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Mama, you should try Pinterest.
It is like receiving a new magazine every day.
[Rachel Smith]

Pinterest

I’ve had a long line of personal computers since 1982. Computers fascinate me and are now my main tool in my work. I spend hours standing in front of my Mac fiddling in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I don’t use a cell phone. Frankly, I like being out of touch. I’ve never felt pressed to answer a ringing telephone. I maintain 5 wordpress blogs and I am working on revising my website, but I am not a member of Facebook or Twitter. In other words, I try to be a gatekeeper to filter that which bombards me from the outside world. Then came Pinterest.

Of course it has been around since 2010, but didn’t reach out and grab me until now. Oddly enough, a tip for cleaning the buildup off of my gas stove grates pushed me over the edge. In addition to shiny grates, I now have an unclogged shower head and plenty of advice for training my two new puppies. The industrial design section convinces me once again that humans can create instead of destroy. The gardening section almost makes me want to pull weeds. Pinterest reminds me of the 10-inch thick dictionary on the stand in my third-grade classroom—whenever I look something up, I am in constant danger of getting completely sidetracked.

 

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Art enables us to find ourselves and
lose ourselves at the same time.
[Thomas Merton]

ArtWorks

Last Friday was girls night out for my niece, Katherine, and me. After supper, we shopped at Jefferson Point (Fort Wayne) and then went to the opening reception for the art show, “City Blox,” at ArtWorks. I was delighted from the start since Joel Fremion’s landscapes were displayed just inside the door. His craftsmanship, his technique and his vision have fascinated me for several years. He creates fabric collages in great detail and with amazing effect (above left). Among the paintings and objets d’art of other artists were paintings by watercolorist Diana Miller-Pierce. Her crisp technique, sense of geometric balance, and eye for detail drew me into her work (above right). Eighteen artists were represented in the show making it well worth one’s time to stop in and browse this lovely gallery.

 

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The story of women’s struggle for equality
belongs to no single feminist
nor to any one organization
but to the collective efforts of
all who care about human rights

[Gloria Steinem]

Shepherd's Moon

This Saturday is International Women’s Day. The photo is Ellen Robert’s display piece at the International Women’s Art Exhibition in the UPMarket Galleries (The Provision Market, Newport, Gwent) in Wales. Ellen spins, dyes, weaves and knits fiber, and she designed this lace poncho. The logo is her business identity, Shepherd’s Moon. The loom was built by her grandfather and used for many years by her grandmother—Ellen uses it now. The spinning is lace weight yarn the thickness of an eye lash. I am in awe of Ellen’s talent and skill. I have to add that she is also my oldest daughter.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.
[Arthur C. Clarke]

My first criteria for a good app is, it is simple. I’m a graphic designer and not a computer scientist. I look for apps that behave themselves (they work without bugs), and apps that are intuitive to use (they have a small learning curve). I spend my main self-education time keeping myself up to speed with my major software tools. I want my smaller apps to be more like a manual screwdriver than an electric drill with multiple bits. These two apps fit the criteria and are affordable.

CalculatorMyScript© Calculator is magic for sure. It was free! How does Vision Objects© do that? Also it works well and is fun to use. Write numerals and function symbols (+, -, =, etc.) with a finger on a touchscreen and then watch your writing change into real equations with the correct answer. It even charmed my five-year old grandson. When I used it in a knitting class to help people figure their stitches and rows from their gauge, it was fast and accurate. Some students even downloaded the app for their smart phones during class.

TaskTimerDesktop Task Timer by Erik Asmussen is also a winner in my book. I track my design time for billing purposes. In the past 30 years, I have tried using a number of methods to accurately record time and translate it in to an invoice. This app ($0.99) is the best I’ve found so far. I’ve even started tracking my non-chargeable tasks just out of curiosity.

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Love of beauty is Taste.
The creation of beauty is Art.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Easter is coming and with it comes warmth, flowers, spring breezes and Easter eggs. I’ve always loved decorated eggs so my loved ones have often given me keepsake eggs. Years ago, one gave me a breathtaking Ukrainian Easter egg. It’s fine craftsmanship and sparkling beauty grabbed my heart. I have been following a blog that I’d like to share with you folks: Eggs by Teresa. The beauty of her art grabs my heart as well.

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We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act
but a habit.

[Aristotle]

Last weekend, I led a one-day knitting workshop in the lovely hills of eastern Ohio. I designed mittens for the occasion. Eleven knitters worked from the eight-page pattern leaflet.

The child-size pair (left in photo) were knitted using Plymouth Encore worsted weight yarn and US #2 needles. The adult-size pair (right) were knitted using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarn and US #3 needles.

This pattern was designed for beginning through intermediate level knitters. Knitters could choose to knit a ribbed cuff in one color and focus upon the basic texture-stitch techniques, or knit a two-color, stranded cuff with a one color, textured hand.

Connie King of the Pleasant Home Woolen Company organized the event with a delicious carry-in lunch. She also shared her home with me for the weekend—a delightful farm home with breath-taking views of the Ohio hill country.  Thank you Connie.

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Elephants and grandchildren never forget.
[Andy Rooney]

This isn’t about traveling with grandchildren the way I do—that is belting them into the back seat surrounded by toys, and stopping every hour to go potty. This is about my friend, Allen Johnson, who takes traveling with grandchildren to levels beyond my imagination (or endurance, I’m sure).

He just sent me his latest book, Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway with Five Granddaughters. It makes me imagine an elderly woman sixty years from now reminiscing about her grandpa taking her on exotic trips.

Allen and his grandchildren have traveled by canoe, skis, foot, bicycles, horseback, kayak, roller blades, and camel. They have not only toured places in the United States, but also Australia, the Arctic Circle, Holland, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Great Britain, and the Andes. He has written a book about each of these adventures. Take a look at the list of Allen’s travel books AT THIS LINK.

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