Where creativity grows

Tag: #52frames (Page 1 of 2)

This Week in The Oodlearium Part #2

My goal was to spend my spring break getting my brain back in working order. That meant I was going to spend a TON of time in The Oodlearium and making art. Here I am on the last day of my vacation and the list of what I did this week was so long that I decided to split my update into two separate posts. That means my mission was accomplished! While I wish I could spend my days making this past week has given me a good glimpse into what our retirement plan will look like and I LOVE IT! More on that idea soon.

Check out part 1 here.

Graduation cards

I have a super special group of seniors in my German 4 class this year. I finally got a start on their graduation cards this week. No spoilers here, but these cards will be very memorable for them. Pictures to come after they receive them at the end of May!

Organized the Oodlearium

I was so excited to have the time to do some reorganization in The Oodlearium. My awesome shelves had turned into a gigantic pour painting display. While I love my paintings, I was starting to feel like I was drowning in them. I took EVERYTHING off of all the shelves and did some organization. It was nice to spread the pour painting love around the house. I need to make a stack of easels for the paintings so that I can easily display them around the house. Originally I thought I was going to ask Tom to build me some simple display shelves on my short window, but I think repurposing a shelf from the guest bedroom will solve the problem and provide me with a place to display my most current work.

Bowling ball #2

I am so grateful that my friend Mary set me up with two awesome bowling balls earlier this year. When I was telling her about my first project she asked what my plans were for ball #2. I told her that I was planning to cover it with these blue glass beads I had from a project that didn’t work out…and that I would love to make the ball for her as a thank you. I spent a bunch of time this week with my favorite E6000 and a bucket of beads. I am SO excited by how this project turned out. I cannot wait to give it to her when we return to school next week. Check it out on Instagram.  

More Glass Beads

When Tom got the ball out of the garage this morning so that I could fix it, we were both mesmerized by how beautiful the beads looked in the sunlight. I love my washer gazing ball, but this looks so awesome. It reflects everything while also highlighting the color of the ball. I had already asked around to see if anyone had another bowling ball they were looking to get rid of, but no dice. When I finished the second gazing ball, it gave me the idea that I would love to do something similar, but I wanted to incorporate lighting into it. Tom gave me the idea to check at the Restore for glass globes. I took a quick ride and I am SO glad that I did. I got four different globes (including one that is an actual light fixture) for ONE DOLLAR total! I started gluing the beads this afternoon and will likely finish it tomorrow. My fairy light strands are charged and ready to display this new piece! I’m so excited to see how it turns out. It will eventually get a nice wood base, but that will have to wait its turn in the project cue! 

Cricut- another wood failure

I know that the Cricut is not meant to be used for wood. It can be, but it’s not ideal. I tried one more time today to cut out some letters. It was not as epic a fail as my first attempt, but it was not great either. I’ll have to stick to paper ideas for the time being. It doesn’t look like a failure when I look at the picture, but trust me, this was a pain in the neck!

More 3D Pour Painting

When I went to the Restore to look for a glass bulb for my light bead light, I ended up coming home with four different options. When it was clear that the first one was going to work out just fine, I decided to try out another 3D pour painting. I have wanted to do a black, white and orange painting (our school’s colors), so I mixed up a tray of paint and gave it a whirl. What a fun 3D piece of art I ended up with. I suppose in the future, I could try and do this for an actual light, but for now this one will sit on a shelf and remind me of my Huskie family.

Oodle Doodle Stories

Yesterday I finally had some time to sit down and look through the Oodle Stories I had started in my journal. I was surprised there were quite a few stories started there. Time to get back to those because they bring me SO much happiness.

52Frames

I was sure that my picture for this week was going to have something to do with our new kitchen faucet, but that didn’t work out. That meant another opportunity to whip out the wine charm guys and do some splashing around! This was my alternate shot only because the one I submitted had a better splash. 

I am not in the least bit looking forward to returning to work this week after an amazing week of creativity and making. BUT I will be done with this most challenging school year in 65 days…approximately 45 school days! So many ideas for summer for sure!

Until next time, Oodle on!

This Week in The Oodlearium

On Monday night, Tom and I got our first doses of the Moderna vaccine and we were both euphoric…feeling like the end of this Covid nightmare was finally drawing to a close. Then on Tuesday I found out that my mother was in the ICU in critical condition— likely with Covid. My world was turned upside down for a thousand different reasons and I was reeling with a thousand different emotions. I came home early on Tuesday and after a nine-hour Lucifer marathon with Tom, I finally got some rest. There was no way I was going to be able concentrate at school while sitting around waiting to hear any updates, so I opted to stay home and spend the day doing art therapy.

I headed to Michael’s and picked up a whole mess of supplies— retail therapy is not usually my thing, but I wanted to have a variety of projects to work on. The gal who rang me up asked what I was working on and I had to laugh because I had really no idea what I was going to do with all the stuff I had just bought. I had a styrofoam head and a bag of balloons that I thought work to recreate a photo I had seen (it didn’t). I had a ridiculously expensive clump of grass and a giant pink flower, a stack of 10 8×10 canvases, a set of mini canvases, supplies for the cricut, a metal sunflower, and another plastic mask. 

The Sunflower

I am obsessed with 3-D pour painting right now. After the success of my mask, I have been trying to figure out what else I could pour over. When I saw the sunflower, I knew I had to try it. I had no idea if it would work out or just be a mucky mess. While it did not turn out how I thought it might, I really do like how it turned out and I am thinking of going back to get a few more to make a set.

Upcycle

Early on when I started pour painting, I decided to make use of two old cookie sheets to catch all my spillage. It definitely bugged me that there is so much waste in this art. I follow Callen Schaub on instagram and I love how he uses all of his process pieces as art, too. From the trough he uses to swirl his paint to a canvas on the ground that catches all the spillage. So each time I do a pour, I just let the paint sit in the tray. Well, this week, I finally picked up some plastic triangles to use to prop up my canvases. After my pour dried, I realized the triangles had also dried into the paint. When I was yanking them out, it actually pulled up a solid sheet of paint…leaving me with two really cool pieces “fabric.” We did a bunch of brainstorming on what I could with them and finally decided I am going to try and make coasters with them. Tom gave me the idea of creating concrete coasters that have an inset for the pour. Then I will cover them with epoxy. I don’t know anything about any aspect of that project, which is exciting, but also means that it will have to wait until later for me to play around with…mainly when the weather is more reliable for me to work outside with concrete. For now, here are the sheets…pretty cool, eh?

Bowling Balls

Earlier this year we had an opportunity to do some self-care during a professional development at school. A fellow creative offered to show me how to cut glass that I would eventually be able to use to make a gazing ball out of a bowling ball. She also showed me how I could cover a bowling ball in washers. When I randomly asked on Facebook if anyone had any bowling balls they were trying to get rid of, I didn’t expect someone to say they had four that I could have for free! I gave two to my friend and kept two for myself. Yesterday was the first day since I got the balls where it was nice enough to sit outside and start work on the project. I LOVE how this is turning out. The process is incredibly therapeutic. It helps me with my “letting go” work because it is impossible to create a perfect pattern. And, it is looking really cool! While I was outside, I had an idea of what I wanted to do for the base. We have a bunch of chunks of our neighbor’s tree that was struck by lightning. I want to prep and finish one to be the base for the ball. Not sure where I’ll put it yet.

Try something new

Tom and I decided to spend this entire weekend on maker projects. It was just what I needed, but I wanted to challenge myself to not just fall back on my regular projects of canvas pour painting and making cards. A while back I was doing a virtual painting session with a fellow creative in Israel. We were talking about how she is always frustrated with how her pours turn out and that really likes how mine turn out. I told her what products I use and that everything is set up, I just have to decide on my color combos and pour. Ready to pour paint is not available in her area (huge bummer!). I told her that I would play around with mixing my own and let her know what I figured out. I finally had the chance to play around and it IS really challenging. I mixed acrylic base paint with Elmer’s glue and then added pour medium. When I do a regular pour with my pour ready paint, I know exactly how much paint I need. With this method, I had no idea what I was doing. I decided at the last minute to pour through my regular colander. I started pouring and the paint just sat there. I kept pouring hoping the weight would push it through. I finally lifted the colander and realized this was going to take a bit of effort. As I was tilting and sliding the paint, I could tell there was not going to be enough to cover the canvas. I grabbed the colander to see if I could get any more to slide out and was thrilled that it did. As the paint was drying, I noticed a few air bubbles, so I decided to try my heat gun out on it. That caused this crazy crackling pattern which I have never seen before. The moral of the story is that it was LOT more work to create this pour, but it was definitely something I will play around with. I thought it would be cheaper to use straight acrylic and mix my own, but after the amount of glue and pour medium I used, I honestly don’t know that that is true. 

52 Frames

I saw this photo a while ago on Pinterest. When I saw this week’s challenge was color relationship, I thought it would be perfect. Small problem— I didn’t know anyone who would let me paint them white…who does that? My sister-in-law suggested trying to use a styrofoam head…which made me wonder if I could stretch a balloon over it and get the painted effect. I knew it was a long shot, but I had to try. Yeah— it didn’t work. I tried a whole mess of other ideas with the head and the white mask I bought, but nothing was working. On Saturday, I decided to play around with another piece of glass I have— a pretty light purple dish of sorts and then a green background. I messed up while processing one of the images and this crazy blue resulted. I had my image! 

Image from Pinterest

#3Dpourpainting

#Michaels

#sunflowerart

#pourpainting

#acrylic

#mixmyownpaint

#52frames_colorrelationship

#52frames

#abstract

#fluidpainting

#fluidartwork

#pouringart

#acrylicpouring

#pourgallery

#upcycle

#concreteart

#bowlingballart

#upcycle

#gazingballart

#washerart

This week in The Oodlearium

What a week this has been! We are deeply entrenched in the coldest and snowiest winter we have had in quite some time. I won’t lie- it has been hard to stay focussed on the good. That means that The Oodlearium has been even more of a sanctuary than in a normal week.

A dear friend and fellow creative recently told me about a website called CreativeBug. I am pretty anti-subscription services primarily because they can quickly get out of control (Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, are just a few examples). However, when she forwarded me an email that said I could get 5 months of the membership for $5, I hopped on without giving it a second thought. Over the course of the week, I have been playing around with a few different classes. I did a bit of work with brush lettering, which is something I have wanted to learn for a long time. I started the creativity boot camp, but need to get some more supplies before I can continue work on that one. When I stopped I had created a relatively creepy self portrait that quickly got crumbled into a ball and recycled.  I ended with a bit of work on doodling that inspired me to start work on a different project. I’m looking forward to playing around a bit with learning something new each week without the pressure of feeling like I made a huge investment. Check it out!

I am absolutely not a materialistic person. In fact materialism is something that turns me away from people, but this week I received two packages in the mail that have been awesome additions to The Oodlearium. A few weeks ago I ordered an hourglass from Etsy. I am disappointed to learn that Etsy no longer is a site for artisans to sell their handmade work. Anyhow, the hourglass I purchased arrived and looks beautiful on the oodle surface. I use it when I am writing to make sure I stay focussed on what I am doing and not on going back and forth to check my social media. It has been awesome. And my second Pilot Metropolitan arrived and I am so excited to be able to have an everyday pen and a special pen for cards that will have my colored inks in it. 

Last week I think I mentioned that I was going to host my second creativity chat today. There were three of us and it was fabulous. I was in a pretty meh mood when we started, but by the end I was overjoyed. My friend Karen lives in Israel and she taught us about the Jewish holiday called Purim. She was dressed in costume today as part of a long standing tradition she and a good friend have for this holiday. Someday when my husband and I visit her in Israel we want to go during this time of the year to experience this holiday— the focus of which is doing kind things for friends and strangers to make them joyful. What a beautiful gesture! Another friend taught me all about the Cricut vinyl cutter and inspired me so much that we went out and bought one today. I am thrilled at the prospect of what we can do with this amazing tool. 

I have amassed quite a collection of pour painting canvases, so I am trying to avoid making new ones without some goal of moving a few of the ones I have out. I had a few canvases from when I first started painting that were not successful. This was the first time I ever tried painting over a canvas and trying a second pour. The colors I chose were not the best, but the pour definitely worked. I have a few more that I can rescue, so that was great news!

My husband spotted a few fun items at the craft store this morning— a plastic mask— perfect for Karneval. I’m going to pour that later this week. Then also some super cute wood cut out bunnies perfect for Easter ornaments. So many ideas…so little time.

Finally, this week’s 52Frames theme was one of the most challenging ever—golden hour! Remember what I said about the weather. I am proud of myself for coming up with a way to meet the challenge, but it was tough for sure. Check out my image on Tuesday when the album goes live.

One last thought before I go…I need to write a separate piece about creativity in the kitchen. I had a unique experience in the kitchen yesterday and I am excited to share it with you. I just can’t do it right now 🙂

Until next time, oodle on! 

This week in the Oodlearium

52 Frames 2020

In December I became a 3X Warrior with 52 Frames, which means I had submitted a photo every week for 156 straight weeks. Each year at the end of the year, I print a book with all my images and captions. I have been using Blurb with the In-Design plugin for longer than I can remember. I have always been incredibly happy with the quality and price, but most of all with the customer service. Check out my 2020 book here.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Senior CenterI randomly heard about an opportunity to make Valentine’s Day cards for residents at a local senior center and I jumped on the opportunity. After sending out so many Nerdy Bird and Fuzzer cards last year, I want to take a break. This project was the perfect alternative. I had some super fun doodles that I made last year for a running club event.They were perfect for making some sweet  cards for the residents. I cannot imagine how hard it must be— unable to see family and friends and many times not as tech savvy…I hope these little cards brighten a few people’s day!

The Mandalorian

Had you asked me a year ago if i was going to recommend a Star Wars show, I would have told you you were crazy. But, here I am emphatically recommending that you watch the Disney show The Mandalorian. Listen- my husband and I don’t pay for movie streaming services. We are not in the group of people with Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Disney and all the other services. We spent $6 for one month of Disney and it was the best $6 I have ever spent! 
If you don’t like sci-fi type stuff, I totally get it. But, I do highly recommend watching the behind the scenes documentary about the making of the show. It will give you an incredible appreciation for what they did to make the show as incredible as it, but it is also fun to watch a group sit around a table and just geek out on something they love with all their hearts. What they do in that documentary is exactly what I am trying to accomplish in my creative chats. More on that soon.

Personal on-site

I recently posted about how my husband and I like to do personal offsites a few times a year. Of course COVID-19 has rendered that impossible. Over the course of the week, I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed by all of the ideas I have for my time here in The Oodlearium. I have my idea journal, but I also have little slips of paper and stacks of books and post-it notes and the projects I’m already working on. In addition, I am trying to spend more time with creatives and figuring out how to do that in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging. So, I decided to take yesterday and spend the entire day here in The Oodlearium. It was not as effective as the offsite, because I definitely did get distracted by stacks of dishes and loads of laundry. If I do this again, I will have to prepare in advance so that I am not stressed out about chores. I was able to get all of my project ideas into one spot— huge help! I’ll be spending more time with creatives starting on Tuesday. My husband was an angel and talked through some major issues I was having with a couple of other situations. Overall, it was a worthwhile experience.

Light, Science, MagicA while back a fellow Framer recommended a book on lighting called Light, Science, Magic. I was dismayed when every copy I saw was almost $200. However, our awesome library tracked it down for me and it’s sitting here waiting for me to crack it open this week. When I just searched for the link right now, I was amazed to see some super cheap used versions of it. Fingers crossed that it lives up to the recommendation.

Oodle Doodles

I’m still working on stories— a little bit almost every single day. This week I was taken aback when I read a story to Tom that I loved and he suggested a few tweaks. I was not mad at him. He was absolutely right— the story didn’t flow. I just hadn’t realized how attached I was to the project. I rewrote it and the revised version about celebrating National Dessert Day is great! I’m thinking I am going to do a separate post each time I update a story on the site, so that people don’t have to go hunting for them and you get a bit of funness delivered straight to your in-box.

CreativeBug

A friend told me about the site CreativeBug that offers some seriously fun looking classes. It’s a subscription service, but the cost is pretty low. You can do it month to month and cancel at any time. I’m gong to sign up today for their free month trial and see if I like it. I really want to branch out into some new directions and this looks like the perfect way to learn something new. Check it out! 

52 Frames

If you haven’t seen my water image from last week, check it out here. So many of the comments are people in complete disbelief that it is ice on our bathroom window. It really did look like someone did a 3-D rendering of a tapestry in ice. I have never seen anything like it and probably will not see it again. I’m trying to figure out a place to hang this. Maybe when we eventually redo that bathroom…
This coming week’s theme was horizon. Remember the two winter storms I mentioned? Yeah, that meant I was not going out looking for what is already mediocre scenery in our area. Tom was the one that suggested I play around with the oodle surface and our wine charms. I’m super excited how the shot turned out and I am hoping it brings a smile to people’s faces this week. The album with my shot will go live on Tuesday.

This week in The Oodlearium

Creativity Hour.
When I embarked on my creative journey with The Oodlearium, one of the pillars of creativity I wrote about was meeting regularly with other creatives. That was my primary reason for wanting to start a podcast. I have put that idea on the back burner for right now. I have too much going on to put the time into it that it deserves. I will revisit that idea as summer approaches. In the meantime, I am trying to set up a virtual creative hour with other creatives. The idea would be to set aside an hour once a week to chat with other creatives. Talk about the projects you are working on…questions you have…ask for advice…or just get ideas for your next creative adventure. If this is something you would be interested in being part of, drop me a PM and I’ll add you to the list. 

52 Frames.
Last week’s theme was leading lines. After an amazing ice storm that left every tree looking like it had been flocked, I pulled over on the side of the tollway to snag my picture with my phone (something I never do!). 

This week’s theme was to shoot from below. I spent a lot of time rolling around on the floor trying different shots of some Lego robots I built last summer before I eventually decided on a shot of the Lego VW bus I built. This is the next installment in the “This is how I roll” series. Yep, I’m 45 and I built a VW bus out of Lego blocks. And, yep, a part of my brain is trying to figure out how I can actually have a real VW bus.

Pour painting.
The Oodlearium has canvases sitting all over the place. There is a set of four that I have waiting for summer when I can build a custom frame for them. There are others just sitting on the shelves behind me.  I love each one more than the previous…which makes it hard for me to just give them away. Long story short, it has been a few weeks since I last painted. Today I was struggling with the writing I was doing, so I pushed my notebook aside and did a quick pour. It is such an incredible release— no matter how it turns out, I always feel a bit brighter afterward.

I have taken a personal day to watch the Inauguration festivities and am planning a red/white/blue themed pour in honor of this important day in our nation’s history.

Pilot Pens and Ink.
Last week I mentioned that I was geeking out on ink for my Pilot pen. The inks finally arrived this week and I was over the moon excited. I learned so much about inks and pens. Tom bought me a Pilot Metropolitan from The Goulet Pen Company, which is a mom and pop shop in Virginia. I ordered a whole mess of inks not knowing that inks are proprietary to the pens…buy a Pilot pen and you have to buy Pilot inks. Who knew! Anyhow, I have a new stash of all different colored inks for the upcoming card season. I cannot say enough wonderful things about The Goulet Pen Company. They have amazing customer service! They responded quickly to my question about my order and offered various options for my situation. I look forward to purchasing from them again. 

The Oodle Doodles.
I am still working on the Oodle Doodle back stories. They are pushing me and challenging me in ways I never imagined. I am planning to set up individual pages for each Oodle on www.theoodlearium.com. Look for a separate announcement telling you when you can start following their launch! 

In the meantime, the Oodle Doodles have been printed and have already started making their way onto cards for random occasions. Today my sister-in-law sent me a text with a picture of all my oodles from my Christmas cards from the last five or so years. I was so tickled to see that she had kept all the cards and that they brought such happiness to her. Mission accomplished!

George Berlin
I have been following an artist, who traveled from the US to Taiwan to collaborate with a local artist on a major art installation. It has been amazing to follow his journey. Check him out on Facebook and Instagram. You won’t be disappointed!

The Practice by Seth Godin
Tom and I are reading a new book by Seth Godin called The Practice. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone seeking sage advice and encouragement to pursue your true creative self. I find myself bookmarking or highlighting every single passage. Check it out!

Until next time.

This week in The Oodlearium

This past Monday I returned to my classroom for the first time since early November. I won’t lie and say that I was filled with anxiety and depression. A friend is doing her PhD research on the effects of COVID19 on teachers and students. I could go on and on about how challenging it has been. HOWEVER and that is a really big HOWEVER, I did spend a lot of time engaging in creative shenanigans to help me get through the week.

52 Frames- The first week of every new year is always a self-portrait. I mentioned it last week. Here is a link to my image. I was super excited about this image for what what it represents– the start of a long story! I have decided to take my entire 52 Frames journey this year and call it: This is how I roll. Each image will be example of how I have chosen to live my life. We get judged a lot about our choices–whether it is my funky colored hair or not having kids or how we spend our money. I am very much looking forward to a creative reflection on how I live my life. I spent a lot of time commenting on photos from the album this week, too. It is always fun to see the faces of fellow framers. If you read through the descriptions so many people (myself included) say how much they hate pictures of themselves. Were it not for this challenge, in some cases I would never know what someone looked like! And holy moly– there are some incredibly creative portraits. Take a looksy. You will not be disappointed. The theme for this week is leading lines and I am super happy with the image that I captured with my phone. Stay tuned for next week when I share it.

Axel

The biggest news of the week is that I have plunged head first into my newest long-term project and I am over the moon excited! Tom mentioned in passing that it would be fun if I wrote the back stories about my Oodle Doodles. I was not sure that I had enough of them to make it worthwhile. Well…I spent a good chunk of time during my last week of break drawing a clean version, scanning and coloring them as a I mentioned last week. Well this week, I have given them all names and professions. I am working through assigning characteristics and hobbies/interests to them. While digging through a cabinet at school, I found an old book of journal prompts that sparked another idea. Instead of writing about them in the third person, I am going to write about them in the first person. For example, Axel tells the story of how he went blind when he was 12. Another Oodle tells the story of how the love of her life gave her a Figa charm when she set off to hike the El Camino de Santiago in Spain. I am going to add a page to this site that houses all of the stories as I finish them. Stay tuned! I am 100% consumed by this project, so I’m hoping there will be a story up sooner rather than later!

What’s happening in the Oodlearium

It’s New Year’s Day and I have been off for just shy of two weeks. I return to my classroom on Monday for the first time since early November. To say that I am anxious would be a gross understatement. However, I decided to dedicate my entire Christmas break to ME. So here is what has been happening in the Oodleariium while I have been off:

Pour Painting with new mini strainers. If you ever needed proof that your phone or device is listening to you then these strainers are that proof. I made some offhand comment about how it would be fun to have different strainers with different hole patterns to play around with. The next time I was on Pinterest the exact set I was looking for showed up in my feed. They were cheap and I ordered them. I have since done two paintings with them and I LOVE THEM! 

International Pour Painting Party. I have a fellow Framer friend from Israel who also enjoys pour painting. We got together last week for the second time to do a painting together. She was curious to see my technique. We talked a lot about supplies and the differences in what is available here vs what she can easily find in Israel. For example, she had never heard of pour-ready paint, which is all that I use. We talked about cameras and of course our worries about the continued danger of the raging pandemic. I cherish these experiences, because they remind me how small the world is. 

Oodle Doodle Book Idea. One day I was sitting here in the Oodlearium going through my sketch books and looking at my different doodles. I started marking the pages with post-it notes and before I knew it, there were close to FORTY different doodles. I smiled at each one and remembered the various circumstances that brought them to be. That is when it struck me that I really wanted to create a book with all of my doodles. Tom (at least I think it was his idea) suggested that I write the backstory for each of the characters and have that text accompany each image. I was sold immediately! What a fun idea. I spent a whole day last week drawing a clean version of each of the doodles and then scanning them. I have a whole process for digitally coloring my drawings that Tom introduced me to when I was first zentangling. If you are interested in that process let me know and I can detail it for you. As of today, I have ALL of the drawings scanned and colored and I am just starting to think about stories. 

Welcome to The Oodlearium sign. A few months ago I was cleaning off a shelf in the basement and I was ready to pitch a stack of rusted and warped cookie sheets that I had from my mother-in-law. I was having a really hard time with the idea of getting rid of them because she was the queen baker of the family— she is the reason that I bake gazillions of Christmas cookies every year. It occured to me that I might be able to use the sheet as a backdrop for a sign. I bought a stack of wooden letters at the craft store and spray painted them a nice teal color (unfortunately did not match my bench perfectly, but it is what we had on hand and is close enough). The letters sat in a jumble on the cookie sheet until this morning when I finally said ENOUGH. I am going to finish this damned project! I grabbed my E6000 adhesive even though it says to use it in a well-ventilated area and I proceeded to finish the sign. I’m not sure exactly where (or if) I will hang it. For now, its sitting next to my bench and I love it!

Crochet Madness. I normally wear a really nice wind resistant ski cap when I am running in the winter. However, lately I have found that it is often too warm. I scoured the world of Pinterest for an earwarmer pattern and found a few that had potential. The day I decided to try them out, I was super stressed out, so I was making mistakes left and right.  I had purchased some beautiful purple merino wool yarn from a local knit shop and was super excited to try it out. However, I did not want to ruin or waste the expensive yarn. I tore apart what I did no less than seven times before deciding to walk away. The next day I decided to try my own pattern, but again I kept making silly mistakes. I have since gotten a decent start on one, but I think there is still an issue with the first few rows. I’m tabling that project for now! Other things to worry about. I’ll pick it up soon enough again.

Azul. Tom and I decided not to get each other Christmas presents this year, but I did pick up a new board game for us called Azul. It has been around for a few years and has gotten awesome reviews on BoardGameGeek.com. We have been having loads of fun playing what is a very simple to learn, but deep game. 

A creative Christmas. As I mentioned we decided not to do presents for each other this year. In a world where we really have enough money to buy what we need, it just puts us in the position to acquire more stuff that we don’t need. So we decided to dedicate our break to our creative pursuits. For me that meant spending a bunch of time in the kitchen. I made spinach/artichoke ravioli with a vodka cream sauce for our Christmas Eve dinner. We had naan bread pizzas with homemade Italian sausage for Christmas Day dinner. One morning I made breakfast pizzas. New Year’s Eve we had an almost entirely sous vide dinner (prime steaks, lobster tails, honey glazed carrots, chocolate mousse all in the sous vide) and then garlic mash and homemade French bread. YUMMO! Tom keeps telling me that I need to write about my fearlessness in the kitchen, because it is a bit of a mystery to me. I’ll save that for another day!

52 Frames- 3X Warrior

My 52 Frames picture for last week completed my 3x Warrior Status, which means that I submitted a picture 156 straight weeks. The theme was to capture 2020 in an image. I woke up on Christmas morning to find the window in the Oodlearium covered in ice and the sun shining on it. 2020 was just like a snowflake— unique and temporary. I was extremely proud of this image!

That means the image for this week is the same as it is every year— a self-portrait. Four years in to this project, I am no longer mortified by this challenge. I still don’t like it, but it doesn’t bring me to tears like it did the first year (no joke). At one point over the break one of us said “That’s how we roll.” The comment was made in reference to the non-traditional way we go through our life. The idea resonated with me and I decided to dedicate my entire year of 52 Frames images to capturing the different ways that I roll. It will be an opportunity to marry self-reflection and creativity. Challenge accepted! The album has not been posted yet, but you can check out my image after it posts next week.

Are you a hunter or a farmer?

I needed out of the house this morning…fresh air to clear my head before I started what would be a crazy busy day balancing school work, housework and the start of my insane Christmas baking. I threw on sweats and a jacket and grabbed my camera with my macro lens. For good measure I stuffed my nifty fifty in my pocket and headed out the door. I had no idea what I was looking for. I knew there were the remnants of a variety of pumpkins on our patio and I thought I had seen some berries on the tree outside our living room window. Failing that, I knew that I could walk up to the trail a few blocks away and find something there to submit for my 52Frames challenge. That is when it hit me…I am a discoverer…an explorer. I am as far from being a planner as one can get. I am almost done with my third year participating in the 52Frames project. Every year there are a few themes that require a bit more planning, but most weeks I head out into the world with my camera and look for beauty and joy that is all around us. Click. Submit. Rinse. Repeat.

My impression of the Framers I follow is that the majority are planners and that I am alone on an island of photographic irresponsibility! Was I alone or were there others like me? Thank you Facebook for the opportunity to crowdsource my question on the 52Frames Photographer Facebook group:

Just a curiosity…how many of you approach the weekly themes as a planner and how many of you as a discoverer? With rare exceptions, I head out and discover my shot. Week after week I read about people’s elaborate plans for their shots. I’m just curious if people lean more to one than the other or if it just depends on the theme.

As I set about my day, I watched Framer after Framer respond. With well over 100 comments on the post, I wanted to distill the results down here and share what I learned. 

I was definitely surprised by the results. Of course these results could be skewed because the Framers who are planners were too busy planning and executing their shoots to respond. Regardless, the vast majority of responses were in Camp Hunter/Explorer/Discoverer.  I am NOT alone.

I spent a better part of my day reading through all of the comments. I was overwhelmed by the responses that ranged from simple statements of “discover” or “plan” to lengthy explanations of their proclivities. Here are the notes I made as I read through the comments. 

  • Another way of looking at this question is to consider are you a hunter or a farmer/cultivator. This analogy really resonates with me. I definitely oscillate between hunter and explorer. The hunter is eager to find something and there is a sense of urgency. The explorer is open to learning something new while searching. The discoverer is filled with joy when they uncover something photo worthy. Various framers talked about keeping a journal of ideas, reading the brief (even a week early) and making notes. The process they described was definitely one of cultivation of ideas. 
  • Do you end up in a different place from where you started? Whether you are a planner or an explorer? You are not alone! Over and over again Framers mentioned that more often than not they start out with some sort of idea and before they know it, they are submitting an image that is nothing like what they originally planned. 
  • Are you easily distracted? I know that I am. When we are not in the middle of a pandemic and I have my students in my classroom, I often tell my students that I am the “something shiny” person. It was refreshing to read that I am not alone. I often head out for a “hunt” and while I think I am going in search of one thing, something else catches my eye and before I know it, I am capturing something different from my original intention. 
  • Everyone is naturally drawn to one or the other, but we can all benefit from pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones. This year has been really hard for me as a Framer. Everything about the world has made it difficult to tap into my creativity with my photography. I have fallen back on the idea of shoot, submit, rinse and repeat. I have not had the mental energy to give it much more than that. I have lost sight of the intention of learning and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I am most grateful to the framer who shared this comment! It was the perfect reminder that I want to grow both as a Framer and photographer in general. In order to do this, I must step out of my comfort zone from time to time. 
  • COVID19 has messed up the best laid plans and forced people to change how they approach each week’s challenge. So many people lamented how the pandemic has thrown a kink in their plans. Whether it was getting sick or being quarantined or under Stay-at-Home orders, people around the world have had to reevaluate how they engage with the weekly themes. 
  • If you keep your eyes and heart open, you will be surprised what you might discover. The hunters commented over and over again how often they were surprised and delighted by what they uncovered during their explorations. 
  • The concept of hunting is just as anxiety inducing to some people as the idea of planning is to others. While many people overlapped in their tendencies, a lot of people were definitely in one camp or the other and the idea of being in the other camp was a source of stress. 
  • In reality, most people are a bit of both. At the end of the day, a lot of people dabble in both categories throughout the year. In more cases than not, it is most dependent on the theme. A lot of Framers mentioned that themes like nature definitely lended itself to hunting; whereas the self-portrait required more planning. 

Quite a few Framers expressed that they felt their role as a “hunter” or “farmer” was dependent on what they wanted to get from 52F. When I started as a Framer in week #1 of 2018, I was looking for something to help me rediscover my photography mojo—something I had lost while writing a book. I know that I have lost sight of the learning aspect and many of the comments that stuck out to me focussed on that component. That being said, people engage with 52F for a wide range of reasons. Seeing these different “intentions” helped me to frame my viewing of the album from a place of empathy. Not everyone is coming at the challenges from the same place (myself included).

Here are some of the most mentioned reasons for being part of this group. 

  • Share the beauty in the world with others.
  • Interact with other photographers from around the world.
  • Document what is happening in life.
  • Photographic adventures.
  • A reason to bring a camera everywhere.
  • Learn something new- creatively, technically or post processing.

The conversation was filled with countless tips and tricks on how to approach the themes each week. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Read the tips and tuts each week.
  • Look at the Pinterest board curated by a volunteer each week.
  • Utilize social media to follow other artists (not just photogs).
  • Keep a journal of ideas.
  • Keep a list of techniques you want to try/learn.
  • Take a camera with you everywhere you go.
  • Have a photography bucket list.
  • Create your own Pinterest board of ideas. Check out mine here.
  • Check out this book with items for your photography bucket list.
  • Look at the challenges in advance (they are released four weeks at a time)

A Framer took the time to share this extensive passage from Jay Maisel’s book and it resonated with me so much that I wanted to share it here as well. If you are like me and have no idea who Jay Meisel is then you might be interested in taking a look at his amazing street photography HERE.  Another Framer mentioned this series on Kelby One, but I do believe you need to be a member to view these videos.

  • “Objects are there for you only if you really see them.  If you don’t, they don’t exist.  And a lot of people don’t see things.”
  • “Before you are going to be able to see, you have to look.  And before you look, you have to want to look.” 
  • “If you prepare too well, it is not as interesting, and you get into a kind of a tunnel vision.  You don’t see around you and you don’t go to all the possibilities that may happen.”
  • “Your life will be infinitely richer if you are aware of the things around you, if you are aware of the way the light falls, if you are aware of what happens when a person wearing one color walks in front of a person wearing another.  These things are all superficial, but they’re joyous.”

I am four weeks away from becoming a 3X Warrior. Thank you so much to everyone who engaged in this inspirational conversation. You have helped me to refocus (pun intended). 

This week in the Oodlearium Part 2

In the meantime, here is what has been happening in the Oodlearium.

  • A thanksgiving haiku. Something that has fallen to the back burner since I returned to school has been my daily haikus. They are like the sprint of creativity for me. I never took more than a few minutes to write one and I always focused on something positive. Here is my Gratitude haiku in celebration of Thanksgiving.
Image may contain: text that says 'GRATITUDE TOM TIME ART HEALTH YOU SCHOOL RUNNING HOME FOOD FRIENDS TECH GRATEFUL FOR IT ALL Sp Adobe AdobeSpark'
  • 52frames. This week’s theme was circles. My photo this week embodies everything that being a framer means to me. A few weeks ago we had an opportunity to take some self-care time at school. My creative pal Lindsay offered to teach me the basics of cutting glass for mosaics. I was super excited to give it a try, so I put out an all-call for bowling balls. I hoped to get one and ended up with four. I gave two to Lindsay and decided one would be for a mosaic and I would do the other one with washers. That project has to wait for spring because I cannot use the adhesive inside. That means I have a huge bag of washers sitting around waiting for a theme like circles! 
  • Crates. I am intrigued by the idea of subscription crates. Afterall i was a child of the BMG CD subscription era. I spent my college career eagerly awaiting a new delivery of music. There are a lot of crates out there, but I have yet to find one that seems worth the money. For now I have decided to be my own subscription service. After all, Pinterest is free and I live between two different craft store.  Crafting Pinterest Board
  • Sewing. Every time I do a pour painting I am scrambling to find a paper town to wipe paint off my hands. Or I am halfway through mixing my paints when I realize I am still in my work clothes and god forbid I get paint on a dry clean only shirt! I need an apron! I so easily could have just bought one, but this was against everything that the Oodlearium stands for. So I picked up a yard of denim at the fabric store and decided to give it a shot. I traced an apron we had in the kitchen and adjusted it a bit. This is an Oodleapron, so I wanted it to be fun. It has been YEARS since I have had my sewing machine out and it was quite the rude awakening. I did not remember how hard it was to sew a straight line. I’m thankful that my husband convinced me to walk away for a few minutes and come back to it with fresh eyes. I have the basic seam done, but I am going to “quilt” a space bird on to it and that will involve another trip to the store and a bit of planning. Stay tuned for the rest of the story 🙂
  • Drawing. I had two special cards to make this week. A friend is going through some health issues and I wanted to send her a bit of extra love. And I had a thank you card for someone who did something kind for me. I had found some fun superhero comic drawing tutorials on Pinterest which had piqued my interest. I was laying in bed when it hit me that my newest character Gertie would be perfect if I added a cape to her and put her in the superhero pose. 
No photo description available.
  • Pointillism. I have read a lot about the meditative properties of pointillism. Of course Seurat’s painting Sunday in the Park is the best example of pointillism, but I had to start somewhere.  So I created a Thanksgiving turkey, but I had more ideas brewing in my brain. It really is meditative!
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  • Cooking. Life got busy on Sunday and I didn’t make it to the grocery store. So I took a gander in our freezer and saw that we had a package of chicken andouille sausage. Perfect for a cajun pasta recipe. Pinterest to the rescue! My husband loves when I tell him that I am going to make a recipe, but that we don’t have half the ingredients. This was definitely one of those times! It’s hard to make cajun pasta without cajun seasonings…unless you make your own! I didn’t have cream, but I did have whole milk (which in reality was all this recipe needed!). And of course I had a healthier version of the sausage. This recipe is a keeper! One pot cajun pasta. And over Christmas break…I am going to learn how to make homemade cheese! 
  • Oodle doodle family portrait.  A lot of people have been posting family portraits as they get ready to make their Christmas cards. That got me thinking that I need to update the Oodle Doodle family portrait header for Facebook. Stay tuned! 
This is the current family portrait. SpaceBird is not in here and neither is Gertie. Definitely needs to be updated!
  • Pour paintings. I wanted to thank someone for doing something kind for me. While it would have been easy to buy a bag of chocolate or a Starbucks gift card, I wanted to do something more meaningful. He is a big Koby Bryant fan and I know how devastated he was after Koby’s tragic helicopter crash earlier this year. So I decided to create a painting inspired by the Lakers colors. I had hoped for it to be more yellow/gold, but it turned out fun regardless and he loved it. Mission accomplished. 
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  • Crocheting. I found a new fall coat that I am absolutely in love with. It was cheap, fun and simple…which meant that I could make a fun scarf to go with it in my all time favorite color. I had a great pattern from a few years ago that I used when I was making sets for the Elgin homeless population. I had forgotten how easy and fun the pattern was. Way back in January or so, I had reached out to Phyllis from The Liam Foundation to tell her that I was going to donate two homemade hats in PRIDE colors to her to auction off in order to help her raise funds for her new non-profit organization (insert link). Then of course we got locked down and any chance of a traditional fundraiser was not in the cards. I showed the hats to our gay-straight alliance sponsor at school and he loved them. I promised him I would make him one for his birthday. The next week he returned from a long weekend to say that his fiancé was jealous that he did not have one. I finally had a free minute to sit down and make another one. Now they have matching hats and it’s ridiculously sweet!
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Creativity Chat

How important is education to your creative process?

A willingness and desire to learn IS crucial to the creative process. This has been true in all aspects of my creativity journey. Most weeks I decide to learn something new in order to complete my 52 Frames submission. In most cases I could just click something that fits the theme and move on with my week. However, what is the point of that? I started this project to help my photography grow. In the 2.5 years since I started, I have made photos I never would have dreamt of because of my willingness to learn and try new things.

When I started crocheting, I made baby blankets and that was it. One day my husband asked me to make us hats for Christmas. My desire to learn and try something new has opened up many doors for me. Now I am learning to make dresses for my baby niece. 

For a long time when I started doodling, I had a small set of “birds” that I would draw. After I made my wood blocks for the Oddball Art Machine it would have been easy for me to just continue drawing those same designs. But I wanted to expand and learn more. I started drawing fish and robots and now my space birds. 

I never was interested in painting, but recently I decided to give paint pouring a try.

Does it matter if I choose to continue doing what I always did? Absolutely not. After all it’s my life and I can choose to live in whichever box I want. But, I can say for sure that my willingness to branch out and learn new things has made my creative life much richer and much more fun and rewarding.

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