Category Archives: Books

Creative Juice #213

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Creative Juice #213

A dozen articles to inspire you this weekend.

Creative Juice #212

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Creative Juice #212

I much prefer these uplifting, creative articles to the news these days.

Creative Juice #209

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Creative Juice #209

Some interesting stuff; some funny stuff; some deep stuff.

  • This one’s a little hard to look at. A sculptor made prosthetic masks for soldiers disfigured in World War I.
  • Can you stand any more Covid-19 jokes?
  • Many variations on the tangle Printemps.
  • How to machine-quilt a border with an S-curve ruler.
  • A prayer from 1968 that is so timely today.
  • Do you have books you read and reread multiple times? Me, too.
  • What if they had texting in Medieval times?
  • The truth about Meissen porcelain.
  • A professional watercolorist’s life.
  • Spiritual director Marsha Crockett’s journal provides guided meditations and contemplative helps. You can also follow her on Instagram.
  • One of my favorite artists painted a lovely portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and paired it with a poetic tribute.
  • I’ve read some of these books (and they were great) and seen rave reviews of others. Anyway, if you don’t know what to read next, maybe pick something off this list.

Creative Juice #207

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Creative Juice #207

Excellence in creativity:

  • A wonderful quilt show from a few years ago.
  • Zentangle meets lettering.
  • More than 40 years ago, my hubby and I used to scuba dive. The most exciting things we ever saw underwater were lobster, which Greg captured and we took home to eat. Click on the link to see some even more awesome sights.
  • Cleaning out Grandpa’s house? Don’t you dare toss those old snapshots without looking at them.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen these Picassos before. They are not what I would have expected.
  • The writers will get this.
  • They don’t make cars like this anymore.
  • I enjoy this artist’s Instagram page.
  • I wish I’d sketched my kids when they were small. How precious those pictures would be.
  • If you like a little science or technology with your romance, you might like these books.
  • You’ve never seen insects fly like this.
  • Are tiles low art?

Creative Juice #205

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Creative Juice #205

Lots of pretty stuff here.

  • Do you love hamsters? Then you must follow this artist on Instagram.
  • If 100 of you each want to chip in $4 to buy me this dragon, I won’t stop you.
  • Beautiful star quilt.
  • Books have the power to change people; people have the power to change the world. As for me, The Hate U Give woke me up to white privilege, something I thought didn’t apply to me.
  • Super-realistic drawings done in colored pencil.
  • I love every one of these reading nooks, but my favorites are the ones where you can look out the window at a beautiful view.
  • Interesting zentangle project.
  • Award-winning photos people took with their iPhones.
  • This free mandala-drawing class looks like it will be fun.
  • This article is especially for elementary general music teachers, but if you like music, you might find it very enjoyable.
  • I know I should be doing this. But, somehow, I’m not.
  • This watercolor artist was in her fifties before she began taking her art seriously.

Creative Juice #204

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Creative Juice #204

 

Interesting stuff this week:

Creative Juice #203

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Creative Juice #203

 

Beautiful things to look at, and ideas that will help you boost your own creativity.

  • Sculptures made from discarded metal.
  • Murals that incorporate their surroundings.
  • A clue may shed light on Vincent Van Gogh’s last days.
  • The hundred best books of the last twenty years. I’ve read maybe ten of these; they were all good except for one which I can’t remember. One more is in my TBR pile. Most of these I’ve never even heard of.
  • I love this artist’s Instagram page.
  • Rebellious nuns.
  • Are you living the dream? Why not?
  • A little city of zentangled architecture.
  • Free summer-themed quilt patterns.
  • Wonderful photos of scenes in Saigon—and each one includes at least one motorbike.
  • I have long loved Grant Snider’s Incidental Comics. This article explains his process for a recent book cover he illustrated.
  • Admit it—you’ve been thinking about starting your own podcast. How hard is it, really? Read this article to find out.

Creative Juice #198

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Creative Juice #198

This week’s offering is heavy on reading lists. You’re welcome.

A Few Questions

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A Few Questions

I am reading Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss. He submitted a group of eleven questions to more than 100 people whom he admired for their brilliance, questions whose answers he believed would help move him forward to being a better person. As I read the compelling replies, it occurs to me that I also have answers to some (but not all) of these questions that might be helpful to someone.

If you’re interested, here is the complete list of questions.

And here are my answers to three of them:

What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Two books I’ve read in the last couple of years have given me a clue to what “white privilege” is. I didn’t think I had it; don’t you have to be rich to have privilege? I’ve struggled financially for most of my life.

But when I read the nonfiction book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, I realized how much I take for granted, and how many obstacles to success people of color face. It opened my eyes and broke my heart.

I read Angie Thomas’ YA novel, The Hate U Give, to find out what all the fuss was about. I was prepared not to like it. But again, it opened my eyes.

All white people should read these books or some of the many other good books about the Black experience in the United States. These two books, and an article in my denomination’s magazine, changed my life. I still have much to learn, but I am humbled by trials of my Black brothers and sisters. We must fight racism.

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How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

I graduated from college in 1974 with a degree in music education. I taught elementary general music in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, for four years while I completed my Masters in music education. It was a hard job, and I left it to start a family and raise our five children.

Starting in 2000, I eased back into the work force as a part-time procurement clerk for the Bureau of Land Management. When that ceased to be fun, I worked on my novel and took on a string of part- and full-time, low-paying jobs, until I decided to go back to teaching after 27 years out of the classroom. I picked up a balance-of-term substitute job teaching elementary general music. It was a tough school, with some behavior problems; but I hoped I would land a permanent position. At the end of the year, a different teacher was awarded the contract for my job.

I knew the new teacher, and she was awesome. I couldn’t fault the vice principal for hiring her, but I felt like a failure. Then she said, “I hear the Chandler district is hiring music teachers. Why don’t you apply there?” So I did.

My interview at the school in Chandler was one of the most positive meetings of my life. The principal, dean, another music teacher, and I chatted about my experience and music education philosophy and what the climate was like at the school. No one posed awkward questions to put me on the spot; we were just four colleagues talking about working with kids. Afterward, I called my husband from the parking lot and told him this was the school where I wanted to work.

I got the job and I thrived there. The kids were great, the staff was friendly, creative, and collaborative, and the principal advocated for his students and teachers. It was a great place to work for the next five years; then it wasn’t. I stayed an additional three years and then retired. But I would never have had this idyllic experience if I had succeeded in keeping the previous teaching job.

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What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?

This is a poem I wrote a few years ago entitled “Commencement” that says it all:

Welcome to the next stage of your life.
No matter what you’ve planned,
be prepared to go with the flow.
Not everything will go the way you hoped.
Stuff happens.
Practice resiliency.
Sometimes your best experiences will be the ones you didn’t choose
but were thrust upon you by circumstances beyond your control.
Hang on and enjoy the ride.

Now it’s your turn. Answer one or more of these questions, or any from the original list. Cut and paste your reply in the comments below. Or post it on your own blog, and share a link in the comments.

Creative Juice #190

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Creative Juice #190

Lots of fun, and one solemn thing: