Three months after my third birthday, I became a sister to a little brother. I couldn’t tell you where the idea came from but I took it upon myself to hover over him as if he were mine. My earliest memory is of meeting him in the hospital through a glass window with my grandma. My second memory is of waking up one morning and racing to my parents room to greet him. Upon finding his crib empty, I ran through the house in a panicked state yelling, “Someone stole my brother!” You can imagine my surprise and relief to find my brother in the arms of my mother. I can only surmise that the usual schedule involved me waking before him and peeking in on him. As an adult, I joke that I have adhd with ocd over and under-tones. This was the earliest memory of dissonance in my surroundings.

Another vivid set of memories revolve around crayons. They have always been a problem for me. I would receive a new box of crayons and guard them ferociously, that little brother had a radar that sought new crayons with reckless abandon. If I let him or them out of my sight in the same room, I would return to find broken pieces everywhere. Eventually, someone figured it out and we would each receive a box of 64 for Christmas. Once his were gone he wasn’t to touch mine. As a result I have a huge collection of crayons from my childhood. I have one container of broken bits of this and that reserved for babysitting when needed.

When Boo was old enough to color, I brought out that container. His opinion on my crayon collection was similar to my brothers, only he broke them by taste testing. I soon put those up and moved on to the jumbo crayons that were more difficult to eat. He’s done well with the jumbo crayons. Recently he’s been in a paper peeling mode so many from his box of 8 have lost their wrappers. A few have broken here and there as well, so pieces were getting smaller and smaller. Boo has a problem with broken as well, I’m not sure if he thinks I’m upset by it or if it’s the fact that the crayon is no longer the same as it was. No matter the cause, broken crayons upset him and he won’t use them.

Tonight I set out to remedy that problem:

Boo is testing the firmness of the crayons, like mama

After reading a few websites, I decided to try 175° for 5 minutes, then another 5, another 5 and I finished it up with a round of 7. Jumbo crayons need to be chunked smaller or baked longer. Longer is good with me as I struggled to get them as small as I did without coloring everything in sight. It took less than a half hour for the crayons to cool. We noticed that a few of our colors are missing, but we can always do it again.

Boo loves to build towers

Boo wanted to try taking a picture himself

The crayons work though to do again, I’d do a few things differently. The aluminum foil cups I made didn’t keep all the wax in so the pan is currently in the freezer. The color is heavier than the wax so there are bits around the top edges and sides without color. I think if I cut the pieces smaller they would melt faster and I could take them out sooner which would, hopefully, keep the color from sinking. I also learned that when taking a picture I can hold down the button and let go, the camera still takes the picture. I’ve only had this camera since May of 2007.

Attack of the Deadlines

Yes, you read that correctly deadlines, there’s an s on the end of that word. I have things to do and I’m running out of time. There is a nasty cold going around this fall that people are saying takes up to three weeks to fully recover and I have it, one down two to go. A week ago Friday I started to feel poorly and it went downhill from there. I was so sick last week I didn’t even feel like knitting or surfing my favorite knitting/crocheting/yarn site or much doing of anything. I’m starting to feel a bit better, but my nose is sometimes draining on to my throat causing me to clear my throat constantly and sometimes I have time to grab a tissue before it drains. Throw in driving to the vet once on Sat, once on Sun and again today and all I can say is I’m behind before I even thought about getting ahead.

    Here’s the list:

  1. Sweater-was supposed to be finished on Saturday, would have been if not for the illness, current status: one sleeve down, one to go and then the bottom edge
  2. Podcast-I had time on my hands to get the first episode recorded, but who wants to hear me while I’m sick, I’m hoping to release the first episode Dec. 1, a full episode, not just an intro. I’d like a promo out by tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath for that one
  3. Jesse Tree ornaments-I have a handful cut out, but I need to sew them together and create a tree of some sort by Wednesday, I also have to put the advent boxes together and hang them so Boo and I can open them.
  4. Super Secret Santa #1-I purchased fabric before I fell ill, but haven’t cut any of it
  5. Super Secret Santa #2-I have yarn, I have a pattern but I need to finish my sweater
  6. Super Secret Santa #3-fiber just arrived today in the mail for me to spin then I have to knit it
  7. Super-Super Secret Project #1-I am fairly certain I don’t have time for this one, it’ll get done, just probably not in time for the Christmas

Are you behind? Are you ahead? What’s your secret?


Creative Play

The other day I was browsing the blogroll for Nov. 2010 NaBloPoMo when I saw some really interesting art designed with a program called flame painter. I really don’t have words, so here are some of my paintings. I did as the author of the program suggested, I experimented with the settings. There is a limited feature free version available online or a paid version that looks to be less than $15. Be sure to check the gallery of images, there’s an awesome flame dragon.

After making a few paintings of my own, I clicked into the experiments area and can only wonder if I’ll get any knitting done before crawling into bed in the wee hours of tomorrow. If you don’t draw with pen and paper or feel you can’t paint, find a way to simulate the art form. Do it often. Try different mediums, like a paint program online, maybe you’ll find the artist inside yearning to break free. Or maybe you’ll just have fun creating random flames of color like I did. I think I’ll add online art to my list of mediums to play with every now and again.


a review: The Art of Looking Sidways

by Alan Fletcher
reading guide-it is the guide

over 1000 pages of mentally stimulating visual intrigue

a review
I’m a big fan of the library system. I can read more books in a year than I could ever afford to buy. I’ve even borrowed long out-of-print books that would be difficult to obtain otherwise. I received an email from my library about 6 weeks ago letting me know this book was ready for me. When the librarian brought it to the desk my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I requested it based on a recommendation from another site based on a recommendation of another book based on a search of “creativity”. I was hoping to find a book that would give me some simple steps to find my creativity that I used to have as a child but let the educational system and real world beat out of me. I asked the librarian if she was sure it was my book because it looked like the kind of book you get when the library has a textbook rebound. I admit, I was a bit disappointed but since someone went to the trouble of sending me the book via interlibrary loan, the 5.4 pound book(bigger and heavier than my college calculus textbook), I felt obligated to bring it home with me. I’m glad I did, but sorry to report that even after having it checked out for nearly 5 weeks, I’m only 200 pages into it as it’s not a sit-down-and-read-cover-to-cover book. I find that I absorb more by reading a few pages, responding in my journal to anything that’s given me pause and stopping for a few days to contemplate the new ideas.

What in this book am I so chuffed about? Alan Fletcher has collected drawings, photographs, quotes, summaries, and more to present mind-boggling things to readers. Yes, things, you read it right, things. I can’t describe it any better than that. This book has just gone to the top of my list of books to buy because even if I did manage to finish all 1000+ pages of yumminess, I’d just want to start again. I look at a page with 1+1=3 and a wonderful assortment of quotes on creativity and spent hours contemplating each quote and then the places my brain went all on its own gave me hope that I may not have lost all my creativity after all. I love that a thought will begin on page 92 and tie into a thought 100 pages later with a footnote on the first thought to be sure to see the second. And the pages, they are not each number, each pair of facing pages shares one number, so 533 pages is really 1066 pages give or take. And lest you still be wondering about the title, it’s not just a metaphoric looking at things in a new way. I have had to turn the book round and round and round and this way and that to read everything. Not for each page, mind you, but for many there is something written this direction requirement me to turn my head awkwardly before remembering I can turn the book.


Grade me! another thought on creativity

If you have never met Lisa from the Simpsons, I’d like to introduce you to her. If you’ve met her, you already know and perhaps understand. Lisa is a know-it-all. In her elementary school, as far as we are aware, she is the smartest kid there. She uses her powers to prove others wrong and is a teacher’s pest or pet depending on your view. There is an episode where the teachers go on strike and Lisa is beside herself with grief and concern. How will she learn, what will she learn, who will grade her? She has a small emergency kit of school work in case of prolonged school closure, but the strike lasts longer than the work she’s prepared for herself. Lisa begins to go a little loo-loo trying not to lose the knowledge she has and gain what she can. Cue the following scene:

Lisa: [panting] Grade me…look at me…evaluate and rank me! Oh, I’m
good, good, good, and oh so smart! Grade me!
[Marge scribbles an A on a piece of paper]
[Lisa walks off, muttering crazily and sighing]

I share this episode because it speaks to me. I love to learn school, I was good at school when I felt like it. I still have a nearly unquenchable thirst to know things. I have no immediate plan for any of the information I soak up, but I need to know what I don’t know in case I need to know it. I enjoy Jeopardy but am not good at Trivial Pursuit-it’s the sports. I love tests, no, I don’t run around taking every test I can, but I don’t pass one up when it comes my way. Even the surveys I take are treated like a test and I analyze them as I complete them. I can always tell when the survey is looking for an answer I didn’t pick because my survey ends abruptly and for a moment, I am sad because I didn’t pass the test answer the questions correctly get to finish all the possible questions.

I have thought about completing TKGA Master Knitter program because I liked the idea of someone else looking at 4-6″ samples of my knitting and evaluating me. I wanted to hear someone in some other city tell me I can knit, no, I can knit well. Then when I complete all of the courses I become a Master Knitter with at least $300 less to my name, $300 less if I complete all three courses in a year or more if I don’t. But I will have a lovely certificate telling and everyone else that I can knit.

My high school record doesn’t necessarily reflect my need to show my knowledge because I deliberately sabotaged my gpa in a failed attempt to avoid speaking at graduation. I say failed because the person right behind me did more poorly on accident than I did on purpose. I had my revenge, I didn’t speak and angered several people in the process. I don’t regret it. My college gpa was slightly worse than high school because suddenly I wasn’t one of the smartest, I was at a school where 80% of the student body was in the top 10-20% of their graduating class, I was drowning in smart. I needed to work to make a place for myself, there was no more minimum effort and maximum payoff for me and I’m rarely in the mood to exert that much effort for a pretty paper.

What does any of this have to do with creativity? Not much and everything. For you it may not mean anything, but for me it’s everything. I have a huge desire to be correct, to be right, to be accurate, to be perfect. I don’t like to be wrong, does anyone? I once argued with a roommate over how much I paid for a bottle of shampoo, I had a coupon and the store paid me $0.10 to buy it because it was on sale and my coupon was for more off than it sold for before the days when computers knew it all and wouldn’t let me have it my way. I argued because I needed to be right and I had the receipt to prove it. I won’t even open my mouth to think about entering a debate unless I am 110% that I’m correct, I don’t like to be wrong, I don’t like to admit defeat. Here’s what this personality flaw trait has to do with creativity.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pierce (author)

Something to think about. I don’t know the man, I’ve never read anything his written other than this line. I think he is wise, at least in this matter.

Here is more information on this Simpsons episode.

Some thoughts on creativity

As I prepare for a podcast launch, I wanted some interesting quotes, thoughts, or sayings on the creative process and creativity. There are hundreds if not thousands out there and while I haven’t read them all and don’t agree with all I’ve read, I found a few interesting ones and thought I’d just create a post or two or three and share the ones that speak to me. Earlier this week one of the I bloggers read, Christie at grace is overrated, had a post about hand lettering and linked to another site, Alex Savakis, that inspired her to try some of her own hand lettering. I loved her work as well as the work she linked and thought this might be a fun thing to do with the quotes. My handwriting is horrible, but that’s one of my creative goals for the new year, find the website that talked about cleaning up handwriting and doing it.

Here are some of the quotes destined to become graphic or two:

  • Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
    ~Pablo Picasso (artist)
  • “No great thing is created suddenly.”
    ~Epictetus quotes (Greek philosopher associated with the Stoics, AD 55-c.135)
  • “God is really another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.”
    ~Pablo Picasso (artist)
  • “Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist.”
    ~Thomas Disch (author)
  • “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
    ~Maya Angelou (author)
  • Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.
    ~James Russell Lowell (author)

Stay tuned as these quotes are likely to appear as graphics here first and shared out after I get feedback. Do you have inspiring quotes you’d like to share? Do you hand letter? What do you hand letter? If you don’t hand letter, are you inspired to try?