Creativity: Op Shopping/Thrifting

I can’t say for certain that creativity and  love of op shops absolutely go together ( I haven’t done the research), but there does seem to be a strong correlation. Op shops tend to contain the sort of chaotic mix of anything and everything that spurs creation through the happy juxtaposition of unlikely partners. And they are full of the promise of glorious possibilities – you just never know what you will find! 61 leaves

We visited a couple of oppies on Monday, with no particular object in mind – apart from my ongoing quest for scraps of green (or other leaf colour) yarns for a yarnbomb I am working on. I found a few balls in the first shop we went to.

After carefully examining all their fabric lengths (no joy) and a trawl through books, crockery, notions, I spotted this old plastic case for storing spools and bobbins of thread – funky, useful and a bargain at $2! I bought it for Zoe’s sewing room, and now harbour a faint hope of finding myself one someday.

Zoe found the odd little cat teapot, and I found the cute demi-tasse coffee cup for Juniper – perfect for a tiny cup of tea (rooibos) or a frothy soy milk in the afternoon.

We also visited a large Salvos store, by which time Juni was sound asleep. The books were all $1 – I collected three in about four minutes, and decided I should step away form the book department, and not look back…”Where cats Meditate”, a book of cat pictures and meditative quotes, Garrison Keillor‘s wonderful “Lake Wobegon Days” to re-read, and a 1980 book on modern family life (always fascinating). Zoe found  an Agatha Christie for Matt. I went through ALL the old dressmaking patterns, but came up with nothing very inspiring. I’ll admit to sometimes buying old (ie 70’s and 80’s) patterns for the hilarious hair and shoulderpads…On the front counter, we found a basket of packaged old buttons and chose a few we thought we could use – one pack had small black beads, ideal for eyes for the amigurumi bees Zoe is planning to make. That’s not something we would have set out looking for! You just never know what you’ll find – very rarely it will be nothing, but that just makes you more keen for the next visit!

Three creative op shopping quotes from the cat book_

“He who hunts for flowers will find flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds.” – Henry Ward Beecher

(Good news for thrifters….)

“One is not idle because one is absorbed. there is both visible and invisible labour. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to heaven are an act of creation.” – Victor Hugo

(My kind of guy…)

“Put all your eggs in the one basket and watch that basket” – Mark Twain

(Substitute “finds” for “eggs”…)cabinet

I bought this cabinet in an op shop – it was very tired, but I thought it could become both useful and beautiful, and it did, with a good clean and some fresh paint. Part of being creative comes down to seeing potential where others might not, plus a good dollop of old fashioned elbow-grease. Happy hunting!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Reward

All kinds of challenges in life bring rewards, and this week, the photography challenge is to share photos depicting a reward of some kind…There’s an old saying that “Virtue is it’s own reward”, which I’m taking to mean that doing something good is a reward in itself. My daughter and I went out today with Juniper, who is almost eighteen months old now.a cuppa

First stop (after buying some veggies for tea) was the local cafe, where Juni enjoyed her soy babychino, while we took ours with caffeine.adventure

Next, a run on a sports field, where her Mum found a few flowers, each of which was delivered to Granny by Juni.adventure 2

After a good rewarding run around, we walked home along one of Canberra’s many pedestrian friendly paths, which lead through this equally rewardingly echo-y underpass.a cat

Finally, Juni had the joy of trying to  pat to one of her neighbourhood cats – an exotic creature which both avoids and courts her. She didn’t even get close…

Friday Poem: Regret – With Assonance

Another week of daily poetry prompts, and again I’ve written something that doesn’t quite fit the assignment…oh well! For this one, I picked up on the fingers part (and mention of guitar) and wrote a sort of prose poem, with repeated vowel sounds. It was quite a challenge getting the right rhythm while keeping to the story – no wonder I write free verse most of the time!as24

His hands are large, unusually long, an advantage in playing guitar. My own hands are smaller, so to play as he does can’t be done, I regret, though I try. His hands are large, unusually long, and my fingers are too short to play.

a rock tray

Also, I’m too lazy, I guess…

Creativity: Escape XIV

More pages from my altered book, “Escape”. This double page spread has a theme – Bliss! Being creative brings bliss, as does the cello playing of the late Jacqueline du Pré.

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I’m not sure where I came across this quote from sculptor and artist Henry Moore, but it’s an interesting idea. I’d quite like to go back to Washington State and live for a while, which is something I could possibly do…Not that is actually a task as such.
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The original text is obliterated with a mix of acrylic paints, with coloured pencil framing the quote. Paper pieces are pasted in, and I’ve used commercial stamps, plus the hand carved key stamp.
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Weekly Photography Challenge: The Rule of Thirds

As a rule, minimalism isn’t my thing…so this weeks Photography Challenge is a real challenge! However, the instructions for this Rule of Thirds post inspired me to investigate the “creative” settings on my camera at last, so that’s a good thing!

Oh! That’s what that does! Expect more bokeh in my work from now on…

I’ve included an image I took in Olympia WA  in 2011 for it’s simplicity. The others are brand new – regrowth from a eucalypt, my pretty bead curtain and one of my ‘found object’ pendants.

Friday Poems, and an Unsent Letter

I signed up for Writing 201: Poetry, thinking it would be a good stimulus for writing poetry, but so far I am well behind on the (absolutely optional) assignments. It’s been a busy week and poetry has been pushed to the backburner.

However, I had an hour or so in a cafe yesterday morning and half an hour today, just me, my notebook and pen and a soy cappuccino…I couldn’t remember all the details of the prompts, but I did manage to produce a limerick and an acrostic – my subject being dictated by the date today, being Kurt Cobain’s birthday…

cp posterised


There was a young man out of Aberdeen
Who made a big splash in the Grunge Scene;
He played his guitar
And camped in his car,
But was known round the world for his scream.

A little bit of alliteration, even!Rock Band Nirvana --- Image by © Mark Seliger/CORBIS OUTLINE

Kounter Dominator Culture
Under all circumstances
Relationship is everything
Try to be kind.

Some internal rhyme, would have been more if I took the time…nirvana in suits newHey, Kurt,

Not 48 today.Not fretting about a paunch, or greying in the beard. No dad jokes, or dad dancing, none of that for you. What if you hadn’t died like that? What if you were still in the world, passe not cool. What if something different had happened in the long chain of events that was your life? What if you turned a different corner, turned a corner in your psyche and healed those old wounds? What if?

Ewan McGregor is too old now to play you in the movie of your life. But what if there was a what if movie? Ewan could play you, the retired rock-god, selling CDs (or would it be vinyl, you hipster) out of the boot of your car, criss-crossing the country, enjoying the scenery, camping in the car when business was poor. And going back to the farm and the home studio whenever you felt like it. Probably you’d have published a book or two since quitting the day job. Plenty of people embark on a career they think they want, only to find out it doesn’t suit them after all – so they quit, retrain, do something else. Why not you? I suppose you would have met up with Dave and Krist (and Pat) sometime in the last five years, and started jamming for old times sake, which would have been fun. Then you would have thought about recording, and maybe some shows. A show here and there might have led to a world tour – would you have been up for that? It happened for the Pixies and they seem to be coping – although Kim left after a while to go back to the Breeders…

What else can I say? Is a Nirvana reunion the apotheosis of the story? For my What If movie, starring Ewan McGregor as Kurt Cobain as a middle aged ex-rock star…I suppose it would be. And it would be heaps better than Rock of Ages – just saying…

Footnote: I mention Ewan McGregor because he is a fine actor and, not long after Kurt died, was mistaken (by a couple of very drunk people) for Kurt’s ghost. Why Kurt’s ghost would be wandering around London was not explained.

Creativity: Escape XIII

More pages from my altered book “Escape”…This one features my dream home, a “cabin-in-the-woods”, with me flying over the roof – because when I’m dreaming, I like to fly. The page was painted over with house paints, and then crayon and coloured pencil was added. A few lines of black marking pen help define the drawing. Working outside the lines is what artists do, don’t you think?


Escape 34


Instead of paint, this page is covered with a sheet of tissue from an old dressmaking pattern – it has the layout for cutting your fabric printed on it. Over that, a stamp of fancy scissors (appropriate!), and a wild rose, which I’ve coloured in with pencil. The text is an admonition to self – some relationships are not helpful…for creativity, or anything else.
Escape 35


The paint colour on this page is called “Kirkwood”, which is the surname of the Meatpuppet brothers, and made the colour irrisistable to me. My youngest son’s room once featured a colour called “Pixie”, but I’ve never gone with a dark purple labeled “Nirvana”. I have to like the colour as well as the name!

The bit of printed text is from a brochure advertising an art exhibition, and a good reminder – looking really isn’t the same as seeing. Like many women, I struggle still with “duty” – what I “should” do, and “patience”, which can mean just putting up with things which are unhelpful to me – and they get in the way of creativity. So I’m typing this post when I “should” be making dinner….
Escape 36