Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tiny Bits of Christmas

 I live in a teeny, tiny space, and, as much as I may try, I will never be a minimalist. And I love to decorate. Most of my Christmas things are still in storage, along with my memories, I suppose.
Here are a few of the items that make it feel festive here.
 A few of my ornaments, and what I thought would be my only tree, on a shelf in my entry.

I made this chain my first Christmas alone. The fabrics are saved from bits of pieces  of crafting projects and family clothing. (I used to sew a lot as a young mom, and thought I would turn all those leftovers into a quilt at one time. Never happened.) I got a new sewing machine that year with alphabets, and each of these patchwork rings contain names, dates, sayings I like, family information, etc. They all button together, and were made as a garland for my tree. It was a project that kept me sane during a very dark time. I deconstructed it, and now it hangs on a tension rod in my entry.
 My sweet daughter in law decided I needed a bigger tree, so she brought one, complete with ornaments, lights, and tree skirt. Yes, I am a little crowded.

Garlands on Cupboards
Tiny Trees and Nativities
Another little bit of cheer.

                         It's pretty obvious that my decorating isn't what it used to be, and I don't do a lot of entertaining within my little space. It's cozy, and filled with old things I love, and just outside my door is the rest of the world I live in now. I had a lot of fun decorating the fraternity house for the holidays. My life is a study in contradictions, but I am content. Happy Holidays to all.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Ink, She Thinks

The Meandering Vine
Hopefully, this will look better soon!
Well, it was an interesting day for me today. Bridget and I did a little mother-daughter bonding and got tattoos. I always said I would never show photos of a raw, ugly new tattoo, but I guess I lied. I worried a little at first. There were not a lot of dainty little flowers pictured in the studio. (Can you say bloody skulls and naked ladies?) Actually, I like it, and am pretty proud of it, since I went with my own design. I call it the "Meandering Vine" and it's something I have always drawn, and used in embroidery work. Anyone who ever took one of my crazy quilt classes will remember this.  If I was going to do this, I wanted it to be meaningful to me.
I've wanted a memorial tattoo for a long time, but had decided against it, because Jim was never overly fond of them. But I guess he has forfeited the right to make my decisions, hasn't he? I wanted a bracelet, so I can cover it up when I have to.
So I now have a bracelet around my left wrist with the word "Forever" in his handwriting. It made me cry at first, but purely in a good way. I've wanted to use his signature since  I first thought of getting this done. Unfortunately, Jim was a very creative speller, and I really didn't want a permanent "Forver" on my wrist. Although it would probably make me laugh. I did find it spelled correctly on an old valentine that I had saved, so I guess that was a sign. The vine goes around my wrist and has two peach roses since he always gave me Tropicanas; five daisies, for our five children; seven leaves, for the seven of us; and 8 tiny blue flowers for our grandchildren.
I'm not sorry I did it, but I don't think I will be wanting another one. Yes, it hurts.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Bucket List

I was at a meeting a few weeks ago and the conversation turned to "Bucket Lists". And, no, I am not making another list; the sixty seven things I wrote on my birthday just about did me in. But the conversation started with birthday musings. I think that as we get older, we all ruminate on the things we haven't done.
White water rafting was the first topic that came up. This was a birthday plan for one of us. Soon she will be having that adventure in Colorado. Speaking of Colorado, getting high was another goal of someone who had never....
As a little side note, that wouldn't be me unless it was legal. I am a person who has always been caught. Did I ever mention that I had five children in 10 years? I come from a family of adventurers, stunt men, and race car drivers. Yet, I was the one who had to go to driving school because of driving 35 in a 25, and getting three tickets within a month. I also got stopped one night 4 times within three miles for having a tail light out. A Walmart greeter once chastised me for coming IN the OUT door. And I even had a policeman come to the door one evening to collect my overdue library books. It was a mistake. I had returned the books, just not the little cards they used to put in the pockets. And thankfully, the library stopped doing that. It was an experiment that failed. And certainly scared me.  But I digress, back to the Bucket List conversation.
As we went around the room, everyone told of their desires and ambitions. Skinny dipping (no), kayaking (no), bungee jumping (no), a cross country bicycling trip (no), zip lining (no), flying an airplane (no), visting a nude beach (most definitely a no), running a marathon (no), a romantic encounter with a handsome stranger (no).
And then it was my turn. I actually have a bucket list journal that was gifted to me. Here's what's in it.
1. Learn to knit socks
2. Visit famous libraries.
It looks like Wild and Crazy Adventurer is not my middle name. Maybe this will be the year.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me

This is a small collage that I made several years ago. It says "The best journey is to find yourself". It's a journey I have been on for 67 years, as of today. Yes, it's my birthday, and I can't help it but I always feel excited on July 15. I expect magic, and surprises, and all around, generally wonderful and sparkly things. I know that everyone has a birthday, and lots of people like to ignore them and say it's just another day. I can't help it. I will always anticipate wonderfulness happening during that 24 hours. Many years ago, I had a birthday that EVERYONE forgot. Really, everyone. Oh, I got several calls the next day, when they all remembered. But that was the day I decided to never let the day go by without doing something myself to make it special and different. So, now I do, and today I will, even though I am not yet sure what is going to happen.
I have had a better year than several I can remember. Sadness, yes. But this year I learned to laugh again, and to enjoy my life.
1.   It is never about things.
2.  Always try to leave it better than you found it. (Thanks, Gerry)
3.  Everyone has a right to an opinion.
4.  Opinion isn't always truth.
5.  Eat dessert first.
6.  Love is always the right answer.
7.  Younger isn't better.
8.  We waste too much time wishing things were different.
9.  Just because they sell it in my size doesn't mean I should wear it.
10.But, if wearing it makes me happy, I shouldn't care what other people think.
11.I can't help it, I still stand by #9.
12.The world is scary for everybody sometimes.
13.We all deserve a chance to sparkle.
14.Discipline can disappear after just one day of not following your plan
15.It's okay to be different.
16.We should all probably take a break from Facebook.
17.I probably won't be able to think of 67 things.
18.Good thing I'm not any older. I would be here all day.
19.Sisters are the bestest friends.
20.My computers always do strange things. I swear, it isn't my fault.
21.My children don't want me to get near their electronic devices.
22.There is a lot of truth in Tarot.
23.I think people should read things til the end.
24.We are all afraid of something.
25. We all hear the same thing differently.
26.It is good to know what your truth is.
27.Everyone doesn't have the same truth.
28. There is no happiness without sadness.
29. Doctors don't always make it better.
30. Sometimes we just have to trust.
31.And sometimes there isn't a reason. (Hardest life lesson that I have learned)
32.Sometimes we have to depend upon ourselves.
33.Money isn't everything.
34.Having money helps.
35.Music always cheers people up. Unless it makes them feel worse.
36.Traveling gets us out of our comfort zone.
37.We learn our limits when being tested.
38.We never really know how we feel about something until it happens to us.
39.Most people have very limited vocabularies.
40.The word f*ck has lost its' shock value for most people.
41. I miss having that one bad word that you only said if you were REALLY upset.
42.Still works for me. I just shocked myself.
43.I'm not sure if dieting is worth it anymore.
44.Making things is a form of meditation.
45.So is yoga, but I have better luck with making things.
46.I still don't understand the point of coloring just to color. A journal page, yes. Coloring book, no.
47.I think it's funny that everyone is suddenly into planners again.
48.I like rules. I wish they would stop changing all the time.
49.I really miss my furniture. It's the hardest part of downsizing.
50.I want this to be the year where I am more care-full of and cherish my friendships.
51.Fifty was actually my favorite age. I would do that year again.
52.I would love to have written a book. Not so sure about actually writing one.
53.I really want to have a plan.
54.Can you plan to be spontaneous? Think about it. This makes me laugh.
55.Forgiving might be just as important as loving.
56.When we create something that lasts, it makes us feel good about the future.
57.Make a quilt, plant a tree, have a baby.
58.If you can't have a baby, hug one.
59.Nobody is really paying much attention to you. Go ahead and dance.
60.I want to start mailing all the cards that I buy for people.
61.Stop and look at the sky.
62.I promise to walk more. Even without a Fitbit.
63.If you look at people with love in your heart, maybe the differences you see won't matter.
64.Time expands when you have less to do.
65.The world is big. There are places to go and things to do.
66.Religion isn't the same as God.
67. Next year, I will only have to add one thing to this list.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Life As A House Mom

I've made a few changes this year, and one of the biggest has been going from living alone to living with a houseful of young men. I think my role is to basically stay out of their way, and to be a friendly "mom face"(Unobtrusively, of course. What young man wants their mother hanging around all the time?) I don't discipline, and I don't clean.  But I try to keep the house from falling apart. Not cleaning is probably the hardest. I think it is natural for most of us to pick up glasses and plates and bottles and cups and empty bags and trash and shirts and socks when we walk by them. Get the picture?
(Multiply this photo and imagine my mornings!)
 It is summer break now, and not nearly as many people are living here, so I wanted to rearrange things a little and make fewer surfaces to clutter. Also since they like to watch tv, I thought it would be nice to have a seating area that looked like it was supposed to be there.

 I left a note on the message board yesterday because I was having trouble moving things. I don't really see everybody very often because of so many conflicting schedules. This morning when I woke up I thought it was Christmas! Everything looks so nice today.  Thank you Coda and Mike for all the work you did this morning. The front room and patio and kitchen look terrific, and now they are tackling the basement storage room.

Every day here is an adventure. I love it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bear Hugs

Make a bear. Make a difference
Here are my first three bears I made for a wonderful charity.  It is called Mother Bear Project and was founded by the mother of one of the fraternity members here at my new home. He saw me working on a project and asked if I could knit.  He very casually mentioned that his mom makes teddy bears. This organization has sent over 121,000 handmade bears to children in the past few years.
From the website: "The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear."
It began when Amy read an article and was so moved by it, she wanted to do something to help. Her mother had made knitted teddy bears for her grandchildren from a vintage pattern, so Amy learned to knit, taught her friends to knit, and Mother Bear was born.
All bears must be made from the same basic pattern, but it is amazing how different they are. The pattern is very easy. I am not much of a knitter, and had to watch a few you-tube videos to learn how to pick up stitches for the arms, but the results are great. And anyone's heart will melt when you see photos of the children with their new bears.
I am almost finished with #4. Then I will send my first bears in with money for postage. Hearts will be sewn on each of them and tags included with the maker's name. I plan to finish many more.
When I first heard of this project, it struck my heart. And then I realized that I had read a book a few years ago called "Knitting for Peace" which tells all about it. So, I guess this was one of those projects "meant to be".

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Sticks and Strings and Other Things

There was a time in my life when there was never enough time. Isn't it strange that we can be so busy that we dream of a few moments of solitude, but when it arrives, we don't quite know what to do with it, do we? I grew up in a large family, and then was the proud mama of five, so I have always known a little bit about noise, and the difficulties of finding a quiet time and the space to be alone. And, then, suddenly, there were months and then years when I was alone, and everything in my life became reduced to doing the necessary things, and then staring out of a window or losing myself in a book for hours every day.
And then suddenly one day, I took a giant step and moved myself into a little space in a big house. There is a lot of noise, and activity, and laughter, and wrestling matches, and arguments about whether a hot dog is a sandwich.... And I am hearing certain words and phrases more times in one day than I have ever heard them in my life. My job here is to be nearly invisible and in the background, which is understandable. How many young men want to live with an old (who, Me?) woman?   None, of course. And I totally get that. But, yes, they are friendly to me, and polite, and respectful. And most of them talk to me a lot. And I am laughing again. I have the feeling that Jim and Rich are laughing too.

This began as a post about all the things I have been making with my free time. That is the Sticks and Strings part. I really miss having a crafting room, because, at one time, I had the best of the best. But knitting and crocheting don't have to take a lot of room, so I have been busy in my little space. First, I made a large afghan, as a Christmas gift.

Next, some smaller projects. I needed a bag to hold my yarn.

And then, a smaller bag.....

I couldn't resist this granny tea cosy:

And a decorated vase:

I saved my best for last, and now my picture won't come up. So I'll be back.........