FC: How to be a Heart Sister | What makes a friend? A single soul living in two bodies. | How to be a Heart Sister
1: Dedicated to the Heart Sisters: the most remarkable women I've ever had the honor of knowing
2: I was twenty minutes old when I met my Auntie Paula. She walked me down the hospital hallway and says that when I grabbed her pinky finger, I also grabbed her heart. I grew up spending summers at her house in Howard, Colorado, learning to sew and paint. I met lots of neat ladies that were always super sweet and creative and heard stories about their Heart Sister Week, but never truly took the time to understand the dynamic these women had. | Lesson Number One: The Project
3: When we were first told about the ethnography project, I knew I wanted to study the Heart Sisters. The only problem was that they were scattered across the country and only got together for one week in December. (Graves) But lucky for me, one lives in Salida and two live in Howard. I knew that I could study these three women and expand my findings to the rest of the group. I knew that they were a group of older women who did art together, but when I thought about it, I didn't really know all that much about their dynamic. It's no secret that women have a camaraderie with one another. Women have a special language full of quirky sayings that only other women understand. (Jennifer) Storytelling is a prime example of this. "Women use storytelling as a focus for discussing and re-evaluating social norms, and for the construction and maintenance of personal identity," said Coates. (Jennifer) Being part of a special group is always based on similarities. This is true with many kinds of groups, but most interestingly with art groups. In studies, half or more members in an art group produced similar works of art, all relating to one theme. (J.P.) This is true of the Heart Sisters, as they are of similar souls. Lots of people might look at this group and offhandedly assume that they were a bunch of old ladies who were out of touch with the modern world and technology who thought the youth was going downhill. Some might even go so far as to call them hippies or say they're too artsy...as if that was possible. So I started to observe them in their “natural habitat.” The proceeding glossary of sorts is the compilation of my findings. HOW TO BE A HEART SISTER
4: Heart Sisters Paula Graves Jodell Wright Melodee Kennington Pat Waldorf Karen Larsen Chris Eklund Margaret Pompeo Pat Eddings Irene Unruh Terry Pompeo
5: Lesson 2: What makes a Heart Sister so special? | When you say "Heart Sisters", the average person's brain bleeps out and automatically says, "Say what?" You could break it apart and try to decipher it using a dictionary and get two parts: sister- a woman related to another person by a common tie or interest and heart- one's innermost character, feelings, or inclinations. By combining these two definitions into one, you'd get pretty close to understanding what being a Heart Sister means. These women were thrown together by some crazy amount of fate, and they stayed together. Their souls called out to one another as if to say, “"There you are. I've been looking for you." Bound by their common love of art, and held together by the times they've shared, these 10 women have forged an unimaginably strong bond.
6: Lesson 3: What is a Heart Sister? | Heart Sister (Graves) - a woman related to another person by one's innermost character, feelings, or inclinations The Heart Sisters are remarkable. They aren't merely a group of friends. They are connected by something more special than friendship; it's a true sisterhood that they share. Each one has something unique to say and show through their art. Heart Sisters get together one week every December for Heart Sister Week and exchange Heart Sister gifts throughout the year, as well. They've taught me so much more than just how to sew or paint. They've taught me lessons in life. These women share the same heart. | Heart Sister Week (Graves, Wright) - 7 days in December spent with Heart Sisters creating and sharing art The Heart Sisters all became close through summers of art seminars, but after the seminars stopped happening, the ladies knew they had to meet and hang out still. Paula invited them all to her home for a week long sleepover. Her husband, Dane, would leave for that week and the women would have the house to themselves to oil paint, felt, paper cut,
7: Heart Sister gifts (Graves) - a thing given willingly without payment from one Heart Sister to another Heart Sister Every year, the Heart Sisters get together for one week of fun. During this week, they have a random drawing to decide who their special Heart Sister of the year will be. This special Heart Sister receives presents randomly throughout the year: for birthdays, Christmas, or even just for being a friend. These gifts can be anything from a hand hooked rug, a handmade bracelet made from watch faces, or even a box of imported chocolates. (Graves) What makes these gifts so special is that the woman who receives it knows that time and thought were put into the gift. Paula said, "Each gift is just so YOU and that makes it even more special; these ladies know you so well." (Graves) At the end of the year, there is a big reveal and everyone guesses who their special Heart Sister was. (Graves) These gifts are almost like a year-long Secret Santa-just for being loved. | write books, sculpt, anything they wanted. Heart Sister Week began with everyone working with one media each time, but gradually morphed into everyone doing their own project, but always bringing enough supplies to share with anyone who wanted to try. Heart Sister Week is a special week that has only been missed by one member due to extreme conditions. (Graves) It's sacred and special to each of them.
8: Lesson 4: The Beginning | "Best Buddies" (Graves)–- the highest quality friend The Heart Sisters have known each other for over 15 years. It all started when Pat Waldorf moved to Howard, Colorado. She began holding art seminars in the summer where people would come stay at her garage turned art studio and study art together. Paula retired and moved to Howard and began to teach the seminars with Pat. Many people participated in the seminars, but there were some who "you just knew were special." This special friendship became known as the "Best Buddies" which later morphed into the Heart Sisters after Pat retired and the seminars stopped. (Graves) Without the "Best Buddies," the Heart Sisters might never have found each other and this special bond might have never been made. | Art - the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects All the women in the group are talented artists. They met when Pat Waldorf moved to Howard and began holding art seminars. When they met, they knew that they were special and became close friends. (Graves) You could say art was the force that brought them together.
9: Friendship - the state of being attached to another by affection or esteem Friendship is such a small word that cannot even begin to describe what these women have together. They've known each other for over 16 years. (Graves) When these women get together, they laugh, no one whines, no one complains, and everyone is supportive. They come from all walks of life; some are Republican, some are Democrats, some live in New Mexico, and some live in Colorado, some have master's degrees, some are housewives. (Graves) But their friendship overcomes those things and thrives.
10: Lesson 5: How to Properly Use Euphemisms | "bless her little heart" (Fringe, Jodell) - One of the most noticeable things about the Heart Sisters is their unwavering compassion for people. They are the nicest women I've ever met. That is partially due to their use of silly euphemisms and cleverly worded sentences. They never gossip, but if they say something that could be perceived as a bit mean, they say, "bless their little heart." It comes from the south where gossiping is very frowned upon, but flourishes freely because southern belles cover up their mean words by saying "bless their little heart." (Jodell)
11: "oh fudge" (Jodell) - foolish nonsense, often used to express annoyance, disappointment, or disbelief The Heart Sisters are some of the nicest, most classy women I've ever met. I've never once heard them curse at something in anger, and on the rare occasion that a curse word slips out for emphasis, the Heart Sister will immediately chide herself and threaten to wash her own mouth out with soap. (Fringe) These women have taught me that you don't need to use those words to make yourself into something you're not, it's easy to just substitute in a euphemism, and you'll find yourself not getting angry as easily or as often. | "Hugs"”(Jodell) - to press tightly in one's arms; to hold fast “ "talks"”(Fringe) - to deliver or express in speech The Heart Sisters are the queens of euphemisms. I've never heard them say one bad thing about anyone, but they are human. Some people are just annoying. When the Heart Sisters get a tiny bit irritated by someone, they tell them "hugs," wave, and leave. (Jodell) They invented this term to get away from an annoying situation or someone who "talks." Someone who "talks" could also be called a complainer. (Fringe) Someone who doesn't see the beauty around them and focuses only on the bad- the type of person the Heart Sisters don't want to be.
12: Lesson 6: The Clubhouse | Clubhouse (Fringe, Graves, Jodell) - a house occupied by a club used for club activities Most of the Heart Sisters live far away from Chaffee County, but Jodell, Melodee, and Paula all live in the area. (Graves) Every Friday, they get together at the “clubhouse” for Melodee and Jodell's guitar lessons and to hang out and knit or sort buttons. These ladies just like to hang out together even when the other Heart Sisters aren't there. When I started my observations, I knew I would have to observe the three women who live nearby and then expand the things I observed to include the entire Heart Sister group as a whole. The clubhouse was the perfect place for me to observe these remarkable women in their "natural habitat." | Bulb Sisters (Fringe, Jodell) - fictitious guitar group playing covers of popular songs Jodell, Melodee, and Paula get together on Fridays and hang out together knitting, sorting buttons, and learning to play guitar. (Jodell) They joke that they are going to go on the road together and Jodell and Melodee are going to play guitar for people under the name "The Bulb Sisters". Jodell's name is Dim-y Bulb, Melodee is Bright-y Bulb, and Paula is Bern
13: Tout Bulb. Paula is their groupie cheerleader backstage encouraging them. (Fringe) I even got christened into the group with the name Night-y Bulb and Jessica Hartman, who came to visit during one of the observations, received the name Ne-Ne Bulb which is short for Neon Bulb. (Jodell) The blog that Melodee made was fake but was named for the Bulb Sisters and is called BernToutBulb.blogspot.com. (Jodell) | Guitar (Fringe, Jodell)–- a flat bodied stringed instrument with a long fretted neck and usually six strings On Fridays, Jodell, Melodee, and Paula all get together at the “clubhouse” so that they can hang out and play guitar together. (Fringe) One of Melodee's daughters plays guitar and ended up buying a “house guitar” to keep at Melodee's house. (Jodell) Melodee started to learn to play and Jodell jumped in with lessons as well. (Jodell) These ladies aren't afraid to learn new skills and do often.
14: Lesson 6: The Clubhouse Continued | Callus (Jodell) - thickening of or a hard thickened area of skin Calluses are an interesting topic to be talking about around a bunch of sophisticated women, but that is a serious conversation we've had. When playing the guitar, you have to press really hard on the strings to create notes and chords, and also to strum the guitar. (Wright) Your body's natural defense against this is to create a callus on the tips of your fingers. These calluses are a sign that you're a true guitarist, not just someone who picked a guitar up one day. Having calluses gives a sense of pride to the musician; Jodell even said, "I'm just so proud of my calluses; I just want to go around and let people touch 'em." (Jodell) This sense of pride is not only about having calluses, it's a larger sense of pride at learning to do something completely foreign.
15: "Jam" (Fringe, Jodell) - to press into a close position; food made by boiling fruit and water Jodell and Melodee are the main act in the Bulb Sister's cover guitar group. Their special practice times at the Clubhouse are called "jams." (Fringe) Being allowed to sit in on their "jam" was such a lucky thing for me to get to do because it was letting me into their exclusive group. Not only are these women so remarkably learning a new skill, they aren't afraid to share and show people their progress. | "1,2,3,4" (Jodell) - system of counting used when learning music to keep the beat I thought the Heart Sisters could do anything, but I was wrong. Jodell and Melodee learned to play the guitar. So technically now they can do anything. Every Friday, at the Clubhouse, Jodell and Melodee have a "jam" where they practice the 12 Bar Blues, Going to the Chapel, Your Cheatin' Heart, and many other famous songs. (Jodell) To keep the beat while they play the chords, Jodell and Melodee count out the beats. (Jodell) It became a sort of joke because it was so repetitive, but it shows that these women won't do anything with half their hearts; they put their minds to it and will learn that new skill as quick as a whistle.
16: Lesson 7: Break Assumptions | Blog - website containing writer's own experiences, observations, etc. The Heart Sisters are very inquisitive of my life. During one of my observations, I mentioned starting a fashion blog. Melodee noticed that I mentioned something about a fashion blog several times. She is very intuitive and notices many things. She prompted me to start my blog and picked up Paula's MacBook to teach me how, by making a sample blog for the Bulb Sisters. In almost no time, she had started her very own blogspot for the Bulb Sisters. (Jodell) Melodee took this simple idea and turned it into a reality, something the Heart Sisters are very good at. She was so tech-savvy and quick to figure out how the website worked which is a testament to how modern the Heart Sisters are as a group.
17: Mac (Paula, Jodell) - (Macintosh) is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. There is much assumed by the young people of today that people older than them cannot use the modern conveniences that we have today. It's safe to say that some grandparents’ don't know how to work a computer, but it's also safe to say that some are extra tech-savvy. The Heart Sisters fit into this second category. Paula owns a MacBook Pro and can do virtually anything she wants on it, anything that she doesn't know how to do immediately, she can look up on the Internet and figure out by herself. (Paula) Melodee knows how to work it too. She picked it up and within 30 minutes had already created a blog entry. (Jodell) The same sort of story goes for all the Heart Sisters. They can pick up a computer or an iPad and figure it out in absolutely no time. | "the young people" (Fringe)–- youth While a common attitude among older generations is that the youth is going downhill, the Heart Sisters are avid believers in the youth. Each generation believes that the one that follows it gets a bit worse. The Heart Sisters choose to believe that the youth can be impacted by the generations before it, and therefore should get better. By talking to, helping, and teaching the younger generations, they have helped form it into a better age.
18: Lesson 7: Break Assumptions Continued | Text (Fringe, Paula, Jodell) - electronic message sent over a cellular network from one cell phone to another by typing words In our modern world, texting is not in itself a rare thing. But these women are professional at communicating in this modern way. Heart Sisters are up to date and modern. Paula even has a smart phone. (Graves) These women are breaking assumptions everywhere they go. Most young people think that anyone over the age of 40 can't do anything technology-wise, but these women are more tech-savvy than some sixteen-year-olds I know. Jodell and Melodee even discussed texting each other every so often to remind each other to practice the guitar. (Jodell) These women aren't afraid to try new things whether that be a new painting technique, a new type of food, or a new way of communicating.
19: "99 at 19" (Jodell) - expression meaning even at a young age, you are old These women are so special because of many reasons, but one of the most remarkable is their ability to stay young and modern. Paula told a story about a dinner they had with Debbie Reynolds (the actress who played Princess Leia in Star Wars) where Debbie was talking about her uncle who was friends with Paula's husband, Dane. Debbie was saying how "Uncle Wally was 99 at 19," meaning he was always an old person with an old person's mentality. Paula ended her story by saying she never wanted to live her life that way-waiting to die. (Jodell) I know Paula, as well as all the other Heart Sisters, live each day doing what they want and advancing into the future. They may have old souls, but their minds are sharp and quick, they pick up on everything and are more modern than even some parents I know.
20: Lesson 8: Laugh Often | "Anything that passes your lips, goes to your hips." (Jodell)–- funny expression about weight and weight gain As you age, things change. It is a well-known fact, but many women today try to put this off through plastic surgery, diet pills, and even liposuction. Instead of getting all in a huff over this fact, the Heart Sisters laugh it off and poke fun at it. I've heard countless funny expressions such as, "Your legs are longer than my body," (Jodell) or "I've gained 25 pounds today with Jess's treats and Jodell's candy." (Jodell) Paula said that after she had her hysterectomy, she asked where the empty space went. The doctor told her the other organs just moved over. Paula was very disappointed- she thought she had space for rent. (Jodell)
21: "as awkward as a bull in a china cabinet" (Fringe) - expression that pokes fun at a difficult thing The Heart Sisters don't back down from a challenge, whether that be a new art project or a problem in their lives, but they are human. Paula just learned to knit and made a beautiful bag, but during the process, she told me she was about "as awkward as a bull in a china cabinet" when it came to holding the needles for the first time. (Fringe) These women aren't perfect (only because they are human and we all aren't) but the thing that separates them from the average person is that they admit it, and laugh at it which, in turn, helps them get through it. | Bra - a woman's close fitting undergarment worn for breast support The Heart Sisters are anything but shy. Conversations with them can range from talking about boys to bras. The Heart Sisters look at aging in such a funny light and poke fun at their sagging boobs and lack of Victoria's Secret underwear. Paula bought a lacy bra and joked that that was her first clue that she shouldn't buy it; it was a push-up bra. (Fringe) Paula and Jodell joke about their underwear asking, "Are yours from Victoria's Secret?" (Jodell) These women are so modern and can laugh about anything. Instead of being upset and bitter about things, they laugh and have a grand old time with each other. They live in the moment and make the best of it.
22: Lesson 8: Laugh Often Continued | "it was a joy to know her" “"she worked hard”(Jodell)–- Talking about death may seem like a really heavy topic to discuss over coffee, but the Heart Sisters handle it with ease. Jodell and Paula discussed what would happen after they died, but made it one of the funniest conversations I've ever heard. Jodell simply wanted "it was a joy to know her" to be written on her tombstone. In contrast, Paula merely wanted "she worked hard." (Jodell) These women aren't afraid of death and don't talk about it like it's a depressing thing, even though it is. Being able to laugh about such a heavy topic is an asset I admire. | "jumped from cheating boyfriends to 'roman' noodles without skipping a beat" (Fringe) - I'm not afraid to tell these special women anything. During a hard time in my personal life, they helped get me to laugh and make light of the situation. I have such respect for these women and they listen to me and I listen to them. Conversation just flows between them and there is never a boring lull in discussion. They have a special blend of understanding and ribbing that can make even the most trying times easy.
23: "Nippin' the bottle" (Jodell) - expression meaning to drink alcohol; to get drunk When the Heart Sisters get together, there is no stopping them; everyone is constantly laughing and there is a smile on every person's face. Sometimes their jokes just keep flowing and everyone is gasping for air. One of Jodell's favorite things to say is, "I swear I'm not nippin' the bottle," meaning she hasn't been drinking and therefore her silliness is not due to alcohol. This only succeeds in making the Heart Sisters laugh even more at the current situation. | "yarn don't dry up"”(Fringe) - The Heart Sisters have a seemingly never ending supply of art stuff. Countless buttons and thousands of paints sit in cabinets just waiting to be used on some fabulous new art project. (Paula) But sadly, sometimes things get left in the closet for too long, especially paint, which dries up. While commenting on how they always have to re-buy their favorite brands of paint, Jodell, instead of complaining, joked that "yarn don't dry up." (Fringe) This candid joke just shows how easygoing the Heart Sisters are about problems they come upon throughout the day. I've never once heard serious complaining or grumbling from a Heart Sister, which is truly incredible.
24: "Be still my heart" - expression showing love for something "heart will go pitter patter" (Fringe, Jodell) - to be infatuated; to be in love; I've heard this expression from several Heart Sisters. I've heard it used towards a vintage compact, a past boyfriend, and even towards a funny situation. Towards the compact: Paula thought it was the most adorable thing she'd seen in years. It reminded her of her past when tiny compacts were a staple in all women's handbags. (Jodell) Towards the boyfriend: Paula told me of a boyfriend she thought she was in love with. (Graves) Towards the funny situation: the Heart Sisters couldn't stop laughing at the two burly men who walked into Fringe (the fabric and quilting store downtown). And who promptly turned around and ran the other way (Fringe). The Heart Sister's vocabulary is full of cute expressions that convey more than just what the words mean. | Lesson 9: Love | "God smiled on me when he sent me your Aunt Paula" (Fringe) These women have a special bond, that in itself is remarkable, but the way they treat one another is extraordinary as well. Jodell and Paula have been neighbors for almost forever. Part of being a Heart Sister is loving each other and they really do.
25: Bobbin (Jodell) - small round devices on which threads are wound inside a sewing machine A sewing machine has many, many moving parts in its innermost workings, much like the Heart Sisters as a group. The bobbin is just one part of the sewing machine that winds the thread together and allows sewing to be possible on a machine. This is very similar to the way the Heart Sisters work together; each bit of their unique creativity gets woven together and allows their interesting dynamic to work. | "sweetie"”"honey" (Jodell, Fringe)–- terms of endearment; one who is loved These women love each other. It's no surprise. Being close friends like they are, nicknames and terms of endearment come up often. I didn't realize how special these names are until I looked up their definitions in the dictionary. "Sweetie" directly translates to "one who is loved." That is the truest definition of the word and the Heart Sisters are the perfect example of a place where that definition applies. | "women are the caretakers" (Fringe)–- These women are independent. They showed me that it is vital to be able to stand on your own two feet, but it's also your duty to help others. Part of being a Heart Sister is helping your fellow Heart Sisters, and those outside of the immediate group.
26: Lesson 9: Love Continued | Button (Jodell) - a small knob or disk secured to clothing used as a fastener Most people wake up and put on their clothes to start the day, never once noticing that they have a tiny bit of metal or plastic to thank for holding their shirt together or their pants up. These little buttons are something that we rarely even take not of, especially when we think about the history behind them. Buttons are very telling of our society; when we think of our modern buttons compared to buttons from the 40’s, we have to compare boring circles of white or black plastic to beautifully and ornately carved glass and smooth and rare genuine mother of pearl disks. It takes a highly perceptive person to notice this and the Heart Sisters are some of the only people who do, and take a special sort of pride in their buttons. Sorting buttons is a pastime for them. Each button is rare and tells a story. "What do you think this was on?" and "Can't you just see this holding together a lovely jacket?" are common phrases they speak. (Jodell) These women get nostalgic when thinking about the seemingly insignificant buttons, but one could also note that this could also have bearing on how they view the world, both then and now. While
27: the Heart Sisters love their lives, some part of them still vies for earlier days in their lives, ornate buttons and all. | "tickled" (Fringe)– to provoke to laughter or merriment These women love. Simply enough. They live each day with something that they love. The smallest things "tickle" them like a drawing a small girl once gave them (Paula), a tiny antique compact mirror and rogue (Jodell), or even something silly another Heart Sister said. No matter what it is, the Heart Sisters are happy with even the smallest things, and their lives are some of the happiest I've ever had the privilege of seeing. | Heart in Hand - symbol of a heart in an open palm and is symbolic of charity, given from the heart The Heart Sisters all do their own styles of art using unique mediums, but one common thread goes through each of their creations. The Heart in Hand symbol shows up frequently in each of the ladies work. The Heart in Hand symbol stands for charity and symbolizes that the creation was made from the heart, through the hands. It seems to say, "I made this for you, with love."
28: Lesson 10: Recipe for Creativity | Spinach and artichoke dip (Jodell) - dip made of spinach, artichokes, cheese, and seasonings When the Heart Sisters get together, they know that the recipe to a good time is around creative people, in a room full of art supplies with a pot of coffee brewing in the corner and spinach and artichoke dip along with crackers sitting on the counter. The ladies love this dip; Jodell even said, "I could eat it like ice cream." (Jodell) | "The throne" (Jodell) - chair of state of a king or prince; seat of a deity Doing hand crafts requires the supplies for doing the actual project, a good lamp, some music possibly, but always always a good chair. In the Clubhouse, Jodell has her throne. Hita, her dog, and Jodell spend a lot of time in the extra plush chair working on knitting projects or watching television. (Jodell)
29: YOLO -“"You Only Live Once"; eclectic clothing store in downtown Salida Before you even walk in the doors of YOLO, you know the store is a special place. The window displays are always extremely unique ranging from hundreds of paper cranes to a claw foot bathtub full of antique toys. YOLO sells fun and interesting clothes along with eclectic gifts. Based on this brief description of it, it's no surprise the Heart Sisters would shop there often. Paula is on a first name basis with the owner and Melodee is a frequent shopper. (Fringe) On visits to downtown Salida, there's a good chance the Heart Sisters might stop in to check out the new arrivals and chat with the employees.
30: Lesson 10: The Recipe for Creativity | Coffee (Fringe, Jodell, Graves, Wright)–- beverage made from roasted and ground seeds of coffee trees I call coffee the life-source of the Heart Sisters. Never have I been around a Heart Sister and not had the scent of coffee around us. Entire conversations have been devoted to talking about coffee: deciding if more needed to be brewed, discussing what happens with decaf versus caffeinated, and admissions that life without coffee is not life at all. (Jodell) | Lamp - any device for producing light or heat An almost imperceptible fixture in each of the rooms these women work in is a lamp...or 6. By every recliner and every chair is a lamp to shed some light on every situation and new project. (Jodell) The lamps can range from simple and basic to extremely artsy and even special space age fluorescent extra bright bulbs. Most normal people have one overhead light in a room with possibly a single boring lamp with a beige shade in the corner, but these ultra-creative ladies have a surplus of light, which might be why they shed a little bit of light everywhere they go.
31: Paint room (Paula, Graves) - a partitioned part of the inside of a building dedicated to producing lines and colors on a surface by using a liquid and a brush The paint room is where the magic happens. Countless hours are spent in the basement of Paula Graves's home producing anything from tiny scenes made of cut paper to elaborate oil paintings or dreamy watercolor paintings. You know immediately that you are in a true artist's realm when you walk into the paint room. The floor is covered with giant whimsical flowers (to cleverly cover the paint splatters from previous art ventures) and bits of thread from long ago sewing projects. Every color of paint imaginable resides on a cart along with every sized brush conceivable. A walk in closet is full to bursting with handmade papers, tubs full of ribbon and lace, boxes full of charms, and countless art books and magazines line the walls. (Paula) This is a Heart Sister's haven; anything they could ever need to make their unique vision a reality resides in the cabinets, shelves, and cupboards.
32: Lesson 10: Independence | "gotta go feed that man/dog" (Paula, Jodell) - The Heart Sisters all thrive on their creativity and friendship, but sometimes reality steps in. Besides being super cool and artsy, these women are supreme jugglers. I've personally seen one Heart Sister juggle a guitar, a chihuahua, and two cups of coffee all at the same time. (Jodell) Melodee juggles daughters, a recent move to Salida, hikes, her dog, and her husband. Paula has juggled five teenage girls, Dane, a cat, two horses, and humming birds. (Paula) In the midst of all this, these women find time for themselves and their art. While they joke about their responsibilities being a nuisance at times, they throw themselves into everything they do with gusto and manage to get everything done, well, and have time for a silly girl doing an ethnography project. | "honey, we would have held the flashlight for you while you changed your tire" (Fringe) - Paula, Jodell, and Melodee are special people and I can talk to them about anything. During an observation I told them a story of how I changed my car's tire (all by myself) in the dark. They were so proud of me and my independence; after all, they've nurtured it and have helped me become my feminist self today. They thought it was a riot that I could
33: change the tire all by myself, but also told me they would have been willing to step in and help. (Fringe) While showing me that independence is one of the most valuable assets a woman can have, they also showed me that it's okay to ask for help and that it's okay to need people sometimes. They have taught a certain balance to me. | "rub some dirt in it" "it's a long way from your heart" (Jodell) - ranch expression meaning keep working, you'll be fine Growing up on a ranch has allowed me so many opportunities for growth. The Heart Sisters have listened to me tell countless stories of experiences happening while working outside with the cows. Melodee has taken "rub some dirt in it" and has applied it to her life. (Jodell) For the Heart Sisters, these expressions mean "don't sweat the little things" and tell them that everything will be okay, a valuable lesson that they've passed on to me through the time we've spent together.
34: "24-7" (Fringe, Jodell)–- continually; shortening of twenty four hours a day seven days a week 24-7 is an expression that I've heard since I was maybe 10 years old. Every time I look at a baby and start to get that silly expression on my face, I swear I can hear my Auntie Paula whispering to me, "24-7." She's always been an independent woman and has taught me to do the same. This innocent little expression is a joke about babies being cute, but you have to take care of them 24-7, even when it's 4 o'clock in the morning and they're crying because they're hungry. Auntie Paula has taught me that before you settle down, it's important to make sure you can fend for yourself in the world. And the Heart Sisters do a dang good job of it. | When Women Rise Up (Fringe) - fictional book about the world if women ran it As a random statement, Paula said a book should be written about if women ran the world. (Fringe) While many Heart Sisters are married, they believe that women can do anything a man can do. They are feminists who believe in equal rights for men and women. This book would include quotes from the Heart | Lesson 10: Independence Continued
35: Sisters about the way men and women should be treated. A lot of these statements are hilarious, yet wise, such as "A boyfriend should be like a squirrel: completely self-reliant, but if they're being nice, you can throw them a peanut or two. If they start to act like a jerk, stop throwing them peanuts and they'll stop coming around." (Fringe) | "weapon of choice" (Paula) - Salida and Howard, Colorado are notoriously relatively crime free tight-knit communities. Most people don't feel the need to live in fear of walking down the street, which is why Paula jokes about her "weapon of choice," the ever present sewing needle stuck into her shirt. While doing hand sewing projects, it's easiest to stick the needle into your shirt when changing thread. Sometimes the innocent needle is forgotten and trips into town are taken with the needle dangling off your lapel. (Fringe) It's a sign of a true seamstress to walk into a building with the telltale needle. Living in fear is something these women laugh at. They face the lion in the face and laugh at it with a bravery some people will never understand.
36: Lesson 11: Creativity | Complementary colors (Fringe)–- colors opposite each other on the color wheel Color groups are something that all artists must understand, even if it's only on a subconscious level. Paula was knitting her very first bag which she later wanted to felt. My first observation began at Fringe (a quilting and sewing store) where Paula and Jodell were looking for yarn for Paula's bag. Paula had a color scheme with purples and greens and needed to find colors that would match the knitting she'd already started. She was using a split complementary color scheme which means that she was using colors that weren't directly across from each other, but rather a quarter of the way around the color wheel. These colors together appeal to the eye and would make her bag look really good visually.(Fringe) | "If I don't do something soon, I'll be a little old lady with a ton of ideas." (Jodell) – The Heart Sisters are super creative and at any one time, they might have 4 projects going on in various stages. Ideas come to these ladies like a river to the ocean. Their only fear is that they won't have enough time in the day to do all the artistic things they want to do.
37: Felt (Fringe, Jodell)–- to cause to adhere and mat together; to make felt Felting is just one media that the Heart Sisters deal with. There are two different types of felting: needle and wet felting. (Graves) Needle felting involves taking a long, very sharp needle with small hooks on the sides and wool roving. The hooks catch the roving and weave the fibers together. Wet felting can mean knitting a bag three times the end result size and then washing it. After washing it, the bag will shrink, and the fibers will weave together. Paula's first knitting project was a beautiful bag that, when she was done knitting, she could stand in. (Fringe) When she washed it, it shrunk to a nice tote bag. The idea of felting has been around forever and it's almost symbolic of how the Heart Sisters interact; they've been washed clean by each other's company and their fibers have woven together into a beautiful piece of art. | "I'm too busy; I'm being creative." (Jodell) - Seeing as the Heart Sisters are a group based on creativity, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they all have brilliant ideas about everything, and more. Sitting in a room with even just two Heart Sisters is like being caught in the middle of a hurricane, a glorious hurricane of beautiful ideas spinning out of their mouths and combining into one amazing idea that keeps growing and getting built on. When they get on a roll, it's hard to stop the creative train.
38: Hook (Graves) - to draw loops of yarn, thread, or cloth through canvas with a hook Rug hooking has been around for ages. It involves the artist pulling and weaving bits of wool through canvas to create an image. (Wright) It's a special type of media and each interwoven piece of wool is vital to the design. This skill may be one that is old in itself, but these creative women bring it to life and come up with off the wall designs that pull rug hooking out of the dark ages and into the modern and beautiful art that the Heart Sisters specialize in. | Pattern - a form or model proposed for imitation Each bit of clothing you wear is made from one base: a pattern. Every pattern is filled with its own type of jargon. Right-side of fabric, wrong-side of fabric, stitch in the ditch, and seemingly random measurements like 5/8 of an inch are all terms that float through almost every sewing pattern I’ve ever seen. This almost foreign language is not only understood by every Heart Sister, they speak it fluently. | Lesson 11: Creativity Continued
39: Machine (Jodell, Wright) - an instrument designed to sew mechanically Almost all the Heart Sisters can sew. In the past, most women owned a sewing machine and were taught to sew from a young age. For a seamstress, a sewing machine is vital. Jodell clothed her family for years with a sewing machine she won in a newspaper contest. After her first machine wore out, Jodell's husband, Ed, bought her a top of the line machine that she has to this day. (Wright) She sewed all her daughter's clothes for years-even her wedding dress. (Jodell) Jodell has a sense of pride about being able to make all her daughter's clothes as a child. Hearing some of the descriptions of the adorable outfits, one can see how precious her daughter must have looked. Jodell even used the cute expression, "She looked like she just stepped out of a band box." (Jodell) | Needle punch (Graves) - to embroider across canvas making small loops Some might say that needle punch is just a baby rug. Thread is pulled through muslin to create a design, much like rug hooking, but with embroidery thread instead of bits of wool. (Graves) This media is for a very patient person as it is requires thousands of tiny loops to create the design. The Heart Sisters are masters at needle punch, even passing on the skill to me.
40: Pinterest (Jodell) - website that allows users to post and share activities that they enjoy; such as recipes, clothing, etc. Social media gets a bad rap in the United States for keeping people inside and away from people in the "real world," but it also links people who aren't close and allows ideas to be shared. The Heart Sisters take advantage of all types of social media, especially Pinterest. One look at Paula's Pinterest is very revealing. Her pins range from wedding dresses to watercolor paintings to felted birds. Inspiration can come from anywhere and many conversations between the Heart Sisters start with, "Did you see what I pinned on Pinterest?" (Jodell) or "I saw this thing on Pinterest." (Paula) Pinterest opens up a whole new world full of new creative things for the Heart Sisters. | Lesson 11: Creativity Continued | Sack dress (Wright) - loose, unbelted dress that hangs straight from shoulder to hemline While this glossary entry doesn't have to do much specifically with the Heart Sisters as a group, it has much to do with one Heart Sister in particular: Jodell Wright. Jodell is a true seamstress. She sewed her
41: entire family's wardrobe for years. I've heard countless stories of darling outfits she made for her daughter complete with matching shoes, hair bows, and purses. The sack dress is just one example of a dress she made for her daughter. (Jodell) Jodell, along with the other Heart Sisters, is a perfect example of what a woman should be in my mind. Soft and able to clothe her family by the cleverness of her own hand, but strong and able to fend for herself.
42: Lesson 12: Be Grateful | Grateful - feeling or showing gratitude or feeling thankful I have such a sincere gratitude for the Heart Sisters. I learned so much more than I ever thought I would have by doing this ethnography on them. It has led me to believe wholeheartedly in these simple twelve "lessons." The Heart Sisters are a lovely group of women, the kind that only come around so often. I only hope that by following the lessons I learned, that I can be as successful, as loving, as generous, as creative, and most of all as HAPPY as the Heart Sisters. Thank you to each Heart Sister, but a special thank you to Melodee, Jodell, and Paula for allowing me to spy on them while they went about their daily lives, pester them with seemingly senseless questions, and hound them for pictures. They are special ladies, with special hearts. | A complete abstract is included in an accompanying notebook which includes observations, interviews, and my bibliography.