Encyclopedia of Inspiration

Feed Sacks book

Uppercase magazine is a great source of inspiration and ideas from editor and designer Janine Vangool. She’s been at it for years and is now publishing what she terms an Encyclopedia of Inspiration – a multi volume endeavor that will cover lots of topics beginning with feed sack fabric designs. Along with Author Linzee Kull McCray, the book will follow the history of feed sacks and how thrifty ladies of the early 20th century made them into charming and useful goods to cheer up their workdays.

I’ve already learned so much about these wonderful fabrics from Janine’s enthusiastic tales of research and collecting. It makes me wonder if a couple of quilts I have from my Grandmother were made with such fabrics.

This book will be followed by a volume about Botanicals, then one about Stitchery of all kinds. The Feed Sack volume is being printed now & is available for pre order here, to be shipped later this Fall. I’ve ordered mine & can’t wait for the pages of design inspiration! If you pre order, your Feed Sack book will come in a real feed sack fabric bag!

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Inspiration is a noun AND a verb


I seek out inspiration all around: in nature – trees, clouds, sunshine – as well as friends, family, art, and everywhere I go. I collect images online and from magazines, ideas from tv shows and blogs, objects from nature and thrift shops. I surround myself with things that inspire me. It never really occurred to me that I could be inspirational to others. Wow!!

I don’t usually think of the things I do as particularly inspirational, nor do I do things solely to inspire. I was pleasantly suprised to find that a very simple thing I did DID inspire someone! I am an avid knitter, & usually am making something that is just my own invention rather than from a pattern. I take this for granted because I like to make simple items that are created from yarn I already have – so usually I have to fudge around with the materials until I create what I’ve pictured in my mind. (Not anything that would be possible to make from a pattern with specific materials.) So, I had made something I thought was rather ordinary and at the end of a get-together, a friend said, “I’m so inspired by the things you make! And you make it look so easy!”

Well, thank you!

For me it is easy, and I forget that others don’t have the same outlook. Just that one comment made my day, and also made me realize that I have a lot to offer. It’s as simple as thinking of something I take for granted as something that could be shared with others. Inspire others by doing what comes naturally. And be inspired by the reaction.

Inspiration is a two-way street. I’m always on the lookout for inspiring places, things, and people – but I forget that I, too, could be inspiration for someone else.

Seek Inspiration.

Be Inspiration!


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Serene Summer


The time for sun & water, driving around the countryside and waking up to sunlight filtered through the trees. Seeing my homeland hills and lakes does something for my brain like nothing else.

I unwind.

I think different thoughts.

It’s great to be away. It’s great to come home.


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Looking back at my first post of this year {here}, the theme of focus has stayed with me. I still need to work hard at it, but thinking of it in a positive way helps!

“Focus??” I originally thought, but what about all the things I want to get done?! How can I let any of them go? How can I not do the things I have wanted to do now that I have some time to do them? So many things call to me: knitting, sewing, painting, photography, reading, writing, collage, playing music, learning a new language, travel – why can’t I  pursue all of them?

What about all the things I want to get done?

So many things I want to do – just looking at that list makes my head spin – and the idea of focus just seemed like I would have to lose a lot of projects. Aww. But when I turn the idea around – focus is exactly what I need to make sense of the jumbled list of options. If I focus realistically on what I can actually DO, then the stress of trying to do everything is eased. I can go deeper into the meanings and reasons for doing the things that I choose to do first, and really take the opportunity to do them more wholeheartedly.

I do a lot of reading online, and in the past few months have noticed that many other people are interested in focus as a tool to prioritize and get things done.

Focus is THE way to reduce the noise and get things done.

Tara Gentile helps creative entrepreneurs with a whole strategy centered on finding your focus to help your business succeed. {click here}

Kari Chapin,an author and creative business consultant, wrote a piece about creative focus being essential to getting things done in your creative business. Sorry I can’t find it right now, but I think she re-did her whole website recently, to streamline and refocus on her main projects. She has a new podcast about how people keep their focus in focus. {click here}

Marie Forleo has some great advice for multipassionates like us. {click here} And lots of other wonderful insights.

Meditation is a wonderful method to bring clarity to a mind cluttered with jumbled lists of ‘to dos’ and projects. Whether it’s 5-10 minutes of mindfulness or a 20 minute TM session, surrounding your thoughts with silence can do wonders.

Other things you can do: Do What Matters {click here}, Productivity {click here}

I’d love to know what your techniques are for focusing in on what really matters and how you get your priorities in line. Please share in the comments – we’d all love to hear more tips!


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Welcome 2015!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/033/57037926/files/2015/01/img_6148.jpg I’m sure this must be the day with the most blog posts on the Internet! New Year’s resolutions, new beginnings, new ‘to do’ lists. It has gotten me thinking about my personal new year stretching out before me.

I’m always impressed & inspired by the ‘thing a day’ people. Can I commit to that? I’m not sure. The ‘word of the year’ is more promising; although last year I forgot what word I picked by the time February rolled around. I am considering Focus for this year. I’m going to sit with it a while.

The self improvement thing is always good – at least for a while. But I always see a shadow side to that one – that there’s something wrong with me that needs to be ‘improved’.

For the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve had a goal of “Making my shit into shit”! You see, I suffer from the ‘Icouldmakethatintosomething’ syndrome. I collect lots of things from here & there. And here they are! I’m considering starting a support group, but then we’d be right back to there’s-something-wrong-with-that land. So, I’m committed to ‘MMSIS’ continuation – with an added bonus of throwing some shit away! I don’t know if I’ll be able to throw out one thing a day, but that would be a great goal. And I certainly have enough items to do that handily! I’m starting with that pair of shoes that are cute, but kinda worn out & now the back of the right heel has the lining bunched up so it wears a sore into my Achilles’ tendon whenever I wear them. Buh Bye!!

Wish me luck! And I’ll wish it for you, too!

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Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday Celebration

Shop SmallIn celebration of Small Business Saturday we’re offering 20% off everything in our shop until Dec. 5th. Just enter code: SHOPSMALL upon checkout, & the discount will be applied to your purchase.

This holiday season, remember to shop at small businesses that support the people and resources of your area. This includes Etsy shops and other small online retailers. It’s easy to sort your search results that give you makers that are in your neighborhood. You may even be able to meet them in person or have larger items delivered or picked up & save on shipping charges. I know we’d be glad to deliver heavier items personally to ensure safe arrival & meet the people who love our goods!

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How to (re)make a planter

Here’s how to make a planter out of, um, a planter! (Sometimes a thing just wants to be a thing.)
OK, so I had a planter that was several years old and had basically dis-assembled itself into a pile of scrap wood. But I liked the wood even more now that it had weathered & faded. Part of the reason it had fallen apart was from watering; so I supposed that if the new planter had a liner, it would last a bit longer. We’ll see …

– old planter, or scrap wood, flat squares or rectangles
– scrap lath or 1×1 lengths
– small saw or utility knife
– screws
– screwdriver (electric, preferably)
– plastic container (mine was from cat litter)

~ I sorted out the pieces of wood I had so they’d fit around my container – cutting down pieces as necessary.

~ My wood was all the same height, so I just used a piece to trace a line around the container. Leave a little extra – you can always cut more off later!

~ I used pieces of scrap wood strips to construct a top support that fits around the outside size of the container, & a bottom support that is smaller than the container (the container will sit on this, so it doesn’t fall through the bottom).

~ These are the sides screwed into the top & bottom supports.

bottom view

Bottom view.

~ I used the pieces of wood cut off the side chunks as bottom reinforcements. These will add support to the structure as well as keeping the planter raised up for better drainage.

Looking down from the top, you can see how the inner supports fit in, & the liner is snug. I did cut the lining container down a bit more, so that you can’t see it from the side. Hopefully when there are lovely bushy plants growing, you won’t even notice it!

I’ll update this when I have pics of the planter in use!

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Mondays are made for a fresh start


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Thinking about – Spring!

Spring is springing around here, and it’s earlier than ever. While most of the country has had a seemingly never ending winter with vortices and power outages, here in Northern CA the wisteria is almost all gone. I couldn’t believe it when the apple trees out back bloomed in January! Now that the calendar says Spring, I thought I’d share some images to match. Enjoy – and know that Spring will come soon to a thermometer near you!

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I Love the Winter Olympics!

The Sochi Olympics have started and I’m inspired by all the athletes who make what they do look so effortless!

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