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inspiration: Asheville

Every Monday I try to post a list of things I've found inspiring throughout the weekend, something to make Mondays a little more pleasant.
This Monday needed no help, since I took the day off and went to Asheville in search of art (Jay had a school project that involved writing about an exhibit).
We started with the Blue Spiral gallery, where we were completely mesmerized by the work of Kyoko Masutani (click any pictures to see bigger):


That's at least a hundred tiny shoes made entirely of…used teabags!

artwork of Kyoko Masutani

Most of her work was ink on paper or wood, intensely dense line drawings of repeating, organic patterns, layered on each other. I kept commenting that I was drawn to them like fabric and some of the pieces, from afar, looked like a pile of patterned paper or fabrics, collaged on top of one another.

ink on wood

This sort of obsession with detail and tiny little lines is the stuff I'm made of. There's such a…fantasy and organic quality that reminds me of smurfs. I'm no art critic, but this stuff just overwhelms me with happiness.

Early Girl Eatery

The happiness kept coming with a lunch at Early Girl Eatery, grilled asparagus salad (newly in season!) with local goat cheese and creamy sweet potato soup. The perfect lunch for hiking all over Asheville. Next we hit Chocolate Fetish and I carried my truffle and chocolate-covered fig to Malaprops,

Malaprops

my very favorite bookstore in the entire world. I enjoyed the truffle with a coconut mocha while appreciating the coffee art.

Coffee Art

We dawdled there, talking books and green architecture and found some books that I'm hoping I get from the library, on sustainable farming and self-sufficiency.
Next up was Earth Guild, as I had some supplies to pick up for the Boutique and well, I can never pass by this behemoth of crafting. Hours passed as we browsed books, I dithered over dyes and we chatted with the very crafty, very hippy employees. I love that place.
Before going home, we grabbed a Thai dinner at …oh, I can't remember the name of it OR find it on any maps…it was Dr. ____, a Thai restaurant on Biltmore Ave….and a cupcake at The Sistster's McMullin

All in all, a lovely day trip!

Inspiration Monday #5


This weekend I spent much time curled up with hot fudge sauce, my puppy and Robert Grudin's The Grace of Great Things. I can't think of anything better to prepare me for a Monday that involved 2 meetings for a total of 4 hours in the airless, miserable conference room.
So I thought I'd share the bits that moved me, while I continue to ponder the connections and beauty:

“in both good science and good art, the mind must suspend it's usual assumptions in order to meditate on something fundamentally new” (p 50)

and his definition of Integrity:

“1. an inner psychological harmony or wholeness
2. a conformity of personal expression with psychological reality; of the outer with the inner self
3. Continuity…through time” (pg 73)

Monday Inspiration #4


Ok, so it's not still Monday..but here's my weekly round-up, inspired by my trip to Boone, NC. If you're ever in Boone or Blowing Rock, these are the places you should check out (I'll be adding pictures later today)
Espresso News: Good coffee that is roasted on site, fantastic truffles, cozy/grungy atmosphere with 3 walls of floor to ceiling windows and loads of magazines and newspapers to read whilst lounging. There's a used bookstore upstairs, but we didn't check it out. On a brisk, sunny day (like Saturday was), I could spend hours soaking up the sunshine in the warm/coffee drenched air.
Cha-Da Thai: we've only had Thai food one other time (which is crazy, since we're vegetarians) and it didn't impress us. This place turned it all around. The dishes were complex and totally satisfying. Although we both had brown sauces, Jay's had chilis in it while mine was sweeter and they tasted completely different. Ah-mazing! The restaurant also has a definate ‘vibe' going on with tapestries, gilded chandeliers…so much that you wouldn't think $14 would cover both lunches!

Ms Babs yarn

Laura's Yarn-tastic: Cheesy name, amazing shop! It truly was a fantastic experience as the employee (not Laura) was friendly, knowledgeable and FUNNY! Even my husband had a great time talking with her about men's knitwear fashion. I found some locally dyed yarn (always a bonus!) – Miss Babs handpainted yarn. I got the Rose Garden colorway, in sock yarn…which isn't really me at all, that's how much I loved this place and wanted to buy something! Oh and for selection: they had all of the Rowan yarns, including the new organic, naturally dyed cotton; a big selection of Noro; Brown Sheep; Arcaunia; SWTC; and much more!

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
Hollabee

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.

Resolute

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.

Business:

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)

Creative:

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!

Resolute?

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

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