I was immediately smitten and I HAD to make one! No…two! Three!
The first one was easy. Too easy. Is there even such a thing as too easy? Yes, because it makes one careless. It was so easy that I decided to NOT follow the pattern for the next one.
I decided that it was too much trouble to sew a binding onto such a tiny little basket. It would be so much easier to attach the wrong side of the lining to the outside of the basket, and then turn the whole thing inside out. Which I did, and which worked reasonably well considering I was making the whole thing up as I went along.
So then I decided that it would be fun to make a basket with a fussy-cut band around the center. Which I did, and which worked…sort of. But the lining was too small to do the “sew-and-flip” liner thing. Which meant I had to do a binding. And then I made the binding too narrow. Argh. Not so good. I was too sure of myself. Cocky. You see what happens when things are too easy? Crookedness happens!
I’m going to keep at it…I’ve got a few more ideas. I’ll let you know.
The first one was the best. Maybe I’ll go back and follow the directions next time.
They are so sweet! What would you store in one?
update: I made the little sewing machine basket as a gift, and couldn’t bring myself to give it in that crooked condition…so I fixed it!
So, in the spirit of that resolution, I spent almost my entire April allowance on playful inspiration: books!
I want to knit something bigger than a sock or a hat, but I know myself…I will make the front of something, or a sleeve, and then put the project away. Why? Because I just hate sewing the seams. I actually have an entire knitted sweater – front, back and two sleeves sitting in my basket. It’s been sitting in my basket since…um…gah! I am embarrassed to say it: about 1998. Needless to say, it no longer fits. But the yarn is good! It was expensive! So I’m in the process of unraveling the entire thing so that I can make something lovely with it. Knitted tops with no side seams! Yay!
Prairie Children and their Quilts because I love anything to do with history and story-telling, and I’ve also become fascinated with miniature quilts. AND Mastering Quilt Marking because I want to expand my hand quilting beyond using purchased templates. I’d love to quilt some of the beautiful, intricate feathers & fans etc. I have the skill to do the hand quilting, but lack the technique of how to get the markings onto the quilt top. Maybe I can practice on a miniature quilt! Boo yah!
Bread from Sourdough to Rye because I’ve been given the wonderful gift of heritage Yukon sourdough starter (read all about it here – it’s a cool story!) and I’ve been experimenting with baking bread. This book also has breads from all over the world, from challah to chapatti! And The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair because I follow her blog, which is all about yummy Asian-style cooking. (And Jaden is also a quilter, so duh….)
And then BONUS! Look what my extraordinarily fabulous son of mine sent me for Mother’s Day!
All the indoor rainy-day bases are covered! Over the next couple of months I’ll be saving my allowance for outside play…new hiking boots and a day pack.
A spending allowance is built into our retirement budget.. I’ll post about it soon!
Kelly had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Whitehorse earlier this month, so I took the opportunity to have him bring home some authentic Klondike sourdough starter.
It came in a jam jar, well wrapped in plastic and carefully stowed in his suitcase. Good thing, too, because it had started to grow on it’s journey, and had overflowed the jar and into the wrappings when it arrived. I fed it and transferred it into a new jar.
The cool thing about this starter is that it has a very venerable genealogy! It was carried over the Chilkoot Trail in the late 1800s by a member of the Honorable Ione Christiansen‘s family on her mother’s side. Ione Christiansen was the first woman to be named as Justice of the Peace for the Yukon Territorial Government, the first woman to be elected Mayor of the City of Whitehorse and the first female Commissioner of the Yukon.
It is in the nature of sourdough starter to be shared, and a long time ago Ione Christiansen’s family member shared her starter with Charlie Taylor, of the Taylor and Drury family of merchants.
And Millie shared some with me! Millie Jones is a long-time Yukoner and is the mother of my friend Heather, who carried the jar of starter from Millie and delivered it to Kelly last week. Below is a pic of Heather creating some beautiful art (check out her website)
More than four generations of Yukon history came to me in that little jar of sourdough starter!
It’s sort of like a sacred trust, you know?
I have never baked with sourdough before and I was excited to give it my first try. So yesterday I made a loaf of bread.
Oh my goodness! It is good, good, good! Especially the toast the next morning!
I had some left over, so I split it (saving half for future use) and we had breakfast for supper last night: sourdough pancakes made with Betty Taylor’s dad’s sourdough pancake recipe.
The batter was thinner than the “regular” made from scratch batter that I usually make.
The pancakes were very light.
Delicious with butter and real maple syrup.
Afterwards, I fed the starter again and then split it into two. Half went back into the jar and into the fridge, and half went into a bowl to grow overnight so that I can bake another loaf of bread today. And maybe some muffins.
I lived in the Yukon for 26 years, so…
no matter where I go,
I will always be
Have you ever chosen a word
just one single word
to guide you through the year?
For the last couple of years I’ve held the word balance close to my heart. It was the word that helped me to navigate a very busy life: teaching up to 5 dance classes per week, directing a dance troupe, choreographing and producing shows while managing to have a family life and working a 9-5 day job (phew!)
Balance was the word that got me through to the other side of menopausal depression. I was out of balance physically, emotionally and hormonally. Searching for and maintaining balance was the lifeline that I clung to and the rope I hauled myself up by. It kept me secure during the heartache of deciding to let go of my dance troupe and students. I kept it in the front of my mind during my weight loss journey (65 pounds!). It was the word that taught me to put health and happiness above productivity.
Balance guided me through the waters of deciding to retire relatively young; to move to a new town and seek out new adventures.
Balance: what a beautiful word!
But now it’s time for a new word to live by. It’s time to get out of the box and…
This year I am going to play in my kitchen and learn to bake a cake from scratch. Specifically, some of the Chatelaine cakes. Yum!
…and I will experiment creating delicious meals from all over the globe: India, Japan, Italy, Thailand…! No fear in the kitchen will be my new motto – play with those spices, Nita! Try it out!
In my Creativity room I will play in the sewing nook, on the yoga mat, in-front-of the dance mirror and with words at my laptop.
My body will become stronger as I play outdoors, exploring local walking and hiking trails with Kelly and Sammy. We’ll take our bikes out and explore some of the country roads.
I will play in the garden, discovering all the wonders of living in a zone 5 gardening region.
I vow to put myself “out there” and be open to meeting new friends, getting involved in the community somehow (music? theater? dance?)
My friend Melissa at 100 Billion Stars puts it brilliantly (you can read her entire blog post here):
Play is a way of making room for our potential. It isn’t about pretending to be something we hope to be one day. It isn’t about presenting a different face to the world, trying on masks and personae. It’s about being authentic and true to ourselves in an atmosphere without judgment or rules. It’s from this place that growth begins, releasing the possibilities that have been lying dormant all our lives.
So here I am this morning, wishing you all a wonderful year of play and a hell of a good time doing it!
I have been pondering my upcoming retirement and what I want it to look like. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do?
Ironically, it was my illness that gave me the opportunity to examine these questions. It was a devastating time for me.
For a while, I couldn’t even go to work, and I had to give up every single thing in my life in order to concentrate on simply getting up in the morning and getting through the day.
Dance felt like a raggedly amputated limb, and it hurt so much to lose it that I actually packed up my gear and put it away where I didn’t have to see the dust raining down on it like tears.
Gradually, though, creativity began to clamor for an outlet and I began to quilt and knit and write and explore avenues of creative expression that I hadn’t had time for when I was dancing.
Fortunately, part of my wellness journey has been re-learning to pay attention and listen to my body and to my heart. And, happily, what my heart is telling me is that the dance is still there, just not in the same way as before.
I’ve discovered that I love quilting. I love knitting. I love baking and hiking and gardening, and I no longer want to pursue dance to the exclusion of all else. In future, dance will be only one of many ways to express myself instead of the only way.
On another happy note, I have been thinking lately that I would like to teach when we get to Salmon Arm. Did you see that coming? I didn’t.
Ideally, I’d like to focus on teaching women my own age. Middle-aged women who have “been there and done that” and have women’s bodies; luscious or lean with bellies full of life experience and stories to share simply because they have lived half their lives or more already.
Maybe I can eventually direct a little troupe of 4 or 5 women, dancing with the assaya, baskets or zills… dancing joyful, dancing our stories in the old way. A small student dance troupe like the Allspice dancers of Arabesque Academy: “dancers who celebrate the female spirit at its most glorious time in life… a group of Bellydancers who have lived a bit and revel in their wisdom, uninhibited sensuality and zest for life.”
I could also hire out to work with other troupes… teach a choreography or perhaps come into the studio and rehearse them in preparation for performance. I could do that on a charge-by-the-hour, workshop style basis.
I am very good at troupe direction, if you don’t mind my saying so. My dance troupe Saba and all the accolades we received over the years is proof of that. I’m tough but fair (and a helluva lot of fun). Just ask these gals, lol!
As far as teaching goes, my preference is to work with intermediate and advanced students. Because I don’t want to tie up my time year-round, I envision teaching occasional themed master-classes and workshops instead of on-going classes. I’d like to revive the Special Topics classes that I had started to develop before I was interrupted by illness.
It can be a tricky thing to carve out a niche in a new dance community, but I’m not a political person, and I’m generally easy-going. I’d really like to be a positive-minded contributing member of Salmon Arm’s dance community, if they want me.
I’ve also come to understand that while I will always be a student, I have also stepped out onto that first rung as a master instructor. Yes, I dare to say that out loud. My peers and my community have designated me as such, and it is time for me to acknowledge it. I am still an affiliate instructor with Arabesque International, and that means something.
As for my personal performance practice, I have come to understand that my dancing heart lies right in the roots – the very guts – of Egyptian dance. In the baladi. My mentor, Yasmina Ramzy, saw it in me when she called me “little mama baladi” and urged me to pursue that direction several years ago.
I look forward to finding myself back in the bubble of joy that always overtakes me when I am truly dancing without care.
This is Baladi. This is the rich flavor that sets my artistic taste buds on fire.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
There hasn’t been much in the way of quilty stuff on my blog lately. Probably because I’m living out at the lake right now, and no electricity equals no sewing machine.
But I wouldn’t let that stop me, eh?
My friend Melissa had sent me a little care package containing (among other wonderful goodies) a jelly roll of Free Spirit Pirouette a month or so ago and I couldn’t wait to cut into it. Her instructions were to experiment, play and enjoy. I took this literally and decided to do just that by learning a technique that was brand-new to me.
I have always admired heritage quilts, and have always wanted to make a quilt entirely by hand. One day I saw that there was going to be Hexie-Queen Blog Hop, and since I had never made a hexie flower before, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn.
I took the jellyroll to my LQS and paired it with soft grass-green for the flower centers and garden path, and a creamy/buttery pale gold for the background. I loved the way the prints seemed to sink down and make themselves at home in these two complementary shades.
Having decided to take the plunge, I looked at a couple of tutorials and then jumped into the deep end with the decision to start a hexagon quilt.
I am slowly sewing 1.5-inch hexagons all sewn together into a Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern. By hand.
I carry it back and forth to town and work on it in the car.
This antique glass butter dish is the perfect little container.
It’s going to take awhile, but that’s okay. Handwork is relaxing. Why rush it when I enjoy it so much? I can already tell it’s going to be beautiful. 🙂
Today is the last day of the Blog Hop. Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget to check out the hexie-goodness on these other participating blogs: