Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Monday Inspiration #3

Gray branches

I was in a bit of a funk, this weekend, feeling the pressure of the full-time job + BCB + school; wondering if I have time/energy for it all. Last night when planning my Weekly Inspiration post, I couldn't think of a single inspiring thing. As I was stewing about this, my brain got off track thinking about this opportunity. Now, I really can’t imagine myself on TV…but I did have fun ‘performing’ my submission to my dog while getting ready for bed. I enjoyed it so much, I realized that this little bit of fantasy had inspired me right out of my funk.

Maybe inspiration isn't just that impetus to go, create; maybe it's anything that changes the track I'm stuck on.

I've also found Thing-a-day is causing me to look at things differently. I've long known that everyday I'm creative, but I just don't document it like I could. I believe that creating breeds creativity and that simply by celebrating my daily creations , I can reinvigorate my tired brain. Baking, serving meals, knitting, spinning, dyeing, writing…all these small acts add up to build…well, my life. Documenting it all gives it its proper…weight and focus, I think.

Other things sparking my interest is this article and Fluffy Flower’s series on having a booth at a Farmer’s Market.

Monday Inspiration #2

Carrie & Big - Handpusn yarn
(a yarn inspired by a TV show)

I’ve spent a lot of time in bookstores and watching movies the past week (yay, long weekend!) so today is going to be all about book and movie inspiration:

I lovelovelove Juno: the handwritten titles are so beautiful and the music is so vulnerable and sweet. I buy very little music (more about that in a minute) but I very nearly might buy the soundtrack.

We watched Paris, Je t'aime last night and it was just I had hoped: small, quirky stories that were neither too emotional or sappy.

I’m particularly loving the book about creativity that I’m reading: The grace of great things : creativity and innovation, by Robert Grudin.

How to Make Books (got a great review on Supernaturale), such thorough instructions in a great tone

This month’s Fiber Arts and Selvedge both had articles about sustainability in textiles and gorgeous pictures.

Oh,and why I don’t buy much music (other than a small budget): there are some very good podcasts that have free music:

All Song’s Considered
Song of the Day

I also listed to Itunes radio nearly all day at work (my favorite channel, under Eclectic: Radio Deliro)

Monday Inspiration #1

This week I’ve been nearly obsessed by patchwork and fabric dyeing. I can feel myself being sucked into new crafty pursuits!

  • Lisa Cogden’s quilty pillows. I especially love her use of patches; we have a lot of band patches laying around and I’d love to work them into something we can see everyday.
  • 6.5 stitches is another quilter that uses little unexpected touches like tags and untraditional textures.
  • Stitch in Dye is so inspiring, I woke up on Saturday thinking about the use of color and line in her fabric and quilts.
  • My (so far just theoretical) foray into patchwork has turned up a bunch of great fabrics like:

Sprout Designs
Auntie Cookie
Kristen Doran

What am I going to do with all this inspiration? I’ve been spending a good amount of time absorbing ‘input’ and I almost feel ready for some ‘output’ of the quilty variety. Wait and see.


Andre resolves to spend more time with yarn

As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t do resolutions, but I do reassess every 6 months and think about the things I plan to work on. Some things are improvements, some are challenges and other things are just a continuation of last year’s good efforts. This year I’m breaking it down into different ‘areas’: business, creative, and personal; although, really, as I strive to live a more authentic life, I’m finding that everything is connected and that growth in one area requires/causes growth in another.


I’m writing a series of articles for Etsy’s Storque and writing regularly about business subjects with a bit of authority is a new challenge. It’ is also completely, overwhelmingly exciting!

This month I’m really organizing my files and processes for the business end of BCB. I’ll be using Google Docs to keep spreadsheets of orders, customers, suppliers and accounting. (if you have the same project, here's a great spreadsheet for pricing and here's one offered by Etsy for inventory)

I'm re-commiting myself to my marketing plan (I'll be posting about that soon) and to my weekly blogging (Inspiration Monday, Fiber Friday)


I’m taking part in the Take it Further Challenge, hosted by Sharon B. I’m anticipating being stretched by the concepts each month and will be blogging my process on Tuesdays (TIF Tuesday).

I've joined the Greenies 2008 group (on Ravelry), which is a loose group of knitters who want to make sustainable yarn choices. While the business has always been committed to strictly eco-friendly sources, I have personally purchased mass-produced yarn for ease and economy. This year, however, I am not buying any yarn that isn't eco-friendly. I'm sure this will result, for the sake of economy, knitting mostly from my stash!

I've really been considering re-reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I read it a few years ago and was really struck by the changes it enacted in me.

I'm going to sew more! I had success making some Jedi Cloaks for my little brothers for Christmas (my first real sewing project) and now I have the confidence to make my own clothes.

Personally, my family will be eating more locally (once the growing season returns) and switching to more sustainable choices in all areas of our life.

And I think that about covers it!


I'm not big on resolutions. However, I love a project. I might get overwhelmed with all the things I should do, but having a list of things I want to do, puts it all in perspective. With my birthday in June, I like to stick with 6 month projects: short enough to finish and with the endpoint clearly in focus.
The key, for me, is listing each of the small steps it takes to get to the completed project. At my birthday, I reassess and come up with all new projects for the next 6 months (or, if I'm happy with the old projects, I stick with 'em)!
I'll post my lists tomorrow, but there's plenty of inspiration out there, whether you make resolutions or start on some projects:
Photojojo's 19 photography related resolutions
52 Projects
The Simple Dollar's Guide to making Resolutions

I'm also a fan of the seasonal wish-list. On the first day that it truly feels like a new season (no matter what the calendar say), I make a wish list of the seasonal things I want to do. I try to post this in the front or back of my current journal and then refer to it on lazy Saturdays or days when I don't feel like doing what I should be doing. My winter wish-list includes the following:

Knit a sweater and pair of socks, for myself.
Drink hot chocolate
Walk the pup in the snow with Hub
Take a successful picture of snow (which means figuring out my new camera)
Read a great novel, snuggled under a quilt

Sugar-Free Baking

Growing up, we gave Christmas cookies as gifts to anyone not closely related.

Starting at Thanksgiving, my mom and I would start making the longer-lasting cookies (or making sugar-cookie dough and freezing it for later rolling and baking). We'd go to church the Sunday before Christmas, loaded down with tins filled with a variety of cookies, wrapped in ribbons, tagged for everyone we knew (luckily, it was a small church). As I grew older and my younger brothers and cousins were born, we started holding annual Cookie Parties: days filled 4 little boys kept busy rolling, decorating, baking and sugar rushes for all. Most of cookies from these years were best given to parents who could appreciate the ‘skill' of the decorator.

Now that I live hours away from my family, I miss a house filled with cookie smells and countertops that are as piled with cookies as the sidewalks with snow. Last year Mom waited to have the Cookie Party until I was home to help, but this year the boys are older (7 & 8) and they wanted to have their friends over, so they're forging on without me.

I'm also feeling the tug to create my own memories, with my own little family. For the first time ever, Jay wanted to contribute to our Handmade gifts, so as we sat down for a ‘planning meeting' last weekend. I was overjoyed that he thought cookies would be a fantastic gift for his family that we're visiting next week! I immediately started jotting down all the cookies I wanted to make (chocolate chip, decorated sugar cookies, snowballs, brownies, 7-layer cookie bars…) and then it hit us: his family is diabetic. They can have a little sugar (they love my apple pie), but a whole tin of cookies? At least some of them need to be sugar-less. This is a test of our creativity, since, as Sister Diane writes, sugar does a lot more than just sweeten the cookies.

All of my Google-skillz are being tested as I search for sugar-free cookie recipes, but I'm not happy with the quality of the recipes I'm coming up with.
Any suggestions?

Monday Inspiration

This week promises to be full of Christmas making. My to-do list is long but exciting and this week it's my biggest inspiration:

Clapotis for Mom, out of Mati Hari Spinnery's Seasilk yarn, dyed by me.

The gorgeous fibers I got in from (again) Mati Hari Spinnery. Seasilk and merino; I dyed it last week and will spin it up and knit into something for Mom this week, probably handwarmers to match the scarf, or maybe a hat.

Me and Hub are sewing Star Wars Cloaks for my little brothers (like this). It's fun to have a project for both of us and it's good sewing practice.

Speaking of sewing practice, I'm loving the book Sew U.

I'm dyeing to make a neckwarmer like Grumperina's.

What's inspiring you?

Interview love

icicle swirl
I am honored to be interviewed by the Dharma Design blog, as a Featured Artist! You can read the article here. I found the blog and shop through an Etsy forum and am so glad to have discovered her beautiful jewelry. I really love the photographs of her work and her jewelry is really unique.
Wendy features different artists all the time, which is something I love in all forms: getting to know what makes other artists tick. I always flip to the interviews in magazines first (Mary Englebreit's Home Companion has great ones with pictures of their studios) and most of my favorite podcasts have an interview or essay section (CraftSanity – my favorite!, NPR's Fresh Air, CRL with Vickie Howell). There are many many blogs that do interviews but my 2 favorite are Crafty Synergy and the
Featured Seller on Etsy.
I've pondered for a long time doing interviews with artists (in fact, I was a guest interviewer for Create a Connection), but it seems there are already so many…
Do you have any favorite interviews? Is there someone (or some type of artist) that you'd like to see/read interviewed that hasn't been?

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