Creativity is Alive and Well at the Library

As part of our “Lifelong Learning” series at the library, we have been running a six-week course entitled, “Find Your Creative Self”. It rose out of the interest people have in creativity, and the lack of inspiration we sometimes feel when it comes to making things. After the flood of interest, we thought maybe you’d like to know how things are going.

Most of the course is based around the ideas from two creativity-inspiring books. The first is Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY, and the second is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC.

waymagicBoth books cover many of the same topics, from identifying the fears that hold us back, to learning to respect and love the act of creating, to championing ourselves when we don’t often feel like we can. But each book takes a different approach–one quite rigid with meaningful exercises and soul-searching, and one more inspiration-based–and we decided to combine the ideas to appeal to a variety of people.

Each week, we do a creativity activity (or a “creactivity”, as I like to call it)–anything from drawing crazy pictures based on a single shape, to making art out of string cheese. Let me tell you, this past week was one of our best activities–where we performed a rousing rendition of “Swinging on a Star” using only found instruments, such as sponges, pool noodles, safety pins and thumbtacks. Bruce Springsteen—look out!

cheeseBut more importantly, the participants have really been making some progress in their creative lives. We’re discovering what’s been holding us back (lack of time!), ways in which we can open up our creative minds (try cleaning out a closet and getting rid of things you never use), and a greater sense of allowing ourselves to be creative. It’s been a struggle, and there have been some near-tears, but we’ve also done a lot of laughing and getting to know new friends and supporters.

Will everyone come out of this with a brand new hobby or career? Maybe not. But I know that most people are enjoying doing new things and trying the challenges they’re faced with each week as a means of exploring their abilities. After the end of the six weeks, we’ll do a little assessment, and see what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown, and hopefully, there will be progress made in the future as they go off and try to approach creativity in new ways. I think, if anything, we’ve all learned to be easier on ourselves. Being creative is supposed to be fun, not guilt-inducing, or self-esteem-crumbling.

Happy creating, everyone!

 

Decoration Inspiration!

For your Frivolous Friday post this week, I want to talk about decorating…specifically fireplace mantels. Since packing away all of my Christmas decorations for another year, my living room looks sadly bare. How is it that piling on greenery, sparkly lights, and tiny ornaments can make a room look so finished? And yet, even thinking of doing that throughout the year would seem overdone. It’s my fireplace mantel that seems to make me stop and stare as I try to figure out new and interesting ways to spruce up the space after the holidays.

20141111_111007As you can see….not the most exciting option. But I’m working on it.

So, when I ran across this inspiring post about ways to decorate your mantel, it got me thinking. Now, I’m opening closets, looking on shelves, and searching out those fun items we probably have lying around doing nothing, in order to make our living room centerpiece more of a conversation. Checks and Spots has great ideas for year-round amazing. Now, we won’t have to wait another 11 months to have fun.

What do you have on your fireplace mantel?

Starbucks + Christmas – Christmas = ???

10890728_1234187126596633_2133648073_nBy now, you’ve probably all heard the crazy argument going around the internet about Starbucks and their “plain” holiday cups this year. If you haven’t, you’re lucky. But just to summarize, when Starbucks rolled out their annual red cups November 1st, a former pastor in the US took offense to the fact that they were so plain, and free of all Christmas references, which he took to mean that Starbucks hates Christians, of course.

Now, as far as anyone can tell, holiday references in Starbucks’ previous red cups were only things like ornaments, or reindeer….and not really any religious references. This year, they kept the cups clean—only a graduated ombre to the deep red—to “usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories”, claims Starbucks President Jeffrey Fields. So why the pastor chose to take this fight to such an extreme level (and really, it has nothing much to do with being Christian and celebrating Christmas at all), leaves everyone stumped. He started up a campaign online to get people to say their name was Merry Christmas, so that the Starbucks employees would have to write that on the cups, and therefore, keep the Christmas at Starbucks, as well as fight the fight using the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks.

What?

Red cups, blue cups, reindeer or no deer….what does it matter? Coffee and books go together,and we’re fans of Starbucks here at the library. Does anyone really passionately care what the design is on the cup? Unless you’re the one who designed it, I don’t think so.

I’m pretty sure this former pastor, Joshua Feuerstein, who now calls himself a “social media personality”, just needs to chill out, and maybe take up adult colouring as a form of relaxation.

Just keep the red pencils away from him.

(Speaking of adult colouring, join us at the library on Wednesday, November 25th at 6:30pm for some fun zen colouring. There may even be Christmas things to colour!)

What is YOUR food?

food5.jpgWe all love food, but we all have our own favourites. Sure, there are many great cookbooks out there like the ones shown above, but what are the recipes you love the most? The ones you return to? The ones your Grandmother used to make? Instead of keeping millions of food-stained pieces of paper, why not put together a “Family Cookbook”, filled with the recipes that mean something to you and your loved ones, complete with stories and photos to accompany it!

What is a family cookbook?

A family cookbook is an ambitious undertaking. You’ll need at least a dozen recipes, and photos of the food once it is made. But if you’re looking for something unique and wonderful to give to special people in your life this holiday season, now is the time to start planning.

Why would anyone want to make a family cookbook?

It’s not simply about organizing your recipes…it’s a way to pass on favourites from generation to generation. And everyone has at least one wonderful cook in the family, so bring them in on it. They’ll be a big help!

How do you even begin?

First, gather up some recipes that you love. Ask family members for some of theirs, and talk to other family members about recipes they loved as children, and try to find similar recipes online.

Next, pick 10 – 12 favourites—–any more might be too ambitious for this project. Now, make sure the ingredients and directions are clear. Type out each recipe as its own word document and save.  You’ll need these later to upload to a book design program.

This is the hardest part. Ask someone who takes great photos to help. Check Instagram and Facebook for great food photos taken by your friends or family members at restaurants (everyone loves to take photos of their food, right?). You’ll need some good lighting, and a simple counter top. Now go and cook. Try to take the nicest photos of each dish that you can….make sure the plates are free of splatters, and that you take it from an angle that doesn’t look unappealing, or too shadowy.

Now all you have to do is upload everything to an online photo book design site, like Blurb, Shutterfly, or even your local Staples or Walmart. There are a variety of options and pricing you can choose from—just upload your photos and the word document recipes, and you can arrange everything the way you like it, including a cover!

This would be a great option for an “easy” gift for family. Print multiple copies and they’ll ship everything to you when it’s finished.

Give it a try…make your own Family Cookbook!

Little Free Library

I’ve posted before about the wonderful Little Free Library idea. These are wonderful handmade creations that people put up in their communities to encourage people to read books. The idea is to take a book, or leave a book in one of these great nooks…no need for a library card or worries about late fees.

The idea has really taken off, and we now have a super book available at the library called THE LITTLE FREE LIBRARY BOOK : TAKE A BOOK, RETURN A BOOK by Margret Aldrich. It has wonderful photos, tells the history of the idea, and gives you some ideas to create your own little free library.

littleIf you’re looking for something fun to do this summer and have a great community that might get a lot of use out of something like this, why not drop in a pick up the book to see what it’s all about. Libraries of any type are a wonderful idea!

It’s Lego Time!

legodropinCalling all Lego enthusiasts!  Friday afternoons at the library are going to be fun this summer!  We’re having Friday afternoon Lego Drop-In Days from 2-4pm, starting Friday, July 10th.

No registration is required for this fun program….just drop-in anytime from 2-4pm.  Building something creative, or try one of our challenges. Just come by for lots of fun.

See you on Friday!

Uncomfortable

For our Frivolous Friday post, I bring you designer Katerina Kamprani’s “Uncomfortable Project”. It’s all about re-designing common household products into frustratingly unusable objects. One look at them, and you’ll see why….but I bet you’ll also be howling with laughter.

bad design ideasHow about a set of stairs that lead just far enough away from a door to be awkward? Or a pot with two handles….on the same side? Or a pair of rainboots with open toes? Right. Terrible designs, but brilliantly funny. Visit her website to see all of her current project ideas, or join her Facebook page for regular updates and design discussion.

These ideas will make you start looking at regular objects in a brand new way, I guarantee. Any ideas of your own? How about a pair of glasses that aren’t joined at the bridge of the nose? Or a round bar of soap? The possibilities are endless, really.