Lightning Cross Stitch Pattern – Crafty Empowerment

This new Lightning cross stitch pattern (now available in my shop) is inspired by Serena Ryder’s outstanding song “Got Your Number.” lightning cross stitch pattern see my lightning hear my thunder cross stitch patternThe song is an empowering kick-butt break-up rocker in a similar vein as the Eurythmics’ “Would I Lie To You?” According to some online song lyric websites, this line actually is “See my lightning in my bottle” but I may have mis-heard the second half as “hear my thunder” and to tell the truth, I like it better! [No disrespect to Serena as her song kicks serious ass!] This misunderstanding counts among my favorite personal Mondegreens

The project uses white, three shades of grey, and I stitched the lettering in DMC E940 glow in the dark floss (also available in my Etsy shop). The photo below shows the project in black light and I love how the lettering glows while the white floss core of the lightning bolt pops! lightning cross stitch pattern serena ryder lyric see my lightning hear my thunder glow in the dark blacklightThe photo below shows the lettering glowing in the dark – it actually glows brighter than that but it’s tough to photograph effectively. It’s still very cool, though…lightning cross stitch pattern serena ryder lyric see my lightning hear my thunder glow in the darkI considered using a cartoon-like lightning bolt for this project but it just didn’t feel right. This project really started to come together when I started working with a photo of a real lightning bolt. I’d be curious to see how this project would look stitched on a white canvas with color in the lightning and lettering. Hm…

I’m not sure if this song got much airplay in the States as I only heard it on Canadian Broadcasting when I was very near the western Canada/US border in January 2017. However, the song is available at least on Amazon (where I purchased it). Please check out her great song and stitch this empowering lightning cross stitch pattern!

Craig Ferguson Cross Stitch Pattern

This Craig Ferguson cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!craig ferguson cross stitch pattern the bastards don't own me

Craig Ferguson is the host of the Late Late Show, on after David Letterman’s Late Show on CBS. He is FUNNY. He doesn’t use a script – most of what he says is made up on the fly from some bullet points. His co-host is a gay robot skeleton named Geoff Peterson, and another character is Secretariat, two interns in a horse suit. If it sounds odd, it sure is – you really need to see the rampant silliness for yourself.

He has a big rebellious streak (his past includes drumming in punk bands and blackout drunkenness – he has now been sober for over 20 years). In being rebellious, he has some tattoos, one being the “Join, or Die” snake drawing by Benjamin Franklin (you can often see the tail of it on his right wrist). One night when asked why he has tattoos, he responded “Just to remind myself that the bastards don’t own me.”

As soon as he said it, I wrote it down. I think it’s a great sentiment for cubicle dwellers, employees of large companies… anyone working hard for a living and isn’t the boss. It’s for everyone who wants a good reminder that when that paycheck gets cashed, you call it even.

I often visualize someone with this cross stitch in a frame on their desk. A coworker happens to see it. At first glance it looks like a sweet little cross stitch sampler. But then they have to wonder if they really read it correctly. Yes, they damn well did!

Thanks to Craig Ferguson for the inspiration for this cross stitch pattern. I hope he and his team keep up the good work for many more years. Stay tuned for more Craig Ferguson cross stitch projects in the future!

ACrafty Interview with Tina Puckett of Tina’s Baskets

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Tina Puckett, basket weaver of Tina’s Baskets.

acrafty interview - tinas baskets tina puckett photoWhen did you start crafting? TP: I grew up in South America. We lived as locals, and every week we would go to the open market for the groceries. At the local market there were always local crafts being sold from hats to toys. My parents also decorated our home with local art and crafts. So, I was exposed to crafts at an early age. Being an only child, I found most of my time was spent alone. In those moments, I would build things like tree houses and doll houses. Decorating each from the curtains to the dresses, I was always fascinated by the construction and design. In high school, I spent a lot of time teaching myself how to embroider and took a class in sewing. I studied set design in college with a concentration in construction and design. Then in 1982, I took a course in basket weaving. The first lesson was how to weave an Egg Basket. From that moment on, I have never looked back.

acrafty interview - tinas baskets musical note woven wall hangingWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? TP: I have been weaving for over 30 years now and it is still my favorite craft. I just keep exploring and experimenting with weaving.

 

 

 

 

What is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? TP: The center of my gigantic Sunflower is created by wooded beads that are interwoven. But I am constantly asked “Is that blueberries in the center of the flower?”acrafty interview - tinas baskets sunshine sunflower woven wall hanging

What craft project are you most proud of? TP: Probably the craft project that I am most proud of is that I have created my own technique of weaving called “Dimensional Weave”. I have been able to incorporate it in whatever I am creating.

acrafty interview - tinas baskets circle and curves wall hangingWhat is your most popular (or bestselling) project? TP: There is no particular best selling product of mine. I am fortunate to be able to sell a variety of my works, such as my baskets, bowls, wall hangers, sculpture, flowers, landscapes, and furniture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ever surprised by the form that results from the materials you’ve chosen for a certain project? TP: Yes, I am pleasantly surprised by the form that results from trying different materials to weave with.

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? TP: When I am creating a woven sculpture piece it is always like a puzzle. That is the fun in being creative. The challenges that constantly “pop-up” as you go along creating and how unexpectedly the solution comes to you in a graceful way. I do have a partial vision on how the woven works will come out when I start and I am always pleasantly surprised with the finished product.acrafty interview - tinas baskets woven table base

How has crafting affected your character? TP: I am…

  • Patient: Basket weaving has made me a “Basket Case”…LOL!!! When weaving, one needs patience because it takes a lot of time to weave.
  • Grateful: I am always grateful when it comes out beautifully.
  • acrafty interview - tinas baskets orange tray weavingOrganized: When one has taken their craft and created it into a business, organization is very important to run the business.
  • Supportive: I get a lot of support from craft shows by the public’s reaction to my woven works.
  • Adventurous: I am adventurous all the time when trying to create something new and different. Also, the business has led me to adventure into travelling all throughout the US doing craft and art shows.
  • Persistent: I think that weaving and running my business for over 30 years is being pretty persistent. I am determined to show the world my woven works and to support myself.
  • acrafty interview - tinas baskets large basketProactive: Proactive you say… Acting in advance to deal with an expected change in the piece I am working on or difficulty in weaving the piece… no, I cannot be proactive, I can only solve the problem when it occurs and sometimes I have to walk away and then when I come back to it, it gets resolved. I never walk away for more than 12 hours, and I only work on one piece at a time.
  • Independent: My independence is the ability to express myself through my woven works.
  • Diverse: I enjoy the ability to be diverse in what I am weaving from a basket to a sculpture.
  • Imaginative: I find it a lot of fun to let my imagination see all the different forms the Bittersweet vines can take.
  • Observant: To be observant to me means to be attentive, careful and accurate in my weaving.
  • Expressive: In my woven works, I try to have it express joy, happiness and love.
  • Consistent: I am always consistent in trying to create new woven products and to achieve a more beautiful woven piece of Art.

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? TP: From my experience being in my booth at shows I can say that I affect people in a positive way. Because so many people say to me that they like my woven works because it makes them feel happy and they can see how much I enjoy what I create.acrafty interview - tinas baskets woven headboard and end table base

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? TP: I can’t tell you what crafty goodness is coming in the future, but I do know that I have a lot of interesting pieces of Bittersweet vines shapes that are ready for my imagination… I just have to step into my studio and “let it all flow”… That is what is appealing to me, to let it flow and not force it… and wonders shall never cease in what I can create.

Many thanks to Tina for participating in this ACrafty interview series! As the photos show, her works are vibrant, unique, and beautiful. I hope you’re able to see them in person as she travels to various craft shows and from her Connecticut studio… You can follow Tina’s adventures on her website!

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedinneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, stone artist Jerry Locke, and potter Nancy Germond.

ACrafty Interview with Jerry Locke of Walls That Rock

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Jerry Locke, stone artist of Walls that Rock.

When did you start crafting? JL: I have and odd theory about that. I believe that crafters, artists, entertainers, lead guitarists, stand up comedians, etc. are all usually first borns, and though many of us don’t want to admit it, we have a need for applause and acceptance that comes from competing for parental attention. For example “Mama has that baby in her arms all the time! I’m gonna have to do something really cool just to get a smile.”

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 1

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? JL: Wow, that’s a long list. Let’s just say that I’ve worked in every medium most people can think of, including glass, fabric, and photography. I am a life long musician with a degree in poetry writing and I currently make a living with stone. I’m that weird guy. My current favorite is always the one I’m working on now.

Do you currently do other crafts outside of your commercial pieces? JL: Not frequently, but sometimes. What I do with my hands has to pay my bills. Time for other fun stuff is hard to come by.

What is the largest project or piece you have created? JL: Physically, the largest piece I have done is a 14 ft wall hanging mountainscape for a client/friend.

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 5
From your question let’s replace “largest” with “most challenging”. The most challenging pieces I do are always commissions. With commissions I am always trying to meet the expectations of an individual or small group. I would much rather be selfish and just do what I want to do.

Is the stone you use from local sources or from a variety of locations? JL: The stone I use comes from all over the world. I can get most of it nearby because I live in Tucson. Tucson has the largest gem and mineral show in the world.

I buy stone much like a quilter would buy fabric. Although some of the history of some of the stone would be fascinating, there would also be sad stories of cruelty and poverty and I don’t want my worked to get bogged down by that. I try to keep a clear head surrounded by an incredible geology and human history that surrounds me.

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 2

Are you ever surprised by what you find inside a stone once you cut or polish it? JL: Of course. My work is a collaboration with nature and she does not let me forget that she is the master and I am the apprentice.

How has crafting affected your character? JL: Well I think first off it’s made me less patient with difficult questions (kidding). But Catherine, THAT’S A HUGE QUESTION.

I think this goes back to your first question and basically to do what I do and make a living at it, I have to be a tireless self-motivated, self-starter with an insane need for smiles and the good sense to know that other people have to live with me and I have to live with myself.

acrafty interview - jerry locke stone mountainscape 3

Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? JL: I don’t know that it has, and I’m really not out to change anyone’s life. I just hope that when people look at my work that it makes them feel good and perhaps takes them out of their life just a little bit. I’m happy with that.

What projects do you have coming up in the future?  Why are they appealing to you? JL: I don’t really have any big projects in my sights. I have a Fall tour, and a Spring tour, etc. I would really just like to get normal for a change.

Many thanks to Jerry for taking the time for this interview. He spends a lot of time on the road traveling to various craft shows, and this can make communication challenging sometimes. I hope you get the opportunity to see his unique and beautiful works in person!

You can follow Jerry’s adventures on his website and Facebook.

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?, the multi-talented David Tedinneedlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton, and painter and embroiderer Karen of Mimilove.

ACrafty Interview with Mimilove

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Mimilove – painter and embroiderer Karen Grenfell.

When did you start crafting? KG: I have been painting for many moons, but it was in 2002 that Mimilove was born, providing a range of artworks mainly large portraits and abstracts for both individual and commercial clients. In 2004/5 a selection of my work appeared at the Birmingham Nec as part of the Memorabilia UK show, it was here that several paintings were signed by celebrities including David Carridine and Britt Ekland.
Daisy02

The sporting heroes World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst MBE and boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper OBE also signed pieces and the Henry Cooper painting was eventually sold at Sotheby’s later that year!

Since then I have been involved with providing illustrations and artworks for various companies including Blast Recording Studios and Brand New Films.
Funky Chickens!

A collaboration with promoter Steve Wraith and former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock helped to raise funds for children’s charity The Bubble Foundation UK. I have also worked with former Scorpions keyboard player and prog rock musician John Young and grafitti/street artists Id iom.

Over the past 2 years I have moved away from the large scale “pop art” pieces and have combined my love of embroidery with painting to produce mixed media works including a range of Cockney Sparrows and Budgie Stufferies and a unique pet portrait service which can be found around the globe from Alaska to Australia!

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? KG: Ooo all sorts from knitting and crochet (epic failures!) to most recently, concrete casting!
Hero in a half shell...

I pretty much enjoy all the art/craft projects that I do, or try to do! Obviously I’d have to say my painting and embroidery is my main love but I do enjoy pottering around in my garden shed and messing around making things for the garden… I have made quite a few insect and bee houses this year which I’m quite proud to say all have tenants!

What is the silliest question you’ve ever received about your craft? KG: I don’t think I’ve been asked anything silly really. And even I did I would answer it, as I’m always delighted if people are willing to take the time to ask me anything about what I do!
Gordon Bennett! Cockney Sparrow-bit peckish!

What craft project are you most proud of? KG: I would have to say all of the commissioned portraits I’ve worked on. At times they can be overwhelmingly emotional as a lot of the portraits are done posthumously and commissioned by a grieving owner and I’m only too familiar with how devastating a loss like that can be, but when you get it right it’s so rewarding and such a lovely feeling.
Doggy commission - After!

But to know you’ve made someone happy, laugh or cry (in a good way!), that all the research, getting to know the subject, etc. has worked, you can’t get better than that.

What’s the largest craft project you’ve ever tackled? KG: It was actually a painting commission a few years ago. I was commissioned by Blast Recording Studios (in Newcastle-upon-Tyne) to provide a range of musician/band portraits for their new studio. There were 15 in total, most of which measured over 6 ft. x 5 ft. That was quite a challenge, as was posting them!
Gnomely Lonely Heart

Has a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? KG: Apart from threading the needle with my increasingly bad eyesight?! Trying to maintain confidence and motivation especially during quieter times… It’s like buses; nothing for ages and then all of a sudden 3 come along at once! Also juggling the time for family, cake breaks/naps and the boring day-to-day stuff etc.
...Winter wonderland

How has crafting affected your character? Has it made you more patient, grateful, organized, supportive, adventurous, persistent, proactive, independent, diverse, imaginative, observant, expressive, consistent, brave, calm, etc.? KG: All of the above!

Crazy World of Arthur Brown Guinea Pig!Can you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? KG: I recently had a comment from a teacher in the USA who uses pictures of my work to inspire her students and I have also had a lot of students from various fields (art, textiles, etc.) who have included my work/cited it as their inspiration in their projects and essays which I was really chuffed about. I have had some really touching emails and letters from people that I have worked for too, which I keep as they inspire me to keep working.

 

What is the one question you’ve never been asked about your craft that you’ve always wanted to answer? KG: That’s a tough one! I’m not really sure?! I do get a lot of people contacting me asking me about my technique and where I get my inspiration from etc. which is lovely because it’s nice to know I’m doing something folks are interested in!
Pidge

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? KG: From an art point of view I’m busy with commissions and I’m also going to be holding a three day workshop/talk for the Northern Ireland Embroider’s Guild in November so really looking forward to that, although quite nervous too!
Pigeons

On the home front my husband and I are currently in the middle of completely renovating our garden, so I’m working on lots of different projects. I’ve completed a lot of insect/bee hotels and have most recently woven a hazel fence and archway. Our next project is a living willow sculpture and we’ve also recently acquired a concrete polisher so there will be a lot of casting activity!

Big budgie blog GIVEAWAY!I just love being in the garden and in touch with nature etc., and there’s that wonderful feeling at the end of the day, even when you’re absolutely exhausted and filthy when you sit back and look at what you’ve achieved. I also got a great buzz (pardon the pun!) when my first leaf cutter bee moved into the bee box I built!

 

I’m a huge fan of Karen’s work. Her watercolors are absolutely stunning on their own, but the embroidery gives her pieces such texture and depth – they’re like nothing else on earth. So a special thank you from me to Karen for participating in this ACrafty Interview series!

You can follow Mimilove’s adventures on her websiteFlickrblog, Facebook, and Etsy. She says “I’m always thrilled when folks visit my sites so please do drop by and say hello! :)”

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!, the multi-talented David Tedin, needlepointer Haruhi Okubo of Cresus-Parpi, and tatter and chainmailler Jeff Hamilton.

ACrafty Interview with David Tedin

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with David Tedin: carpenter, baker, basket weaver, woodworker, cook, and gardener. He is of Scandinavian heritage but has the soul of a Tuscan chef, and his biscotti is so good that he brings it to Italy (seriously!).

acrafty interview with david tedin basket collectionWhen did you start crafting? DT: To answer that, I would have to decide what is crafting and what is just making stuff. I can remember, before I even started school, nailing two pieces of wood together and nailing a sardine can on the back to make a truck. That would be making stuff. Because you needed something or thought it would be neat.

My family made gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and other gift-giving occasions.  So I guess it started at home at an early age.

seashell jewelry collectionWhat crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? DT: Stenciling designs on towels and pillowcases, and making shell jewelry. This was something I enjoyed doing. There were kits, with packets of different shapes and colors of seashells along with instructions. You could make earrings, pendants, pins, and brooches. I haven’t seen these kits in over 50 years.

I’ve also tried whittling, carving, hide tanning and leatherwork, model making (many of these were kits, but some went with whittling and carving), drawing, pottery, basket weaving, gardening, cooking, baking, and woodworking.

acrafty interview with david tedin tableWoodworking is probably my current favorite since I now have the time, place, tools and equipment to do what I want. My woodworking now is mostly small furniture, tables, jewelry boxes, cutting boards, toys, and small projects that other people come up with for me to do.

 

 

Have you ever started a project without a pattern or plan? DT: Many times. It is part of the learning process. At times the results are amazing. Other times it comes out; what is that? Or I don’t want to do that again.

What craft project are you most proud of? DT: Here again, what is crafting?  I am a retired carpenter and a craftsman by trade.

With the help of my wife Rita, we designed and built a 7,000 sq. ft. two story, solar heated home. The only things that were contracted were excavation, concrete delivery, renting a crane to set trusses, hooking up the electrical panel, and installing cable TV. Along with some help from friends pouring concrete and setting trusses, we did the rest. It took 8 years. but it was a great way to retire. Even though I had been in construction for over 20 years I learned a lot. One benefit of many years of crafting, it teaches you how to pay attention to detail.

acrafty interview with david tedin basket from fishing suppliesHas a craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? DT: Yes. After watching a lady weaving baskets I thought that would be fun to try. After finally finding a book with instructions on basket weaving, finding the material (reed) in Southeast Alaska was not going to be easy. The basket I chose was coil with a rod core and interlocking stitches. I was a long way from the Southwest where this type of basket is made, so I went to the fishing supply store and bought rope for the core and fishing line (the type used for halibut hooks). I use this basket today when I do weaving demonstrations. It is so strong you can stand on it.

How has crafting affected your character? DT: It has made me more…

  • Patient. When you are working with small pieces, messing up one part can ruin the whole project. This has carried over in my work. When you have to concentrate on getting the small pieces right, then paying attention to detail becomes much easier when working with big pieces in construction. I do not like to do the same job over because I didn’t pay attention.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin kneelerGrateful. For those people who have put up with the mess that I am sure to make with a project, and for the ability to do whatever I may choose.
  • Organized. With any project, I like to have the materials ready ahead of time. It is easy to lose interest if you have to go searching for what you need next.
  • Supportive. If someone shows an interest in something you are doing it is nice to be able to teach another how it is done or just talk about what you are doing. It is also enjoyable to work along side someone who is doing the same thing you are, sharing ideas and methods.
  • Adventurous. Sometimes trying something new may make the stomach a little queasy. It is not only can I do this but can I do it right. It is rather exciting to try something new, but you have to want to do it. I often times had that feeling when I would start a new project in my work.
  • Persistent. This is something I am still working on. Some projects have taken a long time to complete. I suppose it depends on my interest level, sometimes I can get distracted with something that looks more interesting.
  • Proactive. This for me goes with being organized. Anticipating what will be needed and how it should be done. It also worked very well for me in my work.
  • Independent.  At times it is fun to work with others, sharing ideas and different ways to do things; at other times it is nice to be able to work alone. I find it easier to concentrate and things tend to go more smoothly. Most of all the rest of the world goes away.
  • acrafty interview with david tedin basket with pink and purpleDiverse.  Many different things interest me. Seeing something and wanting to try it without the fear of not being able to is great. If I mess it up or quickly lose interest I don’t do it again. The best part is finding things you like and continue doing it.
  • Imaginative. After working with other people’s plans, designs, recipes, etc. and learning the basics I find it easier to adapt or do it my way with good results.
  • Observant. Hopefully I have learned to see what others like and dislike; and how others accomplish some of the same things I am doing.
  • Consistent. I do some things over and over the same way because other ways I’ve tried just aren’t as good. Baking biscotti is one example. With woodworking there is always something new to learn; even though you are making the same initial design. Basket making, and pottery take years of doing to make each one the same.
  • Brave. Just do it.
  • Calm. I’ve found that if I lose my cool or try to hurry what I am doing I usually mess it up.

acrafty interview with david tedin basketCan you share a story about how your crafting has affected others? DT: I’ve taught and encouraged others who have shown an interest in what I am doing to go ahead and try it. I also have taught classes and done demonstrations to the public. I hope that when our kids were growing up my crafts made an impression on them.

 

 

 

acrafty interview with david tedin storage bench

What crafty goodness do you have coming up in the future? Why is it appealing to you? DT: Harvesting and selling the garlic we have raised, canning produce for the coming year. Making spice cabinets for the church bazaar; I’ve never made one before and a friend of ours wanted one modified to fit her spice jars. A half round table, because the plan I have looks interesting. A drop leaf table, a challenge to me because I have never done rule hinges. Basket weaving and baking comes with the winter months.

A special thanks to David for taking the time to do this interview. When he sent his responses back to me he said “I found out more about myself than I thought I would. Things I hadn’t thought about in years and things that I take for granted in daily life.” I always learn something from these interviews and it’s even more special when the interviewee gains from the process as well.

Dave happens to be my uncle (his wife Rita is my aunt), and their son, Chris Tedin, was featured in a previous ACrafty Interview. Another of their sons, Mark Tedin, is an artist probably best known for his continued work on Magic: The Gathering and other fantasy projects.

If you would like to contact David with questions about his crafts (or his outstanding biscotti), please contact me and I’ll be happy to relay the message…

Would you like to be a part of the ACrafty interview series? Just contact me! You might also be interested in reading some more ACrafty Interviews with multi-crafter Diane from CraftyPodquilter Betty Busbycross stitcher Katie Kutthroatembroiderer Sasha of What. No Mints?, jeweler Ron Buhler, and embroiderer Ellen of Schindermania!.

Blog Every Day in May 26 – 31

This is the last set of topics for Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May Project. Today I’m covering a fantasy dinner party, my secret talent, the worst advice I’ve ever received, my morning ritual, who inspires me, and reflections on this BEDM project.

Fantasy Dinner Party

I’m going to modify the question as big dinner parties are not really my style. I do better with individuals rather than groups. That way I can really talk to someone and get to know them without worrying about how everyone will get along together.

With that in mind, who would I like to meet and have dinner with? About a million people: actors, civil rights workers, the writers of the US Constitution, the Gee’s Bend quilters, comedians, scholars, fictional characters, my ancestors, ancient religious figures, architects, engineers, writers, athletes, notable people in history, scientists… the list is endless. And the meals would be at the beautiful Cuq en Terrasses hotel near Toulouse, France so I know it’s a beautiful, relaxing setting and I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the damn dishes.
Photo au coeur

Secret Talent

Most of my secret talent isn’t much of a secret – I have a large capacity for memorizing trivial knowledge. Here’s a couple of good examples…

First, I memorized the alphabet backward one day when I was walking home from high school (it was a long walk). I even sing it to the tune of the alphabet song.

The Button-Down Mind Strikes BackSecond, my Dad memorized this list years ago when he was watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Bob Newhart was the guest. Dad taught it to me when I was young and it has stuck with me ever since.

  • One hen
  • Two ducks
  • Three squawking geese
  • Four limerick oysters
  • Five corpulent porpoises
  • Six pairs of Don Alvairso’s tweezers
  • Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle display
  • Eight brass monkeys from the sacred crypts of Egypt
  • Nine apathetic, sympathetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth
  • And ten lyrical, spherical denizens of the deep who hang around the corner of the query and the quay all at the same time.

Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received

“Should” is my least favorite word. Any sentence that starts with “You should…” is automatically the worst advice I’ve ever received.

Look at these three sentences:

  • “You might want to read this book.”
  • “You could read this book.”
  • “You should read this book.”

Using “might” and “could” give you the option of reading the book or not without judgment. To my ear and brain, using “should” implies that you will be judged negatively if you don’t read the book.

Think about the following scenario. Your Mom comes to your house and, without you asking for decorating advice, she says “Honey, I think you should move this chair over here.” Grrr, right? Now, if you ask her opinion, and she says “Well, you could move the chair over here,” that’s a totally different story!

Like most people, I’m not too keen on being judged, so I tend to shy away from people who say “should” a lot. At the same time, I try very hard not to give advice. The only advice I do give is to use sunscreen and to use earplugs. Those are two things you will always appreciate.

Morning Ritual

I really do enjoy a bowl of cereal with cold milk every morning. Yes, please.

Who Inspires Me

  • Maude as played by Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude.  I want to be like her when I’m 79 years old. A confident, funny, creative, independent survivor.
  • People who discover new places – explorers, pioneers.
  • People who create new information – scientists, scholars, musicians, writers, artists, designers, craftspeople.
  • People who are funny – comedians, movie and TV writers.
  • People who are always learning.

A Whole Month of Blogging

I’m really happy that I participated in this Blog Every Day in May project! I’m pleasantly surprised that I tackled every subject, as I was a bit doubtful that I would make it at first. I’m very glad that I combined many of the topics into one post. For example – my “Morning Ritual” response would be pretty dull as its own post.

Would I do another Blog Every Day in ____ project? Sure! Not for a while, though. I’m looking forward to posting more on my own topic: about how we can improve ourselves through crafts.

The Benefits of Traveling

I’ve led a charmed life when it comes to traveling, and it just keeps going. I’ve been in 47 of the 50 States (Michigan, Wisconsin and Alabama remain), and I’ve done some extensive traveling through Europe and Asia. Another trip to Europe is in the planning stages, and currently on my list of places I want to go (and haven’t been before) are Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

benefits of traveling - fantastic french patio tile patternOne of my benefits of traveling is that I’ve gathered some great inspiration for craft projects from traveling. I’ve got patterns ready to test stitch based on this patio from a hotel near Toulouse, France:

 

 

 

benefits of traveling - colorful geometric floor of a bar in spainThis floor could inspire some great designs someday. It’s from a bar in a tiny town in Spain:

 

 

 

 

benefits of traveling - italian tiled wallThis gorgeous wall from a hotel near Norcia (pronounced Nor-CHA), Italy is full of potential:

 

 

 

 

newton needlework pattern - inspired by the entry tile of the Hunter mansion in Newton IowaThis project is based on a tile pattern in the entry of a house in Newton, Iowa (you can read more about it here):

 

[Wow, does anyone think I like geometric patterns yet?]

 

benefits of traveling - portion of the ceiling of the Piccolimini Library, Duomo di Siena, ItalyAnd don’t even get me started on the Piccolimini Library of the Duomo in Siena, Italy:

 

 

 

 

One of the other benefits of traveling, REAL traveling, is that it’s one of the best ways of learning about yourself and the world. When I say REAL traveling, I don’t mean cruises or all-inclusive resorts. I mean going somewhere off the highways and motorways, finding your own way from town to town, ordering food in restaurants where you don’t recognize anything on the menu, and buying groceries where you don’t speak the language.

This short post by Trish at GirlsOnTheWay is one of the best accounts I’ve read about the benefits of traveling and what REAL traveling can teach you. I’ve traveled with a backpack in a similar way and I agree with her post one hundred percent. I especially appreciate her third point: “Material goods don’t matter. At all.” This is so true. There is very little you NEED. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Read Trish’s post – it’s worth every second of your time.

benefits of traveling - portion of the ceiling of a church in Oloron Sainte MarieThese days I’m fortunate enough that I can take my crafts with me as I travel. If I’m not stitching, then I’m collecting inspirations or designing future projects. This is a portion of the ceiling of a church in Oloron Saint Marie, France. I’d love to design a project with these gorgeous motifs someday…

 

 

 

 

Have you seen the benefits of traveling in ways that Trish has mentioned? Are you able to take your crafts with you on your travels? We’d love to hear about it! Please comment and share your experiences…