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Following My Muse Again

Lots of information.
In teaching myself to play the Bowed Psaltery, I did a lot of research.
Since I'm an engineer and tend to research things in great depth, I have a lot of information that I've collected on how the beginner can teach herself to play the Bowed Psaltery.

Why a hobby musician is the best person to write a book.
I decided to share all my research so anyone can learn how to enjoy playing this wonderful instrument even if they've never played before. Most how-to beginner books are written by experienced professional musicians who have forgotten just how little a non-musician knows about music. My novice status as a musician is the reason I'm so qualified to write this book. Once I gave myself permission to be an expert at being a beginner, the idea of the book just took off.

Passion for the subject makes project go fast.

The book is scheduled to be available this July. I'm enjoying writing it.
Click here to get the free article on tuning a Bowed Psaltery and a sneak peek at my writing style.
Could you be an expert?
Do you have something you are passionate about?
Do you know a small part of it very well?
Give yourself permission to be an expert in that part of the subject.
It's amazing what you can do when you get out of your own way!
In my web wanderings, I came across a blog with a lot of great information.

It's aimed at those they call Lady Boomers or as I call them Prime Time Women.

I've linked to a few examples of their posts.

I loved this post called Shock and Awe on a Hanger about shopping for a swim suit.

Here's one called Now You See Me, Now You Don't about whether the media ignores us.

Take a look at their blog. I know I'm going to be spending more time there.

How to Shop for a Bra

You've been putting it off long enough.

You know you need a new bra but hate the thought of bra shopping.

Bra Shopping...
You grab a handful of different brands of bras and head for the dressing room. But even though the tags say all the bras are the same size, no two fit the same way! Why?!

I make bras. And when I first started making them, I tried to find out what the standard sizes were. Well, there is no standard for bra sizing. What is one size for one manufacturer is a totally different size for another manufacturer.

But the saleslady told me...
The way sales people tell us to determine our size is only “common wisdom”.
Common wisdom states that you measure your chest size then add 5 inches to get your band size. With today’s highly stretchable fabrics, this most often gives a band that is way too loose.

Here's some help to make your bra shopping a little less stressful.

A better way to measure...
Instead, you measure your chest immediately below your bust and only round up to the nearest even number. Then measure directly over your bust. The difference between the two measurements is the cup size. If the difference is 3” that's a C-cup, 4” a D, 5” a DD or E, and so on.

Some helpful videos...
This video does a nice job of explaining how to measure to find your bra size.

Here is another post with a really good explanation of how to measure to find your bra size.

Help for Plus Size...
Plus size women also need to consider that there is more material to stretch in a larger size band. Here is a post that talks about sizing considerations for plus sizes.

How to tell if the band on your bra is too large...

1. Band rides up in back.

2. Shoulder straps fall off.

3. Underwire doesn't sit against your chest.

4. You fall out under the cups.

If you have some or all of the above fit problems, try going down 1 or 2 band sizes.
Remember that the cup size is a difference between the chest and bust measurement. So for every band size you go down, go up a cup size to keep the same fit in the cup.
For example: If your current non-fitting bra is a 38B, try a 36C or a 34D.

Your band should be snug without restricting breathing.

Now go hit that dressing room...
Since manufactures can't agree on a standard size, you may find that you still have to go up or down a bit in the band or cup size for a particular brand or style. But at least you’ll be starting out with a better fit. And maybe you’ll only have to bring 3 bras into the dressing room instead of 12!

Good Luck and let me know if this helped!

Soft as a Violin But Powerful as a Church Organ

The Bowed Psaltery Symphony that I recently attended (see prior post) made the local papers.
I like this line from the first article:
"With a sound as soft as a violin but as powerful as a church organ..."


This article has a video of Tish, the organizer, & her husband playing their Bowed Psalteries.

My Eyelids Disappeared!

I don't know about you, but some time in the last few years my eyelids disappeared. Now I have that area between the eyelid crease and the eyebrow that's a bit baggy and droops over to cover my eyelid.

Most eye makeup techniques assume that your eyelids can be seen when your eyes are open. Well that was the case 20 years ago but it isn't anymore.
So I've been experimenting with ways to use the eyeshadow to hide that droopy upper eye area. I usually end up not wearing makeup because most things I try look worse.

I recently came across a new makeup book that claims to be specifically aimed at women over 40.

The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age

Here's what the two authors say about the book:

Lois and Sandy say: "Women 40+ tell us they feel invisible in a world of beauty that is really marketing to younger women. We felt a need to write a beauty guide we'd read ourselves, one that solved the kinds of issues women face every day."

I think I'll give this book a try. I'll let you know how it works out.

Do you find that you have to change your makeup techniques thanks to Mother Nature and her poor sense of humor?

Following my Musical Muse

I have always wanted to play a musical instrument. When I was a child, my parents paid for guitar and then piano lessons to no avail. I was hopelessly musically challenged.
Over the years I've tried different instruments to see if I had outgrown this affliction and each time I was reminded that I hadn't.

Then about 6 months ago while wandering the internet, I discovered the Bowed Psaltery.
This instrument seems to be made for the musically challenged like me!

The Bowed Psaltery is a simple stringed instrument. It sounds a bit like the violin with the droning quality of the bagpipes. If you love bagpipes like me, you'll love the sound of the Bowed Psaltery.

You don't need to coordinated the left and right hand (less complication for the musically challenged!) On the violin you hold down the strings with the left hand to get different notes. The Bowed Psaltery does that for you by already having the strings at different lengths. Then all you have to do is use the bow on the correct string. To overcome that obstacle, I marked the letters next to the strings. And I marked the letters next to the notes on the sheet music.
Now all I have to do is match the letters and count!
Yeah! I'm playing music!
Well, okay, it's not something that will get me a recording contract but then no one went screaming from the room either!

This past week at the Tamarack in Beckley, West Virgina, I meet up with about 45 other Bowed Psaltery players (some real musicians, some wannabes like me). Players came from as far as Illinois, Ohio, Massachusett and South Carolina. We gathered for the Second Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony.
Four days of song playing and practicing melodies and harmonies together with a public concert on the last day.
This was the first time I had played a musical instrument in public and the first time I've played along side others. The experience was a life-long dream come true.

I've also made some great new friends through this experience. They were so welcoming.

The two people most responsible for making this event come together were:

Tish Westman, one of only a few Bowed Psaltery makers in the country
Donna, the mastermind behind the Bowed Psaltery forum where we all share information on this wonderful instrument.

Coming back from this wonderful event, I'm more in love with the Bowed Psaltery than I was before.
Finally, I can play simple melodies on a musical instrument!
Truely a life-long dream come true!

Keep trying for your dreams. You never know when one will come true.

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Unless a guest expert is mentioned, the author is Ann Tucker.