Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Good Shtuff

Inspiration Monday #9: Surface Design

I fell into a craft vortex today. I'm suddenly obsessed with surface design, specifically stenciling and stamping. It happened innocently enough:

I've managed to resist this far, but I'm dreaming of carving my own stamp for my business cards and notepads….
As soon as I figure out which color ink to order…

Inspiration Monday #8: On the farm

As buds unfurl and sprouts start reminding us of tasty green things, the conversations around the Boutique (ie. my living room) are turning towards farmer's market, gardens and our future farm. Jay and I have long known we wanted to live rurally, on some land with a sheep or two. But lately, as he nears graduation and we both are closer to 30 than not, we've decided we'd rather have that farm sooner, rather than later. We'd like that self-sufficiency and simultaneous reliance on the local community to be a little more within reach. And so this Monday, I'm inspired by the books I'm reading, blogs and the Ravelry groups I've joined; all on the subject of sustainability and homesteading:

The Rural Life
You Grow Girl
Crave's 100 mile diet
Sustainable Table (Ravelry group)
Live Simply (Ravelry Group)

Inspiration Monday #7: Recycled

After just an hour in the fabric store

I'm thinking a lot about spinning with ‘non-traditional fibers': plastic, newspaper, material. There are many cool options out there and so many people willing to share how to do it! Here are just a few of the tutorials, ideas and inspirations:

Now that we're in Daylight Savings, my evenings are full of sunshine and I plan on taking more pictures of the process and will share if I make anything with these odd fibers.

Have you spun or knitted with anything not intended to be yarn?

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,


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

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.

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?

1 12 13 14 15