Bright Colors for an Antidote to November

Books & Mags, Colors, Inspiration

In the northern half of the world, we’re approaching the dark time of the year. For me, November is typically when I start wanting more light and bright things around me. (Candles! Snow!) When that’s not possible, pictures will do. This rainbow-hued glass collection from a home dec magazine fits the bill:

Country Living Jul-Aug 2016 p40

It’s from the Country Living magazine, and the collector, Elsie Larson from Nashville, TN, says this of her Depression glass collection:

“I was inspired by my travels to Palm Springs and specifically stays at the very colorful Parker Hotel, which was designed by one of my heroes, Jonathan Adler. The rainbow effect of their colored glass collection made me smile every morning.”

It’s a beautiful arrangement, and the range of colors is fantastic. (The Parker Hotel colored glass display that Larson mentions can be seen at a Whorange article from February 2014. Personally, I think Larson did a better job than Adler.)

A bonus entry: a color wheel mirror frame in mosaic by Karen Johnston:

Mosaicworksca Blogspot Karen Johnston Colour Wheel Mirror

Karen Johnston at Mosaicworksca.blogspot.com.

The mosaic is so neatly and carefully made. Just gorgeous!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Food for Thought: Smartphones and Creativity

Inspiration

On Open Culture, Ayun Halliday writes about smartphones and creativity, extensively quoting cartoonist and educator Lynda Barry.

Flickr Nicolas Nova Smartphone Rituals

Smartphone Rituals by Nicolas Nova on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Here’s one of Barry’s thoughts that especially struck me:

“The phone gives us a lot but it takes away three key elements of discovery: loneliness, uncertainty and boredom. Those have always been where creative ideas come from.”

– Lynda Barry

I’m still mulling over the quote, but I seem to be leaning towards disagreeing. People who are inclined to doodle, people-watch, nap, let their thoughts wander, knit, read or whatnot will continue to do so even with smartphones. Not to mention that it’s perfectly possible to be bored with your smartphone and all the access it gives. Boredom, I find, isn’t dependent on having access to x, y or z; it’s more a matter of what doesn’t inspire you at any given moment. Nor are smartphones a cure-all against loneliness or uncertainty.

Smartphones are undoubtedly a tool, and equally unboubtedly they can be a distraction. My tentative hypothesis is that as the newest and perhaps most exciting devices in the history of human tool use, we haven’t collectively learned to balance their benefits and disadvantages yet.

Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier for those struggling to resist the siren song of instant and interminable access.

“Stop saying Yes to shit you hate”

Inspiration, This Is Important, Thumbs Up

A little bit like Fanny Price in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, part of my adulthood has definitely involved un-learning the supposed “need” to accept unacceptable things and to learn to say No when needed. Jessica at Femme Fraîche puts it more succinctly:

Jessica Femme Fraiche Instagram Stop Saying Yes

Jessica at Femme Fraîche.

“Stop saying Yes to shit you hate.”

Hear, hear! While taking on projects that are a stretch can help you grow, shit you hate should be on a permanent No list. Don’t you agree?

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

 

 

Online Finds: Useless Worries – Useful Worries

Arts & Crafts, Books & Mags, Inspiration, Thumbs Up

I used my midsummer break to catch up on my Internet reading (among other things). It included a feature on Copenhagen-based artist Johan Deckmann, who paints fictional self-help titles on the covers of books and other items.

This photo with a pair of books, one very thick and the other very thin, especially spoke to me:

Johan Deckmann Instagram Useless Useful Worries

Johan Deckmann on Instagram.

The large book is marked with “Useless worries” while the small says “Useful worries.” Such a spot-on visualisation!

The fact is, I am a worrier, and not likely to change much. However, If I could teach myself to let go of the mountain of useless worries and focus on worrying about the problems worth worrying, that would be a step for the better. 🙂

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Cute and Awesome Fox Slipper-Socks

Arts & Crafts, Inspiration

These fox slipper-socks are so cute and awesome – complete with a white “tail” tip!

Ravelry Divine Debris Meredith_Fox_Slippers_945x1000_medium2

Amber at Divine Debris; via Ravelry.

Pattern and photos by Amber at Divine Debris; via Ravelry.

Is it finally time for me to dig up my crochet hook? (It’s probably been **cough cough** 25 years or more at this point… Actually, only(!) five or so. 🙂 Anyway.) I have some greyish blue yarn stashed away that might make a great silver fox variant.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Quotes: Today’s Young People Are Proud to Be Smart and Curious

Inspiration, Thumbs Up

“What’s remarkable is the way ‘nerd’ is such a badge of honor now. Growing up, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who read Spider-Man comics and learned how to do the Vulcan salute, but it wasn’t like it is today. I get the sense that today’s young people are proud to be smart and curious, to design new things, and tackle big problems in unexpected ways. I think America’s a nerdier country than it was when I was a kid—and that’s a good thing!”

– President Barack Obama

Smart and curious people designing new things and tackling big problems is exactly what’s needed at the moment. Proud of my fellow geeks and nerds!

Ransom, Cliff. “President Barack Obama on How to Win the Future: Questions and Answers with Popular Science.” Popular Science

Discoveries: Woolly Thoughts – Knits with a Mathematical Twist

Arts & Crafts, Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials, Geek out!, Inspiration

Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer are two mathekniticians – maths people who not only knit and crochet, but present mathematical ideas through their yarn craft. And it’s fascinating!

They make afghans, wall hangings, tabletops(!), cushions, shawls, toilet-roll covers, puppets, sweaters, hats and so much more. Some of my favorites include these pillows and puzzles, for example…

Woolly Thoughts Pillow Puzzle Combo

Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer at Woolly Thoughts. Clockwise from top right: Tangram pillow, three Hexaflexacube pillows (in pink, green and orange), and Diabolical Cube puzzle.

…and the square root afghan:

Woolly Thoughts Afghan square root

Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer at Woolly Thoughts.

Their conjoined Möbius hat and the penrose table are also really, really awesome and neat; please have a look. Also visit the Woolly Thoughts website or design collection at Ravelry!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Online Finds: Desktop Wallpaper for Organizing Tasks

Bits in Spaaace!, Colors, Inspiration

Diane Henkler made and shared this clever organizer wallpaper:

Diane Henkler Computer-Desktop-Background-to-help-you-organize-what-you-place-on-your-computers-desktop-screen

Diane Henkler at In My Own Style.

Being a visual person, I love the idea. It’s simple but helpful for arranging your tasks and finding them at a glance. Love the cheerful colors, too; just the thing to counter grey fall skies. 🙂

The .jpg is available for several screen resolutions either with the default categories (To Do, Files and Misc) or with blank label holders in case you want to use your own. Visit In My Own Style to download.

Thank you for sharing, Diane!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Quotes: Our Bodies Need Proper Rest

Inspiration

A piece of wisdom from Renae Bluitt, founder of Crush Media, in an interview by Garrett Fleming for design*sponge:

“When I first launched my business, I was the Captain of team No Sleep. Now I understand that this concept is totally ridiculous. There’s really no way around it. Our bodies need proper rest. Not sleeping and working around the clock doesn’t mean that you’re some super entrepreneur. It simply means that you’re not working smart and managing your time wisely.”

– Renae Bluitt

Being a visual person, I made it into a motivational poster:

Renae Bluitt Our Bodies Need Proper Rest2

As a small business owner, it is sometimes very hard to take time off even knowing that our brains work better when rested. It’s worth making it a priority, though.

Case in point: during my short break, without actively thinking about my current project under development I came up with three construction options to try. Now I can narrow it down further, and after testing move on to the next step in the process.

21 SF/F Authors Project: What’s It About

Books & Mags, Inspiration

Long post warning. TL;DR – Last year I consciously (and successfully, I’m happy to say) tried to read more books written by women. This year I’ll try a similar project with a slightly different focus.

I shared this io9 list of 21 influential science fiction titles elsewhere in social media. It sparked quite a discussion! Prompted by the exchange, I decided to write a list of my own: 21 new-to-me SF/F authors who happen to be women.

Feel free to use the list with the caveat it’s the product of my preferences and hang-ups. If you enjoy it, I’m glad; if not, that’s ok, too. I’m not even trying to claim universal appeal.