A Special Day and a Special Gift for You!

Today is a special day for two reasons!

First, it is my little sister’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Second…

This is my 100th blog post!

Happy 100th blog post to me!

To celebrate writing 100 on-line letters,  I want to give you all a special gift. I’d like you to close your office door, or go into a quiet room with no distractions. Take a glass of wine or cup of tea with you.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and simply listen to what is, in my  opinion, the most lovely and moving song ever written or sung. Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turando. Maestro Pavarotti did not sing these words, he sang the music. He WAS the music. When I listen to nessun dorma, my heart fills to bursting and I forget to breathe. It inspires me to create. I hope it inspires you, too.

Please close your eyes and listen, and leave a comment if you also feel inspired by this beautiful music!

Luciano Pavarotti, 12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007. Rest in Peace, Maestro.

 

Another WIP Wednesday!

I’m having fun reviewing what I’ve done in my sewing room each week! I expect things will slow down once I return to work next Monday. What a luxury it has been to have had this time to heal, contemplate and create. In some ways, one could say that I have been quilting my way to wellness.

So…last week I made four new squares for Nora’s Constellation quilt. I am really enjoying putting this quilt together. I’m not following a pattern, simply making a variety of 12″ star blocks in fun colours entirely out of my stash. I have fun browsing the internet and my books looking for ideas and tutorials for the different stars. Here are the newest ones:

And today I finally made the March block for the Treasure Chest BOM (block of the month)! I have been putting this one off because it looked so intimidating, and I couldn’t really visualize it from reading the directions. However, March is nearly over, and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. So I bit the bullet and dug in. It turned out not to be as difficult as I anticipated. In only took me 3 hours (in contrast to the entire day the January & February blocks took!). I learned a valuable lesson….follow the directions! Har!

Here’s what it looked like after I made the cuts:

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And the finished product (Mexican Star):

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Over the weekend I got started on my summer lake project (or multi-summer project, more likely!) – appliquing an orange peel quilt using the needle turn method. Each biscuit is appliqued onto a 5″ Bella Solids charm square. The biscuits are cut randomly from my stash. I will need to make over 300 of them to complete the quilt. It’s going to be gorgeous!Here’s my start:

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Interested in seeing what other Canadian quilters are up to today? Check out WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and Freshly Pieced!

Happy creating!

 

Turning Left

An amazing thing happened while walking Sammy this morning. I set out to walk our usual 5km route, which takes about an hour when you factor in the P-mail and canine message board checking along the way.  It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind, and a deliciously crunchy minus 6 degrees. But I was feeling the slight edges of “broken-ness” creeping into my day. I don’t know why. I could just feel it encroaching – my balance beam was narrow this morning. Recognizing the signs and determined to turn it around, I grabbed the leash, put on my gear and out we went. I tried to puzzle out the why & how as we walked along, but the feeling only got worse. Finally I gave up and mentally called on my balance checklist for help. “What have I done on my checklist today”, I asked myself? Well, I haven’t done anything for the house. I haven’t taken my supplements. I haven’t taken a bath. I haven’t told my husband how I am feeling…wait, wait! Stop!

Let me try that again (standing in the middle of Falcon Street.)

“What have I done on my checklist today?” I asked myself. “I did something creative (I spent about an hour working out a new square for Nora’s quilt), I had a piece of fruit (a healthy food choice) for breakfast, I communicated with someone (made an inquiry about a depression skills workshop that was recommended for me called Changeways). I am getting some exercise. I recognized my beam was narrow and took action by going out for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine. I reframed negative thoughts.

Much better! Okay, now I will continue my story!

An amazing thing happened while walking Sammy this morning. Instead of walking our usual route, we turned left part way along and explored some new streets. There is only one reason that this is amazing. And that reason is…time. Usually when I go for a walk, it is for a pre-determined amount of time or distance. I will walk 5K, for example, or for 30 minutes.

Why? Because, like most people, I always have something else to do, and going for a walk has to fit around everything else. For example, I can only walk the dog for 20 minutes and then I have to make dinner because we have band practice right after that. Or, I can only walk the dog for 30 minutes in the morning, and then I must be home to get ready to go to work. Or, I cannot walk the dog at all because I just got home from work and I am hungry, and after dinner I cannot walk the dog because I have to leave to teach a class. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons that determine how long I can walk for. It is true that I have to be home in time to make dinner because one or both of us have band practice/dance class/ground school/pool league as soon as dinner is over. Because of that, I have created an artificial need to put boundaries around the amount of time I can give/spare for taking a walk, even if (as happened today) there is no reason.

“I can only walk the dog for an hour and then I must go home and… and… finish the quilt square?” (Really? Is that the best you can come up with, Nita?)

The amazing thing is that for the first time, I realized that I did not have to be home at any time in particular, for any reason in particular. I could just walk. And so I did. We turned left and explored a whole new neighbourhood. As we walked along, my mind wandered and wandered. How luxurious!

I realized how tightly I hold control over time, how everything has always been so scheduled in my life in order to fit it all in. For all of these 5 weeks that I have been away from work, I have walked the dog almost every single day. For only 30 minutes. For only 60 minutes. For only 5K.  Only because of that artificially self-imposed sense of urgency around not having enough time. How glad I am that after (only!) 5 weeks it has finally clicked into place for me! And oh, how I enjoyed that walk! In fact, as we were walking down one particularly lovely street, we passed a house that had the most beautiful quilt airing over the railing. I stopped and admired it for the longest time. It was a hearts & checkerboard pattern in red prints on a white background. I had the biggest smile on my face and felt utterly delighted at discovering this treasure. It seemed to be waiting just for me to walk past. It was A Sign of Good Things to Come.

Walking for pure pleasure is definitely going to the top of my priority list (as soon as I find time to make one – just kidding!)

Anyway, I feel like things finally have the potential to start coming together for me. Like I am standing right on the edge of something truly awesome and immense and GOOD. Today, walking along, I had the sense that I will be whole again, that I am well on the road to getting there. Like bones slowly knitting together, it all takes time and I don’t really have any control over that, it just is what it is and that’s okay.

I feel sorry that I am returning to work next Monday, because the luxury of having the time to embark on this (very slow) journey of discovery and healing will be over. I’m a bit worried about that.

Here is an example of only one small thing that I am afraid will happen: I will find myself saying, “I can only walk for 30 minutes and then I have to make a quilt square.”  When that happens, both the joy of the walk and the joy of sewing both become chores.

Forewarned is forearmed, so let me see if I can reframe that into a positive:

“With all of my evening obligations currently off of my plate, I will have the evening after work (and after supper) to take a walk or do something creative such as writing a new blog post or sewing.”

I would like my next task to be getting rid of that mindless urgency and guilt around time and never having enough of it. I can give myself permission to do only one thing each evening and let the rest go where it will.

Wish me luck!