Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Yesterday was a flurry of activity in the early energetic part of the day.  Monday is always the get-it-together after-the-weekend day.  It started out as usual, but by midday I could tell I was coming down with something.  By later in the day when my energy usually lags, my whole self was ready for bed!  But I still had things to do and I pushed on.  By dinner I realized I had not made it to the computer to blog!  But I just had nothing to say that related to creativity!  I just wanted my bed and pillow! 

Today I am sure I am getting sick.  So why tell you (or really me!) this?  Because I think sometimes you need to stop and regroup to let your creativity be reborn.  I think you need change of place and space.  This cold will give me a break.  Not one I wanted or have time for, but one I will use to recharge somehow.  We don't usually stop unless we are exhausted or finished with the "to do" part of our day.  Sometimes we are forced to either slow down or stop altogether.  And that can be a good thing.

Maybe I will read all the magazines or a book I don't have time for.  Watch a movie or listen to some music.  But one thing is for sure:  I don't feel like doing anything on the list of things that simply must get done!  Will they?  Maybe not those that really didn't need doing anyway.  Life has a way of culling my list sometimes. 
So, the holidays will have to wait while I endure the misery of some bug.  Not to sound too philosophical, but I think I will make the best of a bad thing.  I will try to use the down time to recharge my creative batteries...or just sleep! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Gift That Keeps Giving- Giving!

Gifts that keep on giving... 

Studies show that doing for others benefits us as much or more than those we are helping.  There is a huge trend once again with the younger set to volunteer.  It's funny how in vogue it has become.  A new wave led by past presidents and famous people.  Oprah, Bill Gates, Clinton, and many movie stars.  Lets not forget the past - Lady Di, Mother Theresa, Jimmy Carter, JFK.  But until I saw my daughter serving humanity all over the place did I realize I've dropped the ball.

Thanksgiving reminded me how blessed my family is and how little I give back these days.  Funny, when I was younger we had less, but gave more-maybe because it didn't seem like much?  I was a whorl wind of volunteerism.  But then I had a lot more energy.  Today I have more resources and less energy! 

I write this because we want to find way's to give back this season.  We always say we will, but often don't in the holiday rush.  This year, like this blog, I intend to do what I say.  I think that volunteering is a gift we can give that keeps on giving. It seems special at Christmas and we should do it then, but we can continue all year at any pace we chose.

Think about where your creative gifts lie and then use those gifts in service to others this year.  You can write a check or just show up and serve physically if you can think what to do.  You will feel better, your physical and mental health will be better and you will be helping someone else.  Who could ask for a better gift? 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

day 8, almost 9

OK, so before midnight counts!  And what to write?  As far as creative went, I did little.  I sent off my oldest and his girlfriend to their home in Chicago and vowed to come see them and the Macy's windows (a sight to see at Christmas- the old Marshall Fields!) and skate on State. I would never skate, but pictures and a painting would be nice. 
I did do some holiday gift shopping today.  On my list, if you remember, I wrote "gifts that keep giving".  We're not talking fruitcake here!  I want to do some original gifts that will be remembered.  The vacation scrap books are one.  Then I think I will give the gift of the arts.  Tom and I are going to get tickets to six shows this next year for a gift to each other.  We are going to take dance lessons again as well.  These are things that last through the year.  Hmmnn, who else could I gift that way?  And what other types of things keep on giving?  Stay tuned!
I also did some decorating outside but did not get it photographed in time.  I will post the decorations soon.  The cards are still being worked.  I don't know if I will go with what I have already or if the new idea will pan out to be better.  I need to get that done or I will have to print them myself!  Stay tuned for that also...
And, that, that's all folks!  (till tomorrow)

Friday, November 26, 2010

day 7

OK.  I know I'm basically writing for myself.  And what do you think, if anything, is to be gained?  Well, the act of writing this blog is creative!  So, I have achieved my goal just by writing this if I continue on through the rest of the month.  Is that sneaky or what??
I will admit, I have been really busy and am having a hard time with writing every day.  But I am trying to stay true to my goal of making Christmas memorable with new memories.  Some things will stick and become tradition.  Many, like the drink I tried yesterday from -wait for it- the Martha Stewart website, are just not keepers.  (Yes, even Martha has a bad idea now and then!) But the centerpiece was a winner.
Today was "Black Friday".  I never go out on the busiest shopping day of the year.  I don't like the crowds.  But today I thought I'd give it a try.  That is also not going to be a tradition!  I saw on the news the people, mostly women, waiting in the rain for the stores to open at midnight.  In an interview one woman said they all eat Thanksgiving dinner and then the women leave and go to the outlet malls and shop all night.  "It's a tradition" one said.  To each his/her own!
So, I tried to shake it up with a Black Friday shopping trip.  And where did I do the most damage.  At home online!  But I did something different.  At least I'm trying new things.  And that my friend can bring up creative ideas in your mind.  By putting myself in a situation I usually tend to avoid I did come up with some creative gift ideas.  Which will have to be bought another day...
Till tomorrow!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Well, almost made it before noon!  Here is the centerpiece for Thanksgiving table.  It's very pretty in real life, all burnt orange and rust with vivid red berries and orange bittersweet shells! 
Got to go finish the rest before the guests arrive-
Be Thankful! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

day 5

OK.  The cleaning and mundane is almost over.  (until after the party!)  Now, let's have Thanksgiving! 
In creative mode, I've decided upon a table decoration that is natural.  That will have to be done tonight as will setting the table.  (I'll post photos after)  I'm going cyber surfing for a new drink.  Last year we had pomegranate Martini's which were just OK.  Oprah liked them, but not my favorite.  This year I'd like something that you can drink with or without the alcohol.  (it impares my ability to execute!) The food is unexciting-with that many you have to do the usual and lots of it.  There will be a slide show on TV of our vacation-the kids will love it.  And we will of course play cards.  I wonder if anyone would sit for two hours while I paint them?  Lets see, a turkey induced coma...it might work!  See you tomorrow  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

day 4

I honestly do not have time to do this today!  And I doubt anyone is following, so does it matter?  Not in the grand scheme I suppose.  It's just that I have been really trying to finish what I start.  There is something to be said for finishing at all.  And it's a good feeling to finish well.  Not all things will finish well.  But I think that quitting is worse than ever starting.  And once started, it is good for the character to finish.  Don't hold me to it! 
So, that said, I have nothing creative to do today.  Let me rephrase-I have creative things I could do-but the tyranny of the urgent demands my attentions.  This is where I usually get frustrated.  The tedious and mundane.  In a perfect world, scrubbing the toilet would have as much excitement as painting a masterpiece.  In the real world I only do it because somebody has to and if I get it out of the way I can move on to the fun stuff.  And if I am honest, can be put off at least for a time to do the something, anything else! 
I've read all kinds of organizing books and home keeping books (from Sidetracked Home Executives in the 80's to It's All Too Much this decade).  I've put in place systems I no longer use, feeling bad that I do not have what it takes to keep it up. I will probably always struggle with organization. At my age, you either make piece with who you are, or you live with all kinds of angst!  I'm kinda done beating myself up for my flaws.  We all have them, let's get over and on with it!
This translates into my creative life as well.  I've struggled with the disciplines I need to become better at my craft.  I am not very single minded and lack focus.  But I think there is a way to turn weakness into strength.  So the creative me is finding the joy in little victories.  Trying to move forward after the hard hit of defeat! 
Today I post, to continue in what I have started.  Today I take up the mundane and tedious to make room for less chaos and more order to my Thanksgiving.  Today I will try to find joy in cleaning a toilet and vacuuming the floor, paying the bills and grooming the little dog so people will pet her again! 
Today, even though it is so boring and you are thinking "what is she writing this for?" I write because I said I would.  People need to do what they say they will.  Even if no one notices or cares.  Builds character.  So does cleaning toilets.  (picture me with a toilet bowl brush held high in victory!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 3

Hey there!  Yes, I try to get to this before noon, but life being what it is...
Yesterday I planned the photo albums of our trip, downloaded 254 photos to Walgreen's and had them printed.  The albums will be too small, so I'm off today to find bigger ones.
I also gathered from my yard these dried hydrangea blooms.  You cant tell because of the flash, but they are the most beautiful shade of burnt sienna!  I plan to use the absolutely gorgeous phthalo green (light shade-tube paint names!) colored pumpkin as the vessel and arrange the blossoms in it.  I will be out today on my walk gathering bittersweet to add color to the arrangement.  If you cant guess, I have a natural theme to the holidays this year. 
I also painted and decided on the design for my cards this year.  Stay tuned for more on that. 
I was busy making gravy ahead and my special meat balls to freeze so I have stuff done and can hang out more instead of work.  In case you are wondering, I am not teaching this month, so I have time to do all this fluffy stuff! 
I think that's all I have to share today.  I have a list a mile long, but I only use the list as a jumping off point. I try to pick 2 or 3 things I feel will add flavor to the festivities without too much fuss.  There are other things I am going to add, but right now I'm in plan and execute mode!  See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

day 2

Well, all you get today is the brainstorm list.  It's not that long, because my brain didn't storm to well at the time.  There will be additions I'm sure!

Think up a new dish, drink or game to play at Thanksgiving-video this
watch vacation DVD
Centerpiece for table
hand make gifts - albums, scarves??, ornaments?
cards-pine cones, ornaments, flowers, birds, snowmen, lights, candles, nutcrackers
change up indoor dec for Christmas
outdoor Christmas decorations-planters, window boxes, new wreath?
Gifts that keep on giving-?
hostess gifts ??
Test new recipes for Christmas-get pear/onion tart recipes from Paula

Here are the rough ideas I will start from.  I have already made a map and a plan for some of them.  Tomorrow you can see what comes from these ideas and the rambling I do in my head!  Lets have some fun-

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creating the Holidays!

There are a lot of things I'm thankful for.  And I love the holiday's for the family, friends and celebrations.  One thing that really gets my juices flowing is all the creative things I can do for the holiday's.  There are the decorations which I like to change up each year.  There is the cooking that I also like to change up, although the family does not!  (I think they have stories...)  There is the gift giving, which can be very personal and very creative.  There are cards which I usually design and paint myself.  And the list goes on.

Sometimes I dont have the time to get it all done, but I think part of what is energizing are the endless possiblities.  My right brain can spiral out of control!  I become giddy and money is no object.  SCREECH!  No wait, my bad!  Huge budget constraints here-and guess what??  A lack of funds makes me more creative-and I feel better about making do.  I mean, do I really need eight boxes of teal ornaments I will never use again?  This is not the White House after all! 

So, how will I make the holiday's special this year?  I dont know yet, I've been so busy working and doing I havent had time to slow down and let the right brain run through the possiblities-or the impossible yet fantastic-ideas yet!  But stay tuned.  I intend to infuse this blog with my own special creative crazy thoughts.  Each day until Christmas, I'd like to blog about how to make this Thanksgiving and Christmas creative and joy filled.  Who knows where this will go, but it will be fun to think out loud. 

So today I start by making a list and checking it twice!  This is called brain storming.  Or mapping.  It is a creative process, and if you are not familiar with it, check out http://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu/content/1_StudySkills/study_pdf/mindmap.pdf.     My brain is really stormy, so check back tomorrow for the crazy list of possible and impossible options for the Holidays.