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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Arts and Aesthetics’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Patterns and trajectories (observation from the hermitage)

Monday, November 24th, 2014

I’ve finally reached the point of not tearing everything out.


This is going to be a cowl (aka a neckwarmer), like a warm, woolly scarf but without the annoying dangly bits that fall off your shoulder and catch on things.

I’m not knitting to make things, though. I’m doing it for meditation.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Mundane things (and some not-so-mundane)

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Heartbroken artist with an empty house and a bull terrier gets creative. (JavaScript needed to view slideshow.)


Some cool, fractal-like photography. (H/T SC)


Local cranberry growers who lost their contract with Ocean Spray landed 20 pounds of their harvest on furrydoc the other day. What do you do with 20 pounds of cranberries? Furrydoc shared the bounty and instructions for drying.

I took a couple of pounds and they’re in the drier now, some unsweetened and some drizzled with honey.

I’m not so big on cranberries, but I do like the dried ones in salads and trail mixes. Good to have a few locally grown superfoods among the preps, too.


Knitting today. Not only for the soul but this time, the body, too. Ready to start cabling.

Just as soon as I find those wandering third needles.

I was surprised and gratified the other day to realize quite a few guys hereabouts had knitted or crocheted. I am at this moment wearing fingerless gloves (aka arm warmers or better yet gauntlets) I made with wool gifted to me by one of those knitting guys.


(Pattern for that particular glove here. Many others here.)


Finally, some things not so mundane

Saturday, December 13. Washington gun owners rally: We Will Not Comply with I-594. Over 6,000 already signed up.

(And here it is for those who don’t do F*c*b**k.)

Can’t or don’t want to attend but support the ideals? Bumper stickers and yard signs here.

And from the great Oleg Volk:


Claire Wolfe

Knitting for the soul

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Don’t be put off by the word “knitting.” Even if you’re not crafty (and I’m not!), even if you’re a guy who’d rather build a brick wall or try for a perfect grouping with your best rifle than (heaven forbid) knit. This is about that process common to so many things.


You know how you sometimes open a book at random looking for guidance? For some it’s the bible. For somebody else, one of those Chicken Soup things. Could be Ayn Rand or Herman Hesse. But you hope if you just open and read there’ll be a message there, just waiting for you?

I have to laugh. I just picked up Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, not because I had real interest but because it’s one of those must-read books and this is a good time. I opened near the end to a chapter about self care and the art of just being still and listening.

Then I took my old copy of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience off the shelf and arbitrarily opened to a page that heralded the value of 16-hour workdays, but with the work so integrated with free time that you can barely distinguish one from the other.

Yup. And of the contradictory two, I must admit the latter appeals to me more than the former. Not, mind you, because I’m some virtuous workaholic. Far from it. I favor the latter because the former is harder.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

“The veil between the worlds is thin tonight.”

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014


“The veil between the worlds is thin tonight.”

Or actually last Friday night. So they say. Of course, in all kinds of traditions including nominally Christian ones, the veil between worlds is reputed to be thin from All Hallows Eve to All Souls Day.

You couldn’t prove it by me. The veil (if any) between worlds (if any) remained its usual cement-thick self.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall …

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


… 8,000 glowing balloons will outline the wall’s course. This is a visualization.

More images here.

Claire Wolfe

Did you see the eclipse?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The clouds drifted in and out for hours. Would we see it here or — as usual — would we not? See it? Not? Every minute brought different prospects.

Finally when it became clear that … well, that it was going to become clear for quite a while, I did something I haven’t done since I was a little kid bitten by an astronomy bug. I drifted a piece of glass over a candle flame until I had a two-inch blackened square and had a look.*

The moon slid in at the 2:00 o’clock position, then gradually eased across the top of the sun.

I tried to take some pictures.

They were all bad, but some were interestingly bad:



Some got more interestingly bad after a few minutes with the GIMP:


By the time the moon had moved into the 12:00 position and was heading for its exit at 10:00 o’clock, a great mass of cloud consumed the whole display.


It was all over and I never did get a good photo that captured the distinct “slice” the moon took out of the sun. (Or capture the crescent sun, to put it another way.)

But just having done something cool that I haven’t done since I was, oh, 10 or thereabouts felt great.

So how ’bout you? Did you see it? Did you get some better images than I did? Did you ignore the whole business? Did you get any fond reminders of eclipses past?


* Yes, I know you’re not supposed to do it that way, but that whole looking at the projection of an image through a pinhole thing is borrrrring.

Claire Wolfe

Meanwhile, a giant, mechanical horse-dragon

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

I shall return with actual content later. Meanwhile (thanks, JB), here’s a giant, mechanical horse-dragon:

It breathes fire, too. :-)

And here’s more about it. With pix. And pix of a giant, mechanical spider as a bonus.

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Claire Wolfe

Don’t let this go to my head

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

If I start referring to myself in the third person like some TV celebrity, or using “we” when I’m really saying “I,” smack me silly. This could go to my head.

Seven fair entries. Ten ribbons.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Okaaay. That went FAIRly well …

Monday, August 18th, 2014

But I think the whole table thing is going to be a bust.

I got my entries to the county fair today. Five arty items checked in at one building, two crafty projects checked into another.

The art check-in went okay. The young girl accepting my work wasn’t sure about anything, but she was patient and asked. There was some intense discussion among the check-in ladies about whether colored pencil drawings actually qualified as pencil drawings since they weren’t black and white. Maybe because of the color they were actually pastels? (Fortunately the artists on the other side of the table all protested that and my pencil drawings went into the pencil category despite being the wrong hue. I already had the maximum two entries in the pastel category.)

Ridiculously, I felt like a mother sending her children off to school for the first time. I snuck back into the building later to make sure they’d been stashed in a safe place while they awaited hanging. (They had.)

Craft building, different story. First, I had to carry “Doorway to the Sun” clear across the fairgrounds. They wouldn’t let me drive up to the building. Technically quite possible. But Rules, you know. Heavy sucker, that little table. Fortunately, we’re not exactly talking extensive fairgrounds here.

Then I got a check-in lady who was, to put it politely, crusty. She seemed to feel that everybody should know exactly how everything’s supposed to be done, even if they’ve never done it before. After filling out my paperwork and writing ID tags for my entries, she handed the tags to me and waited for me to get out of the way.

“Um … do you want me to put these things somewhere?”

“Well, they gotta be put somewhere so people can see ‘em, don’t they? Might as well be you who does it.”

Another woman directed me toward the only case in the building big enough to hold “Doorway to the Sun.” I was glad it was going into a case, since it has doo-dads on it that kids could pull off. But … the only place it would fit is on a bottom shelf — with another opaque shelf completely covering its top. All you can see are the legs — and those not very well.

If Ms. Crusty is one of the judges, somehow I don’t think anybody’s going to pull my masterpiece out of the case to see whether or not it deserves a ribbon. It won’t have a shot at getting a “People’s Choice” vote unless people really, really like the legs. And the sheet with the before-and-after photos on it. At least they’ll see that.

I wish now that I’d gotten some help to find a better place for my table. But by then I was feeling pretty intimidated.

Anyhow, I think there goes my chance at countywide fame and fortune. At least in the miscellaneous (possibly including wooden tables as long as you didn’t do the woodworking yourself because that goes in another building) category.


UPDATE: Realizing they were still taking submissions this evening, I dashed back out there and made my plea to find a better place where people could actually see the table. Ms Crusty was even nice! Then an acquaintance of mine, a superintendant of one of the other fair buildings and a honcho in the grange, happened to turn up. Ms Crusty was really nice. She got up from her table, wandered about with us, and came up with creative ideas, none of which unfortunately would work.

“Could I just put the table on top of one of the cases?”

“Nooooo!” barked Ms Crusty’s comrade in check-ins, whom we’ll call Ms Crusty Senior, “Too fragile.”

“Look,” Crusty Senior said, rolling her eyes (and I really couldn’t blame her). “It’s in the case. It’s staying in the case. If we can find a better place for it after the judging, we will. But for now, it stays.”

I thanked her, apologized for upsetting everybody’s applecart, and was about to leave when Crusty Senior barked again, “Can you get that thing OUT of that case NOW? These dolls are going in there. Get it out RIGHT NOW and put it on top of the case.”

My honcho friend and I did that.

Then I sneaked next door to the art building and rearranged two of my pictures.

Gads, these poor fair volunteers must get tired of fussy Artistes!

Claire Wolfe

Sunday check-in

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Too hot to accomplish anything right now. Gads, it’s so nice to be able to say “too hot” when talking about the coastal NorthWET.


One thing I did accomplish this weekend: I got my entries ready for the county fair. Tomorrow is submission day for all the artsy-craftsy stuff.

Feels kinda silly to be doing this. I wouldn’t have entered anything in a fair when I was 10. Or 14. So why am I doing it now that I’m (mumble mumble)?

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday links

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I am (really) still cogitating on the topic I started the other day on defining ourselves. Comments (particularly from Ellendra and Paul Bonneau) have got my brain headed off in a different direction and I’ll simply have to wait and see if I can chase after it and catch it long enough to get something coherent down on pixels.

Meantime, here are some links, some related to that topic (though not always in an obvious way), some not at all.

  • The end of neighbors. Or, this being a Canadian article, “The End of Neighbours.” The loss of neighborliness is a) not very good for us and b) exactly what we want.
  • Portrait of Tom Palmer — the unlikely man who challenged D.C.’s gun laws and won. In case you missed it, Kurt Hofmann also had a good take on Palmer last week at JPFO.
  • Wired (specifically the great James Bamford) interviews Snowden on (among other things) why he became a whistleblower.
  • While researching for part II of “Defining Ourselves,” I went down this pathway and found the amazing variety of people and organizations who helped Jews during the Holocaust, and the equally amazing variey of ways they did it.
  • On the topic of genocide … old colleague R. sent a link to this beautiful song about aftermath and rage. Patty Griffin: Cold as it Gets. Lyrics here.
  • Bob Owens takes apart “smart guns.” Not that you’ll be surprised by any of the info. But being Bob Owens, he says it thoroughly and well.


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