Your home for everything artistic

This time of year is often associated with a busy schedule and frantic attempt to get things done before December 25 when we should be taking the time to enjoy the season. Decorating can play a big role in that self-generated chaos.

Whether it be the cost of store bought decorations, which can be very expensive, or the ability to find something that will fit your own unique style, it can sometimes be quite a task.

Well, let me give you a tip for a simple type of decoration that not only won’t break the bank but won’t even endanger that cute little piglet holding your spare change.

Two things that pretty much everybody has laying around their home is either toilet paper or paper towels. And, what do these two things have in common? If you guessed that the come on a cardboard roll, you’re on the right track.

Save your cardboard rolls, or even collect them from friends and family. Cut the large paper towel version in half as needed. Wrap the roll with any old wrapping paper, or even a colored cello wrap. Leave a couple of inches on the ends and either use tape or some string to tie the ends closed. In less than a minute, you’ve got yourself a Do It Yourself ornament that looks like a classic piece of candy.

Have fun and enjoy this special time of year.

The Shore (A Poem)

My latest piece, hope you like it.

The Shore

I’ve been to many places

But this is where I have to be

I’ve encountered many faces

But yours is the only one I need to see

There’s a desperation in this world

That needs healing at its core

So may you be its soothing ocean

As it rolls gently to the shore

 

 

It’s been around for years and has a bit of an old-school reputation but as a person who recently signed up with Reddit, I can tell you that it has a lot of communities to benefit artists. You should check it out.

While I enjoy working with photography, graphic design and literature, there are some artistic ventures that I stay away from other than for the purposes of silly fun. One of those is drawing.

That being the case, I have a real appreciation for anyone who has a true talent in this skill. That’s why when I recently learned about the work of Heather Crawford, I was so impressed that I got a commissioned piece done and will likely request more as gifts and for home decor projects.

Please take a moment to check out her work on both her Facebook Page and official site. You’ll be glad you did.

A little more than a year and a half ago, I relocated to North Carolina. Once summer rolled around, my family and I a met another family. The lady of the house was a young woman by the name of Amber.

It wasn’t until after the sad day in which my dog took the trip to the “Rainbow Bridge” that I found out how talented of an artist she is.

Amber gave us a tile she decorated with in amazing and beautiful design done as a decal on white tile. Since then, I’ve learned that she has a Facebook page she calls “A Southern Thing Decals” and makes wonderful pieces that are both pretty and practical.  She adds her designs to everything from t-shirts to water bottles to large wooden boards and more.

Check out her work below and visit the Facebook page for more info on items and commission requests.

As regular readers of this blog know, it is generally focused on art and creativity. However, those themes can expand far beyond what one might think. In the case of possibly America’s most well-known teacher, and almost certainly the most athletic, creativity comes in the form of finding the right balance between her full-time career in the classroom and her passion for competition. That person would be one Allyssa Beird, one of the biggest names from the television sensation that is American Ninja Warrior.

I recently had the chance to communicate with Ms. Beird and got some wonderful insight into her world.

For those who don’t know, she has always been an athlete. She started out in gymnastics at the age of 3 and competing in that sport until she was 18. During middle school, she began cross country and continued through high school in which she also went into track and field. Later, she would get into marathon running and eventually obstacle events like ANW.

Before every run, she makes sure she warms up properly and has visualized the course a few times. “I find a quiet place, close my eyes, and try to run through the course in real-time, timing myself after a few run-throughs in my head,” Beird stated.

And in case you are wondering, the camaraderie between competitors on the show is real, it’s not just something made for ratings. “The ninjas are like my second family. There’s even a hashtag across social media of #ninjafam,” she stated. She mentioned that she actually gets more emotional when friends reach their goals than when she reaches them. One example was when Michelle Warnky and Jesse “Flex” Labreck made history by completing the Cincinnati City Finals this year.

Some of her closest friends from the show include the aforementioned Warnky and Labreck as well as those she started her journey with, Jenny and Dave Cavanaugh. And of course, we can’t forget James McGrath.

“The ninja community is one of the most warm, welcoming, amazing communities of which I have ever been a part,” Beird mentioned.

Photo Credit: The Ninja Coalition www.ninjacoalition.com

When it comes to her work as a teacher, she mentioned that there are several aspects of the job that relate in some way to the competition.

While there is sometimes a mixed reaction, all generally positive when students and parents first meet “Ms. Beird,” she finds her mild celebrity status a bit humorous. And, after a brief time of answering student questions and parents interested in chatting, things go back to “business as usual” in her classroom.

Even though she doesn’t use many ninja-specific elements in her classroom, Beird knows there are lots of things that apply to ninja competition, school and as a general approach to life overall. Goal-setting is one such idea. She likes to help students set goals and make progress to achieve them. And when they get there, they have a buzzer celebration in which each child gets his or her picture taken while hitting a buzzer similar to the one on ANW. The picture goes up on the wall along with the goal. “It’s really motivating!” Beird stated.

Whether the goal is something to do with math, reading, writing, etc, it’s key to have them. “If students truly believe that they can succeed in doing something through hard work, there is never a reason to give up, even when things become difficult or confusing,” she mentioned.

Photo Credit: The Ninja Coalition www.ninjacoalition.com

And when it comes to her role, she says that teaching and competition have similarities in a few ways. The ability to respond instantly and adapt to unexpected events is critical. And when they happen, having a lot of mental fortitude is essential so that the bumps along the road do not affect her decision making.

And for those of you out there who might be considering making an ANW run of your own, she’s got a little advice for you.

If you live near a ninja gym, make sure to go. If not, find another option to train like a park, playground or structure you can use to make your way across like an obstacle. Build your strength with exercises including the all-important pull-ups for the upper body. But perhaps the single most important thing is to be ready. “There is not a right way or a wrong way to train for ninja, but I think it’s best to truly feel ready when you hit that ‘submit’ button on your application,” she stated.

 

It’s always too to see art and technology from two different eras come together. I found this video posted on a social media site and thought it was too cool not to share with CD readers.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tag Cloud