Making Beaded Jewelry

If you find yourself seeking a new outlet for your creative abilities, then making beaded jewelry is one to consider. It is simple the master the basics, cheap to get started and you can produce a finished article within very little time, allowing a sense of accomplishment.

Beading is also a hobby for any season: in the winter, you can sit and watch the snow while beading but in spring and summer, you can pack a few essentials into a messenger bag for women or a tote and take them with you. Whether you are sitting in the park while the kids play or on holiday, a few basics supplies mean you can bead away for a half an hour no matter where you are.

Getting started

Rainbow Curve - XXOXX Bracelet - OTTBS May ChallengeWhat do you need to get started? Beads and a thread, a clasp and a couple of pieces of finishing findings, which is jewelry-speak for the little metal pieces at the end of a string of beads – it really is that simple.

To learn straight bead stringing, you need to pick a beading wire that is wide enough for your beads but not too wide to be awkward. Beadalon is one of the common brands and their 0.15mm or 0.18mm are the most frequently used. You don’t need to use a needle with this thread and it is strong enough to withstand quite rough handling.

When it comes to picking beads, you will quickly be like a kid in a sweet shop – there are so many to choose from! Start with a project, say a necklace and bracelet and buy the beads you need for it. If you are following a pattern it will tell you how many to buy but otherwise beads normally have a size on them. For example, when buying semi-precious gemstone beads, they are often sold on a length of cord 15inch long. So if you are wanting to make a 20-inch necklace and use some other beads, you have the gist of how many you will need.

Making the necklace

Making necklaces and bracelets use the same principles. Use a special clip at one end of the thread to stop beads falling off then thread them one at a time. Some people start in the middle of the pattern if unsure about how long they are going to make it, adding the pattern of beads to each side.

When you have your desired length, you can then thread a special little bead called a crimp. This is like a stopper, designed to prevent the necklace coming apart. You add either the clasp straight on after the crimp bead or an unbroken ring called a split ring then thread the thread back through the crimp and a couple of beads as well. Then with a thin pair of jewelry pliers, you crimp it – squash it tight – and this stops everything coming apart. If you have used the split ring method, you then add the clasp to it using the other type of ring, a jump ring that opened to connect the two.

You can use the same principle to make a bracelet and within no time at all, you will have completed your first set of jewelry. And probably been bitten by the jewelry-making bug!

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Why did philosophers have beards, and should you grow one?

aristotle creativecomp

Throughout history, society has attributed varying values to facial hair. Traditionally, in most Western societies, the value most commonly ascribed to the beard is wisdom. This is also true throughout large parts of Asia, and indeed many traditional societies still – to some extent – follow this custom.

While these days beards are often looked upon with scorn, in the past a beard was a sign of a man’s supposed superiority. He had the choice to cut it, but he chose not to. Women could not grow beards, and in a male-dominated society, this was a sign of masculinity, and of men’s intellect. The assumption was that facial hair was God’s way of bestowing intelligence upon one gender.

Moreover, the beard repented wisdom by age. A young man may be able to sprout a small moustache or goatee, but a long, flowing beard takes years to cultivate. This is why today many Asian societies still venerate the elderly and why their elderly still cultivate long beards.

Interestingly, in Ancient Rome most men did not allow their beards to grow. Mostly it was due to the fact that beards did not serve well in battle, where a beard was a vulnerable point on the body that an enemy could grab and use against a soldier. But also,the reason was once again the association with wisdom, and as such only philosophers were allowed to grow beards. Amazingly, the shape of their beard indicated their particular school of philosophy!

To the Ancient Greeks, beards were more important. They represented virility, and if I man was required to cut his beard, he would not shave it, but instead cut a portion. Most commonly a beard was cut in mourning, but even then an adult man would not be allowed to possess an entirely shaven face because this represented a womanliness, and worse – it made them look like the Romans! As shave faces became fashionable in Rome, and beards popular in Athens, many an insult was traded over the slovenliness or effeminacy of the other’s preference.

These days beards are less popular in Western societies, so perhaps the Romans won the battle of the facial hair. Beards still remain a sign of wisdom to some degree, but more commonly appear as a sign of laziness. A beard trimmer is not expensive, and neither are razors and other facial hair tools, and so many people associate a beard with a lack of care in one’s appearance. However, a well-maintained and stylish beard can have the opposite effect and give a man a certain sophisticated look, harkening back to the days when beards were revered.

Altogether though, it depends on your face and the amount of effort you will put into maintaining the beard. It is better to be clean-shaven than have a scruffy beard, but a well-maintained beard will convince your peers that you possess wisdom beyond your years. Science also suggests that women are genetically attracted to beards, regardless of changing fashion trends.…

From Reading To Creative Writing

 

creative writers aboutIt may have been Ponyboy’s introspective, thoughtful nature or Johnny’s desperate desire to hold onto a smidgen of optimism despite constant turmoil, or maybe it was Dallas’s loyal heart that was well hidden behind the tough exterior accentuated by a leather jacket and cheap steel toe boots, but somehow my young son related to the emotions attributed to the Greasers in the book The Outsiders.

Childhood Loves

My mother was an elementary school librarian, and to me, that was the best job she could have held. Every day, she had unrestricted access to books, and that meant I had unrestricted access to books. All I had to do was ask for a title, and if a student didn’t check it out, she brought the book home to me. Who could ask for a better scenario?

This unfettered access to books developed in me a true love and appreciation for creative storytelling. As soon as I could read on my own, I focused on the pages that told of love, mystery, and teenage angst. Authors like Judy Blume, V.C. Andrews and Stephen King received my undivided attention. Oftentimes I would reread…and reread…and reread…the same story, such as The Outsiders, one of my all-time favorites. Once I learned S.E. Hinton was only 15 years old when she started writing the story about the classic battle between the haves and have-nots, somewhere in my subconscious I knew I would be a writer some day, too.

Passed On Through the Generations

Although my love for reading creative stories never waned, my desire to cultivate my own novel or short story never bloomed. Rather, I found myself drawn to the world of non-fiction, reporting on market trends, healthcare happenings, and interviewing newsmakers. I still get to write, just not original plots borne out of my imagination

Then I became a mother of a voracious reader. Since he was a toddler, my son loved stories of all kinds, from picture books to classic science fiction adventures told by the inventive Jules Verne to making up his own tales that entertained us at the dinner table. As my son grew older and broadened his reading library, I introduced some of the books my mother would bring home for me, including The Outsiders.

I was interested to see his reaction. Would it be different because he wasn’t a preteen girl? Would he connect to the story that was written nearly 40 years ago?

To my great joy, my son was captivated by Ponyboy and his relationship with his brothers and their friends as well as the complicated existence between societal groups and the individuals who wanted to break free from the “acceptable” expectations thrust upon them.

Inspiring Words

The thing that really struck me, however, is the fact that my son has pursued that creative area I didn’t. He has used his love of the written word and great storytelling to create his own fictional short stories and manuscripts. My son has taken his passion for reading and turned it into a creative outlet through his own writing endeavors.

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Nurses & Creativity

Nursing can seem to be a career of just knowledge where creativity doesn’t seem to fit in their busy schedules. However, we must readjust what our mind thinks of creativity. Think beyond “arts and crafts” in the type of creative. In nursing, you can be creative in many ways, and many times those ways make the connection between the nurse and patient much stronger.

Without nurses, there would be communication lost between the physicians and patients. Nurses hold a special relationship with the patients, as the patient is most likely to be taken care of by the nurse for a significant amount of time.

Thinking and creativity can be a part of everything nurses do. Sometimes out of necessity by dealing with a presentation of a disease or illness or solving a problem quickly. Creative thinking is what makes the relationships between patient and nurses much stronger.

For example, if a patient has a hard time understanding a disease, a nurse may have to use creative thinking to explain matters that they will understand more. Sometimes, quick creative measures are needed for providing proper materials needed for the patient. Like if a cast or splint does not properly fit a patient, the nurse may have to use creative thinking with materials found to recreate one.

When a patient comes in feeling suicidal or desperate, nurses have to think outside of the box and find jobs and tasks the patient could perform until more mental health care professionals are in contact.

Putting Creativity Back in Nursing!

There are many challenges that come with healthcare (especially if you are a nurse, biller or coder), and creativity helps create smoother communication and processes in the field. A little creativity also goes a long way. A simple change to the normal scrubs to a pattern or a familiar cartoon character can bring more joy to a younger patient. When dealing with children, finding ways to accomplish medical procedures can be difficult and a little creativity may be needed to get the jobs done.

It’s extremely important for nurses to develop new and innovative approaches to the problems they encounter in their field. Nurses’ problem-solving skills can be greatly enhanced if they are able to think creatively.

Nurses are always analyzing data and different variables, from different angles, in search of medical truths in the form of comprehensive diagnoses. There is a multidimensional nature of nursing, and I love the different approaches and involvements that can be taken to address any single problem. Everyday in nursing is a constant exercise of critical thinking and creativity.

The exercise of creative thought is vital to the success of any professional within the healthcare industry, especially nursing. Not only will it make the patients feel more comfortable and their experience as painless as possible, but they will be able to communicate with you more effectively through creative thinking. This will make your job more rewarding and not to mention a little easier!…

Creativity on Paper and Beyond

Uzi Tactical Pen: A Perfect Writing Instrument

Showcasing creativity takes the form of a variety of vehicles. Each person on this planet is creative every single day in their own way. For people who make a career out of creative thoughts and practices, will often require a way to share their creativity. In a lot of occupations, the pen is perhaps the most important tool someone will use. A pen is used daily to share creative thoughts from our brains on to paper. From there, those ideas and thoughts are available for the world to explore.

For a tool we use so often every single day, we put very little value into the quality of a pen. We typically use whatever is most near to us, ignoring the fact that the ink is sometimes illegible and ineffective in various circumstances. Sometimes pens will fail us horribly and break in our pocket or hands creating a tremendous mess to deal with. If I had a dollar for how many times I heard “Arg this pen doesn’t work,” I would be a much richer man.

It’s time to forget about the cheap quality plastic of ‘Bic’ style pens and move on to something that will never let you down. I am speaking about tactical pens; the most reliable writing device on the planet. No more will you need to worry about ideas getting lost due to illegitimate writing utensils as the very best tactical pens will perform under any condition necessary.

Made of lightweight aero-space aluminum, tactical pens are designed to never fracture or break. The exterior coating of the pen even goes through an anodizing process to ensure the aluminum metal is a strong as possible. However more expensive than your standard pen from the office supply store, tactical pens are investments to hold on to for a lifetime. Refillable from your local stationary supply store, tactical pens will provide you with the freedom to share your creative thoughts for a long time to come.

Although perhaps less important, tactical pens are also designed to be used as a self-defence tool. Because of their tough exterior body and sharp points, tactical pens can be used to break glass or pierce flesh in the case you are ever in an emergency situation. The tactical pen provides you with some piece of mind when you need it most as a pen is often times something you carry wherever you go.

For a creative person, a tactical pen is a must have writing utensil. Quit being let down by cheaper imitations and invest in something which will help foster creative ideas for years to come.…

Cheesecake Baby!

Spice up a Basic Cheesecake Recipe

 

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, and has a reputation as being notoriously difficult to make.† My husband purchased a recipe book for my called The Cheesecake Bibleî which seemed like it must be pretty good (people donít throw around ìBibleî haphazardly, do they?† Maybe they do). While you have to have a cheesecake pan, of course, you donít necessarily need the stand mixer or even a tool to help you make the crust (you can hand crush the graham crackers for the crust). Once I worked through a few of those recipes, with varying degrees of success, I realized why. There is a pretty narrow ìsweet spotî to making perfect cheesecake.† Take the cake out too early, and it will never set.† Leave it in too long, or cool it improperly, and it could have huge cracks on top. Now, some recipe books will tell to just cover the cracks with toppings, but that never worked for me, because I knew they were there even if no one else did.

Perfect One Recipe

There are so many varieties of cheesecake to make, that it can be overwhelming, but I finally decided that I needed to pick one basic cheesecake recipe and bake it over and over until I knew I could hit that sweet spot every time. It takes experience to be able to look at your cheesecake and know just when to take it out, and this can be affected by your ingredients, the humidity, and whatever else, so that there isn’t always an exact amount of time to leave it in the oven.In fact, my oven time sometimes varied by as much as 50% of what was listed in the recipe book. Who knows!?! Maybe my oven wasn’t as hot, even though I use an oven thermometer.

I know making the same basic cheesecake recipe over and over again sounds a little boring, but I guarantee it will make your efforts to expand forward to more challenging recipes with different ingredients more successful. In the meantime, here are some easy things that you can do to spice up your basic cheesecake recipe so it has some variation without affecting the filling.

Try New Crusts

The first thing you can do is experiment with the cheesecake crust. This is very easy to do with almost any basic food processor. Examples of crust ingredients are graham crackers (of course), chocolate cookies, butter cookies, nutter butters (for a peanut butter crust), vanilla wafers, and even gingerbread cookies. Most crusts are just a combination of cookies and butter, but I have seen some crust recipes that add a bit of seasoning or sugar. Flex your creative juices here, and that can make your cake unique.

Cheesecake Toppings

The second way you can make your basic cheesecake stand out is by adding a variety of toppings. Whipped cream is always a popular one, so try making it from hand instead of buying it at the store or try a cream cheese whipped topping. There are also a variety of fruit toppings you can try, like raspberry, blueberry and strawberry. If you are a chocolate fan, experiment with making a truffle fudge topping. With a great crust and a tasty topping, that basic cheesecake recipe that you’ve perfected won’t seem so basic at all!…

Getting Creative – Redecorating Your Home

It’s is truly amazing how you can change the look and feel of an entire space simply by making small changes. For example, when you move furniture around it can give the room an entirely different look and feel. It is pretty remarkable. Whenever I host friends or family (which is a lot, I love entertaining) I usually mix up the room.  It’s amazing how many times I’ve been asked by friends if the couch is new, or if we got a new TV stand just because we simply made some small but powerful changes.

Buckets of Paint

Small Changes, Big Impact

One thing did recently, which has gotten rave reviews is change the door. I found an antique door and a really cool door knocker. Sometimes you can find really cool knockers on Etsy. This really helps set the stage, an impressive door makes everything else feel widely more impressive. If you don’t have the budget to do this I would suggest re-painting your front door. I had professional Vancouver Painters, re-paint the exterior of my home this summer and I had them repaint the door that I had just purchased. A new door, fresh paint and a knocker really goes a long ways. You could even repaint your existing door, just make sure you prep it correctly.  If you’re not going to hire someone to do make sure you get the right tools. You’ll need  a high quality foam roller and a good paint. I recommend an oil based paint for doors, it’s harder to work with but leaves a better finish.

Speaking of Painting – How About Changing The Color On the Walls?

One thing I do every spring is repaint at least one room. Now that might be a bit crazy, but it doesn’t take that long. I enjoy doing one or two rooms but if you’re planning on re-painting your entire house consider going with professionals. Remember that company that re-painted the exterior? I hired those same Painters in Vancouver to re-do the interior of my entire house. Let me tell you, if you’ve never re painted an entire house I would suggest you keep it that way. It starts out fun and after about the third room it becomes a massive chore. Hence why I stick to a feature wall or one room at a time.  Splash a bold red or burnt orange on a feature wall, you’d be amazed by how effective this can be.

Change the Furniture

I’m not talking about buying an entire living room worth of new furniture. I’m simply suggesting that you mix it up, swap the love seat and the sofa. This will give the room an entire new feel, you’ll be amazed. Best of all, it’s free!…

Creative Cosmetics & Cosmetics for Creatives: Adding Your Own Style to Makeup

 

eye shadowWith so many different makeup products, it can be hard to figure out just how exactly to use these cosmetics, and while most of us aren’t professional makeup artist, we look for the Internet for help. To learn technique is one thing, but if we only stick to the techniques taught through YouTube tutorials or style blogs, we’re all going to end up looking exactly the same!

What’s the fun in that? Makeup in some ways is a like a paint, and we are the canvases. We should use the makeup to express ourselves creatively; all while achieving that desired look to is unique to our personalities.

First, let me say that extremely creative or out there makeup is usually not what’s in trend. The girl who is wearing a natural look is going to get fewer stares than the girl who isn’t afraid of an eyeliner or eye shadow pigments. While there is a time that “out-there” makeup is desired, however, sometimes you’re done with the typical application process and want to add your own touch to every day makeup styles.

Color choices and application styles and techniques tell whether the look belongs to someone bold, shy, natural, sophisticated, modern or old-fashioned. Makeup allows us to have self-expression and individuality. Yet, often, makeup wearers get caught in a rut even though they may want to change it up. Breaking out of this rut can easily be accomplished by getting creative with makeup.

An easy way to first change up your look is take a look at your color choices. Choose colors that will make your eyes pop, or just choose a color that is your favorite for the day! Break away from neutral, beige tones that will seem washed up or overlooked. Eyeshadows with more pigments will offer color that will hold true all day.

If you’re lost for what colors to use, think of themes instead. Feeling tropical? Use tropical colors like pink or teal for eyeshadows, and a pink/ orange hued blush to create a warm effect.  Colors aren’t the only way to change up a look. Application of the color can give a creative feel as well! Usually, eye shadow colors are applied in a horizontal pattern, from inner to outer corner of the eyelid; a more creative choice may be to apply the shadow in a vertical pattern, from top to bottom of the lid.

And for the days you want to truly stand out from the rest, don’t be afraid to play with your eyeliner. Create longer wing tips and extend lines to create butterfly wings, cat eyes, or more definition. Adding eyeshadows and face concealers with glitter can add an extra shimmer.

Really the possibilities of creative makeup go as far as the imagination of the applicator! Don’t be afraid to explore and allow your makeup be as unique and different as you are!…

Cooking to Help Creativity and Relieve Stress

cooking-batter

Creativity Improvements through Cooking?

With the rise of two income homes, food preparation and cooking has taken a back seat to microwave ovens, processed foods and fast food drive-thrus. This shift away from the kitchen was first initiated in an attempt to alleviate the stress of working moms forced to juggle the multiple roles of work and family. However, the pendulum has swung too far from our knives, counters and cutting boards leaving many forgetting that, in reality, cooking is a wonderful venue to enhance creativity and subsequently, relieve stress.

cooking-frying

Cooking is Calming

There is something meditative about chopping an onion or peeling a potato. It is a return to that quiet place within us that nourishes our soul along with our bodies. Food heals.

If this sounds ridiculous or corny, try it sometime. Hone your skills at cutting a carrot, absorb the wonderful smell of garlic slowly sautéing in a little olive oil, enhance your creativity by adding or subtracting ingredients to make a recipe truly your own. Before long, you will not be able to wait to get into your kitchen.

Connect with Your Food

Our culture has seen a disconnect between ourselves and the food we eat, and this is not without consequence. Americans as a whole have become more obese, and our food contains a plethora of additives and ingredients most of which we have never heard of. Our meals are processed, made in assembly lines with the intent to be prepared and ingested quickly, and with that the fine art of cooking has been relegated to a luxury.

cooking for stress relief

Cooking as Creative Expression

Cooking is not just a luxury for those with time. It is a wonderful means of expressing ourselves, relieving the stress of our hectic days and reconnecting to the basic sustenance of our existence. The more time we spend in the kitchen the more we crave the opportunity to experience its lure. Fresh foods cooked by hand, or even recipes our grandparents were familiar with, will take the place of those quick alternatives designed to be nuked and consumed without any thought to the taste or nutritional value.

 

The more you cook the more you create and relax in the comforts of the kitchen.

 

Give it a try!

Cooking is more than just a means to an end. It is a cathartic art that when done right, can heal us of more than bad eating habits. So take out a cutting board and heat up some oil. Some people even find calmness in sharpening knives with a whet stone. It is now time to start enjoying the creative and relaxing benefits preparing and cooking our food has to offer.…

Unlocking The Right Side of The Brain

Left Versus Right

 

left versus right

 

Have you ever heard of the right side versus left side of the brain theory? To sum it up, the left side of the brain is the analytical side. It’s the side we usually operate in, when we make decisions we analyze and we’re objective.

If I do X, the possible outcomes are A,B,C,D, however if I choose Y the outcomes will be E,F,G. We do it all the time. Even the most trivial decisions often come from this type of thought processing.

Should I attend my friends birthday party?

Yes, because if I don’t she’ll be really mad at me. But I’m not really in the mood to spend the evening in a loud bar. I can’t really afford it either. But she came to celebrate my birthday even though she was sick. It wouldn’t be very fair of me to not attend.

Even, simpler decisions go through this process. What you eat for breakfast is often weighed and calculated.

Right Side of the Brain

 

The right side of the brain is where our creativity lives. When we tap into the right side of the brain we can often have realizations and ideas that otherwise wouldn’t have come to us. Elizibeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love did a wonderful Ted Talk about creativity and our muses or genius. If you haven’t watched it you should. Seriously it’s really good. She discussed a famous author who would be out in the field working and she could literally feel an idea coming to her. She described it as though the entire ground would shake, and she had to get a pen before it passed her. If the idea swept through the area before she could grab her pen, that was it, she’d lose it.

Where Ideas Come From

 

Have you ever noticed that ideas come at the strangest times. It’s as if they were ushered from some higher plane to you by some divine entity. There is no logical thought process, it just appears. That is the right side of your brain working. And it’s been argued that the only time, the right side of the brain is allowed to work is when the left side is quieted. This could be during yoga, or meditation. Perhaps, while you’re walking, clearing your mind. A lot of my best ideas occur while I’m relaxing. I lie on a foam roller and gently massage my muscles. It’s essentially a form of meditation for me, I quiet the left side of my brain and allow the right side to drift into thought.

We all have access to creativity, and for some it comes easier than others. But, the critical take away is find an activity to turn off the left part of your brain. Allow logic and reasoning to drift away. Find an activity that allows you to do this. For some it’s doodling, for others meditation or yoga. Allow yourself the time to not think, and you’ll find this is where some of your greatest ideas come from.

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