29 March 2015

34 / 35 .

i originally wrote this to post on thursday, april two - my birthday.. 
but i've decided to put it up early thanks to watching a beautiful sunrise.

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the day that i turn 35, i will be turning another year older, working at my dayjob, and then getting in my car to drive to joshua tree to treat myself for a few days.

last year, turning thirty-four felt like a major accomplishment. i knew i had a tough year ahead. the truth is, a lot of it felt tough but a lot of it went by so fast i hardly knew what to feel, if i felt anything at all. 

For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap it’s knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows. The joy. The poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff, you have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.
You rare girl, once again, you have a body that belongs to no lover, to no father, belongs to no one but you. Wear your sorrow like the lines on your palm. Like a shawl to keep you warm at night. Don’t mourn the love that is lost to you now. It is a book of poems whose meters worked their way into your pulse. Even if it has slipped from your hands, it will stay in your body.
You loved a man who treated you like absinthe, half poison and half god. He tried to sweeten you, to water you down. So you left. And now you have your heart all to yourself again. A heart like a stone cottage. Heart like a lover’s diary. Hope like an ocean.

Letter From Anais Nin to Clementine von Radics
in meeting all these new people lately, most of the time they think i'm 25, not 35. no one ever thinks i'm 35.

at 35, i love:
waking up in warm sunshine
red wine + margaritas
high-waisted jeans
unexpected text messages
long desert drives (the longer the better)
a well curated music playlist
emotionally inspired projects

at 35, i've given up making lists of things i don't love, because i'm trying to make less time for that kind of thing.

its true that i'm still too patient, still too thoughtful, still too easily persuaded; but i'm not sure that those are bad qualities anymore. i've learned to recognize when i'm unhappy and what i can do to change it - sometimes its easier than others.

my heart still gravitates towards the impossible, my pen still writes it all down.


goals for the next year until thirty-six include:
my book project
dates with dudes
more time in joshua tree

i have some places i'd like to travel to, too; i've been keeping a list in my notebook as i stumble upon photos + posts on social media - monument valley, zion nat'l park, yosemite, salton sea & salvation mountain, death valley... i'd like to make it to half. some of those are big trips, though, so we'll see about that.

when i spent the last night in the tiny little apartment back in maine, with all of my stuff in bins, my mattess on the floor, nothing but a bar of soap and a hand towel left in my bathroom, nothing but a six pack of beer in my fridge, i didn't expect to feel quite so content seven months later. honestly, i thought i'd miss home more. knowing that i don't, even though i still think i should somehow, confirms for me that i made the right choice.

as a teenager, i didn't have the desire to run out of town. travel. seeing the world meant watching it in movies or on tv, and i was okay with that. i don't know when it changed, or what happened to make it click, but i kind of feel like i just woke up one day and a switch had been turned on. i feel different even though a lot of things about me are the same as they always have been. there are some moments that i'm still shy - there are some things that make me feel weak. but in being alone out here, i feel stronger than i ever have. thirty-four was good to me in so many ways.


the best thing about thirty-four was it showed me who my true friends are. where my real support lies. it isn't about who can keep in touch the best or the most or the fastest. its about who checks in when you really need it. its about who gives you a place to sleep when you don't have one. who treats you to breakfast at the cutest spots that are just your style. who sends cards in the mail just because they were thinking of you. its not about who likes more instagram posts than everyone else. its about who doesn't judge you when you take a wrong turn and who lets you make your own mistakes. i miss those friends all of the time, and i update my social media as much as possible, all of the time, so that i can share some of these things i'm experiencing and seeing with them. i miss them, but i know that they understand why i'm out here (and not in maine or california), and that means the world.

thirty-four gave me my home away from home in joshua tree, with five (six as of this weekend) trips there. even though i chose AZ to live and work, i know that jt speaks to me like noplace i've ever been. its allowed me to make memories for myself that have helped shape the past year, in both good and bad ways. jt has helped put the pieces back together for me. its like a strange desert glue that gives me peace just when i need it. i suppose i have that california guy to thank for taking me there that first time, and i often wonder if i ever would have gone on my own. i'd like to think YES, i'd like to think it would have pulled me in anyway. knowing the four and a half hour drive from my home in arizona to the national park in jt completely by memory (no gps needed) is not something i ever thought i'd know in my lifetime.


turning 35 has got me right on the edge of a lot of possibility. there are so many things i've learned to accept and a few things i have had to move on from. learning and challenging myself to put all of those things into quilt work/projects has become the best way to live, a life i never asked for but am so grateful to be journeying through.

i don't really know what 35 is supposed to look like, be like, feel like. i don't really know what the year ahead will hold for me. i don't know what kinds of choices i'll have to make, what kind of people i will meet, what sorts of places i will end up. i don't know what my heart will endure or what my brain will think or what my body will do. but i'm looking forward to finding out, i'm not as scared of it all anymore.

thirty-four was about disconnecting and connecting and reconnecting.

in my year of thirty-four: i only kissed one guy, but i spent time with a few - and a few who are my best buddies (because it doesn't have always be about sex). i saw (met) my all time favorite band once. i counted down on a calendar for over two hundred days, gathered all my friends & family to celebrate, and then suddenly the countdown was over. i traveled through fifteen states. i cried a handful of times, but i drove with the windows down and the music blasting a heck of a lot more.


its not hard to gather inspiration when its all around you. you just have to keep your eyes open. 

i saw that lilac tree in an otherwise desert type town here in northern AZ recently while i was out exploring, and pulled over to take some photos - this is not a common sight out here, but i grew up with lilacs in every neighborhood i lived in back east. i could smell the trees before i saw them and instantly it was like i was back home - except it was 85 degrees in march, and i was 2,500 miles away.

a welcome and emotional sight that i didn't expect to stumble upon - and i suppose that is what thirty-four has really been about.


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i wrote the following entry at age 31/32 - three years ago. i was heading towards my big breakup after nearly six years together, but i didn't quite know it yet. i was heading towards a lot of things... (i guess i finally nailed this first part i talk about. i guess i kind of nailed all of it, finally.) just a little perspective on where i've come from. on where i'm going....
i want to travel, but we have no money. i want to see the world and learn how other people live and take pictures of everything and have stories to tell forty years from now. i want to drive across the country and stop at the grand canyon and swim in the pacific. 
i feel like i'm in that in-between place - just straddling the line of so many things and i could be swayed to either side at the slightest wind. i just need a little direction. it felt so good to get things cleaned up, organized, and even sewn this weekend - having that sort of order and progress in my home and work space is important to me; i hope that i can find the same motivation personally. sometimes i think i just need to get out of here for a bit.
sometimes i don't think i'll ever be the partner that he needs.
sometimes this just doesn't feel like me.

at home i spend so much time alone, that even when i'm not alone: i want to be. i used to struggle so hard with acceptance, searching for love but only finding the opposite. now that i have love, it doesn't feel like enough? sometimes it just feels like so much work, and i'm searching for the easy way out. i feel stuck.
on saturday, our counselor is going to ask us why we didn't do any of our "homework" since we last saw her. and i won't know what to say - because i'm not trying? because i almost gave up? because even though he asked me to stick it out to see if we can make it work, i am still not convinced it will.
i don't want to be a doting housewife with no opinions, but i don't always want to be the head of household, either. sometimes it feels like our roles are all mixed up, and we're both fighting to be right. i used to think i'd be swept off my feet by an overly masculine adventurous type, but i fell for the incredibly smart and introverted type instead. when we met, i hadn't been looking - i had just regained my self confidence, my self worth, learning to live on my own, wrangling bad habits, saying goodbye to people who were bad for me - he caught me smack dab in the middle of change, and i think there's change still inside of me trying to push out.

trying to work on my own self, at the same time as a relationship, is doubly difficult. i think finding my own strength is important to the whole puzzle - feeling comfortable with who i've become. i have some major roadblocks to overcome, i have some definite personal hurdles to jump. i have to learn to give in and trust - that sometimes being uncomfortable is okay. that being in the moment is good - i can't plan everything down to the last detail all of the time. i can't always be in control.
"do all that you can, with all that you have,
in the time that you have, in the place where you are."
-nkosi johnson

27 March 2015

one more week...

one more week until i wake up out in joshua tree for my birthday. six days until i turn thirty-five. i'm still trying to figure out where the last thirty-four years went, but i suppose they went all over the damn place. i'm ready to celebrate the past year - so much has happened since i turned thirty-four, and it feels like seriously just weeks ago. 

in the next few days i have a ton of sewing i want/need to get done. i start full time at my dayjob on monday, so that means my days will become a little longer at the surgery center. that means i'll have a few hours less each day for projects at the sewing machine. my bank account will thank me, and i'll just have to spend my time wisely. six months after leaving home, i finally have a full time job to add to the list of things i've accomplished in this move across the country - one with benefits/insurance, good pay, and awesome people. i'm grateful, to say the least, for the schedule & routine - and one that will still allow me three day weekends every weekend to go off on adventures!
i've been dusting off my camera lately - its been with me everywhere, trying to get back into using it. even if it means taking identical photos with my iPhone... i spent an entire night sorting through 14,000+ photos on my computer trying to figure out what i already have available to use for this book project i'm starting - i came up with 200, which seems like a lot but really i was surprised at how few it actually looked like all together. AND i realized i don't have the types of photos i really wanted. the fun thing about that is that now i get to take the photos i want to use, and mix them in with what i already had.
i'm looking forward to photographing around JTree - i've done a bit before but not in the way i hope to next weekend. last time i was there i scouted out spots i wanted to make sure to get back to. i have a pile of projects to shoot (some of them for the second or third time), as well as some props that i've set aside to use. i'm halfway done quilting my joshua tree dreams quilt and its going to get done this weekend - just in time to take it with me next week. i've purchased champagne & snacks to take for the trip.
lets talk for a quick sec about how happy i have been lately. it seems weird to have to write it out like that, but honestly i'm not sure i've ever been this positively motivated in my life. usually its the crappy weird stuff that inspires me the most, but in the past month or so i have had some really great experiences that i can feel are pushing me forward. this book project has been encouraging - all of the notes i've been taking seem to make perfect sense. i feel like i don't have to try so hard, which i definitely struggled with a few months ago. the weather has been gorgeous, i'm loving my hair, i've gotten to know a few really lovely people. 

in sorting out for this book project, i've realized that i'm so inspired by so many new things - but some of the things that inspired me years ago are still right there in the forefront. without family & my friends nearby, that has kind of turned into a support in itself for me. it might seem silly, but i really believe that if you have things you enjoy + love, you're never really alone.
some of the quilting books i've been reading through recently have been inspiring and helpful in helping me to organize my own thoughts - but i have also noticed that none of them are on my wavelength, which just further pushes me to work on it. so many of them talk about rules, focal points of projects, the importance of "proper" composition, skill, etc. so few of them speak of originality, finding your own voice in your creativity, and progress - even the ones with "inspiration" in the book title....  a lot of them talk about engaging the viewer, very few talk about making for yourself. i'm excited to talk about how inspiration and the creative process can change - it isn't the same for everyone, and it definitely isn't the same for one person throughout their whole life. perspective is personal, every quilter has a story and every quilt has one too. 
i'm not sure i'll have time to update before i head out next week, but if not i'll definitely be coming back with photos galore and plenty to write about - i don't know how much i'll share publicly, but you know there will be at least a new project or two that might speak on my behalf. see you then! XO

22 March 2015

on what it means to share.

in the past week or so, i've started jotting down notes and doing a bit of research for whatever project this whole book/e-course/whatever thing will turn into. on where inspiration comes from, on how to express your own story, on why this is necessary. without giving away too much of what i've been writing about in my notebook, i wanted to share some initial thoughts... 

part of my reasoning for wanting to write a book is (and has always been, in some way or another) to connect. when i was younger, in my early twenties, i dreamt of publishing a memoir later in my life; all of those journals i'd kept over the years. blogging became a more extroverted way for me, as an introvert, to reach out in some kind of weird way to anyone who might relate to what i was saying. in the ten years i've been blogging seriously, so many people have contacted me telling me that they were touched by or found important what i was writing about, how brave it is that i put so much out into the world. i've had an inner struggle all of this time about sharing too much - what do i keep for myself when i talk about everything?

but the truth is: i have my secrets. even my best friends don't know everything (even though they think they do).
i can remember taking a gender studies sociology course for my major in college (i have a thought-provoking, yet slightly useless BA in sociology), in which i had to read a book about adolescents/teenagers. the differences between how boys and girls coped. it talked about substance abuse. it talked about the importance of talking, and for quite a while i thought i'd maybe want to go into social work with that age group. i read go ask alice. i read girl interrupted. i read sylvia plath. over and over again. i quickly realized how lucky and fortunate i was to have grown up privileged with fairly good communication skills (which i'll admit are not as good in real life as they are on written page) and an education. i understood that those things would not be what set me apart. those were things that lots of people had. 

really, i just wanted to help. i so often befriended the less popular people in school, i dated the underdogs. eventually, as an adult, i almost felt that it backfired in a way, as suddenly i was the one being sought out to fix everyone. fill some kind of hole or space missing in their lives. maybe they were struggling on their own and i made it all feel better. but, as i've come to understand - i am no one's manic pixie dream girl. (sometimes its just hard for me to break the habit.)

this weekend i started a new inspired small quilt project and finished it a day later, because when that spark hits me it moves fast (plus i'm PMSing and emotional in weird ways, which gives me a little more to work with than usual...haha). i don't have permission to fully share the original photo/moment that i worked from (that is hidden away on my phone but not social media), but i can vaguely & technically explain to you how this project came about. this won't be a HOW-TO, or very in depth, but think of it as an introduction.
over the years, writing/sharing/photography/quilting became an outlet for me in so many ways. 

it meant leaving my pride at the door, learning how to be honest with myself, facing the spectrum of emotions: shame, lust, happiness, sadness. not everything i write ends up on the internet, not everything i put into a quilt is noticeable. it became a type of personal therapy that i created in both desperate times and hopeful times. i have felt particularly golden to find a quilting style (HST's for those of you following along) that speaks to me, because this wasn't always the case. i started out as a quilter trying different designs, patterns, fabrics, anything and everything that everyone else was using, looking for my place to fit in (and a lot of my favorite quilting roots are actually very improv a la denyse schmidt in style). it wasn't until i stepped away from it all for a while that i knew for me it wasn't really about how the projects looked - it was about how they felt. what they had to say. what they said for me. (sometimes my own voice wasn't enough.) it became about telling my stories, because i think everyone has a story to tell - whether they think its important or not. 

for this little inspired piece, i actually started with a photo AND a quote. i always start with the inspiration, then the sketched color plan, then the fabrics. i drew out my diagram of HST's, chose fabrics, filled it in accordingly, and got to work. in a later post i hope to be able to show you how i fill in my diagrams and what my process is for organizing the design.
i pulled colors first, patterns (if applicable) second. i grabbed colors that weren't even depicted in the photo but i could remember being in the space just outside of the frame (i take myself back to that time, i try to see things that aren't necessarily pictured in the photograph i'm following, i feel the good and the not so good - whatever was there). i pulled colors that were literal and also a little instinctual and impulsive. same thing for any patterns... colors and patterns mean something different for everyone - maybe red means love to me but anger to you. maybe black to me is comforting but for you its too dark. i don't force it. there's really no true way to learn this part, i just go with my gut. sometimes its scary to work that way - what if it doesn't come out the way i envision it? the thing to remember with that, is that working intuitively means there is really no right or wrong.
no two experiences are ever the same. even if two people did the exact same thing at the exact same time, their experiences would differ somehow. they would see, feel, hear, react differently, even the smallest amount. i could visit the same place more than once and it would always change somehow - maybe the situation is different, maybe my mood is different, maybe the weather is different, maybe the company is different, maybe my clothes are different.
i see quilting much the same way - even if i sat down to make five projects based on one moment in time, they would all look unique. my initial gut reaction to fabrics/colors is ever-changing. even if i'm always working with HST's the layout is never the same, some are more balanced, some have more contrast, some are very literal while others are more abstract. i always trust my instincts when i'm designing a project, and i intuitively let the projects design themselves. when i'm working on an inspired piece about an experience, i turn the art of making the piece into an experience in itself.

sometimes an inspired piece isn't emotional - maybe its just to recreate a trip or a place. but guaranteed if i want to commemorate a place enough that i'm turning it into a quilt, there's some kind of connection or attachment there. even if its based on more physical inspirations like a skyline, city graffiti, a long dusty highway, or a landscape. 

i don't consider what i make to be "art quilts". they are not made in intricate ways with particularly "artsy" or complicated techniques. they are instead a very basic style and pattern of quilt piecing + patchwork put together in an artistic fashion - the art isn't necessarily in the finished product, but moreso in the elements put into the planning. (and i'll be honest, the quilting & binding & finishing of my quilts is my absolute least favorite part.) when i think about art quilts, i think of an artist like jean wells, who also turns inspired travels and photographs into incredible pieces much more fancy than i could ever dream of coming up with. our styles couldn't more different, but i dare say that our reasoning is on a similar path. perhaps that could be said for all of the different facets of art all over the world. art is a way of sharing. we all just want to share and be understood. 
i saw a quote this weekend that really resonated with me about some of my smaller inspired projects and some that i've designed but haven't made yet: "the things that go wrong for you have a lot of potential to become part of your gift to the world." i'm not saying that all inspired pieces should be based on a negative experience (and this particular one that i'm partly sharing with you now was very much created out of a good moment), but i definitely try to embrace all types of memories in my work. i encourage you to do the same if you are able. sometimes the saddest ones have churned out projects that were just as beautiful and special as the positive ones. by all means, create from a place that brings you joy. but remember, if i didn't explain what any of my projects meant, you might never know - little secrets all their own disguised as pretty quilts. keep in mind its okay to create solely for yourself. you're welcome to share the project, but its always okay to keep the why's tucked away if you want to. (its like blogging without using names or posting photos without people's faces, or without showing the photo at all.) sometimes sharing isn't well received - there will always be someone who doesn't understand what you're saying or why. there will always be situations that aren't emotionally safe. this is where creative bravery comes in. trust & love yourself and f*** the haters, as my cali soul-sister would say. 
i was really pretty overwhelmed with all of the support and incredible comments & emails everyone sent to me after my last blog post. a voice i heard over and over was that people were tired of how-to books with pretty patterns, they wanted more out of their projects. they wanted a connection to what they were making. they hoped that someone could show them how to be inspired. these are the very reasons that i gave up the tried and true creative methods that i was used to and settled in on the more outside-the-box inspiration gathering i've grown to need in my life. what i noticed people saying was that they wanted to break the rules a little bit and make their work their own. 
i think the great thing in quilting right now is that a lot of the lines are blurred. "modern" vs "traditional" isn't so much a thing anymore since you can make very modern projects with very traditional fabrics, and vice versa. the community in general seems pretty open-minded and accepting of anyone trying their hardest. i still feel like there's a cool kids club from time to time, and social media so often feels like a contest of who has more likes/followers, but i've kind of learned to bypass that altogether (which certainly does not help when you're trying to gain support on things like a book). i was never one of the cool kids in school anyway, so i guess this isn't the time to start. i think fresh voices are popping up all of the time, i am finding great new artists on instagram daily, and i'm finding inspiration everywhere. its totally possible, and i'm going to do my best to share with you how to find it, because a lot of you said you need that. and maybe a part of me needs that too.
so. stay tuned. i'm working on it all.

i'm not sharing the finished project here because, well, honestly, i'm not ready to and i feel like to "get" the project i'd need to share the total inspiration for it. but thats okay - this is one of those secrets. and sometimes those are my favorites. 

17 March 2015

projects moving forward - tell me your thoughts!

recently i realized something very important. a couple of people within a one week time span asked me what my major goals were now that i have moved. after thinking about it for a little while, i realized that for such a long time moving was my main goal, finding a place to live and finding a dayjob were my subsequent goals; and now that i have fulfilled all of them, i am left with a blank slate. this wasn't news, really, but it didn't dawn on me until just now how huge that really is. this is the perfect time to regroup and figure out what comes next (and if people would be as jazzed about my quilt work as they are about my changing hair color, i'd be all set!). 
i have a passionate need to share. i've consistently done this by blogging and by being involved in social media. for the past couple of years i have been tossing around the idea of writing a book - not because its the "in" thing for quilters to do now or because everyone else is doing it - but because my passion is writing, creating, sharing, and quilting. what better way to smoosh all of those things together?! 

i wrote a pattern and participated in being published in the Pillow Pop book in '13 after my sweet friend heather invited me, and i have since picked her brain several times about the process.  writing a book is difficult, time consuming, and lets be honest: how many of us have an incredible $20,000 concept to pitch? i am not a HOW-TO writer, my brain doesn't work that way: in math and this is pretty so make it this way.

my love lies with creating emotional projects / finding emotional inspiration. speaking and telling stories and writing with photography & fabrics. creating tangible, visual, and touchable versions of memories. without going too much into detail right now, i do this very basically with my choices in color, line, design, composition, and sometimes texture. sometimes its so i can convey basic emotions (happy/sad, anger/excitement) and sometimes its more personal/specific experiences and moods. sometimes its a place i visited or felt i belonged. sometimes its a sound like a whisper or a song. i create using fabrics and colors - patterns and prints and solids, color theory, etc - to bring these things to life, to make them useful again.

i am not a therapist, this is not medicine - but i am a human and this is an important way for me to cope, relate, live, love, and create. i don't have the authority to tell anyone how or why to create, or from where... so why is process this important? will other people relate? i've always stood by the theory of making for you vs making for someone else (remember when i designed/made that middle finger quilt?) i like to intuitively design things so that the quilt can take on a shape and meaning of its own - anyone else looking at it might not even remotely understand its intended meaning, but guaranteed they assign their own. thats what we do with art, thats what we do with healing. who would find this interesting? are people really interested in listening to me explain how/why i create using a non-traditional method to quilting? HSTs (half square triangles) are my one and only jam these days moving forward, and i've decided not to stray from them unless its a custom requested project - but it could all certainly be modified and stretched to incorporate any design style.

i have been so lucky to have a lot of support over the years with the different manifestations of these ideas. from way back in my early blog days and the communities of FLICKR, to teaching classes at Alewives fabric shop (when paper pieced hexies were my jam, obsessively), to helping my friend giselle open up The Atelier Stitch sewing lounge in portland, maine (which has now become her own private alterations and teaching business, to sewing for LUKE... from social media and IRL friends who are seamstresses & fellow quilters, professional photographers, architects and jewelers... i've received a lot of good advice, i've had a lot of smoke blown up my butt, and i've heard the same voices over and over telling me TAKE YOURSELF MORE SERIOUSLY, DREAM BIGGER. 
i've fallen out of the popular loop over the past few years, and its been hard to climb back in and keep up with it all. i had stopped teaching classes when i went through my big breakup in the summer of 2012 - i can't believe its been almost three full years. during that time i changed my blogging style from 90% projects/sewing to 90% personal. i fell even more off track when i made my cross country move at the end of last year, but i feel like even though i'm out of the loop on using all of the newest fabric lines, owning all of the newest quilting books & patterns, and even keeping up with my own projects, i definitely have quietly spent all of this time honing in on my work. my photography has gotten better, if for no other reason than i have so many infinite new things to photograph. my quilt work has gotten better because of all of the experiences/growth i have gone through. i've learned how to give myself & other people another way to see and feel things. 

does that translate into a bigger picture here? i think that is the bigger picture.
gaining a larger fan base means potentially focusing social media only on work/projects, which is hard for me. i have always liked that my real life, my day to day life, really influences my projects. my followers always seem to appreciate the personal stuff and respond well to it. when i post 5 instagram photos of real life to every 1 quilting photo, i feel like it helps people realize where the inspiration for the project came from. i think to know me is to know why i make what i make, and i can't imagine not sharing in all of the ways that i do (personal or not). 

but who cares, and how do you gain that audience if you're not participating in things like QuiltCon? 

a lot of books, for the majority, are HOW TO's. they are full of patterns to make specifically with measurements. i own very few of these books because i find them to be restricting in my own creativity. i fully wholeheartedly understand, however, why they are important, useful, and often necessary. a lot of people want the suggestions, need the direction, and really just want to make beautiful projects. my style is much more on the side of emotional response, which is harder (if not impossible) to sell? the few in the industry who fill this niche with authority have been doing it for as long as i've been alive.

so.

here i am at a crossroads of direction. continue doing things for myself and selling little items when i get the chance, or push forward with serious gusto into the crazy world of MORE... i've put writing a book on the shelf (so to speak) because i'm honestly just not sure about the interest level in what i would write. 

but!

i'm looking into the idea of an e-course or some kind of series (tutorials?) on my blog about what emotionally inspired quilting is, why would you do it, how can you personally gain inspiration, the outline of my process from moment to photograph to quilts, style/fabric/colors, photo inspiration/interpretation, and finding your voice.
quilting is not my job - quilting is not my hobby. quilting is my art & my life. i go to work 6am-1pm everyday at my dayjob and make money to pay the bills. i come home to do sewing work for other people to make money to pay the bills. but when i have those rare afternoons or weekends that i can devote to my own projects, thats when my soul comes out. thats when i realize that sometimes the worst moments that have always felt like they never served any positive purpose in my life come out to shine. i think people can relate to that, and when i get emails or instagram/blog comments, people always talk about how glad they are that i shared something so personal. it gives people a lifeline, a hand to hold.

so, if you've read this whole thing - congrats. you've gotten inside of my brain a little bit. i want to hear from you! tell me what you think. would you be interested in a blog series of some sort on the types of things that i do? would you like for me to help you learn how you can do it for yourself and pull inspiration from moments or important pieces of you life in a way you might not otherwise? and do you think that this type of art is important? is there room out there for a non-structured way to create, without pattern or borders or boxes? what do you find the most, or the least, interesting about my work? what would you like to see more of?

i have a few projects in the works that need to be finished as time allows. i have a few more that are currently being designed, and who knows when the heck they'll actually get finished. i've marked the registration for 2016's QuiltCon on my calendar so that another year doesn't go by with me feeling left out. i have a collaboration to flesh out. and i have trips planned that will definitely be bringing in even more inspiration in the coming months. 

"it is both a blessing & a curse to feel everything so very deeply." 

thanks for riding alongside me here, it never goes unnoticed.
xo,
brooke

14 March 2015

that week in LA.



ten days ago i woke up at 4:30am, went to work, and then got into my (getting messier by the day) car to drive to CA. i'd gotten a cheap motel room for myself for the night in joshua tree - a 4 1/2 hour drive that i've loved every single time. i was right on schedule to get there by sunset. joshua tree gives me that "....just five more minutes (in bed)" feeling that i pretty much live for.
it also happened to be an incredible full moon that night, so not only did i get a gorgeous show going through the park at sunset, but i woke up early enough the next morning and watched the moon set while the sun rose over the mountains from my second floor motel room window. it was quiet and the perfect way to charge my emotional batteries before heading into LA later in the day.
each time i've driven through that park and stopped at all of my favorite spots, its been different. the weather, the sky, the snow, the heat, the music, the way i feel. this, the fourth time, was the easiest. i knew that spending a little bit of time taking my time before going into LA was the right thing to do. i knew what to expect for the week. i felt so much better than all the other times, where i'd felt like i needed that beauty and centering to help guide me. this time i just soaked it in. it felt like being home (and not home in the 'this is where i work, this is where i live' kind of way). i've blogged enough about j-tree and how it makes me feel for you to scroll back through and catch up if you aren't already.

the thing about making plans in LA, for me, is that they always fall through. i went in with very few expectations, very few plans, very few people to see. i knew that it would be easier that way. some plans that were made got broken - some i had to break, some were just re-made differently. its a weird give and take when i'm in that city. i feel like someone is always apologizing. it is what it is. i stayed up late my first night in the city, saw a familiar face, woke up in a familiar spot and welcomed in a barrage of mini-lectures and i told you so's from everyone who figured it out. the thing about that is that a morning shouldn't turn a love to shame. the thing about that is that i felt great while everyone else tried to convince me of the opposite. i have this thing about face-to-face that i just can't give up when i'm there. (yes, theres a hidden link in that last sentence.) and i'm kind of at the point where despite conversations with friends, despite dancing around social media, i'm just really okay with it. that was my best morning and i collected memories to put into that tiny space i keep away from everyone else. it was full of laziness, laughs, and a million other things.
the rest of the week was an absolute whirlwind.

it was off to LUKE's. he had another intern there, who quickly became my partner in crime for the week - it was awesome to have a buddy the whole time to work alongside, go out to eat with, play with, watch the sun set with, get drunk with. that was exactly what i was lacking when i was there for six weeks. it was like having a built in roommate and we got along like we'd known each other forever. so many great talks. i kind of miss her already. (hi Emma!) we had a brunch so i could catch up with all of the other lovely friends i'd made last time, we had a girl's night so that we could go out for cocktails and dance until we passed out after.
i can't explain enough how different this week was for me than the rest of the time i'd spent there. i had a blast.

everything happens for a reason. we said that over and over again. at the beach, in the studio, on the rooftop. life's not a competition. love's not a race. choices aren't perfect. i remembered what i already knew to be true: i love visiting LA and its people, but living there is not my jam. knowing i could come back to AZ after all the fun was over felt perfect - i drove back with the radio blaring, the windows down, my hair flying around everywhere, and all the feelings.
i very graciously sucked up all of the inspiration that i could from the 80-90deg weather, the colors, the art, the food. everything. i started brainstorming projects reflecting things people had said to me. i reveled in memories i'd forgotten that were whispered in early morning. i did the one thing that i'm not used to: i guarded my heart. but honestly, i always leave little bits of it trailed along that six hour drive (just so i can find my way back).

i go back to joshua tree in two weeks for my birthday and my heart is already exploding at the thought.

spending the week with my camera felt good. i took it with me most everywhere i went and i tried to use it more than my iPhone.
i'm so lucky to have friends who seek out my help. who give me a week's worth of work when my own job can't. who appreciate my opinion and my style. i planned/cleaned/organized/sorted the living daylights out of luke's kitchen & two studios.

i am becoming less and less surprised when people trust my judgement when it comes to art and space and design. strange that they don't trust my judgement otherwise, but i suppose that my track record with regular life isn't as promising as with the creative life. sometimes i'm such an "artist". ha.

i didn't even take my sewing machine or projects out of the trunk of my car, we were so busy with everything else. which was fine, because i can sew from home anytime anyday.
i had hoped i'd have more emotional typical writing type stuff to share upon my return, but mostly its just photos. the emotional moments aren't shareable. at least not yet. not now. but i had kind of hoped that everything i was busy photographing in between memories would help to show you what i was feeling. the way the light was always perfect.
real life gets back to normal monday with a 4:30am wakeup for the workweek.. but tomorrow means that i can lounge around and write more if i want (and try to get over that feeling of feeling overprotected by everyone). i'm so happy to be sleeping in my bed tonight after a week on the couch. i really do love coming back to this apartment and this neighborhood and all of these views. i almost for a minute forgot that i'm still slightly worried about not being able to make ends meet with my dayjob, and that my grandparents are getting older and sicker while i'm across the country, and that i can't forget to get an oil change before my next trip. 

two out of three times LA has felt like a dreamland that couldn't possibly be real (the other time it felt way too real and i had to bail). i can't do that dream all the time, but i've grown to appreciate what it teaches me, little by little.