Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Let It Be

Last night was our 'Cast Off Christmas' and , as usual, it was an affair to remember! We are an eclectic group bringing many different talents and personalities to each gathering. Some of us are bound by 'rules'; where other's of us challenge any and everything and yet some vacillate (how cool is it to be able to use that word?!) between the two extremes. And so this year we broke with 'tradition' and had a true potluck ie. nobody knew what anybody else was going to bring for our Christmas dinner! We didn't know if there would be only salads or maybe just buns! We decided this as a group and while there was concern that somebody would go to all the trouble of cooking a whole Turkey and then have nobody eat it (that objection was quickly put to rest by everyone giving assurance that they would not prepare a Turkey; problem solved) but as the day approached I have to say, as the hostess, that I started to stress....what if we needed something that I didn't have?! Would there be enough? Maybe I should just get a feel for what people are bringing; I could do it sneaky like and contact people on a one-on-one and be reassured that it would all work out. In other words, I was looking to control it, to have it perfect, to take complete responsibility for EVERYTHING!! Luckily I have friends that prove to me (every week) that it's not necessary to have everything perfect (no matter what you hear and see on the radio and t.v.); that it's o.k. to allow the universe to unfold as it was meant to. And if that meant we only got 15 desserts, bad could that be anyway?
The only plan we had was to meet anytime after 5 at my home...and the food started arriving. We had two different kinds of baked cheese appetizers, shrimp, savoury filled puffed pastries, a tossed salad, a beet salad, two different kinds of pasta salad, a five cup salad, cheesy potatoes, curried veggies and rice, pork tenderloin in a tomato sauce, and two kinds of meatballs each in their own crock pot! The meal was completed with a large tray of squares (and of course tea or coffee). Oh yea, I think there was wine too. ;o) We could not have planned the meal any better! We had some of everything that would make a dinner party and it was all DELICIOUS!!!
This was a shot to capture the empty plates! I should have gotten a before shot for you, but they were FULL and it got pretty quiet as we all enjoyed the fabulous fair. Just look at those plates~~~EMPTY~~~ 15 empty plates! There is no better compliment to any cook!
Sometimes the Universe unfolds in an unthinkable direction and all we can do is sit and ask Why? We're not supposed to know all the answers, we're not supposed to be able to make everything better; 'perfect'. Stuff happens, bad stuff and good stuff and all we can do is focus on what we have now. We have friends that will stand by us whatever we're facing, and sometimes that makes us cry, but mostly we have friends who love us and make us laugh. We have friends that with a few clicks of a mouse, a few whirs of a sewing machine and a few whisshh of an iron remind us of what is beautiful in our lives. A strong, young and happy boy and a precious new baby girl...that's what my friend Ruth has in her grandchildren; she also has all of us wishing, hoping and praying that 'better' is what is meant to be today. Please God, let it be better.
We also had a Cookie Exchange this year. Everybody brought thirteen packages of 6 cookies and we set them up on the table and then everybody went around and picked up a package from each pile and left with 6 1/2 dozen different kinds of cookies. We sampled some of the goodies for dessert and....damn we're good! AGAIN!!!
My kids were home to help with coats and transporting things into the house and for the exchange part of the party (Watching 15 grown women go nuts opening Christmas gifts was quite the sight for them. I got to use "It's my house and we'll do the gift exchange my way" line; it was very empowering!) and they were just over the top seeing all the pretty packages filled with goodies!
We do a gift exchange every year and I like to have a little something for everyone (if I can) and this year after checking out some other blogs I had this vision. Kind of foggy at first, but the more I let it swirl around in my mind the clearer it became. I wanted to make an ornament for everybody and I like to put a lot of significance in all that I create...this conflicts with the whole 'Let It Be' concept, but it's surprising what happens if you allow yourself to be open to all the possibilities...this is where I find salvation in the above mentioned conflict.

When I choose fabrics, yarns, everything I want it to have a meaning. I chose Blue homespun to remember our friend Carole (she loved Blue), scraps of fabric with little skeins of blue yarn, blue Noro Silk Garden yarn that is from Carole's stash ~~ legacy yarn, and on the reverse I chose to fussy cut from blue Christmas fabric angels, stars, bells, candles etc. I miss Carole, but until I wrote how much of her is in the ornaments, I didn't quite realize how much. I also included some festive ribbon and a Christmas button to secure the hanger. I had wanted to try stamping on fabric and found a stamp to sum up some of my feelings for these dear friends of mine.


are those people who know

the words to the song

in your heart and sing it

back to you when you have

forgotten the words.


And with this fabric stamping attempt, I learned to 'let it be', to be patient, to keep trying, that it would not be perfect; especially having never done it before! I did the best I could and some of them were o.k. and some of them are now in the garbage...and that's o.k. too. I had also anticipated putting an eyelet in the top of the ornament for hanging; again having never done this before, I started to finish these jewels approximately 4 hours before the Cast Offs were expected (it's genetic; I get it from my mother! :o) Anyway, yea, the eyelet thing didn't work, I was patient, I kept trying, it wasn't even close to perfect! So I did the best that I could do and accepted that the eyelet idea was NOT to be...but now what? Think. Think. Buttons? Buttons. I had exactly 15 Christmas buttons that can support the hanger and the ornament; I just had to let it be.

I started with two pieces of 4" x 6" fabric; I wanted to practise my free motion quilting and stippling, so I used flannel to line the blue side for the applique and to give the whole ornament more body. I found the free motion to go more smoothly on the non-flannel lined side and the stippling over the scrap of fabric looked better the faster that I stitched.
They're cute little projects, but not necessarily quick...of course I'm struggling with trying to make it perfect and accepting what happens when you just let IT be. Things will work out the way they're supposed to if we stay out of their way; yup, fabric, yarn, people... let them show you what they want to be...Just Let It Be and we'll all be a lot happier with the results.


Cotton Picker said...

What a lovely thought to make one of these ornaments for each of your friends. They are beautiful and I love the fact that some of the materials you used belonged to someone special in your life.

I am planning a Christmas surprise for my sister, a doll made from a dress she wore when she was very young.

It's good not to be too concerned with "getting it perfect". I've had some very good results when I just dive in and do it (and a few failures too). Even a failure is a learning experience.

KGB said...

Thanks so much for a wonderful party. Yes, everything worked out perfectly.
Your ornaments were lovely. I noticed the martini glass ribbon right away...maybe I have a bias!
Thanks again for a great evening. We have an exceptional group of friends.

transitknitter said...

It was all wonderful. I love all the meaning to the ornament. I am glad you wrote it all out so I know all the pieces. I love the verse on it and find if very aprapo.
Let it good song... good advice. Thank you.