Do you see that handsome fellow?! Doesn’t it look like he’s smiling at me? This is Jojo, a silverback Gorilla at the Brookfield Zoo. Todd and I participated in a Wild Encounter called Great Ape Escape through the Zoo. It was really neat because Todd and I were the only people in the group. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving, I was standing less than a foot away from Jojo and three females! I fed Jojo and Kamba each cups of orange juice…as in, I held the cups up to their mouths and tipped the cup for them to drink (through their pens).
In an effort to become a better blogger, I’m participating in an online class by Kathy Cano-Murillo (aka The Crafty Chica) called How to Shine Online. She gave us a surprise homework assignment to share something from this past week that inspired us.
I find a lot of things in my daily life that inspire me, but nothing inspires me more than my husband, Todd. This past weekend I was not feeling well. I have allergies and asthma, and the mold, pollen, and pollution levels around here are awful! I got in bed Friday afternoon, and I didn’t get out again until Monday morning when I went back to work. Todd picked up my prescription from the pharmacy so I could come straight home from my 45 minute commute. I didn’t feel well enough to make myself food, take the dogs out, or even feed them. From past experience, I know that if I push myself when I’m having big asthma problems, I end up with an upper respiratory infection, and then I feel even more lousy.
What made me feel so good is that, not only did I know this, but Todd does, too. He knows it’s not good for me to go outside to take the dogs out when I feel like this, so he did it. He knows that when I feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest it’s hard to get up and down the stairs, so he brings me food and drink.
His sense of service and compassion inspires me. He is one of the most generous people I know. That’s one of the reasons we get along so well – our values in life are very similar. Sure we’d like big paychecks, a fancy house, and fancy cars, but we value being happy and kind even more.
You can find inspiration in so many things! I love when I see other people doing something nice for a stranger…opening a door, helping carry groceries, letting them cut in line at the store. It should come as no surprise that I adore the Liberty Mutual commercials, and they tear me up each time.
Look down sometime. I think it’s fascinating to watch ants carry food back to their hill. Think of how little they are, but how much they can carry. And ants, like bees, do it simply for the good of all; not solely for individual gain.
As a lover of chimpanzees, every day I seek out pictures and videos that show chimpanzees working together and loving each other. I get tears in my eyes when I see the love between Chimp Haven resident Flora with her 6 month old baby Valentina. Love of any kind is a great inspiration.
I want to know what inspires you.
Please leave what inspires you in the comments.
This year Todd and I decided that we would give each other handmade presents for Valentine’s Day. Okay, so, really, I wanted to give each other handmade gifts. He hasn’t embroidered anything in almost two years, and I miss seeing what he can do!
Todd wanted to make something for me in a genre that he couldn’t remember I had ever stitched. He dug into my Irish roots and made me this awesome, very Celtic-looking claddagh.
Todd did something else for me that I’m not going to get upset about, even though he spent money. He sponsored a chimp for me from Chimp Haven, Inc. His name is Midget, and I am in love with him! Todd said he looked at all of the chimps you can sponsor several times before deciding on Midget. He reminded him most of me…he sticks up for the underdog, is very vocal, and he’s super friendly.
For Todd, I embroidered this pattern from Sublime Stitching. I had fun with it since I tried a new stitch – the chain stitch (bottom outline of the heart). I also fell in love with a stitch I had previously disliked – the stem stitch (all of the blood vessels). I found this neat tutorial on YouTube for the stem stitch that made it so much easier to do.
I wanted to do something else for Todd, something that he could keep with him. He’s been going through some tough times, and I wanted to remind him at any point in the day or night that I love him, and I’m here for him. I used the Tim Holtz Ideaology pocket watch to create this little vignette.
Many months ago on the former Craft Assassins blog I wrote about wanting to get the eyes on my chimp tattoo recoloured. His eyes were green, which is my favourite colour, but they weren’t accurate (there aren’t any bright green eyed chimps out there!).
My good friend Ryein Rawhoof at Sacred Art Tattoo in Rockford, IL
recoloured his eyes for me.
Today Todd and I stopped at JR Kortman Center for Design to check out R. Scott Long’s exhibit entitled, “So What?” R. Scott Long uses machine embroidery to create unique pieces of art. By machine embroidery, I don’t mean a sewing machine that does embroidery on its own, I mean he manipulates a sewing machine to create his art. It’s very clever and interesting.
After seeing it, I got the bug to embroider again. There’s a line drawing of a chimpanzee I found on the internet that’s been sitting in our design pile for a while that I became inspired to create. Instead of using regular six strand embroidery floss, I used cotton perle embroidery floss. I think the effect is perfect. What do you think?