Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The Impossible Dream

Yesterday, I woke up completely energized. I cleaned the house - thoroughly - baseboards and all, vacuumed and dusted, moved the furniture around, washed all the wood, and did the laundry. I'm not sure why since I'd been putting it off for a while except that I got my first dose of the vaccine on Monday. A friend told me that she'd had the same reaction, as if a weight had been lifted and she could now take on the world.  I didn't think I was so stressed by the pandemic but obviously it was weighing on me more than I knew. I am glad to have done my part to contribute to finding the end of this tunnel.





Cleaning always involves looking at the stairs. The only disappointing decision I made with the renovations is the carpet. I chose it for the pattern and because it's commercial grade thinking that would make it wear better. It was installed in January and this is how it looked in March... and I live alone... and don't wear shoes in the house. The carpet company says it's dirt and to get it professionally cleaned. Hmm... right... even if... every two months! All I can say is don't put that in an office building. 

After getting several quotes on replacing it with the same flooring in the rest of the house, or wooden treads, or different carpet, I decided on cleaning it and covering it with a carpet runner. When I researched a runner, the price was still going to be way up there so I decided to buy upholstery fabric and make my own that could be removed and washed if necessary. Luckily...

... Fabricland had a sale last week. Paisley is my favourite design and this one is 60" wide, has the same cream background as the carpet, contains colours I have throughout the house, and was on sale for $6.00 per meter. Seven meters for $42.00 makes a two sided runner. The quote for the same flooring was $4,500.00. I do like those savings. 





Before cleaning, I extended the fabric across the floor, folded it in half, and pinned along the selvage. Next, I'll press the fold and then decided how to stitch it together because I don't want the layers to slide. I am planning to paint the hand rail turquoise so I may use a light turquoise binding to finish the edges. We are so lucky to sew and to be able to look at DIY alternatives. 





One of this spring's big trends is a button-up cardigan like the one above right from Banana Republic. In my ongoing effort to knit down my stash, I used a recycled silk/wool blend to start knitting a similar sweater this weekend. That made me think of....




... the sweater knits in my stash. I'd like to sew them down as well. Above, the orange cardigan is Burda 6120, view A. With a few changes, namely a button band, it will look on-trend, which is sort of irrelevant since I wear this kind of cardigan all the time but nicely coincidental. 

Last month when I cleared out a lot of my surface design supplies, it left available shelf space in that closet. I'd like to sew down my sweater knit and my coating fabrics and put the remainder in there freeing up more room in this closet for less bulky fabrics. 





The pendant made a slight bit of progress. I spent a lot of time debating how to add the stone to the center and - for now - I'm eliminating it and plan to cut a piece of metal for the inside, see how that looks, and decide on how it will be embellished and fit into the theme. The stone may return; it may get replaced. I'm not sure. 

In the last post, I said that after Covid I wanted to get out of the house more and thought I'd do that with a part time position. I do want to get out more and I've re-evaluated how. I have had an impossible dream for a really long time and I know if I don't at least try to make it work, I will regret that down the line. 

The term impossible dream comes from Barbara Sher's work and she talked about identifying the dream and the top three obstacles preventing you from obtaining the dream and then asking for help to move around those obstacles. My impossible dream is a working studio, outside the house, in a truly co-operative environment as in we all get along and we support and encourage the success of each other. The obstacles are money, space, and a group of artists that truly get along. 

There is a local business woman who owns a flower shop that I truly respect. She is open minded, supportive and encouraging, honest and pragmatic. Along with flowers, she sells locally made art in her shop. After the Mother's Day rush, she has agreed to meet with me and brainstorm possibilities and I'm really looking forward to that. 

When I wrote May 1st in my journal, my first thought was that we were a third of the way through the year and I hadn't done anything yet. But that's not true. Just in April, I started working with a coach. I made a permanent decision about surface design and a permanent decision about writing, teaching, and retreats. I started working with jewelry again. I decided to get a part time position and then re-evaluated that decision and reversed it. And I decided to pursue the impossible dream and contacted someone to help me get started. THIS IS HUGE.  This is not nothing. 

I was watching a YouTube video the other day made by a young man named David Walsh. In it, he says good lives take a lot of maintenance. Yes. So true.  

What are you working on?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful
- vaccines

Friday, 30 April 2021

Playing With Parts

This is the last Friday in April. That's hard to believe and rather alarming how fast time is flying now-a-days... which makes me sound terribly old... but really is just encouraging me to lean into life. 





The Vogue 1704 blouse is finished. The buttons are hammered silver metal. I've had them for quite a while without using them and this was, finally, the perfect project. I haven't worn the blouse yet. The weather has been too yucky for blouse without jacket dressing so for now, I'm enjoying the sleeves on the dress form. 





In an earlier post, I talked about my prayer for ever increasing holistic health. One part of that is integrated creativity where I am making for the love of making. You'd think that would be easy but it's something I've always struggled with however, on the flip side, I love working with scraps and the journey of the unknown.





The goal I set at my last coaching session was to work one half to one full hour, three to five days a week, on jewelry. I felt like I'd been away from it for too long and needed that structure to get back to work. I planned to start with repairs thinking that would be an in only there was no pull energy in repairs. It sounded too much like mending. Instead, I pulled some bits and pieces out of my scrap jar and started playing with parts. 





Two of the things I love about working this way are one, that the theme slowly develops and two, things don't always go as planned. The hole in the stone was not drilled end to end and I couldn't pass a wire through it so I tried gluing wire into each end only it wouldn't stay. I ended up drilling holes through the back plate and creating prongs. 

 



Eventually, a heart theme emerged and I'm taking that forward. The next step is to create a heart shaped wire frame around the central stone. It'll include a way to attach the charm below and most likely wire weaving but I don't actually know. We'll see. 





Yesterday, my contractor came and cut the opening into the railing around the back porch and added stairs. I can now exit the house from the back and easily get to the lower patio and - in the event of an emergency - I don't have to throw my Bernina and computer ahead of me while climbing over the railing. This is good. I can also finish this end of the pathway. I'm waiting for the micro clover seeds and another big bag of dirt that is coming Monday only...

... Monday is also my vaccine appointment day. I'm not sure I'll be doing too much digging the next day but then again, maybe it would distract me. I have decided that once my two weeks is up for maximum impact, I will start looking for a part-time position. Post Covid, I want to get out of the house more and working is one way to do that. My last outside the home job was in 2012. It's been a while. 

What will you do different post Covid?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - permanent decisions

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Mary's Bag

After taking forever to complete, I mailed Mary's bag last Friday and it arrived Monday, much quicker than I'd expected. I'd hoped to post about it this Friday but since she's already received it, I can post today. 






The pattern is Burda 7119. I chose it because I wanted to make a large project bag however, in reality, this is luggage. The finished size is huge but perfect for travelling with all the possible project supplies you might need.  





Mary loves all kinds of colours and textures mixed up together which is how this combination came to be. The sides and the background of the flap are made from denim scraps from my bits & pieces of potential box. 






The floral was chosen not only to co-ordinate with the other prints but so I could cut out the individual flowers and applique them to the background of the flap. I used a zigzag stitch around the edges and free motion with a variegated thread for the petal shapes inside the flowers and with a matching thread for the background. 





The inside is a combination of a tone-on-tone turquoise with remnants from the strip quilting on the front. The bottom and the zipper pocket use the floral and the slip pocket uses a lighter turquoise with a small floral motif and polka-dot binding. I finished the exterior first and every other decision was based on the fabrics I had left. 





My original plan was to use purchased handles only I didn't have any long enough. Plan B was to sew the handles from the same dark blue print used on the underside of the flap utilizing following the pattern only that was a lesson in excessive frustration... using cotton... not the leather called for. In the end, I opted to use strapping with a patch of leather at each end and a turquoise button stitched in place with yellow pearl cotton. For the purse feet, I used large buttons. 





The scariest part was the snaps. Mary's birthday was in December. Moving and renovations had already made it next to impossible to get the bag sewn and there on time but not being able to use my Bernina because the new control foot was on indefinite backorder kept delaying things. MONTHS later, the last thing I wanted was to insert the snaps incorrectly and mess everything up. I practiced. A lot. On scraps. And then I used my new hand press to securely install them. YES YES! It went so well that I'm dreaming of a coat with snaps now - LOL. 

The bag arrived with a copy of the pattern tucked inside. At one point, I couldn't find mine, bought a replacement, and immediately found mine. It also arrived with another pieced panel that - ideally - would have been made into a zip pouch to hold small tools. This is not an ideal world. It didn't happen. I couldn't wait any longer so... she has the parts if she wants to make the pouch and if not, she can make it go away. 

I've known Mary for eight years. I met her when my oldest grandson was born and I went to Calgary to help my daughter and son-in-law. I posted on my blog at the time that I'd be there and could meet up for coffee with anyone who was interested. Several people took me up on my offer which was really fun although Mary is the only one I've stayed in contact with. We got along right away and have been visiting back and forth ever since. She's an amazing, wonderful, caring, supportive, encouraging, creative, giving, sharing, and so much more, woman and I am very blessed to have her as a friend. Belated happy special birthday Mary. 

Do you enjoy the challenge of making a gift for a friend?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - friendship

Friday, 23 April 2021

Never Repeatable Steps

When I woke up this morning, I realized it was Friday and that I hadn't written the post yet. Since I've been working on my friend's gift all week and can't show that, I decided to wait until this afternoon to write since I'd be working in the yard all day and could show the progress. 





Last week, I started shaping the walkway and garden, finished it earlier this week, and today filled the garden bed and added plants. 


 


The garden is on the North side of the townhouse and gets almost complete shade with a brief bit of sunshine when the sun is directly overhead. That's totally new for me. All my previous gardens have been full sun. 



 


I planted two different kinds of ferns, three different hosta, and those taller dark green plants that will have dark pink flowers. I can't remember what they are called but they'll get about 40" tall. There are probably too many plants in this space and that's okay for now. When they get bigger, I can move them. 






I've also been working on the vanity for the powder room. This is the upper section where the sink will be set in. My original paint plan didn't work because the crackle didn't crackle. A series of never repeatable steps led to this leathered - textured - somewhat crackled - look that I quite like. I picked up an oval mirror at the thrift store that is going to look gorgeous with the vanity. I'll show you the rest of it when it's installed. It started with an antique end table that was too short and my contractor added height to. 

The company that didn't come this week is now coming next. We typically knit together so I want to get the small sweaters blocked this weekend and sew them together while she's here. British Columbia put even tighter covid restrictions in place today. I am so glad to have a few friends in my bubble that can come stay. Right now, they live in my health district but if travel between cities becomes limited, that'll be the end of that so I need to enjoy it now.  

How are you doing? How is being creative helping you cope with the pandemic?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a new type of garden

Update 6:40 pm - after reading the new restrictions, they are even tighter than I'd heard and although I live alone, I am not supposed to have indoor gatherings of any size and limit myself to my core bubble. My friend and I talked again and have decided to wait and see what happens. It's interesting times. Being introverted helps but two, and only the same two, people is not enough. 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Pull Energy

The past weekend was a very strange mix. Saturday was beyond gorgeous. It felt like summer. Sunday was cold and windy with threatening storm clouds. I met a friend in the park for a walk and we both wished we'd gone the day before. 





These are three of the four packages I am determined to mail this week. The largest one at left is for my grandsons and I did mail it yesterday. With all three, the box was chosen because it was closest in size to the gift and in all three cases, there was extra room. Which I had to fill. Of course. The one in the middle is for the friend I do a book club with every second Monday and the smallest one...





... is for the ring I've been making for another friend since before October when I packed up my metalworking studio ready to move. The style is from a workshop about rustic rings and it's very rustic considering how out of practice I am. I can't even remember the name of the stone. Right now, I've added a patina to the copper and am ready to set the stone... and then put the ring in the package... and tape it shut... and send it on its way. 

The fourth package will be the birthday gift for my friend Mary that's not quite finished. I've been working on it every morning and it's making tremendous progress. I have high hopes that I can drop the three remaining packages at the post office Thursday morning on my way to an appointment. 




Yesterday, I picked up two more BIG loads of rock and they're stacked on my driveway ready to be put in place this morning. I'm hoping that's it but if not, I'll be visiting this pile at least one more time. I try to get as many rocks as possible from the bottom of the pile without climbing up so I don't accidentally trigger a slide. Yesterday, the guys watching on the security cameras in the office must have seen me climbing a bit too high because one of them came around with a machine and shifted the pile for me. How sweet. 





I was journal writing at my kitchen table the other morning and stopped to take a picture of this violet. The way the sun was shining through the leaves was too gorgeous to ignore. Small, simple pleasures like this are such a gift - so important to stop and notice. 

 



Monday was my first appointment with my new coach - Chris. We spent an hour and a half talking about the answers to a questionnaire she'd sent after our initial consultation on April 1st. The last question (paraphrased) asks how will you know that you got your money's worth. Between the 1st and the 19th, my mind did so much sifting and sorting that I'm pretty sure I have already gotten my money's worth and we're just getting started. 

Recently, I wrote a post called Stop Flirting With Painting where I talked about picking up and putting down the concept of surface design for a really long time and about wanting to make a decision to either be in or out. I shared it as an example in our discussion and Chris asked how I knew I was done and I said it was about the energy. What I felt painting was push energy where I was trying to make things happen as opposed to a pull energy where there was no choice but to move forward, to learn, and to do more. 

Although I've worked with a coach in the past, for some reason this time felt hugely pivotal. I'm still not entirely sure why but I think it's a combination of three things. My age and wanting to maximize the next decade. My ongoing prayer for ever increasing holistic health which includes balanced living. And, wanting that pull that tells me my time, money, and energy are well invested. To that end...

... another thing I have stopped flirting with and put down is any possible return to writing books, developing patterns, and teaching workshops. Like painting, I have picked this up and put it down for way too long. Like painting, it has push and not pull energy. Like painting, it was time to be done. It wasn't an easy decision and even so, it feels good and permanent because when you're picking something up and then putting it down, you're always quitting or not quitting. Truly quitting shifts things entirely and it leads to the question of if not that, then what? I am looking forward to working with Chris to develop that answer. She sent me this quote...

In case anyone else out there who as devoted their adult life to making art and creating art communities/opportunities needs to hear this, there are HUNDREDS of paths to making a literary/artist life. Some are high octane business models. Some are collaborative community building models. Some are kind of more solo, weave your art into your daily life between taking care of your kids, models. Some paths are bold hustle. Some paths are academic, or industry-bound, or self-made. Some paths provide financial success. Some paths connections to others. Some paths fame. Some private or collective sustainability, others personal or collective spiritual or consciousness growth. Some paths save your life a day at a time. ALL of them are legitimate and beautiful. - Lidia Yuknavitch

The creative path that I've been walking has come to a pivotal fork in the road. Rather than the path I'd intended to take, I've turned in a different direction where there are now unknown treasures around the next corner to explore. That's exciting. That's pull energy. 

What does your creative path look like? 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - how each no leads to a yes

Friday, 16 April 2021

It Can't Have A Unifrom

Now that I have a control foot for my Bernina again - finally - I am finishing my friend's very late birthday present started in December. Since she reads the blog - Hi Mary - I can't show any in-progress images as I'd like her to be a tiny bit surprised however...





... in the same basket where I was keeping the parts and pieces of her gift was this unfinished V1704. It looks quite bland in this photo and wrinkly. All that's left is to add the collar and buttons and to give it a good press and then things will improve. As you can see, I altered the front. LOVE the sleeves and I think I have the perfect jumper to wear with it. 





What I can show you is the progress on the yard between my neighbour and I. The house you see is hers and mine is to the right of the images. The view above left is the before and above right is my progress so far. I've made three trips to get rocks, about 1400 pounds, and including gas it's cost me less than $80.00. There'll be another two or three trips and even so, this is definitely the easiest and least expensive option. 

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The greatest thing you can do for your future today is not to work out a big strategic plan that covers years of your life, but rather to make sure the compass of your heart is right. If you do, you'll reach the destiny God has for you. - - - Make those incremental intentional decisions with your time, talents, and resources that will keep you on course. - Unshakeable, by Christine Caine

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In recent posts, I mentioned my struggle moving forward with creativity coaching, namely to send the money and get started. That's now done, my first session is on Monday, and the swirling angst still has not settled. Suddenly, I'm questioning everything, especially the plan I thought I'd always had for moving back into a creative career. Since I am paying her to help me get what I want, I need to know what I want and suddenly I'm not so sure. It feels very real. Like a pivotal life point.  

Every morning in my journal time, I am looking for God's direction for the next step on my path including how to spend my time, money, and energy which is why the sentences from Thursday's study printed above had extra impact. Not only am I about to make a plan on Monday, it's about time, talent, and resources. At this point in my life, I don't want to waste any of those. I'd rather walk in the right direction and especially with balance. 

For the past several years, I have been praying for ever increasing holistic health, growing creativity, joy and abundant blessings as well as to see clearly the path God is unfolding before me with highlighted signposts and open doors. Right now, I feel like I need a LOT of clarity before Monday's meeting and one of the ways I've worked with this angst in the past is to pay attention to what I know about myself, especially to what I know I don't want to do. It helps to minimize the options. 

Another phrase I heard yesterday was to stop avoiding the challenge of change which normally wouldn't have registered except that while I was placing rocks and shoveling dirt, I'd been thinking about change in the form of more ways to get out of the house and interact with other people. I know. During Covid! It's not like I can go anywhere or there are any groups to join right now but that doesn't mean I can't start pondering the possibilities. 

One thing I know for sure is that my life has had way too many ups and downs in the last few years and I am absolutely not interested in drama or people politics and whatever I do has to include fun elements like dressing up. For example: if it looks like a job, it can't have a uniform!

What do you know for sure? 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful
- a good start on the yard. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

The Pink Blouse

Yesterday, I picked up a car load of rocks for my front yard. 420 pounds. Sixteen dollars and eighty-three cents. After five years of moving rocks around my previous yard, I was absolutely sure I was done with rocks however, they are the easiest and least expensive option and so here I am again, for the sixth year in a row, moving rocks. Thank God this yard is so much smaller - a postage stamp in comparison. The rocks are still in the car this morning. I'll start placing them this afternoon. I only wanted to move them once, from the car to their spot, with no stops in-between.




My Bernina 1020 went for servicing in mid November and came back early December without a control foot. It died between packing up and picking up. I ordered one from the dealer only it was put on backorder indefinitely so after a month of waiting, I ordered an after market one from an online resource. Monday, the aftermarket one arrived in my mailbox. Tuesda,y the dealer emailed to say the part was in so I went from 0 to 2 in two days... plus the cost... and can only use one at a time. I now have an expensive foot and a back-up. Not exactly what I need but I am glad to be using this machine again. I made buttonholes on it yesterday when I...


 


... finished a wearable muslin of Butterick 5786. The fabric is a polyester blend that did strange things like shrink when I pressed it and pucker with top stitching. I liked it better on the bolt. When I bought the solid pink, I also bought a pink and white stripe that may not get used now. I'd rather invest my time and energy in a better quality fabric. 

I mentioned in the last post that I was going to use a shirt tail hemline on this project and obviously I didn't. When I thought about it, I didn't want to go to all that effort if the sizing wasn't going to work out the way I hoped. But it did - so maybe next time.  






I started this blouse differently by choosing the size that matched my full bust measurement as opposed to my upper bust one. The changes were minimal. I needed to both shorten the center back and center front lengths and the armhole depth so I took that measurement out through the armhole doing both at the same time and I narrowed the shoulder width by 3/8" along with the corresponding alterations of adding 3/8" to each side of the sleeve and to the sleeve cap.

The height of the sleeve cap needs to be adjusted for the both the change to the armhole depth (- 1 1/8") and the change to the shoulder width (+ 3/8") so the net adjustment was minus 3/4". It fit into the armhole smoothly. The puckers you see were caused by the top stitching. 





I've been sewing for so long that I don't always remember where I learned a particular technique like this one for attaching the collar stand and collar. As you can see, I've sewn the right side of the collar stand to the wrong side of garment body. This means that when you are wearing the blouse with the collar open, the seams that you can see are smoother because they were machine stitched. 





The collar is sewn separately and then attached to the collar stand. If there is a difference between the upper and under collar, this is where I  have to be really careful to make sure that it will fold down correctly. I often pin it in place on the mannequin so I know it's correct before stitching. And sometimes I have to reverse and redo. 





The hand stitching goes under the collar against the right side of the garment and is covered when the collar is in place. And not when it's not. But in my case, it's almost always covered since I have a short neck and perked up collars don't feel comfortable at all. This has become my preferred way to attach the collar and collar stand. 

This pink is light as I talked about in the last posting - another unfamiliar fashion object. I think the colour looks good on me and I think the curve of the shirt tail hem might be more flattering to my hips. But flattering isn't everything. Fun and variety are important too. 

What would your unfamiliar fashion object look like?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - having my Bernina back