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.