Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Young Seamstress

My daughter finished a quilt making class and this is her quilt. It is actually not the first quilt she's made. My mother, an avid sewer and quilter, has worked on numerous projects with her, but they have been the size for her American Girl doll. She has her own sewing machine and supplies and is quite motivated to create things. I couldn't be prouder. My grandmother loved Vogue patterns and making fashionable clothes. My mother made many outfits for us, whirring away on her Pfaff sewing machine, an early gift from my father. It was sturdy and made from steel, like the kinds you'd see in a factory. It was a scary machine with the middle speeds burned out so it went from barely moving to full race car. It had a tempermental knee pedal and that is the machine I learned to sew on. Now I am not a great seamstress by any means. To me, sewing is a creative activity for exploring stitch and texture on quilts, fabric or paper and mixed media. I sew up the binding on a book mock-up, make bags and totes, and shorten jeans, basic stuff. But I do know the difference between a raglan sleeve and a set-in sleeve and some parts come back to me with just a little reminding. And as for the old Pfaff, well today my mother does most of her sewing with her smooth-purring Bernina on numerous creative and contemporary quilts, making colorful, textural art pieces.

So I am very happy to see my 10 year old daughter have an interest in sewing. When some friends were over for dinner the other night, her friend had a small rip in her dress that started to spread. My daughter got out her sewing machine and fixed the dress while the rest of the kids were swimming in the pool and having fun. Sometimes I think she is 10 going on 40. She looked satisfied that she could do it and I didn't help her at all. She creates projects in her mind to make. Is this something that is passed down and is in your blood? I can feel the influence of generations of women in our family that have sewn and created with fabric and thread.
And all of it made with love.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gentle Pushes

my dear friend friend whose writing makes me laugh and sigh and opens a door to the soul- you feel like you KNOW her when you read her posts. And I am blessed to actually KNOW her, to know the real person and know the she is as spendid as the writing would entice you to believe. She is a gift.

I ran into Corine today. We had a brief discussion on the walk up to the school to pickup kids, and it was a fun moment laughing about the HOARDERS show on A&E. She had just blogged about it. I had just watched an episode my husband recorded this weekend (strategically left in the recorder in hopes of motivating me). It was the first time I had seen it. I sat up watching past midnight while everyone else slept...horrified, not by the people, but by the similarities I shared with them. My heart was pounding in an uncomfortable way, exposed, uncertain, shaky. Yes, I can walk through my rooms. Yes, most of my house is pretty normal and streamlined. But my office...well, it is my territory of cluttered, saved, stored, smooshed, piled and lost items. And a lot of other hidden spaces are as well, including the coat closet, my clothes closet, the laundry room, the pantry, the linen cupboard...ANY cupboard. The show ended and I got up. 1am.  While everyone else slept I cleaned out the space under the bathroom sink, wishing instead I had a dump truck outside and could start on my office, knowing I needed to go back to sleep so I could tackle more with the early morning light. 

And tackle more I did. 8 bags of recycling later and finally finishing some badly needed paperwork. My friend Susan came over and helped me go through some piles and a milk crate of papers that I have been carting around for over a year. It was uncomfortable to have someone else go through MY stuff. She commented that I started working faster because of the panic at having someone else do it. Yes. Sometimes a kick in the butt is what we need. A flame to the fire. Getting out of our comfort zone.

The clean-up is still in progress but it is so incredibly motivating. I believe you do need to make room for the new. If your space is too full, then you don't have breathing space to let the new wonderful prospects come to you. Every time I declutter I find money, gift cards, unexpected surprises and treasures. And wonderful things happen...the call about a new project, a submission gets excepted, something good comes to fruition. The space makes new things bloom. It's like I am asleep under a warm and heavy wool blanket and when I throw the covers off I find Spring has come and it's glorious.

So back to Corine and today. We talked about how the Universe can give you that push to move you forward when you can not do it for yourself. It comes in uncomfortable ways like losing the job that was crushing your soul so you can move into work that makes your heart sing. Disappointment from a friend so you become stronger on your own. And even having a hard drive crash so you don't waste time in the past but work with what is new and fresh in your mind. Ouch. It all hurts. But there is a valuable push in there somewhere. It is part of releasing the clutter, clearing the space and more importantly, clearing the mind.

Ah, and now I must listen to my own words. No, my hard drive did not crash, thank goodness and knock on wood. But I have felt the push. As I visited Corine's site, I saw the images of my fabrics, ready for the world to see. 

And my heart about stopped.
Yes, they are out in stores and I am proud of them. But I have been waiting for the time to show them more, to send them to other blogs, when I have sample items made to REALLY show the fabrics more.  Waiting for...waiting for what? Why not now? Corine, you have given me a needed push I had not given myself. Show it more to the world. Get out of my comfort zone. So I am going to try to live according to my own advice (ouch again!) and be living what is new and fresh in my mind and not hoarding my gifts to share and stalling in my "someday" cluttered talk in my head. 

Thank you my dear friend for my needed push.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Facebook Birthday Gift

Social networking. Today was the “social” part, the part about reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. I’m on facebook but haven’t really used it regularly and explored all the options. It was my birthday yesterday and I had the loveliest flow of birthday messages through facebook- it really warmed my heart. But the best surprise of all was a chat window open with a “Hi Robin” from an old friend I haven’t talked with much for years. She lives in Chicago, a place I called home for 8 1/2 years before moving to Los Angeles. We also were both in the School of Art at the University of Michigan and that alone bonds us in a lasting and unique way. A simple answer back and we were chatting away, catching up on what we’ve been doing for the last number of years, what is ahead, big life plans and little ‘what is for dinner’ plans. I forgot how large her vision is and how deep her thoughts. Little bits reminded me. And we had a laugh about a life theory of mine that she still quotes, that sometimes you have to close your eyes and run blindly into the light. 

Yes, honeydew, it brings it all back. And I can close my eyes and remember a life I used to live in a different place. The smells of fall, living in the same neighborhoods, meeting at the Melrose for brunch, drinking lots and lots of coffee, wind whipping our cold faces downtown, the metal stairs at The Reader, little Camerino, Albert and Vera, heated discussions, laughing till it hurt and we couldn’t breathe. The moody seasons, the spectacular architecture, music and plays... there was always something to go and do. The busy, thriving pace of city life. Life there was often so very intense.

And I love my life now, in a very different place and a very different existence. But what a treat to be transported back to a girl I used to be. It’s like finding the book you lost and remembering why you liked the characters so much, why the writing touched your heart and why the thrill of it made it hard to put down. So in a very unexpected way, a little facebook chat turned out to be the best birthday gift I could have imagined. Thank you girlfriend.