Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Reflections


Last week Bill and I went to Toronto to spend Christmas with our daughter Kate and her partner Jason. There was the usual mad rush to get projects finished, gifts purchased and wrapped, and cards written beforehand. We also wanted to make sure that Perry was all set up comfortably with a new bed and plenty of food as our neighbor would be coming in to feed him.

When everything was done and we were finally on the plane, I had a sudden urge, being away from my usual surroundings, to write down some thoughts. There was a little notebook in my purse and, in it,  I wrote continuously, for more than a hour, about the things that had happened during this tumultuous year. I spilled out my feelings about my friend Ann's death, my grieving process, battles with my brother, the death of my aunt, my sister's decline, the loss of our little Rosie cat and sadness over Jason's mom's recent death. It felt like a cleansing ritual and when it was done I could feel a weight lifted from my shoulders. I also wrote about small successes, projects I had finished and friends I had connected with. Finally, I acknowledged all the blessings I have and promised myself to appreciate them more.

That done, we had a wonderful trip, walking around Toronto neighborhoods, eating dinner at a cozy diner and brunch at the Art Deco decorated Drake Hotel. Kate cooked a turkey dinner for us on Christmas day and we all went to see the new Star Wars movie on Boxing Day, followed by dinner at an atmospheric Italian restaurant! Best of all was spending time with our daughter and hearing about her plans for the future. She loves her job and her life in Canada. so we're happy that she is happy. That's all a parent can wish for.

Now, back at home, I'm looking forward to a new year, filled with possibilities. I finished this piece right before we left, and plan to do a lot more embroidery in the year to come.

Also, before Christmas, I did a big reorganization of my sewing room/studio, but there is much more purging to do. I'll share some pictures in my next post!

I hope that whoever reads this has a very happy New Years Eve and much happiness in 2020.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Visit with my Sister

Some of my readers may know that I have an older sister who resides in a nursing home. She is unfortunate enough to have contracted Fronto Temporal Dementia, which affects her cognitive ability and moods. For many years we have struggled with this and it has been a difficult road for her and  for our whole family.

When I visit my sister, I always try to bring something entertaining to share with her - music, books, flowers, etc. Yesterday I brought her hydrangeas from my garden and photos of other flowers that are blooming now as well as pictures of our house. She seemed to enjoy looking at them.

After that, she seemed to be deep in thought and I asked her what she was thinking. Without a bit of rancor or jealousy she said, "When you get home, I want you to kneel on your front stairs and kiss them, and thank God for your home." 
It was a rare lucid moment for my sister and a moment that touched me deeply. 

Having a home and being able to live in it is a blessing.
I'm truly grateful for that privilege.

Thanks for the reminder, Carol.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Recent Work

Since the beginning of the year, I've found a lot of comfort in creativity. In March, the arts collaborative I'm part of had an exhibit called Arts and Edibles, which included art representing anything food related. One of my pieces, done mostly in felt appliqué, was called "We Gather".
I tried to incorporate all sorts of people, races, left handed and right handed, meat eaters and vegetarians, and even a dog! Fun to do, but a lot of little carrots to cut out!

I also did this piece called "Fruit From the Tree" (I'm terrible at naming artwork), for which I painted  pieces of lace to create this lady's hairdo. The face was done with painted and stitched fabric.

Since then I've been involved with the 100 Day Project on Instagram, and I've chosen to do 100 days of stitching. I had recently become aware of something called "stitched meditation", or stitching just as a repetitive, soothing practice. I've done a few pieces with this method and enjoy it. I usually try to incorporate a couple of different fabrics and some basic embroidery stitches. Here are a few of these pieces.

And then, of course, I've done some other things. Must do more cats!!

I like doing the 100 day project (I've tried it two other times) - I never get 100 pieces done, but I do produce much more work than usual. It's helpful to have a backlog of work when Autumn shows and fairs come along!

Thanks so much for visiting and reading.
Have a great day!

Back again!

It has been such a long time since I blogged. All of a sudden, it seems, Instagram has captured my attention and that's where I have been posting, but I definitely don't want my little blog to be abandoned.

Sadly, the beginning of the year revolved around the terrible sickness and subsequent death of my dear friend of more than 50 years, Ann. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last June and spent the last ten months of her life in unrelenting pain. We talked or emailed nearly every day of that time, and I felt privileged to witness her upbeat attitude and real courage in the face of certain death.

Now that a bit of time has passed and going forward, I will remember my friend Ann as she was before her illness - full of fun, sassy and irreverent, while being one of the most compassionate and caring people I've ever known. For the past decade, she served as a hospital chaplain and touched the lives of many families going through very difficult challenges, but she always brought hope and humor to everyone she encountered.

My favorite memory with Ann was the trip we took together to Tuscany in 2010. It was a cooking school trip, and we learned to make pasta in the farmhouses of Tuscan families, drank wine produced from their vineyards, saw cheese being made from their sheep's milk and visited quaint villages in the Italian countryside. Lots of fun and we ended the trip with a memorable few days spent in Rome, where we stayed in a lovely hotel very close to the Vatican. 

I'll always be grateful to have had such a wonderful friend. We counted on each other for support and advice, laughed together over the absurdities of life, knew everything about each other's families, shared goals and dreams and really cared about each other. I will miss her every day, while being grateful for the gift of such a lovely friend.

May you rest in peace, my dear friend.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Fresh New Year

I'm always glad to welcome a new year, and 2019 is no exception.

2018 was a tough year for me and many others. The political mess in our country has hung like a black cloud over everything and I have spent too much time dwelling upon it. My dearest friend and her husband came to visit in May, then went home to California where she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She is not doing well. Other things have been on my mind and I tend to let them get to me. I need an attitude adjustment!
On the other hand, my daughter and my husband threw me a wonderful 70th birthday party with many friends to help us celebrate. We've had lovely times with our dear relatives from Maine, had a restful summer vacation on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and several fabulous visits with our amazing daughter Kate. I'm so lucky to be part of "Team Hartman"!!

I also feel so fortunate to have the time and inclination to be creative. I have a vey amazing network of artist friends and see them frequently, as well as the opportunity to take classes from fiber artist Amy Ropple, who is also a good friend. 
For the coming year, I have plans for some new projects, first of which will be new artwork for an upcoming exhibit by the Arts Collaborative I belong to. The theme is Arts and Edibles - artwork relating to food and eating, as well as a special exhibit centering around food labels! Time to start working on those!

My wish for everyone who reads this:

Happy Winter!

And don't forget:

Happy 2019!!
Thanks for visiting!