So little relative time….

While I know all things happen in their own time, occasionally I feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day, weeks in a year, decades in….  I’m heading to see my youngest daughter tomorrow, spending a week with her and The Burrito.  Yet, I’ve been adding to The Hawk as if a veil has been lifted, bottled-up prose liberated.  Plus there’s a big blue quilt binding to complete as well as placemats to sew, coasters to finish….

My grandson, wrapped in a scarf I made his mum years ago….

What I have to remind myself is that these tasks will be waiting for my return, along with vacuuming and mopping, ahem.  Sometimes I have the patience of Job, but not always.

I do have some fun machine quilting to share, coasters for my eldest girl.  I will blend these differing methods of sewing in a table runner that will eventually accompany the Southwest mats, waves as the horizon, straight lines as skyscrapers.

Of course, I need to design that table runner, lol.  Right now I feel like I have as many sewing projects as novel plots, which brings me back to this entry’s title.  But instead of getting my knickers in a twist, I will embrace the plethora of crafty ideas, both in cotton fabrics and fictional mischief.

My grandgirls; what blessings are all these nietos!

There truly is time for all these treasures.  And if the hoovering occurs, double bonus, hehehe!


Focusing on the task at hand….

Lately the writing has been ultra tedious; while I’m grateful for managing a few sentences, I’ve been distracted too easily, and truthfully am feeling a little beside myself.  It’s like I’m seated next to me as the writer, watching as fingers flail away on the keyboard, my scattered thoughts landing on bits of fabric, scraps of paper, or my eyes drawn to the window, enjoying the rain.

Little Miss seen through an artsy filter her grandpa likes to use.

Okay, so it’s been wet out which is great and I’ve quilted cute coasters to go along with my eldest’s Southwestern placemats and to do lists are being attended, but what about my book?  Oh yeah, I’m writing a novel, or trying to.  The last two years have allegedly been the years I was going to complete The Hawk, but due to life, those plans have been fantastically scuppered.  I won’t say spectacular fail, because I know there is a time for all things.  But time is also a precious commodity and I don’t wish to waste it.  I don’t want to keep saying, “This will be the year!”

Miss Em captured by that same abuelo.

While tackling some early morning mending, I considered just how vital is wrapping up this novel; for me personally it would be an enormous relief, ahem, but in the grand scheme, what does it matter?  I try not to take myself too seriously, yet perhaps that’s been the problem, easier to say that a quilt requires my attention, or that family is paramount.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is key, but in all that faces our world, peace matters.  Love matters.  Healing matters.  These three elements are the basic themes of The Hawk.  Maybe now more than ever completing this saga is essential.

The Burrito shares his breakfast with some friends. It is for all of these grandchildren that my stories need to be shared.

I have never consider this, but until now, I’ve not had a problem writing.  And that’s the truth; right now fashioning prose is abysmally difficult.  But right now is the most necessary moment to relay love, peace, and reconciliation.  Yes I have other responsibilities, however imparting these powerful notions cannot be ignored.  Pondering that as stitches went in and out of a quilt binding provided me with impetus, also an eager hope; I write for a greater good as well as for myself.

And of course there’s Buttercup, who I am certain would say she’s the most important one of all….

We’ll see in a couple of hours if this realization makes any difference in the word count.  But right now a light shines in the recesses of a dark tunnel.  One reason I write is to make my corner of the world a little brighter.  May a rekindling of that flame spark the creative flow into a viable groove.

Placemats and Quilt Repair

Quilted with bindings attached to the front, ready for the backs to be sewn.

Aches and pains hampered some of the hand sewing yesterday, yet I remained undaunted, machine sewing the bindings instead.  I prefer hand-sewn bindings, but didn’t wish to aggravate my right shoulder.

Straight out of the washer and dryer, crinkly and completed!

I am so pleased for how these turned out; I machine quilted them with bright orange thread, and the contrast is nice on the lighter squares.

The two bindings I hand sewed alongside one that went under the machine. We’ll see how my shoulder heals for the rest of the placemats….

Using my machine does make for faster completions, so I’m grateful for that method.  I wanted to get these placemats to my daughter today, although a big blue quilt of theirs is still hanging around my house for repair.

Two of the patches I added, as well as a new binding, which I am going to hand sew. Hopefully my shoulder will accommodate that work.

This comforter has been languishing for a few months; it needed holes fixed as well as a new binding, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve given it the proper attention.  Not sure why quilt revivals have been high on my agenda, but there’s great satisfaction in restoration.

A ragged binding in need of replacement. This will be finished over several evenings, with basketball in the background, ha ha.

This one is well loved, and with rain forecast for the coming week, I’ll happily snuggle under it while attaching that new binding.  In retrospect, another quarter inch in width would have been nice, but every project is a learning experience.  Next time I make a binding for an older quilt, I’ll remember this blanket, and plan accordingly.  Not sure what the next project will be, although some mini charm pack squares have found their way onto a quilt wall.  Perhaps that will be this week’s endeavor.

Maybe some coaster in the making? We’ll see what happens…..

A Necessary Sense of Direction

I’ve been adding words to the manuscript, actually completing an entire chapter on Monday.  But I have to admit that last week I didn’t get much writing accomplished, in part that as I sat to work, I was stymied by where I was within the story; 1965 was dawning, and in looking over that year upon Wikipedia, major world events needed contemplation. Bloody Sunday on March 7th began a month-long chain of events that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  But it wasn’t only Civil Rights issues; the conflict in Vietnam became a part of the American consciousness, as the draft was nearly doubled, protests accompanying.  There was much for me to ponder before I could get back into my novel, and only now am I feeling able to proceed.

The Hawk isn’t strictly historical fiction, but to ignore that element would have been wrong.  I won’t dwell on those topics overtly, but now that I’ve allowed for them, I can attempt to get back on the writing track.  I’m easily distracted, what with spring’s beauty, the garden demanding my attention as well as family.  I spent yesterday with Little Miss, Miss Em, and their mum, Buttercup too.  In a few weeks I’ll be up with The Burrito and his folks, so I’m hoping to squeeze in as many scenes as time allows.  Plus there’s the sewing and….

A tense moment in a Llama Llama book as I read to my granddaughters yesterday.

I’m plotting out a rather large project, a king-sized quilt that up until a few nights back was giving me trouble.  Then I inadvertently solved the question of what pattern to use, simply by playing around with pre-cut 4.5″ squares.  I’m going to make this quilt using 16.5″ blocks, mixing it up with whole pieces cut to that size and myriad manners of patchwork.  I might even get crazy enough to cut a passel of 2.5″ squares, we’ll see how creative I’m feeling.  Ocean blues and greens are the colour scheme, probably with some pops of yellow and orange, maybe pinks too.  As soon as I finish half a dozen placemats, I’ll start to consider a quilt fit for an ocean.

I’ll add another row of squares to this, and call it the first block for the king-size quilt.

I’m grateful for markers along the prose and fabric pathways; I work best when provided a map of sorts.  Maybe it’s age, or so many irons in the fire.  I pondered that this morning, trying to get into the rhythm of writing, but right now family comes first.  As long as I can muster paragraphs into scenes and scraps into blocks, I’m on the right path, history as a reminder it’s all a matter of perspective.

Words, Fabrics, and Weeding

Eastern side of our house before I got busy….

We’ve been enjoying a lovely spate of precipitation here in Silicon Valley, and boy I’m thankful for it.  My front and back gardens are full of weeds, and I was hoping not to have to pull them from the hard ground.  Rain earlier this week allowed me to get some thinned, and this weekend will provide additional time to cull even more.  If I can finish the job by the middle of next week, I’ll consider myself blessed.  Temps are due to rise, and the storms we’ve had recently might be our last big ones of the winter.

And how it looks after some rain and a little hard work.

I never truly appreciated rain until we moved to England, which might sound strange, having grown up in California.  When there is no rain, you don’t think much about it; droughts are bad, but expected.  Yet where it rains all the time and the landscape is usually green, rain becomes magical.  It means no need to water, it means weather, ha ha!  It became the barometer of our lives, in that skies held great drama, grey-white clouds obscuring the sun as though another galaxy hung right over our heads.

Fabrics for placemats; Kona solids with a southwest vibe.

I did appreciate sunny vistas when we moved back, but quickly I ached for wet days, humidity, and bright green grass.  Now the brevity of winter feels unduly wrong, like the cosmos is off kilter.  Funny how one’s perceptions alter, sort of like how today I was exceedingly grateful to write 833 words, completing a chapter I started days ago.  My present output is comparable to the rain which falls sporadically, but I’ll take every sentence.  Like the weather, writing isn’t static, and I’m happy just to complete a scene.

The only prints for this project will be the backs; I enjoy culling my scrap buckets as well as the garden.

I was thrilled to clear weeds from both sides of our house, let me also say.  There’s more to my life than books and sewing, yet those pastimes weren’t a part of my Yorkshire life, which is an intriguing observation.  Our existences are enhanced by change, just like my garden requires water.  Weeds are culled, allowing other plants to flourish, or just to clear space for the eye to rest, like mixing prints and solids within a quilt, lol.

2.5″ squares sewn together to be inserted amid the 4.5″ squares….

I’ve been working on placemats for my eldest, who ran out during Miss Em’s baptismal weekend.  No prints in this project, but I did mix up the patchwork with little squares.  Now my quilt wall is chock full of these southwestern-themed fabrics, which I’ll get around to finishing up in the coming days as the writing continues.

One of twelve placemats in the can!

Seasonal weeding is here, then gone.  The words and fabrics endure….

Tucking Away the Words

A great feeling is returning to the written work, seven hundred words on Monday, a chapter’s completion today.  I had left myself with quite a conundrum, as Klaudia has learned about Eric’s affliction, and I don’t merely mean his crippled arm.  How in the world I was going to address her reaction had been set aside until this week, but I think I managed a fitting segue into what happens next, and now to just keep adding to the story, one half or third or quarter chapter at a time.

Playing Carcassonne yesterday with Little Miss; she likes placing the men on every tile, regardless if the tile is hers.

It’s like a rose; layers of petals unfold to the center that holds the sweetest scent.  It’s like how Roxy Music ended their 2001 concerts with “For Your Pleasure”, each performer taking a bow, leaving only the pianist as the arrangement became more sparse, although that seems a backwards manner in which to describe a novel’s conclusion, but this book is so long that only a few loose threads remain.  What Klaudia has learned seems unbelievable, but Lynne proffered a way to absorb that truth in a manner that only mothers could share.  Of course, Klaudia doesn’t simply accept Lynne’s reasoning, not only for the sake of continuity.  There are still other issues I need to wrap up; Klaudia and Marek are a part of Eric’s story, but now that I’ve tackled one twist, the rest are just a matter of time.

Tummy time for Miss Em, two months old and enjoying her freedom.

Time to write is the key, but this abuela will squeeze in prose however it falls.  Miss Em’s baptism was a splendid affair, and her big sister is talking up a storm.  I’m hoping to spend some days with The Burrito in March, then we’ll be away for Easter, and the rest of April is abuzz with guests and trips away.  But I’m feeling very centered regardless of interruptions; reading over old novels affirms my love for spinning a yarn, as well as reminding me how far I have come in that endeavor.  Another idea sits on the horizon, again spurring me to complete The Hawk so I can dive head-first into another realm.  When I began writing, I was grateful my kids were nearly done with high school, time an abundant element.  The nietos won’t be tiny forever, and I relish being a part of their lives.  All these pieces of my existence are getting along, it’s just a matter of embracing how they coalesce for the greater good.

These days are beyond precious, enough time for all blessings.

This is what I need to remember when scenes are balky or I’m weary, or a baby won’t nap; there is a time for all things.  Tucked away in my back pocket are words, also keys to other doors.  If one doesn’t fit, try another.  Eventually the correct path appears, taken one step at a time.

Of what are we so afraid?

This isn’t an entry about gun control or our country’s leadership.  This is a post about us.

For it is to us human beings that this tragedy has befallen, all of us.  It directly affects those injured and the families of those slain, yet we are interconnected regardless of how distant some wish us to be.  Spirits who long for discord and chaos revel in the catastrophe in Parkland, Florida, also delighting in the sorrow of every other mass killing, be it with weapons or war or any other form of violence.  The threat of bodily harm stirs urges toward self-defense, the sensation of fear increases the adrenaline.  Yet, of whom (or who) are we terrified?

Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews, the Hutu government slaughtered upwards of one million fellow Tutsi Rwandans, Jim Jones led nearly a thousand followers to take their lives in the Guyana jungle.  Fear and hatred brought together form a powerful sword and we wave that blade even at the most innocuous moments; on the freeway when a driver cuts us off, at the suspicious looking stranger pushing an overfilled shopping cart, within our hearts due to this wrong perpetrated or that perceived slight.  Spirits who stir our animosity become they, and we wish to further ourselves from them.  The further we step away, the poorer become our souls, because they are us.

We are not a planet populated with alternate beings, we are all humans, imperfect and aching.  Love is what binds our wounds, but love, compassion, kindness, and understanding are being squeezed out of the equation, for it is so much easier to condemn, then turn away from, what seems loveless.  When we look upon our neighbor with fear, how simple is it to ratchet that to loathing, then reach for our sword, striking down that enemy.  This is exactly the position we must resist, gathering all our courage to instead embrace what is frightening, what seems insurmountable.  We must step toward another, leaving our weapons of destruction behind us.

From last Easter; The Burrito helps Little Miss navigate the shrubbery.

Those weapons aren’t merely guns; they are thoughts and words steeped in fear, heightened by callousness.  Our hearts turn cold, our tolerance wanes.  Apathy becomes hostility, and they turn into a group less than human, deserving no pity.  Today I pray for those in Parkland, but I also pray for myself to love more, be less afraid, and to embrace despite differences.  Only in these manners can peace and healing truly be achieved.