Friday, February 29, 2008

Ta-Da Friday

Happy Leap Day!
This is our bonus day this year. How will you use this day?

For Ta-Da Friday.....

I wrote 516 words on a homeschool topic.
Pieced a bit on my quilt project.
Re-did the Bonjour tin bucket with spring silk flowers.
Took a few photos.
Did some 'constructive staring' at a future flowerbed.
Wandered a plant nursery and drooled over all the new spring stock.

What happened in your creative life this week?

Here's the view from my bedroom window this week
Window view daffs
Not only are the daffodils in raging bloom, the roses are leafing out.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Show and Tell

I loved show and tell when I was a kid, didn't you? A chance to share something special from home was always fun. Even more fun was helping my sons with their choices during their show and tell times. The best was when the kindergarten aged son took his six weeks old baby brother dressed in blue to represent the letter "B". No, we didn't allow either of them on the bus that day.

I'd love to do a little bit of the same here on Creative Soul. Tomorrow starts the beginning of 'Ta-Da Fridays."

I'll post something I've accomplished. You can post your creations in comments with a link to your own blog or photobucket account with a photo. (Still working on the fine points of all this.)

Words written, chapters edited, poetry composed, quilts sewn, gardens weeded, canvas's painted, jewelry beaded, rooms decorated, photographs exposed, pottery thrown, crafts crafted. You get the idea. Creative life in motion.

The idea, of course, is to share our fun and keep us on track. Accountability, ya know? When I first joined a weekly writer's group, I wasn't writing consistently. Every week, someone in that room would ask, 'how's your writing going?' Some weeks I'd have to answer, 'what writing?' because I hadn't written a word that week. Accountability helped me move closer to my dreams. I hated saying I haven't written all week. Still do.

Whatever moves your creative soul is what I want to hear about.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~Almost Spring

Rascal sun bed
When the sun no longer touches the bed in the afternoons, it is almost spring. Rascal is taking advantage of every sliver left.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Permission to be Bad

White Purple pansy
From The Writer, March, 2008.....

San Jose State University's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest is a literary parody competition in which participants compete for the dubious honor of writing the worst first sentence of a nonexistent novel. The contest is named for novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, famous for the opener, "It was a dark and stormy night."
Here is last year's winning entry, form Jim Gleeson of Madison, Wis.: "Gerald began-- but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them 'permanently' meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee."
To submit an entry for this year's contest, see

Doesn't reading something that bad make you feel good?

There are times when giving yourself permission to be bad is the best thing you can do for your creativity. Fear of failure is one of the top reasons people never pick up a pen, a paintbrush, or a camera. Rather than not do something well, they choose not to do it at all.


What if, instead, you give your self the assignment to be really bad?
Really bad.
Could you possibly do that?
Of course you can.
Who couldn't?

When I first sit down to write a rough of a chapter, I have to remind myself that it is okay for what I write to be awful. It is just the rough draft. Really just a few thoughts. Nothing serious at all. Maybe I'll toss it whenever I'm done. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Then, I start writing and find my inner critic is hampered by the la-de-da attitude. She can't criticise when I've promised myself to be terrible. I'm clearly doing what I've told myself to do. She generally stomps off and leaves me alone.

I did something similar when I couldn't get started on a quilt project a few weeks ago. It's okay, I told myself, if it looks awful. If the corners don't match. If the colors aren't right. This is just practice for me. Finally, I was able to start and, I'm happy to report, the quilt is coming along nicely.

Don't worry about what others may think of your work.

Create first to please yourself.

If you write something worthy of the Bulwer-Lytton contest (or whatever the equivalent is in your artistic endeavor), send it in. If not, at least you know there is something out there worse than what you've created.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Art of Worship

An article in today's paper caught my eye.

'ART OF WORSHIP.' the big headline screamed.

The smaller headline chanted ' is part of a trend that urges worshippers to use their creativity to connect with a higher power.' Evidently, there is a growing trend to include various forms of visual art in some churches, especially churches of Protestant descent.

One of the quotes from the article is 'God is the master artist. And if God creates, we are to do it as well, because we were designed to imitate God."


We were designed in God's image, which tells me that we are created to be creators, too. Isn't that cool? Maybe not of worlds or universes in a material sense, but certainly through words, images, and thoughts. C.S. Lewis's Narnia, anyone? Or J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth? Maybe we don't create mountains, but we can certainly photograph or paint one, can't we? Then print, frame and hang the print in an artistically pleasing manner, right?

Whether you bring beauty to a room by an artful arrangement of flowers and furniture or whether you express your love of color in a quilt or garden project or whether you highlight injustice and forgiveness in your most recent film-making project, you are using the talents God gave you.

To not use them seems downright sinful.

But, but, sputter....but I'm not creative. I don't have original ideas. I use patterns in my fabric art. My fiction sounds like a re-hashed plot from someone's else's story.

Please stop!

Ever compared the story lines of King Arthur, Star Wars, and Harry Potter? You'll find Arthur, Luke, and Harry have a lot of similarities. It's okay to build on someone else's ideas. You'll always add your own flair to the project that will make it an original.

You've just let the fear get you. Or you've forgotten the joys of working with your hands, the pleasures of creating. You've let your fresh ideas get buried under a mound of laundry. You've allowed your work, your loved ones, or your own sense of unworthiness to keep you from doing something you love.

Please stop!

Make an artistic date with yourself. Put it on your calendar. Let the Master of the Universe see you celebrate the skills He has given you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.


Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.


Many years ago, I did a lot of sewing, crafts, and even dabbled in quilting. Then a new baby, a new business, and eventually a move really slowed me down. My sewing machine went into storage. The responsibilities of mommy-hood, wife-hood, business owner-hood, church lady-hood and eventually homeschooling mommy-hood overwhelmed me. Can you say DUH? LOL

That baby is seventeen now, the business is long gone, and I have time on my hands. Well, not really, but I'm willing to shove some stuff and *make* time. I've set up an area, got my machine serviced, bought a few small pieces of fabric.

And couldn't decide what to do first.

Not only couldn't I not decide, I was deep down scared to cut or stitch anything. (What if I do something wrong? What if I can't create something pretty? What if this just reveals how incompentent I am?) Fear, creative fear, was a hard ball in my stomach.

Finally, last Friday, I started. Without much of a plan except to use some of my stashed purples and sunflower yellows.

As I doodled around with the fabric, and wavered, I decided to make a lap quilt just for me...meaning that no one else has to like it.

I cut a bunch of 3 inch squares...because I COULD mostly. The fear of doing something stupid or wrong was almost enough to send me downstairs to a book. I chained a few of those squares together, but quit when I grew frustrated with that pesky seventeen year old.

Saturday morning I woke up with a plan to do a simple nine patch with my purple and gold fabrics and relearn how to sew. All afternoon, with old Kathryn Hepburn movies on the TV and rain on the roof, I cut and stitched.

It was wonderful! I have a bit more cutting and stitching to do before I lay out the top, but I'm DOING it.

I feel like Rocky when he went the distance with Apollo. I've gone the distance with my stupid internal critic and shut her up...cue the music! Do the happy creative dance with me?????

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Henry David Thoreau

What creative thing are you afraid to do? Take advice from Nike and JUST DO IT. Don't worry about being perfect or sale-able or critically accepted. Give yourself permission to do it badly, then do it. Skill and perfecting your craft can come later. Much later. You'll be delighted with the sense of joy you'll discover.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday~Signs of Spring

All photos captured within the last twenty four hours.
Daff trio

Daff close up

Lone Daffodil

Rose bud--Old Blush

Purple pansies

Dandelion duet

Dandelion Puff
Yes, already.

N pitching February
Baseball, a sure sign of spring. That's my baby pitching a fine game while his mama and daddy froze in the bleachers.

Despite the signs of spring, winter is still here. The weatherman predicts cold and possible ice for the weekend. But isn't it nice to know that spring is coming?

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Memories are funny things. A memory can make us laugh, make us cry, make us sad, or make us glad.

Has the sound of a dryer ever made you want to cry? It happened to us this weekend. During a trip back to my old hometown for a university homecoming, we drove by my old home. After the deaths of my parents and the re-marriage of my mom's second husband, the little house where I grew up was sold.

Thirty-two years my family owned it.

I grew up there. Dreamed my dreams there. Brought the Pilot Guy home to meet my folks. Mourned my Dad's passing. Brought my two infant sons there to spend time with my mom. Held my mother's hand as she died. When I closed the door for the final time, it was an emotionally wrenching moment.

The Pilot Guy and I drove slowly down the street. There had been so many changes in the landscaping. We could tell that someone had put some effort into fixing up the place. The current owners peeked out the windows, watching us in our van. I guess we had been there more than the moment we planned on.

Hoping to reassure them, we hopped out of the van and told them that I grew up there. For many minutes we stood in the yard where I played with my model horses and where I gardened with my mother. We chatted about the changes in the landscaping. How they had to remove the massive fruitless mulberry that had been in the yard for nearly forty years. After a few mintues, I suppose they realized we weren't thieves casing the joint and asked if I'd like to see the inside of the house.

Yes, I said, I would love to. I was a little scared to go in. Not of them, of course, such a nice couple, but of the memories that those walls held. But it wasn't too much at all. In fact, it was fun to see the loving attention that had gone into the place. A door had been closed off (and I remember when my mother opened that wall up. LOL) New tile and carpet. A pretty French door closed off my mother's old studio, now filled with a Hot Wheels collection. The kitchen had been cleverly expanded, too. As they showed us the changes to the laundry area, I heard the dryer running.

For a moment, it sounded just like my mother's house should. I had to swallow the huge lump in my throat. Both the Pilot Guy and I laughed through some tears later about how that dryer running sounded like HOME.

I was delighted to see all the improvements. Surprisingly, seeing the house in such a happy state eased some of the hurt and sense of loss that I've lived with for the last few years.

Even though we have a wonderful home here, even though we will always call the Pilot Guy's family farm home, that little house on the Great Plains of Texas will always be one of my two childhood homes...the one where I grew up and spent the most time. I was fortunate to have a family to make that stack of lumber, sheetrock, brick and mortar into a home. Without the family and love, it is just a house.

Home is a lovely word, isn't it?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Look What I Found!

These aprons were probably made by my grandmother who died in the early seventies when I was only thirteen. As a newlywed, I remember grabbing them from a trash pile when my grandparent's old house was being tidied for sale. Since then, they've been in storage. Apron group
This week, while cleaning out a storage area, I discovered them again. They are truly delightful. Small details well done mean that my grandmother cared enough to do a thing right even though it wasn't something that a lot of people would see. The colors testify to a love of the pretty, but the lone dark blue patch on the patchwork apron reveals a strong frugal streak.

Purple gingham
Purple detail
I love these aprons with their creative touches. I love the stories they tell. I love the connection I feel when I touch them.
Quilt apron
Orange apron

I don't really know how to treasure, preserve or display these best.

I'd love to write a short story or two about these aprons. I wonder what stories would come from that.

Do you have vintage aprons? What stories do they tell?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” Martha Graham

Becky posted this quote under my 'What Happens It Doesn't Turn Out Right' post a few weeks ago. I can't get it out of my mind. How refreshing it is to a weary creative.


Keep open and aware.

Blessed unrest.

More alive than others.