishing the dresser, do a bit of packing, go to knitting in Salmon Arm on Friday, and spend time with friends. Since I'm packing or I'm painting are not the most exciting things to follow on a blog, the plan is to post once a week until October and then see how things are looking. Hopefully, I'll be settled and into a new routine and - finally - have some jewelry and sewing to talk about then.... and maybe even some finished scarves - LOL ! ! !

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - Providence moving to enable