Last week I started on the craft/sewing area. It’s a mess. I realized, on top of all my other belated realizations about last year, that the only thing I sewed was my niece’s Halloween costume and a hat for my brother. No garb, no cosplay for me, nothing.  Because the space was a mess, I didn’t know what I even had, and it was too much to deal with.

But 15 minutes at a time, I can do that. It’s taken more than a week and $70 in storage bins, but it’s coming together. I now know what fabric I have and where. A bunch of half-finished or needing to be refurbished projects are in a pile, and not stuffed in bags all over the floor. I have a few ideas for things I want to work on and what I need to do to make them happen.

Feels good.

 

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Dior

February 20, 2019

Last weekend I got out to see the Denver Art Museum’s special exhibit:  Dior: From Paris to the World. Much like with the Star Wars: The Power of Costume exhibit from a couple of years ago, I’m really digging this fashion and clothing as art perspective.

The Dior exhibit had over a hundred gowns, and it was a little overwhelming. There was just so much to look at. Some of the gowns were famous and recognizable (That’s what Jennifer Lawrence was wearing when she tripped at the Oscars!) Also inspiring — I’ve got some ideas. We all talked about which gowns we’d like for ourselves, if we could. We also had conversations about where the line is between fashion and art — you could see the evolution of high fashion from the early, classic looks that you can picture anyone wearing to more recent runway gowns that are clearly not meant to be worn outside of a fashion show.

I also like this modern development where we can take pictures at museums. Cameras have gotten good enough that they don’t need the flash.

Bucket List:  Go to a red carpet something someday so I show off in really, really great dress.

winter nests

February 14, 2019

Okay, so I found something I like about winter:  getting to see all those bird nests that are so well hidden in summer. Then, in winter, they’re suddenly everywhere.  Here’s a couple I found on my walk yesterday.

So little! So tucked away!

This is an oriole nest — they build hanging, grassy sacks to put their eggs in. It looks dried out and flimsy, but it’s still hanging on, even with the wind we get around here.

I hardly ever see these in the summer but in the winter, the truth is revealed:  they’re everywhere.

And look — the tree already has some buds on it. Spring, spring soon…

 

15 minutes

January 23, 2019

I have to share this thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been cleaning and decluttering my house.  Not Marie Kondo-ing like the internet would have you believe everyone is doing. I figured out my own process.

One of the other things that I struggled with last year (and it’s only when I line them all up do I realize that I was struggling with a lot of just really low-grade anxiety that didn’t seem like much at the time, but boy it piles up, doesn’t it?) was being unable to clean/declutter my house. I had a whole list of things I wanted to do, including routine cleaning, that didn’t get done at all. I just couldn’t bring myself to do any of it. It all seemed too big. That stuff hung over me all year.

During the holidays, and even more at the start of the year, I accidentally stumbled on a thing. I just got so frustrated that I had a talk with myself:  I don’t have to do all the things. I just have to clean for 15 minutes. That’s it. Dust for 15 minutes. That’s a room or two, and then I can stop. Scrub a bathroom for 15 minutes. Then stop. Just try to do 15 minutes, every day.  Declutter a shelf.  Mop the kitchen. And so on.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished since I started doing this, less than a month ago:  I hauled to the recycling center a couple of broken electronics that had been sitting on my office floor for a year. Along with that I recycled the giant garbage sack full of plastic bags that had accumulated. I decluttered the utility closet where I had stashed everything I didn’t want to deal with since I moved into the house. I cleaned and dewaxed a half dozen candle holders that I’d stuck on a shelf intending to dewax…whenever. I rearranged my Brag Shelf so there are no longer six piles of books on my office floor. I dusted, cleaned the bathrooms, and the kitchen.

Turns out 15 minutes a day goes a long way. It’s great.  I can look at a decluttered shelf or a space of carpet that I haven’t seen in two years and it feels so good.

Let’s see if I can keep this up. I still have the craft area and fabric stash, and all the books in the basement, and the garage, and, and…

 

 

Santa Ray

December 20, 2018

I decorated the tree and found one of my favorite ornaments.

It’s a Santa Ray.

Birding Without Borders

November 1, 2018

On my trip last weekend I read Birding Without Borders by Noah Strycker, about his epic 2015 trip to spot half the world’s bird species in one year. A Big Year with no national limits. He spotted 6,042 of around 10,000+ bird species.  He worked really, really hard for this. And the record was broken the following year, believe it or not.

(For comparison, my own life list is edging toward 300. Total. I think.)

The book is a fun, fast, kind of jaw-dropping read when you consider how Strycker managed it, basically never stopping, always on the move, and reaching out to local birders at every single stop to help him to his goal.

It was inspiring not in the sense that I now want to go out and do some kind of epic Big Year of my own. On the contrary, I think I would rather find one really nice spot, sit there with a spotting scope, and sip a glass of wine while waiting to see what comes along. But, you know, I should try for a different nice spot every few months or so. I would like to bird in Costa Rica or Ecuador at some point. Strycker spent a lot of time in the tropics, which have the greatest concentration of biodiversity and bird species. Entire families of birds I’ve never encountered. Antpittas? Flowerpeckers? Yeah, I’d need some prep work to get ready for that birding trip.

The book was inspiring in giving me some ideas of how to up my own birding game on a smaller scale. Like, you know, prepping by learning the area’s birds before I get there. Also, using eBird.org not just to report sightings, but to plan trips. I’m already using eBird to report, but I hadn’t really thought about using it to plan until reading about how the site was essential for Strycker.

I’ve already started on this. I’ve got a couple of trips coming up, and I’m going to bring my travel binoculars and scout out some of the nearby hotspots listed on eBird, which will also give me a good idea of what I’ll find when I get there.

This is cool. I’m excited. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Crookshanks

October 15, 2018

The costume is finished, and my niece has it well ahead of schedule.

This year, she wanted to be Crookshanks from Harry Potter. Behold!

This may be the most amazing costume I’ve ever done.

I don’t know that I can ever top it. Therefore, I’m going to try to convince her to be an Ewok next year so she can use the same one.