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.
7 April 2017, after the egg blowing...
This is the season when we do interesting things with eggs. By interesting, I mean things other than eating them.
Some of those things require that we empty the egg of it's potential baby bird contents with as little damage to the shell as possible. This process is usually referred to as egg blowing.
The first time I did this, I had some goose eggs, an ice pick, and no experience or advice on how to minimize the effort while maximizing the results. Thought I was going to pop an aneurysm.
Later I added a drill, made bigger holes, and basically rinsed the egg contents out. Unfortunately, this meant that the contents were no longer fit for consumption.
This year, enter the 60ml catheter syringe available from Amazon. WOW!!! Tap a hole in the narrow end of the egg big enough to get the syringe tip into. (Use a small phillips screwdriver or an ice pick or an awl or... you get the idea.) Draw air into the syringe. Insert the syringe into the hole. Slowly, force the air into the egg. This should force contents of egg to come out in a slimy fashion that is sure to delight young boys. It may take a few minutes and several rounds of syringe application, but you can get the egg contents out in a usable form, as long as you don't want over easy. And, this is faster and less messy than things I've tried in the past.
You can use the syringe to suck out some of the egg contents but blowing seems to work best.
So, now I have 12 empty goose egg shells. Next, decorating!!! I can hardly wait....
2 April 2017, wee hours...
Chill with Bob Ross
Beauty is Everywhere
Your Brush with Nature
Abstract: the art of design
I haven't picked up a paint brush for anything other than spreading latex or acrylic to cover something in years, decades even. But I do remember watching Bob Ross on PBS. Even if you don't paint, it's great to watch what he does and to hear his voice. Now, some of his work is available on NetFlix. I haven't watched, yet.
Also available is a series featuring Heiner Hertling. I'm not familiar with this artist, but I've added it to the "To Do" list as well.
Finally, there's a documentary featuring successful designers and documenting their creative processes. I've watched 2 episodes and have mixed feelings. I'm not crazy about the style of the documentary. But I do value the information content. Just have to be in the right frame of mind to watch this one.
Finally, Brain Games. When I was in grad school one of my favorite courses was a psych class in perception. So, I'm familiar with some of what is demonstrated in this marvelous series. But seeing it again.... For visual artists, the lessons on sight and visual perception are a must see.
So, that's 5 streamable NetFlix videos that might help get the creative juices flowing.
Prepare your mind.
To borrow from a sneaker, "Just do it."
29 March 2017, near midnight...
One of the fun things about digital service delivery is the ability to custom design your own products without the intervention of a design professional and without the cost usually associated with custom products.
Today, I'm referring to printed goods like business cards, brochures, yard signs, and other advertising and marketing items.
From what I can see, VistaPrint has been the leader in this area for over a decade. I've used them for a variety of products and always been happy with the results. Furthermore, there seems always to be a coupon or discount code so I seldom pay full price.
VistaPrint allows you to use their stock designs, upload a complete design, or design on their web site. It's actually fun to do the last one. You can build a printed product with a variety of fonts and nearly any color. You can add images -- theirs or your own. The results can be beautiful, if you take the time, or, well, frankly, hideous if you just slap things together. But that's pretty much true of any artistic endeavor.
Of course, VistaPrint isn't the only such service out there. Another big name is Avery. Yes, the same folks who make all those labels and other printables for home printing have an interesting web site where you can design your labels or whatever and print them at home or have them print and ship to you. I've use the print at home option frequently for small batch stuff. I like it and it seems to be constantly improving. I haven't used their print and ship service, so I can't speak to that.
Assorted print on demand services are FUN!!! Not only can you have paper goods printed, you can print on t-shirts, shoes, hand bags, coffee mugs, .... And, you can set up a "shop" which allows others to purchase goods with your designs. If you do this right, you suddenly have what is called "passive income" which simply means you can earn money while you sleep. Ah! My dream come true. LOL
The first print on demand service I can recall using is CafePress. Unfortunately, I can't recommend them because, the last time I used them, the user interface left way too much to be desired.
Now there's RedBubble, Society6, ArtsAdd, .... I'm sure if you search "print on demand services" you'll find many more. As with CafePress, I think Society6 is more trouble than it's worth. But, they do have a nice selection of printable products. My current favs are RedBubble and ArtsAdd; I have shops in both locations.
So, the next time you need some custom printing, consider exercising your creative muscles and doing it yourself through a print on demand service. Regardless of the outcome, it truly is good for the mind to stretch this way -- CREATE!
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.