Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thank you!

I have the BEST fans, don't I? Thank you all so much for all of your comments after my last post. You are all so right about everything - but please don't be alarmed, sometimes I just have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel but I just cannot see it yet because I am too deep in the middle of that tunnel. I WANT to quilt but I think I also DON'T want to quilt, does that make sense? Push - pull, I need a break, I don't want to take a break. Like so many of you I am addicted to quilting and my life feels off if I am not making something. That's the hard part because I simply have no energy yet, so that's part of the problem. I know it will be resolved in time (sooner than later I hope) and I will find a good balance.


Lovely squares I really can't wait to put into a quilt . . . .

Don't worry, I do intend to take it easy and simply take the pressure off myself for a while and try not to worry about the fact that I am not being especially "creatively productive" right now. I always have enough to do to keep me busy anyway. I have a doctor appointment coming up and will get a good post-surgery checkup. Will get some of those questions answered. My daughter and I are going on a little shopping trip this week to find something for me to wear to her brother's graduation next weekend. I have nothing to wear that's loose and comfortable around my middle . . . . Also, I need a haircut like you would not believe. Enough little outings, one a day,  to tire me out for sure but without TOO much exhaustion.

Please, I did not mean to criticize those of you who are looking forward to future projects. I'm flattered that so many of you always become excited about a new book! They take a looong time, however, and a lot of work, which is a little overwhelming at this point. I like to tell people to please make some of the quilts from my last book first . . .  don't just look at the pictures, LOL. It's very frustrating for me because I know I also put  pressure on myself to please people with new things/projects as well. This blog will have to stand in as my Creative Outlet for now.

The birthday barbeque yesterday was nice and it was great getting together with our families. Everyone brought something to eat and also helped with clean-up so I was able to take it easy a little. I have four sisters and when we get together my husband says we all talk at the same time, over each other, LOL. By the time everyone left, I ran out of steam and went to bed at nine . . .

My daughter's favorite gift was probably these shoes we got for her. What is it about teenagers and shoes these days??


Thank goodness for wish lists, online shopping and free shipping 

Oh, that and the fact that I let her use my Barnes & Noble account to buy some e-books to read on my Nook.  Years ago, after disasters always seemed to occur whenever one of my kids "borrowed" my CD player, ipod, phone, etc., I  instituted a "hands-off" rule as far as my personal electronics went. The ban was finally lifted. What a mom, huh? But I doubt I'll let her take it to the beach.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Creative Stress

I'll be honest. I won't lie to you. I'm feeling blocked and stuck these days. I just cannot get over it and have almost no creative urge or impulse AT ALL. Nada. Totally lacking in inspiration.


I really used to enjoy playing around with ideas for new quilts.


The box is empty  right now . . .

Does that ever happen to you? For someone who calls herself a "quilt designer/author" it's pretty stressful and depressing, let me tell you. Not many will admit to this I think. I pick up magazines and books and look at blogs to see what's new but it seems like everything is whirling past me so fast and I have not kept up for so long. Will anyone still be there waiting for me at the station when I finally get off this recovery train?


I get e-mails asking me "What's next, what's next, What are you working on, When is another book coming out??  Soon, soon, soon, we hope . . . can't wait for another one!" Give. me. a. break. Actually, forgive me for sounding rude  and cranky, I'm really a nice person, honest, but I simply want to scream back sometimes: "I'm on a break! I'm still having a hard time making myself lunch and walking up and down stairs . . . "

The dilemma is, if I'm technically on a break, shouldn't I still just be quilting for fun or whatever? Happy as a clam to finally have time to myself?? Quilting always used to make  me feel good. Last week I was all ready to pick up a few of my Dear Jane blocks and see if I could at least whip up a few easy ones to add to my meager collection. I got out the Dear Jane book and poked through some of my scraps -


I turned on the iron and promptly burned my left hand. Ouch, has it been so long since I've quilted that I forgot how to use one, LOL?? But I persisted, slipped on a bandage and put an ice pack on it. It's only my left, I can still cut and sew with my right. 


I chose a block, then went over to the printer with my freezer paper to transfer the block pattern from my DJ  EQ software. Yes, you guessed it, the printer decided that now was a perfect time to break. I'm pretty sure I just used it 2 days ago and it was FINE. Could not get anything out of it except for a loud, angry, grinding sigh. Or, wait, was that coming from me?? I suspect this is the Universe telling me to just go sit down and watch another movie already or read a book or something until I feel better. No quilting for now.

Big sigh . . .

Actually, I do have a few other things on my plate at the moment - a party/barbeque to plan for tomorrow for My Daughter's 18th Birthday. Nothing fancy, hamburgers (and one veggie burger) on the grill,  some easy sides and a salad. A cake from the store (sorry  Hon).  Not stressful at all but nevertheless a lot more than I've done in awhile. But she's my miracle baby - the one I was lucky enough to have at a late age when we thought there was no hope for another - and I always like to make her feel special you know. The weather should be nice and, oh yes, some of the perennials are blooming and all of the bought plants are now in pots or in the ground! Yay for super hard-working husbands!!






They grow up so fast . . . 
My son is graduating from college next week and, before I know it, she'll be gone too.

I will have more thoughts on this creativity thing coming up I'm sure. I'm not WORKING on anything so what else do I have to do until I get my groove back?


I'll get that box filled up soon, I just know it. The hardest part is waiting.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victorian Daydreaming

You'll remember a while ago I showed you some conversational prints I was using for my daughter's college quilt. Then Karan sent me some of hers with animals on them to add to my collection. I searched the internet after that and found a few fat quarters of others I hadn't seen and they've been sitting here waiting for me to post some photos.

All tied up with a pretty ribbon


Victorian Ladies with Umbrellas, Pinwheels (yes!), Victorian Sledders and Victorian Children Pushing a Barrel

This is not exactly related to the fabric, but bear with me.  A few weeks ago, around the same time these fabrics came in the mail (and before my surgery), my husband and I took our daughter on a little trip to a revisit a small college in Illinois. She liked the college and  we especially enjoyed the surrounding residential area with many lovely old Victorian houses built around the turn of the century.




I'm sure I could easily live here in one of these beautiful homes. Too far from Chicago and my husband's job though, darn it . . . . he's never been fond of long commutes to and from work and I don't blame him. I've been lucky enough  to work in my jammies for years, albeit in a small house with kids underfoot for most of them. Anyway, in my Victorian daydreams, I've always wished for a big house with a huge front porch and yes, most definitely, throw in a  a turret too. Maybe someday . . .  

I jokingly told my daughter that if she went to this school, we'd probably have to buy a house in the area to be closer and also to keep an eye on her, LOL. I'm pretty sure she didn't take me seriously, but as much as she liked the school and the houses, she eventually chose a different college to attend in the Fall so I guess no more Victorian daydreaming for me when we visit her at school! It was fun while it lasted.


Not making much progress on The College Quilt yet - only have a few blocks finished and so still have a ways to go. Oh well, I hope to get the okay from the Good Doctor to sit down at the sewing machine for a bit soon (too much sitting isn't good for my stitches). This will definitely be my summer project if I can keep from getting too distracted by other things.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Slowing It Down Again

I had a few little setbacks recently and had to go into the ER the other day.  I am feeling a little better today but still having a hard time accepting the fact that my recovery is going slowly and I just cannot do the things I want to do yet. It's a little frustrating (and boring, too) but when I do too much I suffer. So I resigned myself and it was back to the sofa for more prescribed rest to help me heal faster.


I always have my reliable companions nearby - dogs and books, dogs and books.

I just cannot seem to get into quilting yet and have no energy to do much else. The most recent version of Little Women was on TV yesterday and it was a nice way to spend a lazy afternoon. I remember growing up with the classic 1949 version of the movie starring June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Margaret O'Brien and Elizabeth Taylor and I always liked it fine. But I decided I really love this newer version starring Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Christian Bale and Claire Danes from 1994.


The set designs were simply wonderful and I really enjoyed the New England atmosphere, the costumes, the quilts and even the dolls sitting on little quilts in some scenes.




I fell in love with one of the quilts seen in a few of the scenes from the movie and I intend to make a little one like it using a variety of my pink and indigo blue repro fabrics someday.

It looked something like this.

Anyway, if  you haven't seen this newer version of Little Women, it's worth taking a look.  I don't remember what kind of reviews it got in 1994 and I'm sure there are those who say nothing can live up to the original, but I still liked it. I think it captured the period very well.


I've read two novels since I've been home and after watching the movie, picked this one up again  - March by Geraldine Brooks.


Ms. Brooks wrote her novel from the perspective of the absent father from the novel Little Women and the story relates his own experiences during the Civil War. A little graphic about the war in parts but a wonderfully creative take on the story and worth reading if you like historical fiction. 

Have a good weekend! I'm going to send my husband out to the Garden Center tomorrow (before the world ends at 6 p.m. . . . ) for some flowers and then stand there and "direct" while he and my daughter plant them this weekend unless we determine it's still too early (or it rains) in which case it might be better to wait until next weekend. Next week is my daughter's birthday (18! I can hardly believe it . . . )  and we always celebrate the occasion with a family barbeque around Memorial Day. It sure would be nice to have some pretty flowers to show off, wouldn't it?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Perk-me-ups

If there's a perk to being sick, it's the kind thoughts and get well wishes I have gotten from friends from all over. Thank you so much for sending all those cards and letters. 


I appreciate every one and if I could respond I would. I am still not feeling great yet and am working out the pain meds thing. I need to take something because I am not quite healed but more often than not the pills make me drowsy or woozy and because I have so many allergies, I am limited in what I can take. I also have had to limit my diet for awhile and go for soft and bland, very low fiber for a few months, which is not fun and sometimes boring, as much as I love mashed potatoes. It's definitely a challenge to try to be creative with soft, well-cooked vegetables and fruit and a little chicken or pasta on most days. I've handed over the meal preparation to my husband for awhile.


It's not quite this bad, but it might as well be . . . I have a taste for Chinese take-out or a nice big chopped salad - both no-nos.

Other perks from family and friends -



The turquoise bracelet was a Mother's Day gift from my daughter. Isn't it beautiful? The fabric was a gift from myself that I ordered before I went into the hospital - I knew I'd need something to perk me up when I was able to sew again.


Ingrid is anxious for me to get better so I can do yoga with her . . .


See, I still read real books . . .  This one is a wonderful collection of many of my favorite poems.


Do you see a certain color trend here?? I'm glad everyone associates me with that wonderful blue-green, turquoise, aqua color . . . I think I need to get cracking on the thank you cards soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Home at Last

Blogger and I are both finally feeling better, thank goodness. I came home from the hospital on Tuesday and can't say that I've felt like doing much of anything until today because of the pain.

My abdominal surgery went very well but as I said I was in a lot of pain and exhausted for a week afterwards. There's no good way to get ANY sleep in a hospital and I think the healing doesn't even BEGIN until you go home. They sent me home with a minor dose of a pain killer. I was getting almost NO relief for 2 days and was not able to sit up without cringing it was so bad. So I called the doctor and he increased it a bit. You really cannot heal until your pain is under control. After that I was able to get some sleep last night, the first in over a week. I was grateful and though I woke up in pain because I slept through my 3 a.m. scheduled meds I felt a little more like myself. I had great nurses and excellent care while in the hospital but it makes such a difference being home and in familiar surroundings without those IV monitors beeping.

My caring sisters and my wonderful daughter are taking care of me again while my husband is at work. I have a visiting nurse this week and next who will come in a couple of times to check my incision and progress, which is also really nice in case I have any questions or concerns. I'm trying to remember how it all went last time I had surgery and even though this time I started out in more pain because of a larger incision, I think it's actually going better. Maybe I'm just used to the drill and don't get as frustrated if I can't do something or start to feel bad. I'm more relaxed and know it will get better eventually.


I'm not supposed to bend because of my incision, so there's a trail of stuff I've dropped all over the house that isn't going to get picked up until someone else does it. I finally see the need for a Lady in Waiting! It's so funny - the last time it drove me nuts but now I don't care. Someone will get it eventually and I'm not going to worry about it because I care more about taking care of myself than if there's a pen or piece of mail on the floor. Not worth stretching the wrong way. If I start feeling sorry for myself I just sit down and have a good cry, and that takes care of it and I move on.

I'm in good hands. My one sister went grocery shopping the other day and brought me my favorite ice cream. A surefire healing food, did you know that?? One of my other sisters came over and made me egg salad for lunch (protein) and brought dinner - vegetable lasagna. My friend Julia made us a chicken pie for supper tonight. Yum!


I have a lot of reading to catch up on in ther next few weeks and then maybe I'll feel like doing some hand stitching while I recuperate. All in all, it's sooo good to be home and I'm looking forward to getting healthy again. But first I have to eat all that ice cream . . . .




Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Pinwheels

I pulled out the Pinwheel blocks I made a few weeks ago when my head was spinning and everything was in turmoil over my dog's seemingly fragile health.



I put them together into a small quilt and added borders. I can't stop smiling when I look at it, thinking how different it seems -  almost cheerful, not so depressing. Now when I look at them I think of Spring and those toy pinwheels spinning away in the breeze. Reminding me that things took a "turn" for the better this time. Maybe it's a sign that things at the Tracy household are on an upward swing after a difficult year. Spring -  renewal, rebirth, second chances and all.




I'll layer it and get it ready to quilt tomorrow. I'm going into the hospital this week for my last surgery (hopefully the last one - keep a good thought). I expect I'll be there for about a week or so. The quilt will be something to add to the pile of hand stitching I want to work on after I get home, while I'm recovering on the couch.

I won't be too interested in blogging for awhile I suspect. The last recovery period was difficult. I probably won't answer e-mails for a little while either and book orders will be delayed, just so you know. For those of you who joined the American Schoolgirl Club this year (same club, same patterns from last year - I just ran it a second time) - you don't have to worry about this month's patterns, they'll be mailed out tomorrow after I take the dog to the groomer for a much needed trim.

Happy dog!
So wish me well and keep your fingers crossed that I'll be back to feeling great in no time. This time I'll try to avoid more horror stories of my health, only positive posts, I promise. I'm putting all that negative stuff behind me. Upward swing, remember?

 

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