This is a short post about some of the activities I do to help me relax and feel connected to the parts of me that aren’t complicated by logistics, obligations, and “have to’s.” These are things that while producing output for others (and myself) give back to me in some way….on a meditative and soul-replenishing level.
I generally have two cycles….a spring and a winter cycle. The winter cycle comes around when the temperatures dip down and there’s a chill in the air. Decorations throughout the neighborhood indicate that candy and scary movies will pepper conversation. As the temps forewarn of snows to come, the itch and urge to pull out all of the craft supplies blooms in me until I start noticing patterns and colors in great detail. Before I know it, I’m looking at my faithful illustrated library of blankets and quilts, potholders and wreaths, canvases and rugs.
The spring cycle begins very nearly at the end of the winter cycle when the seed catalogs come pouring into the mailbox. The sun begins a deliberate thinning of the snow blankets, melting icicles tap out a tempo to accompany the early Robins, and the scent of moist soil hits your nostrils. This time of spring sets my imagination going on where to plant this year’s crops, what new vegetables and fruits I will attempt planting and how I want the yard color palette to look from different approaches to our home.
This year, just like the weather, my rhythm is all mixed up. But its okay, because its helping me get through this ankle surgery.
On the left I have a small row of mixed lettuce growing in front of a row of green beans, and behind it are cucumbers. I can go out and look at them every day and never get tired of what I see. The lettuce has been growing and picked from since April without bolting and turning bitter. Tomorrow we will pick from this short row for the 6th time! The picture on the right is one of eight ever bearing strawberry plants that have just now started sending out runners. These runners grow inches every day, and if you don’t get out and help their growth direction you can end up with strawberry plants where you don’t want them. This is just a small sampler of this years produce. I have jalapeno, banana, and Anaheim peppers; eggplant; peas; onions; tomatoes; basil; beets; radishes; and much more to plant before the growing season is over.
While the yard is overflowing with edible landscaping, inside I have finally completed a project that took me years to complete. I finished piecing together a small quilt top (suitable for an infant’s car seat) years ago and finally decided to try my hand at tying a quilt. Its the easiest/fastest way at putting together a quilt. You tape the backing to the floor, place your quilt batting on top of that and finally, place your quilt top on top of that. Once you’ve safety pinned the sandwich together, you can begin tying through all three layers. I finished this project because I wanted to prove to myself I was capable of piecing together and finishing a quilt project.
The two skills I lacked were the tying of the quilt and the binding process. Thanks to a couple of books from the library, and YouTube, I was able to gain adequate instruction and practice on scraps to achieve a finished project. It’s not perfect, but I wasn’t seeking perfection–just completion. The binding job I am most proud of because I made the binding, attached the binding on the front side by machine, and hand stitched the back all the way around with mitered corners. This quilt is my first and has given me the confidence to begin my next project which is a King Sized quilt for our bed.
Below are a couple of pictures to show you the beginnings. The larger quilt block will have sashing bordering it in a color that will have continuity throughout the quilt. I hope to start on twin sized quilts for my twin daughters to last them through their college years. These activities are things that I enjoy because not only does it keep my hands busy, but results in a worthwhile keepsake that leaves a mark behind and keeps older traditions and skills alive. I hate to think that someday any of these activities will become novelties only due to mass production and automation. There are still quite a few people who enjoy quilting and gardening, and I hope it continues on into our future.
So, in addition to the above, I enjoy learning more about what interests our children, anticipating things to come as they plan their future, wondering what my wife will choose to do when homeschooling the kids is no longer a daily part of her life’s routine, reading and creative writing, cooking, wood working, social media and a myriad of other things. There’s never enough time in a day for me to attend to all of the projects and activities that I’d like to get around to.
Your turn! What captivates your mind & time?