Creative Everyday 2008

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In 2007, I discovered how important it was to me to commit to a daily creative habit. Living my life in an artfully expressive way is as important to me as breathing. So, with this commitment in mind, I was excited to join Leah Pilken’s challenge to be Creative Everyday. This is a low stress challenge to incorporate creativity into your life on a daily basis. If you haven’t visited her blog, I encourage you to go check it out. A special thanks to Sue for sharing and pointing me in that direction.

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When I woke up yesterday morning, I was completely wowed by the sunrise and moved to get creative with my camera. I love to be creative with my camera because it helps me focus (pun intended) on a unique and special moment that has moved me enough to capture it in a photograph. As I listed in a previous post, one of my goals for this year is to experiment with transfer methods so I may incorporate my photography into my artwork in some way, whether it be in my jewelry or in my mixed media work. In my sunrise photograph, I see a 4-color combination that I would love to incorporate into a piece of jewelry, too.

How are you creative everyday?

The Thirteenth Tale

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I am listening to a new audiobook called The Thirteenth Tale by Diana Setterfield. This wonderful ghost story, filled with surprising twists, is about 2 women, a reclusive famous writer, Vida Winter (read by Lynn Redgrave), and a young bookish woman she asks to write her biography, Margaret Lea (read by Ruthie Henshall).

I have only just begun to listen to this mesmerizing tale but I am already hooked by the story as it unfolds in the rich British accents of these talented dramatic women.

Goals for the New Year

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I have been reading many blog posts lately about goals for the New Year. So, inspired by my online friends, I have set forth a few goals for myself for 2008.

-take a painting class/workshop to bring painting back into my life

-create a visual journal by sketching more

-recreate my website

-nurture my writing, including writing poetry

-plant a garden at my new home

-open an Etsy account with updated photos of all of my jewelry

-learn transfer techniques so I may incorporate my photos into my art and my jewelry

-spend more time in nature

As I scan through my list, I see my resolution word, “Beauty”, already guiding me. In the last week, my meditations on my resolution word have led me from thinking about creating beautiful things to experiencing “beauty in the moment” and finally to finding the beauty in myself. As I approach my 50th birthday, I celebrate my blessings, my growth and, yes, my beauty.

Saturday Morning Tea

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When I opened the pouch to inhale the dry leaf aroma of this morning’s tea, I felt like I had just opened a bag of semi-sweet chocolate bits. You know the kind you use to make toll house cookies. I have many wonderful memories of mixing up batches of cookie battah (said in my Mom’s Brooklyn accent) on rainy afternoons and then eating the cookies warm and gooey right out of the oven. It isn’t raining today, in fact, we are having a “January thaw” here in New England with temps climbing into the mid 50s by Tuesday. As with all weather experiences here, it won’t last for long so we will savor the moments of mild springlike temps while we can.

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Dumbara estate Green Curls, this green tea is from the Kandy district of Sri Lanka, known by its old world name of Ceylon in tea company. The dry leaf is a dark green which lightens up to its true color after the leaves are steeped for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. This would be the perfect green tea for someone wanting to try green tea but unfamiliar with its vegetal notes and light body.

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The liquor looks like a Darjeeling with its gorgeous amber color. The flavor is strong with interesting fruity notes. The vegetal quality is very subtle, unlike a Chinese or Japanese green tea. I wish I had known about this tea the other day when I was talking with a customer who gave her candid opinion of green tea as tasting like “dirty dish water”. Well, I’ve never sampled dirty dish water myself but I think she was probably saying that she thinks green tea is too light for her. As I recall, she was an Assam lover.

So, if you are strictly a black tea lover, this would be a good first choice to start your journey into the green tea category.

Art Journals for my Mom

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I love to create gifts and my Mom loves to tell stories. So, inspired by my kindred mixed media art friends, Amy and Judy, I made 2 art journals for my Mom so she could write down her stories. This was a bit scary for me since I’ve never done anything like this before. Well, not in a very long time anyway.

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I didn’t have any type of a plan other than I wanted to embellish the covers, outside and inside, of a blank notebook. I brought out acrylic paints, rubber stamps, scrapbook papers, gel medium, my “O” magazines and family photos. And I played. As I freely glued and painted, I felt joy swell inside of my heart, like something was being set free. I remembered painting as a child and felt like I was coming home to a place I really loved.

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I hope my Mom enjoys writing in these journals as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Blue Chalcedony Bracelet

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When I visited Michigan back in September, my SIL asked me to bring some beads along because she wanted me to create a bracelet for her. She was drawn to the idea of silver with either stone or crystal. After getting some ideas about what she likes, I created this bracelet for her as a gift. I wanted to experiment with a different technique in my wirework, one I hadn’t done before. So, in my internet research, I came across the work of Eni Oken. And, lo and behold, she offered some tutorials. Her work is exquisite and very inspirational. With the herringbone weave tutorial and some thin 26-gauge silver wire, I had a lot of fun learning and practicing. I chose these faceted blue chalcedony beads because I think they go very well with the wire. The color reminds me of shadows on snow drifts. Wire wrapping around their square shape was a little challenging at first but I soon got into a nice rhythm. After I created the individual wire wrapped links, I choose some small Bali silver beads to use for spacer links.

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I made a simple S-clasp from 18 gauge silver wire, hammering it slightly to give it some texture. Once the bracelet was constructed, it got a dunk in a liver of sulfur solution to give it a nice antique patina. I’m happy to say that she loved her gift, especially when she saw that it matched the sweater she was wearing perfectly! She’s on the right and my daughter is on the left.

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Chalcedony is a form of silica and comes in many colors, the most common in the white to grayish blue to brown range. According to my book entitled Healing Crystals and Gemstones, it is named after the city of Chalcedon (Turkey) where it was first discovered. It was a popular carving stone in antiquity for motifs of gods and goddesses. According to its magical properties, it encourages calmness, purity and focus on what is essential.