Create

#Inktober

So I just recently learned that Inktober is a thing.

If you have not heard of it, basically, it’s a 31 drawings in 31 days challenge. I discovered it a little late, but I think it’s something everyone should try if they can eke out some time. Lots of people say they can’t draw, but the truth is, EVERYONE can draw. Just ask your childhood self.

If you’re having troubles thinking about what to draw, you’re in luck! There’s a prompt list! Be sure to use hashtags to share with the rest of the art world. #Inktober #Inktober2017

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Here was my submission for day 8:

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Giving Up Reading for One Week

Could you give up reading for one week? No novels. No stories. No blogs. No newspapers. No articles. No social media. For one entire week.

I’m honestly not sure I could. And I’m even less sure that I can. But that’s what I’ll be doing for the next seven days.

For over three weeks now I have been reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and been going through the twelve-week program and doing the assigned exercises. I’ve been waking up every morning between 6:30am and 7am (even on weekends!) to write my morning pages, I’ve been taking myself on “artist dates,” I’ve been using affirmations, and I’ve been doing a lot soul searching in trying to answer questions about who I am and who I think I want to be. But I think I just ran into my most difficult exercise yet.

One of the assignments for week four is to give up reading for seven whole days. I’m not even entirely sure how it’s possible to give up reading. I love reading so much. I do it all the time. I suck down words like I breathe down air. I’m not even sure I can live without reading – especially if I’m comparing reading to breathing! What will I do with all this spare time?

Here’s Julia Cameron’s reasoning about why reading deprivation is one of the greatest tools you can use to unblock your creativity.

“Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence […] “

“We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static.”

“If we monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum, we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation […] Our reward will be a new outflow.”

“[…] sooner or later, if you are not reading, you will run out of work and be forced to play.”

“For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own feelings, rather than cook up something of our own.”

It is a fascinating theory. She’s basically implying that by limiting the inflow or words and ideas from other people, which can flood our system, we are able to tap into our own words and ideas and change the direction of the flow; without ideas flowing in, they can flow out instead.

It makes a crazy amount of sense. But it is terrifying as hell. And it’s really strange that it makes me feel panicky. How can the idea of giving up reading be so terrifying? I think it has something to do with the fact that I can’t use reading to avoid things anymore. Cameron is right. Of course I’m addicted to reading. I don’t consider it a bad addiction, but in looking at it from a new perspective, I totally use reading as a crutch. I would way rather get lost in another author’s world than be faced with the prospect of having to create one myself. Even though I love writing too. How does this make sense? Too many times I have delayed doing something because “I need to finish my book first.” It will be interesting to see what happens when that excuse is off the table.

Plus, as part of this assignment, Cameron also suggests giving up TV. The obvious solution to having too much time from not being able to read is to fill it with TV. Watching TV is an amazing way to kill time. But TV is an inflow too. And like so many parents have said to their kids throughout history “TV numbs the brain.” TV is a crutch too. What am I going to do with so much time??!!

Prepare yourself for a lot of blog posts over the next seven days…

Going Away Gifts – Signed Umbrella

So our chorus said our final goodbyes to one of our members who is moving back to the UK last night. And in lieu of everyone signing a card, we all signed an umbrella – which seemed very appropriate for someone moving back to the UK. It was such an easy thing to do and it turned out so great. All you need is a black umbrella and some waterproof markers. I added a few extra drawings to it because I like to draw, but beyond that it is just filled with kind words and lovely goodbyes from a lot of people who are really going to miss her.

 

How to Make a Box Cushion

Just kidding. I will definitely not be explaining how to make a box cushion. This was the first time I have ever made one of these and I’m shocked that it even looks half decent. There are way more qualified people than me out there who can give you advice.

I am a beginner. Over a year ago I decided I wanted to learn how to sew. There’s a whole bunch of skills people used to have that were so useful that most people just don’t bother to learn anymore. And sewing seemed like one of those skills that would be useful to know. Before I took the class the most I could do was sew buttons back on to shirts. And maybe close up a hole with a needle and thread… Maybe.

So I signed up for a class and got to make a tote bag and a pair of pajama bottoms. But most importantly I learned how to use a sewing machine, which was great. And once the class ended I clearly was overconfident because I started looking up patterns for things like dresses and shirts. Why buy something off the rack when you can customize it to your body and make exactly what you want? You want to know why? Price. That’s why. Fabric is expensive. And machines and overworked/underpaid women in Indonesia are way better at making clothes than I am. So other than repairing things, I don’t know how useful having learned how to sew will be. But I still don’t regret it. Is learning a new skill ever really a bad thing?

During this overconfident phase, though, one of the overzealous projects I created for myself was to make a cushion for this bench that my Grandpa had made my mom and she gave to me. It was a custom-made bench, and while we could probably have found a cushion that likely would have fit, I figured I could make one myself. That way we would get exactly the size and fabric we wanted.

So I went to the fabric store and bought some fabric and thread and foam and then all my supplies sat there untouched for months and months. Do you ever just burden yourself by creating projects for yourself that you probably shouldn’t have taken on? I had no idea how to make a cushion. And I could just barely use a sewing machine. So I avoided this project for a long time. But it never went away. This unchecked box on my to do list. I wanted to do it but I was lacking some serious confidence. Apparently I went from way too much to way too little. Even despite looking up videos on YouTube on how to do it where steps are clearly laid out.

But finally I decided I would just do it. I put all the supplies on the kitchen table so they would just be in the way and I couldn’t ignore them. There was no avoiding the project and I had decided I wasn’t going to move it until it was finished. So I got to work. I measured and cut the foam. I measured and cut the fabric. I let YouTube be my guide and ignored my lack of confidence. I was worried that I would put in all this work and in the end it would look like garbage. But I decided to let go of my ego. Before I made the cushion, we had a folded up beach towel sitting on the bench so our dog could lie on it. Anything I made had to be better than a folded up beach towel, right?

And it came out so surprisingly good! What was I so worried out? The nice thing about sewing is that a lot of it involves sewing things inside out, so even if you are a below average sewer (like I am), when you turn everything right-side out, the rats nest of thread is hidden and no one knows it’s there except you.

So now the cushion is finished. By lowering my expectations and choosing to be okay with an outcome that would be less than perfect, I was able to let go of my hangups and get it done. Task completed.

Haunted Numbers

In the dark

Under the bed

It’s there

Hiding

I know it’s there

And it knows all my fears

When I turn out the lights it taunts me

Haunts me

Teases me

Softly calling my name

What am I so afraid of?

I ignore it

But it can’t be ignored

I pretend it isn’t there

But it’s always there

I am shackled

A prisoner with no escape

During the day I think I am free

I can even forget

For a while…

But it will still be there

It’s always been there

Since I was too young

Waiting

Patiently

Because it knows I’ll come back

I always come back

I am afraid without it

Uncertain

I need it

I long for it

To be reunited and reassured

I will gaze trustingly into its unblinking eyes

Expectant

Hopeful

Trapped

Those neon blue eyes changing to numbers

Telling me how good I am

I will bask in its praise

I crave it

But it will not come

My hope is empty

Instead I am mocked

Not good enough

Would could love me?

Who could love this?

No one

But it will always be there

Reliable

Unwavering

Whenever I need it

When I am weak

It will show me the truth

And I will remain shackled

The scale never lies.

New Baby Gifts – Custom Onesies

A little over a week ago, I mentioned that two of my friends are moving away and I showed you some going away gift ideas in this post. I also mentioned that both of them are pregnant, so as part of their gifts I made them each a onesie for their little monsters.

Assuming you don’t scroll down and ruin the grande reveal, I feel like I need to give some more context. I haven’t really touched on this subject before, but I’m a choir nerd. While we technically call ourselves a chorus, I think it’s mostly semantics, and I just call us a choir… Although, we aren’t affiliated with any religion or church – although I don’t think that’s the difference between a chorus and a choir… Like I said semantics.

Anyways, why I mention the choir/chorus is that both of my friends who are moving away are from this little group of ladies. Our group sings a cappella and we sing all sorts of genres: pop, rock, folk, and Mashups (think Pitch Perfect), and barbershop. That’s right, barbershop. Now before you recoil at the idea of barbershop, let me tell you that I totally understand. The fact that we’re technically affiliated with Sweet Adelines, which is a barbershop organization, is almost why I didn’t join the group to begin with. But I decided to put my biases aside and show up. And I’m so glad I did. The music, barbershop and all, is super fun to sing. Plus, the ladies I sing with are just the best, I learn lot, I get to sing, and basically I love every moment of it. Group signing is even supposed to be healing. So if you love to sing, and are even slightly considering joining a group, do it. Put aside all the inner and outer voices that call you a nerd or a loser for liking something and do what you love. I have no regrets.

So back to the onesies. One of the most famous barbershop songs is “Hello My Baby.” And who would appreciate these onesies more than pregnant barbershop singers.

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So there they are. It’s amazing what you can do with some plain white onesies and some fabric markers. These can be customized however you want, so steal this idea and make it your own because that’s what I did. And they are adorable.

Going Away Gifts – Candy Jars

So I have two friends who are moving away soon, which is always sad. But people seem to think I have a bit of a knack for gifts so I usually end up being the one to put some stuff together. Since both of their departure dates are coming up sooner than I think, I decided to start putting their stuff together.

One of my friends is moving back to the UK and the other one is moving across the country to be with her family for when she has her first baby. Oh, did I mention that they’re both pregnant? Something in the water…

Anyways, here is a sneak-a-peak at a portion of their gifts. There is other stuff that goes with these, but I thought I would share these parts for now. Thanks Pinterest!!