Friday, August 12, 2022

what you plant has a way of growing

we had a bit of rain of late and now the weather is warm, so the garden is going crazy. the zucchini is abundant, as are cucumbers in the greenhouse and the tomatoes are loving this warm weather and starting to come on. my broad beans are finished and i only had a few purple (green) beans. my spinach has bolted. the indigo is ready to play with (maybe this weekend) and i'm picking the first real bouquets of dahlias this weekend. i've decided i love zinnias (they're now in my top five with lilacs, peonies, ranunculus and dahlias). i have one huge white pumpkin (and a few small ones). i'm going to have a good supply of hokkaido squash, which i have to find a way to store and keep into the autumn. i'm drying herbs and freezing them down to cubes (with olive oil, i'm looking at you, basil) so that next winter future me will thank present me. but most of all, i'm enjoying hanging out there at the end of my days, watching my lovely indian running ducks, who are so quirky and sweet and shy but curious and rather talkative and social despite their shyness. 

all of this contentment in the garden coincides with contentment at work. i've recently had an enthusiastic go-ahead on two things that i proposed and i'm feeling very positive about being given time and space to just make cool shit. that's all i really want to do. i don't want to be anyone's boss, or get a big promotion. i just want to work with great people and make things i can be proud of, while having a bit of fun. and i'm in the position to do that now, due to the seeds i've planted. what a great feeling! maybe we really do reap what we sow. how did it take me so long to learn that?

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

no boring chairs

when the light falls like this, you don't need anything more than a lovely designer chair. summer is fading fast, but we are soaking it up, when it's not soaking us with torrential rain showers. i'm back to work after a couple of weeks of vacation and it's a slow start. most everyone will be back next week and then things will pick back up. it's nice to have a bit of a lull. i hope you're getting one too.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

color pop :: a dialogue with two talented women

i mentioned some months ago, a treasure trove of hand-dyed fabrics that i got from a artistic friend who has terminal cancer. when our local creative group chose color pop as our theme, i knew i needed to make something with the fabric scraps that she gave me. i also realized that the color palette also went with the other treasure trove of samples that another friend gave me last year. it was time to start a creative dialogue with these women. as you can see, olga (the cat formerly known as paws mcgraw) was eager to help.

i got out the scraps and ironed them and just began sewing them together - doing it in a very intuitive way without thinking too much about how it would end up. just selecting colors and sizes that fit together and just sewing and holding them up and sewing some more. as you can see, the color palette is indeed bright and fits perfectly with the theme of color pop

once i had enough bits and pieces, i sewed them into mini quilt rectangles, wanting them to be around the same size, so they could hang in a group of three. since we are three women, three dialogues seemed right.

dialogue 1

dialogue 2

dialogue 3

then it was time to quilt. in my stash, i found a spool of rainbow-colored thread and i knew it was perfect for this color pop project. on the back side of the quilts, i used some shibori indigo cotton that i had dyed last fall. 

i had a small fight with my sewing machine, but we worked it out in the end. 

i had a lot of trimming to do, but it felt like part of the process. i quilted in a very intuitive way as well, following the lines as i saw fit in the moment. then switching. it felt like it was indeed a dialogue with the fabrics, as they whispered to me what they wanted.

dialogue 1 - finished with binding and quilting. this was the first one i made and is my favorite. probably because i'm also a firstborn. :-) this one features only fabrics from the friend who has cancer. that wasn't actually intentional, it just happened that way. the intuitive way i sewed the bits and pieces together just happened to come together like that. 

dialogue 2 - i love the block-printed pieces at the bottom and top left - they are from the friend who gave me all the samples and works from her education at what eventually became kolding design school. 

dialogue 3 - this one is another dialogue between the three of us. i hung them on these hangers with the cute colorful clothes pins just to photograph them, but decided that it was also how i wanted to display them at the exhibition. 

the night we hung the exhibition, we got these cute little coronita beers. it took hours to find the right placement for everything. i loved how my works looked together. i had also recovered the chair i've been sitting on throughout corona with some hand-woven fabric that we acquired together with one of the looms we got for the little museum where i weave. 

i bought the beautiful hot pink fleece at a wonderful leather shop in aarhus, thinking i'd make a festive color pop pillow of it. in the end, i couldn't bring myself to cut it up, so i just draped it over the recovered chair. it looked perfect with my mini quilts and the colorful knitted hugging pillows one of the other members made. now my chair is back at my desk and the hot pink fleece and the new recovered look give me a new perspective when working at home. 

dialogues 1-2-3 and my recovered chair, which i called "working from home.”

and the beautiful skirt that my friend lent to me - it's what she made with the dyed fabrics back in the 80s. and it was FABULOUS. what a privilege to wear it. i felt absolutely amazing. i positively embodied color pop. what a beautiful day that was. i'll always be grateful for the opportunity and the dialogue.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

garden progress

june 21

 july 16

almost a month apart. 

we've eaten the first zucchinis and broad beans and loads of herbs. and we can't keep up with the cucumbers, though having the child home helps. soon, there will be more tomatoes than we can eat, but those first ones will be so welcome. i replanted the strawberries, so no crop this year. but i supported a local farmer who sells them. that's ok too, though it didn't result in juice or any berries in the freezer (if i'm honest, i still have a bit of both from last year).

i'm growing indigo (it's just out of sight on the right), and i'm going to play with it next week. i'm on holiday, enjoying time with the child, sleeping in, making loads of good food, going for long walks, hanging out in the garden. it's a good summer. and i hope you're having a good one too!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

finding joy in the small things when the world seems to be falling apart

it's been a lot lately. the land of my birth is busily being dismantled by a tyrannical minority, against the will of around 70% of the population. and it feels like there's nothing that can be done about it. apparently we weren't paying proper attention for the past 50 years. or we weren't willing to do something about it because we didn't really believe they would be that backwards or that evil. but they are. and then some. and it's very disheartening. i find it very difficult to listen to it. mostly, i feel shame. being american is embarrassing again. i remember when obama was elected, i rejoiced that i wouldn't have to hide my passport while i was in an airport line anymore, but alas, i need to hide it more than ever. or finally get that other passport. it's definitely time.

i find myself looking for around me at the little things to be able to find some joy, despite how disheartening and humiliating it all is. things like the baby chickens our chickens hatched out and which two hens are very dutifully tending (though only one of the hens is in this photo).

or our very cute, but very fraidy indian running ducks, who stay, as husband puts it, in an organized clump and have the cutest penguin-like walk.

or the four-leaf clover i spotted as i sat in the garden the other day.

or the daily walks i've been taking during most of june to keep a new back problem at bay and to spend some time in my body as well as my head while listening to the cozy daisy dalrymple mysteries. 

or enjoying a really good cup of coffee in my favorite handmade ceramic mug. and the fact that my peonies are blooming.

it helps me feel less helpless. i can have an effect on things. i can pull those weeds in the garden and tend to the plants, i can feed the kitties and spend time with them in a favorite corner of the garden. i can do interesting work with interesting people. i can look forward to my child coming home in a week or so. i can put new sheets on the bed and snuggle into them at night. i can take a long walk. i can have long, deep conversations with husband. i can invite friends over and enjoy spending time with them.  i can sit in the chair i recovered with handwoven fabric and have the privilege of working from home and making a good living. and i can vote. for now, voting matters and is something concrete that i can and will do. it's clearer now than ever that it's important, so let's remember this horrible time and get our asses to the polls come november. our lives and the freedom to live them on equal footing with all those old white men might very well depend on it. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

unspoken rules

we've worked at home a lot over the past two and a half years. it's been both good and bad. we're mostly back in the office these days, but i do still work some days at home when i really have to concentrate. or because my back is hurting, which it has been lately. i'm having flashbacks to the back surgery in 2015 and hoping to avoid it happening again. though working at home probably contributes to it, as i tend to sit much more when i'm home - forgetting to take breaks or eat lunch. 

but it can also be weird being back in the office. a whole new set of rules came about while we worked at home. and many are unspoken and just understood. or not understood. and it's weird, since they're unspoken, to feel disappointed or annoyed when the rules are broken, but the fact remains that i find myself feeling disappointed and annoyed of late.

a couple of examples: 

1) calling on teams: when you call someone on teams, you send a message first to ask them if they have time. so it's super annoying and jarring when when someone just calls out of the blue. often when you're in the middle of a meeting, so they don't even pay attention to the little red bubble that shows that you're busy. 

2) meetings in an open office environment: during corona, we all sat at home and could therefore hold meetings out loud and not bother anyone but the cat. back in the office, it's an open environment and there are some phone booths for meetings where you're the only one, or there are plenty of meeting rooms if you're several people meeting with others on teams. however, i've noticed that some of my colleagues continue to hold their teams meetings in the open environment. they put on headphones and don't realize that they're shouting. one colleague actually had a meeting on teams with the person sitting directly across from him. hello? go to a meeting room, or just go around to the other side and talk to one another! by the end of the day, i was utterly exhausted from listening to his shouting during all his meetings and i was too mad to say anything about it. but seriously, has two years of working from home rendered him so unaware of other humans that he doesn't realize he's being utterly rude to his colleagues?

how is company culture formed? who decides the etiquette? and how does everyone agree on it without talking about it out loud? and when someone utterly violates it, how do you talk to that person about it nicely? i know for sure that you don't let yourself steam about it all day and get so angry that you know you won't be able to be nice about it. but then the moment passes and maybe now his way of just holding meetings with headphones and shouting has moved everyone towards establishing a different company culture than the one you thought was there. and it's all unspoken. and it makes being back in the office less fun than it should be, because it truly is nice to be around your colleagues again.

but i still think a combination will be best. i need a couple of days of being able to concentrate at home and a few days of being with my colleagues in the office. they're two completely different ways of working. and i like the variety, but i do just wish we all agreed on the culture.

Monday, June 06, 2022

corners of the garden

spent a blissful amount of time right here this weekend. weeding, watering, grilling, lounging, laughing, relaxing and even working. it was the last of the long spring weekends, but i am rested and ready to jump headlong into the week.