Friday, April 6, 2018

Creativity and Grief

Creating is the last thing many of us think about when we're going through tough times or grieving.  I've found in the past that trekking out to my room and getting the juices flowing actually helps me deal with what I'm going through. Even if it means shedding tears while I work.  

Mini book that I made for my sister after my nephew passed away.

I spent much of the creative process in tears. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Letters to form a word.

I am finally decorating a series of letters that will be hung as a part of a word on my craft room wall. 

Here's 3 of them:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Damn this creative block!!

So, I searched for an article today that would make me feel better about myself. I have been a creative "dabbler" for months, but haven't put any serious effort in to creating something real, tangible or meaningful.

This is not like me! I've become really really good at drinking wine, though, and after months of learning how to drink lots of expensive wine with wild abandon, and believing that that constitutes a great amount of creativity (i.e. tonight I went off of Whole30 and drank not only two glasses of wine (gasp!) but also a dirty martini! Yay!.....mmm...... (uh, yeah and here I am writing a post that I might regret later........because those sentences make me sound like a compulsive drinker....... which I am not.)

So. Here I am. Sorry to sound like a whiner, but I have a sucky job. In a cubicle. With greyish brown cubicle walls. In a room windowless with 31 other like people. (Like, as in equally agreeable in that our jobs suck). Those of you that know me, know that that environment sucks not only my will to live, but also any creative impulse right out of me. My job is the only sucky thing in my life. I have a wonderful family - smart siblings (my sister, who is sitting 2 feet to my left and insists I say this, is the smartest and best of all, and her husband cooks a mean salmon), funny and crotchety elderly mother, loving and caring husband, sweet, dear, incredibly intelligent daughter, a roomful of funny, intelligent and wonderful coworkers, and a network of spectacular women friends. I am truly blessed. 

My problem is, that for months, I have had the worst creative block! I started a maxi skirt, but my attempt at making it longer failed ( I am NOT indulging in negative self talk, it's just a fact), and I threw it in to my sewing cart, and have struggled to ignore the call to complete that it has harkened since. I created a "going away" book for a work friend, and I created that icky "shabby chic" garland I posted a few months ago, but besides that I haven't really engaged my heart and soul in to something that incites a fire. That prompts an emotional response. That requires a dive in to the emotional pool of love, gratitude, love or regret that emits the best art.

So, here's the deal. We're moving. From Portland. Yes, I know. Portland has been where everyone moves TO for a few years, not FROM. And, guess where we're moving??? Coeur D'Alene! I know, right? And, no, you meanies out there, it is not full of white supremacists any more. In fact, the damn Californians are now moving hundreds of miles east of Portland! My hope is that once I get through the hell of job searching, the heck of home hunting (it's so fun, but so stressful!........ I've never sold a house!), and the mess that goes with all of that (maybe I'll have the guts to write about transitioning a 13 year old girl to a new state at another time), I will settle in to a wonderful new creative space and create the bejeezus out of something great. I also firmly believe that the beauty of Idaho is going to ignite a physical reaction in me that is going to prompt me to buy a super cool and super expensive road bike. That way my creative juices will get pumping along with the blood and sweat and I'll since down and experience creative genius!!

For now, I leaving you with the article I found. I'm going to take the advice. Starting with sleep. I've been forcing myself to stay in bed when I awake at 4am lately, and it's been working so well that I've been arriving late to work. And oh my god.... exercise! Despite my bad knees, I need to do major squats to rid myself of the "mom butt" I've adapted since losing all of my weight and entering the wonderful world of menopause.

I'm signing off because the said smartest and best of all sister from above is beckoning me to her hot tub. (I bought one of those skirt bathing suits at Kohl's today especially for this occaision).

Here's a creative prompt: "Good artists copy, great artists steal.  - Pablo Picasso"

And the article:

Craft on luv bugs!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Brain on Positive Thoughts

It still amazes me how brains communicate with you when you sleep. My woke me up at 5:08 am this morning to tell me that I am basically a positive person, but I sure don't sound like it some times, and I definitely don't project it outwards.

She's got a point. Here's a short example that speaks volumes. First, When I pass folks in the hall at work and they ask me how I am, I tell them I am "Good". (Which isn't a state of being at all, I should say "Well")  This response is meant for the situations in which the inquirer is someone I don't know that well, but am respectably happy to see, or executives who don't really care what my answer is.  If the inquirer is a current friend, they already know how I am and will say a smart ass comment. If they are a past cube neighbor, team member, or boss, they know I'm not in the best place in my career, and still smarting a bit from being out sourced, so they'll just accept an eye roll or heavy sigh, and we'll agree to meet soon. But, if it is a current coworker/friend/cube neighbor/team member............ I will grumble a negative comment. Why do I do that?? Positive people don't do that! My friend Michaela is a model positive human. She lets anything that's not going to kill her or anyone else roll off her back, and if anything negative starts to get to her, she rolls up her sleeves and combats it until it's resolved.

Second, I call myself a "venter". Definition: someone who has to talk through their anger at a situation or person to gain empathy, insight, validation or resolution. But as I age, I realize I really sound like a negative bitch sometimes. What's weird is I usually reserve it for Girls Night Out or work lunches or drinks with a neighbor. Those are horrible times to do it. I'm supposed to have fun and celebrate friendship at those times! So, I've decided I can do one of two things. Seek therapeutic coaching. Or two, text and call a bestie, whine and moan for a few minutes, then save the happy how do you do's and here's what I'm up to's for when you are together. (My brain probably told me this today to make sure I remember all of this this weekend when a group of girlfriends and I are traveling for a trip to Seattle. She wants me to keep my answers positive).

The idea from Scratch Made Market came during a conversation such as the latter. "I'm thinking of doing a market and I'd like your help", my friend Jenn told me one night. Of course I jumped at the chance because 1. Jenn is one of my favorite people in the whole world. 2. Jenn is one of the smartest people I know. 3. Jenn is one of the funniest people I know. 4. Jenn and I are both creative. 5. We both love vintage shops, shows, and repurposing wares. 6. Most of all, we respect art, artists, the artistic process, and creativity in all forms.

So, here we are. Our third annual Scratch Made Market. It's not the largest location where we've held it, but it sure is the fanciest, and we're grateful for the folks at the lodge. We've got a lot of work to do. Advertising, Artist judging, decorations, layouts, musicians booked, and more, but we love the process. And now that I'm going to be done with PTA in a month, I'm excited to make it my focus. AND, I'll be able to create again. Projects will be for me and the ones I love. Not posters, flyers, and handouts for the school that I love. 

I'm positive that this year's Scratch Made will be awesome.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day 2016

As a long time social media user - Blogger, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest - I am more than aware of the power of the platform. Facebook especially has enabled folks who would normally keep their thoughts and hands to themselves the power to start expressing themselves publicly, and many times to a rather large audience. The ability to press “like” instantly connects them to like-minded folks all over the world, and possibly adding those folks to the bulging list of “friends” they have collected.   Since I joined Facebook in 2008, I have watched people I know “friend” people in their lives, only to “defriend” them – sometimes not only on Facebook, but in real life as well.  I went on a “defriending expedition” of my own a few years ago when I realized that I had amassed a network full of people I wouldn’t recognize on the street, would never want to dine with, and didn’t want to have a glimpse (no matter how small I allowed) in to my private life.  Every election has resulted in millions of Facebook friendships being burnt to smithereens. The online battles that caused the fire often carried out of the virtual world to reality. With it a whole bag of emotions and consequences many were not prepared to deal with when they didn’t have the armor of their favorite keyboard. A world of introverts now had to come off the wall at the party and be accountable for the words they published.

So here we are. It’s November 11, 2016, a day we should be honoring and remembering those who have fought for our right to do such things as voice our opinions and vote, and instead we are fighting and protesting like little children. Waving flags, burning buildings, flinging bottles, spouting hateful rhetoric.  I may be na├»ve, but I would like to scream “Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we find some platform, some space, where we can have a facilitator navigate us through these troubled waters? Where is our voice of reason? Where is the logic?” Excuse me, but it is certainly not in our new President who is instead still rambling on Twitter. I had hoped his handlers would have deleted his account on Wednesday, but alas, his fingers are still allowed to touch his virtual armor.  

The last two days I have tried to be the voice of reason for my loved ones. First to my daughter. I had to sit her down on Tuesday night, then again on Wednesday, and remind her how awesome our country is. Now in the last day I have heard from people whom I love tell me that they are so horribly depressed that they cannot leave the house. I have also watched as friends and family members are fighting, and folks are on defriending binges, and some are going on social media hiatuses because they can’t handle the impact the election result is having on what their Facebook friends post. A part of me wants to give them the biggest hug I can muster, put a vice in their hand (cigarette, joint, beer, cake, chocolate, wine) and say “Let’s go party like it’s 1999.” Why 1999? Because that’s the year we were told that the world would come to an end. The year that Y2K had everyone with an online bank account terrified that they would lose their fortunes. And where were we on January 1, 2000? We were just fine.

So, I have only this to say to you, my loves, my friends, my neighbors, and any of you wonderful beings that I haven’t met (and probably never will because I am also an introvert with virtual armor who gets as close as she can to a wall when at a real cocktail party) that I am an American. And the fact that I am an American gives me two very strong powers. 1. The right to speak my mind. 2. The power to vote. And as an American, you do too. So, the next time there is an election, I want you to sit down and read as much as you can.
  • Ballot Measures – don’t just listen to the one liners presented to you. Sit down and read the text. What real impact will it have? Is there a piece missing that could be damaging and possibly hard to reverse?
  • Candidates- Do they share your values? Do they have a real platform? Do they have a plan? Are they presenting what they consider something that needs to change, give you a hearty back up of what they will do to initiate that change, and what the change will do for you? Look at the Representative and Senator’s background? What have they supported in the past? What will the new Mayor do to your city? What will he cost you? (Those of us in Portland have paid dearly because of our last few, and not just with our money.) Will the County Commissioner listen to your concerns over traffic? How will that new School Board member help your neighborhood school?
  • Think Local. Pay attention to all of it. What effect with that county measure have on your neighborhood? What will that new highway do for businesses?
  • Get involved. Even if it means heading to your Neighborhood Association meetings, the local school PTA meetings, the School Board meetings, maybe even join a local lodge that shares your values.
  • Pay attention. You may have been guilty of the Not in My Back Yard mentality and had your head in the sand. Pull your head out. Look around. What’s happening in your neighborhood? What is taking place in the city? Folks that don’t have kids rarely pay attention to what is happening in their parks and schools, but I can tell you from experience that wonderful change blooms out of both those spaces.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Buy from the local fruit stand. Eat at the coffee shop down the street. Making connections will allow you to be a part of something and possibly help foster a change that will run all the way up to the national level. It happens all the time. An idea seed is planted by one and grows to many until the support reaches the majority and becomes the rule. Where do you think Donald Trump came up with the idea to run? Someone whispered it in his ear when he and Barack Obama were flinging insults at each other. “You should run for President”.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Rosettes

One thing I never tire of is making mini rosettes. They are so cute and versatile for decorating.  In the past I have made them and attached them to tags for Christmas, as Valentines, or for Spring cards. 

I kind of cheat in my process, though, because I use a Tim Holtz Sizzix Die. Before I had this, I tried to score and fold the rosettes, but they would very easily fall out of alignment, resulting in a lop sided rosette. The die also allows me to cut a great deal of them out in a matter of minutes. 

I have been feeling a little blue lately, and I've been trying to sneak creativity in whenever I can, because making something always makes me feel better. This week was productive with pads and cutting out pillows, but I often have craft ADD, and once I realized next week is Halloween, I decided to pull out some papers and get started on some decorations and gifts. (Full disclosure, ideas to create often involve a trip to the art supply store, and collage always has yummy Halloween and Day of the Dead items, so I had to visit there for more paper).

We haven't bought pumpkins or brought down the decorations yet! We meant to yesterday, but my husband wasn't much in to it. So, I took my papers, retreated to the craft room to cut the rosettes, punched out some circles, grabbed the glue, and folded and rolled while we all watched The Frighteners. 

Halloween 2016 Rosettes

Monday, October 17, 2016

Scrapbook Paper + Tops 3x5 Memo Pads = Cuteness

I love paper. It could be newspaper, books, Printer Paper, journals, sketchbooks, stationary, legal pads, flash cards, handmade cards, store bought cards, envelopes, and more. You name it, I love it. I even love Toilet Paper. It serves it's purpose. I especially love paper when it's fresh, crisp and and new with no signs that any other human has touched it.  I love paper so much that I have amassed a huge collection of scrapbook paper. I will never use all of it, so last year I found a great way to put the scrapbook paper to good use. 

I bought a huge box of Tops plain 3x5 memo pads from Amazon. There are 168 pads per box. This year I did it again. I used a portion of them for vendor gifts and Swag Bag gifts at Scratch Made Market. I will use the remaining 80 to sell at the Grout Elementary Holiday Bazaar.

l cut out at strip of scrapbook paper to cover the front of the pad, and 1/4 way down the back. I glued the paper on at the top, and on the back of the pad with Alene's glue. I made sure the paper was flush to the top of the pad, and that the back had a good amount of glue on it. Be sure to always watch your glue quantity. Paper only needs a small wipe with this glue to stick. You can hold it with a binder clip for a few minutes if you're concerned. 

After the cover dries, I decorate the front with images, sentiments, little flowers, sequins, or whatever other little elements I have around. (I have so many drawers of ephemera I could make thousands of pads).  

This process serves two purposes. 1. I use up scrapbook paper to take a boring ugly duckling plan pad and beautify and personalize it.  2. I will have made a difference in someone's life. Who knows? They might be able to reach for their one of a kind, crisp and new note pad that they have in their purse or pocket, and write a note that will change their life.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Pleasure of a Sunday Crafternoon!

One of the best things about having a Crafternoon with a group of your favorite women is not the end result of your work, but the chatting and connecting that occurs when you're all together. It is especially sweet when you haven't seen some of them in months. Catching up for 5 hours in one another's home is much more satisfying than meeting for Happy Hour in a busy and loud restaurant bar and rushing to catch up in two hours. Today was especially fun because my Mom and my sister were able to join us. 

One of the realizations we had today was that we all hadn't been together for a major Crafternoon since Day of the Dead crafts almost a year ago. A few of us made Valentine's at the beach in February, but I cancelled my Christmas in July due to family activities. Thankfully I can reschedule that event, though it will be probably be called "Made from scratch holiday cards" or "Give something handmade for once". I have a whole ton of Christmas and Winter papers and doo dads that we can all use to create some super cute greeting cards. 

Connecting and letting each other know how much enjoy spending time with one another is such a satisfying way to spend a Sunday.  We used The Sits Girls tutorial. They are SO easy. If any of you are planning a wedding, they are a wonderful decoration. We are using them to decorate the ceilings at Scratch Made Market! I can't wait to see how they look!  

Paper Bag Stars for Scratch Made Market

Pads for my booth at Grout Elementary Holiday Bazaar