Midsummer’s eve post

It is 7:53 pm. I just walked outside into 103 degrees. But more than that, it is deafening out there. You, over there, with your sea breezes and lapping waves–and all you can hear is that lulling. And you, there by the creek, the sound of light rain on all those leafy trees. You outside looking up at the evening sky and hearing…not much. Well, you should come here to experience this Phoenix-in-July thing–Phoenix when everyone leaves but the cicadas. read more

be with me so i can…

The kids start school tomorrow–so summer officially ends. I just now cried and hugged them on the floor. My daughter starts kindergarten (which is making me cry as I type) and she suggested that I go into her room tomorrow and find some stuffed animals to cuddle while they are in school. But then again, she also said, “Oh, it’s OK because you have so many emails to do and you need to be alone.” She’s actually right. My email inbox is jammed full…I have so many projects to finish and deadlines waiting, but I surrendered it all to summer for the last few weeks and it was good. read more

An Inventory of Summer 2014

I almost read a whole book.
I had my first mammogram.
I tried to do a handstand on the beach. It is harder than it looks.
I fell down into a hole for a few weeks in June.
I stopped eating sugar, drinking coffee and eating chocolate to help myself climb out of that hole I fell into. Also, I took B Vitamins.
I turned 42.
I designed my next fabric line in my mind. I can’t wait to create it.
It rained once.
My first DVD came out. I watched it like 6 times.
I travelled home to the South with my family.
Kids do well when travelling.
Family love is big and beautiful.
There is nothing like cousins.
We led prayer flag workshops in Arizona and Alabama for our Happy Flag project in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We got good press here.
My dad lives way too far away. It is precious time when I am with him.
My kids do not do well with boundless hours of summer stretching out before them.
My baby girl can swim…for real…like a dolphin-mermaid.
My son will undoubtedly grow up to design and engineer cool things.
He bought Fart Bombs this summer and enjoyed them very much.
My husband sleeps in our bed again after a year. (No, we weren’t fighting for a year…but he couldn’t sleep with the kids in there.)
It is really nice to sleep with my husband again.
We fought about money.
We bonded as our children’s behavior grew so bad deep in the summer that we holed up against their attacks by just laughing about it behind our closed door. We hid from them. We giggled.
He started planning our fall garden.
I did my once yearly deep cleaning of the whole house and it was good.
I surrendered all work and obligations to the rhythms of my children and our house:
laundry, Legos, homework, dolls, cleaning and cooking.
Wars erupted all over the planet.
Also, I read Harry Potter to my kids.
And my children’s feet grew–that part near the heel and below the ankle–
on each of them–it is so big–almost as big as mine.
We watched Master Chef and lots of other TV and movies together…a lot.
I ate my children. I breathed them in. I enjoyed them. They pissed me off.
They hurt my feelings. They loved me so much. ALL of the craziness happened.
And it was good.
They acted wild. They acted lovely.
They are beautiful.
So is my husband.
So was my summer.
My book about creativity, The Little Spark, comes out this fall and I couldn’t be more excited.
I made a lot of green smoothies with raw cacao.
Dates are a very good natural sweetener for cacao-avocado smoothies.
(I want a Ninja blender.)
My kids start school next week.
And as ever, my heart will break as they step into their classrooms and our cocoon is shattered again until winter break.
You’d think I wouldn’t miss them at all based on the way they acted this summer…
but a mother’s memory is short and faulty.
All we can see is the love underneath the boundary-testing and misbehavior.
All we see is beauty.
And it was a beautiful summer.
We all spent a lot of time together in the studio making things.
And then Robin Williams… read more

It totally takes a village. Thank you, Village.

Sally, me, Danny, Sharon, Julie, Sharon, LaRose, Bonnie, and Becky

It takes a village to do just about everything well… at least it does for me. I can imagine exceptions to this rule–social proclivities and introversions that make some people prefer to fly solo. I can imagine feeling undeserving of the support and love of your community. But something has happened in the last half decade for me… actually, since having children. I now think almost everything is made better by the web of connection we share with each other. Parenting is for sure. Parenting babies alone, in a vacuum, can be isolating to say the least. But reaching out and holding the hands of friends and neighbors makes it all more fun, easier. 

I used to have friends over for playdates when my son was a young baby…around a year old. The mamas would talk and share and the babies would stagger around the back yard in that bewildered, toddling walk and investigate flowers and toys. Then bath time would come and we would throw all babies in the bath together. We would share the washing, the cleaning, the feeding, the diapers, wine, pajamas, organic broccoli puree, everything. That is when I learned about my village.

But in recent years and through my company, SUCH Designs, I have found many such villages everywhere I go. In fact, not just in my business, but in my whole life. I have a very lovely relationship with Fong, who is my postmaster at the post office. I see her many times a week. She is part of my web–my village. Our idle chat is a momentary flash of kindness and connection in my day. This sharing of life is deeply spiritual to me. If I could go so far as to make a big statement, I hope you will take it for what it is worth: I see the face of god in all of my relationships, big or small, enduring or fleeting. I see and learn more about whatever God is or means when my life overlaps with the lives of others. I put love out. I get love back. It is a simple math. 1+1=the abundant, radiant connection of a shared life. The more you give, the more you get.

This modern craft movement that we are all a part of is filled with that spirit of people seeking a village. We all love to get together to make stuff…to be near others and learn things as we create. It is in our bones to gather in such a way. It is an ancient, tribal urge. It feels really good. If you let it, your whole life begins to look like a sewing or painting class, a knitting circle, a yoga workshop….it spreads out and you see the divine connection in every relationship, all day long, everywhere. This feels like a sacred blessing to me. The only way I can describe is that it feels shimmering. It feels beautiful, connected, alive.

So, I have this new fabric line coming out in April with Windham Fabrics and many people volunteered to sew with it. I decided it would be fun to say yes to these women, many of whom I didn’t know well and others who had taken classes with me or heard my lectures at Bernina Connection of Arizona, my local shop. I emailed them all and held out my hands. Nine women gathered to sew. 
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The great #UNPLUG of 2013

The Great #Unplug of 2013
or The Relative Merits and Discomforts of a Social Media Fast
or The Extrovert’s Dilemma
or I Feel it All (Feist)

I unplugged from all social media for exactly one month, after being inspired by this summer’s article in Fast Company by Baratunde Thurston here. Thurston describes himself as the world’s most connected man. I am so not, but I am managing a family and wearing a lot of hats including social media marketing for my little creativity brand. read more

Real Family Food by Amanda Haas

Ok, this is an absolutely incredible cookbook for the family and I have to share it with you. I am not being paid to say this, I am just in love with this book!

I subscribe to Amanda Haas’ online menu planner called One Family One Meal and I really like it. It gives me fresh ideas for affordable, healthy, varied, whole-family-friendly meals. In fact, last year I blogged about it in a post detailing how I was failing the housewife olympics (hahahaha) see here. read more