Happy Birthday To Me (OMG I'm 63)

I slept until about 11, then got up to go to lunch with Adeline and Doug. Before we left the house, I noted the pile of presents awaiting. Who doesn't love presents? Doug and I have a tradition: he makes wonderful, whimsical wrappings and today was no exception.  There was a big box, wrapped in newsprint, with my name on top, cut out of card stock.

Um ... Honey, you spelled my name wrong.

Doug said he did notice, belatedly, that he had spelled my name wrong but he decided not to make a correct one because he figured I'd probably like this one better. He was right. I love it!

Ceviche and Camarones al Ajillo.
Lunch was fabulous. I had camarones al ajillo and ceviche. We all had fried plantains and salsa plus way too much Sangria. Actually, I think I'm the only one who had too much. 

After lunch we went to Jerry's Artarama ... a true sacrifice on the part of my two companions because they groan at the mere thought of how long I'll take, browsing the aisles. But how lucky am I to have such a great resource right down the road?

I made a wish before I blew out the candle.
It was a beautiful day, but too darn hot. By the time we got home, we were all kind of worn out and we all decided to take naps. So, now I'm up, Doug is happily asleep and Adeline is out somewhere. I think this means I get to open my presents tomorrow!

Begin Anywhere

The beginning is the most important part of the work.  - Plato

Plato speaks to me.  I understand what he means.  If you don't begin, then there is no work.  Beginning is key.  Go into the studio and do something; do anything.  

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  -Lao-Tsu

When I've been procrastinating and paying attention to the ridiculous things, like reorganizing my bedroom closet, the linen closet, and the pantry - Really? YES! - then beginning is, indeed, the most important part of the work. 

But once I've begun?  Once I've begun, there are all those other most important parts of the work!  I know, I know - a superlative applies to just one thing.  There can be only one most beautiful girl in the world.  So, allow me to rephrase it: There are many aspects which are of the utmost importance. How's that?

What are those aspects? There are the obvious elements - choosing the right pieces of cloth, or thread, or buttons, and so forth.  That almost goes without saying.  A crucial aspect of the work involves being mindful, being with the piece, caring about the piece.  I have to feel the soul of the piece in order for it to work.  If it has no soul, then it is not complete.  And that's the other element that is as important as beginning:  ending.  And by this, I mean properly ending.  There is no such thing as "good enough."  It has to be right.   When it is right, it is perfect.  

Dre & Adeline with Charlie - A Particular Kind of Perfection

My new mantra, replacing Waste Not * Want Not, is Begin Anywhere.  Adeline introduced me to the phrase (it's attributed to John Cage) and I love it! Waste Not * Want Not  is an old lady scolding.  Begin Anywhere  is freedom and encouragement and no judgment.  And that's exactly what I need.  Maybe you do too.


Lately, when someone asks me for my card, and even sometimes when they don't, I hand them one of these. 

*  BEGIN ANYWHERE  *

Family Portrait


UPDATE: I should make note of the fact that this gorgeous work of art is Five Feet across!!! Big!

Fifth grade art project by Adeline. Left to right, front row: Cupcake, Beezer, Emma, Hammy (the little striped hamster, partially hidden by lampshade), Sadie. Back row: Doug, Adeline, Morna. I am posting this because some of my cyber friends wonder why I never post a picture of myself. So, now you have a picture of me. :)

The universe really does pay attention

For the longest time, rattling around in the back of my mind has been the thought that I'd love to get my hands on some pieces of old kimono. Every once in a while the thought bubbles up to the front of my mind - I see an ad in Fiberarts Magazine, and I start Googling "antique kimono" and the next thing I know, it's 3 a.m. and once again I've stayed up way too late without really accomplishing anything.

Recently, it seemed like so many of my favorite fiber blogs were showcasing wonderful projects using kimono scraps. I yearned! I pined! I coveted! Then I remembered, my cousin Holly was, at that very moment, in Japan! I sent a quick e-mail asking her to please do some scavenging for me. Alas, it was the day she was leaving to return home. The photo on the left is of Holly and me, on Halloween, circa 1955. Aren't we adorable?

By this time the thought of kimono scraps just wouldn't leave my mind. The universe must have heard, and whispered in my bloggy friend Mary's ear. Out of the blue, I received an e-mail from her asking for my snail mail so she could send me a bundle of antique kimono scraps. [Insert the Twilight Zone theme song here.]

Mary is a very generous pers
on, as you can see from the photo on the right. She sent me a wonderful collection of kimono pieces. Just absolutely delicious. I could sew them all together and have a spectacular piece! I almost hate to cut into them - they are so precious. But Mary insists they were sent to be used. And they are irresistible - I have already used some to make a cuff, not finished yet but the photo on the left shows the work in progress.

Ma
ry also included a darling little stuffed heart, made from an old quilt. I love it, and I have turned it into an award avatar which I hereby present to some of the many online artists who, knowingly or not, have given me great inspiration and support as I stitch away in my home studio:
  • Mary Stanley - Art Spirit - Mary, who gifted me with all those wonderful kimono scraps, makes the most wonderful, whimsical hooked items of all kinds. Today's post shows some sweet hooked pins to wear and also shows a new book, Felt, Fabric and Fiber Jewelry by Sherri Haab, which features Mary and her charming hooked flowers.
  • Beate Knappe - Mixed Media Art - Beate has a great deal of fun mixing fiber with her inner child, and the results are always a treat. Her blog is in both German and English; she also offers online classes.
  • Dijanne Cevaal - Musings of a Textile Itinerant - Here you'll find experiements in textile making, sewing, dyeing, and so on; with a little bit of travelogue thrown in for good measure. Dijanne also has a book, Seventy Two Ways Not To Stipple or Meander, which is for sale at her blog.
  • Deb - Whiffs, Glimmers & Left Oeuvres - Fabulous fiber doings and a sense of humor that makes my day. Deb has been very generous with her bloggy support of me and what I do.
This award is given with no strings attached; I just want you to know I appreciate you. :-)