Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Swamped By Sentimental Email Clutter

My name is Amy and I have a problem.

I am a collector of sentimental emails and I am swamped by sentimental email clutter.

And you?

This realization hit me yesterday when I looked at the number of emails in my inboxes (yes, I have multiple inboxes.) As I started to whack away at some of the email clutter and moved some things to one of many folders, I asked myself, “Self, are you REALLY EVER going to go back and look for that email?”

For a moment all I heard were crickets. The silence of guilt.

Then I snapped back, “No, probably not, but I MIGHT listen to that audio recording again.”

Yeah, right.

It seems in our digital age, we moved our clutter from the desk top to the, um, desktop, if you know what I mean. Where we used to collect newspaper articles and shove them into scrapbooks or binders, now we’re right or left clicking and moving electronic stuff into folders.

I’ve set up “rules” for certain emails to direct them into specific folders. Then I rarely go back and check that folder and stuff simply accumulates.

I’ve unsubscribed from some newsletters, only to join others in their place.

Buy something, get put on their mailing list, unless you un-check that request. (Tricky aren’t they. You’re automatically signed up unless YOU tell us otherwise.)

Mark an email as “unread” so you can go back and read it later. Only later turns out to be weeks or months, instead of hours or days, because that email has slipped down the queue.

Go on vacation and the email insanity multiplies exponentially it seems.

Where does the madness end?

Seriously. How do you manage your email clutter?


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A Year of Mindfulness: Silly Walking

Happy July dear readers! Beginning with this post we embark on the next half of the year and the next half of our mindfulness practices. Woo-hoo!

How did you do with last week’s practice to study suffering? I admit that it is one of the more curious practices. Not only does it bring more awareness to our own thoughts and suffering but also the suffering of others in subtle ways. I’m still wrapping my head around it at this point.

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Silly Walking

Alright, what a way to follow last week’s practice. Are you familiar with silly walking?

Yes, this week’s mindfulness practice was inspired by the Monty Python skit “Ministry of Silly Walks.”

Now that you’re smiling if not laughing, can you see the point of a mindfulness practice using silly walks?

Last week we studied suffering which really starts with oneself and becoming aware of negative thought patterns. Now consider what would happen when the negative voice is ready to rage in your head and instead of going down that path you did a silly walk instead?

What happens to your state of mind or mood?

The objective behind this mindfulness practice is two-fold: to become aware of our negative thoughts and to become aware that only we can change our mood. We cannot depend on people or things outside of us to change our difficult emotions. Doing this task reminds us to take ourselves lightly.

Reflection: Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly. -Unknown


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Mothers, Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Punk Kitties

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to one of my new Ornimals, the Graduate Owl Ornimal. This piece received good feedback so I decided to make more for the upcoming Graduation season. And then I hit a wee little snag. I couldn’t find any 2″ glass bases in order to make more Graduate Owl Ornimals. I only had two left in my studio and one of those bases was supporting my prototype.

Geez, I really hate it when a good idea comes along and then you can’t find the necessary materials to make more.

I hunted around online, talked to some friends, and finally found a source. Thrilled with finding an online supplier who had the bases in stock, I placed my order. A few days later a box arrived. I anxiously carried it to my studio, opened it up, pulled out one container and said “Oh crap, they’re the wrong size!” And I mean they really were the wrong size by a whole 1/2 an inch.

The thought of returning the bases didn’t cross my mind. I was sure I’d find a way to use these small glass bases. I accepted this as a challenge. Thankfully the creative muse was on my side and within a few days this new little guy was sitting on my worktable.

Punk Kitty

Because of the size of the glass bases, I thought they’d be perfect to make baby ornimals. But something happened on the way from inspiration (a picture of a baby kitten) to action. Introducing Punk Kitty:

Punk Kitty (Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

Punk Kitty Side View (Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

And don’t forget his paws…

Somewhere a proud Tiger Striped mom cat shakes her head and smiles.

And I won’t lay blame for this little guy on Robert Palmer, who happened to be singing away in iTunes while I worked.

As always, thanks for your continued support on this journey. And thanks for stopping by….

Have a great weekend.


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A Chicken and A Cat Walk Into A Bar…

Expecting a little adult humor?

Sorry to disappoint. I’m just popping in to share pictures of my newest Ornimals (Animal Sculpted Ornaments.)

Let’s start with that chicken…

Little Cluck

And the cat…

Tuxedo Cat (sold)

Followed by a bird…

Blue Jay (sold)

And bringing up the rear, a dog…

Golden Lab

Small ornimals (55mm) are $25.00

Large ornimals (67mm) are $30.00

Little Cluck, the Golden Lab, and more will be available for purchase this weekend at Artspace Maynard, my final holiday show of the season.


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That Other Form of Creativity: The New Fall TV Season

I miss LOST.

When LOST ended, I realized there would be very little on TV that interested me. In fact, as this new fall season was approaching, I commented to my hubby that I was pretty unfamiliar with any of the new shows.

Then I saw a listing of new shows in the NY Times. And I watched a few preview clips on YouTube. As of now, I still don’t think I’m missing much.

It started with The X-Factor. Perhaps you couldn’t miss knowing about this show between the online ads and media chatter. I watched/listened to an hour of the premiere while working on my new series of artwork. 60 minutes of it was all I could tolerate. I really don’t like watching the auditions. Some of it can be very painful to watch and hear.

This year was the first time I’ve ever watched American Idol. I was more curious about Steven Tyler and how he’d act on the show. Here, too, the auditions were tedious and the commercials annoying. Cut to the chase please. After while, the show began to wear on me. The judges were almost too nice. I mean, when I can hear a contestant singing off key and no judge comments on it, something isn’t right.

Anyways, singing and dance talent shows just don’t do it for me.

Person of Interest: Did you see this show? It caught my eye because Michael Emerson is in it. You’ll remember him as Ben Linus from LOST. The show is also a Bad Robot (J.J Abrams) production. Same folks who brought us LOST. So I thought it would be worth checking out.

Impression: Eh. The premise behind the show, the government tracking its citizens post 9/11, storing data, recording your every move, and using this information to stop a situation before it happens sounded intriguing. But I’m not so sure the characters are interesting enough to keep me interested. Michael Emerson was okay. James Caviezel was a little flat. I give it a B-.

Terra Nova: Another show I saw previews of over the summer. It looked like LOST meets Jurassic Park in the previews. The two-hour premiere confirmed that, right down to the tall gates built to keep the dinos out and the people in. Steven Spielberg is behind this mega budget show with the CGI dinosaurs. I like Jason O’Mara, who plays the father in this series and who I last saw in “Life on Mars” (US version.) And some of the action sequences were entertaining. But overall, just like Person of Interest, the characters aren’t terribly intriguing. In some ways the show feels a bit like “Land of the Lost.” I give it a C.

Project Runway: Okay, this show started back in August and I’d already missed two episodes before I knew it was back on the schedule. I’m a late-comer to Project Runway. I started watching a few seasons back, when they did their last show in CA before moving back to NY.  This show has become my secret obsession. However I’m not feeling very attached to any of the designers this season. No one has been a real standout. But I still watch. I like Tim Gunn. I do wish Michael Kors would wear something other than that same black outfit.

I was thrilled to see an ad for the upcoming Project Runway All-Stars series featuring Mondo from last season. He should’ve won Season 8. I think its great he’ll get another chance.

Once Upon a Time: This show doesn’t start until October 23 on ABC. It appears to be this odd mingling of children’s fairy tales and real life where the “real life” characters are the actual characters living in the fairy tales. Huh? It comes from two producers from LOST. Check out the trailers here. This one could be very interesting.

Work of Art: This is the Project Runway equivalent for artists. 14 artists compete for a $100,000 prize and a solo exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The premiere season last year was pretty good and I’m glad Abdi took the competition. The show returns on Bravo on October 12

Alcatraz: Another J.J. Abrams show featuring another LOST alum, Jorge Garcia (remember him as Hurley?). Due to debut in 2012. Lots of chatter about this show but I don’t quite get the premise. A bunch of inmates disappear from Alcatraz 50 years ago and reappear in modern day CA. And they haven’t aged since they disappeared. Do they seek revenge? Do they go on a crime spree? Do I care?

So these are just a few of the new shows I’ve watched or put on my calendar. I haven’t bothered with any of the comedies or dramedies or other reality TV shows. Nothing there seemed of interest to me. And really, some evenings I’d just rather be in the studio.

What about you? Are you watching any of the new shows this season? How about the older shows, like House (now he’s in prison?) or Modern Family?

Do you even watch TV on a telly or do you watch online?


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Medieval Village: Carcassone, Part 1

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France must be the medieval fortress of Carcassone. Carcassone is a double-walled, nearly impregnable fortress, founded by the Visigoths in the Golden Age. First signs of settlement in this area date back to 3500 B.C.

Legend has it that in 760 Pepin the Short took southern France from the Saracens. Except Carcassone which he could not breach. Pepin assumed the people of Carcassone would eventually starve and surrender. However, Dame Carcas had another plan. She fattened up their last pig and had it thrown over the city’s ramparts.

Pepin and his army believed that if the inhabitants could waste such an animal, they must be well-stocked and ready to fight for a long time. Eventually Pepin and his army retreated. Dame Carcas rang all the bells in the city in celebration. She had saved the city from invasion. And hence the name “Carcas sone” was born: Dame “Carcas rings” the bells.

In 1853 Carcassone was restored under the guidance of architect Eugene Viollet le Duc. It attracts millions of visitors each year. We visited mid-week and the crowds weren’t too bad inside the walled city. Outside, however, on the cobblestone streets, it felt a little bit like Disneyland. Lots of souvenir shops with kitschy gifts. If you can get beyond that aspect, Carcassone is a curious place to visit.

In part one of this post, I’ll share mostly exterior shots.

As you enter Carcassone, you’re greeted by this rather large sculpture of Dame Carcas.

Horse carriage tour. Love the hats. Very chic.

Carcassone on approach

Love this sign near the ticket window. I’m sure this is a necessary reminder on really busy days.

Inner walls and covered walkway

As we walked through parts of the fortress, Eric looked up and noticed these dead birds. Netting had been suspended in various areas to keep the birds from flying down off the rafters. Apparently some of the birds fell or got stuck in the netting and were left to die. Feeling medieval yet?

View of the city from the fortress

Narrow window view

I hear strains of J. Geils when I see the shot below.

“Hey Reputah, Hey Reputah the Beautah, flip me down your hair and let me climb up to the ladder of your love….”

Just what is a whoober-goober anyways?

Can you name the J. Geils song I’m referring to?

Until my next post,

A bientot.


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Sketching: Making It A Practice

Well, it didn’t take too long before I faced potential boredom with my sketching. In the days after returning from France, I looked around my house and thought “what is so interesting here that I’d want to sketch it?”

There-in lies the rub. It isn’t so much a matter of what looks interesting to sketch, it is a matter of making it a practice no matter what the subject matter. If the only reason I sketch is because the subject is interesting, I would’ve quit long ago. (And, in fact, I did quit sketching, several times in the past.)

This is when I had the bright idea to use themes or topics as my basis for sketching. Deciding on a theme or topic is a challenge in itself, however, it seems to be working for now.

The “What Do I Want To Sketch?” Phase

Glass Vases

Pear

Remote

Meals

Sunday breakfast

Salad

Breakfast bowl

Place setting

Cloth Napkin

Flowers

Sunflower

Globe Thistle

Did you know that Globe Thistle are made up of multiple tiny five petal flowers, like tiny stars? One of my favorite flowers and I never looked so closely at them until I tried to draw one.

Bee Balm

Another favorite flower whose petals sparked an idea in my head for an art doll.

Until my next post,

A bientot.


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Art Studio Makeover: Part Two

In my last studio makeover post, I gave you a peek at the studio before and after the new paint was put on the walls. Since then I’ve been moving more items back into the studio. I’m very visual and though I sketched out a very rough layout, I really needed to get my hands on the tables, chairs, and other items in order to rearrange them.

Here is the new layout for my work area. I’m going with a large horseshoe layout. All of my clay and the tools that I use most often are closest to my primary work table. The other tables will hold encaustic supplies and mixed media painting supplies. My small sewing machine might also make an appearance.

Back Wall Work Area

Side Table for Clay Supplies

We spun my desk around so it faces one of the studio windows. That one small change makes the room feel even more open. The other day, as I sat at my computer, I was delighted to see a heron fly over head.

Center of Studio

The blue curtains are temporary. I’m thinking of switching to white curtains and tiebacks. I love how the studio looks in the sunshine. However, I need to close the curtains for an hour or two because the afternoon sun is very intense.

The large bookcase has been moved back to its usual spot on the front facing wall.

Front Facing Wall

I’m going to try out my armchair in this front corner. It feels kind of cozy near the window.

Reading Lounge

This is the sink room, also known as the “slop room.” This room is for baking and finishing clay, and photographing finished artwork.

Oven, sink, cabinets

Finishing Countertop

The completion of this post was delayed by a few days due to my schedule. Since I started writing this Part 2 entry, I’ve returned the storage shelves to the rear window seat, added a couple more items to the sink room, and expanded the “reading lounge.” I’ll share those updates in Part Three of this series.

I’ve also been enjoying reading about Monica Moses’ studio makeover adventures. She won a studio makeover contest. How cool is that? You can follow along here: Part 1 and Part 2


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The End Times

“This is the end, beautiful friend, this is the end.”
-The End by The Doors

So you’ve probably heard about this little “event” that is supposed to take place today; the end times, the beginning of the end, or the rapture. In fact, as I write this, calamity should be coursing its way around the globe, beginning in New Zealand at 6:00pm local time. I didn’t realize that God conducted His business by time zones.

At first I was both amused and annoyed at all the attention this has received. Amused at people’s humorous take on these predictions, such as the CDC’s Zombie Apocalypse blog post (which does include beneficial information on preparing for a natural disaster), the Post Rapture Looting page on Facebook (absurd but not something I condone; looting is looting and not funny), choosing your song for the end of the world, and the Rapture Prank, which advises leaving clothes strewn about on the sidewalk as if someone just went “poof.”

My annoyance came at all the attention this particular group has received. I was concerned that the media and social networking promotion of this alleged event only reinforced this group’s beliefs. Then I thought of other extreme groups like Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre and how I would hate to see anyone who supports this prediction of the end times kill themselves. (The Jonestown Massacre was not related to an end times prophecy. However, I do believe one must be concerned about how someone potentially reacts when they realize the prophecy did not manifest itself.)

Maybe, then, all the attention is a good thing in an odd sort of way.

I’m not passing judgement on anyone for their beliefs. That’s supposed to be reserved for the Big Guy/Gal or whatever you choose to believe in (or not.) However, I’ve read that those who believe in this prediction plan to sit in front of their televisions watching the destruction. Another believer asked “Would you continue business as usual?”

Well, I have no desire to watch the destruction of others. My take away from all of this is to live life to the fullest. Express your love and gratitude for all that is around you. To me, that is continuing “business as usual.” I don’t think any ethereal entity wants us sitting around thinking about the end. We’re human BEings. We live, we love, we struggle. When the end comes, it comes.

And if this is the beginning of the end and the end is due to arrive in October, I ask that it wait until after my birthday :-0