React with Love Cross Stitch Pattern

This React with love cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!react with love cross stitch pattern

This project is my reaction to the enmity, conflict, and ignorance in the world. If we react to certain situations in a positive way, toward kindness, trust, and understanding, the world might be a happier, more constructive place. [Of course, there are situations where love is not the immediate answer. For example, I don’t advocate welcoming physical threats to ourselves, our families, or our friends. That’s not what I’m addressing here.]

It can be overwhelming as there is so much conflict out there: between religions, between nations, between political parties, between neighbors, between co-workers, and even within our families. I find that concentrating on individuals rather than groups helps alleviate some of that overwhelmed feeling. Every two people have something in common, if only the fact that we exist. Even from a meager beginning we can develop our commonalities into a better understanding. This project can serve as a gentle reminder to work toward this goal.
handshake

[Handshake by Sakina-san via Flickr]

In an interesting coincidence, a conflict has come up between me and a good friend while I’ve been writing this post. This friend said that putting all Muslims on American soil into internment camps, much like the US did to people of Japanese ancestry during World War II, is a good idea. I was flabbergasted and deeply disappointed; how could someone I consider a friend espouse such a ugly, fearful idea?

My reaction? To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was not “with love.” It was disgust and exasperation as my husband and I argued fruitlessly against his idea. The next day, my reminder to “react with love not fear” kicked in as I started really thinking about what to do next.

My main thought was: EDUCATE MYSELF. Because I didn’t have the best information on hand at the time, I didn’t know how to respond intelligently or even coherently when my friend first brought up his awful idea.

I feel there are two big points to address: the first is about Islam and Muslims vs. radicalized Muslims, and the second is about the about the idea of internment camps. I happen to be friends with a really lovely Muslim couple, and I will ask if they can lead me to information that will address the first point. As for the second point, I happen to know that Japanese-American actor George Takei (he played Sulu on Star Trek) was in an internment camp as a child during WWII. He is an internet powerhouse and a champion of fighting the idea of internment camps, so I will search the internet for his most persuasive arguments on the subject.

DSC_0287

[Manzanar by Jason Neville via Flickr]

Will I then share these pieces of information with my friend? You bet. How will I do it? I’ll present the clearest, most succinct and rational ideas I can find and ask him to read them. Will he read them? Maybe not, but this is a person who generally respects my ideas, so I have hope that he will. Will this information change his mind? I don’t know, and that has to be okay.

Even if he doesn’t change his mind, my understanding of two big topics will expand. In the future, if I am confronted by anyone else with similar prejudices, I will be better able to react with love and in a more constructive way.

Self & Conflict

[Self & Conflict by Soul Patcher via Flickr]

My story above is just a tiny instance of conflict between a handful of people. Think globally and look at a situation as complex as the unrest in the Middle East. There are thousands of years of root causes of the violence there, from religious differences to political upheaval, from oil to opium, and countless more. It would take a multitude of scholars’ lifetimes to unravel the web of conflicts and truly understand all of the major points of view. How does one react with love toward something this overwhelming?

Obviously, there are no simple answers (how I wish there were). But this is a good example where focusing on individuals rather than groups helps me. I find myself often thinking about war refugees and their situations. If we act toward a refugee family with fear, with ignorance, distrust, and isolation, then they may have good reason to become our enemies. However, if we greet the family with love, with a desire to understand them better, with kindness and compassion and with opportunities for work and education, then they may have have good reason to become our friends.

Like I said above, every two people have something in common, if only the fact that we exist. The most simple acts of kindness can open up channels of understanding between people. I hope that this react with love cross stitch pattern may help remind us of that idea. 

ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler of Gold ‘N Silver

Welcome to today’s ACrafty Interview with Ron Buhler. Ron is the jeweler of Gold ‘N Silver, his brick-and-mortar store in Fountain Valley, CA.

When did you start crafting? RB: When I think back, I can’t remember ever not. From a young age I had the desire and a knack for bringing what I see in my mind to reality through my hands. I think it’s a God given nature in us to want to create. I was doing it before I knew what I was doing.

GoldsmithAt the young age of sixteen through family ties I was introduced to gold smithing and this caught my attention quickly. By its mere nature, it was special, if for nothing other than the value man has placed on the materials in which this craft uses. Now after some thirty-five years I enjoyed the craft and it’s challenges as Gold ‘N Silver jewelers.

What crafts have you tried and what is your current favorite? RB: I’ve worked with everything from paint to pencils and leather to wood but, in this interview, I’ll be speaking to the living I’ve made with rock and heavy metal, actually precious metal and gems really.

What’s your most popular project? RB: I have to say my best selling projects have always been wedding and anniversary rings.

Wedding RingsWhat craft project are you most proud of? RB: It would be hard to say which one project I’d be most proud of because over the last 35 years there have been so many, I never kept count. To focus though on what has been so special to me would be this… to actually get to play a part in something as special as someone’s wedding rings. I’ve enjoyed the privilege of making more than thousands of such rings all unique and specific to a bride and groom.

So many of these stories a have touched my heart in special ways. They have played a part in molding and shaping me. These events have given me great insight to the love and interaction of people in love, in this important moment in their lives. I’ve made rings for couples and then for the children that those very relationships have brought forth. In hindsight I wish I’d written them all down, what a story they would tell.

sapphire ringHas a craft or craft project ever challenged you in an unexpected way? RB: Great question. Sometimes good enough isn’t even close!  This speaks to the core of who I am in this regard. I can remember on more than a few occasions, after putting weeks of my time, effort, and money into a project, just stopping and starting over. You can’t let your pride get the best of you here. Sometimes even with all my years of experience you just don’t see it coming, many times you’re creating something new and you almost can’t guess what you’re going to have to do to get the results you’re looking for.

I’d lay in bed late at night going over and over all the ways I can think to create the outcome, rehearsing a process for making a certain ring or part of a ring. I have a vivid imagination. You and the couple have agreed on what the outcome should be and you start off on a journey. Ring making, like life, is a journey. The only difference is with the ring we can start over, in life starting over can’t really be done. Only starting from today can be done.

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.? RB: Now you’re really making me think. When I read the list you have made above I noticed these are all what I would consider to be positive character traits. And while I would like to think I value and possess them all, I thought I might ask myself this question. Has crafting affected my character or revealed it? The answer would have to be revealed.

Fork in roadThere are times when I would have to check myself and choose the high road or the road less traveled. I believe from experience that if you want to take any “hobby” or “craft” to the level where it will impact lives or create a financial livelihood you must process all and more of these traits. Unless someone is backing you with the finances it will take to pay your bills and keep the power on, you have to be able and willing to curb your own desires and produce a product that fulfills the desire of the one to whom it is being produced for. Otherwise it will only be art or craft for your own wall or enjoyment. And that might be enough to fulfill your creative needs, and sometimes it has been enough for me.

On the other hand, when I create something that produces tears of joy to stream down the cheek of someone who has entrusted that treasure to me, ahhh, what more can you ask for as a craftsman?

Many thanks to Ron for taking the time to do this ACrafty Interview! At this moment, his shop is undergoing some renovations, so he couldn’t get me photos of his work. However, below is a photo of a custom paisley brooch he created for my Mom (thanks, Mom for taking the photo!). He did a great job of working with my input and budget to create this lovely and unique piece, and my Mom was thrilled with it!acrafty interview gold n' silver paisley pin

Gold ‘N Silver is located at 18850 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708. Call (714) 963-9594 to schedule an appointment with Ron.

Would you like to be a part of this 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 Kutthroatpotter Chris Tedin, and embroiderer Sasha from What. No Mints?

Blog Every Day in May Days 12 – 19

Further topics for Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May Project! Today I’m covering collecting, go green, food, pampering, walk to work, best friends, and traditions.

Collecting

Fabric stash or dog bed?I’m actively trying NOT to collect anything anymore. My biggest weaknesses are movies and fabric. I’m one of those people who can watch movies over and over again. So I see a great deal on a DVD I know I will enjoy and it’s tough to resist. And there’s nothing better than finding a beautiful cotton print and buying a half yard of it. [Note: this is not my dog or fabric stash, but it’s adorable and I can totally see my dog doing this]

With that in mind, my husband and I are tackling some big projects to get rid of STUFF! DVD cases – chucked out! CDs – digitized and jewel cases chucked out! Old videotapes and cassette tapes – digitized and chucked out! Up next – the challenge of sorting, filtering, organizing, and digitizing old photos. That’s a big one.

Too much stuff can just weigh you down, physically and emotionally. Patricia Herr at GirlsOnTheWay puts it best: “You don’t need all the stuff you possess, and having all that stuff only leads you to believe you need even more stuff. Before you know it, you’re spending money to maintain the piles of stuff you don’t need, and then you’re spending energy coveting the shinier stuff your neighbors own (but don’t need).” Read her whole post – it’s worth your time.

Go Green

Solar PanelsThere’s a few small things we do – no paper plates, walking when we can. There’s a few small things I’d like to look into – replacing paper towels with washable rags, some vertical gardening on our patio. Recycling is handled by our city. However, our biggest green contribution is the house. We remodeled it 10 years ago and this puppy is tight! We’ve got solar panels on the roof that generate most of our electricity. The windows are all double paned and the walls and ceiling are heavily insulated. We’ve got high efficiency appliances (I LOVE my clothes washer) and low water use fixtures. And for the States, our house is pretty small – about 1300 sq. ft. That means much less space to heat, cool, furnish, and keep clean. Yes.

Food Glorious Food

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie RecipeI’m so lucky – my husband does all the cooking. He likes to cook, whereas I’m more of a forager if left to my own devices. But I do like to bake. My favorite things to bake right now are a Grapefruit Pound Cake and a Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie. They’re both from Cooking Light magazine and thus lower calorie than regular recipes for pound cake and chocolate pie.

Do I have a favorite food? Not really. I will say, though, that when we were living in Europe, I sure did miss having Mexican food once in a while. Whenever we would come back to the States for a visit, one of our first stops would be to go get a shredded beef taco and some good salsa.

Pampering

yogaTo me, there’s nothing better than a serious deep-tissue massage by someone who really knows what they’re doing.  Second to that is a really good yoga session where you KNOW that the next day, you’re going to feel it. Fabulous.

Walk to Work

I’m so happy that I work at home. I’ve got a desk that is surrounded by windows, and the view is always good.

Best Friends

I am fortunate enough to have some really good friends and family, and sometimes it makes me a bit sad that very few of them live near me. But I move around a lot and they move around a lot, so that’s the way it is. I am grateful for my friends because even if we only talk a few times a year, we know we would be there for each other if necessary. We don’t over-analyze and get defensive if someone doesn’t email us back right away – it’s OK – people are busy – we understand that.

Favorite Tradition

Interview Q7My husband and I don’t have too many traditions. As we’ve moved around, we’ve had to create new events on the go.  From Thanksgiving to Christmas, though, I really do enjoy being home, putting up the tree, baking, wrapping presents and the like. And I will always make my Mom’s recipe for apple pie. [Note: This is my Kitchen-Aid mixer. His name is Bruce]

BeMores Set 2 – Patient and Trustworthy now available

Set 2 of BeMores are now up for sale on my Etsy shop! The words this time are “Patient” and “Trustworthy” (for those of you new to BeMores, there’s some more information on the whole concept on this page).cross stitch on paper BeMores Set 2 patient and trustworthy

I really adore the paper for “Trustworthy” – I had to dig deep on the internets to get my supply of it. And I’m so happy with how the script font on “Patient” turned out. My husband helped me get the crossing of the “T” to look right (it took some doing).

The BeMore Patient and Trustworthy finished projects

Patience comes easily to me when it comes to craft work. My Ancora Imparo project that I posted about previously is proof of that! My Mom and I are also working sporadically on a quilting project that we started about 20 years ago. All of the fabrics are old ties, sorted into groups of three to five with similar colors. We haven’t gotten far, but I think we’ll get there someday.

For me, mutual trust, built over time, is one of the things that differentiate a friend from an acquaintance. The “Trustworthy” project strikes me as a good one for younger folks. I remember some behavior of my youth that I really regret. A lot of that was due to me breaking trust with my friends. Although I’m much improved in that area, the “Trustworthy” project has been a really good reminder of ways to build and maintain trust.

New BeMores are Coming Soon!

In addition to the first set of BeMores, “Grateful” and “Organized,” I’m now working on the second set, which will be “Trustworthy” and “Patient.” The papers and flosses are ordered and I’m waiting for their delivery. YES!

I’ve done a ton of fun work on these BeMores to get to this point. From the Pilot project and compiling the resulting questionnaires, to deciding on which words to put in sets, then shopping for papers and finding matching flosses, to finally ordering all the supplies – it’s been a blast playing with the words, colors, and patterns.

I’ve had a big learning experience when it comes to scrapbook paper – when you see what you like, BUY IT! Papers are highly seasonal and are discontinued all the time. This being the case, the paper for this version of “Grateful” will be a similar color as the Pilot version, but will be a different pattern. Here’s a photo of George checking out the new paper.The paper for the new release of BeMores "Grateful." The BeMores cross stitch on paper projects will be available soon!

There’s still a lot of work to be done on these BeMores before they go up for sale at my Etsy shop. Until then, I’ll make some progress updates on this exciting project!