Sunday, February 14, 2016

Strings and Cords

My fascination with string and cord continues.  So very many years ago I was into the macrame thing.  Now I prefer the micro-macrame:  (example below is NOT mine)

  Well, okay, because I can use my beads, too.

And I love knots.  Right now I'm playing with covering bottles - not necessarily with macrame-style netting and such, but with variations on the Turk's Head:  different Turks with varying leads and bights, Gaucho, Herringbone, etc.

(Again, the projects are not mine.)

And moving on to tool handles:

Somehow this is all related to crocheting, knitting, beading, and weaving.

I haven't met a cord that I didn't immediately envision how I might manipulate it.

I suppose there are worse things.



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Peruvian String Art Jewelry

My new fascination:  Peruvian String Art Jewelry.  Personally have not tried to make any yet, but just looking at the photos is most satisfying!  I'm gathering the materials to start making the coils and framework, then will try my hand at this. Let's see:  math + fiber + color + design + function = who could want more?



Monday, January 11, 2016

Learning to Beat Procrastination

I used to teach organizational seminars (hard to imagine, I know).  So I know all of the tricks on how to beat procrastination - for someone else.  Since I've finally managed to overcome my latest procrastinating and finally gotten back into the studio, thought I'd share some of my favorite tips for artists that may be facing that procrastination elephant in the room:

1.    Break it down into manageable bites.  Even if you tell yourself you'll only work for 10 minutes, do that.  Set a timer if that helps.  You can do anything for 10 minutes.
2.    Figure out the one thing that's stopping you from working. Then go work on something else until you come up with a solution.  But at least do something.
3.    Work with a To-Do List.  (Key to this is to make it realistic!)
4.    Guard you time.  When it's time to work, really work.  When it's time to play, then play.  But don't feel guilty about one while you are doing the other.
5.     Don't use FB and emails as an excuse - they will gobble up your time without mercy.
6.     And if nothing else works, just make yourself  "show up" in your studio, or where your work. Once you're there, you'll probably find something to get started on.

This last week I was struggling to get working, because I really didn't know how to fix a problem rim on a basket.  So I forced myself to "show up", and started weaving anyway.  Once I got to the rim, the solution presented itself quite easily.

Why did I make it such a big deal??

Monday, January 4, 2016

Joy in Organizing

There is a deep, personal joy that I find in organizing for the new year.  As I file away the previous year's records in preparation for tax season, I check off the task on a mental checklist. ( I love making space and folders for the new year.) Clearing out old emails for a fresh start with a pristine folder - check that off, too.  Physically clearing off my desk and inbox with accumulated detritus almost brings a smile to my lips.  Prioritizing and moving notes made on my iphone to Workflowy is so satisfying.  Clearing apps off my phone that I don't really use is remarkably freeing.  Yes, I could go on and on, but only at the risk of really sounding like an organizational geek!

Why I like to organize is probably very similar to why women like to clean. ( )
It makes me feel in control, it calms my mind, and it's a reflection of who I  truly am.  Plus it's always nice to start the year fresh, without the mess.

I understand that organizing isn't everyone's "thing", but it certainly is mine.  Don't get me wrong, my house isn't perfectly neat all the time, and I do occasionally lose things.  But that doesn't stop me from embracing the bliss of organizing small areas of my life.

And one more plug for Workflowy - absolutely the best organizing and list making app in the world.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

A New Year and the Word: Thoughtfulness

New Year's Eve is quickly approaching, which may mean different things to different folks.  Whether it is a time to plan a big party with friends, go out on the town, or set aside some quiet reflection time, we all celebrate it in some manner.  Or we already have, by celebrating the Winter Solstice (a time of renewal and return of light) or will celebrate it at Naw Ruz at the vernal equinox (the new year for Baha'is and Iranians, meaning "new day" in Persian).  My husband and I tend to celebrate with our ritual dvd marathon.

My point is not the exact date we celebrate a new year, it's that we all do, in some manner, at least.  We celebrate, and then seem to need a time for reflection, to review what worked for us this past year, and what we'd like to change in the new. It's a time to questions our habits, and challenge ourselves to become better - in small ways or large.

The last two years I chose the words of Balance and Authentic.  To be honest, I could probably stick with those two words and work on them for the rest of my life!  However, in the spirit of trying to move forward, I'm choosing my word for 2016:


What I'm hoping to learn this next year is thoughtful spending habits, thoughtful use of resources, thoughtful relationships, thoughtful prayer habits, thoughtful eating habits. To be honest, I'm really not sure how this all will look, but I'm simply hoping to live thoughtfully.  Obviously this isn't a new idea, but I'm eager to embrace it - or attempt to do so.

Wishing you a thoughtful New Year!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Holidays

Celebrating "the holidays" can mean so very many things.

Surprisingly, I have no intention of boring you with research on what each of them means.  Instead, I simply offer the suggestion of embracing this time of year with an open heart, appreciating our differences, embracing our commonalities, and loving all of mankind.

We work and pray for the unity of mankind, that all the races of the earth may become one race, all the countries one country, and that all hearts may beat as one heart, working together for perfect unity and brotherhood.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 99)

We need to figure out, once and for all, that strife and divisions only weaken us.  Aren't we smart enough to learn how to set aside our pride and anger to save ourselves and our planet?

May the holiday that you celebrate bring an abundance of joy to your heart and and soul.
(From my friend, Pamm Horbit)

Vitruvian Park Holiday Lights Photograph

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Tips for a Calmer & Saner Holiday Season

Instead of googling for a list of tips to share for keeping the holidays sane, I realized that I might just have my own list to share. So much for looking for the experts on this!

1. Lists, lists, lists
     There are never too many lists unless, of course, you forget where you put them.  Keep them in one place, and refer to them often.  A list for all the gifts you want to buy or make, complete with columns for recipient's name, materials purchased or item ordered, completed or bought, wrapped, and then mailed or delivered. (Sometimes we get everything done except for making sure it gets to that person!)  Lists for special meals or gifts items.  Lists for ingredients to make those foods.  Lists of what you want to take to each family gathering.  Lists of last minute items, shopping, coupons.  Mark things on your calendar....the one that you'll actually see and carry with you.

2.  Start early
     It's already well into December, but never too late to tackle your lists.  NOTHING feels as good as having things all ready and you can sit and relax.  Using your tools in #1 (lists), work on what you can, every day.

3.  Enjoy each moment
     The whole point of our holiday celebrations is to enjoy them.  But if we're constantly worrying about the next event, or something we forgot, or trying to think of what to give as a gift, we are not available and present to enjoy what we're doing in the moment.  If you are buying a Christmas tree, really  BE there, smell the fir, smile at your family, embrace the moment.  Take time for a cup of cocoa by the fire, look at the Christmas lights.  If you are shopping, enjoy the festive atmosphere.

4.  Don't be afraid to say "no"
     Every party sounds wonderful, all the food looks enticing, each event will be fun.  But you simply do not have to do everything.  Don't guilt yourself into accepting every invitation.  It's okay to say "no" and to have breathing space in your schedule.

5.  Perfection is not in the word Christmas
     There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.  So give yourself a break and relax.  You do not have to be perfect.  Maybe even repeat that to yourself every day.  Once you can finally embrace this concept, your holiday preparations will be so much more emjoyable.

And that's it - not too long of a list, I realize.  But it's how I stay sane.  Well, as sane as possible for me, anyway!