Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Living in the moment . . .

I am continually trying to get organized. I am a list maker. My first thoughts upon waking are: what time is it? . . . and . . . how much can I get done in my waking hours today? The only trouble is that I keep thinking those same thoughts for a couple of hours while I drink a lot of coffee to get my neurons firing!

On a recent morning, while waking up with my coffee, and after my prayers and writing my TO DO list, I decided, in addition to trying to get organized, I needed to somehow not get bogged down by so many items on my list. I observe other people who seem to be perfectly happy with getting done whatever they get done in a day and they don't beat themselves up for what they didn't do. I am just the opposite. Instead of being happy about my daily accomplishments, I fret over what didn't get done.

I need to work on being content and living in the moment . . . enjoying each thing that I do while I do it, instead of racing the clock, as is my usual modus operandi. There are a lot of articles on the Internet about this very thing. On a recent morning, I found several that interested me. I read about enjoying the process, paying attention to the nuances of our days and the significance of everything we spend our energy on. As I read the third or fourth article,  I found myself speed reading through it. I laughed right out loud at the absurdity of my own behavior! There I was,  trying to find simplicity and meaning in each thing I do, only to fall back into my old bad habit of cramming things into tight spaces in my day and....more importantly, not enjoying myself as I read the articles.

So, I am working on pacing myself and allowing myself to enjoy everything I do. Of course, there is just so much enjoyment I can derive from dusting and vacuuming, for instance;  but I have begun to make it a practice to consciously decide I will enjoy the process. One way I do this is to think how happy my mother and grandmother would be to see me enjoying the home I share with my husband. I'd love to be able to have them visit me for an afternoon in my freshly cleaned house. Or how the family of Mamadouba, a child that we support in New Guinea, would marvel at the things I have that make my life so easy. Thinking about these things makes me grateful.♡

The summer seems to have disappeared. I spent much of it indoors because it was so dreadfully hot. It worked out, though, to be time well spent. I focused on getting back in my sewing room and studio to work on some UFOs and make a few cards. It was also a great time to prepare some of the items I have entered into the Museum Quilt Guild quilt show that will be held in October. Here is the link to the guild's blog:  http://museumquiltguild.blogspot.com/ On most days, I have successfully lived in the moments I have been creating for myself. When the enjoyment of working on a project started to feel like more like a deadline to be met, I stepped back and reassessed. I asked myself why I was in my sewing room or studio. I listened for the answer. I needed to be clear on my purpose . . . to enjoy the moment and let that be enough. It is starting to feel more natural to me to think this way. Of course, there are always deadlines to meet, but meeting them can be enjoyable . . . with some forethought and planning.

It is mid September and finally the nights are cool enough to sleep with the windows open. The simple pleasure of listening to the late summer night time sounds of the bugs in the dry grasses lulls me to sleep, instead of the hum of the air conditioner.

Below are photos of some of the things I have worked on.  I needed to hold off on posting a few of them because they were gifts.

I made this wall hanging of lanterns for my granddaughter's 18th birthday.
She studied Mandarin Chinese in high school and is now continuing with it in college.
I used batik fabrics for the lanterns and some parasol fabric from Graphic 45's Birdsong collection for the outer border. It was custom quilted on a longarm machine by Cathy Schmieder, a local quilter.

When I saw this photo from my granddaughter's summer vacation in San Francisco,
 it reminded me of the wall hanging I made for her.
I tried something new. I used spray paint on a mason jar. I had never used spray paint before. It was fun.
Then, I decorated the jar with die cuts, paper, lacy burlap fabric and a few other things I had on hand.
I covered these little shoes and the purse die cuts with paper.
I used my dies to cut out the leaves and flowers and added brads for the flower centers.
The little paper-covered clothes pins work, so you can remove the little dress and write a sentiment on the back.
I put paper around the edge of the lid and added the lacy burlap to the top.

A card with a bit of a western theme for my favorite cowboy . . . my husband!
A card for a friend.
There are many jobs that need to be done to make the upcoming quilt show a success.
One of those jobs is creating the awards for the winners of various categories.
I volunteered to help make some of the components of the paper-pieced awards. They came in a packet all ready to go. I just needed to sit and sew! They were a lot of fun to make.
 The person in charge of awards will complete them . . . about 50 or 60 of them!
Many hands make light the work.
These strips needed to be cut, sewn and sliced into rows to go on one of the quilts I entered in the quilt show.
Tedious work.
However, I must say, I feel like a new bride with my brand spanking new extra-wide ironing board and my new Rowenta iron. It has to be over 20 years since I purchased what I was using. The straw that broke the camel's back was when the tipsy ironing board jiggled and sent my old Rowenta to the floor, leaving a nice melted mark on my sewing room carpet. My new ironing board has stable feet and a contraption on the end of the board that will hold my iron.
Did you know that when you use a steam iron, you should ALWAYS iron on a vented board? I read this in the little manual that came with my new iron. If you use an iron on the steam setting on a non-vented board, it can cause the iron to leak around the sides, above the sole plate, because the steam has nowhere to go. I have been pressing with steam on a little board next to my sewing machine that is covered with batting and fabric. Luckily my old Rowenta still works, but it is starting to leak. That's why I replaced it with a new one. It is good to read the manual!

It is time for me to start my day now. Coffee hour is over.:-) I've enjoyed getting this post written  . . . finally . . . and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand.