Tag Archives: Creativity

A Buddha Board, Pink Brains, and Chinese Flutes: Hey, Whatever Works Right?

My daughter had her birthday recently and one of the gifts I gave her was something called a Buddha Board.  We saw it on display while we were out shopping together and thought it was a really cool and unique thing.  The philosophy of it according to the description on their website says “The Buddha Board is based on the Zen concept of living in the moment.  You simply paint on the surface with water and your creation will come to life in bold design.  Then, as the water slowly evaporates, your art will magically disappear leaving you with a clear slate and a clear mind – ready to create a whole new masterpiece.”

What I have found in “playing around” with it myself is that it’s a very helpful and therapeutic activity to do when I’m feeling worried, anxious, or having other things troubling me.  There is something very freeing in painting certain words or pictures that portray/describe my troubled thoughts and feelings and then watching them evaporate and disappear into nothing.  It just gives a wonderful sense of letting them all go.

Many years ago my sister gave me a ridiculous looking pink plastic brain shaped container that had gumballs in it.  It was during a time in my life when my mind was feeling especially overloaded with thoughts and worries, many of which were things that were completely out of my control.  She said that after I finished all the gumballs that I should use that pink brain container as a sort of “second brain” to use when mine got too full.  To write down all of those thoughts and worries that I couldn’t do anything about and place them inside my “second brain” as a way of clearing my head.  And that when afterward if those thoughts tried to creep back in I could simply look at my pink brain and say “Nope, I have already let those go, they are my pink brain’s problem now.”  I know it might sound a bit silly, but it really did work.  For me it was a type of “Let go, and let God” mindset in addition to carrying out a deliberate, physical act, as well as adding my prayers of surrender.  I’ve long since stopped using it, but after all these years I still have that ridiculous looking pink brain, it’s sitting on my desk stilled filled with all of those little slips of paper inside. One day perhaps I shall open it and read them.  It might be interesting to look back at all of those things that troubled me so much that are no longer an issue in my life.  You know, we worry about so many things all the time and it never changes anything or does us one bit of good.  “And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”  “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

So anyway this Buddha Board is the same sort of idea as my pink brain, only in addition it also provides the added benefit of a wonderful, creative, artistic way of doing it.  And it isn’t only good for that purpose, it’s just really enjoyable in general.  Even the bamboo paintbrush feels good to hold in your hand.  I’m probably going to end up buying one of my own so I don’t have to keep using/borrowing the one I gave my daughter for her birthday.

The motions I use are much more fluid and I paint my words in a calligraphy style, but this video gives you the basic gist of how it works.  I like the lyrics to the music they put with it.

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Several nights ago I was looking around on YouTube for some relaxation music to listen to and I came across a lovely little gem.  It’s so peaceful.  And I find it not only very soothing, but also somehow hopeful and even cheerful at the same time.  I absolutely love it and I feel so good listening to it.  I’ve went to sleep with it playing nearly every night since.  Music combined with sounds of nature… it doesn’t get much better than that for me.  Music truly is such a beautiful, wonderful thing and I’m so thankful for the ears to hear.  The original version I found doesn’t allow for embedding so you have to click this link if you’d like to listen to it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YCAcXiHEdk

But I did find a portion of that same selection on this one

~

I also took a picture of my pink brain…DSCF0081a

Silly looking isn’t it?  Hey, whatever works, right?

~

Knit Nut

I learned how to knit over the holidays and now I can’t seem to stop.  It has such a wonderful, therapeutic motion and rhythm to it.  I even like the sound that the knitting needles make as they touch together.  🙂  I have always enjoyed working with my hands and so doing this knitting thing just feels really good to me.

I’m not entirely that great at it, however.  It takes a certain bit of finesse to remain consistent with the amount of tension you use on the yarn.  Oh… but speaking of the yarn… who knew there were so many completely delicious textures, colors, and varieties of yarn?!

I decided I wanted to learn how to knit on a whim.  I was browsing around at a thrift store one day when I noticed some navy blue colored yarn nestled among some of the other random crafting items on one of the shelves.  It wasn’t especially nice yarn, but the blue color of it reminded me of someone special and for some reason I suddenly got the urge to learn to knit with it.  My sister knows how to knit and she was there with me so I asked her if I forked out the whole 50 cents for the yarn and some knitting needles if she would teach me how to knit, and she said she’d be more than happy to oblige.  My big sis has taught me so many things over the years… from quilting, to beading, to canning homemade jam, and now knitting, she’s the best!

Well, it’s a good thing I had some cheap stuff to practice with because it ended up being quite challenging for me at first and had I used a more expensive yarn, it would have been a waste of money.  Nothing worthwhile other than experience came out of that navy blue yarn and I have since pulled out all of the practice stitches and rolled it into a nice little ball for my kitties to play with.

The easiest thing I could think of to learn to knit was a scarf, but even that isn’t as simple as one would think.  After practicing a bit with my thrift store yarn, I went out and bought this absolutely scrumptious yarn from the craft supply store.  It’s so unbelievably soft, and the scarf I made with it is so warm and cozy and… deformed.

My sis failed to tell me until I was finished with it that you have to periodically count the stitches as you’re going along with each row and keep the same number as to keep it the same size/shape throughout.  I know that may seem like common sense, but I’m a knitting noob and didn’t know that, so my first scarf turned out looking quite misshaped.  It’s unfortunate too because I kinda had someone else in mind that I wanted to give it to once it was finished, but I didn’t because it ended up being so deformed.

For some reason every time I tried to take a photo of the scarf by itself I couldn’t get it to show up very well, but one day when I was wearing it and my daughter and I were out and about, she had me stand over in front of some trees so she could try and take a picture of it for me.  I look a bit silly and the overall lighting in this photo is a little off, but the scarf shows up nicely.  And you can’t even tell it’s deformed.  🙂

DSCN6496a1But even deformed, this scarf is seriously the snuggliest thing ever.

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Well, I couldn’t stop there, so off I went back to the craft supply store to get more yarn.  This time around I picked out a lovely purple colored blend with a fun knobby, fuzzy texture to it.  With this yarn too I had yet another someone else in mind to make a scarf for, but because my first one had turned out so badly, I still wanted to practice a bit more, so I made one for myself with it first.

Knowing now to count the stitches as I went along resulted in a more uniform shaped scarf, but I still made a few bloopers which caused looser parts here and there, so it’s a good thing the style and texture of the yarn helps hide them nicely.  😉

I failed at trying to take a decent photo of this one too, so I stole this picture off of Facebook of my dear friend wearing the nearly identical one I knitted for her (she is the one I originally planned the purple yarn for :)).  And because this was the third scarf I made, it’s somewhat of an “improved model” with fewer bloopers.  And speaking of “models” the one in this photo looks quite stunning in her new scarf don’t you think?

I love her to pieces!  Warm, fuzzy, and purpley hugs to your neck, my friend!  ♥

Mindi's ScarfBut like I said… be careful because those little fuzzies really like to get stuck to your lip gloss and tangled up in your eyelashes.  😉

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So now I was on a roll, with three scarves under my belt, maybe I should expand my knitting horizons and try and knit something a bit more complicated ~ mittens, a hat, or socks maybe?  No, I’m afraid I’m still feeling very much like a beginner and really not quite confident enough yet to attempt any of those.  So what did I do… I knitted another scarf, of course.  😉

On this trip to the craft supply store I surprised and confused myself because I chose to get some red yarn.  For one thing, red is not a typical color that I tend toward.  For anything.  I don’t often wear red and there are only certain shades of red that I even like.  But here as I was ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over all of the wonderful different varieties and colors of yarn to choose from, suddenly out of nowhere this red yarn starts crying out in a loud voice “Pick me!  Pick me!”  I argued with myself over it for a little while, but for some reason I just couldn’t resist it.  So weird.  My sis was with me and knowing me quite well, she too was surprised at my selection of red.  But sometimes you just have to “follow the force, Luke” even when it doesn’t make sense, so in the end that red yarn went home with me.

As I worked with it I completely fell in love with it, the deep rich color and the simple texture.  And the scarf I made with it is my favorite of all the scarves I have made so far.  I’m not even sure why.  The first scarf is definitely the coziest and the purple scarf is most certainly the prettiest (purple is my favorite color), but this red one… this red one, I just really especially adore.

In the end I’ve just decided that maybe it was meant to be a Valentine’s gift to myself ~ it is red after all.  😉  I also ended up using it to take a Valentiney photo of myself wearing it to give to my special someone for Valentine’s day.  ♥

It’s just a plain, ordinary looking scarf, not anything special, but for some reason I just really love it.  And it’s so weird because I don’t usually like the color red, but this scarf feels like me…

Red Scarf~

I am currently in the process of knitting yet another scarf.  Not for myself, but for someone else.  I think three scarves for myself is enough, don’t you?  Well, maybe not.  😉  I still haven’t moved onto learning to knit anything else or learned any other stitches except for the basic knitting stitch yet, but my sister has plans to teach me more.  She better hurry though because I think I may be moving out of knitting mode soon; for spring is coming.  Knitting is a great indoor winter activity and I have been enjoying it immensely, but spring means ~ gardening!

Winter is so long and oh how I miss my garden and all of the green and growing things.  I can’t wait to get back out there and play in the dirt…

~

Communication

Isn’t it wonderful when you read a story or watch a movie that touches your heart in just the right place?  That goes down to that deep place inside of you and resonates in such a way that it actually inspires you to want to do something in your real life or change something in your way of thinking to help make you a better person or improve your life?  Or hasn’t that ever happened to you?  Heck, maybe it’s just me, I know I’m a bit weird and somewhat different from other people.  😉

But seriously, gosh, to be that good of a writer or movie director to be able to tell a story that has that kind of power to truly influence others in that way would be so amazing!  I think it’s all about being able to communicate effectively.  To be able to convey a thought or a feeling using words or pictures and have it reach another person in a way they can understand and relate to.  And there are sooo many different ways to communicate.  Oh how I love when I’m watching a movie and the mere expression in an actor/actress’ eyes tell it all.  Or when I’m reading and the words being used to describe something paint such a vivid picture in my mind that I can actually see it, and feel it.

Being able to communicate in that type of way is truly a gift, I wish I had it.  I have all of one segment written down of a nearly entire story that lives inside my head, and it took such great effort to get it written down and worded somewhat properly that it may never get any further than that.  Trying to write a made-up story is completely different than writing about and sharing the ins and outs of every-day-life type of stuff.

Communicating well and connecting with others is so very important to me, and whether it’s through writing or while talking, I think for the most part I usually do a pretty good job.  Although, every once in a while a misunderstanding or miscommunication is bound to happen.  The key is to be a good listener.  I think I’m a good listener, at least I hope I am.  I know that sometimes I need to be careful not to get so intent about something that I want to share that I fail to listen properly.  I can be a bit on the hyper side at times, especially if I’m excited about something.  😀

But it really is so important to be a good listener.  To me, being a good listener means to sincerely care about the other person and what they are saying.  I saw a quote once that said something like “The first duty of love, is to listen” and I really like that.  Sometimes showing love to others isn’t only about what you do for them, it’s about just simply being truly present there with them in their own moment as they share.  And not only listening, but hearing.  Communicating well goes both ways, it’s not just about expressing your own self.

Anyway, I don’t really know what my point here is…

How’s that for communicating?!  Hahaha!

I guess I’m just feeling all mushy because I like it when I feel things when I’m watching a movie, and I’m wishing I could do such a thing as to inspire others and make them feel stuff too.

Ya know, we all have these blogs as a forum to express and share our thoughts, feelings, interests, etc. with others, and we can only hope that our posts affect and influence others in some way that touches their lives with meaning.  Well, that’s why I have mine anyway.  Whether I accomplish that or not still remains to be seen.  I have tons of drafts that I’ve never published because sometimes I’m embarrassed to share them, thinking “oh my followers don’t want to hear about that” or because I don’t want to be a depressing downer when I’m feeling low because I always want to be a source of light and encouragement to others.

But maybe, just maybe, all of that doesn’t really matter because the thing about the internet is that you just never know who may happen across your path (blog) and just perhaps what you may have to say on any given day (even the embarrassing or depressing stuff) could possibly make them feel something that makes all the difference in their day.  Even if it’s just a laugh,  just a tear, or even just a slight sense of relatedness, to have any sort of affect on another person by what I have to share is a big deal to me.

And one last thought…

It is my firm belief that words are powerful and should not be used carelessly.  Another quote comes to mind here…  “Words and hearts should be handled with care, for words when spoken and hearts when broken are the hardest things to repair.”

Tie-Dying Mischief & Mayhem

So my daughter sends me a YouTube video the other day of this gal doing a tutorial on making tie-dye shorts and tells me that she’d really like to try it.  Well, I could hardly get to the arts and crafts supply store fast enough!  I’m not just a huge fan of tie-dye… I’m a gihugeic fan!  Gigantic + huge.  Yeah… I like to make up my own words.  😉  I love it so much in fact, that I would embarrassingly have to confess that at least 1/4 of my wardrobe consists of some sort of tie-dye or other variation close to it.

Funny thing is though… I have never tie-dyed anything myself before.   I actually find it a bit shocking that with all of the other creative endeavors I’ve explored and with my obvious love for tie-dye, that I’ve never thought to do this before now.  And an even more ginormous shocker to me is that my sis (who is the most “authentic” hippie I know) hasn’t either!  So, thanks to my kiddo (who it just so happens is not especially crazy about tie-dye) for suggesting it!

Here’s more pictures than you’d ever want to see that we took of our tie-dying mischief and mayhem…

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On the video tutorial the gal made the shorts using cut off jeans, so my daughter found an old pair of jeans that she never wears and got down to business.

Here she is marking where she’ll cut.~

And then cutting.  Watch your hair there kid… ~

Next they needed to be frayed a bit.  She used a tweezers to pull at the edges.~

Fraying all finished.  Or at least good enough.  It was a bit tedious.~

Her dog Teddy was standing near her during the fraying process and didn’t even notice he was getting frayed upon.  He was too busy being on the look-out and guarding the patio from other dogs in the neighborhood.  Quite fierce looking don’t ya think?   😉~

Here’s the tie-dye kit that we picked up at the craft store along with 3 hobo style white bags, and my daughter’s freshly frayed shorts ready for bleaching.  She also found an old crusty white camisole she thought she could infuse with new life by tie-dying, and a pair of light blue shorts she thought she could bleach and then tie-dye as well.  ~

So now we’re all set to get started!

Right after I set up this fan…Who takes a picture of a fan?  (Apparently me.)  And what does this have to do with anything?  Well, it was way too warm out early in the day, and I absolutely hate being hot.  So being the weirdo that I am… I brought a fan outside.  Yes, and then I took a picture of it.  Funny thing is… it got super windy out as the day went on.  And we’re talking windy like “It’s a twister auntie Em!”  Guess my having a fan outside gave mother nature a little hint.  Maybe bringing a fan outside on a hot day is kinda like doing a rain dance…  😉

~

Okay, so first things first, it’s time to soak her shorts in the bleach.~

And then wait for them to process.~

“Meanwhile back at the Bat-cave…” 

We started binding up our hobo bags with rubber bands.

My daughter’s conglomeration ~ all loosey goosey with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.  So cute.  🙂~

My sis scrunched hers and bound it up real tight.  Not sure what she was doing using a piece of twine for that one little random part, but she always has danced to the beat of her own drum…~

And finally mine ~ I tried to be organized about it and spun the main part of my bag into a spiral.  I wasn’t so sure what to do with the strap though so I just kind of twisted it up.~

Finally it’s time to add the dye…

Here’s my daughter little miss free spirit just splashing on the colors (and making a mess ;)).~

My sis started by dabbing yellow here and there and then moved onto pink while going around in a circular pattern.~

Being the orderly person that I am, I decided to color mine in sections.  Never mind the fact that tie-dye, in it’s very nature, is not orderly.  At all.  ~

When my sis and I saw this photo my mom took of the two of us we laughed so hard!  For multiple reasons… first of all, our facial expressions ~ they’re nearly identical, lips pursed, furrowed brows, and we look “oh sooo serious.”  Usually, no matter what we’re doing, we are laughing our heads off without a care in the world, but apparently tie-dying is very serious business.  😉   Next, notice each of our left hands ~ again nearly identically posed.  What a couple of freaks!  ~

Here’s our colorful little bundles…

My sis’sAnd mine

Didn’t catch a photo of my daughter’s bag before we wrapped them all in plastic to let them sit overnight.

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Here are our finished bags…

My daughter’s~

My sis’s~

And mine

Not too bad for a bunch of noobs!

~

Here’s my daughter working on her camisole.  I love the pink, purple and blue that she used!~

“Haste makes waste” and my daughter got sick of waiting for her shorts to dry so the first time around, the shorts ended up being a complete fail.  They hadn’t dried enough and there was still so much bleach in them that the colors didn’t take.  Ew the colors were all muddy… ~

So we had to re-bleach them and try again.  “Practice makes perfect” and the second attempt = success!  Beautiful vibrant color!~

It seems that my family never does anything in small quantities and while we were yet in the middle of all this tie-dye mischief and mayhem, we decided that we liked it so much that we wanted to do more.  So back to the store we went to get more dye…

And after watching the rest of us, my mom wanted to give it a try.  Here she is applying some color to her own hobo bag. Yeah, my mom is pretty cool… 75 and doing tie-dye!

~

Her finished bag~

As for me the second time around ~ I grabbed an old crusty white tank top of mine and pretended I was a sculptor (or something).  Hah take a look at this freaky binding job…and then I added color…Ta-Da!  Look at the fun results…

FrontAnd back…I got confused when I was binding and coloring it and thought that the designs along the bottom there on each side was the front shoulders.  Oh well it’s pretty having it on the backside too  😉

~

I also tried my hand at tie-dying a pair of socks.  I was bummed that the only ones I could find had gray on the toe and heel because I was worried about what it would look like once colored.  I also noticed as I was coloring them that the way they absorbed the dye was weird.  But look how they turned out!Talk about happy feet!

~

My daughter colored a pair as well…~

My sis had a different idea for her second project.  She bought some white rayon fabric and made herself a nightgown/dress of sorts.  Here it is all bound up…And this is how she colored itIt reminds me of a dragon.  🙂

And now for the grand finale of our tie-dying adventures…

I don’t know about you, but I think the way this turned out is absolutely amazing!  Everything my sis touches with her unique creativity becomes a beautiful masterpiece!  These pics don’t even do it justice…l absolutely love the colors she ended up with on this sleeve!

~

I have been stealing my big sis’s clothes since I was a little girl ~ sometimes to my detriment (ie getting the crap beat out of me for it), and even though this new nightgown/dress of hers might not fit me, I still may have to sneak into her apartment one day when she isn’t home and nab it.  Her own fault… she never should have given me a key.  😉  That or make her help me make one of these for myself.  Although she has already said she has no clue how she even did it.  She’s always winging it and ending up being amazing.  When I grow up I want to be just like her.  ♥

~

So tie-dying was pretty fun!

🙂

Minnesota’s Got Talent

In updating my links page today, I decided that I wanted to share this in an actual blog post…

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I’m pretty sure that for the most part all mother’s are proud of their children and think that their kid is the absolute best, but mine really is!  😉

I am so inspired by my daughter.  She is exquisitely beautiful inside and out, and so very talented.  Even if I wasn’t her mom I would be a huge fan.  I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have her for my kid and how much I love her. ♥

We have always been very close and have been through a lot together.  I like to think I know her quite well, although I know there are some things she doesn’t share with me.  Despite my raving reviews here… she’s not perfect ~ none of us are, and every one of us would be embarrassed if everyone saw our flaws, but I truly think the world of her.  

In my own pursuit of creative expression, I am thrilled to see my daughter doing the same.  And in being her biggest fan, I’d like to share some of hers with you.  So if you’ll indulge me…

I’ll start with her music.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I began inundating her with music by playing instrumental and classical music to my tummy.  🙂  And from the day I brought her home from the hospital I would play it in her nursery whenever she went to bed or down for a nap.

Some of my most precious memories of her as a baby are of her waking up in the morning singing.  Not crying as most babies wake up, but singing.  Not anything intelligible of course, but as she got older she would wake up calling for me in sing song variations of “mommy” ~ omygosh so precious!  ♥

Growing up she was (and still is) terribly shy, so “outsiders” rarely heard her beautiful voice.  In 5th grade she somehow got the nerve to try out for a singing competition at school and won 2nd place!  Then the following year she won 1st place in that same competition.  In 8th grade she tried out for the Minnesota All-State Choir and got in!

But as the teen years go…  and maybe because of insecurities, she didn’t really put herself “out there” much through high school until her senior year when she wrote a song and performed it in front of the entire school ~ a terrifying and triumphant moment!

But singing wasn’t the only musical talent she developed over the years.  She began piano lessons in 2nd grade and almost immediately we noticed what an amazing ear she had.  She can listen to almost any piece of music and before long start plunking out the melody on the piano.  The winter before last, I bought her a violin for her birthday and even though she had never touched a stringed instrument or violin before, she was playing twinkle twinkle little star on it within minutes.  I don’t know… is that normal?

In saying all this… let me share her latest ~ and one of my favorites of her instrumental pieces.  It’s simple, and lovely, and makes me feel things as I listen to it…

~

And this next one is of her singing an original piece that she wrote last spring.  We don’t have professional recording software so the sound quality isn’t top notch, and it may not be one of her best vocals, but beautiful just the same…

And I love the lyrics…

Here is a link to her YouTube channel.  She currently has several original pieces including a few covers of her singing other artist’s music.   :D   Check it out if you’d like.

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She hasn’t been doing a whole lot with her music recently though because lately she has been flexing her creative muscles in the ways of photography.  And doing it quite well I might add…

She not only has a good ear, but a good eye as well ~ literally.  This is a photo manipulation she did of her own eye, and “Eye” happen to think it’s pretty cool!

And here are a couple other of her most recent projects…

Here is a link to her deviantART gallery.  She has some very interesting and unique photos, as well as quite a few writings.  Yes, she’s a good writer too!

~

Well thank you for letting me share (if not brag) a little about my daughter.  I am very proud of her talents and accomplishments in the way of artistic expression, and can’t wait to see where it all leads to next…

😀

Addicted to deviantART

Several days ago my daughter suggested that I make a deviantART account.  I’ve been working on a fictional story, that up until recently has only lived inside my head, and she thought it would be a good idea to post the first chapter on there to get feedback on it.  Well, I have yet to post my first chapter because mine eyes have seen the glory of all of the wonderful, beautiful art and I have lost myself in it’s vast galleries of artistic expression.

Allow me to share a few of the beautiful and interesting images I have come across…

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Being a nature lover, I am totally turned on by any photography which depicts nature or landscapes.

Omygosh just look at these phenomenal sunset shots! !

©2010-2012 *WindyLife

©2006-2012 ~jay-peg

Amazing right?!!!  And there’s TONS of photos like these!

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How about some florals…

©2010-2012 *WindyLife

©2010-2012 ~impatienss

It was hard to just pick a couple photos here, but I’m a sucker for shades of purples, pinks, and blues so I chose these. 🙂

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Now for some fractals…

©2010-2012 *heavenriver

©2010-2012 *heavenriver

Both completely different ~ and completely beautiful!

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You want cute & cuddly?…

©2010-2012 ~CheckAvailability

©2011-2012 =forest-goddess

Yeah, I’m also a sucker for bunnies and kittens! 😉

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People are so talented…

©2010-2012 ^alicexz

©2009-2012 =Culpeo-Fox

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And now for some fantasy art!  You may love these or hate them, but I LOVE them, so I have to share more than just two…

©2009-2012 ~Philipstraub

©2011-2012 *heise

©2009-2012 ~yoeah

©2008-2012 *sandara

©2008-2012 *sandara

©2010-2012 *AlectorFencer

©2008-2012 *Ironshod

There’s sooo many more, but I’ll resist…

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I don’t know what these would be classified as technically, but they are interesting and beautiful to me…

©2011-2012 ~Aichan3

©2011-2012 =Eibo-Jeddah

So colorful.

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And because of my love of reading, I really like the concept of these…

©2011-2012 *duchesse-2-Guermante

©2011-2012 `Tolkienmaster

©2010-2012 ~meoww

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And just because this is so darn cute…

©2008-2012 ~lOolah

It’s hard to stop!

~

See what I mean?  Don’t you agree that it would be easy to get sucked into all of this wonderful creative expression?!  I’m so thankful for eyes that can see!

~

Hopefully at some point I’ll get around to posting that chapter…

😉

Adventures from Unplugged Week

I’m on week four of a twelve week creativity course called “The Artist’s Way” and for this entire week the instructor has assigned reading deprivation.  No reading whatsoever.  I know… horrifying right?!  But wait there’s more… for me this also includes unplugging from the Internet and TV.  Just kill me now and put me out of my misery!   I am allowed to write however, so I thought… should I not happen to survive this week, I would write about the adventures that led to my untimely demise.  😉

Day One:

Got my hair colored and added more purple!  Just a subtle little streak on my left side-burn over my brunette color, so it doesn’t show a whole lot.  But oh goodness I love, love, love the way my stylist colors my hair!  She also fixed the hideous haircut that I got from a different stylist earlier.  Okay I’m exaggerating, it wasn’t really hideous and usually I like the way the other stylist cuts my hair, but this time she had cut my bangs too short and didn’t blend them with the rest of my hair.  I hated it and it made me crabby.  I have this obnoxious cowlick in my bangs that causes me  serious mental issues and I have slight OCD with needing my bangs to lay just right ~ which they rarely do… which explains my periodic bouts of insanity from time to time.  Well, that explains part of it.  Hah!

Then me and my gorgeous new hair went out to eat at Olive Garden (my fave restaurant) with my daughter & my mom.  Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy my spaghetti 😦 ~ should have known better and gotten my usual fettuccine alfredo.  It was still fun though and I had a coupon!

After dinner we went to a thrift store where my daughter found a few fun things.  When we went to pay we were pleasantly surprised to discover that particular thrift store offers an extra 25% off everything on Tuesdays.  Today is Tuesday… so bonus!

When we brought my mom home she showed us something very special and sentimental that she found in her basement earlier that day.  My dad’s accordion!  We thought it had been lost over the years, but there it had been all along… pushed way into the back of the far reaches of her basement like a long forgotten buried treasure!  My daughter is quite musical so we put it in her arms to see if she could figure out what to do with it.   Which ended up being not much, but she gave it a good effort.  It’s too bad my dad wasn’t able to show her how to play before he passed away.  With tears in my eyes I snapped this pic with my cell phone’s less than stellar camera…

~

Day Two:

Went to Como Park Zoo today!  The zoo… in January… in Minnesota…. who woulda thunk it?!  Apparently not too many people because we basically had the whole place to ourselves ~ which was wonderful!   It was around 30 degrees and the sun was shining much of the time so it was a beautiful winter day.

All of the animals were active and up close to the observation areas ~ the most exciting for my daughter were the wolves…

There is also an absolutely wonderful conservatory there and my daughter and I just wanted to go and enjoy some green and growing things ~ the perfect antidote for those winter blahs…

Their Sunken Garden area (the most flowery part) was closed off for maintenance, but we did happen upon some other blooming beauties…

And did you know that chocolate grows on trees?!  We came across a tree that was identified as a chocolate tree and this sign was posted next to it…

So interesting!  The zoo was the perfect place to nurture my inner artist child. 😀

After the zoo we went to pick up my mom and went out to eat again.  This time to Baker’s Square, where we hadn’t remembered it was “Pie Rush Wednesday” so we had the unexpected surprise of getting a free slice of pie!  So much for my diet…  But it was free 😉  And it was very yummy!

Also today… I reluctantly returned all of my library books since I’m not allowed to read for a whole week and didn’t want to be tempted.  😦

~

Day Three:

Ran errands with my sis today.  I had only planned on going to Costco, but as per usual when my sister is involved… sometimes you just have to “follow the force Luke” so we ended up going to several other places along the way.

And I’m glad too because one of the places we went was to the Mississippi Market Co-op near my apartment and now I am enjoying a delicious salmon burger for dinner. 🙂  I also bought some beautiful brightly colored, fresh organic fruits and veggies ~ they were simply too pretty to resist.  Plus, I gotta try and make up for that unhealthy pie I ate last night.  Although, I’m sure that’s not how it works.  😉

Another place we stopped at was the fabric store because my sis needed to pick up a few things.  While we were there I wandered off into the bead area.  I have many lovely pieces of jewelry that I’ve made over the years, but have gotten away from it with all of the other things that have been going on in my life.  It was so nice to walk among the rows of beads and dream about all of the pretty things I could make with them.  And then… I found a really cool medallion that would be perfect for making a necklace to go with my new renaissance costume!  And it was only $3.99!  Score!  I’m so excited to have a new beading project to work on!

I’m really missing my reading, my Internet and my TV right about now ~ wanting so bad to just veg and relax for the rest of the evening.  I’m also terribly missing my Facebook friends too.  😦  The adventures I’m having are fun, but it’s also hard…

Is 6 p.m. too early to go to bed?

~

Day Four:

After writing a bit and playing with my cats for a while, I really did try to go to bed at around 6 p.m. last night.  It didn’t work out so well.  I slept good for a few hours, but then it was all a nightmare after that.  Literally!  I tossed and turned restlessly throughout the night while having all sorts of bizarre dreams and nightmares.  Also, my night owl of a daughter kept coming into my room multiple times chattering excitedly about a new breed of dog that she wants to get.  Even after she went to bed she was waking me up by texting me about it.  My only solace was having my warm, chubby, purring kitten laying next to me.

Today was very low key.  After spending the last three days being busy and out and about, I didn’t really feel like going anywhere.  But with not being able to spend at least parts of my day relaxing with a book, being on the Internet, or watching TV ~ not gonna lie… I got a little bored.  I know I could have cleaned out a closet or organized something, but I just wanted to relax.

So to try and relax I burnt some of my favorite incense, sat listening to music and petted my cats.  I spent a significant amount of time throughout the day just talking with my daughter and to people on the phone.

I spent most of the evening writing and then I played few board games with my daughter.  That was fun ~ it’s been quite a while since we’ve done that.  ♥

~

Day Five:

Got together with a good friend of mine today and had a FOUR hour lunch! 😀  We always go so long in between getting together that we have lots to catch up on.  The food was yummy, but it was the company I enjoyed the most ~ so thankful for the good friends I have in my life and especially this friend in particular!  Love you Shmeb!  ♥

Oh my goodness there was a beautiful sunset this evening!  The brilliant shades of purples, pinks, oranges and blues painted a glorious backdrop behind the city’s downtown skyline.  It was the kind that you not only see with your eyes, but also feel with your heart.  I loved watching as it changed colors as dusk settled in ~ which was extra pretty against the white snow.  So different from the sunsets I enjoyed when I lived out in the country, but every bit as breathtaking.  A delicious feast for the eyes…

I fell off the wagon tonight. 😦  The TV captured my attention while I was over at my mom’s.  I tried to resist, but it was like a magnet to my eyes and sucked me in.  I blame my daughter!  The funny part of all of this is that both my daughter and my mom have also felt the repercussions of my being unplugged this week, because ever since my dad passed away last June, one of the routine things the three of us do together is watch TV at my mom’s house.  My Mom records programs on her DVR and my daughter and I go over there a couple times a week and watch them with her.  We did spend a considerable amount of time together doing other things this week, but we’ve all felt the loss of our TV time.  My daughter had had enough TV deprivation and rebelled and turned it on while we were over there doing some laundry tonight.  I was trapped and there was no way out ~ “resistance is futile.”

I also emailed someone today, but even though that is using the Internet, it’s not technically the same as being “on” the Internet.  Right?

Oh well.  Either way, I have two days left of this and am resolved to finish strong!  Or die trying…  😉

~

Day Six:

Went to church for the first time in ages today.  Eventually at some point I will probably write a post to share about some of the reasons for that, but not today.  Anyway… today is the 30th anniversary of the day that I became a Christian and I couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate it than by going to church.  😀

There wasn’t a usual sermon, instead one of the former pastors shared about a few of the church’s missions outreaches.  He wasn’t a very good speaker, nothing about him was particularly interesting or engaging, he definitely was not charismatic in any way and even his voice was monotone and boring sounding.  But I was so moved by what he was saying and I found myself crying several times while he was talking.  I was just so aware of how truly blessed I am.  How fortunate I am simply for just being born in the United States.  Complain all you want about the corruption and injustice.  Complain about our government, our health care system, our educational system, or any other system that you think is messed up, but despite all of it’s faults… you are still extraordinarily fortunate to have the privilege of being born in this country!   But these people ~ these fellow human beings who are born in third world countries… live in such conditions that we cannot possibly imagine.  I know that nothing I have ever had to go through in my life thus far even remotely compares to their suffering.  I think we tend to become somewhat desensitized to the images of the starving children we see on TV and so the reality of the terrible suffering these precious children endure doesn’t have as big of an impact to stir us into action.  It’s when you hear a first hand and personal account of someone’s experience in relief type work that you get more of a glimpse into the gravity of the situation for these people.

I could go on and on from here, but I think I’ll save the rest of my thoughts on this for a separate post.  I know in trying to cover an entire week’s happenings this one is already getting pretty long.    Hang in there with me ~ only one more day left!  😉

~

Day Seven:

Very long, but fun day today.  🙂  Took off first thing this morning to go shopping with my mom for a few things for my daughter’s 20th birthday that’s coming up this weekend.  Originally we were just going out to order a cake and some balloons, but my mom had a few other ideas up her sleeve.  I should have known!  My mom is the most generous person I know and when it comes to her only granddaughter, her giving knows no bounds.  I can’t reveal what the day entailed because I don’t want to ruin the surprise in case my daughter reads this, but I think my mom’s ideas will help make her birthday feel extra special.  ♥

Kinda sorta fell off the wagon with TV again tonight.  My daughter insists on week after week in subjecting me to the sheer and utter torment of watching The Bachelor.   Try as I might to make myself otherwise occupied… there was no place to escape it in this tiny apartment.  So although I tried not to pay any attention to it ~ I  succumbed.   Oh and guess what happened on this episode?  Women cried.  Shocker!  Annoying…

~

So what did I learn from my week of reading deprivation and being unplugged?

I don’t really know…

In relation to the course I’m doing, this week was meant to help my creativity.   To sort of shut out all of the other voices in order to hear my own.  To be forced to get in touch with myself by cutting off all of my escape routes.  The creator of this course believes that art is born out of reality, not fantasy.  And it is in getting in touch with our reality that we are truly able to express ourselves artistically.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if any “art” was born from my week of torture…  I mean reality.  😉