Why Crafting?

Greetings! It’s been a few weeks since my last post. So, what have I been up to? Maintenance, that’s how I view most of my activities this past month. Maintaining my home, my financial responsibilities and my long-ignored relationships and even a little reading. I’ve also picked up some of my old craft projects and started several new ones. Of all the things I focus on in my day, my crafts are my second favorite endeavor, reading is my first.

I think of myself as a creative person. While in school, that creativity took the form of writing, presentations and photography. I found I had little time for the crafts I love. I have a Facebook page called “Scrap Arts and Photographs” that I’ve neglected for months at a time. Since graduation in June, I’ve given my page and my crafts more of my energy. What I’ve come to realize is that the energy I pour into the creative process fills me with a sense of peace and accomplishment.

I chose the name Scrap Arts and Photographs because I purchase discarded materials from thrift stores, yard sales, etc. I then re-purpose those materials into colorful creations. I work mostly with textiles but also with beads, wood and wire. The time I spend creating is therapeutic in many ways. The stress of the world slides away, my spirits are lifted, and I feel successful and in control. The color and patterns fascinate me and help connect my analytical side to the more artistic side of my nature. Similar to my writing, crafts help me more fully engage in the world around me. I feel connected on new levels.

In the next few posts, I hope to share more of the projects I find interesting as well as links to beautiful creations others have shared on the internet. Do you have favorite crafts you would like to share?

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Transitions

As is true with all big life events, change is hard. Last month, I had a full-time job, school and a social circle. This month, I have the joy of sitting in peace with my husband, the time to sort out my belongings and to catch up on housework. Although this may seem perfect, I find that I am so used to being in a rush and under deadlines that the quiet moments are difficult to master. I feel like I’m being lazy and unproductive. So, I’ve started packing and getting rid of our junk.

In preparation for our upcoming transition to RV living, we’ve started packing those things we wish to keep in storage and sorting out those things we’re willing to donate. I’ve uncluttered my sewing table, bought used board games, picked up plastic totes and tubs. Our small apartment looks like we’re moving. Which would be alright except that our move will take place in March, eight months away!

I am that mother who saved every baby picture, every school project. I am that crafter that saved every ribbon and button. I can’t tell you how much yarn I have tucked into bags and under tables. I have books I know I’ll never read, music I’ve stopped listening to and movies I haven’t watched in years. But, as I go through these items, I am reminded of the history attached to each object. Thank God for digital cameras, I can snap a picture of each item and preserve the memory without continuing to hold on to the physical item.

As I write this, I am planning my next project, thinking about our next adventure and feeling thankful for the people and life events that brought such lasting memories to my life! Whatever the future holds for us, I know I’ll carry them all in my heart. I have been truly blessed!

Adventure Awaits

As I write this, I am sitting with a cat on my lap, drinking coffee. While that may not be unusual for a Saturday morning, I am aware that I have had eight Saturdays this past week.

On June 12th, I retired from work. On June 14th, after 45 years of challenges, I graduated college. In March (2020), my husband and I will move into an RV and hit the road full-time. We plan on traveling a circuit around the Western United States our first year out. After that, we hope to expand our adventures to as yet unknown locations.

I would love to hear from you about your favorite locations. What places do you want to visit? What sites do you want to see? Would you ever consider living on the road long-term? Do you have plans and lists in the works?

I look forward to your responses.

Keep Writing

I’ve loved being a part of this class. Your posts have been insightful and encouraging. I hope you all keep your blogs going. I plan on following all of you over the summer. My blog is public. I’m posting a link to it on my Facebook page and will convert to a paid site at the end of the term.

One trick that helps me think about my work in a different way is to copy or download my posts into one document, sorted by date. That way, I can see my progress and growth over time. It’s always my goal to improve my writing and learn to apply analytical thinking to my work, as I would to another writer’s submissions. This process helps me do just that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this course as much as I have. Dave is a wonderful teacher. Over the past two years, he has fostered a growth mindset in both my work and in how I see myself. I feel fortunate to have had his guidance. How about you?

Writing

I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to writing since starting this blog. In less than two weeks, I’ll graduate from Clackamas Community College. My path to graduation started in 1974. It’s been a long journey for me.

As I’m also retiring from work on that same day, I’ve spent many hours thinking about what my next chapter would be about. My husband and I will travel, I’ll take more photographs, continue with my crafts, visit family. What else? That’s the real question. I’ve been so busy for so long, I haven’t allowed myself to listen to the voice of the writer in my head.

One of my students challenged me this week. He asked me to post about an audio book he recommended. He and I traded book recommendations about two months ago. I suggested he listen to “The Long Earth” by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006O41HTO/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 He suggested that I listen to “Hatchet” by Gary Paulson. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Hatchet+Series&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

I liked listening to this story. I’ve been interested in survival and outdoor experiences for many years. I used to teach first-aid and what to do if help is delayed. So, this story drew me in and kept me engaged.

At first, I could not really relate to the main character. I had little in common with a young teenage boy who was angry at the world. However, as the story developed, I found myself learning from the character and anxious for his safety. I laughed at some of the situations he found himself in, marveled at the way his mind worked and cheered when he reached each milestone. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. I’m glad I listened to the story and to my student’s suggestion.

I believe what’s next for me is to return to writing and try to overcome my hesitation and fear of putting my work out to be reviewed by others. I think I’m ready to take a leap into the unknown! Do you have any suggestions for me on this next part of my journey?

whichever camera you have with you at the time

Hello again! I have been encouraged by the comments from this group concerning my photography and cameras. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Below are three groups of images. The first group was taken with a Sony A3000. The Second was taken with a Sony A330 and the last group was taken with a Nikon Coolpix L2. All of these cameras are old and outdated. Sony and Nikon have updated and improved versions available. My Sony cameras were about $500 each. The Nikon was about $130 on clearance.

Image result for sony alpha series a3000
Sony A3000

Image result for sony alpha series a330
Sony A330
Stock photo
Nikon Coolpix L2

Which Camera Do I use

I have two main cameras, both are Sony’s (my husband uses an Olympus). Both of my cameras are from their Alpha Series, a DSLR A330 and an a3000. I’ve linked a side-by-side comparison here. However, I do believe that regardless of the camera you have, you can learn to take outstanding pictures.

A short while ago, I was asked a question by a classmate (Lien). She wanted to know what type of camera I used. I immediately thought of an old podcast my husband and I used to listen to called “This Week In Photo”. One of their topics was on equipment and the question came up “Which camera do you use?” The answer given was, “Which ever one I have with me at the time.” I’ve been looking for this episode and will post a link to it when I find it.

Have you ever stopped to watch a sunrise or sunset and thought, I wish I’d brought a camera? Do you carry a phone? Do you have a Kindle, iPad, tablet or portable computer? Does it have a camera function? Then, you have all the equipment you need to get started.

You may not know it, but I myself have had very little formal training and would consider myself a continuing student of photography. On May 24th, I’m planning to take a walk around Clackamas Community College in the late afternoon. I’d be happy to have you join me to discuss how I choose my subjects and how to explore different vantage points. Who would like to take a walk with me?

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