Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hand Piecing and Traditional Ways of Creating

I've written about how I am addicted to English Paper Piecing.  Along with actually making things, I love to read about how to make new things, the history behind it, and now especially with blogs, I love reading about other peoples experiences with creating the things that I am learning about making myself.  While I was reading about English Paper Piecing (EPP), I started reading about how people love to hand sew pieces instead of using the paper templates that are required when you use EPP.  I was interested in hand sewing as a portable project prior to learning about EPP, but then I thought EPP was an easy, more accurate (at least for me) way to piecing things together.

Now that I see how much people like hand piecing, I am interested in trying it again.  I have, once again, done a ton of research about how to actually do it.  I think it will be a great way to sit with my husband and watch TV, sit outside with the kids while they play (I had actually bought a smaller sewing machine so that I could sew outside, but that would only be at out our house not at places like the park or when my daughter is at speech therapy), and [what I feel is even more important] a connection with the past.

I love the idea of having a connection to the past.  Of course, sewing machine have been a part of sewing and quilting for a while now, but hand sewing is a connection to the past when there wasn't electricity, an actual sewing machine, or even the finances to buy a sewing machine.  It is a connection to the past when people created quilts, not for their beauty, but for the warmth and comfort that a quilt can bring.

I love learning about the history of handcrafts.  I've been  thinking about what I ultimately want to do with my life, career wise, and when I think about what I am passionate about I come up with a couple of different things.  I actually do like being a social worker, but what I love about being a social worker is partly the mental health piece, but ultimately I love the getting to know someone while doing their social history.  I love being creative and crafting and learning about crafting.  I have been trying to figure out how to combine my love of crafting, creating, and social work as a career.  One thing I came up with was going back to school for art therapy.  I then thought about maybe becoming an art teacher and using my social work as a secondary piece to my career.  Then, one day while I was driving, I thought about how awesome it would be to be able to interview crafters and then either report on it in person, or even better write an article about it.  The only problem is, I don't know that there is a calling for something like this.

How awesome would it be to actually interview someone about a handcraft that they love.  I would get a chance to do the interview piece that I love about social work, learn more about a craft and how/why someone loves their craft, maybe even learn a new craft myself, and then pass than knowledge on to others more likely in writing (since I enjoy writing more than being in front of a group of people).  Maybe I could do it as a small educational piece too.  I could teach others about the history of a craft and why it is so attractive to some people.

I think I will continue to learn about different craft and their history.  I like a lot of the modern crafts or the modern spin on things, but ultimately I love the traditional crafts.  I wish I could better put in words why I love the traditional crafts, but I guess it is just the history behind them.  I'm not sure that this will ever be a career, but I would love to make it more than just a passing hobby.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Angelina Jolie's Decision

I can't remember if I wrote about this in the past, but I am positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.  I found out about 1 1/2 years ago after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out that she had the gene.  Thankfully, she is doing well after her treatment.

When I found out she had the gene and decided to get tested, I thought about my options if I was positive.  Before I got my results, I decided that I would not get prophylactic surgery.  After I got my results and since, my decision has wavered a bit, especially when stories like Angelina Jolie's come out.

Over the last couple of days, I have been rethinking my decision not to have surgery.  I thought about the fact that I have such little kids.  I thought about the pain and suffering that my grandmother went through.  I thought about how my great grandmother, my grandmother, my grandmother's twin sister, and my mother got breast cancer.

I also thought about what surgery would mean for my body, my mind, my identity.  I thought about (and still think about) how going immediately into menopause would affect my body.  I thought about how my identity would change knowing that I would have parts of my body removed (as silly as it sounds).  I thought about how much piece of mind I would really have even if I had surgery.  Would I have less anxiety or would I still worry that I would get cancer even after having body parts removed.

I honestly feel like this is such a personal decision.  What is right for me isn't necessarily right for everyone.  What is right for Angelina Jolie isn't necessarily right for me.  I think that all options should be looked at and weighed out.  For me not having surgery gives me the option of changing my mind later after having time to think about it.  If I have surgery, I can't change my mind!

Right now, my choice is to eat right (more on the pH diet), exercise, work on the mind body connection, work on my stress level and how I deal with it.  I think doing this will not only keep me healthy and hopefully decrease my risk for cancer overall, but will also get me healthy to have surgery if I chose to do so later in life.

I am going to be forty this summer.  Things may change as I get older since my family seems to get cancer later in life.  I may change my mind about having my ovaries removed after I go through menopause.  I may change my mind if I find a lump.  Right now, I can't have surgery without having cancer.

My life is telling me that I need to look at the different things I believe in.  I keep thinking that I need to make changes in my professional career so that it goes along more with my beliefs.  I need to make sure that I look into more education that will help me have a career doing things I believe in and love.  Loving what I do and believing in what I do will help me with my lifestyle changes also.


Friday, May 10, 2013

I've Been A Little Busy

This week, I have been a little busy.  I got my sewing machine out and started sewing!

Marathon Monday, a day that I always look forward to, took on a whole new meaning this year.  Almost every year, my husband and I would go into Boston and watch the marathon.  We usually would stand on Commonwealth Ave, right where the runners would come out of the tunnel, and cheer the runners on.  We would watch the elite runners and then some more, and then we would head off for lunch then hang out in Copley Center.  For the last 5 years, since we have had kids, we have only watched it on television.  This year the kids are 5 and 4 and I thought about heading into Boston later in the day to just be there and take the kids in.

This year every thing changed.  Now that the Boston Marathon Bombing has happened, I'm not sure that we will go in again, especially with the kids!  This week, I was reading my email and I was directed to the Boston Modern Quilt Guild and found out that they are collecting quilt squares to make into a quilt for the Boston Marathon Victims.  I was so happy to have found this because I had been wanting to do something like this or be part of something like this.  Even though I have a bunch of material, I needed to buy more in the right colors.  I ended up making a 12.5 x 12.5 courthouse stairs block in blue and yellow and bordered it in a medium grey.  I actually love how it came out.  NOw I need to mail it off  in time!

"Quilt For Boston" quilt block

While I was on the Boston Modern Quilt Guild's website, I saw that they were also collecting "flags" to display, which are going to be displayed at the Museum Of Fine Arts.  I went on to make 2 "flags" for "to Boston with Love".  They didn't come out as good as would have wanted, but I am going to send them off anyway.  Again, this is something I wanted to do and was able to create something that will be part of something bigger and hopefully help the city of Boston and all who were affected by the Bombing.

"Quilt for Boston" and "To Boston With Love"

I have become a huge fan of youtube.  I have found that they have a ton of videos that I can learn from and just enjoy watching.  I was looking something up on Monday and found a "10 minute quilt block". It was a video by Suzanne McNeil.  I have to admit, she is not usually someone I enjoy watching, but this time, I loved the block she was demonstrating.  She also has a "5 minute quilt block".  The best part is that it can be turned into a faux cathedral window.  Monday was my husband's 55th birthday.  I wanted to make him something special and wanted something quick.  This was perfect.  I spent Monday night working on it and was able to get 4 (20 in) blocks sewn and sewn together as well as the cathedral window sewn too.  I had planned on doing 2 more blocks to add to it and finished those yesterday.  I showed him the quilt top last night and he was happy with it.  Now I have to decide if I want to make it bigger.  It was fun, easy, and quick, and I will be making these blocks again soon, most likely for my kids's quilts.

"10 minute quilt block"

I'm very impressed with how much I have completed this week.  It felt great to make things and have things either get completed or mostly completed.  My son has been going to speech with his sister and this morning I was able to finish basting my english paper pieced diamonds for one of my son's quilts.  Now I need to sew them together and make stars and then sew them onto the background. 

English paper pieced stars

 I am feeling like I am finally making progress!  I think I may be using the "10 minute Quilt Block" for the other 2 kids' quilts.  Will post more when I have pictures completed.