Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

HOW TO HOST A FELTING MYSTERY

May 14, 2009

It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of two creative, informative, and exciting new books by two first-time authors who are dear to my heart.

feltique

The first is entitled Feltique; Techniques and Projects for Wet Felting, Needle Felting, Fulling, and Working with Commercial Felt. It is a collaboration between Nikola Davidson and the fabulous Brookelynn Morris. I’m a bit biased, yes, because Brookelynn is a friend who never ceases to amaze me with her talents, inspiration, humor, and joi de vivre. I cannot wait to get my hands on the book and try out a new craft. For all of my N. California readers, Ms. Morris will be making two book launch appearances!

Feltique is published by Random House and all rights to the image posted above belongs to them. (Please don’t step on me Random House…I’m just trying to promote your phenomenal new book :)) So everyone, go pick up a copy!!

library mystery

The second equally exciting, unique, and inspiring book is….drum-roll please…Hosting a Library Mystery by Elizabeth M. Karle. I know I’m not alone in my viewpoint that, well, libraries ROCK. Sure, the computer screen will always beckon us with it’s wealth of reliable and unreliable resources, but nothing gives back more to a local community than a library. As the world looks more and more for quick answers via technology, it is very important to nurture our libraries as the crossroads of information and inspiration that they are. In Hosting a Library Mystery Ms. Karle puts all of her years as a dedicated Library goddess to work in a fun, creative, and interactive how-to book chalk-full of ways to excite and educate library patrons of all ages. The book is an absolute gift to libraries around the world looking to invigorate and connect with the people they serve and to help library goers realize the wealth of resources available just around the corner– in the pages of books and through the knowledgeable library staff themselves. What’s more, I can say from 30 years of looking up to Elizabeth M. Karle as my big sister and role model– you can’t find a more thoughtful, intelligent, unique, and fun-loving lady around. We are all so lucky to finally have a tiny sliver of her insight and essence on the page to share. So go get yourselves a copy and let the games begin!

(Hosting a Library Mystery is published by the American Library Association and all rights to the image posted above belongs to them.)

Congratulations, ladies, on these huge milestones in your lives and creative development! I cannot wait for your next book releases and to follow along on your exciting journeys. Thanks for always inspiring me!

SPRING MEDICINE

May 5, 2009
dandelions

dandelions

If I had only one wish today it would be that one of the zeros in the the 2000 miles between San Francisco and Chicago would disappear. I’m filled with happy memories from a weekend of large meals, multi-generational kick-ball games, backyard bubbles and swings, stories spanning 60 years, and the ghost of an aunt who shows up in casinos and ice cream cakes.

As raindrops wiggle down my San Francisco window, my home is always with family– in the present or in the mind.

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spring medicine: a walk through the woods + 2 sets of sisters

FIRST DIG!

April 11, 2009
before

before

This weekend marked the beginning of this year’s escapades in our garden. We feel so incredibly lucky to have a backyard with limitless potential in the city. The native plants already in existence out there create a seasonal wonderland of surprises. But we always attempt to tame some areas into gardens of edibles for our summer and fall cooking. This year’s game plan includes building a small green house for our ‘starts’, utilizing more container gardening to save some of the natural vegetation (and not spend a fortune on bringing in new soil), and simply being a bit more successful than last year. My goal as always– fresh herbs, flowers, and veggies. Let the games begin!

many hands make light work (thanks Vince and Kevin!)

many hands make light work (thanks Vince and Kevin!)

greenhouse projekt 2.0

greenhouse projekt 2.0

fingers crossed

ducks in a row

seedz

seeds

fingers crossed

fingers crossed

THE ELEANOR

April 11, 2009
full tilt towards alcatraz

full tilt towards alcatraz

I’m congratulating my honey today on this week’s launch of The Eleanor– the 5th wooden boat he has made as an instructor at the San Francisco Maritime Museum in conjunction with the GetOutAndLearn (GOAL) program of San Francisco’s Downtown High School. img_1591The GetOutAndLearn program uses experiential and adventure-based learning to engage under-served, minority students who are at-risk of dropping out of school. GetOutAndLearn prepares, encourages and motivates students to graduate from high school, make positive choices and pursue post-secondary education and/or meaningful work.

GetOutAndLearn partners with the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park Association to teach its students traditional wooden boat building techniques from start to finish – carrying out the measuring, cutting, assembly, and shaping of the boat and sail. It’s a unique and inspiring program which seeks to reach challenging students in a unique way. I also think it’s something special in that students are learning a craft and how to work with their hands.

student designed goat decal

student designed goat decal

The boat– a design called the “Goat Island Skiff”– was christened “The Eleanor” after one of the student’s grandmother’s who passed away during the making of the boat. The launch was dramatic with high winds, but we won’t go into those details now. Instead, congratulations to my sweetness, Ed, Josia (his incredible teaching partners), and all the rest of the crew who made this happen!

christening of "The Elanore"

christening of "The Eleanor"

img_3288

CROSS POLLINATION

April 4, 2009
ranunculas

ranunculas

tulips

tulips

It’s been about 2.5 months since I started this blog and so many wonderful things have happened during that time. While I’m still not satisfied with the format, content, and focus of frutz, the sheer act of creating and updating frutz has focused me in ways I could have never imagined. The idea for the blog began with a flower arrangement I de-constructed and rec-onstructed the day after my 30th birthday. I’d like to announce that at the end of February I landed a job in floral design at one of the most fabulous, unique, and inspiring floral boutiques in San Francisco, FLEUR*T. I have been pinching myself for about a month and a half ever since. I am learning floral design on-the-job from the most talented designers I’ve ever seen. I am on my feet, not in front of a computer, being creative.

And to top it all off, the owners of FLEUR*T are supportive, encouraging, and flexible about the demands of my theatre career.  I think I may have FINALLY found the perfect balance of my work and creative energy: flowers and theatre.

I will update the blog periodically with my burgeoning flower designs…I’ve made some great ones already but don’t have any pictures yet. So as always, stay tuned…

FLEUR*T

FLEUR*T

GRACE

February 7, 2009

I’m thankful today because we’ve had some much needed rain. The sun is out now to give us a moment to shake off the wet and get outside before the rains return tomorrow. This seems a fair and healthy balance. Thanks, Frauline Nature. It seems so often the talk these days is about how unpredictable the weather is. Though all signs point to climate change and we need to do our part to live in better balance with our planet, I don’t think we should discount the power of positive thought. I wonder sometimes if we are making the problem worse through doomsday discussions. Let’s be grateful! We should not close our eyes and ears and pretend something is not happening, but we should also realize that our words and thoughts are better spent sewing positive actions. I’m sick of doomsday. To me, there are far too many blossoming cherry trees out my window to think otherwise. So today, I am toasting the small stuff:

the kiwi and the orange

the kiwi and the orange

My weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box contained delicious kiwi and oranges this week. A sumptuous box of the freshest in-season fruits and vegetables are delivered to my home every week, courtesy of Capay Organic:

http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com

lavender

lavender

my indoor blossom shrine

my indoor blossom shrine

a place for kitchen string and broken sea shells

a place for kitchen string and broken sea shells

SPIRIT OF GIVING

January 21, 2009

There are 2 inspiring organizations on my mind today, so instead of them rattling around in my head, I’ll put the knowledge to better use by sharing them here:

1) Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty

http://www.kbyutv.org/smallfortunes

This is a wonderful documentary I saw the other night on TV. Here is a description from the documentary website:

Millions of the world’s poorest—mostly women—who are unable to provide the necessary collateral to secure a traditional loan are turning to microcredit institutions for help. These institutions give “micro” loans, often for less than $100, to those for whom the entrepreneurial spirit is still in its purest, most basic form. Whether it’s through milking a buffalo, selling tortillas, or weaving cloth, most borrowers are able to pay back their loans—and have enough profits to reinvest in their businesses, their homes, and their children.

Produced by award-winning filmmakers Sterling Van Wagenen and Matt Whitaker, Small Fortunes explores the issues of poverty and microcredit as it features interviews with numerous recipients of small loans in locales ranging from India to the Philippines to New York City. The documentary tells the stories of how short-term loans of even a few dollars have resulted in dramatic changes in lifestyles for families who otherwise would have no means of lifting themselves out of their poverty.

Wow. If you can, see this film. You can click on a link on the webpage to encourage your local TV station to air it. Or become involved. The smallest amount of money seems to go an incredibly far way. What I found so interesting about this film and the subject of MICROCREDIT is that 95% of the loans are given to women only. This is because, statistically, woman pay back the loans– at a rate of about 98%! And statistically, if you empower a woman with opportunity, her priority is the entire family, primarily her children. She will make sure 1) her family is fed and 2) her children are EDUCATED. In turn, EDUCATION is the strongest tool to combat poverty. This is not always the case with men– statistically– no offense, chaps. I’m just regurgitating information.

Greg Mortenson, the American who builds schools in the poorest of the poor communities in rural Pakistan and Afganistan, and the subject of the PHENOMENAL book Three Cups of Tea, also believes this to be the case. He purports that the only real way to fight terrorism, extremism, and poverty is through education. Primarily, the education of woman. Read that book too. It’s great.

2) http://www.usaservice.org

In Obama’s plea to the nation to get involved and make a difference in the improvement of our country, his team of superstars has created this website to connect people with volunteer opportunities available throughout the US. You can search by zip code, distance, and type of opportunity. Check it out.

Until next time…

MAKING EXCEPTIONS (AND NINJAS)

January 18, 2009

I brought my summer quinoa and corn salad (see previous post with recipe) to the beach yesterday to share with friends. I normally try to cook with seasonal ingredients, but with the bizarre good weather and kiwi sunsets still on my mind, I made an exception.

Thank you to all our friends who came out yesterday to celebrate. *Thanks* for all your pinata coaching. I’m glad my flailing around like an idiot could bring such joviality. Seth, the pinata apparatus was a feat of engineering prowress– thank you.

I’ll sign off with some images of yesterday’s foolish pursuits:

beach bacci

beach bocce

the infamous pinata

the infamous pinata

audience at sunset

audience at sunset

Most of all, to the judo ninja man who kicked and twirled the entire 6 hours in front of us on the beach: we all hope you have FINALLY reached nirvana and are soaring above us as a sea falcon or something. If not, we hope you are at least resting today.tai-chi-man-21tai-chi-man-31tai-chi-man-11

REASONS TO CELEBRATE:

January 16, 2009

The weather has been freakishly beautiful for January. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. January is typically our most rainy month. We rely on the January rain– for farms, for reservoirs, for everything. But N. California is in the middle of a 10-day-sunny-nirvana-spell with no end in sight. It’s difficult to complain about sunny weather. So instead, I’ll celebrate it:

ocean swallows the january sun

ocean swallows the january sun

gulp

gulp

my urban backyard, a.k.a. the happy clover patch

my urban backyard

my beach cowboy, seth

my beach cowboy, seth

our petite porch

our petite porch

lemon mousse neopaliton

lemon mousse Neapolitan

the nose picking wafer

the nose picking wafer

I’ll end this post with the delicious 5th course lemon mousse dessert I feasted on last night at Aziza in San Francisco as part of the birthday celebration. In an attempt to photograph both Seth and I AND a Hazelnut Madelaine dessert, we arrived at this shot of the wafer seemingly picking my nose. Voila!

HELLO WORLD!

January 15, 2009

There’s no right way to start this, so here I go. If you had told me yesterday or even 2 hours ago that I would be writing a blog today I would have looked you in the eye a few moments, thought about it, and then said, “naaaahhhh I don’t think I could ever really do a blog.” My reasoning and excuses would be numerous, and they would boil down to the essence of 3 points:

  1. I could START a blog, yes. But after about an hour or 2 of enthusiasm, I’d become bored upon realizing how much effort would be involved. The blog would wither in my mind or in the infancy of a blogspot username account.
  2. I can’t write down the thoughts in my head. This is true. I’ve tried. If any of this is making sense, it’s luck. It won’t last long. And
  3. I’m too scatterbrained. I have a million ideas that get lost in the throes of sporadic conviction. My interests are many and my talents are genuine, but only surface deep. I’ve dug a million holes looking for water, but the holes are all too shallow to reach the water.

So here I am, turning to a blog. The blog– a perfect tool for wrestling scatterbrain demons and self-defeating excuses, all wrapped within the facade of productivity. I never understood blogs before. But I had an “aha!” moment about an hour ago, and this blog seemed the only and best answer. So I’m giving it my best shot. Ahhh…blogdom.

(If I were a good blogger, you would now see a little black and white pencil illustration of this analogy:

my blog = me bailing out a sinking boat which actually is my brain filled with all sorts of pretty objects that happen to be causing my brain/boat to sink. Got it?)

So that’s my reason. Oh, and the fact that I turned 30 yesterday, which is just a coincidence that happened to collide with my “aha” moment. But it’s a good coincidence.

Aha!

This all started because I received a bouquet of flowers from my lovely aunt yesterday. As I sat in my living room talking to friends today I kept looking over into the kitchen, eager to get the chance to take the bouquet apart and arrange the flowers in various jars, bowls, and glasses. It’s one of my favorite things in the world to do– put flowers into vessels. I pick flowers and branches from all over my San Francisco city neighborhood and backyard and bring them home to scatter around my home. I’m not sure if this is legal, but I do it. There’s a lavender and rose patch growing wild and un-tended just a few houses down the street–literally sprouting up through cracks. There’s a magnolia tree that blossoms the most spectacular flowers next door. Anyway, I was jones-ing to get at this flower arrangement.  I thought, “This is something I’m good at.  This is something I like to do.”  And then I realized, “Aha…I could have a blog recording this type of nonesense!”

Here’s the flower arrangement BEFORE, as it arrived for my 30th birthday:

beautiful, but boring

beautiful, but boring

And here’s how it looked after I attacked it:

simple relief

simple relief

(Insert into blog a pencil sketch of me roundhouse kicking the “before bouquet”. Boo-yeh!)

So that’s what you can expect from my blog: Snapshots of tiny, domestic inspiration, the magnetic pull of bold colors and patterns to my eye, an obsessive preoccupation with simple food, and an over-stating of the praises of nature’s perfection. Enjoy, blogopolis!

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