Creative Life Project: September Review


Detail pics of some recent sketches inspired by my Zen Painting course.

My goal for September was reaching out to my artistic “tribe”.  Although still a work in progress, it was such a good exercise to pursue this goal.  September was an interesting month in itself for me.  I felt on the brink of a new chapter of my life and was at a loss in figuring out balance. I wasn’t as creative as I would have liked in September as lost isn’t my best head space for creativity.  However, I am crawling out of the lost hole and climbing back up to a more balanced space.

Monthly goals:
Remember birthdays. Check
Start a meet up group or set up a creative mommy night. I sent out feelers in September but didn’t give enough advance notice.  So I tried again with more notice and our first meeting is next week.  Yay:)

Daily/weekly goals:
Do one creative thing daily. 80% check
Get a minimum of seven and a half hours of sleep a night. 63% check
Exercise three times per week doing exercises I enjoy. Check
Visit at least two local studios in the month. Talk to the artists. Ask them about groups they belong to and what classes they run or attend. Check.  I visited the 100 Braid Street Studios in Port Moody.  It is awesome.  It is a warehouse split into several studios.  The artists range in their focus from fabric arts, to acrylics and oils, to photography.  They have open artist nights where people come together and work on their individual projects.  I think I will attend one in November.  I couldn’t find many other studios locally but did find a couple local artists who have Etsy shops.  One example was Memory Blocks.  Given my recent creative love interest in wood, it isn’t surprising that they work with the material:)

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Spootacular Spoons and Popsicle Sticks


I’ve been drooling over pallet board crafts… so I made my own little pallet boards by gluing together some popsicle sticks.  While doing that, I came across two dollar store wooden spoons in one of our craft bins and decided to make use of them too.  My mini pallets fit perfectly in the pots on our front step and it was super quick to pull this little display together.  Yet so fun!!

Here’s the link to the Pinterest pallet board inspiration:

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Gobble, Gobble


Did a whole family set of these turkeys for our place settings – turned out super cute!

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Creative Kids: Thanksgiving Door Hanging


I’ve been checking out pallet creations on Pinterest and came upon hanging wooden tags.  So cute.  I decided to mix that idea up (though in paper form) with a traditional handprint/footprint turkey.  Though instead of one set per kid, we each did a hand print and put them together to make one turkey.  I added the black Sharpe marks for fun detailing.  Our Mr. Gobble-Gobble brightens up our door – that’s for sure!

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The Creative Life Project: October


This month I’m going to continue along a similar vein to September. In fact, while planning the year, I kept this month light because I guessed September’s goals might take  longer than a month to put into action. Although September’s focus was Creativity and Community, those goals from September all required courage from me. I find it extremely hard to reach out to people and yet I crave creative connection with others. So I will continue unfinished September goals (update on that to come next week) and have added two other goals that will require courage as well. I can do this!

Monthly goals:
Remember birthdays.

Complete unfinished September’s goals.  Namely, the creative crafters night and the local artist/studio hunt.

Daily/weekly goals:
Do one creative thing daily. Minimum of 15 minutes drawing, writing, experimenting.

Go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Exercise three times per week doing exercises I enjoy.

Compile photos of my works into a current portfolio.  I made a portfolio years ago but since then dropped maintaining it.  The fear here is that when I see my work as a collection, it won’t seem to amount to much or nothing will be any good at all.  In pushing past that fear, I hope to open myself to seeing growth and increase my appreciation of the journey over focusing on the some arbitrary  “finish” line.

Take an on-line drawing/painting class that challenges me to stretch myself and my creativity.   This is a challenge for me.  I need to stretch myself but this often means going out of my comfort zone which intimidates me.  I’m going to work on letting go and relaxing into the exploration of my creativity.  In a couple of days, I’ll be starting Jodi Ohl’s Zen Painting On-line Workshop: Pathways and Connections.   It looks like it’ll be a fun one.


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Reflections on Roots and August’s Progress



Among Goldberg’s writing exercise suggestions in Writing Down the Bones, she says to write about “this moment”and to write both sides of a point of view.  I’ve reflected on both sides of the topic of roots recently due to some happenings of the moment in my life.  Here are the pieces I wrote:

White Picket Fence, Please

Laying down roots, finding your roots, deep roots – there are many idioms for making roots.  Moving around a lot as a kid and as an adult, I have been a nomad who dreamed of roots.  I stopped entirely unpacking all my boxes as a teen.  I just unpacked essentials (though, truth be told, I deemed quite a bit essential).  Ever since I have never had a place that inspired losing that habit…until now.

In April, we moved into our current house which has every potential of being our “forever home”, our children’s one “childhood home”.  Read again what I just wrote, “has every potential”:  I’m scared I’ll jinx it.  I’ve resisted hanging pictures even, just to wait and see…  Wait and see what, I don’t know as we aren’t going anywhere.  And yet it’s almost like I need to coax myself to trust.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe when a dream takes root.  I’m struggling to trust that it’s okay to settle in and settle in deep.

To some people one house may seem like a life sentence, not a dream to which they’d ever aspire.  However for me, it has always been a dream of mine and, it seems, it has arrived.  A good friend of mine used to tease me about my “white picket fence” dreams: marriage, kids, and a home for keeps.  They are not dreams for everybody but for this one body, they’ve come and I am home…for good.


On the flip side I recently made a decision that involved letting go of some roots:

Heading East

I was born and raised in Vancouver proper.  I went to Vancouver schools, have literally lived in most Vancouver neighbourhoods, have Vancouver friends, worked in Vancouver locales.  In general, I have a horrible sense of direction but in Vancouver, I know where I am.

In 2009 my (then) finance dragged my very reluctant butt out of Vancouver and into Coquitlam.  Since then we’ve moved even further east to Port Coquitlam – we even considered Pitt Meadows (gasp!).

As the years have gone by living out here, I’ve been letting go of my Vancouver roots.  I’ll always keep my friends, of course, but they are mobile.  The big thing is I’ve been letting go of my desire to go back.  I’ve been letting go of my preference for Vancouver – letting go of the idea of Vancouver as “home”.

I brainstormed all the “root” sayings I could think of: to put down roots, to be rooted to the spot, to take root, to have deep roots, to never forget your roots.  In all that listing, I struggled to think of one about uprooting yourself.  They were all about laying roots.

Releasing roots is an interesting sensation.  Though release is the wrong word.  It’s more raw than that.  They strain until they snap.  Deep roots don’t let go easy.  They break off in the soil and the deepest reaches remain there, returning to the soil: dust to dust, ashes to ashes and all that.  As for me, I am brushing off my shirttails and moving on…with a lighter step…with a sense of direction.  I’m heading East and am going home.


Belated, I know but here is a quick recap of August’s Progress.  The focus was Creative with Words: Short Essays on Life.

Monthly goals:
Remember birthdays. Check!
Read Writing Down the Bones. Technically still reading but more than half way through and I’ll finish it up this month.

Daily/weekly goals:
Do one creative thing daily. Check!
Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. Achieved this almost exactly 50% for the month of August.  Working on increasing that percentage for September (got to love my Fitbit as it tells me exactly how many nights I achieved this).
Exercise three times per week doing exercises I enjoy.  Check!
Do at least one writing exercise a week. I really enjoyed writing this month.  Especially the exercises where I dove into my memories.  It was a lot of fun to reminisce and to do short written pieces.


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The Creative Life Project: September

Sept Title

I don’t have any local friends who like to dabble in arts and crafts like I do. I would love to find my artistic “tribe”.

In writing, I have my critique group who are my kindred spirits in that area of my life. They are not local (they are from all over America and one from Japan actually) but we’ve been together on-line for three years and have really bonded. I am so thankful for that group.

I also have my on-line book club for studying books on the craft of picture book writing.  They are a wealth of information and are always ready to answer any questions I could ever think up.  Even though my writing groups are based on-line, I found my community and feel connected.  It’s a great feeling.

I would love to have a similar community for my visual arts and would prefer it be with local people so we could get together and craft. My dream would be to host monthly creative arts nights – some people could scrapbook, others could paint, some could collage, maybe even someone could play an instrument (I know, I’m such a new age hippy.  Feel free to eye roll:)  This month I plan to send out some feelers for like minded people.

Monthly goals:
Remember birthdays.
Start a meet up group or set up a creative night through my mommy group. I want to meet up with other crafty people in my area. I’m going to keep it open to all sorts of creatives: scrapbooking, decoupage, mixed media arts, art journaling.  I’m thinking of calling it The Creative Club (I’m such a geek).  Not sure there’ll be the interest but it’s worth a shot, right?

Daily/weekly goals:
Do one creative thing daily. Minimum of 15 minutes drawing, writing, experimenting.
Get a minimum of seven and a half hours of sleep a night. I’m re-wording this goal as aiming for a certain amount of sleep is more realistic plan than going to bed early every night.
Exercise three times per week doing exercises I enjoy.
Visit at least two local studios in the month. Talk to the artists. Ask them about groups they belong to and what classes they run or attend.  If I can’t find local studios that peak my interest, I’ll at least try to connect on-line with a minimum of two local artists.

Wish me luck!

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