Monday, December 2, 2013

December Daily Day Two: Create Every Day

Today I tried to rest and relax thru the aftermath of stomach flu by laying around and flipping thru art journal books. I also took a long field trip to gather some supplies for the week (a rather successful hunting trip amidst college students at Wal-Mart and Safeway, very dangerous, wouldn’t recommend it).

I dug out one of my to-do list projects, a sort of “Smash” book designed by Michaels Stores, the Recollections Cardstock Spiral. This link is a YouTube video of a lady flipping thru it if you’re interested in seeing it. I haven’t decided what to fill it with yet, which was the purpose of my book flipping earlier.

The colors and patterns aren’t really “me”, which is one of the best parts of this book. I have this theory that working on pages that aren’t necessarily in my “visual comfort zone” will help me dig deeper into my creative self and explore new things. At the very least, I will end up with something colorful!

Another idea this book gave me is to make one of my own. I have several pieces of double-sided cardstock in various colors and patterns that are single pages, gathered from various people and places, some in random shapes and sizes. I can cut them, border punch them, fold them, and bind them into by own book!

I’m sure updates will follow. I’ve gotten away from my art journey these past months and I desperately need to get back on track, so I have a long list of project ideas. Some are for Christmas gifts, and will be shown here after they’re given. Others will just be for me, for fun and exploration! Let the journey begin….again!

December Daily Day One: FLU and Friends

Yesterday was the beginning of the week, and the beginning of the last month of this year. Quite a significant day in my book. I was hoping to write about it, tell you all about my Thanksgiving trip, grocery shopping for the week and my new menu adventure, share a few ideas for Christmas gifts I want to make….instead, I woke up at 2:30 with the F L U.

That’s right friends, I was not well. I won’t go into the gory details, we all know what comes with the nasty stomach flu. Not a pleasant experience.

I spent the first half of the first of December laying in bed in pain (when not in the bathroom being sick), and the second half on my too-short couch in pain (but fortunately mostly done being sick). On the bright side, I was blessed by my hero for the day (my friend Chelsea) who brought me some flu fighting necessities:

120113 flu

She also brought me two other drinks and two bananas! By the time my pumpkin time rolled around my stomach was feeling better and my headache was going away, so I managed to get a little sleep and woke up feeling tons better. You read it here first friends – to fight the flu you need crackers, soup, Tylenol, and electrolytes. And some TLC from a friendly teddy bear, lots of blankets, soft pillows….a friend or spouse to get all this stuff for you!

I admit that upon waking this morning I was exhausted from my battle; however, I was thankful I had taken the day off work to recover, and I’m ready to get back at it tomorrow! This was by no means the way I wanted to start this month, but I made it thru, and it’s all uphill from here!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thankful for Words

Last year I made a futile attempt to record some things I was thankful for as the season of giving thanks approached. I was a bit late in getting started, so I wrote about ten things on the 12th in my post 10 Things I'm Thankful For (Vol. 1) – which now seems a bit silly since there was no volume two.

Well this year I’m only three days late. Actually, since I’m posting day, I’ve only missed two days, so I can catch up faster.

Looking back on Day One I realized that I’m thankful for words. The written kind more so than spoken, though I can honestly say I’m making forward progress in the area of verbal communication in a social context, and I still love public speaking. Either way, words are definitely one of my autistic perseverations. This comes to mind when I think of the first of November because, as I wrote about last year, this is National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo to those of us in the know). The goal is to write 50,000 words between the 1st and 30th of the month; so far I haven’t written any. I did look at my novel today, though, which is really like the first step.

One thing about words that really frustrates me (and there aren't many) is when they get stuck in my head. I don’t mean not being able to think of something to say, or even those moments when it’s “right on the tip of my tongue” (which, by the way, is such an odd expression; I really need to explore it’s origin). No, I’m referring to something that I believe happens often to those of us on the spectrum. I don’t know if there’s a word for it – something else to research I suppose – but there are times when I literally can’t speak. The words are there, sometimes I feel like I’m screaming them inside my head, but they just won’t come out.

There really isn’t any way I’ve found to explain this so it doesn’t sound crazy or stupid and most people who hear or read it understand. So I’m not going to try. I will leave it as I said it and not think about whether or not you understood me just right unless you happen to bring it up in conversation.

I would like to write about one thing I’m thankful for each day this month, and it would be great if you wanted to join me, or even just leave a comment about what you happen to be thankful for on that day. It doesn’t have to be anything detailed. It’s nice to share thankfulness!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Under the Sea

There are 92 known cases of nuclear bombs lost at sea. I know that’s a bit much to digest but consider the key word here being “known” and it gets worse. Consider how many unknown nuclear bombs could be lost at sea. And what would happen if any of them somehow went off….

I did some research. Nuclear weapons have been used twice in warfare, both by the United States, at the end of WWII against Japan. On 6 August 1945, a uranium gun-type fission bomb code-named “Little Boy" was detonated over the city of Hiroshima. Three days later, on 9 August, a plutonium implosion-type fission bomb code-named "Fat Man” was exploded over Nagasaki, Japan. These two bombings resulted in the deaths of approximately 200,000 people – mostly civilians – from acute injuries sustained from the explosions. Since then, nuclear bombs have been detonated on over 2,000 occasions, for testing or demonstrations.

The Federation of American Scientists estimates there are more than 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world as of 2012, with around 4,300 of them being considered “operational” (ready for use). That of course doesn’t include the 92 known cases lost at sea. Just another “fun” fact for Friday!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“Unwell” (2003) Matchbox 20

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something
Hold on
Feeling like I'm headed for a breakdown
And I don't know why

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to

I'm talking to myself in public
Dodging glances on the train
And I know
I know they've all been talking about me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinking
Somehow I've lost my mind

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be

I've been talking in my sleep
Pretty soon they'll come to get me
They're taking me away

But I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired
I know right now you don't care
But soon enough you're gonna think of me
And how I used to be
Yeah, how I used to be
How I used to be
Well, I'm just a little unwell
How I used to be
How I used to be
I'm just a little unwell

Matchbox 20 is a great band, and they have several songs that I enjoy listening to and singing along with; their lyrics are creative and funny and profound – one of my favorite combinations. And the music makes you want to move (always a plus). Unwell is one of favorites.

There are probably thousands of jokes and memes out there making fun of mental illness; this song isn’t one of them. At least not the way I see it. The word “crazy” has such a negative connotation in our society, and for good reason, but having a mental illness isn’t the same thing as being “crazy.”

I really like the line “I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell.” When someone asks you how you’re doing, you are supposed to answer “I’m well” not “I’m good” or “I’m fine.” And for this guy, he’d say “I’m a little unwell.” Just not quite feeling right. Have some stuff going on that maybe I need to get some help with. After all, it’s called mental illness for a reason; it’s not contagious, but it’s also not something that’s self-inflicted. It’s not that person’s fault and a lot of times, they really can’t control how it affects their life. So back off, be nice, stop making jokes and being a jerk and take a minute to listen. Maybe what they need to be well is a friend [smile]

Sunday, August 4, 2013

“Tangled Up In You” (2008) Staind

You're my world
The shelter from the rain
You're the pills
That take away my pain
You're the light
That helps me find my way
You're the words
When I have nothing to say

And in this world
Where nothing else is true
Here I am
Still tangled up in you
I'm still tangled up in you
Still tangled up in you

You're the fire
That warms me when I'm cold
You're the hand
I have to hold as I grow old
You're the shore
When I am lost at sea
You're the only thing
That I like about me

And in this world
Where nothing else is true
Here I am
Still tangled up in you
I'm still tangled up in you
Still tangled up in you

How long has it been
Since this storyline began
And I hope it never ends
And goes like this forever

In this world
Where nothing else is true
Here I am
Still tangled up in you
Tangled up in you
I'm still tangled up in you….still tangled up in you….

I love this song. It’s the only one by this band that I’m familiar with, but it’s been a favorite since the first time I heard it over two years ago.

It was originally played for me by a close friend who had just spent the weekend trying to find songs that should be “their song” (he and his girlfriend). This wasn’t one of the two they decided on, but when she sent it to him and he listened to it, he fell instantly in love with it, even taught himself to play it on his guitar.

It’s definitely a great song for expressing love in a committed relationship; but if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that’s not enough for me, especially for songs I want to share as part of my “Songs of September” series (almost done going thru the alphabet, only almost a year later!)

When I was looking for a video to share with you, I couldn’t find one of the actual band, but I think that may be better in this case. There are so many ways to interpret what he’s saying, so many relationships and life experiences that come to mind, I’d rather be left to my own thoughts than watch two actors try to play out the message for me. Which brings me to the deeper meaning that really makes this song resonate with me, and the reason I had to include it in this series.

A few months after my friend shared it with me, it came on my iPod while we were driving from Spokane, and we started talking about what it says; turns out he had the same thought I did the first time hearing it:  this transcends any guy/girl, human relationship – this speaks to our hearts about God’s love for us as well. He is so committed to loving us that He has not only become tangled up in our every moment, He died so we could be with Him forever!

With that in mind, read over the lyrics again, listen to the video one more time; close your eyes and let yourself wander into God’s presence. These words, these feelings he sings about, when you really hear them you see that they are intense and passionate. Is that where you are with God?

Just a thought. As I said, it’s also a great song to have as “your” song, and I hope one day soon I will have someone to be tangled up in, too.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Digging the Rabbit Hole

Today for my “Thrifty Thursday” altered book project, I decided to take a trip down the rabbit hole – but first I had to create one!

This is a common technique used in altered books and art journals, a variation of the “frame”, in which you glue several pages together and then cut out the center. In this version, I cut a series of circles, each one a little larger than the last, leading up to a photo on one of the pages in my altered book:

080113 2 3.5080113 3 4.5080113 5 5080113 5 5.5

As you can see, the image gets larger each time you turn the page, until finally you see the entire picture:

080113 6 full size image

The next step will be to decorate each page. I haven’t decided if I want to use a theme – perhaps something relating to the actual image – or just have four different layouts. Probably the former. I may also add some additional elements to the insides of the circles (someone else with the girl maybe?) just for a bit of depth and whimsy. This is a really fun technique that can be expanded upon in countless ways, and can use as many pages as you wish.

A fun sort of bonus:  you’re left with circles cut out of book text, great for adding to art journal pages, mixed media canvases, or even elsewhere in your altered book. For my circles, I started with 3.5”, then went up to 4.5”, 5”, and 5.5”. You can alter these measurements depending on the size of your final image and the number of pages you wish to create. In order to cut the circles I used a Creative Memories circle cutting system (awesome thrift store find!):

080113 1 cutting circles

This system came with three blade sizes, three circles, and a template to help you determine which blade to use with which circle. It also came with that brilliant cutting mat you see under the page (it fits right into the book!). You could also use a Martha Stewart circle cutter, an old fashioned compass, or even just trace around circles of the right size. If you had to, I’m sure you could find templates online to print and cut out, then trace around.

This can also be done in different shapes – ovals, squares, rectangles, or hexagons would be fun. Play around, have fun, and take a trip down the rabbit hole! You never know what you might find! As for this one, I’ll be posting photos when I get some of the pages finished. Happy crafting!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prompt Glass Half Full

This post is about a month overdue, but someone once said, “It’s better late than never,” so I’m writing it now. This year, 2013, was officially numerically half over on July 3; which means, for those of you following my Art Challenge journal prompts, we are more than halfway finished!

Of course, it would be near impossible for all of you to be at the midway point short of creating your own prompts since I have been so remiss in posting each week. I offer my deepest and sincerest apologies!! To hopefully start to make up for that, I’m going to include the first 26 cards in this post, right here, right now:

I will work on writing posts on each pair I’ve missed over the next month, as well as keeping up with current weekly prompts. I hope you have found at least a few that have inspired something great. I know it’s been an interesting and valuable experience for me so far, and I can’t wait to get back into it!