Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Late, Great Pete Seeger

I grew up on folk songs.  I loved their message of hopefulness and their fearless pointing out of changes needed.  It didn't hurt that many songs were perfect for a neophyte guitar player.  So I discovered Pete Seeger early on and never stopped listening. 

Thanks, Pete, for "Where Have All The Young Girls Gone" and "If I Had A Hammer" and "Turn, Turn, Turn."  Thanks for taking a stand when you felt it was necessary.  Thanks for inspiring us and guiding us ever so gently to the "love between our brothers and our sisters all over this land."


Pete Seeger once said, "The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known."   His gentle soul will be missed but never, ever forgotten.  Requiem in pacem.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Guideposts -- Week99

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, 
concentrate the mind on the present moment.  



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Making a Chalkboard Printable--Success!

Chalkboard fonts

Not bad for my first try at chalkboard art (digital rather than actual).  It was so easy and fun that I know this Valentine's Day quote won't be the only time I create a virtual blackboard. Ideas are churning around in my brain--so many holidays, so many fonts, so many quotes--I'm in heaven!

Yep, I'm chalking another successful craft up to Pinterest!  That's where I found the link to Angela at atypicalenglishhome.  She has a nice tutorial and a helpful selection of fonts--best of all, she had the blackboard image to download that made it possible.

  Be (INSPIRE)d,

Monday, January 20, 2014


Rather than treating Monday as just a welcome extra day to the weekend, I thought I'd look up some quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.  I found a few lesser-known ones that resonated with me:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. 

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. 

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

It's always heart-warming to watch the kindergartners reactions to the MLK biography we always read to them.  Through their eyes I've come to understand that love and empathy are innate; it's hatred and intolerance that are learned. 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Guideposts - Week98

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. 
 ~Friedrich Nietzsche


Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Guideposts--Week 97

Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will. 

Let's just say the Guideposts were on hiatus.  I'm ready to focus on a specific goal each week again in this year's quest to Be(INSPIRE)d.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reflections on Blogging in 2013

Thirty-three posts in 2013 isn't bad.

It's not great but it's much better than 2012 when my sweetie's health and chemo weekends occupied my time and energy and many posts were just my weekly guidepost quote.  Can I just say how grateful I am for clear CAT scans and minimal doctor visits?!  To relax into "normal" without that constant worry is a huge gift that I'm enjoying while I can.  I was nervously productive in waiting rooms and chemo suites--you should see how many yoyo's I sewed and the embroidery I stitched--but the joy wasn't there so I never blogged about any of it.

My non-blogging excuses in 2013 revolved around a malfunctioning camera; no one wants to see blurry photos.  Thankfully another camera appeared into my life (I apparently can't write without a photo to inspire me).  Since I killed the first camera by taking it to a foggy, windy, sandy beach you might think that Camera Numero Dos would be carefully shielded from the elements.  Heh, heh--maybe not. I took it with me last week so I could take photos of the grands on a winter beach.

Now I'm getting error message 6120 and soon will be delving into the mysteries of digital camera mechanics.  The photo above was totally worth it though!  Even though the camera whirs before giving me access and the lens cap only half works, it focuses.  I can live with that. 

I've done the SLR thing with a film camera and I'd rather not haul anything bulky so no expensive DSLR's are in my future. I'm happy with my simple cell to no smartphones either.  Point-and-shoots suit me.  And my almost-fully-functional camera will keep me blogging.

I've noticed that many bloggers have dropped off the blogoscope in the past couple years.  Have you seen that too or is it only my imagination? I know that as I read the "big bloggers" with their daily posts and amazing projects I get a little discouraged sometimes.  I can't compete with their readership or productivity.

Maybe you feel the same way, but you know what?  Most of them have good ideas but they don't feel like friends. You do.  I miss catching up regularly with my cherished online friends as they paint, build, re-arrange, glue gun, plant, harvest, decorate and share their lives.  I enjoy your comments and love to comment on your doings too.  It's a dialogue that just doesn't happen with mega-bloggers, as least for me.

Let's think of ourselves as filling a niche!  The friendship/inspiration/encouragement niche--it's far more important to me than catching up on the latest decorating trends.  Keep on blogging so I can keep on reading and commenting and loving you from afar.

I confesss that I've lagged in the blogging department because I'm so far behind the decorating curve that I feel out of it.  My style will never see me willingly live with a stainless steel fridge or paint one single thing in my house gray or decorate with chevrons.  Also, I lived through mid-century modern once and once was enough.  I like colorful interiors with plenty of art and furniture that tells a story.  I like cottage and country and flowers.  I might just be a few decades ahead of the latest trends in my hopeless enjoyment of unpainted oak, white appliances and brass.  I'm grateful that there are a few others out there who love the same cheery things I do. And happy some friends are showing me how to embrace just enough change and challenge myself.

Facebook and Pinterest have vacuumed up some of our precious blogging time.  It's soooo easy to make a short  Facebook entry to let family know what I'm doing.  I spend time on Pinterest regularly, but it's been solid inspiration rather than pipedreams.  I have a slew of projects that came right from my boards.  Finished projects, people!   

As I wrote this, I figured I should logically add a Pinterest button.  Now you can peek at my boards! 'Cause I figured out how to add one to my homepage...all by myself.  I totally rock.

There were twenty-three drafts in 2013 (as oppposed to forty-eight in 2012!) that never saw the light of a computer monitor. Subjects ranging from Mr. Roger's birthday to the truth about chickens.  No loss.

But there's a how-to draft showing my ever-improving velvet pumpkin skills.  A draft featuring a colorful new guest room quilt--my first quilt made for an actual bed (not a picnic or a wall hanging or a holiday pillow).  Also, helping to make my niece's dream wedding a reality was a highlight and I've barely shared it.  Especially since it sparked a long-dormant dream into the planning stages of creative and hopefully lucrative fun.  I definitely must turn some of the drafts into published posts.

So there you have it.  Looking back at what I did right--and what I could have done better--always helps me make my fresh starts more productive.  I really want to live my mantra for this year!


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Sparkly White Snowflakes

I love snowflakes, real or faux.

An aside...We could use some of the real thing along about now.  I know there are plenty of people in the eastern U.S. who are shivering in the white stuff, but we're heading for another drought year here in the West.  My garden would appreciate a nice insulating blanket of snowflakes now and it would be great to have lots of cool water this summer.  Then too, I'd like to indulge one of my favorite wintertime activities--going for a midnight walk with Kharma after a good dump.  The fresh snow sparkles as though every crafter in the universe poured their glitter outside my door. But this isn't really about winter weather...

I'm not one of those people who look around the day after Christmas and take down their tree and pack away all the decorations.  The Queen Mother does that and I've never understood why.  I'm that friend, the one who firmly believes in the Twelve Days of Christmas and never puts one ornament away before Epiphany on January sixth. So I'm just now hauling in the bins, carefully wrapping Santas and reindeer away until next December.  I've packed away the holiday napkins and towels, the mugs and Spode Christmas plates.  The nativity sets and tinsel garlands are gone.  I'm making progress.

Sometimes I get sidetracked.  (I'm easily sidetracked.)

Partly because it's a lot more fun to get out eight bins of holiday crap than to put them away.  Partly because I know the cottage will seem awfully austere after the cheery Christmas treasures are packed up. 

Today the culprit was this coppery/orange snowflake (a gift two years ago) which managed to hold up an entire bin of holiday decor.  All the other snowflakes that hang out (literally) with a holly garland and white lights on top of my china cabinet are nicely packed away.  I couldn't bring myself to add this brash varmint to the starched white crochet flakes and iridescent sparkly crystals.  I'm sure there's a venue for orange snowflakes but it's not in my home.

 Even though it was breezy outside, that didn't stop me from a bit of spray-painting.  And it was plenty warm enough in the garage for glue and glitter.  So I did.  I wish you could see how sparkly this looks now that it's well-glittered with twinkles of silver, gold, green and turquoise.

My family won't have to look at an orange snowflake next Christmas!  Whew! I've saved them from a horrible fate.

Now I can add this last snowflake to the otherwise fully-packed bin and move on to figuring out how the wallhangings and pillows all fit into the next box.

Am I the only one who manages to complete lots of holiday to-do's after Christmas rather than in a timely manner beforehand? It happens every January for me.  I now think of myself as being prepared eleven months ahead of time rather than a month late.

Bring joy,

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I Wanna...

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Have my photo taken in front of the Palace of the Legion of Honor.  Explore the Presidio. And get to the new-and-improved DeYoung Museum.

I was just in The City (San Francisco to those of you who didn't grow up in the Bay Area).  I used to love buying peppermint-striped carnations from the outdoor vendors and love beads from the hippies back in the day.  Eating abalone at Grotto Number Nine at Fisherman's Wharf after seeing the Ice Capades was awesome when I was a kid.

I retrieved my basic SF skills which include a bunch of very aggressive behaviors like driving with my window rolled down, one hand on the horn, one hand ready to gesture the window and one hand (presumably) on the steering wheel.  Oh, and the other hand on the stick ready to shift into first while on a completely vertical hill.  Tricky unless you're a cephalapod or an alien.

Even though we survived the drive and eventually shelled out for the parking garage beneath Union Square--which we decided was worth the price rather than continue to drive past two-hour parking meters with no loose change and waste our limited time--I am not a shopper.  I belong in neither Barney's nor Bloomindale's--not after my holiday filled with treats and their stores filled with gigantic ten-foot-high mirrors.  I'll go back when I lose forty pounds and win the lottery. Or when I have any interest in clothes that don't have to survive kindergarteners armed with Sharpie markers, glue sticks and watercolors.

Thankfully the Disney Store (crayons for our little grand-daughter) was more my speed.  Bloomingdale's was an educational color lesson:  "That dress is blue.  Can you say 'blue'?"  The Ferrari store taught Rosie Rosebud to "find the horsie".  And I think the salespeople in Tiffany's were impressed at our exercise of "don't touch" skills around their display cabinets.

Even though my sweetie and I agreed that San Fran, driving and shopping is a fairly toxic mix, even if certain other family members reveled in it, I did end up with a to-do list of activities that we might enjoy with the use of rapid transit and lots of green space to soothe us.

Anyone planning a winter/spring trip needs to know that Coit Tower is currently closed.  Lombard Street is still crooked but the hydrangeas aren't blooming and they're the best part of the drive down.  The new span of the Bay Bridge is open although it looks like they might not have attached all the cables yet.  The old bridge is being dismantled, bit by bit, but any of us who remember the Loma Prieta quake might get the creeps seeing parts of the upper deck missing (again). 

Which reminds me that I think they've maybe created some attraction on Treasure Island mid-Bay that I might have to add to my list of places to explore. 

But you're never getting me to Pier 39, Union Square or those New York stores that migrated west again.  Ever ever.

Except Tiffany's.  Anyplace that decorates with aqua is okay with me.


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

This Year's Word Is...

more than one word actually.

"Bring Joy" was 2013.  It fit my glass-half-full personality.  Sometimes I succeeded in living up to it, sometimes I admittedly failed.  It did remind me that It's Not All About Me.  I'm not the most self-centered person in the Great Basin, but I do have some strong opinions and sometimes it's good to rein in and admit that there are other POVs.  The unexpected outcome of "Bring Joy" was that, by trying to make other people happy, I was happier too.  I love a win-win!

Even though 2013 is over, "Be Joyful" wasn't just a passing thought.  Using it to sign off in my (all too infrequent) posts reinforced it over and over.  My 2013 motto will hang around--it's a part of my life now.  That's success!

The thought for 2014--"Be Inspired"--was an easy pick but it needed some tweaking. The concept wasn't quite challenging enough.  Because honestly it's easy to be inspired nowadays. Pinterest and wonderful blogs and on-going meditation series and online dog seminars have encouraged me to cook new recipes, crochet from a written pattern, improve my photos, explore gratitude, sew my first big quilt, finish more projects than usual and delight my dog with lots of play that was actually training.  

I wanted to continue that trend but I am feeling the need to be more than I am.  So while I will continue to be energized by all the amazing people out there, I think it's my turn to motivate and encourage and I'm focusing on the "inspire" part too. I know I'm not going to start the next big design trend or have a tutorial go viral or post amazing renovation projects three days a week.  But the common thread in those things is that people do as well as dream.

I guess that's my goal.  Hello, Twenty Fourteen...it's time to 


What's your word/motto/thought for the year?

Bring joy,