Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weaving Accessory Bag

If last weekend was focused on relaxing, this one was focused on doing errands and getting things done. Many things were marked off my "to do" list. That is a really satisfying feeling though.

The motivational speaker Brian Tracey used to call that "eating the frog" - meaning doing the things that you really need to do, and just swallowing those tasks - getting them over with, then feeling the satisfaction of having done what you need to do. Good especially on a cold, rainy and nasty April weekend when it's too cold to do anything outside anyway.

The only bit of fiber work I had the chance to do this weekend, though, was finishing weaving and sewing up this bag. It's a loom accessory bag. I actually wove the fabric for the bag itself on the Kromski Harp that it is hanging from. First project on that loom. And I'm so proud of myself for sewing the bag on my sewing machine, including a lining and inside pockets. Yippee. Something very handy and useful that I'll use every time I weave.

You gotta love a project that turns out exactly as you envisioned it. Gotta take happiness in simple things and accomplishments. Right?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hope Begins

One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott:

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work, you don't give up." - Anne Lamott

I LOVE Anne's nonfiction, especially her essays where she discusses her life and her faith, and her stories about her son Sam, who is now grown, with a son of his own. She's one of the most reasoned voices in faith that I've heard. She has the kind of faith that I aspire to. What's funny is I'm not as fond of her fiction - her novels just don't draw me in. Not sure why?

I also love her writing book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, which my friend Phyllis introduced to me back when I was still writing regularly. I don't know why, but Anne's nonfiction is so much more poignant and funny to me, and just resonates in a way that few voices do. Even if you aren't a writer, you'll love the insights from this book.

She seems to have the kind of faith that allows for complexity, and I feel that many people with strong faith tend to simplify the world and the heavens, whereas Anne accepts and welcomes the complexity. Few others have the inner strength to laugh at it, while still embracing it.

So if you haven't read her book "Grace Eventually: Thoughts on Faith" you might want to. I especially love the audio version, since she reads it herself.

As we are now seeing the promise of Spring, and it's the season of both Passover and Easter, it's the time to examine our interiors - focus once again on our spiritual selves and experience that sense of renewal that allows us to go within ourselves for reflection, then rise above and outside of ourselves in a hopeful way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Clothes Shopping

I don't remember when I've EVER looked forward to Spring so much, or a year when it's been so delayed. We had an outright beast of a winter, as I know many other areas did also. And I'm usually a cool/cold weather person, but when it comes to warmer weather this year, I say, "Bring it On!" though I may not maintain that enthusiasm once our temps and humidity climb into the 90's as they eventually will do.

At any rate, being faced with attending many conferences at this time of year, and needing an "attractive business casual" look, I decided last night was the time to go clothes shopping. I really dislike doing that, since I'm not nearly the fashionista that my mother and daughter have always been.

Shopping is especially distressing when you want to "dress thin" while not BEING thin. And a short, plump middle-aged lady like me is hard-pressed to find clothes that truly don't make her butt (and gut) look big. There's a good reason why we always ask people, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" There are in fact outfits that, while not making us truly smaller, can reduce the emphasis on our overly abundant parts.

So instead of holding out on clothes shopping until the elusive day when I "get in shape," I've decided to buy a few pieces NOW. And what is unusual, instead of avoiding white like I usually do, I purposely have been very drawn to it lately. Not sure why. I bought a white purse, a white pair of capris and slacks, one black and white dress that is very cute, and a darling pair of white sandals. I also bought a new pair of black capri's with a sort of silverish belt. And in the spirit of spring, painted my toenails bright pink. Doing this mini Spring "self makeover" had me singing "Summer Breeze . . . . makes me feel fine" all the way to the office.

What makes you sing? What makes you feel good about yourself? Can you treat yourself to one new outfit? Even a visit to a thrift store can reinvent a tired wardrobe.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Weaving - Me?

Okay, Grandma Ferne dragged me into spinning, kicking and screaming, when she offered me her Ashford Traddy 2 years ago. Now I'm being drawn into the darkside of her favorite craft love . . . . . weaving. Granted, I haven't fallen in love with it enough to add a room addition onto my house for a floor-sized loom, as she once did, but I like it enough to make this (second) scarf on my small Cricket heddle loom.

And I've dusted off my sewing machine - in this effort to transform my too-short first woven scarf into a Little Zippy Knitting Notions Bag.

I have succumbed to the lure of a Kromski Harp 24" rigid heddle loom. Here it is all put together. Nice huh? For some reason, I had a heck of a time getting it assembled, and I kept thinking we had put it together wrong. But my Kromski dealer from afar, DakotaSkipper, who I "met" on Ravelry is the very best, most supportive person. She dropped everything when I told her we were having trouble, and wrote out a whole tutorial on how to put it together. She is excellent support not only in selling the loom to me, but in continued information and assistance.

Soon will come mug rugs. I've been obsessively read Jane Patrick's Weaver's Idea book and watching her 2 set DVD instruction about rigid heddle weaving. She makes it look easy on the DVD. The book is a bit over my head, but will give me just what it says - IDEAS and inspiration for a long, long time. It may take me a while to get good enough to try many of the things she mentions in the book.

Gosh, my head hurts. I'm overwhelmed with crafting information this whole winter and now into spring. But the crafting has kept me focused on something fun and creative when much of the rest of my life has felt out of control and in transition lately, so that's probably why I'm immersing myself in them so much. It still is (a bit) cheaper than therapy, but a whole lot more fun.