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What If: WorkFare A Hand UP Not A Hand Out

June 22nd, 2015 at 07:08 am » Comments (0)

Still I am going to keep coming back to the FB image about Working vs welfare refrig and not showing because all it accomplished was sensationalism of a real problem.

Rather, it so clearly demonstrates (at least to me) the Symptom and Consequences (not the least of which is hate and class “envy”).

Nor does it offer any insight in the why/cause and ultimately the solution

Whether the image was accurate or not is not important because all it does is further divide and offers no thought about the cause or possible solutions.

There is absolutely NO REASON why legitimate citizens of the United States of America should be hungry.
Or that Farmers should be paid NOT to grow a crop
Or that food grown in the US should be sent outside its borders as foreign aid (ok maybe some for disaster relief situations)

I kept looking at that picture and then started doing some research. So much information is on the Internet.

What if INSTEAD we looked back at programs that did work even if they expected some responsible behavior in exchange for that hand UP –

“Back in the 70’s” when I lived in NY – Westchester County tried to create what they called “WorkFare”
I remember it, because our small family business attempted to participate. That is a whole other story in itself, but for now let’s focus a bit on “solutions”

The concept was that those receiving benefits were found “appropriate” work. It was what would be called “honest work”. Among the means used was child care so that a single parent could participate

If I remember correctly (or maybe I just think it should be part of any hand up concept) It required that all receiving benefits participate – no hand outs.

There were provisions for child care (and some of the mothers were “aids” who brought their child under school age to “work” )

child of school age were expected to be in school. Reached that magic age of 16 and quit school – no more WIC, no food stamp allowance AND reduced other benefits (housing allowance)

No acquiescing to bullying by the by race baiters into unequal treatment. On Drugs, get into a program (methadone clinics were popular) or no help.

On drugs, not in a program, okay, then you get involuntary commitment as a danger to oneself and to others.

No job, okay you are assigned “honest work” suitable to your ability. And, job training was part of that program as well. Teaching of work ethic and requiring the practice of good working habits.

Get into trouble and find your family removed from the “projects” and off the “section 8″ rolls. Every major city has “empty” real estate that could be made useful for housing and with thoughtful tax incentives including responsible supervision – or, as “used to be common” working with church organizations to create safe places for those in need.

Just some starting points. But something to talk about, somethings to make important if you really want change for the better.

and yes, coming soon, more about that refrig image and why it looks that way and how to make it different.







What If – Causes, Consequences, Solutions

June 21st, 2015 at 07:01 am » Comments (0)

Today is father’s day in the US. There is so much I have to thank my parents for, but perhaps the most important thing was teaching a sense of personal responsibility for my own actions.

They also were kind of big on doing something rather than whining.

Recently I saw a thing with a picture of what was supposed to be a middle class working family refrig vs a “welfare household”
I did not share it, but have been thinking about it so started doing some research. Recently I saw one of the “social commentary” FB placards about how you or I would have been DEVASTATED if our “diary” was found and read and worse yet, SHARED by a sibling WITH ANYONE>
Now we have an increasing population who really believe that how often they have a BM – it should be shared.
We see almost no conversation about the cause and effect of infantizing and less about teaching morals and ethics.

Instead we see the glorification of bad behavior and teaching of hate and division rantings instead of finding and listening to and working for real solutions however long it takes to get it done.

Sure there is a huge “temptation” to not look away from the train wreck – but why and are we not contributing to the problem when we assist in spreading hate instead of finding real solutions and working to attain or at least introduce them to the current society.

It is not simple and depending on who you listen to – at least in the US, the slide on this slippery slope began in the 30’s or mid-60’s

Growing up in the 50’s, and early 60’s was not all that different except that the majority culture was accepting responsibility for one’s own actions.

Explanations are well and good and maybe comforting – looking at the symptoms is no cure for the disease = excusing the responsible parties.

and again, there are no simple solutions.
it all seems irreversible – unless, maybe if good people start standing up to the bullies, refuse to be intimidated by the baiters and accept that change is possible, but it will take time to reverse the damages.

Let’s stop lamenting, at the very least look at the causes and then KEEP talking about those causes and consequences and the small steps each of us can take individually and collectively to effect change

feel free to share your thoughts by commenting on this and yes, more to come related rant and rambling







Turning an annoyance into a goal

May 29th, 2015 at 07:59 am » Comments (0)

No one is likely to call me shy aoout self promoting my little online business. It is a goal to make sure that when I do “in a group” that it is not shameless.

In other words, a question was asked, I provide an answer and since not everyone wants to read long answers, a link to more information.

Often these link to product information pages – because if I am providing support – then I should also get credit>
It is also because the same questions get asked over and over and I get lazy about retyping – so keeping the long answer on one place is a more efficient use of my time.

Okay, so this explains how I annoy others (and that I am aware of there seeming displeasure and apparent inability to use a delete or scroll key – their problem not mine)

What annoyance did I feel needed to be adapated into a goal.

When ANYONE asks a question in an open forum that is SPECIFIC to the work of a particular book, tutorial, etc and a different seller uses that for shameless self promotion by injecting links to THEIR product. As if to say, “sorry you made a poor buying choice – come buy mine and you will be happier.

And yes, there was a time when I did this and I am not proud of that and constantly work to control the temptation

Limiting this to “instructional material” If you are “among the guilty” – well not that my opinion matters, but such discourtesy annoys me and paints a picture of someone lacking respect, for themselves and others.

So if you catch me doing this – call me out
If you are right – then I will delete the comment
(excludes info page links)







Respecting Tradition

February 10th, 2015 at 09:08 am » Comments (1)

In cold weather I find myself often focused on exploring food – TheHenry likes this most of the time and early on in our decades together starting name the experiments he liked. So I could make a point of remembering what I did. In fact most dinners start with “What are we calling this?”

Inspired by a comment in a recipe group – today’s Passing (and perhaps prevailing context) thoughts.

Whether it is food or fiber work or any other aspect of a culture’s roots I prefer the commonality – the desire to give one’s family “comfort” using the best possible ingredients available and affordable.

Do you honestly think any ancestral home maker would have shunned the use of a food processor? Even and perhaps especially in many ways the Amish use technology – they just prefer people power.

Do you really think your great-great-grandmother would have found it preferable to hand sew a shirt rather than use a sewing machine and then have hours of time to spend on the embroidery or other fine details?

Is it really such a sin to use a circle cutter, rather than laboriously hand cut circles for whatever form of stuffed dough you and your family enjoy?

Are those who oppose machines also opposed to taking advantage of their home freezer to that found can be prepared in advance – meaning “on the day” they will have more time with family instead of alone time in the kitchen?

Quite frankly if they were not open to change and the opportunity to improve on their daily lives, would they have crossed an ocean as did the forebears of so many members of this group and migrate to North America?

No, I believe they would have welcomed the means to have time better used in other ways to provide comfort to the hearts and souls of their family and community.

I believe they would as reading accounts of every day life show, have made decisions based on their economic situation and the value of the “machine” – choosing to work and save for those most beneficial – I don’t have a dedicated machine for every food prep process, but I do have a Kitchen Aid with the specialty attachments that “cost justified” based on frequency of use.

Perhaps that is the tradition we should honor, careful use of our resources and not just acquisition for the sake of “owning”.

Yes, we should honor the past, allowing it to empower us in all ways while at the same time moving forward with respect for what brought us to this point.







Process, Project, Overlap or “Oh My”

February 24th, 2014 at 10:40 am » Comments (0)

this has been kicking around in my brain as an introduction to a getting started topic in our new forum. It is still a draft, but I am hoping for some feedback to help clarify my thinking, The links won’t be added till the content is in the forum. Thanks in Advance for sharing your reaction to my perhaps inflammatory thoughts on this Daft version of getting started in Braiding as they evolve.

The following is a highly opinionated theory, and absolutely no disrespect is meant to any of the wonderful authors and teachers whose work may not fit into my vision.

Although focused on Braiding, much could apply to any of the fiber arts.

As I wrote in the article Getting Started: Disc & Plate, whether your braids are of Japanese or other ethnic origins – all share two commonalities. First, a Braid, unlike weaving, is a single set of elements, (in weaving, as you know, warp and weft are separate and generally worked at right angles) with each serving the functions of both warp and weft and in most cases, worked on the diagonal.

Second, is the need to focus on good information often found only in books and classes – and far too often not in a YouTube video where it is far too easy to miss nuances in the good ones and pick up bad habits in the “I learned this yesterday and so I am sharing”

As you may have already guessed, I have very low tolerance for books or videos that teach me nothing I cannot learn from Shirley Berlin’s Red Book “Kumihimo On A Card” There is nothing wrong with wanting, buying, using recipes – it is just not my thing.

So once the braider decides to use MaruDai or other braiding stand – there is no question that both devil and delight get equal time in the details. Fortunately for today’s beginning and advanced braiders – we have a much greater choice of books, educators, and venues for classes.

Equally of value is that for MaruDai, unlike when many of us in the USA started, you can learn MOST of what you need from some of the books available today (2014)

You just have to choose your most likely path. It is my opinion and YMMV may be different – that there is more than one path and that your choices should be guided by where you think you want to “go”.

Certainly there is a significant group of braiders who fall into either “category” still, at heart, you will find they are “mostly” Process or Project.

The Process people are more inclined to focus on structure – in the “English speaking” world (USA/Canada/UK etc) most have come from some other fiber discipline such as weaving and other small wares. Process people are more likely to move from MaruDai to other types of specialized Dai and other stands which have been developed for use in braids from other Cultures such as the Chinese and Peruvian structures. Process people are often, for lack a better explanation, more traditional in their approach, using traditional materials, and limiting their finishing to more traditional objects such obi-jime, the cord used to tie the Obi of Kimono. The Process person is mostly likely to look at a “finished sample and think, now what if I changed this step….. they are about changing the actual way the braid is made first and then considering artful variations later.

The Project People, are those building their skills and repertoire of techniques for the purpose of incorporating various structures into “useful” and “decorative” objects, often items intended for personal adornment (jewelry or trim on garments, etc) These are the people who first thought when looking at a finished braid might be some variation of
“That nice, now what can I make it into”. Many Project People have come to this path from other FiberArts – where an investment of time and discipline to master basics is the norm.

The Over Lap group is the one who is interested in how the braid was made, but their questions usually start with “well what if I put this color(or bead or chip) on that element and then repeated the structure. Speaking as an over lap person, It has been my observation that quite often we tend to choose one piece of equipment for the Process side of our personality and then use those unique structures within our projects.

Within the Project people there is a small but growing number arriving in the braiding community to have been exposed ot the basics, have been browsing the web seeing the work of and want to expand their skills – accepting the necessary discipline to buld those skills

And here is where I will likely get burned – this is an increasing influx from those who are not aware and mostly seem not interested in the rich history of the braider’s craft and are not really interested in growing their talent or those with a talent for choosing colors and using only the most basic of techniques and often without proper There is certainly a place for this segment in the bead & jewelry hobbyists population.

Putting my money where my mouth is – I recently stunned many customers who called asking me to special order certain books prefaced because they said something like “I am so excited to get this book to learn more about Kumihimo” with my reply “If you want to learn about Kumihimo, you should not be buying a beading/beadwork book” because no matter what is says in title, yes, it is braiding, but only at the most elementary level. There is nothing wrong with recipe books, but a Chocolate Chip Cookie is till just a Chocolate Chip cookie if the only variation is your choice of chocolate – Milk, Dark, etc – all good and delicious if you like that flavor. Just as the book you are requesting is offering you varaitions based on the bead ingredients (with some allowance occasionally for where to place the beads) If you want to learn about Kumihimo, let’s talk a bit before you choose.

So far, only one has gotten angry, and several have stuck to their original choice, but most have thought further and chosen a path that will keep them interested and innovative for years to come.

Now on to the, Getting Started Book Lists. (not to Wheat Wrote What readers, the forum does required you create an account to read most of the content – it is free, and you will not added to any email lists unless you choose to follow topics)

Click to Read: Books for Process People and why Wheat recommends each

Click to read: Books for Project and why Wheat recommends each

Click to read Books for Disk and Plate people and why Wheat Recommends each.

LINK To MATERAILS for Braiders

LINK TO EQUIPMENT SECTION WITH PICTURES AND DESCRIPTION OF EACH AND THEIR USES>
such as the
Maru-dai, Kara-dai, KaraKaku-dai, Omarudai, Taka-dai, Aya-Taka-dai, to name some of the Japanese – there are also Chinese and many other cultures with specialized equipment such as the recently released cord braiding stand that I have been told was developed to make Peruvian braids “easier”







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