Tuesday, July 26, 2011

App Store Tuesday

SO disappointed that I missed "Design Wall Monday"...but I will just look that much more productive next week. (Big Grin).

Oh there are so many KEWL Quilty\Sewing\Creative apps to choose from on my iPhone to tell you about on this Fabulous "App Store Tuesday"!  But I only have a few minutes to post today.  So I will fire up my "Random Finger Generator" and poke with my eyes closed...  (drum roll please)

And the winner is.....                      

Joann's By 5th International US, Inc

Your favorite fabric and craft store is now available on your iPhone & iPod Touch! The Jo-Ann app is stocked with features to make your Jo-Ann shopping experience that much easier.

Stop clipping coupons! Add and save coupons directly to your in-app coupon wallet. Get access to exclusive mobile coupons for app and mobile site users.

Browse the product catalog to find just what you're looking for. Catch up on customer reviews on individual products and share products via email, Facebook and Twitter.

How many times have you ended up wandering the aisles of Joann's and did a mental "hand to forehead" THUMP.   I left the flyer with the coupon at home!!!  THUMP no more ladies and gentlemen.    Click the app - search for available coupons and with a confident grin - just SHOW the coupon to the super sweet Joann's employee and she'll scan your iPhone\iPod\iPad and VIOLA!...you get your discount!! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Operation "DOWNSIZE" - Part 1

This has been a year of self-reflection for me.  I'm really not 100% sure why I've decided to "BLOG" all of these inner thoughts - but I have, so I will.   I'm don’t know that I’m ready for an all-encompassing REVEAL of all that I've discovered about myself, but I do think I'm ready to embrace certain aspects of who I am and process through accepting or changing them.

Here’s a little history.  Starting about 10 years ago, I was at a time in my life when I was lost.  I lacked direction, was divorced, eventually got involved in a meaningless relationship and only found peace with myself when I was working my fool head off and being the "best that I could be".  I had a magnetic personality and was always surrounded by “friends” at work that wanted me involved in their projects, or wanted my insight on their projects.   I felt respected, cared for, and it was the only place I felt appreciated.  Home life, was empty, without purpose.  I spent time with my children – but not really.  I spent time making sure they were safe when they were returned back to their father.  I believed that because they were “with” me for part of the week, that I was spending time with them.   I wasn’t.  This went on for about 5 years. Reflecting back - this was how I was raised as well.  I occupied myself, came up with my own entertainment, but my mom was always somewhere around.  Made dinner when I complained that I was hungry, bought my school supplies, drove me to school functions, dropped me off at friends houses.  We didn't have a relationship - she was my parent.   We are definitely a product of our parents.   I didn't know there was anything wrong with that.  I thought my childhood was great!  Again, these reflections are all relatively recent.  Anyway - back to adulthood.  All I really did at the time was work.  Multiple jobs most times.  Eventually around 2005ish…I was down to one job, trying to turn the meaningless relationship into “something”. Not really sure what that something was – but I was trying.  Most often I found myself alone, physically and emotionally. 

Throughout my life, I was always a “crafter”.  I cross-stitched, crocheted, did some plastic canvas. Put puzzles together.  But mostly ‘collected’ things.  Patterns, magazines, Embroidery floss, yarn.  I’d spend time cataloging them and gaps (missing magazine issues, or missing floss colors) would stand out.  So I’d hunt on ebay, and garage sales, or hit sales at Joann’s to fill the gaps.   Then I’d catalog and organize some more.   This seemed to fill the “void” – though I didn’t realize it at the time.  I thought these past-times were part of me.  I thought I was doing things I truly enjoyed!  They had purpose!

Much of this portion of my self-reflection has to do with my mother.  Not just upbringing, but who she is now.  I have accepted that my mother, is a dictionary-definition Hoarder.  I didn’t know it then…there was always a reason, or some “plan” for the piles that were growing at her house.  The recent discovery that her life..my life, my future...will not change, without intervention and DRASTIC change, has been difficult, to say the least.  In this process, I have come to understand that I too have many of her tendencies ingrained in me. I thought I was a well-rounded, independent, STRONG individual!  Turns out I had great “coping skills” for the disappointments in my life….boy was I wrong.   I have spent the last year (maybe a bit more) just MAD or sad. It flip-flops.  Sometimes even outwardly angry to come to the realization that "things" in her life are more important than family and those we love. And in turn, that’s what I learned.  She didn’t do it on purpose...she is a product of her life experiences.  Loss, disappointment, fear, rejection....  She never travelled the journey that I have in the past few years to truly have a chance, or a REASON to pursue self-awareness.   I am angry and ashamed that I too, somehow got to the point that things, collections, possessions were more important than the things that SHOULD matter most.  Family, friendships, making memories. Making an impact on the world and those that we love.  I’m still struggling to find the balance.

Somewhere in 2005, I bought my Embroidery\Sewing machine.  It was then that quilting & embroidery came into my life.  This was an amazing discovery.  I was good at it, I learned quickly, it took over my creative mind.  It brought social aspects to my life that I didn’t know existed.   I began to join guilds, teach classes and all the while, continue to “COLLECT & CATALOG”.  It brought me a feeling of happiness that far exceeded anything else up to that point in my life.  It took over, and began to define me. I didn't want to spend all my time WORKING.  I wanted to get home, create, have things to share at show-n-tell.  Come up with ideas to teach to others...it made me feel good.

Back to the journey.  In the past few years, I have rekindled my lost love with my husband.  We’ve remarried, and our family is one again.  It’s a second chance at living the life I want to have.  Once I introverted myself and took a long hard look INSIDE myself…it’s been a tough road.  It’s hard to own and accept the mistakes you’ve made in your life. And to what cost. I spend most days now struggling with guilt and regret for all the time I missed with my family, my children.   Yet the “coping skills” I acquired in that decade seemed so real.  I struggle with who I want to be, and who I think I am, who I thought I was…..blah blah blah.   This post has gotten deeper than I thought it would….whew.

I guess it’s poignant to say….I’m still lost.  And I feel like the proverbial clock is ticking for me to figure it out.  Where’s the balance…what in our lives are truly a “PART” of us.  What really makes me me?  All those days I spent playing in the garden last year…did it really matter?  I look at the flower beds overgrown with weeds and wonder – What’s the difference?  Does it really make ME happy, or was it just something else I used to distract myself from focusing on my relationships within my family, that do NOT come nearly as easy.   I love creating things – at least I think I do.   I dunno.  Was that all a coping mechanism for disappointments in life?  Like my mom?  What do I REALLY enjoy?  And then immediately following that question – is why am I just thinking about myself?  Am I a good mom?  A good wife?  A good friend?  A good daughter?  How do you pick what to focus on when you’ve come to the realization that you’ve failed at so many things when all the while, you thought you were so stable and successful?   How does one find the balance…..

Anyway – on to the original reason for the post – “Operation Downsize”.  I’m scared to end up like my mom.  I’m scared to leave all these “things” for my boys and their families to deal with someday.  I know that I’m not even remotely close to living like she does – but I could be, I think.  I dunno.   Anyway – my focus for the moment, is to downsize all the clutter in my sewing room. It’s suffocating me. I was looking at the photos on the Accuquilt Facebook page today.  They are running a “Bust My Stash” contest.  I’m no worse off than the photos there, or any of my close quilty friends for that matter. But I am MORE than certain that they don't have all the inner demons going on in their heads that I do right now.   My husband could solve the problem for me and just haul it all away in a day...but somehow, I think that clearing out all the junk I don’t use or care about anymore will make me feel better.    I know I have so many other things to work on when it comes to “SELF”….but for now – this is all I feel I can handle. I think and reflect when I'm in here.   Maybe if I get it back to feeling like a safe haven again, I'll have the opportunity to do that "thinking" that I so desperately need to do.  If only there was a time machine…..

Here’s the pictures of TODAY – I hope eventually to post some amazing AFTER pictures.

If you have wisdom and insight that you can share to help me - please comment.    If you want to ignore the pink elephant in the room and just cheer me on to clean this place up....that's great too.  :-)  I'd love to hear from you.   I'm sending this out into the abyss now.  LOL   Probably should be in a private journal instead of a blog...but what the hell.   If I've learned anything in the past few years - putting yourself out there, and allowing yourself to be vunerable....IS the journey....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Embroidery Club in Western NY

One of my favorite things in the world to do - is to teach others to take on a "Can Do" attitude.  I've been teaching Embroidery Club at various locations around Western NY for several years and we (myself and my partner in crime - Miss Vicki) have landed in a new location.   If you are located in the Rochester, NY area - please be sure to stop in to Amelia's Fabric & Yarn Shoppe in Hilton, NY.  It's a relatively new Quilt Shop - has been open for less than a year and has the friendliest staff I've ever met.  She has BEAUTIFUL yarns for the die-hard Crochet and Knitting folks (not the stuff from Joann's, Michael's, AC Moore - the GOOD stuff) and yummy fabrics, patterns and notions.

Nancy, the owner, has graciously offered Miss Vicki and I the use of her classroom, one evening a month, for our "Multi-format Embroidery Club!"   Any make\model of embroidery machine is allowed!   If we have never seen it before - Vicki and I will work with you to learn everything we can so you can get the most out of it!

We talk about online resources, Embroidery Magazines and resources, charities, family, you name it! 

This month, class is Thurs, July 28th 5:30pm until 8:30...ish. :-)  Our project for the month is CRAZY QUILT BLOCKS (In-The-Hoop) from Molly Mine Designs

We try to feature a different online Embroidery resource every month!  So if you are in the Rochester, NY area - stop in the shop and sign up!   Leave a comment if you'd like to be added to the mailing list!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

App Store Tuesday

I listened to a podcast recently from Quilting...for the rest of us, I forget which episode.  But she had posted a question in several venues for quilter's to answer.  Something along the lines of  "If you were on a desert island, what three quilting\sewing items would you have to have with you?"   It was hoot at how this question evolved since in the end, we had to assume that this tropical island in the middle of nowhere SOMEHOW....had electricity, internet, our sewing machine, and an infinite supply of thread and fabric.   I'm pretty sure that the goal was to find out what has become the most important items to quilters in 2011.   Many were frantic with the idea that there was a possibility that a quilter could be without their laptop, internet and\or iPod for listening to podcasts. (giggle) - we are SO spoiled...

I pondered this question for a while and also decided that if I were without my iPhone.....I'd definitely be looking for the nearest boat OFF the island.   Then I wondered if other quilters had any idea how invaluable their iPod\iPhones really are!?   So I decided to deem Tuesday's - APP STORE TUESDAY

My Favorite App of the week was actually just recently released!   You traveling quilters are going to WANT this sweet little FREEBIE....immediately!!

Quilt Shop Finder  By New Track Media, LLC

Description :
Quilters will love how easy it is to find location and contact information for 2,500+ quilt shops across the United States using this app from Quilters Club of America and the publishers of Fons & Porters Love of Quilting magazine. This app makes it so quick and easy to find quilt shops nearest your current location or to research store locations in advance of your travel to different areas of the country.

Enter any City, State or ZIP code to easily search for quilt shops across the United States. Or let the app automatically show you the quilt shops closest to your current location. See where stores are located using the interactive Map View where you can expand or zoom the map. You can also browse quilt shops in the List View to see detailed address and distance information. Click on any store listing via the Map View or List View and you’ll see the full address and contact information including phone number and website URL where available.

The app also features a simple Feedback Form that allows you to alert us to new store opening or shops that aren’t yet listed with the application. Every time you open the app, you’ll access the most recent and most complete database of quilt shops across the United States.

Note: Before this was released - I was using another one and making it my personal mission to populate all the shops in NY as I came across them.   This is a nice app too - but wasn't "pre-populated" like the one above.  Also...it's $2.99 instead of Free   Quilt Shop Locator

Monday, July 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I'm SO excited to have a little something "crafty" to focus on in this crazy thing called life...   My sewing room is BURIED in piles of stuff that desperately need to be purged.   Crafts I don't do anymore, things I collected, things I once thought were so important that now make me feel suffocated under all the disorganization and clutter.  I've been dedicating a little time every weekend to listing things on Ebay.  But it's definitely NOT something I look forward to.

 A few friends and myself have made a commitment to each other to meet up every other Monday to work on a hand applique quilt.  Three of us are working on the same quilt and the other is working on one that she started LONG ago and needed motivation to work on.   I haven't done hand work in years.  But right now, it's EXACTLY what I needed.  Something I can carry with me and work on when the moments arise.  I hope that the motivation to continue to clean out my sewing room and sell things I can't bear to throw out will continue, but it's a long process.   Those close to me understand how deep that goes.

But without further adieu....here's what on my design wall on "DESIGN WALL MONDAY!"  I found hundreds of other bloggers that have deemed the day and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon! You can visit them here!  Patchwork Times Blog  My sister-in-law also has a blog, and I know that themed days help her greatly when she isn't sure what to write about.

Starting Over...

I can't tell you how much it has been nagging at me lately.  How to explain, what to say, what to share about all that has happened in the last 6 months.  The idea of how to move forward and disconnect disappointment and everything negative from my passion for quilting, embroidery, sharing, teaching....and everything else that goes with it has been a bit overwhelming.   I'm on the road a lot now with my new job and have been listening to podcasts and hunting down the blogs that go with them.  Even though I don't have as much time as I used to for quilting and creativity, it's still a part of me.

   And then finally...I realized.... I don't have to figure out how to fix it!  I don't have to recover from it.  I don't have to talk about it, explain it, re-hash it....  It's like deciding how to tackle all those UFO's or WIP's in the sewing room.   Sometimes ..it's ok..in the words of my dear friend Sandy H from www.QuiltingForTheRestOfUs.com ..... to just LET IT GO.  It's an anvil in my life that I'm ready to just toss away. So I've deleted my blog and started a new one.   I can't tell you how much better I feel already!