Washing Dishes with Oliver
Can I really have missed most of 2014 due to one stressful event after another? Seems to be the case, but I hope to get back to my favorite pursuits in 2015; I have missed quilting and everyone I spent time with in my classes and travels. My very best wishes to all of you and hope this will be a fresh and great start for you as well.
My days have become filled with routine, and mornings are devoted to washing dishes in the morning light, cleaning the kitchen, paying bills, checking email, all with Oliver's help. He loves to get right down in the sink, have a long drink from the faucet, then oversee everything that goes on. He seems to think two retirees are pretty exciting most of the time, but every now and then gives me that look, wondering why we don't have some action around here!
On New Year's I put away Christmas, the sun came out briefly, and Oliver and I cleaned and bagged and swept and dusted. Oliver loved it, everything was different and new, even old familiar things were in different places. We added spots of color and soft white everywhere, so much fun.
He checks out the kitchen island, below, to make sure he still has his fresh grass next to the brightly colored pottery. He is looking at all this as if it still should be the familiar Christmas tree and is very wary. Of course, he tried to put his head in the blue pitcher.........
He did not nap all day, so that evening fell into an exhausted sleep on the couch, content and happy with all we accomplished.
And then there is quilting and what has become of it; Oliver misses the excitement of the forbidden territory of my sewing room, and I miss it too. Alas, due to health problems and injuries I haven't quilted in a long long time.
I didn't know if I still could quilt, but a week ago it was time to find out. I spent several days cleaning my sewing room, clearing it out of "stuff" piled everywhere, put all new things on the walls, re-set the clock to the correct time, hung a 2015 quilt calendar, put a new cover on the ironing board, swept the floors that still need washing, and looked around. I felt like a quilter again. It was time to oil my machines and see if they still worked.
Everything I did, all the things I organized and went through, brought back memories of my quilting and teaching days. I found so many lovely gifts from my students and friends, and yes I keep and treasure all of them. Below are just a few that were on the top of the piles of things to be sorted, all lovely and special to me.
There will be a major recycling day for me with all the old papers, handouts, magazines, etc., that I have no need of now, but in my mind I was remembering all the wonderful classes, the events, the quilters I have met and worked with over the years. Ah, nostalgia, sweet but sad at the same time.
My machines worked fine, but definitely needed some TLC. I swabbed, oiled, cleaned, and then ran them with straight stitching and cotton thread for a long time, mindless row after row of beautiful stitching.
It felt good to settle into my familiar chair, hear the hum of the motor, notice the light scent of sewing machine oil. I had the lights on and the warm pools of light made the room so comforting, a haven on an icy winter day. I knew the next day I would drop feed dogs and give some FMQ a whirl, see if I could still do it, just go for it.
"Tres rusty" is how I would describe my quilting skills, but oh my, it all came back so quickly it was amazing. I had to stop so that I wouldn't have sore muscles or eyes, but I wanted to keep on quilting some samples I had layered. I did easy things, difficult things, fun designs, demanding work, just to get my brain awake again and the coordination back. I will write more about what I discovered doing this free motion quilting in a future post soon.
I have quilted each day since then, and yes my hands ached from injuries and problems I've had over the past year or so, but each day they are better. I know if I want to make a quilt it will be a long process, as I must pace myself. But that is fine; I have no deadlines, it is just for me. My work looks as good as ever, even better because now I am not rushed, am more careful and enjoy the slower pace.
Oliver is so happy, he has checked out all the nooks and boxes, stacks of fabric and old quilts, and now he has developed a nice routine that involves circling the room, sitting on a stool by the window to check the outdoors, then curling up on some quilts in an extra chair and napping away as I do this and that. He is no longer the naughty kitten attacking the thread as it went through the machine, but he still must be watched out of the corner of my eye. He is a dignified but unpredictable 5-year-old.
When we are done for the day, it is time to make some homemade pizza, try a new dough recipe, and fill the house with spicy aromas until it is time to pop it out of the oven and enjoy the deliciousness of all the flavors and textures. I had fresh spinach and artichokes, and the next one had fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella too. So yummy, even Oliver tried some melted cheese.....
More on quilting to come, meanwhile know I am still here, just not teaching or traveling right now, and send you my very best wishes for the New Year and for your own quilting!
Hi Diane, Happy New Year to you too! You have been so missed! So happy you are back and full of energy! :) All the Best and looking forward to seeing your beautiful work soon. :) xx
Happy New Year!! We missed you. So glad to read your posts again. Wishing you all the best in your quilting and other adventures!!
Happy New Year Diane!! It's so wonderful to hear from you again. I wish you and yours a happy, healthly 2015
Sending lots of warm hugs from Miami - Mercy
So glad to hear you are happy in your sewing room and going at your own pace. Enjoy the day!
So glad to have you back! You know what they say, "Getting older is not for the faint of heart" I know what you mean bout the past year, I had major medical issues last year and almost died on the operating table, but us old birds are hard to put down. I am finally ready to think about quilting again, and it has been over a year.
Once again, so so glad to have you back!
So nice to have you back quilting. It is always a pleasure to hear and see what you are working on - you are such an inspiration. I hope all continues to go well for you.
Thanks everyone! It is good to quilt again, something about it is very relaxing and yet energizing at the same time. The sound of the machine puts Oliver into a deep sleep very quickly too. Hope to have some insights for you now and then, but for now my teaching is on the back burner. I was in a quilt shop recently and saw so many new ideas and techniques it made my head spin!
Glad to see you back and glad your quilting time went so well. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
I have missed reading your posts. Your machine quilting always inspired me. I do hope you have a much better 2015. Good to see you back at blogging and quilting.
Can't help but join the chorus here-it's so good to "hear" from you and I love your beautiful description of readying your room and machines for quilting. I'll be you missed it!
Welcome back to blogging and quilting! I too look forward to reading your posts and watching for your quilting! Your work is always an inspiration!
What a nice surprise to see new comments on your blog. Take care, and God Bless!
It is wonderful that you can begin quilting again. I am sure your sewing machines have been lonely! I look forward to seeing new creations. Yours are always inspirational.
So glad that you feed ready to quilt and blog again, have missed you. Margaret
Phew, I was thinking all sorts of things by your silence.... Even when life gets in the way, you should post something which lets us know you are fine.... I nearly rang you but was frightened that no one might answer..... You see we care and we WORRY. Cannot wait to see what you are working on, keep quilting but be careful not to overdo it whilst you get those muscles working again, xxx.
Thanks everyone for your comments and well wishes! Sally, sorry to be incommunicado for so long, please don't worry if I do become absent for awhile, as things happen.
I did learn a few things while going thru re-training on my machine and quilting, and will write about that soon. Meanwhile everyone stay warm and try something new and fresh in your work; it's hard to break old habits, but it can be a very good thing too.
I did upgrade to Windows 8.1 and many of my issues with 8 disappeared, things are going well on my nice laptop. Now I have to address my "dead in the water" website. Please be patient while I explore possibilities there!
I have been waiting for a long time and have been working hard on my FMQ to feel worthy of taking a class from you. In the meantime I have read and refer to your books. I will continue to wait for you because you are the last of my bucket list instructors. Until then be well and be warned..... My niece goes to school in Madison and I am know to visit. I have car and can travel.
I happened upon your recent post this am and am so happy to hear from you. Oliver is such a sweetie. I have to share a drinking from the faucet story. My Punkin used to do this too but one day apparently someone had just used the hot water and it was still hot. After that he would swipe he paw under the water before he drank!! Smart kitty. I do have to laugh and think of all the ladies out there who are going - oooh she lets her cat on the counter and in the sink! Give Oliver a kiss for me and welcome back.
We've missed you! So good to see you back. And wonderful to see pics of Oliver again.
Hope you are enjoying restarting the quilting journey.
Thanks for all the nice comments! I really appreciate them.
Rebecca, Oliver has not had hot water yet as his responsible Mom checks it before letting him drink, but your cat must be brilliant to figure this out and check the temp with his paw first, wow.
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