Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some Fun Coming Up . . .

All that stash yarn I mentioned not too long ago? Well, a couple of my friends and I have come up with what we think is a fun way to do some de-stashing . . . you might want to play along . . .

Keep watching this space . . . ;-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Artist's Way . . .

My Iona sister, Tori, and I started working through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way book again this week. This is something that we have done before. In fact, I had attempted working through The Artist's Way a number of times in the past and never succeeded until Tori and another Iona sister of ours and I worked through it in 2008. Ms. Cameron has structured it in 12 chapters, making it perfect to work with one a week, yet also making it flexible enough that if we need two weeks for anything, it's easily accomplished.

That's what we are doing again this time - a chapter a week. Yesterday I read the beginning, introductory pages and found things that I think I missed the first time. Either I missed them, or I am seeing them through different eyes this time. It could be that I am just seeing them through different eyes - eyes that are two years down the path from the last time I approached this work.

And it is work - but it is such awesome work for the spirit that I really cannot recommend it highly enough. What came to me this time as I was reading these beginning pages was what I'm ready. And what would it be like if I was actually following Julia's two guidelines. Morning Pages and Artist's Dates (more about them in another post).

She advocates a tool called Morning Pages. These are pages that you write out in longhand every morning - first thing. Three pages. A "brain drain" if you will - wiping the slate clean every morning - getting all the crap off the path and out of the way so you can safely walk.

It's not that I didn't do the work last time. I did. When I did this the last time - I was religious about writing my morning pages, caught up in the "rules" about writing them. But there are no rules - only the rules of perfection that I made for myself . . . Morning Pages rules don't exist. They were my own choice . . . my own everyday force of trying to be perfect. Still, I did the work. And I profited from it.

The big difference this time - already - is letting go of the need to be perfect, and actually doing the work with a sense of wonder. It makes a lot of sense to me that you have to DO the work, not just read about it. You have to get out of your head and onto the path. Morning Pages help do that. But this time, there is something else in these morning pages that is calling me (I've made the commitment to do them throughout this 12-week journey). I'm not quite sure how to articulate it, but I feel that they are now a different tool - that I am on the next layer of this soul and artist's work.

It's been awhile since I have talked about art and soul work - the path to one's self is not always straight and rubble-free. My own path seems to take quite the winding way around in pretty much every area of my life - but what a journey it is :-)

I am an artist. We are all artists - each in our own way. And art is different for every person - we find it in so many different ways and places. Art is not just paintings or symphonies or sculpture or great literature. Sometimes it's a house well-cleaned - or a meal exquisitely prepared and served. Sometimes it's loving a child - or listening to someone who needs to be heard. Sometimes it's an aria at the Lyric - and sometimes, a song in the shower.

Whatever your art is, I hope you nurture it - take the time to hear what you need to hear and know what you need to know. Life can be so overwhelming that we lose sight of ourselves and what is really important. This past year has been filled with so many wonderful things for me - but also a lot of stress. My focus is blurry and my creativity is at a low ebb. Part of me knows what's in store for me in the coming weeks from having done The Artist's Way before - but the beauty of a course like this is that it is different every time you do it, because you are different.

I am looking forward to working with Tori on this again. We have blocked out the time on our calendars for a weekly conference call because we live in different states - usually it's Saturday mornings. It's sacred time. You can do The Artist's Way on your own (although I was not successful with it by myself), but I have found that it's much better to work with another person or a small group of like-minded people. You receive so much when you work with others on work like this. Gaining insights you might not have thought of on your own. Making the commitment to meet and discuss.

It's critical to have that framework structure in place. Sort of the old "fake it 'til you make it" attitude. You just keep moving forward within the structure you have set for yourself, and eventually, it becomes ingrained - you've worn new passages in your brain, new ways to think and do. And although it might seem counter intuitive, that framework is liberating. It lights the path to your spirit. Without it, it's too easy to sleep late, or get sidetracked and think "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow . . ." and then tomorrow never comes.

I tried to embed a video of Julia Cameron talking about Morning Pages and it didn't work. So, here is the link to view it. It's very interesting.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crisis Averted

I found the telly remote. I'm sure my Iona sister, Tori, will be laughing when she reads this because I do this all the time :-D Except of course, now, all the places I would normally look for something that I lost are all cleaned up - it makes it challenging.

It was on one of the plant stands in the sunroom, but sitting down in a tray rather than up on the ledge. I have no idea why I set it there. :-D

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crazy . . .

I have lost the remote for the telly . . .

I have looked EVERYWHERE. Even the trash. It's like it just disappeared into thin air. :-S

Why don't they make these things with beepers on them?

At least the telly is on BBC America.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Stash . . .

So - I've been thinking about this for awhile, particularly since I just uploaded the last of my summer yarns to Ravelry (message to Knitterary and Amy - if you're reading this, the Wollmeise - all contracted to purchase on August 31st ;-) and the two from Cape Cod - the standard travel dispensation).

My yarn stash is clearly at SABLE (stash accumulated beyond life expectancy). I keep casting stuff on - startitis I believe they call it - and I did a serious destash this August as part of The Great Cleanup of 2010 (there is still stuff available on my Ravelry trade/sell page). And still, there is a really lot of yarn and fiber here.

Not so much as some of my friends have, but still, a really lot. And it's starting to weigh on me somehow. So I'm giving some thought to it. I've supposedly been on the stash busting wagon for more than year now . . . and I still managed to buy a really lot of yarn at various times and locations. Mostly Wollmeise this summer because I was wanting to get some more of it. I succeeded in that quest and picked up quite a bit of lace and sock yarn - for two colorways I got enough to make sweaters. (And then, I couldn't get gauge with the yarn doubled for the sweater I wanted. Bugger.)

And now. What now? I'm thinking it might be time to resurrect my Do It Yourself Sock Club. I didn't participate in any sock clubs this year, which is a good thing, since I have never even made the socks from the two I did participate in a couple of years ago. And I'm going to be FINISHING some projects and continuing to knit new ones, always knitting down the stash. Somehow this seems more important lately - I don't know why, it just does.

I just don't need all this yarn . . .

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moving On . . .

The Great Cleanup of 2010 continues here, although at a much slower pace. The kitchen is showing signs of promise, and I got the desk in there pretty much clear. The guest room is still a staging area . . . but I got some stuff done in there yesterday.

Before . . .

. . . and after

I also photo'd all the yarn that was lying around and am uploading it to Ravelry soon. No ride for me today - I've been very very tired for the past few weeks - just not sleeping enough I guess :-)

I became an African Violet Society of America (AVSA) Senior Judge on the 1st of October. I didn't find out until this past Thursday. It's very exciting, actually. I was a Student Judge for three years, and then an Advanced Judge for six. It's hard to believe I've been doing it that long . . . it was another life completely nine years ago. But I still have plants and I still do like them - I did a little more repotting yesterday, and you know, life just keeps moving on.

The days are going so quickly lately . . . and somehow I feel like it's not enough - like somehow I'm not enough. I think that that is just transitional thinking - the seasons change, the days are shorter, and it's natural to start to evaluate where I am and what have I accomplished in the year . . . a little introspective this morning :-)

Fall truly arrived here on Saturday - overnight. Somewhere between Friday and Saturday, fall arrived. Pardon the car photos . . . :-D The last one, I just made my wallpaper - it's the tree across the street. It's always the most beautiful one on my street.

Here is my first pair of socks made from Wollmeise. The colorway is Skandal am Rosi. They were going to be for me, but as often happens of late, they have gone to someone else :-D This time, to my friend J in Massachusetts. I liked working with the yarn, and I think that the socks came out great :-)

And here is a pair that I made for my Iona Sister, Tori. They are Kollage's Luscious yarn in the Beach Mix colorway - cotton. Not fun to work with . . . but they came out great and Tori likes them :-)

So that covers my vacation knitting - just like the mess on the middle of the guest room floor, it took me a month to get them posted :-D and thankfully the mess in the guest room is more under control :-)

On the needles now . . . a hat, multiple pairs of socks, at least three sweaters . . . so it goes :-)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Indoor Gardening . . .

Thanks for the beautiful comments on my last post you guys :-)

When last we left our intrepid violet grower (um,that would be me) . . . hell, I hate referring to myself in the third person. When last I left you guys on the topic of violets, I had just had a great show at the Illinois State show.

Today, the Illinois African Violet Society had its Fall Meet, and we had a great group of people! Wonderful panelists, including Morgan Simmons, Gary Mikita and John Regan answered questions for part of the morning. We had a "Dawg" show, where people brought their worst plants (and hey - we all have them - in fact, I won two Best in Class for two horrible plants :-D). There was a silent auction, and a great lunch - a short business meeting, and then I talked about Growing plants for show and took a few of my dawg plants and demonstrated some grooming and repotting techniques.

I think I talked too much, but chatterbox that I am, once I get started, it's hard to shut me up. I was so lucky when I was a novice grower - I was taught by some of the best growers in Southern California and I try to share that knowledge when I can - I did a lot of name dropping today, something I don't usually do - but I like to give credit where it's due, and I would not be the grower I am, nor enjoy it as much as I do had not had a lot of great teachers. I think it went pretty well and I hope to see a lot of plants from the group at our next show.

And tonight, I put together my new light cart. It's the long one on the right. I have been playing around with the location of my stands. I have three of the 2' x 2' carts, one of which is in the basement. I thought about putting the new 2' x 4' cart in the basement, and then thought better of it.

I have three distinct growing areas in my home. My sunroom, which you can see in the photo, the back bedroom (AKA the Guest Room), and my basement. I like them all for different reasons.

The basement is perfect for the streptocarpus plants that I grow - not that many, but they like the cooler atmosphere down there.

And the sunroom location provides me with a lot of joy :-) I really enjoy seeing the plants in the evenings when I get home from work - whether or not they are in bloom. These have all just been set on the new cart so that I can clean up the other two and shift one back to the back bedroom. I'm not quite sure yet, but I think I'm going to leave one of the smaller stands in the sunroom along with the larger one. We'll see. There is a chance that I will take one downstairs - the variegated plants often like to grow in cooler temps.

Sorry for the sporadic blogging, but it's been really busy around this joint lately :-)

And now, back to the cleaning - you can really tell the different between the two I just washed, and the ones below . . . I have my work cut out for me!