Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Creative Doldrums

I was reading a book a few months ago that talked about the creative ebb and flow. The book, 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin, talks about the way our creativity cycles through high and low points. So right now I am in a lull which can feel rather uncomfortable. I don't have that wonderful feeling of moving along with exciting projects, brimming with excitement at the next wonderful idea. I've spent the last few weeks figuring out priorities, ridding myself of excessive commitments and extraneous STUFF. Yet facing what amounts to a blank slate, instead of feeling invigorated I feel murky and uncertain. McMeekin says, "Whenever and however we arrive at the void, the experience promises to give us a close encounter with fear and insecurity. As we release an old identity and move into a sense of being lost, purposeless, undefined or confused, we must encounter the darkness in ourselves."

So here I am, fears bubbling up and not a lot of inspiration coming with them. But instead of panicking and packing up my schedule again with things I don't actually want to be doing, I am looking at my goals. I am hanging out with these uncomfortable emotions and trusting that this is part of the cycle. I am continuing to clean out and clean up and make little steps forward. I am trusting I will reemerge from the creative void and thanks to the time spent creating space and order I will be prepared for the rush of creative energy and opportunity that is sure to come along.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Preschooler Cookin'

I'm loving the Preschool Cookbook we got James for Yule. The book is Pretend Soup, by Mollie Katzen. It's got pictures with each recipe so even my three year old can see what to do next. The recipes are just right for preschoolers too- not too complex, and tasty. James gets very into selecting what he'd like to make and we put the ingredients on the grocery list. You can see the book in the recipe stand below.

We've been making Chocolate banana shakes the past couple days and I love seeing him proudly pour his brother and I our drinks the he made (almost) all by himself.

Chocolate Banana Shake:
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Banana
2T Cocoa
3 Ice Cubes

Put all ingredients in Blender. Blend. Pour. Drink.

Yes it sounds simple, but the magic is that James is getting to flip through the book, decide from the pictures what he'd like and see how to make that very thing, and then find that he actually is able to do it.

For more recipes, you may enjoy The Kids Corner on Mollie's website as well.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lists Keeping- On Wall and Online

I use lists all the time. Below you see a picture of my list wall in my craftroom. The cabinets are our old metal kitchen cabinets, so I can stick my lists to them with magnets. I used to write these types of lists in notebooks and on slips of paper, but then they'd disappear. Now I always know where to find my lists, they're visible and easy to get to. I do still keep a notebook in my purse for when I'm out and about. The napkin's just stuck up there because I kept needing reminders on how to miter a corner the other day. This is excellent for me in the craftroom because when I get going on anything creative, my brain wakes up and thinks of bunches of important little things that must be written down. Now I can just turn and write on the appropriate list and get back to work. This is particularly good for those great ideas that I just MUST stop and do now. No, no, no, stay on task and write the idea on the "Ideas To Make" list.

Also on my list wall:
-Goals For the Month
-Sewing Room Improvements
-To Look for at Bookmens (local used book shop)
-Gift Ideas
-Wish List
-Menu Plan
-Things to Ask Michael (my husband)
And on a white board not pictured-
-To Sew
-To Do Online
-To Do
-Thank You Notes

For online list keeping I've recently discovered Springpad. ♥ This is a free site dedicated to lists. They have loads of suggestions and pre-formatted lists for things like houshold management, menu planning and recipes, trip planning, and holidays. (There's a great holiday card planner on the site.) You can also make your own Springpad from scratch.

I'm loving the ability to write down my household routines, schedule them if I like (it links up with Google Calendar) and also be able to edit them easily. I can make whatever diddly little list I like and know where to find it again, search it, tag it, share it. Yay. I function much bettter when I write things down instead of trying to hold onto skittering bits of information in my often-sleep-deprived brain. Now that I can easily find my lists when I need them, I'm sure to accomplish great things. Or at least I might remember to send a card to Grandma Rose on time next year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wish Boats and Burning the Tree

Happy New Year! This has got to be one of my very favorite family traditions- burning the Christmas tree. What a send off to the previous year, and a bright hello to things to come.

This year we also made wish boats (if you'd like to make these there's a great tutorial HERE on youtube) out of folded paper. We stood around the familiar oak table and creased and folded and laughed as we followed my mom's lead to make boats for our candles. The room got quiet as we wrote our wishes for 2009, slipping into a reflective calm as we focused on the year ahead.
Wishes inscribed, we made our way down to the pond. One by one, we lit candles and sent the wishes sailing.
Wishing you a year of wonder and connection with those you love.

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