Second UFO Done!

Posted 06/14/2017 by soozspeak
Categories: Uncategorized

Only 4 to go.  Currently working on the Project of Doom quilt.  After that I hope to work on my sons’ quilts.

So here is #2.  I made this quilt top 5 or 6 years ago but am just now getting it completed. I was sidetracked for a couple of years by a fight with cancer.  I’m 2 1/2 years cancer-free now and glad to be back to doing things I love to do.

This was also quilted by Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I just finished binding it this morning.

DSCF9014

First UFO Goal Completed!

Posted 06/13/2017 by soozspeak
Categories: Uncategorized

I got this back Saturday from Missouri Star Quilt Company where I had it long-arm quilted.  I attached the binding today and VOILA!   My first completed UFO for 2017.  I am currently binding the second one that I received from MSQC in the same box.  So tomorrow I should have two completed.  Then it will be only 4 to go.

I have been working on my Project of Doom quilt.  I’m embroidering book titles on some of the books and then I’ll be quilting it row-by-row on my sewing machine.  For me this is quite an undertaking.

This is my small Paper Piecing Vintage designed by Jennifer Ofenstein at Sewhooked.com.  It is the very first quilt I have made just for me!  It’s hanging in my living room and I love it.

 

PPV 6 inch

UFOs – The Quilty Kind

Posted 05/16/2017 by soozspeak
Categories: Uncategorized

My goal this year is to complete at least six UFOs (unfinished objects) this year.  To do this I plan to send 4 or more off to a long-arm quilter and quilt 2 or more myself.  To that end, I have sent off 2 smallish quilts to Missouri Star Quilt Company to get it back in a couple of weeks.

I have joined the UFO Quilt Along in June/July with Jennifer Ofenstein at Fandom In Stitches.  My plan is to complete the quilting on at least one of my Harry Potter bookcase quilts.

(1) Paper Piecing Vintage designed by Jennifer Ofenstein at Sewhooked.com.  (2) Big star baby quilt (sorry, I don’t remember who designed this but I love it). (3) Project of Doom: a Harry Potter bookcase quilt designed by Jennifer Ofenstein at FandomInStitches.com.  (Can you tell I LOVE Jennifer’s designs???)

These 3 should be done about mid-year.  Then the next two quilts on my list are quilts for my sons.  More on those at a later date.

A Big Thank You to Kernersville Little Theater

Posted 04/26/2015 by soozspeak
Categories: Uncategorized

I stood backstage watching the quartet singing and dancing.  “We’ve got elegance.  If you ain’t got elegance, you can never ever carry it off.”  That’s when it hit me – that stomach-gripping, heart-stopping, cold-sweating, sick-to-your-stomach panic.  My hands were shaking; there was a buzzing in my ears.  I was just about to pass out.  And, worst of all, I couldn’t remember a single word or note of my song.  I couldn’t even remember what the song was.  And I had to go out on that stage in 30 seconds and sing it.  And there was no time to go ask somebody.  My script was just 30 feet away in the next room, but it might as well have been on the moon.  And then, the quartet finished their song and dashed offstage.

I had no idea what I was going to do – my mind a total blank.  Panic and anxiety had completely taken over.  I stepped onstage and the spotlight hit me. The orchestra hit one note and . . . “Sweet Rosie O’Grady” came screeching from my lips – just like it was supposed to.  I crossed the stage and bumped into the show’s leading man, grabbed his hand and jerked him offstage, just as we had rehearsed time after time during the past six weeks.

We ran around to make our grand entrance into “Harmonia Gardens”, the next scene of “Hello, Dolly!” and the play proceeded as though nothing had happened.  I said every word I was supposed to say when I was supposed to say it.  I heard the other actors talking and singing.  I heard the laughter of the audience – and their applause.

After that horrifying experience, you would think that nothing would ever induce me to go onstage again.  But the truth is, I couldn’t wait for the next audition.  Why?  That’s what actors have been asked for years.  Why expose yourself to that kind of stress?

I can’t speak for all actors; the reasons for wanting – needing – to be onstage are as varied as the performers themselves.  I can only tell you why I can’t wait to put on the costumes and makeup, feel the lights, and hear the words, “Places, Act I.”

I have always gravitated toward creative, talented and passionate people.  As a young girl, my heroes were Doris Day, Katherine Hepburn and Debbie Reynolds.  In fact the thing that attracted me to my husband was watching his intensity as he played guitar in our 8th grade classroom.  (And now, 50 years later, I still love watching him play.)  I always envied and admired anyone who could play an instrument, sing or act.  But I thought I would never be able to do any of those things.  I took chorus in high school, but was always too scared to try to sing a solo – I just didn’t think I was good enough.  Our high school chorus department produced “Camelot” and, as much as I wanted to be in it, I just couldn’t bring myself to audition.  I became head costumer.

Years later, I saw an audition notice for a musical at a local community theater, bucked up my courage and decided to go for it.  I had no idea what to expect.  The notice in the newspaper only said to be prepared to read and sing and that you needed to provide sheet music.  I went to a music store and chose a song I was familiar with.  The song that was totally wrong for my voice and not really appropriate for an audition piece (a country hit), but I didn’t know that at the time.  The one distinct advantage of this particular piece of music was that I knew the words.  That was my sole reason for choosing it.  When I went to the audition, I was so scared, I could barely breathe.  My voice was very “breathy” and I’m sure the director could see me shaking like a leaf.  A few days later, I got a letter saying, “Thank you for auditioning but . . .”.  There it was, in black and white, reinforcement that I wasn’t good enough.  What had only been a feeling was now confirmed.  And that was the end of my attempts at acting – well, at least for several years.

I lived with a husband who could play any instrument he picked up, had been playing in rock bands since he was 14. And I was raising two very artistic sons.  They could do all the things I always wanted to do, but just didn’t think I had the talent.  When my oldest son was in high school, I became involved in his drama club.  I ran errands, helped find props, and, during the performances, tried to keep the students quiet backstage.  Over the weeks of rehearsal and during the performances, I found myself wishing I were onstage instead of backstage shushing teenagers.

The week before my son’s play opened, I saw a notice in the paper that Kernersville Little Theatre was holding auditions for “Music Man”.  Even though I had lived just outside Kernersville for years, it was the first I’d heard of Kernersville Little Theatre.  I decided to audition.  I showed up at the designated time and place with no music, no preparation and no clue.  But it was totally different from my first audition experience.  This time I was greeted at the door by two volunteers who made me feel right at home.  They even offered to let me look through their music to see if I could use any of it.  I chose a song (again based solely on the fact that I knew most of the words) and went in to “face the music”.  Actually what I faced was a director, music director, stage manager and piano accompanist.  I stumbled through the song, apologizing for not being more prepared, and the music director assured me I did fine.  Then he asked me to sing some scales with the piano to find my range.  Turns out I was a soprano.  By the time I left the singing part of the auditions, I was feeling pretty good about it.  Then I found out about the dance portion.  Well, here I am a 39-year-old, out-of-shape woman who had not danced in years – and then it was dances like the Twist, Mashed Potato, Watusi; well, you get the picture.  But I gave it my best shot, and I found out I wasn’t the only one auditioning with two left feet.  After practicing for a while, my group went onstage and performed our little dance routine in front of those same four people plus the choreographer.  Anyway, at least I survived the dance audition – and it actually turned out to be rather fun.

When the dance portion of the audition had ended, our group was told that they may be calling some of us to come back the following night to read for parts.  The stage manager also said that if we didn’t get a call, not to worry, that didn’t mean we weren’t being cast in the show.   I got a “call back”.  They actually wanted me to read for Mrs. Paroo – a pretty large role.  WOW!  I was jumping up and down and giggling like a teenager.

The next evening, I found out there was only one other person reading for that part but that was enough.  She was good and had a lot of experience.  We each sang, and read the part.  Then the director asked us if we could read it with an Irish accent.  I went first and I’m not sure what accent I was using but I think it probably sounded more Australian than Irish.  Then “she” read – and she sounded just like she had lived all her life at Galway Bay.  This would not be the last time I lost a role to this very talented woman who became my friend.

I ended up in the chorus and had a line or two – and that was fine.   My experience of working on that show was wonderful.  I met some of the finest people I’ve ever known – people who are still my friends now, over 25 years later.  Because of this very positive experience, I have had the courage to audition for many more community theatre shows.  I have gotten a part in quite a few of them, and gotten that rejection call quite a few as well.  I have to admit that I have never gotten over being very nervous at auditions or at performances, and I think that is a good thing.  I’ve heard it gives you an edge and I’m not sure about that, but I know that it does make it more exciting.

One other lesson I’ve learned is that there is a lot more talent involved in theatre than you see onstage.  There is a behind the scenes group that make it all possible – the director; stage manager; choreographer; music director; orchestra; lighting designers and operators; sound designers and operators; set designers, builders and painters; costume designers and makers; folks who find and make props and set pieces; people who design and print the flyers, posters and playbills; people who market the show; people who find sponsors; people who sell tickets and greet people as they come to see the show.  It takes a lot of people with a lot of different talents to create that magical moment for the actors when they take their bow and receive their applause at the end of the show.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to perform in and work behind the scenes in some wonderful shows with some very talented people. I’ve had some plum roles in musicals, comedies and dramas.  And none of that would have happened if it were not for the friendly welcome and encouragement from the volunteers at Kernersville Little Theatre.  I will be forever grateful to them.

Beliefs

Posted 11/01/2011 by soozspeak
Categories: Uncategorized

I am not a religious person, but I do have deep and personal spiritual beliefs.  And my beliefs are ever-evolving as I learn more about the world I live in and the beliefs of others.  I do not belong to a church. I lean more toward what I call the “natural” religions – such as those of the native Americans, the Druids, the pagans.

My early religious training was sparse.  I only remember going to my parents’ church a few times in my life, usually on Easter Sunday. My parents were members of a very fundamentalist church – no Sunday school, no piano or organ music, no Christmas programs, etc. There was a table at the front of the room, right in front of the preacher’s podium, that held an offertory plate, a plate of unleavened bread and an iced tea glass full of wine. On Sunday morning, the preacher would read a short verse directly from the Bible, say a prayer, then ask for the offering. The congregation sang from the hymnal while folks walked up to the front and solemnly placed their money in the plate. As a very little girl, I was puffed up with pride whenever my Grandma would give me a dollar or two to take up to the front.

After the offering, the preacher read from the Bible again, the congregation sang again and the bread and wine were passed around the congregation, up and down one row after another. The Baptized adults would break off a bit of the bread and eat it and take a sip of the wine and then pass it on to the next person. Then the congregation sang again and the preacher began preaching.  Again, he read directly from the Bible with very little, if any, explanation of what it meant or how it applied to our lives. He read with vigor, though, and although I didn’t understand what he was talking about and my mind often wandered and my butt often wiggled, he would bring my attention back with a particularly loud comment or bang of his fist on the podium. Children were to be seen and not heard and were definitely NOT encouraged to ask questions. Needless to say, I really didn’t learn much about the Bible or my family’s religion in church.

At home we never really talked about religion that I remember. I remember that a blessing was offered at special occasion dinners and that Mom liked gospel music, but that was about the extent of it. I do recall going to a gospel music concert with my mother once when I was very young. There was some preaching too and she became very emotional. I believe she was “saved” that night.

When I was in the 6th grade, we moved into a new neighborhood. The preacher from a nearby church came to our door and Dad invited him in. They sat and debated the Bible for an hour – and my Dad, whom I had never seen reading the Bible, matched him verse for verse. I was impressed  – and so was the preacher. As he was leaving, he told my Dad that he didn’t remember ever having such a stimulating evening. That was the first time I knew my Dad knew anything about the Bible or religion at all. He’d certainly never discussed it with me, or with anyone else while I was present. (It was also the evening I realized how smart my father was.)

It was about that time that I was allowed to go to church with one of my new friends from school, and the experience about scared me to death.  She took me to a Holy Roller church and the Spirit was with the congregation that night. People shouting and speaking in tongue, one woman fell to her seat and looked like she was having seizure.  My eyes must have been the size of teacups while I watched this alien sight.  I had gone expecting to be bored (after all it was at church), and I was anything but!  I never went back to church with her.

A year or so later, I did go to some social functions at church youth groups.  Really?  Youth groups at church?  Social activities?  Amazing!

At 13 I started “going with” a young man from school.  Imagine my parents’ surprise when they found out my boyfriend was a Jehovah’s Witness.
Since the only time we spent together was at school or in the presence of my or his parents, they weren’t too concerned.  I learned a lot about this new religion from him and his parents.  The main things I learned were that (1) overall their beliefs weren’t that different from other Christian churches, (2) that they, like so many others, believed that theirs was the only real truth, (3) they had at least as many restrictions as my Mom and Dad’s church, and (4) they really didn’t like their children to be to be too involved with, and especially not to marry, anyone outside “The Truth”.

I think that because I was sort of left to my own devices, I had more of an interest in the different religions and belief systems than I might have if I had had more formal training in any one specific church.  I read books from the library about different religions – here and in other countries. Over the years I attended many different churches and joined a few.  I joined and was baptized at a Baptist Church, later joined a Moravian Church (mainly because I was drawn to the music), and still later joined a small Universalist Unitarian Church.  Of all the churches I’ve visited or been a member of, the UU Church is dearest to my heart. No matter which church I was at, I enjoyed the energy of the people there.

The main things I’ve concluded from my personal religious quest is this:  I personally do not believe in ALL of the tenets of any church, but I do believe there is truth in each and every religion. I believe that each of us is on our own personal journey and that we each look at life with our own experiences and backgrounds, so no two of us can ever see the same thing in quite the same way. I do not believe that a Christian’s beliefs are any more or any less valid than a Jew’s, or a Pagan’s, or a Muslim’s or an atheist’s, or whatever.

My beliefs are personal and they run deep. Here are a few of the things that are true for me.

  • I am not a Christian, but I believe in a Creator – or at least a purpose.
  • I believe we are a part of one another and everything surrounding us.
  • I do not believe in tolerance; I believe in acceptance.
  • I do not believe I am better than anyone, but I also do not believe anyone is better than I.
  • I believe I can gain spiritual strength when I’m around water – especially at the ocean.
  • I believe we all have a lot to learn and we will learn if we just listen to one another.