Entries from: August 2008

Cool Things Creative Folks are Up to

August 7th, 2008, Comments (7)

Although I can't get around as much as I'd like to (only so many hours in a day!), I *love* seeing what Creative Every Day 2008 participants are up to. Goes to show you that there are endless ways to be creative and so many fun things to try!!

  • Brand new member, Lisa from the blog Tissuepapers has a kick-ass tutorial on folding fitted sheets, featuring her husband. It is SO cute. I just learned how to fold a fitted sheet last year from a friend and found it incredibly fascinating. I know, I know, folding sheets probably isn't fascinating to most people, and I'm the furthest thing from Martha Stewart neatness, but there's something so satisfying about folding those darn fitted sheets in something other than a big ball! Even if you already know how or don't care, the tutorial Lisa put together is super cute and creative and it looks like she has a bunch of other tutorials on her blog!
  • I do enjoy a good tutorial and although I've seen a bunch with descriptions on how to do freezer paper stencils, I think this one from Brie is quite good. I need to get some freezer paper and try this!
  • Snap has written a post exploring the concept of creativity along with a link to a series of articles about the future of creativity in the Utne reader (and she posted her first collage! yay!)
  • There's loads of inspiration to be found in the CED flickr group, here.
  • You may have noticed that I have a soft spot for kitties, so I totally adored this post, from Mary of Art Spirit, about her cat and bird softies and a real kitty too! Hehe.
  • A big thanks to Wendy for featuring me as her August artist of the month!!

I spoke with two blogging pals, who also happen to be CED participants, for the first time today (by phone.) I feel sort of awkward on the phone sometimes, but I really enjoyed both conversations. I spoke first with the ever-so-sweet, Olivia of happyluau who shared her amazing first-hand knowledge of Hawaii. Thank you, Olivia! I really enjoyed hearing her perspective on the islands and wonderful tips! I knew Olivia's voice already from all the video blogging she does, but it was great to be able to interact with her by phone.

Shortly after that, I spent some time talking with the lovely Jennifer of Life Unfolds, Artizen Coaching, and the Right-Brain Business Plan! Phew! Jenn is one busy and talented lady! We chatted about a little something we'll be doing together this fall, which I'm very excited about. I'll share details on that soon. Jenn has such a sweet, welcoming voice and it was a pleasure to chat with her.

And now, I'm all chatted out. :-) Toodaloo!


August 6th, 2008, Comments (9)

I've been experiencing so much synchronicity in the past few days, it's wild! One that made me laugh out loud and gave me goosebumps was when I saw the same image twice in a matter of hours. First, in the copies of the Calyx journal I received in the mail. I opened the journal to check out my art and the other art featured inside. One of the artist's I noticed was Fran Forman, whose name stood out partly because I read that she is a fellow Massachusetts artist. Fran does beautiful digital collages using images she finds at flea markets.

Just a couple hours later, I was at my old job where I'm spending the evenings this week and I picked up the Globe. I wouldn't have seen this if I hadn't been at work this week because I don't get the paper delivered at home. And even if I had gone to the paper's website, I probably wouldn't have seen the bit from the daily insert, called "Sidekick." There on the front page of "Sidekick" was a large image called "Letting Go," the same one I saw in Calyx, from Fran Forman. I snapped a quick pic of the paper for you.

In some synchronicity squared, I received a comment today from Patty of Magpie's Nest on my recent post about, synchronicity of course, which reminded me about an article I read in the Globe over two years ago. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find it, but I did a quick search with what I remembered and it was the very first thing that came up on google. The article is all about seeing signs in numbers, in this case it involves a message from someone who has passed on. The story clearly made an impression on me since I remembered it so clearly. Looking back at it now, I laughed because of the date it was published includes my favorite number for synchronicity: 17.

Gah, it's seems impossible for me to explain these things properly. Today there were so many little instances of seeing the same things show up in different books and websites and the oddest places. After a full day of feeling bombarded, it's almost silly. When I read SARK's newsletter this evening with her own story of crazy synchronicity (which she told ever so eloquently), I laughed when she shared the Anne Lamott quote, "That's God showing off." That's a good way to put it. In an email, I told Patty that I think of them as winks from the Universe. Winky, winky, wink-wink.

Lifeforce My internet has been on the blink which has been frustrating and I feel terribly behind in catching up with emails and blogs. But I'm trying to let it roll off my back. Speaking of letting things roll off my back, I've been continuing to enjoy yoga. I tried out a new yoga dvd today: LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues with Amy Weintraub, author of the book Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga, (which was excellent by the way.) I really enjoyed the dvd which incorporated yoga poses, breathing, and chanting. It's definitely a dvd I would want some privacy to do, mainly because of the chanting, but I do like chanting and I like the way she incorporated it into the poses themselves. It wasn't a super challenging dvd, but I did feel much lighter and more energized afterwards. I especially liked how she began the dvd with some simple body movements (rolling the ankles, knees, hips, a little dancing, and a little shaking) that warm the body up before you do any poses. I appreciated that because I feel like sometimes yoga classes and videos go right into the poses cold. Eventually your body warms up, but it's much nicer to go into the stretches with the synovial fluids in your joints already moving, especially when your not the most flexible lady on the planet. Plus, doesn't shaking just feel good? Try it. It feels fantastic. :-) Shake it like a polaroid picture and all that. As I type this, in the background someone on t.v. says, "Shake it. Shake it." Hehe

All the yoga and reading I've been doing has been very helpful in my journey as I taper off anti-depressants. I'm grateful for that. It's so important for me to keep up with self-care here, especially as the days begin to get shorter, and yoga helps me remember to breathe and connect with my body. Finding creative ways to face my tendency towards a depressive state has been kind of fun. I enjoy reading what has helped others and trying natural ways to keep my spirits up through inspirational books, movement, supplements, art-making, etc...Every person is unique, so I think I need to discover my own personal prescription. But I always feel like I'm on the right path when I start seeing synchronicities every where!

Creative Clothing

August 6th, 2008, Comments (8)

Below is a bunny in a field spread for a sketchbook swap. The sketchbook just made it's way up to New Hampshire today!

I've been absolutely loving the outfit picture posts from Andrea at A Cat of Impossible Color and now our newest "Creative Every Day 2008" member, Audrey of Frassy. It's so much fun to see how people put their clothing together. As a teenager, I was a much quirkier dresser, but when I worked as a nanny for six years in my 20's, my wardrobe took a dive. I didn't want to wear anything that might get ruined by kids or the family's dog. Earlier, in art school it was much the same way, anything nice could easily be ruined through art-making. I used that as an excuse to dress sloppy and I also developed an overly negative body image that made me feel ultra self-conscious when trying on clothes. Recently, I started taking an interest in my wardrobe again, finding some quirky things that reflect who I am on the inside which made me feel surprisingly fantastic. It takes some time to overhaul a wardrobe and I know it will be some time before I own a full wardrobe of clothing that I totally love, but bit by bit I'm getting rid of the clothes that are worn out, don't fit right, or don't suit me at all (I have a ton of hand-me-downs and clothes that go back to high school.) I feel lighter with each piece I let go of. And somehow I feel more myself and more confident as I express myself outwardly too. Recently, I've been admiring loads of shoes, like these cute art deco shoes from Anthropolgie. I like the buckle. And the color. But how cute are these yellow flats on Andrea? Too cute!


I'm totally a voyeur. I've been realizing this about myself. I love real estate websites where I can peek into people's homes and see what they look like, how they decorate, and what cool architectural details people have hidden away. That's definitely one of the fun part about blogging, peeking in on people's lives. And both the hubster and I enjoy people watching in new places. It's fascinating to me! So, I suppose it makes sense that I totally love seeing what people wear. I'm much more interested in what regular people wear than in what celebrities are wearing.

I was thinking about all this, because people will often ask, "is this creative?" One of the reasons I wanted to do the "Creative Every Day 2008" challenge was to challenge my own notions of creativity and find the creative in my every day life. Truly, there are infinite opportunities to be creative every day. Yes, making art is creative. But so is cooking something new (or something old in a new way), getting lost on purpose on a walk around town, wrapping a gift in non-traditional recycled wrappings, putting together a fabulous outfit, arranging photos on a wall, doodling on receipts, writing in your paper journal, dancing through your living room, making up silly games with your kids, drumming a beat on the bongos, collecting colorful leaves that you find outside... you get the idea.

The beautiful thing is, the more you focus on living a creative life, the more opportunities you will discover for being creative in small and large ways.

So, do you wanna play with clothes perhaps?

  • Check out polyvore, where you can create online collages of interior design or fashion or any crazy combo you desire. And you can see what others have put together too!
  • Another fun site where you can see what folks are putting together is Weardrobe.
  • There are loads of unique handmade and vintage clothing goodies on etsy. And oh so many accessories, my favorite thing to shop for. Lately, I'm loving little bobby pins with fabric covered or vintage buttons and whale earrings. :-)
  • Secondhand shops can be a great place to find some cool lightly-used things. And of course, if you're handy with a sewing machine you can always re-purpose clothes you find or pieces you already have! Check out the Repurposed blog for ideas!
  • Get some wardrobe inspiration in this wardrobe re-mix flickr group or this group or this one!
  • Thinking about creativity with clothes reminded me of a toy I used to have using plates that you can mix and match and use crayon rubbings to put together a look. So much fun!

Keep on having fun with your fashion and your creativity. It's o.k. to play, to experiment, to express yourself. Life is short, live colorfully and creatively!

What’s Up? The Sky.

August 5th, 2008, Comments (8)

I've been having some issues with my internet connection and haven't been at home much over the past few days, but I am alive! I'm helping out with some teenager-supervising/dog-watching/house-sitting at my old job which has been fun. I got to catch up with both the kids I used to care for as a nanny. One is nearly a senior in college and the other is about the be a freshman in college. Eep! When I met them they were just 10 and 13. Catching up with the two of them has been fun and I enjoy the doggy company too. I wouldn't want to go back, but these short bursts are nice on occasion. I've been all sorts of busy, making plans for our honeymoon, which is next month, oh my! We were given a travel agent gift certificate as a wedding gift and trying to use it over the last two months has been a nightmare. Normally, we'd just do our own travel planning and in the end, we had so much trouble with the agent not getting back to us, that after two months of back and forth, we complained and ended up just going through them for booking our hotel on one of the islands (which I did all the research for myself.) Oy. It sounded like a nice idea, having someone help us pick out the best location and activities for our needs, but it ended up being a major hassle. So, yeah, we'll never do that again.

Now that the headache of dealing with the travel agents is mostly over, we get to focus on the fun stuff, like taking a tour of the areas where LOST (the t.v. show) is filmed. We're both super excited about that. I was trying to find out which of the two companies that offer a tour would be better and came upon this youtube video (above), "top ten signs you're obsessed with LOST."  The first one made me laugh so loud that my cat, Sadie jumped in the air.

Stopping home today, I was pleased to see several copies of the summer issue of Calyx, a journal of women's art and literature, which has 3 pieces of my art in it (two of which are above, Dreaming of the Seven Sisters and Lighthouse, and the third, not shown, is Memory Cycles.) The journal is lovely and I'm so happy to be a part of it. I've been pouring over some of the poems and enjoying them. It's interesting, what I like (and sometimes dislike, if I'm feeling fidgety) about poetry is the way that it requires you to be in the present moment. You can't skim over a poem, at least not if you want to get anything out of it. The way regular prose is written, we can zoom over the words because the structure and language is predictable. We usually know what's coming. With a poem, the turns of phrase are unexpected, the tempo is musical, you need to slow down and take it in, in order to understand what the author is trying to get across. Sometimes, if done well, a poem can express things that are very difficult to say any other way. Much like artwork.

In other news, the latest issue of the fantabulous Mankind Mag is now available (for free to view or download or for a small fee to purchase a paper copy). It's a great issue, all about...hair! Which reminds me, I need a haircut. But really, do check it out. I loved reading excerpts from Erin's "autohairography" and if at some point in your past you ever curled your bangs, I bet you will too. Oh, and I've got a little ad in there featuring my favorite whale art!

Wishing you a tubular Tueday! O dear, the hair issue, totally brought back all my goofy expressions from the 80's/early 90's. I used to begin all my cleverly folded notes (in square, triangle or rectangle shape) with the title of this post. Oh the memories. Heh.

Creative Every Day: August 4th – August 10th, 2008

August 4th, 2008, Comments (8)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 8/4/08 - 8/10/08.

Happy creating!

How to Play Big When You’re Afraid of Wasting

August 1st, 2008, Comments (20)

When I talked about playing on a big piece of paper the other day, a few people mentioned wishing they were able to let go and create like that. It sounds like a simple thing, but if you've ever been in front of a big piece of paper or canvas or hunk of clay and were afraid to begin, then you know it can be tricky. For many people, myself included, there's a fear of wasting material. We might think, "Oh, I spent 'x' amount of dollars on that canvas. If I just start playing and it turns out awful, what a waste it will be! I better do something good on this or forget about it." Those are some paralyzing thoughts!  I don't believe that you should let the cost of the material interfere with your free-flowing creativity, but sometimes you need some tools to get beyond that ingrained fear of waste.

I remember in junior high, I used to try to cram all my math homework onto one page because I didn't want to waste paper. I had a fear of lack and didn't want to run out of materials and have to ask for more. Some of this came from the fact that my parents were divorced and money was an issue, but we could afford paper. I just didn't want to ask for anything, so I'd write teeny-tiny and try to make my paper last. I actually got graded down on one of my math homework assignments because of it. The teacher was having trouble reading the tiny numbers and asked me to please, use more paper. Heh. I started to get some clarity around my fear of waste and lack way back then and although it has continued to come up for me as an adult, it's far less often.

For me, the fear of waste with art supplies became an issue after college. During college, materials were required of you, so I didn't worry about wasting things. But after college, when money was tight, it seemed like a big risk to work on a canvas or use a lot of paint when I didn't have a lot to spare. Around that time, I started reading about intuitive art making, which involved letting your intuition guide your color choices and the flow of your work. This was the way I'd always preferred to work and having this as my intention really helped me to loosen up and let go. I also started working this way with collage. In both cases, I began with cheap materials, things I had readily available. If you have issues with perfection, lack, and wasting materials, starting with cheaper materials is a great way to begin. I used sketchbook pages, magazines, a glue stick, and cheap paints to begin. That way if I "screwed up", it didn't matter. I felt freer to experiment, to play, to go with my whims and I also gained confidence from the experience of creating from that deeper source within me.

When I moved on to better quality materials and had to face those fears of lack again, I found that giving myself permission to make complete and utter crap was enough to get me past the initial roadblock and into the flow of my creativity. It may sound silly, but I will literally say this out loud or in my head to myself, "It's o.k. to make complete and utter crap. You can throw it out at the end, cut it up, or paint over it in the end if you want to." And sometimes I do cut it up, paint over it or throw it out. And that's totally fine. Each experience leads to the next and having some "failures" are important too.

I recently bought two large pieces of paper for a project that I ended up not needing. So, I decided to devote them to playful creation with no plan or direction or purpose. I painted with a painting knife, making big strokes, looking for images that `popped out at me from the texture of the knife strokes and following my intuition as to where to take it. Simply having told myself that this paper was for play and that it didn't matter if it turned into a big page of mud was enough to get me started. And I think starting is the hardest part. Once you get started, the sense of fun kicks in and you lose yourself in the process. And if you find yourself stuck in fear along the way, a simple reminder to let go of the end-product is usually enough to get going again. The images in this post are all part of one of those big pieces of paper I'm working. It's still in process and I don't know where I'm going with it, but I sure am having a fabulous time making it! I've been layering, drawing, scraping, and playing all over the place.

The fun part about working big on a piece of paper, is that you often find lovely small pieces of it that you really like. And with a piece of paper you can always crop it into smaller compositions. When I first wanted to play big with cheaper materials, I went out an got a big roll of inexpensive white paper, tempera paints (less expensive), and some gloss paint to go over the tempera and make it more shiny if I wanted to do that. Big rolls of craft paper that you can buy at office supply stores work well too.

I feel like I've got loads more to say on this topic, but this is a good start. Try playing big (whatever big means to you), give yourself permission to make "bad art", and most importantly, have fun with it. Hope you have a beautiful, creative, and joy-filled weekend!