Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sustainability, Travel, Scrapbook Pages and Podcasting

I have been writing posts lately about sustainability. It's scary to think that some human beings do not care. I also feel that some people feel the decline of humankind is inevitable, so think - let's make a profit while we can and enjoy ourselves. On the other hand, I do see that many businesses and individuals believe a sustainable approach makes sense both for the world and for the bottom line.
Sustainable creative approaches interest me. I just got a badge in an introductory class in sustainable design and am think of studying this more. One of my concerns is the health of our local environments. I took a class for EcoDistricts certification but have had little time to study to take the exam. It's on the list. I'm also considering attending another GreenBiz sponsored meeting. I learned a lot at the last one I attended.
Right now I'm planning a trip to San Diego and another to Great Britain and Ireland. Travel is stressful and exhausting many times but the thrill of learning and experiencing new things more than makes up for the inconveniences. I'm trusting myself to a good tour company in Europe to make the most of the brief time I can spend. One of these days I'll take a semester abroad and actually learn about an area in depth while I study art.
Of course, the experiences and photos should make for some exciting scrapbook pages as I recount the stories of my travel. I am also considering taking my podcast on the road and talking about my trip. It's a creative approach to my podcast, introducing travelogues.
Speaking of scrapbooking, I've used my travels to inspire some of my recent page design stories. Here's one from my recent visit to Arizona.

And another from my visit to Coit Tower in San Francisco.

Do visit A Creative Approach Podcast and listen to some fun episodes including this latest one with Elena Lai Etcheverry.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Why Mt. Etna is a natural phenomenon that inspires me

 Why Mt. Etna is a natural phenomenon that inspires me is a question I needed to answer for a class. A quiz in my biomimicry on-line course wanted to know what in nature inspired me and why. Mt. Etna at night is exquisite. Even when not erupting in a dramatic way, rivulets of lava can be seen running out of fissures and down the mountain in glowing red ribbons at night. The area of Taormina and Giardini Naxos is a beautiful tourist spot in Sicily and romantic and lovely in its own right; but, the views of Etna at night add to the wonder of this place. The fierce power and great beauty fill me with awe. I love Niagara Falls, the forest canopy in Ghana, the powerful surf of the California coast, and the breathtaking view of the Rockies as they spring into sight out of the foothills just a very short distance west of Calgary. All these inspire me. Mount Etna with lava flowing down its slopes at night is the most exhilarating. Perhaps it is because in an area of natural beauty with a magnificent shore and steep cliffs, as well as man-made wonders, like Roman ruins and a medieval city, the destructive volcanic power of Etna looms like the tension of romance and intense passion.

Learning Things: Grammar, Words, Crafts, Biomimicry

Do you use Grammarly or have you thought about a grammar checking program? I have used  Grammarly for about eighteen months and am delighted that it now works in applications like Blogger and Facebook without the need to copy and paste to check my writing. I like the weekly stats I get with the app. Grammarly lets you know your standard errors and compares your vocabulary to other users.
I love words. You may notice that I post Visual Thesaurus updates to the blog. I like that site because of the interesting stories about words, the pronunciation guide and the word maps that can help when Grammarly notes redundancy. It's especially useful when you need a carefully nuanced substitute.
I can follow up on my last blog post and report a successful paint night and an excellent white coat project. I never did finish my personal white coat project. My Wishblade failed, so I bought a new Cricut Explore Air 2, only to discover that it was challenging to use. My laptop solid state drive is full, and while I copied files to an external drive, I'm nervous about what files I can safely delete. Loading new stuff is impossible until then, So, when I have a chance I'll try to hook the machine up to my Mac and see what progress I can make in cutting my paper lace.
I do love crafting and am looking forward to today when I will spend the day in Dixon at It's All About the Scrapbook enjoying a class with friends. A chance to Cre8time. I think, May Flaum, the teacher, and a friend is a force behind my deep dive into crafts and art. My natural love of learning is a factor, too.

Speaking of learning new things, while at GreenBiz in February I was introduced to the field of biomimicry. It's very fascinating, looking to how nature solves problems and seeing if we can apply those solutions to our challenges in the design of structures, buildings, and processes. I'm taking a class right now from  Minneapolis College of Art and Design called Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology
It's a free on-line course which is an introduction to the master's program offered at the school.
As much as I love learning, I'm not sure I'm ready for yet another degree, though this is a field that is
very intriguing. The badge from the class is a sufficient goal for now. I think I will explore this subject more on the podcast. I'd love for you to join me at A Creative Approach Podcast and listen to all my exciting guests. (Links to an external site.)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jumping In

"...if we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin." - Ivan Turgenev
"If we wait until we are ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives, let's go." - Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
"Just Do It" - Nike slogan

Whether it's a 19th-century or 21st-century writer, or a 20th-century ad campaign, the sentiment is the same; this idea has been quoted by a lot of people in my universe recently. I am increasingly ready to embrace this philosophy.
I plunged into podcasting without much preparation when starting on The Digiscrap Geek Podcast, learning on the job. I had been a guest on podcasts but doing one is a whole different ballgame. When that show went on hiatus, and I decided to start A Creative Approach Podcast, I had this foundation but still was very unprepared for the task of doing it alone. Now, three months in, I've learned a lot and am pretty proud of what I've accomplished. The web page is still a work in progress. Like most beginning podcasters without a professional broadcasting education, my interview skills need to be honed. Marketing is coming along. I am so grateful for my professional contacts who are teaching me a lot and helping me to improve the podcast experience for my listeners. I think my web page will be up-to-date within the next week, or so, I'm finally feeling relaxed during interviews, and I love the pearls of wisdom about creativity that come from the shows.
My guests are amazing. Even when I've known some guests for years, there are always surprises.
Kit from Royal brush

I am trying to apply the idea of just going to a lot of things. I'm taking part in the American Medical Women's Association annual meeting soon. I've planned a paint night which sounds easy enough. I mean, theoretically, everyone participates in producing a piece of art that allows room for some personal interpretation but involves the same paint and canvas and a guideline to reproducing something pretty close to what the original artist has designed. It's pretty much a project designed for socialization and "spirits," but I have heard doubts about the idea from some young artists. The arguments I've heard include, "too much like a class," "might not allow enough individual expression," "might not fit with a theme (white coat) focus." I just want to have fun and show other people that art can be fun! I'll report back how it goes. I'm just going to just do it and not analyze too much. I have these fabulous ready to go Art Instructor Painting Party Packs from Royal Langnickel. Royal Brush sent me some sample products after the AFCI Creativation show in Phoenix, and I placed an order for 9 more of these kits to use for our AMWA Paint Night.

My ad for AMWA program

Marketing is another area where I have questioned just what I need to do. I'm pretty much an extroverted introvert. Are you saying, "What?" Here's a link to an article about this because we all fall somewhere on the bell curve of these personality types. However, I think that may not be a good analogy because I think that rather than the middle, I bounce from end to end of the curve! So, in this case, my thinking went, "Ads? Well, of course." Then, "Gulp! OMG, my photo is part of my podcast logo, am I calling too much attention to myself?" I decided to go ahead and put an ad for A Creative Approach Podcast into the program for the AMWA meeting and not worry too much about it. I also decided it would not hurt to put a Patreon section on my podcast web page. I love Jess and Elsie from She Podcasts. They admit that it is not the primary source of income for their podcast and that it took a while for people to sponsor them. Nonetheless, they had no problem including a Patreon sponsor link. So, I did it, too. I mean, even $1 a month is significant to me. It's a way you can encourage podcasts you enjoy. I support Jess and Elsie at a small level because I really want to say thanks for their show, it's helped me a lot. I hope some of my listeners will feel the same.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Style decisions and Horses in the Morning

It is delightful to travel, but being home is nice. I am not getting as much done as I'd like, isn't that always what folk say? Stuff gets done, though, slowly.
I'm dealing with pain, of course. The neck flares a bit more quickly recently. Unfortunately, the doctor who did my epidurals left Stockton Kaiser, and they need to reschedule my appointment. It'll likely be this summer now instead of this month.
Yes, I do things like laundry and fitness that  I probably might avoid. I do feel these are things I must do, though. Getting fitter helps in the long run, even if short term it's a problem.

I have a stylist, Chantera Gunn.

Closet now


Some of the clothes headed for charity

Chantera helped me purge my closets. She did the heavy lifting and the decision making but let me keep a few things that do not fit what she deems my style, only if I promised to wear them in very particular circumstances. I rarely argued with her. The funny thing is after purging over 233 items of clothing, 41 pairs of shoes and 22 purses and assorted other articles, I feel like I have so many more clothes! I now can see how to put things together. Beautiful trendy stuff is no longer buried. If you live in the San Francisco/Sacramento area, you can out Chantera's services. I believe I now only need a few items to fill some gaps in my wardrobe or to update or pull together ensembles.

It does cost money for a stylist, but I think it will save a lot in the long run.

Today I had a brief spot on the Horses in the Morning podcast.


 I'm not a horse person; not that I did not want to be. My husband and I tried a trail ride early in our marriage, and his hip arthritis made him miserable. I decided I did not want to go down a path toward a passion of which he could not be a part; so, I have never taken riding lessons. Pity, as horses are the one animal to which I am not allergic. It was funny listening to the guest podcasters befuddled over horse terms. My word was "founder." I did not have a clue! To be in the know you can find a glossary of horse health terms here. Check out the March15 episode of Horse in the Morning with me and fellow podcast guests. Maybe there is a new show you'd like to follow on iTunes or Stitcher? Of course, you are always welcome to listen to A Creative Approach Podcast.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Time for Scrapbooking and Crafts

The very cluttered and messy craft room/studio in near 360 view

March is hinting about spring, though I've not yet been to the mountains and the snow. I need to get some winter in, and if there are "stormless" days ahead, the snow should be delightful. You know that I like it in small doses.
Over at Get It Scrapped it's "Calvinball" time. People are striving to be productive and amass points in an ever changing rules environment with friendly SMACK talk, too. I only made a commitment to get more than 3 points this year. Yes, feeble-hearted on my part. One can get points for cleaning a scrap space, and that is a formidable task - I'll redeem my cowardice that way.
I had an excellent conference filled February where I met so many friendly people. Well, there was one inelegant guy at GreenBiz in Phoenix, but everyone else was delightful! I think most folks like others who are open and honest and I try hard to be that. Sometimes it takes time for people to learn. The universe knows that I've had to learn a lot.
This month is Craft Month, and that means it's time to work on projects. I got some great paints from a manufacturer while I was away and I'm contemplating using them for home decor projects. Those may need to be done this summer when the rain stops. It's so odd to say that, "after the rain stops." Rain is such a novelty after years with hardly any rain at all.
It was nice to begin and end February with my communities. I did learn so much at GreenBiz, but the craft world and my podcast peeps restore my soul!
I'm catching up with family now that I am back home. I have grand plans every morning to get stuff done, but I'm not making much progress. Today I cleaned up a corner of my very cluttered craft room/studio. I have done a few things related to the podcast; but, substantial things like taxes keep getting deferred. On the positive side, I am sticking with my diet and exercise program. I'd like to be more aggressive with that. However, I realize that any progress is good progress. So, I'm off to clean up another few square feet of the room and toss a load of laundry in the machine. My appointment for tomorrow is delayed until the afternoon, so I'll catch up a bit in the morning. I think I need to set goals for the next day each evening. It'll be my new resolution!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Already late

 "The future started yesterday
And we're already late" - John Legend

I did learn a lot at GreenBiz17. Some folks are trying hard. Is the stent robust enough to let necessary sustainability measures get past the blockages? Many businesses are committed and spoke at GreenBiz17. The pace of plenary sessions was rapid with 15-minute topics, one after the other. There were longer breakout sessions for a more in-depth and experiential exploration of a subject.

I was very impressed with the biomimicry hike in the Tom Thumb area. Breath-taking scenery and a few teaching moments where function and form illustrated business principles. Another highlight for me was the presentation by Kara Hurst, director of global sustainability and social responsibility at Amazon. Packaging for the on-line market vs. the retail store presents several new challenges. Ideas and innovations include shipping a known container, prep-free packaging, and everyone's favorite - frustration-free packaging. E-shopping needs are different from shelf needs at a retail location. Of course, both sites want to reduce waste, protect the product from damage and have an easy to open package that is recyclable. Another highlight was the student presentations of innovations in technology and the younger grade school presentations on cities of the future. They give me hope in our youth. It is too bad, as the song says, that we are already late.

Phoenix was doubly great because it meant visits with family.

I'm excited to be going to Florida to get away from the rain. Yes, even in Phoenix, there was rain. I'm even more excited to be able to learn more about podcasting. One does learn by doing, but a little expert advice can be helpful!
Only back from Phoenix for just a couple of days and then I'm off to Orlando and Podfest.  When people ask me what I do, I often say, "It's a story." Of course, I could just reply, "A dedicated life-long learner and storyteller." From craft and hobby products and ideas to sustainable business and then podcasting, it's a complicated life. In my opinion being interested makes one interesting.

Thanks to everyone who listens to A Creative Approach Podcast.  Become a member of the Facebook group and send feedback. Reviews at your favorite podcast directory are welcome, too. A Creative Approach Podcast is now available on Stitcher as well as iTunes.
For now, that is all.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Travels, AFCI (CHA) Highlights, Sustainability, Podcasting

Travel seems to be on the agenda.  Above are some night and day views of San Francisco. Cal, of course, through all the years I worked as a physician, and I did all that overnight call, is used to my occasional absences. He does come along, sometimes; though, I must say, that means eating out a bit more. My usual plan is to stay away from high carbohydrate, high-fat food. (Yes, I do miss Crispy Creme!) I've been trying sparkling water as a substitute for cocktails, and I am usually successful at avoiding dessert. I must confess that I do not achieve perfection. Nonetheless, despite being on the go, I am gradually losing the pounds I put on over Christmas. I do try to have high-protein, low-calorie meal substitutes on hand when I travel, just like at home. is my method of keeping track of my nutrition and calories, and the Spark Coach option helps me stay motivated when I need to miss my weekly weight management meetings. It is a constant struggle to stay healthy, especially when one's movement is restricted. I envy those who can "work off the pounds."

I have not been too far afield since my November trips to the Pacific Northwest and Calgary. I did go to CHA (Craft&Hobby Association), now AFCI (Association for Creative Industries), in Phoenix and made several trips to San Francisco.  When I can travel by train and enjoy the views, like the view above, it's a great trip. I did have an unhappy travel experience on my Southwest Airlines trip to Phoenix which did not ruin that one but made me very disappointed. One of my bags did not arrive, and when I finally got it, items were missing. An unopened bottle of Chanel, Allure eau de toilette, a heavy duty iPhone fire cord and a handful of Ghiradelli chocolate covered caramel squares. The thief left with two which was good for my diet, though I was going to ration my treats over my stay. So much for a "two free bags" policy. That was an expensive loss! Another trip to Arizona is on the horizon, and then I'll be off to Orlando.
Cross your fingers for me that my suitcases arrive unmolested.

AFCI was in a new location, though a smaller show than in the past at Anaheim. I hope manufacturers will hear what an excellent venue this was and consider booths for the next show. Look for some innovative and beautiful craft and hobby products in your local stores this year from the vendors who showed. I noticed that party products remain very popular - edibles like cookie decorating and party decor and favors. Paper lines were diverse and beautiful. Florals are very popular.

Plaid presented some current trends in their paint displays - outdoor, eclectic charm, nordic chic, brushed metal, color shift, vintage sign and Boho wanderlust, coastal chic, Parisian chic, chalk/milk paint and coastal charm.


I loved Shimelle and Amy Tan's lines at American Crafts. Then again, I am a color fan! Love the gold "wire" alpha at Pink Fresh, the Palm Beach collection at MME, and, of course, the Space Academy at Carta Bella caught my eye because of my grandson. Theresa Collins, Graphic 45, Heidi Swapp continue with lovely editions of their signature lines. There were planners everywhere, which I find such an interesting trend in this digital age. I loved the new screen print tool from Screen Sensation - easier, much smaller than Yudu and not hard to clean up. They gave us only 3 feet of workroom on narrow tables in a class to work with this product with no excessive mess, and everyone made beautiful samples!

Mixed media remains a trend, and I enjoyed all the classes with Andy Skinner and the great products from DecoArt and Stampendous.
I have not gone through all I collected, and all my photos; these are just a few highlights.
Great yarns for those who like to knit were on display. The show's emphasis was on making and doing. Sewing stuff, 3D printing, wood projects were a major part of the maker demos. Deflecto introduced wheels to their stacked storage; I loved that. Prime Publishing LLC sponsored a blogger event which was an excellent opportunity to learn about companies and products.

Seeing friends was a definite highlight! I missed a lot of photo ops but you get the idea! Many smiles.

The fascinators at Charity Wings were fantastic. Thinking of a project for a party or fund-raiser? The die for these hats and the X-long plates are available at Sizzix and a portion of the proceeds supports Charity Wings.

As I mentioned in my "Sustain" post, I've been studying sustainability and attending meetings to learn more.
GreenBiz 17 in Phoenix is one of these meetings in February. This past week in San Francisco I met many pleasant people involved in sustainability.

The first meeting was about Women at the Center: Linking Population, Health, and Environment For a Healthy World sponsored by San Francisco's WEN (Women's Environmental Network). Healthy environments are vital to me, as I imagine they are to most of you. In fact, I've been delighted to see how many of my friends are reporting sustainability efforts in their social media posts this year. I certainly hope it's more than a trend.

At AFCI, formerly known as CHA, in Phoenix, I asked manufacturers about their sustainability efforts and was pleased to note that some companies were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Fairfield was one of the several businesses which were delighted to talk about efforts in sustainability, like recycled plastic bottles and methods used to reduce packaging and increase efficiencies in transportation. A rare few manufacturers said, "Well, Walmart insists." I also attended a Sustainability Unconference which was an exciting learning experience.  Here it led to some very informative lectures and discussions. From these conferences, I became aware of training on EcoDistricts. I was not sure this was for me, imagining city planners and architects as the audience. I sent an inquiry and was encouraged to attend. It was a great learning experience. I may take the certification test, too.

I, also, am working on the craft of podcasting. It is a different ballgame to be doing one's show versus being a co-host. I'm happy to learn from other podcasters. I think the best way to learn is to jump in and do it. My guests have been delightful, and I hope the listeners have enjoyed them, too. Do go to iTunes and download the show and give a review.  Here is a direct link to the podcast webpage - A Creative Approach Podcast.

Podfest Orlando presented by Libsyn will be a fantastic opportunity for learning from the podcast community. I do a quick turn around after my visit to Phoenix for the sustainability meeting and seeing family and friends and then head there.
OK, I've caught you up-to-date on my recent activities. It's a lot. No wonder I'm a bit behind here at home and feeling a little tired!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Science Nerds, Sustainability Learning and other things

 I've had a busy week with my niece visiting from Canada. She and I are both science nerds. We went to see Bill Nye at SF Sketchfest and also saw the duo from Stuff You Should Know. The CA Academy of Sciences was also on the agenda. Two planetarium shows, of course. One was Habitat Earth. I thought it was a good portrayal of the interdependency of life. If you have kids and want to talk about sustainability with them, it is a good way to introduce the topic. Plus, there is all that other cool stuff in the building!
Speaking of sustainability I've got a few conferences I'm planning on attending. One is Women at the Center: Linking Population, Health and Environment For a Healthy World by the SF Dept of the Environment. Another is SF Sustainability Unconference, which is tailored in discussion to the attendees. I learned about EcoDistricts Foundation Course: Building Sustainable, Equitable, Resilient Cities from the Neighborhood, Up and wondered if it was just for architects and designers; so, I e-mailed for info. Sounds like it will be useful for folk like me, too. Then next month I plan to attend GreenBiz 2017 in Phoenix. It's a good start to understanding that part of the word sustain that I have chosen for this year's One Little Word.
Otherwise, I'm busy with art history, podcasting and art. I cannot forget the American Medical Women's Association and the British Medical Women's Federation meetings, too. Looking forward to those. This may be a summer I will dedicate to relaxing and lounging by my pool. I'll need the rest!