A Crafter's Life, Colorado Bound, My Minimalism Journey

Never Stop to Think…Do I Have A Place for This?

So I told myself I would not allow myself to post again until I caught up on all the blogs I follow. Alas, I have not made a dent in catching up on my blogging buddies’ posts, but what the heck, I am going to sneak in a quick post 🙂

This is a follow up to my post 03/17/19 post Library MEGA Stack!. One of the books in the stack was Mary Randolph Carter’s book Never Stop to Think…Do I Have A Place for This? I might have to buy this book someday as I so enjoyed it and it was the perfect book to give me peace right now.

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Image credit: Amazon

Those of you following my blog for a while know that I’ve dabbled in Minimalism (see series of posts My Minimalism Journey). I’ve been successful in downsizing over the years and Marie Kondo’s (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) quote has gotten me through the letting go of my husband’s stuff after he passed in December 2018):

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past. – Marie Kondo

I’ve been working on packing for my move to Colorado (see series of posts Colorado Bound) and I would not recommend packing as a hobby. Here is an example of the current nightmare:

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I’ve been struggling with the amount of crafting supplies I am bringing with me to Colorado. However after reading Mary Randolph Carter’s book I am more peaceful and accepting of my stuff. She had a wonderful chapter on Guilt and discusses her own investigation and readings into minimalism in a very thoughtful way.

Even Marie Kondo states you should have in your life only those things that ‘spark joy’ and my craft supplies bring me a lot of joy (as does my ridiculous collection of crafting related books).

So I decided to “Never Stop to Think…Do I Have A Place for This?” when it comes to the craft supplies I love!

Mary Randolph Carter also has another wonderful book – A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life.

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In my spousal loss grief support group, the facilitator emphasized that the person you were (your core will stay the same) before the loss of your spouse will likely change. Such a major life loss permanently changes you in some way. I definitely see myself lightening up on rules I’ve tried to live by in the past.

I doubt I will become someone featured in the television show “Hoarders” in the future but I am not going to hesitate (as long there is no harm to others) to do what makes me happy and not really care what others think!


Postscript

As I mentioned in a previous post, I did decided to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Colorado, instead of the 1 bedroom I had originally planned. I am very excited about my nearly 1200 square feet (111.5 square meters) apartment and I’ve already begun decorating it in my mind!

In a future post I will share my new plan for fabric scraps organization at my new place. And of course I have a zillion other things to blog about 🙂

Okay now back to trying to catch up on my blogging buddies posts!

Colorado Bound, Life in B&W

Colorado Bound (Part III) – Colorado in B&W

Here is my next installment in my new series of posts “Colorado Bound” which began with this post: Colorado Bound (Part I). It is also a continuation of my series Life in B&W in which I pretend that I am a real photographer expanding my portfolio of Black & White Photos taken with my iPhone camera (isn’t that what real photographers use?!?!?).

I recently returned from a 5 day trip to the Denver Colorado area to visit friends and to tour apartments to live in. We toured 10 apartment complexes between Boulder and Denver and I settled on a place in a suburb of Denver, in the Denver Greater Metropolitan area (this is the web and you never know who is reading so that is as many details as I will provide in this public forum).

I did end up getting a 2 bedroom apartment which even has a separate nook with a built in desk for telecommuting! I was originally going to be very minimalist and thrifty but decided that if I am going to work from home I need space. Additionally it will be nice for  visitors and to have a decent space for crafting.

I decided to rent in a “boutique apartment complex” type of place for a year which has included a fitness center, a pool, community activities, and other wonderful amenities. It will be sort of like living in a hotel for a year!

In addition to touring apartments (my friend was incredible driving me around on the first day to tour 5 apartments and loaning me her car the next day when she had to work to let me tour on my own), we went on a wonderful tour of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Distillery as well as attended an incredible concert by the Boulder, CO based acapella group Face Vocal Band.

I will feature some photos from Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Distillery tour in another post.

Oh and if you enjoyed the video by Face Vocal Band above performing a traditional song, here they are again performing a contemporary popular music hit. Note all the percussion sounds are done by voices of the performers, no instruments!

I so appreciate my friends Michele and her husband Blair introducing me to this fun band!

Okay so let’s get to the Black & White photos I threatened to share in the title of this post (smile).

Colorado in Black & White

Michele, Blair and I went for a lovely hike on the Sunday before I returned home. Here are some photos from that walk:

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Postscript

I thought I would start with my recent trip to Colorado as it is fresh on my mind, but I have a backlog of other stories and posts to come 🙂

 

 

Life in B&W, Special Events

Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part II

Here is a follow up to my 03/01/19 post Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part I.

Last week I was in Seattle, Washington for a work meeting and while I was in Seattle I dropped of my 12 art quilts that will be in my solo show at the Seattle Municipal Tower in Downtown Seattle opening 04/18/19 and running through 07/16/19.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Patricia S. the Coordinator for the City of Seattle’s Ethnic Heritage Gallery and Blake H. the Curator and Collections Manager for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. They seemed pleased with the art quilts I had selected for the show.

I got to tour the gallery space in the Seattle Municipal Tower in downtown Seattle.

Here is some of the gallery space (I took photos quickly as I had to get to a work meeting in another section of downtown Seattle):

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Here is the reception area where the opening reception will be held:

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And here is the draft flyer for the show which is titled “The Wardrobe Meets the Wall: Art Quilts Created from Recycled Clothing & Garment Manufacturing Samples”.

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The show’s curator said he loved the title, the concept and thought the art quilts were beautiful (I had a “trunk show” in the lower lobby/gallery area for the Coordinator and Curator).

The show opens at 12 noon on 04/18/19 at 700 5th Avenue, Seattle Washington. See you there if you are in the area! (My head is still reeling that the City of Seattle invited me to have a solo show…)


Postscript

Downtown Seattle in B&W

I could not refuse the opportunity to take photos of downtown Seattle Washington in black & white while I walked from my meeting with the City of Seattle on the show, to my employer’s office.

I guess you could consider this postscript a continuation of my series of posts – Life in B&W.

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And then there was the magnificent Downtown Seattle Public Library which I used to browse when I lived in Seattle 15 years ago:
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Quality of Life, The Library Stack

Library MEGA Stack!

Before I begin this post, I just want to reach out to my NZ blogging friends and let you know I am thinking of you. I am so sorry to hear of the recent terrible tragedy in your beautiful country.


The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind and I have lots to blog about in the next several posts:

  • I’ve visited friends in Gig Harbor, Washington and attended the Sew & Stitchery Expo;
  • Returned to Seattle again for a brief business trip, met with the City of Seattle, toured the and got to tour the gallery space for my first solo show in April;
  • Continue to prep for my big move to Colorado at the end of April (see series of posts Colorado Bound); and
  • In the near future I travel to Denver to visit a friend and tour 10 (yes 10) rentals I’ve researched for my future home (looking between Boulder and Denver, CO and in a future post in my Colorado Bound series I will share more about how I got to 10).

Should I also mention need to create a piece for an invitational only juried show that I really want to get into? I was invited in the Fall of 2018, before my husband passed away in December 2018. I will see after my visit to the Denver area to find my housing if I think I can whip out an art quilt before the closing of the show entry date on June 15.

In between all this mixture of fun and crazy schedule, I am still grieving the loss of my partner of more than 1/2 my life, Terry the Quilting Husband.

I was having a rough patch of grief earlier this week and I had a wonderful conversation with one of the physicians I work with, Liz, who is also a friend. She strongly suggested that I take some “self-care” time and slow my life down a bit.

I decided to take her advice and had a “Self-Care Saturday” yesterday which involved a visit to my local library to get a MEGA library stack!

So let’s continue my ongoing (and long-time neglected) series – The Library Stack – in which I share my stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library (and in the next couple of months will have to change to the Denver or Boulder area public library system).

Leisurely Lounging, Library & Lunch

By Thursday of last week I decided that Saturday was only going to be for me. I was going to relax and have fun. A dear friend invited me to have breakfast with her on Saturday and I declined telling her I was “busy”. As much as I would have enjoyed her company, I wanted to keep my commitment to myself (I was “busy” – I was busy taking care of myself).

Saturday morning, Mike the miniature schnauzer and I spent hours leisurely lounging in bed (including breakfast in bed for me) and binge watching documentaries on space and astrophysics – two of my favorite documentary topics.

Here we are binge watching, but I think Mike is just napping – ha!

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Of course maybe Mike’s giant schnauzer cushion is blocking his view of the television…

After a couple documentaries, Mike and I headed out for a long walk around the neighborhood.

Then I headed out for a special treat – to return to my local downtown library and spend an hour browsing in my favorite sections – crafting and home decorating.

Here is the crazy MEGA library stack of borrowed books that resulted from my leisurely browsing:

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A couple of the books are repeat loans but most of them are new to me. It appears the library acquired more yummy crafting and home decor books while I was away for a couple months!

After my library browsing, I took myself to lunch (yummy tapas) and brought one of my library books along to start reading while I ate my delicious patatas bravas and rockfish taco:

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A solitary lunch with a good book can be quite exquisite.

The New Bohemians Handbook

I’ve borrowed Justina Blackeney’s book The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes, several times in the past from my library.

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image credit: amazon.com

How delightful it was to discover during my library browsing that she has a new book: The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes:

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image credit: amazon.com

I loved her previous book and this new book is excellent timing for me to discover as soon I will be working on decorating my new apartment (which will be much smaller than my current home).

The “Bohemian” style really appeals to me. I’ve always referred to my style of interior decorating as “cozy and random”. I think “Bohemian” sounds even better!

In this book the author proposes that there is a “deep connection between home decor and well-being”. She recommends five (5) processes to achieve that sense of well-being with your home decor:

  • Clarity
  • Flow
  • Spirit
  • Growth
  • Harmony

It was a wonderful book to read and browse through during my delicious lunch at a local Tapas Eatery.

I look forward to finishing the book and working my way through the rest of the MEGA Library Stack!

I believe creativity and good vibes can save the world.

– Justina Blakeney, The New Bohemians Handbook

A Crafter's Life, Quality of Life

A Quilt for the Road…

This post is sort of a follow up to my previous post Love Wears it Out (Repost). I ordered someone to WEAR OUT a quilt!

Very Special Occasion Required

My original “Quilting Sister” (the woman who got me quilting) Judy always stated in response to people who would say to her “oh I wish you would make me a quilt“, is that you need to have a very special occasion to get a quilt: you have a baby, you get married, or you have some other very special occasion.

As quilts are a lot of work/time to make, not to mention a lot of money to make (more than non-quilters realize – see the TheQuiltShow’s July 2018 post – How Much Does It Cost to Make a Quilt? ), I’ve generally stuck to this rule.

Now, of course I’ve made quilts for special people in my life just because they are special. And as I’ve learned over the years, not everyone appreciates handmade items or appreciates the time and effort that went into it (I always remember the awful story a friend shared of discovering that a beautiful quilt she made for someone was being used to clean up an oil spill in recipient’s garage!).

But for the most part it is pretty darn exciting to give someone a quilt for a special occasion or because they are a special person.

Ordered to “Wear Out” a Quilt

Well my friends Cody and Cici are getting married this summer (a qualifying reason to get a quilt!), and although I have not known them a long time, I consider them special people and they really appreciate handmade items, so I sent them an early wedding gift – a quilt that I made with my late husband (who passed in December 2018), Terry the Quilting Husband.

I sent it to them with one very important stipulation: THEY MUST USE IT AND WEAR IT OUT.

Cody is an avid fly fisherman and so was my husband Terry. A couple years ago Terry selected a collection of fishing themed flannels and designed this quilt which I helped him assemble. Here are photos of the front of the quilt (which was so busy with fishing prints I sort of cringed when he designed it – ha!) and the back of the quilt (which was my idea to calm down the front!):

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One for the Road

So I knew Cody would love the quilt but I was a little worried his Cici might cringe. But I thought I would take a chance and send it to them as a their wedding gift.

They are super active outdoors people and have a cool Sprinter van that they use for long distance camping adventures, so I suggested that this very warm heavy flannel quilt be used for those adventures.

Well they both love the quilt and they complied! The quilt has already gone on its first van adventure:

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Photo courtesy of Cody G.

Cody and Cici sent me photos of them wrapped in their favorite sides of the quilt!

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I am working on a move to Colorado (see my series of posts Colorado Bound) and I need to lighten my load and this was a great way to do it. I know Terry would approve the quilt going to people who will love it and use it well!

I hope this quilt gets completely worn out to the point of being threadbare from a lifetime of adventures and road trips!

It is “one for the road”.


Postscript

I’m so honored my friend, author Marie Bostwick, reposted one of my blog posts (Valentines) on her blog Fierce Beyond 50, (which has a MUCH larger readership than my blog):

Coping with Grief by Helping Others

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fiercebeyond50.com

I really appreciate the opportunity to share my musings with a larger audience.

A Crafter's Life

Love Wears it Out (Repost)

Yesterday, during the weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group I attend, the book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams was mentioned. 

This made me think of a post I wrote in 2013 answering the question: “How do you know a quilt has been loved?” in which I quote this beautiful book.

Thought I would repost this post today.


How do you know a quilt has been loved?

It is worn, frayed, maybe even threadbare.

In my early days of quilting this would make me cringe. I put all that work into a quilt and now it is all worn out?

Now the thought of one my quilts being so loved (just think of that glorious book The Velveteen Rabbit) brings a huge smile to my face.

While talking to my sister (she has many quilts from me) she mentioned that most of the quilts I have made her are very worn out, some are just “hanging on by thread” about to fall apart.

I take quilt construction seriously and for a second I thought “wow shoddy workmanship on my part” and “why did they not take better care of the quilts”? I came to my senses several seconds later and realized: Wow! Those quilts have been truly loved – I am so lucky and so honored!

I think of what my first quilting mentor and dear friend, Judy D, once told me:

“If a quilt is falling apart, all worn out, then it has been truly loved…I never mind repairing a quilt that has been loved”.

Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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image credit: amazon.com

“Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you… When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes…When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up..or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once..You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Thank you to all the people I have made quilts for over the years, who have truly loved them, and made them REAL.


Postscript

Re-posting this post also made me think of an art quilt I finished in April 2018 titled Recycled Denim Story V: Recycled Love (2018)This piece is part of my Recycled Denim Story Series of art quilts (see my page Art Quilt Stories for more of the series).

Recycled Love (see post The Recycled Lovehonors all the love that goes into making and giving a quilt to someone.

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Here is the Artist Statement that explains the story behind this quilt made from all recycled materials:

The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. A quilt is made from changing the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart into a pieced textile; ultimately recycling that love energy into the quilt’s recipient heart.

Quilt are Love!


Feature Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

 

Special Events

Solo Show Seattle Municipal Tower, Part I

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a member of the City of Seattle’s Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery (EHAG) and invited to participate in what I thought was an art show featuring myself and other artists at the Seattle Municipal Tower in downtown Seattle, Washington. This show was to run from April to July 2019.

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Image credit: Seattle Municipal Tower

In August 2016, the City of Seattle purchased one of my art quilts made from recycled silk and linen couture fabrics, Abandoned Water Structure (see the post Seattle Public Utilities’ Portable Works Collection).

This piece was part of the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture exhibit “Your Body of Water, Part II” at the Seattle Municipal Tower gallery from April to July 2017 (see post “Your Body of Water” Exhibit, Seattle Municipal Tower Gallery).

Then in November 2017, the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture juried me into their Ethnic Artist Roster (see post Ethnic Artist Roster).

I thought I was invited to participate in the April – July 2019 show at the Seattle Municipal Tower because I was a member of this roster and they were doing a show featuring artists on this roster.

Last week, however, I discovered that I misunderstood. I was not invited to be part of a show, I was invited to have my own SOLO show!

I also discovered I was invited to have a solo show because a member of the Ethnic Heritage Art Gallery worked in a building in which my piece Abandoned Water Structure was hung and looked at it every day for a year. She wanted to work with me and give me an opportunity to have a show featuring more of my work because of what Abandoned Water Structure meant to her!

The show (name of show pending) featuring my work opens at noon on 04/18/19 and run through 07/15/19. I will be attending the show opening in Seattle.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be focusing on:

  • Preparing my existing pieces from my catalogue for the show (tentatively I have 8 – 10 art quilts for the show);
  • Providing the information to the coordinator on the name of the show (I have an idea in mind that I am working through);
  • Finalizing the display/placard information for each piece; and
  • Working with the gallery on the flyer to promote/advertise the show!!!

I will hand deliver the quilts to the gallery for storage prior to the show during an upcoming business trip to Seattle before the show.

More to come, I just wanted to share this exciting news with you that the municipality of the largest city in the Pacific Northwest Region of North America has invited me to have this glorious opportunity.

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Photo by Felipe Galvan on Unsplash

Postscript

In addition to being very excited to have my first solo show, I am also excited to have a reason to have a reunion with my Seattle friends (I lived in Seattle for 8 years before moving to Central Oregon in 2005) before I move to Colorado this Spring.

April is beginning to look very busy but it will be a “good busy”!


Feature photo credit: seattlemunicipaltower.com