I feel like it’s been years since we last visited. My summer months were filled with an abundance of activity. Activities which filled my heart with joy and absolutely drained every once of energy I could muster.
I’ve been home from my Little Cabin in the Woods for just over two weeks. Two weeks that were a buzz with activity. All of the items that might fall victim to possible four legged vermin were removed from my summer retreat and transported back home for safe keeping. Once home they all needed to find their haven for winter respite. With those all tucked away it was time for a good old fashioned house cleaning both physically and mentally.
While I find great joy in my travels far from home, it can be exhausting. Recharging my body as well as my mind takes a little more effort each year. Of course that couldn’t have anything to do with my advancing years. Or could it? 🙂
This year I felt so absolutely drained that the thought of writing couldn’t be farther from my mind, let alone even opening the door to my studio. The lack of enthusiasm left my creative self feeling lost, like a ship floating adrift at sea. The concern that I might not find my sense of direction left me even more overwhelmed.
So, how did I recover? With my self-imposed chores accomplished I allowed myself to relax and find joy in the simple everyday tasks of living. I slept. I read. I walked.
These steps toward renewed energy slowly rekindled my love for the world of art. From a little spark came the motivation to re-enter my studio. Opening that door brought back the joy I feel when surrounded by the vibrant colors of my finished pieces as well as the virgin fabrics just waiting for my attention.
This renewed sense of enthusiasm is where I am at today. I’m energized and ready to press on.
P.S. The photos I’m sharing were taken while out on my many walks in northern Wisconsin. I hope you enjoy them.
Since the inception of my business I have worked on everything from teeny tiny to king size, expertly stitched to first timers, traditional to modern projects. I have been hired to quilt table runners, wall hangings, lap quilts, baby blankets and bed quilts of all sizes. With all this exposure I thought I had pretty much experienced every possible scenario, that is until I received this one.
I met with the owner early this Spring. She briefly shared the history behind the quilt and its intended recipient. We discussed possible stitch patterns and thread colors but no specified directions were noted. I always appreciate hearing the story behind each project because it helps me to get a feel for the quilt.
At first glance I was instantly drawn to the center of the quilt. The focal point was a large yellow sunflower bursting from a three-dimensional denim pot. I couldn’t take my eyes off the flower and its whimsical nature. The coordinating yellow border added a cheerful frame. I fell head-over-heels in love with the quilt and totally overlooked the challenges I would face when quilting it.
Most long-arm quilters will insist that all quilt tops must be free of embellishment. This means no buttons, snaps, zippers, fancy stitching, to name a few. Quilt machines controlled by a computer can not be programmed to avoid these obstacles. My machine is not computerized. I control when and where my machine moves. This allows me the opportunity to tackle items that would be impossible for computerized machines to handle. Three dimensional flowers and flower pots would definitely fall into that category, both of which were included on this quilt.
When I agreed to work with the project I never once thought about the challenges I would encounter. I was so mesmerized by the flower that I completely overlooked them. The reality of the situation didn’t set in until it came time to load the quilt on the rollers. All of a sudden it hit me. How in the world was I going to load a quilt top with varying thicknesses. There was no way it would load evenly. Obviously the sections containing the three-dimensional areas would absorb the impact of the tension, which normally would be spread throughout and across the entire quilt top surface. The remaining fabric would hang loose.
The best I could do was secure the quilt as evenly as possible by pushing the loose fabric beneath the roller. Then as I moved the machine back and forth, stitching the sandwich together, I made certain I paid close attention to how and if the fabric moved. Preventing the development of puckers in either the top or bottom fabrics was absolutely important. By paying close attention to every stitch and every inch my machine covered I was able to successfully complete my task.
Although I would never have thought it possible I was more in love with the quilt when I finished than I was when I received it. The only regrets I had were the inability to embellish the flower, its leaves and the stem. For one thing the customer had asked me not to touch the area and secondly the thickness would have made it impossible to stitch through. Although, the temptation was there every time I got close to them. I kept thinking if only…….
Not being able to venture into those areas was like being teased by a piece of chocolate; something of which I would always fall victim to. My mind kept racing with all the possibilities. Yet it was forbidden fruit. Perhaps next time I could suggest the artist leave out the stuffing and let me run wild with stitching.
This quilt needs very little introduction so without further delay let me present to you the Yellow Potted Flower!
Now that you have had a chance to experience the joy I have had while working on this quilt do you have any comments?
Welcome to Friday Favorites! I look forward to this time each week when I have the opportunity to share some of the things that make my world special. We don’t have far to travel to experience one of my favorites today. In fact, all we have to do is walk outside my back door and take a stroll past some of my favorite plants and flowers. Do you have time to take a walk with me? If you do then grab your sunglasses and a little bit of sunscreen. No need for shoes, bare feet are just fine. Are you ready, then follow me . . .
Thanks for spending time with me! I look forward to seeing you next Friday. Have a great weekend.
My Little Cabin in the Woods has been the topic of several postings. Today’s entry is another one in that series. My topic of interest is the memories or experiences detected by my sense of smell.
While living in the woods one is exposed to, or graced by a multitude of fragrances. Some of them are natural to the area and some are not. Some are pleasant and some are not.
On the natural and pleasant side is the strong scent emanating from the towering pines that surround me, the spell of moist earth, the perfumed fragrance of the abundant flowers and the fresh aroma of the forest just after a rainfall. Staying yet in the pleasing category I would also add the enjoyable experience of wood burning in a campfire as well as the fragrance of cooking food.
When thinking of those experiences that would be unpleasant I could only think of two. The scent emitted by a skunk and the undesired, nose pinching odor of sewage being pumped from my Little Cabin in the Woods. Both of them I would much rather avoid.
Whether pleasant or undesired, smells are everywhere. The way in which we react to them is different for each one of us.. Even though there are some things I would rather not experience I am grateful that my sense of smell is intact. My life is much richer because of it.
There’s nothing like a quiet moment nestled in nature. The aromas, the melodies of the air and the fragrance of the earth are what set my mind at rest and my muscles to relax. I have a small piece of nature in my very own yard. This small piece is home to a variety of flowers, bushes, trees and a few carefully chosen pieces of art. I would like nothing more than to share a piece of my world with you. Here’s a view from my window.