New Muffler, Old Car

July 30th, 2016
My Car

My Car

I got the car in the divorce settlement in 2009.  It was two years old with just under a hundred thousand miles on it.  A Toyota Yaris with the bare minimum you could buy in New York State.  A two door hatchback,  standard clutch, with windows you roll down by hand.  At the time it, along with the Honda Fit, had the best gas mileage available.

I hadn’t owned  my own car in over twenty years.  I was living with a friend until I could find an apartment and having my own car  gave me a sense of security and independence.  It was in good enough shape that I could go anywhere I wanted to in it.  It was a roof over my head, one that was all mine.

Jon always made fun of my car, calling it a “toilet bowl” and other disparaging names.  It really is too small for him.  It’s hard for me to shift when he’s sitting in the passenger seat.  But I know his feelings really come from a place of anxiety and love.

The first winter we were together it snowed almost every day.  Jon would watch me drive down the snow covered dirt road at 5am four times a week as I went to my job working in a group home.  I didn’t have four wheel drive or snow tires and  I’d drive 30 miles an hour down the dark, twisting country roads.  Never once doubting I’d get to work on time, even though, in the snow, it took me twice as long to get there.

Every morning Jon offered me his four wheel drive truck, and every morning I refused.  He begged me to get snow tires, offering to pay for them.   Even though I know he worried about me till I got back home ( I also refused to call him when I got to work and let him know I was okay) I was determined to make my own decisions and  to be free to make my own mistakes.

I was proving to myself that I could make it on my own.  That I could hold down a job, get my own health insurance, put a roof over my head,   ( I also rented an apartment even though I spent most of my time at Bedlam Farm) live my own life.   Every morning I made it to work on time and got back home, to work in the studio the rest of the day, was evidence to me of who I really was and what I was capable of.

Last week when I started my car, it rumbled louder than usual.  The last time I had the muffler patched together was about a year ago.  But this time Jessica at the King’s Car Repair told me there wasn’t much they could do for it.   I’d need a whole new exhaust and it would cost $1700.

I still panic easily about money, even though things are much better for Jon and me since the bankruptcy.  We have some money put aside to pay our taxes and I knew I could use that to pay for my muffler, and then pay it back.  That’s not something we could have done a year ago.  But still the amount was daunting to me.

When I dropped off my car to have it fixed, Jessica came out from behind the counter and asked me if I’d like to see my new exhaust.  To see what I was paying for.  “Sometimes” she said, “it makes people feel better.”  It seemed unnecessary to me at first, but when I looked at the long shiny pipes, bigger than me, lying on the floor,  I suddenly  felt good about spending that money to get my car fixed.  All that shaped metal was not only going to be better for my car, (and my ears)  but better for the environment too.

When I picked up the car I wasn’t panicky writing out the check to pay for it, I was grateful.  I thanked Jessica for the work they did,  they deserved every penny.

I feel silly saying it, but somehow, taking responsibility for my car, for repairing it and taking care of it makes me feel like it’s really mine for the first time.  By gladly and ungrudgingly putting that kind of money into it proves my commitment to it and also that I am able to maintain it.    Just as almost ten years ago my car helped me prove to myself what I was capable of.

I drove my quiet car home with its shiny new muffler and it felt different.  More substantial.  Healthy.

But then, something else important happened to me in my little Yaris.

Once home I looked in the glove compartment and found some old CD’s from my other life.  CD’s I haven’t listened to in years.  Crumpled under one of them was an old insurance card from when I owned the car with my ex-husband.  Both our names and our old address.  I couldn’t believe it was still there.  Like I was still holding onto something from the past.   I took it and the old dog blanket from the back seat that I hadn’t noticed,  and threw them in the garbage.

My car is not just a car.    It’s also a symbol of my independence, a reminder to me of where I’ve been in my life,  and where I’m choosing to go.

 

 

 

 

Cindy and Her Bedlam Farm Tote Bag

July 29th, 2016
Cindy and her Bedlam Farm Tote Bag

Cindy and her Bedlam Farm Tote Bag

When Alice wrote to me and told me about her friend Cindy, and what a wonderful person she is, I was happy to make a tote bag for her.

Alice gave Cindy the tote a couple of days ago.  She told me that Cindy hung the bag on her wall.  And wrote:    “It may be a while before (if ever) it gets to stretch it’s legs as a functioning tote bag in the traditional sense, but for now the contents within the bag are happiness for Cindy.  I can’t think of anything else I’d like to carry around in a tote.”

I’d have to agree with Alice on that one.

 

A Basket of Hummingbirds

July 28th, 2016

hummingbirds

I looked at the small basket of hummingbirds that Jon held in his hand.  Each one about the size of a quarter.

He bought them all for me.  The whole basket full.  We were in the Village Store in Cambridge.  It’s one of the places Jon would go to buy me gifts.  Now it’s going out of business, and today, what ever was left in the store, was 75 percent off.

I’m sad to see the store close down.  I would go there to buy dark chocolate and handmade soap on a regular basis.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the humming birds yet.  But before going home, Jon and I stopped in the bead shop and Heather sold me some glue that will permanently attach them to fabric.  I think they may find a place in my next wall hanging.

Rainforest Potholders

July 28th, 2016
Rainforest Potholders

Rainforest Potholders

The fabric was already cut into squares.  Some just had vegetation on them, but others had birds, frogs and lizards.  I plucked them from the box full of quilting scraps that someone sent me.

On Monday I looked at them and thought about making them into potholders.  But I couldn’t see how to make it work.  That’s when I tried to make the potholders from the Ancient Egypt.

But I guess Monday just wasn’t a potholder day.

These came together pretty quickly today.  Once I decided to frame each one with a thin line of fabric.  That seemed to be all I needed to get started.

frog

I have some more squares left, so I’ll probably make more tomorrow and finish them off next week.  Then I’ll put them up for sale.  But if you see one you like, just let me know.  I’ll be selling them for $15 + shipping.

Suzy in the Pole Barn

July 28th, 2016
Suzy

Suzy

It’s been so hot the sheep spend most of the day in the pole barn where it’s cooler.  Although there are a lot of flies, they don’t seem to bother the sheep much.   Suzy was peeking out at me and Fate when we went to open the gate to the pasture for grazing.

My Quilts True Colors

July 27th, 2016

Quilt3

 

I worked at the Cambridge Co-Op today, but did get the back on my quilt before leaving this morning.   I’ll start tacking it with pink yarn tomorrow.  This picture is better than yesterdays, showing it’s true colors.

 

My Quilt Began With An “Ancient Egypt” Skirt

July 26th, 2016

Ancient Egypt fabric

Ancient Egypt on a  skirt.   I got it in a thrift store in Brattleboro, Vermont.  I loved the imagery and the colors. Yesterday I tried to make it into potholders, but it wanted to be a part of a quilt instead.

This is what I did today…

Ancient Egypt detail 1

I found a  hexagon from and old quilt top someone gave me, that had just the right colors in it.   I made it into a square….

Ancient Egypt detail2

….I found where it went and sewed some more…

Ancient Egypt detail3

…then turned the quilt on its side….

Ancient Egypt detail4

…found another hexagon and made it into a square….

Ancient Egypt quilt1

…and kept sewing till I finished.

The color of my quilt is really off in this picture.   But it was getting dark by the time I finished working so I couldn’t get a good picture of it.   Tomorrow I’ll work on the backing and get a better photo in the daylight.  But for now, this gives an idea of what the quilt looks like.

Chloe, Our Pony

July 26th, 2016

jon washing chloe

First I heard the whinny then the sound of the car door closing.  By the time I got from my studio to the barn, Jon was giving Chloe a treat.  There was a big smile on his face when he told me he couldn’t resist Chloe’s whinny.

As much as Jon loves watering the gardens, he now loves hosing Chloe down on these hot days.  It’s the same instinct in him, both loving  and nurturing.

Chloe, of course, loves it too.  She waits patiently at the gate for Jon to get the hose.   Once he starts spraying her, she doesn’t move till he stops.

When we first got Chloe, both Jon and I  thought of her as my pony.  But that’s changing as Jon has more to do with her.

It started with the kisses.  Chloe would lift her nose above the fence and Jon would plant a kiss on her nose. Then, he started brushing her.  Now she’s getting baths.

Jon’s very diligent about taking  good care of  all the animals.  Making sure they have what they need which helps create the peaceful environment on the farm.    But he makes sure they have some extra’s too  (as much as he teases me about giving the chickens gourmet leftovers, he often buys them special treats).  And when the animals are happy, it makes Jon happy too.

Today, as I watched Jon hosing Chloe down,  I saw the trust pass between them.  There was a comfort level I hadn’t seen before and  I thought that Chloe is just as much Jon’s pony as mine.

 

 

 

From Potholders to Quilt

July 25th, 2016

Egypt quilt

I wanted to make some potholders today, but I was having a hard time getting started.  I finally came up with an idea but when I got four potholders done, I just didn’t like them.

I couldn’t figure out quite why or what was wrong.  So instead of keeping up the struggle,  I decided it they didn’t work as potholders maybe they’d work as a quilt.  So I sewed them together and began creating a quilt around them.

You can see the potholders between the black strip of fabric and the pink and green piece.

Egypt quilt2

I added some more strips of fabric. And turned it around…

Egypt quilt3

Then turned it back around again.

This is what it looked like when I left my studio tonight.  I’ll have to sew the corner pieces on before I can sew the whole top together then onto the rest of the quilt.  My plan is to make the corners darker in color, closer to the first strips I sewed in the center.  They may be vertical strips or a completely different design.  I won’t know until I do it.

Suzy’s “Corn on the Cob” Gloves

July 25th, 2016
Suzy Fatzinger's fingerless gloves

Suzy Fatzinger’s fingerless gloves

I was a little surprised when Suzy texted me this photo of one of her fingerless gloves at the beach.  But before she left for her vacation, Suzy finished spinning her wool so she could knit while she sat at the ocean.

Corn on the Cob, I thought when I saw the yellow glove.  Suzy is making the gloves to sell at the Bedlam Farm Open House in October.  After I put in my Three Sister’s Garden she found herself making gloves orange, green and yellow, representing the squash, beans and corn of the garden.

It’s lovely sitting on the beach knitting – soothing” Suzy texted me.

I have a feeling those corn on the cob gloves, that were born on the beach,  are going to bring some sunshine to whoever wears them this winter.