Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Please, sir, can you fix my camera?

I've been meaning to post. But I feel a little lost without my camera.

The flash quit working last week. I was in denial for a few days, but then I realized that as gray and rainy as it's been, I can't take decent photos without a flash. So, even though about 90% of my shots are outdoors, I must get it fixed.

I was feeling a weird insecurity about sending my camera off to Kodak. What, ship my baby?!? So I called around town, and one repairman was willing to take a look at it. He gave me all the warnings I expected: these cameras aren't easily fixed, it's hard/impossible to get parts, it could cost more than you spent on the camera. I know, I know, I thought as he droned on. But what if you CAN fix it?

I dropped it off today. He said he'll get back to me after lunch tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed for my camera!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Resting at home

A quick post while I'm sitting at the computer:

Chris has been down with the flu since Friday night. Pretty wretched, poor guy.

I started running a fever last night. I'm in much better shape than Chris is, but I am laying very low today, and I canceled my art quilting class for tonight.

Ross is home, too -- complained of goopy eyes (he is very prone to pink eye) and an upset stomach this morning. I decided I'd better err on the side of caution and keep him out of school.

The family that's sick together, stays together.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crafty help for our friends down under

I've been happy to keep up with a few Australian bloggers as I've gotten more interested in the blogging world. The news of the terrible Victorian brushfires has been sobering, as we in the western U.S. can all-too-easily relate to the plight of people and animals caught in the disaster. inkberryblue has written a post about her sadness, but she has also offered lots of links to organizations that are providing aid.

I am particularly interested in the efforts to give handmade items to the folks who need a hand. I was scheduled to teach a plushies workshop on Saturday morning, but I didn't get enough students. So instead, I'm going to make some plushies to send on a journey of love and healing. And I invite you to join me! The relief effort includes a call for toys, clothes, quilts, baby items, and especially items for winter weather (sweaters, scarves, hats, and so on) -- it is almost autumn in their neck of the woods.

I can't think of a better way to spend Valentine's Day than to give away your love to the wider world. You can get more information about what the Aussie crafting community is doing, and how you can help, by clicking here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Love is in the air . . .

. . . so when I had to make a sample for my art quilting class, of course I chose the heart! I love that simple shape.

Heart with patchwork

Heart with patchwork (close-up)

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When the hungry robins migrate through Spokane, they love to feast upon the red/orange berries of the mountain ash tree. It's amazing to watch a flock of birds (25? 50? more?) descend upon a tree and devour every berry they can find.

Robins in mountain ash (vertical)

What little things are you loving today?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Red and white

Red and white patches

Just made a big piece of red and white faux patchwork (patches of fabric, overlapping and sewn onto a muslin background). Something valentine-y may come of this!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gold stars

A couple Saturdays ago, I went to an antique mall, the Vintage Rabbit, here in Spokane. I visit it from time to time, to look for treasures and to trip down memory lane. On this day, I was on the hunt for little goodies to add to my art. I pawed through baskets of buttons, hankies, rickrack, sequins, fabric -- whatever caught my eye.

I picked up a gallon-sized plastic baggie of miscellaneous craft stuff, looked it over, set it down, picked it back up, set it down again, and walked away. I could see glitter in there, and a little plastic creche set, lots of felt letters, some buttons. I was intrigued, but not hooked, and I was determined not to spend money on things that I was not in love with.

But. I ended up going back to that shelf, and taking the baggie to the checkout. Rationalizing -- well, it's 20% off, I do like that creche and the letters, and maybe there are other things that I'll use, too. (That's the way my rationalizing always sounds in my head.)

When I got home, I looked through my treasures, saving the baggie for last. Among the old Christmas stickers and tiny, frayed American flags, I found a box of "gummed stars." The kind my teachers used to put on the top of my papers when I'd done well. The person who owned them must have been a grade-school teacher.

Hand with gummed stars

Looking at the stars, I was jolted back to my childhood. Oh, how I had coveted those stars! Especially the gold ones, when I'd gotten nothing wrong on the page. I was always proud to have perfect spelling tests or math quizzes or whatever. It was my goal in life, in those days. Perfect. 100%. Even one missed question was a bit disturbing.

I'm not sure where perfectionism entered my life, but those stars certainly reinforced my tendencies. It was as if I had to be perfect. Straight "A"s were my holy grail. It became part of my identity, and my obsession. By high school, making honor roll was not enough. It had to be highest honors (all "A"s). My extended family used to tease me that I was slipping if they'd seen in the newspaper honor roll that I hadn't earned highest honors. College knocked me back a bit, but I still managed to get a 3.72 as an undergrad. Never earned a "C," had one "D."

I look back at it, somewhat astonished at my craziness.

Now I understand what drove me. It was a way of proving that I was a good person, smart, worthy of taking up space on the planet, worthy of love. I do not know why that unworthiness is so deep in my psyche -- it's not as if I didn't have loving parents, grandparents, friends -- but it has always been the part of the darkness in me.

Ever so slowly, I have been learning that I am worthy. Of everything.

I'm glad I listened to the impulse to buy that baggie. (The universe is always presenting us with whatever we need, if we pay attention.) I also listened to an impulse to take a photo of myself with a gold star on my forehead, as a sign of where I've been.

Gold star forehead

As I look at the photo again, I realize that the gold star also symbolizes my wholeness. I am worthy, just as I am.

(And so are you. I promise.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

On to a new week

I felt lousy on and off last week, but I'm hoping for more energy and more posts this week!

I've been working on another little book, this time with a peace theme. I thought a little handstitching would be nice, so I dug out a beautiful piece of hand-painted fabric (by Alma Stoller ) and embroidered a peace sign on it. I'll cut it out and glue it to one of the pages.

Embroidered peace sign

I start teaching a round of classes this week. Every single one of my park & rec. classes has enough students -- I've never had that happen before! It's been a long winter here, and I think people are looking for fun ways to get out of the house without spending a lot of money. I'm excited, because (a) teaching is fun, and (b) I am grateful for the money!