Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ready to Go for Studio Tour

Cookies are baking, signs are being put up, and last minute preparations are almost done.

My first Studio Tour is about to begin!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gentle Fog

There is a lovely, gentle fog these mornings on the island, overlooking Barlow Bay and MacKaye Harbor.  My initial thoughts turn to Carl Sandberg and little cat feet:


By Carl Sandburg 1878–1967 Carl Sandburg

THE fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

I have also heard the term "Fog-ust" used here in the islands:

In the San Juan Islands, some residents call August-'Fog-ust'. Why all the fog here in August?
Oddly enough, it's because we have fewer weather systems that produce thick clouds and rainfall. Since there's cooler water off the coast of Washington, the high pressure systems that take up long-term residence off the coast is able to drive that shallow layer of moist ocean air inland, where it cools and condenses into fog overnight. That's able to happen since skies above are mostly clear, allowing for rapid 'radiational' cooling.  Jeff Renner

Whatever the reason, it softens the beginning of the day. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pillows by my Daughter

Sometimes a mother can't help but share her pride in her daughter.  Mine has dabbled in basket weaving (not her thing, although she weaves very well), beading (which she DOES like and creates some beautiful jewelry), and now sewing.

She made me two pillows for the island bedrooms. They are the perfect finishing touch to the rooms. (Look closely - the patterned one actually has seahorses on it.)  And they are pocketed for easy removal for washing.

Her next venture?  She wants to learn to upholster furniture!

Paint her mother proud, pleased and delighted.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sticking Out Our Tongue While Concentrating

While I concentrate on driving and getting to the ferry on time, hopefully with my tongue at least in my mouth, here is a tidbit to ponder:

Why do we stick out our tongues when concentrating?

"When you are concentrating on something, you are using the hemisphere of the brain also used for processing motor input. It's also noticeable that some people walk more slowly when they are thinking of something difficult. This is caused by interference from the two activities fighting for the same bit of brain to process them. By biting your lip or sticking your tongue out, you are suspending motor activity and keeping your head rigid, to minimize movement and hence interference."

I just knew we all needed to know that!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Different Kind of Packing

Today is a packing day for returning to Lopez...but a different kind of packing:  all things geared toward the Studio Tour. Completed baskets, woven sculptures, earrings, beaded boxes and necklaces - plus display tables and covers, samples of different materials, and stakes for signs.  The easy part is packing unfinished projects - perfect for demos in a variety of techniques.

It's only natural to think about next year, though...and if I'm on the island full-time by then, how different the preparations for the tour might be.

But for now - I'm packing!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Exhibiting Baskets at the Fair

When I dropped off some baskets at the Fair yesterday to be exhibited in the Home Arts Division, I was shocked and dismayed at the very few baskets that people had entered for the exhibit.  It has bothered me all night long.  So instead of just being disappointed and upset, I'm trying to think what we might do to improve participation for next year....assuming that the Fair Committee doesn't drop all Basketry entries altogether do to the small showing this year.

Our Guild exists to promote the art and tradition of basketry.  What better way is there to do that than to have a healthy, representative display at the state fair, that attracts about 1.2 million visitors?

Some thoughts on remedying the current situation:

1. Create a Fair Committee in the Guild, that will help advertise to the Guild members and assist all year long in promoting participation in local and state fair exhibits.
2. Contact Guild members directly to discuss what prevents them from entering baskets at the fairs.
3.  Address the issues that arise in #2, whatever they may be.

In all of my thoughts yesterday, as well as the ensuing discussion with my daughter who was with me at the time, I came to realize that it really isn't about winning ribbons (although that may be either the draw or deterrent for some).  It is at its most basic level, about sharing our love of basketry with the public.

Our Guild is healthy and vibrant in all other areas, growing and expanding in membership, offering speakers and workshops, supporting basket days and an annual retreat/conference.  We just need to realize what a golden opportunity the Fair offers to showcase our work and welcome potential weavers into our family.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Enough

The following article on  ( truly made me stop and think about what I consider "enough" in my life.  Her wisdom to keep our desires and aspirations in proper proportion with our gratitude and good intentions so that we can experience a sense of ease between our wishes for what might be and our gratitude for the beauty of what is definitely hit home.

And isn't the concept of "enough" really at the very core of a simpler life?  So I just may have stumbled upon my new word to live by, or at least to remember as I navigate my slower and simpler lifestyle.

'I'll Take Two, Please'

--by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, syndicated from, Aug 19, 2013
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
-- Meister Eckhart

When I was in Bali several years ago, I had the good fortune of visiting several temples. Before entering each one, we were asked to tie a sash around our waist as a symbolic gesture of "containing our appetites" as we prayed. It seems that the Balinese believe in the power of prayer, and even more so, in the value of asking only for what is most needed, and not more.
I found this ritual and way of thinking quite striking, especially in contrast to the "abundance" mentality in our culture. For years, I've listened to public figures and motivational authors encourage me to think big, dream big, and imagine big. As the message often goes: "The sky is the limit, but only if you believe that you're deserving of such great things." In contrast, the Balinese encouragement to pray small felt surprisingly refreshing.
While there is something to be said for setting big goals and wishing for grand things, I'm also aware of the shadow side of such ways of thinking. When we sit with a large cup of wanting, it takes a lot to feel filled up. It can make it harder to experience gratitude for what we have when it's being measured as less than what we're hoping for.
As I tied my sash and entered their temples, I reflected on how entitled I've acted at times, with my big wishes and dreams -- how I possess my own inner-version of that girl from Willy Wonky who "wants the golden goose and wants it now." In recognizing this, I thought that maybe I should ask for a second sash, just to offset my cultural tendencies. Mostly, I wanted -- and still want -- that second sash to avoid the suffering that comes from wanting more than what life can really offer. It's safer to stick with wanting to want less, especially so that we can experience the relief and joy that come from allowing things to be as they are.
I trust that a healthy balance can exist between "dreaming big" and "wanting small." This is especially true if we're able to keep our desires and aspirations in proper proportion with our gratitude and good intentions. By balancing these things, we can set our sights to achieve extraordinary things, practice thankfulness for what we have, and stay grounded in the wisdom that we don't always know what our life might hold and what is in our best interests.
I felt this type of balance as I knelt in those Balinese temples with a sash tied around my waist, a sense of gratitude in my heart, and a metaphoric sparkle in my eye for all that I dreamed my life might hold.
I hope that you, too, can experience a sense of ease between your wishes for what might be and your gratitude for the beauty of what is.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Student Rather Than Instructor

Our guild is sponsoring a workshop with Laura Lee Zanger (, and for these two days it is simply delightful to be a student, for a change, rather than the instructor.

The joy of only having to worry about my own weaving and gaining tidbits and little tricks on how to make things work made me realize that it's been much too long since I took a class.

So today....I'm back to weaving!!  The photo below is what I'm working on - doublewoven on both the basket and lid.  Laura Lee specially dyed it to my own colors:  teal, black, and natural.  It is quite the challenge!  (And no, I'm definitely not completing it in these two days!!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Northwest Vines II

It's finally finished.  It's certainly not exactly what I originally thought it would be  - and the rim definitely had a learning curve (no pun intended) all of its own.  But now I know some of the pitfalls, the next one to use this shaped rim will be better. (Yes, I'm crazy enough to continue to explore a rim with shapes in it.)

It will be nice to be able to think about something else for a change!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Take an Unbelievable Break

Sometimes we simply need to take a break and be in awe.  The following actually took my breath away.

11 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist

--by Bored Panda, syndicated from, May 15, 2013
Our world is so full of wonders that new and amazing places are discovered every day, be that by professional photographers or amateurs. Different geographical locations, climatic conditions and even seasons offer the widest variety of natural wonders: pink lakes, stunning lavender or tulip fields, breath-taking canyons and mountains, and other places you can hardly believe actually exist!
Some of the pictures in this collection will be of all natural sights you can find while traveling around the world, while the others have experienced human interference – but even in these cases, the result of such collaboration is spectacular. The Japanese learned how to tame thousands of orchids and form a romantic tunnel out of them; another one was formed all the way in Ukraine by a passing train; and what eventually ends up as hot tea in our mugs, first grows in stunning tree fields in Asia.
No wonder that traveling in one of the best forms of recreation – even looking at these pictures takes your mind to far away places… And yes, all those of those places are real!
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

Image credits: Oleg Gordienko

Tulip Fields in Netherlands

Image credits:  Allard Schager 

Salar de Uyuni: One of the World’s Largest Mirrors, Bolivia

Image credits: dadi360

Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan

Image credits: nipomen2 | sename777
Mendenhall Ice Caves, Juneau, Alaska

Image credits: Kent Mearig 

Red Beach, Panjin, China

Image credits: MJiA 
Bamboo Forest, Japan

Image credits: Yuya Horikawa, Tomoaki Kabe 

Street in Bonn, Germany

Image credits: Adas Meliauskas

Wisteria Flower Tunnel in Japan

Image credits: |

Black Forest, Germany

Image credits: Andy Linden 

Fields of Tea, China

Image credits: Unknown

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Artist's Business Side

It's always startling to me how much paper and computer work is entailed in running the business end for an artist.  Class proposals and deadlines seem to loom constantly, which also require spreadsheets with breakdowns for actual travel costs, teaching and materials, shipping, etc.  Applications for shows have their own requirements and specific documentation.  When accepted, there is more paperwork, insurance, and shipping.

Updating business cards, brochures and postcards, while not a daily occurrence, do take quite a bit of time when they are needed (as I spent all yesterday morning doing).  Keeping an inventory of supplies and ordering in a timely manner is on-going.

Even in the design process I keep track of time, material, and the design itself for creating the pattern and updating my spreadsheets for class proposals.

Emails and Facebook take so very much time, but are necessary to stay in touch with students, collectors, and the basketry world in general.

Heavens, let's not forget the artist statements, artist bio, and resume that need to be constantly updated.

Teaching at my own studios requires advertising, class registrations, and reminders.

And all activity, sales and purchases, need to be posted into QuickBooks, including taxes reported and paid on time.  An on-going list of vendors and their pricing is ever changing.

But amazingly, at the end of the day, some weaving actually gets done!  After all, without the weaving, there would be no need at all for all the rest of it.  Is it all worth it?  Absolutely.

And to add a little twist to it all.....I've been asked to create a class for weaving teachers that includes all my spreadsheets for proposals and budgeting information, materials usage by basket, and really my business process to make sure it is all profitable.  Thankfully my left and right brains have created a working partnership in this.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Life is Complicated

Life has so very many details on a daily basis. As I sit here making lists for going back up to the island and the studio tour, I'm amazed at the dearth of minutia required to even function "normally". And without my lists and calendar, I do tend to forget things - not just for the packing, but for everyday living.  I have lists of what to do that day, who to call or email, appointments to keep....really just how to keep-up - daily.  And the more "stuff" we have (computers, electronics), the more maintenance, programming, buttons to push, and passwords we need to know and remember.

The statistics show there is a rise in the incidence of Alzheimer's.  Of course that is affected by the number of baby boomers, but perhaps it's also because life has gotten so bloody complicated.  If we didn't have so much to remember, maybe lapses in memory wouldn't be so apparent?

Just my thoughts I look up some passwords (thankfully I can remember the password to the program that stores my passwords), check my calendar to see what I'm already forgetting to do today, and dream of my quieter life on Lopez.

Monday, August 19, 2013

All Things Considered VII

It's my delight to share some absolutely inspiring works from the All Things Considered VII show.  Perhaps being included in exhibitions is old hat for some weavers, but it's still new for me....and even a bit amazing.  Please check them out on the link below for the gallery of baskets.

All Things Considered V!!

The NBO is pleased to present All Things Considered VII, a biennial juried and invitation exhibition. The show is comprised of 44 baskets, 14 baskets by invited artists and 30 juried works. The show will originate at Arrowmont School of Arts & Craft in Gatlinburg, TN, August 24-October 19, 2013.
To see a gallery of the baskets, click here.
The exhibition will coincide with the NBO conference Tradition and Innovation, October 8-13, 2013.
A second venue for the exhibition will be held at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA, November 23, 2013-February 23, 2014.
The show features benchmarks in excellence in traditional and sculptural basketry that demonstrate superior technique, and original concept and design. This traveling exhibition is comprised of baskets of the highest caliber, craftsmanship and technical ability, which speaks to intricacy of expression, intimacy of design, visual excitement and communication that highlight tradition and stretch the imaginations of the viewer to new insights of the scope basketry in the 21st century.
Artists included in the exhibition are: Linda Allen, Sally Anaya, Dona Anderson, Pamela Becker, Lanny Bergner, Danielle Bodine, Lauren Bristol, Clay Burnette, Ann Coddington Rast, Donna Crispin, Sharon Dugan, David Dusina, Kathey Ervin, Sue Fedenia, George Fitzpartick, John Garrett, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, Jennifer Heller Zurick, Lissa Hunter, Christine Joy, JoAnn Kelly Catsos, Nancy Koenigsberg, Katherine Lewis, Jennifer Liston Dykema, Kari Lonning, Dorothy McGuinness, Nathalie Meibach, Marilyn Moore, Kathryn Rousso, Ann Coddington-Rast, Lois Russell, Amanda Salm, , Josh Simpson, Nadine Spier, Jo Stealey, Polly Adams Sutton, Elizabeth Whyte Schulze, Matt Tommey, Don Weeke, Peggy Wiedeman, Peggie Wilcox, and Nanette Wood.

Dates & Details: 
August 24-October 19, 2013
Reception and awards: Tuesday, October 8, 2013. 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Sandra Blain Gallery at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts
556 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Contact: Stefanie Gerber Darr, Gallery Coordinator
November 23, 2013-February 23, 2014
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak St.
Brockton, MA 02301
Contact: Beth McLaughlin, Assistant Curator
 NBO Contact Information:
Jo Stealey,NBO Board member, Chair of Exhibitions

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Making the Time to Write My Book

One of my goals in moving to Lopez, and making a slower and simpler life, was to create the time and space to work on a book (contemporary bound weaves) and two brochures (untangling the math of weaving and bookkeeping for basketry instructors).  And, sadly to say, to date, I haven't made much progress on any of them.

Seeking inspiration, I found some words of wisdom by Joseph Finder in an article "Just Write the Damned Book Already".  Maybe the timing just is right, but these seem to speak to me.  Some of this is for writing a novel, but obviously quite adaptable to what I want to write.  Hopefully this will also inspire any of you, my readers, who have also been putting off writing that book that has been rumbling around in the back of your mind!

I offer up a few concrete suggestions for getting your book written this year.
1. Just write it. Fix it later. That means: don’t worry about word choice or grammar. Don’t worry about getting your facts right.
2. You do have time -- if you really want to do it. You have a full-time job? A family? Carve out an hour or two early in the morning before the rest of the house gets up, or before you go to work. Or at night, if you’re not too wiped out to write. Try to make this a regular time slot — do it at the same time each day, for the same amount of time. Make it a habit. I know a number of writers who finally started making enough money from their writing to be able to quit their day jobs, only to discover that, as soon as they started writing full time, they suddenly became far less efficient. All that time stretching before them in the day — the two hours of writing per day they used to squeeze in here and there now took them eight hours. There’s something to be said for not having a lot of free time to write. It tends to make you more efficient.
3. Writing is a job. Treat it like one. I don’t work at home; I have an office, and I go there to write. If you don’t have an office, you should set aside a place that is just for you and your writing – the attic, the basement, a corner of the laundry room with a screen around it. If you treat your writing like work, your family and friends should do the same, and be more respectful of that writing time. No one thinks twice about interrupting a hobby, so make it clear that it’s not a hobby; it’s work. It’s your time.
4. Be ruthless in managing your time. This is the biggest problem most writers have. I have a big old hourglass on my desk for use on those days when I’m tempted to check my Facebook page. I upend it and don’t let myself get up until the sands of time have run out.
5. No e-mail! E-mail is truly our modern curse. It interrupts our attention span, fragments our concentration. Sign off. Do not let yourself check your e-mail or go online. Use an hourglass or a kitchen timer (if the ticking doesn’t drive you crazy) for 30 minutes or an hour, during which you may not do anything but write. In order to write you really need to get into the zone, and to get into the zone you need to be distraction-free. I love e-mail — but it’s the enemy!
6. Set interim goals. A full-length novel can be anywhere from 75,000 to 150,000 words, or even longer. If you think about having to write 75,000 words – 200 pages – you’ll freak yourself out. But if you write 1,000 words a day, you can finish the first draft of a novel in less than three months, even if you take some weekend days off.
7. Work toward a deadline. Everyone needs deadlines. Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time allotted; among my author friends, I know only one who regularly turns in manuscripts before they’re due (she was probably like that in school, too). The rest of us need deadlines. My publisher sets mine, but even before you’re published, you will find that your own life gives you natural deadlines: finish that draft before you leave for your next vacation, before you turn 40, before your next high school reunion.
8. Reward yourself. In The Fine Art of Feedback, I write about the challenges of getting and processing feedback – but while you’re writing, it’s not unusual for your brain to second-guess everything you’re doing. Override this by promising yourself rewards for getting work done. “When I hit 5,000 words, I’m going to the movies,” or even, “When I finish this paragraph, I can have another cup of coffee.” It worked in kindergarten and it works for me now.
Go to it, and good luck. Next time someone hears you’re writing a novel and tells you that they have a great idea for one, you can just smile and nod and think to yourself, Yeah, but I’m actually writing one . . .

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thoughful Quotes about Living

 Sometimes it's helpful for me to re-read these quotes, quietly, and spend a moment just letting them sink in.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Appreciating My Life

Reading in the news about killings, wild fires, earthquakes, kidnappings and tornadoes, I so greatly appreciate my life.  Hearing stories about the medical struggles so many others are experiencing causes me to embrace my own very small issues.  Knowing friends that are dealing with divorce, difficult children, and unhappy marriages makes me feel so very lucky in my own life.  Understanding that there are people who have seemingly empty lives, unsure of who or what they want to be makes me pause to thank whatever stars directed me to living my life's passion.

Evidently today is a day to take stock, to value the wonderful things in my life, to notice all of the lovely details that make up my day, to remember the blessings of loving family and friends, to wonder at finding a faith that fills me, and....

as always....

            appreciate the abundance and awe of living on Lopez Island, if even part-time at the moment!

I have no idea why I am so blessed at this time in my life.  But I do know that I am not taking it for granted.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wind Powered Art

I just ran across this article and video about Theo Jansen.  It is well worth a moment to watch.

Beautiful art can inspire a person to see life in a totally new way. Theo Jansen is the Dutch creator of what he calls "Kinetic Sculptures," where nature and technology meet. Essentially these sculptures are robots powered only by the wind. Amazingly, these machines are made completely of recycled items. The 'stomach' of the sculpture is made with retired plastic bottles that capture the air pumped by the wind. To harness the wind, Jansen employs bicycle pumps, plastic tubing and rubber rings! Witness beauty through ingenuity :) - See more at:

Obviously, it's a day for distractions for me...

Wind Powered Art

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lopez Island Studio Tour

The countdown is on for preparing for the studio tour on Labor Day weekend.  The information and brochure are available on-line at

My weaving and beading are complete, so set-up and displays are all that need to be done for my own studio.  Well that, as well as something even more important - what refreshments to serve!

Steve  Horn
Steve Horn
Sally Jane Anaya
Sally Jane Anaya
Allison  Collins
Allison Collins
2013Labor Day Weekend
August 31 - September 1
10am - 5pm
The Lopez Island Studio Tour invites you to experience first-hand the quality and craftsmanship of the Island's many artists on Labor Day weekend, 2013. This will be the 17th year of inviting the public to open studios throughout the Island – come see where art happens. Visit the studios, enjoy meeting with the artists and discussing their visions and techniques. The Tour is an opportunity to purchase original works of art and to come away with insights to the artists and their community context. Shopping locally supports the local economy, as well as ensuring that artists thrive in this great Cascadia Pacific region.

Lopez Island
A Place Where Art Happens

Come and enjoy. The self-guided tour is free and accessible by car or bicycle. Check out the directions and map. Hours are 10 am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Full-color brochures are available early in the summer – at the Lopez Island Chamber of Commerce, local galleries and shops, regional tourism and visitors centers, and can be downloaded from this site.
Lopez Island – especially in early September – is a combination of sunny, pastoral farmlands, rugged shorelines, soft vistas and friendly folks everywhere. Lopez is the "Friendly Isle" where everyone acknowledges others with a smile, wave or both. A 40-minute ferry ride from Anacortes, Lopez Island has an abundance of art and artists along with shops, restaurants, and accommodations – a perfect place to celebrate summer and enjoy the holiday weekend.
Gerry  Newcomb
Gerry Newcomb
Randolph (Randy) Kelts
Randolph (Randy) Kelts

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mental Health & the Creative Process

As a baby boomer, we're inundated with articles and warnings about keeping our minds active and stimulated to forestall dementia and memory loss.  Games, logic problems, crossword puzzles are usually suggested as daily mental activities.

My own views on that include the creative process and the required connections between left and right brains to imagine then fashion the particular piece.  My hands know how to work the materials, but my head and constant use of an artistic eye need to work with them as well.

As a mathematician, I also have my own list of favorite math games that just may make me smarter - or hopefully at least maintain what brains I might still have up there.  These include Sudoku, Kenken, and Kakuro.  Right now, I'm hooked on Kenken*, because it uses both math and logic.

So much for my rationalization of zentangling, weaving, and playing with math/logic problems - they are all GOOD for me!!


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
KenKen and KenDoku are trademarked names for a style of arithmetic and logic puzzle invented in 2004 by Japanese math teacher Tetsuya Miyamoto,[1] who intended the puzzles to be an instruction-free method of training the brain.[2] The names Calcudoku and Mathdoku are sometimes used by those who don't have the rights to use the KenKen or KenDoku trademarks.[3]
The name derives from the Japanese word for cleverness ( ken, kashiko(i)?).[1]
As in sudoku, the goal of each puzzle is to fill a grid with digits –– 1 through 4 for a 4×4 grid, 1 through 5 for a 5×5, etc. –– so that no digit appears more than once in any row or any column (a Latin square). Grids range in size from 3×3 to 9×9. Additionally, KenKen grids are divided into heavily outlined groups of cells –– often called “cages” –– and the numbers in the cells of each cage must produce a certain “target” number when combined using a specified mathematical operation (either addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). For example, a linear three-cell cage specifying addition and a target number of 6 in a 4×4 puzzle must be satisfied with the digits 1, 2, and 3. Digits may be repeated within a cage, as long as they are not in the same row or column. No operation is relevant for a single-cell cage: placing the "target" in the cell is the only possibility (thus being a "free space"). The target number and operation appear in the upper left-hand corner of the cage.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'd Rather Be Weaving

My license plate holder does actually say "I'd rather be basket weaving", and that's exactly how I feel today.  After a lovely weekend shopping with my daughter (and I don't say that lightly - normally I hate to shop), going out to dinner with husband and daughter for sushi, seeing "Man of Steel" in the movie theatre (awesome eye candy), and helping to give a baby shower for my god-daughter at a friend's house, poolside, work beckons.

Reality is hitting on this Monday morning.  I need to prepare class kits for teaching this next weekend, have some orders to get shipped off, minutes to write from a meeting, appointments to keep and others to other words, get my life back on track.

But I'm thinking that instead of only working on the "business" side of life today, I may treat myself with a break to work on weaving.....maybe work 3 hours, weave for 1 hour, and then repeat?

It's obvious that I simply do not relate to those who are bored in life.  There are way too many possibilities out there!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Ad Hoc Piles

From Simpler Living by Jeff Davidson, mentioned earlier in this blog, I'm finding absolute gems.  He breaks down every single part of life, your house, your work, and describes how to simplify them and gain control.  But he also analyzes WHY we often have the problems.  I think that is the best part! (The underlining below for emphasis is mine.)  His down-to-earth, one-step-at-a-time approach to resolving each problem is very, very clear.  I love this book.

The following is from Chapter 2 in the book, "Some General Principles":

No Ad Hoc Piles
In every life, some piles will accumulate.  A basic step in making your life simpler is to confront the piles in your life head-on with a take-no-prisoners attitude. These piles include stacks of magazines, newspapers, bills, reports, documents, certificates, notices from your child's school, homework, photographs, and much more.  It you haven't notices already, such piles can accumulate in a hurry.  A couple of issues of a magazine, some coupons you clipped from the newspaper, a single day's worth of mail, some flyers left by your door, the electric bill that came in a couple days ago, and poof - you have a pile.
Piles, by their nature, represent complexityThe higher the stack and more diverse the elements composing it, the ore complexity the pile represents.  Don't be surprised if some researcher finds a link between the incidence of heart disease and number of piles one accumulates.  Piles represent unfinished business and, therefore, a lack of completion of one's affairs.  Each pile that you encounter registers in your brain, if only for a nanosecond at a time, as more stuff that you haven't handled.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Resort Local

Leaving the island yesterday made me realize that, in the summer at least, I am a "resort local".  Understandably, it was a Friday.  But as we landed on the mainland, the lines for the ferry to go to the islands were impressive - all full, even the overflow lanes, and backed up for a mile.  It gave me something to think about, especially when I stopped at my favorite gas station to fill up for the ride home and there were lines there, too.  So many people go on vacation, or at least weekend stays, to my little bit of paradise.

Instead of getting frustrated with the crowds, which I know will dissipate as soon as summer is over, it's a great reminder of what a treasure my island home is.  When the vacationers and visitors are gone, I'll still have my retreat, my Anadaré. 

I get to be there all the time, or as much as my schedule allows at the moment.  I'd just never thought of myself as a living at a resort.  So naturally, doing just a bit of research, I discovered a website devoted to resort locals: .

It really didn't tell me anything new, but just reinforced how lucky I am to live where the beauty attracts visitors from all over the world, to breathe the fresh, salt air daily, to appreciate being happy and aware of the glorious place I live.

But a note to self:  do not try to take a ferry on a Friday in the summer!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Return Routine

Sophie seems to pick up on when the return to the mainland is imminent. It's the laundry done the day before.  The vacuum comes out.  Projects are finished up and packed away.  Then the day we leave, the computer is packed up, the bed is stripped, bathroom and kitchen are scrubbed down.

The dead give-aways are packing up the car and bagging up the garbage to haul out.

Okay, and I'm sure she can detect my own reluctance to leave.  One last walk to the beach.  Taking in the bird feeders.

She never fights me to go into the cat carrier, but it doesn't seem to be her first choice of what to least not from the island.  (She's usually raring to go from the mainland.)

And on the drive to the ferry, once again I promise her that one day soon, we will be on the island permanently.  Just not today.....

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Agate Beach Paperweights

Wonderfully productive day!!  Procrastination might have been the perfect break for me.  I finished the basket for a friend,  wove some "zen" paperweights with rocks from Agate Beach, and made quite a bit of headway on my art piece.

Perhaps this is part of finding my rhythm and flow for my creative self, island style.  Whatever it is, I'm back on task, energized, working, and quite content.  Plus I added one more day to my stay here....I don't want to waste the momentum!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Procrastination & Pajama Time

Rarely do I suffer from procrastination, but I'm having a little bit of trouble right now in getting back to work on a basket that is only 1/2 way done.  So this morning I delved into my bag of tricks from when I taught time-management seminars, and resurrected Pajama Time.  It's been around a long time, but beautifully summarized in the article below.  That, and Just Show Up.

Procrastination – how to overcome it

 Life is so busy. There are so many distractions. So many things to keep your eye off the ball. It’s almost a full time job being an administrator of your own life. Everybody has their hand out wanting money. Bills keep coming in. Friends demand be Facebooked, MSN’ed, Twittered.

Then there’s the quality time that you must spend with your nearest and dearest. Not to mention if you also have a  job to help keep the bread and butter on the table. HDTV’s and Iphones all tempt you to fritter away time, and if you’ve got kids (like me) you could go seriously bananas with all the possible myriads of distractions.
At the back of your mind though is the nagging thought that you must do something towards your life purpose, your grand dream, your big goal, the thing that you dream of doing above all other things. If you’re not careful you’ll  start to beat yourself up over not doing the things you need to do to work on that too.
What can we do? What should we do?
For me the answer comes packaged in two short phrases:
“Pyjama Time” (or Pajama time if you prefer the US spelling)
“Just show up at the table”
These phrases were coined by my Wife, Cindy Wider, when she wrote her book “Paint In Your Pyjamas”
Often, when it comes to our big dreams and aspirations we think that we need to set aside big blocks of time to achieve them. We promise ourselves that one day we will reserve some uninterrupted time to work on them. The trouble is those big blocks of time never come. Life stays busy.
Pyjama Time refers to the small blocks of time that we have in our day to day lives that, if left unattended, can be just frittered away on other unimportant things. In a super busy life the trick is to be ready to recognise and grab these bits of time, and use them to progress on whatever goal we have in mind. These blocks of time might actually be when you are in your pyjamas (for instance, first thing in the morning before the rest of the family is awake) or during the day when you have a spare 5 minutes here or there, minutes that otherwise might be wasted by zoning out in front of the TV or picking up a trashy magazine.
To use your pyjama time effectively you need to set yourself up so that no matter where you are or what you are doing, if you spot some pyjama time, you are ready to use it effectively towards your big goal. The idea is that over an extended period of time all these little pyjama time moments add up until eventually you reach your goal.
The phrase ‘just show up at the table’ encourages me to do something towards my goal even when I have no idea how to achieve it or I am completely uninspired to do anything. For instance this morning I had no idea what I was going to write about, but that did not deter me from just showing up at the table (ie sitting down at my desk) knowing that the very act of doing so would make something happen, even if I did not know what that something was.
So if you’ve been promising yourself that you really should get on with creating some new artworks for that exhibition you’ve dreamed of, then why not try using your pyjama time and just show up at the table! Eventually all those little pyjama time moments will add up and you’ll find yourself at your own glittering art exhibition opening night. Surely that’s worth turning off the telly for (or whatever it is that you spend small spare moments doing right now).
That reminds me of an old Johnny Cash song that my parents used to play. “I took it one piece at a time, and it didn’t cost me a dime..”, referring of course to an entire Cadillac car that (in the song) was built by stealing one little piece at a time over a number of years.
Go on, steal some pyjama time for yourself, and just show up at the table. Off you go now. You’re wasting valuable pyjama time by reading this article any further!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Inspiration from Unexpected Quarters

My current reading includes Prison Poems by Mahvash Sabet.

The poems are rooted in experiences of oppression and false imprisonment. They are powerful, honest and deeply moving. As the publisher’s site indicates:Adapted from the Persian by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani based on translations by Violette and Ali Nakhjavani, these poems testify to the courage and the despair, the misery and the hopes of thousands of Iranians struggling to survive conditions of extreme oppression

I am very touched by her poems.  And surprisingly, I'm inspired by them to weave a vessel, somehow depicting the strength, perseverance and total commitment to their Faith that the poems portray.  I could only hope that if I do create a piece expressing my personal response to this book, it would not be construed as truly understanding or in any way diminish the amazing strength of her writing.