Friday, December 24, 2010

Wonky Bear Dressed for Snow WIP and a Sister Kitty Modelling her Dress in Progress

Wonky Bear Dressed for Snow (WIP)
felted flannel, felted wool sweaters, felt, buttons, thread.

Still working on this little guy and on his kitty sister (who is turning into a ballerina princess).

The wonk looks better when he wears his sweater.

Yes. I made that sweater. It was a little tricky, but not too bad. My first attempt was too Springy and got handed down to his kitty sister and turned into a bodice for her ballerina dress. Hey. I believe in hand me downs. Her dress is less far along in the wip status so I will show her later. If ever I can get some time without children today.

Better hurry. I have to make rice krispie treats and brownies for Santa also.
Wonky Bear close up

I found his button eyes. I was looking all over for them, because I knew that I put them "somewhere safe." Ha ha on me. I always lose things when I put them some where safe. But I found some scraps from the flannel shirt, with buttons still attached, and it was just as good. I actually tried some larger brown buttons first, but they didn't look as eyeball-y. So I cut them off and added these. They will match sister Kitty.

His nose is not done, because I didn't get around to the embroidery. When I embroider sister Kitty's dress I will add the nose and mouth.

I used a felted sweater, using the fine ribs of the waistband to make a sweater and figured out how to swing those arm holes. Yay me. I also made what I thought was going to be a ski cap, but it turned out the wrong size, so I cut a contour into it an made it a hat with ear flaps... although why the ear flaps are down around the face when the ears are sticking out the top, I don't know.

The scarf is some nice fancy felt, just cut, fringed and tied around his neck.
detail wonky bear

Then I made his backpack.

Welcome to Sewer's Cheating 101. I took a pocket from the flannel shirt and trimmed it off the scrap. Then trimmed some of the shirt into a flap. Then I sewed to flannel strips to make shoulder straps. Voila. I might add a button to close it. And perhaps I'll write "wonky" on the tag, instead of the name of the shirt maker. I will probably do it with a sharpie. Lazy crafter, right here. Oh yeah. And I didn't hem any of this cut up felting.
And, fine, since you are insisting. Here's sister kitty modelling her dress in progress.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wonky Bear WIP

Wonky Bear WIP
felted flannel, upcycled velveteen, thread, fiberfill

Shhhhhh. I'm making a bear for Gabriel. It's been a rocky road, if you can tell. My flannel, which was from one of his old shirts, size 3, was too small to make the body and legs all in one piece, so I created a pattern out of my head, with all my brilliant fabric engineering ability. Ahem.

Thus the wonk.

I kind of like the wonk, but I don't know if he will. If he doesn't like it, maybe I'll try again with a different fabric. I do kind of like making stuffed animals, so it could be worth it.

Anyway, I still need to find his button eyes. I put them somewhere safe after giving Ivy's kitty cat sight. Now I don't remember where I put them. Curses. And I need to use embroidery floss for his black nose, not regular thread, which I first tried.

And I have to make him a jacket, scarf, and backpack. I also have to make Ivy's Kitty cat a skirt, jacket and probably a princess crown. I hope I have time.

In case you haven't noticed, tomorrow is Christmas Eve. And if I can, I'd like to finish up the bunny and snake I started for last Easter and never managed to complete. They've been floating around the house, with the kids asking, "when are you going to finish my bunny? when are you going to finish my snake?"


Oh crap. I also have to wrap the presents.


How is your Holiday season going. It's almost over. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beaded Felt Christmas Star

Beaded Felt Christmas Star
felt, thread, cardboard toilet paper tube, glass beads, white glue

I only have a moment to post, so hi.

Here is the christmas tree star I was working on. I cut out four felt stars folded them in half and sewed them together at the edges with a blanket stitch. Then I beaded two sides of the star.

I had thought about making the four sides stick out, like I did with the previous felt ball ornaments, but I thought I kind of lost the star effect, that way. After some consultation with my facebook peeps, I decided to use the toilet paper tube to finish it off.

I glued felt to the tube and when I put the tube inside of the star, noticed that it kind of naturally opened up a bit on two sides. I realized that I could leave it a two sided star by attaching to two top side points together.
Like this.

Therefore, all four felt pieces are connected at the top. The bottom is left open. And then the two facing points at the top are attached on each side. When I tried to connect the bottom points, it completely lost the star shape, so I left those as is. Then I stitched the open end of the star to the tube.

The tube holds it up on the tree top. yay. All done. The beading took a long time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Felt Christmas Ball Ornaments. With Tassels.

Felt Christmas Ball Ornaments. With Tassels.
felt, thread, embroidery floss, bead.

I am getting tired of Christmas, and it isn't even here. And I am not even slightly done with preparations.

Bah humbug.

This could be partly because I took on another freelance project that I have to squeeze into my busy days before Christmas eve. Sigh.

But anyway, I'm still going. Still making Christmas stuff. Still crafting. Still thinking. Still celebrating or trying to remember to celebrate. Meanwhile, most of us here in this house are suffering through some stage of cold/virus/illness. I'm on the recovery end, but you know, when someone suffers, mom suffers.

Tomorrow, I have a Christmas star to show you. It took a while and quite a bit of engineering. Sometimes I feel like a felt engineer. I get an image in my head, and try to figure out how to make felt or fabric fit into my image.

Anyway, if no one gets sick today, I hope to take the troop on a Christmas shopping trip and finish up with the big stuff. Wish me luck.

As for your holiday preparation and crafting and creating, I hope it's all going well.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crafts and Activities with the Kids

Frosty the Snow Man

This year, I have bee trying to keep up an advent calendar. But I'm trying to make Christmas not about materialism and toys and getting presents. I'm also trying to avoid giving my candy addicted kids yet more candy, so I've been trying to do a new Christmas related activity every night. So far, I am keeping up, with a little bit of adjustment.

I don't always have energy or time at night before bed to do the activities I have listed, so with my sneaky mommy ways, I have left my little notes of activities out in a cup. I choose the activity for the night right before I open up the advent envelope, and stick it in there before I read it to the kids. I can get away with this because they can't read yet. There is a limited time for this kind of subterfuge.

But it enabled us to make snowman building an activity on a snowy night. You can't plan ahead for snow.
And last night we decorated the Christmas tree. It was time.

I might also point you to the little blue tinsel pipe cleaner snowman. This was an activity, too. The kids and I made ornaments.
Here's a Christmas tree made at the same time. I think we managed 4 trees and 3 snowmen.

Another activity we did, and another Christmas craft, I might add, is to make popcorn strings. Good old fashioned pan popped popcorn, which was an event in itself, and needles and string. I was surprised how good the kids were at stringing the popcorn. I thought they would be too young, but they weren't. Maybe they are ready for cross stitch or some other kind of needlework fun.Here's an ornament I made without kid intervention. You can't see from this picture, but it's glitter on one side and felt on the other. These are the stars I made for my wreath, but hung on some bakers string for the tree.
After I made the stars, I saw a raindrop online somewhere and decided that I wanted to add a raindrop shape to my stars. So I did. You can see a little bit of the halo from the opposite felt side as the Christmas light shines through it.

All in all, I rather like the way our little tree looks, a mix of handmade ornaments and grandma's vintage ornaments.

You really don't need a lot of money to decorate a Christmas tree. One year, when I was on break from college, I decorated a tree all with paper. Silver paper fans. Crepe paper flowers. Paper drink umbrellas. It was all in peaches, pinks and yellows. That was a good looking tree. I think I made an angel for the top.

This year, I have to figure out a way to make a star. Must puzzle through this. The girl demands a star.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Little Snowy House Ornament and Tutorial

Little Snowy House Ornament
acrylic paint, glitter glue, sharpie marker, upcycled menus (cardstock), thread.

Hi! I'm a little snowy house.

Here is my tutorial.
First sketch out the design. This is an easy design. All walls and floors are one inch squares. The triangles for the peak were drawn to fit into the spare scrap paper, so are about 1/2" high but were eyeballed, probably not the best idea. Then I measured the peaks along the diagonal to figure out the length for the roof sides. Tabs for glue are eyeballed and drawn in.
Cut out the drawing.
Score along the pencil lines where I will be folded. (note: do not score the line below between the triangle and square... that line will NOT be folded. In fact, erase it before you start to avoid confusion, so you are left with a house shaped side, rather than a triangle on top of a square.)
Crease along the scores and put glue on the tabs. I am glued w glue stick, but a different type of glue might be stronger.
Fold edges and press glued tabs into their appropriate sides. The last wall is the most difficult. A thin blade or needle might help to press the glue. Muddle through as best as you can.
Uh oh. It turns out all the eyeballing did not make for a very tight fitting house. I should have measure the peaks. Oh well. I guess I'll have to figure out a solution.
Voila! Little house gets a glue and sparkle joint fill. Not by coincidence, it looks like a snowy roof. Yay glitter glue! I continue and outline the roof along the joints, and then flood the outline with the glitter glue. Like frosting a cookie.

Here it is with the snow roof and a red door. In the background, you can see the supplies of glitter glue and glue stick. I should have painted this little house before adding the glitter glue, but glitter glue makes me excited and I jumped the gun.

Oh yeah, little house is resting on my original sketch, when I was trying to figure out the engineering for a house shaped paper box. Floor, walls, peaks, roof tops. I eyeball things usually, and make them up as I go along. And figure out fixes for my imprecision, which is why I don't often do tutorials. But hey, why not include that in a tutorial.
And here is the finished little house, after the glue dried over night. It took a while. And then I forgot to show my process... but it's not that complicated. I got out some naples yellow acrylic paint (Golden fluid acrylic) and painted the walls around the glue. Then when it dried, I drew in the windows. Then I went back over it and painted in the window panes in white acrylic.

To string it up, I threaded a needle through the roof, right through the top. I think it would look better with ribbon, but I didn't have any I liked, so added a yarn bow to attach it to the tree.

It would have been cute if I had made a chimney and had the yard coming out of it like smoke, but just adding that little detail would have made this little house a much more complicated undertaking. Thus... simple little house. With snow

And thus I have given you my tutorial. And pardon for the fuzzy pictures. My own little house is covered with snow, which blocks the skylights that I usually depend upon for lighting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Joy Ornament, felt medallion
felt, embroidery floss
25 days of creativity

I made this little ornament the other night. Two shades of red felt and some pink floss. There's something really soothing about hand sewing, particularly when you're not anxious about how you're going to put together all the pieces. Making stuffed animals is gratifying, but I'm always figuring out the engineering as I go along, so it can make for some stress. But these little medallions are great. Cut three circles. Embroider and/or applique two circles. Sew all together with simple blanket stitch. Add a string.
Here's the other side. Is it the best embroidery in the world? Nope. But my good intentions go into them. I like to think of them as lucky charms, actually. They can work as Christmas ornaments, but just as well they can be reminders of something you want in your life, joy, luck, love. I often send them out with my prints when people order. This one was a gift with order, which explains the not-great photo, since I did it at night and photographed it by lamplight and sent it out the next morning. Sometimes I send out bookmarks, instead. Or whatever new project I'm working on that will fit into an envelope.

You never know what you're going to get with me. Ha ha.

I guess that's just like life. I finished the work project I had, but now I have a cold. Cough cough . Oh well, we must soldier on. Keep on creating. Have fun. Did I just say have fun? Cough cough wheeze. Hey, I should listen to my own lucky charm. Joy. I said Joy.

And have a happy December.

How are your 25 Days of Creativity going?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kitty WIP

upcycled scarf, felt, fiberfill, thread

So I have to post very quickly because I have much to do before work this morning and I can't let the girl see my computer screen, because this is her Christmas present. Or it will be when I finish.

Her face is mostly done, but for maybe a stitch here and there for shaping. I'm still considering whiskers and probably won't add them... but maybe I will.
Kitty detail

I'm still planning to do an outfit for her. A dress or skirt. A jacket. A scarf. A hat.

What can I say. I like to accessorize.

I like the way she came out, although she's kind of funky in the proportions. And the eyes look great, I think. They are buttons that came off of the plaid shirt that will be the bear I'm making for Gabriel. I've run out of fiberfill, so I will probably do the outfit for Kitty before I start the bear. And I think I'll use a different pattern for him, because the plaid shirt was a size three and I ended up with smaller pieces than I did with the scarf, which was narrow, but long. I also felted the scarf... the flannel shirt was pretty well washed already, but I did my best.

And the pictures aren't great since I did them while the girl was asleep with lamplight and it's hard to do a photoshoot with a present you're trying to keep secret from the girl who is always into everything.

Anyway, how is it going with all your craftiness? Creativity? To Do Lists? Keeping up with yourself?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ornaments, in glitter, felt, and tinsel pipecleaners. Move over Martha.

Glitter, repurposed menus, and felt ornaments, strung on baker's string, w old buttons

I am so far behind on this project of 25 creative things in 25 days. Or maybe I'm not that behind, but I am behind on posting. So here I've decided to show a couple of the ornament bundles I've made.

I took some of the glitter stars from my wreath and glued felt to the back. I thought for a different look when they go up on the tree.
Felt stars and raindrops.... the other side is silver glitter.

Tinsel Pipe Cleaner ornaments

I also made a string of these... I made both swirlies
And hearts.

Now the truth is, I probably won't use these as garlands, although I've strung them up for display and storage purposes. But we don't have a Christmas tree yet. We meant to get it this weekend, but between my work and bad timing and snow storms and all... we haven't gotten it yet.

I've also made some ornaments with the kids. We used more tinsel pipe cleaners, but they chose what they wanted to do, and it was little christmas trees and little snowmen. Not a bad project for those 5 and under, since it's so easy to manipulate pipecleaners. I think I hid those before the kids could destroy them. I need to find them and take a picture. They actually turned out pretty cute.

This years Christmas tree will be a motley of stuff. But that's okay. Sometimes I like the motley.

I'll be back later. Who knows when. I'm turning out to be not so good on these daily posts this holiday season.

How are you doing with your Christmas projects and activities?

Are you feeling the cheer yet?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Partridge in a Pear Tree.... sorta

paper garland, berry light string, wire hanger, ribbon, paper clay doo dads.
Day 8, 25 days of creating

Yesterday, I pulled out a bag of holiday ornaments that grandma gave us before her move. I said, hmm. What can I do with these pretty lights? They're not long enough to put around the window. Then I thought, "a wreath"

And I remembered the garland, a nice soft natural color. And I bent the hanger into a wreath shape and wrapped it all up and tied it with a bow. I left it at that, until I realized later that I had some little paperclay things I'd been working on and hadn't done anything with.
If you look close, there's a bird, a set of wings, and four little pears. I figured, it could be the partridge in the pear tree.

I found it really hard to take a picture of, because the light is so gray and cloudy, and I can't take them out anyway, since it's already plugged in. I guess I could have unplugged it and set it on a tree... but you know it's kind of snowing, and I'm kind of lazy today.

Anyway, here's to another day, of creating, of the holidays, of living.

Remember to breathe deep and relax, amongst all the celebrating.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Felt Ornament

Felt Christmas Ornament
Day 4 of the 25 days of Christmas Creativity.

Where have I been?

Well, I've discovered a flaw in my brilliant plan to post daily christmas crafts. Lots of flaws.

One, borderline burnout from busy November.
Two, Family obligations. You people. Your warm loving embrace is getting in the way of my craftiness.
Three, WIPs. I don't have photos of everything because I'm still working on it.
Four, presents! I can't post presents unless the recipients are guaranteed to not see them online.
Five, stupidity. I just made another ornament and packaged it up for a buyer, and forgot to photograph it. It was cute, too! I embroidered "joy" on the back and quilted a pink star on the front.
Six, busy-ness. I can't post. I have to get to work! Ciao

Friday, December 03, 2010

Tiny Pink Owl. Gift #1!

Tiny Pink Owl
felt, embroidery floss, thread, fiberfill

Only moments to post before I go to work, so let's do this quick.

A Christmas present for the little girl. She asked for a Pink Owl, but I think she means a larger one that she can cuddle. I have a soft spot for minis, though, and only had time or supplies last night to make this mini owl. I think she'll like it, even though it's tiny. I am wondering what to do with it. Leave it like this like a doll toy? Or sew a pin on the back so she can wear it on her shirt? Or attach a hair pin so she can wear it in her hair? Or a chain, so it can be a necklace? Maybe I'll add a little loop at the top so it can be strung on a necklace, or played with solo.
Here's a close up. Tiny tiny stitches.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Handmade Wreath

Handmade Wreath
green twigs, repurposed grocery boxes, gesso, glitter, brass paper fasteners, silk ribbon

Hi there!

Welcome to Christmas.

I'm a handmade wreath. I cost about 50 cents. Because I bought paper fasteners this week and didn't have them on hand, but I had bought them for something else, so really, this cost nothing.

This was actually kind of fun. I went out to my yard and cut some twigs from a bunch. I think they might actually be considered canes, because they were long and straight and bendy and green, and headed straight for the ground, where they tried to set and root. They were starting to take over my driveway, so I felt fair in pruning them back.

I'm sure you could also use willow branches for this. I know this because I used willow branches to make a very similar item, when I was planning to make a handmade dream catcher, but never did because the grandparents came back from Arizona with authentic ones.

I twisted them around each other, weaving them in and out to make a circle. I think I used about a dozen canes. I thought I'd like a bit looser, but I began to enjoy the tight wreath. The only thing holding them together is the weaving.

Then I got my cut out stars, from grocery boxes, that I had already gessoed, painted with gel medium and coated in silver glitter. I punch tiny holes in the stars and then grabbed my brass paper fasteners... stuck those in there and attached them to the twigs. I can actually swivel the stars to make a better layout, and I did.

Then I found this pretty gold silk ribbon and tied that up at the top. I'd already tried about three different ribbon/fabric options. The tulle was too fussy for me. A plain cotton twill ribbon thing I had looked too much like a bandage, and then I found the gold ribbon, and that was it. I like how it brings out the brass in the fasteners and both bring out the goldy brown in the canes. The ribbon might be smaller than I might have chosen otherwise, but I think it adds a simplicity, a modern quality that I rather like as does the mix of metallics.
A close up of the silver stars against the blue-green door. The photos are not great, courtesy of my northern, cloudy skies. Sorry. I have no time for better photos. I've set myself on quite an endeavor with this craft every day thing. The photography turns out to be almost as much a challenge as the crafting!

Oh and this project took me about 20 minutes. Although I had four of the stars made already, and just had to glitter the last one. I like odd numbers. They feel better.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Home Made Advent Tree

Advent Tree
found branches, glass jar, yarn, envelopes, glitter glue, paper fasteners.


My first item for 25 days of Creativity (or 25 days of Christmas, if you want to go that way, which I kind of do) is this Advent tree. I was inspired by all sorts of things, but mostly by the materials I had on hand and which would look the best, work the best, and take the least amount of time. Shhh. Don't tell. I take short cuts.

Like the envelops I bought and cut in half, instead of making my own envelopes, tubes, cones, or what have you. Come to think of it, cones would have been super cool. (my repurposed menus would have been brilliant for that)

Or the glitter glue that I found and decided would be easier than paint, or glue plus glitter, and prettier than marker.

And I just went out into my yard and grabbed up some deadfall twigs. Yay for not being a good gardener.

Plus the big glass jar is swiped from the recycle bin at work, and is heavy enough to hold the glasses, but I had some of my kids collection of rocks that would have held them in place if it wasn't sturdy enough.

Oh, and I used my crochet yarn, instead of buying ribbon or twine or hooks or whatever.
Here are the tools.

I cut the envelopes with decorative scissors, and folded/or cut them into shapes. Plain would have been fine, I think. Then I drew on numbers in alternating red and green. One color would have been chicer, but I chose red for the girl and green for the boy, so they know which one they will get to open.

And instead of using candy, which was my original plan, I decided to do activities for the kids. Like "string popcorn" or "go to the Christmas parade on Main Street" or "make cookies" or "get an extra bedtime story".

I decided that the traditions will be better than the candy. As will the time with mama or papa.

And there I go.

How are you doing on your Holiday crafting adventures? Bear with me while I get the side bar up and links all made. I have a boat load of work to do. On my next break, I'll get to the side bar.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

25 Days of Creativity-- Ready to Go!

25 Days of Creativity
glitter, gesso, acrylic gel medium, pencil, paper bag, paint pen

This holiday season, I am making a real effort to focus on the home made, hand made, creative and non-materialistic things. I'm making gifts and cooking and decorating and hoping to help my kids see that it's not just about getting presents.

And to keep myself from getting overwhelmed by all of the crafting, baking, making, doing, painting, holidaying and ho ho ho-ing, I have decided to take on the challenge of doing one creative, crafty holiday task a day.

And since the online challenges have been such a help to me, I've decided to ask if anyone else wants to join in.

So here are the (loosely defined) rules.

I do solemnly swear that I am up to crafty goodness (or naughtiness).

Every day in the month of December, until the 25th, I will make something crafty/arty/creative/festive.

If I miss a day, I will not panic. I will just keep going, or maybe I'll do two things the next day, or maybe give myself a break. Or maybe I will count that eggnog I made for a party, or the cookies I baked for the kids, or decorating the Christmas tree, or wrapping those presents beautifully.

I will have fun, because this isn't a race or a competition.

I will not freak out with the pressures of the season, and that is why I am giving myself the whole month to get there, day by day.

I will do it bit by bit. And I will count the bits I am doing, even if they aren't perfect/complete/fancy.

I will put my love into my creative endeavors.

I will not put too much pressure on myself to make things perfect, because hand made is loved, and imperfection is lovely.

I will celebrate myself, my creativity, my loved ones and the season with all of the wonderful goodness that is upon us.

I will go with the flow, after making my lists, and see where this adventure takes me.

*** *** ***

So there are my rules if you want to play along.

The only other rules I can think of are to put your name and your blog address in my comments, if you want me to put you in the sidebar, so we can cheer each other along in our creative holiday month. Or if you don't want to commit to a sidebar, you can just put a link to your creative projects in the comments.

I was also thinking about making a pinterest board with my 25 days of creativity project-- in fact I've just done it. Now I will be able to add all the creative projects, with links back to their blog or flickr account. I think it would be a fun place to collect all the projects in one place.

Well. I'm ready for the holidays... are you?

p.s. I finished my nanowrimo 50k words yesterday. woo hoo! Not done with the novel, but I am done with the November challenge. Thank you November. You kicked my butt. See you next year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Am Learning

I am learning
glitter, pen, acrylic gel medium, repurposed menus

Life is learning.

There is no perfection.

There is always change.

There is always disruption.

There is always something new.

There is always another adventure.

There is always more joy.

There are always more questions.

There is room for error.

There is invention in mistakes.

There is a process to go through.

I made this card to remind myself that everything I am going through, life, creation, raising kids, finding zen, keeping house, work, joy, everything is a process.

And I made it in glitter to remind myself that not only is this a process and am I imperfect, but this is the only life there is and we may as well enjoy it.

And have faith in ourselves.

Have faith in the process.

This is life.

And for anyone who is interested in spending the days leading up to Christmas making crafts and painting cards and knitting gifts and decorating and celebrating and hosting and cooking and being generally all around creative, then stick around. I'm calling it the 25 days of Christmas, and I'm counting down to Christmas, making my lists, checking them twice, gonna find out how much glitter to buy.

Check in tomorrow. I'll have the rules and sidebar finalized. (because it's a work in progress)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ho Ho Ho on the Go Go Go, or A Question About A 25 Days of Christmas Creative Challenge

Ho Ho Ho on the Go Go Go
Maroon Gel Ink on repurposed menu

After a month of being ahead in nanowrimo, I am behind. I haven't written in a week, wrapped up in life and living.

But I'm going with the flow. I am learning something about myself. I am learning something about my writing process. I thought that I only liked the first draft stage of writing, but it turns out, I like the revision process just as much if not more. Go figure. This is good news, since you can't be a published writer without the revision process.

I am also, I think, in the midst of an artistic transformation. However much I like the newness of invention, coming up with that solution, doing a brand new painting every day, going off on a whim of creativity, I am finding that I really long for an extended commitment to something. I want to spend more time on paintings. I want to make bigger projects. I want to work on stuff, expand the process from idea to execution so that I get it RIGHT, not just get it fast.

However... this upcoming month is going to be about Christmas. I recognize that. So, I am going to let myself off the hook on the production of art and allow myself to go fallow, to develop the ideas, the concepts, the desires. This is in regards to painting, though.

I still have some crazy stuff to make for Christmas, but this is more in the lines of craft and cooking, which I still find creative, but is a bit more practical.

I also had a question for any of you out there in blog land. Would YOU be interested in a joining a 25 days of Christmas creative challenge?

I think I want to post one creative project a day for Christmas. This could be holiday decorating, present making, meal cooking, card making, hall decking, carol singing, tradition building, present wrapping, stocking stitching, party hosting or what have you. If it's creative and related to the holidays, then I think it counts.

Really it's just all the stuff I already have to do, but since I am kind of opposed to the materialistic nature of Christmas, I really want to focus on the handmade portion of the holiday. And since the month long challenges usually help me to keep on task in the productivity department... well.... I think this is a good timely challenge.

I know it's late notice, but I think I'm just going for it in my crazy impetuous way. I'll figure out some "rules" for the 25 Days of Christmas Challenge and post it tomorrow.

Well, after I have a novel writing marathon, because I've got to hit 50k in the next couple of days because I'm 5k short!

Tune in tomorrow. I'll put up an official list, add it to the sidebar. Maybe sketch up a graphic. I'm up for a little bit of holiday inspired creativity and community. How about you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let the Sunshine In, Bookmark, and Getting Back to Work

Let the Sunshine In Bookmark
repurposed menu, ink, fabric, acrylic gel medium, embroidery floss

I made this a few days ago as a gift for a customer. I might have started it a while ago and just finished it this month. Well yeah, that's what I did. I have not really used Art Everyday Month in the way I wanted to. I wanted to get back to painting pictures. Instead, I am again broadly defining "art" as all the sorts of creativity that I take part in, which is good. But I miss painting.

I also haven't been writing as consistently as I wanted for nanowrimo. First with getting the flu, or whatever virus it is that is actually still dragging on just a little bit, then with some required social engagements and my birthday, and to top it off, adding a freelance responsibility to the past week... well, I haven't been writing everyday, and when I write, I haven't been writing as much as I wanted to. I'll still reach the 50 thousand word goal, but I wanted to finish my whole book.

I don't think that will happen, unless I get super productive in the week after Thanksgiving.

So in a way, with the way my life has gone this last month, I've kind of stuck a bookmark in my goals for myself.
reverse, let the sunshine in bookmark

But maybe it's not the worst thing in the world to hold still in place for a little while.

I know that I will always be able to get back to painting when I am ready to make that commitment. There is no reason that I have to do it now now now. I don't have a deadline. The only deadlines here are my own self imposed ones.

And, even though I am not writing as much as I want, I am still ahead of the goals for nanowrimo. I will finish my 50 thousand words, I will hit that deadline. It is only my personal goals of 100 thousand words and actually finishing the whole novel that I may not reach.

The real deadlines that I've had to work with this month are are when I someone else is depending upon me, like when I have to be at work on my scheduled days, or meet the school bus when it's my turn to pick up G, or finish this pile of curriculum plans by tonight. Yes. That's the deadline that has kept me away from writing, blogging and painting this last week.

I finally have a handle on it and can see that I will reach the deadline.

And then when I am done with that, I can get back to the other things that I want to do, my personal goals. The deadlines that only I am holding myself to.

Well... that is, after I do Thanksgiving. You know. Thanksgiving? That day that is never your own, at least when you're a mom. Well at least I don't have to make the whole meal, since we're splitting duties up between family members.

What are your own external deadlines that are getting in the way of your personal goals? Are you letting them stop you? Giving up on your dreams when those responsibilities to others seem so much more immediate?

I'll tell you a secret. I'm planning on finishing this curriculum plan before I need to, and I am going to stay down in the basement, away from all sorts of distractions, and get back to my writing. That's right.

I'm getting back to the plans. I'm going to pick it up where I left off. I'm taking the bookmark out and will be ready to get back to my goals. Just because we don't get as far as we want as soon as we want doesn't mean we still aren't moving forward.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am the Eggman

I Am The Egg Man
eggs, pretzels, olives, salt and pepper.

Koo Koo Kachoo.

I am crazy right now. In the middle of projects and all. And also, to be honest, when I got an unexpected break in a deadline, well, I did absolutely nothing. That's right. No creativity. No writing. No painting. No sewing. No nada. Sat on the couch and let myself be a shlub.

Because there comes a time when you have to let yourself off the hook.

So I don't have a lot of stuff here. Actually, I have a few more things to show, but I'll save it for another day, because I have not been able to post as often, due to said deadlines.

But I did make Ivy a gingerbread man egg for breakfast. So she didn't eat it. What can I say. I'm used to it. But I made it. Cracked an egg into a cookie cutter and let it cook. Simple as that. Then I added the olive slice eyes and pretzel house.

Oh by the way, wordcount on nanowrimo? 44436, almost 50k. But I have not been able to write consistently, what with life taking over. It figures. All those months with nothing to do, and this is the month I choose to write a novel. But, with all of the writing, I've also started to write my way around to the novel that is closer to the one I want to write.

Boy, this process stuff is hard.

But then, I think this process stuff is life.

I think perhaps that enjoying the process, including the craziness, the challenges, the deadlines is part of how we find happiness.

A painting is not just the piece of art I end up with, not for me. It is also about how I come to that painting, and the act of painting, and the thoughts that created that painting.

Life is in the living. Creating is the process.

Koo Koo Kachoo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Play a Game

Pin the Nose on the Clown, impromptu party game
sharpie on craft paper, recycled food raisin box, blue tacky stuff.

Where have I been. Blah.

I've been doing stuff but having no time to post it. Or perhaps I've been lazy. Possibly the latter.

I came home intending to finish a project yesterday, and instead was roped into creating a kids party in the kids' bedroom, with party games, snacks and well, that's about it.

I never did get to finish my project, which is still sitting on my desk, awaiting glitter.

And meanwhile, my projects to be done are racking up. And so is my anxiety.

Ah, but a lot of that anxiety is manufactured. A lot of my deadlines are manufactured. I have plenty of room to rearrange my to do list and to rearrange my headspace.

I present that same sort of freedom to you.

Take a look at all the things on your to do list and see what you can reprioritize. What can you knock off the list until next week? or completely? What, if completed first, would reduce your stress level and give you room to breathe? Is there anything you can delegate to others? Is there anything you need to do first to leave space for following projects.

Take a deep breath and pay attention to how you make things harder on yourself.

Give yourself a break.

Play a game. Remember what you're doing all this for.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Enjoy Life and Letting the Light in

Enjoy Life
watercolor, pen, pencil on paper
4"x8", repurposed menu
AEDM #15

I woke up this morning, still recovering from the flu or a cold or whatever this is, also suffering from a wine headache (known as an adult hangover, even though as an adult I only had three glasses all night and wasn't even buzzed) and feeling stressed out and behind on all my goals.

And then I said to myself, you know self? I'm going to try to enjoy my day.

And then, I must admit to you that I didn't quite succeed. It's kind of hard to enjoy your day when your stomach starts rebelling. (I really shouldn't drink wine. Sulfites aren't kind to me. Too bad it tastes so good.)

So a few hours later, after some squealing kids, a little bit of web surfing, some alka seltzer, and something to eat, I managed this little painting.

No pressure to be perfect.
Going with the flow of life, paint, and paper.
Lots of color.
Remembering to remember.
Inspiring others (the boy has decided to paint again, finally. we may have broken through his own perfectionism that keeps him from painting/drawing/writing.)
Using what you have and living where you are.
Just breathing.

I can't guarantee that I have enjoyed every bit of today, but I'm trying to remember that I enjoy the parts I do enjoy, and not let the grumpy parts take over the rest.

I should be going down to do some writing in about a half hour, so I am trying to prepare myself to get writing. After my slow down this last week, I am still ahead, but not as far. And this morning, I thought about what I want this story to be... on the whole. I want it to be about a strange beauty, shadows and the unexpected things that grow there, the power that we find when we truly embrace ourselves and all our imperfections. And in order to that, I need to push myself to go deeper, wider, bigger. Also harder, more painful, uglier.

To go all the way with our endeavors, we really have to commit to the whole thing, even if it's scary, even if it isn't expected, even if people might not like it. Even if it's odd.

Say yes to those cracks between things.

That's how the light gets in.

Okay well, we'll see if I'm brave enough to go to those cracked and dark places, instead of just going with the flow.

As for you, I hope you are remembering to enjoy life in your little cracked or not so cracked parts of the world..
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