april challenge update...the ups & downs

OK, so far i have learned that:

1) kites are fairly easy to build if you actually slow down and read the directions...it only took me two tries on that front - see my issues with patience from last month's challenge. and who knew that you can make a kite out of garbage bags, dowels & scotch tape? simple stuff.

2) but kites are not so easy to fly...at least for me. my prototype kites mostly wanted to dance. hey, i love to dance, but i kinda wanted some soaring above 15' - i thought verna and mary would like that kind of altitude. and the tangle of the string...seriously how did it get stuck in my hair?

but, holy crapy, kids love kites. parents get your kids some kites already! every little person who saw me SCREAMED: a kite! look (mom/dad/grandparent) a kite! a kite! (and these were kites that i could not even get to fly, but they saw the possibility/potential of my effort.)

3) did you know that spray paint doesn't stick to garbage bags? i didn't until it was too late. so the decorating part took a nosedive (to use some kite lingo) and i'm back to the construction phase. again, i'm gaining more knowledge! and if you see flakes of orange and pink in my hair and on my clothes, just please ignore it.

luckily, i still have time to make my kites and decorate them with non-spray paint options...stay tuned.


OCCY 2015...april challenge from mary!

my challenge this month is from my friend mary. and here's the thing: it wasn't her original challenge. boom...i'm in charge here so we can switch things up, or rather mary can if she wants to. and she did. the rules are that we have no rules.

first, let me tell you about mary and then i'll tell you about the project.

the first time i met mary (yikes, the mid-90s college years), we were visiting in her kitchen and she sat right down on the floor while talking to me. granted, she may have been petting a cat, but it was a vivid - dare i say radical - memory. i'm not giving anything away when i say that mary is older than i am...old enough to be a parent...but when she sat on the floor it was like she was (radically) telling me: "i'm not the adult here, i am the friend here and i SEE you." or at least that's what it communicated to my spirit.

for me that moment was the beginning of our friendship...which blessedly has included some laughing, crying, hugging and swearing over these many years. what a gift.

ok, onto the project: mary's original entry for this month suggested that i make a self-portrait (with glitter) that showed me interacting with the world and with her - ala an older woman/younger woman and the gift of being friends at different ages.

but we've decided to tweak it a bit and make the project into a KITE to honor her friend verna, who recently passed away. mary told me that verna liked the color pink and furry animals, and basially sounded like a fantastic lady. it seems fitting to create a type of "spirit" kite...something that can fly and dazzle and dance and whirl.

so, simply, i'm going to make a kite for mary to fly - to honor verna, but i'm also going to make a kite for myself - to honor mary...who continues to dazzle me!

on a related note, this is the picture that i have above my bed. it's called "kite hill" by paul octavious. i bought it when i was going through a tough time in my life and the scene captured seemed so daring and hopeful and joyous. it appears that kites can be a type of simple magic (i mean really simple, i googled how to make them and most suggest i use a garbage bag!)...yeah, think this is going to be a fun month.

ps. mary is an amazing artist...who always fosters (encourages) artistry in others.
pps. in an example of the wild ride of life, i currently have the pleasure of working for the family business that mary and her husband started many years ago. they are all good juju.


the ahnna! another tiny free library enters the world.

my march creativity challenge is COMPLETE! the handover went without a hitch...and now my friend ahnna is gonna run her own tiny free library. yay!

and what a challenge it was. yes, it was hard at times (ahhh...making something out of wood, what!?) but here's the real story: my friend ahnna asked for what she wanted. how often to we (women especially) NOT ask for what we want? from my perspective, it feels like we can easily ask for what others want (kids, partners, friends) AKA advocate for them, but rarely voice what WE want/desire. ahnna put it out there - she wanted a tiny free library - and i could (did) give her what she wanted. it's simple. like that saying: "ask and you shall receive"...this is a good mantra.

i was also reminded that i need to ask for HELP (as scary as that can be sometimes)...and that i need to work on my patience. like majorly work on my patience. there was a lot of waiting for paint to dry in the final stages of the project.

so, here it is, some shots of the painting process and the final library with the door put back on and in ahnna's hands. (it took me five tries to get that freaking door back together - another patience lesson!) she's going to send some pictures of when it's "planted" in her garden (on the post and all officially in the ground), so to speak...i'll be sure to throw them up on the blog.

she and bob requested something that was going to blend into the yard, so i tried to keep things muted...and ended up being drawn to a watercolor kinda look...or through water...or watery feeling. i drew a different type of flower on each side of the box and went forward from there. (please ignore my messy apartment!)

i have this habit of painting with my fingers and putting a lot of layers on and then covering it all up or taking it away. i'm sure this technique is called something! OBTW - oil painting with your fingers does work, it just leaves you with green fingers.

at one point, i stopped taking pictures of what i was doing because i was lost in the creative moment...which is a really nice place to be. and then, like magic, i was mostly done.

i'm really happy with the final product and it looks great full of books! THANK YOU ahnna for this formidable challenge. and thank you for being my friend for so many years...even through those awkward junior high years. yikes! and for believing in me - that i could make this. and again, thank you for asking for what you wanted...life lessons abound.

i wrote a quote on the door by author neil gaiman: "a book is a dream you hold in your hand." truth.


challenge update...watching paint dry!

goodness, i'm impatient! and i feel so close to finishing this challenge. but since i'm forced to take a break (and watch/not watch the paint dry), i thought maybe i should throw up some pictures of how this tiny free library project is going so far.

basically my weekends (and week nights) have been filled with building and painting and trying not to lose too many brain cells from the toxic fumes. oil based primer is really smelly!

this has been such a learning experience for me...and not just the construction parts! HUGE thanks to my cousin cindy and her husband for loaning their tools and expertise. (when in doubt, stand on a milk crate.)

my goal is to finish the painting/final touches before April 1st and give the library to ahnna by the end of next weekend...that way i still kinda meet my deadline.

ps. i kinda (not so) secretly want one of these libraries now!
pps. oil painting with your fingers does work, it's just very messy.
ppps. each side of the library has a different kind of (mostly native) wildflower...since it's going to go in a flower bed.


challenge update...THE AHNNA!

OK, it probably seems like i'm not really doing anything related to my march challenge - the little free library. and that was kinda true for a while, but mostly because i felt overwhelmed with the construction part (which in my brain equated to the non-creative part...actually it felt like a math problem and i'm really bad at math) and what i wanted to think about was the decorating part. plus i wanted to create something cool for my dear friends...duh!

simply: decorating = art/fun. building = stress/the chance of screwing up fairly badly.

but wait! i found out that my awesome cousin cindy (props to relatives) freaking LOVES to build things and has offered to help me follow the plans (found at the little free library website) to construct a library that ahnna and bob will not be too embarrassed to have in their yard. well, hopefully they will like it after i do the decorating part AKA "sara flair"!

so to recap:

this is where the tiny free library is going to go...minus the snow.

this is ahnna and a cabinet we are not going to use in the construction. psych.

this is my cousin cindy, who even in this picture exudes an aura of being a capable builder who is not intimidated by reading plans.

we have a build date set and i have decorating ideas percolating in my head! plus, now with cindy's help, i'm really excited to see how this project is going to come together.

stay tuned, yo!

on an randomly related note, when visiting ahhna, her family decided to adopt the creature from my february project. (which had been living in the backseat of my car!) they have gone on to name it "mokiki" and i could't be happier. live long and prosper mokiki!


OCCY 2015...march challenge from ahnna!

another month, another project. this one is from my friend (since the 5th grade kinda) ahnna! pictured above - after she won 1st place in a backyard ping pong championship this past summer.

not only did we try to start a belinda carlisle cover band AND not only did she marry the funny artistic guy from my college printmaking class, but ahnna is flat out no nonsense cool. and she thinks i can build something! a tiny free library! (she apparently does't know that i only own one of those little hammers...and that's my ONLY tool.)

i'm gonna be honest and say that this project intimidates me BIG TIME. but hopefully, a miracle can happen...it's not like i'm building a real library.

this week is incubation time /google research and next weekend is thrifting and a visit to the site AKA ahnna and bob's house to talk about how they can help me - just kidding kinda - although she did say as much on her entry card. in the meantime, if any one has a five foot 4" x 4" post that you want to send my way, i'd gladly pick it up. i'm not kidding about this.


the martha! a sock creature out in the world.

so, it's not a bug as i originally intended. it's just a "creature"...made from mostly socks. and what would creatures do? they would hang out in their natural habitat. which is coincidentally the warmest place i could find in minnesota in february: como park conservatory.

this was a hard challenge in the sense that i've never done anything like this before...basically make a stuffed animal from scratch. and yes, if i had to do it again i would change (improve upon) so many things. but this creature really grew on me...or rather sort of grew out of my rambling imagination.

AND thank you martha (for this challenge)...i hope you are as surprised and delighted as i am about how things turned out!

PS. if you want little kids (and who am i kidding, adults as well) to stare at you with a coy/inquisitive look, lug around a crazy stuffed creature! i could almost hear their brains trying to figure it out, figure me out and also ask me if they could touch it. just for the record a grown man did reach out and touch it when i left it laying on a ledge and another woman told me she thought i was carrying a baby - accidental social experiment!

(the senior picture with creature pose)
PPS. a big thank you to alisun abbott for help with the photos and for making me feel normal about bringing "creature" out of my apartment.