Saturday, March 27, 2021

Outstanding Blogger Award

The fabulously talented Kathy from Sewing, Etc. nominated me for the Outstanding Blogger Award, which was a nice surprise. She gave her nominees five questions to answer, and I like how I had to think about each one before I could answer. 

How do you learn best? Lessons, watching, a mentor? 

I learn best by using my hands. Whether it's a new craft, a dance step, or something technical like Google Analytics, I could watch someone do something for hours, but until I actually try it for myself (over and over, in some cases), it just won't make sense to me. 

Did you do post high school training to prepare you for a career? If yes, what was it, and are still doing that? If no, tell us how you got to the career you are doing!

After high school I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next – I studied fashion design for a couple of years! Through that I fell in love with the history of costume, which then led me to study history. I set my sights on a PhD and becoming a professor, but then while taking a break from writing my thesis after my doctoral exams, I took a job as the history books editor at – possibly the best job I could have imagined at the time! I read books, wrote book reviews, recommended books, interviewed authors, and learned a lot about early ecommerce and email marketing. 

I've always said I didn't have a career path so much as a career trail system – I've worked in publishing, managed brand aesthetics for a major telecom company, developed email marketing programs in the outdoors industry, and, for a couple of very cool years, wrote and edited travel guides. I love projects where I can feel useful, help people have great experiences, and most of all learn something. So I'm not sure my university education formally prepared me for it, in the traditional sense, but it did point me in the right direction! 

What do you look for in a friend? 

I look for someone who makes me laugh, someone I can trust, and someone who loves to learn new things and have new experiences. 

Early Bird or Night Owl? 

A younger me would have definitely said night owl, but now I wake up a little after 6 a.m. every day without an alarm and then start the day with a 4-mile walk to a park with a view of Puget Sound. Our morning walks have really helped keep us sane during the COVID year, and we hope to continue them as life gets back to "normal". 

Favorite instrument to listen to? 

This is tough – I feel like the only real answer I could give is the stereo! I love violins and the many ways they are played. But I think more than anything, I love the sound of the human voice. I can't sing well myself (I can't even sing Happy Birthday in tune!), but I like to sing along with music. 

I had never learned to play an instrument – any instrument – but a couple of years ago my husband gave me a ukulele and lessons for Christmas. Learning to pluck and strum simple tunes and sing along to them was a real joy. I haven't kept up with it, but every time I pick it up and play something simple like "Jambalaya" it makes me smile.

I really appreciate the nomination, Kathy; though I admit I don't really know many bloggers, and am a bit of an oddball, blogging wise, having started this blog to track our running training, then documented our travel, and nowadays mainly crafting and the occasional hike! That said, one day we'll get to travel again.

If I was going to ask my own set of questions, I'd ask the following:

1. When we are all past the coronavirus lockdowns, and it's safe to travel again, where is the first place you want to go? Assume there are no restrictions on your time, budget, etc. 

2. What is your favorite book, and why?

3. If you could only eat one dish or cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

4. What historical figure would you most like to have dinner with, and why?

5. Big party or intimate gathering -- where are you happier?

Feel free to post your answers in the comments below; I'd love to know more about my readers!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Great Wave Stitch-a-Long, part 1

Hi everyone! It's happy dance time!

Last time I had decided to work on both the Starry Night embroidery and the sashiko bag. And, well, I finished the stitching on both! In fact, I got my sewing machine out and actually finished off the bag:

I had some fun fabric printed with origami rabbits, which seemed like a good match, so used it for the lining. 

It's fun and satisfying to make something "useful" -- though to be honest, I use the other sashiko bag I made a couple of years ago to hold.... you guessed it, my sashiko supplies!

I also finished the stitching on the Starry Night embroidery:

I got into a rhythm and by the time I started to embroider the cypress trees in the foreground I was really happy with it. Amusingly, when I compare it to Van Gogh's painting, the color is much different. But I still like the piece. 

The real challenge, now, is to figure out what to do with it now that it's done. I mean, I'm pretty sure we have established that I don't need any more pillows! And I don't want to hang it on the wall. The circular shape makes it a little more challenging, weirdly, as does the fact that it's 8" in diameter. I suspect I'll end up appliquéing to something... but I don't know what. I'd welcome suggestions! 

So... the next project. It's Hokusai's "Great Wave off Kanugawa". 

It's a large piece, 206x140 stitches. I've decided to break it into smaller pieces, though I've never done a large, full-coverage cross stitch project like this so I honestly don't know how big each section should be! But for now I've cut off one strip from the right side of the very large chart and diving in. Not much to see yet!

At the end of three weeks I'll have a better idea of how long this will take. But I suspect you'll be seeing this project for a Very Long Time. 

In the meantime, please visit the blogs of the other stitchers in this stitch-a-long -- you're sure to be inspired by all the amazing things they do!