Sunday, March 31, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Peace

What could be simpler than to have world peace? 

No matter our choice of faith, please people, let's start loving each other, working together, and building a better world. The recent nuclear threats certainly show the need for peace-keeping and understanding.  I'm not being naïve - I know there isn't one, easy solution.  But if all the world, and peoples, and nations join together, I know we'd be amazed at what we could accomplish!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Salla Bag Class


The sun is out, it feels like spring, and I am out of the house today taking a basket class!!!  My knee may hurt later, but I am so ready do something new and talk with someone other than my cat.

The class is taught by Karen Sherwood at Earthwalk Northwest (

Salla bags are soft twined bags, woven with a unique full-turn twining method long practiced by Native Americans of the mid-Columbia River region. The bags were used primarily for gathering roots and medicines but were also used to gather nuts, seeds, and for the storing of dried foods. Prior to European contact, the bags were constructed primarily of dogbane, also known as Indian Hemp. After contact, they were often made with manufactured cotton, hemp, or jute twines.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Discovery Reading

Using this time to catch up on some reading, I'm enthralled with another beading book:

And I'm also reading up on quilting by paper piecing:

So many projects and things that I want to learn and try.....and really so little time.  But I appreciate this "down" time to at least read and learn.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My New Job

Since I don't venture far on my crutches, Sophie has resorted to bringing her toys to me. She clearly has her mind made up that I should be her entertainment.

But she does ask nicely.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Captive Audience

So while I endure my enforced sedentary time with my knee injury, I have found that I can't work on projects all day long.  (And daytime television is NOT at all on the agenda!!)  But I did have some DVDs around that I had wanted to watch.

Nadine recently taught at our Spring Retreat, and after watching the DVD, I'm almost tempted to try pine needle baskets again!
I'm also intrigued with silk scarf painting or dyeing , so watched two entirely different techniques on that: 


It's rather nice to have the time to watch and learn.  Wonder what else I can find????

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Electronics on Planes

Some wonderful headlines yesterday:

Disruptions: F.A.A. may loosen curbs on fliers’ use of electronics

If you’re sitting on a plane at the gate and reading this column on an electronic gadget, you’re about to hear eight dreaded words: “Please power down your electronic devices for takeoff.” But this time next year, you might hear something very different: “Please put your devices on ‘airplane mode’ for takeoff.”

Oh, it is SO about time!!  With all of the traveling that I do, this has become a pet peeve of mine.  To think that they use iPads in the cockpit and by the flight attendants, but the traveling public can't use them? Common sense just might prevail.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Carved Eggs

I realize that I'm not the first one on this bandwagon since Oprah's article on Beth Ann Magnuson in the Arpil Issue of O, but I'm fascinated with her intricate designs for her egg carvings.  There is much to check out on her website (altho' thanks to Oprah, her eggs are currently sold out on Etsy!), including how she makes them:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Slower and Simpler - Uncomplicate

Decided to continue tackling the Slower and Simpler life by researching it from another angle:  Uncomplicate.  Different approach, some different ideas, and some thoughtful responses were the result. 

One website that intrigued me:
It has an interesting list of ways to uncomplicate your life.

Uncomplicate - it resonates with me because it acknowledges that life IS complicated.  Maybe a bit esoteric, but I like coming at it from a new perspective. Just a thought.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A New Beading Book

There is a new beading book that just came out that looks great!!

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork
Here's their facebook

To see some of their images: temporary+geometric+beadwork

You can order from her website:, both this book and the pre-order for Volume II.

Just another reason to get my current projects done so I can start on these, once I get my hands on a book!!  (Perfect example of why I leave projects unfinished to start others, obviously.)


Image of Pre-Order for Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, Vol. II (in progress)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Art vs Craft

In Mirror of the Divine by Ludwig Tuman, he writes about the difference between art and craft.  They are two directions on the same spectrum.  On one end is "art", equated with a greater reliance on imagination and individual judgement.  On the other end is  "craft", equated with a greater use of convention and a tendency to routine repetition.

As an artist as well as a teacher, I find my work wanders quite freely along this continuum.  Baskets that I design for teaching in classes are certainly different from my artistic pieces, although both types require similar techniques and proficiency.

It's just nice to see this affirmation that they are so closely related, and one is not "better" or "above" the other.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Unfinished Projects

With some enforced sedentary time on my hands, I've decided to try to complete some of my numerous unfinished projects. I'm also trying to figure out just why I happen to have quite so many unfinished projects.  Mainly I think I get distracted by new ideas, new patterns, inspirations from books, new things to try, new techniques that are intriguing, and just plain curiosity.  Couple all of that with my varied interests in weaving, crocheting, knitting, beading, knotting, and drawing, and the result is a myriad of projects that need completion.

These two bracelets are a start, at least.

And of course, I found a blog that might help explain the why's of so many UFO's (unfinished objects) and some solutions:  Some that struck me, personally, might be to create deadlines for myself to finish them.  I'm resisting the temptation to make a list of all of them - which would be a project in itself!  But it would, perhaps, help me get a handle on them to make those deadlines.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Be Thankful Instead

Instead of being mad at myself for hurting my knee by leaping on furniture to play with the cat, I'll be thankful that I have a loving kitty with whom to play.

Instead of being frustrated that I'm visiting doctors and having an MRI, I'll be thankful that I have readily accessible medical care and the insurance to help pay for it.

Instead of griping that I may not get to the island for a few more weeks, I'll be thankful that I even have a place on the island to call home.

And instead of complaining and griping that I'm on crutches and laid up for awhile, I'll be thankful that I have so very many weaving, beading, and crocheting projects to keep me busy.

And instead of forgetting all that I should be thankful for, including a husband willing to wait on me, I'll post these thoughts where I can see them every day.

Happy First Day of Spring!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cedar Visor

I took one class at Retreat - the Cedar Visor from Jo Ann Hart. I'm eager to embellish on what I learned to make it in different shapes and hopefully twill patterns.  But it's simplicity is lovely.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Northwest Basketry Humor

If you have ever seen Flo Hoppe's slide show on bathrooms around the world, you will appreciate this.  Flo was the Feature Teacher at the Northwest Basket Weavers Spring Retreat this last weekend.  After her slide show on Thursday, the group (spearheaded by Jill Green) wove a cedar toilet seat for Flo, humorously presented to her during the fund-raising auction.  Words cannot express the laughter, camaraderie, even hilarity.  (Flo did say she would include it in future slide shows!)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Teacher Trick

Such a SIMPLE idea : if you have several sizes of materials in the kit for a class you are teaching, tie different colored waxed linen or yarn around each size to easily identify them.

Huh. So simple!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Inspirational Gourd

And this is why I love coming to Retreat- luscious inspirations!

Designed by Mike Smith from Oregon City

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bad Patient

I have never thought very much about how my health affects my daily life, because I've been blessed with good health (or at least have fought my way back to it in the past).  I hurt my knee last night - and now the simplest tasks seem monumental.

So I'm experiencing a very sincere empathy with anyone facing physical challenges, whether temporary or chronic.  And part of those challenges include, of course, the natural limiting of your daily activities (including planned events that may need to be cancelled), visiting doctors, constant discomfort, needing assistance in almost anything you do....the list goes on.

Bah.  I obviously make a very bad patient. Possibly because it might involve "patience" as well???

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sophie's Addiction

Sophie has become addicted to playing with a string with feathers at the end.  Her aerial performances are quite entertaining.  Actually, she became so obsessed to playing with it, and needing a human to fully participate and for it to function correctly, she actually waited all day in the living room, calling to anyone that passed by to come play with her.  She has to be exhausted without any naps!

Her sitter for the time we'll be away at the Spring Retreat came over for dinner last night, to meet her (and yes, play with her).  I hate leaving her, but really, she will probably just sleep all day until her sitter arrives each evening.  (Sounds like I'm spoiling her already, doesn't it?)

I definitely need to get her some more toys after I get back.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lattice Twining - New Ideas

Coming up with new, creative ideas for lattice twined basketry classes is always a challenge.  I can certainly think of innumerable things to try, but it always boils down to the fact that most of the time, they new exciting stuff simply takes too long to weave.  Therefore it is not feasible in a class situation.

HOWEVER, as I pack to go to our basketry retreat this week, I have three ideas that just might be "classroom" friendly.  I hope.  If they don't require too much time, I'll have some new offerings for teaching.  If they take more time than I presently anticipate, I may have some new basic pieces for shows. 

I just have to pack a variety of materials, because as I know so well, what is working in my head doesn't always immediately translate into reality.  I so hope I will have a few new things to share here
 next week!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Small Steps

Another blog by one of my favorites that is speaking so clearly to me: Decluttering Inch by Inch.  Just some portions from that day, but I so encourage reading the whole thing:

Decluttering is not a one-night stand or a sprint to the finish line. It is a day by day, inch by inch revolution.
§ you learn from your mistakes
§ enjoy the process
§ teach by example
§ rediscover passions
§ connect with like-minded people
§ realize that the best things aren’t things
Then she has an amazing list of ideas on where to start.  Some that are now on the top of my own list:
Calendar: cancel one thing, right now.
Money: don't dine out for a month.
Digital:  Print photos from your phone with Postal Pix.
Stuff:  Don't buy anything new for 30 days.
Really - she has some great lists that make you think.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Forever Student

While I love teaching basketry, knotting, and crocheting classes, I'm always wanting to learn new things myself.  I should add, though, that I always learn something from my students in each class that I teach.

Today I will attend a class sponsored by Northwest Designer Craftsmen: NWDC Tech Support - Image Prep and Social Media for Artists.  I am currently enrolled in an on-line course: Bahá’í Faith and Arts, which is proving to be both inspirational and fascinating, connecting with other artists around the world, and hoping to incorporate my Faith more in my work.  And just the other day, I had a private tutorial in understanding how the newspaper world defines ads (as in most things, they have their own lingo) and the proper way to submit an ad for inclusion in a paper.

Next week I will be taking a class on weaving a cedar visor, and two weeks after that one on Salla Bags (full-turn twining method from the mid-Columbia River region).  And I've started my harp lessons, of course.

And the list goes on of what I want to learn:  Hardanger Lace, Bobbin Lace, loom weaving......just to name a very few.  My problem is maintaining enough time for my own work, while I explore the abundance that life provides.

So much to learn - so little time!!!  I never can understand when folks say that they are bored.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Quotes for Artists

A quote from Georgia O'Keeffe "I don't think I have a great gift. It isn't just talent... It's mostly a lot of nerve, and a lot of very, very hard work".

An optimist is someone who figures that taking a step backward after a step forward is not a disaster; it's a cha-cha!  Unknown Author

”Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -- Picasso

`Abdu'l-Bahá reiterated His Father's teachings concerning the arts, saying, "It is the commandment of the Blessed Beauty [Bahá'u'lláh],...that whosoever engageth in a craft, should endeavor to acquire in it utmost proficiency. Should he do so, that craft becometh a form of worship."

”The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections (or mistakes, if you’re feeling particularly depressed about them today) are your guides -- valuable, reliable, objective, non-judgmental guides -- to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.” -- David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's in a Name?

Interesting tidbit from Wikipedia:

Lopez Island was given the name Chauncey Island, after the American naval commander Isaac Chauncey. When the British reorganized the official admiralty naval charts in 1847, Henry Kellett systematically removed many of Wilkes's names. He renamed the island Lopez, for Gonzalo López de Haro, the Spanish naval officer who was the first European to discover the San Juan Islands archipelago.

Somehow Chauncey Island simply doesn't have the same ring to it.  And since I'm sure the Native Americans were there first, it might be interesting to explore this further and find out what THEY called it.

Just wondering....

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Looking for the Positive

Well, since I am forced to be on the mainland for 2 weeks, instead of complaining, I guess I better start looking for the positives:

- It is very nice to see my husband again.
- Jo Ann Fabrics is accessible and I have coupons!
- Northwest Basketweavers Spring Retreat is next week, and I'm only teaching one class, taking one class, and the rest of the time I get to visit and play for a change.
- The commissioned piece is done, so I can start testing some new basket designs that have been rummaging around in my head.
- I get to see my grandsons  - and maybe do a small art project with them.

- And lastly, I am already starting my packing list to return to the island!!!

There - all positive - right?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Packing Up

I'm late to post this today, because I don't want to leave the island.  This permanent transition to total island living is going to have to happen sooner rather than later.  Sleeping in, listening to the frogs at night and the birds in the morning, weaving, writing, practicing the harp, wandering the beach, and through it all, the perfectly fresh, salt air.

At least this time, I know I'll be returning in 2 weeks - a manageable time for being away from home!

Oddly, I think Sophie feels exactly the same.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring Night

Last night I stepped out onto the deck to look at the stars.  With no ambient light, there are so very bright.  Then I noticed the sound of the frogs.  Oh my heavens!  I haven't heard them that loud since I was a kid.  What an awesome note of spring!

As I listened to nature's music, during my first spring on the island, I revelled in how very lucky I am to be here, right now.  It almost seemed like the stars were singing, too.

Okay, enough poetic was a beautiful, spring night after two days of rain and wind!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Slower & Simpler - In Control

Occasionally I read Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) on her blog.  The one I share here just struck a chord with me.  Broken windows indeed.  My own broken window at the moment is my artist studio in Renton - it is totally out of control.  There!  Now that I've shared that, hopefully when I get back to the mainland, I will be inspired to continue the on-going, never-ending clean-up, straightening, and organizing of same.

What Are Your “Broken Windows”? Here’s a List of Mine.


The “broken windows theory” of policing holds that when a community tolerates minor examples of disorder and petty crime, such as broken windows, graffiti, turnstile-jumping, or drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes.
As a law-enforcement theory, it’s controversial, but whether or not it’s true on a city-wide level, I think it’s true on a personal level.
My “broken windows” are the particular signs of disorder that make me feel out of control and overwhelmed.
  • Unsorted mail
  • Messy stacks of newspapers
  • Shoes in odd places
  • Cluttered counters
  • Dirty dishes scattered around the apartment (for my husband, as he often emphatically reminds me, dirty dishes left overnight are broken windows; for me, as long as the dishes make it into the sink, life feels under control)
From what I’ve observed, people’s other “broken windows” often include:
  • Staying in pajamas or sweats all day
  • Eating food straight from the container
  • Wearing stained or ripped clothes
  • Goofing off at work, even if no one notices
  • Piles of laundry or trash
  • An unmade bed
About the last item: surprisingly, whenever I ask people what resolutions they’ve tried, and that make them happier, “Make my bed” is the most common resolution that’s mentioned. It’s a very trivial thing, but it makes a big difference. (By the way, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation showed that people who make their bed are more likely to report a better night’s rest.)
Does fixing a broken window really matter? After all, in the context of a happy life, a pile of unsorted mail isn’t a big deal. In themselves, perhaps, these broken windows don’t matter much. But enforcing small signs of order make us feel more in control–and happier.
What are your “broken windows”? They’re different for different people. Do you agree that small signs of disorder can make you feel out of control, generally?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sophie's Choices

Sophie has now commandeered the rocking chair in the bedroom, a cubby in the headboard in the guest room, my footstool, my chair, the L of my desk while I am on the computer, and the windowsill in the kitchen while I am weaving.  And of course, she sleeps on top of the cushy comforter at the foot of my bed at night.  Her birdwatching is improving, although she slept right through a flock of juncos taking a bath on the deck. 

I'm not sure she will want to leave the island next week, either!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Island Connections

Yesterday was a day full of connections.  I met a friend at the Lopez Ferry Dock and we walked onto the ferry going to Shaw Island.  The workers on the ferry greeted us with "Oh, it must be basket weaving day!"  My mindset is still from the impersonal, Seattle busyness, because I'm forever surprised here that people actually notice each other, and are friendly.  As we departed on Shaw, they called out wishes for a great day of weaving.

On Shaw, one of the basket weavers from Orcas Island picked us up to drive us to the Center.  A day spent with like-minded weavers, all making different baskets or projects, chatting about conferences, judging basketry at the summer Fair, and helping each other with weaving problems all makes for a very pleasant day.  (They also all make me feel welcome and appreciated for any tips that I might offer.)

Back to the Lopez again, and I was warmly greeted at the grocery store as I stopped for a few things.  Who are these people? The friendliness and greetings express the connectedness of island life, as does "the Wave" while driving. (The ferries are practical, necessary, and obvious connections for islanders - probably too obvious to mention.)

I can't be invisible here.  It's this interesting shift in awareness that has so much appeal.  No wonder it feels like home.