Tag Archives: Inspiration

Disneylanda4

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a visionaryWhat is that quality that makes some people better at getting their ideas out there and into the world? I used to think rather naively that those people simply had more creativity and talent or better ideas to begin with, but I think we all know that is not always true.

I think there must be a special blend of other “companion” qualities (drive, determination, self-belief) that need to be there, too.  I have been pondering what those qualities are and dreaming up a way that we can bottle them up and drink them before kicking off special projects.

Disneylanda2

We went to Disneyland over the weekend, and, of course, this got me thinking about Walt Disney.  Walt is far too complicated a person for me to wrap up my thoughts on him in a few quick sentences. However,  I’ll just say this.  We stopped in to watch “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” which was very odd.

For the first time, it occurred to me just how peculiar and varied some of Walt Disney’s ideas were.  I found myself wondering more about who he was at the start of his career and how those early experiences must have shaped him.

Disneylanda

Last week, I finally watched the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop about underground street artists.  (Fabulous and weird.  I really enjoyed it.)  Between that, the CNN Heroes, and the interviews with Diane Sawyer and Maya Angelou on Oprah’s Master Class, I’ve had a lot of people and qualities to consider. (I’m taking inspiration anywhere I find it these days.) 

So, are there any other biography fans out there?  Whose lives are inspiring you?  What are you learning from them?

Spring Suspicions

Walk_Woods_550

Spring is the season I am slowest to accept. I do want to trade my weather in for sunnier days, but I’m suspicious of the whole thing.

The minute I peel off those winter layers, I just know the weather is going to shift and I am going to be caught out in the cold, far from home. By far from home, I mean the parking lot at the grocery store. Just to be clear, we’re not talking Siberia — but still. That could be a very unpleasant walk to my car.

Perhaps I just don’t want to get my hopes up. We had one blissful weekend where we sat outside on the deck wearing shorts and flip-flops. I tried to position myself so that I would not blind any of the neighbors with my pale, ghost legs. I drank a lemonade. I wanted to cry from happiness.

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However, it’s best to pretend that was a freak incident and will not happen again. It’s too crushing to put the sweaters back on when you have had a taste of something else.

My friends and family in Southern California make sad, consoling noises on the phone when I talk to them about the weather. (You can tell we don’t have family in Chicago or Minnesota or someplace that might put our temperature-related problems in perspective.) The thing I am now realizing is that I have always been this moody about the weather. It’s just that in LA, you are highly trained to appreciate the shifts even a few degrees could make. There is a delicate balance to be maintained. Do I wear the t-shirt or the tank top? IT CHANGES EVERYTHING.

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I try to be upbeat about Spring.

My neighbors and friends up here are so positive. I don’t want to ruin it for them. And they have reason to be. It’s ridiculously beautiful. I just need a few more weeks to be convinced. I was thankful I went the conservative route and wore black boots and a warm jacket to church for Easter Sunday, feeling very relieved I had not purchased a pastel sundress in a fit of optimism.

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I think this may sum up my life right now. I am convinced that good things are on the horizon. I know they are. However, I am not rushing either. It is one step at a time. I want both eyes open, prepared for anything. When it’s time to embrace that sunshine, I plan to do it with abandon.

{All images are taken by me for my tumblr blog.}

Filed under Gardens & Special Places, Random Stuff. Tagged with , , , .

The Book of Stillmeadow

Still_2

After supper last night I went out under the apple trees to look at the moon. It was one of those hours I have when the world is so lovely I can hardly bear it. All the rich and beautiful things there are come home to my heart at once.” – Gladys Taber

Fall is really showing up now. Every day I look out the window and see another branch that has been partially dipped in gold paint. This year, I notice that the changes in color do not happen all at once, but in patches. I see leaves that are half-orange and half-green as if they can’t quite make up their mind. Entire trees are fractured right down the center – one side butter yellow, the other summer’s green.

It is still so hot out, but somehow autumn knows to change the color of the leaves anyway.

I’ve been going to the library and grabbing great arm fulls of books. I grew stagnant this summer, and realized I was not taking in nearly enough inspiration to keep the well primed. Now, I’m making it a regular habit to have a big stack to choose from. When my hand is cramping from drawing, I take a break and read a page or five, and then find I can go on with my day. It feels healthier than taking an internet break, even though both can sneak minutes out of my pocket – more than I care to count.

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In the library, in addition to some books on not procrastinating, I checked out The Book Of Stillmeadow by Gladys Taber. Do you know her? Susan Branch has a great write-up about Gladys Taber here which is where I learned about her, too.

I spent the better part of the weekend completely immersed in her life on a Connecticut farm in the 1930′s and 40′s. In some ways, I think she is the godmother of all bloggers – writing about cooking and gardening and puppies and the weather in a way which I cannot describe. All I know is that I find myself alternately tearing up and laughing and trying to read sections aloud to my husband.

“She’s writing about painting Adirondack chairs, now. You really should hear this part!”

He is about as thrilled with this as you would expect.

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I think, in the end, it is the quality of her writing that catches me by surprise and wakes me up. She writes with such precision and beauty about canning green beans or hanging the laundry out to dry. Not that these chores go smoothly all the time. She has a dry wit and tells the truth.

But even when she is being funny or facetious, she seems to be saying that these things are very important. Taking care of our homes and the creatures in them – these things are worth our very best thoughts, our very best words.

I know many of us struggle with significance and comparisons.  It is good to be reminded that our every day routines are important and can be done with great love. Not just in a sacrificial, begrudging sort of way, but keenly aware that there are hidden happinesses there for us, too.

As Gladys says, “The real things go on.”

Still_1

Anyway, I’ll stop here now. I could go on like this all day.

I know some of you may be giving me the same look my husband did. That’s ok. Sometimes, chores are just plain hard – especially when the days are so full. I think most of us are behind on something. And I’ve never canned a green bean in my life, so what do I know anyway?

But if you’ve read the Stillmeadow books and loved them, tell me! Do you have a favorite? Does this sound like something you might fall for, too?

Filed under House & Home, Inspiration. Tagged with , , , .

I Miss You (and send me your questions!)

Reflections[Photo: a quiet moment at Descanso Gardens a few weeks ago...]

I miss my blog so much.  I miss sending notes to friends and leisurely weekend mornings and eating lunch.  I have given it all up.  It has been a mad dash to get ready for this trip to quilt market on Thursday.  My husband has been grocery shopping twice this month which tells you how bad it’s been.  He also scrubbed the bathrooms.  (?)  Let’s just say that the list of people I owe when I get back is ridiculous.

[Is anyone curious about what Quilt Market is?  I gave a little explanation once here.  This trip, Andover Fabrics will be previewing my new fabric collection on paper.]

I will be walking around with some samples of my new sewing patterns trying to meet with distributors and (hopefully) learning as much as I can.  I will also be taking pictures.

I know there comes a point in most designer’s lives where they sort of stop photographing other people’s stuff and really just show their own work.  This makes sense for so many reasons — not the least of which is that they are all very busy at the show and hardly have a chance to sneak in a snack let alone go around taking photographs.  I thought about this a bit and decided that I still would like to share as much of what I’m seeing as I possibly can.  (I’m not sure I could do this if I had a booth, and I certainly do not fault anyone for deciding not to do this.)

However, this year, I’ve decided that I am also going to try to interview as many designers and interesting people as I can possibly fit into one action packed morning. True Up is still the best source for detailed quilt market coverage, and there are other talented people taking great photos of the show.  I’m not trying to compete with them.  Instead, I’m just going to ask a few questions digging a little deeper into the heart of this whole thing:

  • What are you most excited to be showing off at this show?
  • What keeps you inspired?
  • What advice would you give to someone else who wants to pursue their own creative dream?

I would LOVE to ask your questions, too — so if you have any ideas for me, please send them my way.  Then check back late next week, and we’ll see what we can learn from all of these talented folks.  Thanks so much for sticking around.  As I’ve been working like a frantic, busy little bee I picture so many of you who visit here regularly, and it makes it worthwhile.

See you soon!

Filed under Fabric & Sewing, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , .

Tim Burton Exhibit

Tim_Burton_exhibit[image credit: Brandon Shigeta on flickr]

I have been struggling a bit on how to recap the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA.  Before we visited the museum,  I had read photography was not allowed, so we left the camera at home.  I didn’t even have a photo of the amazing entrance.  Luckily, I found some great photos on flickr by Brandon Shigeta (yay for Creative Commons licenses!).  If you want to see more, hop on over to check out his photostream.

I think what struck me the most about the show was how dense it was — not only with people, but also with art.  There are hundreds of sketches, drawings, and paintings in addition to some installation pieces, costumes, props and models from his films.  However, I don’t think I was prepared for just how prolific an artist Tim Burton is as an individual.  I think I was expecting to see more work done by his film teams, but there are lots and lots of scritchy-scratchy drawings and sketches and paintings by Tim Burton himself.  The whole show was imagination caught fire.

One of my favorite pieces was an excerpt from a letter from Warner Bros. giving creative direction on the Family Dog.  You could faintly see Tim’s doodles on the backside of the paper.  The tone of the letter was so comical!  As a former video game producer, I had to read and write a lot of creative feedback.  I so identified with the poor person who had to type up the letter suggesting that the dog not be treated quite so violently in the show.  On the flip side, I completely identify with Tim who used it as scrap paper.

Tim_Burton_exhibit2

There were a few storyboards from the late artist, Joe Ranft, and we paused there for a moment.  (We watched the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty recently, and if you want to know more about Joe Ranft or the world of animated films, I highly recommend it.  You also see a very brief appearance of a young Tim Burton.)

The show is definitely worth seeing if you get a chance — a little creepy and weird in places, but amazing nonetheless.  I think it’s always inspiring to see an artist who has so diligently worked at his craft and who stays so true to his voice.  I left the show itching to draw, and I think it’s pretty special when an artist can have that impact on people.

More from me soon… hope your week is off to a good start!

Filed under Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , .

On Getting Your Vision Out into the World

Disneylanda4

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a visionaryWhat is that quality that makes some people better at getting their ideas out there and into the world? I used to think rather naively that those people simply had more creativity and talent or better ideas to begin with, but I think we all know that is not always true.

I think there must be a special blend of other “companion” qualities (drive, determination, self-belief) that need to be there, too.  I have been pondering what those qualities are and dreaming up a way that we can bottle them up and drink them before kicking off special projects.

Disneylanda2

We went to Disneyland over the weekend, and, of course, this got me thinking about Walt Disney.  Walt is far too complicated a person for me to wrap up my thoughts on him in a few quick sentences. However,  I’ll just say this.  We stopped in to watch “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” which was very odd.

For the first time, it occurred to me just how peculiar and varied some of Walt Disney’s ideas were.  I found myself wondering more about who he was at the start of his career and how those early experiences must have shaped him.

Disneylanda

Last week, I finally watched the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop about underground street artists.  (Fabulous and weird.  I really enjoyed it.)  Between that, the CNN Heroes, and the interviews with Diane Sawyer and Maya Angelou on Oprah’s Master Class, I’ve had a lot of people and qualities to consider. (I’m taking inspiration anywhere I find it these days.) 

So, are there any other biography fans out there?  Whose lives are inspiring you?  What are you learning from them?

Filed under Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , , .