Friday, March 20, 2015

Tax Season, Dark Nights of the Soul and Quilt Making

I was listening to some pre-election speeches and heard a conservative presidential candidate voice his concern that resonated with my own. He spoke about how many are losing the dream that was the hallmark of America: to work hard at what you most love and to see your inspiration, passion and efforts turn into financial success.

My youngest daughter had come to visit me while my oldest daughter and husband were at a trade show this weekend.  In conversing with her, her eyes welled with tears that she struggled to hold back. She graduated from college with honors and is currently cleaning houses for a living. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with any honest work, though this isn't what she had in mind when she completed her degree.

She thought working for herself was a better option than working for minimum wages at a part-time job. At least she could schedule herself and continue to seek more customers and book herself as full as she could. Good job opportunities in our rural state aren't exactly plentiful, and her education wasn't exactly a shoe-in to a great career, but some lessons must be learned the hard way, and dreams have a way of dying hard!

House-cleaning is a luxury not afforded by as many as she had thought and building a reputation takes time and her college debts loom heavy, despite her many grants and scholarships as well as working all the way through school and choosing a less costly college located near home. It could be worse, though it doesn't feel that way to her right now.

Another presidential hopeful spoke about our present culture changing so rapidly as to be like an industrial revolution happening every five years. Technical changes are coming quicker than ever before. Even in my day, it wasn't enough to have one career, I had several and of the most stable sort: nursing, teaching and even home-industry, when my husband and I tied fishing leaders in the evenings to supplement our duel professional incomes as we raised our girls. We had made the choice to put city life behind us to live in a beautiful rural environment and had to work harder than ever to do so. We are pleased that our children, like us, have grown into well educated, hard-working adults. We are not new to financial challenges, nor are they.

Being an optimistic Pollyanna, I did what I could to encourage my daughter to stay positive and continue to explore other work options. I reminded her of someone that we know in our community who continued to try one creative venture after another until she began catering and baking and suddenly developed her own cracker company in her own kitchen.  Perhaps some of you have tried Whitney's Castleton Crackers, from Castleton, Vermont?  We knew her when she was designing scratch-and-sniff souvenir cards.  "Whitney deserved to succeed", I told my daughter, "as she never gave up trying!"

Although I have heard it said that if the only problems you have are financial ones, you really don't have any problems at all, financial concerns can be "taxing" (pun intended). I laid awake all night thinking about my daughter and what options she might consider. My attempt to assuage my worry didn't work though at least it produced a few pages of thoughts that might be helpful to her, no matter that it wasn't likely worth depleting my energy for the following day. That is always the price I pay when I entertain worries.

As I was growing up, I heard my parents talk about The Great Depression, and they forever lived in fear of inflation and I think my dad saved every penny he could.  I didn't know that their fears would become my own and that fear itself would become such a frequent visitor. I have learned that if I hope for the best and prepare for the worst, I can put my fears to bed, sleep peacefully, keep calm and carry on.

Knowledge obtained from an in-service I had in my younger years has provided me with insight into my own thinking and work style. Our special education team was given individual tests that helped us analyze ourselves and there it was, my style described to a tee: try harder doing the same thing rather than to consider tackling the problem differently. This can indeed be an exercise in futility, though habits are not easily changed. Working hard, but not smart, I have heard some call it. It was my father's way, and I learned it well.  "You don't have to be smart," he would say. "You just have to work hard!" This implied that our gene pool wasn't blessed with much in the way of brain power, but with sheer determination, added energy and perseverance we would succeed.

I must confess that my father didn't let worry rob him from any sleep however. He had been orphaned at an early age and seemed to have pulled his boot-straps up to his ears.  He was self-reliant and confident almost to the point of arrogant. I am not and it seems my boots are often ill-fitted, impossible to pull on and I seem to excel in choosing paths that are anything but smooth!

It remained a dark and sleepless night and my mind jumped to an article in our local paper about a civic organization addressing the needs of the homeless in our area! Really? Homeless in Vermont, in the winter cold that penetrates deep enough into the ground to make huge frost heaves? Surely they must be housed somewhere for how else could they survive? My thinking plunged into deeper and darker places!  I imagined the worst: my girls moving back in with their significant others, and their rambunctious families and/or pets. My house and brain were getting more crowded by the minute! My Depression Day thinking, I realized resembles my mother's; move the children in and everyone together will pool their incomes to live and eat. I will make Stone Soup and cat food casseroles. Thank goodness I have many recipes! Wait!!...While it is a reality for some today is not for us, not yet or potentially ever, though I love my adult children dearly!

My concerns regarding our futures aren't new, but they do hit me in a new ways. Banning together to eek out a living.... all to pay for taxes that are higher than we expected and hardships that my children must live and grow through, just like we did? Yes, the fear mongering news networks have finally pushed me over the edge and my rational thinking has jumped off the cliff, being frightened of an obviously bleak and dangerous future! Clearly the government is coming for any monies we have left over to redistribute our wealth?... What wealth?

Thank goodness, morning has finally arrived when I can at last fall asleep and dream dreams that are full of light and vision.  The world isn't really so awful, and I have many new ideas for my daughter to try, and my children and their boyfriends with their children haven't all moved in, and as soon and I get my rest, I think I will resume my wonderful retirement work of sewing on quilts and enjoying a program or two on TV.

This time I think I will watch "Say Yes to the Dress"....which will be full of big decisions of which beautiful, expensive wedding dress, dripping with lace, satin, and brocade will be chosen for the bride's special day and then I will turn to the food network and sample a few mouth-watering recipes. I will avoid the news and the weather channels...and climb back into what I do--making the world a more beautiful place by sewing on quilts and crafts...after all you never know when the power grid may fail us and we will at least be warmly wrapped in comforting quilts, wear warm fleece socks and be cheered by our home brightly decorated with felted tomatoes and potted plant pincushions!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Last Gray Days of Winter or Pollyanna Meets Reality

A sad snowman sculpture, wrapped for the cold, and melting. (Woodstock, Vt.)
I used to post my writing only when I was able to take a positive view of whatever situation I might find myself in, but no longer! My standards are changing. I am a very real and honest person and this means that I have gray days, especially during our Vermont winters when my Pollyanna optimism meets realities and my chin hits the road. Tired of the endless white and gray days, and uninspired to finish my UFO's, I ask, "Don't we all have these sorts of times?"

A sad swan sculpture with heads missing!  No loss as almost melted,
My name is Jane and besides being a "fabric-a-holic", I am also a "control freak".  I am the sort of person that needs to feel like I am in control.  There are many days when I have to give this desire over to God and accept that I am not in control of my life, the day or even the moment. Even my body seems to be ruled by someone other than me!  It is a hard lesson to be sure, especially for someone that likes to see order in the universe and wants to believe on good authority that mind over matter can fix anything.

A snow frog prince melting down vs. melting my heart! (Woodstock, Vt.)
Although I have much faith in God and in what cannot be seen, there are days that are gray, the snow too deep to shovel out and it seems that spring will never come. Marilla Cusper's comment to Anne of Green Gables, when she says, "to despair is to turn away from God" is all too true, but how easy it is to "go there".

Pin strips, cut strips, pin blocks and stitch-- the makings of a quilt.
I used to work a suicide prevention line at a mental hospital.  Suicide is truly "a permanent solution to a temporary problem".  All of our problems are temporary, and no matter how steady our stream of problems can be, I do believe that with perseverance, prayer, and a bit of "therapy of one sort or another", a different perspective will come and solutions surface to whatever might be ailing us.  I do, however, have to remind myself that the world works in God's time and not my own.

From Scraps to quilt blocks.
I used to go on  religious retreats every year and during one, I started by confessing that I was experiencing a "desert time" faith-wise. The wise priest hearing my whine, reminded me that "desert times force our roots to grow deeper", but also added, "there is beauty in the desert" and to look for it when I am there!

When I was a psychiatric nurse in the days-of-old, a treatment for a depressed patient was a box of tangled yarn.  This box was given to the patient with the directions to untangle the yarn and wind it into balls. It is just the sort of task that I love, but when a person is really depressed, more challenge and aggravation heaped on them makes such a task nearly impossible!  We knew that the patient was better when they would get angry and throw it back to us with a strong message, "to shove it!!"

Cutting squares, counting blocks. Mundane, but therapeutic, activities!
Such sorts of therapy were common when behavioral therapy was key, in the days before there was a pill to alter any psychiatric state. It was thought that depression was anger turned inward and activities to facilitate turning a patient's anger outward would be helpful, hence the "tangled yarn therapy".

It is interesting to note that research has since shown that working with our hands can help us re-wire our brains, and so while my sewing may seem a "frivolous" activity, for me it is no less than essential. When creativity doesn't spark, doing the mundane, repetitive sorts of tasks seem to be just the thing. Cutting and pinning, doing the boring and never-ending stitching required in sewing crafts or quilts, knitting or even simply doing the prep work for future days can truly soothe what needs to heal.

Physical activity can have a similar effect. House-cleaning-sorts-of-tasks can be a great way to work out frustrations and can prove to enhance a person's feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction as well. What better way to put order to an unsettled mind then forcing yourself to deal with a big disorganized mess!

A bit of cutting and organizing. Some serious quilting prep work.
I wonder if my Pollyanna optimism wasn't born doing this sort of work when negativity needed to be "teased out" and replaced with hope and positive thinking? A nap can also be a great way to lift mind fog and be a pleasant escape-sort-of-reward for accomplishing such mundane tasks. Sometimes simply "hanging-in by stepping-out" with a nice movie or book can provide needed distraction from pressures that are best solved with a break or a mini-vacation. Whatever your method for lifting the blues, some days remain gray, even if I have untangled the yarn, or cleaned up the mess. Simply waiting for the sun to shine, no matter how long I have to wait, reminds me that it always does come out again.
Enough yet for this quilt top, or shall I make two or three?
(Snow sculpture pictures taken in Woodstock, Vermont.  They were part of a Special Olympics celebration on the village green, now white and brown with snow and slush.  I first saw them almost a week prior and decided I would bring my camera and photograph them, but they weren't so pristine a week later, and I forgot my camera's card! Cell phones can come in handy!)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What Would Jane Do?


A few nights ago, as I crawled into bed I reached for a small book I received for Christmas entitled, What Would Jane Do?.  It is a book of quotes from Jane Austen's best known books. She is one of my favorite authors. Like many of her readers, I have fallen in love with Mr. Darcy! I had gone to bed early, exhausted from a day that was too short.  I was grumpy and knew that it was best to retire early.

I had just had an argument with my husband about world affairs and so looking at my book just before falling asleep, I pondered more than read, What Would Jane Do? It was clear, I thought that Jane (McMillen) should have married the fictional character Mr. Darcy instead of her husband, but then my mind wandered to thoughts of what I would do if I was in charge of the world. My thoughts weren't unlike Doctor Zuess's thoughts in his book, If I Ran the ZooI was again annoyed with being a mere mortal and I wished at that moment to have great powers to alter what is happening in the world.

I laughed as I thought of Jane Austen's words coming out of the mouth of her character, Catherine DeBourgh when she snidely remarked to Lizzie's mother, "You have a very small garden, Madame!" My world is indeed very small and no matter the world's problems, I can't even seem to fix my own!

It didn't take but a few minutes for me to be in a deep dream state, and I dreamt that I appliqued pieces of fabric over the countries that are literally torn apart with war, torture and unrest and made it beautiful again!  I used the new-to-me "freezer paper technique" to get great detail of the Mid-Eastern countries' borders and simply glued the edges of fabric under using an Elmer's Disappearing Purple School Glue Stick and appliqued them back in place with perfect precision! It was a big contribution to world peace and I was deeply satisfied!

I am sure that this solution came to my brain, as I am in the middle of making a wall hanging for a friend of mine and I am using a new technique I learned on-line from Teresa Rawson's fabrictherapy.blogspot.com.  She has marvelous tutorials on applique and it was only that afternoon I had learned that, even I can applique with precision using her method.

My friend who wanted a quilted wall hanging, is an old high school acquaintance from a half a century ago now.  We became reacquainted over the internet, exchanging superficial greetings through a mutual friend of ours, and found that we both had "health issues" in common.  His wife was sick with Chronic Fatigue/ Fibromyalgia and I had similar symptoms with Chronic Lyme Disease.  We compared notes and offered each other sympathy. Soon after that, his wife developed Stage Four Lung Cancer and died less than a year later. I supported my friend as best as I could through emails during his tragic loss.

He asked that I make him a wall hanging and found a picture in one of my Japanese quilt books when he and his friend were visiting me this summer. It was a picture of a  quilted border of a Japanese quilt, and was anything but inspiring to me until I noted that it appeared to be a mountain with a sun, albeit turned sideways and so dark and dreary that it was anything but recognizable.  My friend is more complex than me and appreciated the abstract, whereas I am more concrete and simple.  His world is full of sadness and loss, where I seem to live in an unreal Pollyanna world where my delusions seem to keep me falsely and nauseatingly too optimistic!

My Japanese Daiwabo taupe materials aren't bright and cheery but are very rich and appealing, and it was from this stash that my friend picked out some fat quarters to make his wall hanging. He chose a dull yellow-gold/orange-ish colored print, a deep burgundy print and a dull green-brown nubby material along with a similar dark brown nubby fabric.  His choices were too dark for me and it took me quite a while to warm up to this project. Fortunately he was in no hurry.  I had warned him that I had to finish my year of craft sales and that I would likely start it in January.

What would Jane do with the pattern and material that my friend had chosen, I ask? She would embrace the task at hand and do the best she could, I resoundly answered.... And that is what I am in the process of doing. True to my Pollyanna self, however, I needed to brighten the mountain and add the sun's reflection on it, just as I wanted to brighten my friend's life. Suffering from the loss of his wife who was truly the sunshine of his life, I added, with his permission, a variety of other taupe fabrics in hopes of adding more color, texture and interest to this work. As I did, I reflected how I had wanted to encourage him to open himself up to new people and life following his wife's death.

As my friend placed a serious confidence in me when I was supporting him, I felt it now my turn to stitch this piece for him with equal seriousness. It was with my delusional Pollyanna-Jane thoughts that I am stitching his own  personal mountain (though it looks more like a house), and adding sunshine. That is after all "what (Pollyanna) Jane would do" to brighten his life?

It is a good thing my other projects are less serious, or are they?  I am stitching whimsical patchwork duvet covers for my girls, reminding them to stay young at heart and take life a little less seriously, and making covers instead of comforters, so as to make it easier for them to keep them clean and washed? I remain their mother, after all! And the Nine Patch blocks I am piecing for my friend are made from fabrics that she sent to me after her mother had passed away. I had instantly seen them as a quilt to wrap about and comfort my friend,  who is now having to bravely carry on as the sole survivor of her family.

And my other quilted works?  Are they an extension of this noble, Pollyanna-Jane thinking as well? Making a crazy quilt to preserve the beautiful clothes that my mother had so wonderfully made or purchased for me? And my wool penny rug sampler quilt that had seemed to create itself? Bright flowers, and animals all appliqued on my penny rugs, using the very patterns my mother had used in many of her quilts, and adding animals much like she had grown up with on or near the farm in Nebraska where she was raised? Stitched by hand, as I sat with my mother in her final days, I then embroidered a dedication block on the back of it to her. Wasn't it all done so that Pollyanna Jane could recreate a symbol of my mother who would remain with me forever?
And what about My Comfort Her, a quilt with all my favorite songs, hymns, quotes and scripture verses, using pen, ink and caligraphy; my humor and values illustrated with pictures sketched from my favorite children's books in what I hope is truly permanent quilter's ink? Isn't it another sample of  "what Jane would do and be" and will God-willing, finish!



 And....I am still hoping and planning, if I have my way, to finish my mother's most beautiful candle-wicking quilt. It's theme is hearts and flowers. I assured her that I would finish it for her when she wore out before completing it. I only hope that I have the days and the expertise to finish it properly for her. My other work is but practice to sharpen my sewing skills before trying to match her's, though I mustn't wait too long...

I may live in my own delusional world but it comes out in my work, and little did I know then that it all is in answer to the question of  "what would Jane do". But isn't this the life of every quilter, taking the scraps of her life and creating her own beautiful world with them?

The Winner of March's Common-Thread Give-Away

The winner of March's Common-Thread Give-Away is Elaine. Please be in touch with Maria Wulf to claim your blanket. Congratulations!

Again we thank our readers for your support and hopefully you will continue to follow us.  Every month we offer a free give-away made by one of our artists or a guest artist to show-case their work.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March's Common-Thread Give-Away Artist

This month's Common-Thread Give-Away Artist is Maria Wulf.  Most who have frequented my blog know Maria Wulf and her husband, Jon Katz.  Both are "the hub" of our Common-Thread Art Group. We are all bloggers and artists, that have banded together to support each other on line and all of our websites can be accessed on the right hand side of my blog simply by clicking on them.

I have done many blogs about Maria and never tire of telling others of the various things I know about her. She never fails to amaze me!! She knows that I both admire her work as well as her life. She is a "hardy farm woman" which is a great compliment to her. Few have the courage, grit and determination that hallmarks Maria's character.  She is a very strong person, in every sense of the word.

Despite weathering some difficult events this last year, as her husband's urgent heart surgery, the loss of her beloved dog, Freida, as well as Simon, their cherished donkey, and Lenore, Jon's sweet black lab, Maria continues to make her Gee-Bend style quilts, special one-of-a-kind quilted potholders and her "free-streaming quilted art" as well as her creative sketches.  All her work tells the story of what goes on in her busy life and complex mind. Her writings reveal even more.

Maria's love of animals is manifested in this 50" by 60" fleece blanket that she is giving away to the lucky winner of this month's Common-Thread drawing.  It is the replica of the banner she made for Blue Star Equiculture, The Working Horse Sanctuary.  She has described it as a symbol of the ancient bond between people and horses and the importance of keeping that relationship alive.  The proceeds of the sales of these "Restore-the-Bond" blankets were given to support the horses at the Blue Star Sanctuary and horses around the country, and this month the lucky winner of the Common-Thread Give-Away Drawing will receive one of these special blankets!

All you need to do to register for this drawing is to go to her website at Full Moon Fiber Arts and leave a comment for her anytime Monday through Wednesday and the winner will be announced at the end of this week! There is nothing better than a fleece blanket to keep you warm in these final weeks of winter, and this is one that will warm your heart as well.

Our monthly free Common-Thread Give-Away drawings are our way of saying, "thank you" to our readers.  We appreciate you frequenting our websites and exploring our special hand-made artwork. Register now and do stop and see what she still has available on her Art for Sale Page or simply browse through her website and blog for other items that she has recently posted. It is always fun to see what she creates as well as read about her rural life and community that inspires her work.

Don't miss our other Common-Thread Artist's websites as well! We hope that you will enjoy our blogs and between all of us, we have a wide variation of art work and gift items for sale. Thank you again, and don't forget to register to win by going to Maria's website and simply leave a comment for her.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Unleashed Potential

In college my girlfriend and I used to say, that there seemed to be nothing heavier than a great potential. I think that is changing for me....

A new collection of Civil War Materials--dreams yet to be realized.


I awoke this morning once again to find myself immersed in a familiar nightmare, but this time it had a slightly different twist. Instead of realizing at the end of a shift, that I had forgotten to take care of a patient I was assigned to, this time I had left the floor to go to a secret room to sew during my break and got so into my sewing that I forgot to come back to take care of my patients for hours! This dream seems to show signs of psychological progress.  At last my dreams are admitting that I prefer to sew than nurse, despite still having some guilt about giving up nursing.

It is interesting that Veronica Hallissey and Maria Wulf, both writers and fabric artists have recently posted blogs that address the sacredness of the person, and the violation that occurs when one is not supported to be who and what they are. I may be over-personalizing their words, but they triggered in me my own issues of being steered by a well-meaning parent who wanted to be sure that I had a career to "fall back on".

Rolls of strips of materials to be stitched into a simple 9 Patch -9 Patch Quilt
I used both nursing and teaching to help support my family, and have only become the "artist" that I have always want to be, after I became too ill to work. It is noteworthy that my favorite doctor once told me that a person can get ill simply from stifling their need to be creative, if they are so driven. Could that have been the case with me? I have been out of nursing almost seven years, due to illness, but I was so reluctant to "let go" of my nursing license that I renewed it in New York as current practice hours are not a prerequisite there as they are here in Vermont and living close to the New York State border, this seemed a reasonable way to keep licensed.

Strips pinned and ready to sew. A modern fast method of piecing blocks.
The truth is I was "programmed" to be a nurse. From the time I was a little girl,  every time I would utter dreams of my future life, my father would add, "you can do that if you become a nurse". I can still remember telling him that I wanted to work in a circus and imagined myself as a flying trapeze artist and instead of taking me for acrobatic lessons, though that would have been the fastest way to extinguish that dream, for I was anything but athletic, he simply replied, "You could do that if you were a nurse"?  His answer was the same when I imagined myself being a missionary, and feeding starving babies in Africa, never mind that I didn't belong to a church with such missionary zeal.

Pretty and how easy!
The truth was that my father had little imagination at all.  He was a civil engineer and would pull his hair out building structures designed by creative architects. I still have a little plaque that his friend in the insurance business had made for him as a personal joke, that reads, "The disaster That Did Not Happen on Concourse B at Stapleton International Airport" 1962.  My dad was sure that the unusual design for the "tent-topped" building could never be constructed safely. He must have suffered from nightmares about this just as I do with my nursing dreams, and he must have told his friend.

Buildings needed to be square, according to him,and his work was to provide and construct the steel form-work to support them. His creativity was all done with a slide ruler, including addressing any emotional or personal issues that I had in growing up. He also found it fun to dicker over my allowances, wanting me to defend myself and learn negotiating skills. It only made me feel guilty for needing his money and made me cry.


A simple set up for pressing and hanging my strips. One of three work stations.

To my father's credit, he was an excellent businessman, loved his work and provided well for his family, but fell short when it came to supporting the artist within any of us. I even used to wonder sometimes if my real parents were tied up in a closet and the ones that raised me were "look-a-likes". I was definitely a child that came from a different mold, or so I thought then. My best grades were in art, and sewing.

My mother was a stay-at-home mom who made the house pretty, and did the cooking and ironing. She was an artistic person, who would have been a fish out of water if she had had to conform to any particular workplace environment.  He didn't seem to notice that his philosophy of throwing out Crayons, didn't work at our house...my mother loved to color as much as we did, and every one of my school papers got graded higher for the artwork that accompanied them. I delighted in convincing him every year that instead of a box of 24 colors, my teachers "required" we have the extra large box of crayons and colored pencils as well! It was not true, but I so I loved all those colors!! He respected my mother's artistic abilities and was pleased that I had acquired her talents as well, but he took his job as Dad seriously and he prepared us kids for the real work world, where art had no business.

Trying freezer paper applique on another project.
He supported my education and gave me the choice of becoming a teacher, nurse or secretary, all to be used as an insurance policy should something happen to my future husband, as mostly likely I would be a stay-at-home housewife too, or so he thought. Little did he know the anguish I would go through being both a nurse and a teacher, as neither really met my needs to be creative. Pounding my round artistic peg into these well defined square holes never really suited me, despite my dedication to each profession.  Artists, he told us, usually starve. I must have focused on being sure that I didn't starve, for I have always struggled with being overweight, but I did "starve" for opportunities to express myself creatively, and did so at every chance I got when I wasn't too busy being a nurse and/or teacher to help support our family. I also invested to keep our craft cupboards filled with art and sewing supplies to feed our creative minds.

 "New-to-me" glue technique for applique, making for more greater precision.
These past six plus years I have been very busy creating from the supplies I gathered during my entire life.  When illness threatened to shorten my days, I decided it was now or never to actually use them and I haven't stopped using and collecting more since. Sewing and art books, and now the internet fill my head full of ideas. I am like an alcoholic in a free tasting room and am quite busy unleashing my potential, I am intoxicated with the freedom to create as I always wanted to do. While I regret not having the energy that I once had, I delight in planning quilts and sewing projects as if I am going to live forever! Grandma Moses is my inspiration. She started painting her famous pictures well past retirement age and lived to be very old! Should I be so lucky!?

So far, so good!  This is Daiwabo Japanese Fabric.  Is it awesome?!!
Well, back to sewing, though I can't wait to write to you all about some inspirational quilters who have discovered and shared ways to better organize their studios to facilitate being as creative as they can be.  I am following some of their advice and making changes in my own studio spaces.  I am also learning how to capitalize on my strengths and weaknesses!

I think my nursing days are over. In my future, I will likely get brave and let my nursing career go altogether.  It has served me well to support my family as well as being an advocate for my own health and the health of my family, and that is more than sufficient use of it!  I don't need to hang on to my old careers but instead, unleash my artistic potential. It is a dream that I wouldn't have realized had my health not necessitated it. It is nice to know that God knew my heart and worked hard to redirect me to living the creative life I have always wanted to live. 

Dear Dad,may you RIP. I got your determination and drive and will not starve!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

When cookies and tea don't warm you, try these...

At last I am offering my fleece socks on-line.  They have been my best sellers at craft shows for years and they are priced to warm your heart as well.  The children's socks are $4 a pair, $6 a pair for youth sizes and adult sized socks run $8 a pair, Shipping charges are NOT included in these prices and will be $2.00 per pair.

My socks feature an elastic free cuff, wash well, return to their original shape and are soft and warm for winter.  Many use them as bed socks, but others, including myself use them in or out of shoes. My daughter works outdoors all winter and swears by them.  They make great ski socks!

I have named them Great Feet for Great Feats and have testimonials that when worn, not only are your feet warm, but they can perform miraculous feats. When I was a child, it was tradition that the Easter Bunny brought us Keds--remember those?  In new Keds I could run faster and jump higher! Mine were usually red, which I think added to their power. And so I have made my fleece socks in all colors and patterns, so you can pick whichever you feel will give you the greatest lift. Believe in them and they will do just that!!

One of my most special birthday presents was a big box of "toe socks" in all colors and patterns! It was the cheeriest gift ever, and so are my fleece socks.

I first made fleece socks for my young adult daughters for Christmas a few years ago, and before trying them out, they simply pushed them aside, believing them to be one my my weird home-made-"special" gifts that round out their Christmas every year. They then asked if I would be offended if they "re-gifted" them. Their friends liked the socks so well, that they came back and requested more. My girls soon tried them out themselves and now place their order every Christmas for themselves and their friends!

Sock sizes run according to shoe size.  Order bigger if you want them to fit looser (as a slipper), and smaller if you want them to fit tighter (to wear inside shoes).

Children's sizes $4 a Pair: 0-NB (newborn), 0-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, and 8. (I am phasing out size 8-9 that has a slightly longer cuff, but I have four remaining pairs.)
Click here for Children's Sock Selection

Youth Sizes $6 a Pair:  9-10, 11-12, 13-1, 2-3, 4-5
Click here for Youth Sock Selection

Adult Sizes $8 a Pair:  M 4-5 and W 6-7; M 6-7 and W 8-9; M 8-9 and W 10-11; M 10-11 and W 12-13; and M 12-13 and W 14-15
My adult socks are unisex, and their sizes are marked in both Men (M) and Women (W).  
Click here for Adult Sock Selection

Wide Socks are available as a special order. Most socks will fit a range of widths.  If you are concerned please contact me to place a special order. (add $2/pair for special orders)

To Order: Please comment or email me at jmcvermont@comcast.net with your selection by size and number. Because they are one-of-a-kind, I will fill orders on a first come, first serve basis.

Methods of Payment: I accept Paypal and personal checks.  (Socks will be mailed when payment is received.)