Relax.Enjoy.Create

Hot tub time machine. Tonight. Takes me downstream (no more going upstream to work out old karma, unless I want to paddle against the current). So, I go with the flow. Toward a beautiful waterfall. (I’ve had this lucid dream before. The first time I had enough faith to go over the edge, was quite an adventure. But now it’s easier. No more clinging to the rocks at the top, in fear.) When I land in the gorgeous pool at the bottom of the falls I notice more souls than ever before are there. (It is so lovely you all could join me.) It is peaceful, yet exciting. And the pool has seemed to expand to contain so many of us, without feeling crowded. AHHH. Well, back to the message….

I ask, What have you got for me tonight?  I hear it LOUD. Repeated. “Relax, Enjoy, Create”…”Relax, Enjoy, Create”…”Relax, Enjoy, Create”.  Then, “R.E.-create”… “recreate”…”recreation”…”RE-creation”… “Get it?”  Yeah I get it.

Now let me explain so that you can “get it too”. My thoughts the last few days have been on setting my new moon intentions for November. I scanned through my journal from the last few months and a word jumped out at me. “Productive”.  As in, “I wasn’t very productive today” or “I really accomplished a lot. It felt good to be productive”.  But a month ago I made a major life shift for myself, on purpose. And it is giving me an opportunity to take a new look at what it means for me to be “productive”. So, that is what I am setting as my intention. Re-define what it means to be productive. (Does floating

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My new studio

in a hot tub, talking to the stars counts as “productive”. Well, yes I think so. I just need to get used to thinking of it that way!)

I moved my art studio/gallery out of a public location (the last 13 years) into the privacy of my home. I moved from a 800 square foot space to a 7 ft. x 12 ft. space. Yet It feels more expansive as I can look out continuous windows on three sides from a second floor space. I call it my treehouse. I am adjusting. I am settling in and getting ready to get “productive” again, but in a new way.

So, today I also “played” in my new studio space in a way that was relaxing, enjoyable and creative.  I salvaged a pile of old cashmere sweaters that I had washed, and cut apart. By stitching them together, I RE-created a new “up-cycled” cashmere afghan, throw blanket. This is a technique I have used a lot in the past. But, it has been awhile (because of the studio move) since I’ve had time to enjoy creating and have fun. Soon I plan to get several of these cashmere blankets posted to my Etsy Shop. They would make a lovely holiday gift for someone. Something to snuggle up in and Relax, and Enjoy! Something a Stitch In Time Saved!

 

 

A Case For Pillow Talk

20160511_094018In his heart he said: 
     I love her so very much

In his head he said: 
     I hope she loves me too.

From his mouth he said: 
     Can we eat dinner early tomorrow? 
     I have an evening meeting.

And then he fell asleep.
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In her heart she said: 
     I will love and care for him forever.

In her head she said: 
     I hope he will always care for me.

From her mouth she said: 
     Early dinner tomorrow?  Sure!

And then she fell asleep.

A Case For Pillow Talk
©2016 Pamela Penney

 

Inspired by a recent Broadly article, Mark My Words: The Subversive History of Women Using Thread as Ink, I transformed a couple of vintage pillow cases I acquired from my grandmother.  I am pretty sure she did the decorative stitching with the rick rack trim.  I created this piece for the group exhibit, “She Said | He Said” which opened this weekend at the new Groshek Art Gallery in Chicago.  After 30 plus years of sleeping with my husband I can attest to the fact that what comes out of the mouth is rarely the “important stuff”.  I thought the use of grandma’s pillow cases was perfect for this sentiment.  My grandparent’s were married over 70 years.  I wonder sometimes about their “pillow talk” over all of those years.
I also coincidently came across a New Yorker article from a 1996 interview with the Obama’s.  I found it sweet that our current President once said this about his wife, Michelle…..“but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person.”

Tonight, before I “fall asleep” I think I’ll try to express something more important than what is planned for tomorrow, or what happened today.  I will  share from my heart, even if I can’t find the right words….

I’m So Excited (and I just can’t hide it)

I’m not sure why it is, but my best ideas and inspiration come to me when I am out in my backyard soaking in the hot tub (time machine) under the moon and stars.  Tonight there was a lovely, bright crescent moon and the brightest “star” is actually Jupiter.  He is my “action” planet and together we say, “by Jove I think we’ve got this!”

So, tonight I have a plan of action.  Looking back in time I realize I am celebrating the 20th anniversary this year of my business, Pamela Penney Textile Arts (where a stitch in time saves!)  I started creating women’s art to wear jackets and children’s special occasion garments in the spare bedroom of my home when my children where babies.  (Crazy, I know!)  I’ve expanded and grown and want to share my joy. Tonight I had a spark of an idea about how I want to go forward this year and share my celebration with the world!

I’m not really ready to share all of the details yet.  They need to be “ironed out“.  Much like things work in the sewing room, creations don’t really look great until they are pressed!  I will be sharing this very soon.  So, stay “tuned“.  You may want to bookmark this page, as I will post a link to the updated information here as it gets solidified.  In the meantime I will leave you with some clues…..

Postcards                                    Photos                  Sharing

                                    Contest                          Prizes                                         Stitches                          Instagram

Twitter                   Games                                     Creativity

                         Celebration               Party

Facebook                 #aStitchInTimeSaves            Fun

              Did I mention Prizes???

 

Saving with Stitches

Today was just one of those days when several things came together to fulfill my mission of Saving the World with my Stitches!  (Or at least with my assistance.)  I had two lovely new students come in to the studio this morning for their first sewing lesson.  Two women, friends who decided to take a lesson together.  We covered the basics of threading, winding the bobbin and trouble shooting a sewing machine.  They also learned to pin and sew a seam with fabric “right sides together” and how to turn corners and sew a curve.  We covered trimming and pressing our seams.  They are now ready to take on a pattern to create a basic garment over the next few weeks with me.

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When they left I had a friend/customer come in to pick up a garment that I had finished for her.  Bonnie brought me several old cashmere sweaters a few months ago that she had grown tired of, or they had some minor stains/holes in.  She requested that I create a vest for h2016-04-08 12.02.10-1er that was “long” and “drapey”.  I loved that her colors were limited to ivory and black.  I loved the final piece so much that I wished I could keep it for myself.  And even though it took me longer to get it done for her than I hoped, it is still very cold here in Chicago this spring, so she will probably get some time to wear it before warm weather hits.  (There have been snowflakes in the air for the last several days and it’s April!)

2016-03-11 15.00.03This afternoon I had another longtime student/customer come in for an appointment to finish up a project that she has b2016-04-08 14.21.23-1een working on with me for the last couple of months.  Carol brought in an old grey sweater, a few pairs of corduroy pants and a photo of a bird drawing from a Leo Lionni children’s book.  She wanted to use the bird image as inspiration for a pillow cover.  We appliqued the corduroy fabrics onto the grey wool, she used blanket stitch and overcast stitches to finish the edges of the fabric and it turned out just adorable!  The “piece de resistance” was the vintage buttons she had in her stash to use as the eye.

After all of those activities I had a little quiet time in the studio late this afternoon, so I pulled out my own “mending”.  A couple of days ago my son mentioned that he had a hole in the underarm of a favorite “Agave” shirt.  He wondered if I could fix it for him.  I said, “Why yes!  That falls well within my mission statement!”  And within two minutes his shirt was back in service (well it may need to go through the wash, but otherwise it’s in as good as new shape!)

Any day that I can stitch, salvage, create, relax, enjoy, mend or teach the skills and help another to do so is a very fulfilling day!  A Stitch In Time Saves……Friday!

 

 

Detachment as Offering

I like to start my week with yoga class as often as I can.  I have been going to Ahimsa Yoga here in Oak Park for a bit over a year now.  I’ve been an on and off again practitioner of yoga since my knitting teacher loaned me a book of poses when I was about 13 or 14 (yes, that makes it 40-ish years of yoga!)  Synchronicity brought me to Ahimsa.  Last winter I created my textile art piece titled “A Stitch In Time Saves” (the inspiration for this blog moniker) to publicize the One Earth Film Festival and my work was hung on display at Ahimsa.  So this monday morning I made it to my class where my lovely teacher and now friend, Jackie shared an Inspiration deck from which I could draw a card.  My card for today is “Detachment“.   Perfect, of course, as I’ve been making an effort toward the goal of detaching and letting go.  I spent much of last week cleaning out my basement and detaching from my physical “stuff”.  Now, time to work on my attitudes, thoughts and beliefs~

Coincidentally I cut out a page from the May/June 2004 Yoga Journal during an art making session a few weeks ago written by Sally Kempton on Detachment.  She writes, “the way I ease myself toward detachment is to practice offering…….I offer up whatever it is that I’m doing, whatever I’m intending or wanting, or whatever I’m trying to get free of……Offer the fruits of your labor to God.” …..”Offering our actions helps train us to do things not for any particular gain or personal purpose but simply as an act of praise or gratitude, or as a way of joining our consciousness to the greater Consciousness.  Offering our desires, fears and doubts loosens the hold they have on us, reminding us to trust in the Presence- the source of both our longings and their fulfillment.”  There is no expiration date on this advise!

Then I spent a little “art journaling” time before working on some commission pieces that I need to make headway on in my studio this week.  (And I did make some great progress this afternoon!)  Here is my journal entry embellished with my tree imagery and the Yoga Journal article with wood and bark texture~

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Journal

And here is the the work I made progress on in the studio today.  First, an acrylic and mixed media canvas.  The working title is “Can You See the Forest for the Trees?”

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Can you see the Forest for the Trees?

And I’m working on this sweater vest for a client made from Salvaged Cashmere, some of which I hand-dyed.  This is “a Stitch In Time Saves“~

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A Stitch In Time Saves…..a salvaged and hand-dyed cashmere creation by Pamela Penney Textile Arts

I am pleased with the progress and enjoy the process.  I remain detached from the outcome and welcome the work as it evolves.  And I like Mondays~

 

 

Mindful Mending

Today the month of March is coming in like a lion here in Chicago.  It is snowing, just an inch or two predicted, but the thermometer indicates a very chilly 27 degrees F.  It is the day that I should get all of my bookkeeping together for the annual income tax submittal to the IRS.  But, I’m not really feeling motivated yet for that. So, what is the perfect task for a day like today?

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I think I will snuggle up under this beautiful vintage heirloom wool blanket that my friend Marie requested I repair for her.  The label indicates that it was produced by The Orr Felt & Blanket Company in Piqua, Ohio, U.S.A.  “This gorgeous coloring is inspired by the famous Holland tulip.”

This special blanket is in near perfect condition except for about a two foot stretch  where the crocheted edging has pulled off.  I am lucky to find a small ball of wool yarn in about the same weight that matched the color near perfect.  (Perhaps just a shade lighter, but only I will notice!)  I study the slip stitch, chain stitch pattern of the existing stitches and I think I made a nearly un-noticeable repair.  Once again, A Stitch In Time Saves just in time for a few more chilly days this spring!***

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***If you are in the Chicago area and you would like to learn how to do your own crochet repairs (or knitted or sewn)  Check out our “sister website”  PamelaPenney.com.  You may just learn to save a piece of American Textile history and leave a little more landfill space un-used!