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bullet journal goal tracker

…a great deal of real art is made under the radar. We barely know we are working. We just suit up and show up and grab what moments we can, and it is only in cozy retrospect that we can see the level of skill we were able to muster. It is humbling, the degree to which we are like automatons. Our art moves through us despite us.

–Julia Cameron, Finding Water

The most important thing creators do is work. The most important thing they don’t do is quit.

–Kevin Ashton, How to Fly a Horse

Today’s retrospective analysis of the last 10 years of My Little Spacebook revealed an overarching theme running through many posts.  Since the beginning, that theme is showing creative work – my own work and other people’s work that I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with or to witness.

In the last decade there has been a lot of work shared and a lot of shared work!

There’s been knitted work, decoupage work…,

dec2012 022

…messy work in progress,

Mess

…incredibly weird work,

hypertufa planter head

Herman the Hypertufa Planter

outside work…

midsummer 2013 001

messy inside work…,

june 6 012

mosaic work….,

August 2012 064

…and exhaustion from the work.

Picture1

 

“When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better group harmony if you keep going back to it.”

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

…or in other words….

“I feel better when I’m dancin’! Yeah, Yeah!”

-Meghan Trainor

 

Dancing on the Beach 3

~*~

My little world has changed a lot since my last post. And the big world has too. One thing that hasn’t changed is my obsession with plants and flowers.  I’m still doing weird stuff like this…

Garden Journal

That’s my garden journal and bed mapping system.

There is a newly-tilled bed out front that I’ve mounded for a “Three Sisters” garden. I seeded it over the weekend with corn. This is my first serious experiment with a sisters garden. I will keep you posted on further developments.

In other news: nearly eight years ago, a friend gave me a small prickly, pokey yucca plant. A few weeks ago, quite unexpectedly – KAPOW! – this happened…

Yucca Bloom

For the first time ever she bloomed a stalk of soft white blossoms nestled in her fortress of spikes. It seems my yucca is not a little girl anymore. I kind of/sort of knew yuccas could bloom because my grandmother, Kiki, had a couple yuccas in her back yard and one year they bloomed unexpectedly.  Kiki was all beside herself about it in a way that I didn’t understand then, but that I totally get now.  It strikes me as odd that some part of me held this memory seed below the murky waters of consciousness. When I received this plant as a gift, I knew it was special. I also knew without looking it up that the plant was a yucca – just as well as I knew my own name, because that’s what Kiki taught me.  But somehow this plant needed to show its petals for the details of the memory to fully bloom in my own awareness and understanding.

The lamb’s ear in the sensory garden is also doing a new stalk-bloomy thing that it has never done before…

 

 

Lambs ear

 

How can you not love this plant’s architecture?  Just look at the symmetry, the geometry, and the texture! Every time I pass this bed, I want to jump in and roll around in it…which reminds me: I have sweet nothings to whisper into the little lamb’s ear.  Until next time!

I crossed paths with a black cat last week at the corner of healthy and happy. We talked at length about life. I made him promises. When he was satisfied with negotiations, he jumped in the car and we drove home together.  I call him Mystère.  He calls me Meowrow. He and Nickel have made it clear that they are not friends and never will be.

IMG_1355

Yip, blissfully unaware of the turf war occurring outside

But that story is not why I’m here; it’s just an aside.

I’m here because I’ve been inspired by this quote from Amy Poehler:

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers, and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.” 

–Amy Poehler, Smart Girls: Ask Amy

I’m here because it’s October — what better time is there for magic?

I’m here because I have an official declaration to make:

I hereby declare October as “Make it” month.  The idea is to create something (anything!) new everyday for the next 31 days.  My intention is to post daily.  I hope you’ll join me in dreaming, creating, inspiring, and sharing. 

 

Today, my creation is the goal itself.  You gotta start somewhere!

 

I look forward to what dreams may come.

 

Travel Pillows.  Please discuss.

(If you need more prompting, I’m wanting to know about your experiences with the horseshoe squishy type of travel pillow that you see in airports. You stick them around your neck for something…presumably to sleep.  Have you used one?  Is that what they’re for? Are they at all helpful or a waste of money?  Is there a particular you swear by? Discuss.)

 

People toss out interesting things.

And I have acquired the quirky behavior of rummaging around in the things other people pitch out, then stacking one person’s tossed out treasure on top of another’s discarded thing-a-ma-bob.  Fanciful sculptures emerge, which I then throw in the yard.

I blame Skattur.

On Break

On Break

This coming Saturday I will drag them to the St. Jude Craft fair under the pretense of wanting to sell them….

2013 sokan 021

…but it feels a little like selling one’s children.

2013 sokan 012

Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about letting go.

2013 sokan 010

Star-Crossed Tree Huggers

Today SoKaN joined a gang of 80 knittas and hookers to carry out a bombing assignment for the mafia.

Ka-BOOM!

3-17-13 035

That’s yarn bombing, of course, otherwise known as knit graffiti, a form of community street art.  And the mafia is the Memphis Knit Mafia.

knit the brooks 3-17-13 020

the turquoise and red piece on the 2nd rail is my work

This means that as of today my work is officially on display at a museum.  I’m pretty sure this makes me edgy and urban, yet sophisticated and classy, all at the same time (if only in my imagination).

I lead such an adventurous (fantasy) life, especially for someone who spends such a vast amount of leisure time reading, knitting, and putting on shadow puppet shows for her puppy.

People are so durn creative, so now I will present the work of the real artists…

knit the brooks 3-17-13 019

Ladybugs and flowers and stripes and pink and pompoms! It’s so fluffy I could die.

knit the brooks 3-17-13 025

Knitted hearts on a string! Be still my heart. I must learn to make these.

knit the brooks 3-17-13 033

More hearts.

knit the brooks 3-17-13 037

A super big THANK YOU to Christiana Leibovich for being the capo di tutti capi.

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.

-Albert Einstein

Title: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Author: Twyla Tharp

Synopsis: Master choreographer, Twyla Tharp, interweaves stories about what makes her creative life tick with advice and exercises to help others develop their own creative habit.

Why I read it: Because Caitlin Kelley wrote that it was one of her favorite books ever, which instantly made it a must-read.  She described it as, “Kick-ass and inspiring in equal measure.”


You might like this if you liked: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
(Steven Pressfield)

Highlights: You don’t have to be a dancer to appreciate this book – she gives lots of examples from other creative walks of life, including the business world.  That said, her descriptions of how she choreographs and teaches dance were fascinating.  My favorite chapter was the one on failure. She used one of her own productions as a case study on failure and what to do about it. The rigor and brutal self-assessment/honesty with which she handled the topic were impressive.

Fun coincidence: One of Tharp’s methods to harness and organize creativity is by starting with a physical box because as she puts it, “before you can think out of the box you have to start with a box.” She devotes an entire chapter to the box and what she puts in it and why.  In an entirely unrelated conversation, a friend recently invited me to craft an intention box with her – same idea as what I was learning from Tharp, but different verbiage. Crafty boxing fun will be had this week.

Hello!  Welcome to part two of your virtual tour of the new office.  We have finally completed rennovations to another room of the practice, which by the way is officially up and running!kitchen

It took six months of cleaning, painting, tiling, shopping, moving, arranging, rearranging, nitpicking, and tweaking to get it just right.

Groovy light fixtures

Groovy light fixtures

As I mentioned in my first post on the topic, Space to Work: Office Design, the “Man Cave” had a lot of potential, but it was a mess.  The linoleum tiles in the ‘before’ picture were stuck directly to the concrete. There was a mysterious brown, sticky substance embedded in the spaces between them and they were stained, torn, and in some places missing. We pulled those grimey things up and the Angry Russian laid new porcelain tiles at a jaunty 45-degree angle.  He chose Navajo White grout to make the tiles “pop.”  He also hung a new smooth ceiling to get rid of the old one sporting nicotine-encrusted stalactites. We hung new fixtures for a finishing touch.

El Diablo painted the cabinets white and the hardware gold with an overcoat of clear gloss. The whole room was painted a softer, creamy shade of yellow.  We added a couple of new light fixtures. And Voila! The Man Cave disappeared and the “Princess Playhouse” (as El Diablo refers to it) emerged.

Skattur provided the plate beneath the cabinet (a find she scored at the Goodwill) to dress up the wall.  And see the little guy in the windowsill up there?  Another of Skattur’s Goodwill finds.  Here’s a close up:

owl with succulent ears

owl with succulent ears

How ridiculously cute is he? His name is Owlfred E. Jennings.

I decided to go for a 1940’s vibe with the decor. Several years ago I inherited a massive stereo console from my grandparents.

the stereo console

the stereo console

It’s a beautiful piece of furniture and though I have never had the space for it, it’s a relic I had to keep. It gives me warm, fuzzy memories of a childhood spent sneaking into the forbidden living room to bother the big kids while they listened to records…

sitting area

sitting area

There I would find them inclined on the orange corduroy speaker pillow (which I also still have) staring into the depths of an album cover as if it contained the answers to life’s mysteries.  Around the holidays, Elvis crooned Christmas songs from the speakers accompanied by the snaps and crackles of needle to vinyl.  In short, the console has good mojo. It served as the foundation piece for the room and inspired me to go retro with the furniture for the waiting area.

I got a great deal on two reupholstered vintage chairs from an antique mall. They are comfy and they have wheels! Then I paid too much (even with the 40% off coupon) for the table and lamp from Hobby Lobby.   Nanook gave me the picture above the lamp.  It belonged to my grandmother. The two sconces belonged to Skattur.  She donated them to the cause because they were scrolly and yellow. And because she’s awesome.  I picked up the rug from Target.

And finally, you might wonder what’s up with that little picture to the right that looks a bit out of place.  It  hangs right near the doorway to the therapy room and serves as a daily reminder to get my brain on straight before going to work:

note to self

note to self

I hope you enjoyed today’s virtual tour. There are two rooms  left – the bathroom and the therapy room.  I  will get pictures of those posted eventually.

We are nearly done with the renovations to the building that will house my new practice.  We set up the office last week and I moved in.  Hassan Osman’s fabulous blog, The Couch Manager, was highly influential in the design of the new office.  His blog introduced me to authors who inspired taking a zen-like approach to work, which ultimately led to my decision to quit my chaotic bi-state academic career and start my own business.  Thank you Hassan. 🙂

The building had a lot of potential, but in its original state, it screamed “man-cave.” The previous tenants were heavy smokers with pets, a combination resulting in an odor that defied a wide range of cleaning products and air fresheners. The popcorn ceiling was brown with an amalgamation of nicotine, dust, and pet dander hanging off in stalactite-like spikes. I was worried that one would fall and impale me with the vile concoction. The ceiling fans were an abomination with a layer of gunk atop the blades nearly an inch thick. There were linoleum tiles applied to concrete in three of the rooms and some strange sticky paper-like faux wood flooring in what is now my office.  It all had to go.

As you can see in the “before” picture below, a lot needed to be changed.

We set to work cleaning, vacuuming, mopping, sponging the nicotine off the walls, pulling up flooring, etc.  Then the Angry Russian, who is a lot less angry these days, set to work pulling down light fixtures, hanging a new ceiling, knocking out a wall for a window, laying tile, painting and hanging fixtures and pictures.

The Angry Russian Draws a Window on the Wall

We saved over $100 on the window by shopping at a discount building supply store (Building Materials on Jackson, Inc) that sells overstocked and used supplies instead of ordering it from a glass store or one of those DIY home improvement stores.

Voila a window!

The window provides an awesome view of the vegetable garden as you’ll see in a bit.

The paint color is Ferrel Calhoun’s Slate Stone, but the paint was Benjamin Moore.  The flooring is ceramic tile from Flooring Solutions. The picture above as well as the two below are by Albert Koetsier  and were a gift from a friend.

My desktop was a work of The Devil.  He salvaged the top of my former desk, wrapped the top in a groovy fabric, then painted and clear coated it to a glossy finish.  It sits atop two filing cabinets that I purchased for 60% off from a Big Lots store that was going out of business.

My desk – The Devil’s handiwork

As you  can see, it’s very reflective! Beneath that shine is a pretty lavender and white print.

Desktop Detail

And then we embellished with little details….

Framed postcards from the Berliner Dom

Please take a moment to appreciate those perfectly plumb, mathematically proportionate pictures that were hung by The Angry Russian, who is a perfectionist to the extreme.  When I hang a picture, I use a hammer and a nail. I would think that’s the way most normal humans would do it. The Angry Russian requires measurements, pencils, math, and a high-tech floor-to-ceiling laser machine. Watching his process was like watching an episode of Big Bang Theory.

How the Angry Russian Hangs a Picture

A few more finishing touches…

two cherished gifts

The picture of me and Nilla Bean was hand drawn by a former student and artist.  “Believe” was a gift from another friend.

A new light fixture…

…and to complete the ensemble…

This is the first time I’ve ever displayed my degrees on the wall.  They make me feel all official. 🙂

And kitty is just visiting.

So….that completes your virtual tour of the office.  Come back in a couple weeks I’ll show you the rest of the place.

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