New Year Resolutions abound at this time of year—and a lot of them already broken. Some use a word or phrase to shape their year; I tend to do both. I tend to lean toward the list method. And ruefully the same things appear on the list each year—things like–recover the couch—–fix dining room ceiling…clean up yard….
Some of the tasks are never-ending—how can you ever stay caught up on laundry or cleaning the bathroom?
But then there is the Wisconin motto—Onward…
I think it is a great motto—looking forward, building on the past and still moving—not standing motionless paralyzed by regret or anger but going forward.
I’ve been part of a weekly photo challenge for several years. Some of the participants are expert at filters and composites and other fancy things in photoshop; others seem to live in particularly gorgeous areas with abundance of great photo ops; those are not in my skill set. One year I did try to do some fancy stuff and spent a great deal of time on it; I was rewarded by someone commenting I should have taken the time to find a better photo site…it was really hard not to look at that person’s submission with a highly critical and negative view. But I cheated myself out of not participating for the remainder of the year.
So this year—-it is Onward! and here is my photo:
This is a view of Amistad Resevoir just north of Del Rio Texas. Several rivers contribute to the Reservoir but the best known is the Rio Grande. This area is part of the Chihuahuan desert and features some of the typical vegetation but more abundantly due to the reservoir and the amount of water available. Some years the reservoir is quite low but this time it is quite high; fishing is a popular activity.
Several years ago, there was a booth at the Quilt festival in Houston featuring Rare Bears. This is a project now encompassing over 11 countries and sponsored (among many others) by Spoonflower. Spoonflower prints pairs of soles for teddy bears; huggable Teddy Bears to be given to children with rare diseases.
Of course I signed up with great intentions but this past month finally put together two of these bears. I made them from bamboo fleece that was hand-dyed for another project—and the bears required fairly small pieces. I think I have enough for one more bear.
While they prefer the Rare Bear Army members to send just skins.=—take up a lot less room–I had to see how these bears would look.
Here is my sweet husband trying out the huggability of the bear.
Here they are hopping into the box to send away.
And here they are with little notes.
When they are gifted to a special child, a photo is sent of the bear with their new master. I hope these two get picked soon.
And for a bit of trivia: – Rare Bear’s factory Pratt & Whitney R-2800-30W engine producing 2,250 shp was replaced by a Wright R-3350 engine producing somewhere between 3,400 – 3,800 shp depending on the base model selected – factory numbers. As a current racer, the specifics of Rare Bears engine remain undisclosed.
In 1976, the engine failed during the Mojave Race with a resulting belly landing. It wasn’t raced again until the 90’s.
More details are abundant on the internet, but I might just ask at the Lone Star Flight Museum sometime.
My mother was a quilter and left me quite a few unfinished projects along with her fabric—lots of rust and turquoise==my least favorite colors. I’ve been working on finishing the little pieces as baby quilts for her great-grandchildren–but it has been slow-going.
There were quilt tops for each grandchild to be given on the occasion of their wedding–I have four left–two handed out this year.
And then there was this piece.
She had a class of quilting students–and together they decided they wanted to make a smallish wall quilt commemorating the establishment of Prairie du Chien–I think—I really don’t remember what event they were focused on—but here it is—-
I put it on that UFO list I talked about yesterday—and wouldn’t you know it–but it was number three and the number that was drawn for the month of January.
I had hoped it wouldn’t be the very first month—but here it is—and I’ll have to figure out how I want to finish it—and then take it to the new library in town and see if they have a place to hang it.
Officer Meadows opened the passenger door of my truck and asked me if I was okay. He thought I had been driving slowly and touched the white line several times. Had I been drinking?
It was one of those roads paved in sections, patched many times. With my wheelbase and suspension, I was bounced all over the road. I tried driving closer to the center line, closer to the edge, slower, faster—trying to find the sweet spot in that road that wasn’t going to bounce my back all around.
We chatted a bit about where I was going and why did I live in Texas when I had a farm in Wisconsin. I told him I was taking a box of bees to the farm—and he said his uncle had thirty hives and they frequently harvested honey without protective gear. I was relieved—he knew not to swat at the bees—the fastest way to make them mad and sting—and maybe a mass exodus from the box.
Like life, though, there was no sweet spot—just drive straight on through. Maybe a stop or two for some pleasant conversation with a nice young man.
Claiming ownership of one’s work–signing a letter, a painting by more than just a style..is it important?
In the past I had settled for a plain jane type label,..a bit of muslin ironed to freezer paper, words traced from a print-out using a nice font, edges turned under and then the label sewn to the back in the lower right corner.
Sometimes I pieced the label into the back–when people were announcing a lot of quilt thievery. After surveying my rising stack of completed pieces, and thinking through what I really enjoy –I like the making–not the having–I began making fancier labels.
Although this label is for a quilt I did not make–I did contribute to its making–I used part of the fabrics in the front design, printed the words out using a hand-writing font–my hand-writing is not so neat–traced the words onto the muslin and then finished all the edges.
This quilt is a donation quilt for our local guild–and will be on display at our local quilt show in April.
And I keep all those print-outs in a special binder–if only I added sizes to the print-out I would have a ready reference to each year’s endeavors.
What was I thinking?????
I was re-organizing my sewing space—I do not call it a studio–that sounds too fancy–and would imply I only produce notable artwork in there–instead of doll dresses and grand-daughter dresses and grandson shirts and quilts for community service plus the rare mending of something.
A quilt pattern complete with plastic templates caught my eye–it was something I had bought at the last Quilt Festival in Houston and never opened—so I opened that envelope and discovered really tiny templates and a challenge to make a star a day for a year! Even though no-one saw me open that package, I thought how hard could it be to make a star? And maybe I should just test those templates.
The completed stars will finish at 3 inches–so those pieces are teeny-weeny. I now have a considerable stack of them with more to follow. Will I do it for a year? Maybe, maybe not.
I spend a lot of time driving.
It is a time of contemplation for me–a landscape that looks barren but is filled with life–birds-bugs-beasties including those legless creatures. While many would think this is boring and would need entertainment I am content in my thoughts.
This photo was taken somewhere north of Hondo Texas.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s has always seemed to be a time to reflect upon the past year/s and to plan for the upcoming year. Somehow the first two months of the year always slide by and I manage to get around to planning and setting up goals in March–which may be appropriate as it is my birth month. Then, there is the ritual of setting aside the past year’s day-planner and installing the new year’s planner.
I’ve tried a lot of methods over the years to plan but what seems to work best for me is a set of index cards with broad categories. I review them occasionally–not as often as perhaps I should–but then I have learned that I need to slow down and rest more.
The past year was less exciting than previous ones with my medical deductible being met only two weeks before the end of the year instead of two weeks into the year. A small thing perhaps, but exciting for me as my social life seems to revolve around doctor visits to my assortment of specialists.
I hope this year will see fewer medical issues and more fun and travel. As always I want to finish up projects–but then I have new ones that seem to spring up and push the old ones back. I guess if I really wanted the older ones, I would have done them by now–but they can stay neatly–or not so neatly–written on an index card that I peruse while waiting for a Netflix to load.
Today, more Netflix and ordering of garden seeds. This year I hope to have a garden as productive as it was two years ago with a sink filled with produce to process—-this was just one day’s picking.
and now, I’m linking to Nina Maries Friday night linkup—I think—as part of my New Year’s activities
This is obviously not a photo of hair!
A couple of days ago I got a very nice letter from Pantene thanking me for the donation of my hair to their cancer wig program. I first donated my hair sometime in 2002 or so as a memorial to my mother who died of ovarian cancer. But this time the donation was for me.
In 2010 I became very ill with systemic histoplasmosis, an endemic fungal disease exacerbated by a medication I was taking for Rheumatoid Arthritis. After surviving hypoxia and 8 days or so in ICU plus 5 weeks in a stepdown unit, my hair was brittle and lifeless—-and bedraggled. My husband took a scissors and cut it some shorter to make it easier to manage as I needed help in most daily activities. Whenever I combed my hair, the comb would be quite full. I looked much like the Velveteen Rabbit. So I took myself off to the hairdresser and Traci cut it, laughing as she could she where Glen had cut it. It looked nice, but continued to fall out and I returned and asked her to cut it very short. She said she could see new hair growing. The dermatologist had told me that my hair would fall out for the length of time that I had been ill. It was a great blow to my ego.
Then as it grew back, it was incredibly curly—and white! I had a Wisconsin style hairstyle without the smell of a perm. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and only did so on rare occasions accidentally while brushing my teeth.
Traci patiently trimmed and shaped my hair as the months went by and gradually it became about 15 or 16 inches long.
I decided to conquer my vanity but having it cut really short again and donating the hair to someone who (like me) had lost their hair due to health issues.
I’ve had a lot of compliments on it, it is no harder to care for than my long hair and my husband says I look at least ten years younger.
It is hard to admit to vanity, and even harder to conquer it. The feelings of yet another something totally unfair and casually passed off by health care personnel who looked at my age and thought–why should she worry about this? and then my physician thought the initial hair loss and cut was just a style change that women all did periodically. This was hard and unlike some of the other things that happened later, this was visible to the world, a symbol of my un-wellness.
Choosing to have short hair is far different than having short hair.
There hasn’t been a lot of activity here or on my design wall. After working hard on the last two pieces both of which were rejected, it is hard to build up enthusiasm for starting something new. I’ve been considering why that is so.
Is it a feeling of failure with work rejected from two shows? And then not wanting to risk rejection again with another work?
Or is it a need to complete something useful? That all the artwork is frivolity and it would be a better use of my time to produce useful items. Or at least reduce the quantity of ‘stuff’ that I have for heirs to deal with. I’m not planning on that need for some time but things happen when least expected sometimes and being prepared makes for less confusion. Having been executor of my parents’ wills, it was not an easy task and made more difficult by the lack of instructions.
Perhaps I am procrastinating because there are so many options and I’m not sure which to choose? And is one better than another?
Or is it avoidance thinking that success will mean more expectations? The more I do, the more people seem to want–whether it is a work shift or volunteer work or family expectations?
Or maybe it’s because I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to deal with a computer, a cell phone, and all their intricacies all couched in a language I do not understand? a world of No. 2 pencils and a spiral notebook—or a blank sketchbook and a ball point pen are tools I understand.
So why am I still sitting here in my nightgown, writing away here instead of dealing with the piles of projects some half started, some just an idea, and a few nearly completed except for an hour or so of work?
Or maybe it is because I need to winnow down the possibilities.
In true avoidance this morning, I read through a few of my old journals. It was popular for several years to choose a word to describe the focus of the year. One year I chose ‘Refine’ and the following year “Conquer”.
Somehow I think I need to get back to that frame of mind and “Refine and Conquer”