Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finish It Up!

Table Runner

I actually finished a Finish It Up! project!! My mom asked me to make this for her THREE years ago. As you can see, it was nothing complicated, yet I just could not get it done. I had grand plans of hand sewing the whole thing and I did hand piece it all. But I just couldn't get the hand quilting to look nice - so I put it away. For three years. What finally got me moving? My mom' 60th birthday. She deserves me to get this done for her - she has waited long enough! This project kept staring at me and the guilt was almost unbearable. There was no reason why I couldn't get this done for her. She has made me SO MANY handmade things, that at least I could do is this one simple thing made. I finally let go of hand quilting. I can be a perfectionist in sewing (as is my mom...) and just couldn't give her sub-par work. So I did a very basic machine quilt. My mom doesn't like fussy, so you will notice that there isn't much "pattern" quilting - just outilining. Once I set my mind to it, I finished it in an evening (including hand sewing the binding). She was very happy to get it for her birthday - I just wish I could have given it to her years ago. Next time she will not have to wait so long!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Participating

Like a lot of Unitarians, we tend to "take the summer off". This summer has been no exception. I have also realized that I have been feeling really ungrounded. School, while enjoyable has been pretty stressful (I am working on a large project for the city), the kids have been busy with various activities and we have been tearing out our finished basement in preparation for the workers who arrived at 6.30 this morning. It has been a non-stop summer. I have been feeling stressed and adrift - just trying to manage it all and keep it together. This past weekend, though, has brought some clarity. I need to go to church! I have been feeling unconnected and didn't realize how I was suffering because of it. This past weekend, I baked brownies for our 4th Saturday lunch (a program to feed the local hungry) and a cake for a memorial reception for a long time member who passed away. The kids and I WENT TO CHURCH on Sunday and it felt good to be there. I realized how much I needed it. Appropriately enough, the sermon was about spiritual practice. Going to church on Sunday is a spiritual practice and one that I need to get back into. After the service, I just felt so much better. It was the grounding I needed. I love these people and they love me. Being there brought me back to the center and I am grateful. There is a reason we worship together.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Style Stitches: Month 7

Key Keeper Coin Purse

This little gem is suggested to accompany the month 6 Teardrop Bag (which I love and have been using constantly). While I like it, the zipper installation was a huge pain and ended with an opening that is almost too small to do anything with. My daughter can't even get her hand all the way in! Additionally, there is a pocket inside - which really just functions as a divider. If I ever make it again, I will investigate a different zipper installation and just leave out the interior pocket.

Month 8's project is a fringed structured hobo bag. I have to admit that I don't like the look of it at all. Since I have a ton of sewing to do for my mother-in-law, I am going to skip next month. I am looking forward to month 9 - the Blossom Handbag!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Norway

I feel so sad for the people of Norway. I can't imagine sending my child to camp only to have them shot down. Just horrific. I will never understand violence, especially targeting kids. It is never the answer. My prayers go out to all those families.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vacation Envy

I am feeling super envious of all the cool vacations my friends are going on. They keep posting their pictures on Facebook! I am happy for them, but am really wishing we were going on one this year. Unfortunately, fixing our basement and going back to school have pretty much taken all our extra funds. I guess I will just have to make do with my day dreams!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Putting It All Together

As you know, I have started a graduate program at St. Louis University. This summer's work is mostly foundational with this second part of the class doing some actual field work. I have been enjoying it and feel like I have really found my calling. Yes, it has taken me many years, an undergraduate and a different graduate degree to get to this point, but we can't all be like my husband and know right out of the gate! (much to his chagrin). I have also been reading an inspirational book - Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken. It was just be coincidence that I should happen to be reading this book and realizing how well it fits into my studies. While the book has some organizational and thesis issues, it has made me really want to do a better job of aligning my life and values and putting them into practice.

One of Husband and I's biggest issues is our housing. We live in far North St. Louis County. We are at least 10-15 minutes away from a highway. Husband has a 40 minute commute into the city. School is about a 35 minute drive for me. The kids German dance is also about 35 minutes. Harp is around 30 minutes, our CSA is 30 minutes, etc.... I am sure you can see where this is going. I am tired of driving and it is killing me to waste so much gas and to be so car dependent.

So why do we live here? Family. Husband grew up here and we live across the street from his parents. His aunt and uncle live two houses down. His sister and the kid's cousins live minutes away. The kids go to school where he went to school. There are a lot of connections. The housing is very affordable and the neighborhood/school is well integrated. All things that are pluses. The relationship the kids have with their grandparents is amazing. It is wonderful to have that support. But, it is just so far away from everything else we do. How do you choose? With daughter fast approaching high school age, we will be forced to make decisions in the couple of years. Part of me is excited about the possibility of moving closer in, but the other is sad about the change in relationship with the grandparents.

It has made me realize that sustainability issues are never cut and dry. When you are single, things are much easier to put into practice. Adding family and kids makes every decision exponentially harder.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Zehn

I now have two children in the double digits! I see myself most in J. We both are homebodies that feel happiest just puttering around. We both need a lot of down time and find entertaining and travelling (while fun) completely exhausting. We like routine! I love his super sly sense of humor and ability to laugh at himself. He quickly grasps the big picture and can clearly see all the steps needed to get there. I love how his mind works. I can't wait to see where life takes this special guy. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Friday, July 1, 2011

St. Louis

One of the major pluses of going back to school for the Master of Sustainability degree is that I get to hear of all the cool things various cities are doing to increase their sustainability. When you are not in the loop, it is easy to get frustrated when you see so very little happening. I have little patience, and want it all done now! These last couple of weeks, the Director of Sustainability for St. Louis has been speaking/working with us. I have to say, it has really renewed my faith in St. Louis to hear of all the initiatives that not only the city is working for, but also other non-governmental agencies. It gives me a lot of hope for the area. I am especially excited because for the next six weeks I (and two others) get to work on a field project with her. I can't wait!