Reflections on Retirement plus Quilt Stuff

So, it has now been 8 weeks since I retired…..and no regrets(yet!). It was a tough decision to retire, since I am still quite young, although I have been working  fulltime since 1979- financial concern is major, but when you read that 30% of Canadians retire with no savings, then I figure I should be okay. Work was becoming a bit too much for me- the job was fine, the people I work with were fine but I just didn’t seem to have the mental or physical stamina to cope – people had said, maybe I just needed a break, but I know that if I had just taken these 8 weeks off, there is NO way I would be able to go back to work. So overall I am glad and consider myself to be very fortunate.

It has been a mix of Stewie, catching up on quilting videos and online workshops, some housecleaning and better dinner planning(a few new recipes for George) and some general relaxation. And surprisingly I have only made it to my local coffee shop once for a hot chocolate, and still have not made it to IKEA yet. Nor have I made it to the library yet. If anyone says they are busy in retirement and you don’t believe is true. Time just gets eaten up.

I have taken 2  major online classes and a few smaller ones.

The first one was by  Carla Sonheim called Imaginary Creatures ( it was a lot of fun and I actually got a watercolour blob that I will use in future quilting pieces. This is my little bird:

blue bird

It was created from a blob of watercolour paint and the “imaginary animal” figured out afterwards! The eye needs some work- it looks like a mini-bird facing backwards…

The second class was one I had written about in an earlier post, with Jane LaFazio  ( It was 6 weeks long, and besides the landscape quilt, one of the classes was bird-themed.

I did finish off the landscape quilt(no binding yet though), and I am not sure what to do with it:

quilted desert landscape

Right now I just have it tacked to a corkboard tile on my office wall.

The bird-themed “quilt” got made into a mini-messenger bag.  I didn’t want to use the original, since I know organza can’t handle alot of wear-and-tear, so I scanned the quilt, and printed it onto an inkjet fabric sheet and used it as the flap for my messenger bag(using a free Quilting Arts pattern):

bag on hookI think it will be a great little bag to use in summer. The bird was a drawing by Melanie Testa –  I was lucky enough to take 2 classes in person with her in Chicago at Quilt Festival in 2010. She provided the drawing as a starting point for an art quilt(which I still haven’t finished). For this project, I added the crown and the dots…..

I also signed up for a couple of Julie Fei-Fan Belzer’s monthly workshops( They are “Getting Started” classes, and I took one on colour and one on the gelli plate. She is very lively and has lots of videos demonstrating her techniques.

It is amazing how many excellent on-line workshops there are. If I had a limitless supply of cash, I could be kept busy for years and years and years!!!!

Next I am eyeing a class by Pamela Allen : It is about “Composition”. It should be a challenge for me, since I have no background in art design…nor art for that matter. But I know that I need this…..

What else???? Well, Stewie of course, since he was also 1 of my reasons for retiring. He is just way too active to be confined to a kennel for the day. Our previous dogs were able to spend the day in the kitchen, but since he ate his mat and tried to eat his way out of the house through the windowsill, that was not an alternative! So we are doing some major bonding….long walks to the park especially. He is growing up so fast, and not so much a puppy anymore. I can’t find recent pictures of him in the snow, but this collage shows the changes over time from  about January 2012 to August 2012:

stewie collage

If I can sort out my photos(what a task!!) I will post some of him playing in the snow. His favorite activity now is to take his toys outside and bury them in the snowbanks, then dig them up, rebury, dig them up. He would do this forever- however since he trampled down every inch of snow in our yard, the only place that has snowbanks is the neighbour’s yard… I have to try to discourage this activity. But since we just got fresh snow(like we really needed that!), we can play in our yard for while. It keeps him busy, tires him out and leaves me with a few minutes to myself, to do stuff like a blog post!

And as always, the photo quilt for my mom. The next step is to organize the photos into mini-collages and get them printed onto fabric at

Plus lots of many backlogged projects: an ipad cover for Jennifer, a tea cozy for Colleen, Christmas presents for family members(some back to Christmas 2011).

Stewie is destroying the living room…so enough for now!

One thought on “Reflections on Retirement plus Quilt Stuff

  1. I am 62 years old and just discovering the whole world of quilting, embellishing, fabric painting and amassing fat quarters. I have become obssessed with quilt arts and collage since discovering Quilt Art Magazine several years ago. Before that I did painting and wood craft and some collage. I have tried retiring a couple of times – but always need to fill my studio with new toys and art supplies, so I live on a fine edge of debt,credit, and working part time. Now I am drooling over some of the new sewing machines out there.


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