Monday, January 30, 2012

More retreat sewing - tote bags

I've probably made 50 tote bags. But not where they looked completely "finished", without raw edges... There was always either a served edge or an unfinished lining... Since most of my sewing is self taught, I simply don't get everything on my own until someone shows me. (I also learn best by being taught as opposed to reading directions)
This weekend was perfect for that. The last morning was really fun. All my big projects were done, I didn't want to start a new big one, and saw my friend Lori making a beautiful tote. Every detail was finished and perfect and I literally sidled up to her and begged her help.
I raided the scrap pile and used a few strips of linen to piece the patchwork outside. Vanessa had brought extra interfacing to share, so I borrowed some of that to try out what a sturdier tote would be like and then with Lori's help, I whipped out this bag... With french seams (hidden edges) and tucked in straps.... Ooooooh, I love it.
And now it is sitting by my door filled with the supplies I need for a much anticipated class that I am taking tomorrow. I could squeal I'm so excited about that.... Can't wait to show pics!
And on top of that, the guild meeting is tomorrow, so we get to have a reunion and share about the retreat with all our other quilty friends. Yippee!

Re•joy - indulgence. (just be)

I was taught not to be super self indulgent. I was taught that I need to see the pain in the world and do something about it. I was taught that it's okay to enjoy good things, but to hold them lightly. I was taught that I should give freely because I have received freely. I was taught to be the change I wanted to see. These are GOOD things to internalize.
But sometimes we need to rest. And as a child, I saw rest modeled, too, but I'm naturally a work-horse. I don't stop just because something hurts. I almost never rest. Which means that it's hard to take time to heal. It's actually becoming a bit of a discipline for me - to check in with myself and say, "libby, you need to just BE". Not be productive, proactive or prolific. Just be.
This weekend was so good for that for me... I laughed till I cried, I made things, but I also got to have silence and moments of my feet in the grass at sunrise.
Today I pulled over at a coffee house with a shady brick patio and had a scone and some soup in the shade - instead of racing home to get life in order after my weekend away. It's hard to indulge myself this way, but I'm trying to practice the art of resting.
After this weekend away, I feel better than I have in a year. Why? Because I relaxed more than I can remember in a long time. Not striving or pushing myself to be anything other than who I am in that exact moment. How often do we do that?
Not enough.
So I'm doing it now. And then I'll go home and put my sweats back on and get back to work. But for now, I'm here.

It's a patchwork life - all zipped up

Pics here of my new patchwork bag and the ones I made for the kids all from our (awesome) scrap pile on the retreat. I brought a boatload of zippers to share, ever noticed that most of my patchwork bags have coral zippers? That's because my pal, Tori, bought them for her stationery biz about 10 years ago and then never ended up using them. I have had about 200 in my possession for about 6 years and they were what motivated me to learn how to make pouches. And I have made tons. I came to the retreat prepared to share any techniques I knew with the girls, but when I got there, I learned that my skills (all self taught), were REALLY inferior to those of some of my friends. So I was the student instead and learned some tips to really make my bags SO much nicer. I'm really pleased with how well made these are, they are miles beyond anything I had figured out on my own. Special thanks to Ramona, Katie, and her mom, Carrie for schooling me and sharing so generously their wealth of knowledge!!!



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