Small Creations

At one point in time or another we’ve all felt small. Maybe that’s in NYC or another large city when you’ve been surrounded by other people, big buildings and cars, trucks and buses going by.  Yet when you think about a bee or flower, though it is small, it has great impact and power.

Bigger isn’t better:  While admittedly, sometimes it is good to have big things, when we’re talking about creativity, sometimes smaller is better. Artists have created magnificent paintings of single flowers.  bouquets have been impacted dramatically by a simple flower, different from all the other.  Food can be dramatically different by adding a few spices or drops of hot sauce.  A room design can be improved by adding small details and finishes.

Small=detail: Detail is just simply something you can’t do very well when you’re talking big.  However, it is the details in the small things that make them extraordinary.  Sure, you could make a simple ring and stick an unpolished, uncut diamond on it and call it jewelry, but when you take the time to do a little shaping, you get a gorgeous ring.

Small helps you stop: In this crazy world we live in, sometimes it is good to stop.  Something small like a fresh breath of air, a drop of paint where it doesn’t belong, a muscle twinge while dancing, or weed amidst your home-grown vegetables, can make you stop and take notice.

Whatever your creative talent or persuasion is, don’t be discouraged by the sheer number of other artisans in your talent area.  Do what you do, with your unique style and attitude, putting your love and attention to whatever you are creating.

Share below what makes your art different from another artist’s.

Saving the Big Event

So you’ve planned your event, booked the location, you’ve done the guest list, ordered/prepared the food; and the day has arrived.  The baby shower goes smoothly until the expectant mother’s friend, who is also expecting, goes into labor.  Your high school graduation party is going well until the crazy dancing gets out of hand and someone breaks their arm.  Your wedding goes smoothly until you arrive at the reception, and the wrong food is there.  Your holiday work party is going well until someone has a little too much to drink and the company secrets are out in the open.  If you’ve been fortunate enough that all your events have gone well, congratulations!  If not, there are many who can sympathize with your event struggles.  So what do you do when a distraction, however large or small it be, interrupts your event?  Let’s look at the three main topics of food, location and guests.

Food:  If you’re planning to make the food or you’re planning to order the food, always have a backup.  Like pizza or burgers, or order takeout appetizers from a restaurant, get wraps or sandwiches, or ask some people to bring something.

Location: One of the most important things to plan for before the event is a plan b.  If the location burns down, if the president rolls into town and wants to use your location, if they book you for the wrong room and can’t accommodate your group size etc..  Look for some other options like alternative restaurants/event facilities or even local VFW’s or churches who would have a space to rent you.

Guest distractions: This isn’t something you can really plan for.  But knowing the address of the event location, what are the local hospitals, and always having a phone on or near you are steps you can take to be prepared. If you’re doing an event with kids, having phone numbers for parents is a good idea too just in case.

Of course, most events turn out amazing and occur without difficulty.  But knowing that you’re ready in case of something happening is not only reassuring to you, you look very prepared when something does happen, and you handle it well.

Planning your next event?  I would love the opportunity of helping you make your next event memorable and enjoyable, please visit my website for more details.  http://lifepath.viviti.com

The Best Therapy in the World

Yep, this is the best therapist in the world, or at least one of them.  Of course, I’m partial to dogs, like this cute one here, but you may prefer a cat, horse, rabbit or other animal.  This blog is about creative transformations, and on Mondays we discuss healing through creativity, so why include a post about pets?  Well, from early civilizations we learn of their respect for animals, many often worshiped animals, or at least viewed them as sacred.  These animals were frequently mentioned in their legends and stories.  Still today, many cultures revere and respect certain animals for their wisdom and abilities.   Animals are featured in cave paintings from past civilizations, and fascinate researchers and artists alike today.  Some spiritual circles believe in people having guides, including animal guides.  So what can we learn from this amazing animal?

Get creative with your pet.  Many people make sweaters for their pets, paint their pets, paint with their pets (non toxic paint please!), garden with their pets (OK, you dig the hole, I’ll plant the plant), sing with their pets, and exercise with their pets (…can’t…keep…up…).

Pets are expressive.  They tell you when their hot, when they’re hungry, when they want your attention, and when they need exercise.  They have no qualms about expressing their needs right up front.  Your art, physical or decorative, helps you express your feelings.

Pets listen. Pets actually listen to us when we talk (notice how they cock their heads at you when you talk).  And after all, when was the last time your scrapbook or soldering iron spoke back to you, rubbed your leg or gave you a wet sloppy kiss?   They also don’t judge you for what you say, no matter what.

Pets are natural healers.  There have been tons of studies over the years showing that pets lower blood pressure and reduce stress in their human companions.

So what now?  Well, if you don’t have a pet in your life, you can take advantage of the shelters in your area and volunteer once or a few times a month.  You could also try to become part of (or start!) a pet therapy organization in your area that brings pets into hospitals and nursing homes.  Of course nothing replaces having your very own furry friend.

Feel free to share pictures of your furry friends below 🙂

Simple Pleasures

For some inspiration and thought today, I have a poem to share with you. It speaks for itself, but I would encourage you to think about and share your simple pleasures below.

Breath Is Enough-Robert Service

I draw sweet air
Deeply and long,
As pure as prayer,
As sweet as song.
Where lilies glow
And roses wreath,
Heart-joy I know
Is just to breathe.

Aye, so I think
By shore or sea,
As deep I drink
Of purity.
This brave machine,
Bare to the buff,
I keep ice-clean,
Breath is enough.

From mountain stream
To covert cool
The world, I deem,
Is wonderful;
The great, the small,
The smooth, the rough,
I love it all,–
Breath is enough.

Ah-Ah-Ah-Achoo!

What is one memorable item that is at just about every event?  Yes, that’s right, flowers.  Now if you or any of your guests are allergic to flowers, pollen etc like many people are, you’re going to have a slight problem.  What to do about the flower situation.  They’re so pretty and central to many events that it isn’t something you can exactly leave out…

Fake flowers:  This is an option many people chose anyway.  They’re easier to deal with and frequently less expensive.  No scent, no pollen, no watering.  Of course they don’t look quite the same as real flowers, but they can certainly do the job for your next event.

Go green: Try just leaves, sticks and plants that don’t have flowers or pollen with them.  Simple reeds, pine cones, small bonsai trees, grasses, willows and sticks/branches can be very simple and elegant, as well as have no annoying characteristics.  You can also paint them to color coordinate with your event.

No plants, no flowers: You can do candle centerpieces, beach themed displays, balloons, Christmas tree balls or even beta fish!  If you have a particular theme you’re designing around see if you can come up with something creative that relates to your theme.  Also consider the holidays near your event date for inspiration.

Just do it: Have the real, beautiful, pollen-laden flowers.  Your guests won’t be there long enough to be bothered by them.  And if you’re worried, maybe provide allergy pills to your guests.

Not convinced you can really make a good alternative?  Ask your event coordinator, or myself, for suggestions!  What out of the ordinary centerpieces or displays have you seen or wanted to feature at an event?

Take a Productive Break

This past week I heard someone share something that I think really relates to the topics of healing and creativity.  They shared that when you’re stuck on something you should do a related task until you’re feeling inspired, or unstuck, again.

If you’re a painter, this would include looking for new inspiration, cleaning up your work station, organizing your paints, putting touches on another painting and really cleaning your brushes well.

If you’re a web designer, you could visit other websites for suggestions, search for ‘100 top websites’ in your favorite search engine and see what they’re doing that is so amazing, work on updating pictures on existing websites or searching for new pictures that could be used in the future.

If you create scrapbooks, you can work on cutting pictures, cutting out words and phrases, prepping pages or organizing your workspace.  Maybe you’ll find treasures you didn’t know you had!

If you do yoga, you could do other core-strengthening activities, do meditation, work with resistance or do simple stretches.

If you do sculpture or wood work, there’s always a pile of stuff near your hands or on the floor.  Take the time to clear the clutter out of your work space, you’ll breathe easier and feel more open to creativity.

If you’re a gardener, this would include pruning, watering, picking and arranging flowers to display, caring for sickly plants, tending young plants, mixing up fertilizer and water, checking for bug damage and making sure plants are happy and growing where they are, with appropriate sun.

If you knit this would include organizing your yarn collection, making a list of the colors you have by which yarn maker and what colors you would like, rolling up your yarn so it isn’t stretched out everywhere, and looking for new design ideas.

Of course, reading blogs, magazines or websites about your hobby or creative area of expertise is a great way to slightly distract yourself, yet not get completely off topic.

Just like with creativity, when you’re working through an issue or challenge, take a step back and see if there is a related topic you can take on.

What related tasks do you do?  Do you have a favorite?

Collage

I love how creating a collage really is a collaborative effort.  There have been some incredible collages that have inspired many individuals and have encouraged individuals to spend countless hours looking at the pictures on them.  Collages bring together things that are amazing and unique in and of themselves and make them into a new creation.

Your collage can be made in a shape, with pictures and words filling in the shape, such as a heart or words.  You could also put pictures together in a way that when you step back and gain some perspective you can see another picture made out of little pictures.  Finally, your collage could be simply a collection of images and words.  These collections of images are called ‘photomontages.’

Mixed media collages are also quite popular.  These collages can create quite a wow effect.  Think of pieces of wood protruding, fabric jumping off the canvas, and other items adding depth and dimension to your collage.

Collages can bring together items of a similar nature, such as nature pictures, pictures of things from the World Cup, pictures of famous people or pictures that mean a lot to the artist personally.

Of course, we cannot forget to mention the digital collages that are being created now too.  Computers can not only give you an edge with what picture options you have, but can also create a more polished look to your collage.

A few suggestions for collage work: Use something sturdy as your base.  Using regular computer printer paper will most likely not be strong or stable enough to really display your creativity.  Cut, tear and use special scissors (with unique blades) for removing your images and other items, not only can you make unusual shapes, but you can add texture to your collage by tearing or using special crafting scissors.  Be sensitive with your glue use: after laying out your collage and putting the images where you think you want them, you can start gluing, but I suggest that you use enough glue so your item sticks, but not enough to glue down the Empire State Building; you never know if you will want to stick an item under a corner or somewhere and if you’ve glued it rock solid, you can’t.

What collage will you create today?

Rain, Rain Go Away!

For the past 2 days in New Jersey we have had cats and dogs raining down on us.  The rain has been frequently heavy and certainly would have put a big damper on any beach plans or events you had planned (there’s more flooding too!).  So what do you do when your big event falls on the same day as torrential rains or gets showered with a summer storm?

Be prepared: Have towels and lots of places for wet coats, umbrellas and things.  Also have assistance for anyone who would slip and fall such as band-aids and ice packs.  Grass is very slippery when wet!  Maybe even make up fun signs to warn your guests about slippery spots or deep puddles.

Location “B”: Plan for a second location should it rain.   If the inside of your home isn’t large enough to accommodate all your guests, ask at your office or church if they have a community room, meeting room or a large open room you could use. Don’t forget to notify ALL of your guests of a location change!

Change your plan:  If you had planned for a summer beach themed event, make it a wet one!  Plan activities that can be done in the rain, or pretend your under the water!  If your guests simply aren’t the type to get wet, having a tent or several tents available is a great idea (also great protection from the hot summer sun).

Date/time change: If you can, postpone your event, or just make it the following day, it may be possible to avoid the rain. This is challenging if you were planning on out-of-state guests attending.  Even if you can postpone your morning event to the evening you may be able to keep it on the same day.   Again: notify your guests!

Go where it isn’t raining:  Maybe it’s raining where you are but not 2 hours away at a great nature park or amusement park. Yes, you and your guests would have to pay for tickets for the amusement park (6 Flags, Disney etc), but at least you’re having your event!  There may also be a nature park within reasonable driving distance where you could have an outdoor picnic.

Finally, don’t let the rain ruin your event!  Even with rain, or other challenging weather conditions, and even if you decide to all cram into your house, you can still have a pleasant, fun, successful event!

Finding Yourself

Everywhere you look someone else is suggesting that you find your purpose.  “Take life by the horns and do what you’re passionate about,” they all say.  So how do we find our purpose?  One way is through being creative.

First, you have to find your forms of creativity.  This usually means trying different forms of creativity.  Painting, needlepoint, knitting, pottery, gardening, crafting, writing, decorating, scrapbooking, coloring, cooking, paper mache, the list goes on.  Keep trying different creative forms until you find one, or several, that fit with who you are and your skills.  Not everyone can write, some can’t cook and others can’t paint.  Don’t worry if you have to try a whole bunch before you really find what fits you.

Second, be creative regularly.  Once you’ve got that, or those, forms of creativity you love, do them at least weekly.  They are your opportunity to be open, to be creative, to share your skills with the world, your time to be expressive, and your time to learn. If you make being creative a habit, you will not only get better at your particular form(s) of creativity, but you will become more creative.

Third, growth and healing happens.  This is when you are able to discover your purpose.  When you’re creative it gives your mind time to filter out the distractions and focus on what helps you grow and understand who you are.  When you’re being creative you don’t find it necessary to be mad at someone, you don’t need to be rushing to an appointment or feel frustrated about an aspect of your life.  Only when you’re consistently spending time being creative and spending time with your particular form of art will you be able to learn who you are and about the purpose you are here to fulfill.

Just like being creative, your purpose takes time and work.  How are you spending your creative time?

Communicating Creatively

Creativity is great because, as I talked about in my last post, we can express ourselves through it!  Creativity gives everyone a voice, it’s just a matter of finding what expressions of creativity best suit you.  So how are communication and creativity related?

Communicating takes patience:  Immediately what comes to mind is sewing, quilting, needlepoint, knitting and similar activities.  You have to take your time and be careful (don’t stick yourself with that needle!).  Communicating too is done with patience.  You can’t truly communicate with someone else without being patient with them and letting them find the words to express themselves.

Communicating is powerful: Dance is a powerful way to be creative.  Think about bodies moving, leaping, jumping, connecting and the footwork.  Many dances tell stories in themselves, think about the Nutcracker Ballet and other dance productions that the dancing tells the story, and not the words.  Movement can often speak louder than words.  If you don’t know what to say sometimes a touch or hug can say more than your words ever could.

Communication can open you up: I love yoga; the freedom of moving your body in different positions, taking your time moving from one position to the next, breathing through your body and stretching and growing your body.  But yoga is not something you can do well from day 1.  Just like yoga, the more you communicate, the better you will be at communicating.  Communicating helps you to be open to others, to share stories, to grow.  When you’re not communicating, you can’t have good relationships and can’t know yourself.

Communication is rewarding: One great reward, to me, is food.  So immediately when I think of rewarding, I think of gardening.  I have several herbs that I grow indoors to have access to them all year-long, as well as pots of peppers and tomatoes in the summer, and this year green and yellow zucchini.  Growing food and plants are rewarding because you get something you can eat and share with others.  Food is great for bringing people together and encouraging communication.

There are countless ways to be creative, these are just a few.  And participating if you participate in sewing, dancing, yoga and/or gardening, you may relate to more than one of the four ideas I shared about communication (dancing may be rewarding and open you up, as well as it being powerful).

How will you let your creativity speak for you today?