Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Island Inspiration & Smorgasbord

Saturday was full of inspirations!  I'm still not quite sure what to even call the emotions surrounding traveling by ferry to meetings on other islands.....contentment, belonging, surprise, joy, awe, specialness.  Couple all of that with meeting new, creative and kindred souls for sharing and inspiration, and it's the formula for a perfect day.  I know I was worried about spending an entire day traveling to the textile guild event, but the ideas, connections, and inspirations for my own work that I received feel like an unexpected bonanza.  Plus I have resources now for learning loom weaving, knitting, and so much more.  (Just what I need, right? Even more textile persuasions.)

And in the back of my mind is a desire to somehow represent or incorporate the eagles into my work.  I'm not sure if they will be directly represented or conceptually, but they are another unexpected gift of island living.

So to quote Auntie Mame - "Life's a banquet, and most poor fools are starving to death."  The richness of living in the San Juan's, and the creativity of the artists living here is most definitely a smorgasbord for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Know What Doesn't Work

After two days fussing and testing and trying, I finally figured out how to make an open star base for a basket (based on my 9 star basket) that I could actually teach:

It was frustrating, but I tried to keep telling myself on each failure, that it wasn't actually a failure - I just knew another way that it didn't work.  So now I know MANY ways that it doesn't work, but one that does.

Now to design the rest of the basket....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Slower and Simpler - Define Your Work

On a wonderful blog, Be More With Less, there are some interesting definitions of what entails "busy work" and the better option of "good work".  (the whole blog is really worth reading, not just this entry)

Good work
  • helping people
  • exercising
  • sharing good ideas
  • creating
  • learning
  • shipping
  • collaborating
  • contributing
  • connecting with the right people for you
  • spending time with people you love
Busy work
  • checking email every 5 minutes and first thing in the morning
  • viewing other people’s vacation photos on Facebook
  • attending meetings for things you don’t care about
  • organizing your desk
  • asking for more input because you are afraid that your work isn’t good enough
  • sitting on the board because it looks good on your resume
  • connecting with all the people
  • weekly reports or call reports with the sole purpose of monitoring activity
  • reactionary workflow
  • spending time with people you don’t like
And even better are the comments on WHY:

Why busy work?

Busy work is what you do when you are afraid of your good work.
Busy work is what you do when you are bored with your good work.
Busy work is what you do when you don’t know what your good work is.

This really, really hit home for me.  And I realize that when I choose my "good work", I feel happy and productive.  When I do "busy work", I feel frustrated and grumpy, even though I'm just as "busy".  Even being self-employed, this rings so true.

Just some thought provoking insights for the week!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Success is Learning What Doesn't Work

Spent most of the day on that darn 5 pointed star base basket.  I definitely now know a myriad of ways that it DOESN'T work.  (I'll give it a few more tries on Sunday.)  Sometimes you just have to walk away for awhile.

What was left with the day I practiced the harp, did some bookkeeping for a non-profit, crocheted on a scarf, and almost finished beading a small lidded container.

Most of tomorrow will be spent traveling to the textile guild meeting for the islands on Shaw Island.  The ferry schedule from my island to that of the meeting is horrible - will get there 2 hours early and leave after everyone else to come home.  But I will have company with a new friend, and certainly time to crochet a bit.....the epitome of slower living!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Designing in the Quiet

Ah, Anadaré is so welcoming and peaceful.  Where else could I be sitting in my living room and watch an eagle swoop not 10 feet past my deck?  I'm not sure I will ever get used to seeing those regal birds so close up.

Last night I luxuriated in the quiet, and permitted myself to just relax and crochet.  Today I need to get on task and start designing another class basket - adapting the 9 pointed star base that I made this last fall.  Hopefully it will come together easily - all too often what works in my head just doesn't translate so promptly into reality.  But I am inspired by the encouragement and comments of the weavers in Texas for a basket with this base, so at least I need to try.

And if all goes well, later I'll treat myself to a calming stroll to the beach - rain or shine.  I'm just not sure what it is about this island that soothes my soul.  I feel so very blessed to have found my nest on this very special rock.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

To the Island!!!

Packed up for a much needed trip to the island.  Have the harp (with new music stand), basketry materials for two new ideas for classes, cedar for pouches, beading project,  new yarn and book for new crocheted scarf pattern, and sketching materials.  I truly should not get bored.

I am so eager to get on the road, I can taste it.  I haven't been there in 3 weeks - which is way too long.  Unfortunately my friend is unable to make the journey with me for this time.

I can smell the beach now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Streams of Income

It's amazing what happens when you put out to the Universe that you need some additional streams of income.  Immediately three additional sources appeared:  helping to weave (and getting paid for) a form for a bronze statue in Seattle, repairing an antique wicker chair, and an order for another commissioned work. 

When I worked with a life coach a few years ago, I learned that I didn't need to put all of my eggs into one basket.  Having multiple streams of income was much more fun and engaging.  Since I retired from credit management, I've added a wonderful variety of income sources to my repertoire:  teaching credit classes, selling my artwork, becoming a certified mortgage signing agent, teaching basketry classes, selling basketry materials and tools, caning chairs, bookkeeping, organizational management....the list goes on.  And of course - I now receive social security.

Variety truly is the spice of life!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Decluttering Momentum


Yesterday, my first day home from traveling, as I was catching up with emails and doing the financial reckoning from my classes and sales, I looked around my office and realized how cluttered it really was.  So after doing the essential chores, I just started sorting and clearing one area.  The initial plan (I told myself) was to clean up just one corner and gather the obsolete files (8 years old, since we need to keep 7 years worth of files in case of an audit) for shredding.

Well, once that was done, I started slowly moving around the room, clearing one small area at a time.  Today, I still have 3 shelves on the bookcase left to sort, and one side under my desk to declutter, and the desk itself.  However, I managed to clear out 4 boxes of books (that we took down to Half Priced Books for cash last night), and two large boxes of old magazines for recycling.  The "keeper" magazines (baskets, beads, crochet, fiber) are stacked and ready to be put into magazine holders....that I already have waiting and ready for use, and their place ready on the shelves downstairs.

If I had told myself I had to clean almost my entire office in one day, I would have procrastinated for sure.  It really is true - just get started, and the momentum will keep you going.  Now I can actually see what is in here, I can breathe better, there is room on the bookshelves, and I even have a bit more money in my purse.  I also found a few things that I thought were lost for good.

All in all - a productive day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Home to the Humidity

Oh my heavens - it is so very good to be home, back into humidity.  Texas was so very dry!  And I came home to a thick fog (thankfully the plane could still land).  I know it isn't good for air quality, but my body is basking in the moisture.  (One would think that my favorite color is gray!)

The best part of this last trip was the support and encouragement, from both students and teachers, to continue on my exploratory path of lattice twining and other bound weaves.  I have even more ideas for new baskets and projects now.  Sometimes I get bogged down in my own weaving, and forget that other people really are interested in what I am doing.  So while it's  a "simple" technique for me, I have renewed respect for how others see my work.

I finished the accounting for this last trip this morning, so I can concentrate on getting packed for going to the island this week.  I need to complete a commissioned work as well as start a new piece that has been rummaging around in my head.  I also hope to start work on some earring designs (I orders some darling molds for earrings and pendants that will be perfect).

And this will be the first trip when a friend will be coming with me, to enjoy the solitude and gifts of the island with me.  I can hardly wait to show it off!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Slower and Simpler - Use What You Have

Part of my "Simpler" resolution this year is to use what I already have.
  -  Use the china, crystal, and silver.  For just whenever.  I doubt that the President will be coming to dinner, at least not anytime soon.  So why not enjoy it??
  -  Use the fancy writing pads, lists, stationery that I've collected or received as gifts.  I keep saving them for....what?  When IS the perfect time to use them?  How about now - this year.
  -  Use the leather bound journals that I have collected - I have so many that I may never have to buy another journal!  I tend to use the cheap spiral bound notebooks to "save" the leather bound one for some distant future.  That future is starting now.
  -  I have a stash of my favorite teas, wonderfully aromatic lotions, gifts of jams and jellies - and I'm going to start enjoying them.
  -  There is an envelope with gifts cards that I've been saving for "some day" - I'm going to put them where I can see them daily and start using them.

And just think - none of this costs a penny and it also helps simplify and declutter.

Okay, and I also get to feel decadent while using them!! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Texas - Day Four

Okay, will admit to being a bit tired.... 5 classes in 4 days in one large room with 120 weavers. I am pleased with how well all my classes went and the new friends I've made.

Hmmmm, there may be more sleeping than reading on the plane home tonight...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Texas - Day Three

Another great group of students, bartering basket kits with another teacher (how could I refuse? It was for a twill tray in teal!), and judged the basket show.

Food is still a bit questionable, although there was certainly a lot of it. Afternoon snack was attractive, though. Will make it an early evening......

Texas - Day Two

Let me just say that Mesquite, Texas is not the place to come for fine dining. We have had very unfortunate experiences for two nights running. And the only option for a quick lunch ( that i wasn't allergic to) was fast food. Blech!

So tonight I'm going to try a salad by room service...... Can't possibly be any worse than what I've had so far.

Lovely class and students, however. And that is the important part. Plus I can regale my students with stories and wonders if the island - if course which makes me long to get back to it. Three more days of classes.......

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Texas - Day One

Greeting old friends, meeting new ones, first class is going well. And I'm definitely in Texas!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reading on the Airplane

I love to fly.
  -  I like to be organized, and packing a bag, a carry-on, even the little baggie with liquids that is packed efficiently makes me feel "together"
  -  People watching is a wonderful pastime, and what better place than in the airport?
  -  The enforced waiting time at the airport, plus the time itself on the plane is reading time without guilt! I rarely permit myself to just sit and read, and travel days are designated reading days for me.

Of course, variety in reading material is essential.  So for today's trip I have packed one creativity book, one for spiritual reading, and my Nook full of choices (the glory of ereaders - carrying a myriad of books in one little `package).

The Creativity Book Eric MaiselThe creativity book for this trip is, oddly enough, The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel.  Hopefully it will be full of gems that I can share with you.  And honestly, I'm in need of a little creativity - I've been so involved with preparing for teaching and producing some commissioned works, that I'm feeling the need to weave an art piece - something that makes me smile, satisfies my yearning to create and makes me feel like an artist.

For spiritual upliftment, I have Prophet's Daughter - The Life and Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, Outstanding Heroine of the Baha'i Faith by Janet A. Khan.  I have been so looking forward to reading this!

And my Nook?  It holds the perfect range from which to choose as my mood might dictate, and it also shows my rather eclectic taste:
The Odyssey by Homer - thought it would be fun to reread this favorite from high school
Out of Place by Edward Said - always need to have a biography in the mix
Use Your Brain to Change Your Age by Daniel Amen - a self-help book is a necessity
The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean - a fiction selection that sounds intriguing
Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult - a family saga novel
Ed King by David Guterson - a novel based on Oedipus Rex by a local Northwest author

 How could I NOT love the possibilities??  (And as I mentioned before I'm ever thankful for libraries now carrying ebooks so I no longer have to spend a small fortune for reading material on my Nook.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Not Spending Continued - the Library

I was thinking about our resolution of not spending for a few months - which of course led me to search the web for like-minded folks.  And so proving that there are few truly original ideas in the world....I found a blog by Angela Barton that I'm sure will be inspirational in our pursuit:  She also refers to other blogs and articles about simpler living (huh!), living green, etc. that I'm eager to explore.

My thoughts today were centered around the enjoyment and relief of not spending.  It's easy - just don't shop.  I'm saving so much time by NOT looking on-line for books, beads, patterns, kits, whatever.  If I really, really need something, of course, I'll get it.  But I'm redefining the word "need" for me, in my life, at this moment in time.

And one of my biggest savings involves learning to check out ebooks from the library and download them to my Nook.  I'm a voracious reader, and it was startling to realize how quickly and easily I could spend large sums to feed my reading habit.  Buying one book at a time on-line was seductive and made it difficult to keep tabs on just what I was actually spending, since I wasn't walking into the bookstore and carrying out armloads of books. THAT would register, obviously.  Thankfully the library has clear instructions on how to get set up to check out ebooks...takes a little work, but definitely worth the effort.

All of which has made me realize that I no longer need to own the print version of most books.  There are a few, of course, that I treasure and keep.  But that list is getting shorter and shorter.

Now I need to explore the sites that have FREE ebooks........  There is whole new reading world out there!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Packed and Ready for Basketry Classes in Texas!

With profound relief, I can say that all my class materials, kits and tools for sale are all packed and ready to travel with me on Wednesday to Texas for teaching at TBWA Basket Convention near Dallas this year.  Traveling by air makes the packing similar to a jigsaw puzzle, with the added element of weight distribution thrown in.  But the puzzling is done - I just have to now squeeze in a few clothes for me and all is good.

My husband will be helping maneuver the luggage on this end, a dear friend is picking me up on the other end, so there will be minimal hassle there.  I'm 5'2", so traveling with three large bags, a carry-on bag and large "purse" (that holds my actual purse as well as other assorted necessities) gives a whole new meaning to "bag lady" when I have to manage them on my own.  I'm sure it's entertaining to watch, but a visual that I would just as soon avoid.

But until Wednesday, I can relax that the work part of this trip is done.  Teaching is sometimes tiring, but always fun.  And that is the whole reason that I do it!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slower and Simpler - Lingering

I just read a lovely blog about lingering:

Maybe I just like the word: linger.  It certainly has positive connotations for me.  I linger with my tea in the morning on the island.  I linger at the ferry dock, watching the birds and people.  I linger at the beach, just breathing the salt air and watching the waves.  I definitely linger over books, now, when I permit myself to read during the day and not just before bed.

I'm lingering right now, gazing out my window at the still water on Barlow Bay, reflecting an amazing blue sky in January, and listening to the geese flying overhead.

Lopez encourages lingering.  The hard part is to learn to linger back on the mainland.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter Hummingbirds

Our temperatures took a dramatic dip overnight last night to 24⁰.  As I was making my tea this morning, and replacing the water for our dear, feral kitty that was frozen solid, I happened to think about the three hummingbirds that are staying over this winter.  (My husband usually feeds our little winged visitors, but he is at Anadaré finishing up the painting on the interior doors.)

At any rate, thankfully I thought about the hummingbird feeder and yes - found it was also frozen.  It is now thawing as I write, and will be ready for them when they venture out at dawn. I feel such a responsibility for them, especially during the winter like this.  We just haven't had weather cold enough to freeze their food before last night.

So when my husband gets back, he'll have to get out his invention from last year:  a thermostatically controlled hummingbird feeder heater.  The name needs some work, obviously, but it works like a charm.  Until then, I will check their feeder several times during the day and bring it in at night.  It is the least I can do for these special, precious little dears that winter over with us.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Iceberg Point on Lopez Island

So having mentioned Iceberg Point, I just have to share some of the vistas from our first hike out to the point.  (Note - having biked and visited the island all my life, this was my first time out on the point!!)  The day was partly overcast, but the views were still amazing.  Interesting that on a chilly day in January, in the middle of the week, we met over a dozen locals out for a stroll as well (felt like a crowd!).  The area reminds me of Scotland (not that I've been there yet) with the rocks, cliffs, rugged coastline, wind, and low vegetation.
This definitely is one of my favorite spots on the island now.
The Cascades (if you squint)
The Olympics (white spot on the little island is a seal)
Vancouver Island (I think)
San Juan Island in the distance

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rainy is an Understatement

Yes, I am native to Washington State and the Northwest.  Yes, I absolutely adore the rain. There is nothing more soothing than lying in bed listening to rain drops on the roof. It also helps that I have a hair style that can survive the wet and humidity.

We have had steady rain (not a downpour) for the last 24 hours.  My rain guage is at .98 inches for this last 24 hours.  (Well, okay, my guage is digital, wireless, and that cheating??) And there are flood watches now in effect for the surrounding lowlands.

Perhaps I should temper my love of rain?  Well, I'm not causing it, I know. Perhaps my perspective simply reflects my "glass half full" attitude (pun intended) - to love the rain since I live where we certainly have our fair share?

Just can't help it - it's raining, and it's a good day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Maps, Charts, Compass

I have a very good sense of direction - normally.  And whenever I travel, one of my basic needs is to have a map (paper or electronic) to help me keep my bearings.  Not only do I want to know where I am in relation to the things around me, in addition, for some reason, I also need to know where due North is.

Island living does present it's challenges for me in this regard. There is so much water, so many islands, and 360 degree views.  The island also twists and turns.   So with great delight we mounted our newly laminated chart of the San Juan Islands (finding a place to get it laminated was an event in itself).  It is shown here with my over the door reed holder that my husband adapted for me.

On those places on the island (Aleck Bay and Iceberg Point, for example) where it's easy to be directionally challenged, I now take my phone and use the compass app, so I can figure out exactly what direction I am facing.  Especially at Iceberg Point, it can get a little confusing.  Are those the Olympic Mountains or the Cascades that I see?  Is that San Juan Island or Vancouver Island that I view?

I think I am finally getting my bearings - in more ways than one - on the island.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not Spending

My husband and I decided to limit our spending for the next few months - to simplify, to save more, to be fully cognizant of exactly where we DO spend our money.  My personal goal was initially to not spend anything at all for one month - but then I realized that I will be traveling and that might not be too feasible. 

Stopping before I make any purchase at all, and thinking about it, is actually rather enlightening.  It's sort of like keeping a food diary.  Do I really want it?  Do I really need it?  Why do I think I need to buy it?  Can I do without it?  What else could take its place?  And so on.  And just like food and eating right, it does take some pre-planning so I don't find myself in a situation where I need to spend money.

Amazingly, I'm rather enjoying the process.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tea Snob

When did I become a tea snob?  It's not that I need to have the most expensive teas.  And it's not that I even have to make tea from loose leaves.  But I absolutely have to have pure, tasteless water with which to make my morning tea.  On the island, while our water is definitely safe to drink, it does have its own taste that simply makes an undrinkable cup of tea, to my view and taste buds, that is.  Hence I have the indispensable Britta.

And of course I've already mentioned my favorite cup, made locally on the island.

And I need my tea bag squeezer and teapot shaped little dish to rest it on.

And the water needs to be very, very hot without boiling.

Perhaps I'd feel better if I called it my morning tea ritual?  Either way, I'm afraid it makes me sound old.  Or may I simply blame it on being 7/8 Scottish and call it good?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Slower and Simpler - Unsubscribe

Ok, this one is so simple it totally escaped me. 

Every time that I turn on the computer, I am inundated with sales emails - from every store that I have ever ordered from on-line.  It takes several minutes (even more if I am tempted to peruse them) to delete all of them. Minutes that add up - day after day after day.  And it is overwhelming if I take a vacation or am traveling and away from my computer for several days.

Why not just take the one extra step to unsubscribe - and never get them again?? If I want to buy something, I know where to find them. 

Part of my New Year's changes - take control of my inbox!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cat Friend vs Dog Friend

Sorry if this is a bit crude, but it is so absolutely true I cannot but laugh out loud each time that I view it.  Clever, clever folks that made this video.  But just to clarify - I have owned both cats and dogs.  I tend to prefer cats right now, because their independence fits with my lifestyle and traveling.  Enjoy!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

How to Stay Creative

I'm not sure where I've been, but I just stumbled upon  Literally!  What an amazing collection of fun "stuff"!!

This has evidently been reprinted several times, so unfortunately I do not know the originator.  It is a great reminder of the little things that help creativity.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Do It Anyway


No matter what your New Year's Resolutions may or not be, I think this reminder that I found on will be useful.  I certainly personally live in the "weird" category (or as my kids say, "special"), but I am pleased no end when someone tells me that I have inspired them, in some small way. 

There definitely is freedom in "doing it anyway", as well as much humor in being able to laugh at myself! Perhaps we should add that to the list: Do it anyway - while maintaining your sense of humor.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year - New Driftwood

You have to love the winter storms.  Even as the wind and rain lash the house, as I snuggle under a quilt in front of the fire, I think of the gifts that nature is providing and the wonderful new tableau she is arranging....seemingly just for me!!  I have yet to see another single soul on my beach, perusing the treasures.

Talk about abundance!!!  My only problem is that I now need a shed.  No, not for gardening tools (although I may permit a very few to reside in there) but for a space to let the driftwood dry out.

The new year is certainly starting out with an amazing array of possibilites - many of them from my favorite madronas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

A quiet celebration was held at Anadaré on Lopez Island by eating simply (favorite snacks - some of them were even healthy!), watching 4 movies in order to stay awake until midnight (crocheting socks and beading a box while watching - of course), a quiet toast to the New Year with my husband and a cup of tea, and a good night's sleep amidst the quiet of the island.  It does, however, make us sound old.....