Friday, July 31, 2015

Messy Desk=Happy Desk?

You know the saying that a messy desk is a happy desk? Well, this picture pretty much sums up how my desk looks the majority of the time. Actually, it's a little less messy than usual in this picture. And, what is on it varies depending on what I'm working on at the time. Here, I'm playing in my art journal with acrylic paints.

I almost always have a hot drink nearby. My current favorite is Earl Grey tea. Although, yesterday I bought a basket from a street vendor that must have been smoked because it smells exactly like Lapsang Souchong tea. The cat has been rubbing all over it and I'm craving Lapsang Souchong tea. My mother always says it smells like bacon. It has a very robust flavor that is just perfect for drinking all alone. No sweetener and no milk. I have yet to be able to find it in the Land of Tea even though it originates here, but I'm enjoying smelling my basket.

My original plan was to fill it with yarn scraps on my desk, but I'm debating on whether having my yarn smell like tea/smoke is a good idea. 

What's your desk look like? Is it messy most of the time? Piled with an array of paints, crochet, knitting, embroidery, colored pencils and more? Or do you prefer to work from a clean and tidy desk?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

15 Minutes of Creativity

I've been having trouble with my eyes recently and the eye doctor keeps telling me to "rest." Yesterday when I went, he asked if I had been working hard the last few days. I told him I had been embroidering. Specifically, I had been working on two different projects. One was stitching over 2 threads on linen and the other was on 32 count linen.

Even though I'd been working with good light and magnifying lenses clipped to my glasses, I could tell the stitching was straining my eyes. But, I wanted so much to do the projects. Yesterday I finished the small linen piece, but I worked in 15 minute segments and took breaks in between.

I didn't strain my eyes by just working for 15 minutes at a time. As an added bonus, I didn't make as many mistakes because I was seeing better and I was able to stitch faster. So, I may have to adopt a 15 minute only stitching rule and try to limit it to about an hour a day. At least when I'm working on small counts.

I also have a huge number of WIPs (Works in Progress) and I had the idea that if I kept 5 in my workbasket (plus my afghan in my afghan basket) and then worked on each for at least 15 minutes a day for a month, maybe I'll finish more projects. When I finish a project, I can add a new one. Also, I can add one project a week. At the end of the month, I cut the basket down to only 5 projects again. I'll try it for August and see how it goes.

Last year, I finally finished my February Lady Sweater by committing to working 15 minutes a day. Most days I worked more once I got started, of course. But, I think this might be a good way to work for me.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Have You Tried Sashiko?

I finished my first sashiko project. It was a kit that was sold as a pillow cover, but I made a table mat instead. It took longer than I thought it would to complete, but I really enjoyed it. And, I really love the white against the navy background.

Sashiko is a Japanese form of embroidery that means "stab stitch." Most examples are white on navy and it incorporates many different geometric patterns. It uses a thick cotton thread that actually comes in many different colors. Next I want to try a white on red pattern.

The teapot in the picture is an Yixing teapot made from special clay in China. You only use it for one kind of tea: oolong, pu-erh, or a black tea. Each teapot is only used for a single kind of tea because the flavor of the tea is retained in the clay. Green or herbal teas are not recommended.

The more you use the teapot, the shinier it gets. Also, you are supposed to pour the dregs of the tea over the top of the teapot when you are finished drinking it as it helps bring out the shine. The teapot only holds enough for one small cup of tea.