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It's been 2 weeks since I finished the pinwheel quilt top. Most everyone else in this space would have had it quilted by now but I'm hesitant to take the next step. I did visit a local quilt shop that has a very efficient long arm quilting business within it and feel comfortable in using their services but the cost is a little more than I can afford right now.
Life is dramatically more different, even more difficult, than it was a year ago at this time. So much has changed since my husband was laid off from his job in May. It is now 2 years since I retired and I am now faced with returning to work but to what?
I have barely settled into life here in Florida but I have definitely grown accustomed to life without a job. To all of you who have fantasized about what you would if you could quit your job and devote your time to quilting I'm sure you have a very definite idea about how you would spend your time.
At first I was very efficient with my time. I didn't waste a minute of my day. I would leap happily out of bed at the crack of dawn (always thought I would sleep late when I grumpily hit that snooze button on work days) and I would breeze through the day's chores in no time flat, anxious to begin my "fun time".
Of course, for a time I had the sad task of taking care of my parent's affairs as they had recently passed away within a year of one another. I still have many loose ends to tie up regarding some of their belongings. If any of you live in your parents' home after they passed on you will know what I mean.

But as a quilter, I also inherited my mother's sewing room and vast quilting collection. In many ways, I think it would be simpler if I were just sewing from my own perspective. There are a lot of conflicting emotions. There is comfort and there is sadness and most often a lack of direction.

So what I'm doing now is bouncing around from one project to another not really focusing my full attention on anything. Yesterday I pulled out the boxes of Jinny Beyer material Mom had accumulated over the years. I hadn't looked it over since I packed it all up so it was fun to dig into it and think over the possibilites. There's a plethora of border fabrics and some pieces with quite a bit of length.
I keep going over and over in my mind, what is the best use of my time if my time is now limited from what it was? Should I find something that really turns me on or forge ahead with one of the quilts in progress and have the satisfaction of finishing something?

One thing is for sure. For the first time ever, I have a well stocked ,well set up sewing room that I can pop in and sew for a few minutes or a few hours and return to my "happy place" whenever I need to no matter how my outside life changes out of necessity. And that's a very good thing.

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Comment by Beverly Hicks Burch on March 23, 2009 at 2:19pm
Oh Rene, I hate that you're face with such dilemmas but glad you have a "happy place" to retreat to.

Our times seems so uncertain! We've been trying to see a home here in GA since August of last year...to no avail. DH's living stipend with his new job expired in Feb. so now we pay for his expense in NC where he works...a house here...and a house in AL. Fortunately, there is a tenant in the house in AL!

Do what makes you feel the best...and most satisfied...finishing is very gratifying...but, starting a new project is, too! Oh the decisions! ;-)
Comment by LKC on March 22, 2009 at 3:54pm
Mom gave me boxes of fabric from the 1970 from her girlfriend that loved to sew and is now in a Senior retirement home, her dear HB of 60 years goes each day and sits by her side. He was so happy that I could use the fabric for my daughter and I even made a laundry bag for my son the trucker. So I really know how you feel. Someday, too soon, I will have to do the same with my mom's fabric, as I go through my mom's mess. She says she is trying very hard not to buy fabric and has made something every month for the boy's children home, lots of pillow cases.
Comment by Cathy/IN on March 22, 2009 at 11:20am
Keep spending time in your sewing room...it is good therapy...and like someone else said work on some smaller, quicker projects while you are waiting for inspiration. At this point my hubby still has his job but his company is reducing their workforce again in April. We just had a disscussion regarding this on the way home from church today. My sanity-saving process is to keep trusting in God, knowing that it is ultimately in His control! I may not always like it though! Keep stitching!
Comment by Vicky Girten/MO on March 22, 2009 at 10:49am
Hi Renee, Both my husband and I are retired. But this year our house payment increased 400.00. That was a low blow as I am sure you can appreciate. Living on a fixed income does not help. My husband is not use to living on a budget and it is really hard to keep him reigned in. I hope that your husband will find work soon and that if need be you find a job that you really really like. Quilting is such a stress reliever, I hope you find direction soon and can finish a project. There is nothing more sat isfying that saying look what I did. Have a great day and I will keep you in my prayers.
Comment by Debbie Snyder/WA on March 22, 2009 at 8:26am
Renee: Your story hits home here too. Although, my husband does have his job, it's a commission only and things are tight. Same bills as 2 yrs ago but a lot less income. I am so thankful that we got our kids thru college before all this economy crap happened. We absolutely hate the thought of having to layoff any of our employees. I think I would rather sell my home. I couldn't live with the thought that I've ruined someones life. I too care for my parents and my mothers sewing room would put most quilt shops to shame. I dread the idea of going thru all that stuff. She did every kind of sewing , hand and machine, possible since the early 60's. She even toll painted and did macrame'. (Jute and beads, brushed and wood stuff in 20 boxes.)Yikes Anyway...hang in there. Know that God has his plan for you. I live day to day and plans are alway changed with the ringing of the phone. When you're in your late 80's everything is a big deal and I find myself spening more and more time doing silly stuff for my parents. I pray for patience everyday. Something good will come out of this. I got my business started when careing for my mother in law when she had lung cancer. She lived with us and we couldn't leave her alone as we had to turn her every 2 hours so avoid bed sores. Feeding and bathing took both of us too. It brought my hubby and I much closer and a better understanding of LIFE. Hard is hard but a healthy life is GREAT. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Have a great week. Sorry I rattled on so.
Comment by B J Elder/WA on March 22, 2009 at 7:12am
You are not alone.... many of us are in similar positions as you. My husband has now been out of work for 15 months, still trying to find anyone to hire him on. We are also the caregivers of my folks, which as I'm sure you know is a full time job in itself. It sounds like you are overwhelmed with the "big picture". It may help to break it down to smaller ones, a step at a time. I agree, I think you will feel better finishing a project instead of having so much going on you can't focus on any single thing. I find list making helpful. I make a list of projects I hope to accomplish in the year. Of course there are changes as I go along, but I have a plan which helps keep me focused. Perhaps you can use the fabrics to make gifts to give this year - quilts, totes, placemats, table runners..... and that will save you lots of money. I hope you will discover many blessings as you go through this time of change and transition.
Comment by Susan B on March 22, 2009 at 6:59am
Hi Renee, I have to agree with Edith and Cindy about finishing a project..but it doesn't have to be a big one. And when you take a break from sewing, poke through your Mom's books and patterns (it sounds like she left you a fully stocked quilt stash) and when you find 'the one" (and you will) then start to plan a new quilt project that will draw you away from the day to day stresses that you are living with...and send a quiet "thank you" to your Mom for giving you such a treasure trove of memories...old, new, happy, sad...a patchwork quilt of love. Count each blessing and like Cindy (and one I have used for forty plus years), use the mantra "This too shall pass".
Comment by Cindy on March 22, 2009 at 5:09am
Hi Renee, I have to agree with Edith...finish a project!! My husband retired from Fords 1 year ago (he took the buy out) although it was the best thing for him to do, we too are know struggling and life has changed dramatically and I have to say it has been an interesting year of changes. We also have discussed moving to Florida. This isn't my first choice but the DH loves to fish. Florida has always been my "vacation" place never dreamed I would live there....but I guess with so many changes going on in our lives what's one more. Just remember that you are not alone in the crazy world were living in right now and that you always have a place to come to vent...CT it's a nice place to go...LOl well take care and finish one of those projects...I am a strong believer in "THIS TOO SHALL PASS"
Comment by Edith Lean/Ont. on March 21, 2009 at 9:37pm
Renee, I identify so much with you. I "retired" last July but am now facing going back to work, and like you "to what". presently I am investigating starting my own business, I am doing the research to work up a business plan. It is certainly more involved than I anticipated, having to do marketing research to have some data with which to present a plan that will appeal to the money lenders. Making sure that by end of a year I can turn a modest profit and be able to contribute my share of support to the family coffers. We lost so much in the markets that our pension funds are almost depleted. As you know recently my MIL passed away and we petitioned the bank to release her estate, but they are insisting it goes to probrate (there isn't much there) so that will take some time. But I am a firm believer in everything happening at the right time, so I am trying not to worry about it and see what comes. This is a very hard thing for me to do as I have always been the one to be in charge and get things done or figure out how things will be done. Well it is late and I didn't sleep well last night so I had better get to bed. Finish a project, it will definitely make you feel better and in control of at least one thing. Take care Renee.

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