Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The cross stitch pattern here is called "Next to Go." Probably sheep dog trials. Border collies are called collies or sheep dogs overseas. I love this pattern.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I can't relate to the "needy" thing. It just doesn't fit. I have thought about it a lot, and I don't feel in my gut that it's right. Then what is right?
I think I misinterpreted the relationships. I thought we were closer than we were. I thought they enjoyed talking to me. I certainly enjoyed talking to them. But I seem to have been too intense. They felt that I was demanding more from them than they could give. This would have been the case if we were interpreting the relationship differently. In face to face relationships when this happens, the one with the less intense feelings withdraws, perhaps feeling a bit stifled by the other person. I have been there and done that.
Breaking up with friends is a bit like breaking up with lovers. It hurts like heck.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
It seems like my friends are changing too. In the last few days, two of my friends have dumped me. They were internet friends. We were a trio, the three of us. They said I was too "needy," but I don't see it, and I don't even feel there's anything to deny. I mean, I can't find neediness anywhere in me. And I've looked.
All I feel is transformation. I feel very different than I did a few weeks ago. I think I am going in a good direction. I don't understand why anyone would reject me now, unless they don't like who I am becoming. Maybe we have gone in different directions. How that can be interpreted as neediness, I don't know. It may just be an excuse to end the relationship.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
I have a friend who loaded a brother-in-law $300,000. He went into bankruptcy and never paid it back. The money was part of their retirement savings. They have jumped through legal hoops and there is little hope.
I know somebody who mortgaged their house to pay for a daughter's legal fees. She was a pharmacist and was doing drugs. She was on probation for manslaughter. She had shot and killed her boyfriend who was abusing her. When she got caught on the drug charge, she had to serve time for both crimes. The family eventually went into tough-love mode. They had given her everything they could give, and finally had to let her fall.
I just had a relative ask me for money. We didn't talk for 13 years...since the last time she asked me for money. I have been talking to her again for a few months, and she asked for money again. I feel terrible about saying no. I told her we couldn't afford it, that we have two children in college and a third in a private high school. I am afraid that the next time she asks for money, she will not talk to me again for another 13 years.
If I had a lot of money, I would give it to her, so she would never hurt for money again. I would buy her a house and set up a trust fund, and put her children through college. Right now I am putting my children through college and saving for retirement. I feel just terrible saying no. I feel terrible because I have so much more than she has.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Rep Tom Delay (R-TX), when Clinton sent troops to Bosnia.
I have a soldier from Soldiers' Angels. I am a Democrat and I don't feel great about the War in Iraq. I dislike Bush immensely, especially his so-called values, which I don't share. Yet I have a soldier I am supporting who is now in Iraq. I am enjoying it immensely. I hope he is too.
As Tom Delay said, you can support the troops -- even if you aren't a Republican, even if you don't agree with the war, even if you are a conscientious objector, or a vegetarian, and even if Ayn Rand isn't your favorite author. You can support the troops if you are a Clinton Democrat.
During the Vietnam War, when I was a teenager and young adult, I supported the troops. I was staunchly anti-war, but I couldn't figure out why people didn't support the troops. They weren't at fault for the war. They deserved a good welcome. I had good feelings for the guys in green. I have deep reverence when I visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., something everyone should do.
Even if you're slightly left of center, like I am, go to Soldiers Angels and get yourself a soldier. It is very rewarding.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I have some new border collie cross stitch patterns to share. More later.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
In the meantime (as long as we are talking about frogging) here is Chrissy's favorite FROG pattern. It's from Ross Originals, which is an Australian cross stitch company. Not all of their patterns are available in the US, and some are downright difficult to find. I was hunting for a couple of the Egyptian patterns and they are only available overseas, for example. Luckily, Green Tree Frog is available at 1-2-3 Stitch.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
In honor of my friend Chrissy, I'm doing a post on cross stitch frogs. Chrissy loves frogs. So do Val and Roxi. So these frogs are for all of them.
If you are reading this and you are not a cross stitcher, you may not know the significance of the frog. To us, the term "frog" means not only a tailless amphibian with webbed feet, but also the sound "ribbit ribbit," meaning that your stitching must be ripped out and restitched. To the cross stitcher, the frog can connote hours of painful picking away at floss, trying to get it free from delicate fabric without tearing anything.
We cross stitchers regularly accuse each other of sicking a frog on us, of someone letting their frog out to invade every other cross stitcher's life, or the frog coming for a visit. Nobody wants that kind of frog. The tailless amphibian, however, is beloved.
In Greece, 400 BCE, a chorus of frogs sings loudly in one of Aristophanes' plays. Aristophanes' frogs say "brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax" not "ribbit ribbit." Much use they are. (I actually did read The Frogs when I was on my Greek plays kick.)
I have adopted a couple of soldiers in Iraq, and when I send them packages, I send along a Beanie Baby to give to an Iraqi child. I recently acquired some Beanie Baby frogs -- lively pink ones -- and then I got to wondering if there are frogs in Iraq. I suppose there are some by the rivers, but would the children who live in dry, dusty villages know what frogs are? And if so, what if frogs are taboo. I know nothing of Islam. If dogs are despised, could frogs be far behind? I decided I was thinking too deeply about this, and the frogs are going to Iraq.
Okay, reading the web I learned that there are indeed frogs in Iraq. They come out when it rains. But clearly, to call somebody a "Frog" is a negative thing in Iraq.
I once had a cassette tape of frogs. I bought it because I thought it would be relaxing. Then I went to Zimbabwe and took a lot of tapes with me, including the frog tape. When I played it in the car, my Zimbabwean colleagues were incredulous. They couldn't believe somebody would actually have a tape of frogs. I am sure it proved to them just how far away from nature we Americans are. Or how ridiculous.
To the cross stitcher, frog is a noun and a verb. "To frog" is to remove stitches, and when one does that, one is "frogging." We all hate frogging.
Monday, August 01, 2005
I have picked out two more designs to share here. These designs are special because of their delicacy. The design on the left is Bienvenue Mouton. On the right is The Village.
A couple of weeks ago someone named Agnes posted a comment here. She claimed to be the "Crazy Sylph" herself!
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Un bon nombre de gens qui visitent ce blog obtiennent ici cependant des brodeuses d'honoraires de le blog de, un blog français très créateur et intéressant qui se concentre fortement sur le point en travers compté. Le meilleur j'ai pu traduire des "honoraires que les brodeuses" est en tant que "fées piquantes." Il y a beaucoup de grand point en travers sur le blog, et il est intéressant regarder. J'aime particulièrement un petit morceau appelé "le rat français" ! Le blog est relié à un magasin en ligne appelé l'atelier piquant de fées. Vous pouvez traduire ce blog en allant au lien de Babblefish en bas de cette page.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The first border collie is from one of Pegasus Originals' dogs books. This one is from Dogs 9. I don't have a decent color shot from the cover, so I am posting part of the pattern. It's too small to use, so I'm not too worried about copyright infringement. Border Collie fanatics will want to buy the book anyway!
This border collie pattern is from Heritage Stitchcraft. Truth is, none of these border collies looks like Ace, because Ace has "ticking" -- speckles of black in his white fur. It reminds me of chocolate chip ice cream, with lots of chips. I do like this pattern, but it's a big project and a lot more work than I want to put into it right now.
While I'm talking about border collies, I might add that I've got Ace enrolled in two dog classes: agility and obedience. The only reason he needs obedience is because he needs to learn to heel. I'm really looking forward to the classes. One is going to be taught by my anthropologist friend, Carol, who has two border collies. Her boys, Cobb and Jeff, look a lot like Ace. Carol thinks they are related.
Here's one of my favorite border collie patterns, from Anchor. It's called "Not Far to Go." The border collie in this pattern really looks like a herding dog. I think James Herriot probably knew something about border collies -- he inspired this one. This pattern has "Scotland" written on it, and the floss numbers are Anchor and not DMC.
This last one, "Coming Out to Play," is my favorite. It features a pig and brings up reminiscences of "Babe" which of course starred some border collies. Apparently around the time "Babe" was released, border collie rescue got off the ground. People who didn't know what they were getting into would acquire a border collie. When it turned out to be an intense, demanding dog (in other words, a good herding dog) a lot of people would get rid of it. I got Ace from border collie rescue.
That's it for the cross stitch border collies in my collection. If you come across any others, please let me know!
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I joined something called BlogExplosion which is a website where you earn points by viewing other people's blogs, and people in turn view your blogs.
I have used it for a few days, and have discovered that I keep seeing the same blogs over and over again. Makes me think the same people are seeing my blogs over and over again! And it doesn't appear that people who are looking at my blog spend any time there, beyond the required 30 seconds to get the points.
I actually look at the blogs I visit -- well, a lot of them. I've even found a few that I like, and have returned to them and even linked to them. I have gotten some links out of BlogExplosion too.
But is it worth the time it takes to increase traffic to my blogs? Some people say no. What do you think?
Monday, July 25, 2005
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The fields of corn lining the road in Hortonville (left) are reminiscent of Maragoli, but there is a vast difference in technology, scale and wealth. I remember taking postcards with me on my second trip, to show the people in the village where I lived and what it was like. I had some pictures of farms with gigantic silos, surrounded by vast stretches of land. In Maragoli, the grain is stored in a grainery barely higher than a rural mud and thatched house, and farmland -- ever diminishing with population growth -- averages one or two hectares or less.
When I came back from Kenya, I would flash back and forth between Candice driving in Maragoli and Candice driving in Wisconsin. I did know where I was, but my experience was that I could have been anywhere. Today I had the same feeling. I was back in Africa, driving on the road to Mt. Elgon.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Something that baffles me and led me to believe that traffic on my website is relatively slow: I get very few comments. So leave me a comment, and let me know that you were here!
Friday, July 15, 2005
NOTE My unkymoods icon isn't working, and my attempts to visit the website are met with a web page that indicates the site is not there. I susptec the site is having problems or no longer exists.
"The Shirt"This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me of someone in particular. I won't say who!
The shirt touches his neck
And smooths over his back.
It slides down his sides.
It even goes below his belt—
down into his pants.
Lucky shirt.by Jane Kenyon
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
"Disbelief in Appleton, Wisconsin."
I drive my children to school every day along a route that roughly follows the Fox River. They attend local Catholic schools that cluster around Prospect Avenue. Prospect runs parallel to the river through Appleton's old Third Ward, past historic houses overlooking the Fox. There, amid the old oak trees around a half dozen of these historic houses, live an abundance of black squirrels.
The children and I were disbelieving the first time we saw a black squirrel. They were the same size as the gray squirrels everywhere else in Appleton, with the same large, bushy tails. I had never seen a black squirrel before and hypothesized that this was merely a gray, bushy-tailed squirrel that had gotten down someone's fireplace and had emerged soot-covered. But we all saw another black squirrel a few days later, and soon realized that a few of the yards contained not one but several specimens, all scurrying about with nuts in their mouths preparing for the winter.
We now look out for them when we drive down Prospect Avenue near Richmond Avenue. They are truly beautiful, a rare and exhilarating sight in a picturesque little city. [Candice Bradley, 11/22/98]
UPDATE July 14, 2005
A little research on some squirrel websites has revealed that black squirrels are more common in the north-midwest of the U.S. and in Canada. Apparently black squirrels are better adapted to lower temperatures than gray squirrels. For more information of black squirrels and a list of good links, go to Black Squirrels.
Here is my book wish list on Title Trader:
Monday, July 11, 2005
Rubble bubbles up
from the floor like a geyser
from the underworld,
Bubbles up the bed
through the mattress, through the sheets
right to the older mess
left there before the last.
Mania's rising up
rising from times of
maidens- - Maenads- - dancing
on heads, laughing mindlessly
But my mess merely
bubbles up in laughter.
I later only cry at messes.
During the time I wrote this, I was doing a considerable amount of reading of Greek mythology. I just now had to go back and see what the Dionysus-Maenad reference meant. Maenads are women in the cult of Dionysus. Maenad literally means "madwoman" in Greek while mania means "madness." Thus, mania and Maenad have the same root. Click here for more information on Maenads.
I have found all sorts of treasures under piles of paper in cardboard boxes. I found the brochures from Sherwin-Williams with preservation and heritage colors that I had been searching for. Something long lost also appeared: a piece of paper showing a rough sketch of the gardens and lawn around my house, with the plants and trees identified. I discovered to-do lists written in beautiful calligraphy. There were amazing little art projects; one was a half-completed series of miniature houses made from brown corrugated board and paper decorated in tiny, delicate green and red flowers.
I still have tasks ahead of me. There are eight more boxes under the shelves that we didn't get to today. I imagine most of it is trash. I still need to sort it out, filling up temporary genealogy and decorating boxes. My desk needs to be cleared off, the photos put away in the cupboard downstairs, trash hauled off, bookshelves and a drafting table moved to make room for a cushy chair and reclaim a window.
I should have taken before and after pictures. I did that with my bedroom a few years ago, just to have a permanent record of what it once looked like.
After Melody and I finish up the art room, we're going to move on to Camille's bedroom.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Here is "Let Evening Come," read by me:
The Appleton Public Library is going to have a Jane Kenyon workshop this week. Maybe I'll go.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
I finally got a copy of Candy. It is by Terry Southern who died in 1995. The book was written in 1958 when I was 5 years old.
The dust cover says it is a satire on Voltaire's Candide. Candide was a Freshman Studies book at Lawrence, so having taught it I know it pretty well. Candy also appears to be considerably less pornographic (and probably more interesting) than I thought. It will be interesting reading both Candy and Lolita. Maybe I'll read them back to back.
Here are some comments on Candy by "Dunzy," who responded to my post on the subject on BookCrossing. (Dunzy happens to be very knowledgeable about a lot of things.)
Southern's credits go on and on: "Dr. Strangelove", "Barbarella", "Easy Rider", protogonzo journalism, etc. See the lively site maintained by his son, Nile: http://www.terrysouthern.com/. (Nile is the author of "The Candy Men", an affectionate memoir that came out last year.)
Dunzy's BookCrossing website is at http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Dunzy.
Here's more from Dunzy:
“Maxwell Kenton” was Southern’s nom-de-plume on Candy’s first edition. Southern had two other books in typescript and didn’t want to identify himself with a hot-and-hasty bit of Olympia Press trash. Southern asked Mason Hoffenberg to help him for the sake of a quick turnaround. They were both young writers starving picturesquely in Paris, and they needed the money. Though the book was a huge success, no real money went to the writers or the original publisher; bootleggers made a fortune.
The first time I met with her, Melody came to my house to talk about what I wanted to get out of my office and a professional organizer. At that point, I thought that she would direct me and I would do most of the work. She then emailed me a list of goals that I would work on toward our second meeting. However, 3 weeks have gone by (two of which I was out of town, by the way) and I have done nothing. I am realizing I need more directed help, something more hands-on than mere assignments. I am not ready for our meeting three days from now and will need to postpone it. Luckily, being more involved is one of the options she presented to me.
In the meantime, my friend Roxi told me about a book her therapist had recommended: ADD_Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau. I got home today and it was in the carton with the rest of the mail. I cruised quickly through the book and discovered repeated mention of 1) how useful it is to have a therapist; and 2) ADD coaching. The book lists three websites with ADD coaches. These are people who, either over the phone/email, or in person (or both), help people with ADD get it together.
Coaching seems like the mental aspect of what Melody does (the emotional aspect coming from the therapist). There are all kinds of coaching, not just ADD coaching. Here's one coaching website: The Coach Connection. Google ADD Coach and see what you come up with!
Monday, July 04, 2005
Finding these excellent books has been mostly the result of joining BookCrossing. "Bookcrossing" is defined as "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." It's a great website. There is an active forum with such topics as "July 4: What are you reading?" (often in a variety of languages), or "Do you ever become obsessed with one author?" I've learned about so many books I want to read from the forum.
I haven't left any books "in the wild" yet, but I did put BookCrossing stickers in several of my books, and am passing them around to people I know. I gave a copy of Mongo to Terry, and he gave me Grand Central Winter. Now I'm passing Grand Central Winter on. The only problem is -- it's hard to let go of books I love.
When I read, I am lifted away from things that disappoint me.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
This is my first picture of Ace. Sorry about the glaring eyes. He does have very intense eyes though. He is speckled over a lot of his body instead of white -- but of course Border Collies come in all sorts of colors, not just the usual black and white.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Ace is a beautiful border collie. He is like a shiny black streak. He is so lovely. I hope he quickly becomes part of the family.
Friday, May 13, 2005
Which leads me to the next topic: I am thinking about getting a border collie. Last week I met a border collie named Ace who is in border collie rescue. He's such a great dog. Ever since I met him I can think of almost nothing but bringing Ace home. I really want a dog I can train and do agility training with. It would be so cool. Henry is a good dog, but he's such a maniac when I get him out of the house. He's a wonderful obedient dog indoors. I don't know how it will be having two dogs, but I think it will be fine.
Daniel is a bit skeptical. I had told him a week ago I wanted to get a border collie and I thought he was amenable. But when I told him I had actually found a dog, he acted like I had made the decision on my own. Anyway, I put off the decision until we get back from St. Louis. It's weird though, all I want to talk about is Ace.
Friday, March 04, 2005
The problem with my stitching is that it isn't that creative in terms of design. It takes a lot of skill and time, but the designs come from other people, and that has frustrated me. I have toyed with creating my own designs, but so far haven't been able to find the right software. I did some of my own designs back in 2000 I think it was. I did it on graph paper. I have a picture of St. Francis that I designed, with a Celtic knotwork border.
Back then, I heard an artist being interviewed on TV, and he said, "We think we choose our craft, but the craft is choosing us." I think there is something mystical about art. I took that sentence and wrote it out in calligraphy, with an illuminated letter and some trees. I still have it.
Now that I have started with quilting classes and am learning about making scrapbooks, I am suddenly interested in color again. The fabric I chose for my quilt was very different than the fabric other people in the class were using. They were using conventional quilting fabric with bright colors. Mine is an Africa theme, browns, sepias and some green. I didn't pick it up in the quilting section. Of course this doesn't mean I am competent at quilting (quite the contrary, I was the slowest one in the class).
The scrapbooking folks tend to use color wheels. I don't need a color wheel -- I can see it. But I got interested in color wheels recently and did a lot of reading on the internet. I decided to buy myself a fairly elaborate color wheel, which I found on eBay new for $.50.
When I was growing up, I was more interested in art than in anything else. My parents gave me no support for it though. They didn't think it was important. Then one day, in junior high school, the art teacher told my mother that I was talented but wasn't working hard enough. True, I wasn't completing a lot of the things I started because I took so much time doing them. But one of my paintings was hanging in the school office (I still have it!). My mother got all over me about that. Still, no opportunity to gather skills. I was forced to play the flute instead.
So here I am, decades later, still looking for a craft.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
I am really jazzed about having discovered this. Already, it is helping me to define my goals. I have already eliminated some things from my agenda because they don't fit in with my mission and long term goals (vision). I am starting to focus more.
It is amazing how powerful a single word can be.
Friday, February 25, 2005
MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES. On an individual basis, a mission, vision and values statement is a powerful tool to understand our own purpose in life. It also tends to reduce the randomness of efforts; and taken seriously, the process can yield significant results.
Let's look at each part. First, to understand your own mission the question to be answered is "Why am I here, what is my purpose for living?" Contained in this question is the belief that each life is unique and has a purpose. The question may create an existential crisis with queries such as "How is what I do any different from what other people do?" or "What value is my life to others?" For me, this took about a year and a half of wrestling with the question on and off and, for better or worse, writing to you is fulfilling part of that mission.
Vision is a trajectory question. By that, I mean that a personal vision statement is a declaration of what you see as a measure of ultimate success in your life. What is the goal or state of being that would describe ultimate success for you? In writing the values statement, it is better to have a goal that is a "stretch goal," one that takes you beyond what your own concept and capabilities can conceive of you doing today.
Let me pause here to describe one thing before we move into the development of a value statement. It is important to write out each of these statements. Why? To write them makes it much more concrete for our minds. The mission and vision statements should be succinct. They should be five words or less, and in reducing it to only a few words it will convey a richer meaning. For value statements, one to two words should suffice along with possibly an explanation of what the values mean to you. One psychologist who went through our program and developed her own mission, vision, and values said "You can't just think it, you have to ink it." Enough said.
When writing values, consider those aspects of your life that are most important, lifelong and unalterable principles that guide your life. What are these values for you? Begin by writing them down in a brainstorming process. The next step is to question the value back to its core. The way to do this is by continually asking the statement "why?," and repeatedly answering this question will lead you to core values.
Let me give you an example. One of the physicians in our program said that one of his values was that he wanted to fish more often with his family. He enjoyed fishing and he thought fishing more might be the answer to his family difficulties. Then we asked why? he wanted to fish more often and said he wanted to enjoy activities with his family. Then we asked why? he wanted to enjoy more activities with his family and he stated he wanted to have a close loving family. This became a core value for him. Interestingly, his initial statement was a potential minefield. For example, if his family did not want to fish, did that mean that he could not be close to them? Was fishing his only option to solve his desire to have a close family? To get to the core value broadens the options and produces more opportunities to live by your values.
Also in this example, the "goal" of fishing was actually changed to become a "value" of commitment to his family. Changing the goal to a value can be tricky at times but remember, values are concepts, and they are concepts that have worth in themselves, not leading to something else i.e. a goal.
The two books that I have listed are helpful in the process of understanding purpose. Leider's book and Palmer's book are very good and I would highly recommend both of them.
Pursuing purpose can be life changing. For some caregivers the process made significant changes in their life. One physician, for example, realized his calling was to be in academic medicine, another physician developed a trauma service, and another began retraining himself to be a triathelete.
The technique of using mission, vision, and values is a way to examine your life and, taken seriously, it can produce monumental changes.
The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life and Work. Richard J Leider. Barnett-Koehler Publishers, 1977.
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. Parker Palmer. Jossey-Buss. 1999.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
My first scrapbook page, about an August 1999 trip to Baden bei Wien, Austria, with my parents. Baden used to be the vacation home of my mother's family, before the property was taken by Nazis. This one is about our arrival in Baden.
Friday, February 18, 2005
We took a side trip one day to a place called Baden bei Wien, which is a resort town 26 km from Vienna. It was where my mother's family had their vacation home. It was an interesting trip because Baden was so beautiful, both the town and the forest, but the property had been taken from them by the Nazis, so the trip was bittersweet. We went to the house and tried to take pictures outside the wall, but the residents slammed the automatic iron gate on us. Strangely, my mother wasn't angered by the trip, but I was broiling. How could this property be taken and not returned after the war? The restitution my grandfather got probably didn't even cover a part of it. I asked my mother how she could be so calm, and she said, "I'm used to it by now."
My scrapbook will tell the story of our trip to Baden and also some information about Baden itself. I have a picture of the gate.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Sunday night we are having a family dinner. Daniel is going to cook something special and I might make some soup in the crock pot. We are going to use the tablecloth and napkins for the first time. I just have to think of a nice centerpiece of the table.
The fabric I got is really cool. It is African safari theme fabric -- tiger spots, a matching golden brown plain color, and for the border, a safari scene with lots of animals. I'm really excited about it.
I got my sewing machine back from the shop yesterday, and I got a 1/4" foot and a walking foot for it. The man who owns the shop said to me, "Somebody is going to do some quilting." I said, "I am taking my first class on Monday." It was quite an investment for one quilting class, but there are more classes coming up, and I am going to keep going with it until I have it under my fingers.
I am doing the Millennium Cats on Silkweaver Tutti Fruitie. I am using 14 ct Aida. I have set them up two kitties across, six down. The month of December is going to be the birthday kitty because my daughter Camille's birthday is December 27. When Millennium Cats is done, it is going in her bedroom.
I counted 110 colors for the set -- I had most of them but had to go out and buy a few anyway. There are a lot of color changes and confetti stitches. Some of the neighboring colors are really difficult to tell apart when stitching. At least I am having somewhat of a hard time with it. But it's a fun stitch. I really enjoy it because it's interesting. All the color changes keep my mind busy!
I am also in a Margaret Sherry round robin, and I have decided to do the Cat Coasters as a single piece, three across, two down. There are six people in this RR, and each person will do one cat. I have until April 11 to set up my piece for this round robin and stitch the first cat. I haven't decided on my fabric yet.
In the meantime, Valerie, Eva and I are going to do a SAL (stitch-along) on Dragon Dreams' Why Hoard Chocolate. This project has a lot of Anchor Marlitt rayon thread so it should be interesting. I've never stitched with rayon thread, and I understand it is more slippery than regular DMC. I have already gotten my fabric -- Silkweaver's Inferno (one of the Expressions). I am doing it on 28 ct cashel linen. Silkweaver describes Inferno as "vibrant reds and corals reminiscent of smoldering embers." I thought that would be really cool behind a dragon! Besides, the colors look really great against it. Valerie, Eva and I are going to submit all three of ours to the Silkweaver competition when we're done. If we start this one mid-February I'll be done with it in time to work on the RRs.
I've also got a bookmark SAL set up for the Mike Vickery Cross Stitch Group. This is going to start in April. I don't know what bookmark I'm going to stitch for it. I'm probably going to pick an easy one since I have so much other stuff to do.
I've been stitching a lot and have speeded up my stitching, so I don't think any of this is going to be a problem, except maybe getting the bookmark squeezed in there. I think April is going to be really busy!
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Sunday, January 23, 2005
A lightbulb immediately went on over my head. I have a gay son. Although he came out when he was 17 and is now 21, I haven't been able to relate to many people about it. Perhaps it is more honest to say that I haven't really been able to talk about it on more than a surface level. The topic quickly changes. But I want to talk about what it's like having a gay son! It's not that I was ever traumatized by it. On the contrary, I suspected it and have been very supportive from the moment he told me. He is my son, and being gay is part of who he is. I love the whole package. I am proud of him.
I have been in virtual isolation about my son's homosexuality. For one, I don't want to "out" him to other people when he hasn't made that choice himself. Second, a conversation about it doesn't go anywhere. But aren't I outing him here? No, I'm outing myself. He isn't here and you don't know him.
I decided, at that moment when I was reading that chapter, that I needed to go to some PFLAG meetings. PFLAG is Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. I need a place to talk openly. When I realized there was a place to do that, I felt great relief.
My fear in writing this here is that I will be criticized for it. But what I've realized reading that chapter is that I need to "come out" about it too.
Why did I choose to read that chapter first? I think I knew, just like I knew that he was gay.
Friday, January 21, 2005
One woman left a comment on my blog. She said, "I think it's because we *don't* know the people who read our blogs that it is so easy to tell secrets. My hypothetical journal for my therapist would be much easier to share with the blogworld than with my family."
I think her comment is very astute. It got me thinking about blogs as "anonymous," despite the fact that names and pictures are often on them. My feelings about blogs were reinforced after I read an article called "Therapeutic Writing," by psychiatrist Michael Messer. He advocates a kind of writing that can act as a sort of "brain dump" where thoughts and feelings can be expressed and released. He discusses evidence that shows that therapeutic writing can have significant health benefits for quite a long time, and that illnesses such as asthma and arthritis have been shown to improve if therapeutic writing is used.
How do you do therapeutic writing? Dr. Messer says:
The directions for therapeutic writing are quite simple: Write for 20 minutes each day your deepest thoughts and feelings. Those are all the directions that you need. An additional direction I would like to add is that once you have completed your writing, this is not to be kept for posterity, and that each day the paper should be thrown away. Throwing away the paper ensures that you are completely honest with the expression and that you are not writing for any other audience than yourself.
Note that therapeutic writing is not a listing of activities that go on from day to day. Apparently there are no health benefits in that!
The one difference between Dr. Messer's instructions for therapeutic writing and blogging is that the paper should be thrown away (or deleted, in the case of writing on a computer). But if the blogger is writing for what she perceives as an anonymous audience, if what she writes in her blog allows her to tell secrets that she could not share even with her family, blogging is in one sense very similar to therapeutic writing. And the entry very quickly scrolls off the page into the archives.
What I am saying is that I think blogging can be a kind of "brain dump." If that is the case, people who bare all in their blogs may reap potiential health benefits and are providing themselves with, as Dr. Messer writes, "ongoing maintenance for the unconscious mind."
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I have been working on the same Christmas ornament for weeks now. My excuse is that it is boring. Well, it is. But it is so simple I ought to be able to get it done in a couple of hours. I am determined to finish it before I start another project. My next project is the Millennium Cats round robin. I need to hussle with the ornament if I am going to get the Millennium Cats done on time.
That ornament is my big procrastination issue. I have no idea why I can't finish it. I think it is a combination of fear of failure and fear of success. I am uptight about Millennium Cats -- what if I do it wrong? what if I can't get the gridding right? or if the gridding takes me forever? what if my instructions are too complex? what if I can't get my two kitties stitched by February 12? On the other side, what does it imply about me if I can get my fabric ready and my kitties stitched on time? I will have to adjust my opinion of myself.
I decided to learn something about procrastination. I discovered that procrastination is caused by other underlying issues -- fear of failure, for example, or fear of success. Other causes are irrational beliefs, for example that everything must be perfect or done well, a need for control ("other people can't tell me what to do") or using procrastination to preseve a relationship or to prevent closeness. One author http://mentalhelp.net/psyhelp/chap4/chap4r.htm types procrastinators as follows:
...Sapadin and Maguire (1997) have also classified procrastinators into types: the "perfectionist" who dreads doing anything that is less than perfect, the "dreamer" who has great ideas but hates doing the details, the "worrier" who doesn't think things are right but fears that changes will make them worse, the "defier" who resists doing anything suggested or expected by someone else, the "crisis-maker" who manages to find or make a big problem in any project (often by starting too late), and the "over-doer" who takes on way too many tasks.
There are two types of procrastinators -- laid-back and tense. The laid-back procrastinator has irrational beliefs, such as "I can't do it because it's boring" or some other excuse. I am going to quote this author again:
The tense-afraid type of procrastinator is described by Fiore (1989) as feeling overwhelmed by pressures, unrealistic about time, uncertain about goals, dissatisfied with accomplishments, indecisive, blaming of others or circumstances for his/her failures, lacking in confidence and, sometimes, perfectionistic. Thus, the underlying fears are of failing, lacking ability, being imperfect, and falling short of overly demanding goals. This type thinks his/her worth is determined by what he/she does, which reflects his/her level of ability. He/she is afraid of being judged and found wanting. Thus, this kind of procrastinator will get over-stressed and over-worked until he/she escapes the pressure temporarily by trying to relax but any enjoyment gives rise to guilt and more apprehension.
Geesh, I see myself as both a laid-back procrastinator and a tense one! The point is, though, that procrastination must be addressed in two ways -- dealing with the problem(s) behind it, and establishing systems that prevent it. Some of these are:
1. Keeping schedules, to-do lists, and generally writing things down. These solutions are often short-lived because they don't address the underlying problems. It takes time to overcome procrastination.
2. Breaking tasks into small pieces, e.g. spending five minutes doing something.
3. Keeping a journal of feelings and thoughts about procrastination. What keeps you from getting going?
4. Dealing with why you hate work -- and other similar issues.
5. Getting cognitive behavioral therapy. It is clear from what I have read that procrastination is caused by irrational beliefs, something that cognitive behavioral therapy addresses. John Perry, in an article called Structured Procrastination argues that procrastination is a form of self-deception. In short, therapy helps.
Well, what about me? I think I have all these characteristics! I'm lucky though -- I have a cognitive behavioral therapist. But I think my friend Mike lit a fire under me when he said, "procrastination's a bitch." I promptly went downstairs and reorganized the entire kitchen. Now I have to get over being "bored" by the stitching project I'm supposed to be working on.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
In Appleton it is currently 6 degrees F with a -7 wind chill. It was -25 degrees F in Door County last night. Cold! I can usually take Henry out without out donning my coat, but now I don't take him the few steps to his dog pen without it. The snow shimmers with ice. I haven't seen a rabbit all day. Apparently this cold weather comes from Alberta, Canada, swooping down into the U.S. upper midwest and leaving a heap of snow behind it. I can usually tolerate the cold to 10 degrees. I don't like this.
I wonder if all those Wisconsin stitchers (and that one poor soul from Minnesota) have come in from the cold and logged onto the internet, looking for kindred spirits bundled in sweaters and sensible shoes before their LCD screens -- and with the exception of that one poor soul from Minnesota -- are wondering why Brett Favre didn't lead the Packers to the superbowl. That is, if they care about football at all. I know one thing. They all care more about choosing between a size 26 needle and linen or evenweave, resisting the urge to shop for fabric on the internet and, if they manage to resist at all, have more patterns than they could possibly use in a lifetime. But oh well, it's winter. Might as well stitch.
Anyway, here's the website:
And no, Wisconsin is not the Cheesehead State. It's the Badger State.
Candice in Appleton
Monday, January 17, 2005
This is me and the amazing Arlo, my beloved dog, in the early 1970s. I was maybe 20 when that picture was taken. The photographer was my ex-whatever. I think I got involved with him because I loved his dog. When he and I split, he took Arlo. I have lots of pictures of Arlo. It was difficult to choose just one.
This is Henry, who is a five year old Dalmatian-Australian Shepherd mix. We got him from the Humane Society when he was a pup. Henry is quite a character. In this picture he's wondering what the heck I'm doing with the camera (note his ears are submissively back and his tail is wagging). I did tell him to "stay" and he stayed. Henry has a non-stop smile on his face -- he's such a happy dog -- and a silly dog too. A real goof-ball. That sofa, by the way, is his.
Make a list of everyone you have ever known, in any way. Include people you know well and people you have only seen from afar. Just list the names. Stop after you fill about two pages, listing the names in columns. If you don't know someone's name, put something like "the little girl who lives down the block." Everyone on your list is a possible inspiration for a character.
Well, I wrote down 132 names on my two pages and could have listed a lot more. As I was writing the names, I had pictures in my head of the people and remember certain things about them and their relationship to me. I was aware that each person could be a source of inspiration for a story. Each person was so full of life to me. It was an amazing exercise -- and it didn't take that long. I highly recommend it.
The second part of the activity was to take one person from the list and talk about how they inspired me. I chose my friend Cubic from the village in Kenya. Some day I will write a lot more about Cubic. I have tried to write about him in the past and it was difficult. I need to drag out my fieldnotes and read them. I am sure Cubic is all over them.
La Sylphide Toquee are whimsical designs in bright colors, some with French words. Apparently this is a new designer. Sylphid (in English) means a graceful woman or a being that inhabits the air. Toquee does not translate. Website for La Sylphide Toquee:
Norden Crafts has pictures of a lot of La Sylphide Toquee patterns:
Nimue is one of the names of the Lady of the Lake or Vivien in the Arthurian Legends. These patterns seem to be of nymphs and fairies. I can find no links to Nimue patterns online.
I have also collected some Dutch patterns -- mostly buildings such as houses of Amsterdam -- and some Russian ones.
The European designs seem to be quite different than the ones we have here in the U.S. They are both worth seeking out.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
We have rabbits in our yard. They leave trails of pawprints wherever they go, and the snow is criss-crossed with evidence of where the rabbits have been. I usually only see two or three rabbits at a time, but the way the snow looks, I know there must be a lot more. They particularly like the area under the bird feeder where the seeds drop through.
Tonight I saw two rabbits chasing each other in the snow. I wondered if they were playing. When I had a rabbit in Zimbabwe, she used to play a game I called "prey and prey" -- she would approach me, and when she just within my reach, she would dash off. It is quite a different game than a dog or cat plays, both preditors. I had thought that gentle animals like rabbits enjoy evasion games rather than aggression games.
Today I must have spent ten hours at the computer. I have a kind of technological focus that makes time disappear. The computer has become a universe to me. I sink into it and don't emerge unless something pulls me out. Tonight it was the rabbits. I need to spend less time at the computer and more time outside, in nature.
Monday, January 10, 2005
In her book, The Simple Art of Napkin Folding, Linda Hetzer gives instructions for seven different kinds of napkins. They are:
1. Blanket stitch
2. Hand-rolled hems
3. Mitered corners
4. Machine-stitched hems
5. Fringed edges
6. Lace trim
7. Double-fold bias binding
Hetzer says that napkins can be made out of linen, cotton, polyester or any combination of those. Most napkins are made out of medium weight fabric, neither coarse nor sheer. Linen napkins usually have hand-rolled hems, machine-stitched edges, or mitered hems. Cotton and polyester fabrics are more casual and can be finished with fringed edges, embroidery, lace trim and binding. Napkins with fringed edges should be made out of coarser fabric.
All of the napkins are 20" x 20" square with added fabric for the hems. For eight napkins, you need 2 1/2 yards of 45" fabric. One source I read says that dinner napkins should be 20" x 20" and luncheon napkins 15" x 15".
I wish I could just scan Hetzer's pictures and instructions for each kind of napkin. Nevertheless, they are all pretty easy to do. Instead I have searched the internet for instructions. The following websites have instructions on making napkins:
HGTV: Making Napkins
How to make table napkins
Hetzer's book is only $8.00 at Amazon.com. It's totally worth it for the two pages on how to make napkins, although the 94 napkin folds are very nicely illustrated and easy to do.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
The only problem was finding napkins which are amenable to cross stitch. I hunted on the web (I've done this before) and couldn't find what I wanted. There was something in England, but they were too pricey. I decided I would ask 1-2-3 Stitch if they could find napkins for me -- they say on their website that they will try to get special requests. They found some cross stitch napkins by Crafters Pride, made of 14 Ct. SaLem fabric. They are washable, fringed, and come in white or ivory. They are a bit more casual than I had in mind, but I ordered 12 of them.
If I want more formal napkins, I will need to make them myself. I got a book on napkin folding -- The Simple Art of Napkin Folding: 94 Fancy Folds for Every Tabletop Occasion, by Linda Hetzer -- and it has two pages of instructions for making seven different kinds of napkins. I will need to figure a way to explain how to make these napkins in my blog, without plagerizing or violating copyright laws!
Napkin folding is interesting. Now I need some china and some Waterford glasses! My mother-in-law says there is a place in St. Louis that sells complete sets of china on consignment, stuff that other people no longer use. I would do that if the pieces were open stock. I don't know how I would get it home to Appleton though. But getting china is one of the things I would like to do. I have never had china. It would be wonderful to be able to set a formal table, with fancy folded, hand-made stitched napkins.
The problem was creating the stitching nook. The stitching nook is #1 on my list of stitching goals for 2005. I had to clear the fabric, projects, q-snaps, buttons, etc. off the rocking chair so I could use it. I sent Daniel to the store for some plastic file boxes and plastic see-through shoe boxes. The first thing I did was create a box for my fabric. I put the fabric in hanging file folders. Then I filled the two shoe boxes -- one with odds and ends (buttons, needles, floss cards), and the other with threads I haven't carded yet. But the box got awfully full awfully fast, so I am getting another two shoe boxes for just the floss -- one for DMC, and one for specialty threads. And I am also getting some more file boxes for my patterns.
The rocking chair is now empty and ready to use. There are boxes everywhere but I will find a place for them in the closet -- as soon as I get the closet cleaned out! That's the next step.
I am taking a online class at Barnes & Noble University on organizing from the inside out. It is a free class. I am hoping it will motivate me to clean my office/art room once and for all.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
When I first heard of fabric origami, I thought it would be necessary to stiffen the fabric first. I found fabric stiffener at Hobby Lobby, thinking I would transfer directly to fabric what I know from doing origami. I shortly realized that origami made with fabric stiffener wouldn't survive a wash. It would be great for wall hangings, though, and for making origami ornaments ("kusudama" origami) out of fabric. There are some great examples of kusudama origami at a Brasilian website called Kusudama: Arte em Origami. Unfortunately it's in Portuguese, but the origami is beautiful. I have several books on kusudama origami and look forward to doing some fabric origami using fabric stiffener.
Rebecca Wat has some fabric folds for quilt squares in her book Fantasic Fabric Folding. These don't require anything but ordinary cotton fabric, finger-folded into shapes such as flowers, stars, and pinwheels. They hold together through washings and are merely tacked in a couple of places to keep them from losing their shape. These fabric folds are then incorporated into quilts the same as quilt blocks.
Kumiko Sudo's beautiful fabric origami folds are not strict origami folds like several of Wat's. They are folded fabric pieces that are sewn onto wall hangings or appliqued onto quilts. They will not hold their shape unless they are sewn, and most of the ones in her book Folded Flowers really do belong on wall hangings that will not be washed. They are, however, sensational. There are many more examples of Japanese quilt designs which employ fabric origami techniques.
Napkin folds aren't "strictly origami" but are based on the techniques of paper folding. They are made out of ordinary napkins instead of paper...although you could fold a paper napkin! (I've done it.) There are dozens of different napkin folds. For example, Linda Hetzer has a book of 94 napkin folds, and one of the reviewers at Amazon.com criticized her book for omitting some key folds.
Fabric yoyos are a bit like fabric origami (see post below on fabric yoyos). They are "folded" when the thread around the outside is pulled to form a circle half the size of the original fabric. Although fabric yoyos are often appliqued onto a quilt or other piece of fabric, I like the yoyos that are connected at the edges and are not foundation pieced. In other words, they are the quilt, not attached to the quilt. Yoyos are used as applique in a quilt called "Hurricane Party" by Amy Stewart Winsor. An example of a yoyo quilt is at http://www.quilterscache.com/images12/karrensyo2.jpg.
Right now cross stitching is my priority, but I hope I will find time to do some fabric origami in the near future. I'd like to do all kinds!
I have other places to write some of these things. The About.com Cross Stitch forum is one of them. I know the people there, and I can talk rather openly in that setting. I have friends, too, with whom I share things -- Valerie, Roxi, Chris, Coby, Sandi, and Mike. I also keep a journal for my therapist. I can write just about anything in it. It's also not something I can share online, although I know that people do share such things in their blogs. But for me it's too intimate. I don't even share my personal journal with my family.
So I don't keep a blog with my daily musings in it. My blog is more topical. I like to post pictures. I write when I have something to say. But I have been branching out a bit from the subject of stitching. I now write about origami, and I have become interested in quilting. I'll probably write about that too. I am thinking about posting more about other things in my life, but I don't want to stray too far.
Apparently fabric yoyos have been around for at least 100 years. They may have come originally from the Philippines, but in the 1920s started to be used in quilts in the U.S. Here's a marvelous pdf file explaining the history of the fabric yoyo and how it is used in quilts:
Yesterday I saw a cross-stitch pattern from Waxing Moon Designs with several fabric yoyo embellishments (thanks Eileen!). It's called "Take Thyme." If you find this pattern and don't have the embellishments, you can make them yourself. They are really easy. Here is a web page explaining how to make a fabric yoyo:
Now if I could find an origami yoyo my day would be complete!