Jun 03 2014

 With a bit of color work in fabric choices, a simple quilt pattern looks complex.

This sweet quilt from the web site and blog, “PleasanTree,” demonstrates the potential, perfectly. What could be easier, construction wise, than alternating blocks of “Nine Patches” and “Half Square Triangles?” And yet, look at the sophisticated appeal of this quilt, the pattern called, “Country Charm,” from the book Country Inn by Barb Adams and Alma Allen.

Pleasant Tree Country Charm

PleasanTree makes “Country Charm”

The work is also appointed with a ruffled edge, lifting this quilt up and out of the ordinary in another delicious way. The cuddle factor is a hit “outta the park.” What a Home Run with just a bit of planning for color in fabric selection. To enjoy more photos from PleasanTree, go here.

Auditioning Fabric

Try auditioning fabric without cutting.

Audition possible fabric choices with colored pencils on graph paper, or physically try them out by folding them onto a background fabric, or by pinning them to a design wall. Some quilters also print out their pattern layout on EQ, or Electric Quilt, a computer design program, print out the required number of blocks and then cut small fabric squares to glue stick onto the paper. No matter how the color way is planned, the time spent choosing fabrics will produced a high level design, with few construction headaches.

Click for a preview

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 4:13 pm Comments (0)
May 01 2014

Well, how droll. Everyday I read comments and posts on BlogHer.com with one sided facts, allowing no accommodation for opposing points of view.

There seems to be no recognition that other spiritual beings may have experienced a side of the universe unknown to the posting authors. In fact, many BlogHers post their thoughts, while turning quickly to “take their toys and go home,” when a reader offers conflicting knowledge.

As long as Comments and congruently related BlogHer posts are aligned in like thinking, the “X’s” for kisses and “O’s” for hugs flow like virtual slaps on backs at an “old boy’s club.” But, let a reader offer a challenging Comment or information from an opposing, but equally defensible stand, and suddenly childish name calling and faddish labels such as “pseudoscience” seek to banish the offender to “from whence they came.”

This lack of interactive embracing  is ill advised, as every known fact in the world has varying points of view and ways to support it. And, no one, not even one BlogHer, knows everything, including the discoveries that will be made tomorrow.

Anyone with a real thirst for learning wants to hear it all, warts and all, to add to their knowledge bases. Some new facts will be stored for future reference while others may be discarded or put “on hold,” for validation. But, intelligent people want to listen and learn from those coming from a different place, walking a different path. How else, in the world, does one learn something new? If BlogHers only interact with those who think like they do, the knowledge gained quickly lessens, but worse still, their interaction becomes like a cult.

Clouds 5 1 2014 w typeBlue sky and rain clouds can exist at the same time.

Yes, it’s true! If BlogHers adhere to one view, affirming only slight variations of the same theme, the group becomes a cult. Cults restrict ideas, limiting thought and expression to a selected version of tenets. In cults, people consider themselves educated, even though they mindlessly parrot the collective thoughts of the group. If one conforms to the group’s collective beliefs, they are rewarded. If one speaks up with a diverse contribution, they are shunned. BlogHer was never meant to funnel thinking down into a space no wider than a computer screen. No! The BlogHer community was built to be like a Chavruta. You know, the partnership in learning that is the cornerstone of Jewish education.

Chavruta Style Learning in Grade 2

For years too numerous to count, Jews worldwide have maintain that knowledge cannot be learned in isolation. Knowledge is to be presented, discussed and even argued to the betterment of all that participate. It is the only way to see the other side of the mountain. And, it is practiced from the youngest in elementary school to the highly learned at the Yeshiva Universities. Each person in the discussion, which is often carried out in pairs, is respected for their interpretative offerings of text and tradition.


Advance Chavruta (or Chavrusa) Learning

Wikipedia shares that, “In contrast to conventional classroom learning, in which a teacher lectures to the student and the student repeats the information back in tests, chavruta-style learning challenges the student to analyze and explain the material, point out the errors in his partner’s reasoning, and question and sharpen each other’s ideas, often arriving at entirely new insights of the meaning of the text.”

“A chavruta helps a student keep his mind focused on the learning, sharpen his reasoning powers, develop his thoughts into words, organize his thoughts into logical arguments, and understand another person’s viewpoint.” The entry continues, “Chavruta-style learning tends to be loud and animated. In the heat of discussion, they may even wave their hands, pound the table, or shout at each other.” For the full entry, go here.


Many BlogHers take co-ed attendance for
granted, Yentl must attend as a male
student. Notice the chavruta in this clip.

I am left to wonder how such educated and so called articulate BlogHer-ians can be so collectively ignorant. How can intelligent minds believe the truth is determined by how many people believe it? How can they think if they gather and rally in like-ignorance, thronging their numbers into the streets, that somehow an ultimate consensus of “common sense” can be reached? Critically thinking minds recognize the world is replete with burgeoning knowledge, ever changing and accumulating.

The advancement of learning, by its nature, forever requires reassessment and evaluation, which only can be achieved if everyone in the BlogHer community contributes their share of ideas, while extending respect in our Chavruta or partnership.

SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure unsuspecting BlogHer bloggers to her web site, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 10:12 pm Comments (1)
Mar 26 2013

Activity Books were popular when I was a kid and I loved them. Big, thick, coloring book type, newsprint paged, goldmines of things to see and do.

There were puzzles, cut outs, paper dolls, rhymes, rebus brain teasers and lots more. It was enough to keep me occupied for days as I worked my way around the pages that captivated me with scissors and paste. Especially when I was sick. I would stay happily in bed with my crayons, pencils and my play books.  I was warm and snug while creating great things and merry wonderment.

You can see why then, when my friend, ElaineR.N. decided to play Humpty Dumpty, I was disappointed I couldn’t just run to the store, to send her an activity book. That and a new book of Crayola Crayons, the one with 64 colors and a sharpener in the box would be “just the thing.” But the diversions of fifty years ago pale beside the fun things we have today with the Internet.

So, putting my finger to the side of my head like Pooh Bear, I tapped my temple saying, “Thinking, thinking.” I realized the only choice was to create a fun activity page to electronically distract Elaine from the discomfort of her broken wrist while it heals. So here, Elaine! These fun things are for you!

Cutest Thing in the World

Suggested stream-able movies on NetFlix.com, in no particular order: October Sky, My Brilliant Career, What the #$*! Do We Know?, Sirens, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story, The Secret, Holes in my Shoes, Keeping Up Appearances and Sebastian Maniscalo in What’s Wrong with People (comedian.)

2013 Passover Jam


The Nursey Crossword Puzzle: Click Image



Canadian Candid Camera: Space Laughs


Get Well Maze: Click Image


Whimseys and fancies for fun and wrist healing profit.

I hope you feel better, Elaine!

Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 11:04 am Comments (0)
Nov 29 2012

Needing some time off without the time, money or energy to go?

Don’t feel left behind. Go on a virtual vacation. I’ve been going on them for years, since the 1980s. I find the whole experience very rewarding, refreshing and recreational. And, when I say recreational, I really mean re-create-tion-al.

Once I began to understand quantum string theory and the fact that we live in a virtual holagram,  I said, “Hey! What the heck.” Nothing really exists and we’re all just movies playing in somebody’s mind, so I might as well focus on the somewhere else I’d rather be. It became easy to fine tune the existence channel, heading out to parts of my brain, unknown. So easy. It was a Woo-Woo and a Win-Win!

A virtual vacation world is waiting for you.

I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about meditation tapes. I say tapes, because all this was big in the 1980s when the mediation tapes actually were tapes, but I really mean tracks. Recorded mediation tracks can consist of instrumentals without talking or music with an overlay of guided mediation. I enjoy both, depending on my mood and where I want my mind to go.

So, before I introduce you to some of my all time favorites, check out this great mediation site, where they are so hep on sharing mediation options, they have free downloads. It a virtual smorgasbord of alternate realities, only a click away. Also, on this meditation site they explain, better than I can, why easing the mind every day can lead to higher activity levels, better performance and improved quality of life.

Here’s a wordless thunder storm with its soothing rain.

I love the nature tracks which take one to waterfalls, tropical jungles with calling birds or by the ocean. Usually they are without voice overlays. Listening to a few of them, you will become an expert on whether they are just playing a loop of repetitive sounds or whether the whole cut is original from start to finish. The thunderstorm experience above, is a great track that plays non-repetitive sounds, so it sounds fresh and real.

Just Google meditation or guided meditation to gather a bevy of sources and styles, including Tara Brach, Fragrant Heart, Audio Dharma and a host of other choices. YouTube is also replete with a selection of videos. Once you arrive in the meditation area, there will be more than anyone could hope to listen to in a month.

Guided meditations help people sleep better.

What’s my favorite guided mediation album of all time? Sanctuary Island by Robert Gerzon. I love it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it. This one does have to be purchased, but it can easily be downloaded and you’ll be comatose before you know it.

So, get listening, get traveling. Run those imaginations wild.


Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 1:04 am Comments (1)
Feb 05 2012

Second in a series of three.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one there to hear it, does it make a noise?

If I can’t see, touch, taste, hear or smell something, does it exist?

If I am sitting in the same space as I was in 1975, but I am phyically in 2012, where am I if I am thinking about being there in 1975?

If the University of Maryland Terrapin is painted like Kermit the Frog, is he a Terrapin or Kermit?

Can he be both? Do they both exist in the same space?

Can I be in both 1975 and 2012 at the same time?

Large Terrapins were creatively painted and placed all over the
University of Maryland Campus. It was only natural that love for
Jim Henson result in this “logically extreme” Kermit Terrapin.

It seems only natural that while I was sitting down drinking my coffee and reading my new book, my mind would wonder to the powers of the mind as they relate to time and space. How in the world could it be almost forty years since the Co-op opened: almost forty years since I ate my first alfalfa sprout, hummus and whole wheat sandwich?

Maybe because there is a large Department of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, and maybe, because of the book and movie The Secret, there is a wide current interest in studying quantum mechanics. Yes, a casual study of light, energy, time, matter and reality is popular, judging by the selections on YouTube, and I feel a part of it. Or, maybe because Kermit the Frog was beckoning to the space time continuum located in my corner of the Co-op, I couldn’t keep my mind on reading my book.

Quantum Mechanics has lots to say about space,
time and creating your own reality.

First, I saw Craig coming through the door of the Co-op, I couldn’t believe the coincidence that he would be coming into the Co-op right here, right now. But, wait was he there? No, no not there. That was years ago. Craig dated my girlfriend Carol. I wonder how she is? No wait, they got married in 1976. I was there for the wedding. So strange. It seems so real. Geeze! That guy over there! I know him! Phil! I always liked Phil. No, wait…it couldn’t be him. This person is young, Phil would be forty years older…I don’t know that I would want to call to him anyway. It would seem if he hasn’t called me by now, he’s not going to.

Everywhere in the Co-op, I saw auras and beacons of
other dimensions, no wait, those were just art student’s
canvases hung up on the walls…or were they?

Going back and forth between two time periods reminded me of my favorite book of childhood, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The most amazing concept it presented was time and space travel illustrated by an ant on a string. If you take an ant and let it walk across a length of string you hold between your hands, it takes a certain length of time for him to walk from one hand to the other.

But, if you hold the same string in your hands and bring your hands together, the ant can travel from one end of the string to the other, covering the same length of space represented by the string, but in a much shorter period of time. And in an amazingly ironic twist, this is the fiftieth publication anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time.

Fifty years! How could that be!?!? Published in 1962? Oh my goodness, it seems like only yesterday. Through what worm hole have I traveled? One minute, I’m taking A Wrinkle in Time out of the library with my very own library card—varoom!—the next minute I’m sitting at the University Food Co-op celebrating a half century of publication. Very strange…

Worm holes and stargates of the mind are powerful moderators
of reality. Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real you
continued reacting to it even after awakening? Was it a dream?

Or were you actually there?

Trying to get firmly back into the present, I intentionally ignored images from the 1970s and thoughts of my childhood. I had a good book to read and some great food to eat, and I knew nothing would keep me anchored like a hot cup of coffee. I limited my thoughts in order to concentrate on my new book, Becoming Flame, the venture into Mother Daughter wisdom written by one of BlogHer’s own muses, Isabel Anders.

After spinning through worm holes and peeking into stargates at the Co-op, it was a relief to finally settle down and settle into a good book. This, I had been told, was a good book. And never mind that Isabel Anders was mentored by A Wrinkle in Time’s author, Madeleine L’Engle, who wrote the introduction to Ms. Anders’ book, Awaiting the Child.

Surely reading a few chapters of Becoming Flame would be calming and not result in deep reflection and undue mental exercise. I would be able to relax with this unassuming publication and move on to the rest of my day with a clear head…

…or would I?

Next: Share Becoming Flame by Isabel Anders

This post features an original acrylic painting,
Nebula Painting #1,
by Jenna Parry, a Univeristy of Maryland studio art student.

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 6:40 pm Comments (0)
Jan 05 2012

Learning math the traditional way
does not make for happy faces.

Many years ago, in the early 1960s, there was an article in Reader’s Digest about the Trachtenberg System of Math. It was an amazing article, that I cut out and saved, carrying it around with me as I moved across country and back several times. I never saw any information about the system anywhere else, so as the years went by, the yellowed Reader’s Digest pages became more and more precious.

So, years and years later, because we home school, I introduced the Trachtenberg System with spectacular results. And the neatest thing is, now with the Internet, I don’t have to rely on my old yellowed copies from the 1960s. Why, I can cut and paste some of the same information for you that was in the Reader’s Digest.

And here it is:

The Story of Jakow Trachtenberg

The teacher called on a nine-year-old boy who marched firmly to the blackboard upon which was a list of numbers a yard long. Standing tiptoe to reach the top, he arrived at the total with what seemed the speed of light.

A small girl with beribboned braids was asked to find the solution of 735352314 times 11. She came up with the correct answer-8088875454-in less time than you can say the multiplication table. A thin, studious-looking boy wearing silver-rimmed spectacles was told to multiply 5132437201 times 452736502785. He blitzed through the problem, computing the answer-2323641669144374104785-in seventy seconds.

The class was one where the Trachtenberg system of mathematics is taught. What made the exhibition of mathematical wizardry more amazing was that these were children who had repeatedly failed in arithmetic until, in desperation, their parents sent them to learn this method.

The late Jakow Trachtenberg, founder of the Mathematical Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, and originator of the startling new system of arithmetic, was of firm opinion that everyone comes into the world with ‘phenomenal calculation possibilities’.

The only problem is, the Trachtenberg System did revolutionized mathematics all over the world, just not in the United States, because the educational gurus in this country never introduced it. Such a silly decision, but one that you can change, anytime you want to by learning it youself, or by home schooling it to your children. If you would llike to know more about Jakow Trachenberg and his incredible life story, click here.

  What is the Trachtenberg system? What can it do for you?

The Trachtenberg system is based on procedures radically different from the conventional methods with which we are familiar. There are no multiplication tables, no division. To learn the system you need only be able to count. The method is based on a series of keys that must be memorized. Once you have learned them, arithmetic becomes delightfully easy because you will be able to ‘read’ your numbers.

The important benefits of the system are greater ease, greater speed, and greater accuracy. Educators have found that the Trachtenberg system, which has a unique theory of checking by nines and elevens, gives an assurance of ninety-nine per cent accuracy-a phenomenal record.

The great practical value of this new system is that, unlike special devices and tricks invented in the past for special situations, it is a complete system. Much easier than conventional arithmetic, the Trachtenberg system makes it possible for people with no aptitude for mathematics to achieve the spectacular results that we expect of a mathematical genius. Known as the ‘shorthand of mathematics’, it is applicable to the most intricate problems.

As an example, have fun trying to multiply by 11:

Multiplying by 11

Rule: Add the digit to its neighbor. (By “neighbor” we mean the digit on the right.)

Example: 3,425 	imes 11 = 37,675

  3      7      6      7      5
(=0+3) (=3+4) (=4+2) (=2+5) (=5+0)

To illustrate:
11 = 10 + 1


3425 	imes 11 = 3425 	imes (10+1) 

 Rightarrow 37675 = 34250 + 3425


The exercise above is from Wikipedia where the other numbers are illustrated as well. If you are interested in seeing this Wiki entry for yourself, click here.

Multipying by 11 in the Trachtenberg System. These
computations were done by a 6 year old boy who was
so fascinated by the system, he sat and made up
numbers all afternoon to then multiply by 11. It’s fun!

If you are interested in a book explaining the
Trachtenberg System of Math hover your mouse
over the link below:

The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics


NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 5:18 pm Comments (0)
Dec 17 2011

Well, as if it isn’t enough to be reminded by every health advocate and medical doctor on the planet to physically exercise at least three times a week, now we have to exercise our minds as well. The reasons are convincing, however, as Dr. Joseph Mercola states on his web site blog,” Mental stimulation, such as traveling, learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, can help lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s. Scientists believe that constantly challenging your brain helps make it less prone to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

And so, wanting to keep all of my SunbonnetSmart family healthy and alert, I am offering my idea of a Mind Gym to challenge you into mental health for years to come. This is the place to visit for mental exercise, to learn something new and expand your thinking. Some things that will be discussed will seem strange and some you will not agree with or be able to wrap your arms around. But, hopefully all will be worth your consideration.

And so, now I will offer you the concept of The Tenth Dimension, a line of thinking made popular by Rob Bryanton in his book and video on the subject. So, see what you think of the Tenth Dimension….

From Answers.com: If you are in, or aware, of the tenth dimension, this means you are able to place yourself in any realm of possibility (and impossibility) that you can imagine yourself in. Essentially, you can change the entirety of the world around you to the exact specifications you see fit.

The Tenth Dimension is the sum of all possible universes that have the same initial conditions as ours, and the sum of all possible and impossible universes with different initial conditions as ours. Basically if you can interact or are in the tenth dimension… there is nothing that can’t be done… anything can be done.

In other words, anything you can imagine or visualize is possible and can happen. What an empowering concept no matter what you think of the physical science that may or may not be behind it. In addition, the idea creates discussion and gets those brain synapses firing in a thought ballet of activity and that’s the point of mental exercise.

Rob Bryanton, author of Imagining the Tenth Dimension

In case you’re interested in reading more, here is a link to Rob Bryanton’s book that expounds on the Tenth Dimension. Preview it by hovering your mouse over the following link:

Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 3:55 pm Comments (0)
Sep 01 2011

Having been a child of the 1950s and living the early years of television without one, I remember the day in 1954 when our TV arrived. I was taking my nap in the afternoon, and conveniently “out of the way” when I heard a commotion downstairs. I tip-toes down and looked past the wall that hid half the stairs from the living room and peeked around the wall over the banister. What a strange sight I saw!  Two moving men with a dolly gently trans-versing the living room from the front door over to the den. What WAS that odd rectangular box on the dolly?



Face Morphing

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 5:32 pm Comments (0)
Nov 01 2010

Infinity is a hard concept to grasp. As long as I’ve been thinking about it, which is all my life, I haven’t ever really been able to accept that no matter how far you travel, you can always go another mile, and then a mile after that and a mile after that….forever.

In the following video, the immense size of the universe is better defined by views from the Hubble telescope. The Hubble telescope is so powerful that its field of view is sprinkled with planets and stars. But, some areas appear empty, so this video shows what happens when you point the Hubble telescope at “nothing,” or where there appears to be nothing….

Point the Hubble telescope at “nothing;” you still see something.


This book has magnificent images from the Hubble Telescope
and yet is moderately priced. If it interests you, hover
your mouse over the following link to preview:

The Universe: Images from the Hubble Telescope

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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 3:19 pm Comments (0)
Oct 13 2010

The making of La Mian is an amazing exercise in the doubling of numbers. By dividing his dough in half twelve times, Chef Kin Jing Mark makes 4096 noodles that are very fine in the video below. The noodles are, as he says, as fine as a human hair.

La Mian is a type of handmade or hand-pulled Chinese noodle. Through a process of stretching and twisting wheat flour, noodle makers can hand pull hundreds, even thousands of beautiful long thin noodles for a variety of dishes. The process is simple enough, but when you see a master noodle maker perform, one truly appreciates the art and beauty of cooking.

Chef Kin Jing Mark shares his wit and expertise.

Seems impossible, doesn’t it? Dividing the dough in half twelve times produces 4,096 noodles? But, grab a calculator and try it or relax and read this:

Chef Mark makes one long noodle and divides it in half, so that’s…

 1)   1 x 2 =2

 2)   2 x 2 = 4

 3)   2 x 4 = 8

 4)   2 x 8 = 16

 5)   2 x 16 = 32

 6)   2 x 32 = 64

 7)   2 x 64 = 128

 8)   2 x 128 = 256

 9)   2 x 256 = 512

10)   2 x 512 = 1024

11)   2 x 1024 = 2048

12)   2 x 2048 = 4096


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Filed under: Head,Mind Gym — admin @ 2:20 pm Comments (0)

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NaBloPoMo November 2012