Category Archives: avoidance

Quilting: My Two Blocks

We all run into bumps in the road. I feel I fell into a ditch and have had a time getting out of it. I think it started with a Mercury Retrograde. For those of you who don’t know what that is — it is very similar to Murphy’s Law: what can go wrong — will go wrong.

Usually it has to do with Mercury the Messenger in Astrology. This condition occurs four times throughout the year. I always mark my calendar in January so I know when it will occur.  If you start a project during this time you can be pretty certain you won’t finish it.

It seems I started organizing my workroom space during a Mercury Retrograde. It has also occurred to me that is the only time I get back to working on organizing it.

Last organizational spurt a small piece of fabric (10″ x  20″) turned up on my work table. I kept shifting fabrics around still there it was. It kept coming up to the surface. So I thought there must be a message here — guess I am just a little slow sometimes. So I measured it and I could cut it into 4 1/2 inch squares. I thought it would be perfect in the center of some Sawtooth stars. It was one of the first patterns I fell in love with so many years ago.

I made TWO stars. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and just about dinner time. There is not need to rush this.



It’s a beginning.


You talking to me about quilts?

Ever ask yourself about your quilting goals?  What do you think you want to accomplish? There are so many different answers possible here. Are you a project person or a process person. Do you want to sell your quilts? Do you want to keep your quilts or give them away?

A project person has a distinct goal in mind — a finished quilt. There is usually a beginning and of course an end. You have a pattern, you have colors in mind, maybe you even have a location designated for it.

I am a process person. I may have a stack of fabrics and an idea but I have no general purpose except to create. I may not create a quilt — I may create pieces or parts and then decide where to go from there. Or I may lay them aside and move on to something else until I decide what to do next. This often gets me in trouble.

My friend Stephanie is a project person. She is always making something with fabric to use in her décor. One year it was a quilt for her daughter’s room.  Since I didn’t have a daughter I thought I would make the same blocks for fun and sometime in the future  I may need a quilt for a little girl.

Abi's Big girl quilt copy

I made these Bow Blocks. Definitely for a girl. I made blocks until I got tired and them put them in a box, labeled it and set them aside. Then one year, many years later,  I needed a Christmas present. It was late October. I don’t know about you but once it is October time flies that much faster to the holidays. It is not just normal life events but also all the unexpected happenings. I turned things upside down looking for the box of blocks — then how to set them, What colors to use? With little Abi being the predictable little girl that she was pink and purple were the perfect choices.

Being a process person who plans less with a project you may find yourself in a pickle. You may not have enough of what you need. You used fabric saved for this project on a different project. You have no clue what or where you put the pattern if you want to make more pieces. You have to be much more creative and open to new ideas and a change your plans.

What I have learned from times like this: Set up a box with all the supplies together. Keep them there until the project is completed. Keep the book or make a copy of the pattern and keep it in the box as well.




A Groove or A Rut?

Years ago I sat at the Old Town Mexican café with Libby Leman talking about making quilts. She said so many times we thing we are really “in the groove” we are making quilts and having a good time. But are we in a groove or are we in a rut? There is a tendency when we are artists to make the same thing over and over, perhaps it’s a Log Cabin quilt. Years pass and we are still making the same quilt, just in a different color. Are we moving forward, or are we standing still?

I’ve found myself sorting and organizing but not doing much else. My motor is running and my wheels are spinning but I am getting no where fast. I tell myself, “Today I am going to . . . .” and I start shuffling fabric from here to there and there is no action behind my movements.  At the end of the day all I have is a bigger pile and nothing accomplished.

I did make a list of all the work I have “in progress” truth is, seeing that on paper was very impressive. I have managed to finish a few of the smaller works, but not the quilts. It’s a rut when you find yourself annoying friends and frustrating yourself. The challenge isn’t there.  You feel that the world is moving past you.  You aren’t excited about getting up in the morning and working in your studio.

Did you start this project with all the best intentions and somewhere it lost its steam?  Was it a bad idea to start to begin with?  Maybe the timing was bad, you didn’t allow enough time to meet the deadline? Are circumstances conspiring against you?  Maybe the rut is caused by being too technical, what you thought was a good idea and now it isn’t.  This can happen in a lot of areas of our lives, not just with our artwork.

Maybe what you liked last year, five years ago, or more is not you today. Your color preferences are different. It’s time to change it up, go on a creative date with yours. Go to a botanical park, an art gallery, even a movie or buy some upbeat music.  Buy a new box of 64 crayons. You may not be as prolific as you were 10 years ago and that is bothering you. Stamina does diminish. Try getting together with younger people,  buy some blank paper and share your crayons. Don’t over analyze, don’t question your inability to get out of the rut. If you are in a rut question everything but the rut.

Best to you,



Garden Clean up: English Ivy

ivy tree 002 fig tree 001

This is the Fig tree today. It is pretty bare. Every year when this happens I tell myself I will clear the English Ivy away from it. The ivy is under the tree and One the fence. It is probably all that is supporting the old cedar fence which is invisible, completely covered. I’m very fortunate that they still bear an abundance of fruit. This year though one of the trees was not as bountiful.  I feel the ivy may have something to do with that.

“Fences make good Neighbors.”

The neighbor on the other side of that fence approached me one day with his coffee cup in hand. He said he didn’t like my ivy. I told him it was in fact not MY IVY but the ivy of a former neighbor who lived in the house he is now living in.   I told him it was perfectly okay with me  if he or his brother cut it down. I had told Pat, one of the previous neighbors, at the time to PLEASE  I wished she would not plant Ivy. Her husband was military, I knew they would be long gone and the Ivy would remain.  She said she would plant it on HER side of the fence.

One of our other neighbors has said of this neighbor that he is lazy. Well so much for the possibility of him cutting down the ivy. I am sure though if I cut it down that work not intrude on his work ethic.

Except for poison, my efforts to get rid of it have not worked. English Ivy is not a native plant to the United States. As a non-native it is an intrusion to our environment. It has berries which are not good for the diet of our native species birds. I want the yard to be more friendly to our environment. So the ivy must go.

No FIFA: What to do?

Well I’m not certain Dog Fude, our 20+ year old outdoor cat would agree, but it seemed a good day to give him a bath.Dog fude 005

He wasn’t happy about the water originally, but he got comfortable when he found the temperature comfortable. He purred when he was gently massaged,  and didn’t complain. He is a very trusting “old soul”Dog fude 006Our feral cat “Feed-me” is sitting outside on the window ledge trying to figure out if this is a torture session. Dog Fude did not stress and seemed to enjoy it. The he proceeded to go out and cover himself with leaves. His reward was some salmon for being a good sport.

Garden: Fallen Fence & Garden

fence down 001
March brought some pretty heavy winds. Not for just one day but for about four days.
fence down 003
One evening I heard a loud crack and boom. I thought it was thunder. Next morning I woke up to this. Since handsome was out of town driving with the Super Boy from Seattle to here. I just left the mess. Our neighbors didn’t seem to notice OR care. There really wasn’t much I could do. The fence section was about 40 feet and soaking wet from the rains. It did postpone me working in the back-forty. It made no sense to try to put in a garden if big-foot would be out there working.
I wanted to expand my little garden of Chard, kale, broccoli and herbs into something bigger. With the drought in the San Jouquin Valley in Central California produce was going to be a rare commodity and probably expensive.

veg garden 004
So although my little garden was flourishing and nothing was broken with the fence falling I’d wait to add more to my planting beds.

Garden: Roses and the Hopper


I like hoppers as long as they don’t hop on me. I am not crazy about the damage they can do. I had a wonderful, old grasshopper I kept an eye on. Apparently a lovely spider was also keeping a close watch. One day the hopper was gone — the spider was not.