A few months back, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by life in general and gave up my participation at an online site I enjoyed. Kelly's Charming girls and guys group had up to then been a source of fun and involvement, but I was falling behind on my self imposed commitments and feeling lousy about not having the time to commit to the group and quilting in general. I told Kelly so, and hoped I would find the time to once again participate and enjoy the budding friendships and the sharing that comes with getting to know other quilters from around the country and beyond.
Since that time, Kelly has overhauled the group so that it works without the stress we tend to impose upon ourselves to be over achievers, not only in our hobbies but in our day to day interactions. Work. Family. Outside interference. Internal struggles.
The new bi-monthly commitment to "self" has been a new awakening for me. Thanks to Kelly for allowing me the means to rejoin and participate with a group of ladies (and gentlemen) who are committed to finding time to better themselves through the pursuit of things they truly love (see http://cottoncharmquilts.typepad.com/charmingchatter).
The theme in the group for the months of July and August is Self Care.
Interesting concept for many of us as we "age". Remember- age is relative, but I know that I am looking at a number I never thought I'd be (well, I knew I'd get there eventually- just didn't think it would happen so fast!). The magic number, 60, made me take stock of what I had accomplished, where I had been (I love saying a child of the 60's..the Woodstock generation), and where I am going. Where I've been has been quite the adventure, but where I am going seems to be even more of one. There aren't some of the major stresses of life anymore, OR more rightly put, I feel better equipped to handle them most of the time. I am at the stage where paring down and making life somewhat simpler, cleaner, more organized is where I want to be, it is a good thing for this next phase of enjoying my surroundings.
I've come back to my first love, that of sitting at my sewing machine, of creating something that sooths the soul. Quilting had done that in the past, and is filling the creative void once again. Some of the other off shoots of wanting to live a creative life have taken a back seat right now (scrapbooking) some have become less of a joy and more of a burden (art journals, altered art), and will be swept clear once I finish several commitments from the past year.
Busy Quilting Companion and I returned to Vermont for the Quilt Festival this June after a year's absence. Not going last year was for good reason, I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first grandchild; I forgot just how much going to a venue such as VQF gets the creative juices flowing. To walk the South Hall at the Expo center and see so much lovely work, some simply charming, others drop dead amazing, is a sight to behold. My biggest joy is walking the North Hall hung with an impressive array of antique quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy collection. How how two men can collect so much of our quilting past/history is amazing to me. Gerald Roy is a delight in person and his collection is awe inspiring. No photos are allowed, but just pick up any tome on quilting history and the ideas, colors, patterns can't help but excite. I am and always have been in love with old fabric and old quilts. I continue to be drawn to them time after time. I gave up trying to work "outside my box". I know that it makes you stretch your imagination and see quilting in a new light, but for me the joy is in recreating the old. It is just who I am, and it is who I will always be. With that I am more than happy.
If you have managed to get this far, thank you for staying with me as I mused.
The reward is a few photos of some of my favorite quilts from Festival, made by women like us- quilters who find the time to live their passion. I hope you have the time to indulge yourself as well.
Quilt Documentation: Civil War Stars: Ruth E. Whitaker, Shelburne VT. Track machine quilted by Nancy Tatro. Second Place winner, Bed Quilts- Large Pieced.
Quilt Documentation: A Bash on Baltimore: Rebecca J. Magaus, Bloomfield Hills, MI. Track machine quilted by Linda Thiefoldt. Second Place winner, Bed Quilts- Appliqued.
Quilt Documentation: No One Gardens Alone: Leslie Justice Cook,Greenfield, MA. Stationary machine quilted by quilt maker. Second Place winner: Bed Quilts- Appliqued.
Quilt Documentation: Sunspots by Deborah Elliot, Mount Royal, Quebec. Track machine quilted by Colleen Paul. Second Place winner: Bed Quilts-Pieced.
Before I actually forget, here are my goals for July/August:
1. Take time for myself within the constraints of family needs- read, relax, do something nice for myself. Remind myself that just a little will go a long way in that regard. I may even allow myself to stop feeling silly about my guilty pleasure- Bravo TV! Yes, give me Housewives (preferably NY and NJ) and a bit of Bethany Getting Married and I'm a happy girl. There I said it, laugh all you want, but a bit of late night silliness is just the best thing to lull one into a good night sleep!
2. Blog (thoughtfully) during the week, but never on the weekend which will be set aside for family and friends.
3. Continue to work on blocks from Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past by
4. Continue to finish past "artistic" commitments so I can put that chapter behind me
5. Go to Sunday get together with quilting buddies- a few hours out with friends is a perfect way to find laughter in one's life.
6. Be more of an active participant with the "charmings"
Not a bad bucket list for the summer