Tag Archives: thankfulness

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!

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….

Perpetually Young at Heart

Growing up, I was the youngest of cousins on my mother’s side of the family, surrounded by elderly relatives on Dad’s side.  While I’m the eldest of five siblings, I’ve often felt in deference to those with whom I associate, other than my children’s compatriots.  Recently my husband acknowledged that amoung his co-workers, he’s now a senior staff member; he too grew up surrounded by those older than him, but no longer is that the case.  With another grandchild now in our midst, I’ve been pondering that changing of the guard, and how stealthily it has sprung into our lives.  Yes, there are days I feel my age, but in the back of my mind aren’t I still about twenty-four years old?

Hanging out with my granddaughters; Miss Em is already five weeks old!

Um, no, ha ha ha.  Recently I spent a day with my eldest and her family, a good chunk of it tucked between car seats as errands were run.  Fortunately I’m still spry enough that slipping over an infant car seat base wasn’t an issue, plus I got to chatter with both nietas; Miss Em doesn’t mind traveling on freeways, although she fussed somewhat until we got up to speed.  Little Miss had new green boots to discuss, her vocabulary becoming quite extensive.  Around those wee ones I am contentedly in my abuela-element, but here’s where time gets wonky, because I also clearly recall being my daughter’s current age, mothering my own.  That eldest will be thirty this year, jeez Louise!  And next month hubby and I will celebrate three decades of wedding bliss.  Perhaps these milestones are fueling such ponderings; how can it be possible that thirty years of my life has zoomed by for how young I still feel?

Two of my beloveds; where have the last thirty years, and five weeks, gone?

Maybe it’s all the rock ‘n roll I grew up listening to, and still enjoy, lol.  Perhaps my earliest memories of being the youngest of so many truly shaped my perspective, or was it the deference shown ingraining in me such a deep respect of my elders that it’s now hard to accept finally being one of those elders, ahem.  Not that I take myself so seriously, but other than my stepmom, my mother-in-law and my husband’s older siblings, I am the eldest within my sphere, good grief!  All those elderly relations have passed on, I’m a grandma to a few, and….  And yes physically I’m not as young as I used to be, but it’s a strange notion to embrace, this manner of aging.  Just as I seem to get my head around a particular aspect, the game alters.

Such a blessing to be an integral part of Little Miss’s life!

Miss Em’s arrival has been wondrous, also thought-provoking, not merely for the addition of another to our clan.  As a writer, I notice these changes maybe more than I would otherwise; it’s my job to observe human nature, which includes my own evolving humanity.  I’m grateful to possess such a youthful heart, and certainly the nietos are a part of that.  But it’s important for myself as well, and not only as an author; maintaining a humble and cheerful mood is necessary for my soul.  Time might be speeding past, yet a part of me lives in an alternate place where years don’t matter.  I never want to lose that ageless, ethereal sensation, not that I fear growing old, but I never wish to be separated from those who follow in my footsteps.  How many questions did I not ask my elders for worry of reprisal?  That’s just one example, but it certainly comes to mind now, as all those folks are out of my reach.  And remembering Matthew 18: 2-4 is another key; Christ noted a child-like manner is essential.  Good notions to ponder as a year of milestones continues….

Boxing Day Colours

An ivory tower flanks a variegated peony garden….

Ten years since we celebrated this holiday in the UK, it’s still Boxing Day within my immediate clan.  However, the visiting with relatives element has faded; now it’s about the hubby and myself enjoying some down time, as we spent yesterday with Miss Em and her crew.  Last night’s Christmas Doctor Who saw us off to bed, as if we still dwelled in Yorkshire, but truly those days feel like a different life, as if who I am now is another incarnation of a Gallifreyan, lol.  If nothing else, spools of gorgeous threads are a testament to how I have changed, if being an abuela wasn’t enough.  I also received pens, hearkening back to my writerly self, but sewing notions seem to rule the day.

Pastels a’plenty!

Yet, noveling thoughts brew in the background; nothing to do with The Hawk, alas, but those ideas keep the authorial flame alive.  Occasionally I wonder if plotlines pondered will amount to more than bits filling my head, but the fullness of these days won’t last forever.  I spent a lovely chunk of yesterday afternoon with Miss Em asleep on my chest, aware of how blessed were those minutes, also fleeting; she’s examining her world, not that she sees much, but it’s a thrill to marvel at her open eyes, wondering to what colour her rather dark irises will lighten.  These elements are the immediate parameters of my universe, as if in England I was a Fifth Doctor and am now The Tenth (I suppose David Tennant is my fave Doc).  Regeneration is a funny process, even for us humans.

Primary hues….

Currently I have no sewing projects on the docket, other than hand-quilting a wedding comforter.  I could review the most recently published section of The Hawk, but more pressing is cleaning my shower.  Some things never change, ahem, but many aspects of life are constantly evolving.  I am, even if it’s in a far slower manner than my grandkids, the pace of which is fine by me.  There’s more to consider, and to be thankful for, than time actually allows.  But in these paragraphs, I wish to capture just a sliver of the beauty, not merely in shades of cotton thread, but of how magical is simply realizing these gifts.  Loved ones and hobbies and years accrued all bound by grace, my goodness.  How magnificent are these days!

Miss Em, taking a pre-Christmas nap.

Best enjoyed while admiring a newborn, might I say….

Christmastime Joys

Lots to note this morning, from a new baby to a new quilt, lol!  How about the quilt first, then grandmotherly holiday musings from a most blessed heart.

This quilt is for a young woman who is like another daughter to me; who knew I’d end up with so many kids, ha ha!  I machine sewed this blanket on an early Christmas present, hee hee, which I’ll expound upon in the coming year once I truly have a feel for it.  Suffice to say it’s a wonder of a gift as well as perfect for a project that needed to come together quickly, and I’ll be giving it to that lovely lady sometime today.

It’s backed with a large piece I bought last year, as well as holiday fabrics I’ve had on hand; that’s another entry for future days, in that I’m pondering quite a resolution when it comes to purchasing fabric.  Again, I’ll get to that later.

I bound it in some Kona cotton, the exact names of which are long gone from my brain.  This past month has whizzed by, and I’m so grateful to have managed to complete this present.  With leftover squares, I sneaked in some Christmas placemats and coasters for my hubby and I to use, and I wonder if when I bring them out next year will I be reminded of how extraordinary was this month, waiting on Miss Em’s arrival.  This December has felt like something out a dream at times, what with balmy temps for much of it, and the incredible longing for a precious newcomer to join our family.  In a way this quilt is part of that process, binding another within our clan, in which there is always room for more.

Yours truly and Miss Em, two days old in this shot.

Now, let me just wax lyrically for a bit about Miss Em, Little Miss, and my time spent with them yesterday; my eldest wanted to do her holiday baking, and I was happy to offer assistance, which mostly meant running errands with Little Miss in the morning, then cuddling my newest granddaughter for much of the rest of the day.  She’s rather fantastic, if I do say so myself, and hardly fusses.  As my daughter and son-in-law began the baking process, I sat in the nearby dining room, admiring and giving tremendous thanks for their great joy, a healthy and snoozing baby, as well as a sleeping toddler who seems to have aged significantly in the past week.  Little Miss’ vocabulary has exploded, or is it merely in contrasting a tiny infant with a two and a half year old?

Regardless, many changes, all of them awesome, have provided me much food for thought, and as it’s nearly Christmas, the meanings are even sweeter, also quite profound.  Holiday tunes wafted from a chocolate-scented kitchen as well-loved treats were again recreated, newer recipes emerging too.  I reveled in being part of a new generation’s memories, even if right now those recollections are mostly mine.  Yet my eldest and her hubby own these thoughts too, and Little Miss and Miss Em will possess them vicariously through photos and our recounting this particular Christmas when a baby joined our family.

Miss Em and her besotted grandpa….

I mentioned to both my daughter and husband how a newborn does seem to alter Christmas a little, bringing home the event which sparks this celebration.  While newborns require lots of snuggles, those of us older need to give those cuddles not merely for an infant, but to share the purpose of Christ’s arrival; wrapping our arms around all we encounter, offering the physical manifestation of God’s love.  As babies grow, the embraces take different forms, as Little Miss helped with holiday baking.  While she constantly said ‘Me do it’, she was happy to allow some assistance, needing to be a part of her parents’ festive routine.  Some cookies were partaken of last night, but the bulk will be gifted to friends and neighbors, and I look forward to tales of Little Miss handing over goodie plates, wondering if she’ll mention her efforts.

Little Miss helps her daddy with the shortbread.

Christmas traditions vary widely, and soon enough celebrating Miss Em’s birthday will become part of our family’s staple.  I hope that over the years I am cognizant of some scrap from yesterday, but more I want to recall the immense joy of being near my beloveds at a most memorable time of year, which can be as simple as permitting the greatest love into our hearts, soft and vulnerable, and so needy.  God emerged into our world as a most helpless creature, aching for our assistance.  We love him in words of praise and prayers of thankfulness, but more in how we reach out to our brothers and sisters.  Sometimes it’s beyond easy, like snuggling a granddaughter.  Other times it’s in forgiving great wrongs, which might seem impossible.  Yet a baby was born to die to erase the sins of all the world; how massive was that cost to the heart of our Father in heaven?

Captured last night by her grandpa, Miss Em examines her world.

Amid the glow of a new baby is the realization of weightier considerations, stitched together by steadfast cords of unfathomable love.  Quilts and cookie plates are ways in which to show affection, cuddles are good too.  But best of all is allowing healing love into our hearts, followed by boundless mercy and infinite compassion.  These are the gifts our Saviour brings to us this Advent season, culminated in perfect peace on Christmas Day.  Our family might know some fussing, but ultimately Miss Em’s brief outbursts are merely to remind that she needs care, as do we all.  We are here to care and love one another; may your Christmas be full of joy, calm, and copious moments of TLC.

A nearly completed project….

Once I started sewing, I didn’t stop to document my efforts. Here are two panels from sometime on Tuesday.

Not too many of those in my sphere lately, but if I don’t post this today, I have no idea when it will happen.  Family are arriving soon for the next week, and blogging will be the least of my priorities.  However, I did want to share the improv sleeping bag insert, as I’ve worked off my fanny perpendicular to get it almost done.

On Wednesday morning I added the bottom right corner, and all that remained was sewing the three sections into one.

Once I gave up the notion of noveling, sewing barged right in as if I had nothing else important to do with my life.  Although, with my hubby away, I did have extra time, when not visiting with Little Miss and her mum.  But here at home, it was just me, myself, and I.  And fabrics and my sewing machine and….

I’ve never used polyester for batting before; boy that makes for a thick sandwich!

And I literally sewed all day Tuesday, then again Wednesday morning before heading to see my daughter’s crew.  Yesterday I affixed the three panels, cut the backing, sorted the batting, which was actually two kinds of filler, fluffy polyester as well as drapey cotton.  I basted it with big safety pins, then began the tying process, although I didn’t cut the strings long enough, le sigh.  By evening’s end I had pinned the fleece backing to the front, to act as the binding, then went to bed and slept all night.

Tying this was certainly the quickest method, but I really need to remember to leave the strings longer next time….

My sewing table will be coming down today to accommodate The Burrito, so I truly had an impetus to finish the basting!  Early this morning I sewed the binding, but the mitered corners are too thick for my machine, so I’ll do those by hand.  Otherwise I just need to trim the ties, and maybe work in a little hand-quilting to make up for ties that weren’t affixed as well as I like due those short strings.  I can work on that in the evenings after my grandson has gone to bed.

Very quickly I hand-sewed around the perimeter; at first I excluded the poly batting, but then I added it, once I cut away the excess. Made it easier when I folded over the backing to act as the binding, just a little thinner of an edge with which to work.

My youngest doesn’t need this until the new year, but with another nieta due very soon, holidays as well, I wanted to wrap it up, maybe just so I could say that yes, I completed it.  I will say that as soon as I abandoned the idea of writing, I felt great peace, also a yearning for the time to fashion prose.  I know it will happen in the proper time, just not right now.

Not the best light due to afternoon shadows, but hopefully I’ll get a better picture once it’s washed and trimmed. It is very plush feeling, and should keep my daughter cozy while camping.

Right now is time to reflect upon the multitude of blessings in my midst, more than I can note.  Suffice to say I have loved ones for whom to sew; that’s a precious treasure beyond words.

Art amid the flames….

Binding is attached, now to hand sew it to the back of the quilt.

A delicate balance exists in my heart right now; the devastation from the Sonoma, Napa, and Solano County fires is hard to wrap my head around, although every time I step outside I’m reminded by the smoggy sky and smoky aroma.  I’m feeling blessed to be out of the danger zone, but helpless when considering all that has been lost by so many.  I’ve written about this sensation recently,yet here are those emotions again.  In a matter of minutes homes were destroyed, whole neighborhoods wiped away.  The awesome power exhibited by these fires is chilling, and I struggle to find words strong enough to convey my thoughts.

My hubby came home early, and assisted in this photo shoot.

The last few nights I’ve been completing a quilt started months ago, but set aside for other projects in need of my attention.  Amid baseball playoffs, my husband would switch to the local news as I attended to a comforter meant for dear friends who before the end of the month will become first time grandparents.  This quilt was made for that coming nieta, but abuelos require a blanket too, for future days of cuddles and fortbuilding.  I’ll send it off once the good news arrives, so when they return home after meeting their newest family member, a quilt will remind them of love far away.

I had worried about over-quilting it, but I’m pleased with how it looks upon being washed.

And therein lies the basis for these reflections, how life continues even when so much seems impossible to believe.  I have to admit that once I had attached the binding on this quilt, joy overwhelmed me, for how long it’s taken this project to come to fruition and the bliss attached to it.  Yet to go outside to photograph it immediately hearkened to tragedy and ruin.  I tackle these themes in my writing, how much good can come from what seems so bleak.  But reality is a sledgehammer compared to fiction.  It’s a lot for this grandma to ponder.

The back is probably one of my best efforts. A nice contrast to the blues….

One thing I can do is use my time and talents to lessen the pain of others.  The second set of plus blocks still waiting to be sewn together will be donated, along with a few other of my creations, once I turn those blocks into a finished comforter.  There is of course prayer, which I have offered fervently on behalf of those who are now homeless, as well as all those working above and beyond the call to contain these fires.  Then there is a focused appreciation for my quiet little neck of the proverbial woods; daily irritations slip away when the massive scope of such desolation is considered.  And finally a post written to somehow take stock, even if just a few scattered words trying to make sense of what seems so senseless.

Special thanks to my better half for making these shots possible.

What comes back to me is how brief are our lives, and how vital it is to do good, to love, and to hope for the best.  Sometimes that is all we can do.