Saturday, December 26, 2009

And That's What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown

The office I work at part-time, the boss allows a select  number of homeless folks to camp out each night on the parking lot.  They are under strict rules and must pack up each morning by 8 am.  Over the years, I've come to know a couple of these guys pretty well.  I consider one of them a friend.  
Each Christmas, I try to give him something I think he could use to make his life easier, at a very least feel special and as he would say "human again."  This year, I wanted to make my friend a flannel shirt.  So, it turned out to be this week's project.  This time of year, people seem to start noticing homeless people, and I don't know what it is, but these folks want to pile gifts on them, and then move on, feeling like they have done there good deed. Please understand me, this is not what making this shirt for my friend is about.  For me Christmas is about giving my gift of creative expression.  Some folks like it.  Some folks, are polite, but I feel they would really like it if I found my way to the mall and shopped until I dropped.  I don't care.  Stopping my creative expression this time of year is like trying to stop a fast moving train with you hand.  Not gonna happen.  So, jump on the train and enjoy the ride, because I am!  My friend and making this shirt was part of this.
I gave my friend his shirt on Christmas Eve.  He was almost moved to tears.  He said, "I never have anything for you."  Oh, but you do.  You give me the gift of allowing my creativity flow.  You share jokes and stories with me almost everyday.  You always have a smile and a good morning, sweet lady, almost everyday.  Those are valuable to me.  Very valuable to me.  The gift of friendship is more valuable than any gift that could be purchased, and a huge part of that friendship is allowing and accepting me as who I am.  Which you do, my friend.  You help me create the most vaulable gift of all...a magical connection between two people.
And that is what happens so much this time of year.
So, Happy Christmas! Merry New Year !  Most of all Happy Merry Magical Connections!

Until next week create to feel great!   11 projects complete  41 to go!  Wow!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Creative Play

After last week, with Mickeygirl's health crisis, I needed some play time.  My good friend, Marilee, had the birthday gift of a fused glass studio party, which was last Sunday.  Three plus hours of playing with a new creative medium...fused glass, surrounded by good friends, was just what I needed.
I have always loved the idea of fused glass.  I have a couple of pieces of glass.  I was curious to learn and work in this new medium.  Our hostess, Tress, was full of energy, information and the love of her art.  She showed us the numerous easy possibilities, colors and designs we could make.  She then set us free to create.  She kept stressing this is about play. Freedom to create, and letting go of the out come, because no matter how well we planned our designs, glass has a mind of it's own, and we would be surprised at the outcome of our pieces once they were fired in the kiln.

This was the most joyful and fun afternoons I had spent in a long time.  We played and laughed.  Talked, told stories and caught up with each other's lives.  The time flew.   I got into the swing of it all and created about fifteen pieces.  Some pendants, some pins, some fridge magnets.  That was Sunday.   Today we picked up our pieces.  And Tress was right, I was surprised at how they turned out.   I think I played a little safe with some of mine, thinking I could control the outcome.  Those were the pieces I really didn't care that much for.
The pieces I let go on, I was surprised and I really really like.

I found out that Tress offers studio parties at a very reasonable price, about $40 per person.  She provides instruction and all the materials.  My friends and I are planning to do this once a quarter in the new year.  It's a great way for us to get together, create, have fun.
If anyone is interested in having a fun time creating in an easy fun medium Tress can be contacted at (503) 260-6900 or at  She is supportive and firmly believes everyone is creative, and creativity is a celebration.   Just what the doctor ordered!
Mickeygirl update...She's getting better.  Eating more everyday and slowly getting back to her routine (yes, cats have routines).  Her Vet thinks it was IBS.  Only now with all the stress she has a little cold as well.  So, it's a day by day thing.

For's 11 projects complete...41 to go!
Until next week let's all create to feel great!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Blessings of Creativity

It's been a tough week.  Hard.  My Mickeygirl kitty (see my second project), fell very ill on Tuesday.  She stopped eating, and as my Grandma liked to say, she's been sick from both ends.  Anyone who has known me for any length of time, know that my cats are very important to me.  They aren't just my cats, they are my friends and kids.  Yes, I'm a crazy cat lady.  So, when Mickeygirl fell ill this week, not only did this mean numerous vet visit, but the stress of getting her to eat and giving her SubQ fluids and meds.  At this posting she's not out of the woods, and I'm staying hopeful and praying a lot.  At some point I had to stop bargaining with God, I kept hearing a little voice say, "Stop. Stop.  Go get creative."   This week's project, I had already planned to make Gus T. Ruthin, our new boy cat, who came to live with us a month after Jack Mackrel passed, his own Christmas stocking.   I have made a Christmas stocking for everyone of my cats, Gus was to be no different.

I usually try to make a stocking that is reflective of some aspect of my cat's personality.  Lewis, my first cat, knocked down the Christmas tree, his stock is an artist depiction of that event.  Jack, was always nick named the Big Fish.  So, his stocking is fish with Santa hats.  Mickeygirl...she loves birds and Laser Mouse, and she is all about love. Her stocking is birds, red rhinstones and hearts.  Before she got ill, Mickey suggested that we just use a plastic bag for Gus's stocking, as he loves to eat plastic.  For me, Gus is a lot like Puss in Boots.  So, that was my choice.
Putting this stocking together came at a time when I needed a project to take my mind away for a few minutes. It really wasn't difficult.  I downloaded a Puss in Boots illustration and cut out the pieces and glued them down on a stocking form I cut out, adding my own touches.

Today I was talking to a friend about Mickeygirl's situation, I was emotional, and crying.  She asked me if I journal.  I do journal.  I went on to say, that creating things, sitting at my sewing machine or cooking or baking or gluing felt on some ways works like journaling for me.  In that moment making that statement, I felt really blessed, for my creativity.  It's always there for me.  Always.  It has never let me down.  Some folks fight this feeling, or are afraid of the power of their creativity.  It's a blessing, my creativity has led me on paths and hasn't taken me places I could not imagine.  It keeps me growing and learning. More importantly it's my comfort in all times.  Right now with Mickey's situation, I'm in need of comfort.  I'm going to go create some stuff.

Until next week...Create to feel great.
10 project complete....42 to go!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Photo from Jennifer's comment

Okay...I'll admit I'm a big old techno challenge.  That said...
here are Jennifer's very cool candle sticks.  I just could not let her comment go, without everyone seeing her work!
I think these are awesome!  Way to craft, Jen!  Hey what's your next project of the week??? Hum....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Props to Martha and to the finding of good things

I have been getting my craft and creativity on for this compaign, and writing this blog for eight weeks.  I think I've shown considerable restraint in taking this long to mention Ms. Martha Stewart.  I know that for some, she is an "acquired taste".  Like her or not, I can not dispute the fact that she has made an industry from being creative.  She has inspired people (well me) to think creatively.  I like her.  I have to stay away from Martha or I risk losing an entire day to surfing that site and getting so buzzed on ideas and "OOOO! I want to make that!", to the point that nothing else gets done and I wind up frustrated and not inspired.  So, I look in small timed doses.  I love her ideas and instructions, and yes I know she has a staff to come up with all this stuff. I think that's cool, staffing people to come up with creative ideas. (I know I've heard the stories about the sort of boss she is, I don't know if all that's true)  Martha's site is a great place for me to start or help figure something out. 

For this week's project, I was drawn into Martha's site, in search of wreath how to dos.  Martha sure does love her some wreaths.  Boy Howdy, she does.  There are wreaths for every occasion and wreaths, well, just because.  I like a wreath at the holidays.  I usually go to the store and buy one big one, slap it on my front door and call it the holidays! Oh, yeah, I add a big red bow and then call it the holidays!  This season, I wanted the big store bought wreath and two smaller ones for my front pillars (Martha does that).  How I got this desire for more wreaths was seeing green foam floral forms at the Dollar store. Perfect. Easy enough to stick greenery from my yard on these forms and call it real good for the holidays.  Take that Martha!  Thanks for the wreath ideas, but I have my mine way for doing these, thank you very much.

I went to my back yard and cut greenery from the big pine tree.  It smelt great.  Mickey and Gus, my cats, went nuts!  I had my green foam circles, some wire, some decorations- including red bows.  As I sat down to create my wreaths, I realized that these green foam circles for the Dollar Store were for silk flowers.  The greens were not wanting to go into the forms.  Dang it!  This is something that happens to me a lot as I'm creating.  I sometimes don't have the best or correct tools or materials fo the project.  Not very Martha.  I wasn't about to run out and get stuff to do this project.  I was hell bent on creating these wreaths with the materials I had.  Again, maybe not very Martha of me, but very very me and my creativity.  I remembered that while I was at the Dollar Store, I also picked up a package of what they call Greening Pins.  These little pins did the trick!  I was able to pin my branches on the foam circle and shape them into two wreaths.  I felt very Martha.  I had solved a creative problem with great results.

I think somewhere in all the reading of Martha's instructions and looking at her ideas, picking up the Greening pins, seemed the right thing to do.  I may not have copied one of Martha's wreaths.  I know I didn't follow her instructions.  Yet I learned enough about making wreaths from her, to create my way.  Which as she would say...Is A Good Thing. (Now did you really think I could post about Martha without saying that phrase?)  As I was creating I kept thinking...I learn from people all the time.  I love learning.  It's easier for me to learn from folks I really connect with, but you know, sometimes I learn the best lessons from folks who are an "acquired taste", who it takes me a while to connect with.
I'm glad I discovered the Greening pins and wreath making, which I really like making.  I can see using wreaths for other times and other occasions.  I have Martha Stewart to thank.

Until next week...create to feel great.
8 projects complete 44 to go.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Inner Santa Claus

I love and believe in Santa Claus. There I've said it. This time of year, I live for glimpses of Santa Claus. This doesn't include- Santa Con. I'm sorry folks, but a mobs of out of control drunks in Santa suits sort strips the joy out of the idea of Santa. With the this exception, I love the unexpected Santa sighting. He's joy, positive energy, love and creativity rolled into on wonderful package. What's not to love or believe in? I get giddy everytime I see Santa.

When the call came out this year, from Animal Aid, where I volunteer, for a Santa Suit, I said I'll make a suit. Being a costume designer, I've had my fair share of opportunities over the years to make Santa a new suit. This year's Santa suit was for a fund raiser photo shoot. People will be bringing their dogs and cats to a local pet store to have their photo taken with Santa. Santa and pets. How wonderful. The idea of that makes me smile. That made creating the suit extra special. I also like the idea that I've contributed to a Santa sighting, and the organization will now have a Santa suit for years to come.

The suit turned out great. I had this wonderful deep red velveteen and long soft white fur. I even made the black pleather boot tops and of course the big wide belt. I don't have a photo, cause well, I didn't have a Santa to model it, and I had to deliver the suit. (Broadside said he didn't feel right putting on a Santa suit. I don't know why? Maybe it was the idea of having a photo of himself dressed as Santa posted on the Internet was too strange for him).

I think Santa Claus is one of my “banner carriers” for this campaign. He certainly role models the spreading for good feelings and creativity. This can be easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Sometimes trying to please everyone and do it all, I lose sight of the joy of simplicity, and simply creating. I think when we simply,  authentically and joyfully give out to the world our creative gifts, skills and talents, there is true power and magic.  We give of ourselves. The best part is, I don't have to go to the mall (I'm not a mall fan-sorry retailers).  No stress.  No fuss No muss.  All magic, love and joy.

I think, we are all Santa Clauses. Or at very least have a Santa inside us wanting to get out to spread joy and creativity. So, how will you spread joy and creativity not just this month, but everyday of the year?  Wouldn't it be great to have a Santa sighting throughout the year?
See, I think we can all do that. Magic!
I also love the story around Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus, and the wise newspaper editor's response.
This year the second paragraph struck me...

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGNIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished....”
Or as Natalie Wood's character from Miracle on 34th Steet said..."I believe.  I believe.  I believe...It may be silly but I believe."
Ho! Ho! Ho! Ya' all!
Until next week create to feel great.    

7 projects complete 45 to go. 1 Santa sighting, so far.
Craft Bazzar update-
Kim and I did okay, considering that the organizer of the bazzar didn't promote or advertise the event.  We didn't sell out of inventory, but we sold some of our items, and got orders on Monday and Tuesday for some of our items.  So, it was fun and a start of something good.   Kim and I will be sharing another table at the St. David's Last Chance Bazzar on December 19th from 1o am to 3pm.  St. David's is located at SE 28th and Harrison.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Big Fat Holiday Craft Fair

I think November might be about being over the top.  A feast. A harvest.  It goes beyond Thanksgiving which is the celebration of the harvest, but really it can be an over the top dinner.  A celebration of abundance.  I have several friends who are doing over the top activties in abundance this month.  One friend is writing her first novel in a month.  Another is running her first marathon.  These are just a couple of examples. These people are buzzing with energy and full of life.  They are doing things they never thought they would be doing, and it's amped up.  It's exciting to talk to them.  This week I found myself on this on amped up, out the comfort zone band wagon right along with them.

It started simply enough by seeing a posting for a Holiday Craft Fair.  It was easy to sign up.  All the sponsors wanted is a small fee for the table and I would get to keep the profits. I make lots of things that I've often wanted to try to sell at a fair.  Well, taking a cue from my amped up friends, it was time to step out of my comfort zone and do a craft fair.  Once I signed up for the fair, I thought, "I have to get some inventory going."  I had ten days.  Piece of cake.  With focus, I could do this.

At first, I had trouble deciding what to make. I has at least ten ideas of what I could make to sell.  I wanted to make them all.  Then I thought about it.  I didn't want  my table looking like Granny cleaning out her craft closet.  I wanted to sell something unique and fun.  Besides I only had ten days to my inventory up to a level that would make the fair worth my time.  Focus. Focus. Focus.  I decided to create two of my favorite items.  These cool Pyramid Evening bags and  Hand knitted Cyclist Earmuffs.  I merrily went on my way to create these items.  I wanted to use materials I had in my huge stash of stuff.  I knew that I was going to be sewing and knitting like mad for the next ten days.
I soon discovered that there is more than just inventory to selling at a craft fair.  I needed display, signs, cards, lunch, cash, etc.  Whew!  I also found myself caught up in the "What if no one likes my stuff?  What if I'm not making the colors people like?  What if I don't sell my stuff?  Selling my stuff is scary."  Those thoughts pulled me to a complete stop.  I lost valuable time and caused myself stress with all the fortune telling and trying to predict the future.  Man, that's the quickiest way to lose the creative spark.  I finally imagine that I was making these items to give away.  To people I care about, people I love.  Sure they would be giving me money for these items, that didn't matter. Focus on the love of creating and the joy of setting these items out into the world.  It got me going again.  Soon I was thinking and seeing people coming to the table and purchasing everything. 

The bags are easy to make.  And I enjoy dressing them up.  So, I went overboard. (well, it's my harvest and it is Thanksgiving time.)  I have over 25 Pyramid Bags and 8 pairs of earmuffs to sell on Saturday.  I have an abundance of items.  I have an abandance of creativity and ideas. 
This was a complete creative project for me. It's more than just the items, it's an event.  I'm stoked. I'm energized, and I'm full of life.
If you are interested in seeing or purchasing my bags or ear muffs, I'll be at the Reedway Friends Church at SE 28th and Steele from 10 am to 5 pm.  I'll be there with my friend Kim, who is selling wonderful jewelry (they go great with the Pyramid Bags).  I guess I could say the Campaign is going on the road.  I'm takin' it to the streets (or The Reedway Friends Church).
Hand knitted Cyclist Earmuffs.

 Until next week...           Create to feel great.          6 projects completed 46 to go

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Cards- Just a Swirl In My World

I had no idea how easy making marble paper would be when I saw the directions in an old craft magazine. A baking pan of water, some oil base paints (I used the model airplane paint, the kind sold in those little bottles), a bit of white paper and some newspaper to protect my work. This project was so simple to do, the results were delightful, and as I worked I had some insights. I kept thinking if anyone wanted a project to bust a creative block, address a fear, free up their creative spirit, or totally let go of the idea of control...this is the ticket! It is very fool proof and fast.

Dropping the paint into the water and taking a toothpick to swirl the paint, I'd think this is awesome, I'd put the paper down on it, careful not to submerge the paper under the water, and pulling it up to reveal the finished product, it was nothing like I thought it would be. It was better. I had no control over this outcome. It was freeing. I had trouble stopping.    

With all this great paper, I made note cards. Or as I wanted to call them, Thankful cards.

I couldn't think of a better way to start November and Thanksgiving than to send cards that I've made with notes to the people in my life who I am so thankful for their contribution to my life.

I've been lucky to have a number of people in my life, who care about me and want the best for me. I think I do a pretty good job of expressing my appreciation. Yet I wanted these folks to have something that I had created and a written expression of thankfulness. I was going to wait until Thanksgiving week, then I remembered something my friend Nan would say, “Don't put off telling people how much you love, appreciate them and what they have added to your life.” She's right, again.

I felt so close to each person I wrote a card for. A couple of these people I haven't seen in years.

It is my hope the card will bring a smile to their face, and they too will feel closer to me as well.

From the simplest thing came a great deal of joy. My suggestion...don't put off creating and certainly don't put off telling the people in your life the impact they have had on you.

Until next week...create to feel great!

5 projects complete 47 weeks to go

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Puttin' On The Creative Ritz

I like an apron. Looking around me, I think I'm not alone here. I see aprons for sale everywhere. The sewing pattern books have numerous offerings and styles. I see lots and lots of cool vintage aprons trimmed with lots and lots of rick rack. I think there might be something behind all these aprons. A bigger reason besides someone's strong desire to either use all the rick rack trim in the world or to have a wonderful excuse to wear all the rick rack trim in the world. I hope it's the latter.

Here's my thoughts on my love of aprons, and what I think might be behind all these wonderful aprons appearing everywhere. Besides the apron's ability to protect my clothes when I'm doing messy, sloppy projects, an apron helps me prepare to be creative. The action of putting on an apron, for me instantly sends a message to my mind and creative source, that it's time to be creative. It's part of the preparation. I put that apron on with the one thought, “Let's get creative!”

Even if I'm not doing something messy, I'll put on an apron. (I'm wearing an apron, as I write this.) Being in the creative process can be messy and sloppy.

Another thing an apron does for me, is it sends out a message to the folks around me that I'm doing something creative. Care to join me? (or please don't bother me.)
I really don't think this is too odd. Most professionals have something they put on that sends a signal out that they are doing their work.  Why would it be different for when we are engaged with our creativity?
Perhaps this comes from my years of  creating costumes and watching actors prepare.  As an actor puts on their costume, they are not only putting on their characters "skin", but the actor is also preparing to engage their creativity.  It's transforming on many levels.

Let me ask you this...What do you put on as you begin to engage with your creativity? It doesn't have to be an apron. It could be a hat, a smock, a pair of shoes, a garland, anything that would shift your energy and send a message to the rest of your self that you about to embark on a creative adventure.

If you haven't tried this, give it a try. If you feel you are stumped, lacking inspiration,blocked, missing your muse or any number of the things that get in our way to our creativity, try putting on something with the intention that you want to shift your energy. You want to get with your creative flow and expression.

Lastly, I love aprons because they are very easy to make, I can use fabulous and wonderfully wild fabrics, and of course rick rack! Even if you don't sew, you can still glue rick rack onto a purchased apron. Really an apron can never have too much rick rack. They are like little colorful jagged smiles.

Until next week...Create to feel great!
(4 projects complete.  48 to go.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cosmic Pumpkin... Is shining your light a scary thought?

One of my neighbors always carves a HUGE pumpkin every Halloween. He spends an afternoon lovingly turning the pumpkin into a big smiling face, then he loads it up with candles and lights them. Other neighbors, including myself, have often opted to set a couple of un-carved pumpkins on our porch and call it good. This Halloween, I found the un-carved pumpkin unacceptable to me. I wanted funny glowing, shining pumpkins greeting me and Trick or Treaters as we walked up to my front door. This led me to this week's project...Pumpkin carving. It was another fun project. Cheap, easy bit of creative play. I even roasted the seeds this year. I also went for the Martha Stewart's relief carving on a couple of them. This wasn't a stretch for me that this creative project would put me in a positive frame of mind. As I carved my pumpkins some thoughts came to mind.

What came to me was... putting out a lighted carved pumpkin out on my porch is like saying to the world,             “Creativity lives here.” It's a simple symbol of creativity and creative expression.  Really every pumpkin face makes me smile.

Since starting this campaign only three short weeks ago, some people have commented to me that this is all okay for me because I'm creative or I allow myself to play or they just don't get how this campaign could mean anything to them or they just don't get it.

Say what??!! I believe we are all creative. I've often said that even cavemen, once they had security needs met, they started to draw on the cave walls, created more effective ways to get food and warmth, and invented the wheel. We all have a desire to express our selves creatively Some of us know this with every core of our being. Some of us know the little glimmer of this. Some of us this idea is big and scary, so we deny it with a “I'm just not creative.” or ”I just don't have the time." or "Someday when it's just right." (someone please tell me here what just right looks like?)

The cool thing about this idea of all of us being creative is, we all express ourselves differently. The medium may be the same but the expression is different. There are a million and one ways for creative expression. Be it a painting, a short short, a costume, an engaging conversation, a wonderfully yummy meal, a clean cupboard, a finely scrubbed floor, a beautiful spread sheet, a story read to a child...on and on. I hope you get the idea here. There are always opportunities for creative expression. There are unlimited number of creative ideas in one person and billions of people in the world. If every person in the world tapped into and expressed just one of those unlimited ideas...Wow! We would hit the creative mother load! I have to think the world would go into a collective sigh of peace, especially if these creatively expressed ideas were also positive in nature. From that place of a positive creative peace, more ideas would step forth. More creative expression. More Wow! Exciting! Why would anyone hold back from being apart of that? It's bigger than any fear or artist block. Your simple act of creative expression contributing to peace in the world. Shining forth.  Your creative expression is an important part of you and your human experience.  I can only speak for myself, but I want to see what you have to express!  It speaks volumes to me, even the simpliest expresssion.  It adds to my life. It inspires me.  I have a feeling I'm not alone here.

How to start? Scared to start? Big questions here, and good way to get blocked and not do or create anything.  I'd like to suggest the idea of Allowing.  It's about allowing. Knowing that even if you attempt to block the flow of creativity, it's going to come out in some way. Perhaps in less than happy or attractive ways. So allow it to flow. Why not start by allowing the discovery of your talents? Once you decide the positive creative expression or expressions that bring light, joy and a smile to your face and in your heart...let them shine from you. Fully and completely with no holding back. For all the world to see, share and enjoy. It's really very simple, and most of all fun. Very much like happy shining pumpkin faces sitting on a porch at Halloween.
Happy Halloween! Can't wait to see what comes of this!  Until next week...create to feel great.
Oh, I have one more pumpkin to carve.  I better get going here!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Queen's New Pillow- Adventures in creating with others

The Project- A new pillow for my cat Mickey, a.k.a.  Queen of all cats.  It's her birthday.
The Challenge- Making a pillow that won't be able to be shoved up against the heater vent by said cat.
Makes for a snuggly warm kitty, but no heat in the kitchen, and a husband who is less than pleased.

I like doing creative collaborations with my husband, Broadside.  I think he's a genius with mad creative engineering skills that would make McGuyver drop to his knees in awe.  The downside to this is that we work at very different paces.  I'm a jack rabbit.  I move fast and bounce around a lot.  He is very methodical and really likes to take his time and examines all sides of things.
Making this pillow for Mickey, I needed to enlist the aid of Broadside.  I was impatient to get the pillow complete for Mickey's birthday, the next day.  I knew my part wouldn't take long to get done.  Broadside needed to complete his part first.  I was surprised that he even wanted to contribute to this project beyond one design brain storm session.  I was a little nervous how long he would take.  I know whatever he would  bring to this project it would be wonderful and perfect.  He headed down to the basement to cut the wood platform for this new cushion.  After 30 minutes, I started to get impatient.  I didn't want to go off and start another project, get involved in something else and not finish my part.  I also wanted to stay close by, in case Broadside had a question.  That didn't stop me from getting impatient.  I mean, how long can it take to make a couple cuts in a piece of wood for a cat cushion?  Sheesh.  Well, this is nice energy not only to bring to a project for a blog about creativity and negativity, and to a birthday present.  I know I love getting birthday presents with angry negative energy all over them. No.  This was not nice.  Realizing this, I asked myself...What little mindless project could I do?  I could organize and clean the baking pan cupboard.  Not very creative or could it be?  As I took everything out of the cupboard, my creativity engaged.  I had fun and a sense of relief as I organized this cupboard.  Broadside was still not done.  I went to the next annoying messy cupboard.  More fun and more relief.  I really had no idea how annoying (or messy) these cupboards were and just how long I had let them annoy me and get in my way.  This was freedom.  I was still in a creative mind set, and now I has some freed up energy.

Broadside came up from the basement with wonderful and perfectly fitting piece of wood for the platform.  He had a smile on his face and looked relax.  That seemed odd to me.  Usually these sorts of projects bring him to frustration.  I asked him, "Did you have fun doing this?"  He smiled.  "Yes. I did."
As I went off to work on my part of the cushion...I realized that maybe Broadside had fun creating something, and stepping into that space of timelessness I had discovered last week.  I like to think that by engaging another person (this time my husband) in a creative project, we pool our creative resources to make something better and give each other the gift of losing track of time by being the moment with our creativity.  That's such a positive thing to share. 
Oh and, Mickey loved her new cushion.

Mickey on her old pillow. The black thing to the back is the heater vent.  The stove is to the left.  It's a cosy corner.
The pretty wood platform.  Thank you, Broadside!

Ah!! The new cushion.  Foam was cut and glued and the cover is made from the zip out fur lining of an old coat.  The cover has velcro on the edges sewn to the fur cover and stapled to the wood platform, so I can remove it for cleaning.  Happy Birthday, Mickey!

The Queen's New Pillow

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Badges? Badges? I don't need no stinkin' badges.

I thought I did.  Every campaign has a badge or two around.  I still proudly display my Obama/Binden campaign badge on my desk.  I still wear it from time to time.
What better way to kick off The Campaign that has a focus of creativity than to create a badge?
I headed off to the craft store.  And loaded up on stuff to make my perfect Campaign badge.  I stopped short of the check out line.  Being an crafter and creating all sorts of stuff from Christmas presents to Theater Costumes for years, I have a ton of stuff at home.  I don't need to spending a bunch of money on supplies.
"What's going on here?" I thought.  Fear.  Fear that I needed to have the "perfect" campaign badge.  Silly.  If you want perfect badges, go order some from a person who has a machine that makes badges.  Is that what you want this campaign to be about?  Buying stuff?  No that wasn't my idea at all.
I put back every thing in my basket with the exception of two oval wood cuttings and a plastic "make your own badge".  Got home and put the new purchased craft items in my studio will the other piles of crafting supplies. 
For days I thought, about preparing to start the campaign.  Making my badges as the kick off date approached.  I kept putting off creating my badges.  I'll get to it.  This campaign is important.  I'll finish up some other things. If I was creating something for someone else, I would have made these badges and been done days ago.   Monday of this week approached.  I needed to make my badges to put in this post.
I pulled out crafting supplies, and sat down to create.  Fear hit me yet again.  I thought that these badges are going to look like Aunt Millie off the pickle boat.  People are going to think I'm stupid.  This idea is sucky.  I defeated myself before I had started.  What was up with that?  This campaign idea wasn't about creating more fear and negativity, it was about letting it go and creating something positive to replace it.  I knew that, but for a bit lost it.  I got caught up in the very thing I was working to banish in my life.  Damn.
I got silent for a moment.  How can I make this fun?  How can I get past this block?  Put on some music and just go! That was the answer that came to me. That is what I did.   The time past so quickly, I lost track of it.  While I was making my badges, I had solutions to other things come to mind.  It felt magical.  I was creating fun.  Tacky and home made, crafty and glitter glue, but I was having a blast. I just created.  Totally in the moment creating, listening to music, singing a bit.  No one else around but my cats and this wonderful moment.  Ahh!
I got a strong validation doing this project.  Here it is... Creating makes me happy.  (No big light blub going on there..but wait there's more) It always has, even as a kid I would create to escape the negativity that surrounded me.  It's no different today.  So, why does creating bring me to peace?  It comes from allowing myself to step into that space of timelessness.  To get lost in that timelessness and I feel a connection to something bigger that myself.  That's energizing and transforming.
When I allow myself to step into this timelessness, it feels like a vacation, in some ways better, beacuse it's seems easier to achieve that relaxed, peaceful feeling in an everyday sense.
The question I'm now asking myself and when can I create time for my myself to loose track of time?
Badges? Badges? Yes I needed to make my stinkin' badges...

Side note...I'm learning how to load pictures.  So, tip you head to the left.  My usual working medium is fabric, yarns, glues, etc.  not technically stuff.  I'm working to get better.

Want to join The Campaign for Creativity to Banish Negativity?
Make a badge or two.  Proclaim you are part of this movement.
And please share your spin on this project.

Until next week...Create to feel great!

Why this Campaign? Why this Project?

Years ago, my friend Nan, had a habit of calling me when I was my most stressed and/or wearing my Cranky Pants or worse my Depression Snuggie.  At those times, I would hate talking to anyone, but I would always answer Nan's telephone call.  Even though, I wasn't rude or cranky to her, she knew my frame of mind.  She would ask me. "Why don't you do a project?"  I would argue that I'm cranky and depressed because I have too many projects to do.  Too many things that needed my attention.  Nan would never back down from my excuses.  Firmly she would ask, "Are you doing any projects just for you?  Something that would make you happy?  Not a big deal, just a small little project.  The more creative the better.  It just might change your mood and outlook on life."

The first few times she made this suggestion (in those days, I had a closet full of Cranky Pants and Depression Snuggies) I resisted.  I would give in.  Find some small creative project I could throw myself into and complete.  The trick...I had to complete the project.  So, I kept the project small.  Upon project completion, I would have a more positive outlook.  All those other projects that were making me cranky and stressing me out, with my fresh outlook, I was able to complete those as well.  I also learned things about myself and creativity along the way.  I'll forever be grateful to Nan for her support, friendship and her many lessons around creativity and shakin' the blues.

The Campaign Trail
I swear, I burnt my Cranky Pants and Depression Snuggies years ago.  It seems to me to be the latest fashion trend in society.  I'm not a fool and I'm not blind.  I know there's some real serious stuff happening to people.  I know that for some people, life has taken a unpleasant dramatic turn.  I know that there are a lot of people out of work, out of their homes and feeling out of sorts and out of luck.  I know we have wars and unrest.  I know.  I know. I know. I know.  I also know that it's easy to decide to be negative, cranky and depressed.  I think negativity is like feeding on junk food and candy.  It's all around, easy to grab and oddly satisfying.  A solid diet of junk food and candy can make a person ill.  I think it's the same with feeding on negativity and allowing it to be all consuming.

A couple of months ago, the idea came to me to start a Campaign against all this negativity.  That idea seemed negative in tone to me.  I thought what if instead of being absorbed in negativity, the world got absorbed in creativity?  The focus on creating and talking about it to inspire myself and others.  I felt I needed more of a focus and a challenge to stay on the campaign trail, so to speak.  Then Nan's idea of projects and getting creative came to me.  A project a week for a year.  Some big projects, some small projects.  Creative projects.  52 complete projects.  The Campaign for Creativity to Banish Negativity, in my mind, was born.

I'm not under the delusion that I'm going to create world shaking art.  I do know this...I'm going to have fun and maybe discover and learn somethings along the way.  I hope you will enjoy the ride with me.