Archive | January, 2010

Yeast Explained

25 Jan

This week’s Foodgawker find is not a recipe, but an informational post regarding yeast. Mainly the difference between active dry and instant yeasts.

I found it to be very enlightening and certainly something to bear in mind for the future.

Check it out at The Italian Dish!

Strengths Finder: Part 3 of 7

24 Jan


My second strength was Intellection.

“People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their
intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.”

This result was the theme I most resonated with. I can very easily recognize this attribute in myself. My mind is usually very active – whether watching TV, reading a book, grocery shopping, or trying to go to bed (much to my chagrin). I very much enjoy chatting with people about current events, history, psychology, or even philosophy.

The very little teaching I have done, I have enjoyed. As long as I know what I am talking about inside and out, public speaking doesn’t bother me much. I do value education that teaches understanding and how to use one’s mind over rote memorization of disconnected facts.

When driving, I listen to talk radio because it is able to keep my mind more engaged than listening to music – unless it is music that I am working on as a singer.

I am always researching – whether it is trying to understand the latest up to date info on my thyroid disease, or seeking a more thorough instruction on how to knit or cook. I enjoy connecting the dots and know I retain information better when I do.

Some directives and other interesting ideas from this theme:

  • Consider beginning or continuing your studies in philosophy, literature, or psychology. You will always enjoy subjects that stimulate your thinking.
  • List you ideas in a log or diary (check.) These ideas will serve as a grist for your mental mill, and they might yield valuable insights.
  • People may think you are aloof or or disengaged when you close your door or spend time alone. This is simply a reflection of your thinking style and it results not from a disregard for relationships, but from a desire to bring the most you can to relationships.
  • You are at your best when you have time to follow and intellectual trail and see where it leads.
  • Schedule time for thinking – it can be energizing for you. Use these occasions to muse and reflect.
  • Take time to write. writing may be the best way for you to crystallize and integrate your thoughts.
  • Find people who like to talk about the same issues you do.
  • Encourage people around you to use their full intellectual capital by reframing questions for them and by engaging them in a dialogue. Realize there will be some who find this intimidating.

The most interesting quote was one in which a guy was talking about his need to have the TV on when he was working – this is something I do all the time. TV or podcasts. In my high school English class, I had a teacher who was awesome enough to let me cross stitch in class which helped me focus on listening.

Even now, I have the football playoffs on as I’m writing.

Strengths Finder: Part 2 of 7

24 Jan


My first strength was Context.

People who are especially talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching it’s history.”

This did make quite a bit of sense to me. I can think of many examples of times when I looked with the history of an idea, event, or place to feel more at home with it.

The stand out example for me was the two years of Trigonometry I took in high school. The first year (my freshman year) I took a standard Trig class. I did not do as well as I had hoped. I think maybe I got a C – possibly a D, even – which was unheard of for me.

I decided to re-take the class my sophomore year. However, instead of taking the same class, I figured I had something of a foundation to build on, so I took the slightly advanced Trig Plus. This class I passed with solid Bs and As.

The difference was history. The Plus class took time with the theories, giving a little background on who came up with them and what thinking prior to the theory was in place that allowed the next step in mathematical progress.

Some items in the details of this strength that stood out as especially true for me are:

  • seeking out the company of historically minded people
  • participate in discussion groups that concentrate their attention on studying the past
  • some teachers or mentors who befriended you may have encouraged your interest in history
  • you master facts a bit more easily when the teacher or expert cares about you as a human being
  • “Those who can’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
  • build your lessons around case studies
  • use your understanding of the past to help others map the future
  • context talents do not require you to live in the past
  • use fact-based comparisons to prior successes to paint a vivid picture for others of “what can be” in the future. The real-life illustrations you create can build confidence and emotional engagement
  • You recognize the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior
  • Read historical novels, non-fiction, or biographies
  • Compare historical antecedents and situations to your current challenge

One of the quotes from people with this trait was from someone attempting to implement a new system in a company and realizing the need to recognize the history of the current system and holding that as the group moved forward.

I definitely look to the past to understand the future or current events. This is especially true in politics, where an understanding of where parties and movements have come from can very clearly reveal the thinking of the current state of affairs.

I have not thought of applying this much professionally, but it is certainly something to ponder for the future.

Strengths Finder: Part 1 of 7

24 Jan


As part of my work with my TC, I was asked to take an aptitude-type test from the Gallup Press called Strengths Finder.

The purpose of this test is to give you some insight as to the talents and strengths you possess. These are strengths that stay with you your whole life – not surface personality traits that may change as you get older.

The idea, of course, is to give you a better understanding of then things you enjoy and ideas on how to develop those traits as opposed to focusing solely on how to strengthen your weaknesses.

While is is usually helpful to try to strengthen many areas overall, the rewards you will see from focusing on your talents are said to be much greater. For example, if you are tone deaf and work tirelessly to become a singer, chances are you won’t be as successful as someone born with a natural talent and tone who worked just as hard.

They break this down into an equation: talent x practice = results.

Sounds fair enough. I also like the theme of focusing on what you are good at, rather than fighting who you are. Starting from a base of, “I have these strengths, how can I make them even better?” seems a helpful starting point for the recovering self-perfectionist.

I will use the next six posts to ponder each of my top 5 strengths and the quotes and possible actions that are presented with them, as well as one overall wrap up post.

If I were nearly as disciplined as I hope to be…

23 Jan

I would keep to the posting schedule I set up.

To assuage my guilt, Here’s what I should have posted the past 2 weeks.

Sunday, January 10: Blue Velvet Cupcakes

I’ve seen red velvet everywhere, but blue is my favorite color.

Blue Velvet Cupcake

So pretty and unusual!

Monday, January 11: Local Etsy Spotlight: Flowering Ceramics

So beautiful and feminine:




Tuesday, January 12: Revelry Patterns: Jayne Cobb Hats

Patterns galore for this funny little hat (click the image)

The Man they call Jayne!
He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor,
He stood up to the man and he gave him what for.
Our love for him now, aint hard to explain,
The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!
Our Jayne saw the Mudders’ backs breakin’
He saw the Mudders lament
And he saw the magistrate takin’
Every dollar and leavin’ five cents
So he said, "You can’t do that to my people"
He said "You can’t crush them under your heel"
Jayne strapped on his hat
And in five seconds flat
Stole everything Boss Higgins had to steal
He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor
Stood up to the Man and he gave him what for
Our love for him now ain’t hard to explain
The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne
Now here is what separates heroes
From common folk like you and I
The man they call Jayne
He turned ’round his plane
And let that money hit sky
He dropped it onto our houses
He dropped it into our yards
And the man call Jayne
He turned ’round his plane
And headed out for the stars
He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor
Stood up to the Man and he gave him what for
Our love for him now ain’t hard to explain
The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!

Wednesday, January 13: Geek Crafts Day!

Well, yesterday’s post was pretty damn geeky. But ok…

A Quilted Megaman Pillow is pretty damn geeky, right?

Thursday, January 14: Craftgawker find of the week: Beautiful Blue

Oh. my. god.

Blueberry Bubbles Pearl Bracelet

Sooooo…. pretty. I feel like a bug heading towards a zapper.

And Ami Designs makes consistently beautiful jewelry:

Blue and Gold Pearl Memory Wire Bracelet

Honeydew and Lemon Bubbles Pearl Bracelet

Black Cherry Pearl Bracelet

Browse now, don’t wait!

Friday, January 15: Fabric Friday

I don’t know about y’all, but if I see a fabric I love, I tend to buy a yard of it – just to have. I can usually make something out of a yard, or at very least, use it in a quilt somewhere.

Then I found this:

One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!

And now I have endless project ideas. Aprons, laptop sleeves, totes, pet beds, you name it.

Sunday, January 17: Foodgawker Find

Chocolate Macaroons

easy. chocolate. macaroons. What’s not to love – the other three little words.

Monday, January 18: Local Etsy Spotlight: Pink Lily Press

Looking for the perfect Valentine’s card?

Smooching Sparrows Valentines Greeting Card

Love Greeting

Pink Lily also has lovely wedding and other event invites and Thank You Cards, like this one:

I LOVE IT Folded Greeting

Tuesday, January 19: Ravelry: Winter Bud Scarf

So soft and elegant.*sigh*

Wednesday, January 20: Internet Meme Embroidery

I love me some memes. I think the re-captioning the Downfall clip is my current favorite.

So these little cuties just make me swoon with geeky glee:


Thursday, January 21: Craftgawker Find

Enchantment - Sultry Blue Flash Labradorite Earrings

Mmmm. Shimmery goodness.

More from AdornMe Jewelry:

Cupid's Garden - Statement Earrings

Icarian Wings - Elegant, Extraordinary Chalcedony Earrings

Friday January 22: DIY Scarf Holder


And today. Well, Saturdays are my day off or to use posting my personal crafty projects, but I used it as a catch up day this week.

Ok. I feel better now. Let’s see if I can keep it up.

Accepting That I am an Introvert

21 Jan
From Wikipedia:

Introversion is "the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life". Introverts tend to be more reserved and less outspoken in large groups. They often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, drawing, and using computers. The archetypal artist, writer, sculptor, composer, and inventor are all highly introverted. An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though they tend to enjoy interactions with close friends. They prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate. Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement. They are more analytical before speaking.

Introversion is not the same as shyness. Introverts choose solitary over social activities by preference, whereas shy people avoid social encounters out of fear.

It is very hard to look at introversion as a positive thing.

Society does seem to favor the extrovert. People are celebrated for being the light in the room. Because of this, there are an endless amount of “how to be an extrovert” books and articles. I have to admit that I have longed to be an extrovert every now and then.

However, it makes more sense to work with what you have than long to be something different. Of course, if you do have something that is objectively a FLAW, I fully support changing that as much as possible. However, some things I once thought of as flaws have their own benefits and I am interested in getting a better understanding of those benefits and using them to my advantage.

What i learned recently regarding introversion is that is does not equal shyness or poor social skills. It simply means you get energy from yourself rather than extraverts, who get their energy from other people.

What a concept! And why would I even *want* to change that? 

There are strengths to this ability – independence, a very active mental life – and it’s focusing on those that will make me happier and make it easier to more accurately judge any direction I decide to go.

Also, introverts are generally more mysterious – and what woman doesn’t love being a little mysterious?

Welcome. or not.

20 Jan

Welcome to my blog – or if no one visits, that’s fine too.

I have my crafting blog over at Cheeky Craft Chick, but as 2010 begins to unfold, it seems I will be spending a lot of time looking inward, so that I may progress forward.

I would like to document this process for my own benefit. I think it would be very useful to track my thought process, review my progress, celebrate how far I’ve come, or even lament how little I’ve moved if that’s where it ends up.

I doubt it will end up that way. If nothing else, life and people rarely stay still. Even as I am frustrated in my lack of clear, focused movement in a particular professional direction, the many directions I have explored represent significant movement and progress in the direction of self-discovery.

In late January, I decided to being seeing a therapist specializing in cognitive therapy. I had recently become trapped in a cycle of thinking and habit that was sapping my motivation, which, in turn, was sapping my self-esteem.

This was step one.

Step two was recommended by a friend during a dinner and movie night. A Transition Coach. Having left my 9-5 job in Sept 2009, I’d say I qualify as being in transition. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever successfully made the transition from college to the real world – so we’ll see if I can’t straighten that out now.

I’ll refer to my transition coach henceforth as TC.

My TC and I had an introductory phone call last week, and i decided to move forward with at least 3 months of coaching.

The insight from that initial conversation was that I may be approaching my issue from the wrong direction.

I was looking at jobs and then “trying them on” – seeing if maybe they would fit what I thought my personality to be. This was eternally frustrating and not getting me any closer to an answer. By explaining her process of uncovering your strengths, working style, etc FIRST, my TC blew my mind – I’d been approaching it from the wrong way all along.

If we continue with the shopping for clothes analogy, what I was doing is seeing something pretty, trying it on, and continually being frustrated with the fit. I was also continually confused as to why it look so pretty on the hanger, but not on me. What my TC is suggesting is to spend time figuring out my size, how my body is proportioned, and what colors look good on me first. Then we can go shopping with the specifics in mind. Much more likely to find the perfect dress a lot more quickly with that approach, don’t you think?

I think that’s enough journaling/blogging for today. I will talk about our first face-to-face session and some thoughts on being an introvert tomorrow.