Creativity

Celebrating Creative People

Over the years, I’ve been blogging about people who I have found fascinating with their creativity, and I would like to highlight some of those posts here, to inspire you to continue to work on your creative projects.

For years, I thought that I needed permission or approval to do something creative. Not sure why. I would jot down ideas, keep a million plots for books twisted in my brain, have a shelf of half-completed projects in my house, but I didn’t finish them, and I certainly didn’t show any one anything. Then, two amazing people inspired me. My sister, who started a writing group and kept saying, “what are you working on?” I was in awe at her ability to just work. She said to me, “Ryss, if you need permission, then I give you permission to do projects.” I LOVE her for that. The second was a talk by [then] President Dieter F. Uchtdorf who wrote a talk called “Happiness, Your Heritage” in October 2008. It inspired me at a time when I needed a creative outlet more than anything else in this world.

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Happiness, Your Heritage,” October 2008.

Check out these great reads and I hope that you begin to create today!

And a final word on creation and this post, is our new tagline (that my middle daughter thought of for this site) –

What will you create today?

Creating with my daughters has been enjoyable, but now that they are older – WOW! This is getting good. Stay tuned!


Creativity, Summer Creativity

Don’t Wait Too Long

JMW getting biggerSo, two weeks ago, I wrote a post about summer creativity. Read it here. My girls went crazy after I showed it to them and they created an arcade of their own. They were busy for days. They created a bottle ring toss, a claw game in which you could win jewelry, an egg-carton game, and a few others (5 or 6 total).  They found prizes from our thrift store pile, made tokens, and wrote out rules.  Everyday, they asked me to put it up on Facebook so that they could have a “grand opening”.  But, I kept putting it off.

One of my daughters, who is a total organizational/neat freak, decided that now (two weeks later) it was old news and has disassembled everything. (The other daughter didn’t mind, because her attention span is short).

The Arcade did have one day of fun though.  My sister’s kids came and played with it for an afternoon and they all seemed to have an AMAZING time.

A word of caution, don’t wait too long. Kids grow. Kids loose interest.

But kids are also inventive, loving, and very forgiving. It is not too late to enjoy their childhood. Remember Stephen R. Covey’s metaphor of Emotional Bank Accounts (or EBAs)? He writes –

Remember the emotional bank account—similar to a bank account, you can make deposits or withdrawals from each of your family relationships. Make a conscious effort to make meaningful deposits in your relationships. When you make a withdrawal, apologize and correct the mistake.

See more on his blog here.

It reminds me of the 1957 song, Turn Around

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.

So, I am sorry that I didn’t get pictures of the creativity. I am sorry that I didn’t follow through, but we will have more fun.  Right now, I’m making this post is short so that we can hatch up new schemes of summer creativity.  What are you doing with your children this summer?

Creativity

Enjoy the Little Creative Moments

When I came home from work yesterday, my oldest daughter had left me a surprise.

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It’s hard to see what each item is, so I will explain.

There is a plate in the middle with her signature dish (a culinary treat that she created 😉 ) a cinnamon carrot.

Above the plate is a card that she made at school for Mother’s day. To the right of the plate is a love note.

To the left of the plate is a glass of water. Beside the water is a rose from the garden and two little crafts that she and her cousin worked on all morning (pieces of nature decorated with beads, paint, glitter, etc.)

I was so touched! I burst into tears.

Yes, this is proud mama having a moment celebrating her child, and most would think, “so, what’s so special?”

I guess it’s just wonderful to know that she loves me. When I was a kid, I used to make little do-dads for people, and my heart overflowed with love for that person as I drew or colored or created.

Albert Einstein is credited for saying, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”

I think that one of the best ways to promote creativity in our children is through our praise. Our joy at the little things. Our writing posts and journal entries about our children’s accomplishments, no matter how small. We thrive on love.

I remember the day in sixth grade that I stopped drawing. I didn’t get any praise for my artwork, and so I figured that I wasn’t good enough. Bummer, huh! Why I feed off praise, I don’t know, but now at *cough* older than twenty-something, I’m getting better at feeding off of creation and doing rather than opinions.

Later on that day, my daughter beamed as she proudly told me that she hadn’t watched T.V. or had computer time all day. She had spent all of her time creating.

So, I need to continue to encourage creativity, as well as the love of doing. Any thoughts on the best way to help your child nurture creativity? And I don’t just mean artistic creativity either. After all, Einstein wasn’t known for his paintings or dance, but for his ability to creatively look at the world around us and think of physical and mathematical solutions to complex problems. Talk about creativity!

So, my questions for your consideration and input are –

•How do we foster creativity in children?
•Why is it important to do so?
•Can a person be creative in fields other than crafty, craft, crafts 😉 or the Arts?
•How do we teach joy in the doing – or does it just naturally come as a result of hard work?

What do you think?

Creativity, Work

Creative Work Environments

Who says you can’t have fun at work? Way to go post office for having fun creating this box sculpture.

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Art, even silly art, is good for the soul. It brings people together, it makes people laugh. Brings wonder to kids. Kudos to businesses who allow their employees to allow the creativity to flow!

Arts and Crafts, Holidays

Christmas Creativity

This Christmas, I observed adults and children alike being crafty. Here are some fun, zany observations from Christmas 2012 –

I am always amazed when my daughters and nieces will busy themselves for hours with paper, glue, knock-knacks and do-dads. Simply with things I had on hand, they came up with homemade presents to give – this year, it was jewelry boxes.

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Note the intricate detail 🙂 – the buttons that framed the ‘S’ for my daughter’s name. The way they covered the oatmeal box with fabric and then trimmed it with ribbons.

Sure, I had oatmeal packages on the shelf for a week or two, but it was a small price to pay for creativity, cooperation, and hours of time when they were busy in activity that didn’t involve electronics. (And just imagine how much I got done while they were busy at it! Babysitting is a dream when you open up your craft supplies and let them “have at”.)

Another Christmas idea was from my cousin, Jana. She is fantastic at coming up with neighbor gifts. Never is my diet ruined by Jana! Some examples of previous year’s gifts include:
• A Christmas plate for Santa’s Cookies
• A small card game
• Winter window decorations

Each year, it’s something fun and this year, I thought that she was especially clever.

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Wrapping paper – very handy! I used it right up.

Family friends of ours are never short of ideas for crafts. This year, they figured they better build a Chimney for Santa to come down. Look at the size of that thing!

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Complete with very detailed logs –

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Finally, I wanted to close with creativity to the extreme. We found this Lego fireman on display at a Toys я Us store this Christmas.

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That took 170 hours to build and over 21,000 Lego Bricks. So impressive!

I love what creativity and group synergy can do! Now, let’s get going on those Valentine’s Day crafts.

Oh, I forgot one – my three year old figured out how to make jewelry from twine and buttons. You can’t buy the joy and satisfaction etched on her face, due to figuring that one out!

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Creativity, Writing

Tackling Creativity

I’ve been overwhelmed, as usual.  Productive, yes, but not always doing what I wanted to be doing.  Hiding, at times, from creating when I have the precious spare moment, choosing instead to waste it on … whatever.

Then, tonight, as I was searching for a recipe to make chocolate cake without eggs,  (because I had no eggs and because I wanted to feed my face, instead of using the hour when my babes are resting to create) I came across some Mormon Messages.  It reminded me of why I write.  Why I am using my spare time to do what I am doing.

http://www.youtube.com/user/MormonMessages#p/c/A088CD4F66CDB66E/31/-aUb_kvO2YE

 

I loved three things that Cassandra said:

  1. She painted about being in the moment, appreciating the now.
  2. She brought her girls into her art studio and encouraged their creativity.
  3. She realized that she had made up an ideal that she thought she had to be – but all she needed to do was be the woman that God made her to be.
Makes me want to “tackle creativity” once again, and the desire for chocolate cake  (with or without eggs) has finally left.
Art, Creativity, Waldron Publishing, Writing

Summer Blues? Hearing “I’m bored” a little too much?

Pirate Image copyright Jana Friel 2011

Encourage the kids in your life to CREATE!

Have them enter the Waldron Publishing Summer Stories Contest –

WHO: All children and youth ages 5-18 are encouraged to enter.

WHAT: Original stories or artwork based on a pirate theme.

WHEN: June 25-August 20th, 2011

WHERE: Find out more at www.waldronpublishing.com.

WHY: Plenty of great reasons:

  • To stop the summer boredom blues.
  • To get kids reading and writing.
  • To develop talents and skills.
  • To build resumes.
  • To give them a chance to learn about the publishing process.
  • To have a chance to win fabulous prizes.
  • To contribute to a children’s charity.
Get writing and drawing today!!!
Art, Creativity, Music, Uncategorized

Royal Wedding – Jerusalem, inspires you to greatness

Kate Middleton enters Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011

I was so touched by the words of the anthem/hymn, Jerusalem by William Blake (1808) music by Sir Hubert Parry (1916) during the recent Marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Poetry is not written like this anymore, where the words are so powerful, they move you not just through emotions, but with the desire to become something greater than you are now.

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land

Beneath this poem, William Blake inscribed an excerpt from the Bible: ‘”Would to God that all the Lord’s people were Prophets” (Numbers 11:29).

Please see more of the interpretation of this poem here.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exit Westminster Abbey

Much has been made of whether this is a Patriotic Anthem or a Hymn, to me it’s both.

So here’s my challenge.  Try writing poetry, not in the Modern style (devoid of rules, rhyme, meter, or sense)  but in a Romantic or Classical style that can be seen as an anthem or hymn.  Something that is moving, both with words and phrases.  It’s harder than it looks.

We have come to a time when mediocrity is celebrated.  When people scoff at attempts to live enriching principles.

There was nothing mediocre about the wedding that was celebrated last weekend.  Extreme lengths were taken to prepare for this wedding in the name of perfection and the celebration of Marriage.  It was simply, Historic.

I want more from the art that comes from our time.  I want Art that speaks to the inner goodness inside mankind.  Words that don’t mock or deride a person for trying to be more than they are now.  Creations that breathe life, action, and a desire to be better into our minds and hearts.

When people desire to undertake worthwhile challenges simply because it builds the soul, we will be better people on this earth.

Here is a video of the event –

Creative Play, Creativity, Parties

Pirate Party – ARRRR!!

We had an Indian Summer last fall in Utah.  My cousin, Jana decided to take advantage of the warm weather and she threw a pirate party.  First of all, there is no one craftier, than Jana.  She can turn nothing into something beautiful and I am in awe of her talents.

Jana, Pirate Party Queen Extraordinaire

I received this in my inbox –

 

The Invitation

We dressed up the girls (as much as I could) –

The Pink Pirate Brigade

 

There were Pirate games, a treasure hunt, and a marshmallow fight.  The kids had a blast –

The flag

Jana has a knack!  Her site is Creations from the Kitchen Table.

Treasure Map

(Look at the detail on that hand-drawn map!)

A casualty in the Great Marshmallow War.

The kids were crazy, and Jana’s husband, Rob was such a great sport as the kids “attacked” him.

The location of the treasure was magical!

I just love it when you can get under a tree with hanging branches.

The treasure chest

The treasure chest was made out of a box of Kirkland Signature Baby wipes  – it was fantastic.  Check out the look on the boy’s face – he is mesmerized!

Hip, hip, hooray!

It was wonderful!  Creative, fun, and there was no “underlying” reason for it (birthday, etc.).  Here’s to Jana for making the kid’s day bright, just for fun!

Authors

Charlotte Brontë

I just finished the novel, Jane Eyre.  I’m actually quite at a loss as to why I haven’t read it before.  I have always enjoyed the story (countless films and two musicals) and decided that I should read it.  So, in honor of such a fantastic read, and to start out my section on literature, I will begin with Ms. Brontë.

Charlotte Brontë (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was an English novelist and poet.  She was the oldest of the three Brontë sisters, of which all were published authors (Emily – Wuthering Heights, and Anne – Agnes Gray). They also published a book of poems together, and wrote under pen-names.

Their father Patrick Brontë was a Vicar and mother, Maria Branwell was a teacher from a prosperous family.  They had six children together, two died of tuberculosis, presumably contracted at a boarding school and so the four remaining children were brought home for their education and well being.

Their father maintained a good library and that plus a healthy dose of imagination led the three girls to careers in literature.

The following is taken from biographies about the Brontës;

The children’s creativity soared after their father presented Branwell [their brother] with a set of toy soldiers in June 1826. They named the soldiers and developed their characters, which they called the “Twelves”. This led to the creation of an imaginary world: the African kingdom of “Angria”. That was illustrated with maps and watercolour renderings. The children kept themselves busy devising plots about the people of Angria, and its capital city, “Glass Town”, later called Verreopolis, and finally, Verdopolis.

These fantasy worlds and kingdoms gradually acquired all the characteristics of the real world—sovereigns, armies, heroes, outlaws, fugitives, inns, schools and publishers. For these peoples and lands the children created newspapers, magazines and chronicles, all of which were written out in extremely tiny books, with writing that was so small it was difficult to read without the aid of a magnifying glass. These juvenile creations and writings served as the apprenticeship of their later, literary talents.

(Fraser, Rebeca, The Brontës: Charlotte Brontë and her family, Crown Publishers,1988, ISBN 0-517-56438-6)

Charlotte was a teacher and a governess. She married and died soon after in childbirth.

 

I absolutely adore her work, Jane Eyre. It is the story of a young girl, poor and plain who possesses an indomitable spirit, sharp wit, and great courage.  After battling through a difficult childhood, she becomes educated and goes to live as a governess for the ward of the mysterious, brooding, Mr. Edward Rochester for whom she harbors a deep love and attachment.

I love the way that the author packs ideas into her writing that made me read it conscientiously.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book –

Jane Eyre on childhood –

  • Children can feel but they cannot analyse [sic] their feelings; and if the analysis is partially effected in thought, they know not how to express the result of the process in words. (Chapter 3)
  • I…sought shelter from cold and darkness in my crib.  To this crib I always took my doll; human beings must love something, and in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I contrived to find pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image…I doated on this little toy, half fancying it alive and capable of sensation.  I could not sleep unless it was folded in mt nightgown; and when it lay there safe and warm, I was …happy. (Chapter 4)

Jane’s thoughts on Edward Rochester –

  • “He is not to them what he is to me,” I thought: “he is not of their kind. I believe he is of mine; – I am sure he is, – I feel akin to him, – I understand the language of his countenance and movements: though rank and wealth sever us widely, I have something in my brain and heart, in my blood and nerves, that assimilates me mentally to him. […] I must, then, repeat continually that we are for ever sundered: – and yet, while I breathe and think I must love him.” (Chapter 18)

Jane’s thoughts on the need for intellectual stimulation –

  • Women are supposed to be very calm generally; but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; (Chapter 12)

Cousin Eliza Reed’s thoughts to her sister Georgiana on her lack of pursuits  –

  • Instead of living for, in and with yourself, as a reasonable being ought, you seek only to fasten your feebleness on someone else’s strength: if no one can be found to burden her or himself with such a fat, weak, puffy, useless thing, you cry out that you are ill-treated, neglected, miserable.  Then too, existence for you must be a scene of continual change and excitement, or else the world is a dungeon: … Have you no sense to devise a system which will make you independent of all efforts, and all wills but your own? [Plan out a day and fill it with things to keep your mind and body busy] and you are indebted to no one for helping you get rid of one vacant moment … you have lived … as an independent being ought to do.  [Take my advice, or] … suffer the results of your idiocy. (Chapter 21)

Edward’s thoughts on Jane – just read chapter 23 in its entirety –

  • I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you–especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you–you’d forget me.

Jane and Edward are unable to marry and so he suggests that they run away together and she become his mistress (Chapter 27, again the whole chapter is  worth a read) –

  • I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God, sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad–as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour, stringent are they; inviolate they shall be.  If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth – so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane – quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot!
  • Mentally, I still possessed my soul, and with it the certainty of ultimate safety.

Thoughts on her friends the Rivers that she later finds are her cousins –

  • I devoured the books they lent me; then it was full satisfaction to discuss with them in the evening what I had perused in the day.  Thought fitted thought, opinion met opinion: we coincided, in short, perfectly.

Jane’s thoughts on on her new pupils (she becomes a school mistress) –

  • I must not forget that these coarsely-clad little peasants are of flesh and blood as good as the scions of gentlest genealogy; and that the  germs of native excellence, refinement, intelligence, kind feeling, are as likely to exist in their hearts as those of best-born. (Chapter 31)

Jane’s thoughts on Miss Oliver, a lady of society –

  • The heiress; favored, it seems, in the gifts of fortune, as well as in those of nature!  What happy combination of the planets presided over her birth, I wonder? (Chapter 31, I love this quote – I laugh over it, because I have met people like this.)

Jane on finding herself an heiress and new family (Chapter 31) –

  • I could not forgo the delicious pleasure of which I have caught a glimpse – that of repaying, in part, a mighty obligation, and winning to myself  life-long friends.
  • You … cannot at all imagine the craving  I have for fraternal and sisterly love.  I never had a home, I never had brothers or sisters; I must and will have them now.
  • I want to enjoy my own faculties as well as to cultivate those of other people (Chapter 34, Jane’s desires now that she is independent).

Jane at the end of the book on how things worked out –

  • God had tempered judgement with mercy.