Creative Check-In, Or Lack of Creativity Check-In

So, the title sort of says it all. However, I think it’s beneficial to record failures as well as successes. Therefore, I post.

My life has been filled with the endless details of running a home with three children and a business, and my less-than-abundant free time has been taken up with exercise for the most part. Still, I want to proceed through the list and remind myself what I am missing. 😛

Knitting: This one is still on hold, but I’m facing a long car ride in the next week or so, and am starting to feel up to tackling the pattern I discussed here.

Piano: I’ve been helping my youngest practice piano and listening to my two older ones play pieces beyond my ability. Somehow, that gives me hope because I remember when the oldest two were starting. Still, I don’t forsee any time for practice right now.

Cooking: This one is pretty much a given, with three growing boys in the house. Recently, I found several promising recipes in the March 2012 issue of Clean Eating magazine, including a wonderful Lemon Chicken Stew and a Broccoli & White Bean Mac & Cheese.

Painting: Absolutely no progress on this front whatsoever.

Writing: I have some progress to note here. I’ve almost caught up on my book reviews. I have three left, and then I will probably be forced to cut back significantly if I ever expect to be creative in other ways. My blogs are perking a bit, however. And I’ve returned to my writing groups. I even managed a decent bit of flash fiction in one writer’s group session.

Outdoors & Exercise: 
My elliptical arrived in mid-January, and I’ve been getting in half-hour workouts on more days than not. I’ve also activated a month-long pass to a yoga and pilates studio, which I have been enjoying. My goal is to work up to 45 minutes on the elliptical and combine that with a second, short routine of yoga, pilates, weight training or balance ball at least five days a week.

I genuinely hope to have a more impressive report next time.

Creative Check-In

So, it’s been a while. Seems like it’s time to try this again.

Last semester was horrid, and I finally gave up all hope of a creative life beyond book reviews and blogging. Due to some scheduling shifts, this semester holds renewed promise, however.

Knitting: I’ve put this on hold for the time being. It’s just too hard to get myself motivated to start a new pattern. I’m sure the urge will arise eventually. Just not now.

Piano: I’ve also put this on hold for reasons I will explain in a moment.

Cooking: I’m doing plenty of this during the cold winter since I can’t seem to keep the boys full, but I can’t say it’s terribly creative at the moment.

Painting: I just begun reading a wonderful book by Cathy Johnson called Artist’s Journal Workshop. I’m leaving with a friend for a weekend in the mountains, and I’ve already packed my paints and supplies and this book.

Now, this is an area where I seem to be making some headway. I’ve resurrected my blogs after the fiasco of December illnesses. I am slowly catching up on the ten reviews that are terribly late. Best of all, I feel that once I finish the reviews, I now have some room in my life for creative writing. I’ve rejoined the SCBWI and my writing groups. I’ve pulled out my old poems and children’s stories for editing and am itching to start something new.

Outdoors & Exercise:
This is an area that has changed considerably. In December, I received the results of my annual physical. I have a currently mild issue which can be deterred by a careful diet and daily exercise. As a result, I have decided to forgo activities like piano practice to focus on my health. My new best friend is an elliptical parked in my great room. I am truly enjoying our 30 minutes together each day. Actually, I’m enjoying it so much, I’m toying with adding short, alternating yoga, balance ball, pilates and weight workouts. However, all of this goes out the window on weekends if I have the opportunity to go hiking or biking with the family or take a riding lesson.

So, that’s where things stand creatively at the moment.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an important meeting with my elliptical.

Creative Check-In

It’s time for another creative check-in.

Knitting: In a continuing effort to clean up my UFO’s in case we move, I’m tackling the Priceless White Diamonds pattern in Leisure Art’s Our Best Knit Baby Afghans. I bought the yarn and pattern for this blanket on the day I found out my youngest son would be a boy. He just turned five in September, so I think it’s time to get this one done. In some strange fit of insanity, I decided to do this pattern in navy blue and teal, instead of white (or any other single color, for that matter), which should make for an interesting look, to say the least. I will say the boy I intended this for originally is priceless, so I guess that part holds true in some way.

Piano: I am taking piano lessons again. At the moment, I’m laboring over Hanon‘s exercises 2 and 3 and Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course Lesson book, level 1. I can now play When the Saints Go Marching In, and people can occasionally recognize it.

Cooking: This week, I intend to tinker with Stephanie O’Dea’s Italian Minestrone Soup recipe at A Year of Slow Cooking. I’ll update if my tinkering turns out well.

Miscellaneous: I’ve updated my sidebar to show my current reading material. I have a short stack of reviews due at the end of the week. I also took a class with a terrific friend last weekend where we made watercolor postcards. The class was awful, but it did pique my interest in playing with my paints again and dabbling in my art journal again. To that end, I ordered Artist’s Journal Workshop, which should arrive any day now. And with the fall weather finally here, I hope to get out of doors more with my camera.

And that’s where things stand, creatively speaking.

Creative Check-In

My boys are essentially done with our formal homeschooling for the year. I’ve also made the choice to cut back on my book reviews and some of my blogging for the summer. So, I have more freedom to pursue other creative projects consistently. I’ve been brainstorming some goals for my summer and have decided on the following:

1. My friend is expecting a baby in October, so I’ve decided to knit a baby blanket for her. I’m using Plymouth’s Fantasy Naturale No. 9903 (raspberry, white and mint) to make an Eyelet and Garter Baby Afghan (C112)

2. I want to write poetry again because I feel that I’ve neglected that aspect of my writing to my detriment. To that end, I’ve promised my writing group to present a new poem on June 17.

3. This past spring, I attended a SCBWI conference and came away with an idea for an early chapter book series. I would like to tackle that project this summer. I will need to (a) read a bit more about the genre, (b) research background for my book, (c) create characters that will interest children, and (d) plot out a story line. I’m also looking into joining a critique group for children’s book writers to push myself to reach my goal.

4. I’ve made a goal to try a new recipe each week with my sons. This week, I am trying new potato & turkey skillet supper with chard, feta, lemon and grape tomatoes from the June 2011 issue of Clean Eating magazine.

5. I’m hoping to get back to some art journaling, but I haven’t come up with a definite project yet.

With this list posted, I intend to record my progress in future posts.