Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Creativity Boost

If you want to give your creativity a big boost, take a class.

I've been doing one class a semester for the last five years and it's been great. My husband also decided to get in on the fun last semester and signed up for a metalworking class at our local community college.

There are pros and cons and you'll need to feel that the pros outweigh the cons for it to be worth your while.

Cons
• Working full time means you may have to take a night class. That might mean you'll have one or two nights taken up with class and another night or two for homework.
• It will probably cost money. If you go to a university (like I do) you will pay A LOT of money for one class. My husband's class costs a lot less because he's going to a community college instead of a university.
• It can eat up the time you would use for other creative activities. I don't have time to make art other then sketching and occasionally finishing projects I started a long time ago.
• You may have to take tests, write papers, or hand in final projects.

Pros
• You get to learn instead of sitting around on the couch. Depending on what class you take it will take more or less of your time. If you can take a class at a local museum, art co-op, etc it can be a lot less time consuming. A lot of places offer one time classes or ones that only run for 2 or 3 sessions.
• The classes offered by non-university/college places are generally a lot less expensive. If you are thinking about going back to school, however, it might be worth shelling out the big bucks if you can use it as credit for a degree or to fill in gaps in order to get into graduate school. In that case check out funding.

In the state of Colorado they have what is called The College Opportunity Fund. It helps pay undergraduate tuition. It doesn't help me since I am going to a university and I already have a bachelor's degree (therefore classified as a graduate student). It does help my husband. Even though he also has a bachelor's degree, he is going to an institution that doesn't have a bachelor's degree program and so he gets classified as an undergraduate. The state is paying for half of his tuition. I was bummed when he got it and I didn't.

If you're a senior citizen, local schools might let you audit classes for free.

If it's work related, talk to your boss. Some companies will help pay for classes that their employees take if they believe it will make you a better and more productive employee.

• You meet a lot of interesting people and get exposed to different ideas and ways of thinking. It's cross-cultural, cross-generational, and will challenge your perceptions of the world. Talk about a creativity boost!

So check out your local schools and organizations. Find something that sounds interesting and make it happen.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sidewalk Chalk Art

This is too cool for words. Check it out for yourself.
Virtual Street Reality

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Crocheted Slipper Pattern

I've been hunting the internet for a crocheted slippers pattern. A free one. I had a particular style in mind, but couldn't find one. I found a few others and tried a couple without success. Both turned out too small. Maybe my gauge was off.

Anyway, I finally made up my own and am quite pleased. So I'm sharing the pattern. I don't mind people using, since I didn't exactly invent the style. However, please respect my copyright and only use this pattern for personal use.

I wear a women's size 9 (U.S.) and my husband wear's a men's size 10 1/2 (U.S.). The pattern is written in my size and his size is in parentheses. I used a size N (9 mm) hook and the yarn I used is Red Heart's Super Saver. I tend to have a firm gauge, not tight or loopy.

1. ch 2.
2. 6 (7) sc in second ch from hook, slst to join row, ch 1.
3. 2 sc in every sc around, slst to join row, ch 1. You should have 12 (14) sc.
4. 1 sc in the first st, 2 sc in next st. (1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st) around. slst to join row, ch 1. You should have 18 (21) sc.
5. sc in each stitch around, slst to join row, ch 1. Continue 12 (14) more rows.
6. sc around, but don't join. ch 1 and turn.
7. Continue for 13 (15) more rows.
8. sc 9 (10) in stitches. Line up other half and slip stitch back to top edge to form heel. ch 1.
9. sc around top edge, one sc per row adding one sc in space where you began to turn. slst to join row, ch 1. You should have 27 (33) sc.
10. sc around top edge but decrease at point where you began to turn by yoing through sc 14, 15, and 16 (16, 17, and 18). When you reach the end of the row, tie off.

Color and Human Response

I thought this was interesting. It's from the book Color and Human Response by Faber Birren. This is not a word for word quote, but a paraphrase from my notes.

In interiors where muscular work may be done and where hazards exist, a bright environment (yellow, coral, orange) is recommended. Accompanied by plenty of light, the human eye will look at and adjust to its surroundings. If the interior is meant for more sedentary tasks, for severe use of the eye or mind, it will be best to reduce the brightness of the environment as a source of distraction. With walls, floors, equipment in medium tones (green, blue-green, beige, terracotta) and with extra light over tasks, people will be better able to concentrate.

Light blue, yellow-green and orange. IQ goes up twelve points. These colors also stimulate alertness and creativity.
White, black, brown. IQ goes down and they also make you duller.
Orange. Improves social behavior, cheers the spirit, lessens traits of hostility and irritability.
Red and other warm colors. They stimulate and increase blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. There is greater skin response adn brain activity. Attention is directed outward toward the environment.
Green and blue. These tend to have a relaxing effect both physiologically and psychologically. The rate of body functions may be lowered, and there may be a greater ability to concentrate inwardly, with less distraction from the environment.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Taos Trip 2006

We did our annual trip to Taos over the New Year weekend and stayed at our usual hotel, the Adobe Wall Motel. It’s rather rustic, but clean and comfy.

We started Saturday at Michael’s Kitchen. As always there was a line and the food was excellent. While we have a lot of favorite places to visit in Taos there’s never enough time to do everything in one weekend.

This time we paid another visit to the Millicent Rogers Museum. Her Taos home was turned into a museum to display her collection and some recent additions include Rio Grande blankets from the collection of her late son Paul.

I always like to look around in the Nambe shop (someday I’ll buy something) and I always stop in the La Lana Wools shop. This time I bought some silver Cashmere to try spinning. Another favorite shop of mine is Common Threads, an international fabric store. My husband likes to stop in the Six Directions Gallery and look at the turquoise and silver jewelry. This time he looked at belts and almost bought one.

Saturday evening we had dinner at Doc Martin’s, another tradition of ours. It was way beyond our usual budget this time and I don’t think we’ll eat there on a special holiday again. However, no complaints about the food! It was superb as usual.

Sunday morning, January 1st, we went out to Taos Pueblo to watch some of the dancing for the Turtle Festival. When we got there, they had just finished with a dance, so we waited. The sky was overcast and the wind was sharp so it was quite cold. We were bundled up tight.
When we saw the dancers coming out all I could think of was how cold they must be. They walked single file to the first place to dance and they were all bare chested and bare legged. They lined up shoulder to shoulder and began to dance with their skin turning pink from the cold. As they danced an older man walked back and forth in front of them giving the signals for transitions in the dance. They repeated the dance three times in three different parts of the pueblo’s central plaza before retreating back where they came from.

When they were gone we went into the church to look, warm up, pray, and think, then back into town to find something hot to drink and for me to write down what we had just seen. I also did this sketch from memory since sketching and photographing the dance are not allowed.


We went back out to the pueblo again and saw a variation of the same dance with costumes that were more ornate but certainly not warmer. Then we visited a few of the pueblo galleries that were open by then.

On Monday, we briefly visited the San Francisco de Assis church in Rancho de Taos made famous by artist Georgia O’Keeffe. I sketched the back view which is so well known and then we were on our way home.



We saw a lot of art in Taos that we would like to have brought home, but didn’t either because it was beyond our budget or because we simply restrained ourselves. We have a lot of art already and not enough room for it all.