If You’re Scared, Do Something

With every book that I read, there is usually one inspirational nugget buried somewhere between the front and back cover. It is something that captures my attention, as if those particular words were printed just for my eyes to behold. Sometimes, it’s a quote. It might be a helpful tip. It might be a tidbit about a topic that sparks my curiosity, thereby causing me to purchase three additional books for my pile. But sometimes, it is something as simple as a line that a character says that resonates with me in a profound way that changes my life.

I am currently reading Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein. It is a young adult fictional novel about the very non-fictional topic of women pilots during WWII. Anyway, Maddie, one of the characters says ”If you’re scared, do something.” That’s it. That’s my nugget. Her meaning is that you don’t freeze, or hesitate, or stop yourself from moving in a forward progression toward the best optimal result, even if your current task is not in your cards. WOW!

I perceive the word ‘scared’ as also meaning ‘afraid’, which caused me to reflect on my own fears, and how much fear really is different from (and similar to) anxiety. With fear, we read it like this: “If you’re scared, DO something.” but with anxiety, it is helpful to read it like this: “If you’re scared, do SOMETHING.” I think that we often mistake fear for what is really anxiety, and visa versa, making it difficult to overcome those separate obstacles. To me, fear can be a fear of wasps, preventing us from washing our windows. It can be fear of crowds or audiences, preventing us from giving a speech or presentation. Anxiety, is similar, but it seems so much more debilitating. We see a pile of papers and junk on a desk, then absolutely freeze and walk away, because of this sick feeling it gives us. We see projects (even fun ones!) that daunt us, and multiply quicker than our speed of progress. We see deadlines creep up on us. We see our plans fall apart, making every part of that ‘thing’ mentally impossible to finish. That is anxiety.

If we only knew how little it takes to overcome that fear, that anxiety, we would be less inclined to let it control us in the future. We would become more practiced at doing SOMETHING, or DOING something, allowing us to be more free of these fears and burdens.

This all relates to my week, and how everything kept falling apart to the point where our progression on moving to a new address became ‘sticky’.

  • Our water supply is currently being treated with chlorine at our new address, which means no drinking, no showers, no laundry.
  • We can’t move our closet stuff over until construction is done on the master bathroom water closet (more on that another day)
  • By adding lighting to the sewing room, kitchen, and living room, we have had an electrician ‘fall through’ the ceiling in the dining room.
  • My husband broke one of my IKEA shelves that holds some of my fabric, which cannot be replaced until IKEA opens again, meaning that fabric is being tossed in the room every which way.
  • He also backed into my car, causing paint damage. (he is not on my happy list this week at all.)
  • Wolf spiders everywhere
  • Wasps in abundance, both indoors and out.
  • Items for kitchen not available
  • Meals are hit or miss, and somewhat unhealthy.
  • “Where is my [fill in the blank], I know I just had it a minute ago?” is on auto replay.

Here is what I am DOING, which is SOMETHING:

  • bottled water, shower at the old house, laundry later.
  • pack overnight bags for the new house
  • have them patch the ceiling, then come fix it ASAP. Don’t look at it.
  • purchase metal shelving from Walmart to hold fabric temporarily. Make husband pay for new shelf, maybe make him go buy it, and haul it home too.
  • Wait until old house is sold, then get a quote to have car repaired. Make husband pay for it, and have him do all the dirty work of getting that done.
  • Kill all of the spiders, we have plenty more.
  • Buy some wasp nest decoys, and don’t let them think they own the place. We own it, and we’re more territorial than they are.
  • Decide on my second choice for kitchen items, and commit. Just do it, it might end up being much better at half the cost.
  • Eat when I am hungry, otherwise don’t. Meal plan when this is all over.
  • It’s right were I set it last. Figure it out, or forget about it.

Originally, I was supposed to make this post for the sweet (and very patient) ladies from my hand stitching group. Hey, you know what? Dang it, NO. This is going to happen too! I may not have been able to get a whole lot done, but I have been carrying this Grandmother’s Flower Garden pencil box around with me in the car so that I can work on it, on the go.

It is SOMETHING that I can do. It is something that I CAN do. It is something that I can DO, and by God, I will. Even if it means sewing on the floor, one Grandmother’s Flower Garden block will be done today.

I hope you have it in you to keep going on that project of yours, or pick it up again. It might not take much. It might be as simple as opening a box and assessing the situation. It might mean you have a task to do to get moving. Do the task. Do something. You’ve got this.

This hand quilt along group is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share projects that we are working on, and to motivate each other. We post every three weeks to show our progress, and to encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group, contact Kathy in her link below. Please visit these other members to see what hank projects they are working on as well. They always have beautiful things simmering.

Kathy Margaret Tracy Deb Susan Nanette Edith Sharon Karrin Gretchen Kathi Bella Daisy Connie Sherrie

The Friendship Connection

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My daughter recently asked me who my best friend was. I said “JoAnn, my sister.” She said “No, mom. That’s not what I mean. I mean friend, like who isn’t related to you.” so, I said ”Daddy”.  I think this counts in her requirements, as I am not related to him, just joined in marriage until death do us part. She wasn’t accepting my answer as a viable option. But then, I suddenly felt lost, when I began to take her question seriously.

I have no friends.

Now, y’all, that’s just silly. I have friends, lots and lots of friends. I have friends that care about me, and I have friends that I care for in return. In fact I would jump into a burning building or run through brick walls to come to their aid. I have friends that I grew up with from back home with whom I will always be connected, even though they are 1,484 miles from here. I have Instagram friends that started out as Flickr friends who I keep in contact with on a daily (hourly?) basis, many of whom I have met over the years, face to face, from across the globe. I have neighbor friends who like to get together for dinners, movies, or ladies nights.

What I don’t have, is ‘a friend’. That one friend that you can call when you are sitting on the toilet and need them to bring you a roll of toilet paper from five miles away because you forgot to restock the closet, a friend that will grab your kid from school and keep them in a family emergency, a friend you can laugh with about wildly questionable topics, a friend who will hold your hand when they visit you in the hospital to tell you that you can do this (I am not headed to the hospital, just for clarification…knocking on wood), a friend that you can run to, to return all of these favors.

It just hit me like a rock to the head that I do not have this friend. And you know? It makes me wonder how many other moms there are, that are thinking the very same thing. How did I get here?

My youngest child is now 10 years old. Soon that child will be 18 and heading to college…very soon. In the blink of an eye. When she does, (and she will, so help me Elvis), I want not only to have a friend that I can rely on to be there for me during that transition; but I also want for me to be that friend for someone else. Someone who needs me in return.

Unfortunately, they don’t sell these friends on Etsy, or I would have a fat quarter pack of them sitting on my shelf with a margarita already. You can’t look for a friend. A good, real friend happens at the right time, in the right place, for the right reasons. Here is where I have slipped up. I have not put myself out there, to connect. I have stayed in my safe little hidey hole during these years at home.

I came to this realization suddenly during this time of social distancing, because I was the only one not going crazy. I am immune to cabin fever. I adapted to isolation. I thought I was content, that is, until my daughter asked me who my best friend is. Now I realize what a disservice I have been doing to these other people, who are waiting around for me too. It’s high time I pull my head out of the sand and just start being there for those that are waiting for just the right person, at just the right time, in just the right place.

   Operation Connection:

     My homework: Task number one. Introduce yourself to at least 10 homes/people on your street.  If you already know them, choose 5, and leave a plant, or small gift, and a note letting them know that you thought of them today.

 

Home

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You can believe that it has been a crazy, crazy month.  Before the Covid-19 wrench got tossed into the gear works, we had been looking for a new home. The home didn’t have to be huge, because we aren’t the McMansion family.  It just needed to hold our junk, a few bins of fabric and a place eat, sleep, shower, and repeat.  Okay, we did have one big feature requirement, and that was that it had to have a little over an acre of land to it so that we could enjoy the backyard, put a someday pool in, and maybe a little workshop for (maybe) a longarm for a well deserving household member…I will be looking for a job outside the house to work on one of these dream items, and it probably isn’t the pool.  We closed on our new home last Tuesday, which belonged to a sweet family, with four children.  Being from a larger family myself, I was filled with a sense of comfort when we chose this home, knowing that those walls held so much happiness. Last night we built a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows for s’mores, but had to return to our ‘old’ house since our new home isn’t quite ready for habitation.  It’s a process.

As you all know the face covering post that I made over a year ago became very useful to many of you all, and I am so happy that my little free tutorial was put to work on a grand scale. I was overwhelmed at first, because nobody told me that this was going to happen, I was none-the-wiser.  After the news and hospitals began linking my mask tutorial, I spent the first two to three days answering questions and thanking you all for your kindness.  I will try to keep up with further questions and such over the next few weeks, but please be patient, as I will be swimming in moving boxes, construction dust, and paint.

In addition to making masks, during my 15 minute breaks (I use the Pomodoro method for time management), I have been working on these vintage quilt blocks:

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I take them apart, trash the fabric that is beyond saving, then I add complimentary fabric. In this case, I needed to re-arrange the blocks from the classic ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ quilt block to one of my favorite go to scrap busters, the ‘Churn Dash’, aka ‘Monkey Wrench’. So far, they look like this:

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Maybe when this is done, I will have a pattern for the full quilt. I am currently dreaming up a border idea, as I have already decided on the setting.

I also connected with some fellow hand stitchers in blog land, so I will be posting a little about that soon, hoping that it will force me to meet personal deadlines on my hand quilting, and hand piecing projects.  I am actually pretty excited to plug away at these bins filled with treasures.

Finally, I have been designing blocks for a sew-along series that I want to share with you all.  It will have pieced blocks, some applique (but maybe I will have optional pieced blocks to replace those those of you who aren’t too excited about turning a seam by hand.) Working on that…I can’t wait!

Almost midnight here, so I am closing this, but I will see y’all soon with updates. Let me know what your plans are for this coming week, so that I can hold you to a goal.  Good luck with that structure building.  We all can use a little of that right now.

 

Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?

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For over 10 years now, I have not been able to spend my time in the way that I wish, in regards to my hobby.  I admit that I could have been more active, had I been a bit more driven, but I honestly feel that had I really been serious about writing a quilt book, designing patterns, or even finishing my many, many projects, something would have come up to put a wrench in the gears. I think that these years are over, and you are the ones who are setting me straight. Funnily enough, you probably don’t even realize that what you are doing in your day to day life, affects and inspires me to move forward.

In these recent years, I have had a lot of quit in me. This is where I have been putting things on the later log, but I am thinking that it is time for me to get back to my normal, driven, very productive ways.  I recently submitted a quilt to a publication for consideration in an upcoming issue.  I have had quilts published in the past, so I am familiar with the process.  I sent in the required documentation. I waited. I followed up. I waited. I never received a response.  So, I submitted to another publication, and I am waiting on that one. And you know what? I might not hear from them either. But at least I am focused. Instead of just giving up and tossing it to the side as I have been doing, I plan on driving forward with a plan B, plan C, plan D if I have to. There are so many things that I can do, and I am beginning to be excited again about actually doing them.

You want to know something? I was heavily influenced by you though. You should know that I care about what you are doing. I follow your social media to see what you are making and to be inspired by your work. I see your quilt projects, or your travel pictures, or the progress that you are making by organizing your sewing room.  I look forward to your opinion on books that you read, movies you watched, and restaurants that you have visited.  I am simply a person who cares about what you are up to.  If you have not heard from someone recently about how much they appreciate you posting to your blog, posting a picture to Instagram, responding to a comment in Facebook, or making a tutorial in a Youtube video, I want to be the person who thanks you.  I am grateful to the community of quilters and crafters that drive forward every day.  You kept me in check. Sometimes life has a bad wifi connection and the only thing to do is to disconnect and reconnect again.  Reboot.  I think that’s it.  I needed a reboot.  I thank you for that.

 

Charley Horse! Sweet Jesus, Charley Horse!

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Just a quick post to let you know that if I am found dead on my front lawn, it is because I didn’t make it back home from jogging.  No foul play, no underlying drama. I am simply in terrible shape. In the last five days, I have put in just under 14 miles, all of them about 15 minutes per mile.  I have been walking them at a very fast pace instead of jogging, so that I don’t hurt myself any more that I already am.  My goal is to put in at least 50 miles this month.

On the days that I cannot walk, I will ride stationary bike (hard) for 30 minutes per day.

Let’s see how this month plays out…

Let’s Do This.

This is the inside of my brain.

Do you know what happens when an organized person loses control of their domain?  Well, I can tell you, because I have experience in that field.  I am just the person to tell you exactly what happens.

First, chocolate is consumed by the bushel, as a coping mechanism.  I pop a Dove every time I misplace my scissors.  ‘Tis easier to pop a chocolate, than to succumb to the realization that I have lost the damn things five times today already.  Maybe I am losing them on purpose now…something to think about.  Pavlov, let me know what you think on the matter, will you old chap?  Anyway…yes. Chocolate.  A bag or three should do it.  Hang it from your doorway. Anything that will hit you in the head on the way out of the room, is never truly lost.  Do not do the same with scissors.

That pattern that you have been looking all over for?  You looked in every book you ever owned because you thought you used it as a bookmark.  You looked on top of each one of your piles of fabric, twice.  You looked in the Fridge, because, well, that is where you found your scissors.  I am willing to bet that you looked under your sewing machine, or your cat.   Maybe it is hanging on your design wall.  Nope. The last pattern that I lost, I lost my mind search of it. I spent a week searching.  When you spend a week searching, you may want to consider that the stupid thing only cost ten bucks in the first place.  You have now spent 25.5 hours looking for it.  March your butt over to your laptop and just buy another one!  PDF pattern!? What the heck…it was IN my computer!!!  Lol. Facepalm.

When my sewing space kicks me out of it, it is time to take back control. If I don’t, I eventually find my kids playing ‘king of the hill’ there…or ‘Hide and Seek’. Clearing off my TV stand today, I found a not-so-horrible mug, my fishing licence (which I had to replace!) a pile of triangles that I cannot remember what I was going to do with, a third tissue box, and weirdly, a remote, and much, much, more.  My cutting table is somewhat usable right now.  I have a fat-quarter sized spot to cut on, which means that my yardage staying in the laundry basket in the corner for a little while. My couch only has space for one butt now, due to the clutter, and if I keep losing my scissors, I may as well kiss that goodbye.  I am sure I saw my sewing machine here somewhere…and a mushroom. (a fake mushroom, but still.)

I always have a good excuse when it comes to this level of unclean.  The excuse always makes me feel better.  It makes me feel like I really am in control of this walk-in box of quilt debris. My excuse is that I was sick for the entire month of November, and never caught up with the aftermath.  I was well enough to buy fabric, apparently though.  It is like Moda, FreeSpirit, and the Container Store blew up in the littlest bedroom of our house.  I don’t have a problem.  I have a mess.  I have a terrible, terrible mess.

I solemnly swear to clear off one area tonight, and post a picture.  I will give myself until January 31st (of this year, sigh) to clean the whole sewing room.  Operation #cleanthesewingspace has officially begun.  Come play work with me!  I am going to do it with or without you though.  Seriously, this time.  Other challenge areas to follow.

Every sewing space has a table, or place of cutting.  Do me a favor.  Go clear off your cutting space.  Don’t swipe it on the floor either, because I am watching you.  Hang your rulers back on the wall, or side of your shelves, or on the side of your cutting table.  Put your cutters in a cute bucket, and hang that bucket high on the wall, so the kiddos (and husbands) don’t get them.  Take a picture and Instagram or Flickr that thing, so I can see.  Tag Buttoncounter. Seeing what you all do, will not only help me, but I imagine that others seeing your clean spot, will learn tips, tricks, or simply be encouraged to dig in as well.

Have fun y’all!

Vase Full of Dandelions

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I have this project.  It is a quilt.  It needs binding.  Still!

I have these kids.  They prevent me from binding this project.  Sometimes, it is so uncool that they do this.  They take away my precious quilting time, causing me to do terribly unfun things like laundry, dishes, and wiping up glitter.  I try to sneak into my sewing room, but as soon as they hear my iron turn on, or my machine start to hum, they go into action.  They tip a plant over.  They spill syrup all over everything and under.  They build a fort with my clean laundry, using toothpaste to draw the ”windows”.  They poop.  They poop.

But you know what?  Sometimes, it is so cool when they take me away.  When they run in to bring me “flowers” (weeds, complete with roots…but hey!  They are pulled weeds!).  When they color a picture for me.  When we go swimming.  When we play at the park. When we go to the movies.  When we read a book.  When we dance and shake our booty.

I have this project.  It is my son.  He needs to learn to ride his bike.  Still!

He is 8 years old, and cannot ride bike yet.  Do you know why?  Because I have been so distracted with  my quilting, binding, sewing (unsewing, then sewing again), that I get lost in time and space.  I lose touch with those things that are most important.  Those pooping weed-pickers.  I love them.  I don’t want all of my years to pass by and only have a bunch of quilts to show for it.  I want a whole vase of dandelions.  I want to read “Walter, the Farting Dog” for the thousandth time.  I want to watch “Wreck it Ralph” in the dollar theater with popcorn for three (even though we own the DVD).  I want to see Ender Dragon get defeated yet again in Minecraft.  I want to see an 8 year old boy ride his bike.

If I am half the planner that I think I am, or half the mom I wish I were, I should be able to accomplish both, with a little bit of effort, planning, and tenacity.   These two things I will do!

1.  I will bind that quilt.

2.  That boy will ride his bike.

What does all of this mean to you?  Hopefully a lot.  If anything, it should help you on your own little projects.  Here are my challenge for you this week:

1.  I want you to spend quality time with somebody you care about, doing something new and unexpected, fun, and different.  Post, Instagram, Flickr, or Blog about it.  Your family and friends love it when you brag on them anyway. Tag me!

2.  Get working on that one thing in your sewing room that you are stalling.  Tell me what it is.  How did you do? Go, have fun!…while I clean up this glue and toilet paper.

First Kiss

A persons first post is usually a little awkward.  It can be uncomfortable for the person reading it, and it can be a struggle for the person writing it.   There is usually a little bit about ones self, a promise to post again soon (in a few hours), and no pictures.  First posts are a lot like a persons first kiss.  You have no idea what to expect.  You have no idea if it will even be half-way decent.  Worse, you have to rely on others to tell you how you did.

All of my firsts have been horrible.  lol.  My first time riding a bike, I spent more time picking it up off of the ground than being on the seat.  My first attempt at college was … bad.  I had no role models to show me the ropes.  My first quilt…shaped like an hour glass instead of the preferred rectangular option.  Even my first marriage was everything except right.  But,  I now have a motorcycle licence.  I graduated from college with honors.  I have produced award-winning quilts, and teach others how to do the same.  Best of all, my second and final husband is the most amazing man to ever walk the earth.

You are reading my first post on this blog.  My hope, is that you will enjoy it enough to keep coming back often, to see what I am up to.  I have stories to tell, that will make you pee (a little), laughing.  I have projects (and blunders) to share with you.  I have ideas.  Tutorials! (????!).  I have two kids that try to burn the house down on a regular basis.  I can entertain you.  You are my audience.  You are my inspiration.  You are the reason for me doing this crazy thing in the first place.

I just know that you would love to read a blog about a person who goes through all of the same hills and valleys that you do, and lives to tell about it.  I do swear, but not like a sailor.  Damn, shit, hell…things like that, so you can expect a little color, but nothing to make you shake your head and sigh.  I write about the kids, as good moms do…but only the stuff they royally screw up.  I do that, because I know that you need me to tell you that sharpie art on the furniture,  destroyed make-up, and the red sock in the whites…all happens to me too.  My husband will stay out of the blog, for the most part, only because he is a professional, and I might embarrass him…more.  I have no cats or dogs.  I am not worthy enough for  any cat, and I care too much for dogs in general to submit them to my crazy life.

oh….this is me: backyard selfie

I took this picture in the backyard with a phone camera.  I put on make-up, and dressed in something other than pajamas, so that you could see what I wished I looked like on a regular bases.  So yeah, not the real me.  I had to take like, 50, before I got this one.  the other 50 really capture the dork that is me.

You are still reading, and probably already getting tired of doing so, so I will make this short, and thank you, dear reader, for getting this far.  Talk to you again, soon…but not in two hours.