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Creative Casey's Blog

Friday, December 30, 2016

Creative Gift Giving

I had purchased this aroma therapy wrap bracelet at the Charleston market back in April from LowCountryEclectic: and I loved it.  I wore it to work all of the time to help reduce my stress and probably looked pretty funny sniffing the bracelet from time to time when I was desperate for some calmness.

I got to thinking that this is something I could make and mail to my friends for Christmas. Many of them work in stressful environments and I thought they could benefit from this bracelet. I ordered all of the supplies; faux leather, clasps, findings, bottles and lavender on Amazon. Then I had the landscape artist at my place of work keep his eyes out for some good wood to recycle.  He ended up bringing me some awesome Crape Myrtle branches that dry and look wonderful.  My brother-in-law helped me to cut the little pieces of wood (since I like my fingers to much and didn't want any accidents). Then I pulled out the sander and drill to finish the wooden pieces and ready them for actual use.  Then end result was pretty awesome. Everyone seems to enjoying them.  Avg. supply cost was about $50 but it made at least 10 bracelets before I had to buy more faux leather and then I was able to make another 12 without needing anymore supplies.

Next I focused on creating a couple of napkin/mail holders.  I got this idea from my soul sister at Lipstick on a Pig in Newberry, SC: My sister and I both purchased these at her place earlier this year for $10!  I examined it and realized this would make another great gift at a low cost that I could make for someone.  I found an SC license plate at an antique place in June for about 3.50 and earlier this fall I found 2 long pieces of brand new plywood sitting next to the Complex dumpster. I hulled them up to my 4th floor apartment and stored them on my patio. I also asked my friend who lives in NM but is from Michigan and devoted to Michigan to send me her old plates.  I used the saw (myself this time) to cut 2 pieces of plywood down to the correct size to be the base. I stained them both and then used the end of an extra piece of plywood to put the license plate over and gently I worked on pounding the license plate down over the plywood to create the bend. I think using a soft mallet would have also worked.  Once the license plate was bent on drilled matching holes on the plate and plywood and followed up with using 2 screws to hold the plate and plywood together.  Fairly easily and a great look/talking piece.

2 halfs in 2 months

I don't no what possessed me but I signed up for and completed two half marathons in 5 weeks.  First up was the Rock n' Roll Savannah, GA half.  My goal was to complete it without running. I met a couple of fun ladies while waiting for the race to begin and I the spectators throughout the entire race were awesome. I have to say it was probably the most fun I've ever had doing a half.  My time was 2:09. Not to shabby but by far my best.  I didn't walk or stop and I had fun so I count this one as a success!

Next up was the Kiawah Island, SC half. I had been working on increasing my speed during the 3 weeks right after Savannah. Then I got hit with a bad cold about a week before the race and that took its toll on my body and mind.  It was also projected to be very cold during this race so I was less enthusiastic about this one.  Originally I wanted to decrease my overall time but due to everything just mentioned I went back to my goal of just surviving and not walking.  While Kiawah Island is a beautiful place to visit it was quite boring to run for 13.1 miles. Just lots of trees with some spectators hear and there. I didn't even really get to view the ocean. And yes it was freezing and difficult to breathe at the beginning.  I was lucky though and met my goal of not walking and ironically came in at the exact same time as the Savannah half at 2:09. 

This was my 4th half marathon that I completed. Hard to believe. If you would have asked me 3 years ago after my first half marathon I would have told you I wouldn't have run another but this year I ran 3!! And to make things more nutty I came back and signed up for some more long distance races for next year; the Daybreak 10 miler in Columbia, SC and the Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach.

I also received an early Christmas present and was lucky enough to be given a Fitbit Charge 2. So excited to do my first workout/run with it!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Creative Deed Project

I follow Gretchen Millers, 6 Degrees of Creativity Blog. She is a fellow art therapist and is very active in field.  She sent out an email calling for participants to be a part of an Art Filled Postcard Exchange Project.
"Earlier this summer at the national art therapy conference in Baltimore, inspiration for a new creative collaboration was sparked during a 6 Degrees of Creativity meet-up, as well as a focus group I led on social media's impact on creative motivation. These initial dialogues resulted in art therapist Nancy Lautenbach and me to brainstorm ideas for a new creative collaboration. In the spirit of the Creative Deed Project launched by 6 Degrees of Creativity in 2014 and Nancy's viewing of The Big Hope Show at the American Visionary Art Museum while we were in Baltimore, we are excited to announce a postcard art exchange called "Art-filled Hope"." 6 degrees of creativity blog

I immediately jumped on board and said yes.  The goal was to create 3 hope filled inspirational postcards and then send them to the 3 participants that you were emailed which could be anywhere throughout the world.  I got my 3 mailed out in early September and then on FaceBook I saw that my friend/past art therapy supervisee was also partaking in this project. We decided to create postcards for each other and mail them.  She received all 4 of hers but I only received 3. Bummer! Oh well I still loved opening that mailbox and finding something beautiful and inspiring instead of just junk and bills!!  

Below are cards I made. Since I made an extra one I turned that into a card I sent to a friend.

These are the ones I received in the mail:

Check out Makerspace

I recently discovered that the Columbia, SC main downtown Richland Library has a Makerspace in it!  I went to the one in Rochester but it was opened by a couple of men who wanted to create a space for artist in the community to create even if you didn't have the space, tools, or knowledge yourself.  This was a great concept and while I visited it a couple of times much of the space focused on technology and not quite what I was looking for. You also had to become a member to use it and pay a monthly fee and I wasn't sure I would utilize it enough.

Well, through a professor at the college I work at I discovered this new local Makerspace right here in my new city.  I went with an art class of students and was given a tour of the space and learn of upcoming events/workshops being held. What's really neat is that this Makerspace takes place right in your traditional library. It is on the second floor of the library and holds a space for sewing, a woodworking shop, a green room, a post production editing room, a 2-3D art studio, a resident artist space and a movie theater.  Everything is state of the art. They also have multiple really cool meeting rooms there and tons of computers. Plus books galore!!!! If you can't find you'll know where I'll be!!!! If you live in Columbia, SC check it out.

Shrinky Dink- Bringing back the memories

Does anyone remember making art out of shrinky dink when you were a kid?  Well one of my close friends shared some small art she had been making from shrinky dink and it made me want to try it out as a grown adult. I also wanted to experience it with my niece (2) and nephew (9).  

I went on amazon and ordered a 10 sheet pack of the Frosted Ruff N'Ready Creative Pack by Shrinky Dink for about 6 dollars.   While my sister and her husband went on a date night I brought over the Shrinky Dink and the kids and I ended up having a blast creating little creatures, bears and ice cream. I think I had more fun then when I was a kid using it.  The best part was putting them in the oven and all of us hunkered down to peer through the glass and watch as are creations shrunk before are eyes.  We still have a few sheets left. I think I'll bring them over again around Christmas to make some decorations.

Card Making Obession Continued...

Card obsession continued…  After creating all of the cards for my dad I was tired of card making but was on a roll and the dining room table was still a mess with all of the supplies so I decided to keep things going since there are many friends with birthdays in November, my sister’s wedding anniversary and a friend of mine just bought her first house.  Since I’m working on saving some money I thought this would help me out some and I think people like getting something homemade every now and then.

Below is what I came up with.

60th Birthday Card Obession Surprise

My card obsession started late September when I found out there wasn’t any way I could make it home to surprise my dad for his 60th birthday.  I was trying to think of some creative ideas and came up with creating 60 birthday cards for my dad. I pulled out all of my card making supplies and started out enthralled with a funny monster series then moved on to a series of things my dad enjoys like mowing the lawn, hunting, fishing, etc… By card 30 I was pretty much over the cards but I rallied through and by gathering some ideas from online and Pinterest I was able to make it to 60 cards.  It took me about 3-3.5 weeks working on creating the cards over the weekends, on my lunch breaks, and during the evening.  I think they turned out very well overall.  I mainly used watercolors, permanent markers, and paper.  Luckily I found enough envelopes for all of the cards.  

After making the cards I had to address all of the envelopes which took an evening. Then I realized I still had to write in each card!! Oh boy- that took some additional time. In the end I got the project all done ahead of schedule. I’m planning on mailing them all out about 6 days before his Nov. 1st birthday.  I’ll write an update on what he thought receiving all of the cards!!

String Nail Art

Work provided me with another art challenge back in September.  I was challenged to create a reusable sign that would draw attention in our dining hall for when we host Eat and Mingle events. This is a reoccurring event where we invite students over during the lunch time to mingle with us career coaches and ask us any questions they may have. It's a way for us to do some outreach and see our students in a different setting.

The challenge was not only creating the signage but doing it on a "zero" dollar budget again.  While we were moving students in on campus I spent some time getting to know our landscaper and asked him if he had any piece of wood or plywood hanging around not being used and he said he thought he could find a piece.  Monday morning he came strolling in with a nice big piece of wood for me.  I brought in my paints and painted the wood all black.  Then I asked my boss to bring in any nails she had hanging around. She brought in a couple of glass bottles full.  I brought in my embroidery thread that I had a lot of and thus the project began to come to fruition.

I penciled in the letters and then began hammering away.  I got some attention from the students and staff wondering by so it was a great way to start advertising for the event.  It took about 3-4 days to get all of the nails done.  This is because it was still 100-105 outside and humid so I had to do it in shifts since I working.  Then I started with the string.  I weaved in and out along the outside of the nail shapes and then went back through stringing inside the shape. I could have done it thicker but didn't have the time.

Overall the project cost "$0" and gave us a sturdy sign to use for years to come.  It also catches the eyes of students when we are in the dining hall. So a win win for all.

Monday, August 15, 2016

5 Things you should know about running in the heat

1. It's hot!
2. If you live in a location with humidity expect the heat to feel oppressive.
3. Drink a lot of water before and after.
4. Plan to run at a slower pace than you usually might.
5. Hope that you don't die and praise your deity if you survive.

I experienced all of these at a recent 5k race called 811.  It was held at 8:11am on a bright sunny day with the temp already at 87 and the humidity at 66%.  You know it's going to be a battle race when you are standing at the start line in the shade looking up at the hill you have to run at the beginning of the race and you already have back sweat. 

There were hills at the beginning, middle and to my utmost joy a hill at the end. The last mile was a gradual uphill all with no shade. By the end I was disappointed in my poor time and not one inch of my body wasn't covered in sweat. Oh and I felt both dizzy and nauseas at the same time.  I believe everyone was running a little slower than normal that day. My positive thought for that race was that the overall female winner was a 14 y/o taller than me and came in at 21 min.  Therefore I was only 7 min. slower than a 14 y/o. Woohoo! Cause to celebrate.  The rest of my stats were as follows: overall place was 151/536, 17/100 in my age group, and 51/323 overall females.  Note to self- never run a race in SC outside in the summer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Racing Wall Project

I kept noticing on my Facebook feeds that there were companies that made plaques to hold your race bibs and ribbons. I ended up thinking that it might be nice to have one to hang my ribbons on versus their current place (hooked over a dining room chair).  Of course I didn't want to pay $40 for these plaques so I set out to make my own.

I headed to Michael's with a 40% of coupon and found a wooden plaque to use as the foundation.  There was many more choices than I had anticipated and originally I didn't think I'd want one to hang my racing bibs so I opted for a small square.  I also wanted a somewhat rustic look.  I'm not sure the end product is exactly what I wanted but it will work for now.  I painted the plaque grey and then Caribbean blue over it. I used sandpaper to give it a distressed look and then painted a quote on the top.  I used metal hooks that I already had a package of in my tool tote, predrilled holes and then put the hooks in.

Total time invested about 1.5 hours. Total cost invested $4.50.  I'm not sure the end product is exactly what I wanted but it will work for now. If I had to do it over again I would use a bigger board and use stencils to write the quote. This would make things less crowded and half of the board could hold bibs and the other could hold many more medals then what this one can.

How to create an attractive board on 0 budget...

One of my first task at my new job was to spruce up this informational board on our campus that is suppose to display the Institute student accomplishments that I work within.  HOWEVER; I was told that there was no money to do this with...

This is what I ended up doing...I had a lot of scrap paper so I spent a couple of hours drawing and cutting circles. Then I attached them together using a large needle and embroidery thread to create chains.  I knew I wanted to use different texture/designed frames and paint them bright colors as a way to show off our students but I didn't know how I was going to do this with no funds.  I asked around and was able to acquire 3 frames from different programs through the Institute but still needed at least 4 more.  I headed to a local Thrift store and found a couple of totes full of frames in various conditions. While I wanted textured and different shape frames I didn't quite end up with this. There was some available but they cost more then I was willing to personally invest out of my pocket.  I found 4 frames for $3.75 but when I got to the check out counter the cashier gave them all to me for $1.60! What a steal!!  I used left over spray paint and paints that I had around my home to paint the frames. Once I had all of the pieces put together I went over and put the board together.  Turned out pretty fantastic for $1.60!

This is the old board. It had looked like this for at least a year.