Sunday, May 19, 2019

Slow Patchwork





















Time has slipped through my fingers since I was last here. I have tried to write an update post in my mind many times, but then when I have a few minutes to sit down all I want is to read and be slice. Today I made my mind to stay home; tidy up the living room, water plants, mop the floor, laundry , iron all the work shirts, and wipe out the dust in the studio and more bits and bobs that have been accumulated.

After coming back from visiting papa who slipped down and broke his backbone the end of the last year. I took another few weeks off from job hunting. The job hunting started in early January, I sent out lots resumes and waited to hear something and of course, nothing was heard. The ongoing searching jobs and submitting resumes taken up lots of energy and time. There were time, that I took time off to sew and write and to give myself a break from the process (thank you for being here). There were time, I had though maybe the phone is not working, so I would text a friend and just to check if the phone is actually work ( and it is working). The job searching process is long and it drains out confidence and brings anxiety.  I knew it wouldn't be easy since I live in a competitive city even job opportunities are widely open.  I keep on trying and keep optimistic about it!

Nothing was heard in February! So that made the month of February very long and gray! I wish it was pink allover, but it was not! I actually was depressed and started have more doubts in myself and of course that inner self conversation began all unhealthy and questionable. I was blessed! Have friends started calling and checking on me and see where I am at with things! Then beginning of March, I took time off from the job search and focus on sewing and positive self-dialog.  It felt pretty encouraging with all the work that I could have done in the studio without distraction and brights me up.

Around mid March, I started getting phone calls and emails for interviews (what????) I know,  they just came all together around the same time. I had numbers of phone interviews and in person interviews. I have had rejections follow up, but more opportunities came along! I felt dizzy after all the roller coster rides.   Right after the last posting, I was invited for a second interview and spent time to prepare for it. I knew I have a good chance and needed to take extra mile on this opportunity. I didn't think the second interview went that well! You know, you just kind of know how it went after met with the directors! But then I received the offering phone call two days later and was hired! It just happened!  So,  I have been working and training last three weeks full-time and yes it takes time to feel myself again! I am just tired and too anxious!

My body is exhausted after getting off the bus from work as I have been getting up at 6a.m.. When I came home, all I want is sit and read a page or two of the book. Make myself a cup of tea. Around 6p.m. put on the apron and start prepare supper and semi-tidy up the space. I tried to reground myself a bit and getting things organized, but mentally I am just not there! I knew it is going to get better and improve as the time goes!

I haven't step in to the studio for three long weeks and totally miss the sewing time and everything. I am thinking I still remember how to sew and cut fabrics, but it requires time to pickup that productive sewing mojo.

Today has been a productive day at home for a long time; cross out to-do lists and getting organized!  The shoulders are feeling lighter as I check off the promises list as well. This is the behind blog life that I am working with and finally feeling comfortable to share with you.

As the weather gets warmer and daylight gets longer, I am hoping to maybe sit and sew a bit in the studio before prepping the supper and I just knew it takes routine and self effort for that, too!

Stay turn!

and Thank you for staying around...

xxc



Saturday, April 6, 2019

the April day



















It is still a sweater season for me. A couple sweater laying around, one hanging in the back of the dining table chair, one behind the studio chair and another one in the corner of the storage room. I am cold! The gloomy and rainy days never bring much of the warmth to the apartment and the space heater is on and off as I need it and the sweaters, too!

I have been sipping tea throughout the days alone and ask Siri to turn on Pandora for me. Maybe today you are sipping tea with me as you read alone...

Summer of 1997, I flown over 23 hours flight and landed in Gateway airport, Sioux City, Iowa. I remember sobbed through of my first flight to Japan, then cried and sobbed through my second flight to Minneapolis, America. I sured the lady who sat next to me was trying to ask, are you ok? But my head was covered under a blanket and tried to avoid any contact with strangers. That was my first time away from home and first time not being able to go home, like tomorrow. On my third flight to Sioux City, I was exhausted! Never has anyone tell me that America is so far way. I vivid remember that was the first time I saw the farmlands below my eye view,;so close and felt an arm reachable distance. The engine noise was just right next to my ears and there were just 10 of us on that flight.

Late summer nights in Iowa was cold for me! I remember I was already wearing sweaters and jackets that I brought with me from home ( cold days didn't come till late October back home). Sadly they all shrank in the dryer after the first self-service laundry that I done in Swope Hall's (the dormitory) basement where I lived and done the laundry for 4 and half years. After labor day weekend, things just got browner, colder and drier on trees, grounds, and air. My sister took me to the shopping mall for the first time during our fall break. She brought me a real nice and expensive snow coat because I never experienced what snow is like before the October 31st of 1997; the snow coat was white with black patches around the elbows.  I wore that for 4 years and finally it had holes in a couple spots and it was not white anymore, it was yellowish after couple washes that I've done. My sister also got me a few sweaters, and she told me people wear hoodies and sweatshirts here. So I picked a couple of these to try out, and I love these since the day one I put them on, so does my S.

Before school started, Mary (our advisor) took us running for getting our social security, banking, errands and making sure that we are in a good transition into the new school year. I don't remember all the details in the bank that day, all I remember was bring home a large binder according to the banker that is where I will save all the monthly bank statements that the bank will send to my school address. And I signed lots documents; honestly I didn't know what I was signing for at the age of 18. I should know better, I should have had, but I didn't! People were all smiling, taking time helping out and everyone (new students) was doing the same thing. So my first checking account opened!

A few weeks later, I received a white box with my name and school address on and wondered who sent me the box, but it was always excited to received something in the school mailbox, even flyers from school clubs and commercial mails ( later on I learned it is called junk mail and short name for it is junk). I took it back to Swope and open it! It was my very first personal checkbooks and a registration book came along with it.  It felt so special! It probably had meant to a growing up teen is really going to be responsible to manage the financial independently for the first time. That Friday night, we ( students from oversea) sat at the Swope kitchen and show and tell our own checkbook. We couldn't help because we each pick out a cute design at the bank that day and that took a long time to decide on. My Japanese fellows kept saying kawaii, kawaii! Yes, they were kawaii (cute and sweet)!

On that following Monday, Veronica, my ESL teacher gave us a mini lesson on; "how to write a proper check" and how to record on registration book. So, I practiced how to write checks the next four years in every shopping that I have done, even with a payment of two dollars at a small town Walmart.  Before I could really trust the electronic payment, that was the payment option I asked the cashier to ring me up.

Soon, debit card came along and that probably have had saved half of the checks I wrote and saved some dollars on ordering new checks. I miss seeing my fancy signature in the check front, I still write checks for payments now and then.  These days, I still carry my checkbooks with me, maybe it is not a fashionable payment anymore, but it always makes me feel fancy with my fancy signature on.  All that helpful bankers have became people who I know so well throughout the year, they call my first name when they hear my Hello through the phone or step in the bank!  I couldn't help these memories that spark to me these days and have a good laugh at myself. Yes, there were mistakes in writing checks; wrong dollar amount maybe had once made 20 dollars into 20 cents, wrong name spelled, and wrong date on! The things that never went wrong was my fancy signature in the check front.

So, the new floor lamp is on every night this week. What a differences it makes? I love that warmer light brings to me at the night while I study, add on few hand stitches, and read through few pages of the new book. I trust it will bring many good warm light to me next many nights and lighted place where I set my down time alone at nights. 

I didn't have a very successful time to set up a mini light studio in the living room this week. The light comes in from the west window and I have to catch the light between  2-3p.m. or it dismiss. I struggled getting good light source and tried east side window as well as we don't have either north or south side options. Once I have found the good lighting spot, the sunlight has shifted and it is a game change for the day. Guess it always rains on the next day as I schedule it for the next day agenda and I have patiently waited for the sunny day and it came! I have done a big photo shooting this week and shown to Fifi and received two thumbs up!  That tickles me...

The wooden labels are officially added on to the patchworks. It felt really special and just like my fancy signature at the check front, but this time is the signature for my patchwork handmade. I love how it turns out and feel responsible for the work I designed and crafted. It is a promise! Lost labor of love in stitching and crafting projects and onto the final stage, meeting the audience. I say it is my obsession on what I truly love to do and makes me happy in thinking this roller coaster rides that I am on now.

I have break down my day and the week now; commit to myself on the daily/weekly agendas. This week, I focus on how to speak confidently and assured myself not rumbling through as I get nervous on questions that I have been asked. I get myself into critical thinking and writes pros and cons on my notebooks and added on a post-it on the page of the book that inspired me and go back to read the it again. I take time to sew and enjoy the conversation between fabrics and I time. I called Carol when I feel a heavy day hit on my shoulders and just need a talk; she is always there for me.  I window shopping when I need a little break from study, from more floor lamps, new dining table, new sewing machines,  soon to be release fabrics. They are all look terrific to me and have add to the shopping cart, just in case and the possibilities!

I look for a day to travel into the city and seeing all the flower blooming in the Battery Park and Central Park. A cuppa coffee would be luxury and relaxing in the walk (We always walk from downtown to uptown; sore legs, but amazing and refreshing to the soul) . I am anxious going to garment district seeing and touching all the fancy trims and fabrics, it has been too long! That will be another story to share when the day comes.

*** My contribution to 50 Little Gifts on the Window Zippered Pouch. I am late to the party due the family. It is a book that fills with great ideas for making cute handmade gifts. So many talented sewers have contributed to the book.   I am so honored having a project in a published book. Thank you to the publisher Susanne who has reaching out to me and trust of my work.

*** A few handmade items have added to the Shop; the cute dumpling pouches that made with sweet and precious fabric scraps.  Lovely penny square patchwork cases that are hand-quilted in cotton weight and linen fabric. I feel bashful letting the cat out of bag.  Yes, I am bring custom and handmade patchwork goods back to the shop and will share more with you.

xxc














Friday, March 29, 2019

Smitten all things










I dropped two thank you letters in the post office's mailbox this morning. It was a short and fresh walk for me. Did you know the flower buds in neighbors' yard are coming up? The blooming season is here because S' allergy has started; that poor kid! She has been remembering her allergy spray before she heads out in the morning. After dropped the mail, unlike walking back home. I walked to the coffee shop that's just right around the corner and ordered a cup of coffee for myself, what a treat!  Then I waited for the pedestrian signal turns green then crossed the street; sipping the coffee in my hand (all at the same time) and watched the traffic that fast pass on the other side.

It is rarely that people say hello on the streets around here. Everyone seems take their steps as quick as they can; catch the bus, catch the last two seconds of traffic light to pass the street; walking with full hands of grocery bags. As I was sipping through the coffee and passing by a gas station that is renovating now; a gentleman looked at me in eyes and said to me, good morning, just one coffee? I said yeah, just one this time! next time I will bring two! He said, have a great day! I replied take care now! Then another gentleman walked toward me and I said Good morning and he replied, a good day to you! When I got home I realized that I was smiling all the way home! Gosh that does make me feel good for the simple courtesy in life.

So, I decided to make a cross body bag this week for myself, it has been awhile! I have been thinking a smaller version of cross body bag that I can put the planner, the wallet, and a small coin pouch when I am on a quick grocery and errand runs. I knew the bag needs to be simple, so I can access it easily and it needs to be light enough to carry, sometimes carrying bags of grocery home can be a heavy duty job for me these days. I added on the adjustable straps this time, which is really benefits; it allows me to carry as a cross body bag or over my shoulder as shoulder tote.  I added the the Travel Outbound Bag inside for organizing all the bits and bobs that I am taking with.  It is just perfect for what I need! I will do the test drive tomorrow and see how I like it and what needs to be improve.

After the ceiling leak, I've been looking for a floor lamp replacement and have my eye on this as a replacement, but in reality the space we have is not allow to set a tripod style floor lamp. So it has been add on to "save for later" cart for now. As much as I know that I'll never buy it, but it is just nice to have it "save" in the cart and think of someday that we might be able to have it around. I'll be heading out tomorrow to the hardware store to pick one that's similar to what we had before and it would be nice that I can turn few more pages before bedtime again.

One of most exciting news for the week is the quarter inch mark wooden labels have arrived (hundred cheers)! It has been years that I have trouble to decide on labeling the patchwork pouches that I created. I have listed out many ideas for the labels, but just haven't found the one.  I am so pleased with these maple wooden tags that engraved with the name and they smell so wood- good! I am in process adding them on to the penny square pouches and others as well.  The wooden tags correspond so well with the patchwork piece and it just adds special touch to it.

I am also smitten by the hundreds of penny squares and in the process of turning them into mini patchwork pieces. Lots seam open pressing time ahead of me, but will be labor of love work to be happening here! In between time, I have pick up S' 13th birthday quilt making. It has been sitting around for last two years. I am actually behind all the birthday quilt making since last birthday quilt.  I have had hard time to push through this quilt for some reason and now I am ready to push through the process and hope to have it ready before the sweet sixteen arrives.

The weather forecast is showing more cloudy days ahead of us next few days and possible rain, too. Julie texted me this morning that the lake we used to go swimming in Iowa is thawing this week. I don't look forward to the summer since the apartment gets up to 90 degree inside and it gets real humid in the city, but hey more ice cream! I can't say no, right!

xxc




Saturday, March 23, 2019

be hold




It took me awhile (over a year) to finish this floral appliqué piece. It has been hanging round with the patchwork piles all this time. This week was the week that I knew that I could put it all together! The timing was just right for it and it feels so accomplished after it is finished!  Sometimes, it is hard for me to go back to the older projects, I am guessing the motivation is slightly off and the compassion of the project is fade out a bit. I've always love hand works; stitch, hand quilting, embroidery.  It still speaks so true to my heart these days. I love spending hours in a patchwork piece, big and small. Something delicate, something detail, and something special as always!

I have been working on a new logo and banner for the blog. The new idea is simplify the logo and bring less colors with it. It will take another few weeks to upload the drawings into the computer and work on the designs.  I very much enjoy this part of the design work, where I can put my ideas in one place and play with colors and layouts.  So don't be surprise next time when you pop in to visit.  You should land in the right home, but just change of the door colors. :)

Did you know that blogger is no longer sending me your comments via email? I have just realized that last week. So, I basically miss out the many of your comments. This week, I have became a mad lady and try to refresh my own blog page on the phone screen when I am on it, just to check if you left me a message.  Thank you for not forgetting about us! It is something that felt so incredible and sweet that you still come by and continually to support big and small moments with us. So, I have read all your comments by yesterday! Thank You!! 

This week has been a long-short-long-long week for me. As I have been preparing a career open house and made it to the first round of interview and there's a little glitch happened while I was waiting for the second round interview. So, I decided to walk away the possible opportunity.  I was sad and just sad! I can't tell you that actual feeling for being down, but I keep my chin up and believe for the future opportunity that awaits for me. I always thought a good night sleep would ease out the black holes, but I actually really need a down time; alone and reflect, I though I could just laugh out and be alright the next day, but it was not as easy as I hope this time. And yes! I am all better now! I ate ice cream! A big bowl of chocolate and raspberry flavor and they tasted weird together, but all that sugar just maybe what I needed (laugh)! I am in hope to drive myself the meaning and purpose from what I do everyday. Concisely knowing myself and how could I be better. It is not easy, but it gets easy as I see it and admit it!

Now, I will be looking again and the waiting time is going to be the most challenging phrase. I am secretly happy that I'll be here, but also wondering when is the next opportunity. Maybe the time will tell.  In the meantime, I'll be crafting and keep on writing and will you be here? I hope so!

xxc









Friday, March 15, 2019

story teller












The windows are open since this morning. It feels so so so fresh and nice just to have the windows open. The apartment just smells so spring today! Although the air feels damp and I need to bring the dehumidifier to the studio and give it a few hours run. It always helps to bring down the extra humidity the fabrics actually need. I have been working on these A sidewalk pouches last few days. It is such a perfect pouch to work with during the oddly schedule week. I was able to pick up and leave stitches as I go.  I love added extra leather pull on them this time! It makes them triple sweet! :)

It is always nice around this time of the year that things are less busy and we are so ready for spring to come. Perhaps this long winter has just been too long for us; living in a small space and trying to stretch out, sometimes it does feel intense.  I've gone through storage room twice and put together few bags for donations and next would be the kitchen. Less is more! Perhaps living in a small space isn't too bad after all. We really have been paying more attentions to what we bring home and how we live with limited storage and space now. Sometimes, I think of the garage that I used to have where boxes lived and roller skates stay.

It's been a long week for me! Maybe it is the daylight saving that effects my sleeping hour. But I am loving that extra one hour daylight before the dark arrives. That extra hour daylight just enough to finish last row of hand quilting before the night kicks in.  Getting back to studio and being productive feels so great! Picking up the routine is probably the most challenge these days. There are interruptions, there are downtimes, and there are endless life events, but these are good to have around, so it makes life run!

This week, I met with my friend in Central Park for a good walk and talk. I shared with her how I have felt that I might have rush through my last 10 years. I have never though about it until I talked about it.  I looked back the last 10 years. It felt so quick and so long at the same time. I was feeling so sick in my mid-30's right after graduate school; it was a sense of lost direction. That soon brought me into depression where life was really hard to face and things were moving slowly. It took some time to gain that energy and optimistic back. I am thankful to the family supports and friendships that I received and brought me back on track again.

I think it is alright to say that I wasn't all that happy and felt accomplished in my 30's. It was a try and fail time for me.  I feel I was running against with the air and trying to catch up the next freshest air if I could! I know that sound so oddly I said that, but I think I was afraid that I miss something! and I was a younger mother, had more energy. I've always prepared and ready to get going! I know, so tiring! 

Look back the graduate school time, there were so little sleep time! I've always curious and adventure about life and always felt lonely because I didn't really know where to ask for advises and take a break.  It was stubborn and challenge!  Friends would  look at me and said that I was so brave and so strong, but I think I was pretending that I was able for all! I had more edges than I though I might! It takes time to let that edges smooth out some and gain some wise strings. Now, I don't really remember how in the world that I made it through the grad school and watched my solo exhibition went up and took down! Packed everything and moved again! 

When I really learn to slow down with myself was probably the end of 2017 where everything was falling into the place and the contentment of settling down in east coast finally arrived. I spend my commute time reading news and books,even listening to some musics that I like. I never really have the time to pick up these readings for myself last 10 years. It feels fulfilling that I am actually knowing the news around and reading books; sometimes, I tear for the stories. how silly is that?

Now I feel comfortable telling myself that it is alright to be in bed at 9 because my body really needs to just be there! It is alright to tell everyone that I am tired, so they can do the dishes and pick up the laundry when it's done. It is right I don't need to be the last one in bed anymore because I am always the first one now. Yes, how nice!  I can't really follow up with my teen these days because she has her little something that she likes to be alone. 

I really love where I am now! I learn more about myself and knowing how to be with myself. I know that I am still not really satisfy with my career, but I know it will take the right placement and time to come. I'll still need to push myself more on that.  I need to balance the rush and slow me all together, so I am not outweigh any of two. The life pattern that I am follow these days is generous and gentle. It allows me to be slow down and really take a step a time.

And maybe without last rush through 10 years, I wouldn't be where I am now! I am thankful to be here! Yes, last fall I turned 40 and really, it feels a sense of calm and mature. I plan to take steady steps for the next 10 years. I might not be here 10 years later, but surely I am here now!