16 October 2015

Gifts Of Friendship That Cross The www Bridge

For many years I moved a lot for business when I worked for airlines...9 moves in 10 years and all, ostensibly, for better jobs and better wages. What I missed out on during those years was being able to put down roots and with roots, of course, come friendships. As I look back on those years I question if all of the moves were worth it. Hindsight is 20/20 of course and it all made sense to me at the time (yes, I can be a bit bullheaded and obstinate at times!). Those years did give me a much greater appreciation for friendships though and, perhaps, that is one reason why I treasure the friends that I now have so very much. In the end, I think, life is about family and friends and not so much the career or the money. I have only a couple of enduring friendships from that period of my life - one who like my "other half" and the sister that I never had...so for that I am most grateful.
The Internet is a great and mighty entity - one that I would not give up very willingly now that we have it- but, let's face it, it has a dangerous, darker side too. Many people that you "meet" on social media and the web are pleasant acquaintances, but not of much substance. I have been very blessed, however, to have found several "online" friendships that endure and grow. I don't understand why I have been so blessed, but I have been and I am very grateful. Recently, two of these amazing women have sent me packages that have blown me away - as much by their contents as by their offers of unconditional friendship and caring. I can never thank them enough for that precious intangible quality!

Jeannie Evans-VanHoff has been someone that I connected with strongly through her thoughtful comments to my blog and through FaceBook. She has been generous with her positive support and her offer of friendship. In the past she gifted with me with wools, felts and and a whimsical book on stitching.

After my workshop with India Flint last month I had mentioned on FaceBook that I was going to go searching for a horse shoe to use in future Eco-dyeing experiments. Not long after a box full of magic and rusty goodness arrived at my door. Jeannie says that this is one of the oddest boxes that she has ever sent through the mail and, well, let's just say that the post office offered a good deal on the heft of this flat rate box!

Jeannie- how can I thank you for the joy and friendship that you have gifted me with? The contents of this box, which include some of your Dad's treasures, is so special..and I know that I will get some awesome results from these cool 'rusty gold' items! Your beautiful shibori will be used for something special...some special stitching project that is small and filled with special memory items...your card is tucked in my journal.

Another special "online" friendship is one that has grown over the years. Judy Hudgins, Knotty Needle to her friends, has been a cheerleader and friend for some years now. She and I both worked for the same airline years ago, although in different areas. I always have said that if I had had the kind of positive support from my parents as she gives me I could have gone places! She is a talented knitter, writer, quilter, mixed media artist and her love for reading rivals my own!

This past week I got a fat envelope (even better than those fat envelopes that you get when a quilt has been accepted for a show!) from her. I had known that she was going to send me some 'samples' of fabrics that she though I would like...this lucky gal lives near some wonderful shops let me tell you! Thanks to some of the previous fabric samples she sent, I am finishing a shirt made that was made with fabric that I ordered after she sent me a few pieces of some lovely rayon batiks. What I had not expected was that the "samples" in this envelope would be yardage! Jeez! How in the heck do I rate for this kind of goodness?!

These are digitally printed cottons from Kaufman California. They feature vibrant colors and a silky soft, drapey, hand. The one below is a homage to my home town (well, I have two home towns really- the other is in Connecticut), New York City. The beautifully featured Emprie State Building gave me shivers...I used to look at it from our apartment windows way back when.....

I guess my point is that friendships mean a lot to me- especially now that, later in this game of life- it would be oh so difficult to re-establish meaningful friendships if I were ever to move again. Friendships really do float my boat. I have many acquaintances, but I cultivate relatively few, true, deeper, connections. These two gracious women, who have always offered their friendship to me across the magic of the www, will remain close to my heart. Thank you both...oh so much!

Hold your friends and family close. Tell them that you love them and care about them...enrich yourself by doing so......


05 October 2015

An Intriguing BOM From Land Down Under- Or "Material Obsession" By Any Other Name

I decided that this coming year would be devoted to re-engaging in my love for hand appliqué. To that end I fell in love with this pattern, called Sweet Surrender, designed by Susanne Cody and sold by Material Obsession (the well known shop and home of Kathy Doughty) in Australia. In order to save just a bit on the high cost of international postage I opted for shipping every other month...so I just received two months in this first shipment. The fabrics that are included are shown below...in their just unpacked bags!

Typically, I am not a huge fan of BOM's. I always seem to want to tweak patterns -if not downright diverge from them- and I often prefer to use my own fabrics. That being said, I was VERY curious to see what fabrics would come from the 'land down under' and so I ordered the BOM..figuring that I could always choose to use- or not use what was sent.

Material Obession does a great job with their BOM's. Directions are clear and well written. Fabrics are well chosen and appropriate (though one piece of background fabric is just too cute to use and I will save it to use in another way). I am looking forward to sewing this project....although can I just say that making almost 1/8" stems will soon become second nature for me ...or at least I hope that they will.....otherwise you may hear echos of some choice words of frustration! I look at a pattern and think "oh gosh ...that's a pattern that I would like to make" and I neglect to notice some of the more niggling details like 1/8" stems! I like patterns with a lesson to teach (witness Jen Kingwell's 'Smitten' that I did to overcome any lingering dislike for 'set in' seams (the dreaded 'y' seams) and so I expect that the stems in this pattern are my lesson...though after finishing the first stems it may not be too difficult anyway....just a bit time consuming. I have, thus far, cheated and made a scant quarter inch stem that I folded to get my eighth inch. This makes for a slightly thicker stem...and it will work for some fabrics but may be too bulky for others...we will see!

This will be my hand-sewing project for the 2016. I have TWO machine projects planned....although the second one may become a half machine and half applique project. The first is the very traditional "Farmer's Wife 1930's" (although I had not planned on doing this one I decided to go ahead with it and also with a 'no guilt' policy if I fall behind) which I joined in order to use up a fraction of my 1930's fabrics stash. You have seen a block or two that I have already posted. Angie from GnomeAngel and Marti Michelle of fabulous template fame are the leaders of this huge project...the FB group,is HUGE!

The second project may have to be kept under wraps for some time...as a larger project within the concept of the quilt is being considered. It is a large, traditionally based quilt that I am going to work in either Parson Gray fabrics (if I decide to let my personal exchequer spring the cash to get them) or else it will become a modern-scrappy version (do you think that 'modern' and 'scrappy' are somewhat oxymoronic?!)

Either way I think that my project for 2016 is pretty well filled...with the exception that I know I will want to make some more shirts when the passing piece of perfect fabric calls to me...

Has anyone else considered what they want to do in the new year? Generally I don't....and for the first time in many, many years my holiday cards have not even been considered much less ordered. This is the month that I generally begin writing em...the envelopes...yes, I am already behind!

For those of you who have gotten read to this point and who use links from within a post....do you prefer :

A link that opens to a new page or

A link that opens within the blog post?

Inquiring minds need to know! Thanks so much.

Cheers to the beautiful season of Fall! Let's all take some moments to stop any the color and scents of the season!