Monday, November 16, 2015

Creating & Questioning

Making progress on Christmas gifts. Can't show much, but here are a few hints on some of them. Our large family get together is the second Saturday of December, so I have lots to do.

As a result of a class offering at the local community college, I have also been thinking about business niches. I know that I said that I was going to simply create for myself and for gifts, but the idea still stirs questions. Primarily, I find myself asking what I love most to create.

Since my next post will likely be after Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful holiday, if you celebrate it, and offer my thanks for your interest in my blog.

Until next time, I wish you peace.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I've been thinking a lot about deliberate downsizing and the changes we make in our lives as we grow older. Many of my family members have cut their home sizes and reduced their possessions in the process. It is something I am seriously considering, both as a retirement option and in the recognition that I will never be able to do or use all the materials I have purchased through the years.

It has become more apparent to me recently that there are some things I will no longer be able to do. I need, instead, to concentrate on the things I can do and find ways to have some things done by others. In addition, I need to let go of some things that could better be used by other people. Making these kinds of decisions can be really difficult. They signal not only the choice of one path over another, but also acknowledge the probable end of some dreams and hopes.

Have you ever had to face these kinds of choices? How did you handle them? Are you happy with the results?

Until next time, I wish you peace.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Inspiring Creativity

It has been hard to get myself into the studio lately. While I have made a few forays, looking over potential projects, I haven't spent much time there. In some ways, I have been experiencing creative burnout. Alisa Burke has a helpful post about the issue: Coping with Creative Burnout. Some of the things I have been doing correspond to actions she discusses, like focusing on something different and having fun.

I have been spending a lot of time with family, as well as researching and writing the book I've been working on. Trips out to local nature areas are sure to provide inspiration for future work, too. Fall has certainly arrived and is making its mark on the foliage, albeit slowly. 

Another way to look at things came up just yesterday and today with two references to the "which dog are you feeding?" story. The first was in the new movie, Tomorrowland, which we watched last night. The second is in Roz Stendahl's blog post: Which Dog Are You Feeding? While the movie uses the story to attempt to redirect our attitudes towards making changes for the health of the planet, Roz uses it as a tool for achieving artistic goals. In both cases, of course, the story is about looking at things in a positive light. Roz's idea was a revelation, however, and something I will need to think more about. Inspiration, it would seem, is coming from unexpected areas.

I'm off to think, enjoy life, and see what's next. Until next time, I wish you peace and all good things.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. As a lay Franciscan, I take the idea of living simply very seriously. I believe that we need to "live simply that others may simply live." I also believe that living lightly on the earth is one of the best ways to ensure that my grandchildren will continue to enjoy a world in which there is astounding wildlife and spectacular wild spaces. It is my hope that more people will attempt to do so and we reach a point where all people have freedom from want; from fear; and from pollution.

What does living simply look like? One view is articulated at A Franciscan view of living simply. It can be as simple as making changes in how one makes purchases or as encompassing as a complete change in lifestyle. For example, the Global Catholic Climate Movement - Feast of St. Francis presents some ways to have an impact on the climate. Many people are making the choice to reduce the size of their dwellings, as evidenced by the Tiny House movement, which I talked about in Thinking of Space.

I hope you will consider what you might do to live more simply.

Until next time, I wish you peace.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Direction Found

I went through my notebooks on my business -- from the early 1990's on -- last week. In the process, I came across a quote from Barbara Brabec about the difference between an artist and a craft person. She said the artist creates for themselves, while the crafts person creates for the marketplace. (Paraphrased)

It was an "Ah Ha!" moment for me.

I have been struggling for the last few years to define what I wanted to do with the business. What I realized, through Brabec's definition, was that, when I began the business, it was with an eye towards the marketplace. I was a SAHM and wanted to contribute to our finances. Now, I am retired, with sufficient income. I have no need to create for the marketplace. Instead, I can finally create for myself, while simultaneously using my skills to create gifts. As a result, I am feeling calm for the first time in years.

Wishing you peace . . . calm . . . and all good.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Surprises & Milestones

We had a short vacation, which allowed us to go to some local preserves. It was special to see not only summer vegetation, egrets and a family of ducks, but also a pair of swans.

On another note, while doing research for a book I am writing, I read a book called Quilts in the Attic: Uncovering the Stories of the Quilts We Love by Karen S. Musgrave ((c) 2012 Voyageur Press (c) 2012 Text Karen Musgrave; MBI Publishing Co., Minneapolis, MN). There was a chapter on Ruby Short McKim, who designed quilts for the Kansas City Star, among other things. Today, her granddaughter, Merrily McKim Tuohey, maintains a website dedicated to her grandmother's work: McKIM TUOHEY STUDIO, and one with Ruby's entire 1931 book: 101 Patchwork Patterns. I thought you might enjoy having the links.

The other thing that I have been doing is sorting through craft supplies to pull out things I will probably not use. Now, I have to decide what to do with them.

To my surprise, too, I discovered this is my 100th blog post. It seems like a milestone that should be recognized. Perhaps it is enough to know that it is and see where that takes me.

Until next time, I wish you happy surprises, peace and all good.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Revving up Creative Juices

I was reminded of our trip to the Seattle area in 2013 while browsing through some "Quilt Sampler" magazines. We happened to be out there when Keepsake Cottage Fabrics was one of the featured shops. Oddly enough, I hadn't known about it until I got into the shop and picked up the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of the magazine. (It was already on my list of things to see, of course.) We also made the trip to the Public Market and Undercover Quilts, which is above the Pike Place Fish Co.

I am also fortunate that I have access to a lot of really nice quilt shops in my area like Top Shelf QuiltsCountryside Village GiftsThimbles, and B&J Sewing Center and much more. Of course, I have reached a point where I am no longer purchasing much of anything, since I need to use what I have and want to use more recycled materials. I have a lot of "Works in Progress," that are either already begun or planned with materials set aside for them.

Another thing that I have begun to think about (and I apologize to all of you who don't want to hear it) is getting ready for Christmas. Because we have a large family party and I continue to give gifts to all of the children through high school, I have to think about it early in the year. We have had three new babies join the family in the last two years, which is just about evening out the list after taking off the older children who have graduated from high school. At any rate, my gift list includes close to two dozen people. We are also going to have another new baby in the family next March, which means a baby shower fairly soon after Christmas. The nice thing about the need to plan for all that is that it gets me out of summer mode and into creating, again.

How do you get yourself motivated?

Wishing you, as always, peace and all good.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)