Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Day Away

This beautifully set autumnal table could be featured in a magazine--the colors mix and blend so well, the seasonal centerpiece provides a perfect focal point, and the artful arrangement of dishes and utensils invites one to sit down and partake.

Notice the sweet little place marker of a monogramed leaf, punctuated with a decorative pumpkin, sitting atop a favor of funky fall knee-highs!  The best part is I was included in this ladies luncheon, held within a charming cabin in the woods of the mountains of nearby Black Moshannon.

The maestro of this culinary and sensory concerto was our dear and good friend Carol, who generously shares her gifts and talents.  She gathered a few retired teachers and one teacher still in service around a crackly fireplace and this beautifully set and deliciously laden table.

We raised glasses, lounged, laughed, reminisced, caught up, and for an afternoon laid down the cares and toils of life.  We left home to go to the woods; we left home to celebrate nature, and food, and life, and fellowship.  Two days later, the glow from fire and friendship linger still…

Thursday, October 24, 2013

From Sandals to Socks

Next week marks the last week of October. Even though green leaves still cling to the trees, Halloween is rising.  A pie pumpkin and acorn squash sit on my counter ready to roast. This week, I opened my sock drawer to dig out a pair of socks to pair with shoes instead of strapping on sandals.

Yes, fall is full-blown. The sun is not yet up when I walk out to pick up the morning paper. There was a hint of snow in the air today, the wind is blustery, the temperatures are falling, and the furnace pumps heat instead of air conditioning.  This week, while mowing the grass, my neighbor and I agreed it was probably the last of this season.

It's a bit hard to begin hunkering down to hibernate.  This changing season means fewer bike-ride days, fewer hours of sun, more layers of clothing, and a heightened chance that weather may interrupt a day's plans. But, I really do like the flow of the seasons here in Central Pennsylvania.  I like being able to don sweaters, wrap shawls, and pull on fingerless gloves.  I like the changing light at the end of the day and the slowness shorter daylight ushers in.

And while I enjoy the freedom of uncovered feet slipped so easily into sandals, I savor as well the soft color of hand-knit socks warming my feet.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sewing a Garment

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  
-Eleanor Roosevelt 

If I am ever asked to name a woman I admire, Eleanor Roosevelt is the woman who instantly occurs to  me.  In so many ways, she embodies a leader, activist, visionary, and woman of conviction. Such role models are important for all women of yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

I think a lot about the stories I want to tell my granddaughter and of the stories she herself will fashion.  I wish for her a future that contains challenge yet hope, big dreams only slightly tempered by soft realities, a cause she believes in, her own art, safety, a passion for justice...kindness, laughter, faith in something bigger than herself, and the abiding love of her family.  I pray for this for her (and for my two grandsons) daily.

 I want her to know that making a mistake is not fatal and often the way to learn lessons, some hard some not so.  I don't fear making mistakes as much as I used to, but I am sometimes slow to tackle something because I don't feel quite up to the task.  One of my New Year's resolution this past year was to make a dress for Rosie.  In my project box, I still have the pattern and fabric Alexis and I picked out the same day we bought material for the curtains now hanging in Rosie's room. Daunted by making button holes, I put off making this sundress and now it sits over yet another season or two.

Last week while working out at Curves (where one learns a lot more than physical fitness!), the topic around the circuit was a simple sewing pattern that two members have been making. Mel brought in examples of her work.  It  looked simple enough, it was super cute, and both seamstresses extolled the ease of this pattern. It seemed perhaps this offered a foray into sewing a children's garment--no buttonholes, only snaps!

Trying to silence the inner critic, I am seeking to relax into my making and learning, so I gently noted a few things to change for next time I make this jacket (it is sized from12 months to size 4T). And while this doing of the thing I thought I might not be able to do is nowhere near the scale of championing the emerging civil rights and women's rights movements, it marks a small step on new path of discovery, one that feels a bit thrilling right now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quilt Sunday

Yesterday was officially "Blanket Sunday" at our church: however, for the handful of us who meet on Tuesdays at Grace Lutheran Church it was "Quilt Sunday."  Since January, we have been cutting fabric, sewing blocks together, layering backing, batting, and quilt tops, pining, and knotting to bring these quilts into usable form.  These quilts, destined to be sent by Lutheran World Relief all over the globe, will serve not only as blankets but also as room dividers, baby carriers, market displays, and shawls.  When we draped them softly and carefully over the communion rail, we recalled making each one...

 It is a good feeling to work together with women to create such usable works of beauty.  Women have been doing it for ages upon ages.  I am glad to be part of such herstory.  

Is it not far better to work together toward wholeness rather than allow ego and petty differences to divide so unnecessarily and acrimoniously? (Hmmm, still no budget resolution as Congress spars and spits at each other.) For my way of thinking, reaching out, looking beyond, and making quilts to send care and warmth into the universe is at the very least one better path toward solving humanity's woe.