Cobwebs

I’ve wanted to sit and type out a post for months, but I’ve entered this weird realm where it feels like I don’t have anything worth saying–quilty advice is easy to Google, I’m careful about what I share about my kids online, and my personal thoughts on a million subjects are too precious to cast out into the world to be trolled. But, oh, I miss writing and I miss reading blog posts.

I’m thinking I’ve just gotten out of the habit and everything feels scary because everything feels unfamiliar now.

So let’s clear some cobwebs and make way for some new and shiny posts, yes?

  • I don’t think I’ve worked on a single quilt since before Christmas. Last year was A LOT of quilts, and I am burned out on them for the time being. The tops and their backings are sitting in a huge pile in my craft room, waiting for me to save up funds to send them out to the quilter, or get so tired of them that I take on the onerous task of quilting them myself.
  • I have been knitting a lot, and, weirdly, it’s almost ALL UFOs, which is awesome because the more in-progress projects I wrap up, the less pressure/guilt I experience. For the amount of unfinished projects I have, you’d think it wouldn’t bother me, but the guilt piles up and causes me anxiety some days. The UFO I’m working on now has been in the works for years, and it’s been one of the biggest guilt-inducers in the collection, so I’m really glad that I’m putting in the time to get it to the finish line.
  • I’ve also been sewing some clothes. I was starting to get going with that right before I got chosen for the Blank Quilting ambassador thing, and clothing-making went into the freezer for all of last year as a result. There’s something about a change in the seasons that always has me wanting to make clothing, and with spring singing its lovely tune outside my window each morning, I am in full-on spring sewing mode.
  • 2020 caused some major shifts in my perspectives on life. As we slowly move back towards a feeling of normalcy, I am not sure how to reconcile a lot of my newly-forming conclusions with the vestiges of what my life revolved around before the pandemic. I’m not ready to talk about these thoughts and feelings in a public setting as of yet, but I figured just mentioning that I’m experiencing this might bring some comfort to anyone out there in the world who may be feeling lost in regards to how they’re going to run their lives once things get going again, now that they’ve been deeply disturbed by the behavior of people (they once thought they respected) during the course of the last year. It’s unfortunate that so many of us are looking to revamp our social circles during a time where we literally cannot meet new people. But I am optimistic that, once things really get going good again, I will be able to find my tribe without sacrificing my personal integrity to fit in.
  • Y’all…raising teenagers kind of sucks. I don’t even think my kids are particularly troublesome, either. I hypothesize that most mid-life crises happen whilst parenting teenagers–you’ve dumped the last 10-15 years of your life into nurturing toddlers/preschoolers/kids who think you are amazing, and then suddenly they think you’re the lamest person in the room and they do a really poor job of hiding the body language that says exactly that. What do you do with that message?!?! I know–you question just what the heck have you done with your life all this time and was it worth it because these people that you created can’t stand you, yet still need instructing because they absolutely cannot adult. Doesn’t feel good. But you know it’s a phase and it will pass, but it still feels like crap to experience it and calmly instruct said grumpfaces about the civil ways to disagree, the civil ways to live with people who are annoying you that day, how to extricate yourself from a family activity without being a snot, and how to communicate why in the world you think not doing your chores is a valid option (because sometimes it is, but if you don’t communicate it BEFOREHAND, I guarantee you that we are going to have problems).
  • I cannot stop thinking about pretty spring dresses. I need them all.
  • I’m going to make myself a dress for my birthday and I am ecstatic about it.
  • I made a pencil skirt for Emms and it’s adorable and now I need one for myself as well.
  • I have a lot of emotional baggage when it comes to clothing and fashion. The messages in my head about clothing and dressing well…they are unkind. Especially when you consider that you wear clothes every day of your life. Why do we make each other feel bad about the clothes we wear if they’re not hurting anyone? The more I untangle this convoluted argument in my head, the sadder I get over all the joy I’ve denied myself over the years because of messages that I “couldn’t” wear something, or “shouldn’t” wear something because of someone else’s opinion. No more, my friends. No more.
  • We get this one life. And I am sick of procrastinating my own joy so that I can better hold myself to distorted views of what a woman should be, what a woman should look like, what a woman should act like, what a woman should allow into her life. I’ve been shoulding myself to death for ideals that I no longer find valid.
  • There’s something about having teenaged daughters and knowing that they’re getting ready to head out into the world, and looking around and realizing that the culture they’re surrounded by just isn’t good enough for them. And that you cannot stomach raising your son to perpetuate those harmful philosophies on other girls. I didn’t see it when I was young because I was the frog in the water that was slowly reaching boiling, but I’m now the chef with the frogs in my hand and there is no way I’m going to throw them into the pot and allow them to slowly boil to death.
  • And I guess I’ll stop there. Dentist appointments and all. Drastic philosophical reversals still demand sound teeth.

On Sewing Face Masks

Oh my goodness, I will never forget this year and a lot of those memories will revolve around all the face mask sewing I’ve done…and have yet to do.  It occurred to me last week, given that my kids are slated to return to school in the autumn for 2-4 days a week, depending on what school they attend, that I need to get my behind in gear in regards to mask production.  I’ve done some mathing and decided that I need to sew up fifty-two masks to comfortably outfit my family of six.

Here’s my reasoning:

#1: I’ve been out in public, wearing my mask like a good girl, and I’ve noticed that those things can get pretty damp, if not downright soggy, after 3-4 hours, so I’m going to send my kids to school with two masks each day and instruct them to swap them out at lunch.  Soggy masks are hot and make your skin itch, yuck. So, two masks for each day scheduled for on-campus learning per child = 4-8 masks per kid.

#2: I’m planning on doing a massive “mask washing” day once a week because I prize my sanity. You should wash your mask after each wearing, which means more masks because of the once-a-week laundry schedule. (Note to self: Set up a mask bucket to hold used masks in the laundry room.)

#3: We’ve had the problem of the kids forgetting to bring a mask with them when we go places and having to drive back home to get their masks, so I want a full family set of masks in each vehicle.

#4: I want a full family set of masks set up by the front door for all the reasons I can’t think of, and to serve as a replacement set for the inevitable losing of masks.

All in all, it works out to fifty-two masks, split amongst the six of us in their specific ways. Ughhhhhh.  But we had a fun time having a family fabric pull in the craft room:

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I broke down and bought the Creative Grids mask template, and it is awesome, I love it so much.  I was able to cut out all my family’s fabrics lickety-split and I’m almost done cutting out the linings when I find myself with free time.  If you’ve got lots of masks to make, it’s a good investment. (And an 18mm rotary cutter…)

Requests to sew masks for others are starting to trickle in, and I imagine that they’ll increase as we get closer to the start of school, but I’m saying no to them all until I get my family’s masks done.  I keep telling myself that that is the sane thing to do, but it still makes me sad to decline.  But it’d be terrible for me to say I’ll make them and then not get them done and those families having to scramble at the last minute to find masks for school.  I’m only one woman, and my first priority is my own family members.  It is my hope to make some extras to sell/give away later, but we’ll have to see how the rest of the summer shapes up for that aspiration.  Summer vacation with nowhere to go and most things closed is really testing my patience as a parent…sigh.  Some things you get through, and some things you just get dragged through until they’re done…

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…like sewing face masks.  😉  (Tula Pink Fairy Dust and rainbow top-stitching makes it a whole lot more fun to do, though.  Highly recommended.)

(And if I get these masks done and my school district decides to follow in San Diego’s footsteps and cancel anyway, I. will. not. be. O. K.)

Florabelle Hexie Stripe Quilt for Blank Quilting

It’s an odd-numbered month (and an odd month, in all honesty…), which meant some fabric headed my way from Blank Quilting.  This month’s fabric collection for me was the absolutely gorgeous Florabelle collection, which is a seven piece (plus panel) collection designed by Color Pop Studio.  I’d had my eye on it since I noticed it’d be going out in March, and I was so pleased when it showed up on my doorstep!

 

Blank Quilting also included one-yard cuts of four colors of their Jot Dot prints, and a couple of weeks later a box arrived from Air-Lite Manufacturing, containing a twin-sized poly-cotton batting and a swatch card for their four different types of batting.  (I really want to give their cotton double-loft a try in the future! It feels ah-mazing.)

I decided to sew this all up with the Hexie Stripes pattern by Suzy Quilts, adding two borders of Jot Dot to increase its size.  I’d not used a quilting ruler that wasn’t squared-edged before, and I ended up slicing off the tip of one of my fingers just a few cuts into using my awesome new triangle ruler!  Goodness.  It wasn’t a horrific injury, but it did take about a week before I could do anything without aggravating the gauze-wrapped injury.  I re-embarked upon the quilt’s construction and made slow, but steady, progress just as news broke of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Washington State.  I upped my efforts just in case we ended up with some sort of government lockdown order, and got it into the mail to the quilter as fast as I could.

Ashley of Hen House Quilting got it quilted up and back into the mail right before the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation was put into effect, so yay, it got back to me in its quilted glory in time to finish it up before the end of the month! THIS QUILT HAS SUCH GREAT STORIES ALREADY.

And because we’re on lockdown I was rather limited with my photography locations, so these photos were taken by my daughter’s high school because it was pretty enough and there were no people around.  (We all have to make sacrifices, my friends.)

The quilt itself is a nice, warm quilt, thanks to that poly-cotton batting.  My cat, Quesnel, has deemed it a good quilt and spent the afternoon in my lap.  Many memes were created as a result, which I’m sharing because they make me laugh:

Thank you, Blank Quilting, for the opportunity to work with such a pretty collection!  It’s made such a pretty quilt!  (I do have plans to turn the panel into a wall hanging for my craft room, but it got pushed to the side with all the craziness that was March!)

At the End of Week #2 of COVID-19 School Closures

We are now 1/3 of the way through the initial school closures here in Washington State, and are now enjoying the escalated “Stay Home” measures that were announced this week by the governor, dictating that we not leave our houses unless there’s an essential need (groceries, medical, etc.).

The kids are doing really great with their online learning, and I actually learned that their school district is one of TWO that made the immediate jump to online learning for the school closures.  Cue the “I’m so glad we moved into this particular house” gratitude.  We get to walk down to the bus stop each morning to pick up the school lunch deliveries (practicing safe social distancing of course), and I get to have a quick chat with some of my neighborhood mom friends, so we don’t feel completely socially isolated.  It’s not that bad, actually.

Crafting-wise, I basically just sewed up medical masks this week.  Not exciting at all, and a little anger-inducing because all I can think about while I’m sewing these up is how frustrating it is that we don’t have enough medical supplies on-hand for something of this nature, despite the fact that scientists have been warning us for years that we were historically due for a pandemic of some sort.  And then my thoughts wander down more angry roads, and I just end up steaming mad about lots of things.  So…no, I don’t like making medical masks AT ALL.  BUT, I have friends who work in the medical field and one of them texted yesterday asking if I had made any because her hospital really needs some, so I drove the twenty I’d made over to her house and left them on her doorstep.  I guess I’ll need to make more, but I need a break before I go back to them.

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I’m going to use my “break from the masks” to attach the binding to my March Blank Quilting project, which just arrived back from the quilter this week; and I’m starting to work with the “Best Friends Farm” fabric that Jaftex/Henry Glass Fabrics sent me as a bonus for April; and I did my part to support a small business by buying up some yardage of an absolutely gorgeous floral print from Style Maker Fabrics that I’m hoping to turn into a dress by Easter.

 

So, because goals are my self-love love language, I’ll end this with a “Goals for the Next Week” list:

  • Finish the Florabelle Hexie Stripes quilt.  Photograph it and share it online.
  • Finish piecing the individual blocks for the Best Friends Farm quilt.
  • Finish the muslin for my Blue Floral Easter dress.
  • Photograph and share the dress I finished for Renaissance a couple of weeks ago.
  • Move forward in some meaningful way with my sewing pattern database/spreadsheet.  The plan, pre-COVID-19, was to have it completed by the end of the next week or so, but things got way too crazy to keep up with it, so it’s a minor project that’s limping along at the moment.  I’ll worry about it more once things calm down in the future.
The week after next is Spring Break, which means there will be no online learning and schoolwork to keep the kids entertained throughout the day, AND we’ll still be mandated to stay home, so…I guess I should come up with some ideas for that as well.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closures

I am not very uplifting today.

And I wrote a blog post detailing all the reasons as to why I’m in a terrible mood, but then I decided to delete it all.  You don’t need to read about my bad day or listen to my anxieties.  That’s not going to really help anyone here.

What I think is important about today is granting permission to the bad days to exist.

Which is not the same as granting bad days permission to ruin things later.  And it’s not  granting myself permission to feel like a failure because an unpleasant situation felt unpleasant.  It’s also not granting myself permission to use a bad day to justify being rude or mean to someone else.

Because bad days don’t take time off because a shiny new germ is tap-dancing its way across the globe.

If it’s not acceptable behavior when things are going well, then it’s not acceptable behavior when things are going bad, either.

The bad days are going to still happen, even amongst all this idyllic staying at home and having my family gathered around me all close.

And I still get to decide how I’m going to act and react, in spite of the anxiety I may have or the rudeness I may see other people using and justifying.  Turbulent times do not condone turbulent tempers.

The novelty of the situation is wearing off, as evidenced by the short words people have had with each other today.  As evidenced by the rumors that are going around.  It felt like conversations today, both online and in-person, have the slightest whiff of panic about them.  Which I guess is to be expected…but I’m not going to add to it.  I’m in charge of that decision.

I’m going to finish watching a movie, I’m going to say my prayers, and I’m going to get a good night’s sleep.

And then I’m going to wake up tomorrow and do the things that I know make for a good day.  And hopefully it is a good day.  We shall see…

…I wish you a good night’s sleep and very good day tomorrow. Because tomorrow has the potential to be a very, very good day.

Wednesday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closure

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The kids gathered around the dining room table for their first formal day of “online learning” this morning.  The girls were left to their own devices (and I only had to reprimand one of them during the course of the day for goofing off before they were done with their schoolwork) and I had Nathaniel work on his stuff in my craft room so I could keep an eye on him, which was needed a few times.

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00100sportrait_00100_burst20200318095105345_coverBecause I was waiting to see if I’d get a package from Jaftex today, I didn’t want to start cutting out a dress or anything big, so I whipped up a couple of hair scarves from a pattern I bought when I went to Sew Expo a couple of weeks ago.  (And I have no idea why my hair looks so short in that photo, but it’s definitely making me think that a chop-off would look super cute!)

The kids were all pretty much done with their work by the time the “school bus lunch” alarm went off at 10:35am.  Our district is making sure all the kids eat during this break by delivering breakfasts and lunches via the bus routes, so we headed over to the bus stop and the kids were happy to say hi to their bus driver when she came ’round.

While we were waiting for the lunches to arrive, the FedEx truck rolled on up to my house and I had to wait a whole ten minutes before the bus came and I was able to retrieve my package from the front porch!  The agony!

 

Because, yep, that package contained fabric.  Adorable farm animal fabric that will work spectacularly well for a baby gift for a friend and her impending arrival:

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So. cute.  I love those little sheep, and that green print that just begs for some fussy cutting.  I think I’ve settled on a pattern, which won’t be as involved as I would like; but, I wasn’t planning on making a quilt in the next six weeks, so it’s got to be a bit of a quick sew so I can still fit in all my spring clothing sewing.  Whew!  Busy hands leave little time for wandering thoughts, so I’m thankful for the plethora of projects at this anxiety-provoking time!  It’s going to be a cute little quilt.  Plus, this collection–“Best Friends Farm”–has both a quilt panel and a soft book panel to sew up, too.  Lots of cute little projects to share with you over the next little while!

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Well, good night, dear readers.  I hope this is a peaceful time for you; a time to reconnect with family and a time to spend in a little bit of self-reflection.

And if it can’t be that, then I wish you wonderful success with whatever it is you choose to use to diffuse your stress.  Lucky me, I’ve got a kid who stress bakes, and she made some absolutely delicious soft pretzels this afternoon.  I wish you the kind of happiness that comes from eating a soft pretzel on a sunny day with your family.  Whatever that is for you, I hope it’s happening.  Stay healthy and safe!

 

Tuesday, Week #1 of Covid-19 School Closure

Last week, the State of Washington announced that it would be shutting down the schools in Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties for six weeks.  Guess where we live?  😉

Our school district has been absolutely awesome though–all students in grades 2-12 have a Chromebook to use at home, AND the district will be delivering breakfasts and lunches for free via the school bus routes.  How amazing is all that?!?!  I’m so, so happy for everyone who depends on school breakfasts and lunches for their kids.  One less thing to worry about during a time where there’s lots about which to worry.

Online learning begins in earnest tomorrow morning, so we’ll start getting an idea of what to expect in our daily lives pretty quick.  With my kids being on the older side, I’m really hoping that it will be painless.  It’d be great if I could just weather this whole thing out with just a lot of sewing, but schoolwork help is the top priority if I truly do have to make a decision about how to spend my time.  (Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that…)

I might also receive a package from Blank Quilting/Jaftex tomorrow–they sent out an email today saying that, because they’re releasing so many new collections in the month of April, they’re sending fabric to everyone, even if it’s not your month to receive fabric.  I’m scheduled for odd months, and I actually just sent off my March quilt to the quilter, so this is an appreciated surprise for me.  It looks like April is *the* month for their Halloween collections, so the odds are in favor of Halloween fabric.

But I might not receive a package?  I cut off the tip of my finger a couple of weeks ago, and had to send an email saying that I might fall behind on my March quilt, so there’s also a chance that they don’t send me anything because of that?  I don’t know.  There are many questions in my life at the moment and I’m doing my best to just roll with the punches.  (Finger is almost all healed up, thank you for your concern.)

I’m hoping to get a lot of spring clothing sewing done in the next few weeks as well.  I just finished up a dress for Ren, but still need to photograph it.  She was supposed to wear it when she sang with the youth choir for stake conference, but that was cancelled.  So I said she should wear it when she played a flute solo in church this coming Sunday, but then all church was cancelled.  So she wore it last Sunday for our first “church at home.”  I’d like to sew up two more dresses for her, plus a dress or two or three for me, a skirt for Emily, some Easter ties for my guys, and a hoodie or t-shirt for Rachel.  Truthfully, I’ll be lucky to get more than one of those things done, but I like big to-do-lists, so there you go.

Perhaps I’ll try to blog a little more during all this craziness–I find that I’m checking in online a whole lot more than usual these days, and it’s nice when a new post or the like pops up.  I assume it’s the same for you, dear readers, and that you especially appreciate posts that aren’t politically-divisive, religiously overbearing, or some obviously-not-true “cure” for Coronavirus.  (Spoiler alert: Gargling saltwater will not kill the virus…)

I wish you all a good evening, and hope that you’re finding uplifting ways to fill your days.  I also wish you good health, peace, and full bobbins.  Good night!