Sew What? Creating in new medium….

Taking a side path of creation and art. The last couple years have been mostly digital creations – and that will continue.

In August I began searching out some day stops in our new home town of Plymouth WI for my sister-in-law and I to visit when she came back for a visit in September. Lynn has been a creator all her life. A retired elementary teacher who has a fantastic design eye. She bakes, cans, cooks, crochet, sews, builds houses, gardens – so many passions. There is a store in our downtown called the Sewing Basket. I had been here a year but never ventured into it. While my husband was getting a haircut, I took a walk and ventured in to explore and see if it could be a stop when Lynn was visiting. I fell in love immediately.

The building is over 100 years old. The owners fo the business are attentive to detail and visual presentation. They also change things up almost weekly! I only had a few minutes but knew we had to come and explore together. During the visit we made it to the Sewing Basket. We met the staff who instantly became almost like long time friends. We spent almost an hour and half browsing and deciding what to get. I walked out with a ruler, a rotary cutter, some yards of fabric and batting. I decided I was going to make some totes. And we actually went back for a second visit before Lynn’s visit was over.

I made my first bags – no patterns, just figuring out the math and trying to make something.

Grocery Tote

A first attempt at making bags with the vintage cloth. I got 2 totes from the cloth and learned a lot about construction – they were rough!

Retail shopping bag from vintage tablecloth

I upgraded my sewing machine from the $60 one stitch machine that needed pliers to put the foot up and down. It arrived on a day that vintage cloths did too.

The obsession begins

I then decided I needed a place to sew and be set up rather than lugging everything out to the kitchen table and having to put it away all the time. The sewing space project began. I am using a corner of the lower level that has a closet right off the space. The closet holds my fabrics and other things. I am using things we already have with some adaptations  like bed risers to make the cutting/work table counter height. I have music and TV nearby – windows and a small turn around space to keep everything one step away. It is a happy place.

this is the first version.

IMG_3646

I then knew I needed to bring in some other things like my paintings, organizing tools. A different table for the machine that I could get my legs under and wouldn’t wobble. Facing the wall wasn’t great either – even though decor wise the machine table looks better against the back wall – I moved it out. If we have company etc. I can move the table easily and put the ironing board in the closet – but for most days – it should be functional.

Sewing space

It also now lets me see out the window catch some HGTV when not listening to music, someplace comfy to sit when hand sewing and the reminders of and a day coming up where my grandson is over for the day.

Sewing space

Some more visits to the Sewing Basket for lining fabrics and gadgets. The vintage Christmas tablecloth – yes Lynn was there when I got it! – turned into gift bags for under the tree.

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

and then more Christmas gift bags from vintage table cloths!

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

Table runners for my daughters as St. Nick Gifts.

Table Runner

And wind bottle totes…

Wine Caddy

I did a little hand sewing in between and put together this elephant from a vintage pattern and cloth gifted to me from Judy for my grandchild’s nursery. A year after he was born – but it got done!

Hand sewing from vintage pattern and material

Holiday Aprons for family cookie baking day, Gifts of grocery totes for my girls….

Aprons

Grocery bags

A peek-a-boo bag from vintage fabric….

Peek a boo from vintage cloth

Some sewing room accessories…

Chicken fabric weights…..

Chicken Weights

Thread Catcher…..

Thread catcher

A zippered pouch attempt. In this set up time I have connected with some online groups and have found support from Dawn of Grammies Little Aprons and Sew Much More….She has been a gem in sharing, giving tips and a great cheerleader. Take a look at her stuff in her business FaceBook page.

Zipper Pouch

After writing this – I am realizing how much I have done in just 4 months! Wow! And Lynn was the start of all of this!!! I am having a blast and enjoying the creating. I even signed up for some classes at the Sewing Basket for January and February to learn new things and to meet some new people.

With the projects I have done – I have collected scraps. The recylcler/upscycler in me can’t throw them in the trash. I found Darlene Michaud on YouTube and have started my own “crumb quilt” from my scraps. Taking Darlene’s method of chaining and making the crumb blocks, but then expanding and using the Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorial on Quilt as You Go Any Block – I have the starts of a quilt. I will use the crumb blocks on layer cake pieces, free motion quilt each and then join them as done in the Missouri Tutorial – so a combination and my spin on it all. I have 27 – 8 inch  blocks made already – next is sewing them to the layer cake piece and the free motion quilting before joining the blocks. I never thought I would really do a quilt – and probably will never do a full fledge quilt. I don’t think I can stick with a project that long without an outcome! – Plus the massive amount of fabric etc. on a domestic machine doesn’t make sense. I will stick to a diverse menu of things to make and shorter term projects – at least I think so now. 😉

Crumb Quilt blocks

I have about 3-5 vintage table cloths waiting for me to do something with and another 3-4 Christmas cloths for more gift bags. The next hunt will be for more vintage cloth. I am not sure what I will do with all the products. Family is already recipients and probably don’t need any more for now. I don’t think I want the selling route as that leads to having to create for a customer rather than create because you want too. But maybe there is a happy medium.

It is amazing at how even at my age – you can learn new things, find new passions. I am grateful I have the time, health and ability to take on new things – and will continue to do so for as long as I can. Today sewing – with added digital creations, photography, gardening, home decor….so many things! and now I also have the next generation in our family to explore new things with and learn even more.

More pics here.

It takes a real friend – thank you

Plymouth Brew

Isn’t it always the way? We moved to our new hometown about 14 months ago. Many of our friends are still working full time plus jobs, family, etc. and are now at least an hour or more away. In busy lives 2-3 hours on the road for a visit just don’t happen often or easily.

Today – a very special friend decided she was coming to see what our new home town was about. I was excited to have the company. We connect often online thru chat and text – but in person it has been a while. There wasn’t much to catch up on as we do stay in touch. I haven’t explored as much as I would like around our new area – so was a little stumped on what to share or show off….

We had an afternoon. We started with a short tour of our new home, letting the dogs give her some love and then off to the new Heritage Cheese Center. The place is small – but it is a small town. It is very well put together and had some neat things to look at and see. We had a “cheese lunch” and conversation. We were busy talking and didn’t get to the interactive pictures – another reason to return!

Cheese Heritage Center

Then we headed out to see a little of downtown and got our cameras out. I let my camera sit a lot lately – not sure why – but I do. These little “teasing” expeditions get me in the mood again to be out and taking more pictures. We really didn’t have a plan – so unlike us – but at the same time comfortable in just going with the flow for this visit. We did some walking and looking for the Walldog Murals. The weather wasn’t bad -but a little cloudy and a chill in the air. Downtown was a little somber as well because of a fire investigation. A huge 4 alarm fire happened last week and there was a fatality. So parts of the street were blocked off. It was also a Monday – and in a small town that means most things are not open. The open times are Thursday – Saturday for most shoppes.

I got some pictures.  (album on Flickr) and even with that, I am so rusty with my camera that I really didn’t get a good batch to work with – so another reason to go out on a photo walk!

At the Stafford

Thank you good friend….as always you are there for me. You so subtly show me how much I have to be thankful for and the richness around me to enjoy. Not sure I can ever give back half of what you give to me. Thank you.

 

 

60 Years -HUH? Ramblings and thoughts

60 Years! = Who would’ve thunk?

No make up, no fussing – just me. In my pj’s and relaxing.

Yes- some self reflection.

I turn 60 on November 3, 2017. Amazing! and not ashamed to claim it either.

I don’t feel like 60 years on this earth – in many ways I feel like I am just starting. I have so many things I still want to do and accomplish. What I do know now is to take it in and enjoy every minute while it is happening – no wishing time away.

And yet – so much has happened over the last 60 years.

  • Elementary school
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Band, extra curricular activities
  • Bowling
  • Jobs
  • PEOPLE! So many who were and are and always will be a critical piece of my puzzle even if they are already in place and I don’t see anymore. Thank you! Each of you has been a part of my story.
  • People and connections in each of those stages
  • Family-  added and lost
  • Love, marriage, children, grandchild
  • Learning, creating
  • Making a difference
  • Working hard and hardly working….
  • Doing stupid things
  • Doing very smart things
  • Adding many new people to my circle and yet losing so many
  • so much!!!! I can’t even begin to bullet list it.

I can say every stage of life has been spectacular. Memories of all I have been a part of are strong and meaningful. There are no regrets. And while there is at times a feeling of loss – it is overcome by the feeling of knowing I had the experience or connection and it was a so important at the time. I look at not losing, but fortunate to have had the opportunity and the chance to be in a time and place when it was.

We can’t have things forever – so why not keep adding while not grieving, but rejoicing that we had something even if it was an instant.

What I have learned. Accepting others for who they are, rejoicing in their uniqueness and passions. Care and love is stronger than hate. No one should suffer and never suffer alone. Listening is important. The world does not revolve around ourselves. Sometimes others don’t have it figured out. Chocolate and turtle sundaes – and vodka are good. Hugs and snuggles are priceless. Family is number 1. Worry is wasted energy, but sometimes something that you have to do. Be happy with what you have.

Maintenance, upkeep and care go a long way. One act can change everything you know. There is no easy way to do anything and no one will do it for you. We are all better when just do it.

Health is important. Illness sucks.

So much yet to come….

enough reflection – it has been – looking ahead and not at my shoes….

Here’s to the next 60 years (or at least 30!) Hoping anyone reading this is a part of the journey….

yeah  – just beginning to realize how fortunate I have been and still am. Thank you to all who have been a part of it and to those yet to be added. The best gift of all – what others bring to my world and heart. Thank you.

Heaven has a new angel

Heaven has another first class angel.
My cousin…..Carol Rowland Stepek Doezema

I got the news from her younger sister Nancy thru a Facebook private message early Friday morning September 8th, 2017.

Kathy I hate sending these out but I wanted to let you know last night Carol passed away. She collapsed getting ready for bed and they couldn’t revive her.

My heart instantly sank and tears began to flow.

While many of my past memories are just that and have no artifacts to look back on – thanks to the digital age and sharing  I was able to put together some moments of the last few years for me to look back on of only the small slice of her life I knew and shared. It in no way tells her story. It is such a small slice, but it is the one that is special to me. It is pictures of Carol and also some pictures/video of family she chose as her highlights of recent life as mom and grandma to share with others. Carol won’t be forgotten and the lives she touched will forever be blessed.

Most of my sorrow though is not in just losing Carol in my life but in knowing her immediate family has lost her. I am a distant node in her constellation hub. Her loss creates a void that is large for me and it is hard to even imagine how much her loss is to them. She was a center for her mom, siblings, husband, and most of all her children and grandchildren. We will all carry Carol forever in our hearts.

We spent quality time together as kids even though it was not often being 600 miles apart. We sustained our connection by being pen pals in those days. Exchanging letters with news and our philosophy of life at that time. Extended stays for her in WI and me in MI. Cherry picking, shopping, teasing her brothers. Dreaming of the future, talking of boys and love. ConeLand stories, hanging out with our grandmas.

Like most, we drifted apart for some years as we started out our adult lives and built our own families. Yet we stayed connected thru our parents on milestones, successes and challenges for what now I have figured out was about 30 years of once a year Christmas greetings or an update or two when the parents would connect when driving to visit other relatives. Our grandmothers were another glue that we lost with their passing, which made more frequent connections get lost in our busy young adult lives.

Carol became interested in researching family history and ancestry. She connected with my mom with phone calls and letters. I again was hearing what was happening in her life. About 15 years ago, an old school style letter here and there began again, a couple of phone calls and then came Facebook. The online connection provided connection to sharing things in our present lives that so tied back to our youth of dreams and plans. We were not a part of each other’s daily lives, but still maintained a relationship that was real and in the present instead of just an old memory or wondering what ever happened or remember when? We were sharing the now again.

I knew she had created a wonderful life with Joe and had sons. She was so proud and happy to be Mom. She faced challenges in losing her first love to ALS and yet her heart was open and she was able to find love again with Marv. She was happy and felt blessed.

Carol was strong and a fighter – taking on Multiple Sclerosis and not letting it control her. She was always the responsible, hard-working one that was there for others. She was the big sister I never had for the times we were together but also the best friend during those visits and after as well. And as sensible and smart as she was – she knew to have a good time and enjoy life. To live in the moment and move towards the future by remembering the past, but not letting it hold you.

She had a wild side – but it was the kind that could take a tiger by the tail one minute and be back to the one who kept everything together in a heartbeat. She also was one to get it done – when something needed to happen she stepped up and made sure everyone got to it – especially if it was family.

Her humor – Gosh – her wit was so sharp. She had a way of saying things that made a point – but with a touch of humor or sarcasm so one knew to stop and think and that in the big picture not to take one’s self too seriously on the small things. Her smile and eyes with those one liners – I will never forget.

Her love of cooking and baking. I could always count on a new recipe recommendation being posted. And it was long before FB that she shared recipes – I have a few handwritten ones – she was sharing long ago – one with a note. 🙂

Carol's Recipe

I am so glad to have been able to have her in my life journey. Past and present.

I love getting to know her family thru online postings and messages. I cheer at each success and feel so lucky to see the events and how time passes with each new thing. To see the small glimpses of what caught her attention or what was special to her in her life. The joy, sorrow, pride, she had in the milestones and daily lives of her children, siblings and parents. Her children and grandchildren were the center of the universe for a mom and grandma. She was one proud and happy mom and grandma. I have never met her sons, Marv, or grandchildren in person but look forward to each new update whether it was from her, Steve or Nancy. I have come to know some things about them and learned to love them from a distance.

My thoughts go out to her immediate family and friends that will feel her loss so greatly. Together we can celebrate her life, her love, and our fortune in being touched by her. Our memories together will bring the story of the depth of her touch on so many lives and yet still never be able to tell it all.

Peace to all who loved her. She is watching over us all.

Obituary for Carol Ann Doezema

Carol Stepek Doezema, age 62 of Greenville, passed away unexpectedly at home on September 7th, 2017. Carol was born March 30th, 1955, grew up in Cascade, and later married Joseph Stepek and raised four boys in Lowell. After Joe’s death in 2001, Carol later met and married Marv Doezema, and was active in her church and community in Greenville.  Carol loved working with her hands and her quick intelligence allowed her to excel at whatever she put her mind to; over the years she taught herself everything from doll-making to tile cutting. Her passions for crafting and gardening influenced not only her own children and grandchildren but also all of the children she provided care to over the years. She leaves a lasting legacy. She took joy in her grandchildren and they will greatly miss their “Grandma Carol”. Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis for years, she remained active and future-focused, living out God’s love in her communities. Carol is survived by her mother Elaine Rowland; her husband Marvin; her children William Stepek, Steven (Erin) Stepek, Jeffrey Stepek, and Christopher Stepek; step-children Sarah (Jeff) Schatz, Jason (Terri) Doezema, and Joel (Ashley) Doezema; siblings Gerald (Lois) Boelter, James  (Denise) Rowland, Gary (Theresa) Rowland, Ronald (Sherri) Rowland, and Nancy (Dave) Bradley; parents-in-law Jay and Ruth Doezema; brother-in-law Lary Doezema; sister-in-law, Pat Rowland; and grandchildren Xander and Charlotte Stepek, Isaac and Levi Schatz, Jay and Jocelyn Doezema, Taylor Toman and Violet Doezema, and a new baby Doezema on the way. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Rowland, first husband Joe Stepek, and siblings Richard, David, and Katherine. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville, with Rev. Robert Roush officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a time of visitation Monday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the funeral home. Memorial Contributions can be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

iPhone Photography Learning – Starting Out

Well – I am principled – so I won’t be giving bootleg copies or primary source information without permission. But there are publicly available videos from Emil Parkarklis of IPhone Photo Academy. In the real course the videos have a little more to them, but you can get the basic ideas.

After going thru the features and set up of the camera options on your iPhone, the first module is practicing focus and exposure. How to focus on one area, adjust focus and actually lock it. The feature puts you in control of what  part of the screen will be the focus instead of the camera deciding. It seems much easier on my iPhone than on my DSLR. You are not adjusting aperture and shutter speeds or figuring out the focus points in your viewer. Now – I do like to do that and won’t give it up. But there are SO MANY times I am someplace and my phone is with me – not all my DSLR equipment. If I am going to capture things for creating the best way to do that is to have content that comes up vs planned. And when I look at it – my phone is a more expensive piece of equipment than my camera – so I should be using it for more than texting and checking social media.

The next 2 videos are promo videos  but give you enough info to be curious enough to check things out on your iPhone. This is one of the times I am glad to have a directed course for learning. It is helping me move thru things more quickly and focus on what I want to learn more than trying to create my learning. I do believe there needs to be that balance and diversity – a little of it all for better learning. I am still the one designing my learning, but I am also now determining my resources to meet that learning. How cool would that be as an outcome for our K12 students – or any learner – to diversify and find the right resources for your learning goals and to put them together.

 

What I have learned in 2 days

How to hold my phone camera. So simple  so common sense. I always held from all four corners and looked like the old grandma holding a camera. Shaky, blurry pictures – fingers in shots.

How you hold and use your body to stabilize for better shots. It’s hard to show on my own. But here is an attempt.

Hold landscape/horizontal. Two fingers under the bottom, two along the back and your thumb and forefinger on top. You will then put your other hand under and use your thumb to push the shutter. (can’t show that and take a picture). It makes a difference – and it feels cool!

To hold in portrait view – hold like you are going to text in one hand and use the other hand to support.

Common sense things like keeping your phone closer to your body instead of extending your arms, using surfaces to set your camera upon etc. help too.

Setting focus and exposure is an easy task once you know what it is and how to lock it, you should get enough from the video to figure that out. Again – I am not going to replicate the instruction but highlight things I find useful.

Burst Mode

Have you ever put your finger on the shutter button too long and get this blast of photos. Well that is burst. I never knew what to do with it.

Once you have taken a Burst – go to the photo. In your window at the bottom of the screen click on Select. You can now see all the photos taken and go thru each one and choose the ones you want to keep. The IOS choose some it thinks are good by putting a gray dot below them. You can choose the ones you want to keep and delete the rest. It is suggested to use this for action shots or shots where people are moving. Fantastic! I can’t wait to try this one.

HDR

How many of us that this meant something High Definition?

It is High Dynamic Range. And if you have it on all the time it uses up a lot of phone memory because it takes 3 pictures for every one you take to blend them together. It also makes your phone use up battery faster.

HDR doesn’t work well with a lot of movement either.

In your settings you want to make sure you have selected Keep Normal Photo so that you have that option.

The assignments are carefully explained on how to be successful in completing.  First assignment is to practice selecting a focus point and locking it to take a series of pictures. You lock by keeping your finger on the little yellow box that shows up.  This is a good feature when you want to make sure what you want as the focus is what is captured.

Here are some of my practice shots.

#IPA Foucus

#IPAFocus

#IPAFocus

 

Featured Images:  flickr photos by konarheim shared using Creative Commons    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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