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Thimble Tales
Blog Spot Two     9-13-14      My great intentions of blogging regularly during 2014 have gone out the window!  I am finally taking the time to make a second entry.  That’s right, it’s September and this is only my second blog.  How pitiful is that?   I would like to talk about my new found creativity, but before I get to that let’s look at my lengthy block to creativity.      My hubby and I retired in June after twenty some years of directing a ministry for underprivileged children and youth (which included recruiting/training workers, publishing monthly newsletters, bus driving, teaching, field trips, feeding kids meals, sewing lab, fund raising, cleaning, acquiring needed supplies, etc.).  For the past four years we drove from Brooksville, 75 miles one way, a couple times a week for ministry in Pinellas County, Florida.  In addition to our driving time, John had some serious physical challenges this year that prevented him from driving one of Christian Outreach Center’s, 66 passenger school buses, so I went from being a part time driver on one bus to the full time driver on John’s bus.  This was exhausting because that old bus was physically challenging to drive.  After a 1 ½ hour drive to Pinellas County, I then drove the bus another 1 ½ hours to pick up kids for the COC program. After the program, I drove 1 ½ hours to take them home, followed by the 1 ½ hours to get to our home in Brooksville.  Still makes me tired to think about it, and those 6 hours didn’t include any of the actual prep time or ministry time at the center with the kids.       Now I realize a huge part of discovering my hidden talents has been having more time in my sewing room.  We have been retired for about 3 months and have needed this time to recuperate--John from surgeries and me from exhaustion.  We have tried to resist taking on extra responsibilities and have been somewhat successful.  I have indeed spent more time in my sewing room.  Like every quilter, I have many UFOs or unfinished objects.  Some of those projects are needed soon like the quilts for the Quilter’s Luncheon and Auction (the Christian Outreach Center fundraiser I continue to chair).  Other quilts are for an upcoming quilt show and/or my trunk shows/lectures as an American Quilter Society Certified Quilt Appraiser.   There are also quilts I promised to make for family in Greece and quilts that I would just like to make for ME!   This new found freedom allowed me to venture into creativity with the fish quilt posted here entitled “Dinner,” which is a challenge quilt from the Hidden Stitches Applique Group.  This group hosts the Quilter’s Luncheon and Auction each year and this coming event’s theme is “Under the Sea.”  Each member has been challenged to make a quilt using tropical fish designs.  We each received pencil drawings of several fish and were asked to make a quilt to be exhibited at the luncheon.  My goal was to hand applique one fish a month.  The first couple months I finished the blocks without much imagination.  Each fish was placed perfectly in the center of the block, each facing the same direction.  Not much creativity going on there.  Since I have retired I have used quilting and other sewing projects to rejuvenate my body, mind and soul.  I have spent days on end down there (my sewing den is under the back side of our house that is built on a slope).  At first I just wanted to get things done but, over time, I have slowed down.  I have actually taken time to “look” at my fish and ask what if….?  I thought I should add some action by introducing a shark in some seaweed.  I liked it!  I looked at the possibility of the fish scattering when they realize they could become “Dinner.”  It became much more interesting than the evenly placed fish!   I added air bubbles; I cut out lots of bubbles using two different sized thread spools as my pattern.  I placed them on the quilt and thought, tooooo many.  I have a bad habit of not knowing when to quit. So I scaled back to just two bubble streams.  Then it came time for borders and I realized I didn’t have enough of the dark blue fabric that came from my stash.  I actually threw caution to the wind and added a light batik that had sea horses on it to one upper corner. Not bad! Finally, it was ready to be quilted and I prefer to hand quilt because my machine quilting stinks, so I quilted echoes around the fish and added quilted bubbles in the borders.  I invested about 50 hours to hand quilt this piece and am pleased with the effects.      I am truly amazed that taking time to contemplate my work has increased my creativity.  I have never felt so free in designing a quilt.  I feel proud of my accomplishment. I encourage all quilters to find some time to create.  Don’t rush through the creative process.  You too will be amazed to see what develops in your next quilting project. I look forward to actually being creative instead of being very routinely traditional in my quilting style.    Quilting….it is medicine to my soul, a stress reducer!  I may even create something to enter into a national show some day!      Happy Quilting!