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.