Oh, if you’re a bird…

…be an early bird

And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.

If you’re a bird, be an early early bird—

But if you’re a worm, sleep late.”

 Shel Silverstein 

Where the Sidewalk Ends

As I sit sipping my second morning cup of coffee at 6:30 on this dreary Sunday morning, I’m thinking about the fact that my recently-developed habit of rising early in an effort to get a few extra hours of website development in, has lingered a ways beyond the actual launch of our new site a few weeks ago. I’m also thinking how I’d love to sleep in late, like I did when I was a teen. I so fondly remember how easy it was to do so. 

In case you wondered – this is where I sit during my morning seizing-of-early-morning-moments…

…in this bland, blue chair, with a quilt on my lap and a sunny, orange, boy-cat named Copernicus at my feet. Although he had several different wingback chairs as I was growing up, this chair was my grandfather’s last one, which came to live with me when he passed 19 years ago last month. 

See the chair? Not the same…but one of them. I’m thinking this photo was taken on lawn-mowing day in about 1972, given the shorts he was wearing and the age of the little blonde, pony-tailed-girl in his lap. Those were his mowing shorts, which must certainly have accompanied his mowing tennis shoes (out of view). Wish I could see which book we were reading. Wish I could remember the moment too.

There’s certainly a matching foot stool that went with the chair, because there was always a matching foot stool that went with the chair, but the one that goes with my (now) blue chair lives eternally in the storage room downstairs, since it never really fits in any room the chair has lived in since they both became mine. 

Full transparency, friends: This is the arm of the blue chair I sit in every seize-the-moment-morning:

I don’t suppose ‘bland’ speaks adequately of this chair without ‘dirty’ standing beside it on either side. Perhaps both sides.

Even though we’ve had it cleaned numerous times, it never seems to look cleaner than this. Yet in all the years I’ve been sitting in it and all the years my ‘Granch’ sat in it before me, the sturdiness of it has remained exactly the same. Good bones, I guess. Now if only my early morning seizing-of-moments can live without it long enough to recover these good bones with fresh, clean upholstery fabric. I’m working on that. Imagining the style too.

Seizing-of-moments. I’ve learned that these early moments of the day, when much of my world is still fast asleep, are moments worth seizing. My brain is fresh and my thoughts are less weary, since the distractions of the day haven’t yet had a chance to creep in and make them so. 

I’m now posting this late Tuesday, if you can believe it (of course you can, because your weary heart knows mine, since we’re both trying our hardest to be less weary).

Time flies that way, doesn’t it? Of course it does.  I’m wishing you a Happy Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, etc. too, and hoping you’re finding it within you to seize; or at least – trying your best to. I know it’s hard sometimes…but I hope you’re managing…from your own (maybe dirty) blue chair, with or without a matching foot stool beneath your feet. Let’s hang in there, shall we?

The Best Sewing Scissors Ever

Happy Monday, All. Though I had not planned it as such (since housework was totally on my docket instead) it’s been a sewing sort of weekend. As for bailing on the housework, all I can say is that sometimes being a mom is really hard, and sometimes housework isn’t what we need to give us the peace we need to ease the pain in our hearts. As I rise this morning to start my day, I’m especially grateful for so many things; my faith, my family, and quilting – because quilting is sometimes the one thing I can do successfully, regardless of my mood. When I quilt, I can be happy or sad; angry or anguished; joyful or relieved. It’s a solitary craft as well, so thinking time is automatically a part of it; but it’s also become for me a way to pull joy into the dreariness that may exist on any given day. That’s a pretty valuable gift and I’m awfully glad of its presence in my life.

Emotional prelude aside, I wanted to share a quilt-related tip about scissors that I thought you might find useful. As I continue to move toward building my quilt business, I’m always reaching for lists assembled by various crafters of what tools are their favorites and why.  Sewing scissors seem to be a bit of an all-over-the-map sort of tool, which seems be a good deal less about what works best, and more about what people just grab on the fly, hoping to cut threads effectively. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve used an awful lot of crappy sewing scissors. The most frustrating ones are those that wouldn’t cut hot butter from the moment I pull them out of the packaging. I could make a wind chime out of the amount of those I have lying around!

Late last week as I was cleaning out a little travel tote I had stuffed full of yarn at some point (likely enroute to another girls’ lacrosse game), I discovered a little pair of scissors I had obviously lost track of. They’d been my grandmother’s and as I think about it, she always kept them in her yarn basket alongside the ‘davenport’ (her fancy word for couch). She too, had lots of other sewing scissors lying around, but it occurred to me that these were the ones she used most and for good reason: They work miraculously well! Except they’re not sewing scissors at all…

Manicuring Scissors for Sewing
…they’re manicuring scissors!

Blunt-tip manicuring scissors are thin and bend upward at the end.
Blunt-tip manicuring scissors are thin and bend upward at the end.

blunt-tipped manifcuring scissors for sewing
The bend allows me to cut my thread nice and close to my fabric, while the blunt end keeps me from nicking my fabric in the process.

Lastly, I have recommended little 3m Command Hooks before – they’re darn handy!

Today's 3m Command Hook installation will hopefully ensure that I never lose my favorite sewing scissors again!
Today’s 3m Command Hook installation will hopefully ensure that I never lose my favorite sewing scissors again!

(note to self: Pick up another pair of manicuring scissors, just in case, the next time I’m at the grocery store…and more 3m hooks).

Cheers and Happy Quilting,


Flashback Post: Happy (Gram) Mother’s Day and Facing Out

In honor of Mother’s Day, today seems like the perfect time to begin the process of sharing some now and again ‘flashback posts’ I’ve written over the years at my former site, Serendipity Woods. As we get to know one another here, I want to share with you that though my childhood was not what I would consider terribly remarkable, it did involve a fair bit more instability than I think is average. That instability was stabilized, however, by two people that made a most incredible impression upon this young girl and her big sis: Our grandparents.

Peanut butter toast with cinnamon and orange juice in the big bed, ca. 1972. I'm the little one, sharing toast with our Granch.
Peanut butter toast with cinnamon and orange juice in the big bed, ca. 1972.

Though I’ll surely share some flashback posts about the awesome guy that was my granch (our word for grandpa, which originated with my sister), today I want to share this one about my gram, which I hope will distract her (in heaven) from rearranging furniture, relentlessly cleaning what is already spotless, and uttering the words (for the fifty-millionth time), “Tom, the telly is too loud, can’t you just turn it down?”

For the sake of painting a picture of her, I called her gram because as I grew older, I began to realize that the moniker ‘grandma’ made her feel elderly – which until she was well into her nineties, she was definitely not.

Without further adieu folks, Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing, crafty moms and grams out there, and to my gram especially, who gave bouancy to my imagination without even knowing she was doing it.

Facing Out

My grandmother was a neatnik. She had this incredible ability to whip up a room, sparkly fresh, organized to the hilt, in a matter of moments. Yet I grew to know her processes were not always  just about neatness. One of the fondest memories I have of her is how she neatened my stuffed animal friends. One would think with her inability to tolerate clutter, a bin with a cover in the corner would be her first choice for a little girl’s stuffed animals; but no. She arranged them upon my bed, every day, in comfortable positions, facing out. Particularly, their faces were directed toward the door, where I would inevitably enter to see them all, happy and joyful together, waiting just for me to come home.  It was that she felt them needing her to respect their identities and spirits, as if they were real. More than that, I think she did it because she wanted me to feel them REAL. I did, and still do.

Fabrics inspire me in serendipitous ways, but clothing items especially grab me in a unique way because there’s something so meaningful to me in making something new out of something that’s almost never too old to just toss away. Beyond that, giving that item a face, an identity, a REALness, matters deeply to me. In fact, as I finish each face, I’m always seeking one common elocution to bloom in my mind:  ‘There you are!’  

(it’s like my own personal endorphin…)

About a six year old photo of some of the recycled animal friends I've made over the years.  In the center is Sophie - my very first t-shirt bunny creation.
About a six year old photo of some of the recycled animal friends I’ve made over the years. In the center is Sophie – my very first t-shirt bunny creation.