Showing posts with label sewing and crafting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing and crafting. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

These Times They Are A Changing

If you've been following the ongoing pandemic news with supply shortages of everything we ran out of last year to everything we might want or need from Thanksgiving through Christmas for the rest of this year until who knows when, then you're probably out looking for a turkey about now. 

I asked a family member to bring a turkey just like the one she brought in 2016....  just in case!

Last year in isolation our frozen turkey (in the freezer for far more than a bit too long) was cooked and sliced for the two of us and pronounced tasting of freezer burn. We defrosted a frozen ham and our son-in -law picked our cooked turkey in its entirety up from its outside deposited location for use as crab pot bait 🤣

But on top of that (or perhaps because of all of that)  instead of starting the day after Thangsgiving, the crazy shopping sales and extravaganza begins on on the 7th with even more this Friday November 12th being called basically the new "Early Black Fiday".

Even my Thanksgiving Cactus started blooming before Halloween this year!
Crazy crazy these times they sure are a changing!!  It's been doing this before the pandemic too! I call it my "ecologically intuitive grandma holiday cactus".  Her children, grandchildren and great grand shoots off the old grandma plant that has pioneer rootstock lineage don't have nearly this one's stage presence of blooms. But they are all early bloomers even the ones I passed on to new homes. 

Will I be pulled into a few sales? Probably. I already see McCall's Patterns for $1.99 right now at Joann Fabrics but only 2 days. Joann's new version of sale flyers trigger the bats in my belfry. Practically each page starts and ends on different days. The sale ended long before I remembered where I put the flyer.

I'll probably it out in store fully triple vaccinated and wearing my newest mask and check it all out even though the last time I went in almost all the drawers were empty with no patterns for any of long possibilities list of  clothing patterns that I could have/would have put into use to make 2022 gifts from my vintage clothing fabrics stash. 

Once upon a time, I drew my own patterns. On newspaper and they even fit!

Now, I can't even get anyone's store-bought sizes right. How can they too big or too small when I buy the same sizes for whomevers' gift? Standards and practices and size charts--ha!

Now, it's buy it and hope it fits whether I make it or its ready made. And if you receive it from me and it doesn't fit be sure to return it immediately before return dates expire.  Some recent purchases from an online Target ad all arrived from different states with different store expiration dates.  Three things' 'return by' dates  expired before the mailman ever got them to my door.  

Not one item came with a receipt (ten different packages arriving on 10 different days). One shirt did give me a nice blank piece of paper with the Target logo on top. Period. I guess this is for my comments I'll be sending in to their customer dissatisfaction office. Arrived late. Didn't fit my cat much less grandchild. No receipt and my online purchase upc code was too blurry to be read even with a magnifying glass under high beam lighting.

 I'm also far more impulsive during these changing times. Pretty sure it was their online ad's hidden messaging and anti-my-mental-health triggering that targeted the isolated elderly like myself who can no longer read extra small fine print disclaimers. Shame on you. I'm at least 10 years older now.

I bought craft paints at Joanns last big sale plus my online coupons for half price. My large  vintage [1980s/90s) supply had mostly dried up. A very long time ago I appliqued and painted  clothing. So much fun back then! Not so much now when my elbows are too tired to keep lifted for very long and force my forearms to act as paint blotters.

I was going to make gifts for Halloween and 2 grandchildren autumnal birthdays. Ha! Maybe Christmas cards? Who am I kidding. 😂

Once upon a time long long ablotter. painted big canvas paintings for special occasion gifts for friends. Those days are gone my friend and here I thought they'd never end.  And painted dozens of sweatshirts and art quilts of course.....And now? 

Now I sketch tiny things and paint tiny fabric art quilts but if I'm having a good day.  And I can only show photos of things I have digital photos of! And photos only on my phone or in a Google photo album in the clouds since I  no longer have a computer other than a Windows 7.  It can no way/no how ever go online without our having house wifi since they have no use mobile phone as hot spot capabilities. It's one gigantic phone (usb cord to computer)  "photo back up unit" now. Phones get smaller storage much much larger.

Are painting supplies any different from any other crafting or art supplies? Look at sewing and quilting!  We should never truly buy more than we can use in what's left of our lifetimes.  Hmm age 72 to ?? With a very large number of family members with Alzheimer’s?  

Good luck to finding all of my fabric and remembering what it was going to be used for, much less using it with 40 years of arthritis under my covid  expanded belt. 

Oh yeah....don't forget! It's that time of year ago. Time to "fall back"!

I'll lucky if my shrinking height can see over my sewing machine or my shrinking arms and diminishing vision correctability can still thread a needle even with bright lights and a white piece of paper behind it and a magnifying glass!

On the plus side (also Covid related)

I managed to make another mask this week but I forgot to take its final photo.

Not a good sign of my times that are a changing. Sigh.  

But how it this all originally start? All these ads and campaigns and promotions and internet and TV ads that force us to shop until we drop even when we can't see the actual item with our own diminishing vision eyes?

Black Friday

Blackish Friday has been traced back to the 1970s. The day was originally so named because of the heavy traffic on that day, when all one could see was massive amounts of shoppers in stores, and cars on highways. 

Although most contemporary uses of the term refer instead to it as the beginning of the period in which retailers are "in the black "(i.e., turning a profit) as opposed to "in the red", when they are not.

The earliest meaning of the term Black Friday was also meant to be an implicit comparison to the extremely stressful and chaotic experience of Black Tuesday, the 1929 stock-market crash, or other chaotic days. The earliest known references to Black Friday (in this sense) are from two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, that explicitly refer to the day's hectic nature and heavy traffic.

Cyber Monday

The term Cyber Monday, is a neologism ( a term created to apply to a new concept not previously recognized by the dictionary as an actual word) invented by the National Retail Federation's division. It refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, which unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas online shopping season.

In recent years, Cyber Monday has become a busy day for online retailers, with some sites offering low prices and other promotions on that day. Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is often said to be the busiest shopping day of the year for online shoppers, although in reality several days later in the holiday shopping season are busier.

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day was originally organized by Adbusters magazine, intentionally as a counter-action to Black Friday. Originally organized in September of 1992, the date was formally moved in 1997, to the Friday, following one week after Thanksgiving. 

Outside of North America, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on the following Saturday. It is considered a day of passive, non-materialistic, non-consumerism. Occasional discussion has pointed out that, because of the anti-action of the event, it is very easy for people who are avoiding shopping on this day to "observe" the protest.

Hope I can remember "Buy Nothing Day" among all of my overwhelmingly exhausting "Do Nothing Days".

Plan for the rest of this day into tomorrow?  I'll be doing one of these!

shown above:
"Fill the Bag (for others)" Day! Yes its an old photo of old labeled products. No one gives free bags any more.

Fill a bag with canned and boxed foods and donate it to a food bank near you!

Phew i am exhausted. Hours and hours typing on my Galazy Note 9 to create this post.

Currently fluctuating between #32 and #56 . Just scroll their site until you find me (look for my pink and wine art quilt logo) and hit subscribe in their feed. 

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: My Tutorial Link Lists: By Themes

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Happy National Sewing Machine Day!

I am busy altering clothing I bought online for half price.  So far 4 large Columbia women's shirts that were available for less than half price (super clearance older stock Amazon) have been taken in on all side seams to create mediums.

Once upon a time I was an extra small. Now I cheer when I'm a medium!
I've spent my entire life from age 12 on altering hand-me-downs or super bargains from every size there was to every size I or others were.

Now I'm just glad when I can remember how to do it and grateful to be any size at all after this pandemic.

But oh the conversations my sewing machine and I are having!

Of interest: 


Each year on June 13th, National Sewing Machine Day honors an invention that has kept us in stitches for over 150 years.

 Before the sewing machine, tailors and sewists created clothing by hand, stitch by single stitch. The invention of the sewing machine brought about revolutionary change. Not only did it boost an entire industry, but it also changed the way we viewed the garments we wore. However, the development of the sewing machine took time. 

Skilled cabinet-maker and English inventor, Thomas Saint, received the first patent for a design of a sewing machine in 1790. He intended his design to sew on leather and canvas. However, he never advertised it and no evidence of the design, other than his drawings, could be found. In 1874, William Newton Wilson found Saint’s drawings in the London Patent Office. With some minor adjustments, Wilson built a working model. The London Science Museum currently owns Wilson’s model. 

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Peace and Healing

As I think back to the horrible roots of this day...September 11, 2001...I think back to the horrors, the loss, the grief and the mourning of a nation.

But I also remember, the goodness of those lives we lost, the heroes from that incredible day of tragedy.....those amazing and courageous people who rose above and beyond themselves to help others..... the patriotism, and the amazing sense of unity that manifested so much caring, and so much good in the world. Goodness in direction of helping and giving.

It was this coming together with love and patriotism that spread a healing balm for such deep pain. The pain of loss, of separation, of the polarization of so much ill will and so much fear and hatred contrasted by so much intense emotions of love over hate, helping others over fear and anger.

So, I look at myself, as we all need to do, and take note of how and why quilting is a healing art in my own life. And all of these days of record and note, I do what I usually do...I quilt for a cause. 9-11 has become a day of remembrance of community, and patriotism in the deepest unifying sense of the word.

So, while I might not always be working on a patriotic quilt for donation to wounded soldiers, I am working on community quilting..whether by myself, or in a group...and whatever I am making gets donated within that community of purpose.

When I first began blogging in the fall of 2006, my quilting life centered around community quilting. I sewed with a local band of quilters that was formed after a two day marathon of sewing quilts for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

200 quilts banded together with donated fabrics, patterns, threads and the most patriotic sense of community support that I have ever experienced. We made 200 quilts in those two days and we sewed on our bindings and labels and boxed them off for shipment in donated shipping trucks for transport to Louisiana, Georgia, and other hurricane ravaged states.

It was so uplifting, so inspirational, that we found a local church that gave us the use of a huge quilting space and began to meet every Monday for 12 hours. I would stay there from 9 am until 7 pm and literally sewed every minute making a quilt a week for continued donation.

When Hurricane Rita quickly followed Katrina, we just kept sewing. And when the weather calmed down,we sewed for Inter-faith charities, for babies in hospitals, for families in need, for Habitat for Humanity etc. etc.

By the following year, I was also sewing for 5 or 6 hours on Tuesdays, too. And I did that for another 6 months until we decided Mondays were enough and we could just sew at home for the other 6 days of the week.

9-11 hit all of us with a blast that changed a lot of us forever. I began my Patriotic sewing period where I literally made dozens and dozens of quilts and bags to give away to various causes.

My community spirit grew with all of this nurturing and feeding and so, I also joined my local quilt guild. There we have leftover and donated fabrics also available and between all of us, we donate probably 50-100 quilts a month to various groups, as well as hundreds of pillowcases for children in foster care, and lots and lots and lots of potholders to raise funds for our charitable causes.

So, what arose from that terrible day for me?


Community pride, community giving, community quilting.

It brings all of the layers of ourselves and our lives together, softens our spirits with caring and reaching out to others, and it binds us all together as one. And that goodness of humanity, can only grow and grow and grow....until it almost seems to sprout goodness out of nowhere and everywhere!

shown above;
my beloved little Keira and the 'morsbags' (part of a big international  group started in the UK) I used to make to give away. I spontaneously would make a dozen and hand tnem out to friends, and to people I've never met who just seem to need an environmentally friendly cloth bag. I made dozens and dozens and dozens.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Midsummer's Eve: Combining the Olde With the New

The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from the most ancient of times a festival of the summer solstice. A time of vivid transitions and often cataclysmic transformation and change. A time of celebration and rejoicing and the joining together of many folklore beliefs and  traditions. Weaving them all together as I have here, with re-purposed cloth into many new energies and the ever growing fabric of my own busy and often challenging life.

In ancient times, bonfires were lit to protect this world from the evil spirits who were believed to roam and cross over the transparent veil between their world and ours when the earths spin allowed the worlds to cross and a gate to open.

Commencing at midnight or at dawn, the fires are lit, the dancing under the moonlight begins, and celebrations with food and beverages are shared. Here, my Alaskan cousins and all of our family and friends created a July bonfire from bits and pieces collected all year long. And yes, that is a Christmas tree on the top. Combining of time, of space, and of all of the elements of earth, wind, fire and air.

Each person added to the pile of wood whether it was from the beach, the forest, or cast off bits of rickety furniture. All became one as my own son climbed up to the top to place the last bits of bonfire finery. The torch is carried and the torch is lit and all erupted into one cataclysmic surge of the power and energy of man and natural energies combine.

Pagan influences with modern day interpretations of a very different rejoicing of  the gathering of family and friends in the joining of a summer celebration.

As Christianity entered pagan areas, midsummer celebrations came to be often borrowed and transferred into new Christian holidays, often resulting in celebrations that mixed Christian traditions with traditions derived from pagan Midsummer festivities. Midsummer's Eve became St. John's Eve and celebrations honored St. John the Baptist.

The 13th-century monk of Winchcomb, Gloucestershire, who compiled a book of sermons for the feast days, recorded how St. John's Eve was celebrated in his time:

"Let us speak of the revels which are accustomed to be made on St. John's Eve, of which there are three kinds. On St. John's Eve in certain regions the boys collect bones and certain other rubbish, and burn them, and therefrom a smoke is produced on the air. They also make brands and go about the fields with the brands. Thirdly, the wheel which they roll."

The fires, explained the monk of Winchcombe, were to drive away dragons, which were abroad on St. John's Eve, poisoning springs and wells. I don't know about the validity of all of this. But I do know that none of my own family reporting the viewing of any dragons anywhere. Unless perhaps, under the influence of spirits of another kind!

In Finland, where my pioneer Alaskan family finds its roots, the summer solstice is called Ukon juhla ("Ukko's celebration") after the Finnish god Ukko. In Karelian tradition, many bonfires were burned side by side, the biggest of which was called Ukko-kokko (the "Old Man Bonfire"; the prefix ukko- is used in Finnish to denote notable or particularly large objects or entities). After the celebrations were Christianized, the holiday became known as juhannus after John the Baptist (Finnish: Johannes Kastaja).

In the Finnish midsummer celebration, bonfires (Finnish "kokko") are very common and are burned at lakesides and by the sea. Often branches from birch trees (koivu) are placed on both side of the front door to welcome visitors. And of course there are maypoles from neighboring Swedish traditions in the Swedish speaking regions of Finland where my grandmother Elli Tiitto was born.
Our family's own transition from our grandparents transition from their own first world to their second one and immigration to the wild territory of pioneer Alaska.

Myth and magic, folklore and tradition. I love them all. I love the heat and the intensity of the summer solstice and the wispy transparency of change as my energies move from one place, one world, into another.

Inside, in the relative coolness of home, I gather up my own bits and bundles, my collected bits of fabric from many years gone by. Thin and dated, but still vivid with the strong frequencies of color.....the energies of this season of great heat combined with the cooling energies of the evening breeze.


I join these small squares of old fabrics together as I connect the energies of my past...the colors, the fabrics, the people, and yes, my own now healed and transitioned bones into the new and colorful energies combined with peace and calm in the spaces between. One world merges with another. The old times and places with my hopes for the future.

A simple quilt top, backed, then birthed into a new creation. A colorful table cloth to be used at picnics, where the heat of their brightness seems appropriate when cooled by the energies of woodland or waterways, ocean sand or stones of a riverbank.  

I go outside, whether in the hot heat of the day, or the cooler dark spaces in the night. It is I, and the wild things. I gather the bits and pieces of nature that are part of the deepest recesses of my heart. and I rejoice in the small night time sounds as my presence sends all but the cats scurrying. Instead, little glowing ovals watch me from the depths and join me in my rejoicing under the moon and the stars.

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares her creative and healing  journey from Alaska to Oregon. Wildcrafting and the textiles arts... sewing, quilting, and creating prayer flags. Join me as I add my healing energies to changing our little project, one gift of sharing from my heart, at a time.