Posts Tagged ‘luck and wisdom’

You Are Never Too Old For Toys

April 17, 2019

My daughter sent me a box of Harry & David treats, and I discovered that kids and cats have it right after all. The cardboard box is always part of the gift – in this case, the insert in the box that kept the tower of treats from rattling around during shipping. I set it aside to use for elevation at displays. I will drape some fabric over it, then lean things against it, put something light on top of it, or surround it with ribbon to draw attention to my booth. Then I noticed that the little cut-outs looked like eyes. “Self,” I said, “you’ve got a mask here.” So I decorated it.

Oh, yeah, we’re having fun now!

Luck and wisdom!

Breakthroughs

April 15, 2019

After wallowing in despair over not writing, I finally parked my fanny in the chair and said, “Self, you will complete the revised outline today.” Okay, so I didn’t actually complete it, but I did make a breakthrough that will allow me to get back to The Captain and Chenille. I also revised the first three chapters, and hope to get through a few more in the coming week (if I’m not called for jury duty).

That’s the good news. The better news is I did this work before the CWC Tri-Valley Branch Writers Conference. It was a full day of presentations on craft, publishing, and marketing. I would have felt guilty as all get-out if I hadn’t worked on my outline, because I knew at least half of the people I talked to would ask, “So, how’s the writing coming?” Instead of hanging my head and justifying my presence at the conference when the keyboard was calling, I could say, “Well, after a long dry spell I’m back at work on my novel.” My friends were happy for me, and I could be happy for them when they told me about their work, or at least sympathize if they were still in the middle of their own dry spell. I also had a grand time at the conference, because I could concentrate on the information being presented, not the work I wasn’t doing.

The best news is the biggest breakthrough. I realized I could use this episode to keep my fingers on the keyboard. My writing club meets monthly, and if I make a habit of asking at least one person at the meeting about their writing, then I will want to make sure I’ll have good news to report when they ask about my progress in return. Yes, I am in critique groups, but they know I have had a lot going on lately and have cut me some slack. Other people won’t. Accountability is a great motivator, and I plan to use every opportunity to keep me in the writing habit.

Check out the bottom left corner

Luck and wisdom!

Waiting for the Reveal

April 10, 2019

I am making progress with the PIPs (Projects in Piles), but nothing to photograph. Luckily, the front yard is in the process of blooming, which illustrates the way I feel about the last couple of weeks of work. I put borders on three UFOs (UnFinished Objects), and made backs for them. I suppose I could photograph the tops but I would prefer to wait until they are done. They’ll be donated when completed, but before I can get to the quilting I need to finish a few simple sewing projects. In the meantime, I will enjoy the message of the flowers – patience + perseverance = progress.

Luck and wisdom!

Remembering Backwards and the Writer’s Life

April 8, 2019

This is what happens when I walk and think at the same time

The latest issue of the Harvard Women’s Heath Watch has an article about boosting your memory by walking backwards. Given my record of not being able to think and walk at the same time, I’m not sure I want to try this (my ankle is healing well, by the way). Still, I remember being taught to memorize poetry by reciting it to myself while walking, so perhaps there is something to this. My big question is how can walking backwards possibly help me remember where I wanted to go in my novel when a subplot threatens to take over the book?

Luck and wisdom!

Display Block Doggie

April 3, 2019

I took a workshop from Nancy Brown last month. She does beautiful hand applique, and teaches her students how to get the same results. Here is the dog I made from her Labrador Retriever pattern.

I knew I would never get a full quilt out of this one block, and didn’t feel like keeping it around until I get through my other projects and can make brothers and sisters for old Blackie here. Instead, it will become a Display Block for my guild’s collection. These blocks go up at our guild outreach events, at local libraries, wherever we are offered a chance to talk about quilting. It’s much better for someone else to enjoy the block than for it to languish at the bottom of one of my piles, yes?

Luck and wisdom!

Hearing My Own Advice

April 1, 2019

My husband is writing an article he hopes to publish soon, but it is fighting him. The basic information is mostly there, but he isn’t happy. I assured him that once he got the bones in order, everything else would fit, or be recognized as irrelevant. His face lit up, and he thanked me for telling him what he needed to hear. I went about my morning, when suddenly I heard my own words. My outline for The Captain and Chenille is fighting me because I don’t have all the bones in order.

I have known for a long time that I have to wrestle with all the subplots that are popping out, lest this one book turn into a three-volume novel, but I haven’t had the energy to start the weeding process. I told myself it was because I needed time to think. While that is true, and while I recognize I’ve been using my lack of time as an excuse, for the first time I realized I don’t have all the bones of the novel in place. There is still more information I need to put in the outline. This requires far less energy than taking out story lines that I’m finding interesting, and once I do that there is a better than average chance the subplots that don’t work will fall away of their own accord and become short stories, poems, or perhaps a series of quilts. That’s the wonderful thing about the stories in your head – they really don’t care how they’re expressed, as long as they get a chance to come out and play.

Luck and wisdom!

Picking (Up) The Low-hanging Fruit

March 27, 2019

My plan to sort through the piles is working, and I think I’ve hit on the “organizational” scheme that will see me through. I’m working on the piles on the floor near my sewing machine. I can see them, reach them, and I’ll have instant feedback of success because there won’t be as much to leap over. This week I am working on two class projects that I determined from the beginning would become donation quilts. This is what the basket class project became:t

I found a cute flannel for the back, and decided to machine applique some of the animals in and around the baskets.

The binding is a stripe I had thought would make a good handle fabric. It didn’t, but I still wanted to use it, so binding it is. The top is busy enough that I did an overall loopedy-loop quilting design. The quilt is labeled and ready to donate, I’ve put away all the leftover fabrics, and I’m ready to start the next project. Is this what progress feels like?

Luck and wisdom!

Finding Your Feet

March 25, 2019

It has been six months since I wrenched my ankle, and for the very first time I was able to extend my leg behind me, then push off with the injured foot to return to standing. This means I may be able to return to my regular yoga practice soon. Reaching this milestone won’t win me any prizes, but it does bring me joy to feel I’ve found my foot again.

Finding one’s feet is as essential in writing as it is in exercise. If you aren’t grounded, balanced, and steady you will never complete your project to your satisfaction. At best, you will bring it far enough along to fall out of love with it, and leave the manuscript as a dusty file on your desktop (physically or digitally). So, take some time to find your feet, and rejoice when you do.

Luck and wisdom!

To The Sea Again

March 20, 2019

When I finished this quilt and showed it to my husband, he said, “Well, that’s clever, to have the sailboat surrounded by a boat.” I almost refrained from admitting that I hadn’t intended to piece the sea so it looked like a another ship, but I’m happy he likes it all the same. I decided I didn’t have the energy to quilt in more than a few words, so all I wrote was “to the sea again.” That’s also the title of the piece.

I used the fabric at hand, partly as an exercise in creativity, partly out of laziness, and I used a modified improv piecing technique. I wanted the sand and the sky to angle a bit, but I did use rulers to make sure I had a clean edge. Rather than try to fit the angle where the sky meets the palm trees, I sewed the strips part of the way, then folded back the tree fabric, finger-pressed the seam, and used the crease as my guide. When I was finished quilting, I trimmed the bottom so that the sand  ran at an angle, and squared the rest of the quilt against that line.

Luck and wisdom!

Celebrations and Character Development

March 18, 2019

The middle of March is a huge celebration time for me. It starts on 3.14, Pi Day. The next day is the Ides of March, and although I don’t often commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar, I do make note of it. March 16 is St. Urho’s Day, in honor of the made-up saint who chased either the grasshoppers or the frogs out of Finland (depending on which fictional hagiography you read). I’m Irish enough to get a kick out of St. Patrick’s Day. The week ends off today, March 18, which is my father’s birthday.

George Longshore

My dad would have been 86 today. It is also what would have been my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary. Dad always said he got married on his birthday so he would never forget his anniversary. Knowing my father, I’m pretty sure the sun would go cold before he would forget that date because he was devoted to my mother. Although Dad passed away in 2000, he is still an important figure in my life.

That brings me to the prompt I gave to a group of writers. I told them to create their own holiday as an exercise in world-building. As I watched them scribble away, it suddenly dawned on me that how we observe our holidays creates the world we carry with us. I mark my father’s birthday with joy for the time we had him. As a person, this realization is empowering; as a writer, it’s a tool. How do your characters approach the holidays? Do they create their own celebrations for the fun of it, or as a coping mechanism to get them through dark days? Do they refuse to celebrate anything at all, and why? Asking these questions might open a whole new understanding of who your characters are, and why they fight you on the page.

Luck and wisdom!