Thursday, December 31, 2009

Inspire: Anberlin

***Note:  My computer is in the shop, possibly for three weeks.  So no pics and Sunday posts will have to appear on Monday, Tuesday may be on Wednesday, and Thursday may be on Friday.  And no pics unless I email them from my phone... We will see.  Have a happy New Year and see you on Monday!***

This weeks inspiration comes from a band called Anberlin and a song called Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights).  You can find the music here.  What better way to welcome in the New Year than with an inspiration aimed at reaching for your goals.

I love this song.  It seems to be about exactly what I am trying to do, live a life that is full of meaning rather than wondering about what-ifs.  This song helps inspire me to follow my dreams, but in my typical fashion, it doesn't say "Dreams are good," it says:

Don't wanna leave this world
Knowing I breathed in vain
Looked out for myself
So sorry, so ashamed.
Don't wanna leave this life
Knowing I barely tried
To chase down all my dreams
That I hide away on the inside.

I've gone through many years where I was filled with thoughts of how my life could be different if I hadn't of made bad choices.  I'm done with those years and I am trying to chase down my dreams.  Maybe they are different from when I was a kid, but they are still there.  Right now I want to be comfortable with myself, raise a great kid, and be recognized as someone that doesn't just make stuff but makes pieces (call them art or not) that are awesome.  I don't think I'm going to make a living off of my crafting just yet, and not sure that I want to.  But I'd like to try to do something with it.  A great etsy shop, a book, or even just a reputation of great work. 

But to do these things, I need to step forward with my head held high.  I need to take a leap and put my stuff out there.  I've started to, but I still don't have my etsy/artfire shops set up (because I haven't gotten around to making anything to sell).  I know I do good work, I just need to work on doing great work.

So let us live inspired and die knowing that we truly tried.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Create: Tuna Melts

I was supposed to go out for dinner tonight after a meeting.  But the meeting went on too long and the person I was meeting had to go to work.  So I came home and wandered through the wastelands of my fridge and pantry for something to call dinner.

I found a loaf of french bread that is starting to get all hard and thought I would make a tuna sandwich.  But the bread was pretty hard and I had the thought, "These hard slices would be good for something that goes in the oven... I have tuna!  Tuna melts!"

They look like crap but they are so yummy.  And I have lunch for tomorrow. 

My grandma introduced me to these when I was still living at home.  Normally, we made these with english muffins, but my hard french bread variation was wonderful.  I never really use a recipe, but I believe there are a million out there on the inter webs.  But here is a basic walk through.

Tuna Melts:
Bread (english muffin halves, french bread going stale, pitas)
Canned Tuna (I use the stuff in water)
Mayo (mayo or miracle whip)
Mozzarella Cheese

Mix up your tuna and mayo using just a little less than you normally do for tuna sandwiches.  I've done both more and less, it depends on how runny you want your melts to be. 

Once that is mixed, take a handful of mozz cheese and mix into the tuna.  Once again, the amount is up to you.  I put a lot of mozz in mine because I like cheese.  I've also put just a little bit into the mix and then added more when the mix was on the bread. 

Press the mix onto the slices of bread.  You can pile it high or low.  I typically go low so you know you have bread underneath all of that.

Pop into the oven at 375 for about ten minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Write: Ray Bradbury Exercises

I was going through some old high school stuff this weekend and ran across a packet that we used in English.  We read Dandelion Wine by Raymond Bradbury in tenth grade, I believe, and did some exercises on 'how to keep and feed a Muse.'  I figured the exercises would be great for my Write post.  Plus, what better place than a blog about being Mused? 

I'm going to have to reread the book before summer.  It's awesome.  As much as I've always wanted to try to make dandelion wine, I don't think it's possible anymore unless you live in the country.  Everything here gets sprayed like crazy.

On to the exercises!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Inspire: Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have come to a point this week where this quote seriously applies.  It's confusing, and sometimes you do follow the path your critics have chosen.  But it's not always because of them.  Sometimes you choose to follow that path because that is the path that you must choose. 

So I choose this quote today to remind myself that I must choose my path not based on what others think but what I believe in my heart.  Now I just have to remember what is in my heart and not be swayed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Create: Holiday Cards

This could fit under Inspire, but it's under Create 'cause Iz created somethin'.  Okay, yeah I know, don't do that again.

I used all the xmas cards I bough awhile back to send out to a card exchange.  Normally I hand each relative a card with poetry or a quote on the inside with or instead of presents.  This year I decided I had some extra cardstock and had a blast making snowflakes, so I'd glue some on for cards!

Normally the quotes don't follow a theme, but this year it's Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Everyone has a quote from him, and I try to match the quotes with the person. 

Have a happy holiday!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Write: Quick Stream of Consciousness

I love stream of consciousness.  Here is a quick unedited piece.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inspire: DH Lawrence

"Live and let live, and each pansy will tip you its separate wink. The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in the earth and manure; and in the perfume there hovers still the faint strange scent of earth, the under-earth in all its heavy humidity and darkness. Certainly it is so in pansy-scent, and in violet-scent; mingled with the blue of the morning the black of the corrosive humus. Else the scent would be just sickly sweet."

Excerpt from the Introduction to Pansies, D.H. Lawrence.

"The fairest thing in nature" is rooted in the dark earth, the compost, the stuff no one likes to think about.But without it, where would we be? I hold the belief that to truly live, to truly see the beauty in life, one must survive the dark times. Maybe to some my dark times aren't that bad, but they are dark times to me and that's what matters. I would not be the person I am today if I did not have to strive to overcome the darkness. However, it is not that I overcame them that is important, it is important that they happened. Dark times teach us about life. They teach us about taking things for granted, about what is important, and about ourselves.

 I don't think anyone can truly know what kind of person they are if they aren't challenged at some point. That's what the "heavy humidity and darkness" do for us.  They reveal what is kept inside.  Are we really strong people?  Or do we faint at the first sign of opposition.  A lot of the time we don't know what we are learning until after the event.  When we look back we go, "You know, I feel more confident in myself for getting over that hurdle.  It wasn't such a big deal, and now I know how to deal with it."  Or, "That was a really bad part of my life.  But I have learned how to stay out of those situations or how to deal with my grief so that I can continue living." Sometimes it is necessary to step back and evaluate where we are.  With our feet deep inside the darkness, we can find ourselves.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Create: Bookmarks

Grr.  I hate my computer.  I had a post ready to go last night and it decided it didn't like me.  So I'm going to write my post and hopefully have enough time to put up pictures later tonight.  I know, I'm late!

I like to recycle and used recycled material.  Granted, I don't do as much as I could, but I keep my pop cans, newspapers, and wet board.  I have a tendency to not take them in, but that means that I have them when I need them.  Wet board is your boxes of cereal and goodies and it is just perfect for almost any craft idea.

I have been making a lot of bookmarks lately after I got tired of not having any and having to tear a piece of paper to mark my spot.  Wet board has featured heavily in my making.  Most of the time I either use wet board that has a design that looks pretty or, as in the case of my favorite marker, cut around a shape that I like.  My favorite is from the lid of a Celestial Seasonings box.

The latest ones that I have made are also Celestial Seasonings but they have been from packets.  I have been trying new tea and they came in a box full of packets.  So I have cut out the pretty bit and glued it onto a FedEx envelope I saved from work.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Write: Haiku

Yes, I know I am late posting.  This weekend has been busy and I forgot until I was tired and up past my bed time.  So this morning our writing selection is short.  I know it's not quite 'traditional' haiku, and I'm probably offending the art form by using it to create something quickly, but it works for today.  Maybe next week I will take more time and think about it.

Behold the power of procrastination...

Snow is beautiful
Cold, white, wet, dangerous.
Get off my damn lawn.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Inspire: Postmodernism

"Some people say that postmodern means 'after modern' or that it is a reaction against modern art.  Art critics and aficionados often use the term.  But many people do not easily understand it, including artists who create in a postmodern fashion."
from Deconstructing Postmodern Art on

Art from above link

Before I even heard the term 'postmodern,' I was in love with it.  Some sci-fi fits into this category, as does cyberpunk.  I loved my Postmodern Lit book when I found out it had the first chapter of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash in it.  You really can't describe it, but it's there.  It's the grit on broken streets and the cynic in the back of the room, the faint glimmer of decency hidden at the bottom of some down-on-his-luck criminal.  A glimmer that shines more brightly in him than in an upright-uptight citizen doing everything 'correctly.' 

I think the fact that you can't describe Postmodernism well, that there is no specific school or point that cries out "This is what Postmodern should look like!" is part and parcel of the whole idea.  That 'wha?' vibe is what makes it.  Postmodernism is pretty much just what came after the Bomb, after Modernism, when more people started doing something different.

A lot of people use it as a 'reaction against modern art,' or against modern society.  I take it as a way of trying to open up eyes.  It reflects society back on us.  By making the setting dystopian, it highlights the bits of society that it has plucked straight out of the magazines and news and makes people think about it.  It's a lot easier to see the difference between the capitalists and the poor workers when it's set in the way future when Corporations have taken over than to say "Hey, Wal-Mart is more than cheap things!"

But that's just me.  Postmodernism could just be a catchall term for a period of art that no one could think of a cute catch phrase for.

This is our Inspiration for the week.  Be inspired by not exactly knowing what you are doing.  Take some common object or phrase or image and make it your own.  Express  what it means to you.  Don't be forced to put a label on yourself, your work, or your art.  Maybe we need to stop and remember that if it isn't easily explainable, it doesn't mean it's worthless.

Just enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Create: Bach Scarf

Okay, I'm going to cheat today.  Normally I like my Create posts to be something that I have created in the past week, but what I'm going to post has given me inspiration for this week.  I made this scarf a couple weeks ago for a partner in a craft swap on Craftster.  She is a music geek and loves Bach.  So somehow I came up with the idea that I was going to crochet her a music scarf.

I thought it was pretty nifty, but typically when I think something is nifty, it's not as nifty as I think it is... That sentence made sense?  But all my friends liked it, so I figured it was as nifty as I thought it was.

Turns out she loved it.  Other people in the swap thought it was cool, and when I posted it into the crochet forum, lots of people loved it.

So this lovely little scarf has given me the inspiration to do what I feel like and to follow my inner moonlight.  Now will I ever get around to making another one?

P.S... Sorry for the late post.  My computer still hates me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Write: Eric the Silver-Tongued

I've had ideas for stories running around in my head forever.  But they never get written down in story form.  So, here I am trying to do so.  It needs more, I'm pretty sure.  But I think I'm done for the night.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Inspire: Ginsberg

"Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness."
-- Allen Ginsberg

Some days there is no better inspiration than what you find in yourself.   This quote pretty much sums up what I've been trying to do lately.  I've been putting my madness forward lately and have been rewarded for it.  I have also been trying to let go of my perfectionist streak when creating (Exhibit A, the quick unedited writings on here) and just being happy with what happens.

So I will let my moonlight shine and let my madness free.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Create: Calendar and Pomander

Today is December 1st... already!  I remember getting advent calendars when I was a kid and got to thinking that because my son is being raised as a Pagan, there are a lot of traditions he is missing out on.  He has also been bugging me lately about "doing something fun" with me, although the things I suggest get a half minute worth of time and then he's bored again. 

A couple blogs that I follow had some advent calendar ideas and I snagged a couple to fill both needs.  Instead of having a piece of candy for each day, we are doing an activity!  Rather than open up a door, we are unfolding a paper chain.  I'm hoping to save each piece and make ornaments for next year when it's all over.  Hopefully this will be a tradition we can continue.

For the chain I cut twenty one strips after making my list of activities, starting on the 1st and going to the 21st.  Then I wrote the activity on the inside and folded it in half.  I based each activity based on what we have going on in the week.  Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty shot for intensive activities since the kiddo has wrestling right after I get home. 

On the outside I wrote the number.  (Didn't think about it at the time, but next year I will count DOWN the days left instead of counting the days.)  Then I taped up each one and hung it on the calendar. 

Today was Day One (although it's technically the third day.  But it's a Solstice calendar anyway, who cares!) and my son can't wait to open another one tomorrow.  Success!  We made pomanders tonight.  I haven't made one of these since I was a kid.  Hopefully they dry out alright.