Creative Every Day: What I Get from Giving

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since my last post. It’s the longest I’ve gone since I started my blog almost a year ago. The month running up to Christmas always gets overloaded. I haven’t run since December 8 (!!), have blown off piano lessons & have been eating all manner of no- or low-nutrition foods (ie. chocolate, baked goods, sweets galore). I’ve not followed through on some things I should have, like my current sketchbook exchange & some work projects (website prep). I feel bad about that. I’m all out of whack. At a time when I should be extra joyful, I feel pressured & overwhelmed. I try to remember that being creative is what grounds me. If I can work that into the cards, the gifts, the wrapping of boxes, the baking, the decorating, then I will get what I want most at Christmastime: a sense of calm, contentment & belonging :-)

Here’s what I’ve been up to offline:

Making a wreath for my door out of a cheap-o, made-in-China chicken.

Baking Christmas cookies & homemade breads for sharing & eating.

Decorating over-the-top shipping cartons for long distance friends. This box got painted, then soaked in peppermint extract until it reeked candy cane.

Painting silly characters on holiday event posters for my town library.

Having another birthday (Christmas tree cake by husband).

Wishing desperately for snow. It’s finally working! If all goes well, we should have a foot or more by morning.

Wrapping lazy cats gifts, sending cards w/letters, visiting with neighbors, friends & family, decorating a $10 “Charlie Brown” tree, I even took a few naps. (No, I’m not sick.)

Yes, the rest of my life was lost in lack of discipline, overindulgence & goofing off in the face of that December 25th deadline. Christmas can be fine & fun, but New Year’s Day is actually my favorite holiday. I’m sure there’s a reason it comes right after Christmas. It validates thinking about ourselves again. New Year’s Day always sets me right, I can’t wait. Meanwhile, I’m sizing up my treadmill, turning back to my current sketchbook, mentally organizing my work & cutting back on the chow ;-)

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24 Responses to “Creative Every Day: What I Get from Giving”

  1. Aya Rosen Says:

    Same here… after almost a year of pretty good eating, suddenly, it’s eating out a lot, cookies and candy everyday and what’s not. I got to get off the sugar wagon again, bla! Very little work got done in the past months around here, and mostly I’ve been playing with the puppy, baking and listening to audio books.

    I’ll blame the weather, here’s nothing I can do about that.

    • henniemavis Says:

      Hey, I knew that was you posting comment at this hour, my fellow night owl! I’m surprised (& delighted, frankly) that you are even speaking to me. Can you believe I used to grumble about late sketchbooks? I confess here on my own blog that I am a complete hypocrite :-( I am so very sorry about dropping the ball entirely on my Nov./Dec. book. I kept meaning to finish up & didn’t (verging on “asshole” status by now). Don’t give up on any feel-good about me quite yet? I am recommitting to my reliable ways right now, as you just read… & I do want to try to meet you in NYC this spring, so I want to be back on your good side by then :-)

  2. mary taitt Says:

    CUTE chickie wreath. Love it! I am way way way behind too. AK!!!! I’m actually looking forward to dieting and being quiet during January.

    I haven’t seen a sketchbook in ages and ages. I almost start forgetting about them.

    WOW! There was a lot more stuff there the second time I clicked on it than the first! You have been busy!! Very cool projects and glad you got some snow!

    I’m so late that you may not have gotten my gifts and card. AND one of your tiny gifties got neglected and is still under our tree–nothing you’ll want after the first, though, maybe I should give it to Graham instead!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Thanks & no worries! People of the best kind get creatively behind at the holidays, in my opinion :-)

      We did get some serious snow last night. Permanent groundcover finally, so it seems like winter to me. I have already been out to the coop to check on my ladies (fierce wind last night). Everyone was fine… but thirsty! (frozen water issue)

  3. mary taitt Says:

    OOOhm frozen water issues–how did you handle that?

    • henniemavis Says:

      No no, not us. Our water is fine. The hens had frozen water. They do every morning in winter. No matter the blizzard, I still had to go up there in the morning to give them water cuz they can’t drink ice, poor dears!

  4. Terah murphy Says:

    Being creative is what grounds me too. I’m off kilter from the holidays and always vow to never do it again. Hope your birthday was happy. Terah

  5. pavinee Says:

    I love what you did with the shipping carton, creative and fun. It would be nice to receive such a box ;-D

    I love new year day too. Normally, it’s just another year coming but after I found CED group, I kind of think ahead and look forward to the next best year with some plan in mind.

    Happy new year. Hope you have the best year ever!

  6. Inner~Creative~Voice Says:

    What a joyous time you have had:)

  7. henniemavis Says:

    @Pavine: “…look forward to the next year with a plan in mind.” Right-o! I always have big plans :-)

    @ICV: Had fun yes, but I was a bit overcommitted. That’s my least favorite side effect of every Christmas!

  8. mike Says:

    Hennie! Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas! Wow, glad I caught you before New Year’s. I have much to say about your bout of blogging/running abandonment and your creative explosion, but I’ll have to spread it out.
    I’ll just start with
    a) I enjoyed everyone of your creative creations, particularly the Grinch.
    b) Your husband continues to inspire and earn his chef’s hat, interesting lighting in that cake photo, it looks very hot
    c) I am appropriating your peppermint smell for our holiday cards next year, and I also want to add some evergreen
    Hope you’ve enjoyed the relief from holiday business and any blizzard activity you may have received!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Thanks for the happy thoughts :-) Love hearing what you have to say, always. And I love a good blizzard! We got 16 to 18 inches, woo hoo! Heard you’ve only got 3 inches (snigger).

      Best of all, Coach, I went 3.25 mi. on the treadmill yesterday (walk-run intervals, to wean back in without injury) AND I did a respectable distance on snowshoes offroad today, as cross-training. Ever plow thru the woods on snowshoes? Trust me, it counts as a workout! So you see, I just sat out a few weeks — no biggie, right? I still have time for that 15K trailrun training w/a June deadline. Piece of cake :-)

  9. Mary Stebbins Taitt Says:

    I hope you have your best year YET and the one after that is even better. Why are you and Aya up so early in the AM or late? I have asthma and can’t sleep. :-(

    • henniemavis Says:

      I can’t speak for Aya, but I am up late when I get caught up in things… reading, writing or making things. I’m easily stimulated, so when I get going on something, it’s easy for me to stay awake & keep going. Hard for me to stop.

      That’s helpful if I’m working on my business, as I can get lots done. Long hours are not as hard for me as for others. But the downside is that when I am at play, I struggle to set limits. Going to sleep is really healthy. Leisure fun (reading, writing, making art) is healthy, too — but not at the expense of sleep. I know this, yet I am still up late too often. Grrr!

  10. Mary Stebbins Taitt Says:

    I have that same problem and it contributes to my insomnia. If I am interested and excited about something, I’d rather pursue it than sleep, and suffer later.

    If I try to sleep, I lay awake thinking about my art project or the story I am writing etc. So then, I not only am not sleeping, but I feel like I’m wasting time and might as well get up and do what I wanted to do. But then I don’t sleep!!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Yes, we have the same whole-heartedness for doing stuff… but here’s our diff: once I decide to switch gears mentally, I can easily focus on sleep as my next “activity” & being tired by then, my consciousness shuts off like a kill switch. I can sleep easily, most of the time. I need to learn to go to bed more easily!

  11. Mary Stebbins Taitt Says:

    I need to do both. I have trouble switching gears!

    Maybe your New Year’s resolution would be to be in bed by 11:15 every night except real emergencies?

    • henniemavis Says:

      Sounds easy enough, but it doesn’t work with me. I’ve tried hardfast bedtimes, no dice. It’s funny. I find firm structure appealing & unappealing simultaneously. And that, my friend, belongs in therapy. HA!

      My New Year’s resolution is to drink more water. Really. But I work on many resolutions constantly throughout the year, one of which will surely be getting sleep with more regularity :-)

  12. mary taitt Says:

    me neither. :-( Sometimes, I will stick with it for even a week or two, but sooner or later, the siren song of some project or necessity calls me away from bed.

  13. Mary Says:

    Good for you admitting what goes on the month of December! I baked cookies, made gifts, lost track of time, ignored my blog and my art, and enjoyed the time with family. Happy new year!

  14. peggy fussell Says:

    Oh HM, what a great post! I love your style. That peppermint box is genius. I think it’s good to get knocked off balance every once in a while. It helps you figure out where your center really is.
    New Years is my favorite part of the holiday season too. Happy, happy New Year, dear!

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