Day 366- Thank you!

29 Feb

It’s a leap year this year.

Therefore, you get this one bonus blog post to make my 365 project well rounded from March 1st, 2011- March 1, 2012.

And…

We did it!

So, I wanted to send out a few thank you’s to show my appreciation for this amazing experience and all the support I had along the way:

First and foremost, Alica Ryan.  You are not only my blogging accomplice, you are one of my best friends.  You agreed to this crazy challenge for an entire year, and not knowing what either of us were getting ourselves into, you followed me blindly.  I respect you deeply and appreciate your efforts to hold me accountable in making changes in my life.  Though, at time times, you have been so brutally honest with me that it hurt, your honesty has helped shape me in so many ways, they are too great to enumerate here.  To the lady who always has a smile on her face and almost never worries about anything, you have instilled with me much hope and “fly by the seat” mentality.  Unlike myself, you never let anything get you down for too long and I strive everyday to have these and some of the other amazing qualities you possess.  Thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for supporting me.  Thank you for sharing with me your trust, love, and kindness, for which I am eternally grateful.

To my mother-  You have supported me in all my efforts and in all challenges.  Thank you for instilling creativity and freedom to do all that my heart desires.  Thank you for always being my biggest fan.

To my friends and family members who have shown much support along the way by sharing stories, inspiring messages, and helping me to hand out random acts of kindness…..thank you.  You know who you are, but I will list some names here (sorry if I fail to mention you….it’s been a long year):  Jana Suko, Julia Megyesy, Diana Palmer, Amy Opiela, Giovanna Forsyth,  Phillip Johnson, Calley Red Soptich, Jennifer Anderson, Tracy Myers, Lesli Harad, Lauren McGhee, Jillian Leavitt, Ryan Cole, Richard Radstone, Evan Alexander, Tammy Barr, Becca Hirsch, Nicholas Smith, Danelle Sheller, Sofia Victoria, Nick Dreves, etc, etc.

To all my readers, thank you for your comments and taking the time out to share your experiences!  Connecting with others and instilling a sense of community was the main purpose of this project, so thank you for reminding me and others of the kindness that is out in the world.

Well, I guess that is it!  But don’t worry, this isn’t “goodbye” forever…..I am taking some time for rest and relaxation, but I will return from sabbatical in about a month or so.  In the future I won’t be posting daily, but will keep the bits of kindness rolling with weekly posts when I return.

*muah

Day 365- A look at kindness….

28 Feb

Well, we made it!  365 days of blogging!  Because it is a leap year, I have one more day to blog in order to get to March 1st.  But, on this 365th post, I am taking a look at all the well wishes and inspiration I received from friends and strangers over the past 365 days.  Honestly, this is the reason I set out on this mission, and I am so thankful these individuals took the time to show their appreciation.  Thank you!

From Janaye, a perfect stranger (and I mean that quite literally):

Hi,
I just wanted to write you a quick email to say thank you. I discovered one of your signs in my neighborhood along my jogging route and decided to check out your blog….which is completely awesome! I’ve always been big on kindness, believing the simplest gestures can make the biggest difference. Unfortunately, I don’t live this belief out as much as I would like to say I do. Being 17 years old and going to high school, I’m struggling to form my identity and way too often I focus on only myself and my own needs. I’ve realized how incredibly self-absorbed I am. I’ve also realized that’s one of the main philosophies which society emphasizes – ”everything’s about you”. I don’t want to shape an identity that fits into this ideaology. My desire is to have character composed of love and kindness, serving others instead of being self-serving. And I believe that starts with humility and gratefulness. Humility because only when you’re humble can you truly care for others. Not a false humility motivated by who’s watching or the glory I will receive, but a genuine humility; the act of consistently denying myself and reaching out to others. Gratefulness because when you’re grateful, you’re thinking about what you’ve been blessed with, and from that stems joy and satisfaction in what you have; allowing you the willingness and desire to give that joy to others.
 
I don’t know if any of that makes sense haha but I want you to know you’ve inspired me. You are a truly different person and it’s awesome to see. Just from your blog, you serve as an example to me through your sincerity and passion for others. And you have both humility and gratefulness, from what I’ve seen so far. I hope that my identity turns out as amazing as yours. Never lose that empathy, you don’t know who you’re impacting. Thank you for your inspiration and for taking the time to do what you do.
 
Hope this wasn’t too strange of an email :)

Have a fantastic day!

From Richard Radstone, who also has a 365 blog, which is fabulous!

“Be present and mindful. Not an easy thing to do, to not think about the past, or the future, but to live life in the moment. And Kindness can come from there.“To do it you have to follow your heart and be aware enough to know we are all swayed by the media, politics and society.“Enforce your self-authority over all these outside influences in doing what is right for self and others. It’s all about ethics and morals.”Not my words, but the words of fellow blogger Dez, the owner of allspunout365 (http://allspunout365.wordpress.com), a very cool 365 day blog with one mission, to highlight random acts of kindness, one a day for one year. Now on day 321, Dez is an example to me in commitment.I meet her in a random way, from a kind comment she places on my blog, and after reading it I am strongly prompted to reach out, inquiring if she would be open to becoming one of my 365 friends.Until we meet today, at a little cafe in Sherman Oaks, I knew nothing about Dez, other than her blog. At first meeting I am immediately smitten by her spirit. Dez is angelic and emits the most amazing positive attitude. Her energy is infectious and after having the opportunity to spend almost two hours chatting with her, I am edified in my knowledge of this fact, “There are so many good, kind and caring people in the world,” and Dez is one of the best.

Dez, purely stated, is one of those people that radiate kindness, and because of this it makes absolute sense as to her motivation for starting her blog. Love for others is obviously in her DNA, it literally emits from her in every word she shares, and the way she listen with me this day.“I moved to Los Angeles to follow an acting career.”As we talk, I find out that Dez is highly talented and no quitter. She is exquisitely beautiful, articulate and educated – the kind of person that makes it in Hollywood.So why the change of heart, “After awhile I realized that my heart was not into it. I wanted to look beyond myself in helping others.”At that moment of self-realization, she decided to return to academics and has followed a greater path toward helping others.Now, four months from completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology, Dez is on her true course to contributing to the world in helping others.We talk for the bulk of our conversation about society and self-work.“When I started school, I wanted to work with children and trauma. But as I spend time in my internship, working in a community mental health center, I’ve been exposed to many different cases and am learning a lot. I think I’ll stay here for now and hope to work with more families.”Dez is a fighter, “I work at least sixty hours a week, class, my unpaid internship and my money making job (administrative assistant).” That does not include the time she puts into her blog and study time.“Why did you commit to a 365 day project with all you have to do?” I must know, after all, I am a 365-day blogger and it’s rare to commune with another.“First, I was a little bored and was looking for a challenge”I think, “A little bored? Sixty-plus hours a week and a little bored,” Dez is a powerhouse of ability and I’m uplifted by her commitment.She goes on, “But the more I got into it, the better it felt. It is great to be a part of something positive and I’ve grown from the experience.”“Would you encourage others to do a 365 blog?” I question.“Absolutely! All they need to do is find anything they are interested in, to listen to their heart and go for it. They will learn a lot about themselves and I’m sure grow from doing it.”That leads me to a more personal question, “Your almost done with your year, would you do it again!”Her reply, as I thought, “It’s been difficult and challenging and I’ve grown as a person. Creating it has changed my life, and it’s been motivating. I’m already thinking about a next project and am letting it evolve in my mind.”Dez’s answer strikes hard with me, I’m on day 128 and, I too am hooked, we’ll see what happens at the end of mine.In meeting Dez, seeing other 365 blogs (there are a few out there), I too encourage you to explore the thought of starting one. I promise, even though a daunting commitment, you will be enlightened.

Man! There is so much to say about Dez and it is impossible to articulate it in a short blog.Our conversation is deep and her quotes at the beginning of this entry do articulate the basics of her council. I guess the biggest take away I can offer, “Be courageous. Look at your life, but do not reflect on it. Lean on your experiences, education, spirituality and conscience to make you decisions and once made, constantly listen to your self-voice and be strong and humble enough to follow your own inspiration.”In speaking of the future, and the world, Dez starts with this… after a big pause of thought, “I can’t comment on the world, that is too big. For me, it’s not really possible to see what it will be.”“For me, it’s not really possible to see what it will be.” Dez says, and I know she means it in a very optimistic way. And after hearing so many doom and gloom predictions, Dez’s reply is a breath of fresh air.Picking it back up, Dez continues, “But I can comment on society and myself. For me, peacefulness in self, for society – really think about acceptance of self and others, and learn to work hand-in-hand with each other. We all know what it’s like to be human, ‘the human experience,’ and we all know what pain and happiness is.”Our interview is growing to a close and I’ve forgotten to tell you one thing, my daughter has been patiently sitting with us. Why do I constantly drag her with me on these 365 quests?A two part answer, “1) She asks to come, 2) I’m watching her learn compassion and am proud of her for her sensitivity.”Dez and my girl hit it off wonderfully, furthering my gratitude for Dez’s outlook on life.So what about Dez’s act of kindness today, other than the sweetness she has shared with my daughter?It’s called a “Yarnbomb.” Every once and a while, Dez painstakingly knits a gift. Her gift? A handcrafted cotton flower carrying a message. A message that she randomly places on a tree, or a street post or even in a yard. A special little offering of affirmation and hope to whoever the unknown recipient is. Bottom line, a selfless act of random kindness.

Lucky for us, today is a Yarnbomb day, and we are placing the grand marshal of all Yarnbombs, a pass it on challenge.It works like this: we are placing it on a light pole, it reads this.“This bit of knitting, or “yarnbomb,” was made with love and care with the intention of strengthening community and kindness. “This little yarnbomb has begun its journey in Los Angeles, CA. and hopes to make it all the way to New York, NY. “Please carefully and kindly place this yarnbomb on the next tree or pole, in the next city or state from where you find it, going in the direction of New York. “As a random act of kindness. “Then pull out your smart phone, take a picture of it, and email it to the address below (making sure to indicate who you are, in what city and on what object you kindly left this yarnbomb, and any other info you wish to share): Allspunout365@gmail.com “Then, visit the blog below to update yourself on this yarnbomb’s travels, which (with your help) will be updated daily. “Respect the process.”

In closing we talk of life’s path, and conclude on one unanimous finding, “We will always be evolving and there is much to learn.”“If I could do it all again, I would study neuroscience. There is so much going on in that field, and it would be exciting to be part of it. What is fascinating is how study of the brain is linking to the treatment of trauma.”Dez, I know you will do all that you dream to do.

From Helen Jupiter, another stranger, about the “Give What You Can Series”:

All that was left when I found this in the Trader Joe’s elevator was Peace and Integrity. I took Integrity – just because. :-) This is a fun blog! Glad to have stumbled up on it!

From Phillip Johnson, an old friend:

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not quite sure how I know you. Your name and face are vaguely familiar and the fact you went to Oly and we have 20 mutual “friends” is probably the knot in the social rope, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. In addition, I also thought you were sharing a blog until I read a couple of entries and found out you were the mind behind it. My apologies.However, I have grown to know you in the present (or in the first 90 days of your blog with 122 left to experience) through your outstanding blog. It is filled with inspiration, creativity, humor and one of the simplest, most powerful messages that sometimes seems so hard to abide by on some days: RESPECT THE PROCESS! (Which I have currently Post-it noted on my monitor in my office)Through your blog I have laughed until I cried. cried until I laughed, and found that through one’s passions, positivity and service to others are 3 keys to a vibrant life.My life has been nomadic from hotel to hotel for the past 6 years and the movement and sheer amount of work has kind of unnerved me. You have inspired me to take photography, guitar, and public service (hobbies that I would have always liked to make a passion of mine) and make it a larger part of my life and bring balance to my “self”.It is important that people who do great things be acknowledged, even if it is on a small scale. I have already shared your blog and stories with some of my closest friends and after I send this, I am going to share your blog with my little slice of Facebook.You are an artist. your knitspirations are wonderful and hope I see one in the future and you would be happy to know that I have spread love through post-its. Amy Krouse Rosenthal would be proud of you. If you meant for your blog, which I am excited to read and experience the rest of, to be a vessel of inspiration, you have succeeded.In short, you kind of rule. Good luck in grad school, your Etsy shop, and your knitvolution.From an anonymous passerby:“I too have just been inspired by your video, wonderful project, and by the yarn bombing idea.  I had read today was Knitting In Public Day too (and hoped that crochet counted). My son had, a few weeks ago, brought home a crochet flower that was hanging on a Culver City tree in front of the USVAA with a beautiful quote on it (allspunout3…65.wordpress.com site was on the back). Today, driving up Sawtelle, my son noticing the pink Totoro sewn onto a street post, made me turn around, park the car, and come admire it! Yes, I too love our neighborhood, West LA (and Culver City too!) and the beautiful people we have living and crocheting in it. As a fellow crocheter (Sundaycrochet.com) hope to run into you at our WLA Farmer’s Market this and every Sunday :-) Keep hooked!”

From Nicole, another stranger, on the car cozy she found:

Hello! This is long overdue but I wanted to say thank you…I was one of the lucky people to receive a car cozie and your gift couldn’t of come at a more perfect time.I recently lost my brother to cancer and when I saw that on my car it made me so happy. So thank you for this random act of kindness…it’s nice to know there are people like you out there.

Thank you all so much for your support and  your kind words!

Day 364- A Montage….

27 Feb

A montage of my favorite knitspirations over the past year:

Day 363- What I have learned…

26 Feb

Over the past 363 days of writing this blog, I have learned many interesting and some amazing things.

I will share ten of them with you now:

1. I am highly motivated.

2. It is difficult to inspire change, but not impossible.  Rarely do we do anything everyday for 365 days.

3. I think people are generally kind and goodhearted….we just sometimes get caught up in individuality and serving the self.  This is no wonder when, as a society, we are constantly striving to survive and improve our quality of life.

4. People want to connect with others.

5. People want to share their stories.

6. We are all so fearful of being judged harshly by others.

7. A little can go a long way.

8. It’s easier to be complacent or passive, but these things rarely pay off in the end.

9. I am not as kind as I want to be, but I hope to always strive to be better.

10. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Day 362- Wrapping things up…..

25 Feb

Well we are coming to an end here….only a few more days left and I am going to wrap things up.

First, a reminder of my original purpose of this blog.

Here is my “about me” that I created on day 1 of this blog:

First things first….. I am an avid knitter and crocheter, but I am sure you have already gathered that.  I am also a student working towards a Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy.  I thrive on random acts of kindness- stumbling upon them or handing them out myself.

My friend, Alica Ryan,  and I decided to start a 365 blog to inspire change within ourselves and others…..and by “decided” I mean I coerced her to do a 365 blog with me so that she could hold me accountable and so that I wouldn’t have to do it alone- “alone” being one of my most feared words.  Thankfully, because my friend is my favorite and my bestest, she agreed!  So, everyday, for the next 365 days, we will be blogging…….together.  I will focus mostly on art, kindness, and “the process,” which is my little way of remembering to be patient, mindful, and calm and to just put one foot in front of the other.  Everyday.  So, you can be sure that with every post I will be silently chanting “respect the process” and hoping to find myself in a new and interesting light at the end of my journey.

Day 361- How To: DIY Flannel Lantern by Free People

24 Feb

Day 360- 365 Projects

23 Feb

365 Projects: Creating Every Day for a Year

Story by littlealouette

Little Alouette owner and blogger Amy Turn Sharp spends her days wrangling three little boys and being a creative wild one. She always keeps a mask in her handbag and she can make a mean curry.

It has always inspired me to learn about artists who are practicing their craft, interest or obsession in a daily format. I have been keeping a journal since childhood, but I wish it had been a daily journal. It would rock my world to go back through. Humans like the nostalgia of the artistic landscape — what we ultimately leave behind.

This year I am writing a poem every single day. I am distilling my craft of writing into a daily examination of life, and sharing it on my blog. I am learning, and at the end of the year I will have thousands of words, hundreds of strung-together sentences that I can mine for gold. I will go back. And perhaps at the end of the day, it is the experience that we seek and the “look back” over our shoulders that keeps us going. I’m not the only one working on a 365 project. These are some others I’ve recently discovered.

I learned about Matt Kish’s blog and my head was spinning. This man, known on Etsy as Spuddsixtyfour, has illustrated each page of Moby Dick. Yes, each page of Moby Dick. Call me astonished.

“When I started the Moby-Dick project in August of 2009 it was to fight back against a kind of slowly creeping artistic ennui,” Matt says. “I wanted to give myself one last ludicrously ambitious challenge to see if there was still a place for art in my life. I gave myself only two rules. The first was to create one illustration every single day, and the second, to proceed through the novel in a linear fashion, from page 1 to page 552, without skipping around. Beyond that, I freed myself to use whatever media I chose and to create any kind of imagery I so desired. Tin House Books will publish my book this year.”

My heart and soul like to visit Shutter Sisters 365 blog. I am attracted to photography as storytelling, and this group of women is walking amongst us with their camera straps around their necks, documenting every single day of this life.

They say: “Shutter Sisters is a collaborative photo blog that believes in the transformative power of telling stories through photography. We support any and all creative projects that encourage women to use their cameras in a way that empowers them and expresses who they are. Committing to shoot at least a photo a day for a whole year is an engaging and fun challenge that keeps participants tapped into their creativity, cameras in hand.”

Shane Yuhas loves his wife. He also loves to take photos of her every day of their marriage and post them on his blog. This type of project hits at my heart because it is a devotion to another human being that makes the project live and last. His style of creating a daily diptych allows us to see the model and the landscape of their life together.

“I’ve always called Alyssa my darlin, so that is how the name Daily Darlin came about. I started the project shortly after we were married in 2009,” he says. “I wanted to start a photo blog, but not just of work that I’ve done or things that I like. I wanted to challenge myself to better my photography skills by shooting every day.”

I find the drawings and illustration of Chris Piascik to be wild and fun, and I think he is a prolific thought monster. I love his video and watching the effortless flow of his work.

“I’ve actually been posting daily drawings for over four years,” he says. “I didn’t start drawing every day to do a 365 project though. All through my childhood I was always drawing. It never really slowed down until I graduated from art school and started working at design. After a couple years of this I realized just how little was I drawing and it kind of freaked me out. I was worried if I continued down this road I would lose that outlet. I was determined to make it part of my life again. Two years later, I was on my own working as an independent illustrator because of my daily drawings. It’s pretty incredible actually. I am self-publishing a book of the first thousand. ”

Lisa Congdon blew my head off with creativity when I first discovered her 2010 book  A Collection a Day.  I find her to be a true renaissance artist as she is a fine artist and illustrator, but also a curator and social scientist who makes us look at what we love and what we need to hold onto in this world. She makes me keep my eyes open wider.

“Each day for 365 days for the year 2012 I am posting an image of something I have hand-lettered: a letter of the alphabet, a word, a phrase, a quote, a name,” she explains. “Some of the lettering is based on traditional forms of calligraphy or vintage lettering and some is of my own design. Why hand lettering? First, I love typography and type design, lettering and calligraphy. I love old letters, old script, anything written with a nib and ink. Second, hand lettering is something at which I’d like to get become more accomplished and incorporate into my art and illustration practice more fully. This project is an opportunity for me to practice in the context of a personal creative challenge.”

Today could be the day that you decide to start your own 365 project. You could inspire yourself and others with the art you make. You could find devotion. You could find an obsession. You have to start to start somewhere.

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