Our daughter Lindsey, 25, stopped in for a quick overnight visit on her way from Boston to a weekend in NYC. This morning, she walked me through a time management exercise, aligning my values, with goals and plans to achieve those goals. She is now my "accountability partner" (read that, role reversal!). I am so energized and excited to put my resolve into action. And I am grateful to my amazingly talented daughter for her support.
Then, I read in an email from my friend Jane, that there is this really cool challenge out in the cyber-world hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas, called Art Every Day Month. Of course, the month of the challenge is November!
Is this perfect timing or what? So, I signed up. The guidelines are very generous, encouraging anyone to give it a try. How about YOU?
(I will have to set up a time budget for all the fun web browsing this project will lead me to!)
We viewed this short film at our board meeting last week. It's a peek into the heart and soul of Earlham College AND the generosity of the Davis family. If you could use a heavy dose of hope in your life,click here.
There are many knitting projects in my past. Snug mittens, knit for friends in college. A lumpy, ill fitting sweater that I wore anyway. Many hats, muttons and scarves. Basically, I have stumbled through my knitting life, with mixed results.
With the encouragement of my friend M, I have decided to get things right and expand my knitting confidence, so I've been taking some classes with Cindy Zaref at Knitabilities. I took one class on learning to read patterns and charts, selecting supplies and materials, knitting a gauge swatch (ya, kind of crucial) and understanding abbreviations.
Then a two session class on moving from advanced beginner to intermediate knitter...all sorts of increases, decreases, picking up stitches and finishing. The photo above is my sample piece showing how to pick up stitches along the edge of a piece. WAY COOL!
Next week, M and I will venture into a three session class on knitting socks...something I never dreamed possible. Cindy is a wonderful teacher, and there's something invigorating about learning new things.
This morning, Maya posed the question on her blog, "What is your word for the day"?
With my calendar in hand, I calculate that I have been home here in CT only three days in the past eighteen! Don't get me wrong...I have been to good places and had lots of fun and done some good work...
SO...my word for the day would have to be "nesting". I have laundry to do (!!!), grocery shopping to do, mail to catch up on, notes to write up and I can't wait to spend a little time in my studio/sewing room.
Remember when I wrote about "creative tension"? Well, I sure feel some of that when I am immersed in one thing, yet missing another. I love having my various board and committee work-it's good exercise for my brain (and heart). But I also love my hand work, in many ways it's the creative stuff that emerges out of some of that brain work. It's all a balance, dear readers, and sometimes it takes work to find the balance...
So today, I am using my time gently, to seek that balance in the midst of creative tension. And I am grateful to have this time to recharge my energies.
With credit to Maya, what is your word for the day?
This morning I had to trade in my usual jeans for a skirt and blouse and stockings and nice shoes. It always feels a little weird.
And tonight, I am weary, but in a good way. So many smart, big hearted people working together to move the mission of the school forward in the face of so many challenges. Retaining what has been special about the place since 1847, while embracing both the uncertainties and possibilities of the future.
And this work goes hand in hand with one of my autumn insights. CREATIVE TENSION....
-when difficulties can be imagined as opportunities.
-when what we fear can be transformed into what we can learn from.
-when what folks disagree about can become something shared.
-when one truth and another truth can become a fuller truth.
-when we have an inward struggle that opens us to growth and change...
Gary Gingko shed his golden leaves overnight, all at once. Poof!
A few days ago, we picked a handful of apples off our trees, came inside, washed, chopped and simmered them. Served the warm sauce beside some roast pork at dinnertime. That's local food. Dessert was figs, sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil, warmed under the broiler and served in a puddle of plain yogurt with a bit of honey (thanks for that one, Bill!). Last evening, Batman and I wandered down the road at sunset. We were surprised to see the plow flags installed along the road so soon...what does the road crew know about the upcoming snow season? The late afternoon sunlight slants in a most gentle and peaceful way... The neighborhood farmers have spent the last few days cutting the corn for silage. Tidying up in the fields.
I counted twelve robins feasting under the crab apple trees. And a very plump chipmunk, too!
Batman and I are working hard at putting the yard to bed. The hammock and picnic table are snugged up in the garage. We continue to add to the woodshed, emptied the rain barrel, put up storm windows. You know how these lists are, they never seem to end. And each seasonal list has it's own pleasures and aches!
A pot of chili and cornbread with friends tonight...
Gary Gingko is looking quite festive this morning. Read his story here. The sky is overcast, damp and a bit threatening...but the trees are shining through with their magical colors. These bittersweet days of autumn take my breath away year after year.
"Pay attention!", they say, "do not take anything for granted!"
I am posting this photo again, because this morning when I came downstairs to check in on the state of the world, I found the most delightful news. And the answer to the "WHEN" word is, this morning, as always, "NOW".
Congratulations to the Nobel Peace Committee for their clarity and conviction.
And congratulations to Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner!
In finding peace and recognizing the light in yourself,
we say there's a hearth in your heart
where the Creator has given you something very sacred,
a special gift, a special duty, an understanding.
And now is the time for us to clean out those hearths,
to let that inner light glow.
My heart feels a bit more hopeful, inspired and companioned this morning. How about you?
I had read reviews of this little book and today it came home from the store with me. The subtitle, Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time pretty much explains it all.
I have always loved the way quilts and causes go so well together. Back in 1985, I made a panel for the Peace Ribbon. Panels depicting "what I cannot bear to think of as lost in a nuclear war" were wrapped around the Pentagon on Hiroshima Day. I've made a panel for the AIDS Quilt, and was a quilt monitor when it came to Chicago in 1988. My kids have made kid sized quilts for the Linus Project. I've sewn for smaller, local projects, too. Somehow, I am always changed for the better by the act of making something to send out into the world.
From the book...
The patchwork quilt is really
the symbol of the world which must come:
one new design made out of many old designs.
We will stitch this world together yet.
Don't give up.
How wonderful it is that
nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.
This great little book offers, "more than 25 inspiring essays and 15 charity projects". It's a gem. I look forward to reading this neat book about "community quilting".
I think at least one reader has made art quilts for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative . If you have done any creative work for a cause, please let us know, and include links if you'd like!
So this is how my crazy brain works sometimes, and why I enjoy blogging. Way back, last year, when I first started reading a handful of blogs, I enjoyed Sugar City Journal. It reminded me of the days when I was raising small children. A few weeks ago, I read this.
It reminded me of one of our favorite books, illustrated by one of my very favorite artists, Trina Schart Hyman. See our much loved copy, above. I do recall at least one Halloween red riding hood...
And I've been wanting to try this tote trick over at Betz White's blog.
And because I am a bit obsessed with birch trees, I came up with my new Little Red Riding Hood tote. I had a weary canvas tote. I had already mended the bottom seam and replaced the handles. So, I tried Betz's tutorial and it was a snap!
Here's a shout out to all the creative, thoughtful, inspirational folks I have found in this blog world! And some of you wanted to know what was going on with the secret gift. My frog loving buddy Liz's birthday is today, so I made her these napkins and dish towels from some fun fabric I had in my stash. Sometimes she lets me go over to her house when she's at work and play with her sweet pooch, Buddy. She may come home one day and find him missing. If I take him across state lines to VT, would that be considered a felony? :-)
i so appreciate your thoughtful comments and will respond to them here on the relevant post. if you would prefer to send an e-mail, please use this address...sewandsowlife (at) gmail (dot) com
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