In the space of seven minutes Pema Chödrön offers a reassuring perspective on faith, love, hate, awakening, peace, kinship, perfection, sanity, suffering, meditation, and happiness. Powerful ideas to contemplate in these hurtful times.
While silently taking in the Caribbean before me, I realize what I love so much about this view: It is without clutter. I see many shades of blue, the sparkling of sunshine on the water, a few cottony clouds, and a few sailboats. My mind quiets. Worries, calendars, and responsibilities all fall away. I hear a few birds chirping—about who will get the leftover bits of grapefruit in the bowl on the table, I imagine—but that is all. No cell phones or emails or possessions. I am still. The air is warm. I am both calm and energized. The ocean seems to go on and on. I feel a sense of infinite possibility before me. Hold on, I say to myself. Hold on.
“. . . the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny. — Maria Popova, "9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings"
Often when I'm doing handwork I watch—or at least listen to— videos. They range from Louis CK doing standup to multiple seasons of "The Good Wife" or "The Gilmore Girls" to TED Talks. In fact, I probably watch the TED Talks more than anything else. Recently, while stitching a few Tyvec bags for gift-giving (see above), I experienced two of my favorite Talks (see below) ever.
Travel writer and essayist Pico Iyer reminds us that "In an age of constant motion, nothing is so urgent as sitting still."
And StoryCorps founder Dave Isay urges us to to take time to ask friends, family, and even strangers about their lives. About his StoryCorps experience, he explains, "I've learned about the poetry and the wisdom and the grace that can be found in the worlds of people all around us when we simply take time to listen. " Learn more about StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen here.
Finally, if you are curious about the zip-up pouches above, check out Maya Donenfeld's short class on Creativebug. I was able to let go of most of my perfectionist tendencies when I was making mine—perhaps because the Tyvec is such prosaic material—and that made the process really fun and easy for me. (Enter the code COZYCRAFTS when you sign up during November and everything on the site is free for a month.)
"The human soul is hungry for beauty . . . When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. Some of our most wonderful memories are beautiful places where we felt immediately at home. We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul. For a while the strains of struggle and endurance are relieved and our frailty is illuminated by a different light in which we come to glimpse behind the shudder of appearances and sure form of things. In the experience of beauty we awaken and surrender in the same act. Beauty brings a sense of completion and sureness. Without any of the usual calculation, we can slip into the Beautiful with the same ease as we slip into the seamless embrace of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us."
I recalled this passage while looking at the swatch of cotton in the photo above. I dyed it yesterday using quebracho red dye extract. There is something so soothing and grounding about the color and about the purity of this simple piece of cloth with its raw edges exposed. It evokes "a sense of completeness and sureness," as O'Donohue writes; something deep, perhaps ancient, is awakened within me when I hold it.
The cloth and the dye to color it came to me from Kristine Vejar of A Verb for Keeping Warm, whose book, The Modern Natural Dyer, was released this week. The Quebracho tree, I learned on page 17, is a member of the sumac family and grows in Central and South America; its dye is readily available to us.
I was the editor of The Modern Natural Dyer so this information is not new to me. But the experience of placing my cloth in a pot of water in which I had dissolved the dye and simmering it on the stove for an hour, then cooling and rinsing and hanging it to dry—being part of such a simple act—brought it to life to me in a way that has enriched my day. I welcome this beauty, which feels like a homecoming.
Yesterday I made a bunch of bracelets using memory wire and size 6 Czech glass seed beads. They're so easy: Using a wire cutter, cut the desired length of memory wire, then using small jewelry pliers (or whatever tool you have on hand that will work), bend one end of the wire to make a closed loop (so beads won't fall off).Read More