Friday, August 31, 2007

Face Time: Ladies Lunch

At the beginning of this year, I stated as one of my goals getting more "face time" with real live human beings. Not just you fabulous folks online. Today I once again acted upon that goal by driving down to Berkeley's Hillside Club for their Last Friday Ladies' Lunch.

It's primarily a chance for people to interact: to network, to share an inspiration, to have some yummy food, and to get a bit more information on a topic. Being so close to the university, it's sometime one of the smaller programs that reside under the Cal umbrella, and sometimes something else.

There were about 30 people at the lunch today, and I loved it! Left feeling energized and excited about life. (and wondering who will be the speaker next month...)

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Babbling About Books: Damage Control

I received my copy of Damage Control last week. Perfect timing, I had just finished one read and was contemplating my next. The cover description was intriguing: Women on the Therapists, Beauticians, And Trainers Who Navigate Their Bodies.

The editor, Emma Forrest, writes in the introduction
That's what this collection is about: the intimate strangers who work with the surfce and get to the depths. If women tell their secrets to their hairdressers, what might they share upside down on a masseuse's table or hand in hand with a manicurist?
I found the book a quick read. It provided insights in women's experiences with people I seldom (OK, never) frequent: the manicurist, the aestheticist, the make-up artist. How an individual came to give their trust to someone. How some became friends, how other were betrayed.

I loved Jennifer Beale's story:
My Body Will Always Remember You, where a surprise Christmas present sends her back in time. The idea that while our minds might forget those who have worked on our bodies in the past, our bodies will always be able to recall each individual's unique touch is a haunting concept.

Emma Forrest's own essay about an "affair" with her tattoo artist was charming, too. And Marcelle Karp's
Tender was just that.

However, as you might suspect, I was really intrigued by the hint on the cover about stories of personal trainers. My own past year has been tied to the work with own, that I was curious to read about other women's stories. And here the book lost me. Except for part of Beale's piece, there was only one other woman who wrote about her trainer.

She was not kind. Barbara Ellen's
Less Than Zero is a discussion on large metropolitan area's obsession with the size zero, and the reality of knowing that because she is now "of a certain age".. she will not be there. It's a bitter, biting piece that made me angry at her instead of angry at the society she was commenting on.

Ellen wrote:
Personal trainers are what happen to people who commit the cardinal sin of no longer being too thin. Their role is to convince people not remotely interested in the sadomasochistic world that it is completely normal to pay someone to bully, criticize, and insult you.
And later:
...he feels he can get away with doing what he does; What, after all, we ask him to. It's for their own good, he thinks. ...I am doing a great job pointing out to them all how out of shape they are.

But, as we come to the end of our session, I wonder is he??

...How did it come to this--paying strange men 40 pounds a time to bully me? ...I have times when I'm sorely in need of a positive reflection. here at the gym, all I seem to be getting is a hall of mirrors, warped glass, at best a kaleidoscope of random (substandard) body parts (glutes, abs, biceps). Woman once whole, now shattered by toffee hammer. There has to be more out there somewhere.

My experience has been greatly different than Ellen's; and I'm sorry that the readers of this book will left with only an ugly image of the personal trainer. Especially when I came away feeling more positive about the other professionals who help women be whatever "best" they wish to be.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pissy Mood

I'd say someone save me myself and my miserable mood; but in reality, I am probably saving society from having to deal my current ugly mood. I swear it's as if I've been drinking cheap tequila all night!

Instead, I think I'll take the dogs for a nice long walk and see if that can boost my mood enough to call some friend and say: I need to see humans. (haven't been face to face with a human since Thursday noon). And Twitter can only do so much...

Wish me luck.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Why I'm Having A Problem Fixing This...

OK. If you try reading my blog today, and it's better, please let me know. If not better, please let me know.

What the heck, let me know.

Now I've changed a few settings, but the reason I've had problems finding this?

I just went to sitetester and asked them how long it takes for my site to load.

Their report:
time 0.8
size 47.2KB
content 16.9KB
s/KB .02/KB
modem 6.75sec
ISDN 5.9 sec
UMTS 0.98sec
DSL(786) 0.49sec
T1 0.38sec

See? The testing site has the same reaction I do. The page loads quickly. Wish I could figure this out. I think it has something to do a change made by Blogger and the fact that my photos are stored on Flickr.

We shall see some more.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Are You Having Trouble Reading This Blog?

Ok, I have had a couple friends mention that this blog takes forever to load.. or forever to let them scroll through. If you are having trouble reading this blog, please email me telling me:

what operating system you are using (which version of windows or the mac equivalent)
what browser you are using
who your provider is (comcast, aol, att, etc.)
exactly what problem you are having.

PS. If you have some idea how to fix this, please let me too. (I cannot reproduce the problem).

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Craft2.0Camp. Describing a Dream.

Life seems to be pushing me in a direction I haven't anticipated. A direction I'm not completely certain about. A direction that's a little bit scary. Come along with me, if you dare. I think it will be worth it.

I get these small pushes from LIFE, more like nudges or pokes. They are hard enough that I can't ignore them when they occur. Gentle enough that with the passage of time I can let them pass. Until the next nudge comes along and reminds me: this is not the first time you've felt this. When are you going to pay attention?

A year ago this past spring, I came home from WoolfCamp excited with the idea of someday holding (or merely attend) a similar type of camp organized specifically for the modern web 2.0 crafter. The passion for the idea passed with the seasons, going dormant in my mind until last month.

First, BlogHer07 held a wonderful session on The Art of Craft. It was standing room only. It was quite delightful. (If you missed the session, Jennifer Ackerman-Hewitt has the podcast.) Then
BlogHer07 ended with an unconference where the energy of sharing ideas and passions scratched at that craft camp idea again. It worked it's way to a warm fertile spot in my mind and sat there waiting for something more.

Last Saturday that "something more" showed up again. I drove down to Palo Alto and attended my first BarCamp. While most of the day really above my head, and introvert that I am, I spent much time sitting quietly and watching the passionate exchange of ideas, there was one half hour that made the day worthwhile. It was an early morning session on Craft and Web 2.0.

There were about 10 of us, crammed into an airless little room to discuss the whys, wherefores and implications of the explosion of craft on the web. For that one session, I was as deeply involved in the process as the developers and venture capitalists seriously discussing what to do when Web 2.0 collapses. I was hip-deep in sharing thoughts and observations. I was in heaven.

The discussion began with the "why?" Why are so many young people (excuse me for this, but I am a member of the over 50 crowd... and most of the crafters are the other side of 35. Young, to me)... anyway, why are so many young people passionately involved in DIY CRAFTING, and eager to share their passion online?

My theory (just mine) goes back to John Naisbett's work on the idea of "high tech/high touch." He argues that the more our work moves into a high tech mode the more the individual would seek out "high touch" activities in their free time. Each generation tends to develop their own focus for these "high touch" activities, from the entertaining of the 50s, through the DIY home rehabbing of the 70s, to the current trends of fashion repurposing and recycled craft.

Many people who enjoy these activities will not necessarily find friends who share thier passion living down the block or around the corner. Rather than "playing in isolation" we go online, find group websites like "Craftster" and start our own blogs.

The implications of these globally shared activities move in both directions. While ideas can be shared with like-minded souls regardless of geography, there is also the implication that regionally recognized crafts may lose thier geographic uniqueness. Amish-styled quilts can be made in large cities; Appalachian wood carving might disappear from a lack of local students, but thrive through practicioners elsewhere.

The individual can "opt in to a community of knowledge instead of existing within given regional influences." I'm sorry, this quote should be attributed to another attendee of the session, but I failed to correctly note his name except as David.

I walked out of that session, sat in the shade on a warm California afternoon and watched passion all around me. Passion I wasn't sharing in, but passion I wanted. I WANT there to be a Craft 2.0 Camp. I want it strongly enough I can almost see it.

There would a zokolo, a central space where individuals could share or sell some of their wares. There would sessions talking about blogging the process, photographing the process, sharing the process without giving away your soul. There would be discussions about Etsy and bookkeeping and pricing and maybe how to use Social Media tools to both network and market.

I know I am not the person to create this entire vision. There are others with better contacts to potential sponsors, with understanding of venues, with more cachet to motivate people to attend. Today I am sending this intention to the Universe. Asking for that thing that I truly want to see happen.

The next move is up to Universe.

How would you envision Craft2.0Camp?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays, where this was cross-posted.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Grinder rule no. 1

On the wall as you walk to your seats at Comisky Park (home of the White Sox). I'm trying to figure out how to adapt this rule to my own life.

Have I mentioned that I have been fighting a respiratory infection for the last few weeks? Hmm.. started the Tuesday before BlogHer.. so July 24th. Spent last week on a 5 day course of antibiotics which helped a lot, but still have a "little something". It seems to take forever anymore for me to get over these respiratory things. sigh.

Which might explain why I took a 2 hour nap this afternoon. It was yummy. I woke up feeling a breeze from the open window gently running over me. I had apparently not moved an iota since I laid down, lay down, lain down... since I hit the sheets. Deep muscle relaxation...

Thursday morning I went to Geek Breakfast (oh, what are rules? I can say I went to breakfast but not where? Can I say it was Geek Breakfast? I don't recall. Live with it!) Ok. I went to Geek Breakfast and a had a pleasant chat with several women there. One was a charming young woman getting ready for Burning Man. She had asked to meet her there because she needed to borrow my sewing machine.

(I hear the collective gasp of all of you. But it's OK).

So after eating, the two of us wandered out to the pupmobile where I gave her a quick and dirty lesson in threading the machine, threading the bobbin (I gave her 5 pre-wound bobbins so she wouldn't have to deal with winding part).. and showed her the owners manual, etc.

She was happy when she first saw the machine. "My mother sewed on a paff! Though not this fancy." And she was thrilled to see it all coming back to her while we sped through the lessons. I wish her lots of luck and fun playing my 7550. In it's absence, I will be forced to clean my work room. so it's all good.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shall I Entertain You With Some Photographs??

Cool window

Cool Window. Part of my Flickr photostream. Found on an abandoned building on a side street in Berkeley last Saturday. Shot with my cellphone. Because doesn't everyone use thier phone as their auxiliary camera anymore? I think it's quite cool, even though it's slightly askew.

Wednesday was one of those days when I run around like a banshee, never lighting long in one place to do one thing, yet all I have to show for it is one load of folded white laundry.

That was washed and placed in the dryer last night.

So all I really did yesterday was fold it.

And I'm calling it good.

Left the house just after 8 am., to drop my car off at the dealership. It needs an oil change service and one of the dummy lights was on. They thought it would be done about noon.

Fortunately, I had arranged for a friend to come pick me up for the morning. Called her while she was still in her jammies, trying to get her grandson to eat some breakfast. You know how it is with four-year-olds. They need to assert their independence. I sat on a bench outside, knitting on my jaywalker socks and listen to Christine Kane on my mp3 player until she showed up.

Back at her house, grandson still not done eating but running around buck naked. I played with their dog until said child found his dignity and underwear, then spent a nice hour or so talking computer talk with her 17 year old son. We had our laptops open side by side and worked and played and chatted. It was quite pleasant. My friend was amused by us, but not really interested.

Then on to the main reason for which she had rescued me from the dealership. Another Pickle needed a difficult quilt project photographed and did not have a camera up to the task. This was one incident when the camera-phone wouldn't cut it. (though I must admit that my Lime Chocolate takes damn fine photos!) My job was show up with my gear (camera, tripod just in case, and before-mentioned laptop) to try and do the piece justice. More on that later.

After shooting was done, there was a baby-grand-daughter to gurgle over. I did none of the gurgling, as I just particularly care for babies (There! I've said it!). But the two gals there were quite content to carry on themselves and not at all offended that I chose not to play too. Meant more baby facetime for them. Which worked for us all.

A late lunch, then back to the dealership. It was 2:15 pm and they had just finished working on my car. Oh yeah, and they need to order a part so I can bring it back next week. Sigh...

Home. A couple phone calls, folding said load of laundry, writing this post, then off to go out to supper with the spouser and business rep.-friend in from San Antonio. I am such a social butterfly!!

Now about that challenging photography project:

It is a crazy-quilted mainly-white chuppah. Lots of reflective fabric like satin to make it a challenge to shoot. And so damned white that the details don't show in the large shot.
Jamie's Chuppah

But the details:
Chuppah Detail #1

Chuppah Detail #2

Chuppah Detail #3

This is being entered into PIQF, so if you are coming to the show you might see it in person. And wonder about all the truly fine needlework in it so far.

It's "guardian" at the moment is fabulous Pickle-gal Jamie. Her intention is that this chuppah be used by all the children in this and perhaps several generations. There is lots of white blank space on each block intentionally so that each new couple married under it will have their names added to the project.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blog Power Brings More CRAFT...

Late last week I received an email from the producers of CRAFT IN AMERICA (the pbs program that I raved about last May). The viewing of the show was higher than they had anticipated, and they attributed the show's success to all the bloggers spreading the word.

She thanked me for spreading the work via BlogHer, and let me know that two additional episodes have been ordered by the sponsors!

Personally, I was hoping that the thank you might include a request for my address so I could I get the DVDs for free. Alas, their thanks were not that deep!!

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

Crafting a Community: Why We Do What We Do

It is now two weeks post-BlogHer 07. The contact high created by the sheer energy of 800 women sharing face-to-face the ideas that they had previously only shared in text and photos is fading. I'm slipping back into the quiet; savoring the thoughts and ideas of women, many of whom I may never meet.

I know the power of the conference will drive me to not only continue writing, but work to craft more prefect words. It led me to wonder about others who continue to share their creative process with the world through their blogs. What inspires them and keeps them moving forward?

Cherry from Tales of the Pixie Wood who lives in Britain admitted her truth:
My country is now at security level critical, which is as high as it can get. It is under attack and the word on the street is when not if.

And it's because of things like this that I want to make a difference. I want to water down the evil with goodness. I want to diffuse the anger with kindness.
Much, much later in the same post she write:
Kindness is infectious. It grows and spreads with a virus like speed and you only have to look out to blog-land and to the community that surrounds blogs that are similar to this one to see that. I need that right now.

I've just read this post back. It sounds so naive and oddly futile. No structure or coherence..........

Who cares.

The entire post is a pure gift of kindness to the blogosphere.

Alicia explained the importance of her blog when she wrote:
I've changed.

All my life I've felt a little separate, a little bit apart, with my alien blood and my prissy ways, riding my imaginary horse down the middle of the sidewalk; but I'd stomp my feet in frustration when I wasn't understood. If someone would say, as they sometimes did, "I had no idea you felt that way," I'd fly into fit of hysterics, more radical than ever seemed warranted or expected, blotchy with tears and accusations.

"Nobody listens to me!" I'd shriek, alone, into my pillow, then smooth it — I'd embroidered it, after all; no point ruining the stupid thing. I'd always planned to leave, take my pillowcase and find my places, was sure that I could, though it always has taken me a long time to get to them, as it takes us sloths.

Sometimes I'll walk through the living room now, and I'll see Andy in his brown chair, hunched over the laptop. He'll smile, laugh, scan the screen, smile again. "What are you reading?" I say. And he says, "The blog." He reads every post and every comment. Each comment is a wave — Hi, friend! — a wink, a hug, a giggle, a shrug, a squawk, a total miss, a tiny kiss, a hand held out, steadying an elbow.

Insert sob here.

Look at all the listeners, he says.

Blotchy, I look up from the pillow/keyboard and see you, right there, yours hands cupped toward me around your ears. How you got here is a mystery to me, but don't leave.
Over at Bella Knitting, Sarah was writing about how creativity is action that feeds itself in Enact the Verb:

Bloggers, you know what I'm talking about -- when you first started,
you know you had a little voice in your head saying "how the heck am I
going to feed entries into this thing several times a week?"

Then you started doing it, and it got easier. Maybe the gardening metaphor above
doesn't quite work -- maybe it's more like birdfeeding. If you just
look at your garden occasionally, you'll see a bird now and then. But
if you put out a birdfeeder and add seeds or peanut-butter pinecones on
a regular basis, you'll see birds all the time. You may even start to
attract squirrels, racoons, and other crafty little critters.

After all, when you get into knitting and knitblogging, you're getting into a
community that isn't limited to just knitting -- you started
out with knitting needles and a little yarn, you end up with a needle
and notion collection, a yarn stash, a spinning wheel or two, a fiber
stash, a sewing machine, a pile of pretty fabrics...inspiration stops
flitting into your life like the occasional hummingbird: it swarms to

What is it that keeps you sharing your creativity and spirit with a unseen but loving community of bloggers?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions . Crossposted at BlogHer.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What I Know, So Far...

Sunset, 8/6/07

Yesterday I mentioned that I've been examining the parts of me that I've let drop over the years. The things I used to be that for one convenient reason or another I decided not to be anymore. Things that I now miss and wish to recover.

One thing I know: I like a little adrenaline rush and a bit of physical activity, but I don't want to be responsible for it or think too much.

When I was in my 20s I would white-water raft at least once a season. I've done the Cheat, The New and the Gauley in West Virginia, thoroughly enjoying the experiences. We'd get to the put-in site and a professional river runner would take us and our raft through the water for the day. He/She was responsible for fixing lunch, and for choosing the line we'd take through each rapid to insure a safe but exciting ride. All I had to do was sit there and paddle.

But my husband and one of his friends were fond of going on the Yough outside Pittsburg, Pa. These trips were always self-guided. For some reason, our raft would usually get the newbies, so I always felt like we got the short stick in the deal. The only real problems I've had doing a river were on this one.

I tried a couple times to convince them that there was a river experience wider and more fun than the Yough, but I never won those discussions. They liked what they liked and that was it. My old river rafting friends were also getting married, having families and not available to just run down to West Virginia for a weekend with me, to I didn't feel I had the option to say: you go on your river and I'll go on mine.

Instead I quit running rivers at all. I gave up a great adrenaline high because I couldn't stop thinking and simply have fun.

I've learned a lot about myself and physical activity this past year:

I actually love to exercise as long as I don't have to think about it. That's why when I go for a walk I completely repeat the same path. Rote is good; random is thinking.

Walk the dogs? Better on a leash, because then I'm less responsible for paying attention to them.

My major complaint with the interval training that my trainer wants me to do? None of the equipment has the program set the way he wants me to do it, so I have to pay attention and think.

For me: Movement = Moving Meditation. Now that I know, I can make choices in the future that align with that feeling. And if someone wants to me do to something that requires attention and thought? I will gladly hand that over to them.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Watery Wondering...

Do you bathe or shower? Or do choose a method depending upon your mood?

For decades I would shower. Not quick jump-in-jump-out showers that get the job done with a minimum of resources used. I'd often stand in the shower letting the water run over me until I used up all the hot water in the house. Because water lets me think. It must be because my horoscope chart is strongly centered in water signs.

A couple years ago I realized that I do not give myself permission to do certain things: contemplate quietly or just read a book. That's when I discovered that if I made myself take a bath (and allow myself to stay in the water until it cools to something less than body temperature), I have a time and place where I give myself to do those things forbidden the rest of the day.

So now I bathe.

Normally I stand in the tub for a couple minutes, waiting for initial cold water to mix with the eventual hot water, then slide down under the surface. I start reading as soon as I step onto the fiberglass surface. (the spouser says it's quite a picture.. a woman standing naked in a nearly empty tub with her nose stuck in a book. Whatever...) I get about 30 minutes of reading before I must scrub myself new. I remain sitting in the tub as the water drains then dry myself off and dress.

After, I'm often drawn back to my computer to write. I do most of my blogging after a bath. And sometimes, when I'm dry, dry, dry for something to write, I find myself drawn to the tub as if it were my muse.

Lately, I haven't been reading in the bath. I've been thinking about who I was once-upon-a-time, how I've lost that gal, and what parts of her I wish to reclaim. Instead of leaving the bath just physically fresher, I find I'm exiting it with a better understanding of who the gal is beneath the skin.

It's an interesting idea.

I'll be sharing it with you over the next few days.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Arftul Blogging: The Premiere Issue

Stampington has just issued a new quarterly publication: Artful Blogging. I picked up my own copy Friday and spent the weekend visiting with old and new friends inside. It's an interesting idea: create a publication that honors an online process. I was skeptical of the idea, but I think Stampington actually pulled off this feat.

There are 40 artists represented who blog about photography, illustration, craft, scrapbooking, althered books...the gamut of visual work. Each blogger discussed why they started and why they continue. Each author mentions building communities, connecting with like-minded folk, putting themselves out there, blogging the process, sharing the experience. All the reasons that we all began our blogs. It reinforces my belief that blogging is a personal state of mind.

There are partial blogposts from some of the artists highlighting their best writing. While this is a very visual publication, the words are like magic. This edition also features what the editor calls 6 creative "hubs". These are weekly or monthly challenge blogs like Studio Friday or Wednesday Stamper. They also have suggestions on blogging etiquette and how to get started.

Who are some of the artists featured in this issue??

BlogHer Keri Smith who just spoke at BlogHer07.

BlogHer Alicia Paulson has one of the most perfectly beautiful craft blogs ever.

BlogHer Artsy Mama will be throwing an Artful Blogger Party on her blog on Wednesday, August 8th. About the party, she writes:
I was thinking that each participating blog could post a quick tutorial on making some sort of artsy type craft. We could all skip around and get tons of fun ideas and try new techniques. Wouldn't that be fun!?...Last time this was a huge success and over 75 blogs had parties of their own and we had tons and tons of mingling bloggers all over the world attend. This time is sure to be bigger and better than ever!!
And a variety of other talented women represent including:

Art Tea Life a happy, colorful romp through craft!

Juju Loves Polka Dots a little bit of everything shows up on her blog.. including bad jokes at the moment.

Ornamental makes beautiful journals and altered books.

Posy Such a Story-Teller!! And this gal can sew!

Misty Mawn who writes long, rambling, beautiful posts about her life.

What's the buzz? Check out:

Figments of Cindy's Imagination


Newbie blogger cj stitching and blooms

Finally, Jaded Optomist who had an interesting line:
In a kinda weird new media/old media twist, Stampington & Co., known mostly (to me at least) for its crafty mags, is releasing a print magazine about...crafty bloggers. Of course, reading their blogs is free; buying the magazine is 14.95.

So is the publication worth forking over all that cash? In my opinion, yes. It would take me hours to prowl these blogs (ok and the 100 others I'd be reading) and I might never find the words supplied. I've spent the weekend overwhelmed by some of the visual pages, though. It's like a sugar-rush from eye candy.

But more importantly, for me, this just may be a way to share my life with friends who "just don't get" blogging, and don't understand what I do. They WILL "get" the images, they may finally understand the depth of the connections being made. With any luck, it means that they will "get me" a little more.

Do you have a great crafty blog? Stampington is looking for submissions for their next issues. They require your blog to be atleast 6 months old, that high-resolution versions of your artwork be available, and that you write a submission that is inspiring or entertaining. Ironically, they do not make it clear if email submissions are welcome.

Who would you nominate? Who would you like to read a bit more about?

crossposted at BlogHer.
I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and every Saturday and Monday at BlogHer.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Not Quite Green...

Hydrangea debris. 8/5/07.

I have a mysteriously sick Sycamore tree in my front yard that finally necessitated a visit from an arborist Friday. This guy is a multiple-certified tree guy and even he is stumped. But we are guessing that there was either some kind of chemical burning of the roots (now to figure out how??) or it's the worst case of anthracnose ever!

Chris (the arborist) is so confused that he's bringing in the corporate expert to look at my tree on Tuesday. Who knows? It might be the subject of an academic paper someday. Some poor schmoe from UC Davis will be driving down to gather leaf samples and soil samples and scratching his head all the way home.


While Chris was here, we walked around the yard looking at general health of everything. Anywhere might lie a clue. With my sycamore dropping leaves like it's November, we are chopping them up and trying to compost them. The spouser put them into our tumbling compost bin, even though I've explained that it's BATCH composter. The mix of carbon and nitrogen must be correct when you begin. You don't continuously add things to a tumbler. Which is why I put all fresh debris into our black standard compost bin and let it cook a while. When that bin is full, I remove that stuff into the tumbler to finish cooking. A semi-cooked batch will finish up in the tumbler in 4-6 weeks. It's a pain of a project to do, but it works.

Hydrangea debris with bloom
Again, back to Chris. He believes that if the compost get hot enough, it should cook off the powdery mildew and anthracnose spores instead of spreading them around the yard futher. IF it gets hot enough. Which means if it's perfectly balanced with carbon and nitrogen. Better known to us composters and "brown" and "green."

The one problem with composting is that one is either rolling in "brown" or "green" but seldom has the right mix together at one time. At the moment I'm letting our lawn go dormant (we have water restrictions in place) so there is a dearth of green material to add to those leaves in the tumbler. I mixed some Blood Meal in the other day to atleast get some nitrogen in there, but I haven't seen evidence of much cooking happening.

However, Friday afternoon I also trimmed a number of faded blooms off one of my hydrangea plants. And while it's not quite "green" it is live and tender growth and might help to increase the mix in our tumbler. At least until I beg a bag of grass clippings from a neighbor.

So I stripped the flowerheads from the woodier stems and dropped them on them of the leaves. Then realized these needed to be photographed. Looking closely at them, the texture and color is subtle and beautiful. One would guess that it was taken here inside our tumbler!

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Where Do I Go From Here??

photo credit: Mark Sardella's Flickr photostream

The high from last weekend is mellowing out and becoming more of point on my soul that I can revisit from time to time. A signpost to what's next. A touch point for my life.

Truly it was 4 of the best days of my life. With all the schlepping and vacuum-memory moments (wait.. I attended sessions? On what??), the sheer quantity of admiration and love that emanated from the conference will keep me moving forward for a good long time. And many of us have continued the love fest by keeping in touch throughout the day on Twitter. Little shots of laugh and love and positive vibe... with some constructive guidance thrown in too.

So, where am I going from here?

I've written that I've lost a lot of my passion for the art quilting and quilting in general. I still love the surface design and will continue to play with that, but I may need to find ways to alter that approach. Using the surface design to create wearables and home dec items that I can sell at an Etsy shop. Perfecting a couple techniques and hitting the local art centers about teaching these as classes. Occasionally making a quilt to comfort a friend, or express a specific thought.

Just keep working until the next step reveals itself to me.

In the meantime, I am taking on an interesting project. Don't know exactly how or where it's going to go, but I think I'm one of the few in a position to do this:

I'm examining a number of the new "social media" sites (like Twitter, ScrapBlog, Facebook, etc.) specifically with an eye as to how these might be useful for the artist/crafter. The person who wants to get information quickly in a neat, tidy package so they can get back to their work. The person who wants to organize information they might need in the future in a way that is useful to them, not determined by someone else's hierarchy.

Do these sites have enough to offer to make them more than time-wasters?

Is there a Web 2.0 option that could act as a valid replacement for all the knowledge we used to get on the Quilting Arts mailing list without all the wasted stuff that has driven many of us off the list?

What might you be looking for in a web 2.0 social media website? Do you even know? How would you like to use the web more efficiently in the future? For networking? For information sharing? For increasing your income?

Tell me. Help me figure out what to look for, what questions to ask, and I'll tell you about your future...

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Notes for BlogHer 08

From Laurie White's Flickr photostream. This is Catherine Morgan (fellow CE) and I having some deep discussion on Thursday night. BTW, I completely LOVE Laurie and Catherine.

I've decided I've yammered enough about the past weekend. I'd yammer more, but I'm still waiting for photos to be uploaded. (Ahem, yeah... I'm talking to you Laurie!) Instead, for my own benefit as well as everybody else's, I'm going to make a list of things to remember for next year:

For BlogHer 08:

  • Bring a rollerbag to carry items to/from/around the conference. Living like a turtle with my life on my back for 3 days was a pain in the shoulder.
  • Leave the camera at home. I took few photos; it was extra weight and worry having it.
  • MAX: 2 pairs of jeans and 4 tshirts. One pair of supportive shoes. I am not the fashion plate person here. And I need space for the swag!
  • Color my hair (and maybe whiten my teeth and get my eyebrows done) a week before the conference. I might not be a fashion plate, but I can still look good.
  • Pack earplugs for more than just sleeping. Or investigate sound-cancelling headphones. Something to kill some of the background noise but let me hear the people.
  • Set reminders on my phone for sessions I don't want to miss. Then set it to vibrate. In my pocket. I won't miss anything important while I'm gabbing my face off and sipping espresso at the internet cafe.
  • Carry a small notebook in my hand (with pen this time) and use it. Note down when/where you meet people and get their cards. Copy down links in sessions.
  • Talk to more newbies.
  • Remember that I'll be tired and dehydrated and do whatever I can to compensate.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.