Tag Archives: gratitude

Wednesday WIP

You know that feeling when you have been down with a bug for a while and you finally feel better? That happy feeling of being able to have normal days, doing normal things? And it feels so good to just be back to normal?  Well that is kind of how this week feels.

It has been three weeks since Mom’s heart surgery. This week she has made some really big improvements and is feeling so much better. She looks wonderful and is up and doing little things here and there. Consequently, we all feel better! I don’t know if this is how all families are, but when one of us is down, we each have this sympathetic /empathetic thing that causes the rest of us to be down. And we know this about each other. When Mom was in the hospital, moving from bed to chair to walker was intense. It was so hard and it really hurt. The first couple of times the nurse came in to tell her it was time to get up and move from chair to bed, Mom would tell us to leave the room for a minute.  She would say, “If you watch, you’ll hurt too.  No need for that.” She knew how hard it was for us to be watching her.  But now, three weeks later, she is on the road to recovery and looking great.  Such a relief! We are endlessly, completely grateful for her good health.

Today I did normal stuff. Enjoyed cleaning my house and catching up on laundry! (Pretty exciting, right? Honestly, it was.) I also decided I had better do something with the apples that have been sitting in my basement for more than a month now.

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My in-laws have a small apple orchard and we went and picked apples a long while back. I made a large pot of applesauce with the last of the apples. Yum. Our family loves homemade applesauce, chunky with lots of cinnamon.

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Even our hens were happy about this. They get all the scraps. Lucky girls.

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I have also been back in the sewing room. Finally! This week I have been workng on my blocks for the brown row of my Classic Stitches BOM quilt. The blocks are so cute.  I started out making 3″ blocks. This was two weeks ago. My brain couldn’t deal with the small, fiddly (as Mari says) pieces. I just couldn’t come up with consistent blocks. It took me forever to get two finished. So, I gave up and went back to 6″ blocks and they are great.

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I will get these finished up in the next day or so and stitch them together. The last color of the year is bright green. This is an easy one for me – I love green and have a big tub of scraps to go through. I need to go check in with Mari and see what sort of block she has planned for us this month. It is really crazy that we are coming to the end of this project already!

Lastly, while making applesauce today I was watching the finches. We have lots of them. This little guy settled in way up at the tiptop of our spruce tree.

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Hope you are having a wonderfully healthy week filled with the ordinary pleasures of life.

Linking to Let’s Bee Social – the link is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Gratitude – Part 7

It has been a long while since I have written a gratitude post but, this week life is all about gratitude, so it feels like the thing to do!

A little more than one week ago I posted that I would be away from my sewing room for a while. My mom was in cardiac ICU. She had experienced some odd symptoms and after navigating the maze that is our country’s current insurance system, was finally scheduled for a stress test. They told her that she had a blockage in one artery and would need to have a stent placed. This didn’t sound great but it was ok, she could deal with this. Two days later, she checked into the cardiac outpatient center at a hospital about an hour away. Once they got started, they said a stent wasn’t enough, she would need a triple bypass. This was crazy because mom has been lucky to enjoy very good health. At 80 years old, she volunteers in so many capacities in our town, plays bridge, goes to the gym twice weekly, is in a book club, and the list goes on. We all had a hard time adjusting to the idea that her heart was in such bad shape. Once they got started on the bypass, they found they also had to replace her mitral valve. The day following surgery, Mom suffered a gastro-intestinal bleed and had to have a procedure to correct that. Two days later, the cardiac surgeon found she would need a pacemaker to regulate the heart beat. So, another procedure to place the pacemaker. It was horrible for mom.  She has always been a trouper though and she came through each of these events quite well.

Yesterday my sisters and father brought mom home after 13 days in the hospital. We are all filled with gratitude that she came through this series of events and is home again. We are also thankful for the amazing technology that made all of this possible. It is so amazing what  they can do! A balloon was inserted and ran up into Mom’s heart assisting it until she could be scheduled for surgery.  When the valve was found to be non-functional, it was replaced with a bovine valve (I didn’t know this was even a “thing” that was done. A valve from a cow?)  Next on the list of things we are grateful for are her ICU nurses. Wow! These people are so highly skilled and they took such good care of mom. She had so many IV’s, tube, monitors, and different drugs to keep in balance; it was a huge process. But for the first couple of days she had one-to-one nursing and throughout, she received excellent care. They took care of our family as well. Answering our endless questions (some of them more than once, I am sure.) Reassuring us that whatever was happening was normal or would pass soon. Truly amazing. While we were at the hospital our family was in constant communication. My sisters and I would text updates and questions. I was texting with my own children, giving them Grammy updates. I had a list of a few of mom’s friends who wanted daily updates as well.  So I suppose I am grateful for the technology that allowed all of us to be in constant communication during a very stressful time. It was such a weird time. If I was at the hospital, I felt better about being able to see mom and observe all that was going on.  The days that I wasn’t there I felt restless and sort of agitated. It was hard to get anything done. The communication with whichever sister was at the hospital at the time was really helpful. I know my sisters felt the same. So, yes, we are grateful to Apple and Verizon both!  😉

So……surprises are the best, aren’t they?  Well, in the midst of all of this misery that our family was dealing with, I received the sweetest, most unexpected, surprise in the mail. It came on a day when I was really tired and just so unhappy. I stopped by to pick up the mail (we have rural mailboxes and they are about 1/2 mile from the house) on my way home from the hospital. Inside was a package from Janine. Janine is an amazing quilter who writes a sweet quilty blog over at Quilts From the Little House.

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I knew what it was when I saw the package. She had recently posted about making some mug rugs for gifts. I certainly didn’t think one was going to be sent to me though.  I sat in the car and opened it up and cried some more (lots of crying over the past couple of weeks!) Her note was so sweet and the stitching on the tiny quilt so perfect. It really touched me.

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I have been using it over the past couple of days and I tear up each time. It reminds me how lucky I am to have found this community of kindness. I have enjoyed exchanging emails with Janine ever since we found each other’s blogs over a year ago.

Maybe I will put it up on my wall with my other mini’s. Then I will see it whenever I am sitting at my machine.

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Thank you Janine! I so appreciate your kindness.

Linking to Let’s Bee Social.

 

The Kindness of Others

This week I had one of those moments that reminds you that there are so many nice people in the world. Here you go.

You might remember that last December I did a custom order for a woman from New York. (Story posted here.) This was my first custom order and it was really fun to work with this particular customer. She was so friendly within the confines of our email conversations about her order.  For the first time, I used a wax print, Ankara fabric to make her Chemex cozy. We chatted a bit and I told her how much I liked this gorgeous fabric. She told me she buys wax prints at an open market in New York.

Time passed. (Lots of time, seven months!) Last month, she emailed me and said she would be going to the marketplace soon and would I like her to pick up some fabric for me. It is really a good price there. I had looked on-line to buy some and wasn’t thrilled with the pricing. I have to be fairly careful with what I spend on fabric for my Etsy shop or my already meager profits become even less.  All about the profit margin, right.  😉  I jumped at her offer.

When she got to the shop, she texted me pictures of about seven or eight pieces she thought I might like. Jamie explained I would have to buy them in three yard pieces as they are pre-cut to this length. It was a tough choice but I settled on two. It was amazingly easy to be texting with this virtual friend and picking fabrics out based on a few quick iPhone photos.

As I wrote her a check and popped it in the mail it came to me that some might consider this a bit of a risk. I didn’t have any hesitation about sending the money. I knew the fabric would show up. It appeared that she didn’t have any hesitation purchasing the fabric for me and she even mailed it prior to receiving any sort of payment from me.

I received the fabric a few days ago. It is so gorgeous. Made by Vlisco, these wax prints are manufactured both in Holland and in Ghana. The company was founded in 1846 and has served a vast African market over the years. Their process reportedly consists of twenty-seven steps to achieve these prints and is a highly guarded secret. Because many textile companies attempt to create counterfeit Vlisco fabric, they are quite bold with printing their name along the selvedge and putting these (nearly impossible to remove) adhesive labels on the fabric.

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If you look closely at the label, you might notice that this piece was actually six yards, not three.  Both pieces are huge, six yards each. Jamie was mistaken when she told me she was sending three yards of each. At $20 per piece, this was a steal.

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This blue and purple piece has more of an African look to the pattern. It is really bold. I chose it because I want to utilize the curve of those spirals when I cut the curve of the Chemex covers. But now that I have six yards of it, I need to think of another project to use some of it!  The fabric is 48″ wide. Lots of fabric here.

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This red piece is my favorite. I love the birds. Do they look like a peacock? I think so but I’m not sure. It has a green border running the length of the piece. It is just gorgeous. I have several ideas for projects to use this piece for so I need to make some decisions.

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What most impressed me was that this was just an act of kindness. She had no compelling reason to do this, other than to be a nice person.  Yep, there are so many really kind people out there and she is certainly one of them.

Linking to this week’s Sunday Stash.

 

Gratitude-Part 6

I haven’t done a gratitude post for a couple of weeks but this week I have one to share. I am grateful for these two people.

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Mom and Dad are celebrating their 60th anniversary tomorrow. Sixty years! That’s a long time to live side by side with someone. They are truly soulmates and their marriage has long been an inspiration to me. I am grateful for the example their marriage set for me and my sisters, over the years. With the high rate of divorce in the US, we are very fortunate to have grown up with parents that stayed (happily) married.  They enjoy and respect each other, which created a solid home life for their six children.

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Research shows that growing up in a home where the parents marriage remains intact, decreases the likeilhood of the childrens’ future marriage ending in divorce. Having a healthy marriage modeled for you teaches a person what it takes to successfully marry. It appears to create a stronger commitment to the institution of marriage. The study showed that this increased level of confidence was more apparent in females than males who grew up in homes with intact parental marriage. I was blessed to grow up in such a home. Thank you Mom and Dad.

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This is a fun picture of the legacy they created. Taken at Thanksgiving of 2012, there are a couple of the grandchildren missing, so the group wasn’t quite complete. Since this picture was taken, two more great granchildren have been born so the group is even a bit bigger now. I think our family (their six children, our spouses, their 21 grandchildren, and their eight great-grandchildren) tallies 45 people now. Little did they know what they were starting when they said “I do” back in May of 1955.

Linking to Yvonne over at Quilting Jetgirl.

Gratitude-Part 5

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. All is well here. We had a great weekend. Made some good progress on the Downieville house. Drywall is in (we had taken down old paneling in the our bedroom). Tomorrow they will texture it and then we can paint. Yahoo!! My husband is doing the lion’s share of the work on this house but drywall is not a fun project; one he happily paid someone else to do. I bought the paint yesterday (gray with a creamy trim color) and cannot wait to get those walls painted.

In other exciting news, my daughter received her acceptance to a high school program she applied to for next year. She has worked very hard on this application process so she is overjoyed. (All of us are actually!)

But the best part of the week so far, is this. Here is the backstory. I had a very special friend, Betty, who we lost to cancer 15 months ago. She battled Multiple Myeloma for almost four years. We were friends for almost 20 years. We worked together (she was my manager for a while but mostly we were co-workers) and we played together. We were in a book club together for a while. We made trips to museums, walked together until she couldn’t do that any longer, and she introduced me to the joy of dim sum about ten years ago. I keep a small photo of her taped to the wall in my sewing room so she can cheer me on when I am in there working on a project.

Betty was skilled at both knitting and crochet and could do huge damage in a yarn shop in no time at all. She created beautiful pieces though. When Julia was born she gave us a sweet crocheted blanket. When she was going through chemo and making herself chemo caps, she made Julia a gorgeous purple hat with a cute flower attached to it. Anyway, after she died, her husband gave her yarn stash to his sister. His sister, Marlene, shared this love of knitting with Betty. When Marlene was in California, visiting from her home in Washington DC, they would hit the yarn shops. If they were across the country from each other, Betty told me that she and Marlene would text pictures of yarns, colors and projects to each other. It made sense for the yarn stash to go to her.

Here is the surprise. Yesterday I had lunch with Betty’s husband. We try to get together for a visit every couple of months. He brought me a surprise from Marlene.

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Isn’t this gorgeous? Marlene chose to make me a scarf with some of Betty’s yarn.  What a treasure. I love the flecks of color in this yarn.

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The yarn is a recycled product by Rowan. Manufactured in Italy, it is made of recycled clothing and fibers to create a silk, cotton and viscose content. It is wonderfully soft.  She sent me a copy of the pattern she used ( I can kind of, sort of knit but would not be able to make something like this) and it is called “Best Friend”. That choked me up. I will treasure this. I am so grateful for Marlene’s thoughtful gesture and this gift that she sent me. It was such a wonderful surprise.

Linking for the first time over at Handmade Tuesday, as well as Freemotion by the River. Thursday I will link this to Yvonne’s Thankful Thursday Series on Quilting Jetgirl.

Gratitude Week Three

Somehow I missed my goal of a weekly gratitude post last week. All of a sudden the week was over and I didn’t get it posted. Ah well…. let’s make up for that.

Thoughtful gestures, not huge but those times when you know that there was true kindness behind the gesture. This is what I am grateful for this week. I have two examples for you. Both gestures were bestowed upon me by my hubby, a very thoughtful kind of guy.

The first one requires a backstory. I am hypoglycemic which I wrote about about here. Because of this, I rarely eat sugary or processed foods. Anyway, I had been buying these little sugarless, fruity candies at Caroline’s, a local shop in town. I love them – chewy like a “tootsie roll” and very tart.  Just after Christmas, I went to the shop to buy a few and was so disappointed to find out they no longer carried them. C’mon… my big indulgence was gone! A week ago, I lamented whined to Ray how much I missed my little bits of chewy goodness. That night he was all over Amazon and a few days later a box arrived on our porch.

imageWhat a guy, right? He found them and ordered a ton. I will not soon run out!

Second story: Earlier this week I was looking for updated software drivers for my DSLR camera. I went to the site and started the download. As soon as I clicked run on the executable file I knew I was in big trouble. (I have a Windows laptop.) Ahhh!! All sorts of windows started popping up in the background. I was so angry. Clearly the site was a fake and I didn’t catch it. Jeez, it was a mess. I am pretty knowledgeable technically. Before working in HR, I worked in the I/T department for a decent sized company. I was both a technical  writer and a corporate trainer for some large software installations. I KNOW BETTER. I should have paid better attention to the site I was using but jeez, these creepy people make these sites look so legit. I tried to clean up the mess. I couldn’t. Feeling very frustrated, I shut down the computer. The next day, Ray tried uninstalling everything. He then ran the virus scan, which ran for hours and finally found the mess and (supposedly) uninstalled it. Come the following day, there it was; Binkiland was back on my computer and I couldn’t use Chrome (my usual browser). Ugh. I was so irritated. I told Ray and he did some research on this. Luckily this mess was more of an annoyance than a danger. It is an insipiad browser that forces it way into the computer and takes over so it can collect data on your internet usage. That night he came home from work with a pile of pages of instruction and scrubbed the laptop. I know this wasn’t fun for him. He has a stressful job and sits at his computer at work for a good part of the day. He doesn’t usually come home hoping to sit at another computer for an hour cleaning up yet another mess! But he did and  my laptop is back to normal. I am grateful — he is very thoughtful.

Always good to pay it forward right? Time to go extend the gesture to someone else. Recognizing these little gestures and appreciating them make my day that much richer.

Linking to Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl today.

Gratitude Week Two

This post is the second in a series on gratitude, or counting one’s blessings. The idea to write about appreciation was inspired by Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl (Yvonne happens to be an amazing quilter by the way. If you haven’t already, please take a look at her work.)

When I was working full-time I went out to lunch one day with friends for Chinese food. I received the following message in my fortune cookie. It said “Enough is as good as a feast”. I love this saying, which is a Buddhist proverb. I had it taped to my computer monitor in my office for years and would look at it often. For me it was, and still is, a powerful reminder that one doesn’t have to have stuff; the newest cars, the trendiest clothes or the biggest stash of fabric, to be content. If you have enough (I interpret that as the basics) then you have a veritable feast.

I have enough, for which I am so grateful and because of which, I am content. There is food in our cupboard and a roof over our heads. I am fortunate. When we lose sight of all that we have, if we are always desiring more, we miss the opportunity to experience the joy of appreciating life at that moment.

So, this week, I am focused on feeling grateful for the pantry that feeds us (messy though it is) and the home we live in (again, messy though it is!) It is enough.

Note: The picture of our home is from last spring. It ihas been ridiculously warm here but I certainly don’t have peonies and iris in bloom yet!!

Linking to Thankful Thursday at Quilting Jet Girl today.

 

On Gratitude

Hi Everyone!  Two posts in as many days. How about that?

I have recently started reading Yvonne’s blog over at Quilting Jetgirl. She is a really talented quilter and her blog is fun to read. She has begun a link up on Thursdays that she calls Thankful Thursdays. This week she has a great post about the inspirational quilters from Gees Bend that recently spoke at Quilt Con. It was really an interesting read. I think it is a timely reminder to focus on what we are grateful for. My last post was a bit of a downer because I recently finished a quilt and was not so thrilled with the final product. Rather than point out the nice things such as the amazing, hand dyed fabric that I used as the center accent fabrics (which I won from the monthly giveaway sponsored by Angela on soscrappy.com!) or the overall look of the quilt, all I could see was the less than perfect quilting I had done. Way too negative.

So this post is a reminder for me to remain mindful of the positive. This week I am filled with gratitude for the amazing spring blossoms that I have in my garden. We are having a very early spring – it has been unseasonably warm here in CA while the rest of the world is enduring a very harsh winter.

My peach tree is blossoming. Crazy early and I am hoping we will still get peaches. Hard to say with the blossoms coming about in February. Either way, it looks lovely.

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Daffodils and primroses are in bloom as well.

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Hard to believe how the climate can be so incredibly opposite from one side of the country to the other. The silver lining to a crazy warm winter are these blossoms that are popping up in my yard. Hope the eastern half of the world begins to thaw soon.

I had lots of finishes this week. I started replenishing the little clothesline/clothespin bags that I sell on Etsy. I was almost sold out (it is warm enough to use a clothesline in parts of the country!) This week I made them with upcycled denim jeans that I thrifted. They came together so quickly compared to the ones that I have made with burlap. (Burlap can be tricky to work with.)

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imageAnd now a polka dotted version.

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imageNice to add a few new items to my Etsy shop.

Also finished up the February Row for my RSC15 quilt. I am following along with Mari over at Academic Quilter on her Classic Stitches Row Quilt. She should be releasing the next block for March on Tuesday of next week. Looking forward to seeing what she has planned as well as what color Angela has picked for March.  For February Mari did a tutorial on these little heart blocks. I did 6 inch blocks. They were very simple to piece.

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Here they are with the broken dishes blocks that we did for the January row.

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They look cute side by side like this. Tempting as it is, I won’t stitch any rows together until I see what the others look like.

Hope you are all finding reasons to feel grateful. Some days you have to look deeper to figure it out but there is always, always something. Thanks to Yvonne for the reminder. Leave me a comment on gratitude. I would love to fill the page with positive thoughts. 🙂

Linking to Thankful Thursday and Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, as well as TGIFF.