Posts tagged ‘postaday2011’

October 30, 2011

Sunday Wonders

by piafwalker

To do today: To sit and salute the complexity that makes up my life


My husband made a point of telling me that I should be more gracious.

He did in a kind way, with a soft voice, and just a little judgement.

I toyed around with what the word meant, in my mind, and then officially looked it up. It’s one of those words that can be interpreted differently, and widely so, by all kinds of people.

And even though, after reading the definition, I found myself aghast at the extent that this new task would pull from me, I am now wondering if he is right (that’s another post!).

Seriously, though. I had told him that life was making me bitter, that I was bumping into all the wrongs in the world, that they seemed so overwhelming, that I couldn’t change any of them, and that I was finding myself just…wanting to wash my hands of all of it.

And that’s not a good place to be at.

My husband shared this word, his wisdom, with me, right before our church service. And I have to think that God passed those words through his lips. Because I know that right now, I’m at a precipese, a scary ledge, where I can drop off into the pits of humanity and see only all of its darkness, or I can choose to fly and see all of the light and wonder. It might be a bit naive, a bit blind, a bit silly, but by being gracious, I allow all of those wonders to still exist, to find a small way for them to keep flourishing.

Because without grace, or the act of being gracious, I will allow only more darkness in the world to exist. And even in my own bitter mind, I’m just not cool with that.


This is my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post hosted by all.things.fadra. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

* Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
* Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
* Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
* Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
* Link up your post below.
* Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

July 11, 2011

Creative Spotlight: Artist Maria Bogade

by piafwalker

Image Copyright Maria Bogade

When I began my journey towards placing creativity at the center of my world (and eventually all over my life), I desperately needed inspiration from other creatives who had gone down that road. Even though I was not looking to follow some one else’s roadmap step by step (because creativity is not about copying!), I did need to know that other people had survived this road, that the hard parts of this journey were worth the lessons, and that there were wonderful vistas overlooking this beautiful road.

That is one of the motivations for my reaching out to other creatives that I could spotlight. The road to creativity needs buckets of inspiration – to work as motivation and seeds of the possible future. The road to creativity also isn’t just one road – each creative will design their road so it is necessary to see just the different paths people have taken that eventually converged into the road to creativity.For this creativity spotlight, I’d like to introduce artist Maria Bogade. Maria’s journey has always been filled with creativity, with each endeavour building up to the next.

In her words:

A little about me: My name is Maria and I am a mother to two wonderful children, a spouse to a very creative man, a chocolate addict, book lover, pencil and color enthusiast. I am an illustrator specializing in the children’s book market and my first two books (“Getting Dressed” published by HarperCollins Big Cat and “Wee Granny’s Magic Bag” published by Picture Kelpies Floris Books) will be published in September this year.

Image copyright Maria Bogade

With such broad experience and surely interesting inspirational stories, I asked Maria 5 questions:

What was the first step on your road to attaining creativity? What was the tipping point occurrence in which you decided to pursue creativity?

Maria: I cannot claim that creativity has never played an important part in my life. To be honest I have always done creative work and even as a child, like most of us pursuing this road, creativity has played a major role.

I studied Audiovisual Media at the University of Stuttgart and started working, after getting my Diploma, as a freelance 3d Animation Artist. I worked on a lot of fantastic projects and it was creative work I was doing, still I felt I had something else within me I wanted to share. When my second daughter was born and I took some time off, I started a blog, which tipped of my career as a children’s book illustrator. This is only a little more than a year ago and I am only at the very beginning of things. But I already had the pleasure to work with some wonderful publishing houses and people. To be true with you, when starting the blog I wouldn’t have thought it could take me there. In the beginning I didn’t even know myself that this was my ultimate “goal”. Of course I knew for a long time that I wanted to do something with books. It just developed this way when creating one image after the other and my spouse pointing out to me, that obviously I had some kind of passion for illustration that kept me going even late at nights.

What keeps you going/focused?

Maria: I think it is the mere joy of creating an image and my very lively imagination that keeps me going. I have so many ideas floating in my mind and stories I want to tell that it is rather a question when to get them all on paper, than not coming up with an idea.

I think I have the most wonderful job in the world one can ask for. Bringing stories to children through my illustrations and with this enabling them to dream up own stories or just nourishing their childlike imagination is so valuable.

Image copyright Maria Bogade

Why are you on this road to attaining creativity, to fulfilling your creativity passion?

Maria: Not being able to create would probably make me a horrible grumpy person. I think it is apart from my family the most important thing about me and my life which I cannot miss out on.

What have you learned about yourself during this journey? Has it enforced your passion?

Maria: I think my journey only has begun, so this is rather hard to tell. The things that I have accomplished in the last few months do have enforced my passion though. So we have to see where it will take me in the end.

Image copyright Maria Bogade

How do you feel about all the bumps, mistakes, and sidetrips that have occurred during your journey?

Maria: All my sidetracks, mistakes and bumps have made me the person and artist I am today. My 3d Animation career could be seen as such a sidetrip. But it has taught me so many things about storytelling, lighting, posing of characters and much more which is now valuable knowledge to my illustration career.

Mistakes are something you surely do not want to leave out when growing as an artist or person over all. It is those big mistakes that teach us the most. In fact life itself in all its forms is a little try and error game and if you have never failed you have never tried hard enough, that’s actually a quote but unfortunately I don’t remember who it is by. But it surely is the most honest thing to say.

Image copyright Maria Bogade

To find out more about Maria, and her artistic endeavours:

Thank you, Maria, for sharing this wonderful inspiration!!


PS: What lays hidden within your spirit that is just waiting for you to fill with passion? What has sparked new interests every day, new lessons, new beginnings, and an eternal sense of adventure? Listen to those thoughts and feelings and see where they lead!

June 21, 2011

My last issue of Vogue

by piafwalker

Yes. It’s a bit depressing. My last, plastic wrapped, hand delivered Vogue magazine arrived today. It hinted at what the fall fashions would be, but left me there, hanging, telling me that there would be no more…unless…

Yes, unless I jumped right back on the Vogue bandwagon and got the super, duper deal they were giving me.

But it isn’t just about the Vogue magazine. Because this is kind of an art blog. Because this is kind of a creativity blog. Because my life isn’t just purely about going into shopping malls, boutique stores, second-hand store fronts, and purchasing these beauties that adorn my body.

My life is filled with many things. And because it is, I am finding myself that perhaps there are too many things in it. There’s a quote I can’t fully remember about for everything  there being a place and for a place something that purposely fit that place (if you know the correct quote, please share…the phrasing is driving me crazy). And right now too many things don’t seem to have a place, or at least the correct place, in my life.

I find myself in the middle. The middle of the year. The middle of a life (wow…I am actually just 2 years away from the middle). The middle of a job. The middle of a creative expressive journey. And because these are all middles, I am finding myself just twirling around in this giant circle, with all the spokes going off in different directions. I had made a comment a couple of weeks ago, to hubby, about how I felt I had all these balls up in the air, and while none had dropped to the ground, none had really fallen back into my hand either.

That’s what it feels like, this middle. It feels like I have willingly grabbed all of these juggling balls and thrown them all up into the air at once, and by a certain miracle none have crashed…but they are all still just sitting in mid-air, not going anywhere. And that is rather stunning, to me (and a visual treat to my artist’s eye).

I am in no way worried about them falling. Not because I am certain that they won’t. They will, it’s their nature. And I’m not worried that I won’t rush after the ones that start to fall, to catch them, to prevent them from humiliating me by crashing.

What I am experiencing is dazed confusion. Years before, this feeling would have been different. There would have been feelings of being stuck having to keep all the balls up in the air. I am over that. But I’ve never been just awed by confusion, knowing that I am in the correct realm of my life, of my path, but not quite sure what to do next.

Perhaps then, I should listen to my inner voice, the one that I happened to have heard last week as I jogged on the beach. When I run, I have a habit of picking out items that lay ahead of me and use them as markers: I will run until I get to that stick. It comes especially handy when I haven’t run in a while and need to start slow. But last week, as I was running I felt good, so once I came upon the stick and wanted to keep running, I needed to shift my eye forward and find another marker, fast, and make an agreement with myself to run to that rock, that seaweed, that wood, that fisherman, etc. etc. And as I continued to do that, I suddenly realized that after the that first stick, which I knew and which I had seen properly and had logically timed I could reach, every other goal/distance was a crapshoot. I was running faster than I could see, so my markers has to be found quickly. And even while I was trying to spot them, I wasn’t 100% sure if I would be able to reach them.

What my inner voice told me was that the first goal had been easy. It had been visualized, it had been planned and strategized. I had run with a certain amount of speed to reach it, taking into account my stamina and strength. Yet once I reached that plateau, I was in unchartered territory and every goal after that was part of landscape I didn’t really know nor had I visualized. Yet I was okay in running, comfortable with it. I knew that I could do this, that there was joy in it, that there was strength and glory in it too.

It is the same with my creative journey. My job, my art, this blog, my life, are all now parts of a landscape that I am unfamiliar with. Yet I have made it past the first goal: I have drawn, I have started this blog, I have shared my creativity with the world and tried to encourage others to find their own path to creativity.

I may be dazed in confusion within this circle, unsure as to whether it really is worthwhile to renew the Vogue subscription. But I am in the right circle, so I’ll make sure to keep spinning within it.


June 20, 2011

Creative Spotlight: Erin Bassett

by piafwalker

We are all creative, with our own style, our own motivation, our own techniques. But we are also not creativity islands – we need to interact with other creatives to keep our own creativity alive and flourishing.

Because of that interconnected need, I’ve asked fellow creatives to join me in sharing their inspiration and tips on how to keep creativity alive. Looking at other creations, as well as reading about the trepidations and joys of creativity is a daily need!

“Kaiser Craft - E” by Erin Bassett (photo by Erin Bassett)

For this creative spotlight, I’m happy to introduce Erin Bassett, a fellow creative blogger and scrapbook artist.

In her words:

Erin lives in Southern California with her husband, a Golden Retriever, and a very fat cat. She is a craft addict who loves to do something creative every day. Her current loves are mixed media art, scrapbooking, papercrafts, sewing, and screen printing.

Erin’s creative journey began as a child when she collected memories in a scrapbook…albeit one filled with acidic things and original, non-digital photos. She forgot about those scrapbooks for many years when her Grandmother taught her how to sew, knit and other crafty things. It wasn’t until Erin was engaged to be married that the lure of photos and memories once again captured her heart. Today, Erin’s favorite art subjects are her & her husband, her nieces, and her pets. She tends to focus her projects on the everyday moments more than the big events of life and she has been blessed with having her work published in Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbook Trends, and other magazines.

“She Art - Sunshine” by Erin Bassett (photo by Erin Bassett)

To get some cool inspirational stories and tips, I asked Erin 5 questions:

What was the first step on your road to attaining creativity? What was the tipping point occurrence in which you decided to pursue creativity?

Erin: I think that every person is born with creativity even though many don’t recognize it in themselves. I’ve seen it in computer programmers that have a special knack and love for coding, foodies that experiment cooking new cuisines, and Grandfathers that tinker around to create something fun for the grand-kids.

For me, most of my life I’ve recognized creativity and cultivated it. My farthest back memories have been centered around creativity and I am thankful that my Grandmothers and parents fostered my creativity so that later, when I really needed it, it became my alternative calling.

“Imaginisce – Matchbook Notes” by Erin Bassett (photo by Erin Bassett)

What keeps you going/focused?

Erin: When one is creative daily (and when a deadline is attached to that creativity) it sometimes can become something that loses the fun and excitement it once had.  For me it’s been in those times when I felt the least like working on a project (or even cooking an interesting and creative dinner) that I’ll get a work project that’s challenging. And, because I have to think outside of my box, it reinvigorates me.  It’s also in times like these that I’ll be reading my Bible and something will jump out at me that sparks me to create.

Why are you on this road to attaining creativity, to fulfilling your creativity passion?

Erin: I don’t think I could not be creative LOL!

You know when there’s those times when you just don’t have the time to “make”? If I have multiple days like that I get edgy and I’m just not the optimal me I like to be.

What have you learned about yourself during this journey? Has it enforced your passion?

Erin: I’ve learned a couple of things…

  • When I first started sharing my work outside of my immediate comfort zone of people, I was so concerned with what others thought and if I was following “the rules” when I was creating.  As I became more comfortable with showing my work (and more mature spiritually and emotionally) I changed my outlook. I began creating not with those who’d view my work in mind, but with more “gut” decisions and purposeful rule breaking.
  • I’ve learned that I can rise to challenges. Whether it’s time constraints, product restrictions, or otherwise…I know that I can create work I’m happy with.

How do you feel about all the bumps, mistakes, and sidetrips that have occurred during your journey?

Erin: It’s funny…those are my favorite things! Ok, well, some of the mistakes have been painful, but I’ve learned from them, so I’ll lump them in with my favorite things too.

“October Afternoon – Happy Days – Spark” by Erin Bassett (photo by Erin Bassett)

Find out more about Erin and her creative works at:




Want more?

Check out Erin at the Faber Castell Design Memory Crafts Twitter Party:  I’m so excited to let you know that Erin will be hosting the next Twitter Party (Hash Tag: #dmc101 ) for Faber Castell Design Memory Crafts (@designmemcraft ) on Thursday, June 16th at 8:30pm EST – 9:30pm EST….join them for some artsy craft fun…learn new techniques…and win prizes!!

Also, if you love online craft or photography classes, the video classes from the True Scrap event are now available for purchase individually here…Erin’s videos are all about techniques!  You’ll love it!

So, what lays hidden within your spirit that is just waiting for you to fill with passion? What has sparked new interests every day, new lessons, new beginnings, and an eternal sense of adventure? Thank you, Erin, for sharing this wonderful inspiration!!


June 13, 2011

#987: The art of Sundays

by piafwalker

Sundays are my day to decompose. A day to let go of everything. Saturdays are too close to the work week, and so the remnants of things to work out, things to figure out, things to plan for, are still toying around in my mind. It’s great to still have that energy, to use it to work on things around the house (like cleaning up the garden and vegetable beds, my latest project).

But it only leaves Sunday to really just relax. My mom probably has the right idea: weekends need to be 3 days long, so there is actually one day in there to actually do something fun, that has nothing to do with work, when your mind isn’t stuck on work stuff.

Usually because I’m decomposing, Sundays are a waste, a waste in the sense of not actually getting anything accomplished, anything to do with art, or this blog, or creativity. Yet this past weekend, I managed to speed up the process…which lead to a half-productive Sunday.

A Sunday where I found myself sketching, and sketching, and sketching. No firm ideas for new drawings fully showed up but enough starting points for more art. And as I was sketching, I realized that my art has matured. There was a time when I doodled for the mere fact that I didn’t know what to sketch on purpose, what to draw, what story to tell. My doodling was soft, a bit unsure.

As to my art maturing, well, what I realized today was that my doodles are stronger and I found myself thinking that I dared show these doodles to the world. I found myself daring myself to learn new tactics, new skills, new ways of showing my art and making it.

It takes those free hours of thought on Sundays to reach a free flowing plateau, where art and creativity flow, and inspire me enough to continue on during the upcoming week.


June 6, 2011

Creative Spotlight: Cathy James, NurtureStore

by piafwalker

A year's worth of recipes and play ideas! NurtureStore's free "Let's Play Dough" ebook. (Photo by Cathy James)

The online world is full of creative and inspirational resources. That is how I met Cathy James several years ago. She had written about a creative project on her blog, NurtureStore, which I stumbled upon just as I was writing up a tutorial for a creativity class I was hosting.  Her inspiration fed my tutorial and in exchange, I send her some ideas for a watercolor project. This exchange showed me how friendly and wonderful this online creative world was, and I have been keeping an eye out on Cathy’s creativity tutorials and ideas ever since.

As I mentioned in the previous Creativity Spotlight, the road to creativity needs buckets of inspiration – to work as motivation and seeds of the possible future. The road to creativity also isn’t just one road – each creative will design their road so it is necessary to see just the different paths people have taken that eventually converged into the road to creativity.

I am happy to introduce Cathy James in this Creativity Spotlight. Cathy’s main focus is on how to encourage and foster exploration and creation in young children. Yet I think that as you read along, all of Cathy’s tips and answers make perfect sense as to how to keep exploration and creation alive regardless of age.

An introduction to Cathy James:

I’m Cathy James and I work with young children in a preschool crèche. I’m passionate about giving children a great start in life and write the blog NurtureStore, a site which is full of the play and creative learning activities, crafts and experiments we enjoy.

Egg decorating craft project @ NurtureStore. Rich colors and a wonderful example of making a tradition unique and fresh. (Photo by Cathy James)

How do you get children started on a journey of creativity?

Cathy: Children are sensory creatures from birth and they explore their surroundings through sound, touch and taste. They don’t have pre-conceived ideas about the world or understand any rules, so they are natural explorers and experimenters.  As parents, educators and carers I think our role is to facilitate this creative exploration in any way we can.

We can carefully choose the toys and resources we offer our children. Treasure baskets full of everyday materials with lots of interesting textures make a wonderful first toy for babies. We can provide natural materials such as shells and fir cones alongside traditional toys such as wooden blocks and simple dolls and animals, which are open to being played with any way the children chose. And we can offer paints, glue and craft materials for children to try.

We can design play spaces with children in mind. Very simple changes can transform environments into enabling spaces: open shelving so children can access resources independently without limitation on their play and creation stations stocked with interesting pens, paper and pencils. Even something as simple as placing sticky tape in a dispenser so the children are able to handle it themselves for their junk modeling frees them to be creative without requiring adult help.

And we can adopt a ‘yes’ state of mind, being open to their suggestions and helping them pursue the ideas and experiments they want to explore.

Pia: As I read this, I instantly recognize that my senses (all of them!) are still a main part of my creativity. There are certain moods that I associate with rain, for example, that I try to capture in my drawings. The colors and tastes of food sometimes make me stop and just start taking pictures (and leave the food untouched until it’s cold!). And even though canvas and paper might be one-dimensional, it is nature that inspires many artists to add, in collages for example, textural forms.

A perfect example of how our surroundings play a part in our creativity: Story Stones Project @ NurtureStore (photo by Cathy James)

How do you keep children interested and focused?

Cathy: Observe your child and follow their lead, and remember that being creative isn’t just about doing crafts but includes imaginative play, storytelling, dance and song too. So, if your child isn’t interested in drawing, let them focus their creativity elsewhere.

Of course, children don’t know all the possibilities that are out there, so I like to tempt them with a regular supply of different materials and techniques to try: marble painting, reverse printing and egg decorating are some recent experiments we’ve enjoyed.

We go out and about to get inspiration, to forests, to galleries and to the beach, both to collect new materials and spark ideas for what we might like to create at home. And I let my children see me working on projects too, so they know creativity stays with you whatever age you are.

Pia: Yes! Although it might seem like it has nothing to do with my artistic creative endeavour, sometimes working in the garden or just getting out and about are great resources that keep me focused in creativity. Hopping around blogs, seeing other people create and solve problems in their own unique methods is a primary source of inspiration. By seeing someone else succeed in creating, the seed to continue creating, to continue exploring, takes hold and allows the artist, the musician, the writer, the adult, to let creativity back into their mind and heart. And seeing children create and explore something for the first time, that is the greatest creative resource there is! Their enthusiasm is contagious and it is a powerful reminder of all the fun that creation holds.

Why should children spend time on creative pursuits?

Cathy: Creative, hands-on play is how children learn best. Whether you’re hoping to develop academic skills or artistic ones creative pursuits have so much to offer. I also find they have a therapeutic effect on children as they offer engaging activities where there is no right or wrong way to play, so children of all ages can play together and relax and enjoy.

Children benefit by exploring lots of other aspects of learning as they create too: the science of colour mixing and exploring properties of materials as they craft, the math of working with size and dimensions as they junk model and the literacy and language development of storytelling and song. They also learn about their own character, developing inner motivation, focus, a joy of creating and the ability to bounce back from mistakes.

Pia: This question can just as easily be rephrased as to why should adults spend time on creative pursuits? As much as the adult world makes it seem silly, or a waste of time, for an adult to frillilly create something, all creative endeavors teach. Creativity, and the allowance to pursue it, enforces problem solving skills, assists in overcoming fears and inhibitions, allows for a free space where the creator does not make mistakes, tries, and succeeds, even if it is the success of not trying something again.

Junk model snake project @ NurtureStore. I love how Cathy has used this project to give equal blogging time to both her daughters, by showing two very different beautiful projects on the same theme – no hindering of creativity here! (Photo by Cathy James)

How can adults help or hinder children’s creative journeys?

Cathy: One thing I know for sure is that creativity is rarely tidy! If you’re averse to mess you’re immediately putting the brakes on your child’s journey, so let them build a den or make sand pies. Give them the freedom to play how they want to, rather than having strict rules about what toys belong where. Jigsaw pieces in the sand pit can easily be tidied away at the end of the day, after your child has had a wonderful imaginative adventure pretending they were mermaids living under the sea. Similarly, who says you can’t squish all the playdough colours together to see what happens?

Children’s creative time can become crowed out by academic work and clubs and screen time, so I like to make plenty of room in our schedule for simple play and crafting. Be a role model yourself, joining in with painting and drawing, or sharing projects of your own.

Telling your child ‘I’m no good at drawing’ introduces an idea that the value in creativity lies elsewhere, rather than in the pure enjoyment of doing. Value the process of your children’s art, rather than just the end product, and display their designs proudly, whatever the final outcome.

Pia: This is exactly true for adults too. I’m thinking of creatives that I have met that use the kitchen table as their studio. I know it’s hard to make a mess (and leave it there while creativity works itself out) in such a scenario, but there should be a conscious agreement with yourself to find a space and time to be messy, to be creative, to be able to let go and follow that creativity string all the way to the end. It doesn’t have to cost anything, it doesn’t have to be a weekend getaway, although “playing” with others can be inspiring, but even if it is a Sunday when hubby is out golfing, just let creativity rip and let your support system know that this is your time.

Thank you, Cathy, for sharing this information with us!

For more information about Cathy James and if you’re interested in creative ideas you can try with your children, stop by NurtureStore for a browse. You can also join the NurtureStore Facebook community and follow Cathy James on twitter, where she shares lots of additional resources and support.


PS: What lays hidden within your spirit that is just waiting for you to fill with passion? What has sparked new interests every day, new lessons, new beginnings, and an eternal sense of adventure?

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