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Sharing a gift from my Step Father: The right to enjoy yourself.
When I was a little girl I used to scav the boxes and tins from the kitchen when they were empty. I'd set up boxes and boards and open a grocery store. I took newspaper and green crayon and cut out and drew money. From cardstock from stuff from the Cleaners I'd cut out disks for coins.
When I was a little girl I'd have tea parties with my stuffed animals and dolls. I remember a couple of new sets of plastic Tea Party items and I'd spend hours pretending to pour tea and make "food" from modeling clay and pretty rocks.
When I was a little girl I built a TeePee from a discarded sofa cover and sticks and broom handles I found in the basement. I'd take my tea party and grocery store into the TeePee and just hang out building fictions.
I don't think I've changed much since I was a little girl, except now I do that with minis.
I remember one time it started to drizzle, just a light mist, while I was snug in my TeePee in the backyard. I could hear my mother calling for me to come in because it's starting to rain. I didn't answer, I shushed my dollies too. I heard my step father tell her "Leave her alone, she's enjoying herself."
I don't have many fond memories of my step father but at that moment I appreciated him more than any other person in the world. He was giving me space to imagine, to dream. What a gift he gave without really knowing, I'm sure.
Print out some money in miniature. I fold them in half and tape them so there's both sides and it lays flat. There's Canadian money there too.
Break off some gold clay, make gelt for a dradel. Do it in mini with the end of a soda straw or coffee stir stick, just blow out the clay if it gets stuck.
In our real lives we face all sorts of difficulties. I'm going to give you that little gift that my step father unwittingly gave me that grey misty day. I'm going to give you permission to enjoy yourselves.
Between the hours of 5pm and 8am the next morning, all organizations and corporations are closed. I give you permission to not worry about stuff that's stalled or train wrecked during those hours.
If something comes to mind, write it down and put it in an Action Binder. Once written down and logged you have my permission to not think about it until 8am the next work day.
Rolling problems around in our head during hours when businesses and institutions are closed is to rob us of what time we do have to use our imaginations. Like a dried pea in a bucket these problems roll about in the metal bucket of our brain, droning on and on in the low growl of anxiety.
I give you permission to take a mental vacation. To use the therapy of clay for a couple of hours a day with no goal than to condition some clay and look out the window, listen to some music, to be quiet and still for a bit with warm clay in your hands.
A lot of solutions are found in that peaceful moment, that Eureka moment of slipping into the bath. Some solutions are found to financial problems when we look around at what we have and decide to sell our surplus. It could be on Ebay, or if one has a website there's http://www.mals-e.com/ a free service for the small business person who needs a secure shopping cart on their site.
I'm asking all of us who are in hard financial times to do a couple of things:
1) When it's business hours take care of business, do the job search, do the networking, write those email, negotiate with creditors to lower charges, take care of secured debt first and consumer debt later, all those things one needs to do in the Poor Folk's Dance. Check food banks, check Churches, check Women's Centers. Do that during working hours for being Poor is a full time job.
2) When it's not business hours shuck all that off, knowing you've done what you can do for the day. It's time to regroup and do the things you enjoy. There's no loss of honor in enjoying yourself when you've done the best you can do during working hours. Chilling down, petting the cat, tending the plants, organizing your supplies (for those who have Virgo in their charts), all this is therapy and we need it when times are hard.
3) During the time you're setting aside for enjoyment, which is just as important as sleep, I urge you to visit Jim Collins mini printables site. Download and print some can labels for a mini kitchen, passports for your doll's quick get away, or my all time favorite... print mini money and cut out gold coins, print out playing cards and make Lucky Money Charms.
During the Depression of the 1930s you see movies that are just so funny. Big extravaganzas of choreographed high kicking ladies making geometric patterns... all distraction, got to laugh, got to dance. Or what's the point?
I want to remind folks that there are no Debtor's Prisons. Just the debtor's prison of your mind. Everyone is taking a fall right now. There's hundreds of thousands of us out there in just your situation; we are all in good company. So we got to do the best we can and then take time out each day to enjoy our lives, such as it is.
We might feel that we got to lower our spending expectations on things like the Holidays, because of financial problems. Then I give you permission to dream, to use our imagination instead of spending money we don't got. Go mini...takes less supplies the smaller you go in scale, got to love 1/4th scale, it's so economical. Do build the dream life you wished you had right now, using what supplies you have at present.
I know that the majority of us here have scads of odds and ends: ribbon, beads, fabric, boxes, tape, and a bit of clay. Ok, take all that you DO have and make stuff for your loved ones for the Holidays. A pillow with someone's name on it filled with spices and saved flower petals is sweet, it's the thought that counts. Have the whole family, if you have children, and rediscover the Christmas before the big shopping malls and multinational corporations put thoughts of covetousness in our brains by way of TV and print ads.
Have the children learn how to make those Christmas cookies they like to eat. Have them learn how to curl a ribbon with a butter knife. Do that with grown up siblings who are feeling blue because they are broke during the holidays.
We are only as broke as we think we are. We are surrounded by beauty as the Navaho says, beauty before me, beauty below me, beauty above me, beauty behind me. We are surrounded by supplies bought when we were flush that have not been used yet. I have fabric paint I've not opened yet. Glass paint and some vases. I've got boxes and boxes of fabric and I know how to sew.
I'm thinking that Pillow Cases that are individualized would be nice. I remember a friend of my mother's did that one year when she was financially hard pressed. I thought it was really sweet and the pillowcases were something we could use. Don't have a lot of fabric, or if you can't sew. Then there's paper, glue, paint, paper mache, cigar boxes that beg to be covered and filled with some sort of gee gaw that might amuse or delight someone.
But we can't allow the Holiday Blues to ROB US of what time we have to enjoy ourselves. If we can't buy stuff, then that's how it is...that does not prevent us from making things and going mini to save on supplies.
That is the focus of this list after all... uplift, educate and love. Done with Minis and as much polymer clay as we can throw at a target to make them smile.
Give a smile to someone over the holidays with a gag polymer clay thing, cover a pen and put something on it that personalizes it for the receiver. Print out their picture in mini on a printables cake box and put their gift inside of that.
We have technology...we wouldn't be right here - right now if we didn't have some handle on technology. Take advantage of all media, clay, paper, glue, fabric, beads, and macaroni, it doesn't matter what it is if you've put some time and good humor to it, make it so the receiver feels that they are special.
But most importantly don't let multinational corporations, the ads on TV and in Print, the incessant bombardment of the Holiday Consumer Myth get you down. For as artists if we can't buy a gift we'll make one and in the process we'll enjoy ourselves.
Monthly Highlights Since 8/2003
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