The Heart Is a Container : Reading Dana K. White

This year (understatement) has been a doozy. The pandemic hit  and we ALL are feeling the effects on some level. It turned the world upside down in a way that hearkened back to when school ended for my oldest son, who is autistic. He was just getting to the point where he was more involved in the community. And then my dad passed away in July.  And then there's all the other chaos in the world. Before all this I had gotten back to creating in my sewing room. I had my antique Izannah Walker doll 3D scanned and printed and am making reproduction works from that. But I haven't been back in there since my dad passed away, other than to put something in there. My dad would say, "Come on, get going!" 

So decluttering is my first creative step. I need room to work and create again. I'm reading Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White. This is an easy read and is very helpful! Here is her blog: A Slob Comes Clean. She's a kindred spirit, too, because she also could see the possibilities in everything. If you're an artist of any sort, you have to see the possibilities. But sometimes it means you collect too much stuff and it clogs the creative arteries. There is definitely a balance - enough stuff to create with but not so much that you trip over stuff!

The stuff I'm getting rid of is "something I tried and decided not to do" rather than failure. As I'm looking at things, I'm asking myself, "Have I just been moving this around? Would the space it creates by getting rid of this make it easier to live and create?"  

Dana White writes about letting your "container" be the limit for what you keep. You can only keep what reasonably fits into the container.  My time is a container. I have to make some better choices in what actually fits in it. My heart is a container, too. I can choose to let some things go. 

Hope Revealed: An Izannah Walker Homage Doll

For some time I’ve been working on making an homage reproduction doll based on my Izannah Walker doll Hope. I had imagined that I would do the project quietly behind the scenes and have a big reveal. But that’s not how I work! I’m a sharer!

In 2019, I brought my doll Hope to an artist who does 3-D scans and printing. I will be doing an entire post about that in the future. All the while that I have owned my Izannah Walker doll Hope, I've wondered what she might look like when she was a new doll. I also wondered what she might look like with a different hairstyle. So I decided to make an homage doll based on Hope. In the process, I've been drafting pattern pieces that are specific to Hope's shapes and an exact representation of her body size. So this is an all new pattern in the works based specifically on Hope. 

If you’re interested in the journey, you can follow along on my Facebook business page And Instagram where I will be posting videos. Here’s the link to my Facebook business page.

The Questions You Can't Get Answered:
Hospitals and Autism and Coronavirus

A Facebook friend posted a question in a group which a local friend and I had been asking as well. What happens if our adult child with autism/developmental disability/intellectual disability becomes ill enough to need to go to the hospital? This is something all parents fear, I am sure. But when you have a grown child who has a communication disorder, it brings up a LOT of worries.

The state government agency says hospital policy will make the call.

My local friend called the local hospital and present policy is to allow ONE parent in for a child.

Illness, new locations, new faces can cause shutdown or bring challenging behaviors (which spring from anxiety) but nonetheless need skilled management. Nurses and ER Docs don't reliably have those skills. These professionals are working on solutions for mainstream America - for horses, so to speak, and we have zebra situations with additional wrinkles because of communication challenges, etc.

So I don't have *answers*. But as others write and share good information, I will add links to their posts here, and share on FB and other social media sites. We are all in this together.

Prayers in Cloth

Recently, I’ve been immersed in advocacy for people with developmental disabilities here in Maine. You can see what’s happening here:

Last spring, I met some families facing the same over the cliff “waitlist” time after school ends that our family experienced back in 2013. Something in me was galvanized when I realized the challenge wasn’t just our family. It was the system. So for about 9 months, some parents and a great legislator have been advocating to change things at the legislative level. It still has some hurdles to face, but it is more hopeful by the day that better things will happen.

When I need stress relief, I go to fabric stores. And sometimes I buy fabric! 😂. Today I went down to my workplace to try to get to organized for the project that I put on hold, and I saw the pile of fabrics that I had purchased these past six months.

Through the almost 250 years at our country has been here. Women have expressed their thoughts, their beliefs, and their feelings through textiles. Can you see how I’ve been praying in fabric?


I saw a somewhat naive but also modern feeling painting at a local antiques mall. I really loved it and kept thinking about it. I visited it about 4 times. You KNOW when you are visiting particular things in antique stores it means you should buy it, right? 

So I went to the antique mall with the intention of buying it and GASP there was a lovely older man pulling it off the wall and checking the price. I pretended I wasn't watching, and breathed a sigh of relief when he put it back on the wall. It was the BUMP I needed. When he left that stall, I took that painting directly to the front desk and asked them to hold it for me to buy. The painting needs cleaning. It appears it may have been hanging somewhere above a fireplace OR was owned by someone who smoked. I don't know anything about cleaning vintage and antique paintings. It doesn't smell like cigarette smoke, though. I wonder what lighthouse this is and if it is a MAINE lighthouse? 

While I was in the same antique store I visited this sign for the second time. 
I COULD pant a similar one, but if it is there for my birthday, I will buy it! 


Hope Makes Plans

I'm working on two projects lately. One is an artwork project, and another is an advocacy project for people who are autistic or have developmental disabilities. I haven't talked much about the art project. It is mostly a hopeful project for ME personally. When I'm closer to the end, I will share here. But I've been thinking about how these two projects - artwork and advocacy -  are similar in process, and what moves them forward.

In order to make art, and in order to make a positive difference in this world, you have to believe that you and your thoughts matter in the larger scheme of things. With the artwork project, when someone buys your work they are saying, "I agree with you. Yes, this is important. I want to be reminded of this visually." The advocacy project begins with the hope that we can make things better and those with power to make a difference will listen. And then they will act on what they've heard. 

Anyway, the energy to act at all comes from HOPE of seeing how things could be better. Hope knows that mediocrity isn't good enough. And HOPE makes plans. 

Ten Minutes at a Time

After being sidelined, I've been studying my schedule and trying to take advantage of very short periods of work time. I'm making some progress. When my son who is autistic was younger and in school I was able to immerse myself for hours at a time in creating patterns and artwork to sell. But since he graduated it's been difficult to string more than an hour of minutes together when I am at my best, so immersion isn't possible often.

Watching a Nicholas Wilton video encouraged me to look closely at my expectations about working on my art and also reasons/excuses I was making for NOT working on art.  What are my limiting beliefs vs. real limitations?

1) lack of uninterrupted work time
2) clogged work area
3) lack of creative energy
4) overwhelmed by choices
5) worries about originality
6) frustration with lack of progress

That's not all, but it's enough to start with. The first limiting belief I am facing down by working in ten minute chunks of time. When I leave my workroom, I leave it at a point where it is very clear what the next step is, and try to prepare for that. Things like threading the needle with the right color thread. It's really amazing what can be done in less than ten minutes. This works for cleaning as well. It's a flylady principle.

I will be writing more on this, so stay tuned. And here is a work in progress, a Little Red Riding Hood doll who wanted a striped body covering.  The body covering took about two hours, but I did it in ten minute chunks of time.

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

John Wooden


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