Woolen Slippers

I donated my old slippers because I didn’t like wearing them. I also thought I had a pair waiting for me at my other house. But when I journeyed there this weekend, found none and felt a faint tingle in the back of my mind, “oh yes, I donated them too because I didn’t love them”.  I am trying to get better about shooing things out of my life that I don’t heartily enjoy. This new habit I’m trying to form has left me slipperless.

Shopping is fairly torturous to me, I avoid rambling around looking for things. I don’t have a lot of belief that anything I will cherish is manufactured in bulk. Thus, when I am disproven it is usually the result of a gift. Fortunately in this instance I stumbled on a work around.

I went looking in my yarn bin for materials to make a crocheted Trotro doll for my niece’s X mas present around the same time I was experiencing slipper loss and just starting to warm up the cabin by woodstove heat.

Years ago I did my student teaching in New Zealand and I still remember the day in the market that I bought some virgin wool. A woman named Nicole made me her confidante. She was in a quandary. She said she had started to raise a few sheep to have wool for her projects. She said she had been naive, she didn’t realize they would multiple so quickly. She promised herself when there were 15 she would find a solution to keep the numbers low. She repromised at 20. She said she now had 30 and couldn’t think of having the lambs slaughtered, but couldn’t kill the old ones either. What should she do, she asked me. Me, a twenty something from America, I had no idea what to say to her. Her wools were soft and varied. Creams to greys and browns and rich charcoal, I could imagine this beautiful flock and the impossibility of trying to decide between them. These are materials I can love. I bought a variety, and way more than this non-consumer could concieve of. When I got it home to my place in NZ n realized my bags were full and I was to depart in a few days I realized I would have to wear it to get it home. I crocheted it into a long sleeveless cloak with a big pocket and traveled home encompassed in the heart of the land of NZ. It stayed that way, for years, I had never intended to keep it in that form, but somehow it remained and went on many more travels with me. Finally a few years ago I set to the task of taking it apart and finally, they are anew



Moments (poem)

Sometimes moving is just a motion

Sometimes meaning lasts just a moment

Sometimes monotony is just a mirror

Reflecting the mindless motions we make to give meaning to moments.

ever a time

is there ever a time

when everything comes together in your mind

the perfect tug unravels the yarn ball tangled thoughts into a single line

clear vision lays before you

crystalline in acceptance of everything?

deserving of anything?

I get glimmers,

though any attempts to hold on,

only makes the clarity retreat more swiftly

so i must settle, for now, for here, for this

for it is all a gift.

i will try to remember on days long forgotten,

that there was ever a time.


“We” are special until we think we aren’t.

It still takes two to tango, even if we never learned how.

faults are natural, they occur.

they occur in the streets, in quiet spaces, in blank faces, in every nation.

no one can explain it all, nor understand it all.

but traveling widely it seems the world’s majority people are seekers of good, are good.

may “we” not fall into their hatred

may “we” be bigger than that.



it is the number one thing I feel writing this, after being so absent for months. I would hope I was digesting, adjusting.  perhaps that is true.  I would like to see it so.

in truth, i hesitated even finding the words, as my mind searched to remember this place.  only to find that the key was already unlocked. it has just sat here, waiting for me.  patiently, as good things seem often to do.

but right under that feeling and maybe even pushing up from under, like a child using his arms to hold up the top of the fort, I feel joy.  Joy that I remember the feeling of contributing, that I can get better at it.  That love is worth sharing. That telling stories is part of who we are as people. That art affects.

Realizing this, I will try to begin, bare chested. Forgetting heaviness, letting go, filling up light airy lungs with good, with truth.






170220 Go Without: Creativity Exercise

Tharp recommends taking a week off from a norm in your life to feed your creative health. It’s like a non food diet, and doesn’t need to last forever, just enough to get the taste of it.

For most of this trial my ongoing experiment over the week has been the Mind Wander project in increasing time duration.  But for this final week I’m trying something different all week.  On page 32 Tharp recommends taking a week off from a norm in your life to feed your creative health.   It’s like a non food diet, and doesn’t need to last forever, just enough to get the taste of it.  This has been one of the hardest challenges of this six week trial so far.  Since I don’t have tons of routines, I decided to eliminate internet time.  I quickly realized there are a number of time sensitive tasks I have that utilize the internet, so I immediately needed to revise.  The revision I created was that I could only go on the internet with a specific purpose, get in, accomplish it and get out.  Monday I failed horribly.  I think I spent almost an hour to two hours of aimless time on the internet.  After that I did pretty good, until Friday again when I was off task for probably about 30 mins.  I like the idea though.  It seems good to have days or times when you just write your list of things to accomplish on the net and then get back to physical reality.  This is definitely not anything I could do forever.  There’s so much good stuff out there on the internet that is good community building and inspiring that I think I would be missing out.

You could take this exercise in a lot of directions though.  Tharp mentions some examples of a week without a watch, mirrors  or newspaper.  All could have very different effects on your reality.

After a week of doing this I think the biggest reward was having more focus and intention with my internet time.  Even when I slipped off track I was more cognizant of what I was doing, because I was self regulating.  Awareness seems to go a long way in terms of helping to curb unwanted behavior, but self-discipline is the big bouncer you need in your club to help awareness weave a path through the crowd.  Without discipline I think awareness could just make you feel bad about yourself.  It did that some for me, but because I did follow through on my commitment often, it wasn’t horrible.  And who knows for some people becoming aware that they don’t like their own behavior and feeling bad about it, might just be the kick in the pants they need to make a change.  Everyone is different.

170123: Name Your 5 Biggest Creative Fears

This exercise is from Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life p. 31

Tharp challenges you to name your fears in order to face them and then focus on how you might be able to overcome them individually.

  1. I won’t be able to keep up with all the things I want to accomplish.
  2. Will I make things worth the time spent?
  3. What is something unique that I can contribute?
  4. Do I have enough energy to be successful?
  5. Can I find quality mentors? How?

I will work toward answering and nullifying these questions over the next few weeks.

170121: Dry Cabin Minimalism Marriage

We each get one bowl, one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, two cups….So last week we took all the other serving dishes and put them up on a shelf, off limits except for guests.

Yes, we live in a dry cabin, and it is the dry cabin and minimalism which are married here, not my beau and I.  I never intentionally set out to be a minimalist, (and trust me I have a long way to go), but sometimes it’s just the natural answer.  I have lived in a dry cabin on and off since 2009.  But I have never lived with anyone else in a dry cabin until mid Nov. 2016. So it’s just been a few months and we were fortunate to get a sweet little place.

But time to time we have still struggled with “the dish mountain”.  First it’s just a dish or two and you think, “oh that’s nothing, I’ll get it next time around”.  Then you get sick for a few days and feel elated if you can muster the energy to make tea. Before you know it “the dish mountain” has appeared.  We try to take turns and stay on top of it, but like all things, sometimes we fail.  Not liking to fail the same way twice our newest solution is one that we tried on when we were first living together down in Montana in September.  We each get one bowl, one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, two cups.  We cheat a little because we have 2 extra bowls.  One is extra large for salads and one is a mini for sauces/ snacks etc.  So last week we took all the other serving dishes and put them up on a shelf, off limits except for guests.

So far it’s going well.  I love having a clean counter, more space to prepare food and more ease finding the cooking implements I need most. The bowls and plates we use I made in college using an oven safe glaze, so I can warm and bake directly in them if the container warms up with the oven.

I also reduced some of the cooking utensils we don’t seem to use.  Now we are easily accountable for clean up.  We have to if we want to use our bowl, fork etc again! ;).

UPDATE 1/28/17 I’ve never been so excited before when all my dishes are dirty!  I’m not excited to wash them, but was so excited to see how small the pile is, when we even have our favorite pans and utensils all dirty.  Wish I had a before picture, but just compare it to your own load when you have a lot of dishes.


So here is a a picture I took yesterday of all of our dishes being dirty and the empty shelf where they would be if clean.  (The white coffee cup and everything behind it are usually on the counter, not part of dishes.) It feels great that it doesn’t seem daunting.  Actually, it was so undaunting that my boyfriend did them all last night of his own volition, beat that?!

If you are curious about dry cabin living, or minimalism feel free to ask questions.  I’ll post more in the future on these subjects, I’m sure.img_6271

170118: Circles of Accomplishment

Tharp in The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life says that one way she deals with all of the things she needs to accomplish is to write down everything she wants to achieve in the next few months.  More important goals are written larger in proportion to their import.  She also tries to estimate how much time needs to be dedicated to the task and how they may fit in relation to other things that need to be done.  Today my prompt comes from p. 178 of her book.

I found my goals in creativity at this point have not yet demanded to outweigh each other.  Maybe we are a team and everyone will get a turn, or perhaps some will come to the forefront as things progress.  For now, I am content with this exercise for providing me a reference point where I can jot down new ideas I may have or look for inspiration when I don’t know what I might want to do next.  I was hoping that might be the case, which is why I wanted to do this exercise toward the start of the trial.  I included the Accomplishment guide (which is all I can call it, since I haven’t really done the circles part) as the image for this post, but I will share a few things I have written down there. I found that I also wrote down things I want to accomplish that aren’t creative, but I made their own section on the page and won’t work on them during creative time.  But I figure, why not apply the idea to my life as widely as it may be effective.

Complete Active Practice Game- requires brainstorming (four activities), sketching, woodburning- on 8 tiles.

Creative Blog Posts- requires imagining ideas, writing, and some photography

Yoga and Dancing Sessions- video, clear space, maybe music, maybe set up Patreon

Spontaneous Creative Cooking- food items, kitchen, also applies to Dry Cabin Living

Jewelry Project- if access to studio

Drawing- observation, imaginative, and from photo

Photoshop- try to make Gator Grad Tee design if can do by deadline, check deadline

Art EDU Blog- Write blog posts and use pictures from traveling to share arts from around the world at arteducationation.blogspot.com

I may add more to this list, but at least it’s a starting point

17/01/29 Also starting to do jewelry work at home, what I can do with wire wrapping.






Mind Wander

this is not about meditation and clearing your mind, but rather the idea of being aware and inviting the ideas in your mind to surface

As Tharp says, this is not about meditation and clearing your mind, but rather the idea of being aware and inviting the ideas in your mind to surface and be acknowledged. This is one exercise that Tharp proposes one try using duration, increasing the length of trial each time.  I will be starting with one minute and increasing by 2 minutes each week of the study. I will keep posting results on this one post.  Eventually the early trials will be at the bottom and most recent trials directly under this introduction. This exercise also fits well with a great book I recently read called Teach, Breathe, Learn by Meena Srinivasan. It is a wonderful resource for teachers to bring social and personal skill development to the classroom.

Nine Minute Trials


Minds, they go so many directions so quickly.  Makes me want to study what it is that gets us to follow through on a line of thought to resulting action.  Is it previous reward triggers?  Subbing a lot in SPED where there is much talk of Stiming or Stimulating behaviors it makes me feel we must all be SPED.  Everyone seems to do things that they believe will bring them pleasure. But if that’s true, how do people find new adventures?  The SPED students that I see replay and replay a small portion of video clip they like… makes me wonder how to they find new video clips to attach to?  There must be something to trigger variety that is different than what triggers soothing.  Is it that we get propelled into new things when we go along with a friend to places they like or do what they enjoy?  What about when we do something on our own that we just have some unknown internal push to try.  Like when I decided to go study in Scotland or Panama?  It’s confusing how there are so many variables to any one action.  I may be thinking about reading, checking my stocks, or writing my mind wander.  Then I quick check my stocks because I think it could distract me from my mind wander.  I set aside my desire to read because I’ve already read quite a bit today and I start my mind wander because I know I need to do this.

It’s hard to believe I’ve already been in a creative habit for over a month now.  It seems to be going along surprisingly smoothly.  More smoothly than I would have expected, but I’m still probably not accomplishing as much as I would like to.  I’m trying though to not be too hard on myself because I heard a teacher of the year of Alaska speak once and she said she just tries to add one new thing at a time and once she feels she gets that one new thing into her flow of life, then she starts on a new one.  That seems reasonable.  Here I am trying to do research, blog and be creative in a number of avenues and thread it all into my existing life which had none of these factors much recently.  So I have to acknowledge I’m probably making more progress than in apparent to me on the surface.  This blog itself is a thing I should probably be proud of.  Done at 8:33pm time to do my 10 yr journal for 10 Min as my trigger.

**Realization that the self initiated triggers I picked for this trial are things that I mostly already do that give me a sense of accomplishment or enjoyment.  Maybe a good opening task for anyone who wants to be more creative is to start with a small 10 min thing that helps put them in a positive mind state or helps them feel they are on the right track/ accomplishing already in a short time so they feel they can accomplish more. Because just now I thought, uh, i don’t really feel like journaling, and I heard myself tell myself that I’d already accomplished much by posting, and posting, and doing this, so surely I could just do a little more.


don’t fart around.. well fart around sometimes if you need a brain break, but always stay aware that your time can be valuable if you let it.  YOLO is true.  Make it count.  I am finding that if I start the endeavor right when I think of it…do the blog post, dance, make the cake… whatever it is, it gets done that much sooner and propels me onto the next stage.  But the more aimlessly I wander the more I branch off on another wander and quickly two hours are gone and I haven’t done what I set out to do.  Sometimes wandering is valuable, maybe I updated my goodreads list that I haven’t attended to for quite some time or stumbled onto some great reading list that will inspire me in the future.  And in that way it’s good to do what you feel at the time. But it should always be with awareness.  Awareness of time… maybe, awareness of life as a gift you are using in the present, always.  I am finding that this study by making me more aware of time by virtue of self-study has helped me to try to utilize it more effectively more often.  I am planning ahead with my boyfriend designing little adventures for ourselves.  Partly because we need breaks to look forward to, but these things might actually happen less often if we had more time available.  I want to be more structured with my life even in the times I don’t have to be so that I make my time and efforts count.  Luckily I am already a non-TV owner, and am not a big movie goer.  Maybe I should analyze more things in my life that are not adding value and that I can actively work to decrease.  Goals and lists help me to be more effective too.  Wunderlist has been a great tool and I’m so grateful to Taylor for his suggestion on that.  Right now I’m thankful to Ms. O’Connor for teaching us the non-stop writing technique so that we keep going and contributing even when we feel we don’t have a thing to say, because just writing that you have no thoughts will lead to another thought, just don’t let the pen stop..  So maybe the larger idea is don’t drop the ball, just keep bouncing along and you are bound to come up with something worthwhile eventually.


Seven minute trials

Recent Realizations of Things that help me be creative:

Being aware of Time- starting to feel like I’m using time more effectively because of this awareness

Getting my basic needs out of the way: noticing that before starting to be creative I’m more settled if I have eaten, have water at hand, clean up around/ prepare space, use the restroom

Having my documentation tools at hand: Pro camera & notebook

Not having more than one notebook, so everything gets recorded in the same place

Having a good system for archiving

Having an outlet point for various types of creative endeavors

Awareness of moments in everyday life that I am already being creative, helps me realize I’m more creative than my self image had been.

(moment of pause w/ 2 min remain)

Taking notes/ the process of self study itself is helping me see patterns of triggers/ timing and ideas to note or come back to.

Having an audience increases accountability and helps me set goals or want to continue

Having digital storage space available

Five minute trials

170201 Thoughts

Having just read a bit of Make it Mighty Ugly, it was a light bulb hearing her say that she never knew she was a writer, but discovering that fact, (I’m not sure quite how she discovered it), changed her life.  Last night I shared a bit of my poetry online.  I’ve never really shared any of it before.  BUt it got positive responses, and I told my boyfriend and he said yea, your poetry is very good.  And I was surprised.  Maybe I will share more, maybe I will try to write more.  Although poetry really seems like a thing for me that sneaks up and grabs me, asks to be written.  I never know what is on my mind until it unfurls itself on the paper, and I read it back to myself and say “Oh, yes, I guess I do feel that way”  I know everyone works differently, but for me it’s amazing how little I know about myself until I start talking to someone else, or writing or making art.  I often learn and see things about myself I didn’t know were already there, just waiting to rise to consciousness.  It’s a little scary in a way to think I may not know myself well.  BUt then rather reassuring to realize it is reachable, I just need to be open and giving time to it’s development. 

These mind wanders are starting to get easier, I’m starting to make them part of what I look forward to, maybe that’s a key to making a habit, doing something enough that you start to enjoy it enough that it triggers your brain to follow through when you consider doing it.

170131 Thoughts

excited to think up ideas for this teaching tips course I may teach at the Folk School, interesting and different kind of class than I’ve ever given.

Glad mom and dad are enjoying their Hawaii months, think they are really happy there and should go back again, but change is good too.

6:30 is too early to wake up still.  guess I’m not that old, or waking earlier may be appealing

I like this subbing deal.  Working just days I choose is great, also gives me the flexibility to take on other work or teach more at the Folk School.

I wonder where we will live after August. 

Need to think of an alternative sleeping pad option for the angel creek overnight ski trip

Being productive feels good, also sort of exhausting.  I think research and learning time as well as editing time need to be considered when framing out creative time in one’s life.  Access to materials immediately also make a big difference.  All my paints are down in Delta, so I haven’t painted at all and won’t til I get down there Feb. 24th.

170129 Thoughts

It’s important to listen to what comes naturally.  Sometimes I get that tick, little trigger when I know I’m doing something that’s no good for me.  Hawaii was great for flow.  Being peaceful and relaxed really helps me to be aware in the moment, and create more by fun feel than by force or what I think I should do.  It’s been hard not being hard on myself if I miss a day of mind wander, which I did a lot last week, and just realize that is then, this is now and I can start anew everyday.  There is no point to past regret- wasted time.  It’s great having written ideas down, now I have a source point when I want to start a new creative venture.  Started jewelry-making again on Thursday I think.  It’s been a while, feels nice to be looking at materials again.  I need to really dig through them to get inspired about how to combine.  Sometimes I put so much time in and just don’t like it, but that’s ok too.  As Edison said, you also learn from the failures.

Three minute trials

170125 Thoughts

Should find a place to post my photography, after week two need to spend time b4 week three making space on my hard drive.  Excited to work with the Fairbanks Folk School, they seem like great people.  Check with Doug about which type of clay and quantity to order.  Can Toni do a earth fire w/ kids if she’s aiding?  Need to improve the layout still and understand how pages works on Word Press, need a blank page or just network to outside links?  Ask T.  Look through photos to consider to start an image based painting- need to buy more canvas, want to make a printmaking screen too.

One minute trials

170121 Thoughts


awareness in a way can lengthen time

of all things what would I want to do before leaving the earth. happiness, joy just spread it

170120 (Missed this day)

170119- Thoughts

Tired, time is hard to keep when starting creative process- don’t naturally think of time as I start

sink dripping, funny thing for a dry cabin

170118- Thoughts

Eyes closed,

visualize counter clockwise swirl,

then within that a clockwise swirl

listen to the fan of the heater -comfortable sound

think of my phone

realize it is hard remembering all my thoughts when not writing simultaneously like last time, will probably record in moment next time.

170117  –Thoughts

-9 may be too late

-want to revive my drawing skills

-want to work on Grad Gator entry

-want to make mind map of ideas to pursue during this study