Embracing Creativity, Uncategorized

Unique gifts for Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)!

If you’re like me, buying gifts can be great or torturous. Great if it’s for my mum — she likes everything from earrings to bath salts to wacky dishtowels. Torturous if it’s for my husband — he likes expensive watches that I can’t afford! So, I decided to put together a list of unconventional gift ideas. Feel free to add your own in the comments section!

For parents of young children

  • membership to the local children’s museum, zoo, or science center (check to see if they have reciprocal agreements, where one membership can get you in for free or half price to other museums)
  • yoga classes to exercise and de-stress!
  • for new dads, a subscription to The Rad Dad Box (started about two years ago by my friend Michelle and her husband after they had a baby) RadDad
  • specialty magazine subscription about something they love but wouldn’t spend money on (exotic cars, cottage living, teapot collecting, dollhouse furniture, miniature railroads, model planes, book reviews…)

For all grown-ups

  • creative writing lessons (a very good online course for beginners is www.writingclasses.co.uk)  ourdogbluexmaswhite2017jpg
  • membership to a local museum, especially if membership includes free tickets to events at the museum (such as movies, music shows, and special exhibitions)
  • beer or wine or spirits made locally
  • concert tickets for a group they love but haven’t seen for years (one year, I got my dad tickets to The Moody Blues, one of his all-time favorite groups)
  • car wash/detailing coupons (okay, kind of boring, but my husband likes this)
  • gifts from stores that support good causes, such as Kiva’s store, Ten Thousand Villages, and more listed on this site
  • something handmade and unique on etsy.com

For kids

  • a tent for camping in the back yard or in the living room (I’ve heard that Ace Hardware has affordable, easy-to-put-up ones!)
  • magazine subscription (some good ones are Ranger Rick, Highlights, Muse, OWL, Dig, chickaDee, and Upfront)
  • subscription to pixton.com, where they can make their own comic strips

Gift suggestions from my kids  Barbie with hand-made clothes

  • unlimited amounts of toys and candy
  • a toy train
  • a “secret box with a password to get in”
  • a “kit to make Barbie doll clothes”
  • kits to make monster trucks and race cars
  • a science kit “to make potions” and “experiments” and volcanos
  • a pretend dentist kit for kids “to fix someone’s teeth”
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Uncategorized

A Southern Writer’s Network

A quick update… I received a comment the other day on my old blog, A Southern Writer’s Network, which made me want to go back and update it! On that blog, I listed writing events in the South and wrote posts about Southern authors. I limited it to the Southeastern United States, mainly because it was easier for me to keep track of just one area! Anyway, stay posted for more updates…

FYI, I’ve also been listening to some great podcasts by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company). Someone Knows Something is a series concerning cold cases. It’s really well done and worth a listen! Season 1 investigates the disappearance of 5-year-old Adrien McNaughton in 1972 (see his photo below and an artist’s rendering of what he might look like today).

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Piecing it together

Brilliant metaphor for American culture — and home!

studiotempera

blanket-croppedPiecing it together with pins, making a rectangle of 32″ x 38″ Lots of work still ahead – it needs to be shaped, blocked , steamed and stitched

Piecing it together in my head

I had the idea of knitting a security blanket as a metaphor for American culture so I started by knitting – as an example- my own security blanket.

img_1154 detail of stripe

So as I was knitting the different sections, I was puzzled as to why I was using such a different range of colors in this knitting.  Usually I work with pure color, and never use black. And why did I start knitting with size 15 knitting needles when I have very few bulky yarns?  To create the bulky yarns needed for size 15 knitting needles, I  combined different thickness of yarns together, different colors together and different textures together which gave a much more muted palette. Black and browns, deep blues…

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You are powerful!

It’s been a crazy few weeks! Whatever your political leanings, I think we can all agree that the United States is in a state of dramatic change, possibly upheaval. Change can be very scary, even positive changes like getting married or starting a new job. You can probably guess that my personal views on American politics are left-leaning, and so I’m finding the current change very unsettling! Here’s my plan, and maybe it will work for you whenever you are unhappy about something or someone…img_9238

I’ve decided to counter any negative feelings with a positive action. For example, when a certain politician votes for something I disagree with, despite my best efforts (marching, writing letters, phone calls…), I’m going to act in a way that helps people or the environment. I may:

  • pick up litter in a public place and put it in the trash
  • donate food to the local food pantry
  • donate used books to the library book sale
  • say something kind to cheer someone up
  • plant a small tree in my yard

Can you think of any other positive ways to stage your own personal #resistance to what’s bothering you?

Uncategorized

Power of Pixton

capture_pixtonI really love pixton.com because for years I’ve dabbled with creating comic strips, only to get discouraged when my scribbly drawings were too messy. I couldn’t duplicate the characters well enough, and I’d soon run out of steam. But my friend, writer Lisa Logan, introduced me to pixton a couple of months ago, and I’ve been cartooning ever since!

Here’s my latest attempt at humor – in response to the U.S.A. election this week. I’ve been thinking that while words can be mightier than the sword — as we’ve seen on TV, they can mobilize huge numbers of people — they only have the power that we give them. Words alone, without the human emotion behind them, are powerless.

So, we can choose to be broken down by horrible words. Or we can render them meaningless by responding to them as though they were a toddler’s crayon scribbles or the boring ingredients on the back of a box of cereal.

Anyway, here’s my comic!

Embracing Creativity, Uncategorized

Showdown at the Mountain Retreat

I had the opportunity to participate in a “Barbie Project Runway” challenge recently! I recommend it to adults and children alike as a great way to incorporate design, engineering, and sewing skills into your creative practice. Plus, it’s fun!

studiotempera

 

Preparations for the BRBs Runway Barbie Challenge

There were lots of trials before the showdown…and having Fiona as a competitor meant we had to censor Barbie’s attire to have a PG rating.

looking stylish!

IMG_8260

 Showdown!

DSCN0003 Raspberry Sorbet Barbie-layers of fabrics, patterns, flowers and topped with a pink sock hat-well done Fiona!

DSCN0002 Barbie on the bar-bee -Aussie Barbie sizzles in a saucy hat and cowboy boots getting ready to barbecue

Hail to the SHE Hail to the SHE- the first presidential Barbie dressed for her inaugural ball: this gal has a whole wardrobe ready for every occassion

DSCN0001 Tina-Sheena Barbie channeling the 80’s with highlights , tie dye top and animal print skirt..GRRRR!

DSCN0018 These boots for made for walking!Party Rock Barbie is in the building

DSCN0007 ‘Summer fun’ Barbie- classic and classy style but somehow has lost her shoes and is unable to stand up unaided

DSCN0006 Bo Ho Moma in psychedelic leggings and graphic print sock top with an unfortunate hand salute

DSCN0005 Blossom Barbie-better known as exhibitionist…

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