Category Archives: blog

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On Saturday I embarked on a social experiment, that I am calling Limited Access.  The idea is to limit the time I spend online to two 30 minute blocks a day – morning and night.  In addition one day a week will be spent working online.  The first two days were challenging.  By Monday I was not using the second block of time at all and had decided that on Wednesdays I would spend my workday online.

Today is Wednesday.  I am happy finishing a blanket in my sewing room and have pushed my ‘online’ day to Friday.  This blog entry is eating up both of today’s blocks.  Plans are coming together for doing most of my posting work off line – you know, write it down in a notebook with a pen!

Stepping back from my online presence has prompted an unexpected clarity to step further away from the light.  (In rereading this it seems as though my online presence is not being abandoned, but rather enhanced with intention.)  To that end, my intention is to reintroduce the role of mother, wife, friend into my weeks.  I am loving and really excited about my new-found sense of presence. Really jazzed about the idea of having a day off as fruit of my increased productivity with the time saved from building awareness of my online use.

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The idea of a focus nourishes me too ~

More on that in the days to come.

Yesterday I noticed a big fat bubble bee checking out our 100 year old lilac in the end-of-day sunshine and thought about how it must be to stick your head into that bloom in all its glory. How would it be to be that bee?

Nectar

Sunshine

Intoxicating Fragrance

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File May 22, 10 35 41 PM

Today is my first full day of mindful internet and illuminated rectangle use. Yesterday I decided to work toward 30 minutes twice a day, a morning session and an evening session plus one full day a week of internet work.

What fun it is to really pay attention to my habits. I noticed being drawn to the drivel and opted for more meaningful enrichment. What a lovely day it was!

Findings

Spent three minutes reading news this morning while still horizontal and signed off until now.

Responded to texts from friends and initiated a couple to plan my summer schedule.

Checked my Analytics and saw that my Limited Access post blew up! It inspires me to imagine my path inspiring others to consume this commodity in a thoughtful and mindful manner.

Realized that 30 minute sessions morning and night might not be most productive for me.

Working on clarifying my plan for the rest of my week long social experiment

Most notably

My sense of relief stands – it excites me to have found lost time!

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I made amazing sugar free, dairy free chocolate. Some of you may know that I became macrobiotic in September 2014 due to an Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis several years earlier. More on that another time, for now just know that today’s batch was most notable to date!

Recipe coming soon.

We started the patio we have been dreaming up for the last couple years. Its going to be amazing! The door hearthstone we put in place today is the one my hubby grew up with – so cool.

Cleaned, Folded a mountain of laundry, sewed for a couple hours and generally felt super great not even thinking about anything happening online.

Day two of my social experiment to leave the interwebs behind for most of my day was a success. Looking forward to another wholesome day of creativity tomorrow.

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Today is May 21, 2016

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My 10 year old daughter won a tablet raising money for The American Heart Association. Her big brother has a cardio-myopathy so she is super motivated.

This device is the first for her. I was thinking about her screen-use and wondering about how best to limit it and I had an epiphany. I, like so many around me, am completely distracted from the here and now by the damn illuminated rectangle in my hand – it became clear that in order for me to feel right about limiting Lucy’s tablet use I needed to limit my own.

It started immediately.

 

The relief was immediate.

 

So here goes!

30 minutes twice a day on the illuminated screen, plus one day a week for work/sales.

It’s a social experiment I’ll be undertaking this week, I am calling it Limited Access:

So far I have spent a few focused intervals wondering how best to spend this super limited timeframe. What is most important to me?

Spent time writing in my journal with pen and ink, my favorite new drawing tool a Quill pen and india ink.  Fun to write with too cause you gotta keep dipping –  slowing  –   Thank you kindly for that inspiration Dan Blakeslee!

Dan playing at BINGO! Gallery earlier this year with some of his amazing artwork on the wall.
Dan playing at BINGO! Gallery earlier this year with some of his amazing artwork on the wall.

Enjoying the moment, spending more time with my kids and hubby – like really WITH them.  And checking OUT of all the spinning whirling craziness happening out there in cyber land.  Upon initial contemplation what I came up with as ‘most important’ is accountability.  So I’ll be using this platform keep myself accountable and to post my findings.

Stay tuned.

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Realizing there’s no need to reinvent myself in warm weather. Continuing with wool/cashmere combinations in blankets, A Bride’s Sweater (that groom needs one too!) and setting up the rug loom after a wonderful workshop at Snow Farm earlier this month. Check my EVENTS page for my teaching schedule. Make a plan and come visit!!

This weekend – WOWSERS! There is a whole lot going on and I’m super excited about all of it!

06.07.14 Potholder Rugs7
  1. Snow Farm over in Williamsburg MA (feels like driving to Grandmother’s house – ie: over the river and through the woods) is hosting a Potholder Rug weaving workshop where I will submerge myself and a sunny studio full of students, in the simply magical process of cutting up used clothing and making amazing rugs. This is a giant step in my mission to reduce my footprint in the Makerspace at Shire City Sanctuary. Lots of materials will be loading into my trusty wagon later today to be used up in a super productive manner.

 

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2. Before that happens Ben, my awesome 23 year old son, and I will load the car with all of my latest work and head down to Basilica Hudson for the Farm and Flea show there this weekend. The show organized by the amazing marketing and production mavens from Hudson River Exchange. It looks like a fantastic mix of amazing makers, vintage treasure purveyors, and artisanal food producers – not to be missed. This is Ben’s debut in the booth without me. If you are in the Hudson area – go visit him. Booth 118 Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday 11-5 at Basilical Hudson 110 S. Front St Hudson, NY 12534

 

05.02.15 Food Truck Rodeo

3. On Saturday (as in tomorrow) Shire City Sanctuary is hosting the third annual Foodtruck Rodeo and 350 Massachusetts’ event called Live the Change. The Foodtruck Rodeo 11-5pm, is a benefit for The Giving Garden – a community garden that supplies our local food pantries to help our hungry neighbors. There will be live music, lots of food options, and micro brews, outside, while inside, 350 MA has put together a climate action and sustainability fair for 12 hours! Starts at 11am and ends with a dance party with beats by DJ BFG wrapping up at 11pm. During the day, speakers, vendors, and activities for adults and children are planned. We are so happy to collaborate with our like-minded organizations. Three cheers to all those who made this happen! If you are Berkshire bound this weekend, please do stop by Shire City Sanctuary 40 Melville Street in Pittsfield.

finished on table

Potholder Rugs weave all sorts of things together. Since I started recycling clothing, it has become apparent that my work is actually all about mixing our culture together at the base. Setting the stage for random assortments of people to find connection and allowing them to discover how much they love each other.

weaving3This aspect of my work began as a happy accident and has moved toward center stage. When my product first came to the marketplace back in the late 1980s I imagined all the people who wore the clothes that were cut and pieced together. As time progressed, the makers of all that cut up clothing came to mind. . .   . in far away places with less than stellar work conditions. . .   … making clothing for us that we deemed so inconsequential that we discarded it before it was worn out.

The ridiculous American demand for excess (particularly clothing) never leaves my mind.

What if?

What if we ‘fat Americans’ all stopped the demand. We all just woke up one day and realized the damage we are doing to the planet, our collective diversity and culture with our over-consumption? Life could be simple and whole.

Wait.

I get on tangents.

getting started

If there is one good thing about Donald Trump its that he has inspired me to show how connected and interwoven we, as people on the planet, actually are. Let me explain.

As Shire City Sanctuary, where my studio is housed, hosted the Berkshire County Bernie Sanders Campaign Headquarters last winter, I got all amped-up and excited about the idea of a government that actually represents its people. And – I got super disparaged by the bigotry and ignorance that seems rampant in some of the other candidates’ campaigns.

first few rows

A magical opportunity arose for me on April 23rd.

April 22nd, 2016 marked the 26th Earthday. To honor this sacred day – I participated in a groundbreaking for Great Barrington’s newest community garden with a Clothing Drive and Community Potholder Rug Weaving. My friends, Alan and Nancy Timmons in collaboration with The Great Barrington Fairgrounds, orchestrated the event. While a tractor filled raised beds built by volunteers, fledgling gardens were being nurtured and caressed with loving hands. Soil was turning; there was face painting, live music, jesters, food and drinks.

When Alan asked me to participate he suggested I hold a clothing drive – for material for my work. What a WONDERFUL idea! I was stoked to finally have a way to support a community event in a mutually beneficial way! With his suggestion I was inspired to bring along a big loom and weave a Potholder Rug onsite with some of the donations. It was super inspiring to witness the day unfold. From the moment I arrived there was support and assistance with smiles and able hands.

From loom construction in the morning, cutting material all day and finishing the edge of the rug right at the end of the day eager helpers were abundant. A true woven community, in, what Smithsonian says, is the best town in the country for lifestyle.

nearing completion

We used donations gathered that day to make 3x5ft Potholder Rug on site. Visitors brought along sweaters, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and fleece tops no longer useful to them. They cut and knotted and warped and wove. At the close of the afternoon event the rug was complete and over 30 people had contributed to its construction.

tristan

Today we have a super amazing rug  made by many diverse hands on the same mission. It is for sale in my online shop with proceeds going to support the Great Barrington Community Garden. I have a feeling that this is the first of many community events where I can participate in this way. Take a gander over to my online shop and take a look at the finished rug and know that with your purchase the garden will be fed, grow and feed.

taking it off

My pattern of learning and accomplishment revolve closely around deadline and time constraints. Yesterday and last night I shot and made my first video ever. It was submitted today for a super huge and awesome grant right on deadline.  It was noted on the application that we are not being ‘graded’ on video production (PHEW!).

Not only was the result of my pressured learning curve successful, the process was enjoyable and the tool so useful! Here is the fruit of my midnight oil. It is just a simple little visual tool for sharing more about our project proposal. Shot with an iPhone 5 edited with an app called Splice, and uploaded to Vimeo – all fist time experiences for me. The hardest part is remembering all the passwords.

Now here is a taste of what Shire City Sanctuary has in store.  Feels super positive and there is a strong sense of team spirit building in each of us working on this bright beacon.  Take a look.

And then stay tuned for teaching videos bringing my workshops and more to you wherever you are! Yay!

 Have you heard about The Dolphin Studio calendar?  It’s sort of a Berkshire thing. We handprint 1500 of them each year and sell them far and wide. Sofie and I started working in the business as young kids. Now we run the business. Each month is designed by a family member. It’s not too late to have your own. Be part of our tribe.  $63 for twelve months of original handmade artwork. www.thedolphinstudio.com is where to order.