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Currently Browsing: She’s Crafty

The Big Tree With a Lesson

If you have read my blog for a year at least, you may remember that I decorate the 15 foot tree at the Unitarian Universalist church we attend in Easton, Maryland. This year I added a new element or two which brought a little different texture to the tree’s design.

The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

The big tree on Shalavee.com

The amazing paper snowflakes are courtesy of the talent of Nancy Sawyer. And the embroidery hoops hold fabric from an beloved and ill fated tablecloth. See the backstory post here and know that this eureka of recycling absolved me and my heartbreak.

The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

As I was standing there festooning the tree with a few of my favorite helpers, it dawned on me that like all the ornaments on this tree, each of us is unique and homemade in our own way. And like the re-purposed materials I used, we are made of the recycled experiences of our family and our own lives. It seemed a simple and yet profound concept. The bigger tree on Shalavee.com

 

Merry Christmas to One and All ! I hope you all find a single moment to know your life is filled with magic and blessings!

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Week Three Of My and Our Creative September

Yes, as if I could learn anymore, this third week of my, and our, creative September (#ourcreativeseptember on Instagram where others joined me !) has brought another few layers of ahas from this month-long creativity challenge. Having moved through the cloud of resistance, I am now stepping into create mode very quickly. As a given now, I don’t have to grapple with “if”.

As for the when of the creating, I try to think and not think about it. Like if you talk about going to a movie too much, you’ll talk yourself right out of going. The creativity needs to be both slightly spontaneous and slightly planned.Week three of our creative September on shalavee.com

This week I really had no plans for what I might like to be doing or trying. Last week’s mixed media attempts were so satisfying that I knew anything that I felt curious about would be just great. And on my birthday weekend, I even played with flowers to satisfy my creativity need/demand.Pastel feather on week 3 of our creative September

pastel-nouveau-poppy on week three of our creative September on Shalavee.com

Pastels are still satisfying my need to prove something to myself. A need to call myself artist. I found the vulture feather that was lost in the house and tried using the black pastel paper I’d almost forgotten I’d bought. I think that piece is really sexy. As for the flower, I’ve tried to draw flowers with the pastels but hadn’t liked the results. So I thought to overcome this loss by just copying an art nouveau poppy picture I adore. And that seemed to satisfy my ego. collage waterlilies on week three of our creative September on Shalavee.com

But what I like most was the mixed media collage and pastels that I used in recreating the lily pond picture. The first one in pastels was done when I was still feeling shaky in my use of pastels. So this feels like confidence in redoing the same picture to see how it turns out. I like it better.

Pastel bee in London on week 3 of our creative September

bed-bug-over-long-island on my third week of creativity on Shalavee.com

spider-over-londons-fleet-street on My third week of creativity on Shalavee.com

The bugs in your city series was just plain fun!! The biggest gift of all I received, one that you can see only if follow along on Instagram, is the arting snowball that began to happen in my community there. One person then another then another joined in for the challenge. And as I watch them supporting one another and others being inspired, I sigh with contentment. Because I am immensely grateful for all those who have offered up to include me in their challenges that I might challenge myself and discover a better more creative way of living. And a way to allow my inner child to come out and play more often and more easily. One last week of creating and then we’ll be slam into the beginning a month strait of posts on the blog! October is coming, remember?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Week Two of Our Creative September

I embarked on this second week of creating with a high from my first week. I thought I’d use the excuse to create as a means to change up my mantelpiece styling which I did with a mildly pleasing result. I’m sure I’ll come back at it soon but it was a brain scrub of a sort. But then a conversation with my sister had me thinking about mixed media and the craftroom was cooling down (it’s an enclosed porch and very hot in the Summertime) and calling me.day-2 of 2nd week of our creative september on Shalavee.com

day-3 of 2nd week of our creative september on Shalavee.com

It never ceases to amaze me the child-like capacity to be thrilled with myself for my art work. And this month, I’m finding a thrill in using a long intended to use medium and allowing for it to morph and mix with other mediums through an almost meditational process of repetition. Where the first week it was pastels, this second week finds me now introducing the pastels to the watercolored encyclopedia pages with great success and effect. day-4 of 2nd week of our creative september on Shalavee.com

Day 6 on the 2nd week of our creative September

This daily arting endeavor is changing me. I knew it would. I just had to commit to allowing for it to change me. I used to use creativity as a thing to torture my inner child with mean  “No you can’t go out and play until you eat your broccoli” kinda stuff. And my inner child was kept from her one true love, seeing what she could make. And then being proud of herself. To see my declaration of my September intent, go here. And to see the first week, go here.

Day 7 on the 2nd week of our creative September

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Q & A with Creative Momma Megan Gray

I was feeling a wild exclamation streak coming on. A need to bring up the subject of mothering and creativity and take a stab at outing the innate shame of this combination. Righting the wrong of the looks of suspicion and incompetency we get when we try to be both mothers and creatives! Gasp. Impassioned, I wrote a Mother’s Manifesto and I immediately knew who I needed to talk to on this subject : Megan Gray.

I think I must have stumbled on her prolific self through Instagram and soon I was reading some of her blog posts enthralled because not only was she a highly talented and prolific artist, she also faced some seriously scary life and death challenges with her daughter simultaneously. Among many other things surely, Megan paints, blogs, promotes other creative mammas, and mothers her own children. She inspires me immensely. So I asked her if she might be amenable to an interview. She said yes and asked me if I would also do one. The link to my interview is here.

Megan Gray herself on Shalavee.com

Do you feel there’s a societal conflict between creating, success, and mothering?

Absolutely! I don’t hear anyone asking my husband how he goes to work and does all that he does while having kids. But I also believe that mothers/caregivers have the power to change this mindset, and I believe we are starting to. I think with supporting each other as parents and creatives, instead of judging our choices as parents, we can move in the right direction. I also believe we can do it all, just not all at once.

I feel I need to work twice as hard to maintain my separate creative self since motherhood. Do you find this and how have you coped? How did/do you balance or juggle, allow for and nourish your creative needs and your babies’/child’s needs simultaneously?

When they sleep I work. When they are playing without my need to hover, I work. When I am with them, I am with them. When they were babies I constantly reminded myself that they grow quickly, enjoy this time (still remind myself of this). I was in full mother mode for the most part. As they get older and more independent I can work more because they also have lives of their own. We live, learn, and create simultaneously. Sometimes it’s great! Sometimes there are major challenges when someone is sick, or the kids are just being kids. I try my hardest to stay in the moment, but I’m not perfect. I feel lost and upset at times. I wouldn’t change any of this though. No matter what. They help me to see how much I need to create for myself. They are my greatest teachers and supporters. I love that! My husband also helps me soooo much. He only gets one day off and whenever he can he takes over so I can get more painting done. I really couldn’t do as much as I do without him. Support from others is key!Another Megan Gray painting on Shalavee.com

Was there a point, after you’d worked so very hard to establish a product and presence, when you could relax a little? Or do you feel a little like I do, stuck in a creative doing vortex?

I do take time to relax, especially after any events or bursts of creativity. If I don’t my sanity can get just as crazy as if I don’t create. I work a lot at night, so if I don’t go out in nature often, I won’t feel inspired enough to work either. It’s all a balancing act.

What do you do to keep balanced your career and family goals? To keep from burning out at both ends? What are your thoughts, mantras, or practices on maintaining the balance of being a good mother and a productive creative?

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to really be aware of what my needs are at a given time. Also, helps us as a family to be mindful of all of our needs. Compromises help too. Again, I am not perfect. I have moments I am not proud of as a parent/human. The best thing though is to surround yourself with supportive people as much as possible, and have a lot of patience for yourself. I’m still working on this.

There are also times on the parenting end and the creative end where I ask myself, “Have you done enough today?” I love my kids, but I don’t need to do every single thing for them, or play with them constantly. I want them to be independent and creative on their own. Of course I am here to help them when they are hurt, sick, having trouble with figuring things out, and to help guide them with learning, but I am also here to make sure they are given the freedom to be creative humans themselves. Same goes for my art. If my kids need me more, or in that moment, it’s time for them. I will get back to the art later on.Megan Gray Painting on Shalavee.com

My Take aways:

  • “We can do it all just not all at once”
  • We need to support each other in changing the judgemental mindset.
  • Ask for help from others
  • Get outside
  • Do your thing when you can and be with your children when you are with them

 

You can find Megan’s blog at www.megangrayarts.com . Her Facebook page and her Patreon page all show her dedication to making, selling, and sometimes giving away her beautiful paintings. Her Instagram page is where we do most of our chatting and I admire her kindness and enthusiasm so much. We art inspirational when we follow our own muses. I know you are with me when I say Buy Original Art!!!

Thank you lovely Megan.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Week Two : Creativity Bootcamp 2016

As I head into my second week of Creativity Bootcamp, I’m feeling pretty stellar. I’ve produced 7 or 8 new collages, journaled every day, and decorated a special event party. Plus kept my house and blog running. Mostly because I worked hard ahead of time to really prepare. See the first three of the week’s collages here.

It wasn’t that easy the first round of Bootcamp back in October. I was raging against the fact that I had no regular free time for me. Because as it turns out to enter flow, as you’ll see in number two below, you need to have enough TIME to enter and exit your flow state in PEACE. Neither of which you have with a toddler. Ergo the immense frustration I was feeling back then.

        Five Keys To Flow

  1. Ritual – Create a mood or environment that’s conducive to creativity
  2. Solitude and Enough Time
  3. Focus – Plan ahead of time what you’ll be doing specifically
  4. You can’t command creativity – The cat under the bed will move further back if it doesn’t want to come out.
  5. Trust and Welcome whatever comes forth/out

(I got these from Sally Wolfe who’s ecourse on writing my book Manifesto I’ve signed up for and will be working on after Bootcamp.) Collage Tulips on Shalavee.com

What has changed in four months? I suppose I get better naps out of her or she’s more self entertaining or I’m not choosing to try to art when I know I can’t. I still have limited time but what I also found was that, if I want to, I can speed my creative process up considerably and get a creative result in 15 minutes. A little bit is better than nada and that expectation adjustment may also be the key.

Interested in more information on Flow, read my past post here on creative expression and flow.

The next week is supposed to be about styling and picture-taking. See this post for my Creativity Bootcamp intentions. Currently I’m catching up on blogging and the sun outside is now being obscured by snow clouds. I’ll need to make sure to create my weeks posts in case another snow day costs me my private writing time tomorrow.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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