Saturday, February 26, 2011

Five Dollar Friday- Crafty Hour

Every day is a new chance to choose.
Choose to change your perspective.
Choose to flip the switch in your mind. Turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt.
Choose to do your work and be free of distraction. Choose to see the best in someone, or choose to bring out the worst in them. Choose to be a laser beam, with focused intention, or a scattered ray of light that doesn't do any good. - Ishita Gupta
 Portland, Oregon, the town I live in, is one creative place.  I've lived here for years, and I don't know how or why, but it attracts some very creative people.  I feel luck to have the resources at my fingertips for any sort of crazy creating.  My new favorite place in the the world is Collage.  It's this amazing store with a bit of everything.  Paper, paint, stamps, ribbons, and just tons and tons of cool stuff that as I walk by it on the shelves tugs at my creativity.  They also offer wonderful unique classes.  These classes are taught by wonderful, nurturing and unique teachers.  On Fridays, Collage offers mini crafty/arty classes.  They are only an hour long.  And only cost five dollars.  I've been looking at these for months now.  Last Friday I decided to go to Five Dollar Friday at Collage.  This week's craft- Collage tags dipped in wax.  I had no idea what this was. I do know I like dipping stuff in wax.
The craft tables were packed with women wanting to shed their week, and start their week end.  The teacher was funny and easy to understand.  The process is a simple one...make a collage on a tag and dip it in wax.  I really didn't want to over think this hour. I was there for fun!  I quickly pulled out images I liked and got to work.  I was trying to figure out what people do with the completed tags.  I guess anything.  Come to discover, the teacher loves to dip things in wax as well. So, why not collaged tags?
About 20 minutes into the hour, a woman in a wheelchair showed up with two other women, we all quickly found out, the women, were her caregivers and that the woman in the wheel chair was 96 years old.  This elderly woman was complaining about why she had to come to a craft class.  "No body cares about this shit anyway." (her words not mine).  She bitched and crafted for a good 15 minutes.  Making everyone at the craft tables uncomfortable.  Her caregivers were ignoring her and crafting away.  After what seemed like the 25th time this woman stated. "Nobody cares about me or this crafting shit", at the top of her voice,I looked up at her and said. "I'm very glad you are here. I like what you have created."  She was startled.  Her Caregiver smiled and went right on crafting.  After a very quiet moment at the craft table.  The 96 year old women said. "Thank you."  I smiled at her and said. "You're welcome."  Sighs were heard around the craft table and chatter was picked up again. There was no more bitchin and moanin and at the end of the hour, I overheard my 96 year old friend say. "That was fun."
I was glad that woman had come to Five Dollar Friday.  However, it is my wish for her that if she chooses to come to Five Dollar Friday again, she leaves her bitchin' at the door.  You know we all can leave our bitchin' at the door. We can also choose to bring our best selves as well.  It's all about choice. I think sometimes it is easy to forget to bring our best, life gets to us.  And the bitchin' is always ready to come with us. It's is easy to let our life curcumstances get to us.  As struggle in all the stuff of life that gets heaped on us day to day,  we forget what our best selves really look like. We have a choice to find that or wallow in the negative and make everyone around us uncomfortable. My judgement is that is what might have happened to our 96 year old craft mate, for a moment she maybe forgot her best self.
Are you willing to bring your best self to life? 
Until next week create to feel great!
19 projects complete! 33 to go

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love The Crafternoon

Ah! Valentines Day! I love it, I really do.  It's not that I'm married and it's a big deal. In 22 years of marriage, Broadside has never really known what to do with Valentine's Day.  Sometimes I get flowers or some other gift, but that's only some years. We don't go out to dinner that night.  This year I made gluten free heart shaped biscuits to go with pulled pork. Yum! Celebrating the day doesn't matter to me, really.  He shows and tells me he loves me everyday and not just in a "I love you" as I run out the door sort of way, but he'll acknowledge me, and my creative efforts and the joy I bring into the relationship. I do the same for him.  For me that's a Valentine.
Valentine's Day has become this time for me to throw back to my childhood.  To a time when I would spend days and days making Valentine cards to give to all my classmates at school (even the weird-o boys).
This year I had a good friend invite me over for a Valentine making Crafternoon.  The same friend who, in November, we made decorated boxes together.  Needless to say it was a great afternoon.  Lots of glitter was sprinkled, lots of stories and figuring out the world and many Valentines were created that afternoon.  My friend sets aside one Sunday a month for an open house.   She sent out a notice with her Christmas card.  Some Sundays are Crafternoons, some are folks just hanging out, enjoying a drink and snacks.  Of course, I look forward the Crafternoons.  Most of her friends don't show up for these.  If they do, they seem afraid to jump in.  The beauty of my friend, is that she loves play.  LOVES PLAY!  And her approach to crafting is just that...playful. It's attractive and inviting, she really encourages others to jump right in.  My approach is playful, but I always create like Martha Stewart is going to walk in the room any minute and if she doesn't like my craft, put an X in my permanent record for life, and take away my crafting tools. Though after a short time of creating with my friend, I start channeling my inner six year old.  I feel her reluctant to craft friends are missing out on a good time here.
This year, I got so excited about Valentine's Day Cards, that I went on line looking for ideas and heart templates. I discovered this site called Swap-bot. It's a wonderland of crafty folks swaping crafts and craft materials.  There was a Valentine Card Swap.  I quickly entered.  The swap was to send 3 people a handmade Valentine.  Wow!  I was thrilled at the ones I got and it connected me to just how many wonderful people there are in the world and most of these folks craft from the heart for real.

Now I'm hooked on  I recently did a swap for Random Acts of Kindness.  That was cool. I've done two Ultimate Year of Happy Mail- Sparkles and Paper.  Got glitter and craft paper.
I'm signed up to do 5 more.  I also got invited into a small group who grant each other craft wishes.  I put out my wish list and so do they and if we have something on that list...we send it off to the person!  Amazing.
All this crafting, creating and connection to a bigger world outside my studio has shifted my attitude on life big time.  I realize, once again, there is this whole big world of good thoughts, kind acts, and creating going on out there.  It makes me joyful and happy to know I'm a part of it.
Are you sitting at the crafting table of life reluctant to join in on the play of creating fun and joy in your life?
Come on! Pick up the glitter and glue stick and join in!  There's plenty of room at the table and tons of crafting supplies.
Until next week...create to feel great!
18 projects complete! 34 to go!

P.S. Crafternoon is a term I've used for years, but Crafting Queen Maura Madden, has a new book out titled is about how to host a craft get together once month.  Crafty minds, I'll tell ya.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Now We Are Six- A Celebration Of Gus

When I was One,  I had just begun.
When I was Two,  I was nearly new.
When I was Three, I was hardly me.
When I was Four, I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever. ~ From Now We Are Six By A.A. Milne

The wonderful, sweet, bouncy Mr. Gus turned six years old this week.  I met him at the shelter, when he was four.  The day he came into the shelter, was my day to volunteer.  He was like no cat to come into the shelter.  New arrivals at the shelter usually have this look of "what the hell has happened to me?"  They are kept in a cage of a few days to adjust. Gus was a golden bright light shining in his cage.  He looked like he had a smile on his face as he rolled around in his cage and poking his paw out of the cage to grab at me as I passed him.  One of the other volunteers commented that Gus was flirting with me.  He sure was. I couldn't resist opening his cage to pet him.  He crawled up on my shoulders and purred.  Since I was nursing my old man cat, Jack, at the time, I really didn't want to fall in love with Gus.  Weeks and months passed with me going to the shelter every Wednesday afternoon ,sometimes on other days, I got to see Gus, settle in quickly, and soon formed a "gang" of other orange and red boy cats in the main room.  Gus, Little Red Toby, Little Ricky and Thor, spent their days teasing the little kittens, and intimidating the old lady cats.  They were wild and out of control.  Soon Gus found himself in the back room (the shelter directors broke up the gang), and he was the favorite of the volunteers, everyone knew he was a special boy.  Three days after Jack passed, I was at the shelter, cleaning in the back room.  Gus jumped into my arms from the high ledge of the cat tree. I began to cry.  I was still feeling the pain of loosing my Jack.  Gus began to lick my tears, he put his paw on my cheek.
I hugged him and cried in his fur for what seemed like forever.  He was warm, soft and smelt like cinnamon.
I didn't want to fall in love with him, but  I did.  A couple of weeks later, I adopted him.  I had no idea what a remarkable cat he would be.  What a purfect fit he would be for our family.  He's magical, in his soft, bouncy little way.  He has positive cat-attitude.  He brings joy to all who meet him.  Even Mickeygirl loves and adores him.  I'm looking forward to many years with this goofy, silly, loving boy cat.  I really wish he could stay six for ever and ever!
Gus shows me everyday that a sunny outlook is everything, it is key to getting to where and what you want in life. There is no such thing as too much love. Either giving or receiving.  He reminds what great teachers animals are.  And still don't know why his fur smells like cinnamon, but it does.
For his sixth birthday, I made him a tent.  A special place all his own, 'cause now he is six.  Happy Birthday, Mr. Gus.
Mr. Rubber Rat waits for Gus to come home
Until next week...create to feel great! 
17 projects complete. 35 to go.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Magical World Of Mrs. Remington

What I'm about to write here may send reader/followers running.  I've never read more than one or two chapters of the first Harry Potter book.  I've watched about ten minutes of one of the movies (please don't ask me which one).  It's just not my style of book.  If I'm going to read, I'll read a craft book or self help or a biography or a classic like The Great Gatsby.  Harry Potter doesn't appeal to me.  Although I like the backstory of J.K Rowling and I admire what she was able to do with her creativity. I have many friends that love them some Harry Potter- book and movies. Recently, one of my friends has ask me to consider making a Luna Lovegood costume for her.
Not knowing the character, I thought. "There are Porn stars in the Harry Potter books?" (Just an odd choice of name).  It was time to hit the Internet and do some research!  What I quickly discovered was this Luna Lovegood is not a Porn Star, but  is a very creative,magical and quirky young girl.  For some H.P followers, she is their favorite character.  As she is described, she's really fits some of the aspects of my friends personality.  Once I discovered more about Luna, I realized that my friend had chosen a great character to want dress up like.  This was going to be fun.

It seems that Luna is know for wear a ButterBeer cork necklace and radish earrings.  Yes radish earrings.
Crafty Harry Potter fans have been crafting and posting the patterns for these earrings on the Internet for years.  From what I could tell, the radish earrings patterns are flat.  Last I looked radishes are round.
Here in was my do I make round radish earrings?  Why is this such a challenge?  Well, I'm a lazy person at heart.  I like folks to give me the pattern or idea and I allow me to riff. Do my own thing.  I don't like figuring things out.  I enjoy the doing.  And yet, I accepted this challenge of the round radish earrings.      
Here's what I can up with (after rifting and brainstorming with Broadside for a couple of hours)...make a wool needle felt ball. (Yes, I'm still needle felting)  Cover that with beads strung on wire and glued on to the ball with jewelers glue. Then flat bead green leaves for the top. Magic!  Round radish earrings.  I can't remember when I was so proud of a creation. It was because I was not only rifting, but I was digging deep inside me and being willing to find the answer to make this work.  I could have given up and just beaded flat earrings.
That would have felt as good as I did when I completed this project.  That would not have allowed for some fantastic possibilities to grow for me.
My friend was beyond thrilled with her new earrings and necklace.  I'm thrilled a created something so unique in it's form and materials.  It felt like I created magic.  This magic came from me being willing to step out of my way.  Acknowledging that I'm a crafty rifter.   Instead of allowing that knowledge to stop me, I embraced it and allowed myself to dig deep and go beyond being more that just a crafty rifter.  I got out of my way.  I allowed space and room for something really cool to be created.
Getting out of one's way is just as simple as seeing yourself take one step to the right or left of the issue.  Letting go of the thought that you have to keep standing in the same place to get the issue resolved or project created.  One tiny tiny tiny step, that sometimes clears the way for us to see a huge field of possibilities.
Try it sometime.  Imagine youself taking one tiny tiny tiny step to the right or left.  Now what do you see?

Until next week...create to feel great.  I hope you create some magic with what you are now seeing.
16 projects complete...36 to go