Daily Prompt: Original

via Daily Prompt: Original

I understand that originality is a necessary, and often rewarding, trait where creativity is concerned. All master musicians, artists, designers, writers, and creators, in general, are considered to be superior in part because what they produce is original. Making a work their own is not only what makes them noteworthy but also will keep the artist far away from copyright boundary issues.

But, I’m going to rock the boat today, something I rarely do, by disagreeing that being original means works of art or crafts have to be unlike what anyone else has produced. I believe this to be true for the following reasons:

  • A large majority of those with creative minds have been inspired by other art forms and artists.
  • There are really just a handful of basic themes from which to draw in all art forms.
  • Sometimes creating in the style of a master in the field in which a person is working is a method that person uses to learn her craft.
  • Exposure to the best of the world’s arts and crafts is critical for those who want to improve their skills.

 

Of course I am not supporting plagiarism in any form. What I am supporting is inspiration. Reading award-winning books will contribute to a person’s ability to write well.Want to write professionally? Read books by Dickens, J.K. Rowlings. and William Faulkner, to name but a few. Spending time in museums of art, or the Google Arts and Culture site, for that matter, sparks the imaginations of those who aspire to paint, draw, sculpt, or curate.  Is being a musician a dream of yours? Listen to Beethoven, Billie Holiday, and Puccini.

So in the day of Pinterest in particular, and technology in all its iterations, people are more often putting their ideas, methods, projects, and renderings online specifically to inspire or motivate others. The craft culture has become one of sharing, collaborating, and supporting one another. I’m all for that!

Here is a project I made from inspiration I found on Pinterest. It does not look exactly like the one I saw online. It’s not nearly as well-executed. But here it is, and I like it myself.

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The concept was beads around bottles. I used three bottles (one was vintage),  beads I had in my collection, and plants I found by the pond. Using found objects and materials I already had satiated my repurposing addiction.

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.”
– Japanese Proverb

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Throw Nothing Away!

I happened to come upon The Global Indian Blog on a day when its author, Vishruti, had turned her post over to a guest blogger, Camila from Chile. But from what I can gather, Vishruti is a nature-lover, a designer, and a businesswoman who hosts an awesome blog.

On the day that I visited her site, the guest poster was sharing remarkable recycling DIYs using cereal boxes, used shopping bags, cookie boxes, CD paper sleeves, old boxes, washi tapes, and a bit of glue. Her results were beautiful and set my heart atwitter.

So I took Vishruti’s blog to my husband, held it in front of his face, and said:

“See why I never throw anything away?”

I was only slightly kidding because I’m a grown woman and I know that if a person keeps everything, that person will soon have people visiting him or her from the television show “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” But still, there are so many ways to make cards, crafts, and decor from the humblest materials, and these objects make a real difference to the lucky recipients.

Call me crazy, but I get the same feeling when I see recycled gifts as I do when I see a brand new puppy. I’m not kidding, and I completely fall apart when I see a new puppy.

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I know some of my Pinterest friends out there know exactly what I’m talking about, right? All you have to do is enter “pallets” in the search box on Pinterest, and you will discover hundreds of things you can make from these cast aside crafters’ treasures.

I’m pretty sure if you cut magazine pages in strips and tape them together in circles to make a paper chain garland, you will understand, too.

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Border

When I make a tray, I like to add a border around the edge of the platter to make it a little fancier. When I make a sign, I love to border it with a vintage-looking edging. But Dictionary.com explains that the word “border”  can also be used to mean “brink or verge.” Now that definition, as we say in the South, will preach.

I feel that beginning my blog puts me on the brink of a new plateau in my writing career, my maker’s movement intents, my freelance writing, and, really, my life in general. This blog has already taught me that success can come more easily when one is in the company of like-minded people. Collaboration, as my grandchildren are being taught in the wonderful, exquisite Memphis University Campus School, is a way to get more done, build self-esteem, boost confidence, and feel empowered. Because of other bloggers’ support and affirmation, I am motivated to make my writing as helpful and positive as I can.

My new project still includes bottles, but is a bit different because I created the centerpiece/vase with a vintage basket I found today at an estate sale full of all the things I like: bottles, of course, baskets, handmade wooden furniture, and so forth.

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Thank you to all my fellow writers who have encouraged me with “likes,” “followings,” and “comments.” In the famous words of Orphan Annie, “I think I’m going to like it here!”

 

 

 

 

Realize

I guess I didn’t realize what writing my own blog would entail, feel like, and require. As I’ve said before, I’m a freelance writer, so it’s easy enough for me to write blogs for someone else. But making my five-day-a-week blog fun and interesting uses a different part of my brain and comes from a unique place in my heart.

If I were reading this blog right now, I would tell the writer to calm down, have fun, and stop stressing. And that’s not bad advice. But I want to make sure that taking this project on will help other people and give me a platform to give a little something back to my readers.

I also did not realize five years ago how much fun it is to be a maker. Lucky for me, I have a retired contractor for a husband, and he came with all the tools and experience of 40 years in the business of building and remodeling houses. Now that we’re both retired, I have every DIY-er’s dream workshop. No, I haven’t come close to the mastery my husband has for making just about anything. But, boy, do I have fun using his equipment and learning from him!

So here’s my latest “made item,” and I hope it will inspire you to try putting something similar together yourself. This time, I changed the bottle type, changed the number of bottles, and made the handles from rope. Take a look:

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Simple, but useful as a centerpiece or flower holder, right?

So, happy making and here’s wishing you some realizations of your own!

I Think that I Shall Never See…

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Fern Springs Farm

This is the beginning of a poem by Joyce Kilmer, published in the Poetry magazine in 1913, titled “Trees.” The end of the phrase that I used for my post is completed with these words: “a poem lovely as a tree.”

Reading it again today took me back to a third grade assignment my class was given to memorize the poem and then recite it to our teacher. I can even recall that she smelled like sweet flowers.

The poem was set to music in 1922 by Oscar Rasbach, and can be heard on YouTube being sung by Bob McGrath, famous for being  Bob Johnson on Sesame Street. But I digress.

I never forgot the poem or the song, which I sang in junior high chorus. And now, I live on a small six-acre former dairy and chicken farm. Fortunately, since I love to make things, I have an abundance of limbs, stumps, branches, weathered wood, and twigs to keep me busy all the time.

But more than having a plethora of crafting materials at my disposal, I have the great privilege of watching the seasons come and go by enjoying the changes in the trees around me. I am blessed to have a front row seat for observing the shadows and light as they slowly form and reform through the year.

It is a gift I try to appreciate to its fullest every minute. Here’s wishing you many days in the company of trees.

 

Getting to Know You

Bloggers seldom know and would be hard-pressed to guess who is reading their words. I imagine that people who like making old things come back to life are among my audience members. I think those who think making things is more fun than buying something brand new might enjoy what I have to say. And I would bet Do-It-Yourself-ers might be drawn to take a peek at some of my posts.

It would be a wonderful compliment to me if my blog was interesting to many different kinds of folks, since I am pretty much drawn to a broad array of subjects, activities, ideas, and styles. The bottom line is my hope that I can write something that will interest my readers and spark their own creativity.

Here’s another bottle project which has been around awhile, but I switched it up a bit by adding knobs instead of handles.

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I also like the smaller bottle. It looks cute with fresh flowers in each container and makes a great holder for rooting cuttings.

I Love Bottles

Maybe you’ve seen the advertisement on television during which Oprah Winfrey looks straight into the camera and says in an impressively sincere and thoroughly dramatic manner:

“I love bread!”

Her point was that if a person is using the Weight Watchers’ diet system, he or she can and may have bread, as Oprah put it:

“Every single day!”

Well, that would certainly make me want to use the WW plan ’cause I certainly love bread too. But what I really want to talk about today is the fact that I really, really love bottles. Maybe this is true because I love to recycle items by using them in a different way than they would normally be used. Could be because they are usually free or can be found in junk stores at very affordable prices.

Whatever the reason, I never met a bottle I didn’t like, as Will Rogers said (only he said he’d never met a man he didn’t like). I have an entire Pinterest page devoted solely to bottles and things that can be done with them.

The project using bottles I want to share with you today is simple, but special, in my opinion. The beauty of it is that it can be done in many different styles and is decorative and utilitarian, all at the same time.

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So, I found this wire basket, and since it was forest green, I painted it glossy back, thinking that would make it look a bit more farmhouse/industrial. The bottles were from a crazy purchase my husband made a few years ago – a crate of Mexican lemon seltzer. I’ve used the bottles for party punch, vases, and, yes, sometimes dust-catchers, probably because of their simple shape and their perfect size (the lemon drink – not so much).

 

 

Here We Go!

I have written lots of blogs for other people, but this is the first blog I have written for myself. The Muses’ Emporium is going to include ideas, suggestions, crafts, making, designing, and plenty of other fun stuff. In fact, if we’re not having fun, we’re not going to do it!

Please let me know what you think about our projects and ideas, and please send me anything you think is worth sharing. If you have tried any of the schemes we talk about, please feel free to share your words and pictures.

Remember seeing this window idea on Pinterest a few years ago?

Remember how exciting it was to finally find a place to store all those ideas, favorite things, fashion suggestions, and much, much more in one organized place. If you’re anything like me, finding Pinterest was like Christmas, birthday, and winning the Miss America Pageant all wrapped-up in one riveting package.

So the window idea was one of my first tries, since I had a few old windows laying around. I used Goop, colored gems, old broken glass, and then I grouted the whole pane after the glued pieces dried. They turned out just the way I wanted and are currently hanging in my bedroom, except for the third one. It recently found a home in my son’s new house in New Mexico. Still got some windows and still have the urge to make a few more. I’ll post ’em when I finish.