like a fairytale, epic, funny and sad, and then happy.
Once upon a time.
from my talk on sewing organization, aka manage your mess
E for Ergonomics, which is all about you.
So your space is for you. My space is for me. My home studio is not open to public, in fact my public mailing address is a UPS store. So this is a whole new world--but I still have a real physical place.
Best way to keep your space clean, don't use it much and hire an assistant to help you clean up before you have play date with an LA based designer.
I was terrified to go back to my high school reunion last summer.
Ok, it was a little exciting to see friends on Facebook. Their kids looked a lot like my friends, it was kinda cool.
I didn't keep up with high school friends. I'm just living my life.
I asked Mom if she would go with me. She replied, you aren't supposed to bring your mom to a reunion. She did teach at my school, my friends were in her classes--see I was the epitome of cool.
I had left that town to college 3 hours away, then my parents moved halfway across the country, I didn't go back. One dear friend came to visit me in college before she headed off to the Marines, another wrote me letters I still have about her babies and her life. I like the idea of letters, but the reality doesn't alway happen. Maybe that's why I like to blog--it's my letter to the world.
Some of my favorite memories of high school aren't what someone might expect:
- windsprints in field hockey
- lighting bunson burners in chem lab
- teaching friends to drive stick shift
- picking up pepperoni-mushroom pizza on Friday night on my way to babysit
- sweeping the sand out of our pepto-pink beach house in Chance with concrete floors
- lighting fires in girl scouts
- listening to the Clash for the first time
"Spanish bombs rock the province / I'm hearing music from another time".
I posted an open invite to our class, to meet for a ShoreBirds Game and another for an informal meet up of the Girl Scouts I knew back in the day.
At the ball game, I heard "sorry, I don't remember you" and at the reunion another classmate said "your name looks familiar, wasn't there a young teacher with that name?" Neither of these bothered me, that was the past--I don't live there.
Weathered, softened, changed. Who would want to be shiny glass, sharp and dangerous? I prefer the glow of worn glass and these shades of summer that fade away.
Seriously, I'm enrolled in a school that I call life. I'm busy, just like you. But I take those minutes in between and put them to work for me. It's not as easy as it looks. Those who have attended my classes--like Face Your Fears, Superhero Strategies for Unleashing Your Inner Awesome or even Recipes for Teaching a Great Class would tell you, it's not as hard as you fear and sometimes it's getting past that fear and embracing our humanity that is the biggest hurdle we face.
Yes, I did go to school. I finished high school, college and even took a graduate level class in metrics just for fun.
Laugh if you like, metrics are fun, and we can prove it. If you have no metrics, you can't prove that they aren't fun!
Oh, my the PUNs must stop.
Before I headed off to teach at two big sewing/quilting venues in 2016, I stopped by my favorite car shop, Rising Sun Motors.
Why, cause when I am making choices, I like referrals, that's part of why I want a verified blue checkmark to have that extra oomph that I am me. So I thought, and yes, again, I invite you to laugh if you like...
But I really thought that asking for referrals was a good idea.
I was WRONG!!! seriously, I did not study business and only took 3 psychology classes, but I did take an awesome amount of engineering, science, math and philosophy/theology/ethics. So what does all that mean.
Catch free range referrals
Referrals that naturally occur in nature are far better that any you can grow in captivity. This is a whole books worth of stories, but for tonight--let's focus on the people. No matter what you do, it's a people business.
Thanks to Mike Warshauer of Rising Sun Motors for the title of this post-it's about the people.
Listen with your own ears (sorry the audio is not yet transcribed)
As I click publish, my stove top timer sings to me says it's time to close up that computational device--time to reboot the mind, body and spirit.
Yes indeed, you call it sleep, I call it low tech rejuvenation!
Slowly simmering in the crockpot is the world's most flammable chili con carne.
A soft snore from one of my sweet giant beasts.
This is the soundtrack of my life.
I'm humbled and honored.
Especially this holiday season--twenty-sixteen, we said goodbye to so many nineteen-eighties icons. My wish for you all is to just breathe, and just be. Hold those close, close by and just be. A long life is grant to those brave daring souls who just keep breathing. Life isn't about doing, being, or owning the most--life is about breathing the most.
Asthma, allergies and respiratory health has always been in or around my life. It's embarrassing to have an asthma attack when someone who smokes or has cute furry kitty cats sits near me. That's the extreme case, typically, I have about 15 minutes in a home with a feline, before I'm feeling the tickle in my throat and know that the coughing is right around the corner, and I will have to go-go.
Maybe faith is a bit like breathing, sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's a deep pain, some people are more sensitive to slight changes, and it's something that we each must do for ourselves. Yet, like secondhand smoke, smog, pollution affects others--we can't just say, oh, I'm only hurting myself, we all live on this blue planet together. By the way, before this seems too preachy, I have loved people who smoke. Like my grandma, who mentored my love of fabric and fashion--she smoked her whole life and died at 88 years of age. The first quilt I ever made was for her, and bears a small burn mark. In her last years, she visited Maryland in November--yes, it was chilly and I can see her bundled up for a quick smoke out on deck in my condo.
I've always been a fan of Justice. Or as my parents would say I had an early mantra of "it's NOT fair." I don't say that any longer, but I do say--what I can I do to make life more fair for others.
I know, I think a lot. I think about the effect I have on the world, the future etc. I know, I blame my parents for that, I blame Girl Scouts and I blame Loyola University--I can't just think of myself or of just today. Take a deep breath--not just of air--take a breath of hope.
Cause, I gotta have faith.
Rest In Peace, George Michael (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016)
thanks for your words and rhymes
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
You take the grey skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day
Turned a bright spark into a flame
My beats per minute never been the same
Before this river
Becomes an ocean
Before you throw my heart back on the floor
Oh oh baby I reconsider
My foolish notion
I'm not even sure what I won, but winning is FUN isn't it?
Today on Facebook I saw that @sizzix was doing a live video with @kidgiddy, so I popped in.
Did I answer the question right the first time? Nope. I first answered, IceCream with Sprinkles. Seemed like a good guess what is Kerry Goulder's favorite food.
What do you do when you don't know something--like the words IRL, IQF or IQM? You can do the same thing I did today. Which is how I answered the winning question today. I Googled.
Seriously, it's not cheating--it's using resources, tools--and I'm being pretty open about it, cause well, I also won something from Sizzix and Generation Q Magazine (more on this later!)
I think that honor and respect are hugely important. I may be FUN, I may seem silly, but respect and being a decent human being is a big deal to me.
I don't want any ill-gotten-booty.
How often on Talk Like a Pirate Day do you get to say ill-gotten-booty?
On my bucket list--meeting Kerry Goulder IRL, maybe at IQF or IQM this year?
What will be her answer? How does she sew?
Can KidGiddy Cacti? Does she dare? Will You? Is Class 106 still open 10/31? When will the questions end?
Oh, and yes to Sizzix, thanks! Feel free to send mail and treats to me at
9900 Greenbelt Road
Lanham, Maryland 20706
Yes, I'm proud that I don't know everything AND that I'm pretty good at finding answers. When I post blogs and info, I love to add in the links, so you can check it out too. The more we know, the more we know! Please share, life is more FUN with friends!
Thanks for having FUN with me today!
I love this photo--why? because that huge grin is because my parents entrusted me with holding (just for the quick photo) my newest best friend, my baby sister Maria and I'm sitting next to my longest time best friend, and first sister, Cris. I'm wearing a dress made by my dad's mom, my Abuela Marta, and Cris is wearing the same style dress in another color. I bet my nails are clean and neat, cause my mom's dad Abuelo Duran would always check our nails, and help us out. My mom and dad at the time were young and working hard to give us what we needed, and they did and then some. Thanks for not having all the money in the world, because if times hadn't been tough, I doubt I would fully appreciate all that you gave us, your time, your energy, your patience, your strictness, your love and the opportunity to make our way on this world. Like "empty stoneware" you bring so much more with your presence. Sometimes just being there is all that is needed. I'm lucky that I always feel my parents are with me. I know I should call more often, but you are always with me. Yesterday was the anniversary of my mom's mothers's death. I didn't know her well, she was formal and serious, never Abuelita, always Abuela. I didn't know her during her life the way I've gotten to know her since, she lived in a world that was far different than I can imagine. She was born in Cuba, years ago when women's dreams were (well, I'm not getting that deep today.) lived a life of luxury (sorry, but in my view having 2 staircases, one made of marble, counts as luxury); left her homeland with her husband and her two youngest kids, since my aunt was already away at a GirlScout camp. Leaving your homeland to protect your family, going from the warmth of Cuba to northern Texas and later to Pennsylvania.She was the quieter, less exciting Grandma. I hope she knows I love her dearly. My mom's parents were more formal, just like my mom is more formal than my dad. So when they taught me to blow the cover off the straws-when were eating at Woolworths or some store that had a diner area--it probably shocked my mom. My Abuela Margot colored her hair for so many years, finally revealing the most beautiful silvery hair. Look at her hands below, holding my youngest cousin--that's love--those hands and arms remind me of my mom's too. I love that in this photo only 5 cousins are looking at the camera--and the oldest of each family are not, and my Abuela is in a color that almost disappears into the couch. This is an awesome photo! Thank God for the days of film, when imperfect photos captured reality.Abuela Margot was buried in a deep purple (aubergine) dress that she had gotten for my wedding that she would not be able to attend. She made the everyday special by adding fruit to pudding and making individual cups so we each got to be special. She had pink Dove soap in her house, and when I smell that I think of her. Her funeral was the first one that I attended as an adult. I don't think I understand why my coworkers at the time gave me a stuffed animal when I returned from the funeral. But I think that she is up in heaven reading all my posts, all my rambling writings and spoken words- with a quiet smile. I think of Abuela Margot often. If you ever find her signature on page 100 of a book--please let me know--I'm happy to have that connection with my past. Double numbers always have been special to me, last night I learned more about double numbers and someday will write that story up. But for now on August 8--I think that I'll just send my love out there to infinity and back. Yes, I love you to heaven and back. Peace my friends!She would say to me, Teresita, stop writing this story now, and go to work. So I will. Love you Abuela Margot! Thank you for being you and being awesome--and for saving all the bits and scraps of words I wrote and mailed to you as a kid--like this one...
Love you to Heaven and Back! Or like Buzz Lightyear would say "to infinity and beyond"
Thinking of Daisies--can you guess why?
Right now my piece Y Knot is in the wash—I like to wash my quilts before binding them so that I get the nice puffy bloom of the wash. PS—I also used two layers of wool batting so I'm confident that something good is happening. So while that's doing it's thing, I have a few minutes to write you a little story.
Maybe I will tell my story as a conversation with a saint, an everyday hero, and a kind, kind person who I hope is smiling from heaven and aware of the power of the needle to mend and be a positive force in the world.
Yvonne Porcella—dear sweet artist, woman, mother, nurse, finisher of projects. A few weeks ago I met a second person who finished all her projects. I had to give her a prize and someday will write that story. I have so many stories. I know I won't be able to complete them all. But I smile at the thought of your yellow shoes, and the story you told me.
I'm most inspired by your humanity, your reality, your spirit that connected fiber, art, and people.
Maybe I have it written somewhere, maybe I even have a voice recording somewhere, but for now I have a few minutes and my computer.
In 2014, at the SAQA conference, you had no reason to talk to me. I was just an associate that you had never met. Although I sewed my entire life I wasn't really in the quilt world at large. I was in a local guild, and I was a local rep for my SAQA region. Maybe I'm glad that my busy life didn't allow me time to be aware of who everyone was and the influence they had made in the quilting/sewing world.
Why Not? That was your line from your lecture at Quilt Festival in Houston in 2014. You wore pants with question marks painted all over them. You were you and you were awesome. I hope that being genuine, kind and real takes off like wild fire, like a spark of love, burning hearts, sacred and true.
You rocked the quilt world. I liked you because you were real. You kindly accepted my geeky acronyms and how I had fun with numbers.
First time I saw you, I commented on your shoes that were audacious, practical, and fun. Soon you were sharing your story of how wearing unique shoes made for great conversations that occurred in places that you might see someones shoes to your right or left, as you were... well, let's say you were "resting" or "un-hydrating" to quote Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS.
Why NOT? we all do. Those where your words, and they make me smile. As a nurse, you understood the importance of a functioning body. As an everyday hero you connected with people in such a real manner when you joked about pee. Your photos in the hospital while you were getting your "reds" were always a treat for me. Seeing the world through your eyes and seeing how even in a hospital you were creating art. The photos you took were most certainly art. I loved seeing the photo of you and your son. He and I have Facebook chatted and someday will meet in real life.
I tip my hat and kick up my shoes in your honor. And when I saw that a friend was making a "shoe" quilt for your show, I thought, Why Not! I'd love to machine quilt it. Collaborating with other artists is part of living my brightest life.
Last year, I felt a need—the desire—to have a community; and with the digital world, we are not limited, so I started sewFUNfriends. It's a Facebook group—open and inclusive, free and friendly. I was honored to invite people who I was already friends with on Facebook. So of course, I sent an invite to you as well.
I was stepping out of my comfort zone. I didn't know that as an admin inviting someone to a Facebook group was basically adding them. In our world, we are so connected, but we are also alone. I think when invited to something, we are on alert and wondering what people are trying to get from us—our money, our time, our influence, our endorsement, our spirit? In fact I'm going to post the conversation we had on Facebook.
I didn't want to post this before, because I thought some people might view it as my using your influence, I don't know why I didn't trust my gut more and be myself without worrying how it would be viewed.
I hope to honor you and those who have come before me in this simple yet audacious task of sewing and being human. I even think that mending and sewing has a power to connect the world in a way that is needed. Oh I know, I'm one of the big dreamers. At the SAQA conference this year, I even asked the student panel a question. What can we as Studio Art Quilt Associates do to help you as emerging artists?
Well, I have my dreams, and I'm making my seams—putting together something that although simple, might be a good first step that I am taking as myself and that maybe other Associates will take as well.
Thanks for listening!
Hello friend (since we are Facebook friends), My intent is to add joy, to treat all people with respect, and to be a positive force in the quilting / sewing world. I’ve been blabbing (I mean blogging) since 2011, sewing since childhood, designing patterns since 2009. I work full-time in engineering. I just got a second dog three weeks ago. Life is great but busy. In order to let you see what this group is, you should have access to view all that has been posted. Sometimes it helps to see what something is before deciding if you like it. The group is a closed group, so the posts are only seen by members.
Where did this come from? Well my Mission Permission Slip social experiment and associated stories around it led to this new Facebook group that is about sewing, light and fun, and we are friends (or at least friendly). My intent is to have a group that is not limited only to quilting because there is so much relevance with other types of sewing. I’ve also experienced firsthand the positive influence a community of stitcher / quilters can have. I invited you to sewFUNfriends. As a moderator, my “invites” show up as “adds”. Please feel welcome to join, unfollow (you won’t see posts), or leave. If you choose to go now, you are welcome to come back later. Life is very busy, so we can’t be in every group, but do check us out and see if this might be fun for you.
Thanks let me think about it. It is a very busy time of the year for me. Getting ready for a museum exhibit in January.
Thanks for your gracious response. Quilts in museums is fantastic news. Much to give thanks for in our joyful/sewful lives.
Yvonne, you were the only one who responded with a request to think about it, my plan is to remove persons if they don't want to join within a couple weeks—this is the message I'm putting out there. Please do what works for you. I want members to be there by choice, so members who have not joined sewFUNfriends group after two weeks, will be respectfully removing. If you decide to join later, just go to the group and request to be included. Thanks! AtoZ http://funfromatoz.com/2015/12/02/something-new-something-fun-sewfunfriends/
Sometimes opportunity knocks, in the form of old jeans in need of new life--and with just a few hours to do the hack. I thought, if you give a fish, vs teach to fish... I have time to make a tutorial video on #snapchat.
I spent about an hour doing the first pair BECAUSE OF THE VIDEO!!! That pair was left with raw edge, but had reinforcement stitches (low tech, aka hand sewing) on the side-seams so pants don't come apart at the seams. The second pair took maybe 10 minute total, well maybe 5-7 minutes max, and I finished the seams on the sewing machine. I will do a machine tutorial later, but now, with the technology I have, here is the first cut, you get the most important parts in this video.
I have a dream to teach sewing to those who want to learn on their terms and on their time--so yes, video is perfect! Someday, I have a dream to have a videographer, but for now--good enough is good enough.
Many of my dreams have been achieved. Some I mentioned during Permission, Perfection and Other Fairy Tales at Mid-Apalacian Mid-Appalachian Quilt retreat last Friday. I'm so happy that sewing, engineering, humor and joy can all play well together.
Yes, I know some of my dreams are not realistic--like living in a place with awesome sunrise AND sunset views. That dream drives me to appreciate those sunsets and sunrises that I do see.
I want to enjoy daily life as much as vacation life--please don't laugh, but I'm finding joy in the simple act of everyday cleaning up. When over 200 pounds of Bernese Mountain Dogs are in your life, if you can laugh at and enjoy sweeping the dog hair tumbleweeds you will have a better experience.
So in the last few years:
I saw the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
I used Spanish and sign language in my day job (not much but some)
My baseball team won the Championship and I clapped so hard that my hands hurt
I made great friends and business associates who help others achieve their dreams
I got a theme song--thanks Colin Kemper! Someday that will be known as my first theme song, cause I know it was only several hours worth of composing. It's perfect, and I'm privileged that I was able to find you while I can afford your time. Best of luck as you head off to study Music Composition in Alabama next month.
Okay friends, thanks for listening--I gotta run to bed, and then off to engineering work tomorrow. Yes, I like many of you have a day job and am also a superhero doing the audacious act of finding good in the world and helping it grow--oh, and I sew.
Can't wait to share more stories and also to reveal more dreams--what are your dreams?
So here's the stats
7min- alter jeans to shorts with sewing machine, they look store-bought--got trust me, I returned them before taking a photo.
1hour- alter jeans to shorts with raw edge, while making video on snapchat
3hours, 40 minutes- create with iMovie, laying music in and writing this blog post. Oops, actually only 3 hours, I forgot to clock out while walking the pups around the block.
Posting to YouTube now and off to sleep!
Full Disclosure--certain words are hard to spell: Appalachian is one of those for me--that sneaky H and double P. I found this mistake myself, before others commented. It's a balance of accepting my imperfections and doing my best. So I've updated my post correcting the error and I did a strikethrough on my correction. 6:15PM 25-July.
26 February 2015. That Day, That Dress. A spark that ignited communication beyond the virtual work, into our day to day existence. The irony of duality—the prose I planned to be an essay, spilled out like silk cocoon, as my fingers danced on the keyboard. For most of my life, I’ve stood in awe of those whose have lived through eras of drastic technological change. My dad’s mom worked as a seamstress, her childhood had no Saturday morning cartoons on TV—there was no TV. I wondered what our fast paced world must seem like, when digital communication took the place of paper and pen. A distant past in which, we knew those friends on our block, our news arrived on folded paper, and the lights at night were the stars and planets. We humans landed on the moon, before I was old enough to appreciate our small step. I take a leap myself, combining and creating my life as a soup or stew as I stir my words, science, art and thought. By day I tug on the seams of science in operational engineering. By night I look up at the same moon, attracted to her pull. Art and science together are a power of gravity and grace. I am just engineer, with a needle of steel and a heart of art, a human being that is all.
That Day, That Dress
Ode to 26 February 2015
Spark of Science, Allure of Art
Frayed edges, snags and lies.
Day Five-Seven of Two-Oh-One-Five
Opposing views, left and right
Blue-n-Black or Gold and White
Like insects swarming in the night
Converse and Curse across the Waves
Piercing my fibers, I form a knot
Our viral Web spun, will it stop?
Attired in questions, we cannot!
Trust we must, that which we see
Or set our sights on mystery?
Science isn’t Black or White
In packets, waves, shines both the light
Tugging a thread, I soon regret
Are Science and Art, such worlds apart?
Building blocks, unraveling thoughts
Beauty, Knowledge coexist
Woven fibers; Warp-n-Weft
Pulling Biases we must resist
Ripping our borders, edges, seams
Concealed a veil, a wish, a dream
Tricked by truth, fooled by thought
All turn and look, What is, Is not
Spark of Science, Allure of Art
With great disdain, I must confess
Unraveled us all,
A nice treat on MardiGras to see my Lucky Needlecase in CutLoosePress's Facebook post.
Lucky Needlecase is a great excuse to practice a new quilting style--matchstick or other tight quilting looks great in this small scale project. Do you practice on purpose? I typically practice with a solid color and interesting backing. The solid helps me learn and the fun side is forgiving!
This nice Hoffman Batik tricks the eye - see my lines aren't actually perfect! Ask your local quilts shop to carry my patterns, like Lucky Needlecase http://www.checkerdist.com/products/CLPAMR002Thanks for having FUN with me today!