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!


  1. I love the idea of collaborating. I'm going to grab my two teenage kids, scout the house for random stuff and see how we can creatively decorate the front porch for Halloween.

    Thanks for the inspiration to include some partners in crime!

  2. I love Mickey's new platform pillow! Not as much as she, I'm sure, but still what a great solution. You sure weren't getting Mickey to give up her corner so you, the human with the extra grey matter, came up with a creative solution. Awesome!

    I too love the collaborating. I just started an intense month long writing project and I've been collaborating with my husband on major plotlines and character arcs. Its so much fun to share the creativity with those closest. It creates such a shared positive vibe that reverbates throughout the whole house.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. It made me aware of what a happy and satisfying effect it has on both parties.