Goodness gracious! For a couple of days, I have worked on my post to continue the interesting "goodies" I have learned from Marilyn Rose (Journal Quilts)...and now I can't find that incomplete post!
Kinda hit a writer's block there for a few days, struggling to express what I was trying to convey...a bit of my philosophical side...something that has been tugging on my heart strings that I want to say to a growing list of women in my acquaintance.
In the past year, since that Mary Sorensen Needle Turn Applique class I took from the Mississippi Quilt Association, I have been reveling in the relaxed, encouraging company of The Women Who Sew and Quilt.
I don't have to tell you about the real world ...uber-competitive, people stepping on people to get ahead, maneuvering and mis-information to further personal agendas, more-more-more, me-me-me.
At this point in my life (and personal growth), I CHOOSE to limit, where possible, my exposure to that type of person who is driven by emotional black holes.
Personal peace, contentment and day-to-day happiness is more important to me than money or position or what others think of me. Life, in general, is full of far too many challenges to willingly invest my time and energy in any people or group that is driven by the aforementioned cancers of the real world.
(Looks down and sees the soap box that has sneaked, unintentionally, into this post....and pushes it back under the table.)
What quilting and sewing have brought back into my life is the generous sharing of techniques, passing on the art of sewing to a new army of enthusiastic recruits (the growing Craft Revolution).
I call it Friendship Sewing ...a fraternal twin to the concept of Friendship Gardening that was so deeply instilled in me as a child ...sharing cuttings, plants, flowers and vegetables with one's neighbors or friends.
So imagine my appreciation when, last summer, I arrived at the Mary Sorensen class with all my supplies ...but I had never even used a rotary cutter. Gloria Reeves took me under her arm (not literally ...she is cute and petite, and I am decidedly NOT ...think "ample fluffiness" ...LOL).
Gloria did not just cut my background fabric to size, she gave me a quick rotary cutter lesson. Trust me, I was the ONLY woman in that class who had never had a rotary cutter in her hand! LOL
We all laughed and sewed and shared for two blissful days last summer. It was better than a vacation! (No mad rush to pack, picking up someone else's travel cold, the fatigue and relief to return home.)
The June Gathering of the Mississippi Quilt Association was a double latte version of the Mary Sorensen class. I've been mentioning in my blog posts just some of the women who been showing me Friendship Sewing.
Another example is Paula J. of Hattiesburg, who brought her quilting hoop for me to borrow for the Hand Quilting class in June. Paula said I should try several types of hoops before spending significant money on a fancy floor hoop!
Martha Skelton, Rhonda Blasingame, Marilyn Rose, and Judy Spiers may be some of the headliners in our state quilting organization, but their practice of Friendship Sewing is as personal as sharing with a family member or one's next door neighbor.
At the same time, because of the Internet, total strangers across the world have become part of my personal life-quilt in this area of blogging and Friendship Sewing.
I wish I could convey how little I previously knew about this world of quilting and applique before last summer, and how much these ladies (and many more I have not singled out by name) have fed my enthusiasm and hunger to learn.
I wish I could adequately share how renewing and regenerating it is to share about piecing and applique and other forms of sewing with all of these new acquaintances without the cautions required in the real world.
Do you think men find the same escape among their fellow sports enthusiasts?
Some of my warmest and most nourishing experiences in the past six-plus months of blogging have come from the delight of those who have enjoyed using my free patterns or from those who have shared their love of Westies or their interest in pet Rescue work.
Seeing others discover the talent of our Mississippi quilt artists or seeing photos of a quilt someone has started because I blogged where I found a pattern that Pam had used in her beautiful quilt ...feeds a vital part of my emotional health.
The Internet Community calls it "Social Networking". That is a cold, sterile term for the warm human connections that I have experienced through Friendship Sewing and through this blog (as well as through genealogy, historic preservation and DAR connections).
Maybe all of these musings ...this weeding out what is not uplifting and nurturing in life...choosing to focus on what brings contentment and happiness ...this deeper appreciation of the aspects in life that one values ...maybe this is a natural process for a woman maturing through her Forties?
I wish I could upload some of this contentment and happiness and peace so that you could download it when you need a dose. If this could be bottled, one would make a fortune. Isn't it ironic that what we all seek is free 24/7 ...just a prayer away. Maybe my journey of almost 45 years has been learning to accept and value something that is completely free ...my salvation and faith.
To all of you who are part of this vibrant journey, I thank you for the symbolic stitches or fabric you add to the quilt that is my life.
The First Two: A volunteer gladiola. It must have been a tiny bulb caught up in a wheel barrel of garden "trash". We spread garden cuttings on soil that needs enriching. This yellow beauty came up and bloomed so beautifully in some terribly poor sandy soil! "Bloom where you are planted" comes to mind.
The Next Three: Clean sheets, clean fluffy Annie who was reacting to her mommy coming home. I adore this time of day when Gordon, Annie, Mackie, Daisy and I are all finally together in our quarters, and we can relax for the rest of the evening.
Photo #6: English Dogwood a.k.a. Sweet Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius)
Photo #7: Kerria. It starts blooming before the Lady Banks Rose, and it is still blooming, months later. I love this modest happy yellow flower! (Kerria japonica)
Photo #8 & #9: Swamp Rose. This modest antique rose has been documented as early as 1824. It has no thorns, does not get black spot, and the deer do not nibble on it! My nickname for this beautiful antique rose is "Fan Dancer" because of the long sweeping fronds heavy with blooms that sway and swish in the spring wind. (R. palustris scandens)
Photo #10: A country road in Montgomery County, Mississippi. Stafford Wells Loop
Photo # 11: A day's cutting of gladiola blooms from the garden. This was shot with a 35mm camera a few years back.