Category Archives: Creative Life

Creative Juice #319

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Creative Juice #319

The Thanksgiving weekend edition. I’m thankful for all the creative artists who inspire us.

Creative Juice #318

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Creative Juice #318

Note from Andrea: I goofed. This article was supposed to appear tomorrow, but when I turned on my computer today, I forgot what day it was; I thought it was Friday instead of Thursday and I expected to see Creative Juice up on my blog–so I went to my future-scheduled posts and edited this to publish immediately, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized my mistake. So, I’m sorry–I’ve got nothing for tomorrow; I jumped the gun today.

Why not spend an hour exploring these 12 wonderful articles?

Creative Juice #317

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Creative Juice #317

Lots of gorgeous photography this week.

Creative Juice #316

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Creative Juice #316

12 wonderful articles to mull over.

  • Quilt show!
  • Now go to South Africa for a quilt festival. Be sure to watch the video, although it may give you vertigo. She runs through the whole exhibition hall and films hundreds of quilts in a few minutes. My eyes (and her camera) don’t focus that fast, and maddeningly, she doesn’t linger at some of the quilts I most want to get a good look at.
  • What will your legacy be?
  • Excellent destinations for a writer’s vacation. (Be sure to check out the suggestions in the comments as well.)
  • Why you should write short stories.
  • Amazing amateur photography.
  • Autumn foliage.
  • Why writers read.
  • These signs had me laughing out loud.
  • An unsolved mystery from 120 years ago.
  • Celebrating World Ballet Day.
  • The value of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been meaning to read it.

Creative Juice #315

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Creative Juice #315

Some pretty things, some scary things, some tips for fiction writers, and more.

More Thoughts on Decluttering

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My desk

Saturday I posted about my six-week mission to make room in my study for the quilting machine that is coming the day after tomorrow. (More about that soon.) I can’t believe I still have more to say about the process of tidying.

One of the side benefits of decluttering is finding things that have long been lost. My poor desk was so buried in stuff that when I cleaned it off I found SIX pairs of reading glasses that I have been missing.

In various bookshelves, drawers, and boxes I found I had duplicates of seven books. Some were books I frequently reread and was frustrated that I couldn’t find so I bought another copy. (I thought I’d lent them out to friends who thoughtlessly neglected to return them. Sorry I assumed the worst of y’all.) Others were books I knew I wanted to read but forgot that I had already bought because I couldn’t see them anywhere. Oh well. Excess copies have since been donated to the Little Free Library or to Goodwill.

Another book I finally found was Hal Leonard Ukulele Method and Chord Book that I bought when I was still teaching, because I had a bunch of ukuleles in my classroom and thought it would be fun to teach my students to play them—but I never got around to learning. More than a year ago, my daughter gave me a ukulele and I just could not find that book though I tried really hard a number of times.

I also found my Bible journal that I have been looking for diligently for months.

And my sandpaper block, which I use to clean off my tortillons. The craft stores don’t sell single ones (you have to buy an assortment of art tools), and I always forget when I go to the art store.

I also found a short paper I wrote in grad school, which I realize would make a great blog post. That will appear soon.

When I started my blogging break, my friend, blogger Gwen Lanning (aka Textile Ranger), encouraged me by saying “. . . think of all the new blogging ideas you will get as you sort all your stuff.” And she’s right. I have ideas for two more blog posts: about pivots; and about the meditative quality of walking in nature. So yes, Gwen, you were so right.

If you are putting off a major overhaul of a room or a closet, I advise you to give yourself a break from other obligations (Delegate like a boss! Or just give something up temporarily.) and just forge ahead. It may take longer than you think, or you may surprise yourself and complete it in a day or two. But either way, when you’re done, your quality of life will be improved. It’s worth the effort.

Adventures in Decluttering

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During my recent six-week blogging break, I managed to free up a little more than nine feet of wall space in my study, just barely enough room to squeeze in a long arm quilting machine on an eight-foot frame and a few inches to spare on each side.

At the beginning of my sabbatical, one wall of my study looked like this:

Part of my messy study
Before.

There were about eleven cartons of stuff that I needed to find another location for. I made two trips to Goodwill with trunk-loads of stuff to donate; I also gave a stack of books to the neighborhood Little Free Library (and more books also went to Goodwill). I sent two needlepoints that my mother-in-law made to my brother-in-law. I gave a chest of drawers to my middle daughter Erin for baby clothes (oh, I haven’t told you: she is expecting twins, our very first grandchildren!), but first I had to find places for all the things in the dresser. (A lot went to Goodwill.) Then, with my son Matt’s help, I moved the bookcase that you can see at the right edge of the Before picture above to the spot where the chest used to be.

I replaced two two-drawer file cabinets with two four-drawer file cabinets so I would have more space to store all the paper documents I feel compelled to save and that were living in banker’s boxes.

When I’d done all that, I still had eight boxes of books and other things that I couldn’t bear to part with. But guess what—I discovered that one of our hall closets, where we keep light bulbs, was actually stuffed with boxes of things that our two older daughters had stored there when they graduated from college—sixteen and twenty-one years ago. So I asked them if they wanted that stuff, or if I could dispose of them. They both said to chuck them. Some stuff I couldn’t part with. I kept Carly’s Harvard sweatshirt that she wore in high school—it’s oversized, so it fits me. And Erin was happy to take some of Carly’s mint-condition plush toys for her babies-to-be. I still have a box and a bag of their stuff to bring to Goodwill, maybe tomorrow.

I had carefully measured the dimensions of the room and made a scale drawing on graph paper, noting the locations of the windows, the closet, and the doors. Then I cut out carefully-measured scale representations of the furniture and arranged it so that everything fit. There was just enough room along one wall for my desk and the two file cabinets. Unfortunately, when I measured, I failed to account for the molding at the bottom of the wall, and when Matt came over to help me move the desk, we discovered we were ¼ inch short of space.

Now that wall of the study looks like this:

My desk
Now.

And I have to confess that the only reason it looks this tidy is because I still have four cartons of stuff stacked in the hallway that need to go back in or on the desk.

The remaining file cabinet is in an undesirable spot; it ruins the symmetry of the window wall. Ideally, there should be just one bookshelf on each side of the window. Instead, the file cabinet is also on one side, and a CD tower is also on the other. Oh well. And I still have some art canvases, a drum, a guitar, a ukulele, a music stand, a vacuum cleaner, and some other stuff scattered around the room that I’m hoping to find a better arrangement for by the time my new machine is delivered next Thursday. If all goes well, I’ll post another photo next Saturday.

Creative Juice #314

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Creative Juice #314

A lot to admire in this week’s collection of articles.

Creative Juice #313

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Creative Juice #313

Your weekend reading:

Creative Juice #312

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Creative Juice #312

Interesting articles to read this weekend.