Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Dance: Heart O' Love

Heart No. 9 is complete!

I call this Heart O' Love. It's based on a free chart from Twisted Threads called Itty Bitty Love.

I chose my own color scheme and expanded the format from the original chart.

You can see a larger image and read the details in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

[This is so cool! My 100th post for charity stitching!]


The sad truth of my life is the my closest friends live so very far away. I wish I had a girlfriend here in town that I could bum around with, go shopping with, talk about kids with, go to a movie.

The good friends I do have are precious gems to me. I try to keep in touch as I can, as my heart allows.

Today, one of my friends has a birthday. I sent a card. But I've not received a response for over two years now. I miss that contact, that back and forth.

But the friendship lasts.

Happy Birthday, old friend.

Friends, friends, friends
We will always be
Whether in fair or in dark stormy weather
We're all friends, and we're all together

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stop and Consider

This articulates fairly well the questions that go through my head all the time. I think I find some answers, and then life changes and my answers need to change with it. Go with the flow.

And somehow, within that flow, respond and make a difference.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


It's being a good person, and trying to pass what you know on to your kids without banging 'em over the head with it.

'Tis a test. Especially as they reach adulthood.

But the test is not that hard to pass if I reach out to my girls with honesty.

Happy Dance: Wedding Row

Wedding Row

Hooray for me! I finally finished my daughter's wedding sampler, framed it, and shipped it to her!

Getting this design by Bent Creek stitched was a breeze. It was my own procrastination and perfectionism that got in the way of having it ready for display.

But now it's done and on it's way to the happy couple.

To read more about the ordeal of finishing this piece, click on through to Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

To read the story of how it came together, click through to the posts on my blog.

Sunday Secrets: Sept 28, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. This secret caught my attention this morning:

What a notion. It makes me chuckle.
I'd like to place ME in a place where I can watch sunsets every evening.
I ought to try it for three months and see what effect it has on me.

Happy Dance: Two More Hearts

It's about time to catch up on some stitching posts!

This month, I've completed two more hearts for the charity quilt, with one more on the way (I might finish it today!)

I call this first one Lovin' Cats Heart. It was fun to stitch in shades of blue. The individual designs were inspired by a freebie chart I found online.

The second heart this month is called Bubblin' Heart. Again, it was inspired by a freebie blackwork chart I found online and adapted to the heart shape.

To read more about these hearts, click on through to Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Creative Hands

Old hands and young hands working together.

It's a lovely image.

It's my grandmother trying to teach her left-handed granddaughter how to knit at age 8.

It's my mother, patiently teaching her daughter to crochet a shawl the summer before freshman year in high school.

It's the 'old hags' at my quilt group teaching me to cut, lay out, sew the strips, turn and pin.

And it's my hand, teaching my own right-handed daughters to crochet, to sew, to knit, to cross-stitch, to bake.

My youngest daughter tells me over and over again how much she loves my hands. The crooked fingers. The pinkies that stand out far more than what is normal from the other four fingers. The veined backs. The simple wedding band.

Friday, September 26, 2008

On the Move


This is one of those happy mistakes of photography. I took this photo the morning of my 5:30am walk. I obviously caught some lights moving through the darkness at the same time I wiggled the camera in my hand.

I like the movement intersecting the straight lines. I like the repetition, the shadowing, and the halos of the curved lights. I like the lights that look like dashes. I like that the lights look like they zoomed off the image on the left, then returned.

I really love that little green triangular splotch of light in the lower right quadrant. To me, it looks like a moving target that keeps skittering away.

It's About Time

Or ... time slips away because we haven't had enough sleep, and our hours of the day get all mixed up.

Well, that's what happened with me today.

It's more fun, of course, when time slips by because I'm wholly in the moment enjoying what I'm doing and the people with whom I'm spending it.

When I'm this tired ... I'm just waiting for the clock to say it's late enough for me to go to bed. Hmmm. 8:25pm. I get to go get some shut-eye.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Reason to Rise

Sunrise Over Canfield Mountain: September 24, 2008

Now that Jodie has her driver's permit, I've been attempting to get up each morning and let her drive to school.

This is another reason for me to awake early.

I tell ya, though! Sometimes a photographer will take her life in her own hands to get the image! For this one, I had to pull off into the gravel at the side of the road on Highway 41. When the coast was clear, I hopped out of the car and onto the back bumper of Jodie's car. Balancing my legs against the hatchback, I steadied my camera as well as I could, and took this picture.

That's a little creepy when the cars are zoomin' past at fifty miles an hour!

I think the shot was worth it.
[ Do click on the photo to see the larger version! ]

Keep On Keepin' On

Ten years ago my daughter Jodie and I walked to the school bus stop every morning so she could catch a ride to kindergarten. There I met another mom and daughter, Julie and Briana. Jodie and Briana were not in the same kindergarten class, so Julie and I didn't have much of a reason to get to know each other.

While at the bus stop, Julie and I began to talk. Somehow we got onto the subject of needlework. Julie told me that she had begun one of my all-time favorite pieces, the MarBek Nativity. She said she was just poking away at it as she could. I was in awe.

Well, over the years Jodie and Briana have bumped into each other in various classes. For a while, they were not on good terms. As they grew up, feelings changed. But because there was some emotional tension between the two girls, I knew that Julie was still in the area.

At the North Idaho Fair this summer, I got to take a lot of time in the needlework display. I marveled at the quilts, the crochet, the spinning and weaving, the embroidery. Lo and behold, one of the honorable mentions in the cross-stitch category was Julie's nativity, finally completed after 10 years! It was beautiful. I felt so proud of her for completing it.

Talk about perseverance!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jedi Wisdom

I want that kind of passion for a job. I want to spend my life in the pursuit of what I find to be great. I want to believe in something enough to break through brick walls and jump hurdles.

Somebody, please ... point me in a direction.

On My Desk - Christmas Quilt Fabrics

If it's Wednesday, it's time for another installment of On My Desk

Today's desk? Quilter's cutting table.

My job today at St. George's Quilters was to cut fabric. I got started with the pretty holly print. Then I kept finding more Christmas prints to cut, so just kept at it. These were some of the stacks of fabric I cut today, ready to create a quilt or two.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grab Hold of the Reins

I was in a room while this fairly dumb TV show was on called Instant Beauty Pageant. It's a fairly corny show. The hosts go to a mall and pick out 5 sets of girls to be in a beauty pageant. One girl is the contestant, the other is the coach. They are given $400 and the goal to be ready for the pageant later in the day. The girls must purchase a swimsuit, evening dress and accessories. They get their hair done. And figure out something for a talent competition.

The episode I saw had 2 smart contestants, one dumb one, and two in the middle. One of the smart girls was very kind and pleasant to be around, grateful for the opportunity. The other one was quite arrogant. All through the show she demeaned the other contestants, played dirty tricks on the dumb girls, and bossed her best friend/coach around.

Well, her poor coach was put in charge of the money ... and she misplaced it. The smart, mean contestant then started haranguing her best friend! She called her names and berated her. The poor best friend does the best she can ... asking strangers for money first, then asking store owners if she can just borrow the clothes for the pageant. She purchased an evening gown without even trying it on.

The smart girl gets on stage, is clumsy in the mandatory dance they needed to learn, is demanding behind the scenes. Her 'talent,' since she is a math major, is to put the other contestants to a test on stage, asking simple math questions that she is sure they will not be able to answer. In the evening gown competition, her dress does not fit at all. She blames her coach.

All the while, she boasts that she is sure that as the smart girl with a plan, she is sure to beat these other girls in the competition.

Predictably, she has such a bad attitude (and not a great body), that she is the first contestant to be asked to pack her bags. As she left the stage, her best friend in tow, she continues blaming her friend for the loss and bad-mouthing the other girls.

She took no responsibility for her own failure. Ick.

My heart went out to the friend. It makes me wonder ... once the friend witnesses the interaction on film, will she re-evaluate the friendship? Will she stand up for herself? Will she set some boundaries? With the empirical evidence in front of her, will she opt out of accepting that kind of treatment?

After all, she can make her choices to live differently, too.

By the way, the dumb girl and her coach who were very kind to each other and the other contestants and who were there to have fun ended up being the winners. Deservedly so.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Give It Up

It's like love.
You give it away, it multiplies. It doesn't diminish.

'Stuff' is like that, too. When you simplify your life by giving away the things you don't want, need or that make you smile, you make more room for more of the good stuff in life to come in. That might mean more things. But more likely, it means room for a softer heart, a giving spirit, an ability to receive.

Give goodness; get goodness.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Secrets: Sept 21, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These secrets caught my attention this morning:

I often wanted to scream this at my dad.

Immature? They obviously haven't read the books. Where's my wand?

:: looking to the sky and whistling :: Here I sit, writing my blog ...

Free Yourself

I think this is why I like crossing things off my To Do lists. I have less (to do) and am more free.

It's the whole philosophy that Flylady bases her system on. The more stuff you have, the more weighed down you are having to take care of the stuff, the more frantic you are. As you clear the clutter from your home and work environment, the more free you are to 'fly', to do what you love to do and want to do. The more able you are to give back to the world.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Living Mystery

I don't know what this means. I ran across this quotation last spring. It caught my attention, but I've been having trouble working out what it's trying to convey.

Is it ... like marriage? Or "best friendship"? Or any partnership? That the relationship between the two people can truly only be understood by the two parties involved? Either party can attempt to explain what it is that makes the partnership work, but the words can never fully express all that happens as the two exchange spirit through story, laughter, experience.

Outsiders can look at the facts of the pairing, and can, through logic, explain why it should not work. There are too many opposing forces at play. (But then, opposites attract). There are too many miles that separate. There is too much divergence in the sense of humor. There are cultural differences. There are stylistic differences in life choices or business practices.

All these stones can be thrown. All these arguments waged.

And yet ... the twosome works on some level. And the mystery of why it works is hidden between the two.

Are there any Jungian experts out there that can help me understand what Carl was really trying to convey? This quote appears to be from a letter dated August 12, 1960. It was after the death of an estranged friend, and written in the latter part of Jung's life. The line preceding this quotation is:

In the last resort, every genuine encounter of two human beings must be conceived as a mysterium coniunctionis (mystic marriage; sublime union).

Doing a quick Google search makes it apparent that Jung was very interested in exploring what this "mystery of life" might be. It seems to have something to do with an inner cosmic marriage between different aspects of the self - diametrically opposite aspects of oneself (like male/female ... or mother/daughter).

It may also have to do with how two people become one. As in, my marriage is made up of me and Dale, two separate entities. But there are times when we perform as a unit, two parts of one couple. We are 'one' as parents (and our kids know not to play us against one another, we perform as one). It can be about BFFs. Virginia and I became best friends through sharing of classes, working at a small press, camping in the Idaho wilds, sharing stories and laughter, helping the other cope with loss and family pain. We are a 'one' in friendship. My Dad and Russ were 'one' as business partners. Two leaders, one business. It seems the idea might work on many levels of human interaction and connection between two people.

This is a bit too deep a topic for a lazy Saturday morning. But it does give some gum for thought to chew on.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Enough Already!

Wow. Does any more need to be said?

My husband is a big fan of living in simplicity. For the longest time, I didn't understand what he meant by it. I mean, he started talking about living in simplicity before we ever were engaged or married.

At the time, neither of us had any money and lived in sparsely furnished apartments. Without much money, how else can you live. You make do with what you have. So I mistook his idea of simplicity. I thought it meant lack of material goods.

But as we married and added a child to our family, bought a home and gradually furnished it, I learned that simplicity does not necessarily mean starkness. It means having what you need. Having select things you just want. But not going overboard. It means living within your means, and then giving to others as generously as makes sense. It means giving things away that no longer have meaning or use to us, but may be useful to others.

It means being grateful for our jobs and our blessings, but not being ostentatious.

It means knowing what is enough and being content.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunday Secrets: Sept 14, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These secrets caught my attention last Sunday:

But of course! It's why I can't help but to point to them each week!

I got tired of being the fat one in the picture.

My life has meaning. I used to find it through my religion. Now? Not so much.

I love this idea. Since I hate mending and hemming,
I may add this in as a way to soften the edge of my distaste.

Compliments work!

The most effective thing that is helping me overcome my insecurities is my ability to hear and graciously receive compliments.

Over the last year, I've gone out of my way to really pay attention to the nice things people say to me, rather than dismissing what is said as someone just 'being nice' or 'stroking my ego.' To be able to receive a compliment in the spirit in which it is given is not only a gift to me, but a gift to the person that bestows the compliment on me.

For the longest time, I could intellectually know that what someone said about me was true, but not take it in on an emotional level. It made me feel shaky inside. I knew it, but didn't believe it.

As an adjunct to the counseling I receive, I decided to start listening deeply to the nice things people said to me and about me. I even started writing them down. That way, in times of doubt, I could look over these qualities that other people see in me, and remember that in those things, I carry worth.

Re-reading the compliments helped get me through some pretty dark days of self-doubt.

Re-reading the compliments on good days helps me to soar! The compliments inspire me to further greatness ... even if that 'greatness' means that I can make the second bathroom in our home shine as much as the first. Greatness, after all, is all relative.

So, readers, I challenge you to do the same today. Be aware of the kind things people say to you. Really take note. If you missed the compliment the first time, ask them politely to say it again. Then write it down. Read them again at the end of today. And tomorrow.

Once you feel how good it is to receive compliments, you may be much more open to giving compliments — even to strangers! I remember being in Wal-Mart one day and a woman was there wandering around the cosmetics aisles. She looked wonderful. Her clothes, hair, make-up, shoes were all well-coordinated. She looked confident. She was the kind of woman that you want to stop and look at from a distance just to admire as a whole picture, then to take a closer look to see what elements she put together that made her overall appearance look so polished.

So, weird as it was, I stopped her and just complimented her on how nice she looked. Me. A complete stranger. In a Wal-Mart. Call it a 'walk-by compliment' (better than a drive-by shooting, yes?) She looked up so surprised, got this huge grin on her face, and said thank you. She seemed to have an extra lilt in her step as she walked away.

Compliments work!
Accept them from others.
Give them generously to others.
And don't forget to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
You will thrive on them, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On My Desk - Wedding Sampler

If it's Wednesday, it's time for another installment of On My Desk

Today's desk? The ironing board.

Wedding Sampler

I'd really hoped to have this sampler framed and sent to my daughter by the middle of last month so she'd have it by her first anniversary. Didn't happen.

Heck. I'd hoped t have it done by last Christmas! It was stitched, but I hadn't picked out the mat and frame.

So I'll try again. It's stitched. I have the mat and frame. It's washed (a minor disaster with bleeding floss was avoided). It's pressed. I've done the dry fit.

Let's hope I can get all the components put together in the next few days and actually complete the framing and get the sampler in the mail!

Don't Stop

Pedal forward, people.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Predawn Walk

Ponderosa Ave — 5.30am

One day last week I managed to get out for a walk early early early in the morning. The sun was only beginning to rise. As I walked west, the still-lit streetlamps glowed on the wet pavement. No cars in sight, I could walk the center yellow line. The sky, a velvety shade of blue.

Idea Exchange

Most of the time, I think of an idea exchange along the same line as brainstorming. Different people throwing out ideas about how to solve a common problem.

But I suppose another kind of idea exchange is to throw out old, outdated ideas, beliefs or life plans that are no longer working, and exchange them with new ideas or opportunities that are opening right before our eyes.

But it's awfully hard to pick up a new idea when my hands are full of preconceived notions.

I wonder ... what is that life that is waiting for me?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Early Autumn Color [7]

Lingering Bloom

Most of the roses have shriveled. The petals have browned and floated to earth.

Here and there in the neighborhood, I still find some lingering blooms.

Happiness, Joy and All That Rot

On my good days, I truly believe this.

On days like today ... nothing particularly standing out as good or awful, but busy with normal stuff ... I get to the end of the day and think,

"Yeah. Happiness. Joy. Good work. Deeds well done. Zesty creativity. It's all good. But I'm too pooped to enjoy it right now. Let me sleep on it. I'll show some exuberance tomorrow. Promise."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Early Autumn Color [6]

Tussy Mussy

I've been away from my blog for a couple days because all three of my lovely daughters were home this weekend. I hadn't seen Jeanne for a year. Julie hadn't been home since March. We had an excellent family dinner hosted by me to celebrate Jeanne earning her associate degree in drafting and her husband, Mathew, earning his bachelors degree.

The following morning, we celebrated Julie's birthday. Saturday afternoon was a "mom and girls" day out at some local parks for a photo shoot. We laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company and sense of humor. I hope to have some of those photos ready to share in the next few days.

In the mean time, this spot of purple color showed up in a raised flower bed, just down the street from the apple trees. They remind me of the sweet little bouquets often distributed at weddings or summer parties.

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

Can't you just hear the theme from Star Trek playing in your mind?

In my mind's eye, I see my 8 year old self teetering on the edge of the high diving board the summer I almost learned to swim ... the summer my teacher called me "Marga, Marga, Margot!"

Yes, I did make that exhilarating jump off the high dive. Feet first, I'm pretty sure. Managed to not land on the other swimmers in the deep end. But I may have done a belly flop.

I'm still not one to walk boldly through the obstacles set before me. Now and then, though, I do manage to sidle through.

That bold step? I'm deciding tonight to try it a bit more often.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Early Autumn Color [5]

Harvest Is Near

Apples. Overhanging the sidewalk. Ready to pluck from the tree as I return home on my daily walks.


I wasn't heeding close watch ... and just passed the 1,000 post mark!
(This is post 1,003!)


How's that for paying attention to detail?
[see post below]

:: grin ::

Go me!

Hmmmm. To celebrate, I'll have to post some kind of give-away. I'll put some brain cells to work and see if I can come up with something this week.

The Little Stuff

My dad used to always say, "The devil's in the details."

For a long time, I didn't really know what that meant. My take on it now is that you can have great ideas and grand schemes, but you won't be able to pull off your quest if you don't pay attention to the step-by-steps, the ins and the outs. The details.

Me? I'm extremely detail oriented. I suppose that's a dead giveaway if you look at my photos. I thrive on the macro, the minute. To me, it's the details that make a thing lovely. The unique bits. The things that may not be seen at first glance.

The bad part about being a detail person is that sometimes I forget to pull back far enough to see the big picture. Or sometimes that big picture looks so overwhelming that I'm too timid to take a first step. I prefer to have all the steps lined up before I walk forward. Once started, I get wrapped up in the details. That being said, the things I complete are usually well executed.

The thing is, some things don't deserve the time and attention I try to give them. Sometimes, it's OK to do an average job instead of an exceptional one.

The trick is learning which is which and finding a balance. The world won't fall apart if details are not attended to. Yet in the proper time and place, it is creativity mixed with attention to detail that forms the exquisite.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On My Desk - Taco Salad

If it's Wednesday, it's time for another installment of On My Desk

Today's desk? The kitchen counter.

Taco Salad

My oldest daughter and her husband are visiting for the first time in a year. It's a treat they gave themselves as a graduation present. Mathew earned his bachelor's degree; Jeanne earned her associate's degree.

Just this once, Jeanne is spending that night here at our home while Mathew takes some time with his best friend and mom.

Doing what we do naturally as mother and daughter, Jeanne and I ended up in the kitchen making dinner together. She's become a better cook since getting married! Now she is even giving me some recipe tricks. We chatter and laugh and share our lives, chips, olives and fresh guacamole.

It's good to have my boisterous girl in the house again for a little while.

Sunday Secrets: Sept 07, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These secrets peaked my curiosity this week:

I still cry in the supermarket when I see a middle-aged woman helping her aging mother buy groceries. I used to have that job with my mom.

Duh. Who doesn't? [Most of the time I can't even remember the pope's name.] I think Dumbledore has wiser, more pertinent, things to say.

ROFL. I don't necessarily *want* to be her ... but I could imagine it! Isn't that what cougars are all about? Glad I'm satisfied in the relationship I have so I don't go out lookin' for younger meat.

Oh! The Colors!

You've GOT to see this! Click on the image to see it full size. The yummy, yummy Fall colors! They need to be used in a quilt, don't you think? This is posted on the bricolagelife blog:

(The photo is a direct link to her site ... hope it shows up!)