Thursday, July 14, 2011

Even When I Can't Sew

When I was a little girl, I drew a lot.  I would draw on anything.  I doodled and the world just went away.  When I am creating, I almost go into a trance.  It is like I am not thinking at all.  That probably sounds a bit weird to those of you who THINK you can't draw.  I suspect you just try to control your drawing too much.  So, there's an assignment for you....quit thinking and see if you can draw.

At any rate, the past few weeks have been very full of summer fun with our family.   Lots of cooking, swimming in the pond, touring the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.  There is always so many amazing things to do...visit wineries, stop by the Amana Colonies for food and touring, go kayaking, attend the Farmer's Markets and just enjoy the parks and bike trails and walking trails.  Even got a chance to go to a Kernels' game.  They didn't win but we had fun cheering them on and enjoyed the fireworks.  

All of the busy-ness doesn't really get in the way of my creative energies.   I can't quite help myself, even if I don't have a pen, pencil or sewing machine, I am doodling.   I found myself doodling with glass beads.  The magic baubles had been on the table as an embellishment.  Each morning I would take my breakfast to the table and work it like a crossword puzzle, I rotated around our dining room table placing the glass pieces taking my bowl of oatmeal with me.  After a few days, I had a whole canvas designed.  The family was afraid to disrupt my finished project and eat there.  Conversely, I view it as finished and am ready to disrupt it all because it is the process that is so important to me. 

Now, I wonder what I could do with tiles on a floor....

All the Best to You, jill

Friday, June 3, 2011

Have You Had Your Mammogram?

One of the fabrics in the collection, Fight Like a Girl 2, is a series of squares that I used for blocks in the quilt pieces I designed.  While not the most poignant of phrases, I did include "Have You Had Your Mammogram?"  I had an uncle who regularly asked this question.  True.  I was tempted to tell him, "NONE OF YOUR (insert explicative here) BUSINESS."  However, after the first few times laughing him off, I realized that what he was asking was important!  Early screening is our BEST tool for detection.  Early detection is our best chance for fighting the disease.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sew Away Your Anxiety

As we have met many fighting cancer (and especially a large number wrangling with breast cancer), I am always in awe at how they pull together their emotional resources to find a way to bring healing in some part of their life.  So many have told me that they sew to reduce their anxiety and that when they are not well enough, the inability to sew brings great sadness to them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yes, I Designed This

I recently put the last stitches into my first venture into fabric designing.  Working with friends at Windham Fabrics, I was honored to pull together the fabrics for their second collection for Fight Like a Girl.  The fabric line was immensely popular in its first run in our store.  I had some ideas for things I'd like to see in the subsequent collection and was asked to work with them on the designs.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

23 Years...

Today Henry and I wrap up 23 years of pre-collegiate education with our children.  Not counting, pre-school, we have had a rotation of our five kids in school.  Our youngest, Johanna, is graduating from high school today.  It is sweet to see her launch on her promising future.

What an irony, though, as we have been getting house ready for the celebration of this milestone for our family, I have been contemplating how our thinking has morphed.  I remember the days when we first became parents that every trip "to town" meant hauling all the necessities to the house....diapers, toys, clothes, groceries (oh, the GROCERIES!)  Now I think about how to best get the kids to take their stuff with them, how to de-clutter a lifetime of collecting and make it meaningful to collect enough that the kids can enjoy the memories of their childhood and yet not so much stuff that it overwhelms them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Remembering Cindy...Part #4: Her Tradition of Passing on Love

As the second day sped past, the work on the three quilts got very focused and was down to tasks that could only be handled in smaller groups.   Therese had made teddy bears from some polo shirts before the event and got the cousins going on a teddy bear project.  Like everything else during the weekend, no one really knew these to be tough projects because we just presented them as something fun to do.  And in a matter of a few hours, teddy bears started emerging from shirts.  More teddy bears were cut to go home and grow into fully cuddle-able bears for other cousins.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Remembering Cindy...Part #3: Free to Be Cindy

In the quilt for Cindy's son, we all experienced what it was to be free to be Cindy.  A hard working and studious student, farm girl and employee, Cindy's diligence was admirable.  She was dependable and quiet about her diligence.  However, it was clearly obvious in all that she did.  People tend to worry about hard-workers, thinking their diligence could be their undoing.  Yet, just as she was diligent, this woman knew how to be free to be Cindy!  She embraced choices and lived abundantly.  Work was work and fun was fun.  And even for Cindy work could be fun. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Remembering Cindy...Part #2: A Life of Practical and Pretty

First off, I need to point out that while our extended family appreciates the enjoyment we have with quilting and sewing, for themselves, sewing tends to mean mending.   All members of the family own sewing machines.  This event was for many of them their first quilting venture and their sewing machines (and them) would never be the same.  Armed with an earnestness to honor their sister’s memory and create a loving quilt-hug for Keith and their children, my sisters-in-law, mother-in-law and several nieces and nephews joined in this two day adventure. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remembering Cindy...Part #1: A Life Sparkled with Color

One king-sized denim quilt, one king sized t-shirt quilt, one queen sized pieced shirt quilt, five fleece throws, several teddy bears, pillowcases and a weekend of exhausting joy….

Four years ago, my husband's sister, Cindy was killed in an automobile accident.  Survived by her husband and two young children, Cindy left a legacy of love and kindness for all who knew her.  After her death, Cindy’s sisters helped to move and store her clothing with plans to make quilts for her family when they were able.  Being from a very resourceful family, my sisters-in-law wanted to make something for Cindy's children from her clothing.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mother's Day Card to Our Children

Mother's Day brings its share of hype and attention as per the greeting card makers, florists and about every other marketing entity that can attach to it.   For some this is a day of true recognition.  Some stand in front of the cards trying to find the card that says not too much, not too little and even the attempts to say it all over the top can cause even such a minor gesture to be emotionally revealing.

A good friend of mine has always been challenged by her relationship with her mother.  She often will say,  "THIS is just one day.  THIS is just one day.....just one day."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Afternoon Sewing with Therese

Every now and again, Therese and I will escape for a bit of sewing.  Usually we work in parallel worlds but are pretty quiet.  This particular afternoon, we retreated to my sewing room where we explored the Fight Like a Girl fabric in the Flip Flap bags

A great feature on the Flip Flap bag are two secret pockets which are a perfect fit for a cell phone, notepad, etc.  With many bags I own, they have great pockets but many are so big that when I slip my cell phone in, I have to go digging.  The pocket on these bags are a perfect size that don’t require me reaching in up to my elbow to find the little ringing devil.