One Good Thing
So, clearly, Create 365 2011 was a swing and a miss. Same goes for Project 365 2011.
I lost momentum on blogging the projects when Spring started to show up. I think Create 365 was more demanding than I was prepared for and then, of course, my camera stopped working in March so I was without one for a month —after I promised myself I wouldn’t let camera malfunctions stop me!
But as the confusing and wonderful Chicago summer gives way to crisp and comfy fall, I think it’ll be easier to nurture my creative impulses rather than ignore them to laze around at the beach (or let’s be honest, stay in and watch cat videos). Man I love Midwestern seasons. I really love each one, even though sometimes they’re really hard to get through.
I also want to start focusing more on the good things than the bad. It’s so much easier to look back on a day and dwell on the 1 or 2 bad things that happened than it is to remember the hundreds of little good things. Apparently this is a primitive human instinct - for basic survival you have to remember bad experiences. But we’re not living in a hunter-gatherer, nomadic everyone-for-herself world anymore, so the negative experiences we remember are stupid things like traffic and the Emergency Alert System interrupting the rerun of a show you’re mildly interested in.
I’ve noticed a lot of negativity in myself lately and I need to be better at remember the good in life and letting the bad go.
So I’m going to try daily (or as close to daily as possible) to post at least one good thing that happened to me today and be grateful for it. I’m constantly relearning that life is too short to waste it holding on to anger and resentment. I will always be a proponent of feeling your feelings, but I need to be better at letting them go when they’ve expired.
Here are some good things that happened today:
1. My aunt and cousin (who I don’t see very often) got into town safely and I got to have a lovely dinner with my aunt, mom, sister, and boyfriend.
2. While en route to the airport to pick up our relatives, my mom and I were in a minor parking lot car accident where no one was hurt, everyone had insurance, the guy who hit us was polite and respectful, and we still made it to the airport in time to pick up Auntie and cousin.
3. A CTA miracle - I was running late to meet my mom to go to the airport and when I got to the corner, a bus was just pulling up for me to hop on. I ran off as soon as it got to the L station, up the escalator, and onto the train. As soon as I sat down, the doors closed. That never happens! A CTA miracle!
For these things and for my life, I am grateful.
What good things happened to you today?
Typical Phone Call from my Dad
[cell phone rings]
Dad: Hi, do you have a minute?
Dad: I have a question for you.
[phone ringing in Dad’s background]
Dad: Can you hold on a second?
Me: Um, okay…
Anonymous asked: Remember when we decided to get rich and buy a recording studio? How did the rest of that bit go? And when I used to sleep at my desk and hide behind my hair? I wish that worked now...
Haha well we haven’t gotten rich yet so that’s where the rest of that bit went. Have you tried? How do you know that doesn’t still work?
Create 46/365 - 60/365
I’ve been really slow on projects lately. Can’t really explain why. I’ve been slightly busier recently than before because I started a new job, but it’s part time, it really shouldn’t be so complicated. Anyway.
February 15, 2011
My stomach has gotten a lot more sensitive over the past couple years than it ever was. It’s partially due to anxiety and partially something else. It’s super annoying, though.
February 16, 2011
Wa Wa Wa Emimimo/Come Holy Ghost, for SATB and piano accompaniment
As I said before, I started a new job recently. It’s a music director gig at a church and pretty much right away I had to organize the music for the Confirmation mass. And apparently there’s some function in me that says “There is no music available here that sounds good for this occasion. Compose or arrange new music.” So I made a mash-up (I guess) of “Wa Wa Wa Emimimo” and “Come Holy Ghost.” “Wa Wa” is a song in Swahili that essentially means the same thing as “Come Holy Ghost,” which is a moldy oldy hymn. So I made a more modern arrangement that features both. It was only okay in execution; the group was not confident and we only had one rehearsal. With more practice it could be totally awesome.
February 17, 2011
Lame news: I spent the morning getting fingerprinted and then worked the rest of the day and had our first rehearsal. So honestly, I didn’t have time or energy to create anything besides the kajillion copies of music for the choir. But that was priority. So technically I did make something, even if it was just copies…
Create 49/365 - 60/365
February 18, 2011 - March 1, 2011
I’ve been working on a cover of a Rihanna song little bit by little bit. If I can get my recording mess to work out today I’ll post it later.
Create 50/365 - ?
February 19, 2011 - present and future
This is a long-term project. It’s an afghan I’ve been working on for our living room and it is taking me forever. I work on it for 5 minutes if I’m really lacking motivation, or 3 hours if I don’t get bored with it and something good-but-doesn’t-require-a-lot-of-attention is on tv. So I try to do a little bit most days. Hopefully I finish it before the season is over and we don’t need it anymore…
February 22, 2011
Spinach & tofu casserole
It was really one of those nights when I was trying to make something out of nothing, but I actually thought this was delicious. We were kind of low on groceries so this was made almost exclusively with pantry/freezer staples. It was inspired by the flavors in Spanakopita except for the fact that I didn’t have any Feta(!!!), so I improvised. A testament to the versatility of tofu, I guess. I’ll post the recipe soon, when I post the recipe for that orange cake from exactly one month before. I should get on that.
February 23, 2011
My new “office” is pretty drab and unexciting. It has a mish-mosh of purposes and is only my office one day a week, but I wanted to put a couple small touches in just to brighten it when I am there. So I crocheted this little cozy for a pencil cup with some bright yarn left over from some project. It’s just a seed stitch with a G hook. Modeled by a half-pint canning jar.
February 24, 2011
Go Now In Peace, for SA, flute, and piano accompaniment
Another result of not wanting to make due with what the church has for a certain rite. I wrote this for the dismissal of RCIA Catechumens, but apparently the church only has one candidate, so they don’t want/need any music. Ah well.
February 27, 2011
Pretty self-explanatory. Written on my phone because pen and paper were out of reach.
And now we’re caught up. Still working on that afghan and Rihanna cover.
Create 34/365 - 45/365
Oil paint practice, oil paint on “canvas paper”
I’ve never used oil paints before, so I really had no idea what I was doing. I’ve mentioned before that I really like mixing colors more than I actually like painting. So that’s how this happened. I can’t believe how long oil paints take to dry. And even when they’re “dry” it still feels like I could smush it with very little effort. I’m sure it didn’t help that the oil paints I used were really cheap. It could be a fun thing to play with, but I’m not sure how I feel about it taking forever to dry.
Create 35/365 - 43/365
Knitted legwarmers, acrylic yarn on size 9 needles
I would have modeled these, but they’re for someone much smaller than I so they don’t fit me. Knitted in the round, simple pattern. They’re nice and long so they’ll go up to the knee, however with the recent thaw I’m not sure how much use my friend will get out of them this season. I worked on them every day for a week and a day, some days only for 5 minutes, once for about 5 hours in a waiting room at a hospital. It’s embarrassing how long it took me to finish this project.
Treble clef, Lumocolor marker on sketch paper
Made this while watching the Grammys. Those are 2.5 hours I’m never getting back.
Valentine No. 4, tax form & cardstock
This was our fourth Valentine’s day together, and every year I’ve given Shawn a handmade Valentine. He’s an accountant and it’s his busy time of year. Cheese factor: 8/10.
Seeds and trees, Lumocolor marker on drawing paper
The scanner cut off the right edge of the paper, but you get the point.
Inspired by the heartbreaking violence in Egypt.
I was really involved with my university’s anti-war organization and related groups in college. In terms of global issues, specifically war, poverty, and their related injustices (since injustices are all related), my conscience started to develop when I was in high school and the current war On Iraq was just beginning. However, there was little for a high school student to do in the suburbs, so when I got to college I jumped right into the activist groups that were finally available. In my participation I found myself nurturing the activism that nurtured me. It was in that work that I really began to understand that peace is not just the absence of war, but the active construction of justice and love.
So when we’re instructed in church and in general to “pray for peace,” we can’t expect to get peace; peace has to be built. It has to replace injustice and violence. We have the opportunities to start building it, and it our choice to sow the seeds of opportunity. We can’t blame God for our inaction.
Create 30/365 - 32/365
The end of January means the end of the Create 365 Number ___/365 isn’t just the date anymore. Snowballs. Ah well.
Lou mess, watercolor
More playing around with my budget watercolors. I really really like them a lot. Even if the things I paint with them come out totally crazy, I still love playing with them. I’ve always liked the process of mixing colors with paint more than making “art” with them. And I think I captured almost every color that Lou has in her fur in this painting. She has such subtle variation in her coloring…I think she is just stunning.
Snowpocalypse greeting card, scrapbook paper and cardstock
I live in Chicago which, as you may know, just experienced its 3rd most severe snowstorm in recorded history. So in addition to the 5’ snowdrifts that trapped Shawn’s car and gave us a lovely setting for a really weird interaction with our parking neighbor, we got to use totally awesome made-up words to describe the storm:
- Snowtorious B.I.G.
These are just a few. I made a greeting card to celebrate the occasion. Silver sharpie + scrapbook paper + cardstock + Martha Stewart snowflake paper punch.
Here’s the tiny creepy snowman I made on our back porch handrail. His (Its?) eyes are black beans; smile, hair, and nose are (homemade) strawberry jam. Arms are grape stems. Notice the cars in the background, this was barely the beginning of the storm and cars were already getting stuck.
Ozzie, five-minute sketch, Staedtler Lumocolor marker on sketch paper
To try something different, I took a shot at a 5-minute sketch. I know this is something that actual art students do for a number of reasons, I was mainly trying it for something different. I did some googling and one thing I read recommended squinting at the object you’re trying to draw to help you get a sense of the rough outline rather than focusing on the shapes you think are supposed to make up the object. So I tried that. Clearly I need work on that. Also, on proportions. In reality, the tabletop Ozzie was sitting on is barely bigger than her, but clearly it looks bigger in the drawing. So, boo. What tips for quick sketches can you suggest?
Create 20/365 - 28/365
Here’s another giant post of stuff. Way too long. I prefer doing daily posts, but this past week has been really busy. My mom had a birthday, I had meetings, Shawn had surgery…crazy stuff. Also, exciting (to me), I finally brought my printer/scanner/copier from my parents’ house and installed it on my computer. So I don’t have to fiddle around with lighting to take pictures of drawings and whatnot. But let’s get caught up.
Flowerbomb #2, Watercolor on watercolor paper
I got some inexpensive tubey watercolors and wanted to try them out. So I blew up and photocopied my drawing for Day 18 on watercolor paper. I only used one hue and tried to play with different shades, so that’s how I ended up with this. I really liked the watercolors, I think that’s something I’ll have a lot more fun with through the year.
Create 21/365 & 22/365
Dreamsicle swirl cake & buttercream frosting
My mom turned 52 on the 22nd. I made the cake on the 21st, the frosting on the 22nd. She loves Orange Slices (the gummy sugared candy on top) so, inspired by that, I invented an orange and vanilla swirl cake. The words and flower are actually Jimmies I put on the cake with tweezers; I’m terrible with icing. I find myself “inventing” baked goods a lot. I like challenging the “baking is an exact science” mentality because I hate when people say they can’t bake! If you want to make the same thing twice, then yes, you have to follow a recipe. But as long as you’re willing to take some risks* you can come up with some really beautiful, tasty treats! Recipe to come.
*This is actually the 2nd attempt on this cake. The first one was a messy, but still very tasty, flop. It turned out a couple different textures. What stayed inside the pan was the texture of blondies; the overflow was more like a cookie. Yummy, but unpresentable as a birthday cake. So I made a quick trip to the grocery store for more oranges and cake flour, and ended up with this.
Big flower, crayon on drawing paper
My hope for this one was to color with whatever crayon I grabbed out of the tin to create something semi-interesting. But I kept grabbing really “normal” colors. Oh well.
Here’s a fun one. I’ve been pursuing a certain job, but the people I’ve been meeting with hadn’t given me much to work with in terms of a job description, so I took my dad’s advice and created my own for us to start with. It went over well in the meeting, so it was worth the time it took to make it.
Late night, drove to Shawn’s parents house in the south suburbs so we could get to his surgery bright and early the next morning. I wrote a quick ode to the jacuzzi tub I got to take a steep in. And steep I did - I’m not used to the water staying hot for so long. I think I overcooked myself.
Knitted twisty cowl scarf, acrylic chunky yarn on size 13 needles
Similar to the other cowl neck scarf I did, but this one came out kind of wonky. I like the twist, but I made it too wide so it’d be ineffective against the cold. I’ll take it apart and try again.
Haiku: Parks and Recreation
Another haiku. I don’t want to make a habit of doing haikus this often, but I was taking care of Shawn after his surgery for most of the day so I didn’t have a whole lot of time/energy to put into something more elaborate.
Gnome, ballpoint pen on drawing paper
I really like gnomes, as long as they’re not too creepy. That’s all there is to it.