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

Friday, July 24, 2015

No Shortage Of To Do

We've been back for a week already. Mostly I've slept in, walked, gone to Starbucks to journal, and done some shopping but mostly I've moved slow and knit. Other than to check my email and do research, I haven't even been in the studio. Maybe next week. I have some things started for my new grand-baby, a dress and a top cut out ready to sew, and a raincoat to finish to say nothing of some fabric beads waiting to be made into a necklace. There's no shortage of to do.

This week, I've been buying furniture for a house I don't even own yet. The dresser is scuffed but the drawers are clean and smooth pulling and it's a quality built piece. The chairs are solid oak and heavy. The dresser was $65 and the chairs were $5 each which evens out to $15 a piece and that's more than reasonable. I'll refinish the pieces with chalk paint - it's like a wonder drug for furniture... and floors... and cement... and just about anything you'd like to paint including upholstery.

I haven't picked it up yet but I've bought another upholstered chair. I couldn't resist it as a trial and error piece for trying working with chalk paint on fabric. Unfortunately the chair is an ugly dark beige but I intend to change that because fortunately it's solidly built with a firm cushion and sturdy frame and was reduced down to $5.00 simply because it had been there too long. I told the manager at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store that I don't intend to buy new furniture; there's no need since she's always getting in great things I can use and I'm happy to support them.

One of the things I realized on our cruise was how confident I've become with who I am now and with who I'm becoming. It never crossed my mind to wonder do you like me. It didn't matter. Some will, some won't, that's life. I didn't feel a need to fit in as much as I wanted to just be myself and see where that led me and it led me to some very interesting connections and conversations. Much credit goes to Diane for our coaching sessions over the past year. She's made me see myself different, more realistically, better.

The women that I connected with on the cruise were also creative. I enjoyed hearing their story and sharing our commonalities. I like creativity. I like color. I like simplicity. I like words. I love fabric. I enjoy people. I'm insatiably curious. And that's not so unusual. What I've learned over the last four years especially is that I am both unique and not so special that there aren't other women like me and when I connect with my "tribe" it makes each of us better. YES YES. That's a key factor in why I'm moving. Being around creative people makes me more creative and allows me to encourage them in their creativity. It's win-win and that's a highly addictive drug too.

The thing I most enjoyed about our cruise was spending three weeks with my husband. With his work and illness holidays have been rare and it was wonderful to have that time. We've always traveled well together and we did this time as well. That makes for a better trip. We respect each other's space physically and emotionally. We don't crowd one another. We do most things together and but we also do things separately when the activity appeals to only one of us. This trip was at the top of Howard's bucket list and not at all on mine so I was extra aware that I wanted it to be a good trip for him and I didn't want him to worry about if I was having fun or not. That didn't happen. I found my areas of interest and they were...

... not surprisingly, the same areas of interest that I have here. People's stories. Curious questions. Creative potential. Personal growth. Friends. Family. Faith. I wondered if when I got back from Europe would I still want to move to Salmon Arm since we'll be living in two different houses and getting together only on the weekends until Howard's job changes. No. In fact, I came back even more committed to the move. I haven't wavered on that thought since I got back from Oregon although I've been at times both excited and terrified. It is new.


I realized looking around the ship that life is short and that if you don't make time for and get to what you want to do, there is every chance you'll never get there. Time does not just appear; it is carved out and taken. I talked to women that were 10, 20, and 30 years older than me and many were still trying to "find time". They all understood, even envied, when I said I'm fifty-three, my kids are grown, it's my turn, and I'm not willing to wait any longer, especially not fifteen years longer until my husband retires. I had a lot of cheer-leading support and many well wishes when we said good-bye.

I'm not typically a big risk taker although I've taken enough risks to experience both success and failure. In my study this week, the author wrote that if you've never failed, you've most likely never risked and that if you've never risked, you're not living life full out. Moving to Salmon Arm is a risk. There are many what ifs including the biggest of what if my husband doesn't follow me. He says I shouldn't worry and he is in fact taking huge steps to change his job but it's still a risk when you start to march to a different drummer... and it's a risk I have to take because I want to live life full out and I'm not doing that here and now that I know the difference, it's a choice between stagnation and growth.

I am so glad that I found the textile gallery in Prague. It was the final piece of the puzzle - a beautiful gallery, in a high traffic location with lots of money walking by, well lit, with quality pieces reasonably priced, and wall art pieces similar to those I make. And they "rarely" sell. That was good to hear. It was good to realize that this is not my problem but a universal one and I'm not likely to win the battle so perhaps I want to change my game plan. I'm saying no to making things for anyone but me - as in having it come from the heart - and yes to exploring curiously whatever takes my interest. It's that fine line between I may sell something but I won't make it to sell; the line between personal creativity and creative prostitution. Right now...

... that includes continuing to sew increasingly creative clothes but also learning to paint furniture. And it includes continuing to knit but also learning how to make jewelry. And how to paint paintings. And how to cook healthy. And maybe even how to garden. And it includes finding and setting up a home, decorating it with up-cycled furniture, enjoying the thrill of the hunt, the possibility of the project, the transformation to finished piece, and the delight of a collection. I believe that by making my art more about me and enjoying it more fully on a increasingly personal level that it will not only broaden and deepen but quite possibly support and encourage more people. That's important to me. And at the same time, I would be delighted if this approach organically led to the opportunity to teach but I won't attempt to make that happen because it will be good and enough in itself.

The last take-away was the need to take care of myself - holistically - spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically, and relationally. Looking around on the ship, I realized how important that is. The group was a cross section of choices, some best not taken. I plan to join Curves and work on flexibility and basic muscle toning. And I plan to be more visible and interact to a greater degree outside my home. I'll continue with the daytime knitting group, join an evening one, look into the invitation I received to be part of a choir, and explore the possibility of hosting a creative book club along with making sure that my new studio is open for friends to come and go. YES YES

Today, we're off to Salmon Arm. In the afternoon, I'll go to the knitting group but in the morning, we're looking at houses. Hopefully we'll find one and put an offer in and start moving forward. As you can see, I'm collecting a lot of decorating ideas to explore and furniture that needs some place to go.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a supportive husband

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

This Ring In That Town To That Ring In This Town

It always takes me longer than I think to get back on track and that's okay besides - technically - we are still on holidays until after the start of August however, once your holiday heads back home the To Do list is far too visible. I'm pretty good at ignoring it though. Mostly, I've been researching real estate in Salmon Arm and on Friday we'll be looking at four places. It's exciting. BUT... before we move on to that adventure... I'll finish up this one.

In case you're new to reading the blog, I buy yarn, fabric, and jewelry as souvenirs when I travel. I love the memories they incorporate into my everyday life and with the yarn and fabric I also get the enjoyment of shaping them into something wearable. I wanted a ring as a souvenir of my trip only because the ship kept moving on, I couldn't compare this ring in that town to that ring in this town and ended up buying three. I've been wearing the green one all the time. It's definitely the most me.

These are the turquoise ceramic earrings that I bought when I went on the home visit in Bratslavia, Slovakia. That was one of my favourite parts of the trip - visiting with Anna in her home - and it was a fabulous bonus that she was also an artist with the same needs and struggles that I have here in Canada.

Passau was my favourite little town along the journey. If I were going to go back and spend more time in one place, this would be the one. This necklace is so glittery that it's hard to photograph but the detail image gives you an idea. It's very purple. .

I also bought this silver and black piece in Passau and the two rings left and right in the image above. The necklace is alternating black and silver wedges set on edge with silver beads in-between and strung on a cord. I think there's a way for me to play with this idea in fabric.

There's definitely a way to copy this piece of amber that I bought in Prague. The pendant slides on to the silver neck piece and that too is an excellent "to copy" idea. One neck piece, multiple pendants.

This afternoon, I'm having lunch with my friend that I bought the German/English knitting book for. I'm excited to see how she likes it. We've been talking about knitting the same project together. Hopefully we can pick one from this book because I think the dual set of instructions in going to help her learn to follow a pattern as well as help me to help her.

I'm planning to do more knitting in the future. In Salmon Arm there are five knitting groups that I know of with several of them at night. I plan to continue with the daytime group I've already joined and then add a nighttime group. But first - LOL - I have to buy a house and get moved and for that...

... I'm going to need a few more pieces of furniture. We mostly have enough since primarily I'm moving my studio plus a bedroom and a kitchen. We have the coach and chair from my second studio as well as the desk and coffee table and an extra dining table that's currently at my oldest son's but I need some kitchen chairs, a bed, and a dresser. Yesterday, I saw a dresser at Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store that I've thought about for twenty-four hours and I think it'll work well so I'm off to see if it's still available.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - high speed internet that loads pictures easily

Monday, July 20, 2015

Some Replies

The flight back went well. We got into Vancouver around eight at night, checked into the hotel, had dinner, and went to bed. It worked. We woke up early Friday morning and were on the road out of the city before there was too much traffic. It was FABUOUS to be driving my own car again - queen of the road - in control. YES YES. We got home around noon and took the next several days easy. I'm feeling pretty much back on track.

THANK YOU so much for following along on my journey. I loved sharing my observations and appreciated the comments. As you've already noticed I'm sure, I chose not to reply when I'm on holidays but I know that sometimes leaves questions unanswered. I've answered a few below. If I've forgotten something you wanted to know, please let me know.

Steph - It is a real treat to see you in all your clothing, as outfits with your hair done, makeup, accessories, etc. You look GREAT!!! All your clothes are creative and flattering yet never overwhelm *you*. A very fine balance to achieve, and you're making it look so easy, Seeing your clothes on you, as you wear them, gives me a whole new way of looking at them too. They look much more artsy and avant-garde on the form, on you they have a wonderful ease to them....perfect balance of detail, line, color while still practical though never underdressed. Fascinating to me to see the change in the same garment when worn.

The thought of a video briefly crossed my mind but didn't go anywhere. Apparently my clothes had a following. Howard had a long conversation with a mother and daughter who were eagerly waiting to see what I was going to be wearing that morning. He found it quite fun. I found it startling. I've never been "stylish" before but my jewelry and clothing did garner quite a few comments. I think that was in part because they fit well. YES YES - we can sew.

CC8900 - I suggest that you check out Raven's Croft in Salmon Arm. From your comments here I think you would really love it. There are houses and condos. It is just off Lakeshore Drive and there is a path along the lake into the downtown past the bird sanctuary. Good walking and biking. Not usually a lot of snow in the wintertime at lake level either. The walk back up to the condo and houses is a bit of a hill but nothing like the hills in Kamloops and the views are great.

Your comment makes it sound like you live in Salmon Arm. I hope you'll contact me so we can get together. We did look at a condo in that area only it was on too many levels with quite small rooms so not the best match for us. We definitely want something with a basement suite for the income since we'll own two houses. That area is of great interest. So pretty.

bdejong - We saw cobblestones like the small ones in the "patch" in your pictures when we were in Holland. They call them "kinderkopjes" which means "children's heads"!

Thank you. There were all kinds of cobblestone patterns and no rhythm or rhyme to them. I think they're all quite pretty but I like best the ones with grass in-between.

Elaine - Both of my paternal grandparents came from the Budapest area of Hungary. Did you get a chance to visit the Central Market?

We went to old town on a bus tour and walked around the castle. Is that the area you mean?  All my days are mashing together but I think we were there on a Sunday so only saw the bazaar.

Lois K - I think that is a Catalpa tree.

Thank you. It's very pretty.

Charmion - I hope when you get home that you will keep a very sharp eye on your bank account since you are using your debit card to shop. Regrettably, debit card IDs are easy to steal and frequently stolen and you'll need to check frequently for unauthorized purchases.

I've checked it several times and so far no problems. We used cash as much as possible and used the debit card to get money out of the bank. With that one exception, we had no issues and even that was pretty minor. I'll keep checking. We had notified all our bank accounts of where we were going and they have tight controls so that should help if there is an issue.

Gill - If it's not too late, might I suggest you take a look in an 'ordinary' store for household buttons. They are of the old cloth covered style, extraordinarily cheap and occasionally you'll find some thread covered ones too. I found them in several sizes in the British supermarket Tesco, in the city centre...but it was a couple of years ago!

LOL - it was too late and that was probably good because I'd already bought buttons in three different locations. The one in Vienna was so inexpensive I had to hold on to my self control not to stock up. As it is, Howard bought half a painting and I bought everything else. Hmm...

Charade - I love that pendant and its apparent pliability but still with the strength to hold its creator's design. I've been using some wire mesh as decorative backing for some fabric beads in pins and pendants, but it's a little "crispy" and breaks too easily to do what that artist did with the bobbin lace. What do you think was used on the borders to hold the form?

I went back in and looked at the price and it was 32 Euros so around fifty dollars. WAY TOO LOW. The edges appeared to have a wire form going in the opposite direction that was woven into. Without really digging at it, it was hard to tell but I pushed down on the middle and the shape sprang back so it appeared to hold together quite well.

maruchan - I'm glad you liked Prague. That clothes shop looks fabulous and I will find it on my next visit. The pizza places here is a combination of both. There always was quite a bit of business between the two countries Italians were amongst the first to try to do business here in the 1990s and of course Americans came in numbers and they too liked their pizza ☺ . And now the Czech like it too. Have a good journey home.

The shop is tucked into a back alley. I was looking at the XP Gallery and following from one location to the other and as I turned to walk toward the second location the linen shop was on the left hand side of the lane. I don't have the business card so I can't give you the address. Sorry. Thanks for the info on Italian food. We thought it might be something like that. It sounds like you live in Prague. It would have been fun to meet. I'd say maybe next time only that's not likely to happen but if you're ever in my part of Canada, please do call.

Elaine - How did all the wardrobe planning play out on the trip? Here's a thought: What about painted leather for bags?

The wardrobe worked out really well. I missed my shoes by the end and a black top with fifteen necklaces is technically fifteen outfits but it feels more like one. I had one RTW shirt that I never wore because I just didn't think it fit me well and every time I put it on I took it off. I also had a dress that I had intended to wear in Prague only I needed to shave my legs and didn't have the energy - VBG - so it didn't get worn. Next time, I'd take more light-weight tops and less lingerie. It was easy to wash panties and I'd have liked more choices with tops. The hot weather was probably a factor in that though. I think I did pretty good considering I had no previous long term vacation experience but the practice session in Ashland really helped a lot.

Nancy K - I like the clothes you bought. Very you. I used to buy a lot of the Flax line, obviously linen and made in Poland too. Do they grow a lot of flax in Poland?

Flax has wonderful clothes. I've bought quite a few of them second hand. I'm not sure if flax grows in Poland. I assumed that the owner was either Polish or that it was less expensive to have the garments sewn there. The quality of workmanship was very high. I'm looking forward to wearing the skirt and I've already been playing with ideas to duplicate the shawl.

Today, I'm off to journal and then walk the dog and then we really, Really, REALLY need some groceries. Howard is off work until the beginning of August so we're still moving slow and having fun together. I have a couple more postings about the trip and then - hopefully - I'll be back to work in the studio and have some sewing to talk about.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - feeling back in the right time zone

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Prague 2

Our bags are packed. In a couple of hours we'll head for the airport and make our way back first to London and then to Vancouver. Somewhere in the air we'll magically relive those nine and a half hours we lost on the way here and land around dinner time. If I don't sleep on the plane - which would be intermittent at best - I should have a good sleep at the hotel and be up and ready to go in the morning. We're driving from Vancouver and I'm really looking forward to being in charge of the vehicle and I'm certainly ready to sleep in my own bed again. Friday night. YES YES!

We were tired yesterday. Perhaps it was knowing that we'd be leaving soon but no one in our group was feeling too energetic. We found a quiet Italian restaurant along one of the side streets and had a fabulous pizza lunch. There is a LOT of Italian food in Prague and we're not sure if there is a historical reason or just a tourist one. The night before we ate near the main square and listened to a street musician playing a violin. It was beautiful - and I may have mentioned that already - but I'm too tired to check back and see - VBG.

We'd planned to go up in the clock tower and didn't mind paying to do that but we did mind the long line-up in the hot hall and opted for the outside view rather than the one hour wait. Isn't the clock pretty? I really like how the mechanisms are staggered and how when it reaches the hour, the doors above open and little statues rotate past.

This shop - Natural Fabrics - opened on Monday. They had a 10% off sale for their first week in business which worked great for me. The clothes are all linen and made in Poland. They're beautifully sewn. There were two large - for Prague - rooms of garments and a lovely sales person. Finding something that fit in the shoulders and the hips was a bit of a journey - in fact, I couldn't do it. I bought...

... separates... both in black... but photographing the lighter colors made the details more visible. The skirt has the pockets and folds to the front and the wrap has some textured design elements. It's a linen knit. The two together cost $160 Cdn which is more than I'd typically spend on clothes since I could sew them but a nice souvenier and besides, I don't have that pattern - LOL.

I spent a bit more time wandering through the street market. This stall is all woven products from scarves to purses to garments to blankets. There are two weavers that work right there in the square.

This woman is making bobbin lace that she'll then make into jewelry. It's slow and intricate and reminds me a bit of tatting. I really enjoyed watching the artisans at work.

I took this picture for my friend Dave who is a wood turner. Several of the pieces were square which is not a shape I've seen in wood before and really liked.

This was my favourite. It was 52 Euros or about $70 Cdn. The height is deeper than the bowl which is not really shallow but not as deep as you'd expect when you see the size of the bowl. I don't know what the wood is.

I've taken pictures of several purses that had simple shapes I could duplicate in painted fabric. It's one way to play in that new direction. This one is just a small triangle with one main piece, two sides, and a flap. Easily duplicated.

This was the other one I really liked. It has a similar but simpler outside and a much more complicated inside with several pockets. Pockets are good but I'm not sure they are as critical in a small purse although - as I type that - my travel purse is small and I've used the pockets. It's also a shape I could copy.

One of the things I want to work on in the studio when I get home is the question how can I do that in fabric? particularly in reference to jewelry, bags, and other accessories. It occurred to me that I could apply that question to some of my favourite jewelry pieces and use them as a starting point for creating a fabric variation. It's an interesting thought and when I'm home, sleeping in my own bed, and recovered from the jet leg, I'll give it some attention.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - it's time to go home