Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goodbye Blogspot! Hello Wordpress!

Google informed me that I was at peak storage usage for photos recently. (And rather abruptly with no warning!) And they didn't make it easy or intuitive to figure out what to do next. Newsflash: easy and intuitive is what it's all about!

It was easier to go start another blog over at Wordpress. I hope you'll consider joining me over there at the new home of Creative Endeavors in a Busy Life! Please subscribe by email or RSS to continue to stay up to date with all the busy-ness around here.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

it's ok to fail


 I recently overheard someone say that she was "just the right amount of helicopter parent." Oh dear. I edged away from that conversation quickly and suppressed my gag reflex. The very idea of the helicopter parent is odious to me because I feel like it's fundamentally disrespectful of children and childhood. (But this episode of Portlandia is hilarious.)

There seems to be an assumption in helicopter parenting that the process of growing up is something to be constantly monitored and watched, cultivated carefully: add the right amount of water and make sure there's no weeds because you're adding enough Miracle-Gro.

And no, I'm not talking about letting my children grow up feral and untended. There are a lot of risks associated with living a normal, healthy life that could result in broken bones and broken hearts, hurt feelings, flopped exams, burnt almonds (when you are hoping for lightly toasted), books left out in the rain, etc. And hopefully we all get out of childhood and teenage-hood relatively unscathed, alive, and with all of our friends and family. Hopefully no one loses an eye.

So Sylvan wanted to make a fire. I said sure, make sure it's on a rock and have some water nearby. He got the bricks himself and he brought the hose over. I watched him smother a few fires and said nothing. I didn't need to. This wasn't my fire or my process.

He figured it out. And then decided to create a small blacksmithing forge. Something about pounding pennies or can lids. He thought of the safety goggles and oven mitt himself.

It's all about failure. Trying things and being wrong and being OK with that, and being creative enough and flexible enough as a thinker to move on to the next idea. What good is the answer if someone just hands it to you? It's like pie crust in a box.

Jonas is working on his 8th grade project lately. Each 8th grader at Waldorf schools create an original project during the course of their 8th grade year, with a timeline, goals, and a mentor or two. The projects are unbelievably diverse and creative. Jonas is developing a game, one of those crazy complicated games that he loves playing with rules that take all day to even read, those games that take a certain type of brain which I most definitely do not have. Here he is, doing a trial, figuring out the variables of the rules and potential ways they could effect game-play. My brain hurts.
I used to buy pie crust in a box. Ew. Totally gross and full of a chemical flavor that was nasty. And then I decided that it was just something I had to figure out how to do. At first I couldn't have anyone in the same room with me. I had a lot of failures that ended up in the garbage or as free-form, ugly pie crust babies, and I did not want anyone's help or anyone to witness my escalating frustration and sometimes yelling. They left me alone, believe me. 

I hope that I'm just the right amount of "I love you," "I'll be here if you need me," "I'll help you pick up the pieces," and "I'll be cheering for you forever."

Monday, October 8, 2012

on names and naming

that is approximately 14 squash too many, 
according to my family
Here is one of my special talents: in our family, I am the Namer. Stumped on a name for your Playmobil figure or new stuffed animal? I can help. Chicken names? No problem. Upon seeing each of my boys in their first moments, I knew immediately what their names should be out of those preselections we'd made. It took Mr. Crafty a bit longer to come to his own conclusion, but in the end we were in agreement both times.
~~~Ladies and gents, I present to you our new vehicle! I knew two things when I saw her first in person: 1) she is a she, and 2) her name is TootleBug. Sylvan disagrees. He insists that she is a he, and that his name is…
Ron Paul. Yes, after the US libertarian presidential candidate. "But mom, I think they're alike." Pause. "Really? In what way, Sylvan?" 
"Well, because Ron Paul has strange ideas and our new car is kind of a strange color."
We have agreed to disagree on this one.
Are you wondering how my new job is going? It's going so well that every day is like waking up on Christmas Morning. Really?! I get to go back and do it all over again?! So. Much. Fun. Sharing books with students and making connections with students and teachers; most of all, feeling part of a learning community and doing my best to support and augment the good things that are already happening.Last week I had the distinct pleasure of teaching 10 classes of 8th graders (over 400 minutes!) about banned books, intellectual freedom, and how library selection policies work, in celebration of Banned Books Week. I love it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

...and we're out...

Last night of summer vacay. Am I ready to go back to school? 

 Well. I love being on vacation as much as the next librarian, but I've just had so much summer, it's been so rich, we've been so lucky, had so much time together as a family and with a lot of people we love. It would be greedy of me to say no.
 The answer is yes, I'm ready to head into my new adventure.
  I'm full of summer.
It's been enough; perfect, really.
I've seen my share of discarded silver sandals and plenty of flipflops at the various ponds, beaches, docks, and parties we've frequented. And taken portraits of them when I could.
And I have one more Artist Profile for you in the works. But Urchin Goddess needs her etsy site set up first. Now she has the photos to do it! In the above photo, I am modeling one of her gorgeous necklaces. In fact we did a partial trade for it, for the pics. I can't wait to show you more.
~Lucky, lucky me~

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Artist Profile: Orange Iron Fabrications

Lately I have been asked to document some artists' work. What a pleasure for me! So for the next few posts, I'd like to introduce you to some of these very special, creative people.
You may remember my friend Kate, from Orange Iron Fabrications, who I have blogged about here. Kate has also sculpted in metal, but her current work is felt-based forms, some of which are wearable. The ones you see here are currently being shown in Small Point, Maine.
So these wall pieces are all wet-felted first, then machine stitched as you can see in the detail from the first picture. The stitching sort of boosts up the forms, and to enhance that further, Kate stuffs them a bit, resulting in these lovely luscious bumpy parts that make you want to run your hands on them. Kate has mounted them on custom-cut wood-backings, then tacked down at the edges.
This piece here is a top view of Small Point itself---brilliant! Check out the Google map, here, and zoom out so you can see what she has based it on.
So swirly and ocean-y.
This one was one of my favorites. I love how the reds and oranges progress in saturation like bubbles; the overall form is very pleasing to me. The fleece Kate uses comes from lots of places and one of them is the groovy, wind-powered, Hope Spinnery, which specializes in natural dyes.
And how about this sweet little scene with the Small Point One sailboat design, a boat specifically made to race the Small Point waters! Colorful and so quintessentially Maine. I like that little purple-sailed boat hustling to catch up with the fleet.
Thanks for letting me spend time with these colorful pieces, Kate. They are gorgeous!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Artist Profile: 101 Bedsheets

Lately I have been asked to document some artists' work. What a pleasure for me! So for the next few posts, I'd like to introduce you to some of these very special, creative people.
 this is Barbara, the dress form
Today I feature the work of a 13 year-old sewist and designer, Ella Simon, who has been teaching herself to sew. She may have used a pattern once. As in, one time in her life. (Um, friends, do I need to say that this boggles my mind?!)

 note the cute keyhole detail on the back
Ella has lots of old bedsheets to play around with, so many of her garments are white, but sometimes she dyes them. Or embellishes them with fabric scraps or a jaunty colored zipper or a fabric bow.
 princess waist, slightly dropped hem in the back

 sweet criss-crossing and pleats on the back
Barbara the dress form needed to suck in a bit for this next one. Particularly in Barbara's rear. There was a bit of pulling and tugging. 

and in this photo, it looks like hugging
This lovely light green number has a zipper that some might say was sewn inside out, with the dingle dangly bit on the inside of the fabric. But this was a deliberate choice by the designer, who liked the more industrial look of the zipper on the reverse side.

 I love the use of zipper here on the front of the bodice, as a completely decorative accent.
 A little overstitching, in the photo below.
Some have wondered whether Ella should be finishing every hem and seam. My humble opinion is a definite no. That part can come later, when she cares, when she wants a finished hem. Or maybe she'll end up with a team of sewists who will do this for her.
This is a young person who takes joy in her creative work, who is making her own visions manifest through exploring the limitations of fabric and the three-dimensional form of the human body. Hooray for the next generation of creative problem-solvers! Thanks, Ella, for suggesting the impromptu photo shoot of you, Barbara, and a few of your pieces.