Sewing Vloggers

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Back to blogging!



The view from tea farm Cha Porto Famoso, so beautiful

Hello, dear sewing sisters. First, a big thank you to those  who emailed me with your care and concerns about where I have been. It has meant a lot. I missed you as well and often tried to get back to writing but there was just so much going down. Thank you so much. I think you will understand it all once you read my post. 

In the past 2.5 months I've had a health crisis, my husband followed up quickly with his own, experienced the vacation of a lifetime, saw what must be the most beautiful place on the planet which even included being  chased, literally, by a big ole bull over a stone wall into a gracious stranger's home for protection. I have been sewing, facing life and making great memories with loved ones. With all I had to deal with I just could not fit in the blogging. I will explain each of these a bit more for you. 

These hydrangeas are EVERYWHERE all over the islands, in shades of deep royal blue to white. They line most roads.

As a young girl of 11 innocent years I experienced a life changing trauma. It was a parent's worst nightmare and one they could not have imagined. Given the time and place I was given all the love and care possible, but nothing at all like today's standards. My parents drastically changed their lives for me and did all they could. I will say that this had nothing to do with them, or anyone in my family, was not sexual in nature, but was horrid and extreme, and inthe news. I won't discuss its details further. It affected all my life decisions and was in my luggage as I carried my way thru life. I learned my own coping skills and had tremendous love and support from family and just moved on the road  in front of me. My life was and is a good one with many blessings. I never discussed this with anyone. I, and my family who sacrificed for me,  just went on.

It all came crashing down in a recent doctor's visit when I needed to answer a few questions before getting a scrip for pain meds needed for a fall I took that jabbed me in my diaphragm and was effecting my breathing with spasms and pain. "Have you experienced trauma in your life?" No one ever asked me that question. I answered yes. "What happened?" I spoke maybe 3 words and then lost my ability to speak at all. It was replaced by a volcano. I had what some would call a breakdown. I will spare you the details other than to say my doctor was wonderful, consoling and got me great help. She and her nurse cried for me. I have been diagnosed with lifelong PTSD and currently active PTSD and am getting great treatment from an expert in the field. 

About a month after this event,  a middle of the night wakeup from my husband resulted in an ambulance ride, heart attack and 4 stents. Back home................two nights later, another ambulance ride, another heart attack, and another stent, which we knew he needed. Did you know that there is a world wide shortage of contrast fluid for surgical procedures? He has recovered  beautifully and needs no further surgery.  The doctors told us to go on vakay, relax and just do no big physical craziness. No problem. He did well on vakay and is recovering nicely. 

view in Angra de heroismo from one of our rooms

On our vakay we had our entire family. We went to the Azores Islands in the middle of the North Atlantic between the US and Europe. It was a covid delayed celebration of my 70th birthday and our fiftieth anniversary. Our entire family came with us. Our 2 daughters, their husbands and all grandchildren, all teens. It was the trip of a lifetime and we had a blast all together. The Azores are truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet and we swore we were in the Garden of Eden. Their beautiful cities are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list for their incredible architectural beauty. I could go on and on. My kids are very seasoned travelers, from Iceland to Beijing and they said there is nothing like this. We shared fabulous food, views, beaches, trails, and culture. The culture was great. We unknowingly got caught up in a small village's annual runnning of the bulls and had to park our car as the street was closed and we could go no further.

I was behind the pillar on the left hiding and taking the pic. 


 We figured it was a parade or something and hundreds lined the streets of this small town. It was a lovely residential area and the homes all had stone walls along their fronts and were loaded with family and friends barbecueing and in chairs set up to watch the festivities. My husband asked a police officer what was happening and he said it was the running of the bulls and it would start in ten minutes. Oh, my. We decided to watch. We stood in front of the wall of this lovely home and talked to the locals all of whom have run off when the pic was taken.  A gunshot went off. The excitement grew. The homeowner came up to us and very kindly said "you need to come into my house. " The next thing I knew this  black animal with horns came around the corner, racing, and came right at us. She yanked the back of my shirt. My husband and I jumped the wall and ran toward her home.  The crowd did the same. Some young men jumped in front of the bull  and lured him away and he ran into a field behind the house and they were able to grab his rope and get him under control. It was crazy. Whew!!!!

Each bag has a tag with a photo of the woman who made it. You have to see these IRL to really appreciate.

The Azores have a huge sewing culture, very skilled but different from what you might expect. There is a very strong religious aspect to their culture with much emphasis on iconography and festivals honoring their saints. We were there for their biggest festival of the year, The feast of Saint John. It was much akin to our Mardi Gras but good clean and safe fun and it goes on ALL night, night after night for 5 days. It provided a lot of  fun for us all but especially for the teens with us. Much sewing is devoted to well respected and in demand seamstresses who make the clothing worn in the dance parades, other events and the competition for "queen" at the annual festival.  There were 4 fabrics shops within a block or two of our hotel. There was not a knit or denim in any of them. They were devoted to making clothing for the various activities of the festivals and for home altar displays of religious icons. There were some beautiful fabrics but nothing I could use, exquisite Madeiran handwork, laces and satins. Think Miss America. Also in the fabric stores were fabrics to make altar cloths for your family shrines which would be dedicated to your saint or the Holy Spirit. There was one shop that sold only bags and wall hangings crafted by women my age who had their goods displayed on a huge table in the center of the room. They sat around this room in white chairs, like ladies at a quilting bee, all stitching their items. They were all of the same style but unique. Each item was out of raw, greyish linen, but VERY artfully painted by them with a sky blue or royal blue mist of paint, like a sun dyed fabric but not. They then had their edges or other areas PERFECTLY hand crocheted with tiny thread into the most beautiful lace like edges in cobalt blue or other shades of blue. The items were all different and some were edgy. These were not rows of  same size zipper bags like we see at craft fairs here. Many were unique with assymetrical shapes and artfulness was evident in all their work. Their shop was well done as well, white like an operating room all over and totally enhancing their product. So well done. Great experience seeing this shop and these ladies having such fun. I took this memory home to try. This shop was in a prime retail location. Love it. 

I also found other inspiration from  a fabulous local designer that I will talk more about later. As ancient as the islands are, there is a sophistication to much that they do. I was so impressed with her work and plan to knock off a few things there as well. 

This is where we are today. I am getting great care, working with my therapist. My husband has made some lifestyle changes and feels better and is gradually getting back to his old self but better. He is starting some rehab this week. Our children are surrounding us with amazing love and watchfullness. I feel so blessed. Life is good. I am back to sewing. I did sew some things in this time and will share with you. I need to do some modeling. Yesterday I finished a different style top for me, gorgeous linen print and look forward to getting that up for you. Thanks for bearing with my absence and most of all missing me. Love you all, 

Bunny, leaning into life



19 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear of all your difficulties recently and in the past, and greatly relieved that you are all getting good medical and family attention, and that the vacation was so wonderful. The Azores have not been on my travel radar at all - it would be fascinating to hear more of your experiences there.

    Warmest regards (and sorry for commenting anonymously, that seems to be what I can do at the moment).

    ceci

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    1. Thank you, Ceci. I can't recommend the Azores enough. There are 9 islands and we visited two, Sao Miguel and Terceira. There was incredible beauty, both in the plant life, the landscapes and the architecture. The people and food were wonderful as well. It is truly beautiful and I would venture one of the most beautiful places on our planet. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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  2. I missed you! I'm so sorry to hear of your trauma and your husband's heart attacks, and am glad you are both getting care. Your vacation sounds amazing and restorative! Blessings!

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  3. Bunny, I'm so sorry to read of the difficulties you and yours have been going through. It sounds like you are surrounded by the love of your family, the medical care that you and your husband require and I pray that will bring you and your husband speedy healing and much joy in your life. The trip to the Azores sounds amazing. I was once blessed to visit the island of Sao Miguel, my parent's homeland, and my initial thought was "why would they leave this place?" It only lasted about two weeks though, as I grew more and more homesick for Canada and the freedom of movement that women have in my home country. Mind you that was over twenty years ago and I've never been back. I do fondly remember the beautiful and stunning landscape and visiting Europe's oldest tea plantation located on the island. I look forward to reading more about your trip and the inspiration that perhaps will make it into your future sewing. Wish you and your husband a speedy recovery and healthy times!

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    1. Thank you, Graca. We did visit the two tea plantations on Sao Miguel and climbed their terraces along with the goats, there for pruning the bushes. They were positively beautiful, ancient and commanded memorable views. My husband is so much better already and I think will have a wonderful future ahead if he keeps with his program. For myself, it is a process. Many are the stories , some shameful, that document my lifelong issue. I am powering thru. I knew from the start it would be hard work, has been but that I could get thru and be better on the other side. I am looking at at least a year of work with my doctor. It is going well and I see that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Go back for a visit to Sao Miguel. We all need to see Sete Cidades before we depart.

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  4. You were missed. Glad you're back and thanks for sharing.

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  5. Life is one big amazing journey isn't it? I'm so happy you're surrounded by love - from your husband to your children and grandchildren. I'm thrilled that sewing is still a part of your journey. Looking forward to the modeling!

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    1. Thank you so much, dear friend. Amazing how we never know the roads that have been presented to us all. That is why it is so important to just care a little more than what I am seeing in a lot of places today. I was blessed with my family as a child and now as a grandmother, so very lucky. I could not have made it any other way.

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  6. That vacay! OMG. Got my travel agent (my hubby) looking into it as I type this. Your enthusiasm of the experience could not be more convincing. So happy for you that it could come at the end of and be restorative for some ugly, awful things. Nothing better than a beautiful place and family.

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    1. This! and thank you for your kind thoughts. I hope you get to go.

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    2. Just want to add, the best time of year would be the second or third week of June. The hydrangeas, which defy description, are in full bloom, and the third week is when the festivals take place for the most part. If you don't want to be part of the action don't get a hotel directly on one of the squares or the main drag where all the parades are. They go on ALL night till dawn and tons of dancing and bands. We wrangles a 4 star hotel two blocks from the main street and it was perfect.

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  7. I am so very sorry to hear this news and I applaud you for taking such positive steps!! Hope that hubs is in the clear and life will flow smoothly for you now!

    I have long suspected I have PTSD in some shape or another from childhood issues, but I never knew PTSD could continue lifelong…I thought it was a short term thing….we do have a way of stuffing negatives deep down.

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    1. So very deep down! I developed coping skills along the way, not even knowing that I did. I never knew I had such an illness until I also questioned things that I saw on TV about PTSD, but keeping thinking, Me? Really? and would forget about it until another trigger popped up. My breakdown in the doctor's office was like nothing I had ever experienced. You can only push and cope so long and it just exploded. I kindly suggest you seek help which can be as simple as a discussion with your doctor or calling the local crisis hotline. That hotline knows what you need. Trust me, I know. Take care.

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  8. Missed you here on the corner office computer, as well. So glad that you are back. So glad that you and Dear Husband were both able to access the care you needed, when you needed it -- and that your family had such a marvelous time together on your Azores adventure.

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    1. Thank you so much. Glad to be back on the corner computer. I am so fired up with ideas since my vacation. I saw so many beautiful things and such inspirations. I am on the search for the right fabrics for a couple plus I want to share the things I've made since gone. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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  9. I am so glad you and your husband are recovery and getting better. And that you were able to go on your trip. It sounds like it was the trip of a life time especially with all your family there. I hope you continue to improve and by the look of you in the pretty shirt you seem to be doing very well. So happy you are back. Jean

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    1. Thank you, Moosiemoose. It's a journey and as anyone who can maybe tell you, not easy but quite enlightening and helpful. Appreciate your kind thoughts.

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