Today I'm focusing on being grateful. There is nothing so luxurious as the opportunity to pursue work that I love, and I have YOU, Gentle Readers, to thank for it. If you've come to my class, or bought one of my books, or even just opened this e-mail, you're sustaining an independent artist. Thank You. I promise to do my best to make it worth your while.
The best things in life are not things, it's true. But sometimes a certain everyday tangible can help you do your hardest work, think your freshest thoughts, or just bring you back down to earth. Here are my favorite things today:
1. My Work Apron
I didn't get to attend Montessori school, but my kids did. The very first thing they learned was to put on an apron before doing anything potentially dirty or messy. The message is both overt (protect your clothes from dirt) and subtle (suiting up for the job commits you to it). Just like learning to wear a thimble perfects your hand-sewing by protecting your finger, donning an apron shows your brain that your body means business. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, sometimes even just doing hard brainstorming; all are improved when you are dressed for the occasion. Something about knowing you'll easily be cleaned up makes it easier to do the dirty work.
Putting on your apron is also a signal to the rest of the world: "I'm busy working here". My family always know I'm in the middle of something if the apron is on. I made this one from delicious heavy linen, using this pattern. It fits perfectly, and doesn't pull/rub on the back of my neck like other styles can.
2. The Perfect Pen
You have at least 712 sets of knitting needles. That's because you require the right tool for the job. And the right tool is different every time. Now look around your desk: are you relying on some crappy ballpoint, broken eraser-less pencil or dried-up rollerball? Do me this favor and give yourself a really great pen. Or better yet, a whole collection of them. And don't be afraid you'll lose it; your favorite pen will soon get similar treatment to your reading glasses/deluxe knitting needles/right arm - you'll lose the ability to go without it. And if you're wondering where to find such a thing, may I recommend the Goulet Pen Co. I've spent many an entertaining hour learning all about pens, paper and ink there. Pictured here: Monteverde Intima in Neon Green with a fine nib, J. Herbin ink in Vert Pre, Rhodia dot-grid Webnotebook. You're only as good as your word, and your words are only as good as your pen.
3. Grow-y Things
I have very little space around the outside of my very little house, which means there's hardly any yard work to do. When we first moved here, it seemed like a huge bonus, but these days we all feel a little glum that there's no place to have a garden. So even though it's kind of a splurge, I try to keep a few pots full of bright and/or delicious plants. We especially like growing a big fat pot of sweet basil every summer, from which we make fresh pesto. Three big plants, carefully tended by Lindsay, usually yield 2-3 batches each year. Here also are geraniums, marigolds, verbena, alyssum and lobelia.
What favorite things are you thankful for today?