Archive for the ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ Category

Top Ten Tuesday – Organizing and Living Life

This has been a great week for goodies on the web. Great eye candy and inspiration.

* I subscribe to Dumb Little Man, and every now and then they have something that really resonates. This week it was “How to Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude.” The article is based off this quote from Tecumseh: When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself. ~Tecumseh You can read the article here. Great words to live by.

Bien Mur

* Speaking of Native Americans, I picked up a great book at Bien Mur, the art gallery at the Sandia Pueblo in Albuquerque called “Native Wisdom for White Minds.” This is full of wisdom from indigenous people around the world, set up as a saying a day, so you have inspiration throughout the year. The book is available from Amazon – search on the left (disclaimer – I’m an affiliate, so if you order, I get a few pennies.).

From today, July 13 – “Nature is the storehouse of potential life of future generations and is sacred.” ~Audrey Shenendoah, Onandagan writer

Jane Dunnewold

* “What’s Trite, What’s Not” from Existential Neighborhood by Jane Dunnewold. Jane is an amazing fiber artist and I was licky enough last year to follow along on her daily photo inspirations. Is life trite? Here’s a provoking thought: “And there’s the paradox. The activities that keep me centered, authentic, and real could easily be dismissed as trite. It’s all phrasing and context. How much outside influence have you bought into lately?”

* Making Mondays – and Your Week – More Productive. Well, who doesn’t want to! There are seven questions to help guide you to more productivity – all of them worth thinking about.


* Self-Inflicted Time Management from Time Management Ninja (great name!). If you have issues with any of the following, read this post!

  • Missed Deadlines
  • Late Fees
  • More Work Due to Undone Tasks
  • Lateness
  • Disorganization


* The Myth of Multi-tasking from Productivity 501. I thought it was just because I was getting older – I really thought I could multi-task well. Age has shown me I can’t… “It turns out that humans are amazingly horrible at multi-tasking. Many people feel like they are improving their focus by multitasking when they are really doing the opposite.”This is a good read.


* 5 Questions to Ask when Prioritizing Your Life from PluginID – Plug Into Your Identity. The first one –  What if I didn’t do this? –  is the one that stopped me. These are really work reading and thinking about.
* The is an oldie but goodie, from 2008. The Future Buzz looks at trends in the internet and business and is a good read if you are serious about building your own market. “7 Living Artifacts and Why They Are Done For” is good food for thought. We have gotten rid of our land line and read our papers on line.

John Pugh

* The Mural Art of John Pugh – some eye candy, just because we all need beauty in our lives – always. “By weaving the powerful story-telling abilities of the narrative mural into the engaging impact of the life-size tromp l’oeil, illusion artist John Pugh has created a stimulating and enlightening venue for both public and private art.”
* Metal Measures, artwork by Jamie Fingal – a very beautiful and very unusual quilt.
So enjoy! Let me know what you find of interest on the web this week.

Top Ten Tuesday – What’s New on the Web This Week

Another great week of finding cool stuff on the web.

Inside Out Weight Loss

First up is Inside Out Weight Loss with Renee Stephens on Personal Life Media. Some of you have been following my online blog about getting healthy this year: THIS is the Year for Health. I’ve been dealing with weight issues for nearly half my life, and this podcast series seems to be helping me stay on course – after only four episodes, I am answering some interesting questions about my overeating. And…I’m open to anythng that will help me get healthy by losing fat and not muscle. If you’re interested in weight loss, I’ve got a number of interesting articles posted on my blog, from misconceptions about The Biggest Loser to suggestions from the Mayo Clinic on daily calorie intake.

Sales Tips for Artists

Along the same lines is this from  Dick Harrison at Sales Tips for Artists – 8 Reasons Why Your Art Isn’t Selling and You Can’t Lose Weight. Who knew the two would be connected? Goals, accountability, patience, planning – it’s all there!

All About Hand Dyeing

Paula Burch’s All About Hand Dyeing has instructions and examples for tie-dye, batik, low water immersion dyeing, and hand painting. Paula has been very generous with all her information; there is a lot to explore and lean about on this site.

Daniel Sroka

Some really fine photography here at Daniel Sroka’s Open Studio. His blog shows step-by-step processes in creating his photography. His leaf series is pretty amazing. A self-taught artist, Daniel Sroka has been working as a professional artist for the past decade, specializing in abstract and semi-abstract macro photography of nature.

Think Geek

Think Geek is a fun site, with t-shirts galore. The one here is from the Big Bang Theory version of Rock Paper Scissors…Lizard Spock. I can spend a lot of time perusing the various geek-y shirts.

Jackie Abrams

Jackie Abrams’ Contemporary Basketry and Fiber Art has beautiful work. “Jackie Abrams has made a career of transforming simple materials into contemporary works of art. Abrams has spent the last 30 years stretching the term ‘basketry’ far beyond its traditional meaning, combining materials and techniques to create unexpected forms with rich texture and color. Abrams calls her work a progression of explorations.”
The Crafts Report, April 2005

Website Tutorials

15 Awesome Tutorial Websites You Probably Didn’t Know About by Dumb Little Man (who knew?). Lots of interesting things to explore here, and no doubt loads of links to other tutorials on line. I am amazed at what you can find just on YouTube. I googled “quadratic formula songs” and who knew there would be literally hundreds? And since there’s 15 of them here, that makes more than Ten for this Tuesday. Enjoy!

Top Ten from the Web

Even though I haven’t been blogging much lately, and not reading my usual blogs, I have still managed to accumulate some really interesting websites. When I go back through all the bookmarks, I am reminded about what an awesome thing the internet is. You can find just about anything, and then some. While I so enjoy the eye candy from fiber sites, there are still so many things that interest me. Here’s a mere ten for this week. I’m going to try and get back in the habit of doing this once a week.

Cabinet magazine cover

Cabinet Magazine(from the website) Cabinet is an award-winning quarterly magazine of art and culture that confounds expectations of what is typically meant by the words “art,” “culture,” and sometimes even “magazine.” Like the 17th-century cabinet of curiosities to which its name alludes, Cabinet is as interested in the margins of culture as its center. Presenting wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary content in each issue through the varied formats of regular columns, essays, interviews, and special artist projects, Cabinet‘s hybrid sensibility merges the popular appeal of an arts periodical, the visually engaging style of a design magazine, and the in-depth exploration of a scholarly journal.

Sounds like a potentially great look into today’s art and culture!

Homework shelters

Homework – Hand-Built Shelters – (from the website) features: homes, cabins, cottages, bungalows, homesteads,   sheds, shacks, huts, treehouses, bottle houses, yurts, hogans, tipis, tents, beach shacks, stilt houses, greenhouses, small houses designs, and MORE!

The sheer scope of different types of homes boggles the mind.

A Moment in Time – from the Lens project to document one moment of one day on the earth. As the site says, “make no plans for the rest of the day.” You get to look at photos from around the world, all taken at the same time on the same day – a great look at “us.”

When Graphic Artists Get Bored – a great selection of graphic art. Take a good close look – you won’t be disappointed!

Real World Math – Using Google Earth in the Math Curriculum. Oh, to use this in the classroom – and if this had only been available when I was in school! My ideal job would be a curriculum coordinator for Google Earth. I would never be off the computer!

While I have had my own blog about teaching, I occasionally read others, like this one – A Teacher’s Education. I can so relate, and if you are a teacher and any good in the classroom, you will relate, too.

Urban Homestead

Urban Homestead – since I have become very interested in sustainability and locally grown food, I found this interesting. Path to Freedom – the Original Modern Urban Homestead.

The Scribbler – be prepared to waste lots of time, because after all, you have to get good at this – scribbling, that is…who knew it could be so much fun to just doodle – no, make that scribble, and in color – and you can save them! Here’s info about how it got started. You have been warned…..

Quantum Learning – Visiting Auschwitz –  interesting blog. “Help build a world where everyone is valued irrespective of wealth, origin, colour or beliefs and conflicts are solved peacefully. Here you’ll learn how to do this in day to day life.”

Gray Eagles

And finally, Gray Eagles , a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the stories of World War II pilots. “The Gray Eagles Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping aviation history alive through dynamic audio-visual media created to educate and inspire those from all generations. Specifically, it is our hope that our films will encourage others to share their stories, and by doing so, build family connections, foster community, and nurture a culture of multi-generational understanding and respect.” After all, the past is prologue.

Other Top Ten Website articles:

Thoughts for a Thursday

Sunday Sampler

Top Ten Tuesday – Cool Stuff

Visual Delights

Visual Delights 2

Top Ten Tuesday – July

Top Ten Tuesday – San Diego

Top Ten Tuesday – Getting Here

Top Ten Tuesday – CHINA!!!

Me on the Great Wall of China! This was 31 years ago this October – I went with a group of 20 Americans as part of the US-China People’s Friendship Association. I was there for a month, starting in Hong Kong, where we needed summer clothes, to Beijing, where we needed parkas! It was an amazing month. This was several months before Carter normalized relations with China, so in many cases we were the first Westerners the Chinese had seen.

This all came about when I was in Walgreen’s last weekend, and I asked about converting slides to a CD. I had asked about three years ago and it was like $2 for each slide. Now it was $5.99 for 24 slides. So I picked through some of my older China slides – the really good ones are packed somewhere…..So for Top Ten Tuesday, here’s my first 10 slides of China.

Throughout our visits, we were treated to all kinds of performing arts, mostly by students. Here’s a group of gymnasts performing for us. The kids were so poised and centered on stage.

I bought several yeards of silk and wanted to buy some of the “double-sided embroideries”, but I couldn’t afford them. The bottom frame is of fish, and it doesn’t matter which side you look at, you can’t see a back. The back piece is an incredible needlepoint – such detail and small stitches!

At the Children’s Palaces, which were after-school daycare centers, students were learning and practicing needlepoint.

Also at the Children’s Palace were beginning, intermediate, and advanced orchestras.

We spent time at the Ming Tombs, and I have better pics tucked away. Autumn in the northern part of China was just like New England. You can’t see our fairly modern tour buses, but we always saw hand-operated carts and LOADS of bicycles! Wait till you see my picture of the traffic jam of bikes.

There are these wonderful stone statues leading up to the Ming tombs.

Guilin is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots on earth, These are just two photos, and yes, the river was really low. We were able to sail on the river only to a point, and then had to take a bus back to our hotel. Amazingly beautiful place.

And finally, the Great Wall again. I started up, as you can see from the top pic, in my parka, and by the time I had walked about a mile up, I was stripping off jackets and sweaters and scarves!

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Creative Tips for Healthy Eating

We have a guest blogger today – Darya Pino from Summer Tomato. We “met” last spring while taking an online blogging class, and I have been reading her faithfully ever since. Thanks to Darya, I have made changes in my eating and lifestyle, and I feel so much better because of it! I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” recommended by Darya, and it has literally been life-changing. For those of us with food issues, Darya is a breath of fresh air! And…there is NOTHING like food from the farmer’s market! Plus – since so much of this blog is about creativity, why not apply it to eating? So without further ado, here’s

“10 Creative Tips For Healthy Eating”

Darya Pino

(Bio: Darya is a scientist, San Francisco foodie and advocate of local, seasonal foods. Get more healthy eating tips at her blog, Summer Tomato . Follow her on Twitter @summertomato .)

Food is the key to health. Whether you want to lose weight or simply live a fulfilling, active lifestyle your diet is the most important factor in your success.

But I am not talking about trendy superfoods and gimmicky diets. These things make big promises, but are never a real solution. Research has shown over and over that the only true path to health is an overall pattern of healthy eating. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and other natural, unprocessed foods must be the foundation of your diet.

Since processed and industrial foods are so common in Western culture, I have found cooking at home to be the only realistic way to improve your healthstyle .

So where do we start?

To make home cooking and better health a reality, it is critically important to embrace variety. Every natural food contains a unique profile of nutrients that work together in a special way that cannot be mimicked by dietary supplements. To capitalize on this ingredient diversity it is vital to consume a wide variety of whole, natural foods.

And while variety is important to health, it is equally important for quality of life. No one can eat fish and steamed broccoli every night of the week, so food and flavor creativity is key to better nutrition and maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

Here are 10 tips for infusing creativity into your cooking to optimize health and happiness:

1. Avoid the temptation to fall back on the same dishes and flavors. Nothing is more boring than eating the same thing over and over again. Even if you only know how to cook one or two things, try adding new spices and ingredients whenever possible.

2. Learn to explore new recipes. If cooking is not your strong point you can start by expanding to dishes that are prepared similarly to ones you know. If you can’t cook at all, try making more exotic salads and other raw foods. Just start playing with flavors and you will become more comfortable in the kitchen.

3. Learn to explore new ingredients. Vegetables are rarely very expensive and can be a wonderful source of inspiration for your cooking. Fresh herbs and new spices are also a great way to discover new tastes and flavor combinations.

4. Let the farmers market and the season dictate food shopping, not your cookbooks. Few things are more inspiring than a bountiful haul of ripe, farm fresh vegetables from your local farmers market. Go to the market without an agenda—just find what looks good and figure out how to cook it later.

5. Learn to talk to the farmers and ask for serving suggestions. Even if you think you know how to cook a certain food, ask the farmer you are buying from for recipe suggestions and ideas. They will often share with you how they have been eating it, and sometimes discuss how it is being served at local restaurants. This is also a convenient starting point for a Google recipe search.

6. Find specific cooking recommendations on the internet. Once you’ve narrowed in on some flavors to explore, make use of the internet to find specific recipes. Google can be infinitely more useful than any number of cookbooks. Be sure to read through the recipes before choosing one. And don’t forget to read reviews if they are available!

7. Do not tie yourself to one recipe. I often find that different recipes for the same dish have different appeals to me. For example, one might have flavors I like better (or have on hand) and another might be a simpler technique. Learn to creatively combine different recipe sources to customize your dish to your taste. Once you’ve mastered your own version of the recipe you can post it as your own!

8. Search for recipe ideas that specifically combine foods you have purchased. You do not have to limit your recipe search to one ingredient or cooking method. Frequently you will find that different cultures use the same ingredients as a base to create very different flavors. Have tomato, lime, chili and cilantro? Explore dishes from Mexico, Southeast Asia, North Africa and Southern India.

9. Use restaurants for inspiration. If the idea of cooking Moroccan food is appealing in theory but you aren’t really sure how it should taste, try finding a local restaurant and ordering a few of their most traditional dishes. Restaurants are a fantastic source of flavor inspiration, and you will be surprised to find how easy it is to make ethnic cuisines that seem impossibly complicated.

10. Be creative. Creativity is absolutely essential for upgrading your healthstyle. Getting out of your rut and learning to love cooking and eating is the critical first step. It does not matter where you start, just find foods you enjoy and get creative!

Top Ten Tuesday – Cool Stuff on the Web!

This has been an incredible week for cool stuff from the web. I am getting lots of tweets of art sites and interesting articles. So I’ll pass on to you the best of the best! Most of the stuff I can’t get pics for!!

* The Blooming Lotus – I got this site from Ideal Bite, which is a daily newsletter (you can subscribe) about being ecologically responsible. As Jen, the owner, says “at Blooming Lotus, natural and organic are not marketing buzzwords — they are a way of life.” Check out how they walk the talk.

* Spinning on the Edge – International Call for Textiles – Textile Tide Pool Project. Textile artists – check this out. I have written for more clarification about the project, but at first glance it seems very worthwhile – bring a light to the fragile tide pools of the world.

* Think Geek: Rock Paper Scissors Lizards Spock – for you Big Bang fans (of which I am certainly one), there are some cool t-shirts here!

* Anagrams from WordSmith – type in your name and get a variety of anagrams from your letters. I got some weird ones… “Ad Molar Inn” – lots of fun! And if you like that, look at John Langdon, who did the ambigrams for Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons.” Really explore this site – there is great art work here!!

* Digital Art Guild – Art Through Technology. Great articles and images.

* From – 20 Little Ways to Drop the Pounds and Keep Them Off. I’m working on doctor’s orders to get the weight off, and every little bit helps!!!

* The Lazy Dyer from Melody Johnson – since I have just started dyeing, I found this blog entry really great. “Not Exactly the Right Way…Just Exactly My Way.”

* If you’re using Facebook, then check out these mocked-up Facebook pages – absolutely hysterical!! You need to subscribe to The Best Article Every Day.

* From The Huffington Post comes this article and video about a five-year-old girl and her plan to feed the homeless. The best thing about this video is the reminder that all of us can effect change.

* And finally – from YouTube: Mascara Painting to Betty Davis Eyes. Unbelievable!! Who knew?

And you have seen the LED sheep, right???


Top Ten Tuesday – A Week on the Web

I have spent the day so far at the computer, cleaning out old emails, answering emails, updating links – all the stuff you put off doing. However, there has been some amazing stuff I’ve discovered on the web this week – loads of eye candy! So sit back and enjoy!!

* This first is an amazing marbling video by a Turkish master. I was stunned by it – so different from anything I have seen, and so masterful in technique. I should live long enough to be able to do this!

* The Guild of American Papercutters – not a great website, but the gallery has some really amazing photos. I fell in love with papercuts when I watched a master in Shanghai create a lovely cutting of a girl, with just scissors and his own eye for detail.

* A wonderful artist – Harrison Howard from San Diego – vibrant paintings, some interesting Asian influences. His shell series are quite wonderful. I tend to really like vibrant colors (I think the school is “colorist?”), and these really do it for me.

* Clark Little surf photography – words will never do these images justice. The waves, the curls, the movement – you will drool at each image.

* Human Computation – another YouTube video. You know those made-up words we use for encoding to prove we’re really human? Luis Ahn explains how we are helping to digitize books each time we type them – really fascinating!

* The Scribbler – just downright fun to play with – your own scribbles, and you can upload them into an online gallery.

Art Licensing Info – an interesting resource as we start doing more marketing. Free download e-book on getting started with Twitter.

* 3-D Street Art – more street painting – really great stuff, with how-to photos. Couldn’t figure out how to get a photo to post!

* China’s Olympics Light Creative Flame – interesting article.

* The Power of One – a fabulous video – we can all be instruments of change for the better. Check out additional videos.

Top Ten Tuesday – Great Things I Have Done

This time last year I was recovering from eye surgery and complications, turning a major birthday, and two weeks away from blood clots in my lung and leg. Not a good summer. As mortality rears its ugly head, I’ve been reflecting on a bunch of the good things I have done in my life.

* Married my amazing hubby Dean – 33 years this June. It never gets old, much to the amazement of my 9th graders, who can’t understand why I’m not bored.

* Walked on the Great Wall of China – the only out-of-US traveling I have done, but one of the major places I wanted to go. I need to scan some of the pics from 30 years ago. It was an amazing month, from Hong Kong to Beijing (Peking at the time), including hearing the war sounds at the time from the China-Viet Nam clash.

* Lived in Hawaii for my first 3 years of teaching. Great mentors, wonderful memories, some of the “old” Hawaii. O’ahu’s pali, Waikiki, hiking Diamond Head, a semester at the East West Center, driving the back side of Haleakala, swimming in the Seven Pools, visiting Lindburgh’s grave, Maui’s pali – there are so many memories!

* Taught history, language arts, math, earth science, writing – took me a long time to realize teaching was what I was meant to do. I’m thankful for all the students in my life. I loved teaching AP US History, almost as much as teaching algebra.

* Started a non-profit learning center that helped over 3000 students. Nearly went broke personally, but we did good work during those three years.

* Charter member of Maui Community Theater – loved the theater and even more loved directing all my students in Peter Pan, Music Man, Oliver, Portraits, Willy Wonka, Bye Bye Birdie. Thank you, Marie, for the vocal class – did my first vocal recital at 42.

* Marbling and exploring my artistic soul. Reading, writing, quilting – all the wonderful “down time” activities I can enjoy.

* Haunting museums. Loved the week in DC just rambling through the Smithsonian. If there’s a museum in my travels, I’m there.

* My long-time friends, and my new close friends. We should all be so lucky. I have a second family of great people.

* Got to thank the teachers that made me: Joan Daniels, Tom Higgins, Elias Tobias, Fred Stevenson.

Top Ten Tuesday – San Diego!

No pic today because I don’t have access to my computer, but OMG – San Diego is AMAZING!! When we were here 9 years ago, we were booked too far out of town, had to navigate the traffic all by ourselves, and were generally frustrated having to find parking on our own. So THIS time we did it differently – lots of on-line reading to make arrangements…so here goes!

* The weather! Amazing, a little drizzle, nice and cool, plenty of sun – PERFECT!

* The trolly tour – great to see San Diego this way, lots of info, great guides, on and off where we want.

* The Sea Lion tour – an amphibious boat – drove through SD for 15 minutes to Shelter Island, entered the water, and then even more fun began. Navy Seals checking us out, as it turns out two nuclear subs were being towed to sea – the boat was wanred not to get too close to certain areas – but we got great photos! F-18 Hornet landing, lots of sea lions, including a baby just born, and dolphins jumping to commands, as they are being trained by the Navy in the Bay.

* Lunch at the Harbor House in Seaport Village, and wandering around, drooling at the water.

* Coronado Island, especially the BEACH! I haven’t seen ocean in 8 years!

* Convention Center – HUGE!!!!!!! Tucson is such a one-horse town, compared to SD….

* Seeing Balboa Park – goind museum hopping tomorrow – Da Vinci at Air and Space.

* Shopping at Old Town – really had to hang on to the credit card – but there is a metal sculpture with our name on it…bought ceramic vegetables for outside the house – been wanting them for years.

* Beautiful views of water!

* Very impressed with history and planning in San Diego – other cities could learn a lot. We will definitely be back!

Top Ten Tuesday – What I’m Reading….

I can never be happy with just one book at a time, especially since I do more nonfiction reading now. So here’s what’s on my nightstand right now….

* Majestic Descending by Mitchell Graham, your basic summer trash. Blown-up cruise ship, stem cell research, and a budding romance between two lawyers. Good for the beach.

* The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones. Part way through – part of a summer book club from Ideal Bite. Interesting look at trying to get the country to go green to solve environmental and economic problems. Interesting.

* The Source by James Michener. Haven’t read this since the early 70s, and it’s harder going than I remember. Interesting look at the state of Israel and what it means to be a Jew, written before the 6-Day War.

* Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. I’m finishing this. The beginning was pretty depressing – the planet is in serious trouble, but the second part is much more hopeful. Some really great ideas here. I love reading Friedman – he makes economics interesting – and readable.

* The Pact by Jodi Picoult. First time reading her, my niece has read most everything and it’s on her GoodReads list. This is an interesting look at teenagers, and it makes me wonder – and worry – about more of my students.

* The World in Six Songs by Daniel Levitin. How the musical brain created human nature. Small doses to absorb it all.

* Boom by Tom Brokaw. Finishing this – great look at the sixties and how they formed the people who are running the country now. I’ve lived the years, and the retrospect is wonderful.

Feng Shui for Your Garden by Richard Webster. Now that I have a backyard, I want to set up several relaxing areas.

* Kiss My Math by Danica McKellar (Winnie in the Wonder Years). This is her second book (Math Doesn’t Suck was first) and I’m getting loads of ideas of how to present some topics in a better format for my algebra students next year.

* PhotoShop User – magazine by the National Association of PhotoShop Users. At least now I understand some of the articles I’m reading – I am so improving my skills!

What are you reading? Let me know, so I can put new titles on my list!

Top Ten Tuesday – Music

What do I listen to when I’m quilting or sewing? Over the years I’ve seen lists of music that quilters listen to, and most of the artists I’ve never heard of. So there are times when I figure I’m pretty ordinary. But I love music, and I have found it really works to get me in the mood for work. For example, when I was writing my master’s thesis, almost all of it was written to the sound track of the movie Glory, a piece I had heard while walking through the mall one day. It was a year later when I saw the movie and realized some of the best, most “uplifting” music was during the bloodiest battles. I haven’t used it since! I wrote my study skills book with Yanni in the background. But when I quilt?

* 1. John Denver greatest hits – all 5 CDs. Most of the songs are perfect for free-motion quilting – great rhythm – kind of get “one with the machine.”

* 2. Josh Groban – No matter when “You Raise Me Up” comes on, I always stop what I’m doing and get refreshed.

* 3. Yanni – Live at the Acropolis – great for cutting and piecing and ironing – nice rhythms, even though a neighbor thought he was pretty bland. I don’t care – at least he’s not John Tesch.

* 4. Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachmusik (sp?) – especially when I have some difficult sewing ahead – soothes and keeps me focused.

* 5. Anything Celtic, especially when I am sewing bindings. So easy to develop a nice rhythm and keep your mind occupied on mindless sewing.

* 6. Local radio station Mix FM 94.9 in Tucson – Seventies Saturday – lots of old favorites – just makes you feel good and want to continue working.

* 7. David Lanz – New Age music – just about anything he has done. I love just piano – again soothing when the sewing or beading is complex.

* 8. Original Broadway soundtrack for Man of La Mancha – it just makes my heart soar – even the most complex sewing becomes easy to the tune of “Impossible Dream.”

* 9. Original Broadway soundtrack for Funny Girl – I just want to sing like Fanny Brice….

* 10. Celine Dion – almost anything, but the duet with Streisand is fabulous.

This will be an interesting exercise for me – what are the Top Ten of various things I do? I’m hoping this will inspire me to keep creating. Gotta go play John Denver as I quilt…..

My Top Ten Inspirational Books

If you’re a reader like I am – and have been as long as I can remember – then you have your own lists of “great” books. I tend to be inspired by great stories, nonfiction, as well as fiction. I’m the kind of person who turns the television off and wants absolute silence (except for nature sounds outside) to finish a book. I’m the kind of person who will read till the end of the last chapter ends, even if it’s past my bedtime (and during the school year, that’s really critical!). I’m the kind of person who wants to own books, so when I get depressed I go book shopping! If you’re looking at the bold, you know there’s more than 10, but what can I say? I LOVE BOOKS! So here goes:

** Exodus by Leon Uris – I was young, impressionable, and didn’t realize historical fiction could be so good. I have learned over the years that there were serious inaccuracies, but I still love the story.

** The World is Flat by Thomas Freidman – a recent read, and I have been stunned by how fast the world has changed and is changing – and how I can use technology (like my blog) to market myself and my art.

**We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. Norman – subtitled “The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese – I am a sucker for all things about strong women. This is a story that needs to be told over and over, lest we forget these amazing women.

**Animal Dreams (fiction) and **Small Wonders (essays) by Barbara Kingsolver – great writer, and she lived in Tucson for many years. Her essays are strongly rooted in the environment, and Animal Dreams reached into my battered soul in many ways.

** The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – one of the greatest teachers ever – if we could only all be like him and affect so many students to reach beyond good to great.

** The Source by James MIchener – I’ve read most everything by him, Hawaii several times (especially after living and teaching there), and The Source has such an interesting history-and-religion mesh.

** To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – if only we all could have an Atticus Finch in our lives – that morality, that kindness.

** The Edge of the Sea of Cortez by Betty Hupp and Marilyn Malone – these two 70-plus ladies took all the photographs and combed almost every inch of the tide waters of the Sea of Cortez to produce this amazing book. Inspirational because I want to be like them when I’m up there!

**The Unschooled Mind by Howard Gardner – I got the main idea for my thesis from his first few chapters about learning for genuine understanding as opposed to just learning to take a test. This has governed how I present lessons in class. And…it’s a much easier read than Frames of Mind!!

**Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman – an eye opener when I first started teaching, and it probably turned me into the education rebel that I am! Also ** The Essential 55 by Ron Clark – one of the current books on education by an amazing teacher – lots of great things to think about bringing to my students.

Oops – nearly forgot ** Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride – again, speaks to our battered souls and helps us heal. Subtitled “Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.”

What would you add? I’m always looking for another great read!

ass="level-0" value="113">Tim Gunn
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