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Entries in sarahndipitous (46)


Enemy Us

While watching my sons make their Halloween costumes this year, the eldest kidlet said, "It's always hardest battling yourself 'cuz you already know the weak points to exploit and if you win, you actually lose." "What if we are all Spy vs. Spy, you know, versions of ourselves hiding behind diguises trying to blow ourselves up in new and scary ways?"

Sometimes I think my kids are far older that 9 and 11, their conversations are oftentimes so profound that all I can do is take dictation and pray that someday I too will learn this wisdom. They did get me thinking about self-destructive behaviors, about how as a creative, I talk myself out of creating things, self edit, and otherwise decide that safe is easier. 

Creating anything requires a certain degree of bravery. To make a mark is a deliberate act of courage that harnesses the honest resolve necessary to light the fuse and expose ourself to the enemy, knowing full well that it'll leave us in a vulnerable position. Battles aren't won by timidity, they are won by bold action and taking risks. When the enemy is us... the peanut gallery of naysaying voices in our heads, perhaps the bravest thing one can do is stare at the blank canvas or page and break the surface tension by employing an uncharacteristic broad stroke of determination.



Halloween Party Transfers

Everyday script background paper can instantly be transformed into a Halloween themed backdrop using a few simple techniques and basic supplies. I'm not big on buying a bazillion different things in order to create something special. Creativity is about using the things you already have and putting them to use in such a way as to accomplish a desired end result. This is a project I made for Bic Mark-it Markers. You can get the directions and supply list here.

I wanted to point out the image transfer technique here for the folks who think they can't draw *wink*

Take any copyright free image you'd like to transpose to an already decorated piece of paper and print it onto a blank sheet of copy paper. Using a soft lead pencil (I used a regular Bic Mechanical pencil from the kid's school supply stash) and scribble over the entire backside of your image. Lay your image, pencil side down, over your decorative paper in the place you'd like it to go, and then simply trace over it with a ballpoint pen. The image will transfer to the underlying sheet and then you can color it in as you'd like. I used progressively darker markers to shade in the skull image to achieve the desired effect. Have fun and happy creating!


Big Thinking

 For those of you familiar with Michigan and the outlet mall in Birch Run, you've probably seen Tony's Restaurant right there next to the gas station before hopping back onto I-75. For those of you who have never heard of Tony's, it is one of those places every person must visit at least once in their lifetime just to say that they've been there. The walls are decorated with celebrities that have at one time or another visited and their menu is more akin to a family newsletter you'd get around the holidays filling you in on all the latest events and happenings than a list to order from. The offerings listed in the menu seem, on the surface, to be normal enough, the prices are very reasonable, and the staff are friendly and always ready with a smile. 
 In order to illustrate "big" thinking to our children, my husband and I decided we should stop by and let them order whatever they wanted. The kids were immediately giddy to see their Mythbuster Heroes on the menu and were wondering why it was that Tory and Grant hadn't come by for a visit while they were smacking the Michigan Mitten a high five. Laughing to myself, I found the most interesting thing about the scenario in how oblivious they were to the platters that streamed past them while they were so engrossed in the options typed on paper in front of their noses, how they completely missed the "big" whilst pondering the small print. 
 The waitress came by and took our orders. My daughter had chosen the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich. Promptly after the kids ordered, I asked them about big ideas and big thinking, what they would do if an idea got too big? The family discussion was entertaining to say the least... nothing is too big for a kid methinks. I mentioned that each of them had had an idea of what they wanted for dinner and an expectation based on past experiences of what they were going to receive. They all agreed that they had had the thought, figured it was what they wanted, and were hungry ("starving" said in an exasperated tone by the middle child) enough to eat it all and still have room for dessert.
 Dinner was served. The kid's jaws dropped and not one of them moved. Their "idea" was just so big that they honestly had no clue as to how to begin... they sat motionless and unable to move. I thought about how many times I have had this grand thought and how after thinking about it earnest, became paralyzed, unable to proceed.
 She (7): "What's the point of a big idea if you can't get your mouth around it? Maybe big ideas have to be eaten in little bites and maybe there are supposed to be left-overs." Me: "Maybe."


Halloween "Punkin"

Carving Pumpkins is serious business in this studio... as are Math, Science, and all forms of Geekdom. It has become a Halloween tradition to pull out the Dremel, Speedball Linoleum Cutters, and a Permanent Bic Mark-it Marker to come up with something the neighbors will get a kick out of. 



Reading Signs

A well done sign is universal, it transcends language barriers and even generations. I laughed when my daughter said, "That sign is EXACTLY how I feel Mom." I wondered if she would have read that sign any differently had she not been in desperate need of a restroom. It's interesting to think about how a sign can mean different things depending on what frame of mind we ourselves are in, what needs we ourselves have at the time. To my son standing near by, this sign said, "Lego Women on Thin Ice"... 



A Closer Look

 Our lives are full of random happenings, proverbial statues knocked from the pedestals we've placed them upon by the nature of things. We never know why things happen as they do until we take a closer look and rest our minds on that very moment where the architecture of a reason becomes as clear as a fleeting wing.




Repurposing various things has been a passion of mine since the day I discovered I was tall enough to open my parents kitchen junk drawer and peer at the contents inside. The amazing thing about creativity is that it is seen when we repurpose what is on hand and use it in a new, unexpected and innovative way. Oftentimes, we discover something about ourselves when we are forced to use what we have instead of what we want. Our creation becomes a mirror of sorts, it not only shows us who we are but, it shines with that light from within and gives us little hints of what we are made of, what we are capable of reflecting in darker times.

These drink coasters were created using bicycle reflectors rubberstamped with an image from Judikins using Tsukineko's Staz On Ink.


Ruffles Attached

As I get older, I realize the truth and wisdom tucked away in that adage, "there is nothing new under the sun." Styles, trends, and daresay, ideas, all have their seasons and all in turn, come back into favor at somepoint. Today it was about ruffles.

I remember wanting a ruffled skirt in the 3rd grade. I wanted this skirt so badly that I had decided to go on a hunger strike until I was given one. The idea of a ruffled skirt permeated my every thought, it was an invasive species that had attached itself to practically every sentence that left my lips. I had become dead wood and this ruffled desire, was fungus eating away at my shell. My great-grandmother, being the amazingly astute person she was, sat me down and taught me how to sew a ruffle and add it to anything my heart desired. She taught me a valuable lesson that day. We have the power to change the things we'd like by learning a skill and having the initiative to do-it-yourself.

This afternoon my daughter came running into the kitchen wanting ruffles on her skirt... and history repeated itself right there before my eyes.   



Luck doesn't keep a horseshoe to a hoof; nails, a honed skill, and hard work do. There are some who believe that luck follows certain people around, smiles on them a bit more, clears the way and sweeps the stones from their path so they do not trip... they believe undeniably that luck chooses some people over others and that it is just the way of the universe.

If luck were a game of horseshoes, the one getting closer to the stake taking it all, I suppose I'd rather be the person who knows how to make their own horseshoes. There will always be someone with better aim, more favorable conditions, and more experience pitching a toss than I but, if I can make my own well, that just changes everything doesn't it? 


Slow and Steady

 On my adventures over the summer, we came across this meditative area in the woods. I saw this bronze statue from a distance and instantly felt kinship to it... she was an Indian Princess from a Michigan tribe represented by the turtle but, I saw her as the patron saint of slow and steady. As an artist, so many things in my studio are in various stages of not done... works in progress. My natural instinct is to hurry them through, complete them and cast out the clutter rather than have to look at the mediocre waiting to find a stroke of genius and be deemed well, better than mediocre I suppose. In this statue I saw an act of charity extended to all those who create in their shells, in the sanctuary of their own hearts. It is in the knowing that one isn't alone in the woods, that there are others there meditating upon that same patron saint of the slow and steady and that we are all perhaps, works in progress.



Our second born child pouts... often. He'll hate me later on, years from now, for writing this but, it's true. His internal sense of efficiency is oftentimes tested by the irrational (according to him) way one must be 'forced" to use time, time that belongs to a person and should not be aribitrarily usurped by someone else. School would be one of these things. "We gotta learn by doing things, not by sitting and listening to stories about what other people did. You know, all those people who did amazing stuff, built rockets and discovered other planets, well, they didn't do it sitting at a desk doing worksheets in some school. You can't dig space rocks from a piece of paper." 

He makes me laugh. Now that the kids go to a virtual academy, learning isn't "school", it's self-initiated. They have their assignments that they are indentured to but, the rest of their time belongs to them and they are free to chase after all the rockets that didn't manage to leave the backyard to prepare them for their next mission. School is starting for so many kids this week... may the education they received playing and discovering all summer give them the incentive to finish what they must, so in that, they can go make their mark, be the people the kids of the future will read about, and be free to learn simply because they can.

To learn more about this scrapbook lay-out and how it was made, visit Bic Mark-it




It's amazing to think of how many plants grow next to fountains and are yet parched and dying of thirst. So committed in their rooted existence, those plants are unable to move, to bend, to reach out and drink in that which is so close. I noticed this beautiful Dahlia and was struck by the fact that it required someone to physically water it each day for it's survival despite being within feet of a sparkling fountain. It left me wondering about how many people are like this beautiful flower... dependent on others to meet their thirst, unable to fetch a cool drink for themselves. The creative often creates in solitude yet, they must seek inspiration for themselves, they must find water lest they wither away.



End Of Summer

Summer is the childhood of our lives. It a series of carefree moments as unnumbered as the grains of sand are at the water's edge. The days are endless, the adventures are sun-kissed and the memories are vibrant and in full color after staring at the sun. We tend not to realize we are in Summer until the days start to shorten and a horizon of sunset colors reflect themselves in the trees lining the pathway home at day's end. 


To see this project and how it was made, please visit Bic Mark-It




Strawberries taste better when you pick them yourself. There is something more in it's sweetness, that lingering aftertaste of self-initiative and accomplishment perceptible to the person who tilled the soil, cultivated the plants, had their work boots covered in mud, and bite into the fruit of their labor.

Everyday we are given the opportunity to grow something, be it an actual seed or an idea, a person or even a community. We are given a field, a canvas, a workbench, an outstretched hand and the amazing chance to taste something so sweet, so fresh, so incredibly good.


(For the complete project & stepped out instructions, please visit Bic Mark-it)




The things we are most passionate about color our everything... our outlook, our speech, our disposition, and daresay, our surroundings. It's as if the moment we decide that we are not going to simply blend in with the rest of the landscape that we bloom as creatives.