Dad, Airports and Disneyland

The things I’ve been thinking about today are scattered and don’t have much cohesiveness.

20 years ago, we had just arrived in Germany. We had our first taste of jet lag, waking up at 2am with sleep nowhere in sight.  Paul left to go to work at 6am. I promised I would keep the kids up and none of us would sleep until that night. Paul called the hotel room, waking me up, at 10:30am, “Hello.” “Rachel, your dad died.”

The last time I saw my dad, he was in a hospital bed, intubated. He kept coughing without sound. He was restrained so that he wouldn’t pull his tube out. I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t comfort him. I cried and told him I loved him. I left him, feeling that I might not see him again. A few hours later I was flying to Germany with my little family.

I dropped Paul off at The Ontario Airport yesterday morning as I do often and I thought of my dad. Although nothing looks familiar, when I see the sign at the entrance a flash flood of very specific memories, careens into my head.

I was 9 or 10 and we were dropping Dad off. I remember he was going back to Houston where there was a business opportunity. He had driven to Houston a few weeks earlier and was home visiting, we were dropping him off to go back. I remember my mom and dad not thinking very highly of Ontario. I don’t know why, but I feel that every time.  I remember that we had family prayer before he drove away the first time and we all cried and hugged because we knew we were going to be separated. I remember feeling like it was the end of the world.

I submitted my resume to Disneyland today, for a job that looks good to me. I thought he would have liked that.

I miss him.

 

2017

I am hiking a mountain trail. It is steep, I have to watch my footing with every step. The trail is unmarked and I’m using a guidance system I’m not used to.  I think I am headed in the right direction but I’m very concerned I will get off course. It is cold, I’m worried that I’m not prepared enough. The way is shrouded in fog, I can’t see how far I have to go.

This is how 2017 feels to me; unsteady, off balance, indefinite, uncomfortable and hazy.

My goals are not clear, which is unusual for me. Everything feels unpredictable and that makes me indecisive.

2016 was not my favorite year. I feel nothing but relief as I watch it disappearing in my rearview mirror. Most of 2016 did not work out as planned and I am still reeling from many of those disappointments.

With all that in mind, as I take my first steps into 2017 my emotions are a mix of caution, worry and dread.  I am trying to embrace the year and to think of it as experimental, with unpredictable failures and successes. As usual, I’ve made a million goals but I am definitely more wary than normal. I hate that, it feels uncommitted and wishy-washy.

The picture of Paul up there, is my inspiration for 2017.  For me, like the mountain behind him, Paul is unwavering, protective and constant. More than that though, and like the mountain behind him, he inspires me to be adventurous, curious and to challenge myself. As long as he’s nearby, I can face anything.

Early Christmas

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I feel like Christmas is coming early this year. The Inspired Market is this week here in Rancho Cucamonga and I can’t wait!

I have been working hard getting ready and it is getting so close! So much good has come from this endeavor that even if they cancelled it tomorrow, I would feel like I’ve overcome something huge.

Most of the good is intangible and probably not even recognizable outside my home but it is very real.

Being able to create alone, without interruption has been luxurious and restorative than any pampering I can imagine. Seeing an idea and trying it immediately has awakened a part of my brain that has been shut down for awhile. Like using my arm again when it has been in a sling for weeks. Something that has come as a surprise to me is how gratifying it is to see all the tools I have collected over the years. Several times over the last few weeks I would think, “I wish I had some pinking shears.” or some other tool and then I would come across it in when I was looking for something else a few minutes later.  It is also really good for me to have a hard deadline, I’m a terrible procrastinator and this has given me a specific goal that I can’t put off.

So, let me see:

Canopy  Check!

Lights  Check!

Rubbermaid tubs full of inventory  Check!

Business license and seller’s permit  Check! Check!

I feel excited, happy, anxious and ready, all at once. Eeeeeeek! Wish me luck!

Front Doors, Hot Dogs and Inspiration

You know that cartoon with two people are stuck on a deserted island and they are really hungry?  Then one of them looks at the other and all he can see is a big hot dog?  Well, I felt like during my first visit to Palm Springs a few years ago.

mid mod garagephoto by glassgaragedoors.com

I knew it would be fun to visit with friends, eat good food and do a little site-seeing but I had no idea that the town would be so visually appealing.  I didn’t know that much about Palm Springs and I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but I didn’t expect it to be so handsome.  The homes, the signage, the walls, the accents, colors, mail boxes, everything was classic Mid-Century Modern design and I couldn’t get enough.

Because of the clean lines, bold shapes and simplicity of Mid-Century Modern, it easily lends itself to quilting.

As we drove around, everything I saw became another quilt in my head; I particularly loved the doors, like the one above.  My brain was on overload with ideas and when I got home, I sketched 30+ quilt designs in my notebook.  I have been dying to get started on some of them.

I’m afraid none of the pics I took are useable but I looked around and found a great post written by Mackenzie Horan, that highlights what I am talking about.

This is my first Palm Springs inspired quilt in a series I’m calling “Mid-Mod”.

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What do you think? I’m happy with it although, I think if I make this one again, I will use squares for the shapes at the top.  The rectangles don’t look generous enough to me.

I’d love to hear where you find inspiration? Nature? Blogs? Fabric Stores?  Are shapes or colors what inspire you or certain fabrics or designers?

Inspired Market and Me

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A couple of months ago, we were driving around Thomas Winery Plaza, which is a little shopping center near our house. We were playing Pokémon with our kids. Yes Pokémon, you heard me. We go there to load up on potions and poke-balls. No judge.

Anyway, we came upon a little outdoor, artisans’ fair called Inspired Market, set up in the one area of the parking lot.  There were 15-20 booths and everything sold was handmade or reclaimed vintage. Really great stuff, beautiful paintings, old-timey tools, gorgeous handmade jewelry, wonderful smelling soaps.

It made me so happy! For the first time in months, the creative part of my brain started moving. I thought about what I might sell. I thought about quilts and table runners that were sitting in boxes in the garage.  I thought about quilts I wanted to make. The woman in charge of the market gave me some basic information on how to get started.

Paul, as usual, we encouraging and urged me to act on the energy I was feeling.

I went home and researched what kinds of products sell at markets like this. Then I applied for a space and was accepted. Yay!

Next I got a business license and California seller’s license and then I started sewing. Oh my goodness! I’ve sewn more in the past two weeks than I think I have in in the last two years.

My first night is Thursday December 1st and I’m super excited and nervous! If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by and say hi!

Hello From California

rc-mount-11-16I took this photograph from our yard in Rancho Cucamonga.

So, I’ve been on a blogging hiatus of sorts. Over the past couple of years, both our family and I personally, have gone through some major changes and blogging was forced to make way for more pressing matters.

Things are finally settling down now, for all of us. It feels good to be at a place where I have the time and energy to blog again. I have some fun projects on the horizon and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Gorgeous Nepal

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This next quilt was made for a friend at work, as a gift for her first baby.  Her parents are from Nepal and that heritage is very important to her, as it should be. I wanted to make a quilt that had a taste of Nepal, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. I googled “Nepal colors” to see if I could get some ideas. The photo above, from the site Gorgeous Nepal, was my favorite and it started my brain churning. So many colors and shapes and textures and patterns!

I ended up using batiks, with a very straightforward block pattern. I wanted simplicity so the colors could be the focus.

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The quilting was simple as well.

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Here it is finished. I love the colors and the different patterns; I don’t think I will ever tire of working with batiks.

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This quilt was fast, uncomplicated and I want to make another one but much larger.

What about you? Do you have fabrics or colors, you return to again and again?

 

Bauhaus Quilt Expanded

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This quilt is one of my favorites.  It combines bright colors, simplicity and structure perfectly for my taste.

Mondrian-Inspired

Although I made this one using traditional primary colors it could easily be made using any fabrics you like.

I would love to make one with big blocks of Kaffe Fassett or Amy Butler fabrics!

The construction of this quilt is simple too and the top sews up quickly, so cut your fabric pieces and let’s get started.

Shortcut: I didn’t want to have to stop every little while to sew black strips together so I cut the black into a bunch of 2.5″ strips and then sewed them into one long strip.  Then I would sew black strip onto the block and cut it off when I got to the end.  No measuring!

I broke the blocks up into 3 main blocks.

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Block #1

 

Bauhaus-deconstruct-block-1Block #2

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Block #3

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Sew the blocks together as shown.

Sew on the black boarder.

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Make your quilt sandwich, I used white for my backing.

For the quilting, I recommend a simple meandering.  I think it does something to soften the hard square edges a little.

I bound mine with black.

I can’t wait to see yours!

*Please note in the comments that some of the measurements are wrong. I haven’t been able to fix them.

 

Dragon Kites

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have been meaning to write about the kites I made last summer.  Thankfully my sister Gabby beat me to it.  I made one for each family.  I really only got to fly the first one.  I was so busy with details for my mom’s party that I didn’t even have time to try out the others.  

Since then I have been in school and haven’t had the time to make anymore but school is almost out and and I am itching to get going again.

Watch for a tutorial to make your own.

Photo by Designmom

Fire-Breathing Dragons, Yoga Pants and Agency

2014 was a good year for me. It was an emotional year but a good year.

It started out with the highest of highs when Paul came home, the memory of which still makes me giddy. 2014 also brought me the lowest of lows as I grieved with my closest childhood friend.

I faced and conquered fears that were terrifying to me. As they almost always are, the fears turned out not to be the fire-breathing dragons I’d seen in my head but rather annoying pebbles that needed to be shaken out of my shoes.

Fear is a liar.

I worked hard and accomplished some things I was very proud of and I put off other things I just didn’t want to deal with. I’m looking at you, running shoes and yoga pants.

Our family reached some happy milestones like the purchase of a new house. I found a few apron strings cut as well and this is something I always find painful and I rarely do willingly.

I felt real maturity and development in many of my personal relationships when I learned, yet again, to be as kind as possible but also very honest. My favorite parts of the year were made of these moments.

As I look forward to 2015, I see challenges and celebrations; I see happy times and without a doubt, some uncomfortable growth.

I have always loved the idea of being a part of a team, adding my small part of make a giant whole. This year, however I feel like the captain of my own ship, directing my life and acting for myself, rather than being apart of a crew, with someone else deciding where I will go and how I will contribute.

For the first time in my 45 years, I feel my agency in the purest way and I feel empowered and eager and equal to any tasks that lay ahead.