Gypsy Ways 2014

My gypsy ways are returning…

Both new and returning readers to this blog may have noticed that my blogging has slowed a bit lately. This is due to a fantastic travel opportunity that is coming up very soon! From roughly May through October, my husband, dog, and I will be in motion.

gypsy ways - what remains of my printed photosFor the past few months, we’ve been concentrating on getting some personal projects done before we hit the road. We remodeled one of our bathrooms, and I finished up a massive project – scanning, organizing, and backing up all my printed and digital photos. This photo is of all that’s left of the printed photos and scrapbooks – a reduction of about 80% of the volume of what was before… heavy awkward scrapbooks begone!

More recently, I’ve been designing cross stitch projects, picking floss colors, and getting all the necessary supplies together to take with us. There are some wardrobe requirements for the trip, so I’ve had to work on that as well. I will say that the purchase of these two pairs of fabulous shoes was necessary (thanks to the sales at Macy’s for not breaking the bank, and man I just love that clear lucite platform!).

gypsy ways - orange strappy platform heelgypsy ways - black patent and clear lucite platform heel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the time, we will have regular internet access. But on similar trips we have stayed in some remote villages where the neighbors were what you see in the video below and internet access was in the nearest library 20 miles away. If that scenario arises, I hope to regularly post some quick updates and photo highlights.

My Etsy shop will continue normal operations, thanks to my Mom who graciously agreed to help with shipping. I’ll be releasing new patterns as I finish stitching them from my current backlog of nifty designs, and as always, I’ll be working on creating new designs. I find a lot of inspiration along our gypsy ways!

So for a short time, my blogging will slow down, but it definitely will not cease. I count myself as one of the truly fortunate that I get to make this trip, so I hope to appreciate it in the moment and not only when I look back in the photos. As many have said, it is not the destination but the journey that really matters.

[Update: The adventure starts here!]

Variegated Floss Projects Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of this six-part series on variegated floss projects! I’m going to share a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Variegated flosses are beautiful and by their very nature, they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.variegated floss projects - DMC 4211

This first post on variegated floss projects is going to concentrate on three types of needlework: cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. These are probably the most popular ways of using variegated floss, and for good reason as you are about to see.

Before we get to the projects, Alison Murray at Dream a Little Big has this excellent tutorial on creating your own variegated floss, and in her part 2 she has a free pattern that you can use with your new floss!

 

 

 

All DMC Variegated FlossHowever, there are hundreds of beautiful variegated flosses available from a variety of companies and retailers. I’m proud to have all 76 colors of the DMC six-strand variegated flosses available in my Etsy shop. They’re gorgeous to look at and, with the consistent quality of DMC floss, they’re easy to work with.

Variegated Floss Projects in Cross Stitch

On About.com, Connie G. Barwick has a few things for newcomers to consider when working on variegated floss cross stitch projects, such as her free “Yummy Watermelon” pattern seen here.

Also on About.com, Connie shared some very helpful advanced tips on using variegated floss in cross stitch, including dyeing methods and how to achieve certain looks with specific techniques. Definitely worth the read.

variegated floss projects - cross stitch samplerThis pretty variegated floss sampler by Nancy Rossi through Better Homes and Gardens can be seen in a couple of places on the net. The pattern is not in print anymore, but you can still find it on Ebay.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - floral borders bookThere is a ton of inspiration in this LeisureArts book of variegated border patterns. The different elements of these designs could be mixed and matched in a million different ways!

 

 

 

 

 

Tsmcs4blogIn a more modern vein is this great project by Elizabeth Hartman featured on her blog Oh, Fransson! She replicated the Tokyo subway map first for a quilt and then for this cross stitch. She changed floss colors every nine stitches, creating a variegated effect. I think variegated flosses would work very well in this project, with the added bonus of not having to tie off and start so darn much. Regardless, what a bright, colorful and fun project!

I love this little biscornu project by Lorraine at HippywitchCrafts. It uses variegated floss around the center and then again in the border. It’s just darling…

[Here’s a link to more information on biscornus]

 

 

This pretty bookmark is a free design from Lady Kell of Kincavel. As the pattern is relatively simple, the variegated floss nicely augments the design.

 

 

 

Image of AventailSome of the best cross stitch patterns that lend themselves to using variegated floss come from Tracy Horner of Ink Circles. Her designs range from this small “Aventail

 

 

 

 

Image of Turkish Delightto the more complex “Turkish Delight

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Baroqueand her popular “Baroque,” all of which look stunning executed in variegated floss. Take a leisurely look through her store and her latest news to see all her great projects that could be executed in variegated floss.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle itty bitty patternAnother great source for patterns is Nordic Needle. As well as carrying many of Tracy Horner’s Ink Circles designs, they feature other artists as well. This Itty Bitty’s design is a perfect way to try out lots of new variegated flosses,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle coffee patternwhile this coffee pattern would look terrific in a variegated floss. Might I be so bold to suggest DMC 4000 – Espresso?

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle plum puddingI’d also like to share this pattern, called Plum Pudding. Here, in it’s original purples, it’s a gorgeous design.

 

 

 

 

Then Kristal, one of the employees at QuiltingAdventures, stitched it in different colors, and I must say, to a beautiful result. When you look at some of the detail photos, you can see where she used variegated flosses to add just a sparkle of visual interest to some of the backgrounds. She started this color scheme by picking out some flosses from her stash. What an amazing stash that must be!

Variegated Floss Projects in Needlepoint

variegated floss projects - hexagon needlepointThis hexagon pattern might appeal to those people new to variegated flosses and would like a fun project on which to try them, or those who may have existing stashes of variegated floss. This example comes from the CarolStitches blog.

 

 

 

hexipuff-with-groutThe project originated in Janet Perry’s May 2012 Stash-Busting Club. I believe it uses the mosaic stitch shown here to make a glasses case (I wish I had a link to more information about the project). What a great way to experiment with variegated floss while working with hexagons – currently one of the most popular shapes in crafts!

 

A quick project is this needlepoint and leather keychain on RedFlannelPantry, given to a 16 year old girl when she got her driver’s license. Variegated floss in the basketweave stitch is a great choice to create the background effect you see here.

 

 

This post by Laura at TwoHandedStitcher shows how different colors used with the same pattern can produce completely different end results. I like how she used variegated threads to create a little more visual interest, especially in this green and gold example.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - chrysanthenums gardenInspiration and patterns for needlepoint projects that use variegated floss can be found all over the web. The Caron Collection has several including this pretty “Chrysanthemums Garden”

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - venetian glass stockingand this “Venetian Glass” stocking pattern. Clicking the link to this design will also show how vastly different the same project can look using different colors and stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - detail of jmd projectThere’s plenty of inspiration in this post by Janet M. Davies. She has quite a few smaller projects that use lots of variegated floss, including this detail from one of her fantastic creations,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - summer logsand 123Stitch has lots of needlepoint patterns by a variety of designers. A great example is this Summer Logs pattern that uses no less than 18 different variegated flosses in an amazing array of different stitches. This fun sampler would never get boring!

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Embroidery

I’ll start with some machine embroidery inspirations as I have a really lovely story about hand embroidery that I will use to wrap up this post.

variegated floss projects - machine featherDesignsinStitches has quite a few patterns that call for variegated thread. One example is this feather pattern; one of a set of 10.

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - machine embroidery butterflyEmbroideryDesigns has a series of four birds and this pretty butterfly,

 

 

 

 

 

Paisley Motifs Embroidery Designsand ABCEmbroideryDesigns has this cool Paisley Motifs set. This example is stitched in a rainbow variegated thread that suits the pattern perfectly.

 

 

 

 

And this is one of a set of 15 sea shells available through NeedlePassionEmbroidery. They are a really gorgeous collection!

 

 

 

 

I’ll start the hand embroidery with this lark of a project, embroidering patches for old jeans, from Charlotte on her Ta Da! blog. This little patch is a great way to experiment with different stitches and variegated floss.

 

 

Amy Friend at DuringQuietTime used a Sizzix to create the pattern for this lovely partridge Christmas ornament. She then used Cosmo variegated floss to stitch the embossed pattern to a very sweet result.

 

 

variegated floss projects - line embroideryI bet this pattern from Lady Kell of Kincavel would look great in variegated floss. It’s a bit of a flashback to a Rush laser show at the Planetarium, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

 

 

 

UntitledI love this simple but elegant idea from TheSmallestForest on using up leftover floss, and I love how she’s put some variegated strands in the mix. I think the variegated gives the piece just that little bit more randomness and visual interest than solid colors alone would produce.

 

 

Aqua Snowflake Embroidery PatternFrom Polka&Bloom, this fun and lighthearted Aqua Snowflake pattern, along with it’s siblings the Gold and Lilac Snowflakes, would look awesome in variegated flosses (if they’re not already). These three patterns are a lovely trio.

 

 

 

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.For some more beautiful inspiration and examples of embroidery stitches in variegated floss, you need go no further than the Flickr photostream of Margreet from Holland. On her crazy quilt blocks, she consistently produces embroidery of great quality. She uses a multitude of colors and types of stitches to achieve all kinds of textures and effects.

 

 

variegated floss projects - DMC 4235My last example is a story from Kim, one of my customers, who purchased skeins of DMC 4240 and 4235 (shown). As I love these flosses so much, I ask many of my customers how they use them. She replied: “I stitched a labyrinth in a hoop for my friend who lost her mom to ALS in October. Walking a labyrinth has meant a lot to her. I used the 4235 and my friend said the colors were just perfect.”

What a lovely way for Kim to support her friend! I’m really happy that I was able to provide Kim with the floss for her project.

If you would like to see the design, the labyrinth pattern she used is available from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching, and it was featured in Jenny’s tutorial on the backstitch.

 

That rather touching note wraps up this first of six posts on variegated floss projects! Are there any projects in the crafty categories of cross stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery that you would like to add to the comments?

Stay tuned for more in knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, decor, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Water Themed Crafts Part 6

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 6, the finale of this series! This series of posts are all about crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 123, 4, and 5 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, chainmaille to knitting and much more. Today, in this sixth post, I’m covering water themes in jewelry, candlemaking, wool dyeing, origami, flower arranging, and more!
Water

[Water by mbasie via Flickr]

Water Themed Crafts in Jewelry

First up is this ingenious way to keep track of your water intake. Contributor shazbraz at pinchingyourpennies.com created these bracelets. Every time she drinks a serving of water, she moves one bracelet from her left arm to her right. It’s simple, pretty, and an effective reminder!

The Nines Beading Pattern - Beaded Multistrand Bracelet Tutorial #1500Simple Bead Patterns has a tutorial for this wavy bracelet available in their Etsy shop,

 

 

 

 

Beach waves and sand knotted in cord and beads macrameI featured this project in Part 5 of this series, in the section on macramé, but as it is just so pretty and it really is a piece of jewelry, I feel like sharing it again here. Sherry at KnotJustMacrame shares this project which beautifully expresses an ocean beach. From her post: “When I added beads, I kept them random, again mimicking the colors of deeper water with highlights up through the foamy green and into the sand.” Sherry offers some tips and tricks on her blog, and has tutorials for sale on her Etsy shop if you like her micro-macrame.

I like this easy tutorial from Jordan at Picklee on how to make this casual and attractive hemp and sea glass bracelet. You could put this together in matter of minutes!

 

 

 

 

knock off braceletAnother quick and easy nautical-themed bracelet tutorial comes from HenryHappened. For less than $6 and 5 minutes time, she created this bracelet that also converts into a necklace!

 

 

Beading Tutorial - Beaded Barely Wavy BraceletOn Etsy, the Splendere shop offers lots of tutorials, one being this simple but elegant “Barely Wavy” bracelet,

 

 

 

 

 

and the LittleRock Etsy shop offers a tutorial on how to silversmith these fun and funky Wave Bangles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 6 - water bracelet inspirationSome creative inspiration can be found in this chunky aquamarine, turquoise, and silver bracelet entitled “Dream Big as the Ocean Blue” by Eni Oken,

 

 

 

and also inspiring is this unique and brilliant Beach Bracelet by TerahsClassicCreations. In the link, take a look at the bracelet when it’s unclasped and laying flat. Wow!

 

 

 

 

The WireWorkers Guild website has an interview with Louise Goodchild, who created this delicate and serene wire and beadwork pendant. She has other water-inspired pieces visible in the article as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Through the AlaskaJewelry website, artist Matt Bezak offers this unique and striking wave pendant with diamond accent.

 

 

 

 

The simple ocean-inspired bracelets and necklaces made from charms and beads are a great way to support the Crystal Cove State Park in California.

 

 

 

 

Ocean Mist BangleThe spiral peyote stitch has a natural wave-like form, and it can be used to make both bracelets and necklaces. This tutorial by Inspirational Beading is a great place to learn how to make this pattern.

 

 

 

On the PapernStitch blog, Jenny Hoople shares her tutorial on how to create this gorgeous Falling Water necklace. It beautifully combines pearls, semi-precious stones, and shell coins.

 

 

 

 

When Pearl at BeadingGem reviewed the book Irina’s Inspirations for Jewelry: From the Exotic to the Everyday, one of the projects she featured was this striking Shades of the Ocean necklace. It’s easy to see the progression of beach sand to deep water in this piece.

 

 

 

Instead of using real and often endangered coral, here’s a tutorial from Divya at JewelsofSayuri for a necklace and earrings using (non-endangered) epoxy clay,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Albina at AroundBeads offers a tutorial to make these pretty and delicate beaded coral tassels that can be made into earrings or pendants.

 

 

 

 

Natalie from NorthShore Days has a guest post on HappyHourProjects on how to make these quick and lovely wire wrapped sea glass earrings. She says that once you get a little experience, you can make lots of these earrings in very little time!

 

 

Copper Wave Wire Wrapped Ring TutorialThrough their Etsy shop, CrossedWiresJewelry offers a tutorial on creating this intriguing copper wave wire ring.

 

 

 

Skylight Jewelers of Boston have several wave-shaped bands in their repertoire, including this gorgeous two color ring.

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 6 - wave curl ringHetWestern offers this sterling silver ring that features a curl in the right break of the wave,

 

 

 

 

 

Titanium Wedding Ring by Exotica Jewelryand ExoticaJewelry has this striking Eastbourne ring with finely detailed waves and spray.

Water Themed Crafts in Candlemaking

ShamrockCandles has this DIY on how to make an oceanic candle with a sea shell plate. In addition, they have a host of other candle ideas and products with ocean themes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This candle was made with two layers, an inner core pillar candle about 1" smaller in diameter than an outer layer filled with shells and made with a higher melting temperature wax.EHow has this tutorial on creating these pretty shell-embedded candles that involves two layers of wax, the outer layer having a higher melting temperature.

Water Themed Crafts in Wool Dyeing

crock pot dyeingFirst up, I’ve found some interesting tutorials on using Kool-Aid to dye wool. The first method is from Leethal and uses a crock pot,

 

 

 

and the second method by Kerry at TalesofaNeedleandThread uses ice cubes and a sunny day. Both methods look like they could be a lot of fun, and they both produce gorgeous results!

Now, is it possible for those methods to produce anything as pretty as the following examples?

This variegated blue and green by RedRidingHoodYarns is just beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handspun Art Yarn - Blue Ocean 3.2 oz 174 yards Bulky WoolThis kinky and fun blue yarn by LenaBrownDesigns on Etsy already resembles ocean waves,

 

 

 

Handspun super bulky bubblewrap yarn - Beach Glassand this is the very aptly named “Beach Glass” yarn from GypseeArtSupplies also on Etsy. It’s so pretty!

 

 

 

Water Themed Crafts in Origami

healthy water themed crafts part 6 - wave origamiGilad Origami has a review of Peter Engel’s book Origami Odyssey. One of the patterns in the book appears to be this wave, folded by Gilad himself.

 

 

 

神奈川沖浪裏 - The Great Wave off KanagawaThe always brilliant blog AllThingsPaper featured this work by Andrea Russo, an Italian artist, titled “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.”

Water Themed Crafts in Flower Arranging

The Dutchbaby website has a photo of this flower arrangement created to compliment a waterfall painting. The arrangement nicely captures the colors and shapes in the painting.

 

 

 

WeddingWire has this post of ocean-themed table centerpieces, most of which are simple and inexpensive while looking elegant.

Water Themed Crafts in Giftwrapping

Color Me Pretty:  Ocean BluesThe last photo in this post from Decor8 on ocean hues is this experiment in gift wrapping. It’s unique and so lovely!

Water Themed Crafts in Digital

Glass Bottle.pngMy last item for this post is from the world of Minecraft, and it’s how to make glass bottles which can then be used for holding water and then on for brewing potions. I wonder if beer is considered a potion?

 

 

 

That hopeful note finishes this healthy water themed crafts part 6, covering jewelry, candlemaking, wool dyeing, origami, flower arranging, giftwrapping, and a little diversion to Minecraft. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series!

Water Themed Crafts Part 5

Welcome to healthy water themed crafts part 5! These are crafts that encourage us to drink more water and that help us appreciate clean rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Parts 12, 3, and 4 covered crafts ranging from crochet to polymer clay, woodworking to scrapbooking, chainmaille to knitting and much more. Today, in this fifth of six posts, I’m covering water themes in quilting, soapmaking, felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making.
Water Lily Leaf

Water Themed Crafts in Quilting

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - quilt patternThere are nearly endless examples of watery inspiration in quilts. First up is a pattern offered by McCallsQuilting for this interesting “Sunset on the Water” quilt.

 

 

 

 

A rich source of ideas is this Pinterest page from Theresa Callahan. It’s title sums it up well – “Fun: Fish, Boats, Water to Quilt, Sew, Craft, & Admire.” While these posts are concentrating on water rather than the things that inhabit the water, this collection has ample examples of ways to express water using fabrics.healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest quilting inspiration

Artist Barbara Schneider has a series of quilts based on light reflecting off of water. I find many of these to be nearly photorealistic and stunning in that quality. You can see them on her eponymous website – worth every second of your time.

Linda Gass has dedicated many quilts to exploring water themes – water rights, water origins, water usage, water and land interactions. Not only do her quilts raise interesting questions, they are beautifully executed.
Linda_Gass_3

This beauty by Martha at QisforQuilter is a favorite of mine. She took an illustration by Charley Harper from the 1961 book The Giant Golden Book of Biology and turned it into this wonderful quilt. Look closely at the details of each organism in the drop – it’s fascinating!

 

 

 

 

Again, from the photorealistic group comes the quilts of Melody Randol. All of the pieces she features on her website are incredible in their realism.

Also beautiful (but much easier to see how she achieved it) is this bargello wave pattern quilt that utilizes mostly bali fabrics. It’s by Cecile Allen and was featured on the Quilter’s Club of America blog.

 

 

WaterfallThe water in this is more abstract but beautifully expressed in “Waterfall” by the truly talented Karen Cattoire. I love how the silks and organzas shimmer just as water does.

Water Themed Crafts in Soap Making

Here’s a “natural” looking sea salt recipe from Finchberry,

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - seaweed soapand this recipe from RavenMoonSoap contains both sea salt and seaweed. Author Nikki says it “carries a wonderful sea aroma.”

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - sea glass soapThe recipe for these sea glass soaps from The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe look like a pretty way to bring ocean colors inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - soap wave textureThis video on YouTube by Missouri River Soap shows how to make a wave-like texture on the top of your homemade soap bars (skip to minute 11 to see her technique).

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave soap moldFinally, to make your soap projects look wavey, here’s two attractive molds. The first comes from WholesaleSuppliesPlus,

 

 

 

 

 

Image 1and this second mold comes from MilkyWayMolds.

Water Themed Crafts in Felt

We’ll start with a couple of felt board projects for kids. The first is this fun and kid-designed project by Alicia at The Creative Vault.

 

 

 

IMG_0652To start off the grown-up felting inspiration, I love all the wavey details in this tiny pincushion by Gretchen Brownbear on her Flickr photostream.

 

 

 

 

There a lot of needle felted projects that use ocean and sea colors, but I found this one on the SpinArtiste site to be a bit more unique than most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Applying soapy water to woolWhen it comes to USING water to make felt, there is this wet felt tutorial at Rosiepink,

 

 

 

 

as well as this thorough collection of felting tutorials curated by Toni van der Geest on Pinterest.

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - pinterest felting tutorials

Water Themed Crafts in Perler Beads

Perler beads are perfect for fun and geeky projects. When it comes to watery ideas, here’s an underwater Mario scene by funkymonkey via SpriteStitch (love the coral!),

 

 

 

 

and here is a nifty perler bead water tribe symbol by Rachel via DeviantArt.

Water Themed Crafts in Macramé

Here’s instructions for a paracord macramé water bottle holder at KnifeForums that may encourage us to drink more water, especially those who enjoy the great outdoors!

 

 

 

Beach waves and sand knotted in cord and beads macrameSherry at KnotJustMacrame shares this project which beautifully expresses an ocean beach. From her post: “When I added beads, I kept them random, again mimicking the colors of deeper water with highlights up through the foamy green and into the sand.” Sherry offers some tips and tricks on her blog, and has tutorials for sale on her Etsy shop if you like her micro-macrame.

A study of water free form micro macrame necklaceSlightly earlier in 2013, she also shared this project, which was inspired by the “by the endless kaleidoscope of patterns” in water. It was her first piece of free-form macramé!

 

Water Themed Crafts in Furniture Making

DIYNetwork has a tutorial by Carter Oosterhouse on how to build this fun wave shaped cd rack. Although not many people display CD’s anymore, this could easily be used for paperbacks, DVD, bric-a-brac, etc. I also think this looks like a wall-sized mustache – what do you think?

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave shelfThen Instructables has these instructions on how to build your own circular cardboard shadowbox. The author states that “shape was greatly influenced by Elsa Paige bookshelf designs.” While the author’s example might be a little rough around the edges (it is for a kid’s room, after all), here you see a similar, but more refined, version by another user. All in all, it’s a fun way to incorporate a wave shape into your home décor!

water themed crafts part 5 - wooden wave tableIn furniture inspiration is this gorgeous wooden wave table by Merganzer via Xaxor,

 

 

 

 

 

water themed crafts part 5 - L'Eau chairthese fun Calligaris L’Eau chairs found through Houzz,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

healthy water themed crafts part 5 - wave hammockand finally, this enticing hammock by AuthorityHammocks. Does this look comfortable or what? Yes, please!

 

 

 

 

That relaxing chair completes healthy water themed crafts part 5, covering quilting, soapmaking, felt and felting, perler beads, macrame, and furniture making. Is there anything in these crafty categories that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you have checked out the previous posts of this series! Part 1 featured crochet, woodworking, quilling, lace and tatting, weaving and tapestry, and mosaic tilePart 2 featured polymer clay, embroidery, scrapbooking, metalworking, ceramics, and stained glassPart 3 covered healthy water crafts in knitting, paint, beadwork, chainmaille, leatherwork, and gardening. Part 4 included needlepoint and cross stitch, baking, glass work, basket weaving, and sewing.

And stay tuned for the sixth and last installment of these healthy water crafts, featuring jewelry, spinning and dyeing, flower arranging, origami, candlemaking, and more!

[Update: Here is Part 6 of the series!]

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.