Made By Hand

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Dr. Lynda
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Introduction

Are you getting a little sick of managing all your “stuff”?

When exactly did we start loosing our appreciation for things that are handmade, and trade that for the notion that “cheaper is better”?

This circle of articles might change that for you. After writing these four articles, I now walk away from buying about half the things I used to, and I take new deep pleasure in things that are handmade. Now with every passing week, my “stuff” is getting sorted and disposed of, and I am making gifts (mostly food pleasures) for friends and family, instead of adding to their stuff.

Take a look at these “makers”.

 

 

The “No Junk” Manifesto

Posted on August 23, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

There’s a sublime comfort in realizing the importance of a few solid, meaningful things in our surroundings.

Today on EWC, we feature a topic I’ve never given a moment’s thought to, yet it is perhaps the most ubiquitous man made item in all our surroundings: furniture. No wait! This could be interesting! This might be a beautiful way to generate a lovely feeling of gratitude for what you have, instead of yearning for what you don’t have. We take a look at furniture artist Daniel Chaffin and his marvelous artwork.

Image: bed frame made of 2 X 4 's
Source: NURANI INTERIOR

If you are in your home right now, take a moment to look around. Do you have a favorite chair, a table from your grandma’s house, a stool, bowl, or nightstand, that may be a bit funky, but it was made with care by some one individual, not in a factory?  And most importantly, these things are not made of plastic.

Most of us have a least at few things that have found their way into our lives that meet that criteria.They usually fall into one of two categories: they weigh a ton because they are built to last, or they are exquisitely made to feature a particular detail that we know someone threw their heart and soul into.

Image: hand made light fixtures
Source: LUSHOME

I recently spent some time in one of the most remote parts of Tibet and was struck by the graceful way they live with so little and cherish what they have. Much of what they do have meets the criteria I mentioned above, and they revered those possessions for another reason: they come from the heart and hands of others.

Because we don’t make things with our own hands anymore, we’ve forgotten how to value handmade things.

It is time to start treating “handmade” things as a gift. Some people do, and have for thousands of years! They are craftspeople, artists and the master furniture makers.

And what can these people teach us for our own daily lives? As I watched the following video, I thought it brought up a few great rules to live by. See what you think!..

Via 1

Lovely. Here’s the key points I took away from that piece and those that mesh perfectly from the ancient way of thinking I saw in Tibet:

  1. Looking for something meaningful to do in your life? Follow what you love. (Take some clues from your childhood. Outside of technology, was there something you could focus on for hours because your unique passions seemed to be drawn there like a moth to a flame? Maybe no one nurtured those impulses. Can you do that for yourself now?)
  2. Find something to do with your hands in a creative capacity. Not things like playing video games; perhaps something that leaves you or others with something meaningful or beautifully crafted. It could be anything from making exquisite model airplanes, jewelry, or calligraphy, to wood carving, furniture making or building post & beam barns. Perhaps something that makes your hands sore and dirty which will connect you to history.
  3.  Be willing to peck away at the details meticulously. Let your ego go. Remember that no one is too good to do the grunt work. There’s humility and peace of mind there.
  4. Every step is important if you are trying to do something as well as it can be done.
  5. All the success in the things we create may be in that they are beautifully simple, useful, and long-lasting.

And how about the “No Junk Manifesto”? What a piece of brilliance!

“Don’t make junk. Don’t keep junk. Don’t buy junk.”
-Daniel Chaffin Furniture Makers

We could all use those three rules for living in both our business lives and homes.

Thanks for stopping by for a little dose of something unexpected and positive.

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Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda

 


 

Julia Child’s Omelette Recipe: An Easy and Elegant Meal

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Food is so many things to us humans: A required energy source, an art, a scarce resource, a way to weave a group into a community.

Still, do you ever get to Thursday night in your work week and find you just don’t have the energy to make dinner?

While there’s always take-out or fast food, anyone with a heat source, a pan, a spatula and an impulse for grace can enjoy this simple concept. Join me on a little “Foodie Time Travel” today.

Image: 8 Chefs making a HUGE omelette in front of a big crowd
SOURCE: DRPREM

Please, stay with me even if you don’t fancy yourself a cook and think perhaps that you won’t care about this little taste of wonder. THIS ONE is for you, and you will stun your friends and loved ones.

Enter: Julia Child, famously known in the 1980’s as the French chef, and her famous Omelette Show from way back in the day. Before we ever dreamed of such things as The Food Channel. You have never seen anything on The Food Channel as mesmerizing and truly useful. Julia Child is just amazing. Really! Give it 10 minutes and see if you don’t feel like trying it this weekend.

Get a dozen eggs and some hungry friends or a loved one, and have some inexpensive, elegant fun.

Okay,.. I found that photo and could not resist: you don’t have to have that much fun, but you see how people come to revere their omelettes!

I’d like to add that we have omelette night at our house almost once a week and I usually find a way to use some interesting things in my fridge that need to be eaten. You can go crazy on that theme and come up with some strange and wonderful combinations. We’ll often have some left-over meats or vegetables from previous dinners that are going to waste. And you can add cheese to almost any other ingredients to surprise yourself!

Here’s a charming, classic cooking lesson from Julia on one of the easiest yet lovely meals you will ever make yourself or your family.

Get a favorite beverage and enjoy this helpful, healthy, ideal “go to” meal.

Via 1

Don’t forget to use your imagination. We have put everything from sour cream to sauerkraut, from pepperoni to pizza sauce, from leftover salmon to canned chopped clams, with every kind of cheese under the sun in our omelettes. The sky is the limit.

Oh! And the omelette supper party! What a great idea. French bread, wine, and a nice salad. What’s not to love?

I did a little homework, and even if you can’t invest in a really heavy duty omelette pan, and you don’t have a 7 to 8 inch non-stick pan, you can pick one up at almost any box store for less than $10-15, and as Julia mentioned you can use it for anything and everything.

Recently, my husband and EWC co-founder (Dr. Chuck) made the perfect omelette for our family and he added a few twists that expand Julia’s video. You can find the recipe for Dr. Chuck’s easy family omelette dinner below:

Image: Dr. Chuck with his homemade omelette

Dig around in your fridge for some left-over meat. We had some grilled barbecued chicken from Monday night. (Could be something from a restaurant meal you carried out, or a little ham, or slices of steak or sausage.) Slice it thin and spread it out to cover the bottom of a very large frying pan with some olive oil. After it’s heated fully, dump over the top about 10-12 eggs scrambled with some salt and pepper. Let it cook until it’s firm on the bottom. You can lift up the edges and tilt the pan now and then to let the runny eggs find their way to the bottom to solidify.

While that’s cooking, Dr. Chuck sliced some tomatoes, (you could use anything you have on hand: zucchini, carrots, onions, peppers) put them in another pan, and let them sit over low heat with some butter until they’re caramelized. Don’t push them around. Let them sit and get brown and crispy on the bottom.

Meanwhile, back in the omelette pan, once the eggs are solid on the bottom, put a pizza pan over the frying pan, hold it tight with a hot pad, and then quickly flip over the pans; dropping the omelette onto the pizza pan. Return the whole thing to the frying pan in a flipped position to cook the other side for another 3 minutes.What Dr. Chuck did at this point was to place the caramelized tomatoes on top of the omelette with a little balsamic vinegar drizzle and some Parmesan cheese. You can use onions or not, and definitely be creative with your cheese choices!

For your final step, slide the whole omelette onto the pizza board again.  Dr. Chuck served his with a salad. WOW!.. Brilliant left-over miracle!

As you experiment, remember that the technique with the eggs is the same no matter the other ingredients.

THAT’s our “go to” meal on the nights we are too pooped to shop or cook.

Thanks Dr. Chuck!

Try your omelette this coming weekend, when you can practice your flipping technique. If you send me some photos of your fun or the results, I’ll post and add them right to this article!

Have fun with friends and family with this one!

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Brilliant: Plastic Bottle Schools!

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Want to sling mud, collect smiles, change lives and redefine your dreams? You might want to know more about “Plastic Bottle Schools.” From what I can tell, it’s a project almost anyone can connect to.

 

Need another example of what’s good in the world? I can see this concept standing beside our other 660+ EWC articles that will remind you

I can see this concept standing beside our other 660+ EWC articles that will remind you it is still an amazing world. (our motto)

Today on everwideningcircles.com we bring you an article by a frequent link contributor and new guest writer for EWC, Neal Smith. (You too can write for us!) Neal’s been a teacher and mentor for countless youths for 25 years and has quite a knack for seeing the best in our world and others. Here’s Neal’s piece for EWC:


While listening to a radio program today, I was impressed by a segment that interviewed and then presented an eTown “eChievement Award” to Zach Balle, who started Hug It Forward.

Image: Kids standing with plastic bottles

The whole idea sounds like the result of a mid-life crisis, except it began to form when Zach was 24, observing that his new-found wealth and resultant lifestyle made him feel “I wasn’t living in a way that really felt right: creating. I had a strong feeling of disappointment in myself.”

Zach’s quest for meaning eventually led him to co-found Hug It Forward, which supports local Guatemalans by helping them build school, using local materials INCLUDING recycled, trash-stuffed plastic bottles! Now, this is creative genius at it’s finest: take something you have in excess (willing hands and garbage), and turn it into something you don’t have enough of: schools.

The 40th school building is just now being finished–all since 2009. Hug It Forward works with local Guatemalans–adults and children–as they learn building skills, clean up their environment, and promote the education of the children.  Take a look at a few more amazing videos we found that will inspire!

Fabulous innovation in “giving and volunteering” here! People are proud to be the creators of their own way forward. The days of randomly solving problems for others, without their immediate input and ownership are fading. And choosing the right places to first incubate new concepts like this, before springing them up everywhere, is key.
So why Guatemala? According to the World Bank:
Poverty in Guatemala is both widespread and severe. Approximately 75 percent of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line, which is defined as an income that is insufficient to purchase a basic basket of goods and services. Almost 58 percent of the population have incomes below the extreme poverty line, which is defined as the amount needed to purchase a basic basket of food. 2
Image: Hands making a heart
Image Source: http://hugitforward.org/

And there are the pluses too! According to Golden Gate BPO Solutions, Guatemala has:

  • Ranked 100 out of 183 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2010; and 91 out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index
  • Largest population in Central American Region (over 13.5 million)
  • Workforce of 4.1 million, with 70% of the population below the age of 30.
  • Due to human resource availability, operations can scale significantly.
  • Largest student numbers in Central America with 170,000 students enrolled in ten universities 3

Sounds like the ideal place to refine the Hug It Forward model and vision.

Here’s the sound cloud eTown award clip that started me on this happy path of discovery:  Click here to Listen. And the Hug It Forward website is: http://hugitforward.org/

I hope to share something with EWC again soon, and also a plug for eTown–great show, great people!
~ Neal Smith

Thanks so much to EWC guest writer Neal Smith. Do you know of a great concept that would inspire and enlighten the world? You can write for us too. Contact us!

Are you new to everwideningcircles.com? If so, welcome! We are a global community from 190 countries and we are beginning to change the dialogue about our world. Despite what the 24-hour news cycle tells us, this is still an amazing place. If you are interested in that world, check us out here from time to time! We publish one smart, hopeful article every day.

Images: A collage of EWC article pictures

For now, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda


WANT TO SEE MORE POSITIVE NEWS, FUN, OR INSIGHTS?

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Three Sticks to Tell Time

Posted on June 9, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

If you are a regular visitor to Ever Widening Circles, you know we love to expose the wonder in the simplest corners of our world. Today we share with you something really fun and fascinating: using only three sticks and your thumb to tell time.

Image: sundial with sticks
Source: BIOED ONLINE

Oddly enough, it’s probably something people have been doing for more than 2500 years. You can do it yourself on the beach, in a folding chair at the soccer field or anywhere else the sun is shining.

First a little background: It is amazing to realize that until the 1700’s sundials were more accurate than any other methods of telling time for the average person. Eventually waterclocks came along and then hourglasses, pendulum clocks, etc. (all subjects for another day of wonder here at EWC) but there’s a reason why the sundial stayed around for so long and I think we’ll appreciate it after today’s video-share. It is our tendency to honor the quality of simplicity.

Image: Roman sundial
Source: FLICKR

Of course I couldn’t just share today’s video with you. I had to put this little wonder in context for us and here’s what I found:

The Romans first used the sun’s movement to measure the passage of time in 263 B.C. after travelers from Sicily introduced the concept. It was first set-up in the Roman Forum where it was a marvel and became a public meeting place.

The initial vertical wedge designs only precisely measured sunrise, midday and sunset, but soon they discovered they could estimate other times of day by the length of the shadows the vertical part of the dial cast. People started coming to the Forum to check the time, and to socialize.

Soon other sundials were set up in public buildings or squares, and to have a sundial in your home became a status symbol. It was the “huge, flat screen TV” of its time.  The best of these timepieces allowed the Romans to divide the day into 12 equal parts, or hours. The hours became a new way to organize society and the the concepts of “late” and “early” were born.

Here’s how this works:

Image: sundial design
Source: HILAROAD

When an EWC fan shared the following video with us they simply introduced it as “a real regular guy explains telling time using the sun.”  And this truly is a “regular guy”, who obviously has a passion for the outdoors and survival skills. It’s a great little, unpolished video. I wish we could do more of these!

In any case, I’ve got to think this is the wisdom of the ages is at work here. Take a look..

Image: Engineering Feat- The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay opened July 4th in Redding, California. It is Spanish engineer-architect Santiago Calatrava's second completed work in this country. The bridge took 10 years and $23.5 million to complete.
The famous Redding California Sundial Bridge Source: PRISM-MAGAZINE

Nice! I think I could actually do that just for fun or to impress some bored kids at a playground! It might even be useful some day. You never know!

Here’s a couple more great sundials I found that are wonders in themselves:

Take some time today to appreciate the small wonders, usually right there under our nose. The patterns of nature and the way they can be used in a completely harmless way in balance with the rhythms of the world around us!

 

BONUS:

Image: A Modern day aerial view of a human sundial
Source: SUNCLOCKS

Want a cool garden project or fun family project that will last the test of time, both in memories and physical presence?  During my research for this article, I found a very fun website where you can get ideas and directions to make your own permanent sundial simply, but on a grand scale.

Image: homemade sundial in the park
Source: SUNCLOCKS

Click here to hop on over to SunClocks.com.  This might make a great community service project in a local park, for a class, club, scouting troop or student counsel. (I’m thinking of doing one of these at the family farm when I’m home on vacation in August!)

See you tomorrow at noon! Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Forging a Stronger Future by Hand

Posted on August 20, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Can we forge a stronger future by using our own hands more often? An amazing master of penmanship sure thinks so.

Image: drawing of a sailing ship in a sea of script (words)Artist Jake Weidmann has an insight that may surprise us. After seeing his story, I will never write another thank you note or leave a message on the kitchen counter without giving his insights some thought.

Jake is showing us why technology and things made by hand should never be allowed to stand in opposing corners.

Jake is a master of penmanship: a subject area I thought was a dying art. But no! He gives us the most fascinating reasons to care about our own strokes. Even if you have the sloppiest handwriting in the world, this is really amazing. Stay with it!

Jake’s college professors knew him as the kid who wrote essay tests that looked like The Declaration of Independence.

He has been refining those instincts ever since. Take a look!

Via: TEDx Talks  1

Fabulous insight, huh?

If you’d like to read a great blog about his thoughts on 5 Ways to Cultivate Creativity, click here. It’s a great piece that looks like it’s written by he and his creative wife. The website itself is interesting, so take a look around there.

In any case, Jake’s passions can teach us a lot about how our own hands can give meaning to our own lives. Penmanship may not be our forte, but what can we do with our hands?

What would our lives look like if we switched off our screens and TV’s for 1 hour a day and dove deep into something that allowed us to reconnect with our hands? What if we took an hour a day to sit with our kids doing, making, creating something with our hands?

Image: Handmade bowl where you put the items into a hand-shaped carving in cork

Stay open, curious and hopeful, and something like that might come your way soon.

WANT TO SEE MORE POSITIVE NEWS, FUN, OR INSIGHTS?

Head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!

Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles like this one!

~ Dr. Lynda

 


 

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.