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Honey Girl Books and Gifts humor meditation retirement wisdom work

a zinger about ambition, from Seneca (ca. 4 BC-AD 65)

Reading Seneca this morning, I had the feeling of being with a shrewd friend who was laughing at me! And I had to laugh along, because there was a lot of truth in what he said.

“We commonly give the impression that the reasons for our having gone into political retirement are our disgust with public life and our dissatisfaction with some uncongenial and unrewarding post. Yet every now and then ambition rears its head again in the retreat into which we were really driven by our apprehensions and our waning interest; for our ambition did not cease because it had been rooted out, but merely because it had tired–or become piqued, perhaps, at its lack of success.” Letter LVI, p. 111-112, in Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, ed. Robin Campbell (Penguin ed., 1969.

HA! just see all those books on my bibliography about Buddhism, alternative economies, compassion, and “letting go” etc., as contrasted with the exuberant posting when I made a sale on Etsy! We are all the same.

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art creativity design happiness

omg! so happy!

If you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll realize that until 2018 I was a college professor, lost in the whirlwind of conflicting thoughts… I was a complete novice at business, though I took a great course and do know how to sew and design pretty things. But still… even the MBA in a Box (which still sits on my shelf) was intimidating, and I felt like a failure–or completely INSANE to be doing what I do–quite often. And if you’ve ever tried to create anything or start a small business, you’ll also empathize and feel a surge of joy right now, on hearing that I JUST MADE MY FIRST BIG SALE today! The All Star Seattle Quilt (above) sold after just one day on Etsy!

So now, I’m riding on the wind, as I look forward to a wonderful session of T’ai chi, after the exhilarating Water Taxi ride to the waterfront… and it’s not even raining (right now).

All Star Seattle Quilts nos. 2 and 3 are underway and will feature the T-shirts of more local favorites! No. 2 will feature Pegasus Books, Easy Street Records, and Beanfish Tayaki; No. 3 will feature Elliott Bay Books, Easy Street Records, and Communion Restaurant. preorders available now! (6-8 weeks)

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art cats creativity design dogs friendship happiness quilts trees wisdom

small mercies

It’s been pretty damp out here lately. It’s easy to let your spirits fall flat and feel dreary. Even the computer sends out small, slightly ominous messages of warning, in the right-hand corner of the screen.

Yet I take heart in Emerson’s words this morning: “I am thankful for small mercies.” The beauty of green lush scenery and the ever-changing skies, the humorous way my computer seems to be speaking, commiserating about the weather… it’s all so endearing, so regular, so northwestern. It’s life happening right before our eyes. The passage which follows in Emerson rings strangely familiar too, to readers of Michael Singer and other contemporary writers on consciousness:

“The new molecular philosophy shows astronomical interspaces betwixt atom and atom, shows that the world is all outside; it has no inside.”

Emerson also reminds us, like Singer in Living Untethered (just got my copy and loving it!) that:

“Life’s chief good is for well-mixed people who can enjoy what they find, without question. .. To fill the hour–that is happiness; to fill the hour and leave no crevice for a repentance or an approval. We live amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them.”

“Life is a tempest of fancies, and the only ballast I know is a respect to the present hour. … we should not postpone and refer and wish, but do broad justice where we are.”

— from Emerson, “Experience” in Selected Writings, pp. 350-352.

And then there’s “All Star Seattle Quilt” No. 1, finished yesterday! It was fun to stitch in some of my favorite natural scenes and landmarks from this city I love so much… and to blend them with fabrics from the many cultures which make this such a quirky, lively place to be: African block prints, Vietnamese tigers, Japanese cranes in flight, Mexican flowers in bloom–we have so much to be grateful for, in this outpost on the far western side of the country.

Hint: those T-shirts and the tiny pin represent local landmarks which will be featured in “All Star Seattle Quilts” Nos. 2 and 3, coming for summer!

And now, about that weather…

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Dreaming in Quilts, the exhibit

Photographs by Megan Swann, Seattle, June 2021

Photographed at West Seattle Grounds coffee shop, the new hot spot (air conditioned) in the North Admiral neighborhood!

Quilts available exclusively from Honey Girl Books and Gifts LLC.

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RESPECT Juneteenth

This year and from here on out, I believe it is appropriate to recognize Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas, and is celebrated on June 18-19 this year. (Hope our government does the right thing and makes this a national holiday; yesterday’s announcement was a great step in that direction.)

To celebrate Juneteenth, I’m offering a discount of 50% off all custom-made “Respect” quilts and wall-hangings! Decorate your house with a soulful message. Two days only, June 18-19, 2021.  Check it out on Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/HoneyGirlBooksGifts

The quilts are made primarily of fabrics designed by and/or purchased from Black businesswomen in the USA, and $100 from every sale is donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the USA. Every Respect quilt includes the square seen above (though the “respect” is implied rather than shouted: it comes out indirectly, in the symbols, textures, and images on the quilt… “)

“Respect” quilt no. 9, top, bottom, and back, custom-made for Janice, May 2021
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a sassy quilt

The “Respect” quilt is coming to life and it’s a sassy one!

A concept comes to the world, little by little!

The backs are red flannel, with a panel made to look like a jeans jacket with bright yellow, red, and black patches declaring a strong engagement in today’s hot button issues. These materialized thanks to email exchanges with the young friend who got me thinking about what it means to “Respect” Black lives and hopes for the future, all the while acknowledging the pain that exists. They include a portrait of the intense, bespectacled Malcolm X (a leader of Black civil rights who was murdered at age 40), “One Love,” a song by reggae legend Bob Marley, and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance,” an awesome slogan most recently adopted by Black Lives Matter protesters and our allies. The patches have a history of their own! Malcolm X comes from Burbank, CA; Bob Marley hails from Crewe, Cheshire, UK; and “Respect” is made in Sevilla, Spain, all thanks to the magic of Etsy.

FYI: Hey readers! I need Levi’s for these quilts. If anybody wants to donate a pair of Levi’s, I’ll pay $5 plus ground shipping. (Thanks Treehugger, for the jeans I’m already getting from their readers!).

“Respect” quilt no. 1 is all basted up (see the long white threads?), while awaiting the last steps: the quilting and the binding. Quilt no. 2–now bedecked with a flowered trim from a vintage Martex sheet–stands by waiting for its turn. Take a peek at the symbolism: the Harlem Toile de Jouy pieces–designed by Sheila Bridges and embellished by yours truly–are cheerful correctives to the history of race relations in the USA. The playful square with chemistry attributes suggests that women’s intellectual prowess does not rule out their spirit of fun.

Eclectic, connected, and high-spirited, that’s it: the “Respect” quilt project.

More to come!

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American literature art creativity death

Seattle Protests! face masks support ACLU and #BLM

 

These face masks celebrate the peaceful #Black Lives Matter protests which have marked 2020 in Seattle and ushered in hopes for a more equitable future.
– Available in Large, Adult, and Petite sizes
– Attached by black cotton ties printed with colorful peace symbols. Extra long ties for all hairstyles!
– The latest in retro-chic style (see the June 2020 Vogue!)
– Sold in sets of two masks
– 100% cotton front and back. The fronts are in bright orange and red batik, printed with a black silkscreen of the Seattle cityscape. The backs are made of tight-woven white cotton for superior protection.
– Created from New York Times pattern (April 1, 2020): page A15
– Lined with interfacing for a crisp look with no ironing required
– Include the adorable HGBG puppy dog logo
– Free shipping to anywhere in the USA.
– 50% of proceeds will be donated to the local arm of the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier civil rights and civil liberties organization. Clients will receive a copy of the receipt from the ACLU when this fund-raiser is over.
– Your purchase supports a Seattle small business and promotes fair and equal civil rights for all!

-Limited availability; only 25 will be made. Order today from the Honey Girl Books and Gifts Etsy store.

Seattle Protests masks with books

Why? Because Black Lives Matter.

P.S. Wonder who that handsome smiling man is, in the background on the right? It’s Langston Hughes (1901-1967): a great African-American activist and writer, and judging from the touching voice of his poems, a beautiful human being.  Listen to him recite “I, Too Sing America.”

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art creativity design quilts social media

day 75, spending money is a form of activism too

Still overwhelmed, still eager to help, still confused and upset like you all. While walking about the hills this morning, however, I realized a way that I can help: I can purchase goods from African-American businesses. And so can you. This is a tangible way to tell our fellow citizens that we care.

I searched a bit online and found D’Iyanu (dee-ya-nu), a ready-to-wear bold print clothing line offering quality, trendy African inspired fashion at affordable prices, in Norristown, PA. I cannot wait to receive the gorgeous Kesi African print bag I just bought, maybe as a gift… but maybe not! (on sale now for just $44.99).

accessories-kesi-african-print-bag-with-embossed-vegan-leather-yellow-red-fans-1_1000x

Finding a black-owned fabric store was helped by this article: “Black Owned Businesses to Support Right Now” by Hadley Keller on HouseBeautiful.com . I found some fabulous Harlem Toile de Jouy fabric (below, right) from Sheila Bridges Design.  That will feature in the new “Respect” quilts I’m designing, alongside the “Respect existence” patches I bought yesterday from La Ciénaga, a feminist seller in Sevilla, Spain.

 

Also sort of useful was this article, “Etsy Makers to Support in Honor of Black History Month.”  That led me to xnasozi, seller of some beautiful pillows but not of fabric. And when I clicked the #blacklivesmatter tag, it sent me back to an article about Etsy’s corporate efforts but there was no way to mount a useful search for black-owned businesses on Etsy. Frustrating! Meanwhile a reply to my letter to D’IYANU, directed me to look for Ankara African fabrics which led to Cynthia O in Austin, TX and her store, Afriqueclothingstore.  Yay! Success at last!  I purchased some gorgeous Ankara fabric from her, below, and now I really must get back to those face masks orders that await.

Remember, the offer still holds:  this week people may order a personalized quilt to be made by me, including a “Respect” quilt, at Honey Girl quilts for only $100 (3-6 month lead time.)  Use the Contact form to reserve yours!

And yesterday’s face mask production fyi:

Face masks made June 1 2020

Moral of the story: spend some money at black-owned businesses and show them you care! spending money can be a form of activism, too.

 

 

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art children conflict creativity design health social media

Save us from our phones with a pillow

Energized by an excellent article, “Save Us from our Phones!” by Casey Schwartz in today’s New York Times, I fired off the following letter to the editor:

Hello!

Thank you for today’s article by Casey Schwartz, “Save Us from our Phones.” I’ve revived an ancient technology for combatting the cellphone epidemic: a pocket. Each pillow produced by my microbusiness, “Honey Girl Books and Gifts,” has a pocket on the back. Informal data from happy clients, including my former students at Notre Dame, indicates that it works. As Godsee, age 19 wrote, “The pillow has become my go-to item when I want to relax and take a break from studying or work. With a cup of tea, a good book, and the very helpful and much-needed cellphone pocket (to store away distractions for a moment), the pillow has become an ideal source of comfort. I definitely recommend!”

Perhaps we need to reject tech devices entirely. Power to the pillow!

Sincerely,

Julia Douthwaite Viglione

Owner and chief seamstress, Honey Girl Books and Gifts

https://www.honeygirlbooks.com/

Honey Girl Books and Gifts is now on Etsy too!