I have turned into a slug. I realized that my creativity feels at an all time low (not quite true, but certainly close). I had forgotten that creativity, like so many other skills and abilities can go stale. I need to practice, practice, practice. Also, after the holidays and Christmas I am feeling a little consumery and need to create (feeling a little like Dr. Frankenstein, “It’s alive!” as I come out of my consumer coma.) So, my plans for this year:
365 Days of Creativity
I will create something every day. It can be simple, dinner. It can be complicated, shelving for my loft. The key here is to create something that will benefit someone in some way. That someone could be me as in the case of dinner, but it could also benefit my husband, sister, mother, friend, co-worker, dog, stranger, bird in the tree. Be prepared for some bad photos with bad lighting on occasion, heck, maybe a good create would be a good photo, or a good photo booth, who knows.
Tonight, I created happy dogs. Easy I know, but I am starting small. It creates the added bonus of a Happy Kristin, too.
Lynne: I made this ornament “Puppy Under the Christmas Tree” from a wire armature stuffed with fabric scraps and then covered the figure with more fabric strips to get the finished shape.
I had so much fun doing this ornament. I love wire armature figures but I was sure that I could never make one. However I happened to see a book by Carla Sonheim called Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals and found a photo of a figure done with wire and fabric. I draw my own imaginary animals called Squiggles and I told myself to make a figure just like I drew a squiggle. And it worked.
I used ordinary, hardware store galvanized wire (a gauge soft enough to work with your hands) to make the armature. One long piece made up the legs, body and tail. I used a shorter piece to shape the head and ears. I had to add more volume to the body and head to hold the fabric stuffing so I wired on some spiral shapes. Just keep adding and shaping, until you’re satisfied.
Then I stuffed and covered the armature with torn fabric scraps. Their frayed edges look like fur and give the ornament a vintage look. I used strips 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide and about 8 inches long. The strips need to be narrow to follow the contours of the body without sagging open in a curve. If I needed longer strips I just tied two or three of the shorter strips together. The knots disappear into the wrapped fabric. I did not use any glue or stitching to hold the strips on. I used scissors to poke the ends under the previous strips and tried to make sure loose ends were started and finished in places that would be covered over. Small scissors are perfect for stuffing the ends under earlier layers.
I had old hat pins in my stash and I used them for the eyes and ears, but you could use buttons or embroidery. I used a small scrap of Christmas ribbon to make the collar and bow and fishing line to make an ornament loop, but I have to warn you that one look in those puppy eyes and it will be very difficult to stick the needle and fishing line through.
I’m keeping this puppy out of the ornament box after Christmas. He’s going to sit on the table right beside my favorite chair.
Lynne: I love it when my dogs start bouncing and their fur stands up. I am fascinated by the process of rendering objects in motion on a sheet of paper. The squiggles give me a chance to explore the motion before the actual form takes a more static shape.
I used colored pencils and blended a yellow, red and blue to get this particular shade of brown. It’s a brown I use a lot, because I like the yellow undertones. I emphasized the tongue with marker. There is nothing cuter than a dog with its tongue hanging out.
Lynne: Have you ever watched Little House on the Prairie and wondered what it was like to be Laura Ingalls running through the tall prairie grass? Well, the farm has an area of prairie grass and at this time of year it is turning the most fantastic shades of purple and gold.
I cannot describe properly the look and feel of the prairie. The wind moves in waves over the grass and the smell is like hay but less dry and the feel is people-less. Just me and the wind, the grass and the sky. I have tried to get the colors and the feel captured in these photos, but at every angle the light is different. I’ve played with Photoshop to give an approximate vision of what I see with bare eyes, but of course it is not the same. We need more than sight to see something properly.
I wondered about the prevalence and history of prairie in this area and came across this book on google, The History of Cass County, Volume 1, edited by Jehu Powell. There are numerous references made about prairies and prairie fires in Cass County. Isn’t it a marvel that I can yearn for the days of vast plains and yet rejoice at the ability to read and search a rare book with ease.
Jehu Powell relates the troubles the pioneers had with prairie fires and I suspect that every acre of grass turned into farmland made them feel safer. I cannot imagine the tremendous heat and roar of a prairie fire, but the grass needs fire to reseed itself and to keep thickets and trees from taking over. One third of the prairie here at the farm is set on fire every year. Careful attention is paid to weather conditions, proper fire breaks and there are firefighters on standby.
Mackie, my black labrador, loves the prairie grass. He bounds up and down through it like a deer. You can just see the top of his head and his ears flapping for a split second and down he goes again. His tongue hangs out and he has what looks like a huge grin on his face. Sometimes, watching him, I wish that I were young enough to run with him. I remember running through pastures barefoot and wondering why running meant fewer cuts on your feet than walking. However, I am satisfied watching him from the Mule and dreaming of past times.
This is an experiment in the uses of blue and yellow to make green. I used yellow as the first layer as I have found that yellow under another color shows more than yellow over a color. I then used a light blue to make the lightest green. I used a dark green and a dark blue for the shadows and then added some black in the darkest places. I added the red tongue as a complement accent to the green.
The shriner parade in Logansport was today and I thought I would spread the spirit out to the webiverse. Here are a couple of photos of my baby dogs, KC and Petey.
KC is now 5 and is part sheltie and part border collie, that is our best guess anyway. We got him before we bought our house, while we lived out in Ellettsville. One day when we got home from work, we kept hearing this noise behind the house. There, up against the back wall of the house, was this tiny puppy, just shivering and miserable. Turns out that someone had dumped him, his mom and the rest of the litter in the neighborhood, then there was a big storm and they all got separated. One of the other puppy finders brought us all together once (five puppies total) and man, was that a really cute ball of fur reunion.
Our other pup, Petey, we, or rather I, picked up at the Bloomington Shelter.
He is 3 and is part border collie and part australian shepherd, again this is our best guess. I saw his picture online on the Bloomington Shelter website and sent it to Rob, my DH. He couldn’t believe how cute he was. Anyway, I left work a little early and snuck over to the shelter and was playing with him in one of their meet and greet rooms. While in there, I called Rob and told him where I was. In the background I heard him talking to his coworker, explaining what I was doing and his coworker replied “Congratulations on the new dog.” Anyway, Rob came over to meet the little booger and as soon as he walked into the room, Petey was ours. Anyone who knows my DH, knows that he curses a lot and his response was rather pithy because he KNEW that Petey was coming home with us. Not that this bothered him in the slightest, we had wanted two dogs, just that Petey was so frigging cute as a puppy.
So, those are our two noses. The pics were taken on our deck on one of the few tolerable days this summer while I was out there reading. I am in Logansport this weekend and miss them already.
This is Big Mac or the Mac Truck, my black labrador. I occasionally call him my Mac Attack, but mostly I call him my Macaroni.
He is out in the country trying to trail something. It could be a rabbit or a bug or maybe a whiff of deer. He doesn’t care. He just follows his nose.
Mackie can be difficult to photograph as that black coat tends to become one big shape that hides the details of his eyes. I got lucky in this photo because his tongue is hanging out and the green leaves break up the black.