I’ve looked at clouds…

There is tremendous variety in clouds. And we have been watching them for a while. The clouds in Florida are different from those in Michigan. In part because there are no large trees near us, we can see vast stretches of the sky. The weather that’s coming is visible from a long way off. We’ve learned that just because dark, threatening clouds are approaching, there will not necessarily be rain. Even though they look really dark, and low, often they blow right past us. Maybe it’s because the state is narrower than Michigan, and the weather has been churning up over the ocean, which is so vast and has lots of energy.

And the clouds that don’t look like rain are also different here. There are mountainous white puffy clouds that look like stuffed animals racing across the sky. And wispy brushstrokes, thin streaks  on the deep sky blue. The sky looks bluer. We saw a dolphin jumping last night up there, and a cow biting the head of an alligator. Maybe it’s a mental condition.

Think about this…

If I paint one canvas a day, it will take me 5 weeks to use all my canvases. This is something possible.

If I use one yard of fabric a day, it will take many many weeks to use all of it. Maybe years of weeks. This is not possible. Of course, it takes about 12 yards of fabric to make the top of a king size quilt, and 9 yards to make the back. I can make that in a week. This speeds up the process quite a lot. So if I make one king size quilt a week, and use 21 yards of fabric, it will take a lot less time to use up all the fabric. But I don’t need any king size quilts. And if I make them for all my kids, it will only take 4 weeks, and 84 yards of fabric. So it will still take many weeks to use up all the fabric. I will have to donate some for charity quilts. I thought I gave enough away, but I really didn’t.

What I want to make are art quilts, that use about 3 yards of fabric. Takes a lot of time, more than a king size quilt top. Because every bit of it needs to be designed as I go. Brain power takes more time than muscles. Piecing a quilt uses muscles more than brains. That’s why it’s relaxing.This is the way I do it, you may be different.

I also want to paint and make collages, and mosaics, and fuse glass, make jewelry, and go swimming. Even more reasons to downsize the fabric collection again. As I put away the things I brought to our new home, I realize I have been very good at collecting the things for projects I planned to make. And I have made many many things, more than most people. But my priorities have changed. So I’m going to try to downsize my collections of supplies again, to fit my new life, and fit into my new home. Wish I had some buddies here that wanted fabric. Guess I have to join a quilt guild.

Take a lesson from this. If you buy it, use it. If you don’t use it in a couple years, give it away. The more you own, the more it owns you.

A Merry go Round of Life

Here we spin, from unpacking to making shelves, to reassembling my studio, to rebuilding life. Today is new. We cooked. Not only for dinner, but for the freezer. This speaks of our plan to be here for a while. We made Minestrone, from the chicken I cooked for dinner last night. All last evening the house got richer by smell as the hours passed. The meat and bones made broth like the elixir of gods, a soul satisfying aroma. Today we minced garlic, chopped onions and celery and carrots. The beans were rinsed, kidney, garbanzo. The summer squash, stewed tomatoes, green beans, and pesto stirred in by turns, and simmered until the flavor was full of mmmm. Now there are 6 packages frozen for another day. Lunches.

But that wasn’t enough.We needed dinners. So we made spaghetti sauce too. While the soup was simmering, I browned the beef, chopped onion, squeezed garlic, shook pepper. The bottled sauce was added, and we put our own spin on it. Though we didn’t start with raw tomatoes, the flavor is unique to us. Parsley, oregano, a dash of dill, and the secret ingredient, a spoon of Hatch Green Chili Powder, bought in New Mexico. This is not a hot flavor, but richness itself, umami. That wonderful taste you recognize as being the reason people love to eat. It feels like the last time your whole family came together for the holidays, and it was still early enough in the visit that you loved all mankind. The taste makes you tear up with gladness. Now 5 dinners of that in the freezer.

A few more days like this, and we’ll belong here.

There are consequences to every choice you make

Today is the first time I feel left out since we moved. My friends are having important meetings this week that I cannot attend. For 14 years shared our lives, and now my life is going in a different direction. We keep in touch, but can’t touch.

I welcomed this change, and know it was the right move. I expected to miss those familiar faces. I know I’ll make new connections. But I didn’t feel these twinges until we separated. Somehow setting up my house with the same furniture makes it harder. So much the same, and never the same.

Size matters

Our moving truck arrived. All 212 boxes were stacked in our living/dining room. The furniture is huddled together, with just enough space for us to wiggle over to it. It’s nice to sit on upholstered chairs, after more than a week of lawn chairs indoors. We started unpacking the boxes right away. The first night we did about a dozen. It felt like an insurmountable task to do 200 within the next couple weeks.

BUT THEN, the next day (yesterday) WE DID 100! Now it looks like home a bit more. The furniture is still huddled together, but there is space around it to walk. We left a big aisle to haul large boxes through. And we learned again a universal truth. Taking small bites of a huge task makes it easier to face the work. We got speedier because we put the studio boxes in the studio, and plowed through them. About half the boxed stuff is now on my shelves. The rest of the studio boxes are stacked in the closet.

We put 3 huge wardrobe boxes and 4 boxes of clothes for the dressers, in the bedroom. Getting the big, easy to put away stuff out of the way gave us a boost of cheer. You know which drawers you keep your drawers in, dont’cha? That’s a fast task, like putting away the laundry. We grabbed all the kitchen boxes, and loaded dishes right into the dishwasher. Six loads of plates, glasses, silverware later, I now have to decide where to put the random pieces. Of course the biggest cupboards got dinnerware. But glass bowls we use once a month are still on the counter. I hate to use easy to access shelves for them. But the cupboards are a bit higher than the last house, and I can barely reach the top shelves. A decision must be made. So, I’ll go do an easy thing until I can decide. Brains take longer to use than muscles.

All the muscle intensive work is first on the agenda today again. I hope to do another 50 boxes. Near the end we will be faced with more decisions, so we’ll get slower. For now, our backs are strong, our feet are in drive,  and boxes don’t know the end is near.