Not yet time–but almost–and the value of persistence.

It’s been cold. And wet. And I’ve been inside for too long. It’s making me crabby–I know. I KNOW!

I’ll bundle up and go for walks in the woods on cool, sunny days. Read or write or make stuff when I’m in the house or barn/studio on colder or rainy days.

But…

I yearn for warmer weather. To dig, to plant, to grow, then harvest. I miss the dirt under my fingernails, and don’t mind the aches that come from working in the garden.

I saved tomato seeds from last year, so what better time than RIGHT NOW to put a little soil and seeds in a few cups? You know…just to see?

I am happy to report that things are looking up in what will hopefully be garden tomatoes. And there’s a lot I’ve learned from doing this which will hopefully be shared in future posts.

But for now, I’m thankful for patience and persistence. In creating artworks of ANY kind, you gotta have a helping of both.

Happy creating!

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In Bits and Pieces

It seems to go like this: I’ll begin to work on a project or two, LIFE happens, I pause or stop work on the project(s). I’ll put the thing away, time passes, I begin to work on something else. The original thing is set aside.

The thing remains in an unfinished state for WhoKnowsHowLong? And I must admit that I have a large number of UFOs (Un Finished Objects) packed away in plastic crates. There are more of these crates than I thought, btw. Along with all that are a lot of supplies to complete those projects, or newer supplies to begin with again, since I couldn’t find whatever it was I thought I had. (What was I thinking?)

2020 has shown me that, while I enjoy making and creating things, maybe I could slow down and work with what I already have. Maybe I can change what I thought I wanted into something else. And just maybe I’ll accomplish several goals at the same time.

Because I work on projects in bits and pieces of time. I really don’t know exactly how long something takes me to make and I don’t think that’s the point, even though I DID keep a time log for a project once, a long time ago. Just to know.

I found part of this quilt project in one of the plastic crates. There were no directions or notes I’d left to myself on how it was to be finished, but I was pretty sure I’d cut out all the pieces needed. But where were they?

Somewhere else. Stored. Ready. Waiting for me to pick them up again and finish what I’d started.

I’m not finished with this just yet, but I’m working on it in bits and pieces of time. And that’s probably going to be as good as it gets for now.

Happy Creating!

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Old/New Things Coming This Way

1924 Dodge Truck. It won’t be advertised as “ran when parked.” It’s not even for sale. But it became a decoration in my front yard and I’ve really enjoyed seeing it there over the holidays. While 2020 was a year like no other, I’m thinking 2021 will be filled with possibilities if I can get myself in gear, too. Here’s why: I began this webpage as a way to encourage readers, other creatives, and myself. “Random Thoughts from the Creative Path” might sound like a vague description, but when I think about it, that’s probably the best I can determine for now. I plan to refocus efforts as I make adjustments in both content and make revisions. WordPress has changed a few new things here and there on this format, and since 2020 was filled with so many OTHER things I had to learn and do and be….well, my engine stalled out a bit, too. (Where DID I put that file/photo? I don’t even remember.) As we begin this New Year, I’ll add more postings, including “How to Make” for handmade items, or “How to Grow” when out in the garden. I might even include a page that’s for the “Young at HeART” with kid-friendly content. Looking forward to whatever comes next on this journey and Happy Creating to you, too.

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One of These Days…

One of my grandmothers taught me how to crochet when I was about nine years old. I made lots and lots of square and round shaped things. The other grandmother taught me how to sew.  I created teeny, tiny clothing for my Troll (doll) figures out of her discarded scraps of fabric, sewed with a needle and thread, or wrapped the figures in yarn. (I learned how to knit, weave, and spin my own yarn on a spinning wheel much later.)

BOTH of them encouraged an appreciation of things handmade, as well as a love of reading, planting/watching things grow in the garden, and of making music.

So I wasn’t too surprised that when it came time to select a career path, that it would’ve been in making things by hand…and to encourage children to do the same. Maybe my parents were (surprised) and might’ve thought I’d do something other than become an Art Teacher, but then again…maybe they knew it on another level. For three decades (yes!) I could say that I got PAID to draw and color pictures with kids, and worked with clay, paint, as well as a variety of other art materials.

I was naturally drawn to the area of fiber arts, and pulled toward learning a great deal about Traditional Appalachian handcrafts and music-making.  Here are a couple of “selfies.” (My hands at work/play.)

And I can’t say that I’m through learning new things, either.  I have a six foot table in my work/studio space for current writing/research projects which is covered in–books! A recent find is a publication about earth pigment paints and yes, you can make paint out of clay, dirt and natural materials.  Another book is a “how to” book on a Scandinavian fiber technique called nalbinding, which is a forerunner to knitting. When I found out that a very substantial part of my ancestry profile included regions well known for their fiber related, handmade handcrafts…well, I was all over that!

I hope you find activities you enjoy doing and that you make time to do those things as often as you can.  Enjoy the journey,  learn something new, and Happy Creating!

 

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Every Day? Every Day.

The year 2019 was “one for the books,” as I’ve heard on more than one occasion. It certainly was one for me, too. I can’t think of a lot of specific instances that I could bring out for discussion because those experiences are related to me and mine.

I think I’d prefer to assimilate all of that information in my memory, distill it into something worth mentioning, and share what I think I learned from all of that with you. Here’s hoping it makes some kind of Creative Sense.

This tree was harvested from our property and used in holiday decorations, after a lovely walk through the woods with the littles.

Here we have a view of the sawmill. A storm came through in 2018 which provided us with lots of downed trees, and from THAT, we cut wood.

And more wood.

And even MORE wood.

But notice that within all that wood which was not used, there was good wood which WAS. Working every day(weather permitting), deciding what to use or not to use, and using other days for surprises that Life sent our way…eventually we will have this:

I can’t help but find a correlation between building a cabin–that of course, we didn’t know how to do–with almost any other Creative Endeavor.

AND it seems to me that if I show up every day and get just a little bit done, eventually I’ll have a Something, whether it’s a fiber art, or a writing or a drawing, too.

Happy Creating to you. Today, and every day.

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(Whew!) 2019

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All I think I want to say about 2019 is that I learned a lot about myself as well as Other People.

I am like a perennial in E(xperimental) garden. That means, I might’ve looked dormant for a time with no apparent growth, especially since I went through 2019 without posting anything on this page.

Look for me just to one side of where I was planted in the garden before, because sometimes, we Perennials shift ever so slightly and become more than what we were. I’m not in the same place I was this time last year either, creatively speaking.

I learned and I grew.

That’s it.

Let’s get busy making stuff, shall we?

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Winterwriting

Egarden looks quiet and peaceful, doesn’t it?

Or does it appear to be a random collection of sticks and stems, weedy looking patches of undergrowth and dreary, dead leaves?

I think it depends on what you might be looking for in comparison to what might be there.  You might wonder, but if it doesn’t show itself right away, you could worry that it might be long gone. Wait.  And then, wait some more. It’s there.

Since some things won’t be growing in these cooler winter months, I decided to try my hand at sprouting a plant from an avocado seed.  That’s not as easy as it sounds, because when I plant something out in eGarden during the summer months, I am able to measure the growth I see fairly soon.

As I read information about sprouting a plant from an avocado seed, the chances of successful germination might make even the most avid gardener shudder–I mean, seriously? It could take a long time for that seed to germinate, if it did so at all, and even then, there would be no guarantee that there would be anything to harvest.  Why. Even. Try. Right? Who has that kind of time to spend on something that’s not a “sure fire thing?”

I do. I did.  Because I’m curious about a great many things. I have a desire to try things new, and old, despite what my Mama would’ve called a “stubborn streak” that most likely encircles my entire body by now. I rather think of it as persistence.

And so I began. I decided to try three plants, rationalizing that surely at least ONE of them would do SOMEthing. The first one (A1) appeared to come forth rather quickly and I’m happy to report that it is now working toward its’ own personal growth spurt and is over two feet tall. (Not pictured here.)

But these other two have been in my window for a very long time. There was about a two month wait between the sprouting of Plant One (A1) and the small plant you see here (A2) and still, from the other (A3) there was nothing for a very long time.

Until today.  If you look very closely, you will see the beginnings of roots forming underneath the seed. Soon there will be a growth that will sprout from the top of the seed itself and a stem will begin to form. Then it will become what it is meant to be. It takes time.

I share all that to say this: I know the writing/artistic projects that I am working on will come forth and grow into something WHEN IT IS THEIR TIME, and until then, I continue to work at something I love, nurture and develop my own creative spirit, and encourage other creatives I know. It is Time Well Spent.

Happy Creating to you, today and every day.

 

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HeartMade HeartFelt

The countdown for Christmas has begun. With less than two weeks to go, if you’re(I’m) not diligent, you(I) might find yourself(myself) Way Over Spending.

Money can mean different things to many different people and it IS important, I know, but it has taken me a long time to figure out how to spend the money and balance that with what I think a loved one wants or needs with what they actually DO want or need. Therein is my dilemma. What DO they want for Christmas?

I have no sure remedy for how to answer that for others and while my answers have come to work for me, they might not work for anyone else.

Here are two of our Christmas Stockings (crocheted by me) and hanging by our fireplace this year. While they will be functional and I hope decorative, they represent memories of time spent with Grandmothers who instilled in me the love of craftsmanship and appreciation of things handmade as a young child.

And here is a photo of a decoration I placed in EGarden for the birds. Egarden may look like it is resting for the winter, but the memories of enjoying time spent there remains and I know the garden waits for me to return.

Making and sharing memories or experiences with people you love so that when they do those things they think of you and are happy? That’s it! That’s what I want.

And I hope you find whatever it might be that you want for this holiday season, too.

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Simple Gifts

“Simple Gifts” is a Shaker song written and composed by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848. The song has been adapted and rearranged many times by musicians since then.  I find it wonderfully haunting and lyrical, and felt as though I wanted to learn to play it on my dulcimer.  My version is played “by ear” and adapted to my own style of strumming.  Here are the lyrics (to verse one):

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Research shows me that the references to “turning” in the last lines are identified as dance motions for traditional participants, and by the time the music has ended, everyone would’ve ended up back in the place they once started. There are other verses, too.  You might want to check out this lovely song on your own.

Farmer’s Market Season is over for the year, so I’m able to get a lot of work done around the house.  I spent time in Egarden this past weekend, cleaning out overgrown weeds and saving flower heads for seeds for next year. And a recent wind storm gave me a BUNCH of sticks in the grassy area between the house and the alpaca pasture. I’ve collected them to use in the fireplace soon, but for now, am also making some of these.  They will be used for flower vases or other decorations.

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I spent time cleaning out around a fig bush, from which I harvested figs for making jelly.  But I also cut out and saved…..kudzu vines!  I’ll let them dry out, then soak again to weave into baskets or wreathes.

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Simple gifts from nature. Seems like so little, but really, they have the potential to be so much more.

Happy Creating!

 

 

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Review, ReDo, Repeat…!

I look for one thing and find another.

It happens a lot.

I went looking for a sheet of drawing paper to make labels for the homemade jellies this time. It’s that part of the summer–when the fruit has come in and I have more than I can handle. I process what I can, and freeze the rest for later.

So I have a lot of jars of blackberry jellies and fig preserves, along with several sketchbooks full of notes, drawings, and ideas.

I went through information collected from years of writing conferences and self-assigned drawing projects. I looked through sketches, read through notes I’d made and tips for the writer/illustrators.

Maybe it was a lot for me to handle right at the moment when I collected those ideas. Maybe I had more than I knew what to do with at the time. And maybe, just as with the fruit, I decided to use what I needed, and save the rest for later.

I think I’m ready now…to use what I learned by drawing out illustrations from published children’s books, and then to get to work on the ideas I have of my own.

I’ll be busy. There are a lot of things on my TO BE DONE list.

Happy Creating!

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