I sold a piece of property, finally. At a loss, and most of the proceeds went into paying off credit card debt, but there was a little left over. Enough to let me make some long-held and even some newer dreams come true. I've already documented some here.
This little story is about color. I've lived in this house over forty years - forty-three, to be exact - and for forty of them I couldn't shake the "temporary 'cause we're moving up" mentality. Everything neutral all that time. Because. Selling.
Now that I know this is my forever home, I am coming to despise neutral and crave color. And my choices are surprising and delighting me.
Most recently, I purchased this amazing photograph by Italian photographer Antonio Busiello (who is a delight to work with on a purchase, by the way.) The Anacapa Arch is just a few miles offshore from my house as the crow - or rather, as the seagull - flies. This was a National Geographic Society award winner and I fell in love with it at first sight.
I worked with an amazing framer at Michael's, believe it or not. I picked out the wood because I wanted something that reminded me of an old ship. The burlap mat (as in the jute of the old rigging) has added a gorgeous texture and in person brings out the rocky surface of the arch. And the framer found the perfect copper bead for the final inner frame. Even Antonio declared the presentation "perfect," and it is now the focal point of this room.
Shortly after this purchase, the Facebook Shop-'Till-You-Drop algorithm found me this turquoise chair and my fickle heart skipped from the print to this insanely uncomfortable piece of art.
I'm actually kind of glad it's so uncomfortable. Nobody will want to sit in it and it will last forever.
Then, while on Stearn's Wharf in Santa Barbara waiting for a Whale Watch excursion, I found this treasure in one of the gift shops.
Not only the right color and gorgeous font, but my favorite Santa Barbara coast excursion is the sunset cruise, so it was completely appropriate.
So, what does any or all of this have to do with integrity?
Yesterday I went to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and afterward hunted down a delightful quilt shop in Lancaster. (This was to calm me for the CA Hwy 14 portion of my return trip. I do truly despise Santa Clarita and the portion of the 14 that runs through it toward the 5, but that's a story for another time.) I was looking for a number of fabrics. Red and white to use with an piece of redwork embroidery I'm working on. (Found the PERFECT piece.) Flowers for a new quilt for my little bed. (Found that.)
And, as always, fabric I didn't know I was looking for but found anyway. The Rogue One panel (which will now form the backing for my Force Awakens wallhanging/pin display. Reversible, uh huh.) And some gorgeous sea-themed pieces.
I had already decided that I wanted to make a quilt to cover my 43-year-old, 8-foot sofa. When I had it re-upholstered over thirty years ago, I told the saleswoman I wanted chain mail. I had little kids and figured if something could hang in there until they were somewhat civilized, I would be WAY ahead of the game. Well, there are issues with the sofa (it needs some longer legs, for example, so people can get out of it) but the upholstery is still hanging in there and looks like it will probably outlast me (and I intend to live a good long time yet).
But, the color... well... it's so...
Brown. A nice brown. A warm brown. With a nice yellow tone that goes with the carpet I adore.
So, I came up with this idea. I'm going to drag out all my sea-themed art quilt patterns by McKenna Ryan. I have these...
... and want to order a couple more. They will need tweaking to fit what I want, with some color changes to incorporate the turquoise here and there. They will form a side of the quilt that will hang across the back of the seat. Like, where you lean when you sit down.
But the actual back of the sofa will be visible from the kitchen, and I wasn't real sure how to handle that. Do I really want to do sixteen feet of these art quilt blocks?
So, back to the little quilt shop. I'm wandering through the ocean-themed section. Which, I have to admit, I was surprised to see in a Lancaster quilt shop, but it was awesome. And then my fabric-ignited pacemaker kicked into gear again when I spied this...
Perfection. Quilted and draped over the back of the sofa with the art blocks on the other side, this will come across sort of like a yummy wallpaper.
I started off by asking for two yards, then corrected it to three, then said, "Oh, make it four."
I carted my purchases to the register table and the cashier of the day rang up the ticket. I paid and left. Once in my car, all my thoughts were on not getting lost on my way back to the 14 and then getting home alive. Happily home, I started sorting through my treasures and realized there was no way my payment was enough for all that fabric. I got out my receipt and ticked off the fabric pieces. Sure enough, they had only charged me for a half-yard of the gorgeous shells and coral piece when I had purchased four yards.
No way I was driving all the way back to make this right, but I hoped they would adjust over the phone. I called and I imagine the person on the phone mis-heard when I said they had grossly under-charged me. I think she thought I meant over-charged because, of course, nobody would call to offer to pay for something they already had ownership of, sheltered in their home two hours away.
But there's that integrity piece.
Years ago, I heard Billy Joel's song, "My Life," and a verse has stayed with me my entire adult life.
They will tell you you can't sleep alone in a strange place
Then they'll tell you you can't sleep with somebody else.
Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space.
Either way it's O.K.
You wake up with yourself.
I've never forgotten that lesson. I wake up with myself every day, and I have to like that experience. My mom owned a quilt shop briefly. And got ripped off. It hurt her. I won't do that to another small business.
I called and it was fun. The moment when the serious woman on the other end of the line realized I didn't want a refund of an over-charge but wanted to read her my credit card number so that she could get paid for the 3.5 yards of delicious fabric I had walked out with. And I loved the anonymity of it all. I'm not a regular customer. They didn't know me and won't recognize me if I ever go back. Just a faceless kindness across the phone lines.
I'm still pretty much crushing on the music of Carrie Newcomer, and I love this chorus from her song, "Lean Into the Light."
The shadows of this world will say
There's no hope, why try anyway?
Every kindness large or slight
Shifts the balance towards the light.
It made someone's day better. I imagine her, incredulous, sharing the story through the day. "You'll never believe this, but..." She'll take it home and share it. And maybe, I can only hope, others will be inspired to pass it on.
Because it made a difference for that one.