Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for my Dog and you!

I wish you all could smell the banana bread baking in my oven. It's my special recipe. Baking is one of the creative endeavors I have really played with this year. I like tweaking recipes, not following them.  I've baked so much, for so many people, I have acquired a reputation. They hint for more as a show of support....yeah right.  Luckily I can give away most of the results because I find it relaxing to prepare baked goods and a delightful challenge to try out new ideas through food. Waiting for the goodie to bake is tough, so I read a good book and whiff in the smells.  I bake allot this time of year, as I'm sure many of you do too.

Tonight my husband and I along with many special friends are having a Gathering of Giving Thanks and Gratitude at the spiritual center we attend. Afterward, we meet for a dessert pot luck and my bread has a place reserved for it there.

This summer we held a Pet Blessing Ceremony in the same room where I am seen holding my dog, Faith, who is hard to see because she is all black except for her gray eyebrows and snout. It was quite a scene with about 45 dogs and cats (in their carriers) coming together to be individually blessed and honored. Aren't pet people the best people- or is that quilt people? Often they are one in the same, aren't they.

Faith nearly transitioned a year ago this month. She was very sick for many months. Using Reiki, prayer, crystals, change of food, lots of sleep and supplements, I and friends were able to pull her back from the edge. Today she is a young 12 going on 3. I kid you not! She is better than before. In retrospect, and a blood test, we think she had Lyme Disease. I wouldn't take her to a veterinarian when she was sick because I believed based on the experience with my dear cat Sage, that they would have strongly suggested I put her down; saying with authority that her chances of pulling through were slim. I didn't want this in my consciousness. And they would have done a bunch of tests had I said let's try, and I didn't want to see my dog go through that.

Faith told me with her eyes, as she couldn't move or walk hardly at all, to stay with her and give her my energy and love. So I did, night and day for a long while.  I sent her energy through my hands and my mind in meditation. Friends joined me in both forms of treatment. She was all I paid attention to throughout the holidays and into 2010.  In time I got her to walk, if only a partial block. My husband lifted her everywhere else. We have lots of stairs in our home. We built ramps for her where we could and put her food up higher when she could finally stand up to eat. I fed her from my hands for months.

In late March I met a family practice veterinarian, at a training conference on non-violent communication. She was wearing a sweater that looked like a giraffe's skin. A giraffe is a character in the training, but neither she nor I knew about that when we signed up. The point in telling you this, is that it was the pattern kitted into her sweater that drew me to speak to her out of many people there. She was an answer to my prayers for medical expertise. She is now a close friend and my dog is completely healthy.

She practices a new vein of veterinary medicine, referred to as Family Practice Veterinary Services. Dr. KaLee Pasek is now teaching this approach to Vet. med students at University of  California at Davis. It's wholistic and includes the family and environment. It reminds me of my work as a psychologist, in using a systems approach to diagnosis and treatment planning.

If you haven't read the comments posted to "Do you own your first sewing machine?" click here to warm your heart or post your own experience. I loved the responses that were shared. Thank you all- your love for your first machine came through your creative heart and mind. It's amazing to me how close we hold the memory. I do of my first machine too. It was the one I bought on time payments when I was in college. It was a Viking, made in Germany. Heavy metal and all that, but it was in a case and portable. And yes, I still have it.

It is wonderful to be sharing with you through the blog and emails. Thanksgiving is the time of year to say thank you, but I am grateful every day for all the blessings in my life. Those blessings I hold closest are the relationships I have will all beings on the planet. Yep- all beings around the globe. We are all one. Namaste and Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and yours.


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Friday, November 19, 2010

Do You Own Your First Sewing Machine?

Who needs fiction when life is so amazing!  I was visiting a girlfriend's studio recently, admiring the art quilts she makes hung on the walls and stacked antique quilts stored in a tall cabinet. Along one wall were shelves and shelves of small old sewing machines. Some were made as toys, but  I was amazed to hear that most of the 30 or more on view were  not. They were made small with hand cranks in the days before electricity.  The miniature machines were a smorgasbord for my eyes and heart as I envisioned a woman using one.

Next I landed upon a metal machine that looked like the outside of an Art Deco building,  made with variegated green metal. In fact, it looked completely different from all the others. I wasn't familiar with the name stamped in the metal along the front edge.

My friend pointed toward the ground to a smallish square red sewing machine case. Oh, was it heavy to lift. I unlocked the sides, removed the top and voila, there was another one just like it, only this one was stamped Betsy Ross on the front. It wasn't a toy machine, but small for a child to use and it was electric.

She explained that when she found the machine displayed on the shelf, she was called by it looked until one day it dawned on her that it was like the machine she learned to sew on as a child  in the 1950s. Excited about the memory she searched the Internet until she located what was her machine and discovered that yes, they were exactly the same machine!

She bought the Betsy Ross machine on eBay, in perfect condition, case and all. As we looked at it, we wondered if this might actually BE her childhood machine. Stranger things have happened, right?

Then I heard a couple on the Today show this morning, who married in the 1950s and couldn't afford to buy their wedding photos. Recently the wife was searching through a 55 gallon barrel of scrap at a scrap/junk yard.  Digging through photographers scrap, when she was near the bottom she came upon THE  negatives of her marriage ceremony. Apparently the photographer had held on to them for years before tossing them and others out.

I think I'll make a mental list of what I've lost or tossed and would love to have back.  Let's see, there was a beautiful necklace from my Grandmother who wore it as a child herself that was taken by a house cleaning in the 1980s. It's funny what jumps to mind when I hear these stories.  How about you?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

American Folk Art Museum's Super Star Quilts Opened Yesterday

Stars, some of the most important elements of the natural world, are also a beloved and enduring motif in American quilts. Stars appeared in pieced bedcovers as early as the eighteenth century and remain popular with quilt artists today. The "Super Stars" exhibit illuminates one theme in the textile masterpieces from the  American Folk Art Museum's collection that is on display in the NYC 2 Lincoln Square location  from November 16 to September 25, 2011.

Stars do not make a major appearance in American quilts until the last quarter of the eighteenth century, when they were increasingly used as a pieced field motif. This was no doubt a response, at least in part, to the design of the flag of the newly formed United States. Conceived as a “new constellation,” the canton featured white five-pointed stars against a cobalt background, evoking once again the moral certitude of the heavenly canopy, as well as the strength of America’s victory. By this time, stars were also a strong element in the neoclassical lexicon. Their presence on quilts allowed the tenets of the classical world to resonate with the new republic in a highly fashionable manner.
It was not until the turn of the nineteenth century that a single eight-pointed star moved front and center in whole-cloth quilts, usually pieced in a solid-color glazed wool known as calimanco. But with the invention of the kaleidoscope in 1816, art and science took an unanticipated and dazzling turn. Quiltmakers, especially, embraced the refracted imagery produced by the kaleidoscope. Large single stars now blazed across cotton quilt tops, pieced from multitudes of diamonds that scintillated in rings from the center to the points. Staggered rows of repeated stars danced across the surfaces of bedcovers. By the Victorian era, the aspect of stars changed once again with the influence of exotic ideas from the Near East. Star motifs were interpreted for a new age in silk, velvet, and brocade show quilts.

"Super Stars" , curated by Stacy Hollander, highlights the dazzling diversity of this variable pattern as interpreted through more than one hundred years of quilt artistry. The museum has published a book of 200 of their most significant bedcovers in their collection to coincide with the exhibit. If you can't make the exhibit, get the book;  Quilts, Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum or give it as a gift.

 I have long pointed to the the museum's first quilt book, Glorious American Quilts,  as one of my  most prized books on the subject of quilt history. Beautifully written and photographed, it gives so much information helping me learn about the periods and influences on American quilt making.  I learned how to date quilts in part because of this book.

Given that the same author, Elizabeth V. Warren , and former curator of the museum, also authors their new book, it must be fabulous as we know more than we did in the early 1990s when Glorious was written (published in 1996). Also the museum has added about 100 bedcovers to its collection, including a  late 18th century patchwork quilt made with the Hewson panel in the center.  And yes,  it will also be on display for a time during their Year of the Quilt, in the Masterworks Quilts exhibits. (more on that in another blog post.)

Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum  By Elizabeth V. Warren, with a preface by Maria Ann Conelli, a foreword by Martha Stewart, and an introduction by Stacy C. Hollander. New York: Rizzoli International Publications in association with the American Folk Art Museum, 2010. 336 pages.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Quilts Embellished with Poems, Words, Messages

I find myself dating quilts for people today, some of which are filled with signatures, others with a single name. All tell a story. As I search through my library to gather more information for them, I see the beautiful synergy of words and fabric coming together. Here are a few links for your enjoyment too.
Funny thing happened when I was sitting on my studio floor flipping through the books. My eyes caught a glisten of color against the carpet. My eyes followed it until I realized it was a lone thread that had fallen from the sewing table. So I bent forward to picked it up only to see that the thread was still coming up as I settled back down in the Indian style posture. What?

Thread was actually strewn and tossed all across the floor! The kitty had knock it off the table and pushed it all over until finally it went too far under the couch for him to reach. I quickly scanned for more deconstruction, as there were at least 15 spools of thread and 5 bobbins by the machine. I was grateful to see that he had tired after chasing just this one!

Thank you to everyone who has written me since I posted this week and sent wonderful message and shared their sense of sisterhood with the poems Delaine and I wrote. You bring joy to my heart. And to you I write this itty bitty poetry-

Piece for Peace
Live to Love
Shine your Light
for all to see
The beauty in thee

Keep the poetry and comments coming. Soon I'll post a scrappy "landscape with  stormy sky" I recently made.


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Closet Poet Quilter

Delaine sent her poem "Into My Journal" in response to my post yesterday. She writes- "Kim, writing has opened my heart to myself, I did not start writing until I was very ill with Chronic Fatigue, I attended a writing for healing group and the doors opened and I feel it was the beginning of my returning to a normal life."

                           Into My Journal
As I open my journal, I step into a secluded windowless cabin.
I shut the door and the world falls away
Light from the outside shines through tiny cracks
This room can be very shadowy, sometimes it’s cold and damp
This is my inner place I have to light the fire
I carry the wood and bank the flames.
I am the keeper of the fire; I must illuminate the space.
If the room is to be warm I must do the work.
I kindle the warm glow of memories to light my way.
The hard emotional times are found deep within
I keep those memories concealed in the dark corners.
I  enjoy the silence and feel sheltered in my cabin.
In my journal I find the freedom to explore my inner fears.
I can take the candle to the dark corners only if I choose.
Yes there are times I will do just that.
With pen in hand I start a fire that draws me in
I seek understanding as my memories warm the room
My journal is a private place where I go to warm my soul.
I love your use of  fire as an analogy for insight journaling. Bringing light to the darkness, within and without is so important. Thank you for sharing your poetry Delaine.

Delaine Gately also designed the cover of  Changing times: Women's Stories  and her winning story Mattie's Quilt was included inside along with another story she wrote titled The Little Box.

If you haven't tried to write poetry- the secret is to not try, but just free-flow write on a theme that you feel inspired by such as something said, felt or seen. Keep the sentences short, chunk them into stanzas afterward, and there is no need to rhythm.  If it's possible, write when the inspiration hits, as fast and quickly as you can. Your creative neurochemicals' spark is on your side for a short time, so grab it while it's hot. You can go back over it later. Inspiration is everywhere. I'm often grabbed by what someone says or buy a celebration, happy or sad, big or private.

And, of course, keep your poems coming, or post them yourself. I have others I will share if you would like that. Let me know dear readers.

Here is a little reminder about how to post a comment so that others can be a part of a discussion. There doesn't seem to be a way to comment directly from the Feedburner post sent to subscribers. It seems you must be on the Blogger page itself.  So if you click on the colored title of the emailed post you will be taken to the Blogger page it is on  and you will find the comment section at the end of the post.

If someone knows how I can make it possible to comment from the subscriber post, please get in touch with me.


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Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Women's Conference, in Long Beach CA

Hello Dear Quilters!

It's been a long while since I posted to this blog. Only wonderful things have happened. I set an intention not quite 2 years ago to bring my right brain into power and creative action. What I wanted and envisioned was for my right abstract non-language, non-rational side to mingle balanced with the left or dominate at times over my left brain. I love my left brain but I wanted my right brain to contribute in an expanded way, all the time, always a part of my experience and my expression whatever that may be.

I stretched myself, climbed over boundaries and self-imposed hurdles. I  studied and pondered creative processing from a neurochemical POV, a spiritual perspective and reason for being important,  and I practiced dreaming  bigger. Most important I believe, is that I  mediated., regularly and will for the rest of my life. In a group, alone, in silence, in guided meditations, sitting, walking, writing, in service to humanity or for my personal growth.

My intention has become a daily truth and experience for me. I love it! It's natural now to use the right side of my brain, seeing creatively, acting creatively, flowing with it, and expressing it in a myriad of ways. Life is a creative expression when not resisted or twisted.

One of many unexpected creative expressions that has come forth from me  is poetry. It just started flowing out during journaling sessions following silent meditation. The poem  elow came forth, essentially as is,  after attending the Women's Conference, which is put on annually by the wife of the current governor of California. Maria Shriver has produced and designed the conference for the last 7 years, and this was her last. We have term limits here so Arnold's term  will be done in December.

Maria  and her female team put on the most inspirational, loving, informative, joyful and exhilarating conference this year as her final good-bye. Lucky for everyone, it's available free in video on their website. I urge you to watch Eve's (from the Vagina Monologues) and Maria's if you only have time for two. Both are on the Main Event Day on the website. Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and Minerva Award Winners are excellent inspiring presentations as well as educative.All of them presented during the Main Event and Minerva Awards ceremony.

Here is the poem  I wrote:  Minerva's:Architects of Change

BE the change you want to see
I listen as this phrase calls out to me
Again and again I hear the words
As I've not yet risen above the herds

Purpose, passion, fearless ambition,
Discipline, leadership, inspired vision
Invoking these qualities for me and others
All of humanity; my sisters and brothers

Hear their desires, their cries and whispers
See their need, sense their hopes and inner stirs
Dream as big as the moon, the stars and sun
For changes I make will affect everyone

Notice the dark hidden places
See the pain in their faces
Hear the silence and feel the spaciousness
Rise to my own uniqueness

It's time, Maria Shriver is saying
For women who are full-out playing
As architects of change
In communities across the range

The challenge is to find
Minerva within your mind
Then pass it on
Through many lives in time
Many faces and designs
Women pass it on in kind
Through their bodies, hands, hearts and minds,
As the architects of change

Written by Kimberly Wulfert, October 26, 2010 at the close of The Women's Conference held in Long Beach, CA

Are you a closet poet too? If want to share one of your poems in the comment box- please do. Tell us how you write poetry? What inspires you? Share your thoughts with me on anything I've said. We are all one afterall.

Piece, and blessings,
Kim  Spread the word

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