Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

       Having recently moved back to Spokane from NC has left me feeling stunned. I feel like I’m living in a surreal place. I’m closer to family and have had so much more time to create and craft. And what has been especially pleasurable for me is to share my materials and expertise with my children, just as my mom had done for me.
       When I was a new mother starting up my own home it was wonderful to have my mom nearby to help me make curtains and pillows, or refinish chairs. She knew how to hang wall paper straight and fitted properly. She sewed cloths for my children and, on occasion, an outfit for me. If I needed something repaired or remade, she seemed to know how to do what was needed and had supplies ready on hand to make it all better.  She was a wonderful cook and was there to answer any of my many recipe questions. We both had gardens and often canned together. Work was often shared, which made it fun.
      When I lived 2,500 miles away I could not do for my family as my mother had done for me. It was difficult to give instructions over the phone and know that down in my shop I could attend to the problem in a few minutes. A part of me always felt a little "unplugged," so being back nearer to my children and family has left me in a permanent state of euphoria. After years of being unplugged, it didn't take much to make me feel connected.
     This was a great holiday season for me. I think that I have nearly forgotten how to celebrate them. With all the travel required over the years to be with family on the holidays, it has been awhile since I was able to deliver or receive warm baked cookies and bread. I hardly bothered with decorations knowing that no one would be seeing them, including my husband and myself. Holidays felt stark and empty. Now I’m building my decorations one string of lights at a time; what may seem a pathetic attempt at holiday festivities, at times, feels overwhelming to me. There is a real learning curve to knowing how to string a decent set of lights across the lawn. Amazing, they even have light-sensing timers!
     This was my daughter’s first Christmas with her daughter. Nothing like young children to bring out the magic of the holidays! We made ornaments and handmade gifts to ease our budgets since we've both experienced a cut in the hours we work (or at least the paid ones). Even my son got in on the action and made a pair of polymer clay snowman earrings.                                                                                                                                             
      For me, that is what gift giving is about. My mother and I used to start at the end of summer planning what gifts we were going to make. We knitted and sewed, painted and hodgepodged our way to the holidays; and it made them so very special. My tree is still decorated with our odd assortment of handmade ornaments. I wanted to share this with my children, and this was the first Christmas in a long time that I was able to do just that. It was a wonderful feeling to add my granddaughter’s handmade, hand-print ornament to the eclectic mix of decorations already hanging on my tree.
     I look forward to the New Year and the new challenges we face; knowing that I’m surrounded and supported by my loved ones makes it a great start already.  

My handmade gift to my daughter...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Beading Across America

       It's been nearly a year since I posted an entry on my blog! A few life altering events gave me pause and a time for  reflection, and I have chosen to move  my life in a new direction. It seemed wiser to wait until I was of "retirement age" to make some of these changes, but the birth of several grandchildren proved to be the final motivation for my husband and I to move from the Carolina's we love back to the Northwest to be closer to family. We bought a house, are trying to sell a house, and the process of wrapping up a thousand loose ends has placed my existence into one hectic state of affairs for the last year. I have continued to work on my crafts, but it has been rather sparse and unfocused. As I near the end of this year's long journey (I measure my years by the school calendar), I look forward to being resettled and refocused. I will face new challenges, new motivations, more grief and more joys. Such is life, and as much as I hate to embrace life's sorrows, I find embedded, even in those trying times, strength and comfort from family and loved ones.
      I'm not sure about my employment options. As most Americans, I will face the uncertain job market (it was probably not the best time to leave a job I love and offers some security), but those who know me know that I'm a risk-taker. Sometimes I feel as if I'm throwing myself off a cliff and hope to grow wings before I hit bottom. Maybe. Maybe not. I might try to turn my hobby into a livelihood, or I might try to get back into teaching, or subbing, or maybe become a superstore greeter. Who knows? I'll know when I get there. It helps to know I have a loving husband who supports me as we share the uncertainty of what lies ahead. 
     Soon we will be leaving North Carolina to head back to the Northwest though it will be by an indirect route. We have a few eastern states to see on our way home. The very-out-of-the-way Maine and Vermont are the last two states for us to visit before my husband and I can say we've been to all 48 of the contiguous states. We'll stop so I can wave at Lady Liberty and after collecting my Maine thimble swing by Niagara Falls to capture another of our country's (and Canada's) natural wonders.  
Beading Across America

     I have packed my jewelry kit for the journey and hope to bead across America. I opted for a lot of blue and turquoise colors--the color of water. I love it when jewelry pieces have names. "Liberty" and "Niagara" are ideas waiting for a creative and free moment to craft into existence, though I'm thinking I might need to pick up a few red beads for my Liberty piece? I'm really looking forward to having the time to focus on being creative. I hope by the middle of summer to reopen my Esty shop. Check back in a few weeks to see how our great nation inspired me. In the meantime, wish me good luck on my new adventures!