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The Fifteen-Year Quilt

Before I had a kid and before I devoted all my free time to creating physical manifestations of my colorful imagination on pulverized trees (i.e. books), I used to have this crazy thing called free time. Ya, it didn’t seem like it then, but I did. I tried my hand at many crafts during that time: wood-burning, cross-stitch, hot glue creations, latch-hook. One of my more daring projects was when I decided to make a quilt.

I had never made one before, didn’t know anyone who had, didn’t know how to do it. Like most everything, I researched the right way to do it…

…And then threw that out the window and made up my own way.

I started with some old clothes I cut up into squares. But I needed more material. So I went to JoAnn’s and bought all the cheap scraps of material I could find. I would probably pick different ones today. The overall theme of my quilt?

“Making a quilt.”

That’s it. There are tractors and stars and chefs and flowers, all sharing the same space. At some point, my future husband and I knew that we were going to buy a queen size bed. I decided to make it big enough to fit the bed.

What!?

I must have been crazy, you say?

Annnd you would be correct.

First time quilters out there–> do not make your first one queen-sized. (You will NEVER want to ever attempt another ever again.)

A close-up of the swirly quilting pattern I created myself.

A close-up of the swirly quilting pattern I created myself.

I don’t remember what kind of batting I bought, but I know it is fairly thick. Many of the top squares are flannel or sweatshirt material. I decided the back should be fleece. I know, not a traditional quilt backing. Just the other day I found the original receipt for it in the scraps. $72.23. $72.23! JUST FOR THE FLEECE ALONE! I could buy a quilt made by children in China cheaper. Oh, the date on the receipt? September 24,2002.

You see, I put all the layers together, basting and safety pinning them. Then I threw it in a garbage bag (to keep the dust off) and neglected it for 15 years. It had been so long since I worked on it that my husband said he didn’t even remember me starting it. That is, until I reminded him about when I had it spread out across our entire living room floor in my apartment and he walked on it, getting a needle in his foot in the process. That he does remember.

A close-up of the borders.

A close-up of the borders.

All those intervening years, I had anxiety over it. I kept adding it to To-Do lists, but it never got To-Done. We moved into our house. I designated a whole bedroom as a craft room with a vision of finishing that project. But we changed it into a railroad station bedroom for my son before the quilt was ever completed.

So, after finishing Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom, then getting through Christmas, New Year’s, and birthdays, I told myself I would not work on another book until I finished that quilt. It took about a month to quilt the layers together and sew the edge. Bear in mind, I own a sewing machine. but I have a mental block where I cannot for the life of me remember how to thread the blasted thing. So, a majority of the quilt was done by hand. Using the machine makes it a stressful experience, where as sewing it by hand is relaxing. A big bonus? You can binge Netflix while sewing, unlike when writing. Hello, Nikita & Birkhoff.

It is bigger than my couch!

It is bigger than my couch!

So, I did it. I finished it just this week. I’ve included pictures of the final product . I see why it took so long–>it is ginormous! I am afraid to wash it, because I am afraid it will fall apart. We slept under it. It may not have exactly the right dimensions, but it is totally warm.

I guess now I can add “quilter” to my resume of achievements. Not that I will be starting another one anytime soon.

Completed quilt on the bed.

Completed quilt on the bed.

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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2nd Shift is a Cruel Mistress

My husband has big dreams. But for now, the draw of a steady paycheck keeps him tied down to the manufacturing industry. That means he doesn’t get to pick his own hours. So, he is stuck with the three shifts offered, which are pretty similar across most plants.

But, you do have more energy because work hasn't had a chance to wear you down yet today. So there's that...

But, you do have more energy because work hasn’t had a chance to wear you down yet today. So there’s that…

Before we were married, I worked 9AM-5PM hours, while he worked 2nd shift, usually a 3PM-11PM situation. He liked not having to get up early. He likes to stay up late. So, it worked for him. If I wanted to see him during the week, I had to stay up past 11:30PM when he got home, which, seeing as I left for work at 7:00AM, left me sleep deprived. But I was in my twenties, so who wasn’t, right?

Then we got married, bought a house, and could finally have the dogs of our dreams. I worried about them having to cross their legs for long periods of time. But with our work schedules, they were only alone for typically 4 hours a day. We were being good parents to our canine kids, even if we still never saw each other.

After 10 years of service, he eventually got laid off when his plant closed. He is a hard worker, always shows up on time, doesn’t constantly play on his phone. Since then, he has been steadily employed for the last 4 years, but not at the same place. See, for those unfamiliar, manufacturing is not a real steady business in Michigan in the 2010s. He did have the opportunity to get on first shift at one place (it was even a 4 days/10 hours schedule), but then shortly after that they went out of business.

So, once again, we are stuck with this second shift shit. Which, at this point, isn’t completely horrible because it is good for our childcare needs.

But, it still sucks.

Sometimes it feels like we lead separate lives. I feel like I have no support. When you live with a 2nd shifter, you can always count on them not to be there. What is even worse, is that you know how much they want to be. They miss sports, parent-teacher conferences, events.

Don’t even get me started on 3rd shift, which my husband has also done for limited periods of time. It totally fucks up your circadian rhythms. And should a bat choose to fly around your house in the middle of the night, you have to have your BFF and her husband drive a half hour to exterminate.

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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Mommy’s Day Out

Today I had a Mommy’s Day Out.

It was wonderful.

I highly recommend all mom’s take one now and again.

But I’m not telling how I spent my day.

mommys-day-out-secret

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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NEXT FALL: A SAD To-Do List

I am currently in the full-on grip of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Need more info on SAD? Here is a link to an earlier post: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/03/11/im-sad/

Have I ever been diagnosed by a doctor, you ask?

Uh, no.

I exist under a perpetually gray sky, can barely get out of bed in the morning, have no energy, and no will to continue to exist. I don’t need to pay a doctor to tell me that is depression. And every year, just after Christmas, I want to run away, get a different job, do stupid, drastic things. It will pass in time; I know this. It is hard to accept right now, but I know when the days start to get longer, I will gradually move out of this, and move out of depression and lethargy into anxiety and insomnia.

Ain’t life grand?

But, it always catches me off guard. I mean, I have an actual imitation sun light that sits out all year because I never quite manage to get it packed away when summer arrives. So, these feelings should be no surprise. But here I am, chugging along, trying to continue being productive in my day-to-day life, and then I hit this dreary, gray wall. I am under a heavy blanket of despair that I can’t push off to even get the simplest of household chores completed in a timely manner.

So, I’m thinking maybe next October I need to put a plan in place to prepare a little. I am just making this up, so let’s see what I come up with…

  1. Lower production expectations.

Maybe I need to tie up as many loose ends as possible prior to this dim time of year. Not expect myself to start a book in January, because, let’s face it, I won’t.

  1. Prepare dinners ahead of time.

A great idea would be to prepare dinners on the weekend, during daylight hours, and then freeze them for the week ahead. It would help because by the time I pick up my son from school and we get home, there is barely one hour of sunlight left in the day. Maybe I will try this next year, if I have money for actual food.

  1. Get a nighttime hobby.

One article I saw online mentioned getting a nighttime hobby. Well, in the evening hours, I should be writing. But then I’m like, “What is the point, anyway?” Last night I decided to finish a quilt I started a decade ago, that makes me feel like a big loser failure when I think of it sitting upstairs unfinished. But, somehow, that morphed into trying to make my own stuffed animal. Two, actually, because my son insists on having one also. (I will let you know how this turns out in a future post.)

  1. Exercise?

The problem with this is my exercise of choice is walking and I am cold-blooded (my husband will attest to this), two things that do not go well together during wintertime in Michigan. I am not going to pay for a gym just to have a place to walk. And our mall is, well, let’s just say under construction and not as large as it used to be. I don’t want to be near stores because this time of year I am especially susceptible to retail therapy, which my checkbook does not support.

  1. Redecorate your bedroom.

I found a suggestion to redecorate your bedroom. I don’t know about redecorate, because I like the color of my walls and I like my curtains, etc. But tidying it could be a great step. Once upon a time I had a bedroom with a TV and a computer and tons of boxes in it. It was not good for sleeping. Feng shui, to one degree or another, is a real thing. If I clean my bedroom, maybe my sleep would be more productive and less stressful.

  1. Snuggle.

I read where you should snuggle with your partner. My husband works second shift (I will have another bitchy post on this soon), so five days out of the week he is not home for snuggling. And the other two, he is usually working on some project or another. But I do snuggle my dog. But then I remember she is old and that makes me even sadder.

  1. Avoid sugar.

Now, that’s funny. I don’t think so.

next-fall-donut

  1. Supplements.

Begin taking 3,000 IU of vitamin D now and continue until May. Has anyone else tried this? I haven’t, but might look into it.

  1. Himalayan salt lamp.

I got a Himalayan salt lamp about six months ago. It won’t be a replacement for the lost hours of sunshine, by any means, but I think it helps with my anxiety. I’m not sure everyone would agree.

  1. Create a winter oasis.

Check out this link for how to create an oasis for your senses. It doesn’t sound like it has to be anything difficult or expensive. Click here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/design-your-path/201509/seasons-change-creating-winter-oasis-prepare-sad

next-fall-hawaii

  1. Forgive yourself.

Here is another link. It mostly lists the same steps for easing SAD, except there is a new one on this list: self-forgiveness. Elizabeth May says that if we eat junk all day one day or can’t get off the couch, that is OK because we are human. You can try again tomorrow. Click here: http://www.elizabethmaywrites.com/thoughts-on-seasonal-affective-disorder-sad-1-preparation/

  1. Take a trip.

Oh. I found something that says I should take a vacation to a sunny place. I will put that on my vision board. Oh wait, it is already on there. The picture has been on there so long, it is sun-faded. Irony, anyone?

  1. See a doctor.

Most articles I found end with “See a doctor”, mostly as a way to cover their asses. That is not as easy as they make it sound. I actually attempted to do this last year, unsuccessfully. I will get to the tipping point soon where I will feel like I am losing my mind. After that, hopefully my mental state will return to normal again.

You can always just get a blog and use it for therapy. That’s what I do 😉

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From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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