I tend to wake up at the same time every morning without ever setting an alarm. I have always been an early riser, but I think I tend to wake up because I have so much creative energy and often I have an idea I want to work on. Making things keeps me sane, and helps balance out the inevitable chaos from caring for over 50 birds every day. Frequently I think of the movie Groundhog Day, as I feel I am reliving the same day over and over. This is not so much because I am trying to get it right, but because it takes less than 24 hours for all my work to get undone. Without making things, it is easy for me to spend the day feeling I haven’t actually accomplished much, since in little time what I spend hours cleaning is quickly undone. Having young children can be equally exhausting, and I remember hearing the advice when my son was young to every day do something that can’t be undone. I loved that advice then, and I think it holds true for me now. Whether or not you are a parent of young children, there are so many times in life when it may feel that you are simply existing only to get up the next day and do the same mundane tasks.
If you feel that way, try to do something every day that can’t be undone. Essentially I get up every day, and do the same thing, day in and day out, which mostly involves cleaning. And because I like the birds in my rescue to have fun we give them phone books and boxes and other things to chew up. It doesn’t take long for chaos to be the order of the day. However, watching Friday, the Bare-eyed Cockatoo in my care meticulously shred the pages of a phone book and crumple up the shreds into little balls has it’s own joy. I really don’t mind cleaning up the mess because she has so much fun creating it. In that way, it is very similar to being around a toddler.
But messes need to be cleaned up, no matter how much fun was had in the making of it. And with the birds there is a small snapshot of time where I can look around and see tidiness and order. So I try to make something every day, or do something that has some permanence. I don’t post public blogs too often, but I do write almost every day. I also try to spend at least an hour a day in my studio. Right now that mostly involves making ornaments for the holiday boutique on November 26th, which as in the past two years will be at the Katherine Abbott Park Building.
I had the most fun in designing the ornament itself, which involved a tricky bit that allows the feet to be tucked under when the ornament is sitting, but dangling when it is hanging. An hour a day isn’t much, and so I probably won’t have too many. But it is something, and all I can fit in between the rescue, my personal life, and making other things for the boutique which include about ten different homemade jams, salsa, soap, lotion, food mixes, gift baskets, and anything else I can think up in the last couple of weeks before the event. Right now I feel a lot of satisfaction seeing the stacks of completed cases of processed goods. In the last few weeks I have made over 150 jars of jam, and I have also made almost 25 pounds of soap. But all that will be gone in a very short time. Without creating something that has some permanence it is easy for me to feel the days slip by with nothing accomplished.
In September, after school starts, I usually try to give some thought to what I want for the upcoming year. The rescue, of course, will be a part of my life as long as I am physically capable of cleaning and caring for the birds. And this year much of September was also spent helping my son adjust to middle school. The first quarter ended yesterday, and he did very well so I am happy about that, but I also need time for myself. Although I consider being a good parent my most important job in life, in order to be a good parent I need time to focus on my own goals. I always try to have a creative focus, something I work on throughout the year. Rather than wait for January 1st, I plan that focus long before the end of the current year The past few years have been spent teaching myself a variety of homecrafts such as making soap, developing recipes for my line of shelf stable mixes, and learning to process jams and salsa. My goal was to participate in area farmer’s markets and it was a successful venture. Almost too successful, as it left me with little time to do anything else. And so I decided next year I will not attend farmer’s markets, but instead return to my studio and spend my time working on some art. Although I am trained as a painter, I must admit I don’t feel particularly compelled to return to painting. I have long been fascinated by art quilts and the incredible pieces that can be created. Creating any art always has its roots in basic skills and I must learn the basics of quilting first. So that will be the first step; taking some classes to learn the basics. I have already taken one, and really enjoyed it. But future classes will have to wait until after the holiday boutique.