Winter blue-blahs 

Things have been slow around here, now that winter officially hit the forest (in February). I can’t go stick collecting, but that’s probably a good thing as I do have two large containers full. I can’t wander through the forest listening to the bird sing. I can’t smell the trees and foliage growing. Everything feels like it’s on hold under this frozen blanket. Like a pause button. Or maybe this just makes me a victim of the winter blue-blahs.

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And what  am I going to do about it?!

After I kick this flu crap, I’m going to get myself a pair of good winter boots and mitts, and get my butt out there! If my tiny imaginary friends do it, then so should I.

Next, I’ve got to zap that creativity wave back into action.

I’ve been following LU + ED blog for a little while now. I just love the simplicity of the monsters (kinda reminds me of something I used to know), and their no fear talk of these imaginary creatures little lives.  I was hoping to learn a thing or two about the business side through other Monster lovers, but today I found a cure for the blues!

Today I found a #creativedaily inspiration booster right there on that very blog. So, that my friend, will be step number two, to get out of these winter blue-blahs.

Please, join me if you wish. Use the hashtag #creativedaily to share on Facebook or instagram. But definitely keep watching here if you want to see how I interpret these simple words in monstrous ways. OK. Might not all be monster-like…. But I will try.

Source: February #creativedaily Prompt List

Keep it silly kids

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We had a wonderful time at the Guelph Vintage and Makers Market this past weekend. So many wonderful talented makers, we didn’t want the day to end. And it was here we received the best compliment of all… To my daughter and I she said “you two have such a great relationship” and it was here I realized we really do. And then my friend asked “how?”

But for that I’m not entirely sure.

Her dad and I have always used laughter to make the girl stronger, to get up when she had fallen or smile even though school bullies pushed her around. We encouraged her to keep trying and always, always to be her silly loud imaginative self, because she’s better that way. It’s her silly that makes us love her best.

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We made chores into games, and boring walks to the grocery store into grand adventures.

We let her have her own personal quiet time, and she let us have ours. She’s really always been independent so I guess that part was easy. But somewhere in between the games and the rules we found a mutual respect for each other. She gets physically sick if she tries to tell us a lie, she never fears to speak her mind and as of yet, she tells us everything from difficult friends to accidentally smashing her ipod. She feels genuine remorse when we tell her something is not right. I trust her to continue to make good decisions, and tell her this all the time. (does no good if you don’t tell them)

I had lost my silly a few years ago. Was stuck in the darkness and, for the first time ever, I actually closed the craft room door.  But the kid kept being silly. Kept being herself. I realized then that she’s my laughter; She’s my silly. She’s my strength. She saved me from the dark and, now that she’s older, we keep each other out of that scary place anytime it seems near. Whether it’s boredom, or sickness or sadness…  We have silly little things we do to help each other think beyond the dark gloomy thoughts. Hard to be in a grump when you crank the cheesy elevator music, sing badly really loud, and of course make up your own words.

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I know not every mother daughter team has this connection, but it’s not too late. All you have to do is let go, and see things the way a child would. Their wonder, their creativity, their silly games… They want to feel that you believe them when they speak, even if it’s about the unicorn living in the backyard. They want to know your listening and you make time for the imaginary game they’ve made. The more the child feels connected to you, the more respect and understanding they will have for the mommy/daddy rules of life. Plus, I think the moral is as a parent, don’t be afraid to look a little silly. Make your kids laugh.

Not going to lie, not everything is solved by jokes and fairytales alone. There will be hard times (oh, those terrible two’s felt like they lasted an eternity) but now, 12 years later, we have this forever great thing. So, Never give up. And never let the small ones in your life lose their wonder.

That being said, I’ve recorded a few “Words to live by” (or things we told the kid along the way)…

* Once your old enough, and you’ve learned all the appropriate rules, you’re allowed to make up your own words. Like magnifical! (this came about after she was old enough to correct my grammar and word use)

* Only you are in control of your feelings. You can let hurt and pain keep you in a dark place, or you can push past it and choose happiness and laughter.

* Magic exists. In day dreams and hopes and wishes. A little imagination can turn a boring car ride into the most magnifical adventure through a frozen concrete forest in search of the warm healing stone to free everyone from busy office life. And save the unicorn dragons of course.

* Laugh when things go wrong, like when you trip up the stairs and spill dinner. If you saw it in a movie it would be funny so imagine our lives as a movie.

* to the parents: Get excited about things like a kid would. Cuz we are Totally ready to rock the day. Right!?

* I make the rules because I am the supreme leader and I have the pin of power. When you are taller, and you’ve been a good rule follower, I might give it to you. (This one doesn’t work so much anymore because now she is about a foot taller than me)

To sum up…
Keep life fun. Even grownups can be silly.

Whistle while you work. A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down….. And all those other things they say in Disney movies to get the moral across.

Back to the sewing table

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Next weekend is the Make a Difference Market at the University in Waterloo.  It’s organized by an amazing group of college kids working through the peace society, raising money to help third world countries. I’ve been doing this show for at least 6 years, and like always, I can’t wait!

I’ve decided to bring the remaining UROCK collection plus my new upcycled project, Gypsy Train offering both preloved and upcycled clothing, as well as BIGoakCO‘s monsters and jewels. That being said, today my day will consist of a little cleaning, a little sewing and a lot of mythological superheroes…. Watched, of course, in chronological order thanks to the Internet movie database list!

The imagination needs a little inspiration every once in a while. Plus watching so many movies in succession helps me get the job done.

Ps. The snow finally hit the tall forest…. And it’s beautiful.

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From what I hear, the good fairies have been preparing for this snow for quite some time, as a protective shield against the evil rat Queen and her minion crows. So no fear, they are warm and cozy, and happy and safe.

Come a long way, baby

Me that is. Today this is all about me and the realization that I am finally proud of how far I’ve come. Proud, for this moment.

Back in 2007 I created a clothing line with monsters sewn from odd fabric scraps. People seemed to like them, so I kept going. Gradually the sewing got better, the designs cuter and the screenprinting looked far more professional than when I started. I took this as “practice makes perfect” (or maybe just “better than before”) and kept going because I could. I didn’t really feel a sense of pride or accomplishment for the sewing. And actually still got down because I figured I really needed to do much much better.

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After a while, as the demand for the tees tapered off, I decided to try something new. I’ve sinc developed a line of jewelry that encompassed my love of nature and my collection of vintage jewelry. I’ve also started to record the little imaginary adventures that we encounter while on our stick finding adventures.

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The stories came easily, as did most of the jewelry. But Illustrating the stories was something new. I had never really done that before, and in my opinion, I really didn’t do it well. I drew for fun, but never to show anyone. This was when I realized I should have paid more attention in art class. (Note to highschool me: just cuz you want to be an astronaut doesn’t mean you should ignore them when they talk about dirt. All of it really will be important one day.)

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At this point my daughter’s art had progressed drastically, and was truly incredible to me. I definitely shared it more than my friends cared to see. I was proud, but possibly also a little jealous. It frustrated me that she had no formal training and it was only her dedication to keep trying that she was able to improve. I finally asked her what exactly she did to get do good, and the smarty-farty just said “practice”.

We’ve told her this for years, back when she didn’t think she was good enough, so I really should have expected this response. And there’s that pride again. Proud that the kid actually listened, stuck to it, and accomplished something so great.

Whether it was that pride, jealously, or mad determination, I started sketching whenever I could. I drew whoever was sitting in front of me, sorry for that Guelph office mates… I Doodled faces onto monsters in magazines, while on my break… I even googled other drawings and attempted to recreate them. That being said, I actually think this is the best method of learning. Copying teaches me drawing techniques I never learned in school. And this got my hand eye used to converting what my eye was seeing.

After months and months…. And months of this, I think I am finally where I hoped to be.

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More improvement is always a goal….
But for today, for this moment, I’m kinda proud of how much better these drawings are looking. Note to anyone out there: Practice Everyday!

A storm’s a brewin, and let me tell you why

I bet you think this cold cloudy day is just another fluke of nature, but no my friend. There’s so much more to the story.

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Late last night there was a secret gathering in the dark parts of the tall forest. Sneaky plotting and devilish plans ensued as the troublesome sprites began to lead the evil minion trolls to wards the BIG Oak, home of the good fairies and the master jewel that controls the good powers of the forest.

This magical jewel not only gives the good fairies their power, but it also send out emotional vibrations from whomever has it in their posession. If the evil Queen was to get a hold of it the winds would become dangerously strong and the skies would turn black as her heart; Flowers would wither and turn to poison, and animals would suddenly turn on each other in fits of rage.

Unfortunately, in the wee hours of the morning the gruesome trolls finally broke through the protective walls of the big oak with an evil spell, and stole the magic jewel. Although a little slow from the spell, the good soldiers managed to stop them and steal the jewel back. Thinking they had won, the Good soldiers cheered and accidentally tossed the jewel into the air, letting it be once again retrieved by the gruesome trolls.

This went on for a few hours, back and forth the jewel went, and back and forth the dark clouds moved. We saw the sun, then in came the darkness, altering the weather every time the jewel changed hands, until an unfortunate Swift kick sent it flying too far, and it was lost in the dense bushes.

If you happened to be close enough to the tall forest today, you may have felt the changing yourself. Some are weaker than others and fell right into mean and moody, while those who are stronger may have experienced intense pain in both your head and eyes, as your body tried to fight off the evil.

And now, as darkness falls, somewhere in the forest lies the magical jewel. It’s indeed hidden from evil but unfortunately also hidden from good.

I do hope they find the jewel soon.
I miss the sun. And my head is killing me….