Wednesday, January 18, 2017

thankful for polite folk

From the photo exhibit at Smithsonian Natural History Museum

I am thankful for polite folk. 
I'm not quite sure how so many people lost the desire to "be nice" but so many now grab what they want and believe the rest of the world should give it to them.

That's not how it works.

Research has shown people want respect. Sometimes in the workplace respect has more value than raises.

Polite behavior is like the oil in a sewing machine. The machine has these sturdy metal parts but won't run smoothly unless there is oil.

Recently I went out for a walk in my neighborhood. In order to walk a couple miles I must walk in the streets as there are only a couple sidewalks. It's a neighborhood with a posted 25 mph speed limit for cars.

I will go so far as to say MANY residents ignore that, speeding past at 45 to 50 mph and within 3 feet of me. It is terrifying and disrespectful. I've seen cars veer into my path to avoid a pot hole or another car when the polite ( and lawful) thing to do would be to slow down or wait for a safe moment to pass.

I've heard from others who walk that they are angry at this behavior.
Anger is an easy reaction to go to when disrespected. It also harms the disrespected person more than the offender. Anger can ruin a day, and left unchecked can ruin a life.

What can we do to increase kindness and understanding? 

We can be polite when it's easier to be demanding.

The world owes us nothing, but we owe the world everything.

However hard you work for what you have, you still need clean air and water, and other people.
We work together in societies because it's better for all.
We take care of each other because it's better for all.

Recently I encountered two polite people and it renewed me, healed me a little. 
It was spiritual balm.  

After yet another truck pushed me to the side of the road while I was out walking, I heard,
"Miss! Miss??" I turned expecting to have the driver shake his fist at me as has happened many times.

Instead the driver said, "you dropped your glove!"

Oh. I expected more incivility and was surprised with kindness.
 I would have desperately missed than new wool mitt.  I felt gratitude and happiness at this interaction. You can believe I let that sink in and learned from him. Not to just tell a person about a dropped glove, but to take the merest 'blink-of-an-eye'  moment to reach out with kindness to a person who expects less.

It changes us.

The driver knew in his heart he could have driven by without a glance but he chose kindness.
That is the kind of thing that increases self esteem too.
A person may "get away" with ugly behavior but somewhere in their heart they know they didn't choose well, and decent folk feel guilty about it.

Another encounter was at a bead shop. I was looking hard at a wall of beads wondering what would work in a current project. Another shopper came in and came to the same wall. She said " excuse me!" when I glanced up at her. She stepped back not to invade my space.

I often encounter shoppers who shove me out of their way, while they talk on their phones and step in front of me to look at something. In fact it happens so frequently I have come to expect it. It leaves me angry as if they are more important than I am, as if their desires trump mine.
As if I don't matter, indeed to them I do not.
Another image from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum exhibit

 Each person deserves respect and I am saying the world will be more content if we respect each other.

This has been weighing heavily on my heart, and I feel I must express it...

It is not acceptable for anyone to deride citizens, especially leaders.
 It is not understandable nor acceptable nor an American value to denigrate groups of people.

We would not allow children to say derogatory things out loud, that are being said by some elected officials. If a person speaks for America, I expect them to represent all of it's citizens with restraint and respect. We deserve that. We should expect no less from them than we would a friend, a spouse, a child or a neighbor.

Apparently owning all the merchandise in the world, having all the money available, getting your way at the expense of someone else, is not making people happy. I see very few truly happy people.

It is my idea that respecting each other, being polite, will increase happiness. Note I have tried to express myself in a polite way here. 

Tell me of a time when someone changed your day by being polite, please. 
Thank you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A little silk purse

We exchanged zipper bags at our holiday bee meeting.
With so many patterns out there, I chose this one the sewing chick  to loosely follow, and it's free.

I have a drawer of silk fabrics so I decided to use four of those, and piece them with free form curves.
I did not take photos as I worked, so sorry, but if you like I will try to do a video tutorial on how I do them.

Silk is generally very well behaved for me, with a bit more fraying. These are four different weights and weaves, with the larges one having gold threads woven in... so pretty in person. I quilted the front and back with YLI gold thread also in a free curved design, which repeats curves but not the same curves.

Some of it is tie fabric, like the lining here. I covered the raw edges with  brown silk ribbon. 
Silk has a sheen. Not sparkle, but shiny. Reflective.
The zipper was so easy to put in. 
I like how a bag looks when you box the bottom so it will stand up.
While I was sewing I thought about embellishments and chose these.
I think they add a lot of character and beauty to a finished item.
Texture changes. A curved line leads your eye. Beads catch the light. A ribbon and charm on the zipper.
I hated to let it go!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"I Like" thursdays # 18

T-shirt in Nordstrom's  children's section
Welcome to this week's "I Like" list!
Thanks for coming, grab a cup of something tasty and join me won't you?

 poster by Krista Brooks
1. I Like that first cup of coffee.
The first of my morning and the first from a freshly brewed pot.
It doesn't always happen but I like when I get just the right amount of milk to coffee, the perfect ratio of strong roast to creamy milk, the perfect balance. The perfect taste. The perfect heat, not scalding not cold.

As an aside, I grew up with a father who drank black coffee all day and a mother who drank cokes and iced tea not coffee. I learned to enjoy coffee one semester when I had an unfortunate 8 AM statistics class in university. Being a night owl, I learned to drink coffee from the vending machine in class.

2. I like down time. I like having a whole day stretched out in front of me where I can decide when to get up, when to get dressed, when to stop drinking coffee and move on to the next adventure. I might be a home body. I am never bored at home because it's filled with things I like.
And dust and clutter.

3. I Like coloring. I've always liked coloring, since a little girl. I scribbled color across lines with those big fat crayons to see color next to color. Then I refined my coloring when given a " box of 64"big girl crayons, the one with the built in sharpener.
I carefully outlined in pressed down crayon the black lines, and filled in the areas being careful not to go outside the lines.

At some point I decided I wanted to color outside the lines again!
Or draw my OWN lines then color outside them!
Or color first, then draw lines on top!

4. I like the color Red  right now. I kept out the cardinals (from our tree this year) out on top of the TV cabinet where I can see them.

This towel is really red not pink like the picture
 I am using a lot of red kitchen towels. . Red carries energy I need.

Nature made this heart out of berries! I just noticed it
Did you know color vibrates? We might not perceive it,or sense it but it's a fact y'all.
Colors vibrate and we react to them in feelings according to our perception.

Pink is a tint of Red so I kept up my little pink tree in the entry, and added in the jewel hearts for V-day.
Sparkling Red!

5. I like the posts labeled "Dear Bacon" of pet photos each week. This week is especially hilarious to me.

6.Lord and Taylor  has pretty dresses lining the aisles right now... look at this one with pearls crusting the neckline...

What a lot of beads and pearls!

It's heavy too. This is the back which reminds me that I like a lower back.

A person who needs support cannot get away with this but a young really thin woman could.

I have always enjoyed fashion, and it's kind of sad not to be able to wear the things I would like, but I am all about comfort now anyway. How about you?

7. I like these chocolate covered strawberries at Godiva
This shot through the window doesn't do them justice but they looked so pretty as we walked by.
Very French (to an American) display of fancy work.

Eating a chocolate covered strawberry is sometimes challenging to me, since the first bite causes all the chocolate to fall off in your lap.

Still, the display is pretty and would feel decadent to receive a paper cone of them wouldn't it?

Are they worth the calories?

I do love to see how stores display merchandise. Wonder what that is all about? Is it kind of like home dec?

We were walking in the mall instead of the neighborhood this evening, as it was very cold and icy. I am drawn into Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn as if I'm coming home. AS IF!

8.I Like knitting socks. Who knew the yarn on the right with mottled color would knit into that lovely pattern on the left? That's the leg portion of my new sock, and I'm about to do the heel. I knit socks on two circular needles now. I used to do two at once but they get heavy at the end. I LOVE the feel of hand knitted socks.

9. I Like  the Great American Baking Show on NBC right now, Thursday is the finale. I used to bake, even used to make eclairs, loaves of bread, and crepes regularly. I do not enjoy that as much now, but I love seeing a beautifully made pastry! The show is fashioned after the British baking show which was bought out and will change character now anyway. Ick. Expect more nasty competition.
Last episode one contestant cried when another was sent home, saying she should be happy to be one step closer to winning but she has come to really care about the other contestants.

Wow. Imagine. One doesn't have to step on another to win. One doesn't have to squelch all competition to still win a prize. One can retain their humility and kindness in life. Good goal.

 10. I Like ear nibbles from a pup
(This isn't him but looks like him) (just google small blond shaggy dogs)
There's a young woman in our neighborhood who walks a little blond doggie.

It's mixed..... part sweetness, part excitement, and a little adventurer. I always say hi when we meet. This time he jumped up. I managed to mostly avoid the jumps but then he looked into my eyes and asked me "please get close to my face"

I said, "oh, he wants to get close to my face... oooop!!" He jumped up, I held his little feet and bent down, and he looked into my eyes intently, then snuggled up to my face and nibbled my ear!

His girl said, "he does like to bite our ears"

Don't you love how each dog has a thing? His thing is earlobes. I can't lie... it felt nice!

What did you like this week?

As usual let me know if you also did an I Like post and I'll put a link here. Enjoy visits with these people:

Monday, January 9, 2017

how long til it turns to diamonds?

Just a random question.
How long does it take stuff  to form diamonds?

We have put stuff in the basement for years. It piles up getting deeper and deeper, layer by layer. An archeologist would have a field day down there.

I'm afraid of it, as if it's quicksand. Don't get too close!!

I go down, avert my eyes from it in order to get to the washer. Eeeek! Don't look! Medusa!

Or breathe.

We need to do a major excavation. I tried that a few years back and it was amazing to find lost objects

I mean, when I got married and dh got a position "way up north" we had a moving company pack us up. Everything went into boxes and when I got here I went through them.   Most of them. Not all of them.

A few are still in the basement.

We've only been married about 22 years so they obviously haven't decomposed yet. Right? 

The ones I went through held what felt like old friends.
I'm sentimental, I am.
And forgetful. It takes stuff to remind me of my life before this one. It's not true what they say, if you haven't used it in years you won't miss it.

I'd miss it!

But... we want to move and we want more space and we want less clutter. Can't I just let go? 
Thing is, most of it would be considered collectible junk by people. Unnecessary to life. But to a person who has had a lot taken from her over the years including her good health, stuff counts. It's part of my humanity and history. It matters. Like, we don't NEED art but it brings us joy. 

That might have to be my yardstick, a joyometer. How much happiness does it bring VS how much discomfort at letting it go away.  
How do you value a memory? 
or 80's clothes? 

How do you let go? 


Friday, January 6, 2017

Interview with an artist studio tour

Today's post is about studio organization. Look at the sewing machine cover here. Amazing!
You might want to click on the image to see details. I often interview artists for my blog on living the creative life, so when I was invited into the studio of my friend Cindy I asked if I could share some of her organization techniques.
She has a sunny room and wanted to protect her Bernina so she designed this cover. Where I might throw a piece of felt over mine but don't, I let it go bare, she designed this lovely cover with log cabins embroidery and hand beading.
So when Cindy got full possession of this room when her husband moved his office to another room, she decorated it in calm green and blue, coordinating chair, table, and storage units with fabric draping. The whole room, though not large, now works as a unit. I asked how it felt to come in to the room, and she said it is "her" space of comfort now.
Let's consider the concept of space. We all create and it is a big deal having a space that encourages us to feel comfortable and relaxed. When my studio is in order it gives me such joy to enter. Every place I look gives me joy. Cindy has created a space that gives her joy.
She organizes her fabric by color, and by subject (Christmas, designer collections, etc) and to protect them as well as give the space unity, she made a drape. Plywood was covered in muslin on the top, velcro attached by tabs allows for an easy release cover.
Her cutting table is simple table on risers with storage under the drape made with coordinating fabric. So tidy and restful. Note she did not just line the four walls with furniture, this cutting work table leads you into the room.
The room's original closet has been filled with usable storage drawers to hold tools, beads, embroidery thread, etc. Labeled of course. She can pull out a drawer one at a time, take it to the work table. She replaced the folding doors with another drape in the same soft green but different pattern.

Just a side note. A system can be beautiful when tidy, but if it doesn't work for your supplies it won't stay that way. Like me, Cindy has amended her systems over the years til she reached one that works for her. Now it makes sense, is easy to put items away and find them again.
 Do not be reluctant to redesign a space as you use it.
You change over time and your storage needs change.
Lovely and usable. See the design wall across from the work table which now holds the drawers we pulled out to look into. She has special decorations and plants in here also, to reflect her interests and inspire.
On her design wall are some heavily beaded "twinchies"(2"fabric) and other works in progress.

I asked if she tidied up at the end of each day or after the close of a project. She tends to leave a project out at the end of the day so she can step right back in next time. Like many of us, she will tidy up at the end of a project. I think the smaller your space to create, the more one needs organization that works, and the tidier you need to be.

Right now I can't see a flat surface in the studio for the piles. I create in a downstairs bedroom turned studio.

Cindy has been making quilts for a long time. She has designed paper piecing patterns for sale, as well as personal patterns for her own use like my recent needle book and her machine cover. She is creative, and if she learns from someone else or a pattern source she usually changes it to suit her needs.

That's how I work too.
When you are sewing purely for relaxation and hobby, it's comfortable to follow directions. When you learn a new technique from someone it's a good idea to follow their directions to learn. We all enjoy this kind of handwork.

Artists approach it a bit differently. They usually want to express themselves in whatever medium they choose. They learn what is needed in that medium (fabric, clay, metal etc) to make well constructed art, and then take it to new places as they express themselves in their art. I often interview artists I come across because I like to hear how someone working in another medium works. I think we all approach it from a place of inspiration, taking inspiration from life.
To a person they say their studio is a mess. Ah, there is comfort in that.

I have a quote on my wall (not Cindy's)  that has unfortunately faded (identipens,  grrrrr) so I can't say who said it.

Artists create from what they see, but what they see is primarily what they look at.

 Like many artists Cindy quietly creates in her space. Luckily I got to peek into her world today. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"I Like" Thursday # 17

Welcome to another "I Like" post... Do you know what time it is?
Think about time, and how all the countries around the world work together to agree on a given time so we can function as a global village. Coming to agreement and working together is a GOOD thing isn't it?

Time, and the somewhat artificial "new year" is my number one...
1. I Like parties at our friend's (Jackie and Hal) home. They attract a diverse and accepting group of people. They are all smart so conversation is lively, and are safe to be with. Know what I mean here? None of them attack anyone or make fun of anyone so I feel safe to be my best self.  I love to laugh and entertain and we all had such a good time. One couple brought their 15 year old son. Amazingly enough he and his father, my husband and myself had some very interesting conversations about science and people and we all related to each other.
I Like smart people so conversation can flow, and it did. After we four kind of reveled in the excitement of the luck of finding stimulating flow of ideas, at a party! Age doesn't matter when it comes to relationships. Age like Time itself is a bit real and a bit artificial way to organize life. It's a person to person connection that really matters. I love a good conversation!

2. This group also plays games. Like Taboo for example. People come and go, mostly joining in, and it leads to many laughs. It is rare to find a group like this these days! No one including the 15 year old stared at their phone. We interacted and left happy and enriched for it. I LOVE board games.

Did you expect to get out of this post without something shiny and sparkly?
3. I Like shiny sparkly things! Look at these new lamps at IKEA! Whee! Every day's a party with these table top glittering lamps!

Speaking of IKEA we joined thousands of people New Year's Day seeking just the right organizers at IKEA
I have a lot of books I want to keep and needed another Billy shelf. They are tall and thin and I figured if I turned them 45 degrees to the right that three, not two shelves would fit in that space, so we got another one.
4. I Like books! Some other day I'll show you the spreadsheet I used to log in my quilt/art books. I have them divided by type, so one shelf holds applique books, another holds paper piecing etc. I ran out of room for new books so the shelf number might change now but organization is a liquid thing. It changes as needs change. I'll tell you how I manage my books later and all of you who only read from digital can be excused lol.
5. I Like Beads.
speaking of organization and sparkly things, I spent yesterday with my good friend Cindy. She showed me around her well organized studio. It really deserves it's own post but I wanted to include just this little part here.
I LOVE her system of bead organization. She makes lovely beaded items, like me she enjoys adding beads to every day items and quilts as well as doing beaded jewelry. Unlike me she can follow a pattern (grump)

She uses her beads by color so she organizes them by color. Note it is so easy to find a bead because they are all in the same shape/size container and displayed. She invested in one system, and it's a big help. This is a tray of blue green beads in various sizes and shapes.
6. I like to learn new techniques from a real person in real time. I enjoy being shown and led through a technique like beading as opposed to trying to decipher a diagram or pattern. Lucky for me, Cindy and I are sympatico and like each other so any time spent together is a good time. She is so kind to walk me through "beadborough" so I can learn to make pretty things. I settled in to make my friend pugmom a leopard beaded bracelet with hot pink, purple and gold beads.
the beads were so pretty, ans sparkling and well, hopeful! .... until.... I got this far on the chart, and noticed sparkling on my fingertips... wha???? The really pretty Darice pink beads were shedding their coating as I handled them. If you lbow up the image you'll see the bottom row is nearly clear. OY!
Not only is Joann's hard to return to, but now I couldn't work on learning the technique.
Not to be undone, Cindy said let's make the "islands" bracelet using herringbone stitch and crystals.
OKAY! I scrounged together some beads I had with me in red and purple and the clear swarovsky crystals and Cindy provided additional colors and started...
Look at my indented finger tip! Think I might have been a little tense at this point? I was able to learn the pattern, and have high hopes I will remember the pattern when I pick it back up today.
Anyway, I Like being with other creative people and learning techniques from them too.
( I will do a whole post interviewing Cindy and showing her studio soon)

 7. I LOVE looking in other people's sewing spaces. I want to see how everyone else handles their Space VS Supplies and how they create comfortable work areas.

8. I like these flamingos and pigs at IKEA right now...


And I like this hamper from IKEA
It stands up on it's own two feet, the metal handles fold together to carry it to the washer. We actually have a double one of these. Separate the dark and light clothes. Our fabric holders slip off the frame to take to the washer.

They seem to take up less space than regular laundry baskets and hide it better.

9. I Like sweet and savory together so my latest favorite snack is this...
The turkey sausage is hickory farms and seasonal (yes we bought several to hoard, so what?) the jam is a perfect blend of savory and sweet and the crackers are sort of healthy for a carb. We slice the sausage thinly, layer the three items for the perfect bite. We get the jam and crackers at our local grocers.

10. I LIke puzzles. On our recent trip to Newport we got a newspaper daily at the hotel. Oh I love a newspaper but we canceled our subscription because the hydrocarbons in the fresh newsprint became overwhelming to my allergies. I miss looking at comics and doing this puzzle every day...
I have very fond memories of doing this coded puzzle daily with my cubical mate years ago.

We were doing social work for the State, and on our first coffee break of the day we would pull out the puzzle and do it in tandem. She was so much fun and so good with people. She and I started therapy groups with teens, and often collaborated on difficult casework, two heads being better than one.

She used to say, "together we make one great social worker!" Miss her, but not the heart wrenching work.

11. I Like having friends around the world to share our lives. Recently two of my dog-blog friends have experienced grief losing their poodles. I reached out with my phone number, hoping they would call and we could talk in real time. A grief shared is a burden lessened. Both of them called, and we were able to comfort each other. To experience that kind of loss is overwhelming. When a person listens and understands, it helps you to feel less alone. Sometimes I replay Monika reminding me Time will take the edge off.

So I bring this post back to the start and our discussion of time. As my Tampa vet once told me,
"Tincture of time" is our hope right now.

What did you find to like this week? These posts fall on a Thursday as I feel Thursdays are the forgotten day of the week lol. They are not I Love Thursday, but "I Like" round ups on Thursdays. I try to remember the thins I liked all week.
As usual if you did an I Like post let me know to include it here. Please visit these fine folk:

Monday, January 2, 2017

Necessity is the Mother of Controlling Paper

In my continual quest for organization, defined by me as:

"Being able to find what you own"
I invented a solution to one of my "paper problems" and there are several paper problems. It's one big paper chase around here folks.

By the way, this post is not for the computer lovin', "I-organize-everything-on-my-computer" -types reading. Y'all will want to move on quickly to your own kind lol!

This is for people like me, who can't find a doggone thing once it finds a hidey-hole in the bowels of the computer memory. Or you don't think about it if it's hidden in the computer. Or if you like to HOLD a pattern like I do.

quiltartdesigns gave us a block a day free downloads over the holidays. I dutifully did that, and printed them out except for one day when I told the computer to download, it lied to me saying it did, but it didn't download the whole document, only the first page so I don't have that block. No worries, my plan is to put in a block of words there. You can pay Janeen at this point for the whole pattern if you like.

I thought you might like to know what I do with patterns I print in hopes of actually making them.
I use these:
plastic sleeves to hold the whole patterns. They have holes to fit into a regular notebook although I often keep them in a magazine holder til I try them, like this...
I really like this method for me. I enjoy holding a pattern, being able to put it on a table and look at it instead of constantly waking up a computer and scrolling from screen to screen with a small display. I also like a real book more than I like reading anything on a computer screen.
That's an IKEA magazine holder that is very sturdy and a lovely robin egg blue color. Makes me smile to use it.
Back to the Winter Village collection of 11 blocks. I wanted to keep them together, and wanted to use a red Manila folder so I place them inside, marked their holes with a pencil, used a hole punch to create holes for a scrap of ribbon. Use IT!!
Pushed the ribbon through the sleeves, through a hole, back up through the other hole and tied a knot.
Voila! Problem solved!
It is functional.
I even taped a printed image of the whole thing to the front of my folder. Pretty...

The system works for me and that's all a system owes you.
I don't mind other people doing things differently... go for it! This works for me, I used materials I already owned, it keeps the project together so it can patiently wait for me to make it, and I feel good about finding it when I'm ready.
Now as for the rest of the mess... gotta go see what can be done next!
Remember when I got some Antonius rolling shelves? I wanted a top for them, and they make one for the other rolling shelves Algot but not mine. I got this metal top made for Algot and not the same size as mine but it works the way I'd like so I now have yet another flat surface on which to pile stuff.
Gosh I hope I don't....
Make it work!
linking to among others