The Mindful Lymie

The sun is shining. The air is warmish. April has left all the fools behind and now we can release a collective sigh…. Ahhhh. Spring will arrive!

With the advent of Spring, I’m always eager to try something new and/or clean up my past. I was lying in bed thinking how I’m so tired of not creating anything. I want to watercolour, scrapbook, collage, and write poetry. I sign up for online classes hoping they’ll motivate me. When I have the energy, I attempt to create but cannot find the focus and give up after a few minutes. Or I quickly become fatigued or uncomfortable. Or I have the focus and motivation but not the energy.

I’m not alone. I belong to a few Facebook groups for people struggling with Lyme disease. The question of how we spend our time has come up in conversation before. I had an “aha” moment this morning.

  1. I need to find a way to create. Even if only for a few minutes a day.
  2. Creativity is an important part of healing.
  3. Other Lyme sufferers need an outlet for creativity but face the same limitations as me.

So, I’m starting a Facebook Group called “The Mindful Lymie“. Each month I’ll have a list. Each day will have a prompt. Members of the group will then take the prompt and create something. Anything! A poem, a photograph, a sentence, a collage, a drawing, or even a Facebook post. It really doesn’t matter. The purpose is to take a few moments a day to make something new, to focus on possibilities, and to express yourself. Creativity is not about being a great artist. It’s simply about making something.

I’ll encourage members to then share whatever it is they created. Or to even just talk about whatever comes to their mind regarding the prompt. We share similar struggles but most of the support groups are about symptoms, treatments, and advocacy. All very important issues that don’t leave a lot of room for anything else. Creativity is a great way to express feelings, struggles and pain. It can be cathartic, joyful or just plain fun. At the very least, it can be a distraction!

Here is the April list of Prompts.

Here is my attempt for April 2nd.


So, if you or one of your family or close friends has Lyme disease, please join my group, the Mindful Lymie!

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I’m a Quilter, how splendid!

It seems like quite the exaggeration to call myself a quilter. However, I did piece fabric together with thread. So, I guess that is what I am. As Lilla Rogers likes to say, “All great artists start at the beginning”. So here I am, the beginner quilter.

I’ve wanted to quilt for years. The thought of actually doing it intimidated me. A couple months ago I downloaded the Periscope App and it imported my social media contacts. One day the app chirped at me to say one of my contacts was “scoping” live. It was Alyssa Thomas of Penguin & Fish. I knew she was the artist and author who makes whimsically adorable embroidery patterns and fabric. I was curious so I tuned in. She crafts nightly at 9:30CST. She’s so friendly and down-to-earth. I’m learning so much just by watching her.

I remember my grandma once tried to teach me to crochet. Her fingers moved so quickly I couldn’t follow along. She didn’t know how to slow down enough for me to learn. So, I never did learn to crochet. My Mom taught me to knit and sew. I was never overly adept at either but I did make a few things. I also taught myself embroidery but it wasn’t exactly full of proper technique. I did do a pretty awesome Kurt Cobain on a friend’s pair of jeans. I wish I’d taken a photo of that. Back then the only way to learn was to get a book from the library or find a relative who could teach you.

Fast forward to 2016, and the resources are amazing!

1. I’m watching Alyssa on Periscope which is like having that relative show me how to do things properly. I can’t explain how invaluable that is. Otherwise I’d stand at my craft table totally bewildered wondering where to start.

2. There are free challenges and patterns out there to try. Alyssa mentioned that she was part of the “Splendid Sampler” Quilt-Along. 100 mystery block patterns will be revealed twice a week for participants to quilt. The blocks are designed by a long list of artists. After the year is done the blocks will only be available in a printed book. Different techniques will be required throughout the quilt-along.

3. The groups of crafters are plentiful. Someone somewhere has encountered whatever quilting challenge you are facing and is willing to share their solution.

I have to wonder what my crafting skills would have been like as a teenager if I had access to today’s technology.

So, here is what I’ve made so far.

The block with the little Kimono clad girls is the “bonus” block handed out last week. It is my VERY first block EVER!!! It’s crooked and the points don’t match up BUT I did it and I’m proud!

The block with the heart is the first mystery block. 1 out of 100. I’m happy with it. I even needle turn appliqued the heart. Yahoo!

I’m not really going for perfect here. I want a colourful and quirky quilt that makes me happy. I do not have a big stash of fabric. Several years ago I bought some lovely fabrics off of superbuzzy, thinking I’d sew my baby some clothes. HAHAHA… what was I thinking? That didn’t really happen and now my nearly 8 year old likes to dress herself. So, my quilt will use up the few fabrics I have, plus snippets from baby clothes, and some fabrics I will purchase soon.

Today there is a new block so I must be off to check it out! Until next time….

My first blocks | Melanie Ritchie

 

The most important thing we do in a day is take care of each other.

While I was busy galavanting, eating, and entertaining, life outside the home apparently went on without me. Who knew?

I’ve had a busy few weeks. I had the pleasure of babysitting a sweet little baby for a week (well, a few days really). I got an awesome thank you gift for helping out. The mom knows I’m a big fan of Barbapapa and she spoiled me with a vintage book and a flowery mug, and some party streamers from Amsterdam. See those little Barbapapa faces in the flowers on the mug? Oh, Happy day!

Barbapapa Gift | Melanie Ritchie

Then my best friend from high school came for a visit. We had some really good eats and had a long overdue chance to just hang out and catch up on our lives. We also watched “Reality Bites” which was our favourite movie to watch together 20 years ago. I can’t believe how quickly time passes. I was surprised to see I still like the movie and my opinion of the characters hasn’t changed much. I had to laugh about us though. Back in the mid-90s we watched the movie in the basement of my childhood home. Or maybe in her home. We drank Coke and ate Little Caesars Pizza or a bag of chips. Now we’re both Moms of young kids sitting in my home commenting on how delicious the fancy cheese and baguettes taste. Subtle changes! Ha!

Sunset in Ottawa | Melanie Ritchie

Our first night finished with a lovely sunset in downtown Ottawa.

Drinks | Melanie Ritchie

We had a really yummy lunch at Burrito Burracho in the Byward Market. I highly recommend the Tortilla soup. Then we wandered a bit before treating ourselves to a Maple Beavertail before heading home. YUM YUM!

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It was just so good to see her! I was sad to see her go. She gave me a very pretty bracelet from Alex and Ani as a hostess gift. It has a little pineapple charm. Pineapples are a symbol of friendship and hospitality. How perfect is that? Plus, I love pineapples.

The day after my friend left, my family and I went camping with friends at a very kids friendly KOA campground. Despite the initial rain and the plummeting temperature at night, we had a great time. Only a few weeks until our next camping trip!

After the rain | Melanie Ritchie

Upon return from camping, we had a visit from my husband’s Aunt. She is awesome. That’s all that needs to be said about that.

Then I spent the next day preparing for my very first Thirty-One gifts experience. I set up a table at the kids’ school’s Fun Night. I’m selling Thirty-One products to fundraise for the school’s Kindergarten playground project. There seemed to be a lot of interest in the products but the best part was getting to talk to other parents. Normally at events I’m busy with the kids and I have no particular reason to start up conversations with strangers. This was a great way for me to be more social.

Then the next day my parents came to town for my daughter’s Highland dance recital. It was a really good show! I also enjoyed shopping for plants with my mom and my daughter. I had trouble limiting myself to a few carefully chosen perennials. My mom bought a few plants for me  too as a very early birthday gift. Yay!

Plants | Melanie Ritchie

On the weekend, I had various things to do but managed to work on something that has been brewing in my head for awhile. I greatly admire the Junior Kindergarten teacher that taught my daughter two years ago and is finishing up teaching my son this year. She’s just a lovely person with a very gentle heart. She is exactly the type of person I hoped would teach my kids. She inspires the kids with exploring nature, science, and art. She encourages them to think critically. Most of all, I love that she teaches compassion. As a thank you I wanted to create a painting for her. I chose to illustrate her class motto which I think should be everyone’s motto.

The most important thing we do in a day is take care of each other.

I was thrilled the painting came together so quickly. I’m often disappointed and frustrated with painting. Things don’t always turn out the way I envision them. This one just made me very happy from start to finish. Maybe because I like the motto so much? So, today I took it to the school at midday and surprised her with it. I think it is fair to say, she likes it. Which makes me very happy! Although, I am sad that I won’t have a reason to talk with the teacher anymore.

Taking Care Artwork by Melanie Ritchie

I came home and sat down to write this post and remembered today is the day my newest designs are released for sale at Pixels and Company. I can’t believe I forgot! I’ve been so busy! I’ll show them to you now. Tomorrow I will sit down at my computer and get started on all the design ideas that have been gathering in my head the past few weeks.

Frolic Full Kit | Melanie Ritchie

Weather Cards | Melanie Ritchie

Frolic Elements | Melanie Ritchie

Frolic Papers | Melanie Ritchie

Frolic Journal Cards | Melanie Ritchie

Frolic Cupcake Labels | Melanie Ritchie

Have a relaxing Monday evening!