Word of the Day: Happiness

I am glad that today’s word is not something awful like disaster funeral or death. Another post will fill you in on why.

Each entry starts with a little poem. Today’s poem clearly defines the word of the day:

“Let us not follow vulgar leaders
Who exploit the fear of death,
And promise the bliss of salvation.
If we are truly happy,
They will have nothing to offer.”

This applies to many things in our lives: work, politics, etc.

“If we attain freedom from the fear of death, a sound way of health, and a path of understanding through life, there is happiness and no need for false leaders.”

I think this poem and saying applies to the Quilt Police type of attitude surrounding our quilt work. Some people demand perfection by following their rules. We can turn away from this kind of attitude by having knowledge about different techniques, by educating ourselves. If we know “the rules,” we can reject them and not have a quilt that falls apart. Happiness comes, in one respect, from education. We don’t need “vulgar” leaders if we are happy.

Word of the Day: Cooperation (January 17)

Today’s word is all about quilt guilds and quilt groups. Today’s word is all about leadership, teamwork and support, which are the hallmarks of quilt guilds and quilt groups everywhere.

“True leadership is a combination of initiative and humility. The best leader remains obscure, leading but drawing no personal attention…Credit is not to be taken, it will be awarded when people realize that it was the subtle influence of the leader that brought them success.”

Hard to imagine in this day and age, but a worthy goal.

Word of the Day: Time

” We must understand how the past affects us, we should keep the present full of rich satisfying experiences, and we should devote some energy each day to building for the future…so too should we consider the whole of our time when deciding how to spend our lives.”
While the quote obviously applies to saving money, and taking care of your health, buying fabric sprang immediately to mind.
Sometimes I go through a bin of fabric and wonder why I bought that particular yardage.
Sometimes I look at the fabric that I have and think that it is a hassle, because it is somewhat disorganized and I can’t always find what I want/need.
Often I look at fabric ads in magazines and think about what I could make with that fabric. Time factors into tthose dreams, because I would need time to go buy the fabric and make the project. It also makes me think of building up my dreams as well as my stash of fabric when acquiring new colors and patterns.
Buying fabric is about the past, present and the fugure, because it reflects who I was and the dreams I had when I bought the older fabric. It also reflects who I am in this time and space and the projects I am working on now. I am also building dreams and projects for the future.
I want to incorporate those fabrics from the past into current projects even if I use it in some way that wasn’t the original intention. I don’t want them to be discarded, because they are not me now.

Word of the Day: Positioning

This sounds like a marketing word or part of business negotiations.
The image that came to my mind, and is in the description in the book, is that of a heron standing in water. I really feel an affinity for these large water birds.
“Actions in life can be reduced to two factors: positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us. …When life presents an opportunity we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.”
In quiltmaking, we have to look for opportunities to learn. If a teacher comes to town, I need to take advantge of the opportunity to learn from that person. If someone is available to assist me with a problem, I should take the time to work with them.

Word of the Day: Shaping

“We must give [situations in our lives] rough shape and then throw them down into the center of our lives…As we shape the situation, we must be aware of what form we want things to take. The closer something comes to completion, the harder and more definite it becomes. Our options become fewer, until the full impact of our creation is all that there is.”

When I start a quilt, the possibilities are endless. I start shaping the finished product with an idea in my head. Each decision I make limits future options until I have a completed idea. This is not a bad thing, it is the process of a project. Working through the process allows the final piece to take shape.

Word of the Day: Healing

“No matter how extreme a situation is, it will change.”

“Natural events balance themselves out by seeking heir opposites and this process of balance is at the heart of all healing…”

All life is continual destruction and healing, over and over again.”

“…healing will follow upheaval.”

Yesterday’s word, disaster, was all about change in my mind. Today’s word, healing, makes me think of change also and how people change after being sick. Sometimes they die, and sometimes they change their lives completely; they exercise, they eat organic food, think positively, don’t drink, etc.

In the sense of quiltmaking, we can start a project and ruin it in some way, either intentionally (it wasn’t working out, so we slice and dice it) or unintentionally (knock over the paint on to the project). This means that the project has taken an unexpected and unplanned for turn. A project won’t ‘heal’ itself. You have to facilitate that ‘healing’ by fixing it. Fixing it can mean incorporating the new reality into a new design or it can mean abandoning the project and starting something new.

Even an abandoned piece may get a new life down the road as a back or a stuffed toy or the answer to a disaster with another project.

Word of the Day: Disaster


That was my first thought, anyway, especially after yesterday’s word!

“Disaster strikes at its own time. It is so overwhelming that we can nothing other than accept it.”

Personally, I think this is the most important thing, other than disaster is actually about change. It instigates or inspires or incites change, change we have to accept.

“Disaster is natural. It is not the curse of the gods, it is not punishment. Disaster results from the interplay of forces…”

“Disasters may well change us deeply, but hey will pass. We must keep to our deeper convictions and remember our goals. Whether we remain ash or become the phoenix is up to us.”

Word of the Day: Optimism

The book talks about an old man who planted an orchard after he retired from his job. He was undaunted even though the people around him said he wouldn’t live long enough to see it bear fruit.

I think that starting projects that are daunting is the epitomy of optimism and it shows optimism and joy in the process and not just in the end product.

Word of the Day: Work

In my opinion, there are two kinds of work: work where you make money and your life’s work. Some people are fortunate enough to have both in one. For me, the work I do for money is interesting (mostly) and challenging (often), but my life’s work is creativity. At the moment I create quilts and tote bags, occasionally ornaments or other little things. In the past I have made leaded glass windows, painted, knitted, crocheted, done mixed media collages and sculpted. Creativity is my life. It feeds my soul and comforts my psyche.

The book talks, today, about a woodcutter needing to cut wood regardless of the weather, but that planning ahead can make the work easier. The book calls this working in “concert with the seasons” or “according to seasonal circumstances.”

This means that you do some of the heavy work when there is no snow and leave the chopping of kindling for snowy days. It means planning ahead and planning your work.

By “concert with the seasons,”a person is conserving effort. The woodcutter can conserve effort, not only by working in “concert with the seasons,” but also by cutting with the grain, chopping with the right force, etc.

I do this in quiltmaking all the time. I may cut all the pieces of a block before sitting down at the machine to sew. This allows me to see what the block will look like. It helps me conserve effort, as well, because I can sit and sew the whole block without having to jump up and cut another piece each time I sew two together. I prepare the pieces of my Cross (Flowering Snowball) blocks in advance so I can sit and sew in peace when I have a few moments. This kind of planning ahead makes sense. “Whether it is the time or the method, the labor is half initiative and half knowing how to let things proceed on their own.”

Word of the Day: Forbearance

bearing their fortune*

“We may have great fortune or bad, but we should patiently bear both.” Trees bear what comes: the weather, development, etc. We may receive criticism on our work – fair and unfair, correct and incorrect, astute and not. We must bear it, but not let it change us. It should inform us, but not change us. “No matter what, we must always be true to our inner selves” and the direction we want our work to take.

I think it is important for me to consider that I don’t have to only bear things that happen to me; that I can also direct new things to happen. I think what the book is saying is that things happen and we have to take them (absorb them??) and that we shouldn’t fret and worry and rend our garments as a result. We should learn from them, too.

*I may, on certain days, post words related to the word of the day, or even only brief thoughts. Some words are harder than others!