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.