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the beauty of vintage

My husband and I had dinner with some dear friends last week. And when the conversation started in earnest, one of them turned to me and asked, essentially, why are you selling jewelry?
 
 
 
 
It is a good question. My life was and is full. I make quilts, play MarioKart with my stepkids, have a great and busy job, embroider, paint, even sometimes exercise. In short, there is a lot going on.
 
Thanksgiving of last year, my grandmother was hospitalized and then moved into a skilled nursing facility. She will be there for the rest of her life. And we need to sell her things. Pretty simple.
 
And not pretty simple. My grandmother could be casually cruel to my mother and me in ways that hurt deeply. Complicated.
 
(And the basic truth is that almost everybody I know has a dark relationship with some or all of their family. I am not special or unique in this, I know.)
 
I was consistently told by her that my (in her opinion) lack of beauty and slenderness meant that I didn’t matter. That the rest of the wonderful things that I had to give (short list: generosity, wit, intelligence, skilled Ninja) didn’t matter. I now know…
 
1. That there is more to human existence, female existence, my existence than being pretty.
2. That I am now and always have been pretty frickin’ beautiful.
 
 
 
 
To make a sale, I am trying to do everything right. Gently clean. Photograph. Edit Photograph. Google to find reasonable price. Describe. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
 
 
 
 
Her jewelry means so much. It reminds me of her presence. Her hobbies. Her sound. Her cruelty. I can remember certain things she said to me while wearing certain pieces. I remember the fear of being close to her, of what she was going to say to me, of how I would be hurt – all while staring at her coral-shaped diamond and gold ring that she wore on her right index finger. Complicated.
 
 
My grandmother was loud and beautiful and sparkled and had more presence than anybody in the real world. Like Dolly Parton. She owned a room.
 
And I am reckoning with that. That thread of sparkle and shine and owning a room is in my core. My dad has it. I have it. And if she wasn’t part of me, I wouldn’t have it. And so I am grateful for her.
 
 
 
 
And I am grateful for the process of cleaning and sorting and photographing each piece of her jewelry. I am reminded of my own sparkle. These beautiful vintage pieces will find new life for women who sparkle. Women who own a room because of their wit, intelligence, kindness, Ninja acumen. The beauty of vintage is a new life, new meanings for beautiful things.
 
 
 
 
I do miss quilting and embroidery and reading, quilting, and quilting – all are on hold while I give my weekends to this endeavour. But I know they will be waiting for me when I am ready. And MarioKart and painting and work still are here.
 
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from knitting to drawing to…

have always made stuff. Knitting and then jewelry and then scrapbooking and then quilting. Five years ago, I was fortunate enough to get a brief sabattical from the company I work for. I decided I wanted to pick up a hobby that practioners thereof are smitten with. Hobbies that people put bumper stickers on their cars about.
 
I wanted an obsession.
 
I thought about SCUBA, fly fishing, quilting, disc golfing, regular golfing,
 
But I always knew it would be quilting. My great grandmother quilted, my grandmother quilted, my mom quilts. I live in Kansas City, which I claim to be the “Hollywood of Quilting” because we have so many superstars of quiliting that live and work here. It had to be quilting. (btw, “Hollywood of Quilting” has not caught on)
 
(I also picked fly fishing. But the expense of equipment and travel was prohibitive. Kansas City is not the Hollywood of fly fishing.)
 
 
 
Picture of the most recent quilt I worked on
 
The last couple of years I have been trying to learn to draw. It has been frustrating. What my brain wanted, my hands wouldn’t deliver. And then suddenly I could make things that I didn’t hate. Enough classes and practice, and what came from my hands and brain were similar. I still really can’t draw, but I am working around that.
 
 
 
These are some monotypes – one of the first things I did not hate.
 
I am making some sort of art everyday. It is wonderful and fun. And I am obsessed.
 
If you would like to following my drawing adventures, I am paperloveink on Instagram
 
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Taking things slowly

I am hearing the lesson of slowing down, doing less.  There are parts of my life that are full – and I can’t change that.  But I can put less pressure on myself to move quickly during my down time.  In 2019, I am going to do more of I want on a less-agressive pace.

I am going to do some slow projects.  I have been knitting again.  And there are some quilts I want to finish that will take a while.

I also am just going to play if I want to.  I have been doodling and drawing. And watercoloring.  I am not putting pressure on myself to become good at drawing.  Just going to do it as long as it is fun.  So 2019 will be slow and fun.  I like that.

 

Bettering, Not About Quilting or Sewing, Uncategorized

Marchenings

Yesterday, I posted about some crafty sewing progress in March. Today is a very brief look at some other March happenings.  Marchenings, if you will.

BLOND! (and it is ok that I wrote “blond” instead of “blonde”, per this.)

Most of my teens and 20s I spent with blond hair.  And suddenly one night I wanted it back and I found a stylist to play along.  I LOVE it!!  And I still am learning how to apply lipstick, obviously.

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Fixed bathrooms!

We no longer have  adorable, horrible, evil pedestal sinks in either of our bathrooms.  We found this little darling cabinetthat fits the tight space of our upstairs bathroom.  AND we got the shower fixed in the downstairs bathroom so we totally have one shower with first-world(ish) water pressure.  We have painted since this picture was taken, so imagine a better color of paint.

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Exercise train.  CHOO CHOO!  I exercised a lot more – not enough – but a lot more.  And I have been feeling the benefit.  There is nothing better than the sore feeling from working out.  These bad boy Mary Lou Retton calves still are kickin’ and looking forward to turning 44 in a couple of weeks. Oh, and HAI! one gold toe that really accentuates the Mortonish of it all.

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Things fall apart

IMG_3997Today is hard.  Not six weeks ago I felt I had the world on a string.  Was I too smug?  Was I too sure?  Had I bought into quick fixes and tricks?  Probably and always.

I am sinking.  Away from myself, my family, my goals.  But work is good.  🙂  No, really it is.  The blessing or my work has always been that there is enough and it is mostly challenging and interesting.  I can escape from fear and anxiety and make a corner within a corner of my world good.

But work always has to end.  I have to close the laptop and go home and face myself.  My health.  My choices.

The only way through is through.  When I am not doing well at work, I know the answer is to stop, evaluate, and work harder.  I am not doing well at life.  And I have never known how to fix it.  What does it mean to stop and evaluate?  What does it mean to work harder?  I don’t know.  I don’t know what is wheat and what is chaff.  Do I clean out a closet?  Go to the gym?  Have the tough conversations? Create an awesome meal plan?  I have no idea – they don’t seem like they would help.  So now I am doing this – asking the universe for help.  I am lost.  I am scared.  I know gazing at my navel is not the answer – but what is the answer?

So, here’s my plan.  Shut down my computer – quit hiding from life.  Go home.  Clean off a shelf, clean up my studio, create something, make a meal plan, workout, lay out my clothes for the week.  Or maybe I will just stay here and work.  I don’t know.

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I wish I wrote songs

I wanted to be a writer, that’s all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way the flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel, how it smells, how it feels, this thread. All our feelings, yours and mine. The history of it, who we once were. Everything in the world. Everything all mixed up, like it’s all mixed up now. And I failed. I failed. No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less. Sheer fucking pride and stupidity.” – Richard Brown in The Hours based on the book by Michael Cunningham (clip here)

I have a healthy self esteem.  Maybe too healthy.  I know I don’t appreciate my healthy self esteem enough.  Basically, it it requires me to use my brain, I can figure it out.  I am not a genius and there are lots of things that would require me to work very hard – advanced mathematics, learning to read a foreign language, most physics.  I would have to work harder and take longer than most, but I could figure it out with enough time and effort.  I can do anything that requires patience and study.  As I walk this life, I realize not everybody feels that way.  That lots of people have been told terrible stories about themselves that means they doubt their ability to learn and achieve.

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I am kind.  I am smart.  I am tenacious.  I am generous.  I am lucky. I am creative.

I think I would trade all of that for the ability to write a good song.  Like everybody, music saved my life.  Mirroring my angst, my joy, my hope.  Ani Difranco, Jeff Tweedy, Cake.  A good song makes me feel the flutter of that thing that might be my soul.  I feel my chest tighten and something pushing on my head from the inside – a stress that I can never describe or understand this feeling.  The pain and joy of connection.  The pain and joy of recognition.  The god in your song sees the god in me.

I have been listening obsessively to Sun Kil Moon’s album Common as Light and Love are Red Valleys of Blood.  I have read pieces of articles that say he is rude and a sexist – I look away – that may be true but nothing is allowed in to ruin the peace and inspiration and exultation I get from listening to his music.  His ability to mix his earnest deadpan with music and insight and..«

 

I wish I could write songs.  I can’t find the words.  I can’t share the feeling.

I can’t prove my point through exposition, so if you get a chance, listen to the music…  my two favorites…

Bergen to Trondheim

God Bless Ohio

There is healing in writing poems
There is healing in psychotherapy
There is healing in taking walks along the beach
But never underestimate the healing of music, baby

Some songs are funny and some are sad
Some are short, some are long
There is nothing as healing and powerful
As the power of song

As the power of song
As the power of song
As the power of song
As the power of song

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Dealing With Loss

IMG_2002When I sit down to write I get stuck.  This year has been hard.  So much loss.  Too much loss.   The latest being of my beloved Annie.  My dad and I drove a sweet puppy home a little over 14 years ago.  She was tiny and the sweetest little soul I have ever met.

She became my love, my family, my friend, my baby.  She stuck by me (literally) everyday.  So many stories of her that I need to write down before they are gone.  But it feels too raw.  Thinking of her face, even looking at a photo of her creates a stabbing feeling in my head and my stomach.  That feeling that she is just gone. forever.

And so I want to get back to blogging.  But I need a pass to not write about the loss.  It feels like I am being untrue.  But it is the opposite.  I can only be true to my sanity to pause from this rawness.

So blogging on some really shallow things, mostly quilting, is forthcoming.

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And then there is this little guy.  His name is Toby. He is new to our home and is giving me all of his joy and love in exchange for kisses and tears and cuddles.  He is giving me permission to breathe and smile.  He talks to me all the time.  When he gets scared he runs to me.  At night, he sleeps on my pillow and purrs until I fall asleep.  He is full of discovery – he spent hours on Saturday jumping in and out of a basket – I think he thought he was invisible when he was in the basket and was so proud of himself for discovering this.  When he is excited, he runs so fast his back legs get out of synch. He has no idea how cute he is.  He imagines himself a great hunter as he drags his stick and feather toy across the house.

I can’t imagine a better medicine for my sadness.

I love you Annie.  I will always love you.  And I know that me being ok was always the most important thing to you.  I am ok.  I promise.