Friday, January 23, 2015

Time to Create

In January, in our neck of the woods, we deal with what is known as an inversion  It is when we go for weeks on end with no sunshine, deep fog, ice and all around miserable weather.  Some people deal with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during this dreary time of the year.  I on the other hand, come down with a severe case of I Want To Make All The Things.    I think it started some time in December when I was in my sewing studio making my annual Christmas ornaments for my daughters.  My sewing studio is a room that was added on to the back of our garage.  Over the years it has been a storage room, a spare bedroom, and an exercise room.  Most recently I moved my sewing machine out there and have been slowing taking all my crafts from various areas of the house in an effort to have a single location of my craft goods.  There are a lot.

In December as I was working on my ornaments I got distracted with organizing my room.  I had a huge, coffin size tote filled to the brim with fabrics - some whole pieces and mostly scraps that I have held on to for about 30 years.  Pretty much the time span of when I started sewing.  I typically am known for throwing things away - I hate clutter, but that apparently doesn't hold true to my fabric.  I form some type of emotional attachment and I just know I will use that 2 inch by 4 inch scrap someday.  I just know it.  I was looking for a particular red fabric I knew I had when I realized how futile it was to keep my fabric this way.  If I couldn't see it, how could I use it.  So I began organizing it.  First I took all the small scraps and put them in a wire basket.  Then I took all the pieces that were about 1/4 of a yard and folded and ironed them into rectangles and stored them all standing up in a wooden crate I had that is about 4 inches tall.  Pieces that were 1/2 yard or more I folded in similar stacks and stored them in a larger wooden crate.  I have almost completed this task and the result is that I now can see every color fabric I have available.  My husband built me a 8 foot "floating" shelf and installed it.  I can put all my fabric in one place and now I feel like I can shop in my own store.  I have a couple more things to organize and then I will post some pictures.  I am so happy with how it is turning out.  It is actually beginning to resemble a place that is happy and cozy and very comfortable to spend my time in.

As I was organizing I realized how many patterns and kits and dreams of things I always planned to make and an idea began to form in my mind. 2015 will be the year that I create out of my stash!  I am going to do my best to use what I have and not buy anything new.  So far this month I have made a mug rug, a table runner, and three valentine garlands.  I am well into a quilt for my three year old grandson and have almost completed a flannel baby quilt that will be a gift for a new momma this coming weekend.  I have "shopped" through my own stash and have only spent about $35 total to purchase things like thread and stabilizer fabric - things I need to finish what I have started.  I have been having the best time doing this!  What is the point of storing all the stuff?  If I need new fabric in the future I can buy it then - but in the meantime I am having a blast using what I have - I love the challenge of it all.

I also decided to start renovating my laundry room.  I did purchase some paint and painted the room gray and used chalkboard paint to paint a huge chalkboard on one wall, my husband built another "floating" shelf,  I threw lots of stuff away and organized what I kept.  What a difference!  There is a storage area in there - the underneath area of our stairs, that has had a huge, heavy board just propped against the opening ever since we moved in.  It really is a dangerous thing as the wood is very heavy and nothing keeps it attached to the wall.  We are going to hang it on a barn door slider and make it functional.  Hopefully, I will have pictures to share of that very soon.  I am not a painter - I hate to paint in fact.  But the sad truth is that my husband hates it more.  So if I don't do it - it won't happen.  I am trying to convince myself that I really love to paint - I have several more rooms I want to renovate.  So far I'm not buying it - but I am not giving up. 

I know that soon I will be looking forward to planting the flower beds and filling the bird feeders but for now I am as content as can be - sewing, spinning, knitting, creating, painting, designing, cleaning, organizing......and the list goes on and on and on.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blowing Off the Dust

 I wrote this post several days ago but it has been so long since I have blogged I have had a terrible time even figuring out how to access it!  I made it though - so here we go!

It's been over two years.  More than two years since I have written here and still I can't get this place off my mind.  Lately, I think about it a lot and feel a deep desire to write again.  So here I am.  Rusty and out of practice but with so many words swirling around in my mind, trying to find a place to flow and sort themselves out into sentences that have meaning and make sense.

I love January 1 and clean slates and new beginnings.  I love the prospect of new mercies every morning!  I love fresh starts and lists of goals.  So what better time to re-start writing in my blog?  I have lists and goals and ideas I want to put into words so here goes!

Christmas this year was busy and crazy and as our family continues to grow my house seems to continue to grow smaller.  I am working hard at being content with what I have but I must admit, a bigger house would be a wonderful thing.  Not a very probable thing as we are not that far away from retirement - but a wonderful thing none the less.  It is good for life to get back into a routine but I have been busy planning out the goals I hope to achieve this year.  I am not a fan of the "resolution" however, several years ago my good blogging friend, The Butler's Wife (how I miss her blog), challenged me to find a Word for each year.  What a journey it has been!  Last year my word was Anticipate.  I thought of all kinds of good things that I could be anticipating.  What happened was that I needed to relearn what the word meant.  I learned to anticipate Jesus in every situation, good or bad.  I began the year looking for an answer to a very deep and hard question in my life.  Today, I still don't have any clarity, but I do trust that Jesus knows and I anticipate that at just the right time the right answer will come.

My 2015 Word is Abide.  I re-read the book Shepherd's Abiding by Jan Karon as my Christmas book this year and the word stuck in my mind.  I began hearing it everywhere.  Old hymns containing the word started singing themselves in my mind.  It's not a very common word so I began to realize that God was speaking.  In many ways Abide seems like a continuation of the word Anticipate.  As I abide in Him I can anticipate so much.  I am going to find every hymn I can with abide in it and use them in my devotions.  Abide.  It is a lovely word.

I have set some fun goals for this year as well.  Being an avid knitter, my sewing has gone a bit by the wayside.  But for Christmas this year I made three of my grandsons Quiet Books for gifts.  Whew!  What a fun and exhausting project.  Trying to work in my disaster of a sewing room was challenging and in the midst of sewing I started organizing my room which contains materials for every single craft I have ever done.  I began realizing just how much "stuff" I have and I came up with an idea.  For 2015 every single thing I sew or knit has to come from my "stash".  I will have to buy buttons and zippers and maybe some thread to complete projects but I am not going to buy anything new to sew or knit.  What a fun challenge.  Already I made a new table runner for my dining room table using fabric and things I already had.  I didn't have to buy anything! Gray is my new favorite color and I especially love it with the reds!
As soon as I finished the table runner I pulled out some fabrics to make a baby quilt for my three year old grandson, Ryan.  I make a baby quilt for every grandchild and I am two behind.  So Ryan will get his quilt, soon I think, and it is browns and teals and full of bears.  I can't wait!

Another fun goal I have set this year is a reading challenge.  My husband told me the other day he loves to see me reading.  I used to read much more than I do these days and I miss it.  So when I found this fun reading challenge the other day on facebook I decided to take it on.  It should get me out of my box I think.  One of the suggestions that bothered me was "read a graphic novel".  I don't read graphic stuff.  But then I remembered I want to read the book Unbroken and after seeing the movie I realized it is very graphic - but in a way that is historical and truthful and necessary to the story.  So I will be okay.

I have always wanted to learn how to do calligraphy.  The other day I was in a Hastings Bookstore and I saw a calligraphy kit on sale.  It ended up in my hands so fast I didn't know what happened!  I decided then and there that 2015 was the year to learn calligraphy.  I haven't started yet - it seems a bit intimidating - but it will happen!

I have totally become a fan of the show Fixer Upper.  I love, love, love Chip and Jo Jo Gaines.  I became acquainted with her from reading the blog Mundane Faithfulness.  When Kara told of how JoJo flew to her home in Colorado Springs to decorate her home for Christmas it touched my heart and I knew she was a Christian who walked her talk.  I had never heard of the show before but I set my dvr to record all the episodes and my goodness - both my husband and I are hooked!  And now we are inspired to work on our house.  Our home is 15 years old and it is time to do some updates.  So we have made a list of renovations and have already begun!  The first thing was to complete a cupalo and weather vane for our barn.   I love it!
Next on our list is a laundry room update - we are removing an old cabinet and installing "floating" shelves.  We also have an old heavy piece of wood covering a cubby hole storage area under the stairs.  The door has never been attached or functional so we are going to make a sliding barn-style door.  Our main bathroom needs some paint and the "kid's room" needs a makeover as well.  We are excited to see what we can come up with.

2015 looms on the horizon as being an exciting and fulfilling year.  I am excited to learn new ways I can Abide with Him.  I am looking forward to working down my fabric and yarn stash and turning it all into beautiful things.  I look forward to learning new things and reading new books.  And it feels so good to be back in this familiar place.  Oh how I have missed it!