December 23, 2011


Okay, more post and then I'm on vacation...

The door, closed.

'Round back, under the roof line, lives a bluebird family.

One sweet mushroom house for one imaginative little girl, complete! Merry Christmas Angel.

December 21, 2011


May your heart be filled with light and cheer!


I have always known that fear can be counterproductive. There is something about it that just freezes all progress in place. I came to the conclusion about my fears that they are almost always imaginary. The fear that I conjure in my head does not usually play out in real life. Yet I still feel fear, everyday, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

Today I became aware of fears that surface in another part of life, my health. Do the fears that I have about certain health modalities, like chiropractic for example, undermine my quality of health?

Last week, my upper back and neck spasmed when I was helping my son wash his hands. After 5 days, the pain was not any better and Cutie suggested I try a chiropractor. I worked for a chiropractor long ago and I remember seeing violent adjustments, and I knew it wasn't for me. I made a fearful assumption back then that all chiropractors were dangerous snake oil salesmen. Cutie found a top rated guy and made me an appointment.

Maybe it was because my neck felt already broken, or because I was at a loss for desperate relief. For whatever reason, getting my neck adjusted today felt so good. And this is something I never thought I would do in my life, ever. Afterwards, my neck felt looser, less painful, and my mood lifted, I swear. How many neck and back spams could I have spared myself if I had the absence of fear. How many hours of extra life could I have gained?

I am gaining extra hours now, that's what counts.

I am excited about this adventure partly because it's refreshing to have a resource for my body that doesn't involve medication. But mostly, I have laid to rest this fear, kind of like riding a roller coaster, and this will hopefully contribute to a better quality of life.

I am taking some time - to heal, hibernate, rest, quilt, and enjoy ample family time - until after the New Year. I hope your home is filled with love and warmth. Happy Quilting.

December 20, 2011

Amazing Tuesday Top 10

 ~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

A long hot bath at 2 in the afternoon while Cutie and the kids went to the park. Amazing.
soothing an oh so sore back and neck
Wondering what my body will feel like in 10 years? 20 years?
A quite house
Time to collect my thoughts
Time together
Cutie's time off from work, 2 whole weeks
Catching up on lost sleep
A stack of Christmas cards, sent out just in time
The generosity of my family

December 19, 2011

for you or for me?

I have found myself falling into a dangerous trap lately. When I imagine quilt designs in my head, I wonder if (here's the trap) people will like them...

I know better than that.

This quilting adventure is for me. Every quilt design needs to have some resonance in my heart, make me feel tingly, and the fabrics need to be those I fall in love with. I think if I start making quilts based on what would appeal to the public, my purpose would not be fulfilled, which is to create as a way to live a fulfilled life. And such a part of that creation is just noticing what beautiful fabric turns me on. What do I gravitate and salivate over at the fabric store?  What if I start to choose fabric after considering if people will like it or not? I think my natural attraction to the fabrics I like, would be lost.

 I can imagine, ultimately, I would grow to not enjoy the process of making a quilt, and I would fall out of love with quilting.

This fabric is an example of that. I saw it in the fabric store and it looked cool and funky with trendy holiday colors. Now that I have this fabric in my stash, I can't stand it. Chances are, I will never make anything out of it because the thought of working with it does not appeal to me.

So what's my lesson? Trust my heart. Trust my gut. Believe in myself. Definitely.

December 17, 2011


Well, I have began to machine quilt the Atari 80s quilt. It is going very well and I can't wait to see the outcome. The hardest part is shoving the big quilt through the throat of my sewing machine.

Having this one done will be the first step towards making quilts by machine. A quilt usually takes me one season, when hand-sewing.  In the past, the maximum number of quilts I have made in 1 year is 4. Machine quilting will greatly increase my output, I can't wait! Because the faster I can finish a quilt, the sooner I can start a new one, and that means exploring beautiful fabric.

That ouchie callus on my thumb from hand quilting is finally beginning to soften.

December 16, 2011


Gifts made (started back in November), check.
Gifts ordered online or shopped for (having a Christmas budget really helped with that), check.
Packages mailed out (as of yesterday), check.
Stamps bought for Christmas cards, check.
Last day of preschool today before Winter break, and swanky hot pads given to my daughter's teacher, check.
Cutie's birthday/Solstice plans coming together (Solstice, what a great birthday huh?), check.
My heart filling up and bursting with cheer, check.

It's been great to get an early start on the holiday-ing this year. I can sigh a breathe of relief that packages will arrive on time. I still have a couple of projects that are lingering (like the Mushroom house) and a few ideas that have popped into my imagination. It never fails.

All in all, this is a special year for us. Our kids are getting bigger. Our dreams are coming true. Health has been restored. Santa still exists. Quilts are coming out of my ears. And our fingers are crossed for a deep blanket of snow.

December 14, 2011


Oh Completion, we have such a long and tumultuous relationship. I'm sure it must be around 5 years now since I made completion a conscious part of my creation process. I just got fed up with all of the unfinished projects clogging up my shelves, baskets, and drawers. The half-finished projects would take on all forms: half-finished knitted scarves, half-finished scrapbooks, half-finished paintings, on and on. These projects left for dead were a waste of materials and time. But most of all, they weighed on my creative voice. It was as if every unfinished project was whispering, "You are no good at this creative can't even finish this simple knitted scarf." Clearly, the absence of completion was weighing on my creative self esteem.

That's when I made the commitment to finish each quilt project I start. It's not easy. There are so many places in the quilting process where I could not move onto the next step and stuff the scraps into a drawer.
Sometimes I really have to push myself  to pull out a project that I have become bored with. Sometimes I fall out of love with the fabric or get tired of the tediousness of a design. But I try to remember the commitment I made to completing my projects. Usually I mentally compare how it would feel to finish a quilt project versus leaving it half-finished. Under which scenario will my creative self esteem thrive? Certainly the former.

Currently, I have 5 unfinished quilt tops which sit, good grief, stuffed into drawers. As soon as I feel confident using my machine to quilt the tops, they will be pulled one by one from the drawers and completed.

I guess once I committed to completing my quilts, I simultaneous committed to nurturing my creative voice. Now my creative voice says, "I can finish this, I can." And more importantly, "When I finish this, it will be bitchin!"

December 12, 2011

Amazing Tuesday top 10

~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

What's amazing is that I'm trying to find the amazing things when I feel so broken down lately, exhausted, needing a day off, so sick of the laundry, dishes, diapers, fights, crying, anger, mess, and cold.
Thinking about (and feeling like) Cinderella (minus the glass slipper, pumpkin coach, prince, and fairy godmother)
Then taking a deep breath and sucking it up
Making spaghetti from scratch
Taking care of a sick little one
Machine quilting the Atari quilt and so damn excited about the outcome
Revisiting dreams, reminding myself, imagining
Trying to suppress the desire to quilt all day long...because that is not reality
adjusting to the cold of the season and wanting to build a campfire right there on my living room floor
A fiery red sunset in the west at the end of a long day

December 11, 2011


I don't have a lot of convincing reasons for you to check this blog now and then, except to see what projects are tasking place in my "studio." I'm not giving anything away or featuring a sponsor.  I'm not offering the meaning of life or any sage wisdom. Yup, no real reason to even give this blog a second glance.


....there is the Mushroom House.

 Still a work in progress...

December 9, 2011

shout out

I have to give a little shout-out! I know, it's silly to give yourself a shout-out, but this is special.

We love the Christmas season, and we love elving and giving. Last year I payed for all of our Christmas gifts using the credit card, which were created by the devil. I had a very festive Christmas last year and then I spent 6 months paying down the credit card. It took forever and it sapped any extra money that would have been available for birthdays, or kid essential, like new shoes.

So this year, I vowed to do things differently. I started saving for Christmas back in July. And Cutie has a Christmas savings too. Every dollar we have spent on Christmas gifts this year has come from money we already have, no credit.

The difference between buying gifts free and clear versus laying down the credit card is tremendous. No guilt or worries about spending money we don't have. Less stress in general which has led to less heavy drinking and over-eating, which leads to more money. There's a lot of extra money in the bank account when two broke people aren't spending money on booze to quell holiday money stress! Another thing I notice is how good it feels to make progress in the area of money. It feels fantastic to make mistakes (like last year's credit Christmas), then turnaround and do things differently this year. Lesson learned.

I think the best part though will be starting the new year without payments. My imagination is spinning thinking about our summer vacation options, using money I will have. And if someone needs a new coat or some new shoes, I can do that too.

December 6, 2011

Amazing Tuesday top 10

~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

A DATE arranged to cut down a Christmas tree, a date nonetheless
A huge, fresh, green, smelly-good tree that sucks up 1/2 gallon of water everyday
A (bored with the toys we have) Mama anticipating watching two excited, imaginative kids play with new toys, from Santa
Having all the money for Christmas set aside, even what we needed for a tree was saved
Thinking about nothing but Christmas!
Working towards completing all of the gift-projects I start, Amen
A little snowy village
planting spring bulbs
still eating Thanksgiving leftovers

December 4, 2011

My Creative Voice.

Oh that voice. My creative voice can be quite ruckus sometimes. It keeps me up at night, distracts me from the present moment, and drives me to work at every spare minute. But I have never felt more alive than when I am listening to the voice.

There were many years that I didn't listen. I was also caught up in working every day, full time just to pay the bills. When the moment came to be creative, I was often too tired or the process of making something was too scattered and unorganized. Since Cutie gives me the gift of staying home, I am able to really listen to the voice more than ever.

I know that I need to be doing something creative to feel fully alive and accomplished...and happy.

One thing I notice is that my creative voice is medium specific. I spent years painting and drawing. I had so much trouble with thinking of an original image to draw or paint. For me, that form of expression was often stressful and unenjoyable.  You would think, I could just look into my soul and paint, or draw, what I saw, right? Isn't that how it works? It just wasn't that easy for me. I would stress about what to paint, and have literally no place to start. The stress would overwhelm me and I would give up on the project altogether.

Enter quilting. Every time I start a  new quit a magical process of exploring beautiful fabric begins. For me, the beautiful soft fabric IS the original image. For me, quilting is a medium that eliminates having to imagine an original image because the original image (the fabric) is in front of me. This also eliminates a lot of stress and makes the creative process so fun and enjoyable! When I don't feel stressed and when the creative process is enjoyable, my creative voice gets ruckus and a really positive cycle begins. Creation, craft, art, ideas, images, flow through me. And soft fabric quilts are my favorite medium.

I wish I had began quilting years ago...but, all in due time.

December 2, 2011

My Angel

My daughter. The first phrase that comes to mind is "the apple of my eye.' She is nothing less than an incredibly tender, intuitive, articulate, and honest person. And she is anticipating Christmas with all of the awe and wonder that a little child could muster. The personality that is emerging from her these days is miraculous and I strive everyday to honor her deep emotions and quick fears by offering as much support as possible. Her first years were rough, mostly the result of my inexperienced parenting and having a screaming baby brother arrive (a little too soon for her taste) didn't help matters much. So these days - which are mostly filled with love, lots of hugs and cuddles, lots of conversation about feelings, lots of play and imagination, and acclimation to, simply, our individual temperaments - are a breath of fresh air. And with each passing day, her loves grows more and more abundant and generous.

So, when my sweet angel daughter told me she wanted a "little mushroom house" to play with, what do you think I did?

I got to work.

December 1, 2011


The dream is simple: stacks and stacks of bitchin' hot pads, as far as the eye can see.

November 30, 2011

November's gift

This year I noticed that I have a tendency to focus on the negative. It was not an "ah-ha" moment, it was more like an "oh crap" moment. I noticed that no matter how blessed and abundant my life and family are, I just, almost unconsciously, always think about what is missing. This realization made me sad and nowadays I make a conscious effort to notice the everyday gifts. And everyday there are many, many gifts.

Today was a gift. After days and days....and days of rain, the clouds parted and the sun (yes the sun) came shining down on us. It felt like nature slipped an invitation under our door beckoning us to venture outside. And after shoes were laced, coats buttoned, and hats pulled down tight over little ears, we ventured outside (actually, it was more like a stampede).

We took our favorite walk, fed some cold and hungry ducks, and many times during our walk, tipped out heads up and said Thank You for this beautiful day. It was nothing less than a magnificent gift, one of many.

November 29, 2011

Amazing Tuesday top 10

 ~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

Thanksgiving day playmates
Poinsettia season
taking refuge in my blog, reflecting on topics other than washing diapers
4 days off
getting even closer to Christmas
looking forward to a home of our own, saving all the while
looking forward to having a wood stove, or three
thinking about all the quilts in my imagination (I heard somewhere that Springsteen has an entire album or two written on his note pad all the time. I can relate Boss, only with quilts)
talking with my mom and appreciating her advice
waiting patiently for thread to go on sale, then I pounce

November 26, 2011

Quilt gift

Have you ever received a quilt as a gift? It's an amazing experience and thanks to my Aunt Nina, who has gifted us many quilts, it is one of the inspiring aspects of quilting for me.

Here's how it goes: you joyously receive a package on your doorstep. You bring it inside and get the necessary tools needed to open the package (scissors, maybe a box cutter). Then the doorstep package reveals its contents, a handmade quilt, and your heart is catapulted into an ecstatic realm of gratitude and awe. You being to examine the soft fabrics. You fall in love with the patterns. You follow the stitches with your fingertips. But, most of all, you think about the person who made this beautiful work of art just for you. It becomes clear that this quilt is no small craft. You examine all of the shapes of fabric cut and sewn and then there's the quilting itself and the binding and the dedication. Then it becomes even

The best part about a quilt that has been received as a gift is how it becomes a part of the family. They lay under family picnics summer after summer. They keep us warm draped over knees and make fort roofs. They are the backdrops in our family photos. I might be biased but quilts are quite possibly the best gift anyone can ever receive. I certainly cherish the ones that have landed upon my doorstep.

November 24, 2011

Living the dream

This is a little story about how I got here....

This summer I had a health scare. Coincidentally, our health insurance changed at the first of the year and there was a learning curve - researching the new system and finding new doctors. I spent about 2 months waiting and contemplating  my uncertain health.

During that time I thought a lot about my mortality. I though about who I love and who loves me. Who would I miss if I passed away and who would miss me. I thought about my kids and Cutie the most though, and what a horrible fate it would be if they lost their Mama. My absence would change their lives forever.

My life, a dreary existence up to this point, began to take on an unmeasurable value. My place on this earth became rightfully mine and incredibly precious. I would often think about a death bed scenario in which I would reflect on how fulfilling and meaningful my life had been. It was during those imagined moments that it became clear to me that in order to feel fulfilled I need to be doing something creative.

At some point during this 2 month period of reflection, all of the pieces fell into place. I saw a dream that would involve making quilts, having a little etsy shop, and blogging about my creative adventure. In my dream, all of the fear and apprehension that had hindered me for so long, didn't have a place. I felt driven to do what I love.

In a sense, this dream was born out of uncertainty and when faced with an uncertain future, the path to fulfillment in my life became very clear. Thankfully all of the medical tests I had came back normal.

I am grateful for so many things today. What comes to mind immediately is the abundance of love that exists in my family. I am also grateful to have this glorious life experience that my soul was gifted. The only way I can truly say thank you for this gift of time here is to go forth and sew.