Thursday, April 28, 2011

Morning Thoughts

Some mornings it's not easy getting started.  You know how it is, the chickens need to be cleaned out, the seeds you bought for that garden need to be started, the dogs really do need a bath and weren't you going to purge your stash closet or at least make a better path through it.   But somehow that third cup of coffee just seems to be calling your name.  It's fun to watch spring find its way into the world one blossom at a time.  The apricot tree blooms first of the fruit trees in the yard.  Bold and strong hoping to miss the last frost of winter that can sneak in.  Then the plum tress begins covered in big buds just waiting to explode on the scene on every branch from top to bottom.  So much so, that when the wind blows it's a rain shower of petals.  Then I noticed that the blueberries have quietly blossomed without any fanfare what so ever.  Now, the apple tree has a bit of pink here and there just under cover for now but soon of so soon it to will be covered in blossoms.  So, like spring, a quilt comes together one fabric at a time.  One piece is bold and brave and shows its self first, and then you find others that just explode all around it.  A nice quite one to help fill in a bit here and there and then the final fabric finds it's way to the surface and it seems to bring the whole quilt together.. a garden of fabric makes for a very pretty quilt, yes indeed. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Today was Easter.  It was one of those holidays I always enjoyed with the kids.  There was something wonderful about surprising them with their Easter baskets.  Each needing to be similar and yet different. I remember when they were small it was about candy and toys and as they got older it was about candy and things like fingernail polish or gameboy games.  One by one they grow and move on and start creating their own life's.  They fill their days with friends and events that you know nothing of.  You do the same and time goes rushing by.  Then one morning you wake up and remember the sounds of the squeals of happy children as they found their pretty baskets full of special treats and your heart strings are pulled tight and you smile as a small tear finds it's way down your cheek.  Life is full of moments we may forget and some we wish we could but never can. But if you're lucky, it's also full of moments you will remember with fondness.  Today was one of mine. 
I remember how I use to love my own pretty Easter baskets my mother put lovingly together. Or, when I was older and I'd call my folks and we would laugh and remember all the eggs so cracked from the hours of hide and seek and the one lost egg we found weeks later in the most amazing places.  The first Easter baskets I made for my own sweet babes and the same amazing days of hiding eggs hour after hour and that one egg that we just couldn't find.  I remember too, the first year I couldn't call my folks and laugh about the bygone days.  I thought of my children and the amazing adults they have each grown into and how proud I am of them.   I think,  how amazing it will feel to hear the laughter of my own children as they share the stories of their children hiding cracked eggs until there is nothing left or even the one they can't find.  We'll laugh and share memories of days gone by and as I hang up the phone a smile will cross my face and a tear will fall as the sound of memories fill my heart. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Endless Day

Sometimes when you are creating day in and day out they all sort of run together... Was it yesterday or the day before that I was working on that last project.  Today was all about stock building for upcoming recycling fairs that I will be participating in soon.  I needed to create stock not only for them but also to replace stock that has been sold or shipped out to other studios from Trillium.  So, today was all about the booties.. Making felted booties out of old blanket ends is a sort of mindless task.  Simple construction and repetitive seams first the heal, then the sides.   Punch holes for the grommets and then putting in the grommets and adding the shoe strings and the tag and done.  Even though I have been making them all day I keep thinking about the one baby that will wear the one pair I have in my hands.  Will it be a boy or a girl?  What color hair will they have?  Will the shoes be a gift someone gave them or something that the parents bought because they love the thought of handmade items for their baby?  I love thinking about this, about the lifestyle that supports making and selling handmade items and the people who enjoy and desire them in their lives.  In the age of box stores it's glorious to think that more and more people are getting tired of the same old thing and coming back to handmade.  The other night, we went out to ice cream to a small shop created by two sisters who love to make ice cream.  We had this amazing ice cream sandwich and loved being there, in their small shop supporting two young girls working on making a small place for themselves in this great big world. 
Me too.  One quilt or dress at a time.  I want to know at the end of the day that I am working on a small space to call my own.  Where people that have something I've made for them remember the lovely lady who laughed and connected with them at the fair, or the fun looking woman in the picture from the web who made a special item just for them.  As if, we are almost friends.  We write emails back and forth and the story is told and hopefully one day, my own children will look back and say, remember when Mom followed her dream and created Mama Jean's... and we all thought she was crazy and it wouldn't really work and yet look how happy she is.  Then I can look back and see that my children weren't afraid to follow their dreams too and maybe just maybe it was because one day I spent sewing baby booties all day from morning till dust and thought of the babies and families who's life's will be touched by Mama Jean

Monday, April 18, 2011

Working Piles

I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but it seems I work best with piles all around me. I clean my studio vowing to myself,  I shall keep it clean and before the day is over the tables have bits and pieces of this and that and the bed has fabric and scraps all over it.  The trim drawer is out on top of a jumper I need to finish and at least two quilts and their parts are scattered about.  I have at least three coffee cups sitting around and one quilt magazine I want to look at.  The floor is littered with thread ends and bits of little fabric scraps that seem to have missed the waste basket.  Then I wonder, should I keep it for a quilt made out of tiny parts someday?  I quickly come to my senses and throw it away for the stash of fabric I have for making big things is large enough to keep me busy for the rest of the year. Ah, but stashes wouldn't be stashes if you weren't always adding to them.  I mean when you see a retro kitchen fabric and you like to make aprons out of retro patterns, what's a girl to do?  So, maybe piles is my filing system. I mean I always know where everything is and I can get to it easy enough.  It might not fit into a filing cabinet anyway.  So for today I have a pile for Maria, one for Pam and one for Rebecca sitting on the table.  I have that cute retro fabric that came in today and the one from yesterday.  I like to look at each and think of the next step or some fun idea to add to a pile like that cute little rick rack I got the other day and how it just matches the retro kitchen fabric and maybe I should just add it to the pile.  I smile, grab the coffee cups and tell myself, tomorrow  I should clean up the studio and get organized.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Little Things in Life

Have you ever noticed it's the little things in life that either make you happy or make you crazy?  Today when I came home from shopping for groceries, I couldn't park anywhere near the house and had to carry groceries two block and make several trips... this makes me crazy.  Now I could look at it as a mini workout and consider myself lucky to be able to walk and carry groceries.  I can see that after they are in the house and put away but not when I first drive up... But the other thing that happened today was,  I had several boxes and envelopes waiting for me to open after I put everything away.  This makes me so happy.  I have come to appreciate ordering fabric on line from other Etsy artist or Ebay.  I've shopped for fabric enough in my life to know most brands and approximately how much it cost per yard, so I know what I am going to be getting.  However, when you can't see through the envelope and you can't see which fabric it is, it's like Christmas or your Birthday all in one.  I open each and a smile crosses my face as I remember the project I ordered it for or dream of a new one just because it was such a cute fabric and I had to have it.  Another incredible thing is that so many of the people who send you fabric also take such care and wrap each piece, and add a personal note along with it wishing you happy sewing or have fun on your next project, now how cool is that?  That doesn't happen at the fabric store I can tell you.   I've also gotten random little tokens just for fun too.  A charm here, a button bag or a cute little fabric tote just because.  So you see, it really is the little things in life that make it so wonderful. A good cup of coffee, a few bundles to unwrap and even a card from one of my kids and my day is made...

Friday, April 8, 2011

A New Project Begins

Is it just me, or can I find a hundred things to do before I start a new project?  I sometimes wonder at the things I can come up with that I haven't done in a month of Sunday’s or even longer.  Today, I cleaned the oven.  Really, the oven?  I hardly use the darn thing anymore and there I was up to my elbows in grease and soap.  After that was finished I had to dash out to find a big box for a special shipment and then of course I was close to the grocery store so I should stop and not waste the trip .... you see what I mean.

When I finally started the project and made the first cut the day fell away and I was lost in the colors and patterns that started to emerge.  I began to see the center of the quilt come into it's own and it was beautiful.  I knew immediately what the next steps would be and can't wait to start adding them on tomorrow morning.  Now that it's started I won't care that the fridge needs cleaning and the front flowerbeds are really screaming to be cleaned out as the sun continues to make daily appearances.   I'll grab that second or third cup of coffee (who's counting) and surround myself with the magic of this new project.  I'll hear the hum of the sewing machine as I build block after block and think of the sweet young girl in Texas whose mother has been saving for her to have her first handmade quilt.  She's been collecting for years and now wants to pass on her love of quilts to her daughter.  So, from one mother to another I hope to fill this quilt with wishes and dreams and magic in every corner for her daughter to discover and enjoy for a lifetime.  That when years have past, and one or two edges have frayed a bit and you can see the stuffing found inside, she will smile and remember her mother and the love they shared.  I do so love a new project.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Down, Four Hundred More to Go

This morning, I awoke to find I had reached a personal goal.  100 hearts in my Etsy shop.  It doesn't mean 100 sales, though I might wish for that next. Nor does it mean I'm off to Paris because I won the lottery.  It just means that at least 100 people have looked at my work and enjoyed it.  Some have purchased, some have left sweet notes and words of encouragement.  Others have just left their heart, but it's touched me nonetheless.  I am so enjoying working on creating Mama Jean's Kind Thread and each day I feel a bit closer to a spot out on the horizon.  I still haven't a crystal clear point of where I would like to go, just an overall direction.
Working for hours in a day in a very pink room has a way of making you feel happy.  You just can't be sad when you see the sun poking through the windows and the room is filled with a bit of a pink glow.  The worries of the day just sort of drift away and I am reminded of all the good in my life.  Not a bad way to spend a day I'd say.  Sort of like looking though life with rose colored glasses.  Truly a lovely expression don't you think?     So, this afternoon as I sit watching the light play on the walls in my studio, I shall smile, look about and begin a new project... after all the horizon is just over there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mama Told Me There'd Be Days Like This

A couple of days ago, I started a small baby quilt for a friend.  I had finished a big beautiful queen quilt and was feeling pretty proud and happy and thought, take a few hours and knock this little quilt out before you start the next big project.  So with joy in my heart and a small pile of pieces I started sewing. Well, if you call using your seam ripper more than your sewing machine sewing.  Every step of this quilt went south.  I had measured twice and cut once but wound up cutting again and again, every little thing seemed out of sorts with the next.  Really, could it really be this hard, it's a baby quilt... I first started to get a bit grumpy and the grumpier I got the more seams needed to be taken out.  I was sewing with a friend and she kept making jokes about it and we'd laugh and then I would tear another seam out.  I finally got one row of this quilt done and took a breath.  A big breathe.
Quilting is really a reflection of life.  You have all these pieces and you see how you want it to be and you start putting it together.  Then, you put two pieces together that shouldn't be and you have to take it apart and try again. Maybe even more than one time.   Let's face it, you take it apart a lot over the years, but eventually you start to get it right and the pieces seem to be putting themselves together and before you know it you have something beautiful.  You forget about all the times it seemed like a pile of scraps laying all over the place and the times you kept saying why why does this keep happening and you just look at the beauty that is right in front of you.  Ok, so maybe you don't forget the scraps and the whys but without them you might not have gotten where you are now and after all, in the end isn't that what really matters, that you didn't give up, that you laughed at yourself a bit and keep trying.   That you became friends with your seam ripper and learned to appreciate it for the amazing tool that it is?
So Mama, I just wanted to say thank you for teaching me how to sew.