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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

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.
Claire Wolfe

Catching up, scrambling about, Mondaying, and oh yes, let me do a little ranting while I’m here

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Oy veh.

Such a Monday. The sun is shining so I really can’t complain. And thank heaven the sun is shining, because a 10 x 14′ section of my roof has been open to the weather (and the birds and the raccoons) for days and for a while there it looked as if it was going to stay that way!

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Anybody have any idea …?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

… what these are? Or more pertinently, how they were originally used?

They’re tin and appear to be of a kind and vintage with old stamped metal ceilings. I picked up a baggie full of them at a thrift store yesterday for $1.50 and despite what I said about using only items already on hand, I think they’ll have a place in my funky table project. I see gold spray paint in their future.

But I’m curious about their history and purpose.



Claire Wolfe

Basketweaving, leather tooling, drugs and other therapies for staying sane

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Ah, the good old days at the Funny Farm. But that’s another story. No basketweaving, these days. No therapeutic leather tooling. No drugs (damn)! But I did spend this weekend on other mental-health therapies.

To wit …

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Circular rainbows! Oh my!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

So I was sitting at a window eating lunch when I looked up and saw … what? A horizontal rainbow???


Yes. A rainbow streaking in a level line across the southern sky. But when I got my camera and went to take a picture of it, I discovered I hadn’t seen anything yet.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Friday links

Friday, June 20th, 2014

That fascinating musical group Ok Go (they of the mind-bendingly geeky videos and the slightly forgettable music) have done it again. They’ve released their first new video in several years. Despite its sad dearth of dogs, this maze of optical illusions done in their standard one-shot (or so they make it appear) technique is still pretty awesome.

Claire Wolfe

Floor Score!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

I scored surplus hardwood plank flooring from an out-of-work contractor.


This is real, 3/4-inch tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring. Not laminate. Not “engineered” hardwood, but the real deal. Ain’t it pretty?

I’ve just laid pieces down on the floor to get an idea of what I might do, so don’t get all bothered yet about things like “wrong” lengths or placement.

I’ve got 2.5 boxes of 2-1/4″ width oak, two boxes of 3-1/4″ width oak and just under two boxes of 4″ Lyptus (a hybrid eucalyptus, plantation-grown in Brazil; sustainable and all that). So I have to get a little creative about how I put it all together. I’ve been messing around with possible layouts.


The two widths of oak work perfectly together. They’re the same brand. I just have to make sure my design doesn’t run me out of one plank width before the other. The Lyptus is more problematic. It’s a different brand and while the oak tongues fit fine into the Lyptus grooves, the Lyptus tongues don’t quiiiiiiiite fit into the oak’s groves. So most likely I’ll end up with a simple Lyptus border and an oak middle to minimize tongue trimming and cussing over fit problems.

This is for an entryway, only 85 square feet. I have about 120 square feet o’ stuff, so should have plenty of flexibility in working out the puzzle.

I had to “cheat” a bit and buy one box of the oak at full retail at a floor store to have enough of both widths. Even so, we’re talking less than $1.70 a square foot overall. Normal is $6-$10 a foot for these materials. Of course the installed cost, figuring wastage, nails, etc. will be closer to $2.50 per square foot, but I won’t complain about that!

Now I have to figure out how to do blind nailing. (And yes, I know there are special gadgets for that, but this is such a small space I doubt it would be worth making two trips to the Big City to rent and return one.)

Anyhow, cool, eh?

Claire Wolfe

Evidence that the small-house movement has gotten just too, too trendy

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Five tiny houses currently for sale. Starting at a “mere” $145k and ending at a tres reasonable $1 million. Get ‘em while you can. ;-)



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