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Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
A lesson learned from meditation practice

Once, I studied meditation. Didn’t follow it much, never got much out of it, except I learned one thing. A technique.

It was this: While meditating, though the goal is to keep your mind clear, thoughts will likely intrude. Rather than grind on the thoughts or berate yourself for having them, just notice they are passing by, and let them keep on passing. Perhaps imagine setting each thought on a leaf, and sending it downstream, or in a bubble to float away on the breeze. Recognize they occur, but do not indulge them much. You can think about them later, when it is their turn, perhaps. Right now, you are fully occupied with holding an empty mind, so these thoughts are welcome to depart.

This is how I’m dealing with my thoughts of dying lately. They are thoughts that pass through my mind frequently. I treat them like cottonwood seeds, floating past on the breeze. My job is simply not to give them a place to sprout. I am impermeable, like a well-paved cement street. They may collect in the gutters like drifts of snow, but eventually they WILL be blown or washed away.

In this way I allow that even when thoughts of death or suicide come at me in a flurry, seeming to fairly choke the air with their multitude, I still remain somewhat untouched. This is a fact: thoughts of death occur, and they seem innocent, fluffy, and attractive as they drift past. It does NOT follow that “I want to die”.

I am not to be blamed for the occurrence of thoughts or impulses. I am only responsible for how I respond to them. Since I know these particular thoughts are antithetical to the life I choose to pursue for myself and my family, I do not take ownership of them. I do not welcome them, water them, or tend them. I watch them drift past. Sometimes singly. Sometimes in a flurry. But they do drift away if I simply let them go.



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
Hexie Quilt Borders

I got the four corners all sewed and attached.
April is Quilt Show month at Pacific Fabrics, so I had to take down my quilt top, as only completed quilts can be shown. I’m happy, though, because this gives me time to work on it, ready to display again in May.
Now I’m working on putting borders around my basic rectangular shape. I hung the quilt top on my wall and noticed that it really needed some framing to help set it off properly. Having the pattern right out to the edge is not really pleasing to the eye. We honor things we value by giving them frames, and a certain amount of space around them. So that’s what I’m working on now.

I’ve drafted another pattern to include the five more rows of plain green fabric that will surround the “flowerbeds” portion of the quilt. Well, four rows of plain with one accent row of color which includes another flower motif at each corner, for interest. That should be enough “quiet” space to make the quilt look its best.

After this is all done, I don’t know for sure whether I’ll want to add embroidery to the quilt, or actually finish it AS a quilt, or whether I just want to display it as a top. I said before that I didn’t really love the quilt, but it’s growing on me again. I guess part of that is the knowledge that I don’t really want to start from scratch with another quilt, nor do I have a clue what colors or patterns I would use to make another quilt. This may well end up being the only hexagon quilt I ever make. If so, I guess it’s important that I hang on to it.

Next English Paper Piecing class is this Friday. I think I’ll ask the girls if they might like to consider writing a book. That would be a fun project, I think. We could feature all our different original patterns, as well as the wisdom we’ve gleaned from testing various products and techniques.



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
Hexagon Quilt Corners

A week ago was our first English Paper Piecing class, and we had three girls besides me show up. Another couple of people saw what we were doing and showed interest, and might decide to join us next time. We are all having a lot of fun sharing this craft together, and we feel like we’re at the front of a real movement gathering.

It makes sense. Hand knitting and crochet having taken off so well in the past years goes to show that people are ready for the challenge of take-along hand crafts again. Hand sewing is very similar to hand-knitting in that it is simple to do, restful and repetitive in its motions, yet always interesting in the variations available in patterns, color, and fabrics to choose from.

I have successfully drafted a pattern that can be added to my hexagon quilt as corners, reflecting though not mimicking the original design. One corner has been completed, and I have a very good head start on the others by having the fabric cut out and my travel sewing kit ready to go at all times. I’m enjoying sewing in public mostly, as that makes me feel more connected to people, even if I’m not directly talking with them. I’m always catching happy glances as folks show interest in this nearly forgotten craft. People are often surprised how easily it goes together, and what a beautiful result it makes.

My next EPP meeting will be a week from now. I hope to have at least one more full corner done by then, if not all four, so that I may then use class time to attach them to the main quilt. Promised pictures will have to wait, sadly, because with my computer issues I obviously cannot make good on them right now. I did have my daughter take a snapshot with her phone and e-mail it to me, but I was never able to figure out how to translate that photo attachment to something y’all could see here.

But anyway, I’m alive and well, if not much in touch. I’ll be around again eventually. Love to all!

-Crunchy



Joyride (read all 12 entries…)
been getting out lately

One of the little blessings to have come out of having a borked computer is that I finally got so bored at home that I got myself out and moving again. In the past week I’ve been to the library three times, and have been to the ferry park once. Now that spring is here the weather is warming up and the sun is shining, and I’m very happy to be out and about finally!

I must confess, though, that my muscles had atrophied so far from disuse that the first day I got home I was SOOOOOORRRREEEE! My legs hurt something awful, and I spent the next whole day in bed. But I did get out again, and now things feel like they’re getting stronger already.

Sidenote: Our main form of entertainment at home is watching shows on Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. Without any of that available, I’ve had to make do with reading books again. I’ve read “The Mermaid Chair”, “The Help”, “Something M.Y.T.H. Inc.”, “By the Shores of Silver Lake”, “The Stainless Steel Rat Returns”, and one or two others I can’t recall. I tend to finish about a book a day. The good thing is that I got my son to read the Stainless Steel Rat book with me! I would read a chapter while he relaxes, then he would read a chapter while I sew. It is a pretty good arrangement. He is happy to be spending the time with me, he’s learning to appreciate a new book genre, expanding his vocabulary, and warding off the infinite boredom of having nothing to watch. So that’s cool.

One of my goals to keep myself from stewing at home is to take my sewing outside. There is a table in the library right under a frosted skylight which has excellent light, and I have tried sitting there to work on my hexagon quilt. Though I was just minding my own business I naturally attracted some attention. I got to speak with several strangers about the joys of hand-sewing, and one young teen and her mother thought it was just the coolest thing they’d ever seen. I gave them the time and place for our next English Paper Piecing class and invited them to come sit with us. So that makes me feel good. I’m giving myself a chance to be with people instead of isolating myself terribly much. This, plus the change in the weather is making me very happy lately.



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Computer Issues

Dear 43T Friends:

My computer is on the fritz. I won’t be able to communicate much until it is fixed. My only computer access right now is at the library, for up to one hour per day when I’m able to get there, so obviously that is very limited. Please don’t think anything’s wrong with me, or that I’m ignoring you on purpose!

I have no idea how long it will take for me to get things back to normal. Until then, I hope everyone here takes good care of themselves. I love you all!

Crunchy



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
a little more work on the old quilt top

Yesterday I was at a gathering of creative ladies who like to hang out once a month and work on their (separate) projects together. I met a nice lady named Amy who thought my English Paper Piecing was interesting, and she decided to join the little class we’re doing tomorrow at Pacific Fabrics. I feel proud! I just made our membership grow by 33%!

The hexagon quilt top I made was put on display at Pacific Fabrics. However, they had it pinned to a backer board, because it’s hexagonal shape wouldn’t hang well on its own. That hides the construction details of hand stitching that I so want to show off. Therefore I’m now working on building up the corners to make it rectangular. I hope to have that done before class at 5pm on Friday.

I’ve already cut out fabric for another flurry of hexie sewing. I haven’t got the pattern straight in my head yet, but I figure I’ll be able to eyeball it, using elements I’ve already got and filling in as needed.



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
Starting Over

I decided not to mess with the work I’ve already finished. I brought the completed quilt top to the fabric store, and gave it to them to display, to advertise for the EPP class we’re starting. Everyone at the store was gaga over it. It made me proud, and I’m very glad that it is going to a good cause. Encouraging others to appreciate and take up this fine hand craft is worth it.

I will now start from scratch, taking with me the lessons I learned from the first one, and make a new quilt top which hopefully will please me better when it’s done. I’m really very happy, and looking forward to another month of creativity and joyful obsession.



~-~Monthly Goals~-~ (read all 2 entries…)
march madness

Tonight I will meditate on how to make my quilt top. I may mend it. I may mix it up. I might map a magical modification. I might feel moved to moderate my madness, though, and leave it the hell alone.



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
How do I deal with disappointment?

So I finished the hexagon quilt top. I starched and ironed it, and hung it on the wall with pins, and now I’m taking a reeeeeeally good look at it.

I don’t like it.

It’s well-done, but I just don’t like the pattern how I’ve laid out the flowers. It annoys me.

Damn.

Well, the next one I make will be better. I’ve learned some things. I’ve enjoyed the work, so it isn’t wasted time. But maybe it’s okay for me to think of this one as a scrapped project. Maybe that’ll even be fun. When I stop caring about ruining something I get the freedom to risk doing all kinds of horrible shit to it that I would never dare trying on something “good”. And quite often those risks pay off, and I learn wonderful new techniques.

Hmm… what are some things I’m scared to do to a good quilt? Maybe tea-dying the whole thing to give it an aged look. Or… doing weird embroidery all over it like a crazy quilt. Or painting on it. Or stamping it. Maybe doodle with fabric markers. Or cut the whole thing into pieces (not unpicking it, just cutting) and resew it another way.

I’ll let these destructive creative ideas simmer and see what speaks to me tomorrow.



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
thinking about quilting

Well, I have done it! I have finished the hexagon top. At least, I’ve gotten the border on, and it’s at a stage now that makes a very good stopping point. Since I have several weeks left in the month I might decide to go ahead and add those corners like I thought before, to make this thing more of a regular rectangular shape suitable for hanging on a wall.

I’ve also decided I want to add some special hand stitches/embroidery to enhance the flowers. I’m not sure yet whether that can “count” as the quilting of the piece, or whether it needs to be done while it is still just a top. I probably won’t bother embroidering it if I have to mess with a hoop and all. I’m incredibly lazy that way. Even when doing the hand quilting I intend to do, I will not use a hoop or frame, but will use hand basting to hold the thing steady while I work on it.

See those red zigzag stitches? That’s the basting. It does a much better job than safety pins to hold your quilt layers firmly together, yet stays flexible so you can just hand-quilt however you want right there in your lap.

Last time I quilted a hexagon top I used simple straight lines like this:

Which is great, very firm and all, but doesn’t do a lot to enhance the flowery effect of the top I’m making now.

I don’t want something too complex. I don’t want to try to cover every inch with quilting, or make exotic patterns. I just want something kinda folksy and bright that enhances the flowers and leaves and is practical.

If this were a GFG quilt, this would be traditional:

But my quilt isn’t this, and I want to do something more original, maybe more organic. I want it to feel like a bouquet of flowers more than like just a “pattern”.

I dunno. Something will come to me, I’m sure.



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
New sewing group?

Today I made it to Pacific Fabrics, and showed off my quilt top. A girl who works there named Jan was all agog over it, and said she always wanted to learn English Paper Piecing. Another worker there whose name I think was Laura said she also enjoys doing EPP, but never before met anyone else who did it. So the three of us decided we will start our own group to get together and sew.

Jan is a knitter, not a sewer. So although she works at a fabric store she has no fabric stash of her own. So to help her get started I assured her I’d be more than happy to bring some of my own stash to share so she can give the method a try without investing too much money to start.

I left my name and number with them, and they said they’ll call me to arrange a meeting time as soon as we can.

Yay! I’m gonna have sewing buddies! :D



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
sewing on the bus

Today I went to the lawyer again, and finished up some paperwork. He will be served by Monday. My divorce is finally happening!

Because the trip to the lawyer’s office takes a lot of time on the bus, not to mention a lot of time waiting around for the bus, for the appointment, and then for the bus again, I decided to bring my hexagon quilt top with me to see how much I could get done in these strange circumstances.

I was surprised to be able to sew quite well, even on a moving bus. It didn’t seem to affect my stitch length at all. I guess my fingers are just really used to doing what they’re doing! It doesn’t sound like much, but I got about fourteen hexagons made and attached during these couple of bumpy, windy, awkward hours.

I also got the bonus of getting to show my work off to many strangers. Lots of people ooohed and aaahed over it. Everyone thought it looked cool. The ones who knew a tiny bit about sewing were actually blown away! It was cool. I felt like a rock star. :D



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Bad Dreams. VERY Bad Dreams.

For the past few nights I’ve had bad dreams. Normally my dreams are weird, and that’s fine. Often I have lucid dreams, and if I know a dream is becoming a nightmare I can either change it or wake myself up. But lately my dreams have taken a new tack and I don’t know what to do about it.

I always think my dreams mean something. Generally they mean something really mundane, which boils down to “this is the way your life is right now, and this is what you’re afraid of”. But I don’t understand these two dreams. I’d like to share some parts of them, to get others’ reactions. But they are rather horrible. Please do not read further if it will disturb you. But if you do read, please give me your impression of what you think such images might be trying to communicate, if they were speaking to you.

First nightmare: I am in the house I grew up in. I am in the garage, where my father keeps all his tools for woodworking and cars and stuff. It smells like car grease and oil. A man rides up on a motorcycle that I’ve never seen before, but I somehow know immediately he has a gun and will likely kill us all. But he’s acting nice for now, and asks to see my father. I act nice and say I’ll go get him. I’m about 16. I go call my father and try to explain that a scary man just came up, but the dream ends before I can say anything. That is very weird because normally things get pretty gruesome before I start feeling scared, and in this dream I woke suddenly with that heart-clutching feeling even though nothing in particular happened.

Last night a much more revolting dream happened. I dreamed I was at a very large school with thousands of students. While using the bathroom I found a stall that had severed body parts stacked neatly in it, as though it were standard procedure for a certain number of kids to be dismembered and disposed of there. Yet at that point my dream did not “feel” like a nightmare yet, and I continued sleeping.

It gets worse. Later I dreamed that I was at a place I called home. There were neighbors living on both sides of me, like an apartment. I liked this home, it was beautiful and full of freedom and interesting things and I was happy. Somehow I stumbled into the house of a neighbor and to make a long story short I found that she was a witch who killed, dismembered, and ate children, and the two kids living with her now were about to be killed. I managed to take out a cell phone and take photos of some professionally wrapped meat parts labelled with the child’s name they’d been taken from, that were found in her refrigerator. As I was snapping the photos for evidence, thinking to prosecute her, a child ran by me and I heard a loud noise that told me the witch was coming, and I woke knowing she’d found me and probably killed me, and I would never be able to show that evidence, and I had saved nobody.

These dreams were very disturbing. I don’t normally have such graphically horrible dreams. I don’t watch horror movies. I don’t think nasty thoughts like this. I don’t know where this is coming from.

I got up, took some headache medicine, spent some time browsing the internet to distract myself, then went back to sleep and finished sleeping the rest of the night in relative peace. But I feel very upset that I had those dreams, and I want to know what message may have been intended by dreaming of people, especially kids, being cut up like that. It is too horrible to forget, while simultaneously being too horrible to contemplate. Especially the professional wrapping, like anything you might see in a grocer’s meat case.

I am not a vegetarian. My mother was a meat wrapper, so I’m very familiar with meat cases and I don’t think of them as horrible in any way. It was the violated humanity of those children which was the nightmare.

Please share any thoughts you might have, which might shed a bit of perspective on this terrible night’s sleep for me. What might my subconscious be trying to tell me?



sew a hexagon quilt (read all 30 entries…)
have almost reached my goal

Finally I am nearly done filling in the edges of this quilt. It now has a nice, regular hexagon shape to it instead of an irregular snowflake edge.

It is about a yard across at its widest point.

The only thing left now is to put a green border all around it, then consider whether to make the whole thing bigger by another round of “something” or whether to leave it and call it good. I suppose at this size it is an appropriate wall hanging, perhaps, or might make a table-topper (under glass).

I suppose I might decide to square it all up somewhat by adding four corners to it. I could figure that out somehow. It would make it easier to hang as a rectangular shape than if it were hexagonal. But the hexagon will make a better table topper. I keep thinking, though, that it might make a really nice medallion quilt, featuring this bit right on that part of the bed where it shows the most, then continuing to add borders and corners and stripes or flowers or whatever I want, until it is a good twin size. I’ve never made anything as big as a twin comforter before. It would be a real accomplishment if I could take it that far. Probably take me at least the rest of this year to complete, though, if I worked on it very steadily. Would it be worth it? Would I love it and use it? Or would it be “just another blanket”? Or worst yet, might I decide the colors are too darn green-and-pink that I can’t live with it? I don’t know. I’ll have to let the ideas simmer a while longer.



~-~Monthly Goals~-~ (read all 2 entries…)
Make the Most of March!

Inspired by this post by Saraband I have decided to try setting goals with a one-month time frame. That seems like a reasonable chunk of time to think about, in terms of seeing a result in any activity. (At least in the sense of seeing a goal advanced, if not completed.)

For fun, I’m going to begin monthly inspiration by meditating on words beginning in that month’s letter.

So far, words I’ve thought of to help inspire March are:
  • meditate
  • mindful
  • memorable
  • medicine
  • maximize
  • minimize
  • make
  • makeover
  • make up
  • mad
  • mix
  • mend
  • mint
  • move
  • more
  • massage

I’m not sure which of these words will seem most meaningful (another great word! gotta add it!) on any given day, but I will try using them to help me focus on positive goals I can achieve this month.

I’m putting these words on a sticky note on my computer monitor, to help remind me to think of them every day.



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
it's unspeakable

Someone once told me a long time ago that she heard of a therapist who used this technique: they would say an awful phrase, and you’d repeat it. Like: “I’m stupid.”—“I’m stupid.”

They’d go down a list of various bad words that one might call one’s self. When they got to the word you couldn’t say, THAT was the word you really believed. “I’m pathetic.”—“I’m ppppppppppp…..”

All the other bad words were ones that didn’t really bother you, or that you didn’t really believe about yourself.

Kinda like that old bit from “Happy Days” when Fonzie couldn’t say he was sorry, or wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwkU8-d1gIk

I know what my unsay-able word is. It has been the same word my whole life. I knew it the first time I heard of this technique. For a while there, (sometime in the last five years) I remember I thought I was cured because suddenly I was able to say the unsayable word! I didn’t believe it anymore.

Today I found that once again I cannot say it. I can barely think it. It’s weird, because I know it isn’t true. But obviously on some level, I must “know” it IS true.

Le sigh.

My question for everyone is: (You don’t have to reveal your unsayable word—that might be impossible anyway. But just…) Do you have an unsayable word, or know what yours might be? Please leave me a comment, if so. Just saying whether or not you find this to be true for you.



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
food affecting mood?

Does anyone have any experience with food vastly changing your mood? I felt like I was gonna die earlier. I felt like my soul was rotting in my body.

What did I eat? I’m trying to think… I had salad. I had a salad that was all greens, grated carrots, with sesame seeds and dressing. Sounded healthy for a change. I normally eat mostly protein.

I also had some apple juice.

That was lunch. For breakfast I had leftovers from yesterday – beans and rice, and homemade enchiladas.

After feeling so bad this afternoon I had a bacon sandwich, and began to feel better. Then for dinner I had chicken (nothing else) and now I feel almost chipper! I feel almost entirely better, except for my back being sore still. But my feelings are all okay again.

I know salad is supposed to be good for you, and excessive meat is supposed to be bad. But somehow that doesn’t seem to be how my chemistry is working right now. I better keep better watch on this for a while.



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Not good, and getting worse. Need help.

Definitely seeing a downward trend in me. Going from having “some” happiness to having to scrape to find any. I have plenty of gratitude, plenty of love, plenty of comfort. I’m not sick, my housing and income are not threatened. I haven’t had any recent heartbreaks. Everything for me is fine. But I feel myself sliding down and down into deeper feelings of “I can’t find any joy anywhere”. Living is becoming a battle, like every action must be performed while fighting through flames.

I’m going to call Kitsap Mental Health tomorrow, and see whether there’s any hope I might be able to get on some medication. I’ve tried meds before, and they didn’t work for me at all. But I can’t keep going down like this now and not at least try to do something about it. If they don’t work it’s okay. I am allowed to sleep or whatever, since I don’t have a job. But if they do work I might be able to start functioning again.

I’d like to go back to Pacific Fabrics. I want to clean my house, make dinner for my kids, go shopping, etc. All I’ve been able to do for weeks is sit and sew. I feel terrible. I want help. I hope very much that maybe I can find it. I’ll call first thing tomorrow.



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Superpowers

It occurred to me today that I possess the most hated of superpowers: I am intelligent.

In any comic book you will always notice the heroes are people who are super-strong. Sometimes they have powers of controlling animals or mystic machines and weapons. But the VILLAINS are always the ones with super intelligence, bulging craniums, and a lust to take over the world.

I think it speaks to a fundamental distrust that stupid people have towards smart people. I think that based on a simple bell curve average there MUST be more stupid people than smart people, statistically. There must also be more strong people than weak people, statistically. But a stupid person can understand strength. They see it as a force for (probably) good, so you can get work done or beat up somebody who deserves it. But intelligence is incomprehensible. It’s like… cheating. Getting ahead without using sheer brute force? That’s sneaky. Baffling. Evil.

I see prejudice all the time against teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other types whose jobs depend on knowing things that average people don’t know, and possibly couldn’t understand even if it were explained to them pretty slowly. I see resentment at their assumption that those brainy types are “acting all superior”. I see the first objection most people instantly get fighting mad about is whenever they are called STUPID. It is the worst insult possible nowadays. NOBODY will put up with it. It’s okay to be weak, short, fat, ugly, disabled, or any other physical thing, but to imply one person has less mental dexterity than another? That’s just over the line. Somehow that challenges fears that nobody wants challenged.

Maybe it’s because intelligence is largely invisible. You can probably see at a glance how one person’s physical prowess will stack up against another’s. But to know how smart they are takes a bit more digging (assuming the smart person isn’t smart enough to HIDE the fact that they’re so smart).

It just makes me sad. I remember always being encouraged, in school, by teachers and … I don’t know what … telling me I should try hard to get good grades, learn all I can, etc. I did, and ended up utterly friendless. I guess that advice was actually meant for average fools, to whom learning was a difficult challenge they had to be prodded into. Smart kids like me didn’t need encouragement to be smart. We needed encouragement to develop other parts of ourselves. I could have used a course in how to be friendlier, or funnier (in ways that people would appreciate), or even better-looking, if they’d been sold to me as necessary for getting along with people in life, rather than as necessary “for health”.

But, smart as I was, I wasn’t quite smart enough to crack that code. I let my smarts show, and that was a stupid mistake. What a dummy.



Talk. Confess. Enlighten the world. Let it go already. (read all 333 entries…)
Untitled

I need a back rub.



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