Host Teaching Art Party Workshop Fun Before Springtime

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It is a great time to make things with the winter weather raging outside. And, it is a great time to spring a making party on the neighborhood for adults and kids too.

This art party can be as simple as getting a package of color bond paper or cardstock sold in most drug and discount stores for a few dollars plus a dozen glue sticks and some either handed Fiskars scissors. Or everyone can bring their own scissors – always easy, although a good pair of scissors does make a wonderful takehome novelty that will be used for many, many years to come and a nice reminder of the maker day party you hosted.

These aprons, I designed a while back and today as the tedious job of saving an image of the design was being done, I noticed the title it had been given the day it was made. Yes, a teaching art party would be fun. It can be everyone bringing things to potluck supplies and raw materials. It can be sculpting, paper cutting, painting, drawing or found object planet making for a make your own planet party. It can also be an inventors’ dream party with lost resourcefulness awakened as inventions are created.

A very fun use of a winters’ weekend day. Even a church or school organization, local club or business could host a party like this, maybe even a restaurant or bar. Would be very fun.

- cricketdiane

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What I’ve Been Creating This Week –

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Somebody is Downplaying Weather Events to the Detriment of All

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Watching the disastrous consequences of the snow event yesterday and today in Atlanta, it is obvious that incorrect information was conveyed to the local officials and people who live there. It is a disservice to all those whose lives are precious and dear – who are now sitting on wet, slippery, significantly cold roadways, spending the night in their cars stuck in parking lot roads of traffic, or whose children could not be delivered home safely from schools in the area.

The night before the storm came to Atlanta, I talked to Daddy on the phone. He was under the strong impression that he could go about things normally as planned the next day because local news forecasters explained the storm would drop snow south of Atlanta and barely affect the areas where he lives. That was simply not true and fortunately, I had been watching the weather channel as the storm was threatening all day before arriving in Atlanta and was able to tell him so. There is no way to safely travel if there is any water on road surfaces and the temperatures are 24 degrees and going down to 16. But, the obvious movement of the storm would bring snow to Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs. Whoever said it would be coming in south of Atlanta and give nothing but light flurries to Atlanta and its northern suburbs was not only wrong, but did most of the damage from the storm that we are all seeing now.

I’ve been weather watching for awhile and noticed that in many cases, certain local stations of news coverage and weather forecasting are tending toward downplaying many of these weather events causing detriment to everyone, including before Hurricane Sandy hit NYC. That downplaying of the potential dangers of the storm and its storm surge literally swept lives away that could have been kept safe and it did no good for anyone making life changing decisions in their viewing areas.

During these extreme weather events, including those of tremendous wind chills, ice, slippery roads and snow – it serves no one to act unruffled by it, to ignore it, to fail in appreciation and respect of its dangers, or to downplay those potential life changing dangers. And yet, I watched recently during a NYC critical subzero wind chill day, one of the news shows send anchors out to play football on the icy sidewalk while acting cavalier about the potential dangers of the tremendously dangerous wind chills and slippery icy sidewalks and roadways. That stopped being funny when stories of lost lives came in from Hurricane Sandy and certainly isn’t funny now as people are literally going out into parks in NYC to jog during severe wind chills and ending up in hospitals after collapsing and certainly since story after story of people falling over dead in it from heart attacks while trying to shovel the snow in these frigid wind chills. Had they known the real dangers, these lives could’ve been protected by simply handling the situation a slightly different way – jogging at an indoor gym or by throwing de-icer from the front door onto the damn snow and ice of the steps and sidewalks.

In Oklahoma, lives were lost because it had become popular to take the fact they live in tornado ally as a cavalier joke instead of giving it the seriousness it deserves and preparing appropriately for it with storm shelters in schools and other buildings. There was no one served by that – it cost the lives of precious school children in the most terrifying and horrific way who should have been protected and safe in their school structures – and should be alive today to grow up healthy and strong, but aren’t.

In Atlanta tonight, people sat for hours in traffic in their cars unprepared with even blankets or anything else to deal with 16 degree temperatures. Someone or some news organization that believe it is fashionable to downplay these weather events – literally told them there was no reason for concern and that Atlanta wouldn’t get anything of significance from the storm. It is insane and an absolute disservice to the public to convey misinformation that way regardless of the reason. It cannot be the fashion to ignore the weather and its potential impacts with the seriousness it deserves. That defeats the purpose of our entire efforts as a modern world to forecast the weather better and convey that information publicly as a service to save lives and help in accurate responsible decision-making. There is nothing fashionable about people’s lives being further endangered by extreme storm events when they don’t have to be. It is not only irresponsible to do that, it is criminal.

- cricketdiane, 01-29-14

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Today notes

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So far today, I’ve designed a game that let’s anyone explore character and personality along with problem-solving approaches – and made decorative tableware designs for Easter on my Zazzle store at CricketDiane.

Also made several notes about recent ongoing needs for things – including an idea that maybe if I teamed up with some school team app developers to make apps specific to disabilities and independent living, it would be worthwhile.

It is cold out today and grey but not as much cold as it is about to be and that’s for sure. It’s like 40 now and will be about ten tomorrow night when I’m standing outside.

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Last night I made a couple cutting boards with the Mad Science design on them which almost look too busy in design for what they are. I made a small one and a larger one.
Then today, the set I made seems almost too devoid of pattern – just color for an Easter table set of linens, placemats, napkins, plates and table pitchers. I thought it could make a beautiful mix and match set for picnics, tailgating parties and summer too. But, it seems too devoid of pattern in a way – where there could be greater texture or flowers or something which might be nice to try also.
Yesterday and the day before, I had been making a number of plain color gradation sets of products which I really like and form a palette for new product sets plus I made a bunch of calendars on posters including project calendars. I also made three of these while waiting for something else to load where I could work with it.
Now, there is a purple one, and two different versions of pink glitter light switch covers to go with the set of things done in glittery in those colors. Yesterday was the first time I noticed the light switch covers available on the zazzle menu of products to use. Very nifty. I was waiting for my calendars to come up in the results so I could make the review of them to see if the two-year set was worth making into a three year set, but decided not to do that. Two-year – I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go back and make the third year set to go with it because sometimes that would be a better visual to understand project flow across real time.
The calendars were made in several iterations on poster – they are priced by default to be on a matte paper, and although a semi-gloss is offered at a higher price, I don’t think dry erase markers would work on it unless it is glossy which they don’t have. Still, the first calendars were not big enough for the 2 in x 2 in post it notes that are available, so the last set I made were specifically to fit that. Each square is a little bit larger than the 2 inches square, if I did the math right. Hopefully I did the math right on them.
They are expensive, but if I were buying them which I probably will – my expectation is to use them for a fairly long period of time, so it probably wouldn’t matter. Anyone else buying them, I would probably need to find a better way to produce them more economically to the customer, although businesses could use them as they are at these prices without blinking an eye considering the increased productivity and organization they offer.
These are 36″ x 24″ -
These are designed through a two-year span where it could be placed across the wall and seen at the same time. There is also a set with Project 1 – 21 set up like those above, across several posters and there are two versions of this one below which do not have 2 in squares.
One set of these shows the months at the bottom with the Projects on top through 12 projects across two posters 36′ x 24″ size. The other set shows a four month difference of months on top and bottom where projects can be slated across their appropriate time periods and the events noted that are upcoming by monthly dates and seen simultaneously.
This group goes across 18 months with the four month ahead calendar shown across the bottom of each section. It has three sections, which are designed onto the zazzle posters 36″x24″ and priced at currently at $25.05 each on matte finish. This set does not have 2″ squares to fit the little post it notes. Visually, it is perfect for use with the post-it flags and arrows in color.
If they were laminated or covered with a Krylon spray gloss finish such as found in craft stores, it could be used with dry-erase markers (probably – this is based on my own experience with other products on matte papers done this way by me at other times when I needed them to be used with dry-erase markers, stickers that I wanted to be removable like adhesive stars with their shiny metallic old-fashioned finish.)
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Also yesterday – whenever recently before today – in the last few days -
This set of posters in 12″ x 16″ – (obviously showing one here, there are a weeks worth in the daily colors I use – pink, Mon; green, Tues; yellow, Wed; blue, Thurs; orange, Fri; red, Sat; purple, Sun) – I created for my Adaptive Living Tools Store on Zazzle.
AND recently this set of posters made with graded / ombre color along with a word each for creating, making, etc – I had used the word “dance” on the last one which means to me – celebrate, dance – go create some more – share with others – you know, “dance”. Realizing that maybe the word dance didn’t fit with the others in the series / set – I made this one using the same color and the word “do” instead – to go to the set.
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Meandering Through What It Means To Be CricketDiane as a Brand AND as a Person

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I’m working to create a style that is my own.

- cricketdiane

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“We are not enemies because you have money and I do not. We are enemies because I own what you never could and cannot buy while you have the tools for what I know how to do but you cannot use them – they are no more than a novelty to you. That is why we are enemies. And, neither of us can win as enemies.

Even when it seems you have won, you have nothing for having done it and were I to win at your complete loss, neither would I have won anything worth having. And, I would have lost you as well when you are certainly far more valuable than money could ever be.” (said by me – cricketdiane).

- cricketdiane, Dec 15, 2013

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The fact is, I create because I can. And, I create because I believe it is important and a massively important part of living skills. (or life skills) – The ability to think through, to learn, to discover, to explore, to grow, to apply those things into real life situations on the fly and to create solutions including by creating things – is an important and critical survival set of skills in everyday life – especially today.

And, to share that with others through those things that can be created with those skills – both to inspire and to add to the knowledge base assets of the whole community – is worthwhile. The more it is done, the more that our complete world with everyone included can aspire, grow, change, develop, prosper, be safer, be happier, be more at peace with living, and be more a part of one another’s resources to do even more. It is a good thing, not a broken thing to be fixed or cured. It is a good and resourceful and life thriving set of skills – not a bad thing at all. And it is what drives me to create and to offer the fruits of some of those creations into the public community at large.

- cricketdiane, Dec. 8, 2013

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“I create because I can.”

- cricketdiane

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There seems to be no sense in trying to create a ten words or less elevator pitch anymore – I had a great one and nobody liked it. I thought it was perfect – took me years to come up with it – literally. And, yet, nobody that has heard it thought it describes who I am or what I do with any meat to it. That means I don’t know what – but here is the one I thought was so great -

I just create feel happy stuff.

It is so perfect and it is true. Plus it is actually the truth of it – as far as what I’m putting on my Zazzle store and many of the artworks that form the basis of those products which I’ve been creating for years before putting them on coffee mugs. That does describe it, but apparently that sentence doesn’t have enough meat in it to suit an elevator pitch or quick description for someone who wants to know what I do and who I am. Well, damn. Maybe I should just say – I’m working to be a genius and apply that in every way I can to everything I can while I’m still alive to do it. That probably describes it better and more accurately presents who I am and what I’m trying to do all the time. And, it is actually the truth.

- cricketdiane, Dec. 7, 2013

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Building a new style and sets of styles for the twenty-first century is a clumsy way to create for the marketplace and I know that. But it is worthwhile and the things its creates as it strides through the creative / inventive process are stunning and wonderful and fun and inverse and reverse and sometimes obtuse – but well worthwhile.

- cricketdiane, 01-18, 2014

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Destroying Writers’ Block – Overcoming Creative Block

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To destroy writers’ block which sometimes affects creative people of all media from artists to writers, musicians to inventors – there are numerous books to consult – or -

You can destroy that creative block like this -

1. Write down every idea that comes when it comes.

If you want more of a thing, it is said by psychology that you must encourage and support that thing in the consciousness and subconscious. By writing down each idea that happens creatively when it occurs, that action tells a part of you that you honor it and hold it dear. Then there will be more.

2. Don’t judge those ideas for merit, feasibility, worth, worthiness or anything -

Just write them down. I use 3×5 cards, post-it notes, notebooks and scraps of paper if nothing else can be found. Personally, I like having a date on the top left corner and sometimes, I’ll sign it with my initials – sometimes, it is written down with the date and that’s all. Then it is set aside. No judgement made – judging the idea, concept, thought, solution, possibility has no purpose, so don’t bother. The point is to have more ideas, not less. Judging each idea as to whether it is worth writing down or has merit or is possible to do or not – simply buggers the possible ideas that could flow beyond that one. And, don’t show it off to anyone that will do that to it either. Not worthwhile.

3. Remember, these processes are yours – they aren’t for showing off -

Others have astounding abilities to thwart, contrive, contribute, analyze, play the devil’s advocate when he didn’t ask to be represented, be condescending and hurtful, be playful or smug, and to put down almost anything they haven’t thought of themselves. There doesn’t have to be a reason for any of this – depends on their mood, their day, their own thoughts about something else which doesn’t have anything to do with it – could even be their shopping list, and whatever happens to hit them about the idea at the time. It isn’t worth including them in the process, if you want to have more ideas flowing and creative possibilities. The reasons are endless, but if you want to show off to get kudos and good feelings – don’t show them these ever.

4. Write down thoughts when they get in the way -

Occasionally journaling gets ideas about feelings out of the way, but sometimes it takes giving a moment to write out that interaction or series of events that disturbed or was confusing just to move them out of the mind’s field of vision. These can be noted on a card, slip of paper or handy spiral notebook without getting it into some full-fledged journal or blog writing, or blog about it, or stick it in the damn journal or whatever gets it out of the way. And, talk about it to someone whether they give any care or not – that makes it gone, processes the feelings, sorts it out, gets rid of it cluttering the mind.

5. When in doubt, write it out -

There is something to be said for problem solving being the root of all or nearly all creativity. Find a problem, a difficulty, a confusion, a snafu – note it on a 3×5 card or elsewhere. I used to keep a list of problems to solve and continued to add to the list, now they end up on 3×5 cards and post it notes which then go into a group together. It doesn’t have to be problems you have, or that someone you know has – it can be world problems, something seen on the news, in the newspaper or simply noted about something. These can stimulate answers, solutions, novel approaches, probable outcomes for stories, elements of real living added into stories or blogs, and they can encourage new ways of thinking about old things in inventive problem-solving ways.

6. Every time these ideas come, write them down -

It has to be worth it to get out of bed once all snuggly and write down that idea or solution or novel approach to something that floated through your mind just before sleep – or in the shower or bath – or on the train or bus. That tells your subconscious that these are important and worth creating more of. And later, there will be more and better and more elegant solutions, the more you do it.

7. Other things worthy of note are worth writing down too -

I use this as an example – when there is an exercise in stupidity on air in the news, it worth writing down. Not only do I get a good laugh about it later, there are solutions and new thoughts that it generates. That includes the numerous stories of people who stayed in their cars when it was too cold out and they shouldn’t have been driving at all, the ones who crept across flooded streets only to be carried off downstream and rescued and people who walked into something because they were texting on their phones. Okay, not all of them are laughable then or later – but writing them down reminds me of solutions that could be generated to the problem, as well as including those events in written stories that are supporting a reflection of real life today.

8. Facts noted are writing materials of great ideas -

When the television first started, its only real purpose was seen as entertainment and to some extent that continues to be true. However, today it is filled with ideas, solutions, education, facts, news, and content about extraordinary to ordinary supported with a great deal of effort to convey facts contextually. In fact, the internet has that as well. It is easy to think, I can look that up later – but if you write it down now, that set of facts seen on cable or on the internet, in the news or on some other show – can form the basis of new ideas and generate new solutions never before considered. I write down the quick fact and try to get the channel and show along with the date noted so if I need more info about it later I can track it to where it was found or broadcast or said.

9. Don’t decide how to use stuff, ideas included -

One of my 3×5 cards says, “The Bible has been translated into 2,000 languages. acc to H2 show top 100 things changed world” with the date 12-26-13. This reminds me of the time that I said to someone in Georgia that I can speak 78 languages badly and they said, “are there that many languages in the world?” But it also reminds me that I don’t know how many languages there are and never knew that the Bible or anything else could be translated into 2,000 of them which I need to look up and learn more about. It also reminds me that apps have been made which translate languages on the fly where any android phone, ipad, laptop or iphone can make the translations immediately and I wonder how well they do. Many languages have words that mean several things and don’t translate directly – does it capture that? Do the Bible translations capture that effectively? Is there a better way to convey those context differences to accurately depict the meaning? The meaning according to whom? What do I know about that? Are they problems to be solved with it to do it in better ways? Could a computer ever do that effectively or is that a people thing? So, that one fact opens doors to creative thought because I wrote it down and have it sitting here in my cards. None of those thoughts and streams of ideas would have happened if I had seen the show and said, oh that’s interesting, I can look that up later without writing it down.

10. I don’t know what’s valuable – none of us do -

That is a fact which I have to accept in order to succeed in accomplishing anything creatively, constructively, inventively, intuitively, brilliantly or not so much – but at least to create something with it regardless. You can sit with an idea looking to make it brilliant and valuable and worthwhile to hell freezes over without ever getting anywhere with it unfortunately. That isn’t what makes it valuable and worthwhile as an idea or as something worthy of putting time and effort into. Removing the concept that I could possibly know its value or that anyone else would either – gives a freedom of creating that nothing else can.

It allows the entire universe of everything that has ever been done, everything that could’ve been done and everything that might ever be done to be opened to me and to you, if the simple measure of grabbing it, writing it down, doing something with it happens. And, every single time the process if done – yes, IF DONE – makes it easier, smoother, more extensive and more brilliant in each moment beyond it. I like that about it. The writers’ block or creative block is suddenly distanced and thoughts fill the page or the canvas or as music in the air opening new ways to think, to perceive, to consider and to enjoy – to whatever audience eventually experiences the final products from all of it. Strangely not taught in art schools, colleges, universities and specialty creative fields – but all of the betweens in the creative product are worthwhile too because each part can stimulate a different line of reasoning, problem solving and process that will go somewhere else and create something else new and rewarding as well.

- cricketdiane, 01-13-14

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Starting in the same place yielded three very different designs

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