29 January 2007

Creating Habits

I found a thought provoking post on a new blog through a comment in a thread over at the Bead Circle. Essentially, the post suggests that since studies have suggested that doing something for 28 days will create a habit, and February generally has 28 days, February would be the perfect month to cultivate a new habit in your life. It seems like a brilliant idea and one which I'm thinking that I would like to steal.

I have several habits which I'd like to develop. I need to be more diligent about posting new items to my Etsy shop. I have puppets that I've been meaning to post for weeks and just can't seem to get my ducks in a row...

I'd like to make writing a more consistent part of my life. Whether it's updating my blog, writing stories/fiction for my own enjoyment, writing tutorials for my website, or writing articles to submit for publication, I need to write more.

I need to make more time to get into the studio. I recently went through some old image files and found images of pieces that I had auctioned at JustBeads.com. There were a lot of discontinued styles and types of pieces. I know why some items were abandoned. The mermaids and winged goddesses don't travel or store well, their wings or tails tend to chip or break. On the other hand, I love the donut vessels like the one pictured above*. They're time consuming and there are a lot of steps to make them. It's difficult with Sprout in my life to get the timing right on any of the pieces that I make that use thrown and handbuilt components. I'd like to make the time to re-visit some of the forms that challenge me and make me stretch my artistic wings.

The Beads-of-Clay yahoo!group is having another bead swap. (If you didn't look at the video in my earlier post, I strongly recommend it... I REALLY want to learn how to do that!!!) At last count, there were about 35 people involved in the swap. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't really decided what I'm making but it will be fun for me to make a series of pieces that I won't be photographing, scanning, or listing anywhere.

And speaking of photographing and listing, I need to get moving on those puppets.

*I'll probably be sprinkling some of those archive images into the blog. I like having pictures with the posts and looking back at some of these 3 and 4 year old pieces, I have to admit that I kinda like them. The donut, for example, was made in 2003.

24 January 2007

Sprout's Obsession

Included in the packages from Germany with the other treats that my sister sent for the holidays this year were several boxes of Kinder Eggs for Sprout. (Well, Sprout and mama if we're being completely honest... Sprout gets the chocolate, mama gets the toy...) Having spent a significant portion of our childhood in Europe, Kinder Eggs hold a special place in the hearts of myself and many others.

I remember reading somewhere, about the same time that the FDA banned the eggs in the US, that some engineering or design programs use Kinder Eggs as an instructional device. Some of the toys contained inside Kinder Eggs are rather complicated and involved. The eggs, and the toys inside, are manufactured and sold in many countries with very diverse languages. Adding to the difficulty, the toys must fit inside a rather small plastic capsule inside the chocolate egg. This often means breaking a complicated toy into quite a few small parts which must be assembled by the recipient no matter where they live or what language they speak. The instructions must fit inside the plastic capsule with the toy, so if they're too complicated or require translation, it cuts into the space available for the toy. As a consequence, the instructions are usually illustrated and sometimes puzzling. (Think IKEA assembly instructions...) The point being, I love Kinder Eggs and try to justify that love with admiration of the design accomplishments and tech writing genius represented by the toy surprises. (Like most other Kinder Egg enthusiasts, I almost want to cry when I open that little capsule and find a figurine instead of a wonderful puzzle of a toy.)

The unfortunate down side of the current supply of Kinder Eggs in the house is that my days are punctuated by repeated two word pleas, screams, whines and demands for "Chocolate Egg"... Sprout seems to think that repetition is the key to getting what she wants. If I don't immediately acquiesce, she experiments with changes of inflection and volume. She sounds a little like a star-struck theatrical amateur experimenting with the verbal inflection of a line of dialog trying to find just the right delivery. It would be funny and cute if it weren't so damned anoying.

22 January 2007

Eye Candy

Just after Christmas, I got a box of beads very similar to those shown in the video above. The beads were the results of a bead swap amongst the members of the Beads of Clay Yahoo!Group. There are some amazing beadmakers in this community and some of the newer members may well prove to be the the bright stars on the horizon of the artisan ceramic bead world. (The video was made by Natalie of NKP Designs.)

As for myself, I'm not getting as much done in the studio as I'd like. Right now, the depression seems to be a bit worse than it's been, to the extent that I spent most of Sunday in bed with a headache. Today I sent Sprout to her swim lesson with her daddy so that I could stay home. It's the first class that I've missed but I just couldn't face going out of the house or out into the world after the pool with wet hair...

07 January 2007

You Can't Catch Me, I'm A Girl!

Not long before Christmas, Sprout watched one of several episodes of Between The Lions featuring the story of The Gingerbread Man. As chance would have it, Sprout saw that episode 2 or 3 times in the course of a couple of days and it made a pretty big impression. The first indication that I had of the exact nature of my daughter's new obsession with the gingerbread man was during a visit to a pet store where she broke free of my grasp and ran down one of the isles looking back over her shoulder calling, "You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man." This new freedom of hers made her giddy. When it was time to get dressed in the mornings, or time to change into her sleeper at night, she would wriggle free and run around in circles calling, "Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man."

Last weekend, my aunt came for a long overdue visit. While here, she was treated to Sprout's wild evasive maneuvers and her gingerbread man chorus. My aunt laughed and said, "Wouldn't that be 'the gingerbread GIRL'? After all, you are a girl." Sprout thought about it for a moment and ever since her calls back to us as she runs away have been "You can't catch me, I'm a girl!"

I really like this new battle cry. It appeals to the feminist in me. (The part of me that dressed her as Rosie the Riveter for Halloween when she was a year old...) I hope that she always feels that being a girl gives her an advantage. I want her to feel valued and special and powerful and vital and invincible.

Tonight, as I scooped her up in mid-stride and planted a kiss on her naked belly, I laughed and said, "Yes, baby mine, but you've forgotten something important. Mama's a girl, too!"