Friday, May 30, 2008

Free-bie Friday: A Fun New Feature

ATTENTION: Today is Taste of USA for Alaska, Tennesee, Michigan, New York, and Idaho. If you are a resident of anyone of those states and want to win the chance of a fun-filled afternoon of brainstorming and prize-winning, then click on Taste of USA and tell us what you love about your town.

I feel as though, when the planets align as they did yesterday, I am being affirmed that yes, hosting a blog where creativity and community meet up is an important and noble contribution. There's no question it is fun and rewarding, but I assert it is actually IMPORTANT. Read on...

Today is Friday. Typically Free For All Friday. But, for quite some time I have been mulling over a new idea. Freebie Friday. This, as it turns out, is the perfect week for its official launching.

I've thought it would be fun to periodically, on a Friday, give away free items. In the spirit of creativity, however, I thought it especially fun if the items I gave away would be sponsored by creative people - even artists. I mentioned this to Wendy, a woman I met through my sister in-law. As it turns out Wendy is an artist who uses textures and cool patterns to create collages and other items. She is a go-getter and immediately volunteered to make me a set of wine glass charms (the kind you use to distinguish whose glass is whose at a social gathering).

As I said, Wendy is a go-getter, so days later she called me up informing me they were ready for pick up. My idea was officially a reality. I've been hanging onto them for over a month now, just waiting for the perfect time to give them away, but not in any real rush. They are the first... and ONLY giveaway I have in my possession. Once I give the gift away... (1) you, the readers, will expect future freebies, and (2) I will be out of stock - requiring me to get busy recruiting more artists.

Wendy's wine glass charms are not only great, but they are made from bottle caps! That made THIS Friday the perfect week for giving them away. This is, after all, the week dedicated to turning trash into treasures. It goes without saying this is exactly what Wendy did, using bottle caps, beads, and cool paper.

I considered it a little anti-climatic to simply give the items away, so in my effort to make the experience a little more climatic - even creative - I decided I would not only feature the artist responsible for Friday's freebies, but also that I would conduct a little interview posing questions about creativity.

So, here goes my first attempt. Have grace as I jump in to this experience having no idea what I am doing, but eager to improve. I've already apologized to Wendy ahead of time for not doing justice to the truly remarkable woman she is. Read to the end, as there is a fun little twist I think you all will be interested in seeing, as well as instructions for winning Wendy's creation!
Wendy, where do you get your creative inspirations?
I pull my inspirations from all around me. It could be a patterned pillow; old Christmas cards; a magazine clipping; or a drawing by my son, Dillon. I work at night a lot when my husband is being a couch potato. Sometimes my idea will come from something I see on the t.v. when looking up to talk to him. Right now the project I'm working on is titled, Red Neck Americana. The idea behind it is, things not politically correct, but made interesting through art.

You alluded to the fact that you collect a lot of things. What kinds of things do you collect and where do you keep it all (for the neat freaks in us)?
It's all in my garage in card board boxes (laughing). I collect things like bottle caps, of course; scraps of cardboard; metal, wood; Kleenex boxes; National Geographic magazines; tons of stuff.

Have you always considered yourself creative?
My mother and father were both creative. My mom was also a stay at home mom, but she also sang for the Fort Worth Opera Company. My dad was kind of a Jack of All Trades. His job was as a pilot, but he could always be found doing woodworking, sketching, or playing his guitar. I guess you could say I grew up in a creative environment. They were also very affirming and encouraging of me. They told me repeatedly never to not do something you really wanted to do.

You mentioned that your son, Dillon, draws. Did he inherit your creativity?
I guess so. When he was a toddler and I would work on a project using exacto blades and glue, I would have to give him his own tools and supplies to play with so he would stay out of mine. I would give him things like paper and Playdo. I guess he just kind of grew up around creative things. I can remember going through notebooks of his and being so frustrated at pages and pages containing the same drawings. We recycle paper and cans, so it just seemed like such a waste. I realized later, though, that he was repeating himself in an effort to improve his drawing.

It sounds like you affirm his artistic abilities.
Yes, and even his grandfather (my dad) sends Dillon books of his sketches in exchange for Dillon sending sketches back. I think he does see himself as good at art.

What else do you like to do, when not raising your son or creating art?
I like to run. When I was little my dad was in the navy, so he would be gone for long periods of time. When he was in town we would run together and that kind of became our sacred time together. I've done one marathon and intend to run in another one in November. I've also run three half marathons.

Yeah, I've always thought I'd like to run a marathon before I die.
Actually, there's a cool website I love to visit called People go to the website to list the forty-three things they would like to do before they die. If anyone on the site has done one of things on your list, he or she can comment on it or make recommendations. It's pretty cool.

So, what else is on your list of 43?
Well I don't have forty-three things yet, but some of the others are sky dive, take Dillon to where I used to live in Greece, travel around the world on a ship, and travel the perimeter of Ireland visiting every pub along the way.

So, one more question before I let you go. Yesterday highlowaha readers brainstormed things you could do with an Altoid Container. The suggestion was made to turn it into a table where people could take a treasure and then replace it with something new. As an artist, what do you think of that?
I can't recant the forty-minutes worth of energized brainstorming that ensued afterward, so suffice it to say... the very talented Wendy is going to help us create our table! Tera, Cheryl, and Patrick... THANK YOU for feeding off of one another and generating this FANTASTIC idea. We will continue to consult with you as it is being developed. In the meantime, know that it is IN THE WORKS!

Moral of Story... Life... and, yes, even highlowaha is about capturing people's creative energy in order to do something... to create something bigger and better than you could create by yourself. We are on this earth for a short while. We should seize every opportunity to commune with others with the intent of improving something! This brilliant Altoid Mystery table will most certainly brighten the corner of one little coffee shop tucked away here in Grapevine, Texas. Or, maybe not. Maybe the outcome will be bigger and better than anything you or I could imagine. We don't know. What I do know... yesterday creativity met community and because of it something good is happening.
To win the wine glass charms...

To win the set of twelve wine glass charms from the talented Wendy, simply send a post with your guess of her favorite number. Clue. It is between 1 and 50. The first person to guess (or come closest by 10:00 tonight) will win.

Don't win, but wanna get a set (great teacher gift by the way)?

She typically makes them in sets of four and sells each set for $15.00. She also makes bottle cap magnets for $5.00 each. Wendy's email address is

Signing off until tomorrow...

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