Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Company We Keep

"Won't it be dull when we rid ourselves of all the demons haunting us, to keep us company..."
~War On Drugs  by Stephen Paige of The Bare Naked Ladies 

I love the above quote.  The song is a little sad, and yet in that comes forth a gem of a thought.
I've been thinking a lot about some of the changes I've been making in my life since I started this Campaign.  My entire process, approach to my world and life have shifted considerably.  I'm not perfect.  I'm not even practically perfect in everyway, and I say this because I have a way to go.
There are parts of me that I've been looking at and weighing the value of keeping them.  I believe we only keep what we value.  We have to see a value in something, no matter how small in order for us to want it around.  This goes for clutter, ideas, attitudes, ways of being, people, habits and especially our demons.  Those demons are tricky buggers.  They dress up nicely and rationally.  They look safe and pretty.  They are, sadly, the only one who really knows and cares for us. There there, dear one.  They bring us comfort with their drama.  Because sometimes, that is the only thing that makes us feel alive.  Really be honest here.  We know we shouldn't let them play in our life, but ridding ourselves of them is frankly hard tough work.  It's like trying to get rid of black berry thickets.  It seems like there is always more and it is exhausting to deal with them.  And really what will I do with me when they are gone?  Good question. What do you do?  There will be a void.  A big old void, and I've said this before...misery loves company.  People flock to misery, to drama, to negative thoughts.  It is so mindless this flocking.  They resist a celebration of good and consider it a duty (I a good person would be happy for them.  A good person wants the best for others.  A good person has positive thoughts.)
So what will you do when the demons are chased out of your life, and maybe no one, except you, really cares?  Try this.  Fill the void with peace.  Time to create a stronger life for you.  Time to create.  Time.  As you won't be filling your time with feeding or battling demons. Plan your celebration of your life.  Surround yourself with positive, loving people, thoughts and animals.
And like black berry thickets, your battle with the demons will  eventually go away. When they decide to show up, like black berries they are easier to puck out and toss in the compost bin.  They get smaller and smaller and take up less room in your now more beautiful garden/life.

Are there demons you are holding on do that you are afraid that if you let them go you wouldn't know what to do?

Until next week...create to feel great

4 projects complete!  48 to go!
This week  I made red baby shoes for a good friend's first Grand baby?  I mean what girl doesn't need a pair of red shoes.  As my Granny would say, "One never has a bad time when wearing red shoes."  That's for real.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Toleration Game

Are there things, people, situations in your life that annoy the heck out of you and you just put up with them because (you can fill in your own reason/excuse)?  I've heard these call tolerations.  We have them in our lives and they just sit there.  We step over them, go around them, pass them as we enter and exit a room.  We sigh, we push them to another place in the house, in our lives.  They are energy drains and road blocks to a positive, free flowing state of mind.  When it comes to people we have in our lives we tolerate, we tread carefully, so as not to hurt their feelings and we avoid the thought of conflict.  So, the slope here is trickier to navigate, and yet they are drains and need to be handled for our own peace of mind.  With things and situations, we are really the most in control to deal with them.  I've found that dealing with tolerations are really like the old motto, of how to eat an elephant.  One bite at a time. 
As the new year dawned, this year, I looked at the stuff in my life that was driving me nuts.   The clutter, the disorganization, the less than happy working items that really needed a call to tech support.  I made me list and I'm checking them off. 
I started with what seemed like a simple step.  My sock drawers.  I love socks.  And my walking training has added another category of socks to the mix.  My socks were so out of control that I every time I went to put on a pair, it seemed easier just to pull a dirty pair out of the hamper (no didn't do that, but really wanted to).  So, I organized my sock drawers.  Yes drawers. I have three, small, but three.  I discovered that I have more stripe and Christmas socks than any one person needs, but I like that about myself.  Argyle and cats are too far behind.  And I've knitting myself a fair number of pairs as well. 
Why relate this inventory?  Well, the task of organizing these socks was made quick, easy and fun by looking for connections to who I am.  I celebrated and had a great laugh at all the color and craziness I wear on my feet.  Before I knew it the tolerations was off my list.  I'm ready to tackle the next one, and I have the feeling of freedom and energy.  Just might have to dive into the post Christmas studio clean up.
This isn't the first time I've written about tolerations and what we tolerate in our lives. For me they are usually something as simple as the sock drawer, but they drain my energies and keep me from my real joys in life.  Just talking about or listing them can be a drain.  Let's take a lesson from the great Mary Poppins Cleaning up anything is always more fun if we make it a game.  The idea does work, because it always goes back to our mind set.  If we think something is horrible and a drudge.  You bet it will be for sure.  If we can find any sort of fun in the task... the humor, the lightness, the load will be easier.
So, what is annoying you?  What are you tolerating?  Make your list and go find fun!

Until next week ...create to feel great!
3 projects complete! 49 to go!  Plus three nicely organized sock drawers.

Project of the week was making pillows from a stack of old worn out ones.  Now I can hang out is fluffy bright clean color after a day of addressing the tolerations list at home and work.

Nice thing they are recycled all the way.  The fabric came for S.C.R.AP. (if you live in the Portland area and haven't paid a so.).  The pillow stuff...the old pillows.  The entire project cost me
.25 cents and a  hour of my time.  Not too bad.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter Warm Up- The Heart Edition

If you have read this blog for any time, I've mentioned from time to time the two women who had a huge influence on me while I was growing up.  I had Granny, who wasn't really my Grandma, she was a great aunt on my Dad's side.  She lived in Ohio in a very small village that was divided by railroad tracks.  She taught me to love baseball, Black Label Beer, knitting, the joys of fishing from a pond at dawn on a summer's morning, and a whole host of other things.

On the West Coat, I had Grandma.  She was my mom's mom.  A chief, before women were allowed to call themselves that.  She taught me to a bit about gardening, how to smoke a cigarette with some flare, what dog to pick at the track and how to cook.  Or better stated, how to watch someone cook in order to copy their food and then make it your own.  She was one funny woman.

I really loved those two women.  Both were good story tellers, strong at a time when women were to shut up and keep their heads down, loved to laugh, talk and I think they really liked life for the most part.  I learned a lot from them.  They have been gone since the 1970's and I there are days when doing something, I think of them, I channel them.  I have days when I often think "What would Granny or Grandma do?"
I know both of their lives were filled with trials and challenges.  Yet, they bucked it up and got on with it.  It being living life. Granny used to say, "What the hell else do you expect me to do?  Sit and wallow in my own crap?  That doesn't sound like too much fun.  There's a baseball game today."

The two women did meet once.  It wasn't pretty.  I remember it being uncomfortable.  I was reminded of that meeting last week watching Maggie Smith and Shirley McClain (yikes spelling) spar on an episode of Downton Abbey. It was sort like that only in a small track home dining room and over pot roast and potatoes and glasses of beer.

Yet both of them loved me They didn't care much for my brothers or my stuck up sister. They took to me.  The one who was "out of control with her mouth and big ideas." And never combs her hair.  They both said that it was just that I was full of "piss and vinegar."  Granny called me a "world stirrer."  Grandma called me "old tough nut."

I thought a lot about these two as I created Christmas this year.  So, I'm saluting them now with this post and with the project of the week.
Both of these women made awesome hot cocoa.  And now so do I.  Only it is instant and unlike my Grandma and Granny, I'm sharing with you how to make it.  So, you can enjoy a cup or two and warm yourself on a winter's day and think about the people who make or made a difference to you in your life.

So, now for the Hot Cocoa makes a ton.  So, feel free to half it.
In a large bowl and using a mesh sifter

1 1/2 cups Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 1/4 cups dry nonfat milk or dry soy milk- really Vegans win here as the Better Then Soy Brand dry soy milk  makes this really creamy and extra wonderful.
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of clove (optional- trust me you want the clove)

Stir these together and store in an air tight jar.

To use the mix
1/3 cup  cocoa mix in a large mug or more to your taste.
1 1/2 boiling hot water or milk  - note here this needs to boiling boiling hot.
vanilla to taste.

Stir very well.  Might have to stir as you drink.  Don't forget marshmallows!

So who in your past has warmed your heart?  Who warms you heart now?
Until next week...create to feel great!
2 projects complete 50 to go!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It Was Never My Intention To Leave

Happy 2013 everyone!   After a long break and what just had to be the best Christmas season of my life, I'm back on the Campaign Trail.  I have been kicking around some new ideas for this blog and my journey.  As it is with me, I get so caught up in my moments that I often don't think ahead to far to the next.  I have a ton of stuff I want to do, accomplish, see and create, how that all happens...I never really know.  At best I look at the list and allow it all to unfold before me.  When I force it, whatever I'm working on or attempting to accomplish, comes out looking, well, forced.
Now back to the blog.  I have ideas for a bit more structure.  Project of the week is still going to be a cornerstone.  My insights and ramblings, we aren't going too far from those (you've been warned).  I want to bring some folks in on the fun, and I want to expand on what I create.  Cats and Grandmother stories will appear from time to time.  I haven't done much talking about my love of cooking and crafting easy healthy foods, so aprons while be a nice thing to have from time to time, as there might be a recipe or two shared, certainly cooked.  Adventures in creating will keep me on my toes as I work to find and learn new things to craft/make/create.  Home matters and Craft Like I Care will get me seek out the organizations that could use some creative projects to better the lives of others.
I'm having a feeling that this will be a fun time.  I hope you'll pop in for the ride.

After saying all that, I have to ask...have you set your intentions for what you want for the coming year.  Notice I didn't say resolutions, as I've never found them to work past January 2nd.  I also didn't say goals.
I've discovered that goals can quickly turn into blocks in the road and clubs to beat myself with for not achieving them at years end.

So, intentions.  What is it that I want more than anything in my life.  Not for just this year, but in life for the long term?  Intentions set me in to a course of action.  Forward movement.  In acting, we are taught about characters setting their intention and then during the course of the play, they do whatever it is to get what they want.  Intentions help me look at how far I've come, they engage my creativity and they are very "in the moment".   When 2014 rolls in, I can stop and look at how far I've come towards my intentions, and look at all I have in my life instead of what I did or didn't do in my life.
As my Granny would say "I'm a fixin' to do...(fill in the blank and then go do it!) Another wonderful thing about setting intentions, is that they can be set at any time and in you moment.
What are your intentions?

Until next week...create to feel great!

1 project complete.  51 to go.  And away we go!!!

This week's project falls into the Adventures in Crafting.  I learned how to make wrapped ball and chain bracelets.  Really super easy and super fun.  Another fine five dollar Friday at Collage.