I Agree, Except…

I happen to follow lots of cooking blogs.  I just finished reading a post at Willow Bird Baking called Sweet Biscuits and the Tale of Two Christians.  The title rather intrigued me.  I hope you will read the article.

I agree with everything in it except, I prefer not to put sugar in my biscuits!  If I’m using them for a dessert I might add one tablespoon.  But typically I prefer to add cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese to mine!

I’m heading back to Willow Bird to leave a comment now.

 

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The Last Thirteen for Fourteen

I know this is not about stitching. But it’s important. To me at least.  (Jeff would say it’s my abominable Liberalism coming out.  I prefer to think it’s compassion and common sense.)  And I  believe it would be important to many more people if they actually thought about what’s going on.  I hope you will agree.  Actively.

When I was a young woman during the Mayflower Madam scandal, I read “The Happy Hooker” by Xaviera Hollander.  I really enjoyed the book and thought, “Gee, that’s not such a bad profession.  Sure would be easier than nursing. You do the more fun wifely “duties” and none of the stinky socks and dirty underwear, have more control over your life, decide who does what to your body, and it is possible to make decent money if you do it right.”  I know—the stupidity of youth.  That was only one side of the picture.  Anyone who has seen news stories and documentaries about the sex workers in India know how much worse it can be.  We all decry the treatment of those women.  Even self-righteous politicos would agree those women have a horrible life.  Trump would probably hire them all into his clothing sweatshops factories.

But what about the women, men, girls, boys, maybe even your next door neighbor—straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.—in sex trade occupations right here in the USA?   Prison inmates are treated better and do NOTHING for our society.  I believe sex trade workers offer a valuable service and should receive a fair, taxable wage, just like any other American.  They should be able to organize to get good health insurance.  More importantly, they should be treated better and be represented by the judicial and political system.  This group of people are Americans just like you and me.  The “moral-majority” should be a little less moral and a lot more compassionate.  In my book morality includes caring for others and having an obligation to help stop suffering wherever you see it.  Even if the sufferer has the dirty fingers and clothes of an auto mechanic, or has AIDS, is a bad driver, or a spoiled rotten kid suffering from “affluenza.”  (But not pedophiles–sorry, I just can’t…)

I am re-blogging this article because it’s something all people–especially women–should think about objectively–not religiously (but if you do, remember the “Beloved Disciple” was a whore and Jesus loved her!), not politically, not socially. None of these biases–just as a human being not wanting to harm others. Marginalizing sex workers and criminalizing prostitution DOES DO HARM. For one  thing, human trafficking in the Gulf Coast and other areas is a major problem and it not uncommon for young people to disappear without a trace.  (I-10 is a major trafficking thoroughfare from the Atlantic coast in Florida across the US to the Pacific Ocean in California and is a result of dealers providing the demand for illicit “product.”)  If you have ever been a victim of sexual abuse or spousal abuse (male or female) you also know of the harm I’m talking about because the system/people treat you the same way  they treat so-called “sex criminals.”  Like you’re scum who had it coming or asked for it.  (This I know from personal experience.)

So read this article.  And remember one day you or a loved one (maybe your son or daughter) might have to turn a trick to make the rent.  (I can hear it now, “Never,” “Not me,” “I’ll just help John-boy with his meth addiction—until I just can’t  stand it anymore.”)

P.S.  If you don’t like what your read here, that’s okay.  But this is my blog.  And I don’t tolerate bigotry on any level even though I’m bigoted against crackpot fundamentalists of any ilk.  Disparaging remarks will not be approved.  I know.  How undemocratic.  Go ahead and link to this and rant about how horrid I am in your own blog or Facebook or something if you need to!

If you agree maybe you could reblog and suggest people think about things.  Or talk to a few people about this injustice in our communities.  When we’re open and talking reasonably and honestly the world can be better.  (Yes—I’m still naive and overuse the em-dash!)

The Honest Courtesan

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.-Thomas Paine

Every Friday the 13th I ask my readers, especially those who are not themselves sex workers, to speak out for decriminalization of prostitution.  This is the third such occasion this year, but it’s also the last one for 14 months (until September 2013), so I want to make it a good one.

Though roughly 10% of modern women have taken money for sex at least once, the great majority of such cases are informal and the payer an acquaintance; only about 1% of women actually work as hookers at some point in their lives, and less than a third of that (just under 0.3%) are thus employed at any given time.  That’s a pitifully small minority, smaller even than the fraction…

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Just Saying

Are you participating in the Good Reads 2016 challenge?  I am.  And already I’m ahead of schedule.  Woohoo!  That’s good ‘cuz who knows what the year will bring to interrupt my love for reading.  Although so far, nothing has ever been able to do that!

I just finished a little book written by Austin Kleon entitled Steal Like An Artist.  It’s subtitled:  10 Things Nobody Told you About Being Creative.  I enjoyed it so much that I read several parts out loud to Jeff.  (He just loves when I do that!)  Especially the parts about having multiple projects going at one time.  Kleon calls this “Practicing Productive Procrastination.”  PERFECT!  I have this down.  I’m an expert in this and can teach others a thing or to about PPP.  Chances are good you’re an expert at this, too!

What I liked best about this book wasn’t even in this book.  It was Kleon’s promotional blurb about another book he’s written about self-promotion for those who don’t.  (If you’re interested, it’s called Show Your Work .)  Here’s what I liked:

Use your network instead of wasting time networking.

Share something new everyday (but don’t turn into human spam).

Be open, generous, brave—an artist others will steal from.

—Austin Kleon

I really like the bit about becoming “human spam.”  I have been deleting my subscriptions to blogs where the author has become that yucky (?)meat.  This especially includes blogs where so much advertising and self promotion makes the page time out!  Two bakers whose names I won’t mention (okay, one is something about Grandbaby Cakes) have almost no new content on their blogs.  Just information about book sales and book tours, yada, yada, yada.  Unsubcribed!  Same thing with White Threads (Vetty Creations on FB).  She occasionally has something useful, but if the content isn’t about her latest book, it’s a query about a topic that you can be sure is related to research for her next book!  Bye, bye!  I’ve even taken breaks from Mary Corbett at times when she’s promoting a new kit or doing an infomercial for some nice but not necessary product.

While I’m constantly considering whether particular newsletters represent human spam or not, I can tell you that there are certain bloggers who I will NEVER unsubscribe from.  I will not extol their virtues here.  Suffice it to say they are artists who I steal from to support my own creative engine.  If I’m just scanning my emails, I save theirs for later so I can savor every thought and picture.  They are the ones I dote on.  If these blogs aren’t on your list they should be:

I know I’m leaving someone out, but can’t think who right now.  When I think of it or more I’ll just post a sticky note and you’ll know what it’s about!  Which blogs or newsletters will never be cancelled by you?  That you think everyone would just love?  That isn’t human spam?  (By the way, I also have knitting, quilting, lace making and cooking blogs to live by as well.  I can list them if you want?  Would love to know about your other must read blogs, too!)

Oh, and I’ve been “working,” too.  I’ve started developing the schema and collecting ideas for images for the Confessions of a Pagan Nun sampler I want to make.  The author, Kate Horsley, gave me permission to use my favorite line from her book!  This is the line:

Use words to please, to instruct, to soothe; then stop speaking.—Kate Horsley

And, of course, stitching and knitting.  (The links are not showing up with the pics, let me know if you want to know where to find these free patterns.)  Started to tangle, too.  Take a look and maybe drop a line my way!

Name That Blog!

I’m participating in WordPress’ Blogging 101 class. The current task is “naming your blog.”

Of course, my blog has a name so I could just say that task is done.  Frankly, I don’t like my blog name any longer.  It doesn’t seem to fit, is too limited.  I do love the tag line “and other challenges.”  Maybe the tag line makes the space lacking in the “shop sampler” idea which was based on just one project defined one stitch/color/shop at a time.

So…what?

When I go back over what I’ve written about, the topics tend to fall within the realm of cross crafting, WIPs, mindfulness, and writing.  There is a connection to resources/community as well as some personal stuff.  I certainly have other interests.  For example, a very strong interest in black work embroidery, reading, and baking lower on the glycemic index.  I “suffer” with an “attachment” to food as reflected in disordered eating and really try to practice mindful eating and exploring a Buddhist (or Eightfold) path.  Right now while my Jeff is so sick, I’m learning everything I never did in nursing school about auto-immune responses and disorders.  (All these new Biologics!  Yuck!)  I have become almost an expert on Miniature Schnauzers.  I have taught Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” (and the follow up) a number of times.

How do I sum all that up in a simple, memorable name and line?!

So far everything I’ve come up with has been an active domain name owned by not me—even when translated to French.  Well, there are two translations that are available domain names:  Parcours Créatif (Creative Journey) or Le Chemin Créatif (The Creative Path).  But should I really confuse folks with  accents aigus?!  And do they fill the bill adequately?

I kind of like:

  1. Creating.  Living.
  2. Living.  Creating.
  3. Creating = Living
  4. Living = Creating

But then there’s Ivory Castle Creations.  I used to make music tapes for friends to introduce them to my favorite music, mostly women musicians (long before Loreena Mckennitt and Sarah McLachlan were mainstream) , classical guitar, and real Celtic music (Nahoo, Mouth Music, etc.)  I labeled them “Ivory Castle Mix 1 or 2 or…on and on.”  So Ivory Castle Creations is like an off shoot of that.  Someone even created a logo for me based on the tag line, “it’s not the drop so much as the ripple.”  This quote came from one of my Artist Way students who saw THE Point of how one change in one’s world changes everything via the ripple effect!  The Ivory Castle part came from a fellow nurse who would tease me about slumming in the real world (acute psych unit in a local hospital), when my real existence was the Ivory Tower of academia while I was pursuing training in Marriage and Family Therapy in College Park, Maryland.

So…what do you think?

I can’t find the poll function on the tool bar (and what happened to spell/grammar check?!), so I’ll have to outline the current options I’m considering.  Tell me what you think is fitting!  I just can’t decide!

  1. Creating.  Living.
  2. Living.  Creating.
  3. Creating = Living
  4. Living = Creating
  5. Ivory Castle Creations
  6. One of the french choices
  7. Keep it the same

Happy 2016!

happy-new-year-2016Here’s a question for you.  If I write it will you read?

I’m thinking about blogging regularly again.  Been thinking about what I want to accomplish and what purpose blogging serves me.  Initially I had grand plans to design patterns and maybe even go into business.  But smarter artists than I are struggling and even quitting.  Back then my writing was about connecting with others and offering something to develop a potential business base.

To that end, I used to compulsively check my blog stats, just like checking my weight (yeah, I’m eating disordered, too).  I would get soooo disappointed when my numbers wouldn’t go up (or my weight would go up!)  Or people might look at a post that I worked really hard on and not offer a comment.  I even started to read some of the spam comments! (Really, really horrid.)

I’m not there anymore.  Writing is for me.  Something I enjoy.  Just like all the crafts I do.  I enjoy it.  It relaxes me.  It speaks to my desire/need to be creative.

I’ve decided I’ll write when I have something to say.  (See “blogging without obligation.”)  If  I have nothing to say, maybe I’ll just post a picture of where my needle(s) are sitting and what string is attached, like the following:

Cecelia Baby Blanket

Cecelia is a center out baby blanket pattern by Berroco. I’m adding rows and making it as a shawl.

Dimensions Ornament

An ornament I did real quick this year.

That’s my goal for the year. 

I’ve lost my dogs.

RIP my babes

See you at the Rainbow Bridge, Taz and Jojo

 

 

 

 

 

Our Vet not only sent sympathy cards, but made these paw casts, and made donations to Auburn Vet School in our girls’ names.

 

 

 

 

 

My Jeff is sick.

He has this rash everywhere—palms, bottom of feet, in his nose, and most likely internally, too.

Not Jeff, but like Jeff
Not Jeff, but like Jeff’s (Jeff has better legs!)

It’s called Leukocytoclastic Angiitis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2016 I WILL be calm and submissive to my needs for creativity, health, beauty, peace, and loving-kindness.

I hope you’ll read what is here.  I hope you’ll like it.  I hope you get something out of it.

Ch…ch…ch…changes!

Way back when, I remember making a Contract With Me.  Maybe you remember it, too.  Maybe you did something similar.  Mine’s not working for me any longer.  How about yours?

I had set things up so I could work on every work in progress each week.  I did that for about four months.  I liked the fact that nothing was being set aside.  What I didn’t like was the feeling that I wasn’t making any progress on any particular project.

Bygone Stitches Quaker Virtues

Quaker Virtues to date

Ink Circles Cirque des Coeurs

Cirque des Coeurs—moving along. Love working on this, too!

And, I found myself resenting projects.  I’d just feel great about getting to a point in Quaker Virtues and have to set it down to move on in the schedule to Cirque des Cœurs.  I found myself hating Cirque because it was taking me away from something I really was loving working on.

Then some people (i.e. those wicked stitchers at Superstar Serial Starters and Divine Disciplined Divas Facebook Group) mentioned a SAL they read about in a blog.  So I had to do that. Then I found out about another at one of the numerous blogs I follow.  That one led to another.  You get the picture?!  Those little SAL are delightful—quick, easy, small, fun, achievable.  How can you not participate?!

So, I gave up the schedule.  I’ve been working on the little SALs as they come along.  If I don’t finish when the SAL is done, that’s okay.  I’ve been working them with materials I wanted to test or using fabric scraps.  And as tools for learning finishing techniques new to me.

Claire93 SAL project

Seba Freebie stitched

I’ve also picked up whatever I wanted to work on.  I determine how far I want to get to feel like I’ve accomplished something.  While I’m working on that I decide what I will pick up next.

Almost done with B. Blok sampler

I still have to finish the borders. This is waiting room stitching.

And so it goes.  WIPocalypse is at hand!

July 2013 TUSAL

For those who don’t remember reading about this before, TUSAL stands for Totally Useless Stitch Along.  For me it is a way to mark time.  Another way to examine my progress, or lack thereof, in my stitching.  Once a month, more or less, those of us participating share images of our ort collection jars.

I collect my orts in my folding ort box and then transfer them to my jar according to the TUSAL calendar.  As you can see, I’ve been frogging!  But I must admit that some of the orts are from sewing two pair of shorts and a summer shirt.

Since we decided to stay in Alabama for the summer, I found my wardrobe was sorely lacking for temperatures that stay above 90 constantly.  I have fabric to make another pair of shorts and three slip style dresses.  I don’t love making clothes, but I appreciate Home Economics in Junior High School where I picked up the skill to be able to do this for myself.

I am typing on someone else’s computer with a baby keyboard as my monitor died.  That’s why I’ve been MIA.  But I’ve also been participating on a couple of mystery SALs.  Two have ended, even though I’m still stitching on one.  And a third started on July 1.  I will start Camille as soon as I finish B. Blok.  Check out the links for the patterns.  And next time I’ll share my photos!

These are all lovely patterns, fast and satisfying to finish.  I hope you enjoy them!

Ode to European Reproduction Samplers: Preparing for Papa

About six months ago I opened my big mouth and said, “Papa will be my birthday present to myself.  I will start Papa by then or on my birthday.”  Well my birthday is in just a couple days.  And I’ve been getting ready!

I purchased Papa probably four years ago when I discovered Sabine Taterra-Gundacker’s  website “Alte-Mustertücher-nachgestickt.”  Since then I have spent hours and hours looking at the patterns and at the gallery of Sabine’s works and collection.  I personally think everyone who stitches should have one of Sabine’s patterns in his or her repertoire.  Personally, I want them all!

Where do the ideas for these patterns come from?  Sabine finds interesting samplers in museums and in private collections.  She then sets to recreating the original works, documenting threads she uses, trying to match to the original as much as possible.  She includes the errors as well as the beauty and the history, counting every old thread.  I have come to respect her skill even more having been working on the Martha Stones Sampler.  I struggle with “do I correct the spelling or leave it as is?”  I’m leaving it.

Another of my favorites is Erna Schuppelius.  I love how Sabine’s photos included the finishing done on this piece and plan to add the crochet border and ribbon trim to mine.  The alphabet is charming and I will use it in work that I may design myself or for personalizing other works because I love it so.

I have learned so much about samplers from perusing Sabine’s online shop.  And I have come to love samplers from a variety of cultures and can even now begin to identify origins when seeing an unlabeled sampler.  I have several other patterns in queue from Sabine and another that I have started that is purely a labor of love.  (IFAKHS 1817)

Before I seek your input on my color choices for Papa, let me show you how Sabine packages her products for you.  It’s like getting a birthday present in the mail when you open it.

Now here is my dilemma.  I have the fabric it’s a 32ct Wexford linen in blue with grey and charcoal markings.  You’ll see it in the photo gallery following.  I had chosen Threadworx Deep Blue Sea to outline the “pages” of the pattern and Crescent Colours Lobster Claw to do the pattern design using the Threadworx for any accents.

I’ve been testing the Lobster Claw against the fabric in a blackwork SAL.  It’s not bad.  The problem is Jeff hates orange.  It’s not absolutely important that I avoid orange, but I do think he is more likely to help me frame and hang it, it the colors are pleasing to him, too!  And I don’t want to give this one away.  After all it’s a birthday present to me!

Jeff like brown.  He love the colors in my Quaker Virtues.  He has suggested a reddish brown, not too red.  I found a currant color that he likes.  I like it too.  But how will it look on the fabric?  I don’t want to have to wait to get the thread.  That means I’d have to start after my birthday has passed.  And then there is the question of what color should I use for the outlining?  I think the darker blue will be too much dark.  I thought about using the Lobster Claw.  But I don’t know.

What do you think?  Check these pics out and let me know what you think.

Stitching Busy

It’s that time again.  Time to assess where I’m at in my stitching life for WIPocalypse.  Time to share my Vierlanden progress with Dijn and the other SAL members.  Not to mention Quaker Virtues SAL progress and Cirque des Cœurs SAL progress.

I’m glad to say I have made progress!  I have even added a couple more SALs to my list (this one, and this one too), one another small blackwork SAL.  It feels good!

I think rather than describe my process in all the projects I think I’ll just post the pics .  You can always do before and after comparisons by searching for the appropriate names using the internal search.

As always feedback is more than welcome, so bring it on!

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P.S.  Jeff, Taz, and Jojo went for a walk on Mother’s  Day and came back with the flowers in the feature image.  They grow wild around us!  Mother’s Day is now also called Big Puppy’s Day!

A Small Finish

Yup.  I finished something.  Kind of.  Claire was leading a small blackwork/cross stitch SAL.  I found out about it two weeks or more into the SAL, but joined anyway.  I am, after all, a Sensational Serial Starter!

I wanted to try out some threads I finally recently got from Needleworker’s Delights.  I won’t link to ND as I do not recommend them.  I also don’t recommend the threads.  At least not the ones I chose.  I got three weights of Jar Designs Overdyed cottons in the spiced ginger color.  I was not happy with the stranded floss.  I used the lightest and darkest of the color for my little block.  There was so little variation as to be non-existent.

Not trusting my own eyes, I asked Jeff which stitches where the darkest and which the lightest.  He couldn’t tell and thought I was using the same thread throughout.  In the photo there does seem to be some variability.  Maybe my eyes aren’t as good as the camera!

Anyway.  I picked 3371, 355, and 356—all by good ol’ faithful DMC to finish the Seba freebie from Cyberstitch.Com called Square Magic of Colors.  I am satisfied with the finished piece.

Claire93 SAL project

Seba Freebie stitched

To have a Finish (versus finish),  I thought I would stitch a reverse color version and use the two for a biscornu.  Then I thought I might find a nice complementary fabric and have a fabric backed biscornu.  Now, I’m thinking fabric backed pinkeep.

Here are some of the fabrics I was thinking about:

Three fabrics from Keepsake Quilting and three from Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Which of these do you think goes best with the Square?

Clockwise from top left the fabrics are:

  1. Keepsake Quilting Gold, Not Necessarily Christmas
  2. Keepsake Quilting Pebbles, Water Lilies
  3. Keepsake Quilting Petals Tango Punch
  4. Robert Kaufman Spot On from Ft. Worth Fabric Studio
  5. Moda Ticklish from Ft. Worth Fabric Studio
  6. Moda Honey, Honey from Fr. Worth Fabric Studio

Now that I’ve seen the piece and the fabrics on the same page, Numbers 1, 3, and 4 are out.   Which of the remaining three do you like, #2, #5, or #6?

What would you make?  Biscornu or Pinkeep?