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.
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.
You could call me on the House Phone and you’d have a slim chance that I’d actually pick up. Oh, it would be me on the answering machine all right, but I’d say something like, “Please call me on the cell or leave a message. Thanks.”
I’m not trying to be a smarty-pants.
I’m @ Work.
Even though my work space is out in the barn, or at the kitchen table, or on a trail, or in what will someday-be-the-garden-again, I try to set aside uninterrupted time to get creative work accomplished.
And I know how easily I can be distracted, and I know I like to do so many things. I still haven’t completed writing that resume, but made a postcard instead, because I’m attending a writing/illustrating conference soon. I need to have a promotional material. My bio and contact information are on the back.
And here are a few photos that didn’t make it to the final “cut” to be on the card. But I wanted to include them here, as part of an online portfolio.
Leave a message if you’d like. And I’ll get back to you.
For now though, I’m @ Work.
My family tells me that I’m a hard person to buy gifts for, because: 1) I like to do so many things, and 2) I end up ordering the book or getting supplies as needed when I need them, or 3) by the time a gift giving occasion has come along, I’ve moved along to a new idea or project.
I don’t MEAN to make things difficult. Really.
It’s just that one idea will give momentum to try this or that, and that leads here, and then I’m off to do something over there. Right after that. Oh wait, look over…yonder. That looks like fun, too.
Since it’s now the beginning of a New Year, a lot of people are making resolutions. My main problem with making a list of Things I Plan to Accomplish is that I know in my Heart Of Hearts that I’m gonna lose that list somewhere in my stash of art supplies or loose leaf notebook paper. Then I’ll feel bad about that and it makes my creative impulses slow down.
Not this time.
Because I’ve decided to focus on doing Creative Things EVERY DAY and leave myself a reminder of what I’ve done. Starting with these few books I bought for myself after receiving lovely gift cards from family members.
AND you can call it Research. Or you can call it Recreation.
But I’m getting a lot of new ideas for writing AND making art.
The summer has come and gone. You know I look for ways in which to find more hours in every day and really, I didn’t mean to stay away from the blogging posts for THIS long. It’s been a while hasn’t it? I trust you’ve been creatively productive, too.
With Farmers’ Markets, farm chores, family happenings and a growing sense of ZEN I find myself trying to be in the here and now more often. It’s easy to think about putting something on a TO DO list, but lately, I’ve been misplacing the list. And when that happens, I re-evaluate what it was that I wanted to accomplish in the first place.
I’ve taken to turning off the television too, and hanging out with one of my Best Friends. Here is a photo:
Because when I spend time doing something I enjoy doing and I work at it Every. Single. Day. then the chances that I’ll get better at something increase greatly. Sometimes I think I sound pretty good, playing in the still, quiet time of the evening or early morning. I play what I want and at my own speed. I learn songs by ear, pick out tunes from You Tube and adapt them to my D A A tuning. The cat joins me on the couch and yes, I put her to sleep. Neither one of us sing.
November is the month for a Na-No-Wri-Mo challenge, and if you think you are up to creating that novel you’ve always wanted to write, it can be a great way to jump start yourself.
And as for me, I’ll take time every day to play a little song, read or write a little “story”, and if I’m lucky, speak (aloud) a few reasonable words.*
(*Attributed to influences of von Goethe)
I’ve been seeing articles in magazines, blog posts, newspapers or on television shows that refer to what is known as “sustainable living” or slanting toward a movement becoming known as “vintage revivalism.” Many of these sources cite some of the following as belonging:
Sewing, quilting, handspinning, hand weaving, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, needle craft skills, making pottery, basket weaving, gardening, growing food and herbals, making soap or candles, making jelly or wine or beer making.
I’ve always enjoyed doing those things. Now it seems more people are enjoying them, too.
Here is a photograph of a scarf I’ve woven on something called a rigid heddle loom.
And when I agreed to help make decorations for a wedding, I practiced cursive handwriting. I was asked to create signage. It’s been a lot of fun and although it’s been a long time since I put that much effort into cursive writing, it was very satisfying, in a most unusual way.
Time to take a class or learn something new….er, old?….or Vintage!
Happy creating to you, too!
I am a student of the Creative Arts, as well as a practing crafts person. In order to learn more about the use and preparation of lye and the making of soap, well of course, I have to read about it.
“Lye–a strong alkaline solution or solid of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, made by allowing water to wash through wood ashes. It is used to make soap and drain and oven cleaners. The chemical formula is KOH or NaOH.”
It makes me wish I’d paid more attention during high school Chemistry classes.
But I read on, and research how to use fireplace ashes and filter rain water through a barrel, and how soap was made hundreds of years ago. And then I research how craftspeople of today make handmade soaps. I practice their techniques and borrow a recipe or two.
I can make soap. Out in the barn. Which makes the surroundings smell so nice you’d never guess that there are animals around.
The recipe I’ve found most success with includes coconut oil, olive oil, lard, lye, rainwater and fragrance oils. Lemongrass is at the top of my list. When the rosemary grows a little more out in the garden, I’ll pick and dry some of that. It will go in a special soap–to relax with after a long, but creative day.
I will make no apologies for not being “here” since my last posting. But here is a brief update. I think I can do that.
September? I do remember it was a whirlwind, but that’s about all.
October? Attended a writer’s conference, fall festivals and continued to plow my way through the first draft of a current writing project.
November? This month was filled with emotion and self reflection. I won’t make any political statements as to the outcome of the presidential election, but philosophical ones, most likely, and still–not here. I choose to focus on raising awareness for the choices people make and how responsibilities and consequences for those actions have an effect on everybody, and that’s all I can say about that.
Any more time spent in this arena takes energy away from the current writing project and focusing on that project is the key component.
December? We celebrate Christmas on the farm and wished neighbors, family and friends all kinds of Merry Christmases and Happy Holidays. My hands were busy, my heart was happy for the loved ones who were with me and saddened for the ones who are no longer.
It is with hope for the future that I am reminded of a quotation from THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL: “There is no present like the time.” I choose to live creatively.
Happy creating to you, too!
I go to my Local Farmer’s Market once a week as a vendor. I’m not selling vegetables, although we’ve grown quite a lot of veggies on the farm this summer.
Actually, I use this time to demonstrate hand spinning alpaca fiber. I talk to people who watch me at the spinning wheel as I turn fiber into yarn. I ask about their creative projects. Many knit or crochet or quilt and we have a lovely time as we swap stories.
From time to time, folks will share in a memory about an elder relative they recall who spun on a wheel a long time ago, and I’m reminded that it’s these kinds of traditions which need to be preserved. I hope to be able to do that in my work as I honor things handmade, and it will be my hope to write about artisans and craftspeople with a voice of authenticity.
Best of luck in your creative projects, too!
There’s a quotation attributed to Benjamin Franklin that I’d like to share, and it’s this:
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”
So I’ve been busy.
I’ve been writing AND doing stuff.
The alpaca have had their yearly haircuts months ago…I have more fiber than I can possibly spin into yarn and I HAVE been making hats, even through the summer heat.
The weather will get cold again and I’ll be ready when it does.
Vegetables were planted and we harvest something almost every day. What I’m MOST excited about are the jellies: Egarden has produced some fine mints and the blackberry patch has given fruit, so that I’ve made jellies eight or nine times (as of now).
Byron Herbert Reece said, “I am a farmer first and a writer second.” And I get it. I understand. My time is being well spent and I search for balance in creative living every single day.
Some days produce more words than others, some days give more food or a handmade item, and I have been nourished– either way.