Focusing on What I Can Do

Focusing on what I can do has been a continual theme for me in my life. Reminding myself of my skill set, and how I can best use them is key to a good life. In this past year I have been gravely concerned about my country. Part of this comes from worries about what it means in the future for my children. Following the news is important but following a constant scrolling feed of breaking news is soul-wearying (I’m talking to you, Twitter and cable news). Of course, we have to pay attention to what is going on. Close attention. But I’ve decided the best I can do is to work hard on my own work, call my representatives and volunteer in ways that make a real difference in concrete ways.

If I were going to be accurate with this diagram it would have a subset in the “ability to do”section, and that would be “things only I can do”.  I will probably still be writing about this when I’m 80, God willing.

15 Days of Doll-making on Instagram

I decided that this year to find more ways to focus on creativity. One way to do that is to share, and Instagram is a great place for sharing images focused on creativity. The MAIDA Dolls Group is sharing images in Instagram under the hashtags of #maidadolls and #fifteendaysofdollmaking, in case you want to follow along. The good thing about sharing is sometimes you find a doll that needs dressing which you haven’t shared about.  Here is the Colombian doll I made a few years ago with Connie Tognoli’s great pattern.  

Even More on Making Christmas Ornaments

This is a repost.  For the past few years I've done a post on making Christmas ornaments.   You can view the other Christmas Ornament posts here.

This year we made an old stand-by - ornaments made with cinnamon dough.   This is a fun thing for kids and adults.  You get the fun of making cookies without any calories.  Your house will have the aroma of cinnamon for the time that these dry.  You leave them on the cookie sheets and flilp them periodically because as they dry they begin to curl up.  So flip them to even that out. It will take several days for them to dry.  But it's an easy recipe.  Hint:   Natural food stores sell spices in bulk for much less than grocery store prices.   For the recipe click here  

I also made this heart in house ornament
based on a tutorial by Michele Made Me.

Michele's version below is made with recycled greeting cards.
Michele has a number of AWESOME tutorials at  Michele Made Me

via Michele Made Me

I've been looking for EASY ornaments because a family member has challenges with fine motor skills.  The cinnamon dough ornaments are perfect and fun.   But if you'd like to try other ornaments or see some offered for sale by artists, visit my Pinterest board for other ideas.   

Day Two

I needed to read this post from 2011 again....
Have you heard this saying?

If everything's important, 
then nothing's important

Yeah, I thought so.   I like to do a lot of things.   I didn't even list all the things I must do, just the things I like to do.   I'm talking to myself here, but if it helps you, then great.   Dixie, you can't do everything.

Life is about making choices.  The constraints of our time and our space help us in making these choices.   In fact, psychologists propose that constraints contribute to creativity and inventiveness.  That's good news!   I only have so much space and time, just like the rest of you.

Some questions to help me in my choice-making:

What will I wish I had done (next year, in five years)?

What would I do if I weren't afraid?

Which things fit with my creative personality?
Which activities are most practical for my life?

Which activities contribute to the family budget?

Some things I need to cut down on:
Playing around with the colors and backgrounds on the sites that I write for.   It's fun but it doesn't necessarily make the sites function better.    In five years will I wish I had made a painting instead of switching the background of a site from pale ochre to yellow?   

Pleasing people.  I really, really, really like to encourage other people and help them.   But, and this is tricky, am I ignoring the needs of my family and even myself to please another person?  Sometimes the other person isn't putting forth as much effort to help themselves as I am.  I'll still help people who need it, but I won't worry as much about pleasing people.

The online checking loop that takes up a lot of time (ouch!)....first check email, then check news, then check facebook, then check groups, then check twitter.   Then start the loop over again.  Will I wish I had made a painting or created a folk doll instead of doing some of those things?  

Side note.  My family hates the picture above.  It was taken by my photographer friend Danielle Pease. I was modeling for a project of hers about women of a certain age and what we've learned. She took a lot of great pictures that day!  I was goofing around for this one.  But she caught something in it because it got ALL kinds of reactions from my family.    I put it on the fridge before the kids got out of school last year and my son with autism went right to the picture and threw it away even before he had his snack.   It looks like the face I make when he is being told he's lost a privilege.   My husband said, "Don't post that picture."  My other son said I look mean.  And yet here I am posting it.   It's a great motivational poster for ME to hang in my studio while I do the sorting of STUFF.   I mean, really, if I try to keep the 3" piece of string, do you think that woman will let me?  

Are you still with me?   

You're probably a friend 
or family member. 
Or you need to clean your slate, too.


Reclaiming My Space Without Guilt

For several years now I haven’t been sewing or creating much. While I was focusing on other things I kept piling stuff up in my sewing room and painting area for when I would get around to it. My sewing room is behind the ghost in the picture, what you are seeing here is the hallway to that and the laundry room where I paint. Using Cozy Minimalist techniques, I am going to make these spaces more functional and welcoming to me.  

I collect lots of possibilities. I like learning. But I need to be realistic about what I will actually do. It’s ok to learn a little about something and then without guilt to decide you’re not going to pursue it further.  And that point is when you get rid of the stuff.  Without guilt.  Keep your eye out here because I will be selling supplies, patterns, and books related to dollmaking and other kinds of art. 

So the goal is to make this a sanctuary again.  I will post again about this after I have made significant progress.

My Son’s Music

My son Josh, who started college this year, writes music in the rap hip-hop genre.  He’s been doing this for years.  It has been interesting to see his writing grow and change. This album tells the story of transition from high school to college.  “Circle K” will make you cry. “Apples” will make you smile and get stuck in your head, and It‘s All Good makes my other son Alex get up and dance.  If you like hip-hop music, give it a listen.  Note the parental discretion advisory for salty language.

Izannah Walker Doll Pattern
for Hurricane Relief

The sale is over, but please donate directly to One America Appeala bipartisan organization formed and endorsed by our former living Presidents.  You can designate the area you would like to support.

To purchase the PDF e-pattern, click this link:  

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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