Art Friday: Paper Cranes

A photoshopped picture of a crane on a string of cranes. This is from the baby shower. I still have some hanging in my living room.

In the Spring of 2012, I had a miscarriage.   I didn’t know I wanted a child, but after finding out I was pregnant, I was overjoyed. I was so overjoyed, that I blurted out to my best friend, ‘I’m pregnant!’ at the tender stage of 6 weeks.  She gave me an ‘Are you kidding look?’  she was also 6 weeks pregnant.  Four of my high school friends were pregnant at the same time, and we were all 38.  So when I miscarried at 10 weeks, it was sad with an extra side of bitter.

Skip ahead 28 weeks later, I’m throwing a baby shower.  Please note: I WANTED to throw the baby shower. And I decided to make my own decorations.  Paper Cranes.  At the time, I didn’t know anything about paper cranes, except that I knew I could figure it out, they looked cool strung together, and I had a ton of brightly colored magazine paper waiting for a purpose.  So several weeks before the shower, I dove headfirst into a pool of YouTube videos on the Art of Origami’ing Paper Cranes, and I became a Boss.

What I didn’t realize until later, when my friend shed a tear over her love of the cranes and she shared with me the meaning of Origami Cranes, was just how special these cranes are.

From Wikipedia:

“An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. This makes them popular gifts for special friends and family. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories it is believed that the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end. Cranes that are made by that person and given away to another aren’t included: All cranes must be kept by the person wishing at the end.

A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a wedding gift by the father, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. They can also be given to a new baby for long life and good luck. Hanging them in one’s home is thought to be a powerfully lucky and benevolent charm.”

During that time,  I focused on folding bits of paper, creating cranes.  Beautiful cranes.  These make for awesome decorations.  I used old magazines, National Geographic/Southern Living/Catalogs etc., I was saving for a project.  I found a great project and these cranes helped me heal.   Making them and stringing them together became an after work ritual; I’d make ten and string them together; make ten and string them together. I’m not sure if I made 1000, more or less.  Had I known the tradition, I would have made 1000 exactly.

This process, working with my hands to create something beautiful, opened me back up to new possibilities, and one of those cranes granted me a wish.

I spent a lot of time singing THIS SONG, but substituting the word crane for many of the words… try it.  You will see what I mean.

This is my Friday Shout out to the Art of Origami Crane Making.

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One Suitcase, Three People

Da Beach!It’s a big one, this suitcase.  The size of which could fit a small adult human, crouched in the fetal position, with a few clothes packed around him/her for extra padding.  But we aren’t trying to sneak anyone on our vacation, we are just trying to pack 1 suitcase for 3 people. One of which is a baby, and God knows babies need ALOT of stuff.

We are prepping for a wedding in the Caribbean. To bring, or not to bring, that is the question.  Five nights, 4 full days, how much do we really need?

Mable = 3 beach outfits; 1 pair pajamas; dress for rehearsal dinner; dress for wedding; 2 nursing tanks; 1 nursing bra; 7 pair of underwear (why are underwear considered ‘a  pair of’ when they are only one?) 3 casual outfits, of which I can wear for the plane rides.  Socks; tennis shoes; flip-flops; dressy sandals.

Hubs = 2 beach outfits; one pair of pants for rehearsal and wedding; one shirt for rehearsal; one shirt for wedding; jeans; slacks or shorts (he generally doesn’t like shorts); four shirts to mix and match; 5 pair of underwear. Socks; tennis shoes; flip-flops; sandals.

Baby Bird = 4 beach outfits (she has so many cute swimsuits!); 6 onsies; 3 pants; 4 outfits; 1 dress for wedding; swim diapers; regular diapers; diaper cream; wipes; toys; sippy cup; baby food

Toiletries = toothbrushes/toothpaste; soap; make-up; coconut oil (I use it for everything: moisturizer, make-up remover; shaving, etc.) rubber bands for hair; comb; bobby pins; baby wash clothes; razors for me; razors for him; shaving cream for him; first aid kit.

We are also packing some food because we opted out of the All Inclusive package.  It was going to run us an extra $100 per day per person, and although there was a time when we would have easily drank our way through that extra $100 each, Baby on board.  And really , when you think about it, an extra $800 for a couple for all inclusive?  That seems like a lot when I am trying to budget.  We can definitely eat and have a few drinks on a lot less than that!

Food: Nuts; dried Fruit; baby food; baby oatmeal; packs of oatmeal for mom and dad; Electric Hot Water pitcher; Coffee; French Press; 2 bowls for mom and dad; one bowl for Baby Bird; 2 spoons for mom and dad; 1 spoon for Baby Bird.

What am I forgetting?  Will this all fit? Stay tuned!

Weekend Reflection

B&B in WIMeditation:  Do you meditate? I used to meditate like a daily religion.  I listened to podcasts of self-guided meditations and just zoned out for 20-40 minutes each day.  I never feel asleep, I just entered this trance-like state and really relaxed.  I continued this practice throughout my pregnancy and often wonder if that is why the Universe gifted me with such a chilled out baby. Sure, Baby Bird knows how to throw down with a fit, but overall, she is the Rebirth of Slick .

A.B. (After Bird), life turned upside down.  Everyone with kids said, ‘Life will never be the same,’ and I thought I understood what that meant.  After turning 40 then having my baby, I realized my life stayed pretty much the same for the last 20 years, with the usual ups and downs,  and no cliché advice could have prepared me for the changes.  I am still comprehending that indeed, my life will never be the same.  I will never have so much time to waste again.  Since the Bird arrived 6 months ago and adjusting to Life 4.0, I’ve meditated maybe twice a month. And I can feel the difference.  So I’m bringing back the daily meditation. Every. Day. 15-20 minutes.  I’ll let you know in two weeks how I’m progressing on this commitment. Two years ago, I entered deep into this awesome state-of-mind. I was doing deep breathing and chakra meditations; I was meditating with isochronic tones.  I was walking 5 miles 3-4 times a week, and attending a yoga class twice a week.  I was drinking green smoothies I made in my Vitamix and eating an apple a day.  I was ON FIRE!  People wanted to hang around me;  I wanted to hang around me! My intuition was spot-on and I noticed connections. I felt amazing. During this time I made a list for when I inevitably fell out,  to remind myself of the daily accomplishments I could achieve for a calm mind and a positive disposition. Five EveryDay Accomplishments to Make Life Better

  1. Meditate
  2. Break a Sweat
  3. Write 1200 Words/Art Project
  4. Clean for 20 Minutes
  5. Make and Drink a Green Smoothie

B.B. (Before Bird) I was hard on myself for having so much time and not enough motivation to use it wisely. I know now that I must take things slowly.  If I want to accomplish a strong and healthy life, consistent, small steps will get me there.  So I will begin with Everyday Accomplishment #1:  Meditate. I will start where I began several years ago.  This is the first website I used for Guided Meditation.  Some might find it “cheesy” but if you get past your mind’s critique and really allow yourself to listen and follow along, you will find some relaxation.

Scroll down this page and start a journey to your own peace of mind.

Art Friday

The backdrop of this one is from the Red Light district in Amsterdam. The images are from 7000-5000 BCE (the fertility idol and the pieces of pottery).

The backdrop of this one is from the Red Light district in Amsterdam. The images are from 7000-5000 BCE (the fertility idol and the pieces of pottery).

In elementary school, every Friday was Art Class. I not only looked forward to Friday as the last day of the school week,  sleepoversFridayNightVideospizzafreedom, I also looked forward to art class, my favorite class, signaling a time to relax, create, and prepare for the weekend.

Back then, art seemed so simple; so approachable.  A sheet with directions and set of supplies for everyone.  Sometimes you had to share supplies, and that was part of the fun.  Sometimes the assignment was boring, and sometimes it engaged me fully.  I want to re-engage with art and I’m bringing myself back to Art Friday.  We will see what that means going forward. What I hope to do is provide simple ideas that others can use to create art and engage in a visual expression of ideas. Or just inspire people, including myself, to pay more attention to art in the world.

Overall, I would like to create weekly projects to document and share on Art Fridays, or share artists who currently inspire me.  But today I am sharing with you some art I did B.B. (Before Baby), when I could spend an entire afternoon on a Saturday, sometimes an entire weekend, becoming absorbed in an idea or obsessing over a website, as I did for quite some time with The Met’s website.

Several winters ago, I obsessed over timelines and the timeline of human history, specifically art. In the pictures below, the cow, the woman, and the bird are all pieces arranged in Photoshop in an effort to place (very) old art objects in common settings .  Below is the main website I used to find the ancient art /artifacts to collage into my pictures: (honestly, I’ve spent hours totaling days on this site alone)  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/

Step 1:  I identified from this site pieces I wanted to use, then I found backdrops on which to place the pieces.  The pieces inspired the overall ideas.

Step 2:  I photoshopped images together to create a collage.

Back then I wanted to take this project further by recreating the photoshopped images into actual handmade collages- made with bits of paper and such, and also to write accompanying essays on the pieces from the past and how each piece fit in to my collages, but that just didn’t happen, for whatever reason.

Question: Are photoshopped images really art?

Define: Art – Google Says:  “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Bottom Line:  Don’t let yourself be bogged down by questions such as  What is Art.! Express yourself by making things and you will see life differently.

 

These pieces are from 5000-4000 BCE and placed on a backdrop I found on google awhile back and saved because I loved it! There was no 'artist' listed, and it is just a chalk drawing on asphalt- if you look closely, you can see the footprints on the pavement.

Pieces from 5000-4000 BCE and placed on a backdrop of a chalk drawing on asphalt if you look closely, you can see the footprints on the pavement.

The white bowl and stone bird are from around 8000 BCE. The bowl is from Syria, though the bird is from Papua New Guinea- nowhere near Syria, I google searched trees in Syria to place the bird in the bowl (nest). The bowl is made from Alabaster and is very beautiful, which is why I chose to place it in a native backdrop, as opposed to placing the bird in a tree from Papua New Guinea...

The white bowl and stone bird are from around 8000 BCE. The bowl is from Syria, though the bird is from Papua New Guinea.

4000-2500 BCE- The red bowl with feet (I love LOVE this piece!) is Egyptian, the nephrite (a form of jade) disc is from the Jiangsu or Zhejiang Province, China, and the Kneeling Bull is from Southwestern Iran. The water vessel necessitated a water backdrop, and the idea of surfing to collect h2o just makes me laugh...Work and Play.

4000-2500 BCE- The gorgeous red bowl with feet  is Egyptian, the nephrite (a form of jade) disc is from the Jiangsu or Zhejiang Province, China, and the Kneeling Bull is from Southwestern Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Simple, Delicious Dinner

It’s been six months since the Baby Bird arrived, and I am finally feeling like getting back to interests I was exploring B.B. (Before Baby).  The larger idea that encapsulates these interests boils down to living simply and within my means.  Now that she’s here, growing and changing so quickly, I am even more motivated to live simply, as I believe simple living connects us to feelings of happiness and satisfaction, and I also want to set a good example for my daughter.  In trying to keep my life simple, I benefit by creating more space to think; more time for my family; less clutter.

My husband is our primary cook and caregiver, and as a musician, he is able to stay home with her while I work, and then he goes and plays gigs and teaches lessons when I am off of work,  a few to sometimes six nights a week.  (Note: during weeks when he is super busy, I am definitely a little harried at the end of the day!)  On these evenings when Baby Bird and I are left to our own devices, I like to (order out!) prepare a home-cooked meal that is fresh and made from a simple, few ingredients.

Last night I accomplished a simple, delicious dinner with the following recipes:

Garlic Butter Spaghetti   #pinchofyum

and this for a side:

Baked Parmesan Zucchini  #damndelicious

I put my own ‘available ingredients’ spin on both. For the spaghetti, I added mushrooms, and my husband added some chopped chicken he had frozen to his leftovers.  For the Baked Parmesan Zucchini, I omitted the oregano because we were out.

This made a delicious meal and I enjoyed assembling the minimal ingredients.  Click the links above to try for yourself, and let me know what you think! Simple or Not so Simple?