Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Artist's Corner: Pom Poms

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to jump into a pool filled with pom poms?  A shallow pool, of course, but full to the brim of small, soft pom poms...  That (very strange, I know) idea popped into my head today as I was putting some supplies together for a youth class taught at Kendall, and had to take some pom poms out of their original bag and put them into smaller baggies.  When I stuck my hand into that big bag of pom poms, magical things happened.

My hand in the magical bag of pom poms

OK, maybe not really magical, but the pom poms were so soft, it made me feel rather relaxed!  I might keep this in mind as a stress reliever.  I've heard that petting animals is supposed to release tension, but as I'm allergic to many of our fur-covered friends, I may keep around a bag of pom poms as a soft and fuzzy alternative.  

On to the art project!

As it's the day before Thanksgiving, and there's not much going on here at the office, I was inspired by the pom poms to do an art project. Specifically an elementary-school type art project.  (Don't worry, I'll have much more advanced stuff on here, too.  This is just a fun and simple warm-up!)

After looking at some images of turkeys online (to get some ideas for colors, etc) I chose some pom poms that would best suit my needs.  I used some no-drip washable school glue gel, and got crafting!  I was lacking any googly eyes, but found some fabric puff paint for the detail work.  Here is the finished product:

Isn't he adorable? I think I'll name him Chanticleer*
While I realize that this is not the most amazing project ever, it got me thinking about the fact that it can be really easy to jump into art.  Just find whatever you have around your home, lay your supplies out, and think about what you could make.  It'll make you feel like a kid again!  And it's certain to cheer you up.  

Happy Crafting, and Happy Thanksgiving!  

*I realize this is usually thought of in relation to roosters (because of the fables), but it actually is from the French for "to sing clear," which clearly, turkeys do.  ;) 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hey, in the Elevator!

Why are elevators SO awkward?  I work on the 7th floor at school, and some days the stairs just aren't going to happen.  I'm all for exercise, but rather against huffing and puffing into work...

Yesterday, a woman and I got on the elevator on the 7th floor at the same time, and proceeded to stand in opposite corners and not speak.  A few floors down, a guy got on, and decided that the best place to stand would be right between the woman and I, though there wasn't much room.  So there we were, three strangers standing against the back of the elevator in a tight row, not speaking, and staring at the floor numbers as we descended.

It just felt weird.  Should I strike up a conversation?  Or would that be more awkward?  I think it's funny how elevator co-travelers often avoid eye contact and act like they're not standing just inches from another human being.  What if we got stuck in the elevator together?  These perfect strangers would suddenly be my closest friends.  I feel like a lot of social experiments could be done in and about elevators.  I think I may stick with the stairs.

The elevator experience did remind of one of my favorite Animaniacs cartoons of all time, which I thought I'd share with you:

For another elevator cartoon from the '90s, check out this one, featuring Baby Plucky.  A little more annoying, but classic! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reinventing the Blog

Hi, readers!

Have any of you ever hit a point in your life where you wake up and realize that each day it's the same - day in and day out, you just do? You're not really living, you're just existing? I sort of hit that point recently, and it was a (many) grim day(s).

A friend of mine once told me that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Wait, if I don't exercise, I don't get in shape? If I stay up late every night, I'll be tired at work/school? OK, yes, these seem like no-brainers. Of course your pants still won't fit after weeks of consecutively not working out, no matter how good your (OK, my) intentions are.

I've heard that making small changes in your life (routine) can be all it takes to break you out of the hum-drummity* of everyday life. Take a different route on your way to work or school; wear that hat you bought on a whim but haven't dared yet to wear; rearrange the furniture in one of your rooms; write a blog post...

So here I am, having rearranged my bedroom furniture late last night and blogging again! I've thought about feng shui-ing my bedroom in the past, but the mood finally really hit me last night. It might not seem like that big a deal, but I'm surprised at how my mood has changed today! I woke up smiling at the new arrangement, and have thought about it often throughout the day. Even now, I'm wondering why I'm sitting on my couch blogging when I could be in my new and improved bedroom! Wait, what are laptops for, if not...

Much better. The nice thing, as I look around my bedroom, is that this change cost me no money! Same stuff, same room even, but new furniture locations. And I feel refreshed!

When I turned #% a couple of months ago, I was nervous but excited for this new time of my life. I'll admit I let that excitement fade out a little, but like a good movie soundtrack, it's fading back in and I think the reprise will be so much better! (Did I really just write that sentence?) With that excitement, I hope to keep up better with my blog. I was thinking about maybe having a regular post called something along the lines of "The Artist's Corner" where I share little tips and tricks to bring art into your life. As an artist, crafter, and art teacher, I have lots to share!

For example:
- how to get started with watercolor (my specialty!)
- how to do a simple batik (fabric dying)
- how to mat (and frame!) a photograph (or painting)
- how to wrap the perfect present (Hallmark-trained!)
- how to interpret famous works of art (that may sound boring to some, but I promise I'd make it way interesting and try to keep it brief!) ;)
- how to draw objects realistically
- how to validate your career as an artist
- ...and so much more!

So I hope you'll keep coming back! If need be, that can be the different thing you do that day... ;)

*I claim this word on behalf of the New English Dictionary.