Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chaos vs. Routine

Chaos has been winning as of late.
I'm trying to be gentle with myself..

I love that my life has some direction now; the positive changes, the new space, the room to heal and grow.. but I crave routine.  Why is that?
Because it lowers anxiety?  There was something on WNYC this week about taxi drivers and how they decide how many hours to work each day.  Setting a goal of how much $ to make and then once they reach it, they can stop working.  The piece questioned why setting that goal is important, and it said that when the system is in place, it helps with self control.  You don't have to constantly worry and question what you should do from hour to hour.  You can coast a bit.  The system will guide you.
I'm not a taxi driver, but I really connected with that sentiment.  (the report went on to say taxi drivers can make more money if they use a slightly different system, but money making strategies are not my goal here..)

If I have a routine, I can let go a little.  I don't need to think.  I don't need to worry.  Chaos is exhausting.  Right now I'm pacing through the apartment in circles trying to remember if I've forgotten anything before I leave, and twice this week I got to the car and had to go back inside because I thought I had forgotten something.  Both times it was a false alarm, but still, chaos.

I'm not even going to mention trying to sew right now.  I can't think about it.  Well, that's not true. I do think about it.  I even bought a simplicity pattern for pajamas this week and had grand daydreams of stitching Christmas presents this year.. but... we'll see how far I get there.
The chaos v. routine thing totally applies to quilting though.  That's why EPP travel kits are so wonderful, right?  There's a system, a routine.  Pack the kit.  Baste, piece, join, repeat.  No thought.  Effortless progress.  Effortless living.

*Deep sigh*

Life will fall into place.  I trust it will.  Tao's got me.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Morning Star Count, November 23, 2015

Hey, how about a little EPP?
I've been meaning to make a MMSC picture that I can post even when life doesn't let me sew, and I finally got around to it.  What do you think?

Here's the linky.  Please share your EPP progress!
Everyone is welcome to join, even basting one hexie counts!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Home Ec Club, November meeting

I found this great felt leaf wreath craft that I had wanted to make in the first meeting of the new group of Home Ec Club members.  I was completely prepared to have a well paced session for 9 students.. but 13 signed up.  My supervisor said, "Oh, you're getting popular"  but I think the truth is that the word got out that they get to eat in Ms. Alex's club, hehe.

So, quick change of plans.  We made cranberry sauce AND the leaf wreaths.  With short bread cookies and graham crackers.. sounds perfectly November to me.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Her name is Cricket.

She's super affectionate even though we're still getting to know each other.  She likes to be with me when I'm home and she's already very comfortable sleeping in my bed.  I adopted her from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter which was a great place to work with and if I lived closer, I'd consider volunteering there.  If you are local and need a kitty, please consider them.  Their website has many many photos, videos and stories of cats that need families.  Before I adopted Cricket, I made a list of all the cats I was interested in and went in one evening to check them out.  I pet a bunch, held a few, and tried to see which had personalities that would fit with my new life, my personality, and my children.  I had brought the boys on a separate visit and they got to meet Cricket before we decided (the shelter requires all family members come for a pre-adoption visit to get acquainted with the pet).  But the night I was there on my own, I worked my way through my list, asking about each kitty I had seen online that I thought might be a potential match.  The last 3 on my list weren't there.  I was puzzled.  Isn't the website kept up to date?  The volunteer said that the cats were there at the shelter, but they did not have enough cages to keep them on display in the 3 front viewing rooms.  My heart sank.  So many cats and I could only help one.  I adopted Cricket to free up her cage for one of the others and I sincerely hope that they find good homes soon.  I think I got a good match, but the boys meet her for real tonight and I guess then we'll have a better idea.  She's 8, not a kitten, and I hope she tolerates their.. energy.   I know it will take a while for everyone to get used to the changes, but I'm an optimist.

Thank you for all the kind wishes and support on my last post.  One of the things I have become aware of in the past year is the importance of speaking up and setting boundaries.  This is crucial to have healthy relationships with anyone, and I think it applies to the blog as well.  I sincerely appreciate that you guys respected that.  When we feel comfortable and accepted, it's easier to open up and be authentic.  Thank you for making that possible for me here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Happily Unmarried in 5...4...3...2..

(Not the photo I had wanted, but he refused to take a selfie with me)
So.  Along with quilting and book ideas and Get Started Quilting promotions, this past year I've also spent a lot of time and energy on another project.  Costas and I have undertaken the enormous task of untangling our lives and becoming "unmarried".  If you have undergone a similar process, you have some idea of what all this entails.  Some days I clung to quilting, other days I couldn't do much more than cry and grieve.  This is a process of growth, self examination, forgiveness and above all, self love.  It wasn't easy to say "no" to my old life in order to feel comfortable saying "yes" to myself, but it was necessary, and I do feel much healthier on this new path.

The past several months have been full of what seemed like limitless uncertainty.  I'm happy that things finally seem to be falling into place, or, the options now seem somehow more manageable.  I have a new place to live, I can sink deep into the comfort of a job I love, and soon a new routine will give life shape again.  Once I unpack and set up a new sewing space (I'll be joining the ranks of kitchen table quilters!), I may even have time, space and emotional energy to post stuff again.

If you also feel the need to grieve the end of my marriage, please do so, but I will ask that you respect this space and my process.  Most days I do not feel sad and I have dealt with a lot of the anger that comes with this change.  Your expressions of regret and "I'm sorry"s really don't help me much.  Your kindness, attention and support on the other hand, I don't know how I'll get through the future without them.  I love this community and have missed its comfort.  I went through incredible emotional upheaval but didn't feel comfortable talking about it here until now.  I look forward to sharing all of my healing quilts and using both the quilting process and the act of sharing them with you to help me along the way.

Comments are open but I probably can't reply to all of them.  If you'd like to contact me by email, you are welcome to do that too-- jessunderquilts at gmail
But please be patient with me, I just moved this past weekend and I've got a lot to juggle right now.
Thanks for being with me through this.

p.s. Oh, and.. I got a cat.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Talking, talking

I was shy as a kid.  Would you have guessed?
I didn't often fit in outside of family situations, I often felt self-conscious or unprepared for interaction.  I was a quiet observer, able to entertain myself for long stretches of time.  I like my own company.  I like being alone.
This probably doesn't sound strange to that many of you, assuming we're all quilters.  It is a solitary hobby after all (most of the time), but there is also a wonderfully social aspect to it.  I love guild meetings because it's ok to sit and observe or get up and talk.

I got over my shyness sometime in high school, I guess.  At 16 I had the lead in the high school musical..  Yes, I was still self-conscious sometimes and often unprepared, but I learned to trust my instincts, to lead with intuition, and basically to "wing it" most of the time.  I like the me that comes out without too much forethought.
Maybe that came out wrong.  I do think, I actually spend a lot of time thinking about what I'd like to say in a variety of situations.  On my drive to work I play out whole conversations with multiple people in specific surroundings.. Perhaps more accurate would be to say that I don't like to worry.   I don't waste time getting anxious over what might happen if I say or don't say, if I do or don't do.  I trust me, and I like myself more when I do.

I have recently upped my PowerPoint game.  I like making presentations, and I LIKE giving them.  I was invited to speak to a local guild about English Paper Piecing yesterday and as I was setting up, there were no butterflies.  I was completely comfortable.  Only a bit of concern when I couldn't get my laptop to connect to the projector, but even then, it wasn't stress-- I knew I'd be ok.  The guild members went through their guild business announcements.  I stood ready, not even reviewing my notes.  And when my turn came, I was on.   Ohh, I like to talk.
Last night I took the Myers-Briggs quiz, again.  I keep thinking I'm going to score more introverted because I understand almost everything Marzi @introvertdoodles posts, but no.  ENFP, every time.
This chart came from a quiz off Facebook, but if you would like to try for yourself, I suggest  

It's easy for me to talk about quilting, to talk about making and my creative process.  My quilts all have stories anyway, even the ones I don't like that much.  All the stalled projects, all the hurried promos.. but last night I got to talk about the quilts I really love.  The hand pieced ones I spent a lot of time with.  Quilts that capture a certain time period.  A time that has passed.
I get to sit down with that group again on Saturday for a Hexie workshop and I hope I'll have the chance to talk about more than just the "how to" parts of EPP.  I'd like to ask for their stories, do some listening.  Put it all in perspective.  I hope this weekend I find some time to observe too.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Morning Star Count, October 19, 2015

I emptied my pentagon travel case and returned the special notions to their usual spots in the sewing room this week.  I've decided to work a bit on Travel Quilt #5 in preparation for my upcoming EPP Lecture in Williston Park this Wednesday.  I'd like to have something big to show off.
Not much progress to show, but I'm prepped for when free time appears.

What have you been working on?  If you have several EPP projects going at once, how do you keep them separate and do you pack different notions in each case or do you switch them out?  I'd love to hear how it works for you guys.