Monday, September 1, 2014

Lost In Translation

... it is not our experiences but how we remember those experiences and even what experiences we choose to remember that have the most profound effect on our happiness. We must never allow ourselves to believe that we are the sum total of our experiences. Though our experiences are real, we are more than those experiences. The moment we define ourself by our experiences, we have lost our way. Be informed by your experiences, but do not be controlled by them.

What has happened to us is not nearly as powerful or as informative as our interpretation of why it happened. Our most destructive emotions, such as bitterness and unforgivingness root deeply into the human soul not because of what happened to us but because we haven't resolved the issues of why.

To engage our lives as a creative act, we must understand that a significant part of the creative process is interpretation. Our interpretation of life determines the material from which we will build the future. The great danger, of course, is that who we are and who we are meant to be can so easily be lost in translation. Interpretation matters.

What is your interpretation of life? What is your idea of you? Who is it that you have decided to become? If your greatest work of art is the life you live and ultimately life is a creative act, what life will you choose to leave behind as your masterpiece?

Every morning, I spend an hour doing both a spiritual and a creative study. I'm always intrigued by the way they work together. I see it as divine direction. The quotes above are from Erwin Raphael McManus' book The Artisan Soul. Their theme is echoed in Julia Cameron's book The Prosperous Heart where she writes - Focusing on the positive, we come to expect further positives. Conversely, if we focus on the negative, we will find ourselves anticipating negativity. The choice is up to us which way we want to view our reality. Our glass can be seen as half full or as half empty. If we choose optimism and see our glass as half full, we will very soon see it brimming over with goodness.

For more years than I can remember, I've taken the first Tuesday after the long weekend in September to reflect on the past year and to set directions for the coming year. This past year has had some interesting (as in not) blips that came right at the beginning and made it very difficult. As I approach this day of reflection, I have been receiving message from several directions about the need to focus on myself - to make this next year the year of me - not in a selfish way, but rather in a healing, forward moving, fuller, broader, more meaningful, and fully creative way.

When I think about what Erwin wrote - Our interpretation of life determines the material from which we will build the future. The great danger, of course, is that who we are and who we are meant to be can so easily be lost in translation. - I have to pause and think about where I may have misinterpreted the experiences of my life and how I could re-interpret both them and future experiences in a way that supports and moves me forward rather than in a way that hinders me. We can so easily become consumed by the negative. Just think about how one hurtful comment in a sea of positive ones so easily becomes the comment we dwell on. I want my focus to be on the sea of positive comments.

On Saturday, a friend and I were talking about this period in our lives when there is more time for ourselves. We talked about what do we want to do and explore and express. Some of my wants have to do with doing and others have to do with being. It's no surprise that some of them include the way I dress - not only the garments but the accessories. I have a longing for incredibly unique, terribly expensive, totally unpractical shoes. Frosting shoes; not cake ones. I want what I wear to project personality, uniqueness, authenticity, positiveness, approachability, independent opinions, creativity, inspiration, encouragement, and so much more although - to be honest - I want that for many areas of my life, not just my clothing. That's some of what I'll be thinking about tomorrow and it's part of what I'm exploring later this month when I study with Diane.

The pictures in this posting are of author and artist Beatrix van Ost. Other than what's to be found in these images and heard in the video above, I know nothing about her and yet virtually every time I see a picture of Beatrix, there is something there I find myself attracted to - authenticity, firm opinions, femininity, grace of movement, confidence, and a comfortable sense of self to name a few.

Typically, when I sit down to work on my yearly plan, it's a matter of putting down what's already been swirling in my brain over the weeks and months before and giving it shape and a way of being. Going forward, I want to translate my experiences in positive ways. I want to actively work on my masterpiece. And I want my masterpiece to be positive.

What direction do you plan to move in over the next year?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the first day of the "new"year

I think most people give up. In some way you should always be in love and never say I can't wear that because of my age. It's all how you feel. 
- Beatrix van Ost

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Texture And Architecture

One of the things I'm doing in Ashland is taking a one-to-one coaching session with Diane. To prepare, she sent me some questions around the kind of work I like to do, what I'm proud of, and what I'm hoping for. One of the things I mentioned in my reply is my love of texture and architecture.

Diane designs her patterns for a completely different figure than mine so I haven't had much success making one yet. When I was at the Design Outside The Lines retreat in June, I tried on Helen's version of Diane's Faultlines vest  - bottom pattern in the above picture - and it looked surprisingly good on me so I'm making it using the fabric below that I bought from Marcy Tilton a few years ago. LOVE the texture. It's black black but very hard to photograph. It typically comes up some shade of grey.

I've been thinking about the sweater to shrug refashion. In the past - with RTW or sewn garments - I've had far more success with cropped designs that close across the front and are short enough to show off my waist than with ones that open at the front and - seemingly - draw a line straight to my tummy. This vest is the later type with a softer, asymmetrical hemline.

I sewed the muslin in a really busy print so it's hard to see all the edges unless you click on the picture. In the instructions, each piece is sewn and lined separately and then overlapped to join together - I think - they are not the clearest of instructions since there are a lot of you could do this or this or this design possibilities included, which are fabulous, but it takes some reading through to find the actual instructions.

I pieced the back, sewed the shoulder seams, and overlapped the front the way I wanted, and then pinned the sides in a configuration that worked.

The left side is a bit too long so I may change that angle. The fabric doesn't flap from the bust on me as much as it does on Millcent. She's smaller. At some point - hopefully soon - I plan to buy another - larger - mannequin so I have my complete range of sizes but for now, Millicent does her best.

With this vest, I want to incorporate more than one fabric. Far left is a light-weight woven stripe that may become bias. Next to it is a ribbed knit  that I'm auditioning for the bottom edge. The zipper has crystal teeth and is too long but if I could find a shorter one, it would be great for closing center front. My mind is bubbling with ideas and I'm telling myself not to dumb them down. That's another thing I wrote in my answers to Diane - that I want to create the ideas in my head and stop simplifying them all the time, to risk more.

There won't be any time to sew today. I'm off to journal and then coffee with my other mother and then an hour and a half drive to meet a friend for lunch. She's visiting her daughter three hours away and we're meeting in the middle.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - friends who will meet you in the middle

Life is sacred. Life is art. Life is sacred art.
- Gabrielle Roth

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This Is Magic

Chasing the magic number is chasing an illusion, because it not only puts us outside of ourselves and our process, it puts us outside of today - far into the future, where we are free to make up stories based on nothing but fantasy.

There's no such thing as a magic number. But there is such a thing as magic. What feels like magic is different for all of us - a bluebird on the windowsill, a beautiful sunset, the handmade valentine from our child, the friend who holds our hand and listens to us with compassion and total acceptance - this is true prosperity. And true prosperity always feels like magic. Because it is.
- Julia Cameron

I'm re-reading Julia Cameron's book The Prosperous Heart. Although I rarely reread novels, I frequently reread non-fiction books - especially those to do with art and life coaching - and every time I do, I discover something new. The quote above was from yesterday's reading. Later that morning, the doorbell rang and a small, friendly woman with a basket full of cleaning supplies explained that she was going to clean and prep my front door and that her husband was following along behind with paint and a paintbrush. Apparently, at the last general meeting of the strata, the one I didn't attend, they had volunteered to paint the trim and yellowing plastic on each set of 113 doors. This struck me as magic. It's a task that's been on my to do list ever since we moved in and one I felt that I had to get to this fall. Now, I just need to paint the door itself and that is so much easier.

The roll above is the remnants from the Lyn Mizono dress. There's quite a bit but perhaps not enough for another garment. I bought the fabric in Salmon Arm and a friend is going there tomorrow. She offered to stop by Fabricland and see if there is any more AND... tomorrow is the start of a buy 1, get 2 free sale in which this fabric is likely to be included since it was already discounted the last time I was there. Even if the fabric is sold out, this is magic.

After restarting the little girl's sweater twice due to a lack of yarn - and even though I'm now knitting the smallest size - I'm still not sure that I'll have enough so I found another ball, different dye lot, on Ebay. When it arrived, the color was ever so slightly darker than the other balls but not dark enough to present a problem. I can use it for the edging and the collar. This is magic.

I've been knitting and knitting and knitting and my scarf-like shawl is now 69" long. I'm aiming for somewhere between eight-six and a hundred and four inches but the real length will be the length of the remaining yarn. This variation is the third with this yarn and it appears to be a case of third time lucky. The shawl is looking like a perfect fall and spring accessory, perfect for Ashland if I finish it on time. This is magic.

When I was at my friend Rosemarie's the week before last, she showed me a triangular scarf knit in garter stitch that started with five stitches and increased each end of every row to a short and wide scarf that wrapped well around the neck. This past Christmas, I knit a lot of scarves attempting to use up all the recycled yarn in my basket. I didn't BUT... some of what I have left will be just perfect for this scarf and the scarf will be just perfect as a take along project for both my trip and the drop-in session at Diane's studio on the Wednesday. This is magic.

The prosperous heart is abundant. While we may not have all that we wish, we can be assured that we have "enough." Rather than insatiably craving more, the prosperous heart makes the most of the stores that it has. We find we can meet our needs and even our wants. We know that prosperity is more than our cash flow, more than our fiscal bottom line. Prosperity is a matter of faith. The prosperous heart trusts that the future will be cared for, as is the day at hand. The prosperous heart does not fear abandonment. The prosperous heart believes that even its tiniest whisper meets God's ear. - Julia Cameron

Lately, I've been struggling with the lack of progress in the mess of the rest of my life and I've been soothing myself with a little too much on-line shopping - some fabric, some yarn, some books. The magic within my studio is a good reminder that while I may not have all that I wish for, I certainly have enough and that I can soothe myself at home while knowing that even my tiniest dreams and wishes are reaching God's ear.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - stash magic

Our greatest fear is that we will never live a life worth sharing with others, never live a story worth telling but that we will find ourselves trapped in a story for which there is no ending, only an endless cycle of disappointment and defeat. The lie that paralyzes us is that those failures and disappointments disqualify us from living out the great story of our lives. The reality is that our struggles and suffering give us the content to tell the greatest story of our lives. To do this, though, we must discover the unique characteristics that distinguish those individuals who have know both tragedy and triumph, who have found the dancing after the mourning and who have learned to count it all joy when they faced trials of many kinds. 
- Erwin Raphael McManus

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sweater To Shrug Refashion Part Two

Thanks for all the compliments on the Lyn Mizono dress yesterday. Steph's comment about still cameras versus video cameras was quite interesting. I'll aim to get a video of me wearing - and walking in - the dress asap so we can compare.

Here's a detail image of the Burda 7118 shrug muslin. Once again, it is quickly apparent that dolman sleeves and I do not get along. The image above is bad enough and then...

... there's this one. I grabbed the white t-shirt off Millicent since the one I was wearing had sleeves and the result was DEFINITELY. NOT. FLATTERING. I look pregnant and no... won't be wearing that t-shirt ever again... and probably not the black version either - LOL. However...

... on Millicent, who normally wears a black dress, the t-shirt helped to show off the sweater to shrug refashion. It's okay. Nothing fabulous and it didn't play nicely with the dress. It took away from the waist feature and dominated. For a winter version of the dress, I'd add sleeves instead of a cover-up.

BUT... I really like the texture of the tucks and how they wander over the surface. I've always been drawn to visual and especially tactile texture.

With the back hemline, I tried to create a soft wandering edge and was only partially successful.

It looks more like a mistake than anything purposeful. LOVE the idea though. It's something to play with. Next time, I'll either start with yardage or with a sweater that is considerably larger than me. With this refashion, there wasn't a lot of room for adjustments. Good learning.

Meet my new keyboard. Last week, my previous one - which looks identical - started sticking and a bunch of letters would run together every time I typed a letter. Howard insisted it was irreparable. He wanted me to get a new one because the letters were worn off my other one and he always had to bring his own keyboard when he worked on my computer. Kyle prefers a straight keyboard and insisted Microsoft wasn't making this model anymore and that I'd need a "normal" one. Not likely. Apparently this 4000 series, ergonomic keyboard is one of their best sellers. After a week with the teeny, tiny, ridiculous thing that Howard uses, I'm glad to have "my" keyboard back.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a new keyboard

When we hear God's voice, we finally find our voice. When we find our voice, we discover we finally have something to say, and that when we speak our words have power. 
- Erwin Raphael McManus

Monday, August 25, 2014

A True And Safe Question

We took these pictures on Saturday just before heading off to the wedding. Apparently, along with how I'm standing and whether my chin is a mile up in the air and do I have a weird smile on my face and is my hair doing crazy things, we need to watch for sun spots. Photography is complicated.

The dress is ULTRA comfortable. I don't know if that's due to the style lines or the fabric I chose but it's quite wonderful, more wonderful than it looks in these images. When how we feel in a garment doesn't match how the picture looks, which impression do we go with? I have found the camera to be both truthful and a liar.

The dress makes me feel slim and feminine. The pictures don't. It doesn't help that when I asked my youngest son if he liked my new dress, he said he liked the color and when I asked don't you think it gives me a nice figure, he said if you want to look like a fat old lady - ouch - so I asked don't you think it makes my waist look small thinking this was a true and safe question and he said, that's not your waist and pointed to an area near my high hip and said that was my waist.

I decided we should stop talking about the dress and how it looked on me and have an anatomy lesson instead - and perhaps a sewing one - about waists and pant waists. It was much safer. I will conclude that it does indeed make my waist look small.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - beautiful sunrises

There is little sense in attempting to change external conditions, you must first change inner beliefs then outer conditions will change accordingly. 
- Brian Adams