Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Re•building joy - letters

I'm known (or at least I used to be) for being a faithful letter writer. Email has had an impact for sure, but I love getting mail and tend to find folks like myself who also love to exchange letters.
Many parts of me became buried in these past few years of motherhood and my misadventures as a foster mom. One of them was my ability to keep in touch with my friends. I still sent letters to a select few. I still managed to get some cards as care packages out over the past two years, but things have all but dried up the past year. I didn't have nights of writing letters to beloved friends across the miles. I barely kept in touch with my friends in LA. If you didn't live in my neighborhood - and sometimes if you did - or weren't in my quilt guild - ... [silence].
Part of my joy•building is trying to reclaim things I remember loving before. I remember when I had broken my knee in high school and had to relearn how to act "natural" when I walked after surgery. It kind of feels like that... ... It takes effort to remember the parts of that may flit around happily in a time of joy, but disappear in times of grief and loss, and all the other feelings we had...
So tonight, I wrote letters. And drank strawberry tea (out of my Meetinghouse Farms mug which I made from the Worth family's farm logo a while ago)
It wasn't instantly easy, but I know it's "me". And I want to be here for my friends, after so long gone.

Re•building Joy - The Courage Quilt

I've already announced that it's done, but today I added the label and wrapped the 100% hand sewn quilt.
The label says, "to the bravest person we have ever met".
Making this quilt calmed my nerves during that crazy year. Having her (the giftee, our social worker) alongside us, gave me courage.

I'm quietly joyful that pain can be turned into something beautiful. I'm learning that by releasing this pain slowly and appropriately, it's like a fizzy soda that I am able to let out.
If things come out in methods of beauty and art, they seem to be in a manner that I can control. As I share the art and meaning, I'm able to tell small parts of my story without crumbling into fragile pieces.
By sharing this with you and others, some of those fizzy bubbles of pain are released slowly. And some beauty can rise from the ashes.
 I have to also admit that I am happy to let this quilt out of my hands. It is very painful for me to look at. Hundreds of hours of pain, fear, anxiety, anger and dread were channelled into this. It will be a big release to let the gift bring love and joy to someone who matters so much to me. Plus I think it's really pretty!

A new WIP- my big bee quilt

I received the squares back from my Seams Perfect Bee a year ago. But I am only now sure what I want to do with them. (been thinking about it long enough!) I spent tonight on an hour and a half math problem that is figuring out the layout, yardage needed and plan for my king sized quilt top. I used 3 continuous pages of gridded paper and at least two tracing paper options were tried on top of that.
And the verdict? ... I have to go back to the fabric store and HOPE the 2 yards I still need of the background fabric are still available.
And I need to go tomorrow as I have big plans to go on my sewing retreat with my guild friends this weekend.
Yippee! A fun errand.

9 women create

I have a great friend, Sarah, who urged me to join her last December, in putting up at a silent auction - a collage day, at her amazing house, with 8 spots for people to join us. We would feed them a nice lunch, then share our materials (sarah and I take a collage class together already and have a lot of materials between us) and teach some simple techniques to our attendees.
The spaces filled up fast! And with good friends! She and I have been working on this for the past few weeks and Saturday was the big day. We got everything ready and hoped everyone would show up and have a good time. One friend couldn't make it, but we saved supplies for her. The other 9 of us had a day full of creativity.

It was so much more fun than I even anticipated, and 4 hours to make art on a Saturday is always fun. But this was dear. And creative. And joy•building for sure.
Everyone walked away with finished art pieces, as well as some traded Artist Trading Cards - our first activity was to make artist trading cards to share with everyone else as a warm up and a commemorative keepsake. Of course I made goodie bags too, with candy, new scissors and glue sticks... (all three are vital to my collaging!)
I felt so blessed to know these women, or to meet the ones I hadn't yet met... We kept joking that now we were a collage clique and we have to do it again. I sure hope so.



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