Wednesday, November 25, 2015

And Maybe Even...

Toddlers earn the nickname "terrible twos" because they're bursting with the anxiety and helplessness of having feelings that they can't get anybody around them to understand. They could explode with the frustration of not being able to say what they want and to explain what they're feeling. They don't even have the right words in their heads yet - it's all emotion and frustration. That's also an accurate description of writers in step one. - pg 8, Seven Steps on the Writer's Path

If I were a two-year-old, I could throw myself on the ground, thrash my arms and legs about with fury, and wail out my frustration and if I were a very lucky two-year-old, my mommy would pick me up, stroke my hair, and pat my back as my sobs turned to soft gasps and my eyes closed. Asleep on my mother's shoulder, the world wouldn't seem so traumatic. Only, I'm not two.

My world is not traumatic, just extremely frustrating. There are things that I want to, need to, and have to do and it's strange that they have in common the use of the right side of my body which is healing oh so slowly. Yesterday, I journalled, painted in the suite, shoveled the driveway, and walked the dog and by the time I got to the studio, there wasn't a lot of energy left for writing and sewing. I did finish two sheets for my youngest grandson's crib and cut out another bunting bag, this time with sleeves. It took about forty-five minutes so while it's not nothing, it's certainly not at a pace I'm used to.

It's time to be realistic.. again.

Writing the blog is something I really love to do. Until this past summer, I'd blogged five times weekly on an almost continuous basis for well over ten years but these past six months have taken a toll. Between being super busy, holidays, grand-babies, moving, and two accidents, little is getting done in the studio which means there's little to share and the one thing that I definitely do not want to do is ramble on aimlessly. If I'm writing, I want there to be some substance to what I'm saying so...

... I am going to take another break... for December and January... and maybe even February... and reduce my attempts to one posting a week, on Wednesdays. To keep my commitment, if I don't have anything of substance to share, there will at least be eye candy which may include what I'm working on minus any text... which may lead to questions... which I will make every attempt to answer. Notice that I qualified that statement. Right now, I'm seriously behind on returning emails and phone calls. I need to catch-up.

Seven Steps on the Writer's Path
is a one of those pivotal books that can make you see creativity in a whole new way. It's not just about writing. It's about life. The idea for the book began when psychologist and self-help author Lynn Lott, one of the co-authors, listened to a lecture given by mystery writer Nancy Pickard, the other co-author, and started hastily writing down notes and then began teaching a variation on the theme to her clients. As she commented to Nancy,  I transformed your writer's path and put it into a path for mere mortals and called it their personal growth and change path.

Step one is unhappiness and I am - LOL - definitely there wanting to do more work in the studio and to dig deeper into the assignments that I'm working on with Diane in our coaching sessions. I'm learning new things and... while we learn to do by doing... if our first fledgling attempts are immediately out there for "public consumption," it can be hard to work through the stages of learning from ugly to competency. Usually, we need some time alone because it's while working in isolation, free from the in-put of others, that we can really advance our work. I've both experienced and taught that fact. So...

... along with lowering my expectations to one posting a week, facing reality also means acknowledging that I'm not ready to share everything I'm working on and - because of everything else going on in my life - there isn't enough time to do both private and public work. That's why sometimes I'll post eye candy like the bracelets above by Alyson G. Design. My current coaching assignment is about edges and this is one of the images I found in my research. In stash, I have some thick cardboard cores from yarn that a friend cut into narrower widths, some dyed gauze yardage, and beads. This is an inspiration I want to play with on my jewelry learning curve.

What you're learning from your coach is influenced by what your coach is learning so when I did my research, I looked up the past two co-teachers that Diane has taught with. Above is the work of Holly Badgley who combines painting, collage, and garments. Her work is gorgeous and there are a few pieces I will use as inspirational starting points however, I found myself more attracted to the work of...


... Carol Lee Shanks who also creates collages only hers are more monochromatic... or at least the ones that really resonated with me were.  Something I've learned about myself is that when I'm trying to advance the direction I'm working in, the changes need to be incremental and not drastic and I have to watch for "baggage." A lot of collage style work has an overtone of quilting for me and quilting is in the past. The present is creative wearables and...

... particularly ones that I would wear. I really enjoy texture and tone-on-tone combinations. If you go to Carol's website, you'll see collages that combine opaque and transparent fabrics as well as lace, linens, and subtle variety like the black plaid on the black background in the picture earlier with the shrug.

Texture... tone-on-tone combinations... and louder prints on the bottom with plain on top and statement jewelry. My body type is "supposed to" put the pattern on the top and the plain on the bottom. OH WELL... I prefer to wear it this way because I really enjoy statement necklaces and because I find louder prints overwhelm my face... but I still like them. When I saw this image of Audrey on Advanced Style I love, Love, LOVED it. I'd wear that in a flash and that necklace is definitely an inspiration starting point.

In both my spiritual and creative studies, the topic has been feelings and about the need to truly feel our feelings without being controlled by them. This quote from The Emotionally Healthy Woman had some great questions... Overwhelming feelings prevent us from asking clarifying questions: What is going on here? What are the facts? What do I know to be true? Are my feelings relevant in this situation or should I set them aside in this case? 

What is, is and my current situation is a combination of a lot to do and a need to both use energy wisely and to take time to heal. The fact is that - as much as I might like to believe otherwise - I am not superwoman and I cannot do all the things I want to do all at the same time BUT... I can do them all if I choose to pace myself and make slow but steady progress. That sounds like a good decision. YES YES!

What are you working on?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - being realistic is not an all or nothing thing

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's A Steal

After spending a few days in the studio, I want to shift a few things around for better flow and light only that will have to wait until the suite is ready and until I have more energy. I'm so used to doing a lot that it's very frustrating how easily I tire and how little is getting done. This week, I'll juggle studio time with painting the suite. It's a priority to get that done and rented.

On Friday night, I opted to wait until the next day to put the buttonholes in my raincoat. Tired and buttonholes didn't seem like a good combo. It didn't happen. On Saturday morning, my friend had a family emergency and  needed to go home so I drove her to meet her partner so he could drive the rest of the way. There and back was a seven hour drive which would normally have been no problem but right now was exhausting. After that, buttons held no interest and the couch had become utterly fascinating.

Sunday was busy and Monday morning when the alarm went, I turned it off, rolled over and went back to sleep. I didn't get into the studio until mid afternoon after cleaning out the suite and moving things out to the shed. Once again, tired and buttonholes was a bad combo. They're still waiting but the coat is almost finished. It's Vogue 8934 with an added hood. I really like the pattern and may try it again in a non-raincoat fabric, perhaps denim.

The loveseat that was in my previous studio is now in the living room so I bought this one from the thrift store for $20.00. It was filthy but otherwise in excellent shape and now that it's clean, will work great. The brand is Birchwood Furniture which turns out to be a high end line made in Calgary quite near where my daughter lives. Cleaning included, it's a steal. There was a couch too but that's too matchy-matchy for me and I don't need both, just some place to curl up and knit, read, hand-stitch, or visit in the studio when friends drop by.

There are several thrift stores in town. The most popular is Churches. Inside, it's fairly organized but outside, it's a MESS. It took me a long time to learn how to thrift shop - I prefer things neat, clean and visible - but I have learned to dig for the good finds. At this store, the furniture is kept outside stacked under tents and tarps depending on the weather. There are no prices. You find something you like and then you find a staff member and they give you an amount. The Re-Store in Kamloops is much easier to shop at. I'll check there for some kitchen cabinets for the suite when I'm in later this week.

This skirt picture came in an email from Pintrest. I'm not sure who the designer is but this is the kind of thing that would be very wearable here. And fun. Perhaps when I have more time, I'll try figuring it out. Right now, there are a few other things in line first. Like painting. Which is what I'll be doing today.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - inspiration

Friday, November 13, 2015

Packed Away Potential

We're experiencing that change point between fall and winter which - for me - is signified by the weather and not the date. Yesterday was the first snow fall. Since Salmon Arm has a lot more humidity than Kamloops, it was wetter than I'm used to but still not enough to worry about shoveling the (flat) driveway. I hope. We'll see.

The tree in the front yard looks gorgeous with a dusting of snow and the red berries peaking through. The picture at right looks like a fabulous starting point for an abstract.

A huge flock of birds landed on the pond this morning. I'm not sure if they're on their way south or if this is their south. There's a "no skating" sign by the pond so I assume it freezes over which makes me wonder what they do when that happens. Observing the changes on the pond each day is quite entertaining.

In the morning, Barb and I went to journal and then - before heading home - checked to make sure we had everything we needed to stay in the studio for the rest of the day. Miss Chloe is enjoying her new space. I intend to use that rug near a couch that is being cleaned today but for now, she can have it. I imagine the blanket will move to the couch and so might the dog - alternating spots.

Right after I finished the white and red bunting bags, my daughter wrote to ask if I could make one with sleeves so I bought some black cabbage patch swirl at Fabricland yesterday and if I have time before we go visit later this month, I'll make a third. I'm very proud of myself. I've lived here two months already and Sunday was my first trip to Fabricland and yesterday my second and both were for fabrics for my grandsons. This is good. I have lots of packed away potential in the studio to work on.

BOXES of potential. Like Barb. She brought this pre-cut star kit - cut by hand - because she bought it in the seventies before rotary cutters were even invented. Originally, she intended to stitch it when she retired only she went back to work again, and retired again, two more times. Perhaps the fact that she's working on it now means she's going to stay retired. Time will tell.

I'm working on the raincoat I started back in May intending to take it on our cruise this past summer. Obviously it wasn't finished and it didn't go. I'd started the welt pockets in Ashland with the help of my friend Ute and had to re-familiarize myself with the instructions and backtrack a bit before going on. I love the way the pocket bag is folded inside itself with no raw edges. After a day in the studio, the two pockets are done and I'm ready to add the sleeves and move forward. It should - LOL - be ready for spring.

I'm astonished at how tiring it was to spend an entire day in the studio. I guess it's something I'll need to work up to and that's okay. I will. Even though I'm constantly being reminded of the fact that I'm still healing. At least, I can be in the studio. This is good. YES YES.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - two welt pockets and a week to play

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Just Sewing... Finally...

Life in the studio seem to be - finally - coming together. There's still lots of work to do in the house and next on my agenda will be getting the suite finished and rented - as in start generating revenue to pay the bills - HOWEVER... for this week... no paintbrushes, no painting clothes, no renovations, just sewing.


My friend Barb is visiting for the week. When she asked what she could do to help after my fall, I replied just get here as soon as possible. I knew for sure we'd be in the studio sewing and that was definitely what I wanted to do. She arrived around 2:00 yesterday afternoon, we had tea, walked Miss Chloe, picked up groceries, ate dinner, and were sewing in the studio by six. YES YES!

For a "return to sewing" project, I made two pillowcases for my oldest grandson's Christmas present and re-made a pillow form smaller and flatter, more appropriate for a two year old. It was a simple project and just perfect. Measure, pin, stitch, press. There's something about crisply pressing cotton that soothes the soul, especially the soul that's been out of the studio for way too long.

My next project is the bunting bags for my youngest grandson. They're a bit more complicated and I'm a little less rusty so hopefully all goes well.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - two stitched and crisply pressed pillow cases

Monday, November 9, 2015

Great Feats Of Amazingness

In the over forty years that I've been sewing, these past five and a half months have been the longest period of time spent away from my studio and... thank God... literally... today is THE day when things begin to get back to some semblance of normal. Please don't expect great feats of amazingness. Although absence has made my heart grow fonder, it has also rusted my skills. I'm out of practice.


I'm starting with some Christmas gifts for my grandsons - a pillow and pillow case for the oldest and bunting bags for the youngest as well as some sheets for the nursery that just haven't gotten sewn yet. These are simple sews yet near to my heart. After that, Butterick 6138 and Vogue 9112 are cut out from the Design Outside the Lines retreat in May. Not a stitch has been taken on either project and the raincoat isn't finished yet either. Finishing works for me. As does routine only...

... it's just a month today since my fall down the stairs and while things are healing, it's going to take a while so I'm still (... or at least attempting to) pacing myself. It'll be good to be in the studio since I seem to find that edge of too much far too often. Last week, I exhausted myself trying to get everything done but luckily now all of the get rid of the smoke smell and organize things better renovating has been done. What's left is to get the suite ready to rent and to "make pretty" in my part of the house. The plan is to do that work in-between the studio work. YES YES!

Tomorrow, is my first coaching session with Diane since we left off in the spring. I'm really excited to be working together again. Coaching has been far more than I hoped for and has really helped me to move both my life and work forward. This fall, I want to dig deeper with making jewelry and get comfortable with those processes and I want to focus on piecing and adding details with creative clothing in a way that pushes me beyond what's currently safe. An interesting thing about my new community is that while it's smaller, it's also more artistic and rather than overdressed, here I am often under-dressed. I like that. There's lots of room to up my edge. YES YES!

While it's been a slow beginning, the move to Salmon Arm was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I've been welcomed and included and the community really suits me. I feel like I belong. Being a maker is not unusual here. May people are makers and there is a high degree of respect for both the maker and the made. Everywhere I go, I overhear interesting conversations that confirm I'm where I need to be. I'm so excited to see what develops now that I'm going to be back in the studio and feeling well enough to get out in the community more.

I can't guarantee a return to daily postings but two or three a week should be possible. It depends on how tiring it is to stand and sit for any length of time in the studio and on what I produce. Simple is not too exciting even if it is de-rusting my skills. We'll see. I plan to start with my morning hour and see how it goes.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - healing