Saturday, February 27, 2010

Goodbyes and Oh, Yeah, She Went There!

I really don't like goodbyes. Oh, sure, I say goodbye to my husband and my kitties everyday, and I know I'll see them sometime later that same day.  I'm okay with that.  I have trouble with goodbyes to the people in my life I don't see everyday, but I know I'll see them again sometime soon. And of course the goodbye when you know you aren't, for whatever reason going to ever see that person again. Whatever the goodbye, when I say it to someone, I always do a little blessing (usually not spoken outloud to them, sometimes it is).  It helps me knowing that I'm sending them a well wish as they leave.  A well wish for their happiness and safety as they go on through their life.  It's just a little blessing.This week was a week of goodbyes for me.
On Sunday, my dear little dwarf aqua frog, Viola T. Frog, crossed the rainbow bridge after almost four years of dancing and greeting me every time I entered the room her bowl was in.  She was only 2 inches in size, but she was mighty frog, living well beyond what they say these little frogs live.  A big goodbye to a tiny friend.

On Wednesday, I said goodbye to my dear friend Chelsea.  This bright, brillant,wonderful soul is going to Botswana with the Peace Corp for two years.  In the short time I've known her, she has taught me so much about walking in the world, taking risks, enjoying life with zest, making a contribution, and the fine art of administring Sub Q fluids to cranky old men kitties to help them live a longer and healthier life.  I will miss Chelsea, and yet  I know she will keep me in her loop, and I'll get the hear about her adventures.
To quote Dr. Suess..."Oh, the places you'll go."  I wanted to give her a small something to remember me by, something I thought she might be able to use on her travels.   I created a passport wallet!    
I don't very much care for making my own patterns.  I always like it when someone else has done all the work and thought out all the bugs of the design.  Much easier (I'm really lazy).  Yet I couldn't find any patterns for what I had in mind, so to the drafting board I went.  Charting unknown territory, made my own pattern and created a wallet with many pockets, a heart applique and even a zipper closure!  I was pleased with the result and so was Chelsea.  I know she'll be putting it to good use, and might just think of me from time to time as she's using it.  In a way, I get to travel along with her. A visual blessing for her happiness, health and safety as she travels.  Had I let the fact that I couldn't find a pattern for this wallet get in my way, it wouldn't have been the same sort of gift.  Oh, the places I get to go and the places I've gone to get there!

So, where will your creativity take you?  And what's stopping you from going there?
Oh, the places you will go!
Until next week...create to feel great.
20 projects complete   32 to go!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Hat In Hand

One of the many things I do is teach hat making at the local Community College.  It's not really traditional hat making.  The teachers who taught me millinary would have a fit if they saw my wild creative methods I teach my students.  It's easy, accessable and an inexpensive way to make a nice blocked felt hat. The fundamentials are there, it's just hat making my way.  I recently finished teaching this fun three week course.  I realized that I have never really made a hat for myself using this method.  I've made quite a few hats for theater productions, and for other people, but never one for myself.  I always make my students promise to finish their hats.  I decided it was high time to practice what I teach.
I love teaching these classes.  Working hands on with a group of people in a creative environment, nothing better.  Usually, in the group there is one or two people who would much rather have me make their hat for them.  They would love it if I did the work for them.  I always ask and wonder why is that?  They are usually afraid of the outcome not being perfect or they might mess it up.  If I do all their work, they don't have to be responsible of the outcome.  They also don't learn anything.  I always tell my students that there are many joys and lessons in messing up and making mistakes.   And I remind them that it's only felt and glue. If they mess up, they can always start again.  The real mistake (if mistake is the correct word) is not taking the risk to create, to learn and to grow.  I always learn the most when I'm learning something new or creating something new, by the mistakes or less than perfect creations. Sure I like my creations to be the best I can make them, but I also celebrate the less than perfect creations or mistakes as a badge of honor...proof that I'm still learning and growing.  In some cultures, they purposely put mistakes in their work.  They do this with the thought that only God or a high power can create perfect things, and the mistakes are praise for the talent and gifts that have been given to them, and also as a symbol that they still have more to learn in  life and using their talents and gifts.
Are there areas in your life or when you are creating that you would just like someone else to do it for you?
Why? And how much benefit would you gain? Especially if this is an important area of your life or something you have always wanted to learn how to create.
Until next week...create to feel great.
19 projects complete 33 to go
Kitty update! As of this publishing...both kitties are healthy, happy and ready for Spring!  Gus is so happy not to have to wear this collar any more.  One more week, and he was ready to join a Shakespeare Acting Troupe or sign on with a Dish TV provider!  Come to think of it, our TV reception improved the month he was wearing his collar. Hum...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Soapy Valentine

Years ago, I use to design and make costumes for a local Children's Theater.  That was when I learned that Valentine's Day is a huge holiday for kids.  Not in the "I want everything" sense, but in the giving to others sense.  Every Valentine's Day, there would be candy kisses, boxes of Conversation Hearts, lollipops with "Love" and "Be Mine" stamped on them, and my favorite, the hand made heart with a little note.  All given out of love, respect and acceptance, in celebration of the day.  It was a day for the kids to show appreciation to the adults and kids they liked, it really was no holds barred on that day around the theater. All of this was done in the simplest ways, it was really beauitful. The first year, it took me back a bit, this out pouring of attention and creativity.  Then I thought about my youth and how I loved Valentine's Day as well.  I use to make my own Valentines for everyone in my school class (even the wierd boys got one) and the neighbors (even the cranky lady down the street got one).  Over the years, Valentine's Day grew into to this day of, "If you aren't in love, then you don't get to play, and giving Valentines to everyone is not appropiate."  So, it would slip off my radar a bit, until I started working with kids.
For the last 12 years, I've observed Valentine's Day.  For people in my life, I usually make some sort of Valentine.   I usually feel like, why am I doing this?  This is awkward, but I soon get over it, when I think back to the kids.  I can still see their faces, as they would proudly give me a Valentine.  They would smile, and most of the time, the talk didn't go any further than, "I have this for you." or "I made this for you, Happy Valentine's Day."  and I would thank them and tell how much this meant to me to be remembered.  They would smile and carry on with the rest of their deliveries.  It was a smiple show of love and acceptance, it didn't need to be a big deal. And yet it was.
So, in making Valentines this year, I wanted to do something a little different.  Fun for me to make, and simple.   Soap!  Heart shape soap!   Soap is so easy to make.   It's melted soap to create the shape or pour into molds to create the shape.   I controled the color and scent.  
As I was making this soap, I thought about what do we do for ourselves to show ourselves that we love who we are? (Oddly enough, this week I've had several conversations about showing love and accepting ourselves).
How do I be my own Valentine?  In all the outpouring to everyone else, I didn't want to forget me.  Really my most important Valentine of all!
That thought felt awkward and silly, sort like presenting Valentines I had made.  Then I was struck with this...
if I don't love and take care of me, how in the world can I expect my creativity to flow?  How can I be my best in the world?  The world that really needs not only my creative gifts, but everyone's creative gifts.  If I don't love and take care of me, I'm not taking care of my creativity, and I just might run out of creative ideas, and that, my friends, would be hell on earth.  So, being my own Valentine is essential!  It's essential for living a rich full life.  It's essential for helping to create a better world around me and beyond.  It's not selfish, it's essential to life and living.  In the words of the great RuPaul, "If you don't love yourself.  How in the hell are your gonna love somebody else?"  Amen!
After I finished my soapy Valentines.  I went for a walk.  A long walk.  I'm giving myself the Valentine of an hour a day silence and no distractions.  A difficult gift to accept and follow through with, but it is a marvelous, important gift.  I also had the opportunity to have a two hour massage with an amazing massage theraptist.
I cooked myself a great dinner, and spent time in my studio creating some things for me. I'm feeling more contected to myself and the world.  I feel like I have a new take on things.
I'd like to make Valentine's Day everyday.  Wouldn't that be cool?  A simple show of Love and Acceptance everyday.  To myself and others.
Happy Valentine's Day, dear readers.  Happy Valentine's Day.
Until next week...create to feel great.  And because it really bears repeating..."If you can't love yourself.  How in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"  Thank you, RuPaul!
18 projects complete.  34 to go.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Socktopus- Eight Arms to Love You With

By now, you more than likely know that I love my cats, Mickeygirl and Gus Gus T. Ruthin.  I feel blessed to be their guardian.  I feel blessed to have them in my life.   Today is Gus's 5th Birthday.   It is also marks one year, since we met at the shelter I was volunteering at and adopted him from.  
I have heard that shelter cats are the best cats in the world.   I know this first hand from my years with Mickeygirl, and now my time with Gus.   There is an appreciation they show and they are not afraid to really let you know just how much they love you unconditionally.
So, for Mr. Gus's 5th Birthday, and I suspect the first one he has ever celebrated, I thought it was fitting for me to make him a Socktopus filled with catnip.  Easy to make with some knee socks I got at Dollar Tree, and I always have catnip and stuffing. 
I presented  it to Gus, along with a blanket and some cat toys given to me by some fellow crafters who I was sitting next to at the Hip Happening Craft Show, today.  He was overwhelmed.  Mickeygirl had to show him how this celebrating birthday thing is done.  Soon they were both enjoying Socktopus.
He stopped mid playing and came over and sat in my lap and purred.  He looked up at me as if to say, "Thank you, mom.  Oh, and I love you."
I learn a lot from my cats.  Lessons on life and love.  I'm grateful to them for these lessons.
I like Socktopus so much, and it makes me smile..I got struck with idea to make some more and give them away to people (more than likely kids) who are in need of something to make them smile. Maybe a local childrens hospital or the kids of Haiti.   I'm going to look into it.
So, watch out for Operation Socktopus.  As I'm grateful for all the blessings I have in my life, and I want to share the blessings, and love.  Really how fitting for February, the month I consider, the month of love.
Until next week...create to feel great.
17 Projects completed. 35 to go.