Tag Archives: creativity

Back to Work

Okay, I’m getting closer to painting again. A few days ago, I went to a book store and bought, not only a copy of The Artist’s Magazine, but also a copy of Plein Air Magazine. I’ve already read a great article about squinting. That’s as far as I got because I had tie-dye things to do.

New Reading Material

New Reading Material

This morning, I cleaned out my Sta-Wet Palette. I had to use a new sheet of Acrylic paper. The old one had dried out completely, with a whole lot of paint on it. The paint had dried out, too, along with the sponge underneath. The Sta-Wet Palette does not stay wet if you leave it alone for three months. Good to know.

Now my Sta-Wet Palette is wet again, but I just had time to get it to that point and then I needed to do tie-dye things again. The problem with having a successful Florida Folk Festival is that a whole lot of tie-dye goes to new homes, and then we need to make more tie-dye. It happens every year, and every year we think we’re going to go straight home and get busy replacing all the things we sold.

We manage to forget that we are exhausted when we get home from the Florida Folk Festival. We manage to forget that we can’t even begin to replace the things that sold until we order more blanks, and we can’t do that until we know exactly what sold. We shouldn’t even try to replace things until after our end-of-June inventory, but then there are the special orders.

When we run out of a certain style of item, we could just say, “Sorry, we don’t have any more of those” and leave it at that. It’s hard to leave it at that when someone says, “Can you make one for me?” and agrees to pay in advance. When we’re in our happy festival mood, it seems reasonable to accept these special orders. We love making tie-dye and we love making our customers happy.

Then we get home and remember that there are only two of us and we are exhausted. At least one of us has usually injured something at the festival or during the pack-up or while we’re unloading the van. We want to get the special orders done as quickly as possible, but we need to recover first. We’re sorry. If you ordered something from us, we are determined to get it to you. If what you ordered is in the Blue Raspberry color palette, we will be mailing it out tomorrow.

If it’s in Rainbows, Fruities or Greens, we’re working on it. We promise. I just hope I can get back to my Sta-Wet palette before it dries out again.

Road Trip

I think I’ve figured out how Wednesday became my regular weekly blog posting day. I’m pretty sure it was related to a folk festival. I had been posting on Fridays and then on Sundays for a while, but then I must have seen a folk festival coming. I normally drive to a folk festival on Thursday and then I’m without wifi all weekend, so I can’t do blog posts.

I’m thinking about this because I’m getting ready to go to a folk festival. I have festivals where I perform and festivals where I sell tie-dye and one festival where I do both. The one coming up this weekend is the Will McLean Festival, where I am a tie-dye artist and not a performer. It’s my tie-dye partner’s favorite festival because I don’t have to leave her alone in the booth while I go somewhere to sing and yodel. It’s also the one where we don’t bring extra family members. It’s just the two of us, with a tie-dye booth and camping equipment.

We love this weekend, but we sure are exhausted before we get on the road. It’s eight o’clock in the evening as I’m writing this and my daughter is still checking all the lists to make sure everything is loaded up in the van. Everything that’s on a list, anyway. I try to improve my lists by reading Morning Pages from last year to see what I forgot to bring. When I did that this year, I saw that every single day of last year’s festival, I was wishing I had brought art supplies.

I still can’t remember when I found myself with enough down time to want art supplies, but I wrote it in my Morning Pages every day, so I am not leaving them behind this year. The art supplies are in the van. So are a lot of other things, taking up every inch of space, but we’re probably still forgetting something. When I find out what it is, I will write about it in my Morning Pages and we will remember to bring it next year.

I guess I’d better not forget to pack my notebook after I write tomorrow’s Morning Pages.

Ready for Morning Pages

Ready for Morning Pages

Application Procrastination

Today is Wednesday, October 1, 2014. All performer applications for the 2015 Florida Folk Festival must be postmarked by today to be considered. I have been performing at this event since 1971 and I still find the application process intimidating. Back in those days, my mom was the contact for the family yodeling act, so I had no idea how intimidating the application could be. My Mom is gone now, but we still have five family members who want to perform at the Florida Folk Festival. Somehow, everyone agreed that I would be the new contact. They say it’s because I’m the one who lives in Florida year-round, which really makes no difference, since I can’t complete the application without contacting all the other group members, no matter where they’re living.

That’s the first thing I do once I realize it’s time to fill out the application. That gets a little tricky, because the e-mail address the festival organizers have is the one for the family act and it almost never gets any e-mail. I forget to check it. There is also the past history of the application process to trip me up. In recent years, the poor woman who has to organize the event has had way too much on her plate. The applications went out late and consequently, the application deadline was extended well beyond October first. I should have been paying attention. I should have been checking that e-mail, but I just didn’t realize time was getting away from me.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know that my own plate has been a bit overloaded lately. You also know that some days, I’m just not very good at coping. I hide out and avoid stressful things until I feel better. The Florida Folk Festival application is a very stressful thing. This year, someone took something off the festival organizer’s plate and she sent out the applications on August first. I wasn’t checking the family e-mail, so I failed to notice. My sister woke me up to the deadline after attending a meeting in the town that hosts the event.

That was a couple of weeks ago. I should have jumped on that application as soon as I heard from her, but I found myself procrastinating. I had good excuses, including two memorial services to attend during that time frame. Still, the biggest reason I procrastinated is that the application process stresses me out and I just couldn’t face it.

I know. Believe me, I know. It would be a lot less stressful if I would just open up the application as soon as I know it’s there and start filling it out. I do know, but I still procrastinate. I had to gather information. Would all the regular participants be planning to attend this year? Would they be bringing the same guests they brought last year? Were my sister’s granddaughters ready to join us this year? These are the important questions I sent out via Facebook messages and I did nothing at all until I heard back from everyone.

Well, I did a couple of things. I breathed and I waited. I needed to do those things before I could face that application. Then the messages were answered and I had no more excuses. That’s when the panic hit. I downloaded the application and saw that we needed a new recording this year. We didn’t have a new recording. More Facebook messages were sent. More procrastination occurred as I waited for my sisters and my younger daughter to tell me they didn’t have any recordings, either. I scoured my files again. I found something that would work, but I needed to get it on a CD and I’m technologically challenged.

My older daughter saved the day. She put two songs on a CD for me. I folded up the application, tucked the CD inside and put it all in a padded envelope. I sealed the envelope. Yay! The application was ready to mail. I decided I could get some rest and mail it in the morning.

That was last night. This morning, I realized I had never actually listened to the CD to make sure the recording was successful. I tore open the padded envelope, pulled out the CD and popped it into the nearest player. Yes! It worked. Then I popped it into a different player, because the application had asked me to do that. It worked there, too! Whew! I addressed a new envelope and sealed the application and CD inside. Then I drove to the Post Office and stood in line to mail it. I explained how important the postmark was and the nice postal worker stamped it twice, in different places, just to make sure.

A great weight is off my shoulders – at least until I check the tie-dye e-mail. Performer applications went out on August first. Vendor applications were scheduled to go out October first.

I did paint while I was procrastinating. It’s two pine cone lilies in a handmade vase.

Pine Cone Lilies

Pine Cone Lilies

We know it’s Autumn in Florida when the pine cone lilies turn red.

Baby Steps

This is starting to look like a series. Last week, I was looking around for something to paint and my eye finally fell on a cute little habanero pepper my husband had recently harvested. It was something I could paint quickly. That was important, since I had put off writing my blog post, hoping I would have a painting to write about, until after suppertime on Wednesday, which is my blog day. I painted an itty bitty painting and shared it in my blog post and hoped I would be moving on to something bigger – maybe even something painted on a day other than Wednesday.

Okay, so that didn’t happen. I’ve been having a lethargic week and the weather has not been helping. There’s a low off the coast of Florida that’s been bringing us rain, rain and more rain. This is not cheerful weather. It’s certainly not plein air weather. I still have a dream of painting outdoors, but I’d like to do it on a sunny day, or at least a day without actual water falling from the sky.

So here it is Wednesday again and I was looking around for something to paint again and there on the kitchen counter was another pepper. My husband is really proud of this one. This is the first time he’s ever grown a Ghost Pepper. These little things are so hot, they make habaneros look like sweet peppers. Seriously, they rate almost double on the Scoville scale. These are demonic little peppers.

Ghost Pepper

Ghost Pepper

If you ask me, they even look evil. Look at that shape, so much longer and sharper than the habanero. It even has little points all over it. It’s evil, I tell you – eeeeevil! Of course, I may be projecting. It unnerves me to realize we have these things growing in our back yard.

Anyway, I have another itty bitty pepper painting. Maybe next week, I’ll do something different. Maybe the rain will stop and I will paint outside. Maybe I’ll find some other sort of pepper growing in my back yard. Or a carnivorous plant from outer space.

You never know!


Blog day is upon me and I have not painted. I did accomplish something this week, though. I won Camp NaNoWriMo.

Ta da!

Ta da!

I may not have finished the novel I started last November, but I did write thirty thousand words in the month of July, and I did it without counting my weekly blog post or my daily morning pages. I actually hit thirty thousand on Monday, July 28th. My daughter saw that I broke twenty-nine thousand the day before and couldn’t believe I went to bed without going for the goal that day. There was no need. I had plenty of time and I was enjoying myself. I had already discovered that pushing myself too hard was not fun and I wanted to continue to have fun. It was easy to finish the next day and my daughter was here to help me validate. I never can find that little button when it’s time to go for the win.

It’s good that I was so close on Sunday because my other daughter came over to visit that day and she brought me a great temptation. She’s letting my borrow her 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. If you know me at all, you know how hard it was for me to do anything else once that game was in the house. For those who don’t know me, I should explain that I tend to become obsessed with video games and that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was my favorite Nintendo game of all time.

I loved the first Zelda game, on the original NES. The second one, also on original NES, was not their best effort, but it was Zelda, so I played it anyway. Then they moved on to the Super Nintendo and came out with A Link to the Past. It was faithful to the original Zelda, but the graphics were so much better, it was like living in Hyrule. Hyrule was in danger and needed a hero. I had to be that hero.

The game my daughter is letting me borrow is the direct sequel to A Link to the Past. It’s a different story but everything in it is so familiar, it’s like coming home. I get to be a hero again. I get to go in search of the pendants which will prove I am worthy of the legendary Master Sword, hidden once more in the Lost Woods. Seven Sages, seven dungeons in the dark world, rupees, arrows, bombs…

Oh, my goodness! Bombs were the clue to solving a very difficult puzzle in A Link to the Past. I was stuck on it so long that, even now, when I’m worrying about any problem in my life, my husband will say, “Try throwing a bomb at it!”

I’m not kidding. That game was part of the fabric of my life as a young mother. Now I have the sequel in my house and I’m expected to accomplish other things? Hyrule is in danger again! It needs a hero!

I can’t believe I’m writing a blog post instead of swinging that Master Sword.

Fun With Writring

I am caught up on my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now I can meet my goal by doing about nine hundred words a day for the rest of July. As I suspected, the process did require pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Also cookies.
No-bake Cookies

No-bake Cookies

And my favorite flavored coffee.
Jamaican Me Crazy

Jamaican Me Crazy

And more pie.
Custard Pie

Custard Pie

And one big painting.
Flame Azaleas

Flame Azaleas

The scan is a bit fuzzy and it washed out the sky, which is blue, not white, in the actual painting. This is the biggest one I’ve done yet and it’s different from the rest in other ways, too. It was based on a photograph. I prefer to paint from life, but we saw some beautiful things when we were in North Carolina and I didn’t have time to paint on the Craggy Flats trail. That’s where I took the picture of flame azaleas on which this painting is based. The other difference is that I painted it in stages over several days, instead of all in one sitting.

Of course, the result is not all that I had hoped it would be, but it was a great learning experience. I tried new things. I can’t expect new things to work perfectly the very first time I try them. It’s called “trial and error” for a reason. I am happy that I was able to allow myself to make errors.

I should confess that the other reason I am caught up on my Camp NaNoWriMo word count is that I’m trying new things there, too. I haven’t dropped my word goal, but I have given myself permission to write whatever I want to write. I know I said I wanted to finish my novel from November, but I was so stuck that I was starting to feel like Mozart in that scene from Amadeus where Constanze is trying to get him to work on the Requiem and he looks at her with hollow eyes and says, “It’s killing me.”

Yeah… not a fun place to be. I want to finish that novel, but I’m not going to kill myself over it. This is Camp; it’s supposed to be fun. It can be any type of writing, not just a novel. It can be nonfiction. It can be a collection of poems or short stories. It can be a screenplay if that’s what you want to write. It can even be revisions of a novel you have already written. I’m still writing. I will write thirty thousand words in the month of July. They will all come from my head; I won’t have a character in my own novel read passages from some real, already-published novel to pad my word count. My daughter, who spends time on the NaNoWriMo forums, says that is a tactic some people use.

I may now be a NaNoWriMo rebel, but I’m not that much of rebel. I just set my inner artist free, that’s all. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that the inner artist is a child. You can’t make a child happy by dragging her, kicking and screaming, to a word processor and chaining her little hands to the keyboard. As soon as I told her she could write whatever she wanted, she started jumping up and down, clapping her hands and saying, “Really, really, really?”

A little freedom was all it took. Well…that and a whole lot of sweets.

Still Writing

Week two of Camp NaNoWriMo feels a lot like week two of regular NaNoWriMo. I don’t have enough words and I hate every one that I’ve written. I’m convinced that my story is crap and that I have no writing ability at all. A voice in my head is telling me to give up but I will not give up. I know this is how week two always feels.

The first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, I got behind on my word count because I decided to rest when I caught the flu. It was a good decision, but it meant that I got to late November and still needed way more than my planned two thousand words a day. Fortunately, Thanksgiving came early that year and I was able to take a make-up day on Black Friday.

I don’t shop on Black Friday. My usual tradition is to eat leftover pie and watch Christmas videos. That year, I pulled out my netbook and worked on my novel while I was eating leftover pie and watching Christmas videos. By the end of the day, I had made up my word count. I was also full of pie and Christmas spirit. It was an excellent make-up day.

I’m hoping to find one of those at some point during this Camp. I set myself a goal that I thought would be easy: thirty thousand words. I wrote fifty thousand words in November; how hard could thirty thousand be? I should learn not to ask those kinds of questions. I’ve finished eight days of Camp NaNoWriMo and only one of them was a thousand-word day. Some days, it’s a struggle to write five hundred.

One day, I wrote no words at all. It was a holiday, so I figured I could take a break. Unfortunately, there’s no leftover pie after Independence Day. We make ice cream for Independence Day. There’s no pie and there are no uplifting videos to watch. I’m not in the mood to watch Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas in July.

There’s another problem. All I want to do is paint. I spent most of this past week doing tie-dye inventory (we like to count things every quarter) and trying to work on my novel. The inventory is finally done. That should give me more time to work on my novel, but all I can think of is grabbing a canvas and splashing paint on it.

No, it’s weirder than that. Suddenly, I want to make a big painting. It would be easy to do something with a tiny canvas, claim that I painted, and move on. When I decided to allow myself a little painting time today, I thought I would do that. Instead, I grabbed the biggest toned canvas in my studio (okay, I’m lying about the studio. All of my painting supplies are on the dining room table because my creative space is full of tie-dye) and I started to plan how I would paint it.

Yes, you read that right – I said “plan.” I did a detailed sketch, with color notes, before I added any paint to my canvas. All I could get done in the time I had left was a few bits of sky. It was the most boring painting session imaginable and I loved it. I can’t wait to get back to it.



I don’t feel that way about my novel, but I know that’s normal for week two. I will paint, but I will also keep writing. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I chose to participate. I made a commitment. I will follow through. I will get my thirty thousand words, one way or another. I don’t know how I’m going to manage that right now, but I’m pretty sure the process will involve pie.