Supreme art

The Artdog Quote of the Week  

As teachers and students head back to school in the USA and elsewhere, it’s important to establish priorities.

IMAGE: Many thanks to InformED’s article, “30 Things You Can Do To Promote Creativity,” by Miriam Clifford, for sharing this image.

Double standards and our kids

The Artdog Quotes of the Week 

Here’s a double dose of quotable thoughts, this time on double standards, and that touchy subject of how to rear our children. When toy manufacturers still market to “the pink aisle” and “the blue aisle,” what’s a parent to do?

What creative choices must we make, to empower our children to grow up in ways that help them blossom into their full potential–whatever that may encompass?

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Gender Equality blog, for the Gloria Steinem quote, and to AZ Quotes for the quote from Madonna Ciccone.

Which is stronger, fear or desire?

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

That’s the rub, isn’t it?

IMAGE: I found this quote on I Like to Quote, but I made my own graphic for it in Adobe Illustrator, using a photo I took in December 2016 as my background. Use it if you like, but please include an attribution and a link back! Thanks.

On picking up the pieces and moving forward

What is this week? Specifically, what’s the middle of this week? 

It’s the moment when the balance shifts, from Solstice-and- Christmas-stuff toward New-Year thinking.

It’s the time of the week when, if we’re back at work from a break, we’re picking up the projects we’d temporarily laid aside, and gearing back up for business-as-usual. Many of us are dealing with a pile of deferred work that’s been stacking up while we were gone, just waiting for our return to trigger the avalanche.

If we’re still on holiday break, we’re cleaning up the shreds of wrapping paper and ribbon, and deciding if it’s time to start taking down the decorations yet. If we had a live Christmas tree, it’s probably turning into a dry, brittle fire hazard. We’re living on leftovers (and more than a little bored with them by now). If the Christmas jigsaw hasn’t been fully pieced together yet it might be time to give up and put it back in its box.

The Unfinished Puzzle, by Daniel McLean

Some of us are traveling home. Some of us are still trying to figure out where to put stuff. Some of us are relieved that we survived for another year, while others are so depressed we’re not sure we did survive.

But the one thing about this point in the week is that while we’re making our Gotta-Go Soup* or Googling eco-friendly things to do with our old Christmas tree, we’re also shifting gears and moving toward the dawn of a New Year. What will 2017 bring? 

Well, some things are a given. A new Presidential administration, for example. That there will be more winter in the Northern Hemisphere before we get started on spring. That time passes and change happens.

Other stuff is less predictable, but when things happen they must be dealt with (even “good” stress is still stress). Perhaps a loss or gain in your family (or your waistline), a change in jobs, locations, or marital status. A new opportunity. A health issue.

Stuff happens. What we do about the stuff that happens is the test.

I hope you’ll move into the New Year from a place of wholeness and peace, but not all of us are so blessed. Whatever place you’re in, today, there are things you can do, steps you can take, plans you can make (although always with at least a Plan B, because life is like that).

I hope your plans will include two things:

(1) Being good to yourself

No one is as big a screw-up as they sometimes think they are, and everyone deserves a break sometimes. I don’t mean just pampering yourself, as with a “spa day,” though if that’s really what you need I hope you can find a way to manage it. I mean choosing good paths for yourself that lead to a better-for-you way of life, whether that’s an improvement in diet, a set of priorities that allow more exercise, or the setting of healthier personal boundaries.

(2) Finding or nurturing a passion

Without meaningful purpose in your life nothing is worth the effort. The needs of the world are many, and the challenges are great. We cannot solve all problems, but we can work with like-minded others to solve the particular problems that call to our hearts. We’ve recently had Boxing Day as a reason to consider what causes we value and believe in; now, more than ever, we must find ways to support and protect the things, the people, and the foundational principles we cherish the most.

So take this middle-of-the-week, picking-up-the-pieces day, and consider well how you will meet the New Year. We can go forward in despair, repeating old patterns hopelessly, or we can go forward with determination to hold the line on certain things and push forward for improvement on others.

Each of us gets to choose.

***

*Gotta-Go Soup:

If it’s Got To Go, it’s a candidate for Gotta-Go Soup (a variation on Leftovers Supreme). This is my grandmother’s recipe:

(1) FLAVOR-MATCHING: Assemble your leftovers. Evaluate what flavors would go together best, and separate them out (put the others in the fridge or the compost/garbage, as appropriate). Figure out what kind of stock or base would best compliment the flavors you’ve assembled.

(2) COOKING: Get out a big pot. Put it on the back burner filled with said stock or soup base. Reduce all your other selections to small, bite-size pieces, and put them in the pot, too. Heat it all up and simmer for at least an hour (smell up the house real good). Season to taste.

(3) EATING: Serve with warm, crusty French bread or other favored accompaniment. You might be surprised how good it tastes!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Life on the Buy Side for the photo of the daunting office paperwork backup, to the blog Meanders for the wrapping-paper wreckage photo, and to Daniel McLean and his Flickr Photostream for the image The Unfinished Puzzle (permission granted via a Creative Commons License). 

I appreciate the availability of the snowy highway photo (in Eden Prairie, MN–doesn’t look quite so Edenic in this photo, though) from Minnesota Public Radio’s Updraft blog. Many thanks also to the Buy a House Club for the image of the discarded Christmas Tree (from an article on better things to do with them), and to Inspiring Buzz for the quotation image about changes in one’s life.

I greatly appreciate the quotation image about being tender with oneself from Helen Hirst’s “Self Nurturing” Pinterest board, and to The Huffington Post for the Fabienne Fredrickson quote on passions as our calling. Finally, many thanks to Video Blocks for the photo of the soup pot.

Does your gift-wrap do impressions?

Artdog Images of Interest

While researching creative gift-wrapping strategies for this month’s series, I discovered an interesting sub-genre of creative wrapping approaches: gifts that look like something else.

Mary Dacuma’s creative gift-wrap evokes a chimney with stockings–your very own Santa-stop, whether your home has a fireplace or not.
Pair your chimney-and-stockings with a Santa suit, and everyone can say “Ho-ho-ho!” (also by Mary Dacuma)
No one will mind if this turns out to be a “stuffed shirt”–in fact, I suspect they’ll be pleased.
Your “Christmas shirt” can also sport suspenders . . . and candy “buttons,” too.
And speaking of candy, what sweeter way to disguise rolls of quarters (a great stocking-stuffer idea!) than this candy-roll look, attributed to Martha Stewart?

Although these clever disguises won’t fool anyone, I bet they’ll amuse some of their recipients–and the givers will get extra “points” for creative approaches. Challenge yourself: what kind of creative “impressions” can your gift-wrap do?

Blogger’s note: Life intervened lat week, and although I had planned this topic to be last Saturday’s post, I never got it posted. So sorry! But it’s still not Christmas yet, so I figured this would still be timely. I hope you agree!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Mary Dacuma and E-How, for the chimney-with-stockings and Santa-suit gift wrap ideas. For instructions on how to re-create these looks, check the E-How page. The “stuffed” Christmas shirt and the shirt-with-suspenders gift wrap ideas are both from Lawrie Gullion’s “Christmas” Pinterest page. The quarter rolls disguised as candy are attributed to Martha Stewart, though I couldn’t find a direct link to this photo on her page of gift-wrapping wonders; I found this photo on the Room-Mom 101 Pinterest page.

The most dangerous thing . . .

Artdog Quote of the Week

IMAGE: Many thanks to Stop Bullying (government website); I found this image via PBS.

Which is stronger, fear or desire?

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

That’s the rub, isn’t it?

IMAGE: I found this quote on I Like to Quote, but I made my own graphic for it in Adobe Illustrator, using a photo I took in December 2016 as my background. Use it if you like, but please include an attribution and a link back! Thanks.