Thursday, May 31, 2007

Craft In America

Did you catch it?

I settled in to watch the 3 hour airing of CRAFT IN AMERICA, ready to be inspired and educated. I was not disappointed. I love to watch artists working! I love to hear them talk about their process. I want to know what drew them to a specific craft. For three hours I felt like I was sitting at the feet of these artists, drinking in their lives.

It was wonderful.

It is the best part of my job as BlogHer's Contributing Editor for hobbies. Many professional craftspersons and artists reject the category when listing their blogs, yet there are many bloggers who began their craft blogs as hobbyists and have grown to professionals in part because of their blogs. They build community online, support each other and regularly give us glimpses of their process.

And I "have to" read their words to share them. I tell ya, sometimes life is hard.

I'm working on a list of some of the best "process sharing" bloggers I read. I'll try to get that posted here before the weekend.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Inside You Is the Power To Do Anything"

Blogging Books.

I was sent the first two books in the juvenile series: The Fairy Chronicles, by J. H. Sweet to review. While it's been a while since I was an 8 year old reader, it was enjoyable to sit for a afternoon and remember the joy of simple reading.

Imagine finding out one day that you are more than you seem to be: that you are a fairy. That what happens to nine-year old Beth Parish in Marigold and the Feather of Hope. Book one of The Fairy Chronicles follows Beth as she learns about being a fairy. She makes new fairy friends and is important part in the adventure of recovering the Feather of Hope. At just over 100 pages, it's a perfect summertime read for a child.

Book Two of the series, DragonFly and the Web of Dreams, continues the story with a new challenge. And it appears that the other books in the series will fit into this formula.

I love the line that heads these books: Inside you is the Power to do Anything. I love that each book includes extras at the end such as natural history lessons or an apppropriate craft project. And I think the length of these books are perfect for a short trip to the beach or a rainy weekend indoors.

However, like much juvenile literature, the responsibility of solving every problem falls to the youngest and newest members of the group. In this case, Beth/Marigold and her fellow young fairies. Adults serve their roles as mentors, but children are charged with acting in each mission. While I understand that the child reader needs to feel empowered and capable, it still bother me that adults become impotent and children must "save the day." Seems like a lot to ask.

Still, a 7-9 year old girl would probably love these books. And I'm eagerly going to pass them on to one.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stitch and Pitch, Year Two. Play Ball!!

I love baseball!!

So I'm thrilled to post that Stitch and Pitch is returning to baseball stadiums around the country. There have already been five stadiums to host the excitement: The Diamondbacks, Rangers, Reds, Nationals and Dodgers. Three teams will host in June: Royals, Indians and Phillies. Eight teams will be fiber rich in July, and six final stadiums in August.

Even if your game is scheduled late, do try to participate in CRAFT's Stitch N' Pitch Design contest.

Are you planning on attending one of the games??

Crazy Aunt Purl and The DivaKnits already attended the fun at a Dodgers game, while Wicked Stitches attended the Reds game and shares photos of the swag. Nittany Knits (lucky gal!) not only attended the Nationals game on May 15th, but will be at the Pirates game in July!

Knitting Without Dog Hair Is Not An Option has her tickets for the Braves game and she is not a sports fan.

Pooch announced that Interweave Press is working to organize a blog meet-up and bring a huge crowd to the Rockies game in July.

And I will be present to experience the fun when Stitch and Pitch comes to Giants Game!!

If you're planning on attending one of these games and blog about it, please send me the link. I'd like to create a round-up of all the fun and would hate to miss you!!

Crossposted at BlogHer.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday's Wanderings

Don't these pigeons roosting in an archway look terribly European?

They are not. This is a house the dogs and I regularly pass when we're out walking. It was a nice house before the pigeons showed up.

I am still not doing much creatively, but it's OK. I was focused a bit on the Bay to Breakers, and now I'm planning summer activities (we go on our cruise in just a couple weeks, then there are a couple plays to see, Stitch and Pitch to attend, BlogHer in Chicago.. and that just gets me through July!).

Oh, and my computer is going into the "computer spa" while we're cruising, and the dogs are boarded... so the whole house gets a vacation!! Something about using a laptop on your lap that slowly (or quickly) kills it! Thank goodness I bought a warrenty with this baby!! Still it means I need to back up files just incase they disappear in the whole spa experience!

But I'm catching up on reading everyone's blogs (yes, I am way behind, I admit it!) and I'm planning a dye-day with some friends when I get back to the US. So creative things are on the horizon.

While I'm not making anything interesting, is there anything new you've found that I should be sure not to miss??
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, May 21, 2007

You Never Walk Alone

Sunday I participated in the 2007 version of the Bay to Breakers Race. I walked the 12K course in the middle of walking about 10 miles. After leaving BART in the city, I walked about a mile to the staging area where we waited for the horn that signalled our race began. As I stepped over the START line, the chip I was wearing on my shoe began keeping my time.

While I did not walk with any friends, when you do this race you NEVER walk alone.

Bay To Breakers_Never Alone

The challenge of the race, whether running or walking, happens at the 2.5 mile mark: heading up the Hayes Street Hill, which tops off at 215 feet and has a 11.15% incline. Look closely, several of the naked racers made it into this shot.
Hayes Street Hill

From the crest of the hill, it's basically all downhill through the city and into Golden Gate Park. You know you are nearing the end when you see the Breakers.
The Breakers
Turn the corner to walk down Highway 1 to the Finish Line:
The Finish LIne

After crossing the line, we continued walking.... about another mile to the place where they magically read our chips. I did the race (7.5 miles) in 2:22:32. Considering that I stopped twice to stretch out a crampy left hamstring, and to live Twitter the race (a feat that impressed several friends!!), that isn't a bad time. I believe I walked most of the time at my fairly normal 3.25 MPH.

At the end of the "walking" was the party zone:
The PartyZone

There was a beer garden, lots of food, bands, and general party-themed activities. This is also where I need to be to a) get my t-shirt and b) stand in line for the bus ride back to BART.

The tents with the t-shirts are across the field... more walking. And the line to catch the bus?? Well, I waited about an hour while walking in a slowly moving line almost another mile to get to the bus.

Then MUNI chose to give us all a scenic 45 minute tour of the city while trying to get us all back to BART. Folks might complain about BART, but it was fast, on time and didn't ask me to walk miles.

The entire experience was wonderful, and I'm hoping to do it again next year. All the extra walking was a pain.. but the truly sad thing was that MAKER FAIRE was also being held in the city this weekend; and my poor legs could only choose to do one of the two activities.
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Art of Travel

Somewhere on the innernets this past week, I came upon an essayist named Alain de Botton. Don't know where, and does it really matter?


In looking through his list of books, I found a small work titled The Art of Travel. As I am in anticipation mode for our big travel next month, I checked with the library system and picked it up!

I'm only 20 pages into it and I'm already telling ya... if you're thinking about travelling, read him.

The first chapter of the book is a section on the Anticipation of travel. Just where I'm at now.

He has arrived at his planned winter destination (Barbados), when it suddenly hits him. He anticipated arriving at the airport and arriving in his bungalow. "In my anticipation, there had simply been a vacuum between the airport and my hotel." His mind conveniantly skipped over the nuts and bolts of the time in between. (and don't we all??)

So he considers:

If we are inclined to forget how much there is in the world besides that which we anticipate, then works of art are perhaps a little to blame, for in them we find at work the same process of simplification or selection as in the imagination. Artistic accounts involve severe abbreviations of what reality will force upon us. A travel book may tell us, for example, that the narrator journeyed through the countryside for an afternoon to reach the hill town of X and after a night in its medieval monastery awoke to a misty dawn. But we never simply 'journey through an afternoon We sit on a train. Lunch digests awkwardly. We look out the window at a field. .....

A storyteller who provided us with such profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of storytelling, wearing us out with repetitions, misleading emphases and inconsequential plot lines.

Which explains the curious phenomenon whereby valuable elements may be easier to experience in art and in anticipation than in reality.

With the venues I'm visiting, I'm certain that the anticipation is much tighter than the reality will be. Walking the old town of Dubrovnik... sounds simple and slightly romantic. Walking around a strange city with a foreign language for 5-6 hours? Sounds a lot more strenuous. But heck, I'm preparing for it already this weekend!

In other travelling news, do you read Moby's blog?? (and did you notice how hip I am being not even trying to 'splain who Moby is?? Yes, I am that hip and with it!! Actually, the guy is just a writer I enjoy!!)

Today he admitted:
in other news: cannes was nuts. i'd never been there during the film festival.

it's, uh, o.t.t(a contemporary acronym meaning, i believe, 'over the top'. see, that's me trying to stay contemporary. awesome, right?).

so, this morning in cannes i woke up and stumbled to the french doors of my hotel room, flung them open to look at the nice mediterranean sea and the rich people's yachts thereon, and then realized that there were about 500 tourists and photographers looking at the front of the hotel(and, by default, me)to see if they could spot any movie stars.

so for a brief second the tourists and photographers were subjected to me in my bleary eyed morning naked-ness.

i'm hoping(more for their sake than mine)that no one saw anything(not much to see, unless you like bald white guys looking like they just woke up, which i just had, actually).

it was a brief moment of unintended nudity, and i can only assume that anyone who saw me probably wondered 'huh, i wonder what that naked bald guy is doing in the movie star hotel? maybe he's norah jones' assistant, possibly from a work-release program?'

or something similar.

and now it's 6 a.m in montpellier(did i spell it right?)and i should go to sleep, for tomorrow we go to barcelona, which i love(it's a hard city not to love).

ok, goodnight.

I travel to the city early in the morning on BART for the express purpose of walking across it. One water way to the other.

Next month I travel to Asia Minor to begin a 2 week adventure of walking all over the Mediterranean.

July I travel to Chicago to meet up all the BlogHer Babes and even take in a baseball game.

Anticipation is what I'm all about.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Before something happens in the world, it must happen in your mind. CS Lewis

Damn. I haven't posted since Monday? I swear that in my mind I was writing posts! There was some disconnect between my mind and the keyboard, though. What possibly could it have been? Could it have been the realization this past weekend that I leave for a 2 weeks cruise in less than a month? And I don't know exactly what I'm packing? And I'm not sure I have what I need?

I have become distracted with thoughts of supportive walking shoes that will be comfortable in hot, humid weather (Turkey, Greece, Italy). Today I ordered an pair of Keen Rosarita's from Zappos to cover this. They didn't have the more neutral carmel color, so I chose the neutral garnet instead. What?? Red is a neutral!!

I have been distracted by the skirts I started sewing a couple months ago for this cruise. They are still unhemmed. I will playing with marking a straight hem on them tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.

I have been distracted with writing an "skills based" resume. I figure that I want to do some volunteering to get out of the house a bit (and maybe polish my skills for some paying work to cover workshops and fun things like shoes..). Being able to accurately represent what I've done and what I can do is important. Unfortunately for me, I tend to downplay my skills; fortunately for me, I have friends who won't let me get away with that.

I have been distracted with an idea for a short story. Not yet to the stage where I can write anything; I'm enjoying developing the structure. It's based in part on a line that Sonji wrote about when she was dating Townsend... part on my idea about learning how to score a baseball game... part on my belief that Baseball is a metaphor for life. But it's mainly about how a small shift in one's perspective can change your life.

oh.. that belief about scoring a baseball game? I believe it is something that one learns from a person (not a book or website). It's a tradition thing, I guess. Anyway, I'm still waiting for someone to teach me how to do it.

Guess this post could have gone my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Week Restart...

First, thank you all who commented (or tried) over the weekend. Haloscan had a server go down; many comments completely disappeared and the rest were cut short. Still several persevered.

Karoda.. about my writing/reading talent. I believe this was something hard-wired when I was born. I noticed it in elementary school; used it to cheat on one test (read the Gettysburg Address from the teacher's copy), but found no real use for it. I thought everybody could do it! So far I've only found a few people with the talent.

This weekend I got the surfaces cleared my workroom. This week I need to clear off the shelves and bookcase, toss a lot of stuff, donate a lot more and decide what I'm going to use in the next year. Not use it? Then it it's either being stored in the garage, given away, or sold somehow.

After this visible stuff is organized the drawers of stuff need to be gone through too.

In the meantime, I've written notes for blogposts, started (gasp) mind-mapping notes for a series, started journalling some important ideas (like the fear of success). I've written (on a white board) my goals for this week in several parts of my life.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Finding a Balance.

The lilacs have faded to brown now, but in their prime they were so pretty!

This past week I was thinking about lists on blogs.

Looking at my own blog, I don’t have any!! I do occasionally write an entry that’s a list of thing to accomplish, or a meme that's a list of things, but no other lists extant on the page. Do lists make us more interesting to others or more mundane? Would I share something truly revealing about myself on a list? Would anything there work to make me for productive, more interesting, more "ME"?

Nope, I don't think so.

I do have my tag cloud.. which is a more sophisticated kind of list. I have my Amazon wishlist (which I forget to update)... and lists of blogs. Would anything more just be more noise and clutter? Do I just need to clean up the sidebar and make it pretty again? Or maybe have the whole blog redesigned?

Too many questions for a Saturday morning.

While I think there is some potentially interesting lists on other blogs, I guess I don't want anything more on this one. Maybe paring it down to less. Cleaner. Quieter. Calmer.

I've started to notice an emotional disconnect between myself and the words on the screen. They used to feel more real to me than the words I'd put down on a page; more attached to the person I am at the moment. I would often write with little self-editing, then go back and polish for grammar and spelling, but not for truth or emotion. I don't feel that now.

Now there is a lot going on in my head that I don't want to share. That I hold back, keep private. And in doing so I'm holding back too much of me to connect to the screen. I'm developing a taste for wood pulp and ink. White boards and erasable markers. Calendars. Things I can touch and keep private.

I'm holding back too much and losing my balance between the real and cyber worlds, toppling first to one side then the other. I need to find my balance between my public me and my way too private side.

For next week: Work On Balance.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seven Things

Gerrie tagged me to do the Seven Things meme. I'm going to do it, but I'm NOT tagging anyone. If you haven't been tagged yet and need something to blog about, feel free to leave a comment telling me that you've done it. I'll recap any meme's this weekend.

Seven Things You May Not Know About Me:

1. When I was four I took baton lessons. They tended to have the beginners stand next to the "not quite beginners".. and I was always watching them and trying to do what THEY did. Even at that age I always wanted to skip the boring basics and get to the more interesting stuff.

2. I color my hair. But I color it what was my natural color. (btw, it's dark ash blonde/lightest ash brown. Loreal Preference 6.5 A I think is the perfect color!).

3. I can read upside down and backwards. So if the text is facing you, I can read it almost as quickly as if it were facing me.

4. I sang first alto in choir from 6th grade on. When I got past the fall "find your voice" exercises, my range was E below middle C to a hard-push to G above high C. Didn't like those high notes, though. One year my teacher asked me to move to 2nd soprano; I hated it and begged to be moved back. Alto makes me very happy.

5. I was an alpha-tester for New Math back in the late '60s. So I can talk set theory with the best of them, but I cannot divide anything harder than 6 divided by 6 without a calculator (it's those 7s and 8s x table things that confuse me.).

6. I am almost always moving: rocking, swinging, jiggling something. done so all my life. Why? I don't know.

7. I have broken several bones but never had a cast. Yes, that means toes (4) and fingers (2). When I broke a knuckle on my left hand (walking our dog, Prince), I played 6 sets of tennis the next day even though the joint dislocated every time I tossed a serve.

That's seven. Who else wants to play???

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Debra Needs...A Meme

Fellow "travelling skinny pants" blogger Kris published a fun and simple meme Monday. Since I'm working on a big honking serious post about my Fear Of Success, and since I'm organizing (and so far not at a "lookie what I found!!" state), I thought I'd share this with you. OH, yeah.. (Rayna)... I'm kind of "mind mapping" some ideas for several of the pieces from your class. AFTER I get a workable work room.

Until then, Distraction is my Modus Operandi.

google your name + needs and see what comes up. I found that I need to change to one that needs a little fun...

Debra Needs....

  • a tutor to help her read and write about work materials.
  • oxygen.
  • to view a pile of directories on a large system or server.
  • your financial support.
  • to go in early.
  • a photo to post. (I can help me there...)
  • to see a specialist
  • to work on election integrity.
  • to ask the question: "what moves me?"... hey this was from my own blog!!!!
  • stockings because the week or so before I bought a garter belt.... (this is not from my blog!)
So, what do you need??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for this week's Tale of the Scale.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Clouds: May 2nd.

I had plans for a very different post today; I had had plans to go to the De Young on Sunday to see the Vivienne Westwood exhibit. Alas, our plans had to be postponed. My take on this exhibit will have to wait a couple weeks. (sigh)...

Last week I did a bit a dyeing... some light pieces that I'll eventually use as the basis for some more play based on Rayna's class.

I think, though, that before I do that, I should finally unpack from that class. Which means I need to spend time this week, pulling lots of stuff out of my workroom, deciding what will go somewhere else and what will go back into the room, and getting it put away. Then putting away the supplies.

I mean, how long can a frying pan with soy wax in the bottom sit sideways on a chair in the living room?? It's getting hot outside!!

While this task is mundane, it gives me an opportunity to really think about what I want to be working on, if anything. Weed out the unlikely paths, focus my future. Dream and contemplate a bit.

And, I'm determined to find other space for me in this house, so I don't drop shopping bags, magazines, books, laundry and other stuff in this "my" room.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, May 04, 2007

1970, A Hard Spring To Forget. When Campus Shootings Were A New Thing.

You know, you see these bums, you know, blowin' up the campuses. Listen, the boys that are on the college campuses today are the luckiest people in the world, going to the greatest universities, and here they are, burnin' up the books, I mean, stormin' around about this issue, I mean, you name it - get rid of the war, there'll be another one.
Richard Nixon, New York Times, May 2, 1970.

It was a spring that was hard to forget:

First, it was my senior year in High School; I could not wait to leave that place. I fitted in not at all with my classmates and had all my hopes pegged on finding a more suitable crowd in college.

Second, have you seen Apollo 13? It happened that April.

And then there was May 4th.

Kent State.

I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, less than 40 miles from Kent State University. It was time when there were protests on every campus, but shootings were not a common thing. The first time it happened was May 4th, 1970. Many of my teachers that fall transferred to Cleveland State from Kent. It was a defining experience in my life, much like the other generational shootings: JFK, RFK, Malcolm X, or MLK.

I found an interesting first-hand account of the morning from one of the students who was shot and injured that day.

Spend a couple minutes today remembering the innocent time before this all happened.

Edited about noon: Ok, it's been pointed out to me that two episodes preceded Kent State. First was the The Orangeburg Massacre (thank you, Karoda) and the Jackson State shootings. This actually makes me feel better. When Kent happened, I had this distinct feeling that something similar had happened before, but everyone told me "NO".. this is the first time. Now I know I wasn't mistaken.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

High Tech Tools and Dangerous Doings...

Warning, Will Robinson!! Deb will be taking up (gasp) chemicals and tools to demonstrate her patented (well, in her mind!) bubble-wrap discharge technique.

Left Handed!
Just show how difficult it is! (I mean, how else am I going to take the pictures??)
First: The Supplies

A cotton Tshirt that you want to change or fabric you're not quite fond of. My shirts usually have food or grease stains on them and this let's me extend their wearability for a season. But maybe it's fabric I dyed and wasn't quite happy with.
Second: A plastic plate or meat-tray, some discharge paste, a foam brush and a firm brayer.
Third: Bubblewrap. This time I'm using the big stuff that wrapped the journal I just received.
The Actual Process:
Gloop some discharge paste into the plate, and pick some up with your foam brush.
Then casually brush the discharge paste over the rough side of the bubblewrap. Just do it quickly and don't be too concerned about coverage. This is afterall just creating texture on the work. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Then turn the bubblewrap over and place on the fabric. If it's smaller than the fabric, you'll just need to do it in sections. That's cool. It gives lots more texture.

Brayer the bubblewrap to make sure that contact is made between paste and the fabric. You can press hard and break the bubblewrap!! It's fun! Yes, you may scare dogs or cats! That just adds to the fun!
When the fiber/shirt is completely covered (or covered as much you wish) let it dry. I often hang these pieces outside on the line in the sun. They begin changing within minutes.. well worth hanging out and watching.

After the paste is dry, steam the entire piece with a hot iron. Be sure NOT to press the iron down especially over seams or you will get marks. Treat dry ironed fabric with any of the bleach stop chemical soaks (anti-chlor, Ph+ or the stuff from Dharma). Then wash, dry and wear.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for this week's Tale of the Scale.
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