Thursday, February 09, 2012

Finishing things!

Early in January I got together with my friend Joan and we decided this would be the year for finishing things.  Joan loves to journal and does a spectacular job of it.  I haven't done any of that yet, other than this blog!  She gave me a beautiful small notebook which is divided into sections with lined paper, graph paper, plastic sleeves for photos or samples and some dividers in random places.  I decided it would be my journal of my "Finishing Adventures of 2012". 

We sat down on our regular Friday stitching day and began our lists.  She had gone through all her unfinished objects (heretofor referred to as UFO's) and listed them.  So while at my house we went through my cupboard of UFO's and listed them in my journal.  Even I was horrified at what I had in there.  If I finished all the things in there I would have an entire closet to put to better use.  I think there's a fine line between storing and hoarding and I may be on the verge of crossing it! 

My book is now divided into types of UFO's.  Unfinished quilts, unfinished dolls, unfinished paper projects (handmade books), unfinished knitting projects and unfinished art trading cards! 

Throughout January I have been applying myself to finishing things.  I have finished a felted had been in my closet for at least 3 years and it needed a button sewn on it!!!!  WHY do I stop when I'm so close?  But it's done now.

I then got out a doll that I think I started at least 15 years ago.  She's lovely and just needs her clothing completed.  I had started to make a skirt of leaves with decorative machine stitching on them.  The silk I was working on had bunched up and I didn't know how to fix that so into a box she went with all her parts and pieces to await ...... well, to await more knowledge I suppose.  This month she emerged and I was amazed at how much I've learned in the past years and how easily I could do that stitching now that I know what supplies to use and how to use them!  I've got the stitching done now and am adding beads to the skirt petals....beading is another skill I've learned since starting that doll.  I'll be going to the doll club meeting in Victoria next week and I intend to take her with me.  Some of the members were in that class when I took it with Patti Culea, and I'd like to ask if anyone can remember how many years ago it was! 

 Another thing finished in January is a knitted collar which I'm very pleased with.  It was started in a class at Needle & Arts in Campbell River with Miriam Leth-Espensen from Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I love the way it fits and believe I will do another.  It would make a lovely gift for someone who doesn't knit and it's so simple! 

This is a pot holder that has been on the shelf for a number of years.....I don't dare guess how many.  I don't even think I made's folded squares and all it needed was a binding!  It's done now and crossed off the list! 

And last but not least, while at a retreat with my quilting group in April of 2011 I put together a kit quilt that my mother gave me and asked me to make for my sister to hang in her office.  I'm not a Halloween officianado, but I was willing to sew it together and finish it.  Mum had used the center panel to translate into graph work and knitted a sweater for my sister in the intarsia method, which incorporated these designs. (My sister works is a pediatric heart specialist) Mum does this in her head, without even drafting it out on graph paper! 

So this January I got out that quilt top, basted it and proceeded to quilt and bind it.  Yahoo....another finished project!  And the last step for January is to enter in my little journal of UFO's, what I finished, when I finished it, and any notes I think appropriate.  The only appropriate note I can think of is "Why the heck didn't you go all the way to the end before you started the next thing!!!"  See that big word at the bottom of the page????

I can hardly wait to see what February brings!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Tea Flower Ceremony

My mother, father and I were having dinner  together the other evening, as we do every evening now that they live with us.  it was a quiet meal with not a lot of conversation.  I cleared the table of the main meal and brought out dessert and as always, a pot of herbal tea.  Only this day the tea was different.  We had a coffeemaker that stopped working and I had thrown out the body of it and put the pot in a box for the local thrift shop.  Mum saw it there and brought it back into the kitchen.  She told me she had a tea flower that her granddaughter gave her and she needed a clear pot to put it in and wanted to use the nearly discarded clear glass coffee pot for that. 

Now you should know that Mum has downsized considerably in this move, and can't let go of a lot of things she has.  So when she can't find a place for them she brings them into my part of the house and places them somewhere.  I find little surprises in the oddest places.  Some I leave there and some I put in the box for the thrift store.  I've found that once Mum has actually gone through the motions of moving something out of her space, she will often forget about it.  (Altho I have gotten into trouble the odd time because we "can't find" something she knows she brought over to my house!)  But this time it was worth it......

But back to the tea.  Mum brought her little tea flower over.  It's a tight little ball of tea leaves.  This one was called Sunset Oolong...."Wild oolong leaves and orange lily offer a golden full-bodied flavor with hints of peach, some caffeine.  Brew time 3 minutes."  It was from Spice Merchants . 

We put the little ball into the pot and topped it up with just-boiled water.  And then the three of us sat and watched the little thing unfurl.  I must admit to having had thoughts along the line of "what has my life become?"  But little by little the leaves rehydrated and spread out and lo and behold, we had a lovely flower floating in a pot of tea!  We poured three cups and it was surprisingly tasty.  I had seen these little balls in the tea shops in our area, but never before appreciated the zen quality of the tea ceremony using one of these. 

My natural (or destructive?) curiosity overcame me when we were done tho.  I got out kitchen scissors and dismantled the leaves.  It was interesting to see that it was constructed like a bouquet.....many long tea leaves, a lily flower which still had it's stamens, and what I think was a strawflower in the middle.  I can't imagine making these and wondered how it gets dried into the ball shape! 

But what started out to be something I thought laughable was actually pretty interesting and educational as well as tasty!