#4Life Path Intersects O’Keeffe-DS106-Creating-Community

Tony Vaccaro

Reading my feeds and mail today some interesting intersections of things to think of and connect.
First there was the new blog post by Nana Lou in the Burgeron Family site about a Conference Presentation on Twitter that several of the members collaborated on and delivered. In true DS106 and Burgeron style it was extraordinary, world class content creatively and succinctly put together to tell the story. AWESOME WORK FAMILY!.
I have been balancing digital art, hands on art, family, and some consulting work over the last 6-8 months. I saw the rally call and was very humbled that my place in the family group was thought to be a contribution and possible inclusion. This group of individuals has been a milestone marker on my life path and I do consider them family. The wonderful thing is – it really is a type of family – no one gets ex-communicated because they don’t participate in everything. Sometimes you put in more work than others and sometimes you slide – but you are always valued and included (aka respected and loved).

This event was started by Todd Conway – Ronald L., stepped up and Rochelle Lockridge was right in there pulling things together again. Others as well – all connected. The summary of the Twitter conference was captured by Nana Lou Burgeron on how Todd got everyone started and the 15 minutes of fame can be read here.
Once again an excellent example of how art and technology along with community can be the most wonderful educational environment for all learners. (remember – my view is we are learners from birth to grave and it is personal)
I am very proud of my digital family and the work they do. I am also thankful that I will have the opportunity to continue to create and connect with them even though I kinda let this one fly by me. How great is that?!
Next in my feeds were conversations from a beginning quilters group.

 This group finds excitement and energy in sharing new tips, new found knowledge, sharing of projects and supporting each other. Much like DS106 community – it is art, it is individual, but it is also collaborative. Sharing is important and done freely and often and it is expected that you build from someone else’s work and efforts and return to allow others to take and make in their own way. So the making is hands on – but the ideas, the knowledge building and sharing are digital.
My next feed was a post from Connie Weber. A fantastic educator in MI who always keeps everyone thinking and looking at the world with fresh eyes. She is an artist in the sense of her creations and her work with her 5th grade students. Everyone should be in her learning community!
Today she posted an article about Georgia O’Keeffe’s ideas on what it takes to be an artist. O’Keeffe has always been a favorite of mine. Her art, her views on life. While she very much seemed to be a loner and prefer to secluded from others, she was very much someone who shared and created community. She did so through her writing. No social media in her time, but letters. She shared with others, listened and took in responses. So while physically she kept to herself and created – she always was connected to others and had the conversations of art and life that made her work better and stronger. That community also supported her. It allowed her to be the artist she was instead of the artist society might have dictated.
Her lessons all make sense to me. They apply to many aspects of my life.
And with DS106 in my #4Life – I would add to Georgia’s work on lessons and add #5.

Lesson #1: Observe the world around you—closely, hungrily

This one has rung true in everything from parenting, photography, daily living and business. You can learn so much from just looking closely. (Flickr 365  Pic a day)

Lesson #2: Organization is key to productivity

Another one that I have learned the hard way over the years. The tedious, the details, the right tools, the organizing to create are important. When you have this in place it frees you to focus on the creating -thus you are productive. It is hard at first – but pay off is great. Once established it generates more creation time vs. wasted time finding, sorting, cleaning up….

Lesson #3: Don’t sweat mistakes—learn from them

Always! Fail Forward!!! Mistakes are you friends and best teacher. You only have to sweat them when you allow them to be the result. What you do with your mistakes is most important.

Lesson # 4: Pay no attention to trends—be yourself

The best is you. It is not a competition with others – only yourself. The lure of fame or the fast buck or being popular can sometimes cloud. But when you really look at those who do achieve greatness – they didn’t worry about being most popular – they only focused on being a better “me”. The greatest individuals and contributors are usually the ones nobody does know. The few that do become “great” often are the representative of the many who contributed. There are the few that take the extra effort and stand out and represent the many who work behind them – rather alongside them knowing it is the work and creating that is important.

My addition:
Lesson #5: Connect, collaborate, build from others to create community and trust.

Art and creating is individual and personal – but it happens when you are doing your own thing alongside others. It becomes greater thru sharing and building. When you find community that respects and appreciates your individual work but can make it their own in a slightly different way – wow!

My wish is you all experience that at some time. It makes a better you if you let it happen. And all it is is sharing and supporting, accepting and respecting. Go for it!

Creating in fabric – still Art

I continue to be creating in fabric lately. The digital part is documenting what I am doing.

I have a collector gene and sewing seems to fill that as well. There is the fabric hunt and acquisition. The tools and accessories. The patterns and the products. And then the set up and the organization. It really does fill so many spaces.

Organizing and creating rhythms and processes is necessary. I now have a command hook on the side of my sewing machine with my tail cutting scissors. Practicing using and putting back and always knowing where it is.

I used a letter sorter for hold my rulers. A vintage creamer and sugar bowl for my fabric clips. Bed risers on my table to raise it so it is comfortable for cutting and sitting at on a counter stool for assembly.

Next was the presser feet that came with my machine. the little plastic pouch was useless. I got an inexpensive plastic bead box and added labels. So far works great!

Presser foot storage

Bobbins – I started with a small plastic case. Each time I opened and took on out – they all came out and landed all over the room. And the tails – ugh!. I used some Amazon points and got some huggers for my spools and a BobbinSaver – a plastic ring that holds the bobbins. So far it is a huge improvement.

Bobbin storage

Thread tail containment

 

I have found a mentor to help me thru things. A smart and talented woman who does fantastic work – but with reality mixed in. She knows how to get to quality – but get the job done. Can’t thank her enough for taking me under her wing. We have some similar interests and she is so generous in her sharing and help online. LOL – she has chickens and roosters and one of her favorite fabric subjects are rooters…under her wing – — get it? LOL She is also a Flash WonderWoman! She can make 2 dozen feed sack totes in a day! Check her out at Grammies Little Aprons and Sew Much More on Facebook.

I am not looking to expand into selling lots of things and having to keep an inventory. But I am going to need an outlet to move some of the creations on. I already know I have more than I can use. I am exploring options.

The path I am most interested in is combining my vintage shopping pleasures with creating. The other tangent is learning more skills and getting to take part in activities from a small business in my hometown and support them – so using quilting techniques in my up cycle vintage creations. That probably really limits the market share. But I am not look

ing to earn living or make a fortune.

I met a vintage crafter online who was moving her MIL’s estate and purchased (very reasonably!) some Christmas tablecloths and a floral. The floral is dynamic. Not a favorite of mine, but it makes a statement. I worked on some interfacing combinations and some other things and created a nice size tote. Not as large as I had done – so actually more useful.

Standard tote

I was pleased with the results. I didn’t have dark pink thread on hand and didn’t edge the handles. My mentor was quick to point that out. I went ahead anyways.

There was still fabric left. I wanted to do a different style bag. Since I am not in a mass production cycle – I am more apt to create different bags for many reasons. One to keep improving my skills and two I don’t know what to do with them now – why would I have dozens of the same thing in different patterns. If I was doing craft shows or mass market, one type might work. For now I am creating one of a kind and limited designs.

So from this fabric I got a “Happy Bag”. A bag with a large “smile” pocket on the front.

Happy Bag - Front "smile Pocket"

Back of the bag.

Back of Happy Bag

I had to go to the vet today for meds for our Jaxin. It was a Saturday and there is this place near by called Northwinds Junk Post that I have wanted to explore. They are only open on weekends and it is 35 miles away – today was the day!

I was fortunate to find some seed sack cloth yardage. A little dirty – but cleaned up well. I can’t wait to use it as lining or as a bag itself. I will now be able to create an entire end product with vintage cloth!

Vintage Fabric SKOR!

All cleaned and folded for storage until used.

Vintage Fabric - cleaned and folded

And now I need to find LARGE vintage buttons and other doo dads!!! Lynn Prey – help!!! What do I look for and what are good prices?

For being in Wisconsin in the winter – things are feeling good and creating is going on.

 

 

Heaven has a new angel

Heaven has another first class angel.
My cousin…..Carol Rowland Stepek Doezema

I got the news from her younger sister Nancy thru a Facebook private message early Friday morning September 8th, 2017.

Kathy I hate sending these out but I wanted to let you know last night Carol passed away. She collapsed getting ready for bed and they couldn’t revive her.

My heart instantly sank and tears began to flow.

While many of my past memories are just that and have no artifacts to look back on – thanks to the digital age and sharing  I was able to put together some moments of the last few years for me to look back on of only the small slice of her life I knew and shared. It in no way tells her story. It is such a small slice, but it is the one that is special to me. It is pictures of Carol and also some pictures/video of family she chose as her highlights of recent life as mom and grandma to share with others. Carol won’t be forgotten and the lives she touched will forever be blessed.

Most of my sorrow though is not in just losing Carol in my life but in knowing her immediate family has lost her. I am a distant node in her constellation hub. Her loss creates a void that is large for me and it is hard to even imagine how much her loss is to them. She was a center for her mom, siblings, husband, and most of all her children and grandchildren. We will all carry Carol forever in our hearts.

We spent quality time together as kids even though it was not often being 600 miles apart. We sustained our connection by being pen pals in those days. Exchanging letters with news and our philosophy of life at that time. Extended stays for her in WI and me in MI. Cherry picking, shopping, teasing her brothers. Dreaming of the future, talking of boys and love. ConeLand stories, hanging out with our grandmas.

Like most, we drifted apart for some years as we started out our adult lives and built our own families. Yet we stayed connected thru our parents on milestones, successes and challenges for what now I have figured out was about 30 years of once a year Christmas greetings or an update or two when the parents would connect when driving to visit other relatives. Our grandmothers were another glue that we lost with their passing, which made more frequent connections get lost in our busy young adult lives.

Carol became interested in researching family history and ancestry. She connected with my mom with phone calls and letters. I again was hearing what was happening in her life. About 15 years ago, an old school style letter here and there began again, a couple of phone calls and then came Facebook. The online connection provided connection to sharing things in our present lives that so tied back to our youth of dreams and plans. We were not a part of each other’s daily lives, but still maintained a relationship that was real and in the present instead of just an old memory or wondering what ever happened or remember when? We were sharing the now again.

I knew she had created a wonderful life with Joe and had sons. She was so proud and happy to be Mom. She faced challenges in losing her first love to ALS and yet her heart was open and she was able to find love again with Marv. She was happy and felt blessed.

Carol was strong and a fighter – taking on Multiple Sclerosis and not letting it control her. She was always the responsible, hard-working one that was there for others. She was the big sister I never had for the times we were together but also the best friend during those visits and after as well. And as sensible and smart as she was – she knew to have a good time and enjoy life. To live in the moment and move towards the future by remembering the past, but not letting it hold you.

She had a wild side – but it was the kind that could take a tiger by the tail one minute and be back to the one who kept everything together in a heartbeat. She also was one to get it done – when something needed to happen she stepped up and made sure everyone got to it – especially if it was family.

Her humor – Gosh – her wit was so sharp. She had a way of saying things that made a point – but with a touch of humor or sarcasm so one knew to stop and think and that in the big picture not to take one’s self too seriously on the small things. Her smile and eyes with those one liners – I will never forget.

Her love of cooking and baking. I could always count on a new recipe recommendation being posted. And it was long before FB that she shared recipes – I have a few handwritten ones – she was sharing long ago – one with a note. 🙂

Carol's Recipe

I am so glad to have been able to have her in my life journey. Past and present.

I love getting to know her family thru online postings and messages. I cheer at each success and feel so lucky to see the events and how time passes with each new thing. To see the small glimpses of what caught her attention or what was special to her in her life. The joy, sorrow, pride, she had in the milestones and daily lives of her children, siblings and parents. Her children and grandchildren were the center of the universe for a mom and grandma. She was one proud and happy mom and grandma. I have never met her sons, Marv, or grandchildren in person but look forward to each new update whether it was from her, Steve or Nancy. I have come to know some things about them and learned to love them from a distance.

My thoughts go out to her immediate family and friends that will feel her loss so greatly. Together we can celebrate her life, her love, and our fortune in being touched by her. Our memories together will bring the story of the depth of her touch on so many lives and yet still never be able to tell it all.

Peace to all who loved her. She is watching over us all.

Obituary for Carol Ann Doezema

Carol Stepek Doezema, age 62 of Greenville, passed away unexpectedly at home on September 7th, 2017. Carol was born March 30th, 1955, grew up in Cascade, and later married Joseph Stepek and raised four boys in Lowell. After Joe’s death in 2001, Carol later met and married Marv Doezema, and was active in her church and community in Greenville.  Carol loved working with her hands and her quick intelligence allowed her to excel at whatever she put her mind to; over the years she taught herself everything from doll-making to tile cutting. Her passions for crafting and gardening influenced not only her own children and grandchildren but also all of the children she provided care to over the years. She leaves a lasting legacy. She took joy in her grandchildren and they will greatly miss their “Grandma Carol”. Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis for years, she remained active and future-focused, living out God’s love in her communities. Carol is survived by her mother Elaine Rowland; her husband Marvin; her children William Stepek, Steven (Erin) Stepek, Jeffrey Stepek, and Christopher Stepek; step-children Sarah (Jeff) Schatz, Jason (Terri) Doezema, and Joel (Ashley) Doezema; siblings Gerald (Lois) Boelter, James  (Denise) Rowland, Gary (Theresa) Rowland, Ronald (Sherri) Rowland, and Nancy (Dave) Bradley; parents-in-law Jay and Ruth Doezema; brother-in-law Lary Doezema; sister-in-law, Pat Rowland; and grandchildren Xander and Charlotte Stepek, Isaac and Levi Schatz, Jay and Jocelyn Doezema, Taylor Toman and Violet Doezema, and a new baby Doezema on the way. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Rowland, first husband Joe Stepek, and siblings Richard, David, and Katherine. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville, with Rev. Robert Roush officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a time of visitation Monday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the funeral home. Memorial Contributions can be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

iPhone Photography Learning – Starting Out

Well – I am principled – so I won’t be giving bootleg copies or primary source information without permission. But there are publicly available videos from Emil Parkarklis of IPhone Photo Academy. In the real course the videos have a little more to them, but you can get the basic ideas.

After going thru the features and set up of the camera options on your iPhone, the first module is practicing focus and exposure. How to focus on one area, adjust focus and actually lock it. The feature puts you in control of what  part of the screen will be the focus instead of the camera deciding. It seems much easier on my iPhone than on my DSLR. You are not adjusting aperture and shutter speeds or figuring out the focus points in your viewer. Now – I do like to do that and won’t give it up. But there are SO MANY times I am someplace and my phone is with me – not all my DSLR equipment. If I am going to capture things for creating the best way to do that is to have content that comes up vs planned. And when I look at it – my phone is a more expensive piece of equipment than my camera – so I should be using it for more than texting and checking social media.

The next 2 videos are promo videos  but give you enough info to be curious enough to check things out on your iPhone. This is one of the times I am glad to have a directed course for learning. It is helping me move thru things more quickly and focus on what I want to learn more than trying to create my learning. I do believe there needs to be that balance and diversity – a little of it all for better learning. I am still the one designing my learning, but I am also now determining my resources to meet that learning. How cool would that be as an outcome for our K12 students – or any learner – to diversify and find the right resources for your learning goals and to put them together.

 

What I have learned in 2 days

How to hold my phone camera. So simple  so common sense. I always held from all four corners and looked like the old grandma holding a camera. Shaky, blurry pictures – fingers in shots.

How you hold and use your body to stabilize for better shots. It’s hard to show on my own. But here is an attempt.

Hold landscape/horizontal. Two fingers under the bottom, two along the back and your thumb and forefinger on top. You will then put your other hand under and use your thumb to push the shutter. (can’t show that and take a picture). It makes a difference – and it feels cool!

To hold in portrait view – hold like you are going to text in one hand and use the other hand to support.

Common sense things like keeping your phone closer to your body instead of extending your arms, using surfaces to set your camera upon etc. help too.

Setting focus and exposure is an easy task once you know what it is and how to lock it, you should get enough from the video to figure that out. Again – I am not going to replicate the instruction but highlight things I find useful.

Burst Mode

Have you ever put your finger on the shutter button too long and get this blast of photos. Well that is burst. I never knew what to do with it.

Once you have taken a Burst – go to the photo. In your window at the bottom of the screen click on Select. You can now see all the photos taken and go thru each one and choose the ones you want to keep. The IOS choose some it thinks are good by putting a gray dot below them. You can choose the ones you want to keep and delete the rest. It is suggested to use this for action shots or shots where people are moving. Fantastic! I can’t wait to try this one.

HDR

How many of us that this meant something High Definition?

It is High Dynamic Range. And if you have it on all the time it uses up a lot of phone memory because it takes 3 pictures for every one you take to blend them together. It also makes your phone use up battery faster.

HDR doesn’t work well with a lot of movement either.

In your settings you want to make sure you have selected Keep Normal Photo so that you have that option.

The assignments are carefully explained on how to be successful in completing.  First assignment is to practice selecting a focus point and locking it to take a series of pictures. You lock by keeping your finger on the little yellow box that shows up.  This is a good feature when you want to make sure what you want as the focus is what is captured.

Here are some of my practice shots.

#IPA Foucus

#IPAFocus

#IPAFocus

 

Featured Images:  flickr photos by konarheim shared using Creative Commons    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

#IPAFocus and Exposure – First module of learning

Okay – made it thru the first module videos on how to hold your phone to stabilize and how to set focus and exposure locks.

The assignment is to take at least 10 pictures – but I got pulled away  – so still have more to do. But part of my own expectation is to take pictures and post each day again – so going with what I have for now and will catch up! (we will see if reality sets in or not)

I didn’t realize you could lock the focus and exposure on the iPhone camera. I have tapped on it on occasion- but blindly and without really any intention – just dumb luck.

The first module also went over ways to hold the phone to stabilize and make photos sharper. They were good tips-  common sense – but the ones that don’t come naturally.

I was enjoying the nice weather on my deck while watching the lesson – so the few shots are limited to planters on the railings. It does make a difference. I will practice more.

#IPAFocux

My focus point and exposure was on the pink blossom. There is still some pixelation and it seems I am off a little bit.

Another shot could probably benefit from some cropping – not sure yet….

#IPAFocux

And the third I liked, but there was a distracting leaf that was blurred in the front. I attempted some retouch editing, did a few other edits and came up with this. Better-  but still meh….. So onto taking some more photos and practicing.

#IPAFocux

 

 

 

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