Friday, January 29, 2010

Inspire: Imbolc 2010

It's that time of year again.  Winter has truly settled in and it's freezing.  It seems as though spring will never come again.  But wait, the groundhog will tell us of springs return soon!  The sun is getting brighter!  Soon things will be growing under snow's blanket and the world will turn green again.

Imbolc is a celebration that occurs on February 1.  Also known as Candlemas and Groundhog's Day.  This is a time of celebrating the return of the sun and of spring.  We Pagans tend to view the day as when the hag of winter gives up her grip and is reborn into the young maiden of spring. 

It is a time of purifying the home and getting ready for the new year to come.  A lot of people follow this, whether they know it or not, by catching in Spring Fever in the middle of winter.  It's also a time to think about what you want to accomplish in the coming days.

So today we are inspired to look for the returning signs on spring.  What do you want to keep and get rid of?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Create: It's Snowing!

This year for xmas, I wanted everything on my tree to be handmade.  I mostly succeeded but it wasn't exactly what I wanted since I ran out of time.  I was going to take a class on crocheted snowflakes but didn't get around to it.  Now I can start prepping for next year already!

Today has been a surprise so I didn't have time to finish this properly with starch and blocking, but I think it turned out really well.  It was a quick crochet, maybe twenty minutes.  The pattern is called Mini Snowflake, designed by Julie A. Bolduc.

I used thin yarn instead of thread and a C hook, so this is bigger than the designer intended.  But it did it's purpose in showing me that this kind of design isn't as difficult as the mind makes it seem.  I am no longer intimidated by doilies! (maybe...)  I'm definitely going to be making a number of these for xmas.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Write: What's the weather like?

Exercise:  Write a paragraph after looking out your window.  Maybe it is snowing.  Maybe it is raining.  Maybe the sun is shining brightly.  Maybe it's the middle of the night.  Find the Muse living in the weather outside and see what She says to you.

To read what Mine said, click on read more:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inspire: Winter Wonderland

Here in Iowa we are finally starting to come out of the deep freeze.  Unfortunately, we are entering the Land of Ice.  The trees are covered with it.  The road signs are decorated with icicles at forty-five degree angles.  Luckily I didn't loose power like some did.  We were covered in about 1/4" of ice with freezing fog and rain in the forecast for this weekend.

In this cold beauty, time freezes and the world sleeps.  In the middle of the frozen fog, it seems like nothing else exists.  In this space between worlds, what calls to you?  What does the winter weather outside say to you?  What words or images are spoken?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Create: The Wii and Me

Graffiti is a way of expressing oneself by taking over someone else's space and making it your own.  Found Poetry is a way of expressing oneself by taking someone else's ideas and making it your own.  Upcycling is a way of expressing oneself by taking someone else's trash and making it your own.

Wiki says "upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value."  I like using the Reduce and Re-Use parts of the Three R's.  (Un)fortunately, upcycling has become pretty popular lately.  But I still get weird looks.

When my friend opened her Wii and I saw the kind of packaging it came with, I thought it would be perfect for a storage container.  Inside the box were two blue trays with inserts holding all the components.  My guess is that Nintendo knew that gamers like to mess with things and built their packaging to be inventive and useful.  My friend kept her box around for my idea until after xmas, and gave me her box after my son opened his Wii.  So I had two perfect boxes just sitting there.

So I finally got around to cutting and gluing my boxes and how I have a wonderful place to store all my office supplies - scissors, sharpies, stapler, rulers, crochet hooks, etc.  Now all I have to do is throw some craft paper/paper bags around the edges so that it makes a smooth surface and paint it all.  

I took out the inserts of the trays and glued strips into place to make dividers.  I also cut thumb holes to make it easier to pull open.  I opened the box itself all the way and cut out one side on each box.  Then I glued the tabs back in place.  Once that was set, I glued the boxes together so that they would stay together, inserted the trays, and threw some stuff in there!

What do you have laying around the house or trash that could be given new life?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Extra! The return of a friend

Huzzah, huzzah!  Hip hip hooray! 

Why am I so happy?  My computer came home on Saturday.  Not only did it come home, but all my stuff is still on it!  They replaced the motherboard and to me that equals 'all your stuffs is eaten, mwhahahaha!'  But that's because on my first computer that had a motherboard burn out, I lost everything.  Granted, I could have probably had it taken in and fixed, but it was old and annoyed me.  The last time on this computer, I think they replaced the motherboard but had to reinstall the operating system so everything got eaten. 

So I now have my computer back and all my music and files.  Bad thing, I can now waste time doing pretty much nothing. 

During my time without a home computer I have discovered that I like posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Maybe I like the fact that each morning there is a new post instead of around midnight.  So I'm going to try to see if I can maintain this schedule.  It's going to require me to sit at my computer in the morning at home, however, and time is short in the morning.  Expect a few mess-ups where I hit Publish instead of Save the night before like I did last night. 

I also believe I will add in a post at the beginning of each month (either first of the month or day after the new moon) with my goals for the month.  The day before that would revisit the monthly post and state what was accomplished. 

Sound like a good plan?

Write: Lego Robots Invade!

There is a thing called Found Poetry where you take someone else's work and make it your own.  You take phrases and rearrange them into something new, maybe something completely different than the original meant to be.  Found poetry can be from a sign at a fast food restaurant, or graffiti on the bathroom wall.  It's finding the unexpected art in what wasn't meant to be. 

There is a pretty good article on ehow with details on how to create your own found poetry.  For something so simple, there are a bunch of rules it seems.  But I feel for this exercise just the basic feel for the thing is enough. 

Rule 1:  Pick of piece of writing or grab a bunch of different phrases.
Rule 2:  Put them in a pleasing order.
Rule 3:  Don't add words.  Feel free to delete, but no addition.
Rule 4:  Tadaa!  You're a poet!

I had planned on taking a lot of time this week and working out a really good piece of poetry for this... but I've been sick and I couldn't seem to find a good piece.  Granted, I limited myself by trying to find a piece that wasn't protected by copyright but it just didn't seem right.  I tried again after I found a wonderful Annie Dillard selection but halfway through I just didn't feel I could give it justice. 

So I looked at my local newspaper instead and snagged the headlines.

Enjoy after the break!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Inspire: Draw on the walls!

It may sound weird coming from an Iowan girl, but I love graffiti.  Maybe it's just that we don't really have it around here (or not really where I go) or maybe it's that they've done something wrong.  Maybe it's just that I really love unexpected art.  Whatever it is, graffiti is great to me.

Now, let me be a little more specific.  Graffiti art is great.  People writing their names with spray paint across someone's car is not.  But where I live we get a lot of trains, so it's always entertaining to watch the paint roll across the street while everyone gets annoyed at traffic.  Some of those artists are amazing.  The majority aren't, but I'd put up with it to see the amazing ones.

I'm a firm believer that we should allow graffiti on trains and blank walls, as long as it is art and not just names or gang signs.  I am certainly less annoyed by trains if I get to look at artwork on the way, I'm sure others would be the same way.  You hear about all these art groups wanting to put art back in schools, or make art more accessible, well here is the perfect way to get it out there where people can see it!

So this weeks Inspiration comes from those cats with cans, spraying out there message before they get caught, risking punishment to express themselves.

What do you risk to express yourself?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Create: Refridgerator Soup

I love soup in winter.  I especially love it when it turns out well when I just threw stuff in a pot.  And it's great when that stuff is all the veggies that are about to turn in your fridge.  I made this soup last week in the crockpot and still have some left.  Once again, it's not really a recipe with amounts as much as guidelines.

Cajun Refridgerator Soup

(Leftover) Meat - I used half a teriyaki pork roast leftover from a previous dinner.
Beans or Potatoes - I used Great Northern Beans.
Bay leaf - Make sure to remove before serving
Chicken stock - or water and bouillon
Garlic Powder
Cajun spice - This added a nice little touch that made the soup.

Cut up your veggies and throw them at the bottom of a crock pot.  Add one or two cups of beans, depending on preference and pot size.  Shred your pork roast, or add a ham hock, and mix well.  Season to preference, I like a lot of pepper.  Add your liquid preference (water or chicken stock).  I ended up using two cans of chicken stock and two or four cans of water.  Stir it all up and set it on low for the day.

This tastes great with some toasted homemade bread.  Yum!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Write: Against the Boy

Writing Exercise:

Take the nearest (long) book and open up to page 234.  Count down to the fifth line and over to the sixth, seventh, and eighth words.  Use these words to inspire your writing.  They can be used together or separately depending on preference and what words you ended up with.

My words for this exercise were "against the boy" from Light Infantry Ball by Hamilton Basso, found in Reader's Digest Condensed Books, volume 3, 1959.  Yes, I know I messed up how to cite the source, but I don't have my book with me.

My writing ended up fitting better as a poem than a short story.  Read it after the break.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Inspire: Be Random

Find your randomness.

My life seems to have two variations:  over-organized and complete chaos.

As I am settling my life into a new schedule with kid activities and workshops and family night and meetings, I'm realizing that I am neglecting the chaotic side a bit.  Although with as many activities and thoughts that I have, if I don't organize, I go crazy.  I've found  that if I don't anticipate a bit of chaos, a bit of randomness, it hits me in a big way.  Plus it's just so much easier to deal with your life blowing up when you are prepared and expect it to.

Take for instance, when my car overheated.  In the past I would have flipped and not known what to do.  But I took care of it, got it to a shop, made a paying schedule, and even got a bonus out of it since I joined a car pool from town to where we meet up with our Rideshare van. 

I've always tried to be one who can see the silver lining in the dark clouds.  Granted, it might be 'Now you won't do that again, will you?' and I can grump through it as much as anyone.  But I try to realize that without the chaos and random things that happen, you don't grow as much.

So the Inspiration for this week is not a quote or a song, it is simply a phrase.  Find your randomness.  Use it in your crafting, in your writing, in your life.  It's fun to go out without a plan and do whatever you feel like sometimes.  You'll have a blast.

Go be random.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Create: Freebie, Exercise Journal

My previous post focused on my creative goals for the year and I completely spaced my family and personal goals.  One is spending time with my son, the other is getting fit.  I eat pretty healthy, granted not as healthy as I could, but vegetables and fruit are regular companions of mine.  But I don't exercise.  When I had part time jobs I was always on my feet and moving stuff around.  In my office job, I do a lot of sitting.

Since I'm going through a 'write it down!' phase, I figured an exercise journal would be a great thing to start keeping.  Something to stare at me when I haven't done anything, and something to keep my snacks on track.  I looked through a lot of the DIY templates and several others but they all either measured calories or body mass.  I just couldn't find one I liked.

So I made my own.

There is a section for meals, boxes on the right for water intake, and a place you can list your exercises, how many repetitions, and how many sets you do.

Print it duplexed and cut across the middle.  Fold and you've got a weeks worth of pages to keep track of your habits. Granted, it's not the best, but it's something quick I made before work.  I hope to revisit and improve upon it (for instance, making it look pretty).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Write: Plan for the New Year

*Note:  Yup, my computer is still in the shop.*

This Write post isn't really about writing, but it is about planning.  This is a new year, and as the Inspiration for this week is to not let yourself go on wishing but doing, I feel it works.  So I've written out some goals for the year, this blog, and my creative endeavors.  My family keeps telling me that I need to try to do something with my creativity and I feel like I should be doing that as well.  I have been lazy and busy and haven't ever really tried to put myself out there. 

This year, I plan to change that.

Goals for the year: Inspire: Learn better Biz/Blog practices
I will to read about how to create better posts and how things should work in an online shop, including the legalities of posting quotes on a blog.  I will focus more on setting up each post and plan it out rather than do so while posting.  I will get the shop up and running, create my own designs, and create my own Inspirations.

Write:  Polish my writing
I will read articles, edit my work, and try to write for more than half an hour.  I will prepare and plan my pieces.

Create:  Follow through and finish projects
All those ideas that float through my head should be written down so they can drawn upon later on.  Any project that I collect items for will be done.  I will learn new skills and practice my current skills.  I will vend at a craft fair and/or enter the State Fair this year.

These sound like an awful lot of things going on for a year, but at the same time, they are all a part of the same thing.  My basic goals are:
1.  Learn how to accomplish my goals better in a business manner.
2.  Follow through and develop my writing/artistic/crafty skills.
3.  Get out there and do it.

Everything else is just how I intend to do it.