Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm moving this weekend, and so my time has been spent cleaning, packing, paying bills, and creating new bills to pay (ie, getting electric, internet, cable set up).  All my writing/sewing time has been usurped for the moment, although I can still manage to knit and read a bit on the train.  Still, though, my fingers are itching for a good long session with some fabric...

I hate moving...I mean, I really hate moving.  I don't like change much to begin with, and in this case I'm not only losing free rent, I'm losing the big jacuzzi bathtub that has kept me just this side of sane over the past few months.  In fact, it occurred to me (during a conversation with S., which is where many of my epiphanies come to light) that there are a lot of losses piling up at the moment, some of them quite large.   Somewhere (I think in a Pema Chodron book) I read that Buddhists believe that when everything in one's life is falling apart, it's because the universe is trying to bring something important into your life and it needs you to be distracted.  If there is any truth to this whatsoever, I beg you oh Universe, stop it, for I'm not sure how much more distraction I can take!  I also have the voice of Maria from "The Sound of Music" in my head:  "When the Lord closes a door he always opens a window"...I really hope this move is an open window, metaphorical or otherwise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Finished Project

This project, being modeled by the chaise lounge on the deck, is based on the "Wall Organizer" pattern found in the book "Simple Sewing" by Lotta Jansdotter.  I added tabs at the top to hang, instead of a panel; the panel looked a little weird to me.  I used Amy Butler fabrics, which I LOVE, but if I were to make this again I would definitely use heavier-weight material.  The instructions call for canvas, but I loved this print (which is basic 100% cotton quilt fabric) and thought it was worth a try.  I did use some iron-on interfacing on the lining, which helped add a little weight & stiffness to help it hang.  It's a very easy sewing project - the toughest part is ironing the pockets and lining them up straight, which would have been much easier if I had a larger ruler or cutting mat.  Now, I just have to find a dowel or something similar to hang it...there's a little alcove in my new apartment (moving June 1!) that I think this will fit in nicely.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happiness Is A New Baby Quilt

The invitation to my cousin's baby shower sent me running to my boxes of fabric.  I had no idea she was pregnant, and that meant I had very little time - just three weeks!- to whip together a baby quilt and hand-quilt it.    It might be hard to tell from this photo, but I'm quilting butterflies over the flowers.  I'm not done yet, but am really pleased with the way it's turning out.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happiness Is A New Pen

A few weeks ago, I compiled a list of the things I thought I should do (or be, or eat, etc) at the ripe old age of 38.  This list wasn't necessarily full of things I genuinely believed to be true, but one that the mostly parental voices in my subconscious dreamed up (for example, "should not eat Cadbury Eggs for dinner".)  One of the items on the list was "should write with a real pen, a la Cross, instead of my stash of rainbow-colored Sharpie markers".  And so, I was delighted today to find a box in the driveway this afternoon, from my dear friend Diane, that contained a cool Cross pen with a note that said "you can check this off your list".  Isn't that GREAT?!   I gleefully laughed my head off for a good ten minutes.  I love it.   

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happiness Project: Where We Live

I spent this (decidedly unhappy) weekend reading “The Geography of Bliss”, which happened to catch my eye on Friday as I waited for my train at South Station. I thought it was gigantic synchronicity to stumble onto this book the day after I began a “Happiness Project”, and so I bought it. I am a big believer in signs from the universe (apparently which, if seen in a spiritual context, might make me just a little bit happier than I might be otherwise).

The author, Eric Weiner, set out to explore those countries deemed happiest (and not-so-happiest), with the underlying assumption that geography contributes, if not determines, one’s level of happiness. It turns out that scientific studies show that happiness is actually determined by externalities, contrary to what those thousands of self-help books say about true happiness being an internal matter. This pleased me to no end, although ultimately I’m not sure I agree with it 100%.

As someone who is know for *ahem* moving quite a bit, the premise intrigues me. Unfortunately, I’ve never left the United States, and apparently there isn’t really that much difference in happiness within a country (although my sister’s happiness seems to have improved exponentially since moving to CA). Some of the research seems counterintuitive – for example, Iceland is home to some of the happiest people on the planet, despite being cold and dark much of the year, and isolated to boot. And money isn’t much of a determining factor – people in Qatar, the wealthiest country on the planet, aren’t really particularly happy despite wanting for nothing (although, I’d guess that the statisticians probably aren’t asking the women how happy THEY are in Qatar…). People are happier in democracies, although people living in the former Soviet Union are not necessarily happier now than they were under communism.

But it’s not just simply “geography” – like Person A is happiest living near the ocean; Person B is happiest in a thriving metropolis. That’s part of it, but it’s also about culture, societal convention, political structure, language, and food. For example, in Iceland there is much cultural and government (monetary) support for artists, and there is much freedom for people to change career paths. Contrast that with the US, where government support for individual artists is miniscule, and good luck becoming a history teacher if you’ve trained as a computer programmer. Technically it isn't impossible, but it sure is difficult.

Mainly, the book gave me pause as I assess my own semi-nomadic state. A move is imminent for me, and I’m having a really hard time trying to decide what would make me happy. Not what will be easy, or expedient, or make my parents happy…but what will make ME happy. More to the point - what will make me happy while living alone and single??? I honestly have no idea.