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good shtuff

The Adventures

Welcome to a new little weekly thing, wherein I bring together the scattered pieces of a digital life. Each Friday I share pictures (from Instagram), my favorite links (I usually tweet them), and whatever else I think you’ll like. This is totally inspired by Colleen and Elise. See all the Adventures here.

The View

Anniversary dinnerIs there anything better than getting real mail, so sweet and handwritten you tear up? Thanks, @lindsaydrake, for cheering up my afternoon!

Farmer's market haul (we found a local grower of chile peppers) :: Quilting with The Doctor :: Roasting :: Anniversary dinner :: Thanks

The Places

  • Monday I started a Grand Experiment and asked you to join me. Have you?
  • After the Experiment started, the scaring-myself just didn't stop, with thoughts on commitments and crickets.
  • I've been using the Translation Guide on my client's work for years, but I finally shared how to make it work on your own, right here on Rena Tom's lovely site.

The Finds

  • I'm probably the last person in the world to discover the joy that is Dr. Who. My extended family has been into it since the 70s, and of course the whole knitting world has been laughing at the inside jokes since forever…but Kyla's claim that it really is that good finally flipped the switch. And it flipped hard. After just one week we're on Season 2 and going around saying “Exterminate!” in screechy scary voices. I might even be having dreams about it.
  • My new favorite thing is Literary Jukebox. A song paired with a quote. This is my favorite. But this one too. Just listen to them all, ok?
  • I found this great handmade bag, thanks to Twitter. But I still can't decide between it or this one.
  • A good chunk of this week was fixing up the email adventures I send out. Now you can get all the blog goodness in your inbox. Clickety Clack.

Good Shtuff: doodling, sipping and crushing

Good Shtuff is a weekly-ish look at what I’m reading and thinking about. This week, it’s all about finding the ease.

Doodling

Lynda Barry says some beautiful things about doing things by hand in this great interview.

Handwriting, for example, is a very complicated thing. It moves through time with no delete button in the same way we do.

Sipping

Marissa wrote a beautiful mini-festo about choosing sipping over domination. I am practically allergic to any form of violence, so I very much appreciated this:

I don’t want to feed an ethos of power struggle, scarcity or battling.

Not even metaphorically. Words matter.

It reminded me of a post I wrote a few years ago, when I decided instead of “crush it” I'd make my goal succulence.
Irony: that year I was featured in the NYT best-seller, Crush It. Yes.

Month of Love

I can't believe I'm already at the 4th Annual Month of Love, my yearly attempt to spin yarn inspired by couples. It's my most favorite yarn-y thing I do and the feedback is amazing.
This year it's reminding me to do more of what makes me feel like this.  Connected, creative, easy.

What are you reading and thinking about this week?

52 books in 2010

In 2010, I made a goal to read 52 books.
3: The first books of the new yearfirst books of 2011

No wait, come back! This isn't another round-up of my year kind of post, I promise! I'm just going to talk about the best books, ok?

Even though that's 1 book a week, the actual reading didn't turn out like that at all. Many weeks I read no books and many weeks I read 2 or 3 books. I finished the 52nd book the week before Christmas and…haven't finished another book since then.

I had very few rules.

I couldn't count a cookbook (or knitting book) unless I actually cooked a recipe (or knit a project) out of it (unless it was a mostly-words book, like Gluten Free Girl).
I am always allowed to quit reading, at any point. No guilt.

Instead of talking about every book or just listing them (you can see the entire list here), I want to share the surprises.

Oh, and I'm linking to their GoodReads page because I did not buy them (99% of the books were checked out from my library), so it seems disingenuous to tell you to buy them.

However, if you're like my friend Jamie and want to own every book you read, I strongly suggest using IndieBound to find an independent bookstore to buy them from. If you don't have a bookstore near you, you can buy from my favorite, Malaprops.

Now, for the books!

The books I did not expect to like

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

It's Young Adult fiction! It's set in an apolyptic future! Not usually my thing. But so good.

It was Kim's review that convinced me to check it out and she was right! I finished the first book in 5 hours one night (yes, I stayed up until 3 am finishing it), it was that great.

Finding your Own North Star by Martha Beck.

I didn't really know anything about Martha Beck other than she was in Oprah's magazine. That was enough to convince me her stuff would be too cheesy or woo-woo for me.
Plus, I sorta already HAVE my North Star. I'm already doing what I love.

But when Eileen and Brianna both rave about the smartness of Martha, I knew I had to give it a shot. And this book was great. I learned all kind of skills for dealing with my own stuff and helping my CraftyBizzers deal with theirs.

The Happiness Project

I only picked it up after loving Bluebird by Ariel Gore (which I read just because I love Ariel Gore), because I like to put together my own little series around a theme (why yes, I am a geek).
I'm not really into improve-your-life programs. I'm all about improving my life, but not through traditional, do-this-next-steps. I thought that was what this book is.

But it's totally not. Gretchen puts together a plan to research and learn more about her own happiness and in doing so shares helpful information without being preachy.

Most proud of myself for (finally) reading:

Jane Eyre

Seriously! How have I not read this before? Sweeping, epic, beautiful.
And I still can't get over what a contemporary role model Jane is.

Did not like as much as everyone said I would:

Girl with Dragon Tattoo

Wayyy too violent for my sensitive self. I've experienced enough violence in the real world that I try to avoid it in my own imagination.
The action was gripping and I couldn't put it down until I finished.
But I've been haunted by the violent imagery every since. Really wish I had never read it.

Dune

zzzzzz.
Couldn't finish it. Could barely keep reading.
So full of science-y description.

But it's a sci-fi classic so I tried REALLY hard to read it and like it.
But I just couldn't.

Best business book

Book Yourself Solid

I loved Trust Agents and The Art of Non-Conformity (I read both of these guys blogs (Chris and Chris) every week and their books have the same friendly, helpful voice), but Book Yourself Solid had the most new-to-me, detailed, do-this-next helpfulness.

If you can get past the constant Book Yourself Solid phrase. You've been warned: the author says “Book Yourself Solid” several times a chapter.

And you?

What was the best book you read last year?
I'm trying to read 60 books this year, and I need a few more for my list!

Good Shtuff: dancing, comics and sanity edition

Dance!

I'm probably a little obsessed with the hilarity of Kelly Parkinson. I mention her in nearly every Good Shtuff. But it's really good! Especially, this on How to dance (when dancing = marketing).

Comics

Jay, the house comic nerd, wants me to link to this post about what small businesses can learn from comics. Good shtuff!

Focus!

I've been thinking a lot about time + planning, so the new book by Zen Habits about Focus has perfect timing. Haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
A big thanks to @joyfulmess for telling me more about it in this interview.

Sanity!

We had a special BONUS class for the early-birds of Holiday Sanity. The post-class chat was amazing. The program's already so full of smart, helpful creatives that I can not wait to see who joins this week. If you need some Holiday Sanity, you can join us here.

Limits

Speaking of smart and helpful, I am so excited to have Kirsty Hall as a guest teacher in a class about building a business Within Your Limits. As an entrepreneur and artist and mother with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she has bunches to share about honoring your limits + building a sustainable business. You can get all the details and watch an adorable video of Kirsty here.

Amigurumi

IMAG1041

This has nothing to do with business, I just thought I should tell you that I'm totally addicted to making teeny tiny crocheted things.

IMAG0002
A pirate duck, for Havi + Selma

I've already agreed to make a ninja for my web ninja and a typewriter for my Kyeli + Amy. And a dog to match my dog.
(Oh, that's so ridiculous I can't believe I just confessed it.)
I'll be sharing patterns and inspirations tomorrow at Blonde Chicken Boutique in case you are similarly obsessed.

What have you been obsessed with this week?
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/blondechicken/5136855989/&#8221; title=”IMAG1041 by blonde_chicken_boutique, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1059/5136855989_c4194b73b3.jpg&#8221; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”IMAG1041″ /></a>

Good Shtuff: NYC Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

The Twitter

This week, every bit of Good Shtuff is thanks to Twitter. The people I've met (or gotten to know better) via Twitter filled my weekend in NYC. Twitter provided me with a bed, with a yarn-shopping pal, with a museum-trolling pal, with a lovely evening of getting to know people I truly adore and even an iced coffee during the heat of the craft show.

When my friends (those I knew in “real-life”, pre-Twitter) ask about Twitter, I tell them Facebook is for people you're already friends with, Twitter is for people you want to be friends with.

But after my weekend in the city I know that, heck, I AM friends with these people. Friends enough that they'd offer me their couch, shlep around the city with me, crack me up over coffee.

And now, with that bit of Twitter-love, let's move on to the individual good Shtuff:

The people

Amna is as smart and gentle as her site feels. Patient, hilarious and generous beyond anything I could have imagined, I'm now crazy thrilled to be in her writing workshop.

Laila, who makes the most amazing knit/crochet wearable fiber art, met me for a cupcakes and yarn-fondling. She's funny, smart and as lovely as she seems online.

I first met Shannon at Urban Craft Uprising, when I bought a pair of her Polymath earrings (that was almost 2 years ago and I  still wear them every week). I got to see her crazy lighting-up skirt (I want one!) and heard her ideas for new projects and whoa, I am so excited to share it (when it's ready to be shared).

Kyeli, Melissa and Anna met me for a coffee on Friday night. They are each so amazing in their own way; it was a delight to just talk to them each about their passions. And a big hug to Kyeli, a non-knitter (but an amazing photographer and writer!), who sat through quite a few knit-heavy discussions.

Anton and Erica brought me a tasty iced coffee and yay! They are fabulous and funny and make their own homemade sodas. Jay and I have talked about doing this forever (and I have made ginger ale a few times) and they've inspired me to be even more daring.

The places
What was the best people and places and Twitter of your week?

Good Shtuff: Boats + Treasure Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

This week, it’s all about the adventures, boats and treasures.

Adventure Prep

In preparation for upcoming adventuring I've been listening this song (Adventures, Be Your Own Pet) over and over.

And shopping or new knee highs, like the ones I'm wearing today:
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You know, the important stuff.

Adventuring

I'm going to NYC next week!
On my list of must-sees: BabyCakes (gluten-free cupcakes), Purl (yarn!), MOMA (free on Friday night) and of course, the Maker Faire (where I'll be selling my yarn). Top of the list: YOU! Wanna hang out? Lemme know here + I'll plan a meet-up!
It's @babycakesNYC and I'm @blondechicken.

Boats

I've been admiring Bridget's boat-pregnancy and have loved reading about how she's making this dream happen. My very favorite is this post about sailing, which is mostly about fear, in a really beautiful way.
She's @intuitivebridge.

Treasures

I wanted to get in on the Treasure Project the last time my friend Lisa B held it. And now! She's doing it again! I love that she's using drawing (or photography, or whatever you prefer), she's using creativity to bring mindfulness to her surroundings. It's so easy to get wrapped up in my head, in my creativity and forget all about looking around me.
She's @zenatplay.

What have you read or listened to this week that you loved?

Good Shtuff: Love Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

This week, it's all about the love.

Love in your mailbox

The completely brilliant (and funny!) Amy is offering to send US Love Notes for HER birthday. Whether you need a little cheering or a whole year of Love, check out her Love Notes.
She's @AmysNotDeadYet on Twitter. 

Love in a circle

Today is the first day Leonie's Circle and I am SO excited. Even if the word “goddess” freaks you out, click through to watch the darling baby Ostara (+ puppies!) in the adorable opening video.
She's @GoddessLeonie on Twitter

Love in MY mailbox

This week I got a beautiful card from Retinal Perspective photographer, Elizabeth Halt.

Retinal Perspective Card
Sigh.
It made my day. Not only was the card absolutely stunning, but she had written the sweetest note in it. It made me remember how much I love getting (and sending) mail, so I'm determined to bring it back. Join me in the letter-writing love by getting your cards here. *
She's @ElizabethHalt on Twitter.

Love your story

Amna believes “we write our futures into being, and write our pasts into peace.”
Man, just that one sentence clinched it for me. Her writing workshop (for working on your personal story) looks completely amazing. I've worked with Amna and her style is direct, yet gentle, and so insightful you'll hang up thinking “wha? How did that even happen?” (in a totally clarifying way).
She's @AmnaAhmad on Twitter.

Love your people

I love my people (um, that'd be you) but I could always love you better. LaVonne Ellis is challenging me (and you) to do just that in her Customer Love challenge.
If your business is new or has hit a plateau, you need this. Jump-start the flow by turning up the love.
She's @LaVonneEllis on Twitter.

Love your business

I'm closing the CraftyBiz Kitchen this afternoon (around 3pm ET or whenever my last IdeaStorming session ends). Wanna know why? Experimentation! (For a full explanation, read this.)
If you're thinking about taking  the Newsletter classes, you can get them both + lots of extras for just $40 in the Kitchen.
Oh, and I'm @blondechicken on Twitter.

What's the Love-y stuff you've found (or written) this week? Share it in the comments!

*Looking for someone to send a card to? Pick me! DM or email me and I'll happily send you my mailing address and promise to be a very good penpal!