Thanks to the Helpers and Heroes

May 25, 2020

My computer crashed yesterday. It’s not the Cuban Missile Crisis, but as I was waiting for my husband to fix things, I was reminded that on this Memorial Day I owe a lot to many people. To those who put on uniforms to protect us here and abroad – thank you. To the families of those who mourn the ones who never came back – I’m sorry, and also grateful. To those who keep the electricity running, the water flowing, the grocery stores stocked and open, the food chain intact – bless you. To those who take my recycling, green waste, and trash so my city stays livable – thank you. To everyone who has ever given me the benefit of the doubt, a eye roll instead of an eye punch – I’m sorry, and also grateful. To those who have by their words and deeds been an inspiration for good – bless you.

Luck and wisdom!

Good Luck Charms

May 20, 2020

My friend Margaret Misegades sent me this candle for quilters. I think it makes a wonderful addition to my good luck charms. As any artist or crafter will tell you, there are times when we need all the help we can get. I’ve collected good luck charms of many sorts, because I seem to need help more often than I would like to admit. There was a time when I tried to put my collection in one place, but then I got distracted. This is what my personal altar looks like now.

It occurred to me that some of my good luck charms might prefer to work alone, or in secret, so now I don’t feel bad about having them scattered around the sewing room. Perhaps they will reveal themselves, perhaps they will be happy to lurk in the shadows. As long as they hear my cries for relief, or inspiration, or just a pretty thread that doesn’t break on me at inopportune moments, I’ll be grateful.

Luck and wisdom!

Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest

May 18, 2020

To say I let my writing routine go would be a gross understatement. That routine died and went to heaven, where it is sitting on a cloud, sighing over all the stories I have not committed to paper. That is why the latest Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest may be my last, best hope. In 750 words or less, I can create the strong female character who is supposed to be me, the one who actually writes her stories. The deadline is June 1. If you have a character itching to be written, consider entering the contest yourself. Perhaps we could form our own support group?

Luck and wisdom!

Bandannas – The Next Big Thing In Hostess Gifts

May 13, 2020

Speaking as one who has lots and lots of fabric to use up, I propose making bandannas the next big thing in hostess gifts. They’re easy to sew, and mighty useful. Even after the pandemic is over and we can go outside with bare faces, bandannas can be used as napkins, dresser scarves, gift wrapping, packing material, or a fashionable way to hide an unfortunate hair day. If we are wearing masks for the next two years, as some epidemiologists are hinting, I may just get to the end of my fabric stash.

Luck and wisdom!

Are Clipboards The New Tote Bag?

May 11, 2020

I’ve been involved in several virtual meetings now, and I’ve discovered a few things. First, even for a technophobe virtual meetings are a reasonable solution when you can’t meet face to face. Second, good agendas are more important in virtual meetings than physical ones. If possible, write a script. Let the professionals wing it if they dare. Third, there is as much stuff to bring to virtual meetings as there is to physical ones.

Which brings me to clipboards. In the past I have prepared for meetings by cramming papers, notes, and other items into a designated tote bag. These days, I arrange the papers and notes in the order they appear on the agenda before I join my meeting and snap everything together on a clipboard. If I need any other items, I arrange them next to me on the floor.

I’ve been making do with the two clipboards I own, but there’s a little voice inside my head that’s telling me life would be much better if I had a dedicated clipboard for each committee. This is a dangerous and expensive voice. It sings too sweetly, and online shopping is almost as much fun as real shopping. Maybe if I flatten some of the tote bags I’m not using now and squish them as much as I can, there’s room on the shelf for one or two more clipboards . . .

Luck and wisdom!

The Return of Gloves?

May 6, 2020

Now that I’m wearing a mask and latex gloves whenever I go out, I remembered that I have a small collection of gloves from the days when white glovers at quilt shows brought their own (for those who haven’t been to a quilt show, white glovers are the people who lift the corner of the quilt so you can see the back; they wear white cotton gloves to protect the quilt). This sort of glove isn’t appropriate now, but perhaps later. Not that I really want to add another collection to my life, and heaven only knows where I would put the gloves. This pair lives in my Halloween costume box at the back of the closet in the sewing room. So perhaps I shouldn’t advocate for the return of the glove. After all, if gloves come back, can hats be far behind?

Luck and wisdom!

Serenity R Not Us

May 4, 2020

One thing the pandemic has taught me is that I am not cut out for meditation. We’re talking epic fail here. I’ve read all the advice about quieting the monkey brain, and all I can say is monkeys wish they had my brain. It’s like spending the day with a three year-old. “How many breaths did I take? Did I exhale as long as I inhaled? Can I exhale longer? How gold is the golden thread of energy reaching down for me? Is the earth energy brown or green? Look, a squirrel! No, wait, I’m the squirrel!” You don’t even want to know what it sounds like when my characters join in, begging me to write down that last thought because they want it, then arguing about who will get the line. I thought my tinnitus would be the main obstacle to achieving a state of serenity, but it’s not even close. The voices of my characters, my inner critic, my inner muse, and my inner toddler totally drown out the ringing in my ears – and just about everything else as well.

May the 4th be with you!

Beginning A Memory Quilt

April 29, 2020

I decided to save the scraps of batiks I am using to make masks for a project for me. While I have been writing in my journal every day, there’s nothing like a quilt to evoke good memories. The fabrics don’t always agree with each other, so chances are I’ll make either a mosaic or an updated version of a crazy quilt. Luckily, I have stuff for that.

The batiks might not play well with much of my satin and velvet collection, but I’ll certainly have enough of something lovely for a backing.

If I decide hand embroidering batiks isn’t as much fun as it sounds, I can always use ribbon instead. There is plenty to choose from just in the bins I can reach. Heaven only knows what I could find if I really put my mind to it.

Luck and wisdom!

When Life Changes

April 27, 2020

These magazines went into production about the same time that COVID-19 was noticed in the U.S. There are some fabulous articles in all of them (including one in Smithsonian about George Harrison visiting his sister in southern Illinois before anyone here had heard about the Beatles – who knew?!), but reading them felt like visiting another world. I have been so consumed with news of the pandemic that I can persuade myself life was always like this. Of course it wasn’t, and I hope I can remember this feeling when I finally get back to my novel. Even the gentlest of stories has to put the protagonist in a situation unlike any other the character has faced. Bringing the story arc to the new normal let’s the reader see how the protagonist changes, learns, and grows. Having a happy ending may be satisfying, but acknowledging what was lost when life changes can add wonderful depth to your story. P.D. James did this in her mysteries, because even if the murderer goes to jail, someone is dead and the rest of the characters have to adapt. If I’m very careful, I will be able to use this understanding of how quickly the world can be upended to make my characters more nuanced, more real.

Luck and wisdom!

An Outdoor Quilt Show

April 22, 2020

Amador Valley Quilters joined the Hang Your Quilts Outside event. All over the region, sheltered-in-place neighborhoods were treated to quilts on the porches, quilts on the landings, quilts on the driveway. I put up two quilts just as my neighbor was getting ready to leave. We had a nice conversation from across the street, and I told him to look for other quilts while he was out on essential errands.

These quilts had to come down in the afternoon because the wind kicked up and the frames toppled. Luckily, I had a smaller quilt that I could hang on the railing outside our front door.

All three pieces are Progressive Party creations, so thanks to everyone who contributed to the quilts and the outdoor quilt show.

Luck and wisdom!