One Sheep…

Good morning.

You know when you start having that problem of waking up too early, and not getting back to sleep?

There are a ton of things I need to get incorporated back into my life – one – doing more yoga.  The last time I went – I felt like a train wreck.  I couldn’t hold my balance, and even though it hasn’t been that long since I had last been there, I couldn’t handle the heat too well, and kept having problems with dizziness.

To me, that means that I really don’t have great balance in my life. I  have learned to read those signals.  I am having a number of those other signals right now, so I am trying to figure out how to “rebalance” things.

I mentioned above that my sleep is being affected.  Been trying several different techniques, and nothing is working well at getting back to sleep.  I thought, “ok, I should try counting sheep”.  Ha ha.  I ended up writing a poem in my head about sheep….  maybe that will help.

So, I thought I would share it with you, as a light hearted attempt at sleep.

  • One sheep, white sheep, looking for the gate
  • Two sheep, black sheep, trying hard to wait
  • Three sheep, red sheep, lagging far behind
  • Four sheep, green sheep, starting to unwind
  • Five sheep, purple sheep, full of smiles and sass
  • Six sheep, pink sheep, nibbling at the grass
  • Seven sheep, blue sheep, sad and standing still
  • Eight sheep, orange sheep, sitting on the hill
  • Nine sheep, yellow sheep, running to keep up
  • Ten sheep, rainbow sheep, chilling and saying “wassup”.
  • All sheep, tired sheep, need to go to bed
  • Sleepy sheep, cuddly sheep, laying down their heads.

So, I can imagine this being illustrated as a children’s book – anyone want in?

Hope everyone got a restful sleep.  Please send any hints to me at how I can try to mitigate this “3 AM” internal clock wakeup call.

Soay_sheep_lamb

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Long weekend reflections……

So thankful for a long weekend.  Inspiration and reminders are around me when I look for them for the things I want to accomplish this weekend.  I can find some amazing things and wonderful people when I look for them.

A list of what I’m grateful for can upturn a challenging day when I look for those things.  A smile comes to my face when I remind myself of the crazy things my two fur babies do when I see antics in my memory bank.

I can always find what I’m looking for, if I open my eyes to see it.  

These ponderings could in turn be compared to keeping my heart and my mind open and what I need is there is if I look for it.  

Now I am going to look for snuggling with my fur babies and savouring those moments because I’m grateful I can have them.  

Enjoy your thanksgiving. Wishing everyone a time to give thanks for even just one simple thing.  Just look for it.   

    
 

Another Day in Paradise….

I consider myself very fortunate.  I am coming to the end of an amazing 8 day trip to Maine.

The friends I came to visit with are amazing.  It was a wonderful week filled with hanging out with them at their lake house.  Every morning seeing this…
  
Getting out and experiencing the area.  People are wonderful here.  Down to earth, accepting you into the activities, and just overall good people.  

It had given me a better perspective of thankfulness.  The weather has been hot during my visit.  So, I can say that yes, I did see some sun.  And some dragonflies, fish, turtles, chipmunks, bald eagle, frogs, toads, woodpeckers….  And smelling the fresh air with all the trees around….  An amazing place.  I need to come back and visit against.   I didn’t, however, see the infamous moose of Maine.  Saw evidence that they were around, but were elusive.  Which isn’t a bad thing….  

No quilting for me on this trip.  I’ll try to get something posted about my trip last month to Colorado.  More good times, beautiful scenery and above all, close friends.

And most of all on this trip, I got to recharge the batteries, remember what beauty there is everywhere I have gone, and remember how grateful I am for the opportunities I have.

Thank you Jo and Stephen for a wonderful trip.  You are gracious hosts and awesome friends.  Thanks to Betsy and Hector for letting me tag along to see some beauty of Maine in a very fun way.  Thanks to my parents for looking after my two feline fur babies while I went on this adventure.  Thanks to my colleagues and friends who helped out and enabled me to get away from work and visit such a cool place.  I recommend visiting Maine to anyone who wants to see some beautiful country.  

Role Reversal

I took a yoga class on Saturday morning.  I finally made a conscious effort toattend.  I haven’t been for awhile (but who’s counting) and I knew I had to go again.

I discovered that I was the one asking for forgiveness from the other participants in the room.  I was the one who couldn’t hold my balance for long.  I was the one who the instructor repeatedly came over to help  with poses.   I needed that assistance, and it was provided.  I needed to know that it was okay that my practice was off.  I needed that time on the mat.

The week’s activities and stresses were carried into the hot room with me.  Letting them go involved a few tears creeping out as well as falling out of poses, and every pose being painful in some way.  I need to participate in this activity more often.  I need to find a way to release stress.

Then I remind myself of a recent trip to Jasper.  It was cathartic.  It was needed in so many ways just like the yoga class was, and I will keep putting these kinds of balancing activities into my world.

day trip to Jasper on Canada Day
day trip to Jasper on Canada Day

 

My journey continues……

I just enjoyed an awesome extra long weekend in May (this tells you how long ago I started this post), due to summer hours at work coupled with the Victoria Day Weekend.  I had grandiose plans (lol, not just any old plans, but larger than life plans) that I had hoped to achieve.  Now, granted, I don’t get too upset with myself when my plans go awry, or when I myself send the plans out to enjoy the sun.  But, I do like to have an idea of what I would like to do on a weekend.  I definitely welcome diversions, and create enough of those myself…

Part of what I do to myself, and I think many of you share this activity, is along with my grandiose plans for the weekend, are my plans for completing projects.  I am a great starter.  I love starting new projects.  I love the excitement of choosing new fabrics, I love the anticipation and trepidation of starting a new pattern.  I love that energy.  Finishing….  well – that’s something that I definitely do.  But, maybe not nearly enough.

I am fortunate to belong to a group of quilters, a “bee” per say,  in Northern Virginia who thankfully haven’t kicked me out of their group yet.  They are all dear friends, amazing inspiration, support in all ways in my life and hopefully I in theirs, and will be friends for years to come.  We have done several block exchanges through the years.  I finally took three of those exchanges this past Christmas, and laid them out on my parent’s living room floor (my design wall is not big enough), and got them ready to set together.  I have had at least one of those since 2007.  Crazy – right?  And, when I brought all of the blocks out, and played with them, and looked at each of the fabrics, and recalled who had made which block – it brought all of those wonderful memories back when our bee group would be assembling them at our bee gatherings, at retreats, or showing each other the luscious fabrics before gathering the courage to slice into those fabrics, to share with each other.

What prompted me to actually dig into my archives and actually try to get some projects closer to completion?  Not really sure.  Was it the rearrangement of my stash this past fall, and trying to organize my studio?

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Block exchange for a pattern from “Transparency Quilts” by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle.

All I can say for sure is that resurrecting a project that has been “simmering” for this long is actually quite a journey for me.  It helps me recall the journey that the blocks have made (and now, the thousands of miles those blocks have travelled as well).  It makes me smile and sigh when I see the wonderful collection of fabrics and of my friends work that I now treasure as a part of these wonderful quilts.

This was the first block exchange I participated in with this bee.
This was the first block exchange I participated in with this bee.
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Purple and Green Batiks – Blue Underground Pattern – “Modern Thinking” block exchange.

Being present

This is a fun little quilt top that I created from leftovers from making several Aunties Two Bali Bags, and using my leftover corners for half square triangles.  :-)
This is a fun little quilt top that I created from leftovers from making several Aunties Two Bali Bags, and using my leftover corners for half square triangles. 🙂

I have been making a conscious effort to give myself permission to quilt more, to spend more time with people that quilt, and to spend more time with people that help “fill my well”.

THis is coming about for several reasons, the most significant one is that I want to be more “present”.  (I read something once that in being more present, you get your ego to take a backseat.)  I am generally a planner by nature – in my head at least – I plan how my day will go (and this can go askew, but it is a starting point).  If I am using a commercial quilt pattern to satisfy my quilting urges, I go through the directions, and quite often will “assembly line” this – I will do all of the cutting at first.  I then will often piece several different blocks, at once, and then do a group pressing, then back to the sewing machine, etc.  I rarely will try to complete one complete block at a time, but as a rule, am willing to wait to see the results.  And, in doing this planning, I am working towards my finished goal.  Am I necessarily “present” while I am doing all of the steps to the finished blocks?  Hmm- good question.  I tend to think I let my mind wander…..

I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday, and encouraging her to take some time in her crazy schedule to see more of her new niece.  In essence, I was trying to tell myself more than anything that I need to spend more time with the people that matter.  To enjoy the moment here and now.

And, I am lucky that in many cases, the people that matter to me enjoy quilting or enjoy if I share my work, my process, my inspiration, or in general are amazing support systems, and have been throughout my life.

I spent a weekend in Vermilion this month, where the guild members of Vermilion’s quilt guild are amazingly welcoming.  I have known several of its members for years, and am so lucky that one member is always willing to let me bunk at her house when their guild has a “Quilt Till You Wilt” weekend.  It helps fill my well of creativity when I am surrounded by similar souls, and I can see their amazing work unfold through the weekend.

At the beginning of April, my mom came up to Edmonton and joined me for a Ricky Tims day of lectures and an evening concert.  My mom quilts too and I am hoping that she enjoyed the day, and the bit of the break from the farm, as much as I did.  And I think we both enjoyed being present and in the moment during Ricky’s stories, which were amazing.  (I will try to add links in later – please forgive me for not being good at this yet.)

on Easter weekend, I met my mom at the Red Deer Quilt Show, where she and a friend toured around the show with me.  I also met up with the Western Canadian SAQA Rep, who lent me SAQA Trunk Show F to share with fellow quilters in several venues.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Edmonton and District Quilt Guild meeting, where I shared this Trunk Show, as well as listened to a wonderful speaker as part of their evening program.

I have been actively filling up my well with wonderful inspiration, and support by quilty people.  And, when I am surrounded by fabric, and incredible designs, I have no choice but to be present and revel in the moment.

I wish everyone a chance to do some revelling of their own.  Be in the moment with something or someone you love.

Finding your voice

I was taking one of the classes through an Art Quilt Series that Cyndi Souder teaches, and in one of the classes, she discussed our voices.  What distinguishes us, what is our artistic voice.  

I have been brought back to this again and again many times.  I was very thankful while I was taking those classes from Cyndi, that I was able to explore different techniques, and the class exercises gave me an opportunity to expand and spread my art wings a little broader.

But I keep coming back to – what is my voice. When someone looks at my work, could they distinguish all of it as being part of the body of what encompasses my creations thus far?  

I often wonder – what do I want my work to speak on my behalf.  How is it reflective of who I am?  And, truthfully, because of the different techniques I have explored, who I am may be undiscernable at this point through these creations.

I keep trying to dig through what I want my work to show about who I am….  I like to be playful.  I like to have meaning to my work.  I want it to tell some sort of a story.  If there is a theme to my work – I want it to explore perhaps a little deeper into that.  I don’t expect that any of my work will ever be used in a philosophy class to further explore the meaning of life.  But I want it to reflect a part of my life at the time when I created it.

And, in thinking about this, I have realized something else.  That being able to be true to who you are, and have that apparent in your work as an artist is a scary thing.  Maybe I am finding comfort in that anonymyty I have in all sorts of different works masking what I truly want to be apparent as being my creation when someone looks at it. 

 Stay tuned…. time for some shedding of layers….  its going to be scary.  But I have some amazing teachers in front of me who have blazed a trail of authenticity and courage.

If i look at the selection of quilts below, all done for challenges, I don’t know if I would say that all of them were created by one person.  

How did you find your voice?  

IMG_7519
created for Art and Old Lace Challenge
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created for Power Suit Challenge
IMG_7517
created for Art and Old Lace challenge
IMG_7516
created for the Wicked Challenge but did not get sent in time.