Life suckers

Little children are so easily overwhelmed by too much external stimuli. They hear, observe and smell their surroundings and suddenly it’s just too much for them to bear. My daughter tolerated a total of 5 minutes of first Santa visit at kindergarten and at the age of 5, after her first cinema matinée, burst to cry and then had to eat and take a nap. To eliminate excess stress and recover her forces.

With age we withstand more. But how much more?

There are various types of stresses, but we will keep aside all obviously good or bad stresses, since we usually recognise them easily.

But life suckers – they are worth a word or two.

Life suckers come to our life embodied in nasty persons usually disguised behind pretty smiles, as difficult situations or as oppressing places and in many, many other forms. The worst kind in my opinion are the human ones. They have some common traits: they come, suck as many life juices as they can and usually stick to their prey as much as they can (why leaving a fresh source of blood?), always taking and taking.

Leaving us exhausted and empty – but many times we just don’t recognise it right away. Since we are adults, right? And we won’t cry and take a nap after. We are taught to rather endure, even these silent stresses day by day, burning a lot of energy in vain. Sometimes because of fear, compassion, politeness – who knows?

What about being more aware and learning to recognise our life suckers? And not letting them taking more of our energy than we are consciously willing to give. Allowing ourselves be more child-like again and take a good care of ourselves when we need it.


Do you recognise your life suckers? How do you cope with them?

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Finding perfect career

Today is one of those days. When a bad morning becomes crappy and then evolves to shitty before lunch time. I know for a long time now that the work I am doing does not reflect me anymore (ok, job sucks), but still did not make the next step in other direction (yes, I am procrastinating). Even though the spirits have been dashed for a long time now, leaving behind only restlessness to exit the situation. Where to?

Ok, now let’s be practical.

Very nice people at YouTube know exactly what I need (thanks!), so I was suggested to watch the “To find work you love, don’t follow your passion” TED talk by Benjamin Todd. To summarise: rather than start with things we are passionate about and then hope to reach a fulfilling career out of it, we should focus on what brings value, which will result in passion and fulfilling career.

This is not what we’ve been taught, right? Following the suggested 80000 hours (incredible amount of time we spend at work) website I ended doing their “decision tool”. The nice thing is that it does not give ready answers (“you should be an astronaut” thing), but merely questions to help you think about your career choices from different perspectives.

It turns out, I am concerned most with unfair distribution of wealth and I could therefore pursue career helping people discover their talents (their own source of wealth). Maybe doing crafting workshops or making reviews of innovative handmade items or maybe helping managing small craft shops would be my thing?

I guess there is quite some of you who felt stuck at some point in your lives – can you share which strategies you choose, how did you cope with it, what was helpful? Maybe share a story of your career change? 

I wish you all a very bright day!

 

My sisters’ bobbin lace jewellery

My sister Alenka is doing bobbin laces for 20+ years – since her elementary school when she joined the beginners course of Idrija lace making. She is doing wonderful jewellery, using an interesting mix of traditional craft and modern elements. Here are some of her latest products.

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Above is a pair of earrings from black cotton thread. An interesting mix of dark and light elements are interacting in a circle. Thicker patterns make darker lines around the more loose and transparent nets. For final touch the beads were added.

Bobbin laces are done from thread that is wrapped around wooden profiled sticks – bobbins. The lace pattern is drawn onto piece of paper and it is pinned to a special pillow which is stuffed with sawdust. Bobbins are then handled in various ways, so that different number of threads are crossed, turned, shifted or mixed between them and around the pins to create the design.

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The Idrija bobbin lace making is registered as Slovenian intangible cultural heritage. Picture above: Idrija Municipal Museum

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Brooches in the shape of flower are done from thread in different colours and thickness. To ensure that products are stiff and maintain their shape either they are starched, the metal thread is included in the lace itself or, as in the products below, the silver platted wire is added to the outline of the lace.

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The three larger petals of the flower in the above brooch are knitted around the silver plated wire, so the brooch gains 3D form. The smaller petals are done with metal thread.

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Here are two more products made out of metal threads. Above, a very special and elegant necklace pendant and in the picture below the brooch in warm tones.

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My sister is doing an amazing job, so I will have the pleasure to share with you some more of her creations. Love you, sis!

Happy crafting to you all!

Inspiration from cultural heritage

We just celebrated the Slovenian Day of culture (which is also a non-working day, yey!) and many cultural institutions held celebrations and other special events for the public. Slovenian cultural heritage is a rich one. The first association I have when trying to picture a typical Slovene imagery in my mind is rustic carnation from Upper Carniola, lots of red hearts and beehive panels. Not sure what I am talking about? Here they are in all their vivid colours, rounded shapes and lots of detail.

These are so beautiful that just call for reinterpretation. A small detail from these images can be put in all sorts of crafting products. I can already see the detail of carnation from the cloth as a pendant or line with hearts from painted egg as a bracelet pattern. Maybe in different colour or stylised lines… or maybe not.

So I jumped to Museum of GorenjskaSlovene Ethnographic Museum and other websites for more inspiration. Here are some images with objects that caught my attention.

I will definitely try to include some of the details in my future projects (see the pattern on the furnace doors – great for projects with wire).

To me these are just beautiful and it is amazing how much effort was put in these objects in the old days. They are part of the heritage of my nation – and tell us even today how our ancestors lived, what they liked, what were their values. Amazing, isn’t it?

 

What is your cultural heritage – does it attract you? Are you inspired by it?

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Worlds oldest instrument – Neanderthal Flute

DIY Vases with test tubes

Vases made from driftwood

Pieces of branches that have been washed by the sea, treated by the winds and bleached by hot sun have a unique colour and are very light and soft. We found driftwood pieces at the local beach. After washing it thoroughly (you do not want to have any marine bacteria at your home) we simply drew holes and attached the piece to aluminium stand. Finally the wood was treated with wood oil and wax – it gives it a velvety touch and smells divinely. The pieces are quite narrow so we put in the hole glass test tubes. It can become a vase or a candle holder, even pencils or brushes can find a new home. For larger pieces a glass vase or jar could be used instead of test tubes.

Simple vases from plywood

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Two pieces of plywood were cut to shape so they can be put together – one is inserted into another – and in the middle goes the test tube.

Upgrade plywood vases

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For this vase we glued several layers of plywood, cut it into “O” shape and drilled the hole at the top, so the test tube can be inserted into the wooden piece. The piece is put onto aluminium stand and secured with a screw. Finally we put two coatings of lacquer for shiny finish.

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Aluminium piece vase

This is a bit more complex piece. A spare aluminium piece was cut into shape and sanded. Than my husband drilled recesses and holes with his homemade CNC machine. This time it is the stand that is made out of wood – it is an old piece of wood board that was lying around.

 

What is so attractive about handmade craft?

via Daily Prompt: Craft

Craft noun: skill and experience, especially in relation to making objects (Cambridge Dictionary)

During the most stressful time at the job I found out that a lot of us, coworkers, dreamt about doing something with our hands, something touchable, to be able to enjoy the whole process from scratch till the result of our work lay in our hands. I guess it is an innate need to be creator, to make things happen – also in physical sense. To gain skills to do a good, functional and beautiful object is even more compelling.

But the reality is, many times we do not have the chance to experience these simple pleasures, especially in workplaces that require mostly intellectual or standardised work. And besides, why bother doing it yourself or buying a more expensive handmade item if there are cheap versions available all over the place?

For me it makes a difference – for me the old-fashioned handmade craft is valuable in many senses so I support these businesses whenever I can by buying their products rather than mass-produced ones. They may be more expensive and are not as flawless as factory polished products, but they have a story to tell: they are as unique as the person – creator who made them.

 

DIY charging station

We always searched the right charger for the device that was approaching battery death all over the house, so the first step was to label the chargers with device name and kept all chargers in one place. However, more than one device was often charging, so cluttery scenes were often seen near electrical outlets. The chargers basket was no better: a mess of unmistakably entangled electrical wires. Now we have a DIY all-in-one charging station that solves it all.

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Our charging station has two main parts: a crate that contains chargers and wires and the upper part that holds up our devices – two tablets and four mobiles. Every device has its permanent place with the name put on it.

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I bought a small wooden crate and three book holders for few euros at local store. Then I  disassemble them all, saw off excess parts and drilled holes for wires and assembled the parts together. The rest is paint and embellishments.

And here is all the mess that is put safely out of sight.

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We usually keep our chargers in the charging stations. For emergency charging when we are out of home we have a power bank and spare USB cables. Also, the charging station is a storage space for devices when they are not in use, so we do not have them lying all around the house anymore.