Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doing Nothing

"Let my doing nothing when I have nothing to do become untroubled in its depth of peace like the evening in the seashore when the water is silent." - Rabindraganath Tagore (1861-1941)

I've been thinking of how one goes about accomplishing this.  I'm great at doing nothing, but not with an untroubled depth of peace!  A wonderful goal to aim for...achieved by having every skerrick of one's work and obligations up to date.  The peace of achieving that... which means, not doing nothing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  William Shakespeare

I have been thinking this week about what makes for happiness in ones life.  There is a situation in my life that has caused a lot of personal unhappiness for a very long time.  It hasn't gone away, doesn't seem to change, so the unhappiness has lingered, a kind of background, or undercurrent to my life.  Then on Sunday, something happened to change it.  The situation didn't change.  I did.  I suddenly saw it in a new light.  And suddenly I felt the unhappiness lift, it wasn't a burden any more.  I know the situation will always be there unless something outside my life changes it.  I can't change it.  But my thinking about it changed, I had a paradigm shift, an epiphany of sorts, and as a consequence I've felt light, and happy all week.  And more loving and accepting.  And it's all about paradigms, or as William said so eloquently, 'nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so'.

As for the paradigm I see in the current applique I am working keeps changing...I had it fairly firmly set  in my mind what I was going to add to the central applique block  (that I started in a workshop with Sharon Schamber) and blogged about here last week.  I was going to add a sawtooth inner border then some more applique, but I discarded that.  I have been busy making clamshells for the past several days,  and now that I have enough to lay out and look at, I'm not sure if that's what I really want now after all.  Down one side I have put two layers of clamshells, green nearest the centre and the pinks on the outside, at the top there is a single row of alternating pinks and greens.  I rather think, that if I go with the clamshells that the double border looks best.  Then would come another border of applique.  But first I have to decide if I want clamshells there at all.  What do you think?  Another idea for it is to put the centre on point and put more applique in the triangles that would be need to be added, then put the clamshells after that.  I hate it when quilts just grow minds of their own, but don't speak plainly!  And the visual distraction of the quilt off to the side doesn't help the photo of the clamshells and the applique either! :-D

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." 
— Jorge Luis Borges

Saw this quote on Google today, and it resonates with me.  I have books everywhere, on everything.  In front of me right now there is Kaffe Fassett's Spectacular Shapes, Brian Tracy's (a business writer) 'Focal Point', a Country Home Ideas magazine, and that's just on the desk in front of me.  On and in my bedside table there are piles of books, next to the bed are more, and the bookshelves aren't full, they're overflowing...and I cull books whenever I can.  But somehow the piles remain...

And I make resolutions not to buy any more, but to just borrow them from the library or the guild, or my cottage group...but guess what, sometimes I just have to have the book I borrowed, or I can't wait long enough for the library to bring it in, or it's one I just absolutely positively can't live without, like Barb Adams and Alma Allen's recent book 'Country Inn'...I carry that one with me everywhere at the moment, it makes me itch to sew, and to cook.  The pictures are gorgeous, the quilts and their fabrics are beautiful.  

But first I have to finish things, like last week's applique block which is on the sewing machine at present, and two quilts waiting pin-basting and quilting, and all the redwork blocks I'm embroidering hoping to get them done by Christmas.  So, this Wednesday, what I'm most working on, are the redworks...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


"Every great (wo)man has become great, every successful (wo)man has succeeded, in proportion as (s)he has confined his(her) powers to one particular channel". Orison Swett Marden (from Brian Tracy's 'Focal Point')

I was lucky last week to get a cancellation in a one day workshop with Sharon Schamber, on her machine applique methods.  If ever there was a great example of Marden's quotation above, it is Sharon Schamber.  She has most certainly focused all her talents in one amazing direction.  The quilts and blocks that she brought for us to see were most amazing.  Her workmanship, her skill, her artistic talent, are all phenomenal, and it is evident why she has won so many quilt shows and awards.  She is a really wonderful example of the power of focus, to unearth and meet one's potential.
I came home and looked at all my various things that I'm interested in and do, some complete, some half complete, but nowhere do I see the focus that is apparent in Sharon's work, in her perfection.  She inspired me to complete the sample piece we started on Friday as soon as possible, so I have been working on it in all of my spare time. I have completed the preparation (the photo below), now I have to do the easy part, the sewing.  Then I plan to make borders on the sides and an appliqued row above and below the central panel, to complete a baby quilt.
And I'm determined to aim for some of the perfection that was evident in Sharon's work.  Not for show, but for my own satisfaction, to see if I can begin to achieve some of the possible potential that is currently hiding in my love of working with fabric.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


'The good news is that we are making progress. The bad news is that we're doing too little and moving much too slowly'.                - Sam Nunn 
I would have to say that every day I guess I make progress, but whether it's progress forwards or backwards I'm not sure.  I've started making lists again, and when I follow my lists, things happen, and I tick the lists and I feel as though I'm accomplishing things.  But when I misplace the lists, or ignore them, I'm sure I still make progress, but whether it is a forwards or backwards progress is a moot point!  Mostly it's not progress as delineated by the list though.
I have been reading Brian Tracy again in an effort to progress in a few areas that are somewhat lax, namely in the office!  He has great advice, and he's all for lists too.  Lots of lists, one for today, one for the week, one for the month, one for the year, one for life... well, possibly not quite like that, but you get the picture.  
I'm currently away from home, and normally I enjoy being away, love visiting people, doing different things, but as a result of Brian Tracy I want to be home, making my lists and making some 'progress'! I'm just not sure that that really is progress...

I'm currently trying to progress in one specific area ... finishing some doll clothes and accessories for a special 5 year old's new doll (middle doll above) that I gave her for her 5th birthday before I leave here at the end of the week.  It is slow progress as the knitted patterns, for the specific doll, are complicated, don't have a specific swatch test for the knitted items, (hence either too big or too small at the end of the project), and of the fabric patterns, the same, either too big or too small.  The sewn clothes are not such a problem as I can make the clothes up in the complete item in paper and know how much to alter them.  The doll and patterns are made by the same person, (have any of you made any ak traditions dolls or clothes?) I've tried contacting them but it is rather answer to emails, or phone calls and I only have a few days.  So, in order to progress and get at least a few things finished I've had to start making up my own patterns, and altering those which I can alter without changing the overall effect.  I'll post pictures of the finished items next week when I'm home and can upload my photos to my own computer from my phone.  In the meantime here are a couple of pictures from the doll manufacturers website to show you how lovely the finished things, and dolls, are...or should be!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's good to be alone..

in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.  - James Douglas

I actually enjoy being alone often, whether it's dawn, dark or all the hours in between.  But I love being with people too.  But when one is alone one can do exactly as one pleases, without thought for any other.  Being alone can be healing and allow time for your spirit to grow.  I like being alone.  But not lonely.

This last month has seen a few things in my sewing room finished, and a few on the way, and a few coming along... The beginnings of a quilt above...

And one started in a workshop, nearly finished.   And this stocking, for a friend, finished and posted away.

Can't get it to turn up the right way no matter how many times I save it and change it! Ah well.

Monday, June 6, 2011


"Feelings are everywhere -- be gentle." - J Masai

Doesn't that make you stop and think?  and it's so true, everyone reacts because they have feelings.  Whether someone reacts because one is kind or because one is mean, there is always a reaction.  Try smiling at people you pass in the street, it's rare not to get a smile back.  I was feeling a bit flat the other day, and a woman I passed in the supermarket just smiled at me.  A proper smile, with her eyes all crinkled, and I couldn't help but smile back, and I felt better, and had a smile for the rest of the day.  A gentle act that made my day better.

Something else that always makes a day better is the company of a good friend.  I came across this blog today - Stitching Cow by Lenna Green of LIttle Green Cottage - with a free block of the month stitchery she has done in conjunction with Homespun magazine.  The block of the month is called A Faithful Friend.  Lenna is giving away a whole kit, worth $248!!, to make the quilt along with the blocks!!!  What a wonderful prize... go here to see if you can win... it'd be lovely if you won, even though I'd love to win it myself!!
Link address to use is:
The stitcheries are really pretty...   here are a couple from Homespun's site. 

Now go and smile at someone!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


better known as WIPs on Wednesdays, initiated by Esther.  I have just realised how very long it is since I last put up a blog of any kind.

But first, my saying for the day, (actually, almost for the year so far!):
"Develop an interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people.  Forget yourself". - Henry Miller 1891-1980
And in line with the resolution that I made earlier this week, to have an adventure each week.  I am still trying to think what this week's adventure will be, but I have till Sunday night to do/experience/create it!

Now for WOW.  Today my WIP was my relationship with my little nephew who lives over the road, with his two younger brothers.  I was invited to be his surrogate grandmother as his were both unable to come. What a lovely morning.  Gorgeous little voices singing, rambunctious children running free in the playground, studious children concentrating on the school teacher while chess moves and manoeuvres were gone over and run through. Then a lovely morning tea in the new school hall.  A lovely morning, made all the more pleasurable by my nephew (the thoughtful looking one just left of centre between 2 girls) running off when we left saying, "love you!".

My other WOW for the day: a couple of Round Robin blocks that need to finished and in the mail tonight, but I can't put up pictures as they are meant to be a surprise, and also a practice quilt, machine quilted and appliqued, begun in a workshop with Pam Hill, which I also can't show you as the server keeps rejecting the picture for some reason.  I'll try again later.