Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Review of Creative October and Three More Projects

A better picture of the cute Monster High nails I did earlier this month.
So, I'm confident I can succeed in Creative October. I have been doing projects (I haven't been able to post them immediately but I've still been doing them) pretty regularly and so I still right on schedule. I have a poem I've been working on for a few days and I will be posting that later today for Project #25. In the mean time, however, I wanted to share a few pictures and do a small review of my experience so far with Creative October. 

This is a piece of jewelry from another project I did earlier this month.
I coated the backs of several bracelets, pendants, and rings with clear
nail polish to make them wearable for me.
I, like Dani, really enjoy projects that span a certain amount of time and test one's will power. I tried a 'write every day' thing many years ago and made it into late March before I petered out. I think that for an 'every day' project to work, it's good to start out small. Make a goal of doing something every day for a week, then a month, then for a season, etc. I've very much enjoyed working on and finding my creative every day this month. Yes, there were a few days that I accomplished nothing but for the most part I've learned that sometimes less is more and that we can find creativity in the oddest of places. Also, like Dani, I've rediscovered some of the things that I loved doing in my childhood. Just simply sitting and coloring, or doodling with pencil, or painting... these things are so much fun and easy to do. They are stress relievers with the added benefit of leaving you with something tangible afterwards. 

Pony magnets at work!
But tangibility isn't the most important thing. It's the knowledge that you stepped outside of a normal day's routine and tapped into the beautiful universality of creativity. That might sound a bit extreme but that's what this month has meant to me. It's also been a blessed distraction from not only the stress of leaving one job and beginning another, it has also kept me sane while my poor Hannah has suffered some incredible blows concerning her parents' health. So I'm thankful that, even though Creative October filled my plate to overflowing, that I did decide to do it. And, gods willing, I'll see it through to the end!

A view of my desk at work. You might notice the
Sharka page posted proudly on my cubicle wall.
Project 22: I did a sketch of my character from Dungeons and Dragons. His name is Belafax Malfeiri and he's the crown prince of North Fendar. What I learned while doing this project is that I'm very out of practice with drawing, Also I learned that even though I know Belafax is a fairly attractive half-elf with barbaric tendencies, I always tend to picture him as more of an orc! Even in this picture I feel like he's rather orcish, haha. And I learned too that when it comes to drawing I always cop out and go for the profile shot because for some reason I think they are easier. But in reality they aren't. I need to take some more drawing classes and become more adept of relaying the human shape. All that aside, however, it was fun to draw again. 

Project 23: Yesterday at the IEPG Samhain celebration I portrayed Ereshkigal in our ritual reenactment of the descent of Inanna. So to get more into character, I drew the eye of death on my palm. Then, when it came time for me to kill my younger sister, Innana Goddess of Heaven and Earth, I showed her my hand and spoke the words of death. It was all very theatrical and fun. What I learned in this project is that I really love Sumerian mythology and I want to do further study into the archetypal journey of Inanna's descent. Also I learned that sharpies are the best for making death eyes. Also I learned that I really love the crap out of my Pagan family. They were all so supportive and sweet. Sometimes I get very nervous about performing in front of anyone and even though I felt a bit anxious, I knew that no one would care if I messed up, that they would take it in stride. It was a nice experience over all. And I definitely want to do a ritual in honor of Ereshkigal sometime. She's the Goddess of the Underworld and traditional worship of her usually includes some form of BDSM. So, of course, I'm a total fan. 

Project 24: I sanded and painted a table. Our lovely neighbors gave us their octagonal table earlier this year and since Hannah and I will soon be moving into a place of our own, we decided to spiffy up the table and make it a little more ours. With my mom's guidance, I sanded the crap out of the wood and metal parts then painted over it with flat black rustoleum spray paint. I learned that I apparently suck at spray painting (too many pools of thick paint) but I also recalled a fondness for the smell of aerosol paint. I also like the smell of gas too. I do not, and have never, huffed. But man I sure don't mind a good sniff while I'm gassing up or painting a table! It was brass and brown before. It will all be black as soon as I apply the last coat tonight. Unfortunately I won't have a final, finished shot of it until later because it will be too dark for my pathetic phone to handle another picture after the last coat.

Projects 19, 20, and 21: Silly stuff for work and fun stuff for Samhain!

Project 19: I made my work desk pretty with magnets. A while back a friend of mine sent me this awesome magnetized pony scene book with magnet ponies in it. I took the book to work intending to open it up and leave it on my desk with the ponies going about their business, but then I realized that I could have the magnets out all the time if I just stuck them on my desk. See now I can make scenes come to life on my drawers or on the other metal part of my desk near the monitor. 

What did I learn during this project? I learned that this generation of ponies is pretty darn cute even if it's not as cute as the original generation and the most recent generation. Also I learned that I'm in my own little corner of the office and no one sees anything I do and so if I'm going to decorate it will truly be for my eyes only so I might as well do something I like! And did I complete it? Yes - though I would venture to say it's a work in progress since right now all the ponies are waiting to be played with on the faces of my desk drawers.

Project 20: I wrote out Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem on my break schedule. I felt that the paper was way too plain to go up on my cubicle wall without some color on it and by color I mean a spiraling pink, purple, and blue handwritten poem. So I chose Jabberwocky. What did I learn? I learned that I had forgotten a few words of the poem. I memorized it back in high school when I was on the Speech and Debate team and did poetic interpretation. I used to do this poem and the Yarn of the Nancy Bell. I think there was more one in there, maybe The Raven by Poe. But yeah I liked macabre and nonsensical poems. Still do! And did I finish this project? You betcha!

Project 21: With mom and Hannah's help, I gathered up all the items to be included in the Elements Basket for the Samhain raffle table. The basket included: pillar candles, mirror candle stands, a set of candle holders, an earth candle, ocean potpourri, a small bottle of Shinto Shrine water, three packs of incense, a barbecue lighter, shell shaped bathtub fizzers, a bottle of sparkling water for drinking, and a wind-chime made of polished stones. 

This is a picture taken by the basket winner. You can see all
of the various pieces of the Elements basket as well as a  few
pieces of the altar kit basket that our High Priestess made.
What I learned is that baskets, while sometimes being stressful to make, are always fun! And I learned that putting that extra effort into something really pays off. All the baskets up for raffle were very beautiful and a lot of people really wanted to win the Elements Basket (mainly because that wind-chime was so stinking neat!) so that encouraged more people to buy tickets. We broke a record yesterday for the IEPG: we made over $100 in a single evening in donations via general donation and raffle ticket purchases. This is amazing. The IEPG doesn't need all that much money to keep running smoothly, but we do need some. The money goes to supplies for the guild as well as paying the rental insurance on our venue we use all year long for Esbats and Sabbats. And we survive on donations from members. Usually we make between $0 and $20 dollars at an event. So this was monumental. Did I complete the project: yes, with help from my mom and my Hannah.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lots of Things! And a Couple of Projects...

Projects for today include: doctoring up several pieces of jewelry with nail polish to make sure they don't turn my skin green; hanging up some fall decor; gathering up all the pieces of the Elements Basket for Samhain (not that it's completed yet); putting together my outfits to wear for the week; getting a couple of things ready to go out in the mail; and packing my bag for the next couple of days. The first two count for creative October. I have a couple of crappy pictures to give you an idea of what those projects entailed but due to my internet being a complete jackass all day, I cannot get them off my email to show you.

Tomorrow begins my second official week as a customer service specialist in the circulation department for the Spokesman-Review. There are many things I still am unsure of, but for the most part I've got the hang of things. I feel like I'm going to do well at this job, but I predict it will not be one that I will want to do for an insanely long amount of time. My hope is to move up in the company a little bit eventually, or maybe move somewhere else in the building like... yeah... you know... writing. But in the meantime, I'm very happy to have what one would call, a 'real' job. And the people are freaking wonderful. The new job jitters are hardly a tremble now. And I'm finally over my period. Now if I can just kick this sickness, I'll be tip-top for work and play.

My Chakra Shark and Failed Attempts

Follow this link to see the artist's Tumblr.
I've been getting rather frustrated with the creative challenge. Yesterday I played around with newspaper trying to make newspaper flowers, or paper roses. It didn't work very well and I ended up giving the disappointing bud to Naricisa who played with it and lost it somewhere in the dining room. Then earlier tonight, after I finished with Shrinky Dinks, I went to paint some keys with nail polish and ended up hating how they looked. I'm still not sure exactly what kind of mischief I'm going to get into with those keys but they just keep vexing me! Anyway I gave up on that venture as well. So it's not for lack of time or trying that I haven't been keeping up and I guess that's what's super frustrating. If I was just sitting on my ass and watching TV making the conscious choice not to put energy into a project then I could own that. But I am working on these projects and while I know that failure is a better teacher than success it just sort of feels like wasted time. Time I should have spent sleeping, cleaning, doing laundry, resting from my illness, or talking to Hannah or friends. 

So I just have to keep telling myself that I'm not wasting my time, because if I let myself believe that then I'll start to go crazy! Instead, I'm going to keep on pushing through this month. I did manage to finish one more project tonight. I've been wanting to do this for a while. I call it the Sharkra (chakra-shark combo). I got the little stones from our High Priestess (IEPG) and intended to use them for just such a purpose as this. So question time: I made a Sharkra sign to hang up in my cubicle at work. What did learn? I learned that stamps never come out in a straight line for me even when a use a guide paper. I also learned that tacky glue is pretty awesome. And I learned that Sharkras is not already a thing. So there, world, I invented it! It's MINE! Hahahaha! And lastly, did I complete it? Yes. And as soon as the glue dries completely I think it will look pretty neat. And I'm excited to bring it to work as my first piece of myself to go up at my desk. I plan on bringing a ton of pictures of Hannah and the kitty and my friends, but that will have to wait until I have the money to get the all printed out. 

To create the shark, I used this free silhouette template.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Project 15: Shrinky Dinks!

Inspired by my friend Danielle's recent project of Shrinky-Dinks, I decided to have a little shrinking fun myself. I bought a cheap kit at the dollar store earlier today. When I opened it up I was surprised to find that you had to draw the designs onto the plastic. I seem to remember that back in the day, the plastic already had the outlines on it and all you had to do was color them. But, with the freedom to draw whatever I wanted I decided to include My Little Pony and a few Halloween images. 

I traced each design onto the clear shrinky-dink plastic and then colored them all using a wide variety of markers (the dollar store package only had two small markers with it). After I had traced and colored all of the images that I wanted to include on the plastic sheet, I cut them out carefully and placed them on aluminum foil on a cookie sheet.

Only takes about two minutes for these babies to cook. And when they come out they are reduced in size by about fifty percent. It's a fun and silly project. I had to add My Little Pony to mix because Danielle mentioned in her video blog that she remembers when she used to do My Little Pony Shrink-Its when she was a kid. So in the spirit of revisiting both our childhoods I traced a few choice MLP characters. I only had Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Pinkie Pie on hand otherwise I probably would have only done ponies.

If you look at the first picture of the designs laying on the college ruled notebook, you can see how the ponies take up about six rows before cooking and only take up about three rows after cooking. They are so tiny now! The ponies, skulls, and Halloween thingies all fit in my hand with room to spare. Not quite sure what I'm going to do with them all yet, but it might be fun to drill tiny holes and make an itty-bitty mobile out of them. So to sum up: I did Shrinky Dinks. What did I learn? Choosing my own designs was more fun than having the designs preset. I'm sure I learned something else, too, but I'm still too groggy in the head right now to come up with it. Did I complete the project? Yes. With the help of Narcisa. She loves to get up on the table whenever we do crafts. Today she helped me color by rubbing her face all over the end of the marker as I was trying to stay in the lines. She's a good kitty.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

CD, Newsy Nails, Pics, and Sick

This is one of the stained glass images one the Sprague-side entrance to the Cowles Building.
Yesterday I did a creative project. I made my self a mixed CD to listen to during my 15-20 minute drive to the Park and Ride bus stop in Liberty Lake. I wanted to listen to things that would wake me up, pump me up, get me jazzed for the work day. So I put a variety of dubstep, metal, and rock on the first two-thirds of the mix and then finished it off with a few softer hits. Those are meant to be my 'coming down' at the end of the day songs.  Here's the playlist:
Skrillex - Kyoto
Korn - Get Up
In This Moment - Adrenalize
System of a Down - Question!
Metallica - The Unforgiven III
Korn - Narcissistic Cannibal
In This Moment - Blood
Serj Tankian (from System of a Down) - Empty Walls
System of a Down - Toxicity
Three Days Grace - Get Out Alive
Jack Off Jill - Strawberry Gashes
Korn - Forsaken
Metallica - The Unforgiven II
System of a Down - Lonely Day
Foxsky - Kirby Smash
Incubus - Love Hurts
Imagine Dragons - Demons (YouTube Artist Cover)
Fanmade Version - Come Little Children
Flobots - Handlebars
What project? A mixed CD. What did I learn? I learned that I actually really like Skrillex. Also I learned, or remembered rather, just how much I adore Metallica's Unforgiven trilogy. I was going to add the first Unforgiven to the mix and I'm not sure why I changed my mind in the end. I suppose I was hoping to get just a pinch more variety on there. I sort of wish I had switched out one of the SoaD songs for the first Unforgiven. I kind of miss that song. So I guess I learned that sometimes it pays to go with your first inclinations instead of trying to be practical. Not always, but sometimes. Also I learned that the drive to the Park and Ride is much more bearable with a little heavy bass in my ear. Lastly: Did I complete the project? Yes I did. A day late and a dollar short, but I did it just the same!

Antique (and still functioning!) mailbox in the Chronicle Hallway of the Cowles Building.
The next project is newspaper nails! I had decided to do newspaper nails before I saw this awesome entry and tutorial! But then after viewing it I was super excited to try. You paint your nails with a light color first, then dip your fingertips in isopropyl alchohol. Then press some newsprint to the wet nail and the words will stick. They end up as a mirror image, but they still look really neat! What I learned though is that you don't need to hold the newsprint to your nails very long. In fact you just dab the ink onto them for about two seconds or three seconds and the transfer will take. I also learned that they look really fucking cool! 

I like them a lot and will probably do them quite often. Even my shitty hand looks pretty dang good. The newsprint covers a great many errors and flaws. And even if you do screw up, it looks like ripped newspaper so it's still a win. Did I complete the project: yes. I'm still one project behind. That's just how it's going to be until this weekend. I'm really sick as it turns out. I think riding the bus has given not only a new perspective on transport but also a new gamete of germs in my system. And I'm fighting it! Damn, I'm fighting it! But this morning I puked and this evening I'm stuffed up like a Thanksgiving turkey. So I'm going to take some medicine and conk out. One more day and then the weekend. I can't wait for some extended rest.

Another printer stained glass. I love these guys.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 2 of Work and Day 12 of Creative October

So work is going pretty well. I have the bus stuff pretty figured out and tomorrow, I hope, I'll be getting my bus pass so that I don't have to keep coming up with change each morning and afternoon. Goodwill Working Solutions offered to pay the first 2-4 months of my bussing for me and I'm definitely taking them up on it. The passes from work are only $25 a month instead of the usual $45 from the bus station. It's a good deal for all of us! Anyway, while I'm learning lots and lots about customer service in the circulation department, the building is still quite a mystery to me. I tend to spend my lunches on the roof terrace surrounded by gargoyles. Please enjoy some pictures from my new "lunchroom." 

The Knitting Factory is a popular place for concerts in Downtown Spokane.
It's right behind my work. See the gargoyle feet on the ledge?!
Roof parking on the building next to us. Also a pretty cathedral.
A nice view of Sprague, which is the road behind my work.
Gargoyles! And in the distance are the smokestacks attached
to a very cool restaurant that I want go to someday.
Another shot of the smokestacks as well as a view of downtown
Spokane and the horizon of the South Hill area.
A long shot of Monroe Avenue, the road leading away from my work.

A side view of the beasts. The gargoyles are nicknamed "Printing Devils"
in honor of the novices in the printing business who tended to cause problems.

As for Creative October, I'm counting the photography of the gargoyles as one project. I need three total to be caught up so here's two more and I'm golden! Second project: I made my work journal nifty and pretty. I learned that writing bus times is obnoxious and I also learned having multiple different colored pens at your disposal is pretty much the best thing in the world. Also I learned that I miss my other journal. I still have some room left in it but now I worry that it won't get filled all the way before I really attack my work one. I already did a journal entry for today in it! In purple even.

This is the information for taking alternative transport to work and how
you can win prizes for choosing to reduce your carbon footprint.

I drew all the icons I'll be using as I navigate the software for the paper.
Also I added a few fun stickers, but mostly this is my crappy insta-art.
Calendar and pay periods. I added some Captain America and Monster High.
And some My Little Pony because I couldn't resist.

HR and other contact information. In style!

Third Project: Manifestation Board. What did I learn? I learned that I apparently really need some intimacy in my future life. Also I need to write. I've been writing in my journal and blogging but that isn't really getting the big things done. I knew that I needed a break from it after graduation but it really is time to get back into gear again. I need to work on short stories and novels and keep trying to get published. I feel that the more stable job, plus the option of having my own home, will help me get some writing out eventually. I finished this project and feel pretty good about it. Had to download to get the job done, but it was worth it.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 8 and Day 9 - Cake and Nails!

For Day 8 of Creative October, I cooked a pink cake! Mom gave me a pink velvet cake mix to take to Chris's. And Chris bought whipped strawberry icing. I put two and two together today and covered half the top with strawberries. Yes this was technically a follow the directions project, but I'm going to count it as it is pink and unusual and delicious. To answer the questions: 1) pink cake with strawberries on top; 2) I learned that whipped icing is yummier than regular icing and that pink cake mix starts white and only turns pink once it becomes wet; and 3) Yes I completed the project. 

We learned also that whipped strawberry frosting tastes like marshmallows!
For Day 9 of Creative October I decorated my nails with Monster High nail wraps. I wore these to teh Maiden Mother Crone class put on by the IEPG. Yes, I completed the project. I learned that these nail wraps were too big for almost all of the nails so I had to do quite a bit of manual trimming. But other than that, this activity reaffirmed for me that I really enjoy nail wraps as they are quick and easy and you can find the most freaky fabulous designs!

They were cute. And matched my dress fairly well.
One day behind now. Until tomorrow, then I'll be two days behind! So let's hope I can finally get caught up before my long work week begins on Monday. Hooray for taking the bus! Maybe I'll make some fun map art or something to chronicle my adventures as a bus riding fool. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Art Therapy Color Pages

Tonight, Chris and I colored pages from a Lisa Frank coloring book. We used it as art therapy and chit-chatted during the creative process. It was a nice way to wrap up the day, which by the, was my last day as an employee at L'eggs Hanes Bali. 

This was my coloring page. I wanted to make a goth kitty and failed miserably because cuteness happened.

This was Chris's coloring page. Her kitty is likes to paint abstract pieces. Chris said the project was refreshing after the twisted TV show we watched together.
In answer to the survey questions: I used crayons to color a page from a Lisa Frank coloring book that I found last week in the garage. What I learned from the project was that coloring is still fun. It brought back a memory from my first grade teacher who told me never to color in circular motions because it was 'wrong.' She suggested instead that I go back and forth with the crayon. I wish people wouldn't try to curb creative expressionism. Especially at such a young age. It really upset me when she said that. But happily, Tonight, I used circular motions to color my kitty and I think it turned out just fine. The picture quality isn't the best, but trust me, both our coloring pages turned out adorably! And, yes, we finished the projects.

Door Charms, Playing Catch-Up

Lots has happened recently. But I can talk about that another time. Suffice it to say that I'm about to embark on a crazy journey into a new job, and I'm doing it without Hannah by my side as she is currently helping out her family in Wichita. She's only supposed to be gone for about two or three weeks but it's going to be a long two or three weeks. 

In an attempt to catch up with Creative October, I've begun scripting out the blessings/devotionals/invocations that will accompany the door charms. I know this is technically one part of a bigger project, but writing these things takes time and energy and I think they count as their own project well before they become part of their corresponding charms. This covers Days 4, 5, and 6. I'm still behind but not so far at least!

First, I created a devotional to Hestia who is one of the sweetest and cool headed goddesses of the entire Greek pantheon. I've only recently begun to study her and she is absolutely wonderful. She is a goddess everyone should have in their home. In fact, Zeus thought her to be so badass that he made it a requirement to pay honor to her at every shrine regardless of whom the shrine was erected to. So if you wanted to go and pray to Hades, you had to also tip your hat to Hestia. There's so much more to her and I don't really have the time or the brain power to write it all out right now, but if you get the chance, look her up!

I found the picture of Hestia on the internet, but the text is mine.
Next I did a devotional to Hecate. She and Hestia are both virgin goddesses (meaning they never married) and I have a certain affinity for virgin goddesses (Artemis included) probably because I'm my Astrological sign is a Virgo. That or I just relate to a husband-less female. Anyway, for both of them being virginal goddesses, they definitely have a different feel. Hecate is edgy as hell.

This artist rendition was just too cool! The artist's name is Dasha Pliska. Usually Hecate is pictured with three heads/faces, but I gotta say, I'm totally digging the three sets of arms.
Lastly, I wanted to show off my inner nerd and do a devotional/summoning/invocation to Yog-Sothoth from Lovecraft. He's the Gatekeeper for the Ancient Ones and is probably the nicest of the Old Gods. He's the only one you can gaze upon without instantly going insane. Or so they say. Anyway, here's the charm invocation for an Elder God complete with text from one of Lovecraft's stories. Oh, and by the way: Yog-Sothoth is usually portrayed as a bunch of glowing orbs with teeth and tentacles. But sometimes he takes on a less amorphous shape.

Click here for a link to the original artwork.
Because this font is a little hard to read, I'm going to add the text here: 
“Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and the guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke though of old, and where They shall break through again. He know where They have trod earth’s fields, and where They still stread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.” –The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft
Yog-Sothoth, The Oldest, the Keeper of the Gate,
Locked outside the universe, where You lie and wait,
I call You to my threshold, a wish upon my tongue,
Guard the creatures of this house, from dead to old to young.
God of Outermost Darkness, let no evil in,
Discern with your all-seeing eyes, the foe from friend or kin.
I ask for your protection, may it never be undone,
You are the gate, You are the key, You are the All-in-One!
 Yog-Sothoth Nafl’Fthagn! I summon thee, so mote it be! 

So to answer all the questions for the creative projects: 1) I did three devotionals to be attached to key charms which will them be placed over doorways. 2) I learned a great deal about goddesses and an Ancient One; things that I had not previously known. I also learned to get over my fear of mixing nerdiness with divine practice. It was fun and interesting to write to Yog-Sothoth. I believe that because Lovecraft conceived of him that he does exist as least in our imagination and that is probably purer existence than most things in the physical realm. Also I learned that rhyming really does make a charm read better. I feel bad for Hestia's not rhyming. But she is so level headed and just downright sweet, that I felt petitioning her ought to be more conversational in a way. 3) Yes I completed the projects but way late. I will get caught up and then keep on pushing. This month is going to be nuts but the busier I am the more productive I am, or so I'm going to keep telling myself. I'll be back tomorrow with more updates!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

They say the third day of a routine is the hardest...

I had an awful time coming up with things to do today. There are many rather large projects that I want to do but they are too massive for Creative October, and the smaller projects I wanted to do today just didn't take any kind of form for me. In the end I sat down and played with beads and ended up creating a shiny garland necklace for Princess Luna. I've been wanting to decorate her (make her something special) for a while now and the garland looks so pretty on her dark blue coat. The pattern I followed was: one flower bead, two shiny non flowers, then one flower again. The beads came from my next door neighbor. She brought them over a while ago when she decided she'd had enough of her boys demolishing the house with them. 

The picture quality sucks but trust me, the beads are really cute.

Princess Luna in all her splendor.

Nacisa had to investigate. She wasn't too impressed, I suppose.

She does like Luna's horn though!
In answer to the survey questions: 1) my project was a fishing line and bead garland necklace for my Build-a-Bear Princess Luna Pony. 2) I learned that you should always use the stretchy stuff to string the beads instead of fishing line because it was harder than heck to squeeze and squish her head through the second wrap. Also I learned to not overthink the projects for this month too much. Simpler is fine. 3) I completed the project.