At Crazy as a Loom near Glen Falls, New York

What Makes Me Happy

This week, I started working with Susan Barrett Merrill from Weaving a Life. I am going to become a certified Weaving a Life instructor!!! Seriously, I am so pleased that I am going for this dream.

Here are my homework items for this week:

1) Prepare a location, ideally near where I do creative work, where I will put things to remind myself of my journey.

I have had this odd wooden shelf for years. I found it in the trash in Ottawa, and carried it with me to the US. I like it so much because someone drew it up and built it, even though it is not obvious why. It looks like a story to me, with a ladder that goes up, and the jail with the movable door. It reminds me of the structures that my sister and I used to build when we were playing. I will put my Weaving a Life journey items here.

My Work Table
My Work Table

2) Identify the 8 values that best represent me and order them as the “warp” of my loom (i.e. the most important near the center).

My Warp - Order and Colors
My Warp – Order and Colors

3) Keep a running list of things that I love.

General Concepts

  • many small things making a beautiful whole (such as rug hooking, chest of drawers, organized craft supplies, lists, crazy quilting, hand quilting, sashiko)
  • finding a valuable use for something others have passed over
  • experiencing other cultures – having spoken language removed as a way of communicating
  • finding my way in the dark – having sight removed as a way of communicating
  • people who take an elegant idea and find a way to center their life around it
  • setting up a series of goals and achieving them in a way that is sustainable
  • creating situations where people can put their whole selves out there, give from their core, so it moves them and others along in their journey

Here is a diagram that shows how I like to engineer experience in my life and with teams to have the best quality of life:

My Ideal Life Experience Flow
My Ideal Life Experience Flow

Sources of Passionate Energy

  • Taiko drumming
  • kayaking
  • running around Reston, especially on trails and to Weight Watchers
  • joyous and intense dance such the South African gumboot dance, Ukrainian dancing, Maori Haka
  • eager people and animals
  • interviewing someone and they have an epiphany
  • sewing juice pouches
  • designing and wearing costumes
  • dancing on stage
  • capturing an epiphany in a journal or blog
  • farmer’s markets
  • squash, badminton, raquetball
  • high ropes course, especially at Adventure Park at Silver Spring
  • whitewater rafting
  • Zumba
  • biking to work
  • Kundalini yoga
  • cross-country skiing
  • Gallaudet dance company
  • guerilla knitting
  • playing guitar
  • synchronized swimming

Sources of Peaceful Energy

  • folding warm laundry, and folded fabric in general
  • hymns and spiritual songs – when music moves me to cry
  • treehouses
  • empty counter tops and table tops
  • fiddleheads and spirals, concentric circles
  • clotheslines
  • shafts of sunlight – being home alone whe it is sunny
  • fiber handwork from many cultures
  • streets filled with small shops, especially unexpected ones like a robot repair shop
  • double knit mitts by my great grandmother
  • writing blogs
  • Freecycle – finding a good home for things
  • fabric that has faded unevenly, especially denim
  • campfires
  • skylines
  • raised bed gardens
  • men’s ties
  • canning tomato sauce
  • strings of lights over a night-time event like a wedding or dinner party

Sources of Intellectual Joy

  • Martha Stewart magazines & websites
  • Family Fun magazine
  • creative re-use centers across the country
  • trash fashion
  • craftsperson and Maker culture
  • Etsy
  • sign language
  • Maker’s Faires, Learnapaloozas
  • empty storefronts (for the potential of what could be in there)
  • reading books about innovation, what motivates people, living as an artist
  • Star Trek
  • learning textile techniques from other cultures
  • radio documentaries

Family Life

  • hugging Nanny and Nora – how they smell and their soft necks
  • exploring a stream with my kids
  • reading with my kids
  • telling the story of our family through photos
  • helping Russell find the right Lego piece
  • road trips
  • when Bob is laughing at something I said or we found together
  • looking at Bob across the room when he doesn’t notice
  • when my sister used to play with my hair
  • Bob’s poems & creative writing
  • staying in nice hotels
  • Family Nature Summits
  • ice skating with Bob
  • walking with the kids to school & walking home alone through the forest
  • eating outside


  • camping by the ocean
  • smell of salt water
  • geocaching
  • bees
  • fireflies
  • red fox
  • schools of flitting fish who change direction together
  • very small, squat birds like titmouse or chickadee
  • smooth stones
  • ferns
  • loons

Teachers Who Have Filled Me with Joy

  • Ellen Bearisto – my grade two teacher – introduced me to Helen Keller, taught me to love libraries and taught me about finding the interesting places in any town which lead to my green tours
  • Schelli Dittmann – for always believing in abundance
  • Becky Lentz – my Creative Thought Partner
  • Mark H. Rooney – my Taiko instructor – for balancing humor and mastery

People / Public Figures Who Inspire Me


  • mango with sticky rice (Thai dessert)
  • Nanny’s bread
  • s’nachos
  • apples crisp with ice cream
  • apple cider
  • roasted pinwheel beets
  • fiddleheads
  • vegan dishes
  • coconut anything – ice cream, scones, rice
  • toutons – a fried pastry from Newfoundland

Favorite Places