I've had a lot of fun over the last few years creating and maintaining web sites. GreenPoodleCreations (this site), GreenPoodleBoutique (my marketing site), NoTrashJustTreasure (my virtual yard sale site), and BipolarBrooding (my blog about living with bipolar).
I've decided to eliminate 2 of these sites. I'll keep GreenPoodleCreations because that's where it all began and I really enjoy it. I'll keep GreenPoodleBoutique because I haven't yet given up on selling my creations. The other have to go due to expense and my waning interest.
For those who have followed the defunct sites, thank you. For those who are scratching your heads and wondering what I'm talking about, exactly.
I've been a bit under the weather ad swamped with familial obligations. I'm now trying to get back into GPC/GPB. I look forward to your comments.
10June2017, Early afternoon...
Fred is the male Red Eared Slider turtle that lives in the backyard with George and Martha, my American Buff Geese (both female). Fred has been back there about 18 months now. He made it through winter hibernation by burrowing under GnM's hay in the goose house. I have a turtle pond for him but it often required my chasing him down and putting him in the pond in order to feed him. My limited online research indicates that turtles cannot eat unless they are in water making water essential. Fred spends most of his time out of the water, but come dinner time, it's into the pond. Problem was Fred had a bit of difficulty getting into and out of the pond on his own. And, when I'd chase him down, it was clear from his body language that he'd prefer I just left him alone. (Yes, turtles have a body language. The tilt of his head. The hissing noise. The rapid running (Yes, turtles can actually run.) in the opposite direction. And this is just when he sees me!) So, I needed a better solution for the turtle pond.
What I Had on Hand:
Yep. You read that last part right. A skateboard ramp. Total length about 5 feet. Maximum height about 10 inches. It's in three pieces so one ramp goes in the water. One ramp stays outside. The stage that connects them is put on with wing nuts and is the part that traverses the vertical side of the pool.
The problem, of course, is that this floats. So, bricks. Two on each end to provide enough weight to keep the ends down where they're needed.
As for the rest, plants in pots. Pots in pond. Looks cool at this point.
As for the food issue... Apparently, young turtles, requiring more protein, eat lots of bugs while older turtles, like Fred, eat mostly plants. Turns out there are several companies that make turtle chow -- one kind for the little guys and another for the more mature turtles. Both float. So, Fred in water. Toss turtle food on water. Watch Fred come up from under the food, grab it, and disappear. SUCCESS!!!
So, you ask, what has all this long turtle tale to do with creativity?
Remember a while back we talked about the unusual uses test of creativity? No? Might want to check that out...
Well, unusual uses is not only a TEST of creativity, it is also a WAY of creativity.
I find that when I need something I don't think I have, I begin by listing the necessary attributes of that thing (like the turtle ramp). Then I add to that list the additional nice-to-have attributes. Then I start looking around at what I have. Often I find that I have something that comes pretty close or can be modified to fit.
If I'm forced into shopping, I'll do a search on the attributes, not just what I've named the thing I'm looking for. For example, I didn't search for turtle ramp but I did search for ramp. The search turned up a huge assortment of ramps for varying purposes. The skateboard ramp was something I NEVER would have thought of until it came up in the search.
This is what's called the Eureka phenomenon. When you are working on a problem, you have prepared your mind by studying the essential elements of the problem, you have opened yourself to possibilities that you have not yet imagined, and you find it. Eureka!!!
This is creative problem solving. This is creativity at its best.
So many people erroneously equate creative with artistic. You do not have to be an artist to be creative. Nor, I suspect, do you have to be creative to be an artist (based on what I've seen). Some of the most important creative efforts in the history of the world have NOTHING to do with art. Generations of engineers and scientists have given us a legacy of creation that makes our world possible.
You do not have to have "talent" to be creative. The word "talent" implies that you are somehow born with the ability to create. I don't know if that's even possible but I do know that you can LEARN TO BE CREATIVE. As with any skill, it requires learning and practice. Learn (read). Try. Fail. Learn some more. Try again. That's the creative process that eventually leads to success.
We are all able to create. It comes more easily to some than to others. And, I believe that it's easier when you are creating something that you are passionate about. But we can all do it.
2 May 2017, wee hours...
I mentioned in an earlier post that I no longer advertise in the classifieds when I hold a yard sale -- it isn't cost effective. I also mentioned that there were some other things I considered important to a successful yard sale. At last, here they are.
The idea is to be as professional as possible and to make people want to shop, tell their friends, and maybe even come back later in the day.
Having said all this, I will confess that I don't have enough tables for my sale this week. So, some stuff is going to be in boxes and some is going to be on the driveway. I have so much more stuff than I expected...
A good and worthwhile yard sale takes some planning and work. But, depending on how much stuff you've accumulated, a yard sale can be very profitable. (My personal best if $500.) It's a good way to purge and avoid being a candidate for the next episode of Hoarders. It can even be fun.
For the final rule, if you are serious about purging, anything that doesn't sell gets boxed up and taken to the nearest charity thrift store donation site.
30 April 2017, wee hours...
Back in the day, when I thought there was some remote chance that I would get tenure at a good university, I did some publishing on the subject of creativity. I stumbled across these today and decided to share them with you. Never got tenure, largely because I just gave up. But, these were worth doing and worth reading.
Prepare Your Mind For Creativity
Prepare Your Mind For Learning
23 April 2017, afternoon...
The role of the critic seems to have been corrupted, perhaps by the pressures of media sales and ratings figures. Some people rely on critics to tell them what is good and what is not and what to spend their hard-earned money on. Some creative types hate critics both for their pandering and for their seemingly impossible standards.
Both groups have lost sight of the real and vital role the critic plays in the creative process.
When makers and creators produce, they tend to be either too self-critical or not nearly enough so. In other words, they lack objectivity. This is the job of the critic -- to bring objective and constructive criticism to the creative processes. What's good about the work. What's not so good. WHY. The true critic works with the maker, not against.
As for the maker's audience, the critic can inform and educate but should never be seen as the sole arbiter of that which is worthy in the market place. As the cliche goes, "I don't know anything about art but I know what I like." The audience should determine for itself what it likes, weighing the critic's opinions as it sees fit.
The critic who prostitutes himself to the media is no critic at all because he has lost his objectivity. Too often, these critics think they must criticize and never praise; apparently that's what sells.
But for all makers and creators, find yourself one or more good critics with whom you can honestly and frankly discuss your work. A critic who knows about both the technical and aesthetic aspects of your work. A critic familiar with market trends. A critic familiar with what others in your field are doing, or not doing. Your work will benefit from it.
As for the market place, unfortunately, being good at what you do isn't enough. You can produce the most wonderful creations and still not be financially successful. Getting noticed is still difficult. Marketing your work is a whole other conundrum. A good critic can help you with this, too.
21 April 2017, evening...
Sometime in my 20s, I was introduced to the concept of the bicameral mind in which the Left brain is predominately analytical and the Right brain is predominately creative. Furthermore, we can all be classified as either Left or Right brain dominate. AND, whatever we are, Left or Right, it does not change.
Over the years, I completed a variety of diagnostic instruments intended to determine whether I was Left or Right brained and they all came back squarely Left. Not really a surprise. Then, earlier this week, I completed another, just for fun. Not even close, I came up Right. hmmmm Could be a glitch in the instrument. Or, it could be that we change over time.
So, I looked at my life.
Prior to puberty, I was definitely Right brained as I think most children are. Art. Music. Invention. Story Telling. Disdain for rules. But sometime during puberty, I discovered an aptitude for math, science, and problem solving that was above the average for my peers.
I spent my 20s and 30s in a very Left brained activity -- developing software. I solved problems, developed algorithms, translated algorithms to the programming language du jour, and became somewhat OCD. It was during this time that I took all those early Left/Right brain tests.
During my 40s, things began to change. I reached a level of mathematics in college that I was not so good at. (And frankly, I still think most multivariate statistics is slight of hand.) I found some softer sciences that I enjoyed. Although I had never abandoned my creative efforts completely, during this period, I started to re-examine them and find ways to enjoy making things again.
During my 50s, I've been almost exclusively in my creative persona. Teaching required some creative efforts on my part. And, now, with time on my hands, I find I like to dabble in a number of creative outlets. I've yet to find that one to really concentrate on, but I'm working on it.
And, now, I'm Right brained.
There was a time when folks believed that right handed people were Left brained and left handed people were Right brained. This spawned the meme, "Only left handed people are in their right mind."
As a trained scientist, I'm wondering about the diagnostic instruments. They could be faulty and that could by why I've "changed my mind." I want to do a little more snooping around for some validated instruments.
But, until I find something, I've crossed over from the rational side to the right side.
12 April 2017, afternoon...
Here is the Green Poodle dog house, we're putting a lot of effort into prepping for our big sale of the season. The last couple of years we've not been able to do a sale because something came up at nearly the last minute and things fell apart. This year...
This year we're planning the biggest sale we've had in many years. It's our ...
One of the important things about yard sales is advertising -- getting the word out so that people come to see (and buy) your stuff. In past years, I've advertised in the classifieds section of the local paper which also puts the ads online. It's pricey -- last time was over $30.00. And I'm not sure it works anymore. People just don't read the paper like they once did and those who do don't turn out for the sales.
So this time, I elected for a different, 3 pronged strategy.
Earlier I said that one of the most important things is advertising. There are more. And I plan to discuss them in upcoming posts. So, stay tuned!
11 April 2017. mid afternoon
Last time I blew out one dozen eggs. This time, I put those egg shells to use.
The first thing to notice is that goose eggs are considerably larger than chicken eggs. The second thing is that George lays longer eggs than does Martha. (Think about this for a second. When inside the bird, eggs are spherical.)
Anyway, the first thing I did was take the empty shells and dye them with some liquid food coloring and warm water. I used rubber cement as a resist to do "batik" effects.
Then, I selected some Easter grass and chocolate eggs and bunnies, individually wrapped.
I had to enlarge the holes in the eggs a bit. Had I known, I could have done this when blowing out the eggs and saved myself some work.
Then, stuff in a bit of the "grass." Drop in the candy. Stuff in a bit more of the "grass." Glue on a length of ribbon to serve as the handle for the basket.
I have a few more to do.
I might even pour candles into one of two of them, just for something different.
Deborah K Smith, PhD
As a self-proclaimed mixed media artist and creative professional, I am in my 3rd career, having spent 15 years as a software developer and another 15 as a university professor. My first love and my most demanding one has always been creating whether it be a drawing, a bit of crocheted lace, a cloth doll, a piece of software, a PhD dissertation, or a piece of digital art. I simply LOVE to make things and I see make and make-over opportunities everywhere. My only regret is that there is no possible way that I can live long enough to make all of the things I see in my mind.