Showing posts with label My Creative Side. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Creative Side. Show all posts

How To Find Time To Be Creative




I never used to consider myself a creative person.  I am more facts/logic oriented naturally, and I didn't think I had many creative talents.  However, after I started this blog so many years ago I realized that I do have a creative side, and it's fun to bring it out!  The trick is (1) finding the right outlet, and (2) finding the time.

Finding the time can be especially tricky in certain seasons of life - like now, when I have so many little ones running around.  Different seasons bring with them their own creative challenges to overcome, but I think it is healthy and right to still try to find time to use the gifts and talents that God has given us.  It can be beneficial to our own mental health, and we can and should use our creative gifts to bring glory to the Lord.

In busy seasons of life it takes a bit more effort to find time to be creative, and it always takes intentionality and (ironically) creativity to not just use our creative time in a selfish way, but to make it a blessing to those around us.  That is another post in itself, but today I want to talk about finding time to work in some creativity in the midst of busy seasons.   There are a few things that I try to do to make sure I have the motivation to use my windows of creative opportunity wisely.


To Document Our Lives

I've been having alot of creative juices flowing lately. Unfortunately they're going in the direction of things I have no experience in.

Like scrapbooking. I really want to get into scrapbooking. I've never really done it before, except for once in high school. But I would like to make a scrapbook of highlights in our married life.

Unfortunately, it can be kind of pricey to get started. Gracious, to buy prints of my pictures alone could cost me quite a bit of money.

I know some of you must be scrapbookers (is that what you call yourselves? See, I don't even know that). After all, part of the reason we blog is the same reason why we'd scrapbook, right? To document things in our lives.

We women are just natural documenters, and when I walk through the aisles of all the pretty papers and stickers at Hobby Lobby, I get the urge to get in on this method of documenting.

So, any places to buy cheap scrapbooking stuff? What do I need to get started? Any inexpensive ways to get prints of the pictures I want to use? Any input would be appreciated, even if you aren't a scrapbooker!

Do you ladies find yourselves getting the urge to document? What are some of the ways you accomplish that, besides blogging?


Baby Blankets Of Purple Yarn

Did any of you know that I knit? I'm not sure I've mentioned it before. Well, I knit. Any fellow knitters out there?

I started last fall, when both Derek and I were unemployed and I wanted a hobby that wasn't too expensive to pass the time. Well, knitting is a wonderful hobby, because it doesn't cost alot to get started! All you need is a couple of needles and some yarn. And some knitting instructions, but the cost for instructions is minimal, if you have to pay anything at all.

Last fall I decided I was going to knit a patchwork blanket - you know, where you knit squares of different colors, and eventually when you finish all the pieces you connect them all together. They look really neat! See . . .


Image from closeknityarns.com. It's a really cool website, and they're having a sale - check it out.

I decided I would try to finish the blanket before we had kids (which was 2-3 years at that time), so I figured I would have plenty of time, right? Well, I've learned I'm extremely slow at knitting. Here's what I've accomplished so far.



Yeah. A square and a half. And I have to make about twenty. Somehow I'm not sure if I'll make my baby deadline. At this rate, I should be done with this blanket by the time Baby Number One starts middle school.

But I have renewed determination to get going on my knitting! No more watching television with idle hands - I should be knitting while I watch Biggest Loser this fall! And I will. At least until I get tired of knitting and stop for several months again. Oh boy.

I Have A Painting Blog

I just wanted to let you all know that I got my painting blog up and running. I just posted a picture of my first time playing with the paints, so check it out - it's at least good for a chuckle. Stay tuned, because I just did my first real painting exercise, and a post with a picture will be coming within the next few days!

Dalla Prima Pennellate: From The First Brushstroke
www.fromthefirstbrushstroke.blogspot.com


I'm thinking the painting blog will give me a little bit of motivation and accountability to keep painting and not just stop after a couple of months. So if I don't post anything on it for a while, leave me a comment telling me to shape up! I give you all permission. I'm determined to give this a good effort, and I could use some reminders that I am determined! 'Kay?

Two Examples Of Why My Husband Is Wonderful

I'm pretty sure I have the sweetest husband in the world. When I told him I decided I wanted to try painting again he took me to town and we bought some paints, a palette, canvas paper, and turpentine for me! It's so exciting to have all my new equipment! Plus I have some old paints from when I used to paint in elementary school that are still good. So that's Reason Number One why he's so great.

Reason Number Two: the next night he did this for me:



He painted this corner of our basement and set up all my painting stuff, and put up that shelf with my stuffed animals on it (yes, I still have stuffed animals - and what's wrong with that, I ask you?). He also got our stereo system all set up so I can listen to music or talk radio when I work (I'm a big talk radio fan). He wanted me to have a nice place to paint - he thought if I had to go down there with everything a mess I wouldn't paint as much, so he set this up so that I would want to paint down there! He's so great - I'm so blessed to have such a supportive husband!

Just thought I'd brag on him a bit . . . and those are only two of the many things he does for me! Thanks Babe, you're the best!

And by the way, I think I might just do a blog on my painting escapades - I'll let you all know when I get it up and running!

Julie and Julia


Thursday night was our last night of "vacation" before Derek had to go back to work on Friday. So I said we should go out to a movie, and he agreed. Of course, I had a specific movie in mind - I've been wanting to see Julie and Julia! What blogger wouldn't want to see that movie? Especially a female blogger. I've been telling Derek about it for a while now, so he said he'd take me to see it on Thursday. (This picture is of me in front of Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian, by the way.)

I was quite pleased - even though it's rated PG-13, which can be iffy, it was pretty clean - a little bit of language, but overall pretty good.

In case you don't know, the story is about a thirty year old woman who is feeling left behind, like she needs to have a direction. So she gets the idea to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook and write a blog about it. The movie is about her experience cooking and blogging, and also includes flashbacks to Julia Child's life. The comparisons were obvious - they both needed a direction, something to do that seemed worthwhile, and their experiences with learning to cook both eventually make them famous.

I loved how they portrayed Julia Child - Meryl Streep played Julia, and she did a good job! Julia was portrayed as a cheerful woman who you couldn't help but like, and it made me almost wish I had known her. At one point she gets together with her sister after a long time apart, and their reunion cracked me up! You have to see the movie.

I also related to Julie Powell, the woman who decided to go through the cookbook and write a blog about it. The way they portrayed the journey of blogging was especially amusing, and only those of us who blog can fully understand some of it. Like the excitement of your first comment! Remember that? Or, on a more serious note, the way that blogging can sometimes lead to a narcissistic attitude, because let's face it, we're writing about ourselves. Your blog is all you, all the time; your thoughts, your experiences, your life out there for others to read about. Anyone else struggle with this? I know I do - I have to remind myself that everything is not about me, and guard myself against the selfishness that sometimes comes with blogging. At one point in the movie Julie and her husband get in a fight about how since she started blogging everything is all about her and her readers - and it shouldn't be that way. It's a delicate balance, and I'm warning you right now, if this blog ever threatens my relationship with my husband or family, I'll be gone. Or at least taking an extended break to get my priorities straight.

Finally, one of the biggest ways this movie affected me was that it made me think about my own life. I feel a little direction-less myself right now, like I'm stuck between life goals. I've finished school and am working as a dental hygienist - life goal number one accomplished. The next life goal is to have kids and raise a family, but we aren't quite ready to start that phase yet. So I'm stuck here in the in-between, where I no longer have education as a goal (I wouldn't mind going back to school, because I love academia, but money is the problem with that right now - it may be a future goal), and I'm not ready to start on the next life goal (kiddos) yet. When I was in school it gave me something to do, a purpose and goal, and I know when I have kids that will give me a great purpose. And I want to be a mom with all my heart - I think that's one of the greatest goals I can have in life, but I can't start that one yet.

What about in the in-between? Do I have to wait until I have kids to fill up my spare time? We aren't planning on having kids for another year or two, and I realized that there is absolutely no reason for me not to do some of those things on my "One Hundred Things To Do Before I Die" list. In fact, this is probably a better time for me to do some of those things, to develop some skill or get a hobby.

The movie made me realize that I would like to have a hobby, something I can enjoy doing and that will help me prevent the internet and TV from "stealing my time" as my mom says (I don't know about you, but the internet or TV is where I go when I'm bored - it would be good to have some other activity to do that will give me something to show for it in the end). The movie has inspired me to get involved with something that will give me something to work toward until the next big phase of my life - something that will help me develop a skill, something I enjoy that can fill my spare time.


Like Julia Child, I'll probably have to go through a few tries before I find just the right thing. But I'm starting today. I always tell myself that maybe someday when I'm retired and have alot of spare time I'll pick up painting again. In fact it's on my "Hundred Things" list - "Do another painting". I bet you didn't know I could paint, did you? I took lessons in elementary school, and I have a few paintings that I did at that time, but then I stopped (this is a picture of one of the paintings I did at that time, with the help of my art teacher). But with this barrage of talk about hobbies, I wonder if the Lord is trying to tell me that I can do some of those retirement activities now? Why not? Why wait until I think I'll have more time or money when now isn't a bad time to start? If I wait until the perfect time to do some of these things, the perfect time will probably never come. So here I go on my search for my skill - whatever it will finally be when I find it. I'm going to start out with trying painting again (just don't expect anything as good as this painting at first - it's been a long time, and I was taking lessons then - I have to start from scratch now). In fact, I rented a few "How To" books on oil painting from the library already.

Maybe I'll write a blog about it.

Trying My Hand At Home Decorating

Here are some of my new decorations! I had a burst of inspiration last week, took some of our unspent wedding money and bought all kinds of cool stuff on Monday, and finally put them in my house today! There are still some bare walls and I haven't done a thing with either of our bedrooms - still working on that - but I'm starting to whip my house into shape! After living here for about seven months (since we got married in July), it's about time I actually did something with it. Here are some of the decorations I've put up so far. It's kind of hard to get a feel from them just from the pictures without seeing them in my house, but it will give you an idea.
















I'm so proud of myself on this last one, because I made it all myself! The idea struck me last week - I think it was an idea in an old JC Penny catalog, and it changed in my mind to my own version and suddenly presented itself to me with no sign of its coming. I bought some ribbon and found an aspen tree branch outside, and I took some of these great frames that I bought and put them all together. It looks better on my wall than in the picture, but you can kind of see it there.
I found some stuff that I could hang in my bathroom too. I had a bit of a hard time thinking of stuf for the bathroom, but once I got a starting piece that I liked I tried to work around that.

I put a nice little vase with river rocks and flower stems in it on our coffee table, and I bought "dried naturals" for the wooden bowl. And that's me and Derek in the frame. I got almost everything there at Hobby Lobby, except for the bowl, which I got at Target. Isn't Hobby Lobby great? They have all kinds of great home accents there!

The rest are arrangements on my walls, and they're kind of hard to see, but it turned out rather well. The quilt is on the big wall above the staircase, and Hobby Lobby had this cool three-picture frame and metal crosses that I thought were beautiful, so I just put those around the quilt.

My mom gave me that little iron shelf, and I put a figurine on it and bought some artificial flowers for the vase from the first flowers Derek ever gave me. My sister gave us the figurine for our wedding, because Derek is always picking me up like that, and she remembered I had said I liked it. She has a great memory, because I forgot all about it until I got it for our wedding, and I love it!
I finally have hung some of our wedding pictures on the wall! I've been wanting to for a while, so I'm glad that I finally got around to it. I love dried flowers too, and I found that fun "Love" metal hanging at Hobby Lobby too. If you haven't gone home-decorating shopping at Hobby Lobby before, they have some nice stuff! I already have something else in mind for our room when I start working on the bedrooms.

Anyway, that's some of my decorations, for those of you who haven't been to my house! My grandma is dropping by and I still have to frost some brownies, so until another day!


P.S. For my blogging buddies - if you all have pictures of your residences, I would like to see! I have pictures in my mind according to how I picture your states, but I'm sure my mind-images aren't entirely accurate. *smile*

Bits of History - Honorius and Telemachus

I wish I knew more about history. Oh I know the basics, but one thing that really impresses me is when I hear someone speak about some event in history and they really know their stuff.
History fascinates me. Maybe it's because if you look closely you can see God's hand in history, the careful orcestrating of His plans.
Especially interesting to me is American history, and lately I've also been equally interested in the history of the Christian church. I'd like to learn more about these two apects of history and get to the point where I can talk about an event and really know my stuff.
Because of the appeal that history has for me in general, and as a way to vent my creative writing impulses, I thought I'd try writing a small bit of history from the perspective of someone who was there. I'll try to post these "bits of history" periodically, and hopefully it will benefit me in learning more history and improving my writing skills and benefit you in looking at historical events or characters from a different perspective. So here we go.

Rome - 404 A.D.


The sun was shining gently on the marble balcony as Honorius looked at the view from the imperial palace in Constantinople. He had lived here in this place from his birth, and he knew the hallways and arches like he back of his hand.
This was his home, the place he felt most comfortable. He had grown up in this palace with his brother Arcadius who now ruled the eastern half of Rome. It was a parting in which both brothers had agreed to go their own ways and rule each half of the empire as they saw fit. In the past either the eastern or western ruler would in essence control both halves of the empire, but with Arcadius and Honorius the empire was split pretty much down the middle with neither of them dominating the other. He had ruled western Rome ever since his father died nine years ago. Honorius was only eleven at the time.
Honorius turned away from the balcony and made his way to the courtyard. He needed to take a stroll through the gardens. Perhaps that would clear his mind.
Honorius couldn’t quite shake from his mind what he had seen two days ago at the gladiatorial games. For the most part it had started out like many other days at the games he had seen in the past. Honorius had been prepared to play the traditional role of the Emperor at the games – let the gladiators fight until one of them had the other on his knees, then give the thumbs down signal that was expected of him, giving the gladiator permission to complete the kill.
They had brought the first round of gladiators into the arena, and he half remembered the men calling out to him the traditional cry of “Hail Emperor! We who are about to die solute you!” He winced when he remembered his indifference to that phrase.
He was talking to Stilicho, his father’s “Master of Soldiers” who had been appointed his guardian after his father’s death, when there seemed to be a disruption. The crowd suddenly called madly, angry at something that had happened in the arena. The mood of the crowd was always fickle, but something seemed different this time. Honorius turned and looked out across the arena.
Suddenly he was aware of a small man dressed as a monk who was running to the center of the arena where the gladiators fought. The monk ran right between two gladiators who had been locked in combat and attempted to push them apart! The crazy little man, Honorius thought. They’ll probably turn on him now.
“Stop! Stop! In the name of Christ I beg you to stop!” said the monk, whose name Honorius later learned was Telemachus. Those words were now emblazoned on Honorius’ heart. He wasn’t sure he would ever forget them.
Surprisingly the gladiators didn’t kill the man, but the crowd had been outraged to have the games interrupted in such a way. Before long stones and other objects were raining down upon Telemachus. He continued to beg them in the name of Christ to stop killing men for sport until he was unconscious, the sand of the arena soaking up his blood. At that point Honorius had turned away.
Now as Honorius walked through the gardens at Constantinople, he replayed the monk’s last words in his mind. Honorius had always considered himself a Christian, but what kind of Christian was he really? He had watched the games many times before, watched men die without a second thought. He was ashamed that it had took an innocent monk speaking out and dying in the arena to open his eyes.
Honorius set his jaw, knowing what he must do. He had never made many decisions as the Emperor; he was content to just live his life, oversee what he must, but leave the rest to other men. Many called him weak and maybe he was; maybe that was why the Roman empire was split into two virtually separate empires with he and his brother at the helm. They had both been spoiled shamelessly as children and neither of them was dominant over the other now; maybe they were both weak as rulers. But this was the moment, the one moment in Honorius’ life when he felt he must do what he had to do. This was something that could not be left to others.
The next day, in the year 404 AD, Honorius issued a decree that the gladiatorial games should come to an end. No matter how many weak or even disastrous political moves Honorius had made in the past or would make in the future, he knew he could rest easy knowing that he had not failed in this; he had been strong and done what was right.





I gathered information for this piece from the following websites:
1. http://www.roman-empire.net/collapse/honorius.html
2. http://www.roman-colosseum.info/roman-emperors/honorius.htm
3. http://bible.christiansunite.com/sch/sch01-19.shtml
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