Posts by Mishka :
Today is the first day of #the100dayproject 2021. My plan is to use this challenge for daily accountability to work on my Omer project using the hashtag, #100DaysOfOmer. I started the Omer project last spring but my available time got crushed by everything 2020, starting with the Covid lockdown and having elementary school-aged kids who demanded more of my time. I need the accountability because I tend to put my personal projects last, and because of that I have a lot of unfinished projects. I’m going to finish this one!
What is an Omer and what is my Omer Project?
Omer was a biblical unit of measurement, sometimes translated as “sheaves.” Beginning on the second night of Passover, Jews count the 49 days (7 weeks) between Passover and Shavuot on the 50th day. This is called Sefirat HaOmer, counting the Omer.
My Omer project will be a deck of meditation cards based on the Kabalistic journey of the soul through the 7 weeks days ending on Shavuot. The approach I’m using for the art was originally inspired by Pamela Colman Smith’s work for the Arthur Waite’s Tarot deck.
Coincidentally, Sefirat HaOmer begins partway through the 100 Days project (Sunday, March 28) and ends one week after it ends (Sunday, May 16), so this was a great time for me to reboot. I’ll post more about the Omer, the Kabalistic attributes, and the journey as this project comes along.
Meanwhile, here’s a fun video from BimBam with more information about Sefirat HaOmer:
Thanks to Covid-19, we’re home from school and home FOR school for the duration of the year. My children’s assignments are inspiring me to make some general templates for their projects that I’m also sharing here with you.
I’ll be updating this page as we go along. Stay well, everyone!
Disclaimer: All digital download files are free for personal or non-commercial use. Please contact me for commercial inquiries.
- 6 Page Book Template
Suitable for grades K-3 * I put together and am sharing this simple 6 page low-ink-use PDF book template that you can print at home to allow kids to make their own books for assignments or just for fun. * It requires 4 pieces of paper, un-printed sides taped or glued together and then folded in half. Two staples in the middle are optional.
- 7 Page Alphabet Project Template
Suitable for grades K-3 * A 7-page low-ink-use PDF 8.5 x 11 inch landscape template (prints from Portrait) to allow kids to make their own illustrated alphabet project with 4 labeled panels per page * Requires 7 pieces of paper.
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I’m supposed to be planning tonight’s big neighborhood Halloween Hotdogs potluck, cooking 216 hotdogs and five pounds of chicken nuggets, but the weather report has gotten so dire for this evening that we had to punt the party to tomorrow in favor of hopefully buying the kids a few more rain/wind/thunder-free trick or treating minutes tonight. Because it WILL happen tonight!
I set a few contingency plans in place, including an opt-in do-over for trick or treating tomorrow night (mostly for littles). So crazy it just might work? I guess we’ll see. The trick may be on me! But really, it’s all about the kids so cross your fingers and wiggle your nose for dry spells this evening!
I’m posting this really close to the wire, but it’s been a while and I wanted to have a go at ‘Muse” Susanna Hill’s 9th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest! I started something on this subject for last year’s contest but didn’t finish in time.
I’ve been thinking about the origins of Halloween and the cycle of death and rebirth that many cultures, traditions, and religions celebrate, at or beginning at this time of year (in North America). Also, my own grandmother is 101 and a half (you get the halves back again after you turn a certain age). I have been very lucky to have had her in my life these 47 (and a half) years.
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick.
The Old Ways
“Tonight ain’t fit for man or beast,” Granny would’ve grinned.
Rain pelts the window by the flickering gourd.
I leave warm bread on the sill, in case They still come for tricks.
“Tonight the veil grows cobweb thin,” Granny would’ve winked.
I set her favorite scones and tea on the mantle.
Ma feels my head, gives me a potion, and tucks me into my quilt.
“Go to sleep, child. Tomorrow’s a new day,” I heard Granny sigh.
Restless and sweating, I must be asleep. Finally, I dream.
Then bleary and blinking in the morning light, I realize she is gone.
Here it is October. I’ve been away from my blog for so long that Wordpress has updated and is now FORCING me to use blocks. Which means it took me about five minutes to figure out that I needed to add a text block to the layout to be able to begin typing. Ahhh technology. It makes your life easier, right?
So lots of life things broke loose just after New Years that caused me to take a bit of a creative hiatus. Everything’s fine in my personal world, I just had to prioritize other people, house tidying and fixing, and higher paying jobs for a bit. Personal work always suffers when that happens. So I didn’t get a whole lot of that done this year. Some. Not a lot.
Anyway, as soon as the Narrative Award was announced this year, I immediately had an idea but then put it off (see priorities above) until literally the 11th hour when I swept the clutter from my art table and threw these pieces together.
My whole life, people keep telling me to work bigger BIGGER! This is generally good and freeing advice. Unless you’re me. And that’s a very funny thing for a former scenery designer/painter to say. I’m happier working small. And in this case, it made the work go faster and forced me to loosen up and work in the parameters. I did have a bit of a breakdown partway through because I didn’t think I’d be able to finish on time after almost two months of noodling the drawings in my head. But I did. Project-Runway-Make-It-Work style in under 36 hours! So I’m pretty proud of that but it’s not my favorite way to work.
This year’s Narrative Award assignment: “2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission’s moon landing. In recognition of this iconic event, the 2019 assignment is to submit a narrative sequence involving a ground-breaking journey, whether historical, personal, or imagined.”
So of course I went historical. In retrospect, I should have used the couple’s (nonexistent here) child as the main character. So when (if) I redo it, he’ll be there. Now, this is actually a true story. It’s not my story. It’s a story one of my friends told me about her family coming to New York over a hundred years ago…
Happy 2019! It’s the evening of New Year’s Day. I should be watching the “The New Year’s Celebration from Vienna,” like I used to so many years ago. Instead, I am still trying to overtake my to-do list from last year (and yes writing this blog post is on it)! If I can just clear out all the little things, I’ll be ready for the new year. I have my doubts as I don’t recall the last time I began a new year with a clean slate, and I’m certainly not going to finish everything tonight.
It got me thinking that I have this little problem — I have a really hard time creating new art if my space is cluttered. I mean, how can I get something sparkly and new accomplished if I’m being stifled by all the unfinished clutter? And yet, I’ve been trying to work around it for years.
I was thinking back to when I was single and living in a cute little one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles. I had a bit of a routine. Every Sunday evening I’d strip the bed, grab the hamper, walk the laundry across the parking lot, put the quarters in, and then spend the next hour tackling the dishes and tidying the living room. After swapping the laundry to the dryer, I’d spend the next hour and twenty minutes making the bedroom look just like I thought a nice bed-and-breakfast would, before going out to haul the laundry back across the parking lot, careful not to drop any socks. I’d put on music or whatever was on Lifetime television while I folded and put everything away and made the bed. Then came the best part; looking around my adorable, tidy little space and breathing in the calm. I’d light a candle or two, and then the creativity and the art would flow. And there’s nothing so comforting as sleeping in the warm, clean sheets of a neatly made bed.
That was a long time ago. I now live with a husband who has his own tolerance levels for clutter, and my 5 and 7 year old kids who, well, enough said, really. But that only accounts for all the “stuff” left in my physical space. What I realized is that the problem is bigger than that.
We live among constant clutter of so many kinds — the noise of video games, binge-watched tv, talk radio, podcasts, streaming music stations, piano practice, shrilling children, cellphone alarms, high-decibel restaurant noise, marketing videos at gas pumps, thousands of daily promos and newsletters arriving at all hours into multiple in-boxes, scrolling infinity through social media, unending mental-load check-lists, adorable recipe blogs, not to mention all the multiple information venues necessary for work…
Not only is it ALL a distraction, the mental whiplash of constantly shifting focus between things that have nothing to do with each other minute by minute is mentally and physically exhausting.
And what’s worse? Although I’m already functioning with a years-long sleep deficit (I mentioned I have young children?) I found myself staying up too late to continue trying to absorb it all! It’s as if I never realized a million years ago that I wasn’t going to be able to read every single book in the library. As if I’d forgotten that if I’m still interested, whatever it is will still be there tomorrow. There will always be an infinite amount of things to absorb and a simple human can only take in so much. Once upon a time I was an extrovert. Not so much anymore. I’ve long-ago joined the ranks of people who turn to yoga and guided meditations for an occasional hour and a half of mindful head-clearing in a too-busy, scatterbrained world.
Back when I was single and living in a cute little one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, my brother, Harris, was living in a very cluttered converted tenement apartment in Brooklyn. Overwhelmed by the clutter, he had basically abandoned his living space to it, and when he had to be home, he lived solely in his bedroom. The problem he had was that he just didn’t know where to even begin cleaning up the mess. He was also an artist and a creative and he was also stifled by it.
I had a very simple solution for my brother. I simply showed up and resolutely dug him out. We got rid of so much garbage and junk and visual noise. Harris wasn’t the bed-and-breakfast type, but his mid-century atheistic just didn’t mesh with clutter. We moved things around and made the space breathe. Back then, I knew that the only way to clean up the clutter was to start with what was in front of you. To start SOMEWHERE.
In the past, I’ve proven not to be that great at New Year’s resolutions, so this year I have only one and that is to be resolute. I picked my personal and professional “defining word” for 2019 and was going to link to a simple definition of the concept in case you hadn’t heard of it but instead I turned up MORE NOISE! A website dedicated to an entire book about why a defining word will change your life, several blog posts about helping you pick your word (I linked to one last January. It’s in my blog archives), and a website dedicated to hooking you up with your virtual tribe of simpaticos who’ve picked the same word! Thanks, internet, for being you.
Anyway, my defining word for 2019 is “discipline.” There’s a lot that’s gong to fall under that heading but that is where I am going to begin sorting and cleaning out the clutter so that I can get on with letting the creativity and the art flow. I’ve got a lot of work to do!