Monthly Archives: January 2010

Fairy Tale Ball- Flowers

   Last Saturday was the Fairy Tale Ball, a fundraiser for the Children’s Museum of Southeastern CT in Niantic. I was invited to share my children’s book Nature’s Royal Tea Party in the form of a tablescape. Ten guests attending the event would have the honor of sitting at the table for dinner, however everyone attending was able to walk around the room to admire all the tables with visual depictions of children’s books  by brilliant designers.

 I’ve talked in my blog before about place settings and table decor, but this was an event of extreme tablescapes. The entire room was filled with magic  all in the name of childhood. Yet it was for the grown ups to enjoy, way past the bedtime of the wee ones.

   I enlisted help from some of my high school students to create a centerpiece filled with paper flowers that  appear in my book. The Queen Anne’s Lace was made with a card board disc, white paper doily and little teacups and saucers made with paper clay. All of the parts were glued together  and attached to with wire stem  with crêpe paper on wire for leaves .  Don’t underestimate the power of floral tape. It takes so little to make ordinary wire look like a stem. It takes so little to make a piece  of paper to look like a beautiful flower.

You can make a floral centerpiece from paper. There are great books on paper craft or just Google ‘paper flower patterns.’

Posies were made with small paper circles  folded in quarters, then cut to make a scalloped edge. They were mounted on a wire with floral tape. We put several posies on each stem.  I used real Milkweed , with pods attached, that I  sprayed gold to add more texture and contrast.  I was so excited that the Milkweed seeds were still in the pods, but over time it became clear that I had to remove the seeds. As the pods dried, the seeds unfolded and , well, just imagine hundreds of little fluffs of white floating all over the house like fairies. They could not be harnessed with any sealer. I tried. Fairies want to fly freely. To add to the theme, I cut pictures of the characters and attached them to wire stakes and placed them among the flowers. You can put the stems all in to a narrow vase or push some floral foam down into a wider pot to better control the placement.  Consider your focal points as the strongest colors or most ornate flowers and fill in with smaller flowers to create a balance around the centerpiece. Have fun with it.


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Memories & Creativity- Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. Steve asked me last night as 2009 ended, what was my most memorable New Years Eve. Granted, I’ve spent more than several of them listening to his band at a party, but sorry honey, they were not my most memorable. Listening to music is always great and his band is awesome, but those New Year’s Eve gigs all blend together since the volume excludes much interactive conversations. And yes, folks, I was sober, so you can’t blame my faded memories on the influence of booze or other mind altering elements like, oh say, sleep deprivation. I take plenty of naps.

But he asked about my most memorable, not my best (which of course are those spent with him). My most vivid New Year’s Eve memory is strikingly simple. I was at my sister Kim’s house the  year she and her husband Andy moved to the Florida Keys. He was working the night shift at the airport in Miami, so it was just Kim and me. We didn’t plan anything other than maybe to stay up for the traditional ball drop countdown in Times Square on TV.

I’d nodded off on the coach on the enclosed porch, which is where I was going to sleep anyway. Just before midnight it starting pouring rain. I mean teeming. The sky had opened and rain was pounding on the corrugated vinyl-plastic roof like a train running through the night desert full speed or maybe more like a stampede of cattle. I’ve actually heard both, so I know what I’m talking. It was LOUD, deafening loud. Anyway, it was a startling way to wake up, but I just lay there listening in fascination to the pounding. It was minutes before midnight, Kim was awake and appeared with a cups of tea to welcome the new year. We sat under a roof of loud rain that seemed so determined to wash the world clean. Well, at least our part of the world. That is my memory and I don’t even expect that she wouldn’t remember it.

Okay, what has this to do with creativity? I guess I’m exploring how we experience things through our senses and how that may affect our memories. Our memories are great places to explore for creative inspiration. Why did the loud rain evoke a more vivid memory than the loud music of Steve’s band? I don’t know, but perhaps it was about being a unique and unexpected experience.

How can this help you be creative? Pay attention to what causes you to pause. What are the sensational components of your memories? (Visual, sounds, movement, touch, aroma or flavor)  What caught your attention? How did it make you feel? How can you use it expressively in your creative medium?

So what was your most memorable New Year’s Eve, birthday or holiday. Write about it, paint it, compose a melody…and pay attention everyday to what might make a memory.

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