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I haven't devoted endless time to housekeeping yet (literal or virtual), but a few weeks ago I did start experimenting with a different approach to blogging. And I've decided to combine the Creative Mom Podcast blog and this "Threaded Thoughts" blog all into one -- and update just one place. I've been updating regularly in the new space for a while now. I may not be able to work all the kinks out right away, but I'm finding this new approach fits my needs right now. I hope you'll change your feeds/readers to follow me here:


Mosaic Stairs: A Pictorial











This series of photos goes along with the story in EP 166 of the Creative Mom Podcast. The one shown here scampered ahead and was posing long before I made it to the top. After his series of poses, he laid down... dead... much to the amusement of another stair-climber passing by. I didn't have the right lens with me, but this was a walk worth taking, with or without the right lens on board!



A sneak peek.

I'm going to release CMP Episode 166 tomorrow night. I would hold it... but then I might have trouble getting the final switch flipped from afar. So I'm going to let it go. In trying to get it wrapped up before I leave, I have the feeling I may have left something out! A few notes:

  1. Please, no need to send a map. I have one.
  2. I haven't seen the "Bucket List" movie.
  3. My thoughts on the list I've got underway tie back to my experience having tea in EP 165.

I've got a full set of photos to post tomorrow that will let you get a better look at the mosaics!



More than once this week, I've fallen asleep with my keyboard in my lap and the iPad propped in front of me. Such is the state of the show notes! I'm just weaving now... it feels like they've been done for a while, but they need to be woven a bit. I need to just go more ad-hoc.... just talk it out. (At least I think that's what I need!)

(The photo above was one of a number taken on a quick walk after having tea a few weeks ago.)

Sunday Morning

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BLOG-sunday-1SHARE-.jpgSunday mornings... Sunday mornings have the potential to have a flavor all of their own. In recent years, I've moved through points where Sundays, moreso than any day of the week, were difficult days. But this morning, as I sorted through a bundle of thoughts that were bouncing around, I was going to leave a status at Facebook and realized that the flavor of Sunday morning can't always be contained in a single 240-character update. You can't always encapsulate the many layers and textures of a Sunday morning in just a few words.

It's barely 8AM, so the day is not yet underway. The shape and resonance the day will take on is still unformed, unspoken, unbroken. There is the softness of morning, undertones of possibility and creative energy. My thoughts this morning were simple enough... they started with an awareness that the Renegade Craft Fair in SF is today. I had hoped to work it out for yesterday. (In the end, we saw Mr. Popper's Penguins.) I've sort of reconciled myself to the fact that I can't get there, but I spent time thinking through whether or not I might get there. That led me (again) to the show's website and then to their blog and then to a post on "not to miss" things in SF.

I scanned that list because similar lists (scaled down a bit) have been in my head lately--fueled by a bit of caffeine, a thread of unexpected friendship, and the growing sense that we have to make and take time. In thinking of simple lists, the concept of bucket lists hovers around the periphery (not something I've done, not a movie I've seen). And so I poked around the "not to miss" blog post. I opened a "craft spots in SF" map, and I laughed just a bit to see on that map that things marked as "part" of the base map, things like city parks, for instance, included Tartine, a well-known bakery here--and the first in a series of recent explorations.

Shelving the Renegade Craft Fair until I can see how the hours of mid-day pan out, I skimmed some Facebook posts by Cathy Johnson and realized, with a jolt, that I had put aside her new book
(a wonderful birthday thought) to savor, and in the spiral of days, I'd never gotten it back out. As I got up and refilled my coffee (briefly contemplating switching over to tea for the day since the maker had already clicked off), I poked around in first an overflowing bin, then a precarious stack on a stool, then under a pile of fabric in a chair, and then, bending down to look at the seats of the chairs surrounding the table, I spotted Cathy's book in another small stack, one which includes Knit Noro: 30 Designs in Living Color (another birthday gift I haven't really gotten to look at).

I took Artist's Journal Workshop with me back to my chair, realizing in the same moment that the languor of morning had basically passed... that boys were waking... that the tenor of the day would soon begin to take shape, my morning time winding down. Still, unwilling to give in and let go of the semblance of calm, I sat for a few minutes and read the introductory pages. In the back of my head, I wondered if maybe I should save the book to take with me in a few weeks. Even seeing the first few pages and samples, I am drawn, I am compelled, I feel the rise within to grab my journal... to again follow the path I was on a few years ago. I recently spent time looking through an older journal, one from the days of daily "visual" journaling and recordkeeping, and I miss that process... and I miss that capturing of line on my pages.
Just as I did when I recently looked at Danny's new book, An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers (or anytime I pick up The Creative License), I wanted to recommit and reconnect.

But instead of jumping up and grabbing my journal, I grabbed a Bluetooth keyboard and thought to write a simple Facebook status update, maybe urging someone else to check out the local craft extravaganza or nudging someone else to crack open a new journal. Instead of grabbing my journal and a pen, I grabbed a keyboard. (I suppose it is not necessarily a bad thing... it puts me one step closer to working on show notes that are open, are incomplete, and deal with some of these very topics.) And as I thought about the journals, about my journals, about the wonder of "watercolor kit" sketches (or tools sketches), about the ways in which I've never reached the line I want, the kind of line I love, I thought, again, about working in public... about stopping to sketch coffee as you have coffee... about being able to "be me" whenever and wherever. And in that process, I reached the full-circle spiral, as I landed right back in the heart of the unfinished show notes, notes with began recently with a mid-day tea.

Even as I thought about journaling, I let myself glance over at several different projects on the wall, knowing that I need to focus and plan and cut and get each organized so that I can move them along, especially the different applique projects...

And I didn't stop there. In the span of minutes, I cycled through many things... and then I headed to Facebook to leave a simple status. It began this way: Sunday morning: I am contemplating Renegade Craft Fair, cracked open Cathy Johnson's new Art Journal Workshop (though am tempted to save it for upcoming travel), pondering work project, thinking about show notes that are languishing, mentally making a list of things to cut, prep, plan...

It was too long. Too involved. And yet not enough.

So I headed here and let myself flesh it out a bit.

And in the time it took to follow the words, the drum beat of morning (and of Sunday) kicked in, as it almost always does, and the vibe has changed, the peace has been shattered, the edges are back in place, and we move on with the day.


Bowl again.


Even I can't totally explain why food, all of a sudden, has become such a defining "thing." Another night. Another bowl. Another combination that was wonderful. This was over the weekend. There have been several nights and different combinations since then. I'm surprising myself, and I'm reminding myself that it is never too late.



I have developed a "bowl" mentality to food. If the meal can be layered into a bowl... it may well be perfect. Having a wonderful bowl (like this one from Camano Island Pottery) has something to do with it. And fruit from a farmer's market and thoughtfully passed along from a friend, adds its own sweetness. Last night: sauteed asparagus, potatoes, goat cheese, and a bowl. Wonderful.

Wall of Light


We didn't run into this wall of light until the end of a very long day at Maker Faire. But as we stumbled away from the "Battleship" arena back to the main exhibition hall, hot and tired and hungry but determined to make one last effort at finding a section of the Faire we had missed, we went "through" a mostly-dark building. There were a number of amazing light displays. I'd love to have a wall of light like this!

(In fact, one of the first techno projects we stopped to look at was a small cube made of lights. It was a kit, but you had to solder it together. And then you needed to buy the circuit board separately. And then you needed to be able to program it. Okay... "kit" was a bit of a misnomer. But it was one of the things we wanted to have of our own!)

Rube-Like Zen

Funny how these domino-style demonstrations (this one isn't "really" a Rube Goldberg-type machine) always captivate... This one is an ad (at the very end), but it's pretty cool to watch and an amazing exercise in patience... think about how long it took to set this up and get it to work! Plus... I love the 'natural' element and feeling evoked here.

By the way... EP 163 takes place in the woods (sort of) as well. An off-the-beaten-track show, much-delayed (I had company), and with a blooper in it (oh no!) that I didn't hear until today. But, with 163 live, I move on.

Quick Stop.


I took advantage of a very rare chance to run to the fabric store today. I wanted some white to work on a new pattern. Did I "need" it in this exact moment? No. I have a number of projects started, as always. But, I just wrapped up the next pattern for Here2There, and I've already prototyped the one that comes after that one. So I've been thinking about taking something I worked on last year and doing it again for the next pattern. Thinking that I'd change things up a bit, I had it in my head to work on white instead of black... something bright and happy and fun. Something crisp. I've been stewing for days about grabbing some white and setting up some pieces I can work on when out and about. I've found that working on the applique for my current "year quilt" has been perfect for odd moments in the car. So I took advantage of an unexpected moment, and went to get white.

Do you see white in that photo? Exactly.

I did get some. But I had a moment of doubt at the store, and then I fell in love with a green and decided I could go an entirely different direction and work on this fabulous green. And as sometimes happens at a fabric store, one decision led to another, and another, and a stack appeared.

As a backup, I also got black. Some things never change!

Feet seem to be summing things up these days.




We rounded out Spring Break with a trip to Stowe Lake and a pedal boat ride. That the Blue Herons were in the top of their tree was wonderful and inspiring, as always in April. The kids marveled over some very large fish swimming near the surface, and we saw a new-to-us turtle, one that looks remarkably like a "pancake." That the "steering" of the boat included about four thousand, "go right" or "go left" moments followed by a spell of... "I'm going to go whichever way that seagull goes... we're just going to follow that gull" was nerve-wracking. But in the end, we didn't crash into either shore, another boat, or the stone underpass. And no one fell in.



When I first saw the thumbnail of the top "foot" photo, I thought, "oh, no... it looks like toilet paper hanging there." But when I looked at the two photos again, I realized that the top one captures the reality of the "end of the trip"... the moment of just sitting there on the bench, absorbed in a treat from the boathouse. I like both images, but it's interesting how moving the frame up just a bit... changes the story and hides the reality.



The rain has been amazing. Days and days (especially nights) of pounding rain, and then spells of bright blue sky that foster a false sense of dryness only to be quickly pushed aside for another downpour. As I noted at Facebook... I don't wear a raincoat, use an umbrella, or own rubber boots. The moral? Wool (sweater coat, gauntlets, and hat) gets really wet!

During a momentary dry lull yesterday afternoon, we were outside after school when a first-grader (not mine) decided to give me worldly advice regarding his sense that my son's interest in video games is unhealthy. The conversation (so odd and so clearly echoing things he has to have heard a parent say) spins in my head today as I think about the unfinished CMP notes on my other computer. I'd hoped to have that show out... earlier this week. And yet it is still fragmented... there are 'windows' in it... and yet they are blurry... my foothold seems like a phantom, lighting up briefly so that I run off in pursuit only to get there and find myself standing, looking, uncertain, and just a bit confused by what I ran after.

The photo is a phone photo. It's proof that there's something happening... something unexpected, maybe.... but something to which I'm both holding and moving. There's more than just that, but the idea contained in that photo is one I'm coveting today. Seeing all this rain and chill, and knowing that Spring Break starts today, I would love to curl up in a warm house with happy kids, yet another cup of tea, and read and make art and eat fun food. Somehow I don't think it will be that easy or peaceful or smooth!

The photo was snapped just now at my desk. I wasn't really sketching or drawing amid all the clutter! No... I was doing that last night nearing midnight and not at a desk! But there's something ironic about seeing it plopped down on top of the chaos of papers, budget concerns, the coming tax deadline, work notes, and so on.



Who doesn't love a case?

This one was for a Mac, so it's a good bit bigger than my HP Mini case. But it was a great project. I hope it's well used. I use mine for my computer, but these days the iPad is often in it, and I've even toted around magazines and papers in it. Handy.

A Year in Review


I think I almost have enough oxygen again to record the CMP. Almost. I'm hoping by later this coming week, I'll be able to do it and get 2011 started in terms of the Creative Mom Podcast. I sat last night and took some notes for the next show, thinking through some of what happened in the past few weeks and the ways in which quilts form the anchor points for those weeks in some ways.

The above quilt was a collaborative project, one of two created over the span of a year. A day or so into the new year, I pulled out all my finished pieces from 2010 and put them on the design wall. It awaits a bit of love and care on my part to complete the top. It was a wonderful year-long project and contains many, many stories in the elements created and choices made.

Cooperative Play

Forbidden Island

I have to say, we're loving Forbidden Island. We always introduce new "family games" at Christmas, and I considered lots and lots of games when I was doing my pre-holiday surfing and shopping. We love games. We really do. But it's a bit tricky to find the perfect game for us because we've got some pretty intense competition issues that really get in the way of "just a game."

When I stumbled over Forbidden Island and read about it being a "cooperative game," I was intrigued. I've never played a game like this before. I'd never even heard of a game like this before! If we had ended up at our local game store pre-Holiday, I'm sure I could have gotten some input (or even a chance to demo the game) from the helpful staff there (a cool store!). But December schedules squelched the boys' pseudo-weekly Magic the Gathering meetings in December, and so I was on my own when it came to deciding... Forbidden Island or not.

I'm so glad I decided to check it out. I love it. I think Gramma really enjoyed it. The almost-10 loves it. And the almost-7 is really good at it.

The art on the cards, I think, is beautiful. I just love looking at them. And the premise of the game is pretty simple and straightforward. But, you work together. You either win as a team... or you lose as a team. And we've done both. The next time you play, the game will be different. It's a very interesting concept, and I am on the lookout now for similar types of games that are kid-friendly (I know there is one, for instance, about medical crises that may not quite fit the bill).

I wish there was some way to expand or extend Forbidden Island, but for now, we're happy with what it is. And, we've gotten off the island several times in a row now!

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