Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"A witty saying proves nothing." ~ Voltaire

Most of you have probably heard me mention Jeanne Oliver before. She is the photographer/designer/vintage collector who we featured in the Christmas issue of FOLK Magazine. And, she is just a lovely, lovely person. I am currently taking her e-course, "Creatively Made," a four-week online class that encourages participants (over 500 of us worldwide!) to explore talents that we wouldn't normally take the time to consider or cultivate. We watch videos posted by Jeanne or other guest artists from around the country. We post our own creations, ask questions, and just trade funny quips on the Facebook group page. We say nice things to each other, constantly reminding one another that there's more to each of us than just our day jobs, our families, and our obligations. We write and take pictures and see new purposes for objects we would typically overlook. We give each other something to look forward to.

Our first "assignment" for the class was to create our own "creativity journal" from repurposed old books. For one of mine, I cut the front and back covers off of a book I knew I would never read; made the pages from old wallpaper, cardstock, pictures/magazine images/newspaper articles/ticket stubs that mean something to me, images from old cookbooks, and pages from various old books; bound it with baling twine; and added various decorative creations for effect. On the second, I just picked a book I liked (I love the color and the bird on the cover and the haikus and silly messages inside), kept the pages in tact and just added some of the things previously mentioned.

Creatively Made

One thing I love about special projects like the "Creatively Made" course is that they simply make me feel more inspired about life in general. I try to more consciously create beauty or fun around me. I do things just because they might make me laugh. I feel more engaged with even the simplest of tasks.


"Orange you glad you came to dinner"...

My thought process went as follows:
-I see a lone little orange on my counter
-I just brought in an orange shirt from my car
-The joke about "orange you glad I didn't say banana"
-I have apricot jam I need to use
-I have sweet potatoes too
-I saw an orange scarf on Pinterest that I think I could make
-I'm not at work today so I will have time to cook
-Themed dinner parties are fun
-Ask Mom and the Morgans if they want to come to "Orange you glad you came to dinner?"

So, in essence, the thought process was: "that might be fun."

Apricot Dijon Pork Chops (the apricot creates an orange glaze)
Sweet Potatoes (I won't explain this one)
Baked Beans (Kind of orange)
Homemade Bread (I was going to tint my butter orange, but didn't have time)
Orange Juice Cake (The gooey center is especially good)

Scarf tutorial on Pinterest

Before working on the journal, I started going through some of my books, looking for covers, passages, or pictures that I might want to use. In so doing, I came across my dad's copy of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist, Louis Bromfield's 1955 publication, From My Experience. I didn't want to tear it up, but I did start flipping through it. This caught my attention...

"Considering the general insignificance and unimportance of man, the pleasures of agriculture are perhaps more real and gratifying than the pleasures and even the excesses of the purely mathematical mind (which are certainly not pleasures to be underestimated). If the pleasures of mathematical debauchery or orgies in physics are to be treated as limited, it is only because they are denied the great mass of humanity and because all too often they induce and create the deformities and limitations of the incomplete man. Rousseau was in many respects a fool and at times a humbug and a liar but he had something in his conception of the Natural Man, something in which even the great wise and cynical mind of Voltaire, an infinitely more intellectual and sophisticated man, found a perpetual source of envy.

The greatest creative and intellectual vice of our times, and a factor which causes increasing distress and even tragedy, is the overspecialization which man has partly chosen and which has been partly forced upon him by the shrinking of the world, by the incredible speeding up of daily life and the materialistic impact of technological development upon our daily existence." (12)

A man after my own heart. One day I shall use Rousseau in passing while talking about sustainable farming.


  1. I love your way of thing. Doing things just because they sound like fun is good therapy for those who take life way too seriously. Thank you for just you being you. Lots of Love, Mom

  2. Liza, isn't Rousseau single?

  3. Why was I not included in the guest list? I would love "orange you glad you came to dinner" dinner.

  4. Mom - I got it from my momma.:) Thank YOU for just being YOU.

    Caroline - Best comment ever.

    Zach - I felt bad because I didn't have an orange t-shirt scarf for you. I knew you would be disappointed. AND, when I called to extend the invitation, Mom said you and Addy had already planned to be in Glasgow that night. I hope to have "I red it on Facebook so it must be true" (we all come as the most ridiculous Facebook friend we have) soon. Here's an early invitation.