Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Earlier this summer I received another invitation to participate in an international postcard swap. It's the 5th time it's been done, and would be my 3rd time as a swapper.
Not able to pass up an opportunity to get something in the post I jumped on board. Do you know how it feels to walk all the way to the road (well not THAT far really) to find an empty, echoing mailbox waiting, shades of Charlie Brown peering in and calling, "HELLO IN THERE!" ?
It's called a swap for a reason. Never mind that my sewing machine was being serviced. Never mind that my dance card was full, so to speak. The deadline was Monday Aug. 12. It was already the 19th.
So after I emailed my recipient with my apologies for tardiness, I sat down to put my ideas to work.
Theme: discover.
A bit of background. When I was a young mother I had the very good fortune to attend a church where Jerome was director of music. We had an unbelievable pastor whose background was in literature and who had taught at the University of Michigan. Can you imagine his homilies?? We had my husband and a music program that drew musicians to join the church eager to share their talents. A youth ministry that kids wanted to be a part of. There were education classes for adults each week, often amazing. We had several women's circles and study groups. Family and community events. And worship was unparalleled. A golden age.
I played in a recorder ensemble, a recorder trio, and a handbell group.
I belonged to a coterie of Jung study. Also a bible study with child care during the week that included women of every age. Oh, we discussed just about everything but the bible, actually. Marvelous. I was an active part of a women's circle whose agenda included serving communion, hosting a luncheon annually, organizing child care during worship, serving coffee after worship, contributing to the annual bazaar, visiting the homebound, etc.
There was one group I did not join, as it required much more time than a young mother in a master's degree program had time for. They called themselves the Nautilus group.
Many chambered, spiraling inward, a marvel of creation, the nautilus is a perfect metaphor.
At this time of my life I am striving to be still, look inward, discover myself. And so the nautilus was the obvious image for a postcard with the theme discover.

I chose a blue batik and stitched a simple white spiral through the surface material and a batting backing. Then using a micro pen lightly added a hint of the nautilus anatomy. Around the outer edge is lettered: "venture within and discover the heart and soul that reside at the center that is you." Then I used a rough, imperfect zigzag line, representing the chaos and imperfection of the world that presses around us, to join the front to a muslin backing which I addressed as I would an envelope. I used a rubber stamp image to represent the postage stamp.  In my haste I did not take a photo of this. Oh well.
I took it to the post office and mailed it to Helen in the UK and when I returned to the farm there in my mailbox was her postcard to me.

The front of the paper card has several of the inspirational notes that Helen likes to leave about for folks to find as explained below.

The back also explains her thoughts regarding the meaning of discover.

Here and there are a few threads Xed on the card in the colors of her embellishments.
Thank you Helen.


  1. Lovely to 'discover' more about you Sharon! I am sure that Helen was thrilled with the post card that you stitched for her. I know I would have been!

  2. What a marvelous time in your life you have described! Your chambered nautilus is perfect - what a beautiful postcard Helen will receive! I agree with Simone - it's nice to learn more about you and some of what has contributed to making you the wonderful person you are today!
    And Helen's postcard is unique and inspirational also. Yes, it is lovely to find a piece of handmade goodness in one's mailbox! Such a treat!