Sunday, November 24, 2013

Post Quilt Show Blahs

This is the first time that I’ve ever come home from the Houston International Quilt Festival NOT feeling guilty about how much money I spent on fabric, and not spending every spare second (and even some not-so-spare seconds) I have on  creating.  While I should feel glad (relieved, even) that I haven’t over – well, over-anything-ed, I can’t help but feel a little bummed about it.  You may be asking yourself “Now why would she feel upset about NOT overdoing it?”  Let me explain - it’s not the savings that upsets me – it’s the lack of excitement and inspiration that causes the overspending that I’m missing.   I just didn’t find anything that really wowed me, and I didn’t come home with any inspired ideas, either.  Don’t get me wrong, I saw a lot of beautiful, amazing pieces.  I took tons of pictures, and revisiting them is a joy, but still, I just seem to have a bad case of the quilt-show blahs. 

Perhaps it’s mood – I’ve been so busy focusing on finishing pieces lately that I feel a little flat.  I have a bunch of sketches and ideas jotted down, but I don’t feel the usual excited anticipation to get to them.  Maybe I’m just not allowing myself to go there because I’m so determined to complete these old pieces, but I must admit I prefer a frantic frenzy of creativity to this bland, plodding to the finish.

 It could be fear, too.   Deep down it could be that I’m afraid I’m not capable of reaching the level of artistry, creativity and seeming perfection I see at the quilt show.  Of course that in itself is another form of focusing on the goal, not the journey and also brings in the added weight of ego into the mix; another obstacle to zen existence, which, paradoxically, is my ultimate goal…hmmm, ponder THAT one - I’m not sure I can wrap my puny brain around it.

Too, I feel a little as though I’ve plateaued a bit, both skill-wise and creatively.  The flow of ideas I’ve experienced practically non-stop for the last ten years or so seems to be experiencing a serious drought.  Usually the quilt show gets the juices flowing, but alas, I’m still bone-dry.  I feel like I need something to bump me up to the next level.

In an attempt to prod my suddenly sluggish imagination, I’ve been looking at quilt books, magazines, blogs and websites a lot lately, especially focusing on modern quilts, to no avail.   I LOVE modern quilts, but it just seems to further flog my flagging quilting confidence because I just can’t seem to come up with any ideas.  (Apparently I don’t dream in modern quilts although I really, really want to.)    

While I’m in confession mode, I might as well be totally honest:  The last reason I think I might be in a creative desert is because I think I may be looking for a wee little bit of validation.   I haven’t had any sales in a while, which makes me wonder if it’s all just a colossal waste of time and energy.  I mean, if nobody wants them, or I can’t get any recognition from my peers, what’s the point?  I know, I know – serious zen buzz-kill.  It’s supposed  to be about the joy of creating what the universe has inspired.  Hey, I’m not proud of it – I’m just coming clean, here.  And as usual, the mere act of baring my naked soul immediately jolts me right out of this vortex of apathy in which I’ve been swirling.  Here it comes - a good, old Oprah “AHA!”

I’m going to step away from trying  so hard to create.  Instead,  I’ll continue to work on UFO’s until they are done because even though I realize it’s goal-oriented, I can’t fight my practical German side – it’s DNA for god’s sake!  Something in me just won’t let me move forward until I complete what I’ve started.   I don’t need to  look for inspiration, new ideas, or even perfection.  I’m going to trust the infinite creativity of the universe and accept whatever happens – because even if I never have another inspiration, it’ll be fine – I can still find joy in the doing!   And that, my friends, is precisely the point, isn’t it?   

{I have to say it - Don’t you just love the universe/God/whatever you want to call it?  It will absolutely always give you the answers you need, even if they aren’t the ones you want to hear!   I feel the joy flowing back into me even as I write -Glorious!}

And by the way – The Neverending Quilt is  - no, not finished – (get real!) but I have finished the quilt top, which in itself is a minor miracle.  On to the sandwiching and quilting!  Although in keeping with my relentless need to be honest, I will reveal that I did take a small break from UFO’s to work on a new piece, a present for my sister…DON’T JUDGE ME (it wouldn’t be very zen of you!)

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Neverending Quilt

I admire people who spend a year or more on one quilt, meticulously piecing itsy bitsy teeny tiny pieces into a fabulous whole, or quilting every square centimeter to get a particular effect.  I’m amazed and awed by their dedication and, well – patience!  Wish I had it.

 I guess I better go back to Zen kindergarten because I have been working on a piece (not my own design) that I’m beginning to suspect is an endless series of squares that, if stacked, could reach from here to the moon and back and I will never, ever finish making them  so I will never actually complete the quilt, I will spend the rest of my life on the Sisyphusian task of making the same squares over and over until my brain is mush and I go to sleep, only to find I have more to make the next time I sit down to work.  And the pattern says the finished quilt is only 60 x 80 inches - huh, I don’t believe it.  By the time I’m done with these bloomin' squares I bet I’ll have enough of them to insulate a three story building.

When I bought the pattern (approximately seven years ago) I was really jazzed about it – I loved the colors and the almost 3-D effect it had, and I had every intention of making it right away.  I started cutting it out but okay - ideas happened and I set it aside. Then during one of my lovely (read: annoying) little epiphanies I always seem to have while writing this blog, I declared that I was going to either get rid of or make any patterns I currently have, because it is wasteful to have something and not use it.  So I’m stuck working on the neverending quilt…Again.

[Author’s Note:  You may have noticed this theme cropping up often – it is rather a struggle for me.  I don’t know why I have this trouble with art when I have no problem at all trashing homework or important papers  (although in my defense, if it is so damned important, why would it be sitting on the kitchen counter for so long and how am I supposed to know it matters when you put EVERYTHING on the kitchen counter all the time?!).  I can toss (or giveaway) clothes that are perfectly good because I’m tired of them.  I can let leftovers stay in the fridge until they grow fuzz…I can throw out, give away, or get rid of almost anything – except for something that I have a potential idea for, which may or may not include some of the following: foam wig heads, bits of rusty metal, baling wire, various colored tiles,  colored tacks ( I have an idea for them!) mason jars (that’s the teacher in me – never know when you might need a jar with a lid…) and of course, fabric I like or quilt patterns I might like to make someday.   I would never define myself as a pack rat – I really cannot abide mess, but when it comes to my art, well – lets just say I have a lot of ideas and not so much time.  But I am still excited by them so I keep the stuff because I might get to it…someday.]

So...I want to have this piece, but…but – I’m so sick of making these endless, monotonous, neverending squares!  I’ve been making them, off and on, for about a year!  I get bored, work on something else, and I swear - the more of them I make, the more I still have to make!  It’s like that Star Trek episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles.”   Except instead of the making more squares (I’d love it if they’d make themselves), they just multiply the number of each square needed every time I walk away from it.  I mean – look at these piles of squares!


Some of you may look at this and say "Oh, that's not so many squares!  What is she complaining about - I've done much, much more!"  Well, you say po-tay-toe and I say po-tah-toe, so - WHATEVER!  I can only share my own experience, and besides, the picture makes the piles look way smaller, and that table is BIG...And that's not even all the squares, anyway!

However, I know from my experience with being so ZEN, that I am supposed to focus on the doing, not the outcome, and like I said, I admire those people who can spend so much time on the one, fantastic, amazing piece and not be antsy for the next one.  I aspire to be like that, really I do.  I just ain’t there yet!  

My spiritual teacher says to be grateful for the things that make you go deeper, that force you to become more present.  Sooo – thanks a lot, Neverending Quilt - for making me focus on one little itty bitty teeny tiny neverending square at a time.  I’m absolutely certain you are helping me become a better, more enlightened person.  I’m grateful.


Friday, September 13, 2013

(Un)Finished Business

It’s a long haul from start to finish on a piece of art, at least for me.  Sometimes I get bored in the middle of one piece and start on another, seemingly more exciting one.   So despite my best intentions, I have several UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects).  They are in various states of completion, and I like them all - I just can’t seem to finish them for some reason.  Maybe I need to schedule a completion intervention.  No more new until I finish all my old. 

Oh how tedious that sounds.

As we’re entering the autumn season I always experience a sense of renewal, as inexplicable as that may seem.   I realize the year is winding down, the annuals are dying and the trees and summer plants are going into their dormancy, but (maybe it’s the schoolteacher in me) I feel like something new is starting up again. I’m filled with energy (which unfortunately does NOT transfer to housework) and I want to create!  I don’t feel like finishing old projects.

I’ve tried to keep track of how long it takes to create a quilt from start to finish, but I have never succeeded.  I know I should, but time doesn’t seem to matter because I’m obsessed with my art, so no matter how much time it takes, it’s going to happen.  My guess is that from designing to putting on the binding, it takes a minimum of 60 hours, maybe more, which for me is spent mostly on the weekends as I’m still working full-time.  Which is why I’m a little undisciplined, I guess.  I want to do what I feel like doing, which isn’t always the practical thing. 

On the flip side, I’ve already spent a great deal of time of these unfinished pieces, so I should probably go ahead and complete them, otherwise the time I’ve spent on them already is wasted, right?  Maybe not.  As I tell my teenage son when he compains about school, every time we learn something, it becomes a part of us.  We use it in ways we may never even realize and it all makes us who we are.  I think learning is one of the reasons we’re here on this planet.  I definitely learn something with every piece I make, thus I’m fulfilling my purpose just by doing it, no matter whether it is finished or not.  (Nice rationalizing, huh?)

Unfortunately that argument doesn’t work all that well for me – it makes me feel annoyed to think of those beautiful creations scrunched away in a dark closet, strings dangling.  Poor things – they aren’t able to fulfill their destiny (which in my mind is to make people feel happy every time they look at them.  So instead of being restless to start something new, I think I’ll instead finish my UFO’s instead this year. Likethe winding down of the seasons, I’ll complete the cycle(s} I’ve begun.  Who knows?  It may not be so tedious after all.  Even if it is I’ll still be in a good place because no matter what I say, I just feel  better when I don’t have a bunch of loose ends, literally or figuratively. 

Now, I’m not kidding myself that there’s not going to be another pile up of UFO’s in the future - I think it just might be part of my creative process.  But in the meantime, I’ll be starting something even if it’s not a new project – I’ll be starting a blank slate. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Warning: Quilting May Be Hazardous to Your Health!

            For all it’s been portrayed in the past as a little old lady activity, let me tell you this straight up – quilting  is  not  for  sissies.   What seems like an innocent creative process is in fact, rife with danger – a regular landmine of potential for bodily harm!   In fact, it’s a good idea to be in tip-top shape if one wants to complete with the big girls and avoid being sidelined by potential quilting injuries.  Perhaps there should be a warning label on your sewing machine-something like this:   

            As with any activity, see your doctor before attempting quilting activities.  Possible side effects occur with every stage of quilting and may include the following:  Cutting  fabric, which depending on design and size of the piece, can take hours – many hours-of standing in the same place and  carries the risk of moderate to severe varicose veins, sore feet and bunions.  Repeated hunching over may increase crick in the neck and crossed or blurry eyes due to lining up and squinting at fabric for hours at a time.  Tendonitis may develop at wrist or shoulder from repetitive cutting motion, and the potential for blood on the fabric and extreme annoyance may arise from using a sharp rotary cutter, especially exacerbated when drinking alchohol while operating machinery.   

            Please note:  A cutting table that is the incorrect height may lead to mild to severe sore back.  It is recommended therefore to have the exact correct dimensions before attempting this stage of quilting.   ( I do my cutting on my kitchen island, which was handmade by my husband for our family, and so is the perfect height for 5 foot 11 inch me.  But the kitchen is downstairs, and my studio is upstairs, so I often find myself going up and down the stairs 50 times a day , which greatly increases the chances of tripping and falling down the stairs and sore knees, not to mention extreme fatigue! )

              Seemingly the least dangerous of the quilting activities, piecing carries some of the most worrisome health hazards for the unsuspecting quilter.    The potential for smallish injuries such as sewing one’s fingers (yes I have done it and yes, it hurts – badly) or poking one’s fingers with the needles while changing them, or sticking pins in your hands or legs while pinning is greatly increased at this stage.   While obviously not life-threatening, these wounds can be quite  painful and annoying– like paper cuts - they seem like they shouldn’t hurt at all, but they just bug you all day.   A less common, but most serious side effect is the slight chance of heart attack or stroke.  (This risk is increased by certain activities, for example, let’s say one is doing curves and it is going badly…naturally this is not a risk for the zen quilter, but still, the potential  for extreme frustration  must be mentioned. )    Running oneself ragged going back and forth from the sewing machine to the iron (which carries the added risk of  burns) has been known to occur in some quilters.

              Sandwiching the quilt is potentially backbreaking work, especially if one is doing it on the floor.  Make sure to have good ventilation to avoid inhaling the harmful chemicals of the adhesive spray  and also, a pillow is recommended  to protect the knees from severe arthritic damage.  Dizziness may occur from the awkward position one is in while pinning.  Dry mouth and even severe dehydration from sweating profusely are the most commonly reported side effects of sandwiching.  Remember:  the larger the quilt, the more potential for harm to back, knees, shoulders – a queen size has the  potential for more serious problems and a king size – well, that could lead to death.

             Aside from the aforementioned hazards of sewing machine operation, the act of quilting carries with it an inherent danger of mild to severe crick-neck and hunch back and less common but more problematic is the potential for moderate to serious shoulder injury from pushing the heavy quilt around for countless hours at a time while tensing muscles to control the direction of the quilting.  ( For example, I have developed such a pain in my shoulder from quilting a queen-sized quilt on an eleven-inch armed quilting machine that it is keeping me awake at night!   It took me a while to realize that this is what caused it as I hadn’t had any obvious occurrence that would have caused this much pain,  but now I refer to it as “my old quilting injury.”   But it’s not all that funny, really, since it hurts, and it’s stopping me from further quilting!)  

            It should also be mentioned that quilting carries with it the potential for accelerated aging due to additional wrinkles that might occur from squinting  at  tiny stitching, or even broken teeth due to tensing jaws or clenching teeth while concentrating for countless hours or spending endless frustrating moments pulling out said tiny stitches in the pursuit of perfection.

            It is recommended to stop quilting if severe side effects occur, and immediately seek a doctor’s help (preferably a psychiatrist) if despite above injuries you still continue to have quilting symptoms.  Regular exercise is recommended to prevent further quilting injury, including sit-ups, yoga and deep breathing to relieve stress.   Do drink alchohol while operating this machine, as it may help reduce the symptoms of frustration and rage associated with quilting.

            Last, please see the insert for the further warnings and additional mental health risks associated with quilting, all of which cannot possibly be addressed on this warning label… 

            Yep, quilting can pose a serious health risk - I’m surprised anyone over forty even attempts it!  But despite my injuries and even the potential for rapid aging, I still love it and I’ll take the risks again and again  - probably until I am one of those (not so little) old ladies myself.  And I’ll have the scars to prove it...IF I make it that long!






Monday, July 29, 2013

Thrifty Me!

When I told my sister she could choose any quilt she wanted for her birthday, I was talking about the ones I already had made, of course.  Naturally she had a different idea.  "What I'd really like," she said sweetly, "is for you to make me a shower curtain."

I asked her if she was sure that was all she wanted.   It sounded too easy - I would get to do my favorite parts (the design and piecing) but it would be so much quicker than making an entire quilt of the same size.  "How great will this will be!" I thought, but a little part of me felt guilty - my sister has always been so generous and nice to me, truly a fantastic older sister, and I had wanted to give her something really special, something that would show her how much I loved and appreciated her, that I had spent a lot of time on, that meant something to her...

I should have known I wasn't going to get off so lightly.

Suffice it to say that I now no longer owe her for any of the thoughtful, generous, helpful big sister stuff she has done for me throughout the years: Meta, we're now even!  Naturally the brilliant idea I had for the design was a collossal pain in the nether regions.  I was so unsure of how to construct it that I fiddled and faddled with it for weeks before I could actually bring myself to cut the fabrics I had so carefully and lovingly sewn together in long strips. As for sewing the thing together - well, let's just say I was pretty vocal in my frustrations, and leave it at that (Definitely not zen).

 And the worst of it was all the leftover fabric - we're talking about a large amount of really great fabrics here.  Sure, they were in big misshapen triangles, but I simply couldn't bring myself to abandon them - they were too beautiful to toss.  I really wanted to use them but what could I possibly do with the oddly sized, stretchy mess? 

I put them aside for a month or three, then - determined to waste not - I came up with an idea. I have some interesting templates with all sorts of circular shapes that I have only used once, so decided to revisit them and see what I could make.  And viola!  From all that leftover fabric I was able to make a good sized top (haven't completed it as of yet),


and these two pillows:

Hooray! I used up all but a very few pieces - I feel so, so thrifty.
Now don't worry, I see the irony of all this - I know I have no right to be proud of my little recycling effort because I'm quite aware of the fact that quilting started out as a salvaging process. (Those plucky pioneers used everything they had to the maximum!)  Shoot, even two generations ago people were saving and reusing everything they could.   I remember that before my grandmother threw away any clothes, she took all the buttons off and saved them.  (She had a helluva collection, too - I made some cool jewelry out of them when I used to stay with her as a young girl.) Of course she made most of her beautiful quilts from leftover fabrics.  And she was even  from a big city (Chicago), not some empty wide-skied prairie!
I've just been so focused on creating what's in my head that I haven't been very practical or planet-conscious.  So this little exercise has been a good reminder for me - there's always leftover fabric from any project.  So I'm going to challenge myself:  For every two new pieces I create, I'm going to design one piece around the scraps I have in my scrap bin.  They might be small pieces or even pillows or backings, but I'm determined to use them.  Traditionally I've saved leftover fabric bits until I run out of room in my scrap bins and then I'll throw them out, a truth of which I have had the decency to be somewhat ashamed, but not enough to actually save the scraps.  In my defense, I do go through them and save the bigger bits but still - it's a lot of waste. 
But not any more.  From now on I not only save my scraps - I use them too, by golly!  I'm a little scared I'm not up to the task, but I'm going to do my best.  I promise to keep you posted on how it goes.  I'm relying on the infinite creativity of the universe to help me out on this.  Who knows - it's entirely possible that some of my best work may come out of  the scrap heap!  Or not.  But I'm willing to chance it.
 Heck, I might even start saving buttons, too.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Presto - Problemo Solvo(ed)!

It’s true - good things come to those who wait! 

I can't believe it, but I’m nearly finished with the commissioned piece!   Once I calmed down and summoned my “inner Zen,” I was able to figure it out.  And no, it wasn’t easy – I had to construct it in small pieces, and there was a great deal of tearing out and redoing because the white section had to completely match up and be perfectly (well as perfectly as I could possibly do it) aligned as well. But as it turned out, it was doable, which I knew it was, really.  But frustration happens sometimes, you know?

I just needed to take a break and remember what all this is about – the journey, not the finished project.  (Although in this particular case there IS a deadline…) 
(Here is the part I was having trouble figuring out – how to align the white rectangles vertically and horizontally with the other pieces jutting out into them.)
Next phase was the sandwiching.  Another challenge – at least, physically.  I’m certain I burned at least 500 calories doing it (a bonus!)   I had to clear out my living room to lay it out because a queen sized quilt, as it turns out, is HUGE. Sandwiching isn’t really difficult, but it did remind me that I am old and stiff because it took about three hours to get the backing down and secured, to get the enormous bat down flat, and to pin it.  I’m sorry to admit I had to have a pillow handy because my knees couldn’t handle it!

 Next came the ever scary (for me, anyway) issue of how to quilt the thing.  I knew I wanted to go with the linear theme, but did I want to do loops and swirls (which would be fun) or just lines or quilt across the lines in a kind of “vee” shape?  After drawing several ideas, I decided to check out the bridal registry again, just to see which ideas more closely matched the style of the bride and groom.  After perusing the stuff,  I went with a sort of broken line theme.
I feel certain it was the right choice for this piece – simplicity is this couple’s style, and I’m pleased with the way it looks, but it was no small feat to quilt, even simply, a queen-sized quilt on a brother sewing machine with a twelve inch neck!  I see the advantage of a quilting machine now - for sure if one is often making bed-sized quilts!  Even with the extra space in the neck it was rather a challenge to get the monstrous thing though the neck and keep everything straight. So not only am I glad I went with the simpler quilting because I think it it’s the right style, I’m also realizing how challenging it would have been to do the loop-di-loops, etc. and make them perfect.  As it is I’ve done a fair amount of tearing out the straight stitches – can’t imagine how it might have been the other way… Not that I’m complaining, mind you – just noting.
It’s been a really interesting journey from the beginnings of this project to the now almost – finished product.  I’m now trying now to figure out how I want to end the thing – do I want to put a binding on it or do I want to do a knife-edge finish?  I think the knife-edge would look really cool – as if the lines just stop, but since it is going to be on someone’s bed, I wonder if I don’t need to have the sturdier edge a binding creates.  It’s art versus practicality on this one, I think.  I usually opt for practical, but I’ve left plenty of room if I want to do the knife edge, too.  I’m going to let that percolate for a while and see what seems right. 

That’s what I love about art – there are always so many possibilities and ideas!  Some people might find that annoying, but I love the endless options – it’s a challenge! I’m not saying I always make the right choice, but I enjoy having several ideas and then sitting back and letting the universal creativity guide me – I know it knows what to do, even when I don’t.  I just have to have faith in it. 

Projects like this one are just proof of that.
Still unquilted, but I can’t believe how much I like it – even the muted colors!  I’ll try to share a photo when the project is 100% complete – hopefully this week as the deadline is July 6th!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Oy! What kind of a Mess have I gotten myself into?

Let me start by apologizing for dropping the ball with my blog for the last eight months.  I started a new job, and life happened, and I just got tired.  But with the advent of spring and exercise, I'm now ready to begin writing again.  I can't promise a post every week, because that would just be a fat lie, so I'm going to just try to post a couple of times a month.  Hope you'll still follow me.  And besides, who really reads a blog every week?  Even some of my best friends admit that they haven't been reading the blog ( catch up, people - I would read YOUR blogs!)   Even though I haven't been writing, I have still been quilting, so I have plenty of stuff to talk about.  (As if I could EVER run out of things to say - that would be a miracle, I am sure.)  So apology made, here goes:
 I’m having a problem with my latest project.  It’s my first commissioned quilt.  When I agreed to do it, I was a little trepidacious.  First I was worried about trying to create to someone else’s specifications.  Then I heard about the colors and became even more anxious!  (Dove grey! Beige and tan with a hint of lavender!)  These are colors I have never gravitated towards naturally.  In fact, I’ve never made a quilt that wasn’t pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum.  But that part’s okay, it’s a challenge, and I relish challenges. 

Then there came the fear of pleasing other people with my artistic vision – something I haven’t to date, done specifically.   Up to now, the way it has worked is like this:  I get an idea and it excites me and I create it – it pleases me, and I truly hope but am not overwhelmingly concerned with whether it pleases other people, too.   Also, when someone commissions a piece of art, I would assume the person has something in mind, and that’s daunting, too –what if it’s something they’ve seen that just won’t work with the colors, or something that just won’t work, period?  Worse than that, I might be forced to create something I just can’t get excited about, which would not only be hard to complete, but if I’m not excited about it, then how can I really do a fantastic job, put my heart and soul into it - which, to me, is what makes art come alive.  A scary thought – to have to spend a great deal of time on something I just cannot stand.  Yikes.  Talk about draining the excitement out of creating.
My next concern was that I would have trouble coming up with ideas.  Normally, ideas are not a problem for me – I eat, sleep and dream ideas.  Nope, it’s time that’s always been an issue for me – I have to work, be a mom, a wife, etc. and that leaves very little time for art.  Now I’d been given parameters that are a bit foreign to me, and I want, no - NEED -  the customers to be completely excited and satisfied with the product, but what if I draw a blank for the first time ever?  Or I’m unable “create on demand?”  I’ve never tried before in this type of artistic situation – could be also very scary.  I’m just not sure about this whole commission thing…but I wanted to try, so I sucked up my fears and blew them away with a nice, big bad wolf breath. 

Ironically, despite my fears, none of the above things I fretted about are the issue I’m having with my quilt.  I found materials in the requested colors that were perfect and inspiring, I channeled several ideas that excited both me and the clients, who actually let me choose which one to make – even better!

But my knickers are really in a twist because (gulp) I still haven’t figured out how to construct the damn thing!  I’ve got the basics figured out but as it turns out what seemed like a pretty simple design is actually (or should I say naturally in a sarcastic fashion?  No, I won’t say it because that would be snotty.  But I did write it, and I’m not taking it out. J) quite complex and I can’t come up with a good, clean way to put the thing together in a way that 1) pleases me and  2) is actually doable.   I worked on it all weekend, and I haven’t worked it out yet. And while I have freely and without shame admitted in the past that when I get frustrated my language could cause a sailor to blush,  yesterday I really lost it and did the most un-Zen thing I’ve done in a great while – I ripped part of the quilt apart in frustration.  To quote about a million teenagers – OMG!  I was so shocked at my own behavior I stopped quilting and went outside and spent three hours cleaning my car, something I had been dreading doing because it was so frighteningly filthy I couldn’t bring myself do it.  But I clearly needed to regroup, and I hoped that maybe I would have a Eureka moment once I let go and put my mind to another task. 

The good news is that now the car is spotless (and by golly, if my son puts his large, stinky feet on the glove box I’m going to slap them down, STAT!) but I still haven’t figured out the quilt!  I’m not too panicked yet, I still have two months to complete it, but still – I don’t know if I’m going to run into other issues , like say, with the quilting (it’s a queen-sized quilt and I don’t have a long arm quilter, for example)  And still some other unforeseen problem could crop up as well – perish the thought!  (And shut up, you neurotic idiot – don’t worry about things that aren’t happening – didn’t you learn anything from the first three paragraphs?  Argghhh!)
So I’m kind of annoyed with my brain, or the god of creativity, or the universe  (or whoever- besides myself, of course- is to blame) for allowing me to dream up an idea but not allowing me to come up with the means to execute said idea.  Not Cool, Creativity! 
I’m thinking of standing on my head for a while – maybe an idea with rush into my brain along with all the blood.  I tried yoga and meditation this morning, but nope –still no breakthrough. 

 So I’m trying NOT trying.  Just having faith that it will come together.  Because deep down I know it will.  I’m not saying there’s going to be an easy solution.  Heck, I’m not even hoping for that .  (As my excellent mother always said, “Carrie, nobody ever said it was going to be easy.”)  No, I’ll happily settle for doable. 
When the answer comes, I’ll be ready for it.  In the meantime, I think I’ll practice getting my Zen groove back on.  I fell off the wagon for a moment I suppose.  The great thing is that it never leaves without you, it just patiently waits for you to hop back on and start enjoying the ride again.  Now that’s something to be grateful about.