Saturday, November 27, 2010

Classic Fail! Epic Save!

I'm creating some Christmas crafts (final part to be project next week).  Last week it was paper.  This week it was polymer clay stars. Both are parts of a bigger project.  Well, I thought I was going to use polymer clay stars.  That was until I started working with it.  Over the years, I've played with polymer clay.  I've made flat objects for theater projects.  They turned out okay.  For this project I wanted stars with some dimension.
Molds were called into action.  Polymer clay didn't want to go in to a mold, as least not the ones I had.  Well, it went in.  It didn't want to come out.   Darn!  My vision for these stars were not going to happen.  Enter the bag of paper mache stuff, called Sculptamold.   I bought this stuff years ago, used it with not much success.  It's a paper mache product that mixes with water, loves molds.  It can be painted, glittered and it will be wonderful on the project.
I like the side of me that is willing to fail in order to succeed.  I know I'm only talking about little Christmas stars on a craft project.  Yet there is something inside me that is never so "married" to an idea that it has go the way I have planned or I don't want to play.  I've relied on this flexibility in me to create some amazing things, including this blog and Campaign.  This mind set has aided me in creating what I think is an amazing life.  I'm never ready to just give up, until I know in my heart that I have looked at all the angles, I've explored every possible idea, I've tried everything to make something work.  I believe the open mind set and not being "married" to an idea and how it needs to go, is a corner stone to creativity.  It certainly makes my life flow with ease.
Being open to that there is a possibility of failure, this only allows us to succeed on a greater level than we could ever imagine.  I'm not saying to focus on failure and let it control you.  I'm saying give yourself permission to fail and not let the idea of failure stop you from creating what you want in you life.

Until next week...create to feel great!
6 projects complete...46 to go!

Next week...I put the last two projects together into one project!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pyjama Day Play

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality.  Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. ~ Lao-Tzu"

Okay Lao-Tzu, great zen master, you didn't have the week I had this week. Yet you are talking sense to me right now.   I'm going to confess, right here,on the Internet before God, and anyone else reading this...that the level of stress in my past week was way way off the chain.  It was a perfect storm of crap that swirled around me, as I have no idea why it was coming at me.  It culminated in me having a huge crying breakdown.   Had I seen Lao-Tzu's quote earlier, the breakdown might have been adverted. Some how I doubt it. Oh, well.  It really was what it was.  The details of this week aren't important, and I'm okay, now.   I learned an amazing amount of stuff about me this week. Strong and good useful stuff.  The sort of stuff that if I leverage it properly and put it into action, will benefit my life forever.  Being on the other side of  this stress storm, great things happen. From all this emotionally charged stress, how did I manage to get so much clarity?  I allowed myself to take a Pyjama Day.  I stepped out of the stress, donned my favorite P.J.s and spend the day doing whatever I wanted to at home.  I allowed myself to feel whatever. Which I have to confess, for most of the day, was great. I didn't focus on anything but the day.  I hung out with Gus and Mickeygirl (for whom every day is a pyjama Day), I cooked myself a nice healthy lunch, watched bad TV, read, napped and I made paper.  All in my pyjamas.  Along the way, I gained a sense of peace and those amazing insights.  Over the years, I've come to realize that pyjama days are vital to my health and well being.  Everyone could benefit from a Pyjama Day from time to time.  I have usually made it a habit to put  pyjama days in my life on a regular basis. Usually one or two a month.  It helps me weather stress storms that do come up in life. Most times I schedule them into my life.  Then there are the "emergency Pyjama Days" like the one this week.  I don't know what happened with this week, but I do know the PJ day helped me move on and stop the stress from coming back at me.
Making the paper in my PJs was the most fun.  Making paper is easy and quick and doesn't take a lot of thought.  I found a person on the Internet who suggested placing the wet paper on leftover flooring tiles to dry. (Not the ones installed on your floor, but the ones leftover from a home improvement project.)  That was a genius idea. I've always used towels and newspapers that get all sloppy wet.  I really got into the play of it all.   I had a vision of making paper on the Martha Stewart show, with both of us in our PJs. Oh, why not?  I was playing.  For me any project that involves glitter and color can't be all bad.
I went to sleep that night relaxed and peaceful.  Now I'm ready to embrace Lao-Tzu quote and go with the flow in my everyday life.  I can address stressful situations proactively and not reactively.  More going with the flow, as ideas come to me just how to do this with ease and no struggle.
Do you do pyjama days on a regular basis?  What do you do on those days?
If you don't do pyjama days.  My suggestion is to try might like it.
Until next week...create to feel great.
5 projects complete. 47 to go.

For cool paper making instructions check out this site.
I will be using my paper on another project very soon...Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One Silly Project

What is it about women of a certain age that makes them want to use their bra as a storage unit or at the very least a purse?  The women in my family have been known to use their bras in this manner.  I remember Granny giving me money for the store, by pulling it out of her bra. When my mother traveled, she didn't believe in traveler's checks, so she carried her money in her bra, along with other items.   I don't get it.  My bra is full enough with the materials that are suspose to be in a bra.  I don't have room for money or extra items.
Whereas I don't get it.  It didn't surprise me when my co-worker was telling me that her 70 plus year old mother and her group of friends carry their cell phones in their bras.  I guess their pants don't have pockets, they can't be bothered with purses and fanny packs.  Her mother was visiting our office and she was complaining that the phone gets sweaty stored where it's stored.  One of her clever friends puts the phone in a baby sock before putting it in the bra.   These women store their cell phones on the side of their bras.  (I come a long line of front loaders).  Hearing the challenge of how to keep the cell phone sweat free, my mind started creating.  A simple pocket made out of a mirco fiber cloth from the Dollar Tree.  I added a velcro strap for security to the bra strap.  According to Kay, the problem was solved. The cell phone is stored, and not sweaty.  To answer her phone, she simply slides it out of the pocket.  The pocket stays in her bra. She is one happy lady.  All her friends want one or two.  Bra pockets are born.
I never laughed so hard making and designing these pockets.  I had visons of little old women stuffing their bras with these pockets.  I'm telling the girls two pockets per person. I can really see these girls getting carried away.  My Granny would be proud of me.
What I like about this project is that it is so silly.  Silly yet, the ladies find them so useful.  I really love it when my creative mind solves a challenge and it's for a funny or odd reason. Kay told me that the pocket makes her life so easier.  I told Kay, she made me laugh and smile.
Had I not let myself embrace the silliness of this situation, the silly annoyance would be still annoying.

Is there a silly annonyance in your life that could use some creativity to make it less annoying?
Until next week...create to feel great. 
4 projects complete! 48 to go!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Up On The Roof

"This is the real secret of life: to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.  Instead of calling it work, realize it is play."           ~ Alan Watts

My husband and I live and own an old Portland style house.  It's way too big for just two people and two cats.  Yet it suits us.  100 year old houses need constant care.  100 year old houses, like the one we have, where the former owners did things to the house that can only be best described as major "what were they thinking!!!" moments...need lots and lots of constant care.  We do our best to keep up.  Thank God for most of the house being structurally sound.  One area of the house that has been a problem for us over the years, is my studio roof.  It leaks.  With all the rain we have in Portland, it's a problem.  Broadside has made several attempts to fix this issue with little to no success.  Considering he hates any sort of home improvement project, he's done well with this roof.  I've let him handle it.  Even though, I grew up with my mother the Shack Flipper, and helping her turn trash into money, for some reason,  I didn't think I could handle fixing this roof.  Last week, when rain was dripping into the room and I was draping everything in plastic, I decided to get over my fear of not being able to fix this roof and do something about it.  It was time to get creative.
The first thing I did was do to some research on the Internet.  I knew that there must be products or inventions for this situation.  I know that I'm not the only person in the world to buy a house that when the former owners decided to do some renovations took heavy doses of LSD and then went to the junk yard or dumpster dived to find building materials.  Sure enough, my old buddy the World Wide Web had some answers for me.  I found what looked like a super great product that would do the trick.  The Universe was planning to provide me with at least two sunny 70 degree days. Time to jump on this thing.
I told Broadside, I'd like to see what I could do with this.  It was going to be my project of the week.  He said he did care and not to fall off the roof.  (It's a flat roof)  He also said. "That's a lot of work for one person and not very creative."
Those were almost like fighting words to me.  At very least, a call to action.  As I drove out to the only hardware store in town, that carries this product, I was thinking. "Yeah, it is going to be a lot of work.  But so is living with water rushing in my studio and not to mention dry rot. And how dare he say this isn't a creative project.  I'm going to have to be very creative to make this work."  Once I got to the hardware store, the clerk there was surprised that I knew about this stuff.  There were two contractor looking guys hanging out by the product and they were surprised I knew about this stuff.  All mentioned to me that they thought it was a lot of work for one person.  As I was leaving the store I heard. "Don't fall off the roof."  Comedians are everywhere these days.
I got home and put on my work clothes.  It was warm sunny and bright.  Before I started I thought. "How can I make this fun?"  The idea of  working with a new product.  The possibility of fixing this problem once and for all without falling off the roof, made it a fun challenge.  I wasn't even going to listen to the voices that told me it was going to be a lot of work for one person.   I gathered up my supplies and a radio (I'm not a huge fan of classic rock, but when doing a repair project, classic rock blasting is in order), I stepped out on to the roof.
For most of the project I was on my butt scooting along the edge singing.  The first thing was to lay down a sealing tape.  That was followed by this rubber acrylic stuff.  Which was amazing.  I think I discovered some reasons  why the roof might be leaking as I was doing this.  As I scooted along, I also took time for me to enjoy being outside sitting on a roof in Fall. The birds in my trees.  The views from the roof, I could almost see to downtown.  I watched a lady who lives in the apartments behind my house, hang out her laundry.  My next door neighbor taking his dogs out for walks.  He noticed me and just had to shout out. "Girl! Don't you dare fall off that roof!" I asked him if he would like to help me and he said. "Uh, no.  That's way too much work."
I didn't fall off the roof.   I fell into the moment on that roof.  And you know what?
Not only did I not fall off the roof.  I got the thing coated, hopefully sealed, and because I was singing and enjoying the didn't seem like a lot of work for one person.
The roof!  All sealed and clean looking!
Broadside kept saying to me. "It's not really a creative project. How does it fit your blog? Do you think people are going to want to read about you scooting on your butt on your flat roof?"
I'm going to answer all that.  1) I write this blog for me.  After all, the insights I get are mine.  If some else gets benefit, I'm thrilled.  If not, oh, well. 2) I had to really engage my creativity to hopefully make this repair work (it hasn't rained yet.  Fingers crossed, everyone). At one point I was applying this stuff with my gloved hand.  I was frosting my roof.  I also think I engaged skills I've learned from other creative projects into this one.  3)Most importantly, I learned that the attitude I take into to something effects the results I create.  The two days I spent on my roof were fun and really zen for me.  The time passed, yet I had lots of time to get everything done. The work on the roof seemed like play, because I created that with my mind set.  I didn't approach the work with the attitude of, I spending two wonderfully warm Fall days fixing my roof, and I'm going to bitch about what a waste of time this is.  Instead, I simply asked myself how can I make this fun.  It's not work it's fun.
I thought about this as I worked and I realized that I do this a lot.  I look at how to make a task fun.  Just asking that question, always brings answers with ease. 'Cause if the answer is forced...then it ain't gonna be fun.
Today, as I write this, I have a sealed roof.  We have a couple more days before rain appears.  I'm hopeful I got that sucker sealed up.  I'm a little sore.  Nothing I don't think a good scheduled massage won't help.
Whatever the outcome I feel good about what I did and how I created play.
So, play comes in so many forms.  It's always there for us to make our life lighter and brighter.
How will you make your next task, that might be a lot of work, fun?

Until next week...create to feel great!  Make some fun!
3 projects complete.  49 to go